Friday, May 19, 2017

To Win Her Favor


To Win Her Favor is Tamera Alexander's latest novel in her Belle Mead series. While I enjoyed the book very much, I feel I should put a disclaimer here. Throughout the book the author makes use of the n-word as it refers to black people as well as Irish. I realize that during the time this book was set, it was perfectly acceptable to do so, however, I do not condone the use of that word nor do I use it myself. All that aside, it truly is a beautiful story and I hope you will give it a try.

Maggie Linden has lost so much to the war, her brothers, her boyfriend, and now she may be losing her home. Linden Downs is a beautiful property and in it's prime was known for breading some of the best thorough breds around. Maggie has a dream of restoring it to it's former glory, that is if her horse Bourbon Belle wins the Peyton Stakes race. Maggie loves to ride and has trained the horse since it was a foal, she knows she can do this, that Bourbon Belle can win, but when her jockey and his family run away to save their lives, Maggie isn't sure what she can do. She believes in her heart that Bourbon Belle was meant to be a champion, she just isn't sure how to go about it since society doesn't believe a woman can race and on top of all this, her jockey has moved away.

Gilbert Linden loves his daughter, Maggie, more than life itself. He knows he is terminally ill and with the farm in foreclosure and due to go up for auction in the next two weeks, he's desperate to find a way to secure not only Maggie's future but the future of Linden Downs. When he meets Cullen McGrath he believes him to be an answer to his prayers. Although he is Irish, he seems to be a man of character. Gilbert makes Cullen an offer he can't refuse, the opportunity to buy Linden Downs for less than its worth. The catch? He has to marry Maggie. At first Cullen thinks the man must be joking but after having a serious heart to heart he realizes he's serious!  Being Irish, Cullen knows that the opportunity to buy land, much less land like Linden Downs' 400 acres, is going to be few and far between. He's just not sure about marrying a woman to get it. No matter how pretty Maggie might be.

To Win Her Favor is a beautiful love story about finding true love in the face of adversity. Maggie wants to save her land and race her horse, but society makes it impossible for a woman to do either of those things. Cullen faces adversity simply because he is Irish.The minute he opens his mouth people's opinion of him changes. What was Gilbert thinking asking Maggie to marry a social pariah like Cullen?

Cullen McGrath was my favorite . Sure he's made mistakes in his past but he's a changed man. He's angry at God for the death of his wife and child, but he refuses to go back to his old ways. He just wants to buy a farm and live out the rest of his days. When he agrees to marry Maggie he does so simply as a business arrangement. He will protect her and look out for her best interest but he has no intention of falling in love again. Once was enough. He even endures snide comments and stares from the towns people. His kind aren't welcome in town, never mind that he is honest and hardworking, just being Irish is enough to make people turn and walk the other way. I liked how he could have resorted to violence, or name calling or any number of things but instead he simply walks away. He let's his actions speak louder than words. I think that's what Gilbert saw in him. A man of character who was honest, loyal and would stop at nothing to protect Maggie.

Maggie doesn't see herself as needing protecting. Being the youngest and having four older brothers, she considers herself quite capable of taking care of herself, no matter what society says. She knows she will be at the mercy of the townspeople when papa passes away, but surely that's better than marrying a stranger. But marrying a stranger is the only hope she has of keeping her land and her dreams alive. She stands strong in the face of adversity, when her jocky left town she could have quit, but, she didn't, she kept training Bourbon Belle and looking for another rider. When her father wanted her to marry a stranger she could have said no, and she almost did, instead she married the Irishman and is determined to make the marriage work. When the towns people started treating her as a pariah for being married to Cullen, she could have hung her head in shame, instead she walked proudly on his arm, although maybe not at first. Maggie has grit an it takes grit to make a marriage work when all of life's obstacles are stacked against you.

I truly enjoyed To Win Her Favor and I think you will too! I'm anxiously awaiting to see what Tamera Alexander has in store for us next!

*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.

You can grab a copy here:

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Second Chance

About the Book

Book: A Second Chance
Author: Alexis A. Goring
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: Jan 25, 2017
Newly single food critic and newspaper reporter Traci Hightower is done with dating. After the man of her dreams left her at the altar on their wedding day and ran off with the woman she thought was her best friend, Traci resolves to focus on work and resigns herself to being a bachelorette for life.
Marc Roberts is a political reporter who is known as Mr. Nice Guy, the one who always finishes last. However, Marc’s compassion and kindness are of invaluable help to his newly widowed sister Gina Braxton who is trying to raise her two kids in the wake of her firefighter husband’s death.
Traci and Marc may be the perfect match, but they don’t know it yet. With God’s guidance and the help of Gina’s matchmaking skills honed by her career as a bestselling romance novelist, there is hope for a happily ever after for these two broken hearts.

