For the Love of Literature

For the Love of Literature

As a bibliophile, my passion for books coalesces with a love of writing, and writing book reviews allows me to share literature with the world.

Review
4 Stars
I Once Was Lost But Now Am Found: Book Review of A Dim Reflection by Aleigha Israel

 

Blurb

William Caverly can't seem to understand the unsettling feeling that has been nagging him for far too long. Memories of a baby sister are forever haunting his waking hours, and as he sleeps at night, he is repeatedly awakened by nightmares, confusing ones that he'd rather forget. His baby sister died. He saw her little body laid to rest beside their mother. But that doesn’t explain the dim remembrance he has of an event that happened not too long after that.

 

Charlotte Porter's days are full and busy as she diligently teaches her young art students at her mother's boarding school, and tries desperately to stay away from an annoying suitor. Painting has been her passion and dream ever since she could hold a brush, but lately she has begun to question her mission and calling in life. What is her real purpose? And why does she know so little about her father, who supposedly died before she was born?

 

William thinks he's discovered the hidden link that has kept him from his sister for over fifteen years. But then she's kid-napped, leaving William no choice except to find her and get her back. Once and for all.



Author Bio

ALEIGHA C. ISRAEL writer of inspirational fiction and poetry is an author of multiple books and enjoys sharing God's love through the powerful art of storytelling.

 

Aleigha loves being a Community Assistant at the Young Writers Workshop and teaching writing classes to her talented students.

 

When she's not daydreaming about a new story idea or playing with her sidekick "Marley" (a Pomeranian mix) she can usually be seen traveling with her family's gospel bluegrass band, “Fret Not” or making personalized author swag for her business Literary Treasures. 

 

She doesn’t have to search very hard for inspiration.

 

Living in the Israel household, it’s guaranteed there’s an adventure waiting around every corner!

My Review

Following closely on the heels of “A Higher Ransom”, this sequel continues the story and takes the readers on a lively quest to recoup lost relationships and faith. “A Dim Reflection” calls to mind 1 Corinthians 13:12: “Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” This is a fitting title for a tale in which the characters are revealed for who they truly are, good and bad. It is also a reminder that the Lord knows us completely, even better than we know ourselves, and that He knows each person’s true character.



Although there is more action in this sequel, like its predecessor it is a character-driven novel. Aleigha Israel nicely constructs the circumstances to bring the various players together throughout the course of the narrative, creating a nice segue and unveiling more backstory for the central characters. William Caverly’s new life in the tranquil town of Chasahburough is haunted by recollections of his baby sister and what happened one fateful night so many years ago, and his pursuit of this shady period of his past brings him back in contact with Anna Haddington. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Charlotte Porter has questions about her own past and faces a crisis of faith in the midst of great turmoil. A kidnapping sets everything in motion and establishes an ultimate collision point, testing everyone’s faith and courage.



Another charming, faith-filled book, “A Dim Reflection” speaks to the young and young at heart with universal Christian themes and plenty of Scripture, addressing issues that continue to burden hearts today. Charlotte’s struggle during an emotional trial is one to which so many of us can relate: “Everyone else seemed to have such perfect faith in God. They trusted Him fully, so why couldn’t she?” This story excels at driving home Scriptural truths in situations that we often find ourselves facing today, and the characters seem to step out of the pages and into readers’ hearts with their suffering and honesty. For pre-teens and grandparents alike, this series offers excitement, endearing characters, and most of all solid faith in the One who knows our hearts best of all.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.



Social media links:

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Aleigha-C-Israel-1588459018111009/

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Aleigha_author

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aleighacisrael_author/?hl=en

 

Blog: https://thepenofthewriter.weebly.com

 

Email list: https://thepenofthewriter.weebly.com/subscribe.html 

 

Book Purchase Links:

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dim-Reflection-Light-Christ-Collection/dp/1541341171

 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-dim-reflection-aleigha-c-israel/1126432996

Review
5 Stars
More Precious Than Gold
The Golden Bride  - Kimberley Woodhouse

As with each installment in the Daughters of the Mayflower series, “The Golden Bride” does not disappoint. Kimberley Woodhouse has written earlier books in this sequence, and this one delivers just as much vigor and dynamism. These books are fairly short for novels, but they are nevertheless overflowing with spiritual truths and faith in action. Aligning the plotlines with significant events in American history underscores the Christian foundation of our nation and its perseverance throughout times of war, personal trials, and provincial struggles. Realizing how much our forebears overcame provides strength for our own journey and an illuminating perspective for dealing with contemporary issues.

Indeed, the world of California in 1849 as illustrated in “The Golden Bride” bears a striking resemblance to today’s world. Corruption and immorality run rampant in the territory as people, mostly men, flock to the fields in search of gold. San Francisco is a lawless den of iniquity when newly widowed and heartbroken Olivia Brighton arrives in search of her brother, Daniel. He owns and runs Livingston’s Restaurant, and along with his best friend, Joseph Sawyer, serves as a beacon of hope in the face of evils such as gangs, brothels, and human trafficking and slave labor. Olivia joins their efforts to uplift and redeem the town despite opposition. Their ministry is deeply inspiring because they are able to truly make a difference in their community through determination, sacrifice, and most of all a strong reliance upon the Lord.

Olivia’s development as a character spoke to me more than any other. At the beginning of the novel, she is filled with self-loathing and guilt, but reading journals from her ancestors, who were women featured in previous stories in this series, positively influences her faith journey. One of my favorite passages describes so many of us: “she’d prayed for help but kept tight hold of the reins of her life.” We so often do the same. We carry burdens that were never meant for us and we allow fear to control us instead of trusting in the One who promises to work all things together for our good. As Olivia comes to realize, He has a plan and a purpose for each of us and can bring about goodness and blessing from every situation if only we will surrender to Him and trust Him.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Review
4 Stars
The Governess of Penwythe Hall Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book 

 

Book: The Governess of Penwythe Hall
 
Author: Sarah Ladd  

Genre: Historical Romance
 
Release Date: April 16, 2019

In the first of a new series from beloved Regency romance author, Sarah Ladd, Delia, a governess to five recently orphaned children, would risk anything to protect them . . . even her heart.
 
Cornwall was in her blood, and Delia feared she’d never escape its hold.
 
Cornwall, England, 1811
 
Blamed for her husband’s death, Cordelia Greythorne fled Cornwall and accepted a governess position to begin a new life. Years later her employer’s unexpected death and his last request to watch over his five children force her to reevaluate. She can’t abandon the children now that they’ve lost both parents, but their new guardian lives at the timeworn Penwythe Hall . . . back on the Cornish coast she tries desperately to forget.
 
Jac Trethewey is determined to revive Penwythe Hall’s once-flourishing apple orchards, and he’ll stop at nothing to see his struggling estate profitable again. He hasn’t heard from his brother in years, so when his nieces, nephews, and their governess arrive unannounced at Penwythe Hall, he battles both grief of this brother’s death and bewilderment over this sudden responsibility. Jac’s priorities shift as the children take up residence in the ancient halls, but their secretive governess—and the mystery shrouding her past—proves to be a disruption to his carefully laid plans.
 
Rich with family secrets, lingering danger, and the captivating allure of new love, this first book in the Cornwall Novels series introduces us to the Twethewey family and their search for peace, justice, and love on the Cornish coast.  

Click here to purchase your copy.
 

About the Author



Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for The Heiress of Winterwood. She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing family and spunky golden retriever. Visit her online at SarahLadd.com; Facebook: SarahLaddAuthor; Twitter: @SarahLaddAuthor.

 

More About The Governess of Penwythe Hall

 

5 things to know about Cornwall, England:
  1. Throughout its early history, Cornwall’s inhabitants called the country Kernow.
  2. Early inhabitants largely spoke their own language known as “Cornish,” which became nearly extinct in the 1800s
  3. The country has a long and rugged coastline and there were frequent shipwrecks.
  4. Fishing was a major industry, with herring, mackerel, and sardines being common catches.
  5. In 1870, novelist and poet Thomas Hardy called Cornwall “the region of dream and mystery.”
 
