Monday, July 31, 2017

A Name Unknown blog tour, plus GIVEAWAY!

There are a couple quotes I'd love to share, but I don't want to spoil anything or ruin the fun of finding them yourself, so I'll refrain . . . this time.

Shes Out to Steal His Name.
Will He Steal Her Heart Instead?

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpocketsnow they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemarys challenge of a lifetime comes when shes assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a familys history, their very name?

As Europe moved closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter cant help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crownso he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well- credentialed historian, Peter believes shes the right person to help him dig through his familys past.

When danger and suspicion continue to mount, though, and both realize theyre in a race against time to discover the truthabout Peters past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

About the Author:
Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, shes homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of over a dozen historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novelsto offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. You can learn more about her and her stories at

My Review: 4 stars
A Name Unknown is the first book in a new series by one of my favorite authors and I was so looking forward to reading it!  Ive very much enjoyed Ms. Whites previous book, since first discovering her Culper Ring series, and have been eagerly anticipating this one.  A heroine who happens to be a thief, looking to steal a mans name?  Yes, please!  I just had to know how that could possibly work out!  I can happily say that I enjoyed this book, though there were a couple things I mightve changed.
As always, Ms. Whites writing is excellent!  I love her writing style, the way she describes things, how she brings her characters to life, and the unique story lines always found between the covers of her books.  I do confess that it took me a bit to really get into the story, but once I did, I found myself rushing to the end.  I dont believe Ive read any books set in England just before the start of WWI and I was fascinated by the history and the rising tensions regarding ones nationality.  Its obvious the amount of research the author put into the story and I loved the historical background and details.  And I quite liked the characters Ms. White introduced in this story.  From Peters friends, to Rosemarys family, to some of the towns people.  Im very curious as to whos story will be next and am hoping at least a few of these delightful people will be back!

Rosemary Gresham is definitely a unique heroine!  A thief, tasked with learning where Peter Holsteins loyalty lies, she masquerades as a librarian.  Despite her questionable employment, I liked Rosemary from the first.  Her love for her family is obvious within just a page or two and I admired her desire to see them cared for, even if it meant doing something that began to rub on her conscience.  I had to laugh at her quick wit and occasionally quick temper, as well as smile over her defense of those who cant defend themselves.  Rosemary is a survivor with a cynical outlook on life, until meeting Peter, someone who seems to be a genuinely kind person.  I loved watching her forced out of her element and having to adjust her preconceived notions.

Peter Holstein is an excellent hero for Rosemary.  He is patient, kind, a willing listener, and someone who sees her for who she truly is.  He refuses to let her hide herself.  They are both very observant, occupational hazards, and note things about the other that they would generally prefer to keep hidden.  I loved his quirkiness, his tendency to get distracted and completely ignore everything going on around him, his faith, and even his faltering speech, for its something that has made him a compassionate person.  He defies Rosemarys expectations of the upper-class, while she helps him see the world and his writing from another perspective.  

My favorite part of this story was either the romance between Rosemary and Peter, (which is so sweet!) or the faith woven throughout.  Peter truly tries to live his faith and it plays into every decision he makes, and how he treats those around him.  There is wisdom found within the pages of this story that touched my heart.

My only negative comment was that I found part of the ending a bit contrived, with too many characters in play and a couple belated plot twists that I didnt think necessary to tie up loose ends.  Despite that, I did love the final chapter and was laughing and smiling as I turned the last page.

You can purchase a copy here.

As I'm sure you'd like me to just get on with the giveaway details, I'll put you out of your misery now.  :)

Ms. White is giving away a grand prize of a paperback copy of A Name Unknown, along with 2 dozen cookies!!  Click below to enter!  And be sure to leave me a comment to gain 9 extra entries!

