Thursday, February 15, 2018

Review: A Peculiar Courtship by Laura Beers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Lord Jonathon Beckett's mission is simple: retrieve Lady Hannah and place her under the protection of the Crown. But he isn't prepared for the havoc she inflicts on his world, making him question whether his duty as an agent of the Crown should always come before his heart.

Lady Hannah's father has uncovered evidence exposing a French traitor to the Crown. Willing to do anything to silence him, the traitor's primary target has become Lady Hannah. Keeping her safe means locking her away from Society, but she refuses to stand idly by, letting others put their lives on the line to protect her. Instead, she will stop at nothing to learn to defend herself, even at the risk of losing Lord Jonathon's protection, or his affections.

With a sinister scheme in play to collapse the English government from within, Lord Jonathon must protect Lady Hannah from the French spies intending to use her as a pawn in their game of treachery. But can he protect her from herself?




I enjoyed reading this second book in The Beckett Files series. I was looking forward to reading Lady Hannah's story and she was a delight to read about. I loved her strength of character and the fact that she's not a wimpy spoiled rich girl. She's willing to learn to take care of herself much to the chagrin of our hero, Lord Jonathon Beckett. :) I enjoyed the continuation of Eliza and Benedict's story and the whole spy story line with mystery, danger, and intrigue. This is a well written story with plenty of action to keep you turning pages and enough swoon worthy romance to warm your heart. Again, my only complaint was the same as the first book - there is some language that I don't like and just don't think is necessary.

*Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*

View all my reviews on Goodreads.




Laura Beers spent most of her childhood with a nose stuck in a book, dreaming of becoming an author. She attended Brigham Young University, eventually earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management. 

Many years later, and with loving encouragement from her family, Laura decided to start writing again. Besides being a full-time homemaker to her three kids, she loves water-skiing, hiking, and drinking Dr. Pepper. Currently, Laura Beers resides in South Carolina.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White

~Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY below!~


Click here to purchase your copy!



Title: A Song Unheard
Author: Roseanna M. White
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Release Date: January 2, 2018

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.





A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think I liked this second book even more than the first one and I loved that one!  I loved Lukas and his flirtatious determination to win Willa over.  Yes, he had been a playboy in the past, but first the war and then meeting the intense, mysterious Willa started changing him and his view of what he wanted in life.  I enjoyed reading about Lukas and Willa's interactions.  So romantic and fun.  And I felt for him in his desperate search for his mother and sister.

I so enjoyed reading Willa's story after meeting her in the first book.  She has such a strong, intense personality that hides the fear of abandonment.  I loved her connection to music and how God uses this to encourage and draw her to Him in her darkest hour.   That scene was so poignant and heart-wrenching, I had to wipe tears from my eyes.

Willa's "family" are great supporting characters and I really liked reading more about them in this book.  Other great supporting characters were Lukas' mother and sister.  Lukas' sister was another intense female who had an interesting talent that became crucial to the story.

All in all, a very well written story that has mystery, romance, faith, healing, and music!  :)

*Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy of this book. I was not paid nor required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

Meme created by Roseanna M. White



Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.





Guest post from Roseanna White

I started playing the piano when I was 7. I didn’t discover any long-dormant genius or anything, but I liked it. When my sister quit, I kept playing. In middle school, I switched teachers, and moving from the lady at my church that I knew so well to someone who was just my piano teacher made a difference in how I applied myself. It deepened my love of music.

We all know how some random moments stand out forever in our memory. One such for me happened on the school bus. I was sitting with my best friend, talking about the new piano piece I was learning. “Via Delorosa” means Road of Sorrow, and it’s a song that tells musically about Jesus’ journey to Golgotha—ending with the faint chime of the nails being driven into his palms. As my beloved Mrs. Peto went through this song with me the night before, I remember her circling a D♯ that I’d missed and saying how important that note was. That it made the whole line weep.

That it would make the hearers weep. An epiphany so huge I had to share it with my friend. A well placed sharp could make music weep! Who knew?