Imagine yourself in The Governess of Penwythe Hall with these pictures of 19th Century life in Cornwall:
 
 
 
 
 

My Review

 
A slowly unfolding Regency tale of loyalty, love, and ghosts of the past, “The Governess of Penwythe Hall” contains a smattering of elements to satisfy a variety of readers. From the shadowy prologue, Sarah Ladd creates a story that is starkly somber and yet infused with surprisingly delightful moments and emotions. Echoes of “Jane Eyre” resonate throughout, highlighting the subdued tone. All things considered, I think that the cover should reflect this a bit more rather than being so bright and vibrant, but that is it is just my personal opinion, and as it is, the book jacket is nonetheless beautiful.

“The Governess of Penwythe Hall” is a book that does not over-romanticize life in early nineteenth century England. Tragedies abound and affect all of the characters, from the wealthy to the working class. Death is a frequent, albeit unwelcome, visitor, leaving upheaval in its wake. To the characters’ credit, they adapt to change admirably despite the normal setbacks that occur along the way. As Charlotte Angrove, former mistress of Penwythe Hall, sagely notes, “Time reveals all, heals all. Don’t lose heart. God’s ways are not ours.” Bearing that in mind, the five children were a high point of the story for me. Ladd did well in handling their grief and the subsequent concerns and insecurities that they feel, especially as they apply to the oldest child, Liam. The uncle under whose care they find themselves, Jac Twethewey, is a landowner who works alongside his employees on the grounds, a man thrust into guardianship just as he tries to bring his plans for financially stabilizing his estate to fruition. Meanwhile, governess Cordelia (Delia) Greythorne’s mysterious past unravels one thread at a time, ultimately leading to the story’s climax.

While this book is not necessarily a suspenseful page turner, it demonstrates its strength in other ways. Although the setting is a little over 200 years ago, the issues remain germane to contemporary society. Grief, loss, shifting and uncertain living arrangements, and custody disputes all continue to affect families today, and readers can learn a bit about how to minister to the children involved through Delia’s example in this story. The inescapable consequences of the past also figure prominently in the narrative, as does that common, unsettling emotion, anxiety: “Fear seemed to be the dictating force in her life, especially since the loss of her family.” After a cloudy, stormy forecast, “The Governess of Penwythe Hall” concludes as the sun finally breaks through thanks to something that Delia has learned, that we need to put our faith not in other people or in ourselves, but in God, who works all things together for good.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

Blog Stops

 

Back Porch ReadsApril 11

LifeofLiterature, April 11

Moments, April 11

Genesis 5020, April 11

Maureen’s Musings, April 12

The Power of Words, April 12

Mary Hake, April 12

To Everything A Season, April 12

KarenSueHadley, April 13

EmpowerMoms, April 13

For the Love of Literature, April 13

Inklings and notionsApril 13

The Avid Reader, April 14

Blogging With CarolApril 14

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 14

Rachel’s Back Talk, April 15

Wishful Endings, April 15

Simple Harvest Reads, April 15 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Kat’s Corner Books, April 16

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 16

Daysong Reflections, April 16

The Becca Files, April 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 17

Blossoms and Blessings, April 17

Remembrancy, April 17

Worthy2Read, April 18

By The Book, April 18

Texas Book-aholic, April 18

Just the Write Escape, April 19

Stephanie’s Life of DeterminationApril 19

Debbie’s Dusty DeliberationsApril 19

Babbling Becky’s Book Impressions, April 20

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 20

For HIm and My Family, April 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 21

Inspiration Clothesline, April 21

Pause for Tales, April 21

Through the Fire Blogs, April 22

BigreadersiteApril 22

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 22

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, April 22

Inspired by fiction, April 23

A Reader’s Brain, April 23

Hallie Reads, April 23

Henry Happens, April 24

Connect in Fiction, April 24

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 24

janicesbookreviews, April 24

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Sarah is giving away a grand prize of a finished paperback copy of The Governess of Penwythe Hall!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/de80/the-governess-of-penwythe-hall-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Review
5 Stars
Painting the Heart
The Artful Match (London Beginnings #3) - Jennifer Delamere

A suitable finale to the lives of the Bernay sisters, “The Artful Match” is the third and final book in the London Beginnings trilogy. As it turns out, it was also my favorite. This surprised me because at first I was not even sure that I particularly cared for Cara, who seemed flighty and capricious. However, beginning with that “perfectly imperfect day” when her life irrevocably changes, she demonstrates a laudable strength of character and adaptability. Jennifer Delamere adroitly brings this series to a satisfying close by drawing together certain points concerning Rosalyn and Julia as well as Cara. Astute readers may pick up on a few of these details if they have read books one and two, and as such, while “The Artful Match” can be read as a standalone, reading this trilogy in order is highly recommended.

This novel forms an intriguing portrait of life in 1881 London and its environs. As its title suggests, the art scene serves as a primary catalyst for the first part of the story. Given that this was a time of both the celebration and liberation of art, the intertwining of history and fiction provides a fascinating panorama for the reader. From the esteemed Grosvenor Gallery to the humble artist’s studio, the art world shines with novelty. Although not shockingly avant-garde, the bohemian lifestyle of many artists during the Aesthetic Movement offers a unique foil to the more conventional society, and placing Cara among them allows her to develop a more independent nature and to pursue her own artistic bent.

Family affairs encroach upon the more lighthearted aspect of the narrative and ultimately pave the way for transformation and healing. Langham Burke stands apart from his aristocratic family because of his artistic endeavors and irresponsible lifestyle, the misunderstood artist, and the beauty of his acquaintance with Cara bears fruit throughout the storyline. Her godly influence on the stern and noble Lord Morestowe and especially his ward, the unruly Amelia, prove to be a means of healing for all of them. As the prototypical problem child, Amelia is one of my favorite characters because of her insight and precocious depth of understanding. As modern readers we can learn much from how she is treated by various people in the story. Furthermore, although the faith aspect is mostly subtle, it still forms the foundation for the changes which the characters undergo. Lord Morestowe’s acumen sums up what we should all realize and attain to: “The future was, as it always had been, in God’s hands. He would keep working, and he would keep praying for help and guidance.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and NetGalley in exchange for a review. A favorable review was not required. All opinions are my own.

Review
5 Stars
My Kinsman-Redeemer
Shadow Among Sheaves - Naomi  Stephens

Naomi Stephens’ debut novel, “Shadow Among Sheaves”, is every bit as poetic and brooding as its title. This is certainly an author whose work I will be following! Expecting a gentle love story and perhaps some sappy sentimentality, I was utterly surprised to discover quite the opposite. I am familiar with the poignant Biblical story of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz and think of it as a stirring example of loyalty and love. However, I have never really considered it more deeply—until now. Stephens taps into one of the main reasons that I love Biblical fiction and retellings: it causes me to explore beneath the surface of the story and to consider the characters in depth and in the context of their historical and social situations. “Shadow Among Sheaves” does just that, focusing on the sacrifice and hardship facing two widows now seemingly alone in the world.

 From the start, this historical retelling made me uncomfortable, and that’s a good thing! It pushed me out of my comfort zone and into unfamiliar territory, which enabled me to learn new information about England in the 1860s and to empathize with a new character set. The somber tone of the novel never felt too oppressive, as Stephens interjects some relief just when it is most needed without detracting from the gravity of the tale. Culture and religion collide in the aftermath of the Great Indian Rebellion of 1857, and Rena Hawley is caught in the middle. Following an impromptu marriage to a British soldier in her native India, her husband’s and father-in-law’s unexpected deaths cast shadows on Rena’s future, even as she determines to follow her mother-in-law, Nell, to England. There her identity is further obfuscated by prejudice and xenophobia: “In India, she was her father’s daughter, beloved and shrouded; here she was bruised, a worthless girl with foreign eyes whose only wealth was in the abundance of her own grief.”