And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour (listed below) and collect entries from each one! 
July 20: Genesis 5020
July 21: Pause for Tales
July 22: Bigreadersite
July 23: Vicky Sluiter
July 26: Carpe Diem
July 27: cherylbbookblog
July 27: Splashes of Joy
July 31: Cafinated Reads
July 31: Artistic Nobody
Oh, and one last thing!   One of Rosemary Gresham's favorite cookies is a ginger fairing (I'm wondering if they're  the ones pictured above) and we have the recipe for them!  So it's listed below, as well!  If you make them, please let me know how they turn out!  I've not had the chance to try them, yet.
Ginger Fairings:
100 grams butter, cold and diced
225 grams all-purpose flour
¼ heaping teaspoon salt
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
2 heaping teaspoons baking soda
1 heaping teaspoon ginger
2 heaping teaspoons mixed spice
100 grams superfine (caster) sugar
4 heaping tablespoons golden syrup

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a stand mixer. Add the butter and beat until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Stir in sugar.

In a small saucepan, warm the golden syrup until it’s clarified a bit; stir into the flour mixture until a dough forms. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and put on prepared baking sheets a few inches apart.

Bake 8-10 minutes, until golden. Cool a few minutes on the trays and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Friday, July 28, 2017

My Review: His Steadfast Love

"'Isn't that just like God,' the old woman had said with a rusty chuckle, 'to take a nasty-looking green worm and turn it into something so beautiful, giving it flight to soar closer to Him on the wings of the wind?'" - Miss Lilly

She's bent on fun.
He's bent on faith.
'Til true love bridges the gap.

Cat O'Bryen is the prodigal daughter unhappy with God. First, the father with whom she reconciled dies of cancer and now her twin sister and best friend marries, leaving Cat at home with a newlywed mother, her new husband, and a little brother. But when Cat moves in with a roommate of questionable morals, her family is worried, certain shes on a path that could damage her faith forever.

Reluctant to get involved with a woman like the one who destroyed his life, ex-Navy SEAL Pastor Chase Griffin steers clear of the attraction he feels for Cat OBryen. Until her family begs him to take her under his wing, hoping he can draw her back into the fold. But when the draw she has on him proves too strong to resist, he must rely on the strength of God to offer a friendship as steady and strong as the God whose love is wooing her home.

 About the Author:
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston series, the Winders of Change series, and The Heart of San Francisco series. The recipient of seventeen Romance Writers of America and other awards, Lessman was chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2011 and 2012 Readers' Choice Awards. She resides in Missouri with her family. Learn more at

My Review: 5 stars
I know I say this a lot, but I just loved this book!  Ive been anxiously awaiting Cats book since reading Isle Of Hopethe first time and then after reading Love Everlastingand learning it would be Cat and Chases story just made me all the more ready to find out how the last OBryen would finally meet her match.  And oh-my-goodness!  It was SO worth the wait!  I devoured this book, groaning loudly any time I had to put it down, and picking it up again at the first opportunity.  Julie Lessman already held a place on my list of favorite authors and she definitely outdid herself on this one!  It maybe my favorite of hers yet . . . . Ill probably have to read them all again, before I can make such a decision.  

As always, I adored Ms. Lessmans writing style!  When she first said she was going to write a contemporary novel, I confess to being a bit unsure how that would work.  I loved her historical books, of course, but just couldnt imagine her style as a contemporary story.  But, happily, I was wrong!  Her contemporary stories are excellent as well and I love how she kept her style the same, just changed the setting.  She drew me in from the very first line and held my attention throughout, keeping me wondering what was coming next for these characters Id fallen in love with.  I love how honest her writing is, drawing me into the characterslives and emotions, and the unique way she has of describing things.  I also love how her books always revolve around a big family and have dual story lines going at the same time, keeping me up to date with the characters from the last book, while Im getting to know the new ones.  

Catherine CatOBryen is definitely a unique heroine and one I immediately connected with.  Shes been known to be a bitof a drama queen and she never shies away from a challenge.  Shes a daredevil with a cautious streak and she wants to experience more of life, but also isnt willing to break a promise she made to her siblings.  I confess that there were a couple times I wanted to shake her for the decisions she was making, but at the same time, I understood where she was coming from.  I appreciated how Ms. Lessman chose to write her struggle with faith, as it was something else I connected with.  Her questions and doubts echoed some that Ive also faced and that made her all the more realistic to me.

