Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Girl Who Could See blog tour and GIVEAWAY



Description:
All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?
Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.
Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.


About the Author: As the daughter of missionaries, KARA SWANSON spent sixteen years of her young life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the speculative genre and was soon penning stories herself. At seventeen, she independently published her debut fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. Her short story is included in Kathy Ide’s 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom. She has published many articles, including one in the Encounter magazine, and she received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer award in 2015




My Review: 5 stars!
This book is very different from any other Ive read to date and I have to say that I loved it!  The cover caught my eye the moment I saw it, and I was even more intrigued after reading the cover blurb.  Someone who could see what others could not?  An imaginary friend thats real?  Color me curious!  I couldnt resist diving into this story and once I did, I read it in one sitting!  

Im not always a fan of books written from the first-person perspective, but Ms. Swanson did an excellent job!  I loved her writing and was actually pulled in from the authors note at the beginning!  I hadnt even read the opening line and just knew it was going to be a great book!  I enjoyed Ferns perspective and actually found myself laughing a time or two, at her sarcastic comments.  I dont want to say much and chance giving anything away, but I do have to say that I really enjoyed how Ms. Swanson created this fantasy world that seemed completely legit.  I could easily picture everything Fern saw and often felt I was right there beside her, racing against time and struggling to make sense of everything that was happening.  I felt as though I had made a new friend by the time I turned the final page.  And I can honestly say that I was so absorbed in this story that when I looked up after finishing it, I was a little surprised to find myself on my couch and not standing in Ferns kitchen, or seeing the destruction that had been wrought.  And I loved that!  If a book can hold my attention so completely, it was definitely a good book, in my opinion, and probably worth a reread or two.

My only negativecomment, which is also a compliment to the author, is that I wanted it to be longer!  I know its listed as a novella,but I always want the books I so enjoy to be longer!  I didnt want it to end!  Though Ms. Swanson did an excellent job with the ending, too!  At first, I was pretty upset, because I hadnt realized I had one more chapter to go.  By the time I finished the final chapter, it was all good and I was grinning, despite knowing I now had to figure out how to be a functioning member of society again.  I dont know how anyone could expect me to, [insert useful life skill here], after having my heart ripped out by a fictional character and then returned!  But, unfortunately, I know they do, so Ive pulled myself together and am planning to start a petition for another book from this amazing author!

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by!  If you'd like, you can also find my interview with Kara, here.

To celebrate her tour, Kara is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
And be sure to stop by the other stops on this blog tour (listed below) to earn extra entries!





June 29: Genesis 5020
July 1: remembrancy
July 4: Book by Book
July 6: Baker Kella
July 9: A path of joy
July 10: Henry Happens



P.S.
You can also purchase a copy of the book on Amazon for $2.99 or read for free with Kindle Unlimited!  Just thought I'd throw that out there.  :)






Friday, July 7, 2017

My Review: Deep Waters



"Bad stuff happens.  Doesn't matter where you work or live.  It's just life.  We don't get to escape it."  - Shepherd Lightman



Description:
Thirty feet underwater when her oxygen tank fails, Caley Flynn fears it's been sabotaged--and she'll be the next to die. Her intern's already dead, her home breached and something's amiss at her Florida marine-life rescue center...but no one believes she's in danger. Except Shepherd Lightman. When Caley's brother asked him to check on her, the marine turned security specialist hoped it would be a case of calming down a nervous veterinarian. But the threats are all too real. Rescuing Caley and remaining alive isn't easy, but resisting his boss's sister is where the real danger lies. Because with his heart in the balance, he'll do whatever it takes to stop a killer who's desperate to keep a secret hidden.

About the Author:
Jessica R. Patch lives in the mid-south where she pens inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. When she's not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her watching way too much Netflix with her family and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she'll probably never cook.





My Review: 5 stars!
Ive recently become a big fan of Ms. Patchs and was SO excited to find out this book was the first in a new series!  I had high expectations for this story and can happily say that it exceeded them all!  Though after reading it, I now want to start at the beginning and read all of her books over again, while I anxiously await the next book in the series!  

