Archive | June, 2016

#BookReview: The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron

30 Jun

The Ringmaster's Wife

The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/28JxcaK

An ounce of courage. A split-second leap of faith. Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life—one that’s reimagined from what they might have become.

In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures to call her own, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny—a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.

A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling of Yorkshire, England, boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her life is planned out for her. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties in the grandest ballrooms the country has to offer. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.

When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, instead choosing the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.

 

Quote- The Ringmaster's Wife

My thoughts:

The Ringmaster’s Wife is an absorbing tale! Masterfully intertwining dual story lines, Kristy Cambron paints a rich, vivid picture with her words. I was completely captivated by the fascinating history, both real and imagined, and each turn of the page drew me deeper into the big-top world.

I absolutely loved Mable and Rose and the culmination of their stories! These compelling characters stepped from the pages and into my heart, and they continue to plague my thoughts. Beautifully rendered, The Ringmaster’s Wife is a story not soon to be forgotten!

 

K Cambron

Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal Reviews’ “Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction)” for February 2015.

Cambron is an art/design manager at TheGROVEstory.com storytelling ministry. She holds a degree in art history from Indiana University and has nearly 15 years of experience in instructional design and communications for a Fortune-100 company. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good Christian fiction read.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

 

The Ringmaster's Wife

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.  All thoughts expressed are my own.  Click here to read what other bloggers are saying about The Ringmaster’s Wife.

#BookReview: Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon

29 Jun

Sea Rose Lane

Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/28YgelT

Two people starting over . . . in a town known for second chances

After a devastating layoff, attorney Eric Nash heads back to Hope Harbor–only to discover that his childhood home is being transformed into a bed and breakfast. Instead of plotting his next career move in peace, he’s constantly distracted by noise, chaos–and BJ Stevens, the attractive but prickly blonde architect who’s invaded the house with her motley crew. As for BJ, her client’s son might be handsome, but after a disastrous romance, dating isn’t high on her agenda. Yet when they join forces for to help Hope Harbor seniors, might they also find healing, hope, and a new beginning themselves?

 

My thoughts:

Irene Hannon brings the coastal Oregon community of Hope Harbor to life, and it’s always a pleasure to visit this special place! Eric Nash and BJ Stevens are complex characters, and I really enjoyed their chemistry and the development of their relationship. Their visits with Charley were among the highlights of the story, and I delighted in the wit and wisdom he dished up with his tacos. Themes of hope and healing resonate through this narrative creating a lovely story that warmed my heart. I thoroughly enjoyed Sea Rose Lane and look forward to continuing this enchanting series!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Winners!

28 Jun

Winners- Smoke and Mirrors

Thank you all for visiting & participating in this giveaway!

Guest Post + #Giveaway: Vannetta Chapman

27 Jun

Giveaway- Deep Shadows

Welcome back to the blog, Vannetta!  Thanks so much for visiting with us today and for graciously offering a copy of Deep Shadows to one of my readers.  Please tell us about dystopian fiction and your latest release.

A Dystopian Setting—Deep In the Heart of Texas

Deep Shadows is the first book in my upcoming Remnant Series. It’s a dystopian Christian fiction novel, and instead of using a fictional setting I decided to use the area I know best—central Texas.

So what is dystopian fiction? At its core this type of story deals with a major shift in society—a plague or a global natural disaster or a man-caused universal change across the breadth of society. In Deep Shadows, a solar flare causes a disruption in all things electrical for the foreseeable future.

Yikes! No cell phones or a/c or television? No internet? I know. It’s a horrible thing to imagine. I had a lot of fun with it because I love torturing my characters and seeing if they are strong enough, smart enough, faithful enough to survive.

But it’s not all fiction.

Bob and Phoebe

Gorman Falls and Colorado Bend State Park do actually exist, and it provides a dramatic, remote setting for the opening scene of Deep Shadows.
Fort Hood is located in central Texas and is one of the largest US military installations in the world. The close proximity of this base provides a nice tension to my plot.
• There is no town called Fort Croghan; however, the US government established Fort Croghan in 1849 to protect settlers from hostile Indians along the Texas frontier. You can still visit the grounds and museum. I had a lot of fun imagining that a town had grown up around this historic site.
• Townsend Mills was established in 1856 and was a base camp for surveying crews. It no longer exists today but the small town Adamsville is located near the old site. Townsend Mills provides a nice transition from small town living to a life spent hunkering down on the farm, waiting for things to improve.
• There are more than 2900 natural springs in 183 Texas counties. Water quickly becomes a scarce resource in Deep Shadows, which would especially be true in central Texas where much of the area is exceedingly dry. In my story, any place with a water resource becomes a place of refuge as well as a designated target for those in need of that resource.Small town Texas

 

While I enjoyed using real places, the main setting—Abney, Texas—does not exist. I could not bear to destroy a town that I know and love, so instead I used a compilation of several towns in central Texas.

