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12.11.2018

Who Sang the First Song? ~ Review

Who Sang the First Song?
By Ellie Holcomb
Illustrated by Kayla Harren

In Who Sang the First Song? the reader is taken on a journey of exploration of discovering who sang the first song. The story has a rhythmic lyrical flow to it and in combination with the illustrations should engage the attention of any young listener/reader.

Have you ever wondered where the first song came from? Well, this delightful picture book asks and answers this very question with the conclusion being God. But He didn't stop there as He gave everyone a song to sing and to hear.

There is limited wording so young readers should be able to (with a little help) make their way through this book. And the illustrations are a powerful companion in sharing the story. The scenes are varied and each has a faint scattering of musical notes throughout.

The book is approximately 9-1/4" x 9-1/2" with 28 unnumbered pages with the first having a to/from plate perfect for gift giving. There is a dust jacket but the same image is on the hardcover beneath (in case little sticky fingers tear the jacket).

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by BH Publishing with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.



About the Book:
In this engaging picture book with whimsical art, singer/songwriter Ellie Holcomb asks a childlike question and answers with a lovely lyrical tale that shows young readers that God our Maker sang the first song, and He created us all with a song to sing.


About the Author:
Singer-songwriter—and now author—Ellie Holcomb began her musical career touring the country with her husband in the Americana band Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors. Her honest voice and rich lyrics shined on her first solo album and deemed her the Best New Artist at the 2014 Dove Awards. In 2017, she followed with the restorative, hope-inducing Red Sea Road. Ellie, her husband, Drew, and their three children live and make music in Nashville, Tennessee.


12.10.2018

Silent Days, Holy Night ~ Review and Giveaway

Silent Days, Holy Night
By Phyllis Clark Nichols

For 16 years Julia Russell has shared a special friendship with Henry Lafferty the Second. Julia met Mr. Lafferty when she was almost 11 (her words) through her father. The Russell family has been associated with the Lafferty family for many years with Julia's grandfather and father both employed as the family lawyer. Mr. Lafferty has been a recluse for the majority of his life due to his deafness and the injury that left him wheelchair bound.

But Mr. Lafferty isn't as the whispers around town describe him. He has a giving heart that only see the cans and not the cannots. He gives to those in need though they don't know who their benefactor is. Julia is determined to share the man she has come to call friend - letting others know that he isn't the scary monster their rumors have turned him into.

Silent Days, Holy Night is told from the present day as Julia prepares for the upcoming Christmas and a special Christmas Gala at Emerald Crest (the Lafferty home) and flashes back to Julia's first meeting with Mr. Lafferty and their friendship that grows into a special first Christmas that will forever change their lives.

If you are looking for a feel-good Christmas book that won't leave with a depressed aftertaste you will love Silent Days, Holy Night which celebrates the joy of both the season and the giving heart. Julia is one of those children who knows or wants to know everything (or as her grandparents say she's a 40-year-old child) but she has a caring heart.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.


Let's all get in the mood for Christmas with this blog tour and giveaway for Silent Days, Holy Night by Phyllis Clark Nichols, hosted by JustRead Tours.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Silent Days, Holy NightAuthor: Phyllis Clark NicholsPublisher: Gilead PublishingRelease Date: October 30, 2018Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction/Christmas
The sounds of Christmases past echo through a silent house...
Everyone in town knows Emerald Crest, the green granite mansion atop the highest hill: the legendary, lavish Christmas festivities that used to light up the nights— and the silence that followed when the parties abruptly stopped many years ago. And everyone has heard whispers about the reclusive, mysterious master of the manor, Henry Lafferty the Second . . .
When eleven-year-old Julia Russell steps into the great house for the first time and meets Mr. Lafferty, the entire course of her life is altered. She meets a man who is nothing at all like the rumors she’s heard from neighbors and classmates. He’s kind and extraordinarily talented—he also happens to be deaf and uses a wheelchair. And when she overhears a secret about him, Julia decides it’s time for the town to bring Christmas back to Emerald Crest—an act that will change them all forever.
PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | BN | CBD | Book Depository
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Phyllis Clark Nichols’s character-driven Southern fiction explores profound human questions using the imagined residents of small town communities you just know you’ve visited before. With a strong faith and a love for nature, art, music, and ordinary people, she tells redemptive tales of loss and recovery, estrangement and connection, longing and fulfillment . . . often through surprisingly serendipitous events.
Phyllis grew up in the deep shade of magnolia trees in South Georgia. Born during a hurricane, she is no stranger to the winds of change: In addition to her life as a novelist, Phyllis is a seminary graduate, concert pianist, and cofounder of a national cable network with health- and disability-related programming. Regardless of the role she’s playing, Phyllis brings creativity and compelling storytelling.
She frequently appears at conventions, conferences, civic groups, and churches, performing half-hour musical monologues that express her faith, joy, and thoughts about life—all with the homespun humor and gentility of a true Southern woman.
Phyllis currently serves on several nonprofit boards. She lives in the Texas Hill Country with her portrait-artist husband.
CONNECT WITH PHYLLIS: website | Facebook | Twitter
TOUR GIVEAWAY
(1) winner will receive (US only):
  • a print copy of Silent Days, Holy Night by Phyllis Clark Nichols
  • a print copy of Sleigh Bells Ring by various authors
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight December 10, 2018 and last through 11:59pm December 17, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