"It's in the deep waters you really learn to trust God. 
You also have nowhere to go if the boat sinks. 
I believe I remember a young disciple who got out in the deep and started to sink.  
Seems Someone was instantly there to grab his hand, to keep him from going under."  - Miss Whittle

Ms. Patch did an excellent job with this story, as always.  She had me pulled into the mystery immediately and trying to guess whodunitthrough the entire book.  I was befuddled to the very end and definitely wasnt ready for it to be over, though I was anxious to find out if I was right (I wasnt).  I also loved the banter between Caley and Shepard and found myself grinning like a loon more than once.  I very much enjoyed getting to know these two characters and definitely wasnt ready to say, goodbyeas I turned the final page.  They stepped right off the page and became friends during these 200+ pages.  I loved Caleys strength and determination, even when she was scared spit-less.  I enjoyed seeing her step outside of the shell she had built around herself and learn how to fully live again.  And I think it would be almost impossible not to fall for Shepard. For the big man determined to protect Caley, regardless of the cost.  And the little boy deep inside, still expecting to be found wanting and be abandoned again.  He is so strong and confident, but also a bit awkward too, especially with physical contact.”  I so enjoyed following them through this story, as they chased answers to the mystery, but also too their personal questions and sometimes found them in unexpected places.

I highly recommend this book!  And am impatiently waiting for the next one!


Thanks so much for taking the time to read my review!  It'd definitely one of my shorter ones!  Haha!  Maybe it offsets how long my last one was!  Anyway, I hope you'll check out this book!  I was scrolling through my Kindle app, trying to decide what quotes I wanted to use and hadn't realized I'd highlighted so many!  I need to learn how to make memes, I think . . . .

Have a fabulous day!






Tuesday, July 4, 2017

My Review: On Love's Gentle Shore


Happy Independence Day, everyone!  And happy release day to Liz Johnson!  On Love's Gentle Shore officially releases today and I can't wait for others to read it so we can all chat about how fantastic it is!  And how we all now want to visit PEI!  :)

Description:
Fifteen years after she left Prince Edward Island, Natalie O'Ryan had no plans to return. But when her fiance, music producer Russell Jacobs, books their wedding in her hometown and schedules a summer at Rose's Red Door Inn, she sets out to put the finishing touches on the perfect wedding. But she can't possibly prepare for a run-in with Justin Kane--the best friend she left behind all those years ago after promising to stay.

Justin's never forgotten Natalie or the music career he always dreamed of pursuing. He'd been prepared to follow her off the island until his dad died and he was left to run the family dairy farm. He's done the best he can with the life that was thrust upon him--but with Natalie back in the picture, he begins to realize just how much joy he's been missing.

After Natalie's reception venue falls through, she must scramble to find an alternative, and the only option seems to be a barn on Justin's property. As they work together to get the dilapidated building ready for the party, Natalie and Justin discover the groundwork for forgiveness--and that there may be more than an old friendship between them.


About the Author:
Liz Johnson fell in love with Prince Edward Island the first time she set foot on it. When she's not plotting her next trip to the island, she works as director of marketing for a Christian radio network. She is the author of several novels including The Red Door Inn and Where Two Hearts Meet, a New York Times bestselling novella, and a handful of short stories. She makes her home in Tucson, Arizona. 



My Review: (are 10 or 15 stars allowed?)
Okay, I just have to say it - I loved this book!!!  It was fantastic!  Im always a huge fan of Liz Johnsons books, but this one may very well be my favorite!  I was so excited for the opportunity to return to Prince Edward Island and the dear characters Ms. Johnson has created there.  From the quirky Ms. Aretha and Jack, to Marie and Seth, to Caden and Adam, I couldnt wait to see how their stories would continue and meet those who would spend time at the Red Door Inn that started it all.