My Thoughts: A Second Chance is a sweet story that will have you believing in the power of love and the gift of second chances. Nobody is perfect and sometimes it's hard to overlook someone's past but as Alexis Goring shows us, sometimes it's worth the risk. Mr. or Mrs. Right may be right around the corner but you will never know if you're focusing on the negative or past mistakes.

The story is well written and captures the reader's attention from the start. Even though the characters are flawed they are still people you will root for. I really enjoyed A Second Chance and I believe you will too. I can't wait to read what Mrs.Goring writes next.

*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.

About the Author

Alexis A. Goring is a passionate writer with a degree in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing. She loves the art of storytelling and hopes that her stories will connect readers with the enduring, forever love of Jesus Christ.



Guest Post from Alexis Goring

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
~Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

God has good plans for every single person living here on Earth. It’s important to remember to trust Him because no matter how bleak a situation looks, hope is always on the horizon when God’s in the picture…and the good news is that no matter what God is always in the picture.
I thought that it would be a good idea to explore the theme of Jeremiah 29:11 through a fictional story about characters who are in need of a second chance in life and love. So I create Traci and Marc and wrote their story, A Second Chance.
Traci and Marc are entry-level journalists therefore they struggle with the industry’s tough system of paying your dues and they know the conflicts firsthand about struggling to pay your bills because of that system.
But it’s not just the bills that weigh heavily on their hearts. Traci and Marc are facing battles that are unique to their individual life stories but common to people in the real world.
When the reader meets Traci, they see that she is bitter and cynical because she was left at the altar. Her fiancĂ© ran off with her Maid of Honor and left Traci with a mile-high stack of bills to pay for their wedding that never happened. So when Traci’s Mom shows up on her doorstep with an inheritance letter that stipulates Traci must be married before receiving her inheritance from her late grandfather, Traci is closer to destroying the letter and being a bachelorette for life than she is about husband hunting.
When the reader meets Marc, they see that he is smitten with Traci at first sight. But they soon learn that he has trust issues because of his previous romantic relationships with women who would dump him because he was “too nice.” However, his niceness is of invaluable help to his newly widowed sister Gina who is struggling to raise her children in the wake of her firefighter husband’s death. Naturally, Marc wants to help his sister. So he volunteers to babysit her kids and take them out of the house so that she can meet her book deadlines. Gina is a bestselling romance novelist.
All of these main characters go on their own faith journey with God. Some resist His love at first (like Traci), some draw back because of broken trust (like Marc) and some heal slowly from pain (like Gina) but they all realize how much they need God in their life.
Faith elements are a woven lightly throughout this story but also go deep as the characters work toward wholeness and restoration.
If anything, this is a story about how the Creator of the Universe (God) loves humankind and desires to restore broken hearts, homes and lives.
I hope that you will enjoy reading this book!
God bless your heart.
Sincerely,
Alexis A. Goring
Author of A Second Chance

Blog Stops

May 9: A Greater Yes
May 10: Quiet Quilter
May 11: Remembrancy
May 14: Carpe Diem

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Alexis is giving away four eBook copies of her book – A Second Chance!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b54b

Friday, May 5, 2017

For Love and Honor


About the Book

Book: For Love & Honor
Author: Jody Helund
Genre: Young Adult Historical
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Lady Sabine is harboring a skin blemish, one, that if revealed, could cause her to be branded as a witch, put her life in danger, and damage her chances of making a good marriage. After all, what nobleman would want to marry a woman so flawed?
Sir Bennet is returning home to protect his family from an imminent attack by neighboring lords who seek repayment of debts. Without fortune or means to pay those debts, Sir Bennet realizes his only option is to make a marriage match with a wealthy noblewoman. As a man of honor, he loathes the idea of courting a woman for her money, but with time running out for his family’s safety, what other choice does he have?
As Lady Sabine and Sir Bennet are thrust together under dangerous circumstances, will they both be able to learn to trust each other enough to share their deepest secrets? Or will those secrets ultimately lead to their demise?

My Thoughts: Jody Helund has done it again! This is such an amazing book with just the right amount of drama, intrigue and suspense. The characters are real and relate-able even if they are flawed. I was hooked from the start and couldn't put it down until I finished the last word. I hope you will give For Love and Honor a try.