12.09.2018

Enclave ~ Review

Enclave
By Thomas Locke

Since the Great Crash America has descended into an almost medieval feudal system of enclaves and townships. Many areas are nearly lawless as the need to survive at the cost of others becomes the norm. Another who is different is seen as a threat and a small group of people who have been labeled by some as abominations are seen as a threat to the future.

Some label these gifted individuals as specials and they are being hunted for there abilities. Abilities that could make the powerful even more so.  And Caleb is about to be targeted after accidentally revealing his gift. When a chance encounter brings Caleb, his best friend Zeke and Kevin Ritter together the world is about to change yet again.

Kevin is now a man with a bounty on his head when he refuses to go against his conscience and help round up these specials. But is he ready to join them?

Enclave is one of those books that takes you on a journey that you are unsure just where you will end up and it is one that is well worth the time spent getting there. This book appears to be a single novel but I'm hoping for a sequel just to see where everyone goes from here. Enclave is a book that deals with fear - fear of the unknown, fear of taking a stand, fear of what was lost - and confronting this fear and overcoming it.

This is a dystopian fiction with a bit of speculative thrown in for a well-balanced and engaging read. Perfect for the colder weather reading. And the cover does this book justice.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher Revell with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.


About the Book:

To save his enclave's future, he must risk his own

Nearly one hundred years have passed since the Great Crash. What was once America is now a collection of enclaves, governed at the local level and only loosely tied together by the farce of a federal government. 

Catawba, one of the largest and most affluent enclaves in the southern region, is relatively stable. It maintains successful business relations with nearby enclaves. But when a new vein of gold is discovered beneath the feet of its citizens, it's only a matter of time before trouble finds them.

Now Catawba's fate depends on an untried young trader named Caleb. Could his plan help secure the enclave's future?

Yet Caleb is keenly aware that if his secret were exposed, he would not live to see another dawn.

12.08.2018

Tabitha's Folly ~ Review with Interview and Giveaway

Tabitha's Folly
Regency House Party: Somerstone #5
By Jen Geigle Johnson


 Tabitha Easton has a problem and it comes in the form of her overly protective brothers. Brothers who love her and want her to find a good match at the House Party at Somerstone to which they have been invited. And to Tabitha's annoyance they have a list of what she should find in a husband - after all, he'll soon be one of the brothers and needs to fit in.  Tabitha has long held feelings for their neighbor and good family friend Henry Courtenay but Henry seems to see himself as an additional brother to help guard her rather than as a suitor to court her. What's a Lady to do? Tabitha is about to find out.

Henry Courtenay has always seen Tabby as the little sister of his best friend. But acting as one of her guards at the Somerstone House Party allows him to see her in an entirely new light. Unfortunately, he's sure her big brother Edward would see his change of feelings as a betrayal of his trust. With a house party full of guests Henry fears he may not get the chance to reveal his feelings to Tabitha. And then there is the all too helpful footman of Somerstone who seems to have set his sights on Tabitha.

Caught up in the designs of someone who doesn't have her best intentions at heart Tabitha soon finds her heart tested as to what it truly wants. Get ready for a bit of excitement as Tabitha's very future seems to be in the balance. A watery accident, a chase, a ghost, four brothers, a neighbor, and a lingering servant - this is one house party she won't soon forget.

This is another fun addition to the Regency House Party: Somerstone series and this one will leave you with a few more questions about the Countess de Breven. Just what does she know and how does she know it. And just who is Damen? (This can be answered in Damen's Secret, which needs to be read after Tabitha's Folly) And what I most want to know - who will the Easton brothers end up marrying they all quite obviously need something else to do rather than babysit Tabby.

I was provided a  complimentary copy of this book through SLB Book Tour with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.


About the Book:


Tabitha’s Folly is one of Five books all set at the same Regency House Party Series. While each is a standalone story, watch our characters mingle together with others from the books in the series. The stories can be read in any order.