As always, Ms. Johnson has done a superb job with this story!  I love the unique descriptions she uses and how her words so thoroughly draw me into the story.  I could almost see red cliffs, smell the sea spray as Natalie ventured around the island, and the descriptions of Cadens baking still makes me drool!  But more than that, I felt connected to these characters.  I laughed with them and found myself sharing their heartache, too.  I felt their emotions as though they were dear friends, telling me their stories as tears slid down both our faces, or laughter rang in the air.  I fell in love with these characters and the island they inhabit and I very much want to visit PEI some day and walk down the beach, imagining each of them there, sharing the heart of their home with me.  I loved getting to reconnect with the characters from the previous books (which you dont have to read first, but I very highly recommend!) and seeing their stories continue within this new one.  There is a joy within the pages of this book, despite the sometimes difficult topics it addresses, and I smile just looking at the cover, remembering the story found there.  I didnt want to put it down and I definitely didnt want it to end!  I was almost late, because I was determined to finish the last few pages and then left with tears in my eyes at the ending.  It was so perfect!  And if this is the final book in the series (I dont know if there are plans for others or not) then it ended well, though I definitely will not complain about another book!

As already suggested above, I adored these characters!  Natalie ORyan was definitely something of a surprise and I fell in love with her right away.  She is someone Id just like to hug and promise that she is wanted, she is enough.  Much of the story focuses on her learning those very things and I so enjoyed watching her come out of her protective shell and begin truly living again.  I almost cheered a time or two, when the spitfire hiding away came out and lit into Justin!  I loved seeing Natalie be herself and figure out who she is behind the facade shed perfected.  

"Loving someone is kind of like offering forgiveness. 
There's no guarantee that they're not going to hurt you again.
You can't promise perfection. 
But you choose to love and you choose to forgive,
because living in fear of being hurt again is just a facsimile of life."
- Marie Sloane

And Justin Kane is an excellent hero for Natalie!  He didnt put up with any of her attitude and gave back as good as he got.  I loved how he prodded her on, determined that she be herself with him and calling her out on her dishonesty.  And the dialogue between them!  I found myself laughing out loud more than once and wishing I could be there to see Natalies face when he said something completely outrageous!  I also loved the love between them.  Though they havent seen each other in years and there was quite a bit of misunderstanding in that time, there was still a palpable tension that slowly grew throughout the story.  And goodness did they work to earn that ending!  I was alternately cheering them on and bemoaning the idea that it might not work out the way I had hoped.  There were a few times that I was a bit concerned that the authors idea of a happy ending wouldnt match mine.  And I couldnt resist sharing a happy tear or two with the characters as I turned the final page.
Overall, I loved this story and would happily give it more than 5 stars, if they would let me!  


Thank you so much if you took the time to read my review!  I hope you'll consider checking out this wonderful book, and the other two in the series!  As always, there are links below. :)

Have a great and safe Independence Day!







Friday, June 30, 2017

My Review: Then There Was You



Description:
Paige McAllister needs to do something drastic. Her boyfriend can't even commit to living in the same country, her promised promotion is dead on arrival and the simultaneous loss of her brother and her dream of being a concert violinist has kept her playing life safe and predictable for six years. Things need to change. A moment of temporary insanity finds her leaving her life in Chicago to move to Sydney, Australia. There she finds herself, against many of her convictions, as a logistics planner for one of Australia's biggest churches, and on a collision course with her boss's son.

Josh Tyler fronts a top-selling worship band and is in demand all over the world. But, in the past, his failed romantic relationships almost destroyed both his reputation and his family. He's determined to never risk it happening again. The last thing he needs is some American girl tipping his ordered life upside down. Especially one who despises everything he's ever worked for and manages to push every button he has.

When Josh and Paige are thrown together to organize his band's next tour, the sparks fly. But can they find a way to bridge the differences that pull them apart? Or will they choose the safety and security of what they know over taking a chance on something that will require them to risk everything?


