Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Book Review - Tremors of Doubt by Lael Harrelson + Giveaway

Photo Credit - Amazon
Callie Zimmerman wants more from the world that she is offered. She works in the mission field in Haiti but she feels like she has a higher purpose. Callie is raised by her aunt and overprotective uncle, who believes that only the men can sere the community while the women take care of the housework. Callie receives a letter from someone in the US, who knows about Callie and her parents who were excommunicated from the church. Her childhood friend, Noah expressed interest in marrying Callie. Callie struggles with staying home and starting a future with Noah or finding out more about her parents. Will Callie's past risk her future? Will Callie be able to find her happy ending?

I found the book to an interesting and encouraging read. I have been in situations where I don't know what the next steps would be and if following my heart would be leading me down the wrong path. I thought the book was well written and talk about very important topics such as domestic abuse.

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Title: Tremors of Doubt
Author: Lael Harrelson
Genre: Contemporary Amish Alternative
Release Date: March 19, 2018
Would the will of God ever lead a young woman against the counsel of family and church? For a young Mennonite woman who wants to make a difference in the world, growing up on the mission field in Haiti should be the perfect fit. But not for Callie Zimmerman. Raised by her aunt and uncle after the death of her parents, Callie works beside her aunt cooking, cleaning and sewing each day as the men head off to serve the community. She longs to do more to alleviate the poverty and sickness that surrounds her, but tradition and her uncle forbid it. On the eve of her twenty-third birthday, struggling with hopelessness as another year passes, Callie pleads with God to open a door for her. The prayer has barely left her mouth when she finds a stack of letters with secrets about her parent’s deaths and their excommunication from the Mennonite church. Devastated, Callie cries herself to sleep, only to be awakened a few hours later by her uncle with the startling news the Noah Koehn has asked permission to court her. Is one of these the answer to her prayer? Would exploring her parents past mean losing a future with Noah? Is it worth the risk?

Raised by a fun loving, atheist single mom who struggled with depression and mental illness I spent my childhood backpacking around Europe, visiting yoga communes, eating vegan, living on a houseboat, then an old pony express outpost in the backwoods of Montana. My teen years took a drastic turn when my mom got saved, got married, and joined an ultra-conservative Mennonite church. Faith, step parents and unquestioning obedience is a dangerous combination when mixed with mental illness, legalism, and heavy handed physical correction.

I became a confused believer with a heart for Jesus but drowning under a sea of rules, regulations, and legalism. I became a missionary teacher and then a nurse and escaped to the mission field, the one avenue open to single women. I taught VBS on Indian reservations, led school for missionary children in Haiti and Africa. All around me was heartache and disease and glaring need. I longed to make a difference but was limited to working on the mission compound – teaching, cooking, cleaning. Work outside the walls of the compound was reserved for the men.

On a furlough, I met my future husband – a new believer who wasn’t looking for a door mat in a wife but a partner. As he grew in his faith, I reexamined mine and what Biblical womanhood looked like. Timidly at first, but then eagerly, as I discovered a new relationship with Jesus Christ based on grace and not performance. I left the Mennonite church and married the love of my life twenty years ago. We have five beautiful teenagers, two by birth and three through adoption from Haiti. My husband is adopted and God used my time in Haiti to prepare me to understand my children’s culture and language and ease their transitions home.

Two people in my family have mild Asperger’s and one has Reactive Attachment disorder, PTSD, and ODD. Our house is not a quiet, well greased machine but a chaotic, happy, crazy, nerve racking, love filled oasis where we all try to help each other grow and thrive. I am so thankful for my life – the good and the bad. I feel blessed to have experienced so many unique situations and to love and be loved by so many wonderful and eccentric people. It is from these experiences I draw the fiction stories I write. I like to think of them as fiction with grit – fast paced and entertaining stories that make you want to read till the very last page while at the same time tackling real life issues – legalism, abuse, divorce, adoption, Asperger syndrome, mental illness, etc.


To celebrate her tour, Lael is giving away a grand prize of an autographed copy of Tremors of Doubt, an adorable set of Amish dolls, a set of handwritten recipe cards with mouthwatering Amish recipes, a handmade Haitian bracelet made by Haitian students, a pound of nationally acclaimed Haitian coffee, a bar of rich Haitian chocolate, and a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/d06c/tremors-of-doubt-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, June 18, 2018

Book Review - The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

Photo Credit - Amazon

Emily found the perfect guy. He has a good job, friends, and a supportive family. She feels a spark with Adam, that she never felt before with anyone else. Emily immediately is attached to Adam and falls head over heels in love with him. However, when she meets Adam's beloved mother, Pammie, something isn't quite right. Mothers and sons have always had a tight bond but Pammie is willing to push boundaries to prevent Emily from being with Adam. How far is Pammie willing to go? 