Lady Tabitha Easton recklessly dodges four over-protective brothers while trying to gain attention from the man who holds her heart. She has many choices of suitors, and with Henry as disinterested as ever, she turns to what is wholly forbidden, an irresistibly handsome footman. While their friendship grows, her trust in him increases while her hurt and doubt in her childhood love and friend pushes her away from all she’s ever known as family.

When Lord Henry Courtenay discovers a new attraction to his childhood friend, his role as one of her chaperones at the house party becomes near impossible. Irrationally defensive about any potential suitors and seeking time alone with the enticing Tabby, maintaining friendship with her brothers proves more difficult than he ever imagined. His task becomes all the more difficult when she refuses to understand his growing attraction and often finds herself in almost compromising situations.

When Tabitha’s choices might lead her to danger, and doubt and distrust are high, Henry must prove himself or lose her forever.


About the Author:
An award winning author, including the GOLD in Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards, Jen Geigle Johnson discovered her passion for England while kayaking on the Thames near London as a young teenager.

She once greeted an ancient turtle under the water by grabbing her fin. She knows all about the sound a water-ski makes on glassy water and how to fall down steep moguls with grace. During a study break date in college, she sat on top of a jeep’s roll bars up in the mountains and fell in love.

Now, she loves to share bits of history that might otherwise be forgotten. Whether in Regency England, the French Revolution, or Colonial America, her romance novels are much like life is supposed to be: full of adventure. She is a member of the RWA, the SCBWI, and LDStorymakers. She is also the chair of the Lonestar.Ink writing conference.

Author Interview:

1) Who is your favorite comfort read author?
I love to read really beautiful writing. That takes me so deeply into another place and character's mind that I don't totally notice the writing, but it sort of contributes to a beautiful experience in the background. Those are steep shoes to fill, right? That being said, I also love a fun beach read. Light, makes me laugh, makes me cry but not out of sorrow, more because something beautiful just happened on the page. So, with all that being said, I love to read Heather Moore, Julie Berry, Julie Klassen...and more.

2) What do you most like about the Regency era?

I love the lifestyle, the interaction with their servants, the attention to the purely social aspect of life. That makes for some great romance. I love the balls. I love the flirting. I love participating in their insanely wealthy lifestyle. Their clothes are super fun. And I love that Regency is an era all about change. There is so much to uncover during that time period that authors have only brushed the surface. there was so much more going on than JUST the social interaction.

3) What one author past or present would you like to mentor you?

It would be so much fun to sit down with Charles Dickens. I'd love to know how he so masterfully weaved together so many things going on in his books. I'd love to learn from Jane Austen. Was she a revolutionary in her writings about women? Or were they much like she describes?

4) What one question do you wish you would be asked and how would you answer it?

I wish someone would ask me about a fun new project. And I would answer that I have two things coming that I am super excited about. A series that takes place in and around the beautiful area of Arundel Castle. Oh my word. It's so fascinating. And of course, another Regency House Party with stories taking place in Brighton! So exciting! I have two more books coming out with Covenant, one in 2019 and one in 2020. So much to look forward to.

Giveaway:

amazon-card-25$25 Amazon Gift Card
Enter the giveaway HERE.



Tour Schedule

12.04.2018

Mark of the Raven ~ Review

Mark of the Raven
The Ravenwood Saga #1
By Morgan L. Busse

Oh my, I've found another series to add to my can't wait for what comes next list. What is it about this book that has brought me to this conclusion? Well, the characters are engaging as their situations draw in the reader.

First, we have Lady Selen Ravenwood the heir to the House of Ravenwood. The House of Ravenwood is a house with a carefully guarded secret, one that they have been hiding for hundreds of years ever since House of Ravenwood was sacrificed to the Dominia Empire by the other Great Houses. And the House of Ravenwood is about to task Selen with her role as heir become an assassin taking down the Houses that betrayed them years ago. There is just one problem with this plan - Selen's heart.

Then we have the House of Maris being led by Damien Maris who came into the role of Grand Lord upon the death of the rest family. Not ready to take on the burden of leadership Damien has taken his father's place as both leader and protector of his people. Determined to see his father's dream of the Great Houses uniting together  Damien calls for an assembly hoping that the Houses will see the threat that the Dominia once again poses and agree to come together.

An assembly is the perfect opportunity to work out long-held differences and it is the perfect opportunity for Selen to become whom she is meant to be - the killer her mother has trained her to be. Selen's victim is Damien and to kill him she must enter his dreamscape and learn his weakness. Damien is unlike anyone Selen has ever met. He is burdened by his gift just as she is but he possesses a light that she is drawn to. Could this light that fills his soul free her from the darkness that is taking her slowly day-by-day as she does her mother's bidding?

This book is well-written with characters that can bring out one's sympathy and compassion while others bring a shiver of dread when they enter a scene. And the conclusion leaves one in anticipation of the next book. Where will Selen's "gift" of Dreamwalking take her? Will the approaching danger destroy the Great Houses or will an alliance be formed against the Dominia?