About the Author:
Kara Isaac lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She is the author of Close To You, a RITA Award Double Finalist, and Can't Help Falling, an RT Review Top Pick. When she's not chasing three adorable but spirited little people, she spends her time writing horribly bad first drafts and wishing you could get Double Stuf Oreos in New Zealand. She loves to connect at karaisaac.com, on Facebook at Kara Isaac - Author and Twitter @KaraIsaac 

My Review: 5 stars!

Where do I even start?!  This book was amazing!  Truly!  Im not just saying that because I love this authors work, though there is that, but because I really did love it!  I had such high expectations for this book and Ms. Isaac surpassed them all!  Im not always a big fan of contemporary romance, though I do have a few authors whose books I will excitedly snatch up at the bookstore and Kara Isaac has quickly had her name added to the list.  I enjoyed her first two books, Close to Youand Cant Help Falling,but I can honestly say that this self-published novel is probably my favorite of hers!  Before the self-publishedpart puts you off, this book has been carefully edited and is beautifully written.  If youre like me and cant stand typos or have seen some of the more uniqueself-published books, never fear!  I dont believe I could have enjoyed this book more, unless I could have traveled to Australia myself!

"At its core, the gospel is offensive.  We all are all sinners.  We all fall short of God.
No matter how good a person we are, how nice a life we lead, we all need Jesus
to bridge the gap for us.  No exceptions.  I'd be more worried if we weren't
offending anyone.  Then we'd have a real problem."
- Josh Tyler

As always, I loved Ms. Isaacs writing!  She drew me in from the very first sentence and I couldnt resist stepping into this adventure with Paige.  I enjoyed every awkward and laugh-out-loud moment, mixed in with the sweet and sigh-worthy ones.  I loved getting to see Sydney, Australia through the eyes of an American like myself, as well as through Joshs eyes.  Ms. Isaac definitely hit her stride with this story, writing about something she obviously knows well (or maybe thats lots of research) and introducing me to a place Ive often dreamt of visiting.  I appreciated the flubs and mistakes Paige makes along the way, while also laughing with Josh, because I could see myself doing the exact same thing.  The dialogue is also great!  I adored the inside jokes and even the misunderstandings.  Also, Joshs accent . . . can we just take a moment to appreciate Australian accents?  Because I love hearing them and I could almost hearhis accent while I was reading.  That was maybethe best part for me . . . okay, not really.  But a definite perk!

Ive already commented that Paige McAllister makes a few mistakes . . . she might be considered a walking disaster now and then, though she tries really hard!  And I absolutely adored her!  She is a lady I could totally see myself being friends with and I cheered her on the whole way!  I loved her strength, her determination to face the hard things, her ability to laugh at herself, and how realistic she is.  She struggles in this story.  She falls down and has to work to get back up.  She has some prejudice she has to work through, and decisions to make and I loved walking beside her through those things.  And laughing about the drop bears.

"Someone else was managing the logistics of this relationship and He had impeccable credentials."

Josh Tyler is an interesting hero.  In a good way.  Hes different.  He comes off as a bit self-righteous at first and its apparent he could use an attitude adjustment, but despite that, I still liked him.  I appreciated seeing Paige and his home country through his eyes.  And I enjoyed getting to know him and learning why he behaves the way he does.  His life isnt perfect.  Hes made mistakes and the regrets still follow him, coloring every decision, every conclusion.  I loved his family and the way they dont take any of his guff, but give it right back.  Especially his sister.  I really hope she has her own story at some point!  And I do have to mention that he definitely redeems himself at the end.  Such a good ending!

Overall, I give this book a standing ovation and beg for an encore!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it and will consider checking out the book for yourself!  I'm honestly not exaggerating - this book is definitely going on the list of my favorite reads of the year!  :)

Have a wonderful day!









Friday, June 23, 2017

Author Interview with Stephenia H. McGee

I'm so excited to host another author interview on my blog!  I don't do these nearly as often as I would like and they are always so much fun!  Today, Stephenia H. McGee has graciously allowed me to pester her with questions and I can't wait for you all to get to know her, too!  So, without further ado, meet Ms. McGee!