This eye-opening allegory paints a sobering portrait of life as a foreigner and a destitute widow. Rena is a fascinating character because of her complexity. She is confused by English customs, and I appreciated how Stephens presented the Indian way of life with respect, despite how barbaric some aspects of it sound to our modern sensibilities. This paved the way for a better understanding of the difficulties Rena faces in trying to reconcile her old life with the new one she has chosen. Furthermore, Rena is not depicted as a moral paragon. She struggles and clings to the past, rejecting the faith of both her mother-in-law and former husband, which ultimately makes her journey all the sweeter. The same can be said of Lord Barric. His gruff exterior also serves as a shield against pain and grief, and the impact of his initial encounter with Rena creates a ripple effect that influences both of their reputations and their futures. Impressive secondary characters add to the moving panoply. For anyone on their own journey out of darkness, or who enjoys a though-provoking historical romance and redemption story, “Shadow Among Sheaves” is a must read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and CelebrateLit and was under no obligation to post a review.

Review
5 Stars
When You Are Near Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 

 
Book: When You Are Near
 
Author: Tracie Peterson  

Genre: Christian Historical Romance
 
Release Date: March 5, 2018
 
After her father’s death, Lizzy Brookstone, a trick rider in the all-female Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza, wants nothing more than to quit her role as the star of the show and live a quiet life on her family’s ranch. But returning home would bring Wesley DeShazer, the ranch’s foreman and the man who broke her heart, back into her life. In addition, the Brookstones’ new manager fears that Lizzy’s departure could doom the already cash-strapped show.
 
Hope grows in Lizzy during a stopover at Fleming Farm. Ella Fleming not only has a natural talent for trick riding and could easily replace Lizzy, but she’s eager to join the show to flee a forced betrothal. However, while there, one of the show’s wranglers is killed in a manner Lizzy finds suspicious. And during her escape from the farm, Ella stumbles across a secret that could affect all of their lives, as well as the future of the Brookstone Extravaganza.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

 

 
Tracie Peterson (www.traciepeterson.com) is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana.
 
 
 
 

Guest Post from Tracie

 

Introducing…When You Are Near!
 
I’m excited about the new Brookstone Brides series and had so much fun researching for the various characters and locations. This is a story about a fictional Wild West show with all female performers. Prior to the rodeos we see today, the Wild West shows traveled throughout America and Europe to entertain people and give city dwellers a taste of what the American frontier was like. At least their version.
 
Buffalo Bill Cody was famous for his shows, which brought Native Americans and their culture into the world of people who might otherwise never have even seen an “Indian.” Pawnee Bill was another entertainer who sought to keep these shows alive.  



For the fictional show in my novels, I wanted to focus on three female characters who became a part of the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza for varying reasons. Lizzy Brookstone is the heroine in book one, When You Are Near, and as the daughter of one of the show’s owners, she has enjoyed a starring role as a trick rider.
 
For research I went to Pueblo, Colorado to the ranch of Karen Vold, a famous trick rider and rodeo star. Linda Scholtz, a famed trick rider, was teaching a clinic there along with Karen at the Red Top Ranch Trickriding School.
 
These are two remarkable Christian trick riders who have long worked to keep the sport alive. I spent three days getting to know them and what they do and learned so much. And just to prove that we weren’t all work and no play, I thought I’d share my attempt at trick riding. What I won’t do for research!
 
The series will have three books, as usual, and each book will focus on a different lady and her skills. Mary is a trick shooter like Annie Oakley, and Ella is a Roman rider who stands on the backs of two horses for her part in the act. It was so interesting learning about each of these types of performers, and I hope you’ll get a chance to read all three and enjoy the stories of the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza.
 
 

My Review

 
With her new Brookstone Brides series, Tracie Peterson creates a homey, faith-filled, adventurous ambiance in which romance and excitement coalesce. As a horse lover, I was immediately drawn into the story and thoroughly enjoyed reading about trick riding and the care of the horses, including some details about purchasing them from breeders. The Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza embodies the spirit of the Wild West era while uniquely being comprised of all female performers. The respect and equality that the women receive demonstrates how progressive this setting is, a rarity that adds depth and dimension to this tale. While the plight of a young woman fleeing a desperate situation indicates circumstances more typical of 1900, the actions of the main characters prove the prevailing love of Christ.

Universal themes clearly link “When You Are Near” to contemporary life. The 28-year-old protagonist, Lizzy, is the star of the show, yet the recent loss of her father and that of others she loved in years past has hardened her heart and caused her to build walls to keep her pain at bay: “The need for people to care about her argued with the part of her determined never again to feel the pain that came with loss.” It is a common struggle because as humans we crave that intimate connection and yet also fear losing it, and unless we surrender our hearts to the Lord we will always have an emptiness within us, as Peterson illustrates. Furthermore, the loyalty that such relationships, be they romances or friendships, foster prove to be indispensable during the inevitable trials of life. In this story, the characters must each reconcile with their past in order to become who they are meant to be and to carry out the work to which they are called. The obstacles that they encounter along the way ultimately serve to strengthen them and to make them realize that the Lord truly does work all things for the good for those who love Him. This is a promising start to a new series, and I only hope that after a somewhat abrupt ending, more details will be revealed in book two.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

Blog Stops

 

Among the Reads, March 26

The Power of Words, March 26

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, March 26

Inklings and notionsMarch 26

The Meanderings of a bookworm, March 27

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd CornerMarch 27

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 27

Vicky Sluiter, March 27

Carpe Diem, March 28

The Avid Reader, March 28

Genesis 5020, March 28

The Lit Addict, March 29

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 29

Back Porch Reads, March 29

Just the Write Escape, March 30

Splashes of Joy, March 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 30

Emily Yager, March 31

Daysong Reflections, March 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 31

Life of Literature, April 1

EmpowerMoms, April 1

For the Love of Literature, April 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 2

Through the Fire Blogs, April 2

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, April 2

For Him and My Family, April 3

Remembrancy, April 3

Inspiration Clothesline, April 3

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, April 4

Locks, Hooks and BooksApril 4

Pause for Tales, April 4

Older & Smarter?, April 5

Stories By GinaApril 5

Book by Book, April 5

BigreadersiteApril 6

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 6

Connect in Fiction, April 6

Godly Book Reviews, April 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 7

Texas Book-aholic, April 7

Blossoms and BlessingsApril 8

janicesbookreviews, April 8

A Reader’s Brain, April 8

The Becca Files, April 8

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Tracie is giving away a grand prize of When You Are Near, Tracie’s A $25 Barnes and Noble Gift card, and the three books in The Heart of Alaska series and three other winners will receive a copy of When You Are Near!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/dcdd/when-you-are-near-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Review
4 Stars
His Wounds Have Paid My Ransom: Book Review of A Higher Ransom by Aleigha Israel

 

 

Blurb:

Two lives so vastly different from each other... are about to be given a choice that will change the course of their lives forever.

 

King Raymond is ruthless. He will stop at nothing to see that every Christian is diminished.

 

But Anna Haddington doesn’t understand why she must keep quiet about her faith.

 

When her plans to stay with her aunt in Carpathia go quickly awry, Anna finds it takes all that is in her to trust God with the outcome.

 

This is a story full of mystery and sacrifice that will leave you questioning whether you have what it takes to give up everything for Christ, even your very own life.

 

Discover the account of three lives, all so different from each other. And find out how one person’s decision can affect the lives of so many.

 

Will Anna stand strong and not waver in her faith? Or will she crumble under the rule of the heartless king?

 

Bio:

ALEIGHA C. ISRAEL writer of inspirational fiction and poetry is an author of multiple books and enjoys sharing God's love through the powerful art of storytelling.

 

Aleigha loves being a Community Assistant at the Young Writers Workshop and teaching writing classes to her talented students.

 

When she's not daydreaming about a new story idea or playing with her sidekick "Marley" (a Pomeranian mix) she can usually be seen traveling with her family's gospel bluegrass band, “Fret Not” or making personalized author swag for her business Literary Treasures. 

 

She doesn’t have to search very hard for inspiration.

 

Living in the Israel household, it’s guaranteed there’s an adventure waiting around every corner!

 

My Review:

 

What first drew me to this trilogy was the beautiful cover and the fact that it was Christian historical fiction. The young woman on the cover seemed to have a message to convey, and the grand stone castle background added to the mysterious allure. Carpathia beckoned, and with its simple and straightforward prose, “A Higher Ransom” was a quick read. There was enough action to keep the plot moving, although the denouement did come suddenly after a gradual buildup, and it kept me interested and engaged. I would have enjoyed more descriptions of the setting and the castle itself, but this is a character-driven novel, and each personality shines prominently, from the good to the bad.

 



From the start, Anna falls on the righteous end of the spectrum, her very strong Christian beliefs keeping her solvent amidst the grief of losing her parents and being separated from her younger siblings. An irrepressible Pollyanna, she takes all hardship and circumstances in stride and shares her faith with everyone she meets. I identified with her when I read that “[f]inery and worldly possessions could not control her, but books could.” A girl after my own heart! Her fatal flaw is that…well…she doesn’t have one. In my opinion, she is a bit too perfect and idealistic, but she certainly fills her role as the virtuous heroine, and I admired her character and charisma.

The obvious villain is King Raymond, whose mission is to eradicate Christians. Most of the other characters are under the king’s rule, including his son William, and they vary in terms of their moral affiliation, but I found them to be more well-rounded and to have more depth because they were not so unequivocal in their identities. Some of them had serious qualms about both obeying and disobeying the king, which added authenticity. As much as I loved reading about those who converted to Christianity, several of these situations seemed too easy and implausible when compared to real life. Nevertheless, it was during one of these scenes that my favorite quotation from this book emerged: “He had at long last found the Man who’d taken his punishment, only to discover that the Man wasn’t just a man, but also the Creator, the Maker of the universe and the Creator of his being.”

 



With that in mind, “A Higher Ransom” has a legendary quality about it, with hints and nods to some of the most famous fairy tales, but the overarching theme is, without a doubt, Christianity. This story contains a great number of well-known passages from the Bible, and evangelization is one of the main themes. When Anna entered the castle, two Bible stories came to mind, that of Daniel and the lion’s den as well as that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. “A Higher Ransom” will definitely speak to your heart and affirm (or reaffirm) your faith in Christ. I would recommend it especially for a younger audience—although adults will enjoy it also—for the aforementioned reasons. The ending was rather abrupt, but I am hoping that it will be resolved in book two, and the emotional impact is indisputable.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

 

Social Media Links: 

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Aleigha-C-Israel-1588459018111009/

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Aleigha_author

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aleighacisrael_author/?hl=en

 

Blog: https://thepenofthewriter.weebly.com

 

Email list: https://thepenofthewriter.weebly.com/subscribe.html

 

Book Purchase Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Higher-Ransom-Light-Christ-Collection/dp/1534614060

 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-higher-ransom-aleigha-c-israel/1123909016

Review
5 Stars
The Pinions and Plumage of Love

 

Allow me to preface this by saying that if you enjoy historical fiction and have not read any of Kate Breslin’s books, you are truly missing out. Her stories shine in this genre for their factual historical accuracy and their heart. The redemptive thread woven throughout each novel whispers hope and encouragement to the reader. Not only will you learn something along the way, but you’ll also connect with her characters on an emotional and perhaps spiritual level. That is the mark of exceptional historical fiction. Achieving that delicate balance of plot, history, and character requires skill, and Breslin always executes it brilliantly.

 



“Far Side of the Sea” exceeds all of Breslin’s previous books for its excitement and complexities. Although it can serve as a standalone, readers will benefit from reading “Not By Sight” first, as “Far Side of the Sea” is a sequel of sorts and will spoil who ends up with whom. Picking up “Far Side of the Sea” is like stepping into 1918 England in the midst of World War I. The story takes place apart from the actual conflict, yet the battle exists as a haunting echo throughout the narrative. War hero Colin Mabry answers the beckoning of Jewel, the girl he left behind a year ago, only to find that the woman who contacted him is her sister, Johanna, who believes that Jewel is being held against her will by a German agent. In spite of his suspicions, he heeds the call of his conscience, and in so doing falls down the rabbit hole of espionage and tenuous alliances on a cross-country mission.

 



Aside from having read “Not By Sight” when it released, I went into “Far Side of the Sea” knowing only that it was Colin’s story. I purposely did not read the summary beforehand because I did not want to ruin any surprises. And were there ever surprises! You know that the author is doing a fantastic job with her characters when you do not know whom to trust and when they continually turn your perceptions upside down. The plot is impressively intricate, with layer upon layer of intrigue right up to the last. Yet within all of the espionage is a tender love story and a budding faith, heartwarming moments amidst the realities of war. Also, some thought-provoking historical tidbits pepper the narrative. It never occurred to me that carrier pigeons only fly one way, and I did not know that a facsimile of Paris was constructed to divert German Gotha bombers. Colin’s struggle with the aftereffects of shell shock, now known as PTSD, and the role that this plays in the story is both heartwrenching and captivating and is handled gracefully. Much of what makes “Far Side of the Sea” so compelling is that it opens the door to the world a century ago and shows us that it is not so very removed from our world today. We still grapple with our own personal fears, but when we find and strengthen our faith in the One who made us and loves us, we realize that nothing can separate us from Him, not even if we find ourselves on the far side of the sea.

 

About the Book

 

 

In spring 1918, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, a British soldier working with MI8 after suffering injuries on the front, receives a message by carrier pigeon. It is from Jewel Reyer, the woman he once loved and who saved his life--a woman he believed to be dead. Traveling to France to answer her urgent summons, he desperately hopes this mission will ease his guilt and restore the courage he lost on the battlefield. 

Colin is stunned, however, to discover the message came from Jewel's half sister, Johanna. Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence, found Jewel's diary and believes her sister is alive in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust begins to grow between them.

When their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot, danger and deception turn their search for answers into a battle for their lives.

 

Purchase your copy HERE.

 

About the Author

 

 

Former bookseller-turned-author Kate Breslin enjoys life in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and family. A writer of travel articles and award-winning poetry, Kate received Christian Retailing's 2015 Best Award for First Time Author and her debut novel, For Such A Time, was shortlisted for both the Christy and RITA awards and received the American Christian Fiction Writer's 2015 Carol Award for Debut Novel. Kate's third novel, High As The Heavens, released June, 2017. When she's not writing inspirational fiction, Kate enjoys reading or taking long walks in Washington's beautiful woodlands. She also likes traveling to new places, both within the U.S. and abroad, having toured Greece, Rome, and much of Western Europe. New destinations make for fresh story ideas. Please visit her at www.katebreslin.com.

Review
5 Stars
The White City Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book



Book: The White City

Author: Grace Hitchcock
 
Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense
 
Release Date: March 2019  

Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair
 
Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime
 
While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.
 
Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?


Click here to order your copy.
 
 

About the Author

 


Grace Hitchcock is the author of three novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. The White City is her debut novel and releases March 2019 with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcockBooks.com.
 

Guest Post from Grace

 

True Colors—Fiction Based on Strange, But True, American Crime Stories
 
True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through 6 unique stories of historical romantic suspense in the exciting new True Colors series.
 
In book one, The White City, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped while attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a detective, for bodyguard.
 
Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?
 
The Real Criminal Behind the Story
 
While Winnifred Wylde is a fictional character, Doctor H. H. Holmes was very real and became infamously known as America’s first serial killer. Learn more about him HERE.  
 

My Review

 
Combining fact with fiction in an engaging historical context, Grace Hitchcock kicks off the True Colors trilogy in style with “The White City”. Scads of books and documentaries exist about Henry Howard Holmes, the man given the notorious distinction of being America’s first serial killer, yet in this novel Hitchcock presents a new, albeit fictional, perspective on his case. Introducing Winnifred Wylde, a young woman who loves nothing more than reading the latest romantic adventure novel by her favorite author, Hitchcock takes the reader along on a thrilling quest of discovery. The action begins when Winnifred believes that she witnesses a kidnapping while at the Chicago World’s Fair, an incident that eventually leads her to the employ of H.H. Holmes as she seeks to pursue her suspicions. However, as the investigation proceeds, both her wellbeing and her heart are in danger.

“The White City” proficiently blends genres to create an absorbing narrative. Each chapter opens with an epigraph from classic literature, hinting at its contents, and all of the characters were 3-dimensional and had emotional depth. Their reactions to events and the lingering effects of trauma made them seem true to life. From Aunt Lillian’s matchmaking to Percy Covington’s romantic idealism to Auntie Ann’s outwardly gruff demeanor, each contributed to the flow of the story. Hitchcock captures H.H. Holmes’ charisma as well as sparks of the violence lurking beneath his façade. Along with catching glimpses of the World’s Fair, recognizing the societal and familial expectations of both women and men during the late nineteenth century further set the scene and linked the historical with the fictional side of the tale. As somewhat of a true crime aficionada, this series held special appeal for me as soon as I heard about it, and I am happy to report that the first book exceeded my expectations for a fictional take on the case. What truly made it a five-star read was its Christian foundation and the way that the main characters relied on the Lord throughout their trials and testing.       

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and CelebrateLit and was under no obligation to post a review. 

Blog Stops

 

Just the Write Escape, March 14

A Baker’s Perspective, March 14

The Lit Addict, March 14

janicesbookreviews, March 14

The Power of Words, March 15

Multifarious, March 15

Back Porch Reads, March 15

Livin’ Lit, March 16

Lis Loves Reading, March 16

Just Your Average reviews, March 16

Rev. Rebecca Writes, March 17

For the Love of Literature, March 17

Bibliophile Reviews, March 17

Reflections From My Bookshelves, March 18

Through the Fire Blogs, March 18

By The Book, March 18

A Reader’s Brain, March 18

Girls in White Dresses, March 19

Stories By Gina , March 19

EmpowerMoms, March 19

Inklings and notionsMarch 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 20

Bigreadersite, March 21

Genesis 5020, March 21

Blossoms and Blessings, March 21

The Becca Files, March 21

Emily Yager, March 22

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, March 22

Pause for Tales, March 22

Inspired by fiction, March 23

Mary Hake, March 23

Book by Book, March 23

Real World Bible Study, March 23

Blogging With Carol, March 24

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 24

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 24

Maureen’s Musings, March 25

amandainpa, March 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 25

Older & Smarter?, March 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 26

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner , March 26

Godly Book Reviews, March 27

For Him and my Family, March 27

Texas Book-aholic, March 27

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Grace is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The White City!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/dd7d/the-white-city-celebration-tour-giveaway
Review
4 Stars
Meet Me at the River
Convergence - Ginny L. Yttrup

What a ride! This book is as twisting and emotionally charged as a trip down the Kaweah whitewater rapids! With nail-biting suspense, the unyielding pace of the narrative never relents, and although this is not a horror novel, the creep factor was real enough and the scenario so plausible on a certain level that I would not want to read this while home alone. There was enough tension to keep the pages turning at a rapid pace, and the author set up a chilling degree of apprehension. I thought that the ordeal of PTSD and the psychological aspect of trauma enhanced the story, particularly given that Denilyn Rossi was herself a psychologist. This is as much a psychological thriller as it is a suspense novel. The Christian element is mostly subtle but does become more prevalent toward the end.

My bone of contention with “Convergence” is its execution. Initially I attributed my confusion to the fact that I went into this book blind because I prefer not to read the summary, especially for this genre, but even afterward, when I did explore the synopsis, I realized that it would not have put me any farther ahead. Overall, I thought that this was a great story, but it was bogged down by too many complexities, which only multiplied as the story progressed. The shifting dual first-person narrative viewpoints and two different time settings made it difficult to stay abreast of what was happening to whom and when. Without giving any spoilers, this issue becomes even more complicated toward the novel’s denouement. Speaking of which, I had to step back and rethink the book from the beginning when the puzzle pieces began falling into place. Still, things did not quite fit for me with regard to Denilyn and Adelia. One of the main objects of psychological thrillers is to shock the reader, but in this case everything felt too contrived and bewildering, vacillating from one side to the other until the story became a Gordian knot of sorts. Nevertheless, I truly did enjoy this story and would recommend it to those who don’t mind a wild ride full of intricacies and revelations.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Review
5 Stars
Storm Proof Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book: Storm Proof
 
Author: Carol McLeod
 
Genre: Religion/Christian life/Woman’s issues
 
Release Date: March 5, 2019  

Go “storm chasing” through the pages of the greatest Book ever written!
 
What storm has blown into your circumstances? Are you—or someone you love—suffering from the trauma of plans that have been washed away, relationships that have been uprooted, or security that has been devastated? Many believers have been known to ask, “God, where are You in this storm?” or, “Lord, did You send this storm into my life?” Just what does a believer do during a stormy season? StormProof: Weathering Life’s Tough Times tackles these and other tumultuous questions.
 
Author Carol McLeod is a storm survivor—more than that, a victor—over infertility, depression, and cancer. She understands the spiritual, emotional, and physical challenges of the trials we face in our lives. A gifted Bible teacher, she provides “life preservers” of hope and faith through the eternal, practical wisdom found only in God’s Word.
 
By examining key storms in the Bible, and the lives of those affected by them, Carol guides you to uncommon comfort for your own storms, offering the shelter of hope, joy, and faith. In StormProof, you will step out of the boat to walk the waves with Peter, knowing that Jesus always comes to be with you in the midst of your storms; you will be rocked aboard a wind-driven ship with the apostle Paul, in danger of being smashed against the rocks, but be preserved by God’s power; you will watch the gathering storm clouds with Noah, holding on to faith in God’s purposes. You will also experience Jonah’s self-inflicted tempest while affirming God’s unconditional love, sit in silence with Job and ponder his questions about the greatest storm of testing, and huddle with the disciples as their boat is swamped by surging waves—only to hear Jesus’s eternal words, “Peace, be still.” You will also hear about storms of harsh circumstances that others from recent history have encountered and overcome.
 
Storms are common in every season of life. Yet, for a believer in Christ, the damage such storms cause can be contained, depending on how we navigate their tumultuous waves. There is a way—a triumphant way—to encounter the fierce gales of life and then exit the tempests with strength and resilience. There is a definitive way to walk through the most devastating of circumstantial tornadoes and emerge with grace, empowered for the future. There is a way to be StormProof.  
 
Click here to purchase your copy.
 

About the Author

 

Carol McLeod is a popular speaker at women’s conferences and retreats through Carol McLeod Ministries. She is the author of ten books, including Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue (Whitaker House, 2018), Joy for All Seasons (Bridge-Logos, 2016), Holy Estrogen (Harrison House, 2012), and Defiant Joy (Thomas Nelson, 2006). Carol hosts a daily podcast, A Jolt of Joy! on the Charisma Podcast Network, and a weekly podcast, The Joy of Motherhood, which is listened to by thousands of moms around the world. Her blog, Joy for the Journey (formerly A Cup of Tea with Carol), has been named in the Top 50 Faith Blogs for Women. After her 2013 devotional 21 Days to Beat Depression had nearly 100,000 downloads in the first month, YouVersion picked it up, where it has been read over 500,000 times in five years. She also has ten other devotionals on YouVersion, including Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue. Carol writes a weekly column for Ministry Today and often writes for Charisma magazine. She is also a frequent guest on and has cohosted 100 Huntley Street. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman’s Heart won a Telly Award in 2005 for excellence in religious programming. The first Women’s Chaplain at Oral Roberts University, she currently serves on the university’s Alumni Board of Directors. Carol has been married to her college sweetheart, Craig, for nearly forty years and is the mother of five children in heaven and five children on earth. Carol and Craig are now enjoying their new titles as “Marmee and Pa” to seven delicious grandchildren! She and her husband will soon be moving to Oklahoma, where Craig serves as the North American Director for Global Partners, a missions organization that plants churches in remote areas of the world.
 

More from Carol

 

I wrote this book and dedicated it to a lifetime friend and a woman who has survived the worst of life’s storms.
 
”You have danced in the sunshine…
 
been drenched by circumstantial downpours…
 
been threatened by windy situations…
 
and been attacked by the blinding blizzard of events.
 
But through it all, you have been faithful.
 
You have been a warrior.
 
You have been a worshipper.
 
You have kept your eyes on Jesus.
 
You have been StormProof.
 
You haven’t just weathered the tough times in life…you have rejoiced through them!
 
There is no one I would rather share an umbrella with than you, my friend.”
 

My Review

 

God’s timing is always perfect. When I signed up to review “Storm Proof” a few months ago, I was intrigued by the title and figured that it would be an interesting work of nonfiction. What I didn’t realize was how appropriate it would be for this season of my life. All of us travel along rocky paths once in a while, but sometimes there are periods when it seems as though we are in the middle of a gale with a vicious onslaught that seems unrelenting. We love the mountaintop experiences we have with God, and although we do not often choose to also walk through the valleys, it is during those low treks that we learn the most. As we come to cling closer to the Lord, we come to know His lovingkindness and provision more deeply.   

Indeed, “[t]he compass that will lead you out of the storm is your ability to recount the miracles God has done for you and others in the past. The miraculous God of the land who provides for us in abundance is also the God of the seas who preserves our lives in times of peril.” The truth is, we are jaded. We have become desensitized and far too often can’t see the forest for the trees. There are so many miracles all around us each day that we don’t even acknowledge, let alone the miracles of healing and protection that the Lord grants. God has always been in the miracle business, and He still is! This is one of the points that struck me early on in this book; McLeod posits that when Jesus appeared to His disciples on the Sea of Galilee during a terrible storm, Peter asked if it was Jesus because he knew that if it was, then something even more miraculous was about to happen. We are safe in the Savior’s arms!

In keeping with the nautical theme, McLeod shares that her anchors for the storms of life are the Word of God, worship, prayer, and the Holy Spirit. With this combination, there is no storm that can defeat us. God protected Noah and his family during the flood, after which He made a covenant promise to never again destroy all living beings while the earth remains. Noah’s story brought up two tidbits that snagged my attention: God wept over the flood, and he had given the people of the earth 120 years while Noah was building the ark to turn to Him, but they did not and so they perished. We have the same option today, and while we may not be facing a worldwide flood, what is at stake is our eternity.  

Likewise, McLeod’s section on Job’s story is enlightening. Job teaches us to worship while grieving and while waiting. Worship should always be our response, no matter what our circumstances. If Job, who lived before the redeeming power of Jesus set us free, could worship through his devastation, how much more should we! One of my favorite quotations from this book is that “Satan is still roaming the earth, but he no longer has the same power depicted in the book of Job because Calvary changed everything, for all of eternity. And you, my friend, have been given the authority and power of heaven to defeat him!” I am sorry to say that at times I give the adversary more power than is due him when I should be focusing on the unlimited and all-surpassing power of the Lord of heaven and earth, power that we have access to 24/7!

“Storm Proof” is a thought-provoking, engaging read that packs plenty of punch and insight into its 256 pages. If this book had a soundtrack, it would be “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns. The Biblical stories and characters may be familiar, but McLeod offers a fresh perspective on their experiences and on how and what we can learn from them. Also interspersed throughout are some of her own personal recollections, which indicate that she has first-hand knowledge of life’s storms. Don’t we all? So let us be not hearers only of the Word, but doers as well, in the calm and in the storm.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own. 

 

Blog Stops

 

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away
 
Grand prize of a $20 Starbucks Card and a Woman of God Umbrella
 
1st Place prize of a copy of Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue, and Whitaker House/Anchor adult coloring book!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/de82/storm-proof-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Review
5 Stars
Bring Me Near Review and GIVEAWAY!

 

 

About the Book



Title: Bring Me Near
 
Author: Marguerite Martin Gray
 
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
 
Release date: February, 2019
 
Publisher: Celebrate Lit Publishing

Louis Lestarjette enters a world of secrets and questionable actions for the Patriot cause.
 
Charles Town, South Carolina, 1775—Louis Lestarjette ventures beyond the confines of family life as patriotic duty compels him to enter the world of secrecy and clandestine maneuvers. When he leaves Charles Town for Philadelphia, he experiences first-hand the drastic demands of time and finances, and possibly his life. He must keep Elizabeth and his daughter safe while remaining faithful to this cause of liberty. One wrong decision might cost him all he has worked for over the last three years.
 
A new generation of children in Elizabeth Lestarjette’s life demands the successful and safe fulfillment of her role as a Patriot. She wonders if her husband understands her desire to do her part as an active Daughter of Liberty. Although Louis is willing to move the family to the country, the decision falls to Elizabeth regarding whether to remain in Charles Town or escape its borders.  
 
Click here to purchase your copy.
 

About the Author 


Marguerite Martin Gray is the author of Hold Me Close, Surround Me, and Bring Me Near– Revolutionary Faith Books One, Two and Three. She enjoys studying history and writing fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches high school Spanish and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and a MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Marguerite is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Abilene Writers Guild, Daughters of the American Revolution, South Carolina Historical Society, and Preservation Society of Charleston. She currently lives in North Louisiana with her husband.
 

More from Marguerite

 

I am very excited about the release of Bring Me Near. Thank you for joining me in its debut.
 
My writing journey began with reading as a child in elementary school. I lived in England for a few years where I bought and read loads of books on horses, history, and mystery. While in that unique environment, my parents took us to explore castles, old houses, churches, and cemeteries. The love of history sprouted and grew (I blame it all on my father)!
 
My love of reading never diminished, but it continued to expand my world. I still devour books (much to my husband’s and my bookcases’ chagrin), mostly historical Christian fiction, though I have some favorite contemporary novels and authors.
 
In my Revolutionary Faith Series, I combine my love of travel, research, history, and writing. I researched my family history originating in Charleston, South Carolina and walked in the footsteps of my 1770s ancestors (I even found my ancestors’ house for sale!) I asked questions about what they would have done during the American Revolution? What did they eat and wear? Were they fearful? Faithful? Courageous? Where did they worship?
 
My motto in writing is Entertain. Educate. Encourage. I entertain through the elements of fiction by making the characters in my imagination come alive on the page. I educate by presenting an historical period and event after countless hours of research. I encourage by giving a Christian world view where the characters grow and develop through their challenges.
 
Please join me on this journey by following me at www.margueritemartingray.blog.
 
Blessings,
 
Marguerite
 

My Review

 

"Now, more than ever, she had to find courage to support her words and beliefs.”

 Book three in the Revolutionary Faith series, Marguerite Martin Gray’s “Bring Me Near” proves to be even more captivating than its predecessors. The amount of research done by the author clearly bears fruit throughout the narrative as readers find themselves immediately submerged in the Colonial era and able to see the various conflicts from multiple perspectives. Despite being historical fiction, the novel has a strong factual background and is appropriate for teens and up who are looking to increase their knowledge of the time period. Through Louis’ vantage point, we evidence the growing discontent among the partisans and the emergence of revolutionary leaders in Charles Town, including how everyday townspeople have to put their lives on the line as rebels against the Crown. The process culminating in outright war develops by degrees, as attempts at reconciliation are dismissed, and the impact on the citizens of Charles Town follows a similar pattern.

Elizabeth’s experiences drive home the conflict’s effect on ordinary families. The fears and uncertainties of the immediate future resonate strongly today, too, and I wonder how many of us would be as willing as the Lestarjettes to sacrifice for their country. The women suddenly must learn how to defend themselves as the war draws closer and calls away their husbands and sons. Faith in God was essential for the colonists as they faced seemingly overwhelming odds, and that same faith is just as necessary today. I find myself wondering if I would have the strength and courage that Elizabeth demonstrates if I endured so many trials. I also appreciated that the Loyalists’ dilemma is given some thought: losing possessions and respected positions and sometimes causing schisms among families, not to mention neighbors. Although obvious antagonists, George and Victoria nonetheless evoke sympathy because of their misguided actions, and my heart aches for them both. I eagerly look forward to continuing Louis and Elizabeth’s journey and hope that more books will follow in this absorbing series!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Marguerite is giving away
 
Grand prize of a $50 Amazon Gift Card 1st place winner will receive eBooks of the entire series
 
and
 
2nd – 4th place winners will receive an eBook copy of Bring Me Near!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/de7c/bring-me-near-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Review
5 Stars
The Prowling Devil
The White City (True Colors) - Grace Hitchcock

Combining fact with fiction in an engaging historical context, Grace Hitchcock kicks off the True Colors trilogy in style with “The White City”. Scads of books and documentaries exist about Henry Howard Holmes, the man given the notorious distinction of being America’s first serial killer, yet in this novel Hitchcock presents a new, albeit fictional, perspective on his case. Introducing Winnifred Wylde, a young woman who loves nothing more than reading the latest romantic adventure novel by her favorite author, Hitchcock takes the reader along on a thrilling quest of discovery. The action begins when Winnifred believes that she witnesses a kidnapping while at the Chicago World’s Fair, an incident that eventually leads her to the employ of H.H. Holmes as she seeks to pursue her suspicions. However, as the investigation proceeds, both her wellbeing and her heart are in danger.

“The White City” proficiently blends genres to create an absorbing narrative. Each chapter opens with an epigraph from classic literature, hinting at its contents, and all of the characters were 3-dimensional and had emotional depth. Their reactions to events and the lingering effects of trauma made them seem true to life. From Aunt Lillian’s matchmaking to Percy Covington’s romantic idealism to Auntie Ann’s outwardly gruff demeanor, each contributed to the flow of the story. Hitchcock captures H.H. Holmes’ charisma as well as sparks of the violence lurking beneath his façade. Along with catching glimpses of the World’s Fair, recognizing the societal and familial expectations of both women and men during the late nineteenth century further set the scene and linked the historical with the fictional side of the tale. As somewhat of a true crime aficionada, this series held special appeal for me as soon as I heard about it, and I am happy to report that the first book exceeded my expectations for a fictional take on the case. What truly made it a five-star read was its Christian foundation and the way that the main characters relied on the Lord throughout their trials and testing.       

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and CelebrateLit and was under no obligation to post a review.

Review
5 Stars
Ladies of Intrigue Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Title: Ladies of Intrigue
 
Author: Michelle Griep
 
Genre: Christian Historical 

Release date: February 2019
 
Publisher: Barbour  

3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep! Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?
 
The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady Cornish Coast, 1815 When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?
 
The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!) Dakota Territory, 1862 Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.
 
A House of Secrets St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890 Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

  

 
Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog “Writer off the Leash” or visit michellegriep.com.
 

Guest post from Michelle

 

 

3 Reasons to Read Historical Fiction
 
Guest post by Michelle Griep
 
Believe it or not, some readers snub historical fiction, preferring instead to stick to contemporary reads. Several have good reason to, simply preferring one genre over another. But others have never given historical fiction a try. If you fall into that camp, here are some reasons you should consider reading a tale from the past.
 
1. Historical fiction books are not as boring as your high school history class.
 
Does the thought of endless names and dates make you break out into hives? Good news! Historical fiction is a painless way to glean some historic facts without mindless memorization. You can experience a different era and culture vicariously through heroes and heroines that live on the pages of yesteryear.
 
2. Makes for great conversation.
 
In a world that prides itself on keeping up with the Kardashians, dare to add a little cultural zest to your next dinner conversation. Reading historical fiction arms you with interesting tidbits of things that’ve happened in years gone by.
 
3. Because truth is timeless.
 
Some people yearn to go back to a simpler time. The truth is, though, that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the historic side of the fence. People have had tough issues to deal with no matter the era. . .but therein lies a great reason to read historical fiction: truth is timeless. Be it ancient, biblical, medieval, Victorian, or anything in between, truth never changes. 
 
In my new release, Ladies of Intrigue, you’ll experience all these things and more. Find out about the smuggling trade in Cornwall in The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady. Learn about the rough and dangerous life on a military fort during the 1860’s in The Doctor’s Woman. Find out why the gilded age wasn’t as glittery as we often think in A House of Secrets.
 
Don’t be doomed to repeat history. Grab a cup of tea and master it with a great read!
 

My Review

 
As soon as I heard about Michelle Griep’s “Ladies of Intrigue”, I was drawn in, and I jumped at the chance to review it. Three stories from the nineteenth century, tinged with mystery? Sign me up! Despite the brevity of the stories, each one had a twisting denouement and a swift but satisfying conclusion. They could all have easily been novel-length, but as it was, the rapid pace assured that there was no lagging to the plot. “The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady”, set on the Cornish coast in 1815, reminded me of Abigail Wilson’s “In the Shadow of Croft Towers”, so readers of this short story may enjoy that novel and vice versa. From there Griep takes us to 1862 Minnesota in “The Doctor’s Lady”, which was the least mysterious of the three but full of other conflict, including that between the Indians and the United States during the Sioux Uprising and the dangers of being a single woman during that time. My favorite, however, was “A House of Secrets”, which differed from the previous two stories in both title format and writing style. This last tale was written more poetically and featured characters from the upper class in Minnesota in 1890, and it held the most secrets. Each narrative focused on the characters’ need to trust and rely on God and His provision. It was interesting to trace how women’s roles and societal expectations changed over the decades through the timeline arc of this collection. Historical fiction and romance fans will enjoy these stories, which combine love, the conventions of the past, and the necessity of faith—both then and now.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and CelebrateLit and was under no obligation to post a review.
 

Blog Stops

 

The Avid Reader, February 23

The Power of Words, February 23

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 23

Blogging With Carol, February 24

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 24

Mary Hake, February 24

Kathleen Denly, February 25

Genesis 5020, February 25

Splashes of Joy, February 25

For the Love of Literature, February 25

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 26

Faery Tales Are Real, February 26

Through the Fire Blogs, February 26

Blossoms and Blessings, February 26

Inspired by fiction, February 27

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 27

Back Porch ReadsFebruary 27

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 27

A Baker’s Perspective, February 28

Andy Carmichael, February 28

Stories By Gina, February 28

Emily Yager, March 1

Multifarious, March 1

A Reader’s Brain , March 1

Baker kella, March 1

Bibliophile Reviews, March 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 2

Remembrancy, March 2

Just the Write Escape, March 3

BigreadersiteMarch 3

Inspiration Clothesline, March 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 4

Vicky Sluiter, March 4

Ashley’s Bookshelf, March 4

Book by Book, March 4

Kat’s Corner Books, March 5

Inklings and notionsMarch 5

Living Life Free in Christ, March 5

The Morning Chapter, March 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 6

Pause for Tales, March 6

Simple Harvest Reads, March 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Daysong Reflections, March 6

Texas Book-aholic, March 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 7

Janices book reviews, March 7

A Humble Cup of Lukewarm Tea, March 8

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, March 8

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, March 8

Carpe Diem, March 8

 
 

Giveaway

 

 

 
 
To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of Ladies of Intrigue!!
 
Be sure to comment on blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/da8c/ladies-of-intrigue-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Review
5 Stars
The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection Review and GIVEAWAY!

 

About the Book

 



Title: The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides
 
Author: Kathy Rouser  

Genre: Christian Historical Romance
 
Release date: November 1, 2018  

Publisher: Barbour  

Lighthouses have long been the symbol of salvation, warning sailors away from dangerous rocks and shallow waters.
 
Along the Great Lakes, America’s inland seas, lighthouses played a vital role in the growth of the nation. They shepherded settlers traveling by water to places that had no roads. These beacons of light required constant tending even in remote and often dangerous places. Brave men and women battled the elements and loneliness to keep the lights shining. Their sacrifice kept goods and immigrants moving. Seven romances set between 1883 and 1911 bring hope to these lonely keepers and love to weary hearts.
 
The Last Memory by Kathleen Rouser 1899—Mackinac Point Lighthouse Natalie Brooks loses her past to amnesia, and Cal Waterson, the lighthouse keeper who rescues her, didn’t bargain on risking his heart—when her past might change everything.

Click here to purchase your copy.
 

About the Author

 


Kathleen Rouser is the multi-published author of the 2017 Bookvana Award winner, Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan, and its sequel, Secrets and Wishes. She is a longtime member in good standing of American Christian Fiction Writers. She longs to create characters who resonate with readers who realize their need for the touch God’s grace and hope in their everyday lives. A former homeschool instructor, mild-mannered dental assistant, and current Community Bible Study kids’ teacher, she lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of thirty-some years, and the sassy tail-less cat who found a home in their empty nest. Connect with Kathleen on her website at kathleenrouser.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kathleenerouser/, and on Twitter @KathleenRouser.
 

Guest Post from Kathy

 

 
When author Pegg Thomas approached me about writing a novella for The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides book proposal I couldn’t refuse the chance. After all, I am a lifelong resident of Michigan, which is the Great Lakes State! Plus, I had a favorite lighthouse in mind, though I briefly considered others.
 
For over 20 years we have ventured “up north” for a week-long summer vacation on Lake Michigan, most of them spent in the same cottage. Since the cottage is almost 20 miles west of Mackinaw City, I’ve made the annual pilgrimage to the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse since they reopened with exhibits in 2004. Part of the first floor has since been restored to the middle-class furnishings of 1910 when George Marshall and his family resided there. Two generations of Marshalls manned the lighthouse and George Marshall’s brother, Charles, was at one time the assistant lighthouse keeper.
 
There is also an area of the lighthouse where they display maps, photographs and other information, chronicling the history of the lighthouse built on the Straits of Mackinac in 1892. Fresnel lenses, like those used in the tower, and interactive displays are also included. Did you know for several years, the fourth-order Fresnel lens flashed a red light? I’d always pictured a yellow light! A tour guide, dressed in period clothing, such as a U.S. Lighthouse Service uniform, will take you up the tall, winding metal staircase to enjoy the view.
 
My many visits, whether they’ve included the long climb to the tower or not, have intrigued me. I’d often thought that someday I would like to write a fictional story about this lighthouse. Built with Cream City brick, in a Norman architectural style, the building reminds me of a castle. Perhaps that’s why I chose to have the lighthouse keeper hero, Cal Waterson, rescue Natalie Brooks, a lone shipwreck survivor. She is the proverbial damsel in distress. Yet, despite her amnesia she finds a new strength in her faith to face an unknown future and in a sense rescues Cal and his daughter.
 
Returning to the lighthouse last year, I did climb to the tower to examine the view my characters might have had. Of course, I had to imagine what it would have been like without the Mackinac Bridge, which has joined our upper and lower peninsulas since 1957. It’s a spectacular view, where you can also see Mackinac Island, home of the famous Grand Hotel, which was already there in 1899, when my story takes place.
 
Not only do lighthouses spark so many ideas of history and romance, they are so symbolic— as guiding lights—and beacons of hope to lead through treacherous waters, much like our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the true Light who leads us to the Father. Indeed, Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse played a strategic part in guiding ships through the dangers of the straits. I look forward to visiting this beautiful historic landmark again and hope my readers will be drawn into an intriguing visit to the lighthouse through my story, The Last Memory.
 
 

My Review

 

 
Lighthouses have always fascinated me. I love everything about them, from their lifesaving purpose to their solitude, which has a special appeal for an introvert’s heart. Symbolic of the Christian’s duty, they shine through the darkness and guide others toward the light, illuminating the way around obstacles. As such, “The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection” is very apropos in combining seven historical romances spanning the years 1883 to 1911 and set on various lighthouse stations throughout the area. Each features an inspiring missive of hope that speaks to the inner, secret longings of the heart and to the larger message of salvation.

Although some are as seemingly bereft as the islands that they inhabit, the heroines are the mainstay of this anthology. As romantic as the idea of living in a lighthouse sounds, the reality proves it to be a difficult life, especially for women. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, upkeep involved much more than simply lighting the lamp; maintaining the lighthouse and its environs required constant physical labor as well as tending to any shipwrecks that might occur. The women in these tales are duly stalwart in spirit, yet they are all the more endearing for their vulnerabilities. In one way or another, each young lady struggles with her identity. Some want to prove their merit as light keepers, while others seek to find their individual station in life, trials that continue today.

Throughout the seven tales related in this book, the Lord becomes the bastion to which the characters cling, and He is still the One we should seek. Fans of Hazel Gaynor’s “The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter” will cherish this collection, as will any historical romance readers. In the featured story, Kathleen Rouser’s “The Last Memory”, an increasing sense of suspense pervades the tale as Natalie (“Mallory”) experiences amnesia and finds herself at the Mackinac Point Lighthouse with keeper Cal Waterson, trying to discover her past and not realizing how much it will affect them both. Two of my other favorite stories were Candice Sue Patterson’s “Beneath a Michigan Moon” and “The Disappearing Ship” by Lena Nelson Dooley. “Beneath a Michigan Moon” struck a chord with me because of Ava’s illness and her battle with physical limitations and isolation, along with her release of self-sufficiency. “The Disappearing Ship” recalled one of my favorite fictional characters, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, as Norma contended with her gender standing in the way of practicing medicine and also with a missing treasure. Each tale offers an uplifting narrative that speaks to our heart’s desire to love and to be loved, to find our true identity in Christ.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
 

Blog Stops

 

 

Among the Reads, February 21

The Power of Words, February 21

Godly Book ReviewsFebruary 22

Simple Harvest Reads, February 22 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Bibliophile Reviews, February 23

For the Love of Literature, February 23

Just the Write Escape, February 24

Carla Loves To Read, February 24

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 25

Book by Book, February 25

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, February 26

EmpowerMoms, February 26

Back Porch Reads, February 27

Through the Fire Blogs, February 27

Blossoms and Blessings, February 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 28

Mary Hake, February 28

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, March 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 1

Connie’s History ClassroomMarch 2

Blogging With Carol, March 2

Texas Book-aholic, March 3

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 3

KarenSueHadleyMarch 4

Janices book reviewsMarch 4

Carpe Diem, March 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 5

A Baker’s Perspective, March 6

BigreadersiteMarch 6

 

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection, a sterling silver charm of the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, and a souvenir pictorial book of some of the Great Lakes lighthouse!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/db9a/the-great-lakes-lighthouse-brides-collection-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Review
5 Stars
Secrets Abound
Ladies of Intrigue - Michelle Griep

As soon as I heard about Michelle Griep’s “Ladies of Intrigue”, I was drawn in, and I jumped at the chance to review it. Three stories from the nineteenth century, tinged with mystery? Sign me up! Despite the brevity of the stories, each one had a twisting denouement and a swift but satisfying conclusion. They could all have easily been novel-length, but as it was, the rapid pace assured that there was no lagging to the plot. “The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady”, set on the Cornish coast in 1815, reminded me of Abigail Wilson’s “In the Shadow of Croft Towers”, so readers of this short story may enjoy that novel and vice versa. From there Griep takes us to 1862 Minnesota in “The Doctor’s Lady”, which was the least mysterious of the three but full of other conflict, including that between the Indians and the United States during the Sioux Uprising and the dangers of being a single woman during that time. My favorite, however, was “A House of Secrets”, which differed from the previous two stories in both title format and writing style. This last tale was written more poetically and featured characters from the upper class in Minnesota in 1890, and it held the most secrets. Each narrative focused on the characters’ need to trust and rely on God and His provision. It was interesting to trace how women’s roles and societal expectations changed over the decades through the timeline arc of this collection. Historical fiction and romance fans will enjoy these stories, which combine love, the conventions of the past, and the necessity of faith—both then and now.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and CelebrateLit and was under no obligation to post a review.