I picked this book as I been in a similar situation before. I found myself mentally yelling at Emily, who was a strong woman before being torn down into mush. However, I know the appeal of saying, "I am married/dating this person and not their family". But,  as the author accurately details, it comes at a cost of mental and physical distress. Even, so far, as altering a person's character. I enjoyed the story, but while, I saw the ending coming, some parts of the novel left me a bit confused. For example,  people knew that someone was doing something bad but, instead of telling someone, they tried brushing it under the rug. Overall, it was a thrilling and interesting read. I look forward to reading more of the author's work.

**Disclosure - I received an unedited copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Friday, June 15, 2018

Book Review - The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep + Giveaway

Photo Credit - Amazon

Mercy Lutton is a woman with divided loyalties. She is half English and half Mohawk. Mercy was born with a rare gift of keen eyesight, which she uses to help scout against the French. She agrees to accompany a traitor and two soldiers protecting precious cargo against the French. Elias Dubois is the condemned traitor, who jumped at the chance of gaining his freedom. Elias is conflicted on what doing what is right and what needs to be done. Both Mercy and Elias have different motives with no plans on settling down. However, they both find themselves attracted to each other. Will Mercy and Elias be able to put their differences aside?

The novel was a great and informative read. I like the dictionary with the translation between the two languages. I found the characters realistic and lovable. I kept rooting for them until the very end. However, I found some parts of the book to be a bit slow. A great book for anyone who is a fan of historical romance novels.

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Title: The Captured Bride
Author: Michelle Griep
Release Date: June 1, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance
A war-torn countryside is no place for a lady—but Mercy Lytton is a lady like none other. Raised amongst the Mohawks, she straddles two cultures, yet each are united in one cause . . . to defeat the French. Born with a rare gift of unusually keen eyesight, she is chosen as a scout to accompany a team of men on a dangerous mission. Yet it is not her life that is threatened. It is her heart.
Condemned as a traitor, Elias Dubois faces the gallows. At the last minute, he’s offered his freedom if he consents to accompany a stolen shipment of French gold to a nearby fort—but he’s the one they stole it from in the first place. It turns out that the real thief is the beguiling woman, Mercy Lytton, for she steals his every waking thought.
Can love survive divided loyalties in a backcountry wilderness?

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.


To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of
a signed copy of The Captured Bride and a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card!!

Book Review - The Battle is O'er by Laura Vosika + Giveaway

Photo Credit - Amazon
 In the series finale, Shawn hopes to regain everything he has lost. He hopes to gain back his job, his son, and hopefully, Amy.  Shawn learns of a prophecy and tries to change it, especially, the letter that details the fate of his son. If Shawn doesn't prevent it, the future might be in jeopardy.

I read a summary for the previous books in the series as, without it, a reader would definitely get lost in the storyline. I found the novel to have an interesting premise with realistic characters and development. I like that the story was told from the past, future, and present. Overall, it was an interesting book but I think to fully appreciate the novel, I would have to read the books earlier in the series to completely grasp the storyline.

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Laura Vosika is the author of the beloved series, The Blue Bells Chronicles, a tale of time travel, action and adventure, romance and redemption, ranging across modern and medieval Scotland. She runs Gabriel’s Horn Press, and is active in poetry as a member of the League of Minnesota Poets, routinely performing at local open mics. She has appeared in The Star Tribune, and on WCCO and Channel 12, and hosted Books and Brews with Laura Vosika on AM 950.

Tour Giveaway

- l winner will receive a print copy of Blue Bells of Scotland (book one in the series) and a Team Shawn or Team Angus t-shirt (US only)
- 1 winner will receive an ebook of Blue Bells of Scotland (open internationally)
- Ends June 27th

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Book Review - Neck and Neck by Elise Parsley + Giveaway

Photo Credit - Amazon

At the zoo, Leopold the giraffe is king. Everyone adores the gentle giant. He fills visitors with excitement and wonder. In return, he is feed yummy snacks. However, one day, giraffe-shaped balloon tries to overtake Leopold's territory and snacks. How far will Leopold go to prevent his spotlight from being stolen?