Stephenia H. McGee is a wife, mother of two very active little boys, author, and lover of all things historical. Stephenia currently lives in Mississippi with her husband and sons where she writes stories of faith, redemption and life steeped in the South.







(I'm not going to try and pretend I didn't send these questions a couple weeks ago)
To start off, some questions about yourself:

Your bio says you have two little boys, who I’m sure keep you on your toes!  What is something you enjoy doing in your undoubtedly rare moments of spare time?
I do, and they are very active! Whenever I find a spare moment, I like to sneak out onto the screened in back porch with a book and read while lounging on the outdoor couch. That’s my quiet and relax time. I also have a beautiful claw-foot tub that I like to soak in while reading.
That sounds lovely!  I love reading outside every chance I get in the summer!

What are three words you would use to describe yourself?
Tenacious, creative, dreamer.

Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
I’m highly introverted. Myers Briggs personality test said 89%. Maybe that’s why I spend so much time with the people on the page… =)
Haha!  I can't say much, seeing as how I spend so much time with fictional people.  :)

How do you juggle writing with two little ones demanding your attention?
It’s a lot easier now that I do this full time and they are in school. When they were younger, writing really only happened whenever they were down for a nap or playing with their daddy. Now that they are both in school, I am able to work from about 8 – 3 (except for the two hours a day I teach a fiction class at a local academy).
Wow!  That's actually a lot more time than I expected you would have!  So writing is basically a full time job for you!

When did you first discover a love for writing?
I wrote my first story from a first grade spelling list. It was from the perspective of a pig on the Mayflower.
That sounds like a great read!  Maybe you'll have to rewrite it some day.  ;)

What is your favorite genre to read?
That’s actually a really hard one. I read everything. The only genre that doesn’t grab me too much is science fiction. Obviously, I love historical fiction and read a lot of that. But I also read suspense, fantasy, contemporary, speculative, and anything else that snagged my attention.
I'm glad I'm not the only one with eclectic reading tastes!  I do have to agree about Sci-Fi - maybe we're just not finding the right books?

Do you have any go-to authors that you just have to read their books?
I read everything by Tamara Leigh and Brandon Sanderson as soon as it hits the shelf.
I LOVE Tamara Leigh's books!  I've not heard of Brandon Sanderson, though . . . another name to add to the list.  :)

Being that we’re chocolate people around here, I have to ask - what is your favorite kind of chocolate/way to eat chocolate?
I adore chocolate covered strawberries. My boys know that for my birthday, Mother’s Day (or anything else I can convince them of) that Momma’s favorite treat is chocolate covered strawberries.
I bummed this picture from Google - don't they look yummy?!  Now I want some!  This is obviously a terrible question.  ;)

Now to switch gears a little bit, some questions about your books/writing:

As someone who hasn’t had the pleasure of reading any of your books yet, (they’re in my ever-teetering TBR pile!) is there one you’d recommend I start with?
I have to be honest, In His Eyes is my favorite. It’s a stand-alone so it’s a good place to start if you are new to my books. But if you are looking for a series, then I’d go for The Whistle Walk, which has been my most popular.


This book is on my Kindle, waiting for me to find a few spare moments!  I can't wait to dive in!  Look for a review to come! 

In His Eyes back cover copy:

Her heart sought shelter. Her soul found home.

 
Ella Whitaker rescues a newborn from the dying arms of a woman of ill repute and at long last she has someone to love. In need of a wet nurse, she arrives at Belmont Plantation just as Federal soldiers demand to speak to the owner. Thinking quickly, Ella masquerades as a Yankee officer's widow in order to have a roof over her head and a home for the child. 


Major Westley Remington has dedicated his life to serving his country. The Civil War has divided his family, torn his thoughts of glory, and left him with a wound that may never heal. Westley returns home on medical furlough to settle his father's estate at Belmont Plantation, only to find his home is being run by a fiery and independent woman--one many believe to be his wife. Now he is faced with a conflict he's never been trained to fight, and one she has yet to conquer.


If you were just meeting me and I’d never heard of your books, what would you tell me about them?
My books are stories of faith, love, and life in the Deep South. They all currently take place in actual Mississippi plantation homes, all of which you could visit.
I'm intrigued!  Oh, Work, why must you cut into my reading time?



Your books all appear to have a strong Civil War theme - what drew you to this particular time period?  
This was a very tumultuous time in our history as a nation. There were (and still are) strong feelings associated with the war. It is during this time of hardship that a lot of women had to discover their inner strength, rely on God and sharpen their faith, and fight for love and the things they held dear. All of these elements made fertile ground for growing stories.
(I can't add anything to this)

I love the tagline for your new book, In His Eyes!  “Her heart sought shelter.  Her soul found home.  Sometimes it’s the deception that leads to the truth.”  It just makes me want to dive in and learn more!  Can you tell me about the inspiration for this story?
I prayed over the book for several months before I began to write it. I felt like I had a pretty clear theme for the story. This book was going to look at who we are. Who are we in our own eyes? In the eyes of others? Who are we really to God? Ella emerged first with her personality and struggles, and the rest of the story came quickly after.
Okay, I love this!  I personally don't know anyone who hasn't considered this question at one point or another in their lives!  I can't wait to find out where these questions (and their answers) take your characters!  Are we positive I have to go to work tomorrow?

Do you have inspiration photos for Ella and Westley? (if so, can I borrow them?)
I do have some for Westley. For Ella, I have something even better. I have behind the scenes pictures from the cover shoot with Taylor, the lovely model who plays Ella.





Okay, Westley is very nice to look at . . .(rummages for a fan) ;)
And I love the photos of you and "Ella"!  That's so cool, that you got to meet her!  And she makes wearing that dress look so effortless!  :)


What do you hope readers with take away from In His Eyes?
I think we all struggle with feelings of inadequacy at times. Sometimes we forget who we are and whose we are, and it can lead to all manner of insecurities. In In His Eyes, Ella struggles with these things as well. Writing this book was a journey for me, one where God gently led me to discover some important truths along with Ella, and He encouraged me to never forget that no matter what else goes on in life—good or bad—my identity is always grounded in Him. It’s my hope that there is a reader out there somewhere that He has the same message for and that this story can help point them toward Him.

What is one of the most unique/odd questions someone has asked you about being an author or your books? 
I once had a man at a big literary event tell me that he didn’t read “pablum” (a soft baby food) and asked me if I thought there was really a market for such stuff. Since he was referring to a group of female authors’ fiction (mostly romance, which we all know there is a rather large market for), none of us were really sure what to say to him.
Haha!  Well, that was rather awkward . . . and he sounds like a bit of a snob!  I hope he picks up one of your books one day and realizes how wrong he was! 

What are some ways your readers can support and encourage you, both personally and as an author?
It really means a lot when readers will leave a review. It doesn’t have to be long, just a line or two will do, but it really makes a difference. One of the biggest highlights of my career, though, is when readers will email me and tell me that one of my books touched, encouraged, or ministered to them in some way. That’s such a huge blessing, and I can’t even express how much it means to me. Things like that really encourage me on the days when writing is hard. I also have a faithful readers team on Facebook that will pray for me and encourage me throughout the journey of each book, and I’m very thankful for them.
I want everyone to take note that Stephenia just gave us all permission to bombard our favorite authors with fan mail!  Go forth and share your enjoyment of their stories with others through reviews and with them through emails, Facebook, or "snail mail"!

Is there a question you would’ve liked me to ask that I didn’t?
Nope. These are great questions! =) I would like to share a few links, though, if that’s ok.
Of course!  I love links and their helpfulness!  :)

For In His Eyes, here are the Amazon and Goodreads links:
And my website is www.StepheniaMcGee.com

Any closing comments?
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today! These were some great questions and I had a lot of fun.   

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my slew of questions, Stephenia!  I'm so glad you were free for an interview and I can wait to start your books!