That was but one lesson Mrs. Peto taught me in how music could evoke things words never could. A woman of strong faith, she also taught me how a song could preach the Gospel. Music can be medicine. It can be hope. It can be tears. It can be truth. Music can be Jesus to a hurting heart that turns its back on words.

This is a lesson I never forgot, and I had it always in mind as I was writing A Song Unheard. In this story, both my hero and heroine are musicians—violinists. But Willa (who is SO STUBBORN) wouldn’t listen to words of faith from any of the people in her life “suddenly spouting such nonsense.”

But then, in her darkest hour, she hears a slip of melody. And she realizes it’s the Lord.

I pray as readers move through the story of Willa Forsythe—violin prodigy and top-notch thief—that their spirits’ ears hear more than words, more than just a story. I pray they hear the Lord whispering that ultimate song. The one that says, “I love you.”

Want to hear the song Willa eventually wrote in the book? You can! The violin music in this trailer is officially dubbed “Willa’s Song” and written specifically for this book. I hope you enjoy it! http://bit.ly/ASongUnheardTrailer

Meme created by Rachel Dixon ~Bookworm Mama



To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a Grand Prize Package of a signed copy of the book as well as a lovely album of soothing songs based on the Scriptures called Hidden in My Heart (winner’s choice of CD or digital download)!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c72a


Blog Stops

Fiction Aficionado, January 11
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Mary Hake, January 13
A Greater Yes, January 13
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A Reader’s Brain, January 15
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Pursuing Stacie, January 15
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Pause for Tales, January 19
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The Power of Words , January 20
Book by Book, January 20
CAC Devourer, January 20
Splashes of Joy, January 21
Neverending Stories, January 21
The PhD Mamma, January 22
Cafinated Reads, January 22
Daysong Reflections, January 22
Purposeful Learning, January 23
Carpe Diem, January 23
Henry Happens, January 24
Joy of Reading, January 24


Tour page on Celebrate Lit for A Song Unheard

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: The Uncloaked Trilogy by J. Rodes

~Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY below!~





From Sellout to hero, by way of the den. Braxton Luther finds himself in the crossfire of a new order, and discovers apathy is a dangerous option.





The Uncloaked

No one stirred in the area—people stayed in their little hovels. Hiding, most likely. From the cold, the helplessness. Maybe from the Party. Staying out of sight, like cockroaches.
I am not a cockroach.


“Apathy is the illness of the overprivileged…” Words laced with fear—and maybe a hint of prophecy. His father’s words. Words Braxton would prefer to ignore.

Braxton Luther is sixteen when the Progressive Reform Party takes over the government. It can’t be that bad. So they don’t want religion in government—that’s constitutional. He can’t understand his church’s hypersensitive reaction or his father’s cryptic warning to stand against the Party’s ultimatums.

But after living under the new government for a year, Braxton faces a choice—conform to the demands of the ungodded in order to protect his best friend, Eliza, or defy the system and go into hiding, ensuring a life of misery.

Apathy is no longer a choice.


Tearing The Veil

They trained us well. Power punctuated our every move, driving fear into the intended target. Who would stand against them?

Braxton Luther, the sellout.

Now a part of the Den, he’s determined to make good on Eliza Knight’s faith in him—to be more than what he’d settled for when the Party had taken over. But his goal is dangerous, and not just for him. As he searches for a way to protect the silent, invisible victims of the new government, Braxton’s mission becomes even more complicated. Hannah Knight, Eliza’s sister, is simply too much like him.

Tired of standing in her perfect sister’s shadow, Hannah determines to find her own place in the world. If that place is with the Pride—the girls’ home and training center provided by the Party—so be it. When she leaves the hopelessness of the cellar, that’s all she’s aiming for. But Quinn Sanger, the handsome son of a powerful political leader, finds her at the creek, and her life takes an unexpected and optimistic turn.

Braxton’s convinced Hannah’s in trouble. Hannah’s convinced Braxton, and all the Uncloaked, are insane. But when they peek behind the real veil the Party maintains, the truth is beyond what either had feared or hoped.

If everyone knew, it could change everything. They redefine their mission. It’s time to tear the veil.


Charging the Darkness

You were not saved for this...

The veil has been torn, but Braxton Luther still has more to do.

The captive Uncloaked have been freed, and the people know the dark truth. A rebellion against the Party has begun, but the question lingers among those who are safely hidden in the Refuge--what will happen to their broken nation? Secrets and shame, resentment and hatred continue to shake the nation, now divided.

What will it take to break the grip of the Party? Beyond that, is there any hope of healing after the damage of the darkness?





This well-written trilogy will keep you on the edge of your seat with non-stop heart wrenching action.  As a YA dystopian work of fiction, this story and it's characters will make you stop and think about how you would respond to the same circumstances.   How many of us would give in to the desperation of a persecuted life and choose to believe the lies of a better life by going with the easy choice?

The characters in these stories are well-written and believable.  From the typical self-centered but fumblingly courageous PK's son to the cooly dangerous woman in charge of The Party, you'll find each character to be well thought out and intriguing in their own way.   Teenagers will be well able to identify with Braxton's struggle with his parents and his struggle to fully comprehend the changes and the persecution that come from the changes in the political world.

While there is a touch of romance throughout the story line of the three books (I love the development of Braxton and Eliza's tender romance even when it hit rough patches),  these books are not a light read.  There are a lot of dark times and some subject matter that can make this an edgy series.   There will be times you just want to cry your eyes out and then there will be times when you can feel your own resolve strengthen to stand firm in your faith.

You really don't want to miss out on reading this series!

*Thanks to Singing Librarian Books and the author for a complimentary copy of this book.  I was not paid nor required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*





J. Rodes lives on the wide plains somewhere near the middle of Nowhere. A coffee addict, pickleball enthusiast, and storyteller, she also wears the hats of mom, teacher, and friend. Mostly, she loves Jesus and wants to see the kids she’s honored to teach fall in love with Him too.



Author Interview


1. What intrigues you to write science fiction dystopian YA fiction?
Funny that. I never dreamed that I would write dystopian. Ever. I like the genre—The Giver is one of my favorites—but I couldn’t see myself writing it, until one day I did.

I like dystopian because it opens up new possibilities in writing. You can play out a “what if” storyline that goes to an extreme and do it in a way that captures a whole different kind of reality. For example, in The Giver, we discover through an extreme society that we think is impossible, but that Lois Lowry paints in crisp (black and white) life, that life is too multifaceted to invoke sameness. We’re too unique. Emotions are too precious. Experiences are too vivid and valuable to override for the sake of unity. In other words, we discover equality and fairness aren’t the same, and we can’t contrive forced unity. The human experience is simply too complex, and what is required to forsake in the name of sameness isn’t worth the cost. I can’t imagine delivering this concept in a better way than in through Lowry’s dystopian world.

Perhaps it’s that unique story power that is possible through a dystopian that intrigues me the most. Teach a lesson with facts, and I’m likely to forget. Show me with a compelling story, and I’m gonna remember it for the rest of my life. Somehow dystopian accomplishes that goal in a way that other genres seem to fall short. Not always, but often. Especially with a young adult audience.

2. What is your current WIP? What can you tell us about it?
Haha! Well, right now I’m working on a fun chicklit romance. 😊 Quite a diversion from a dark dystopian trilogy, isn’t it?

I’ve finished the rough draft for Evergreen—the final book in the Grace Revealed series (Blue Columbine, Red Rose Bouquet), which is Women’s Fiction. Now I’m working on a light, fun novella set to hit the world on Valentine’s day. I can tell you that The Cupcake Dilemma is quirky, fun, and about a kitchen fail girl finding her place in the small town of Rock Creek (the setting of Reclaimed and Ordinary Snowflakes). It is a total departure from my more serious books, but hopefully you’ll still find my touch of emotion and genuine characters—this time through humor rather than tears.

I have an idea rolling around in the back of my head for another young adult novel—though not dystopian. I’d like to flesh out So-J, one of the secondary characters in Evergreen (she was also in Red Rose Bouquet), and give her her own story. It’ll be at least a year though, because I have other projects scheduled. 😉

3. If you were to go on a vacation to visit one of the characters from this series, what character would you visit and why?
Hmmm… not sure going to see any of these characters in their world would be a “vacation.” But I would so very much like to see the world as it shifts into Eliza’s vision post-Progressive Party’s rule. She sees, in the place of her worst nightmares, a place of healing and forgiveness, a work that is beyond immediate comprehension, but she believes is possible because she experiences it in her own heart. Eliza’s vision is profound—and something that I borrowed from Betsy ten Boom as she envisioned her place of imprisonment during World War II transformed into a place of hope and healing. What a sight that would be. Someday…

4. What inspired the idea for the Uncloaked Trilogy?
A dream. Not kidding. I dreamt it one night—book one, that is, and started writing it the next day. The other two books weren’t as easy to visualize—I had to work a lot harder for those stories. Much of my inspiration came from researching how Christians survived during the times of Roman persecution, and then from digging into details from World War II, which I’m sure is evident throughout the books. I read and then listened to Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place—which still makes me weep—and then sat back in awe at the ten Boom’s solid faith and surrender to Christ. Talk about courage. And love. And forgiveness.

I wanted those characteristics manifested in the story line, and they came mostly through Eliza. But also, I wanted a hero that wasn’t always heroic, who was ordinary—and actually, even a failure at some points. That came through Braxton. I’ve found that some of my readers really couldn’t stand Braxton—they were so mad at him for his decisions and failures. But I keep thinking back to the disciple Peter…

Can God still use a sellout? Yeah. Peter will tell you, God totally can, and He does. That’s the heart of the story there—not that my heroes have anything super “special” about them. No extraordinary gifts. They can’t walk through walls, fire a bow and arrow like no one else ever has, or fight off the enemy with their brute strength and cunning metal powers. They’re everyday people. Kids. Making choices—sometimes good, sometimes bad. But when the darkness falls, and no one knows what to do, there is God. That’s where they find their footing, where their courage is drawn, and where the story begins to turn. Where we find hope, and we dare to dream of things that are otherwise impossible. Because there is God.

5. What do you want readers to take away from reading the Uncloaked Trilogy?
Um, see above. 😉

6. When you are not writing, what other “hats” do you wear?
Taxi cab driver, mostly. Oh, wife. Mom to four awesome kids (thus the taxi cab driver). Teacher (Sunday school, AWANA, and subbing in our public schools). Friend.



Snippet

The Uncloaked
Uncloaked? What was that?
Tristan smirked. “Clearly. Family?”
“All Uncloaked.”
“Noted.” He leaned over Kipper, who cowered like he expected a blow. “Fix it, boy. You’re in our sights.”
Kipper didn’t respond. I detected a tremble in the boy’s hands, but he held a strong gaze. A gaze that seemed somehow familiar in nature. I glanced to Eliza. She was biting her lip as she kept her eyes fixed on Kipper. My view widened, encompassing both of them. His eyes darted to her, and she nodded ever so slightly.
Wait. What just happened? My chest expanded with a fierceness I hadn’t anticipated. I zeroed back in on Eliza, wanting to take her by the arm and pull her to my side. What was this guy doing, looking to Liza for strength? She didn’t have any to spare. And she’s mine.
Wasn’t she?
“What do you expect me to say?” Kipper’s weak voice ripped me out of my Braxtonian-centered universe.
Tristan still hovered over the guy. “Show us a sign of loyalty.”
“What do you want?”
“I think you’ll find life much easier if you comply.” Tristan tapped Kipper’s tab. “Try it. See what happens when you check the correct box.”
My attention dropped to my own tab. The correct box. Not the right box—as in what is true of you, but the correct box—as in PC.
Congratulations, Citizen.
The words burned in my vision.
Check a box. Get on with your life.
My own voice echoed in my ears. Was it really that easy? We were living like impoverished beggars at the Knights’ house, and it could have been avoided by checking the correct box?
“I won’t.” Kipper’s meek voice beckoned my attention again.
The air seemed to turn cold and hard. Eliza pulled in a long breath and held it. I scowled, first at her and then at Kipper. Tristan looked to his right and then to his left. The bulky guys flanking him returned his glance with smirks.
He smacked Kipper on the back of his head, sending the kid’s face toward the desk. “It’s your funeral.”
I assumed that was figurative. Couldn’t be anything but, despite the zinging sense of fear rising in my chest. Not in this country.