 

Deep Shadows is a story about relationships and how they survive or crumble when what we’ve feared, as a society, occurs. It’s also a story of faith and hope. What do I hope readers take away from this story? The assurance that God’s grace is always sufficient. Take the worst scenario that you can imagine, and you can still count on our Heavenly Father—maybe not to make things instantly better, but to lead, guide, and care for us regardless the circumstances. 

I can’t wait to read this story!  Thank you so much for sharing, Vannetta!

 

Giveaway- Deep Shadows

GIVEAWAY DETAILS – (US only)
One lucky reader will win a print copy of Deep Shadows!

To enter the giveaway:
Leave a comment below, and be sure to include your email address. The giveaway ends Monday, July 4th at midnight CDT. The winner will be drawn and announced on July 5th.

To earn additional entries:
Follow this blog and/or share the giveaway. Be sure to let me know what you’ve done to earn additional entries!

What would YOU miss most if an electrical disruption occurred?

 

Deep Shadows

Deep Shadows by Vannetta Chapman

Purchase a copy:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Christianbook

All It Takes Is One Night to Plunge the World into Darkness

Life in Abney, Texas, is predictable and safe–until the night a massive solar flare wipes out all modern technology.

Shelby Sparks, novelist and single mom, had one goal: to provide for her diabetic son. In the wake of this global disaster, her mission hasn’t changed. Only now, medication is a priceless commodity and the future resembles an apocalyptic nightmare.

Max Berkman and Shelby were once sweethearts, but he lost his chance at claiming her love years ago. When the abrupt loss of power ushers him into a leadership role, he rises to the occasion. But his highest priority–to keep Shelby and her son safe–could prove to be the biggest challenge of all.

As the brilliant northern lights give way to deep shadows, Max and Shelby’s faith will be tested like never before. Only one rule remains: Find a way to survive.

In this first book in an eerily plausible dystopian series, a memorable cast of characters must navigate a familiar world thrown into chaos.

 

vc author photo, DS

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace, including romantic suspense and Amish romance novels. She is the author of seventeen novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, The Shipshewana Amish Mystery series and Anna’s Healing, a 2016 Christy Award finalist. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. 

Connect with Vannetta:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

#BookReview: All Summer Long by Melody Carlson

25 Jun

All Summer Long

All Summer Long by Melody Carlson

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/28T9eZv

She’s ready to take on a new challenge.
What she doesn’t expect is an old flame.

Tia D’Amico is thrilled to move to San Francisco to help her aunt transform an old luxury yacht into an upscale floating restaurant. What’s not to love? Sunset dinner cruises, posh wedding receptions–the possibilities are endless and far more appetizing than staying in a monotonous job in her Podunk hometown. Besides, some of her best memories are tied to San Francisco–especially the memory of Leo Parker, her crush from a long-ago sailing camp.

When Leo Parker himself turns out to be the yacht’s captain, Tia is floating on air. But will it all come crashing down around her when she discovers his heart belongs to someone else?

 

My thoughts:

All Summer Long is a fun, light-hearted romance! In the second Follow Your Heart novel, Melody Carlson invites readers on a journey to the Golden Gate City. Bringing San Francisco’s sights and sounds to life, I reveled in the lovely ambiance she created.

Tia D’Amico is charting a new course, when a blast from the past sails back into her life. Sweet and romantic, Tia and Leo’s story entertained me and made me smile. All Summer Long is a delightful tale, perfect for summer reading!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts expressed are my own.

#BookReview + 3 Book #Giveaway: Smoke and Mirrors

23 Jun

Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors

Purchase a copy: http://amzn.to/28QhYn7

Eight brand new, never before released contemporary romantic suspense novellas from today’s bestselling Christian authors in one anthology collection!

THE LONG VIEW by Connie Almony: J.T. MacGregor is ex-FBI and training with terrorists. When his former boss makes an unusual request, J.T. wonders about his motives and how he can use them to his advantage. Destiny Long is no stranger to her father’s covert world of catching terrorists, but who is he after now? When J.T., the man behind the one kiss she will never forget joins a fitness club owned by a suspected member of ISIS and he’s found praying head-first into a tasseled rug, she wonders what side of the war on terror is J.T. MacGregor really on.

TAKEN by Sally Bradley: Cam Winters has never talked about his past, about life before he became a Christian. Jordan Foster knows that Cam’s a strong, caring man–a man she can see herself with. But he refuses to ask her out for fear of what her brother, one of his closest friends, might say. So Jordan takes things into her own hands. When Cam admits to sharing her feelings, the two fall quickly in love–just as that past that Cam won’t ever talk about returns for Cam and those he loves. A group which now includes Jordan.

ON THE ROPES by Hallee Bridgeman: Doctor Ruth Burnette is placed in witness protection after witnessing a Russian mafia execution. Just a week before the trial, Victor Kovalev finds her. Memories of planning her wedding with Victor are wiped clean by the vision of his father executing three men. Does he want to help her survive to her testimony, or is he trying to stop it all together?

OUT OF CIRCULATION by Heather Day Gilbert: When Russian mobsters threaten small-town librarian Katie McClure, she is forced to accept an offer of protection from Manhattan bodyguard Ace Calhoun. As they race the clock to find a long-hidden bank stash, Katie discovers too late that Ace might be the wrong man to trust with her life…and her heart.

DANGEROUS ALTERNATIVE by Kelli Hughett: Summer in Southern California doesn’t get any hotter than this. When Levi Boulter agrees to work for the FBI behind the scenes in Hollywood, he never plans on becoming an operative working to thwart a plan to assassinate the President’s wife—or on keeping a deadly secret from Mahari, the love of his life. When Mahari is kidnapped, Levi makes the gamble of his life in order to save her. Will Levi’s secret divide them forever, or will they come together in time to stop an assassination?

IDENTITY THEFT by Alana Terry: After losing her fiancé in a devastating accident, Lacy meets Kurtis, an Alaska state trooper, and his delightful four-year-old daughter who would love nothing more than to make Lacy her new mom. Things could be perfect, except Lacy can’t shake the nagging suspicion that her fiancé isn’t dead like the police reports claim. All she wants is closure, but as she seeks out real answers, she discovers how deadly the truth can actually be.

OBSESSION by Rachel Trautmiller: A surge in crime has left two homeless women dead and Detective Amanda Nettles’ Alzheimer’s-riddled mother as the prime suspect. As his wife embarks on a dangerous game of hide-and-seek with a remorseless serial killer, FBI Agent Baker Jackson Robinson knows he can’t sit idly while the city of Charlotte destroys Amanda’s career a second time. Is her near decade-long obsession with protecting her hometown bigger than the needs of her family? Or are they one and the same?

SCENT OF DANGER by Alexa Verde: To find her missing sister, small-town cop Maya Hutchinson risks her life by posing as her glamorous twin. Under escalating attacks, Maya accepts protection from dashing senator’s son Connor McNamara. Cop turned PI, Connor McNamara has his own secret mission and is forced to choose between family loyalty and love. When the scent of danger draws near, will Connor and Maya survive long enough to forgive and accept each other?

 

My thoughts:

With a shared theme of hidden identity, these eight stories boast engaging characters and intriguing story lines. I was pleased to discover several authors I hadn’t read before and delighted to read more from those I had previously enjoyed. There were some stories I enjoyed more than others in the anthology, and Scent of Danger and Dangerous Alternative were my favorites.  Smoke and Mirrors is a great collection and a recommended read for fans of romantic suspense!

 

Giveaway- Smoke and Mirrors

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

Alexa Verde has graciously offered to give away 2 e-copies of Smoke and Mirrors and an e-copy of one of her books, winner’s choice! 

To enter the giveaway:
Leave a comment below, and be sure to include your email address. The giveaway ends Monday, June 27 at midnight CDT.  3 winners will be chosen and announced on Tuesday, June 28.

To earn additional entries:
Follow this blog and/or share the giveaway. Be sure to let me know what you’ve done to earn additional entries! This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Contest Rules:
◦No purchase is necessary.
◦Odds of winning are based on number of entries.

 

About the Author:

Alexa Verde fell in love with writing at age eight when she penned her first poem. After publishing 200 short stories, poems, and articles in the five languages she speaks, Alexa has turned her creative passion to writing novels. Her May 2014 debut inspirational romantic suspense, COLOR OF DANGER, is the first in her Secrets of Rios Azules series—set in a fictional small Texas town where rivers and emotions run deep and the richest family in town has a fine taste for food, jewelry, and murder.

Visit Alexa online: Website, Facebook, Goodreads

 

Smoke and Mirrors

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts expressed are my own.

#BookReview: Jilted by Varina Denman | Sweet Summertime #Giveaway

22 Jun

Jilted

Jilted by Varina Denmna

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/237iWMF

Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago.

Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life where the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.

Jilted tells of a woman who has lost the joy of living, a man determined to draw her back toward happiness, and a town that must—once and for all—leave the past where it belongs. It is a gentle reminder that all things can work together for good.

 

My thoughts:

Once again, Varina Denman deftly tackles tough topics as she brings the residents of Trapp to life and shares Lynda Turner’s journey. Fans of this series are sure to delight in the opportunity to revisit this west Texas town and the characters they’ve come to know through the first two books, Jaded and Justified. Although Jilted can be read as a stand-alone story, reading the trilogy in order will offer a greater understanding of the characters and their stories.

I enjoyed delving deeper into Lynda’s story and appreciated the inspirational messages it offered. While the novel’s pacing is a bit slow, it does befit the nature of the narrative. Jilted is a well-written and satisfying conclusion to the Mended Hearts series!

 

jilted-400

Celebrate the release of Varina’s Jilted by entering to win a $50 gift card.

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of Jilted to kick off a summer of reading
  • A $50 Kohl’s gift card to make your summertime sweet

The giveaway ends on July 1st. The winner will be announced July 5th on Varina’s website.

 

Varina Denman

Varina Denman is author of the Mended Hearts series and a native Texan. She spent her high school years in a rural town and now writes stories about the struggles women face in similar small town settings. She and her husband live near Fort Worth, where they enjoy spending time with their five mostly grown children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

 

Jilted

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts expressed are my own. Click here to read what other bloggers are saying about Jilted.