*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.

About the Author

Jody Hedlund is a best-selling and award-winning author who loves fairy-tales and happily-ever-afters. She makes her home in Midland, MI with her husband and five teen-aged children. When she’s not writing another of her page-turning stories, you can usually find her sipping coffee, eating chocolate, and reading.


Guest Post from Jody Hedlund

Is Chivalry on the Brink of Extinction?
By Jody Hedlund
With the release of Fifty Shades of Grey movie and its popularity, I can’t help but wonder about the long-term consequences that such ideology will have on how people view relationships.
Already, too many couples struggle to maintain happy, healthy relationships. In fact, it’s become almost a weekly occurrence to get news of another friend or acquaintance who is dealing with a spouse cheating or leaving.
Mutual respect, loyalty, honor, and self-sacrifice have become out-dated, forgotten, or tossed aside in place of short-term pleasure that often leaves people feeling hollow and empty.
I honestly can’t help wondering where chivalry has gone, and not just the man-doting-on-the-woman chivalry. But mutual chivalry, the kind where each person in the relationship puts the other in high esteem, uplifts them, and makes a concerted effort to protect and cherish (both emotionally and physically).
Has chivalry become antiquated in our modern society? And even if it has, should it be outdated and on the brink of extinction? Should we be making more of an effort to reclaim mutual respect in relationships?
The kind of respect that does things for someone with no thought of getting anything in return.
The kind of respect that is graciously honest about problems instead of sneaking around and being unfaithful.
The kind of respect that is willing to sacrifice and see the needs of others instead of demanding our way and our own needs be met first.
As my teenage children enter into dating relationships, I worry about the influence of movies like Fifty Shades of Grey. I worry that they’ll see dysfunction as the norm. I worry that they’ll settle for a lot less than they should in their relationships. I worry that they won’t even know the meaning of chivalry.
Of course, we’re having candid conversations about all of these issues. Of course, my husband and I attempt to model mutual respect. And of course, I’m praying my teens work on growing their own character so that they can be strong and ready for whatever they might face.
But one of the things I’ve done over the past couple of years is write a young adult (YA) series that is aimed at some of these very issues The third book, FOR LOVE & HONOR, just released this spring (and can be read as a stand-alone). Since the story is set in medieval times amidst castles, knights, and ladies, chivalry is already a huge part of that era.
More than giving readers a glimpse of chivalry, however, I hope the book sparks some discussion about what it means to have healthy, respectful relationships. The book contains reader questions at the end that youth groups, moms and daughters, or friends can use together.
It’s not just another dating book. Instead it’s a fun and entertaining story that can hopefully facilitate discussion regarding what it means to truly demonstrate chivalry in our relationships.
So what do YOU think? Is chivalry on the brink of extinction? What are some ways we can make sure that we don’t lose it?

Blog Stops

May 4: A Greater Yes
May 6: The Scribbler
May 8: Book by Book
May 9: A Path of Joy
May 11: Radiant Light
May 12: Pause for Tales
May 12: Just Commonly
May 13: Bigreadersite
May 14: God1meover
May 15: thewitsabout
May 15: Baker Kella
May 15: Remembrancy

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away all three books in the Noble Knights Series!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b6fc

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Behind The Scenes

About the Book

Book: Behind the Scenes
Author: Jen Turano
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance
Release Date: April, 2017
Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn’t guaranteed to “take.” After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she’s finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym “Miss Quill.”
Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it’s simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country.
When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she’s determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she’ll end up at risk as well.
As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there’s more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated. . . .

My Thoughts: First of all, let me just say, this book has one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen! I love when a book has a cover that immediately draws your attention. I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but trust me that rule doesn't apply to this one. The author's attention to detail throughout the book and how managed to capture my attention from the beginning and keep me wanting more were also appreciated. She makes the characters real and relate able and to be honest they feel like friends. I loved Permilla's gumption. Too often women of high society are made to be pampered and weak but not Permilla. She even goes out of her way to help others, which may be why she's been on the outer fringe of high society for quite some time. She doesn't necessarily care what is proper, she does what is right!  I was rooting for her to not only find true love but to find herself. This is truly a wonderful book and I hope you will give it a chance and if you do I bet you will enjoy it as much as I did! 

About the Author

Jen Turano, author of nine books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.