And Chase Griffin.  Am I allowed to sigh over fictional characters that are already spoken for?  As an ex-Navy SEAL-turned-pastor, he is definitely more than a little swoony.  Add an addiction to Coldstone and the heroine and I might need a fan or two for this one.  I liked Chase from the two previous books and he is definitely a guy Id turn to for advice, but I just fell in love with him here.  His dedication, his friendships with Jack and Sam, his muscles, his determination, his care for Cat.  He has his own struggles too, of course, and to be honest, they made him even more lovable.  He is a bit of a wounded soul and I confess to a tear or two, when I finally learned his story.  
Despite all of the things mentioned above, I have to say that my very favorite part of Ms. Lessmans books is always the spiritual depth I find in them.  She doesnt sugar-coat things or try to make excuses, but she uses difficult situations as teaching moments or opportunities to encourage both the characters and this reader.  I find her books challenge me.  They cause me to stop and think, and sometimes reevaluate how I view things.  They might bring me to tears, or point out things in my life Id prefer to ignore, but they also point me to the Truth.  Some may find them preachy,but I love it!    

My final comment is that as much as I dreaded the ending of this book and also this series, it was SO good!  Definitely worth a couple sighs and soggy smiles, courtesy of the OBryens.

As always, thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you'll check out this fantastic book (and it's predecessors) and maybe give it a go!  

Have a complaint-free day!  (something I'm working on)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

My Review: Heart on the Line

I just love this cover!  I know you can't see it very well (or maybe at all) here, but there's a swirl of Morse code looping across the cover and I'd really like to know if it actually says something . . . where are Grace and Amos to translate for me when I need them?

Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can't let the villain she believes responsible for her father's death release his wrath in Harper's Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she's ever known.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship--dare he believe, courtship?--has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

About the Author:
Christy Award finalist and winner of the ACFW Carol Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, and Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes Christian historical romance for Bethany House, believing the world needs more happily-ever-afters.  She is an avid cross-stitcher and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children.

I "procured" (read: bummed) this photo from Karen's website.  I tried to use the "official" photo, but I liked this one too well. 

My Review: 4 stars
Okay, a new book from a favorite author that promises to be interesting - how could I possibly resist?!  And better yet, why would I?  Im a huge fan of Ms. Witemeyers books and am always super excited to read them and this one was no different!  I so enjoyed the first book in this series and couldnt wait to get back to Harpers Station and reconnect with the ladies (and 2 gents) there!  

As always, Ms. Witemeyer manages to take a story line that might seem tired or overused and makes a brand new and unique one!  I cant recall ever reading a book about telegraph operators and I loved the concept of a couple meeting on the wires.  It almost reminded me of a very early version of online dating or something of the like.  I was fascinated, to say the least!  And with her now familiar style, Ms. Witemeyer drew me right into the lives of these characters, making me care about them and rush to find out how their story would end.  I enjoyed her details and descriptions and how she tailors them to each perspective, with Amosbeing a bit more wordy than say Helens, or even Graces at times.  My only mildly negative comment is that I was a bit disappointed in the mystery, knowing part of the outcome right away, as soon as a particular character was introduced.  And I did find the conclusion of Graces trials a bit anticlimactic, though she did make up for it in the ending that had me smiling and sighing.

I loved Grace Mallory and Amos Bledsoe from the first and was cheering for them the entire story!  Their relationship was so sweet, as well as having a couple steamymoments.  I loved that Amos isnt exactly the typical Western hero and how that actually worked to his advantage.  He is kind and caring, attentive to Grace and definitely protective, despite knowing he cant physically best any of the men in Harpers Station, he still does his best to be Graces hero.  His stature also causes him to be quick witted and improvise with what he can do, and I quite enjoyed his unique adventures.  And I appreciated how Grace was able to see the great guy behind the glasses and fastidious manner.  She fell in love with the quick wit, stories, and kindness evident in the man on the other end of the wire and looked to find the same in the man who came to ride to her rescue.  I loved that.  And their romance.  It was so well written and if I had an ebook copy, there would be quite a few highlights marking the sweet things Amos says and does.  Definitely worth a reread and a few sighs along the way.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an unique historical novel!

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my review!  I hope you'll consider checking out this book, as well as Ms. Witemeyer's other ones!  Many of which help comprise my very long list of favorite books!  As always, links are below if you'd like to learn more!
Have a fantastic day!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Girl Who Could See blog tour and GIVEAWAY

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

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.  :)