Fans Patrick Carr, Jill Williamson, S.D. Grimm, Thomas Locke, or Nadine Brandes will find much to love about this book. Get ready to enter a new world of fantasy and be intrigued!

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.



About the Book:

Dreamwalker.  Nightwatcher.  Lady of Ravenwood. 

Lady Selene Has Come into Her Family's Power.
But Has She Inherited a Gift or a Curse? 

Lady Selene is heir to the House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person's dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. Soon after the gifting, however, Selene discovers that the Ravenwood women have been secretly using their gift to gather information or to assassinate those responsible for the fall of House Ravenwood to the Dominia Empire hundreds of years ago. 
 
As she becomes more entrenched in Ravenwood's dark past, Selene longs to find out the true reason behind her family's gift, believing that its original intent could not have been for such evil purposes, but she is torn about upholding her family's legacy--a legacy that supports her people. Selene's dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations--but who is also prophesied to bring about the downfall of her own house.
 
One path holds glory and power and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and likely death. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?


After the Rain ~ Cover Reveal

About the Book:

Genre:  Contemporary, Inspirational, Romance, Christian
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Publication date: February 4, 2019
A heartfelt, emotional story of the beauty and pain found in picking up the pieces and starting over after disappointment.

About the Author:

bruceauthorphoto-1
Brandy Bruce is a mom, a wife, a book editor, an author, and someone who really loves dessert. She’s the author of the award-winning novel The Last SummerLooks Like Love, and The Romano Family Collection. Brandy, her husband, and their children make their home in Colorado.
Connect online:

Cover Reveal

Are you ready for the cover reveal?
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And here it is!!
What do you think?

Giveaway

Giveaway details: (1) Winner will receive their choice of 
a print (US only) 
or e-copy (International) of 
The Last Summer.
Enter the giveaway HERE.
Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.

Tour Stops

12.01.2018

Chosen People ~ Review

Chosen People
By Robert Whitlow

Anyone who has read Robert Whitlow's books in the past (or seen one of the movies based upon them) knows that he doesn't shy away from the issues of the day. Well, Chosen People is no exception and it is an emotionally engaging read from the cover to cover. From the cover, you can tell that there is something a little different as Jerusalem is the featured image. This book transitions between Atlanta, Georgia, and Jerusalem as a nearly four-year-old terrorist attack is the subject of a lawsuit.

When Hana Abboud's law firm is approached by Jakob Brodsky, a young Jewish lawyer, to be co-counsel in a lawsuit for the family of an American woman killed in a terrorist attack at the Western Wall, Hana has reservations. But upon meeting the woman's young daughter Sadie, Hana feels lead to take part in this suit. But before they can proceed they need the investigative services of someone who calls the region home and using her connections from home Hana is able to secure the services of Daud Hasan.

With seemingly random events in Atlanta having a link to their investigation in Jerusalem Jakob and Hana find their lives in danger before leaving the country. And what they find in Jerusalem will change their understanding of everything.

I really liked Hana's insights into being a Christian Arab Israeli it offers a view into this world that is often overlooked in the media hype stories. I also liked Jakob and his growth as a person as a direct result of his time in Isreal and his interactions with Hana and Daud. There are times when it becomes hard to know just who can be trusted and who has ulterior motives where this case is concerned.

But overall I highly recommend this newest offering from Robert Whitlow. It would make an excellent book club selection as there is much worth discussing. If you are a fan of legal fiction and don't want to jump into a series Robert Whitlow is perfect as most of his books are stand-alone titles.


I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher through BookLook Bloggers with no expectations but offering my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.




About the Book:
You are a chosen people, a 
royal priesthood, a holy nation . . .
During a terrorist attack near the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a courageous mother sacrifices her life to save her four-year-old daughter, leaving behind a grieving husband and a motherless child.
Hana Abboud, a Christian Arab Israeli lawyer trained at Hebrew University, typically uses her multi-language skills to represent international clients for an Atlanta law firm. When her boss is contacted by Jakob Brodsky, a young Jewish lawyer aggressively pursuing a lawsuit on behalf of the family under the US Anti-Terrorism laws, he calls on Hana’s expertise to take point on the case. After careful prayer, she joins forces with Jakob, and they quickly realize the need to bring in a third member for their team, an Arab investigator named Daud Hasan, based in Israel.
To unravel the case, this team of investigators goes from the streets of Atlanta to the alleys of Jerusalem, a world where hidden motives thrive, the risk of death is real, and the search for truth has many faces. What they will uncover will forever change their understanding of justice, heritage, and what it means to be chosen for a greater purpose.