Interview With Jen Turano

  1. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you personally?
Amusing things happen to me all the time, but I think my favorite was back in college when I was a lifeguard. You see, there’s a lifeguard code – You will be cool at all times, especially when you’re sitting in a lifeguard chair, twirling your whistle exactly so, and, you know…looking cool. So, there I was, in my black lifeguard bathing suit – swinging my whistle. It was an unusually hot day, so I’d angled my umbrella exactly right as I watched the diving-board section. Now, I know this might come as a surprise, but being a lifeguard at the neighborhood pool isn’t exactly thrilling. It’s rare that anything exciting happens, and that particular day was no exception…until a large gust of wind came out of nowhere and the umbrella took it upon itself to close – right over me. And because it was now really gusty, the umbrella then lifted up, taking me with it right off the chair and into the depths of the deep end of the pool. From all accounts, it was quite the sight. First, there I was, swinging my whistle and looking groovy. Then all you could see were my legs flailing about as the umbrella covered the rest of me, and then…I was plummeting toward the pool, hit the water with the umbrella over me, and promptly sank. Obviously I managed to get out of the umbrella, but in the process, part of my bathing suit came off, and…well, that’s a story for another day.
  1. What is your favorite book from your childhood?
“Andrew Henry’s Meadow.” It was actually my little brother’s book, gotten from one of those book of the month clubs, but I loved it. I recently found a copy on an e-site and ordered it, and it’s just as delightful today as it was back in my childhood.
  1. Who does the cooking and cleaning in your house when you are on a deadline?
I don’t actually cook much even when I’m not on deadline, so that’s not really an issue. Al and I do a lot of salads or throw some chicken on the grill. We also have a lot of grocery stores that have wonderful deli and gourmet foods, so we get a lot of things there. As for cleaning, I’m one of those neurotic people who can’t work without everything being in place, so I do a lot of tidying up before I go to bed. And, because I do some of my best thinking when I clean, I’ve been known to abandon my writing when I get stuck and pick up a mop or cleaning rag, which means my house is rarely a disaster since I need to get unstuck a lot.
  1. Where is your favorite place to write?
I do the majority of my writing in my office, although I will occasionally take a pad of paper and a pen outside to handwrite when I get bored of my office or it’s a really nice day and I don’t feel like being trapped inside. It’s not that my office is my favorite place to write, it’s more that my writing is my job and I’m more focused on that writing when I approach it as such.

  1. What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I really like when characters and new story ideas begin to fester. That normally happens when I’m in the midst of another series. By the time I’m done with whatever series I’m working on, the next series is pretty firmly set in my mind, which means I can jump right in as I wait for edits on recently completed work. My absolute favorite part of writing, though, is when I turn in the very final edit on a book and don’t see it again until it comes out in print. Although, I must admit, I’ve never, not once, read one of my books after it has gone to print. Seems rather pointless since I do always know how the book is going to end.
  1. Why did you choose the timeframe or setting this book is written in?
I’ve been wanting to set a book during Alva Vanderbilt’s famous costume ball of March, 1883, for years. Since I decided to slowly travel through the Gilded Age, I just reached 1883 on my plot timeline, so knew I was finally going to get to throw some characters into the very midst of Alva’s ball. It was a blast to write, loved going back to all my books on this particular ball and seeing the pictures, and only wish the Vanderbilt house at 660 Fifth Avenue was still standing so I could visit it in person to visualize the splendors located inside a little more clearly.
  1. What inspires you?
I think like most writers, I simply get inspired by the world around me. I love to people watch, and I love to imagine all sorts of outlandish scenarios as I do that watching. I also get inspired by reading the headlines of the daily papers, and by the research books I read. I also love to look through old photographs of the Gilded Age, and became intrigued with Alva Vanderbilt’s ball when I saw a picture of a young lady, Miss Kate Strong, with a stuffed cat on her head and wearing a choker necklace with the name Puss engraved on it. That was all it took for me to investigate the Vanderbilt ball further, delighted to discover it truly was a ball that only comes along every blue moon.

Blog Stops

April 27: The Scribbler
April 27: Genesis 5020
April 28: Back Porch Reads
April 29: Bookworm Mama
April 29: Karen Sue Hadley
April 30: Lighthouse Academy
April 30: Radiant Light
April 30: Bigreadersite
April 30: Lane Hill House
May 3: Book by Book
May 5: Baker Kella
May 6: A Greater Yes
May 6: Just Commonly
May 8: Giveaway Lady

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card and the four books: After a Fashion, In Good Company, Playing the Part, Behind the Scenes!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4664b04910/