Giveaway

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  2. E-copies of the books (International)
  3. Audio copies of the books (International)
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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Blog Tour Review: Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman


My rating: 4 of 5 stars




The police say the woman was a murderer. Emilie Wesley knows they can't be talking about her client . . . can they?
To the world it seems obvious: Kaylene Adams killed her daughter and then was shot by police. Attorney Emilie Wesley knows a different story: Kaylene would never hurt anyone and was looking for a way out of a controlling, abusive relationship. Her death shakes Emilie's belief that she can make a difference for women in violent marriages. Self-doubt plagues her as she struggles to continue her work in the wake of the tragedy.
Reid Billings thought he knew his sister-right up until he learned how she died. He discovers a letter from Kaylene begging him to fight for custody of her daughters if anything should happen to her. No attorney in her right mind would support an uncle instead of the father in a custody case, but Kaylene's letter claims Emilie Wesley will help him.
Thrown together in a race to save Kaylene's surviving daughter, Emily and Reid pursue the constantly evasive truth. If they can hang on to hope together, can they save a young girl-and find a future for themselves in the process?

Cara Putman is the author of more than 25 legal thrillers, historical romances, and romantic suspense novels. She has won or been a finalist for honors including the ACFW Book of the Year and the Christian Retailing's BEST Award. Cara graduated high school at 16, college at 20, completed her law degree at 27, and recently received her MBA. She is a practicing attorney, teaches undergraduate and graduate law courses at a Big Ten business school, and is a homeschooling mom of four. She lives with her husband and children in Indiana.

Find out more about Cara at








This is a legal thriller that deals with an issue that will grab at your heart - an abusive marriage, a murder including children, and an uncle trying to save his niece from the same fate.   The inclusion of a stalker for the heroine will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I enjoyed the intense way this book was written and the light romance that gives you a little bit of relief from the mystery of everything else going on.  This is the second book in a series and I did not read the first one before reading this one.  There was a little bit of the story that might have been easier to understand if you read the first book first, but for the most part I didn't have any problems reading this one first.

*Thanks to Litfuse for a complimentary copy of this book. I was not paid nor required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*

View all my reviews on Goodreads.




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 Imperfect Justice
  




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12 Days of Clean Romance & Giveaways - Day 9: Author Heather Moore





The Falling Series

Contemporary Romance Novellas from USA Today bestselling author Heather B. Moore


Falling for Sydney

Sydney has been the perfect friend, the perfect daughter, and Rian checks off on her perfect fiancé list. But when Sydney notices a strange truck parked in her fiancé’s parking spot, she’s in for the surprise of her life. Not only is Rian not who she thought he was, but his brother Jake is about to turn her life upside down.











Falling for Maria

At twenty-six, Maria is holding out for the perfect man to share the rest of her life with. Josh seems to be that man, but after months of dating, their relationship is at a stand-still. Maria plans to nudge Josh forward, but when the company she works for is bought out, her new boss Walker seems determined to change Maria’s idea of the perfect man.










Falling for June

Once a year, June Dawson goes on vacation with her best friends from high school. When she arrives in Maui, she realizes she's the odd-woman out. With Sydney engaged, and Maria nearly so, June wonders if anyone will ever fall for her. Then June meets Lance, their gorgeous next door bungalow neighbor at the Maui resort, and she's definitely charmed. But after her recent breakup, June refuses to fall for gorgeous, or charming, again.









Author Heather B. Moore

Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen historical novels and thrillers, written under pen name H.B. Moore. She writes women's fiction, romance and inspirational non-fiction under Heather B. Moore. This can all be confusing, so her kids just call her Mom. Heather attended Cairo American College in Egypt, the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in Utah. Heather is represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret.




Also by Heather B. Moore










Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway
Ends 12/27/17
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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(Smiling Book Reviews disclaimer:  I have not read all of these authors so I can't  personally recommend all of them - please use your own discretion, as always, when choosing to read these authors.)