The picture book was a fun and delightful read. The story shows how when can compete to win affection (for this story) just by doing the right thing. The storyline at first was a bit hard to decipher at first, especially to young tots I read the story too. However, they liked the drawings and silly antics Leopold did. 

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Title: NECK & NECK 
Author: Elise Parsley
Pub. Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 40
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksTBD

In the first stand-alone picture book from the creator of the bestselling Magnolia Says DON'T! books, a giraffe's self-esteem is tested during a hilarious confrontation between unlikely look-alikes!

Everybody loves Leopold the giraffe. He inspires awe and wonder. His adoring fans gaze and cheer. Best of all, they feed him lots of deeeelicious snacks! But, one day, a shiny, bobble-headed new rival comes in and ruins everything...a giraffe-shaped balloon! Just how far will Leopold go to prove that he's the hero of the zoo? Readers learn that actions speak far louder than looks in this laugh-out-loud face-off from Elise Parsley--the New York Times bestselling creator of If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don't!

About Elise:
Elise Parsley studied drawing and creative writing at Minnesota State University Moorhead. During college, Elise also volunteered over 1800 hours promoting literacy through an AmeriCorps academic enrichment program. Now she promotes literacy through writing and illustrating children’s books.

Elise is the Illustrator Coordinator for the Dakotas Region of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She spends a lot of her time telling aspiring writers and illustrators to join the SCBWI and get involved with a local critique group or two. Elise and her family live in Beresford, SD.

Website | Twitter | Instagram

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of NECK & NECK, US Only.

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Tour Schedule:
Week Two:
6/11/2018- Little Red ReadsReview
6/12/2018- Ginger Mom and the Kindle QuestReview
6/13/2018- Peaceful OblivionReview
6/14/2018- Wonder StruckReview
6/15/2018- Two points of interest- Review

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Book Review - God Bless America: The Story of an Immigrant Named Irving Berlin by Adah Nuchi and Rob Polivka + Giveaway

Photo Credit - Amazon

Izzy Baline and his family emigrated from Russia to America. Shortly after arriving, the Baline family falls in love with their new country. His family never had much. When his father passed away, Izzy decides to run away and try to make his own future. Izzy has a passion for music and creates beautiful songs that his fellow citizens enjoy. When Izzy joins the army, he realizes he can put his passion to better use and creates an inspiring song that can rouse the entire nation.

The book was beautifully drawn. The characters had a comic book feel. I found the book to be fun and engaging. However, some of the pages were a bit confusing and lacked context. I would recommend reading the last few pages in the book before reading the story to make it easier to understand. This was definitely a fun book and I look forward to reading more books like this.

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Author: Adah Nuchi, Rob Polivka (Illustrations)
Pub. Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 40
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooks,  TBD
An inspiring portrait of an immigrant and the gift he gave his new home.

Persecuted as Jews, Izzy Baline and his family emigrated from Russia to New York, where he fell in love with his new country. He heard music everywhere and was full to bursting with his own. Izzy's thump-two-three, ting-a-ling, whee tunes soon brought him acclaim as the sought-after songwriter Irving Berlin. He ignited the imaginations of fellow countrymen and women with his Broadway and Hollywood numbers, crafting tunes that have become classics we still sing today.

But when darker times came and the nation went to war, it was time for Irving to compose a new kind of song:

boom-rah-rah song.

A big brass belter.

A loud heart-melter.

A song for America.

And so "God Bless America" was born, the heart swelling standard that Americans have returned to again and again after its 1918 composition.

This is the tale of how a former refugee gave America one of its most celebrated patriotic songs. With stirring, rhythmic text by Adah Nuchi and delightful, energetic art by Rob Polivka, readers will be ready to hum along to this exuberant picturebook.

About Adah:
Adah Megged Nuchi was first introduced to the children's publishing world at home, as the daughter of a children's book art director. She began her own publishing career at the National Book Foundation, and later at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, where she was an acquiring editor of picture books, middle-grade, and young adult fiction for seven years. Her books have been named to the Kids' Indie Next List, YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, and Indies Introduce New Voices lists. As an editor, she most loved finding new talent and working with authors to shape a story.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of GOD BLESS AMERICA: THE STORY OF AN IMMIGRANT NAMED IRVING BERLIN, US Only.

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Tour Schedule:

Week Two:
6/11/2018- Savings in SecondsReview
6/12/2018- Little Red Reads- Review
6/13/2018- Reading Is My SuperPowerReview
6/14/2018- Two points of interestReview
6/15/2018- A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt