Thursday, May 13, 2021

Deadly Ever After by Eva Gates

Another enjoyable cozy mystery in the Lighthouse Library Mystery series. While some of the details in this novel come from events in earlier novels, it read pretty well on its own.

The quirky characters are what make the plot enjoyable. Gates does a good job balancing the character movement with an ongoing investigation into murder. Lucy and Connor getting ready to plan a wedding are contrasted with a body found behind a favorite local restaurant.

I like the frequent snappy dialogues and pithy comebacks. I like Lucy being relentless in solving the mystery in her amateur but effective way. My favorite characters, though, were Charles, the library cat, and Fluffy, the yappy but protective little dog. Their actions were fun.

The setting of Nags Head is wonderful. The library is in a lighthouse and Lucy lives in an upper floor. Quirky library patrons and board members make for more fun. And then there is the spooky marsh area and mysterious lights at night.

This is a fun cozy mystery with interesting characters, a good setting and a bit of suspense. There is nothing sophisticated nor especially enlightening in this novel. It's just a fun mystery.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Eva Gates is the pen name of the Canadian writer, Vicki Delaney. She writes under both names for a total of more than forty novels. She is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It Crime Writing Festival. You can find out more at https://www.lighthouselibrarymysteries.com/ and http://vickidelany.com/. Photo by Iden Ford Photography.

Crooked Lane Books, 304 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

I Witnessed Miracles Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book

Book:  I Witnessed Miracles

Author: Maureen Chevalier-Seawell, M.D.

Genre: Christian non-fiction

Release date: April 30, 2020

Do Miracles really happen?
Does God still heal the sick?Dr. Maureen Chevalier-Seawell says, Yes!In the hope and faith inspiring book,
I Witnessed MiraclesDr. Chevalier-Seawell recounts the dozens of miracles she witnessed in her thirty-three years of medical practice and in her personal life.Thomas had a stroke which did not resolve in two years. But then…
When he was hospitalized for a different problem, he was re-evaluated by stroke-rehab. Their evaluation was: no hope. His prayer group prayed for him every night for three weeks. Thomas regained everything the stroke had taken away.Jessie lost her vision for six months. But then…
She came to the office for surgical clearance for her ophthalmologist. After anointing with oil and receiving a brief prayer, she awakened the next morning with her sight restored to normal.Elizabeth had lupus for ten years. Her joint pain, Raynauds and fatigue were increasing. But then…
On the 700 Club on TV she heard, “There is somebody out there…and she has Lupus. God is healing her right now.”
And he did. Every chapter tells the individual uplifting story of each person’s devastating diagnosis when medicine failed them and then the miraculous recovery as God healed their body and revived their spirit. I Witnessed Miracles is a profound recollection of inspirational stories that will give you positive reinforcement, drawing you closer to God and refreshing your faith. A read you won’t forget.
Click here to get your copy!

My Review

These are good personal stories of miracles, witnessed or verified my a medical doctor. Some of the events were totally unexpected recoveries. Other were visitations by heavenly beings. All of them point to God intervening in lives.

I appreciate Chevalier-Seawell addressing the issue that not all are healed. She is very honest about having a vision and getting the meaning wrong. Because of that, this is a good book for people who are looking for examples of miracles and those wanting to understand more how we can misunderstand what God has planned.

My rating: 4/5 stars. 

 

About the Author

Maureen Chevalier-Seawell, MD graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Chemistry then completed medical school and a residency in Internal Medicine. She is board certified in that specialty. She has practiced medicine for 36 years and has taught medical students for more than a decade.

Read an Excerpt

”Faith was a single mother in her late twenties. Very pretty. Upbeat personality. She was well liked by most people. Faith was also a devout Christian. She shared her faith constantly like seeds in the wind. She worked in an office in the building where I leased space.

It was late in 2005 that Faith developed a physical problem in her mouth. Her dentist removed the right upper wisdom tooth, but the wound did not heal. She had been seeing the dentist for weeks. He would debride the wound and cover it. Then she would go back for more debriding. The painful, dime-sized wound refused to heal. After six weeks of conservative care, her dentist told her the hole would not close on its own. She would need surgery, so he made the referral.

This was the day she told me about the problem. She was visiting in our office just at closing. She pulled out a pocket flashlight and showed me her gum. What I saw was a lesion about the size of a dime and deep. I could see white uncovered bone, but the wound was clean. There was no dead or infected tissue. I didn’t know why with the care she was getting the wound had not healed.

In a purely social way, I told her that I hoped all would go well with her and proceeded to exit the building. It was already getting dark. The winter sun went down early. That day had been a particularly long one. I was tired. My coat was on my body, my purse on my shoulder, and my briefcase in my hand. I was done. I pushed open the heavy glass door and walked toward my car. Next stop, home. No sooner did I get outside the building than I heard the Spirit of the Lord speak to my heart: “Are you my servant or aren’t you?”

I was so tired. I didn’t want to go back into the building. I wanted to go home. I had a short discussion with myself, turned around, and went back to find Faith. Fortunately, she was right where I had left her. She had found someone else to talk to. I asked her if she would be offended if I said a brief prayer for her and applied the oil. “No, that would be wonderful,” she said.

I returned to my office, retrieved a drop of oil that had been blessed, and placed it on her face near the wound inside her mouth. I put my hand on her shoulder and prayed a very short but sincere prayer in the name of Jesus. I still had my coat on, so I shouldered my bag, picked up my briefcase, and left.

I was interrupted in my morning schedule by my office manager. She told me Faith had been healed. My whole office was excited. Faith was jumping up and down. The hole in her gum was gone. She was still carrying her flashlight, so I could see where it had been. There was nothing in her mouth but clean, well-healed skin. It couldn’t have healed like that overnight. Faith’s dentist didn’t believe it either, so she took time that day to show him. He, too, was amazed.

There is no medical explanation. I give the glory to the Lord Jesus, our Savior.”

Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples!

Shout to God with the voice of triumph!

Psalm 47:1

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Maureen is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

 https://promosimple.com/ps/10bb7/i-witnessed-miracles-celebration-tour-giveaway


I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Aftermath by Terri Blackstock Blog Tour and Giveaway

Aftermath

May 10 - June 4, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

This gripping new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Terri Blackstock will leave you on the edge of your seat.

A devastating explosion.

Three best friends are at the venue just to hear their favorite band . . . but only one of them makes it out alive.

A trunk full of planted evidence.

When police stop Dustin with a warrant to search his trunk, he knows it’s just a mistake. He’s former military and owns a security firm. But he’s horrified when they find explosives, and he can’t fathom how they got there.

An attorney who will risk it all for a friend.

Criminal attorney Jamie Powell was Dustin’s best friend growing up. They haven’t spoken since he left for basic training, but she’s the first one he thinks of when he’s arrested. Jamie knows she’s putting her career on the line by defending an accused terrorist, but she’d never abandon him. Someone is framing Dustin to take the fall for shocking acts of violence . . . but why?

Praise for Aftermath:

“In Aftermath, Terri Blackstock plumbs the depth of human emotion in the face of devastating tragedy, grief, and loss. Yet, she still manages to give readers her trademark suspenseful story, sweet romance, and hope for the future. From gut wrenching scenes in a cancer patient’s hospital room to seeing the world through the eyes of a young woman with a debilitating mental health disorder, Blackstock pulls no punches about human frailties. Does the end justify the means? Romantic suspense lovers won’t want to miss Aftermath.”
—Kelly Irvin, bestselling author

“Justice may be blind but that doesn’t keep it from facing mortal danger. In Aftermath, expert storyteller Terri Blackstock ratchets up the suspense in a novel that delivers on every level. Conflicts rage and loyalties are tested to the ultimate limit. Set aside plenty of time when you pick up this book—you’ll not to want to take a break.”
—Robert Whitlow, bestselling author

My Review:

This novel starts with an explosive bang and then sort of sputters with two story lines that converge near the end. One line is centered on Taylor, a teen who survived an explosion at a political rally. She and two friends had gone to the event to hear the opening band. When she realizes her two friends did not survive, her OCD and other mental issues kick into high gear.

The other line follows Dustin, partner in a security firm arrested when explosives are found in his car trunk. The police had received an anonymous tip and Dustin has no idea who is framing him. Jamie, Dustin's childhood friend and now lawyer, comes to his aid.

We get a little insight into high power attorney firms as Jamie gets some criticism for taking on a childhood friend, someone the public seems to already blame for the deadly explosion. I appreciate Blackstock exploring survivor's guilt and what that might do to someone like Taylor, a fragile person. Finding out who set off the bomb is more amateur effort and luck on the part of Jamie and Dustin. The police do not come off very effective. The mystery aspect of the novel is weak and astute readers will probably know the villain well before revealed in the book.

This novel is for readers who enjoy a novel exploring how characters act and why more than ones containing a good mystery. I have read many of Blackstock's novels and this one is not her best.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: May 11th 2021
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0310348587 (ISBN13: 9780310348580)
Series: Aftermath is a stand-alone novel
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook | Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

Aftermath

Chapter One

Taylor Reid’s phone flashed as she snapped the selfie with her two friends, their heads touching and their backs to the stage. The shot from the third row, with the lead singer in the background and the three of them in the foreground, was perfect. No one would believe their seats were so close.

They turned around to face the band, dancing to the beat of the song they’d been listening to in the car on the way to Trudeau Hall.

Taylor quickly posted the pic, typing, “Ed Loran targets nonpoliticals for his rally with band Blue Fire. Worked on us!”

She put her phone on videotape and zoomed onto the stage.

“I don’t want it to end!” Desiree said in her ear.

“Me either!” Taylor yelled over the music.

“Maybe they’ll play again after his speech,” Mara shouted.

The song came to an end, and the crowd went crazy, begging for one more song before the band left the stage.

But an amplified voice filled the auditorium, cutting off the adulation. “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the next president of the United States, Ed Loran!”

The crowd sounded less enthusiastic as the band left the stage and Ed Loran, the Libertarian celebrity magnet, made his entrance. Taylor kept cheering and clapping, letting her enthusiasm for the band segue to him.

It happened just as the candidate took the stage. The deafening sound, like some confusing combination of gunshot and lightning bolt, a blast that blacked out the lights and knocked her to the ground. Smoke mushroomed. Screams crescendoed—shrieks of terror, wailing pain, shocking anguish . . . then sudden, gentle silence, as if she were underwater. A loud ringing in her ears filled the void.

She peered under the seats, choking for breath as dimmer lights flickered through the smoke. Even from here, she could see the fallout of whatever had happened. Blood pooling on the ground, people hunkering down as she was, feet running . . . What was happening? An explosion? A crash? She looked around and couldn’t see her friends.

She clawed her way up and looked over the seat. Smoke and fire billowed from the stage into the crowd, and heat wafted over her like some living force invading the room. Muffled, muted sounds competed with the ringing.

Get out! Now! She dropped back down and crawled under two rows of seats until she came to someone limp on the floor. She felt herself scream but couldn’t hear her own voice. Scrambling to her feet, she went to her left to get to the aisle, but her foot slipped on something wet. She grabbed the seat next to her to steady herself, then launched into the frantic crowd in the aisle. The room seemed to spin, people whizzing by, people under her, people above her, people broken and ripped and still . . . She stepped and fell, crawled and ran, tripped and kicked her way to the bottlenecked doorway, then fought her way through it.

The ringing in her ears faded as she tumbled downstairs, almost falling into the lobby below. The sound of crying, coughing, wretching, and the roaring sound of pounding feet turned up as if some divine finger had fiddled with the volume.

She set her sights on the glass doors to the outside and pushed forward, moving through people and past the security stations they’d stopped at on the way in. She made it to the door and burst out into the sunlight.

Fresh, cool air hit her like freedom, but at first her lungs rejected it like some poison meant to stop her. At the bottom of the steps, on the sidewalk, she bent over and coughed until she could breathe.

After a moment, the crowd pushed her along toward the parking garage until she remembered that her car wasn’t there. She had parked on the street, blocks away. She forced her way out of the flow of people and ran a block south. Where was it?

She turned the corner. Her car was here, on this block. Near the Atlanta Trust Bank. Wasn’t it? Or was it the next block?

Sweat slicked her skin until she found her silver Accord. There!

She ran to it and pulled her keys out of her pocket, wishing she hadn’t lost the key fob. Her hands trembled as she stuck the key into the passenger side lock and got the door open. She slipped inside on the driver’s side, locked it behind her. Instinctively, she slid down, her head hidden as if someone were coming after her.

What just happened?

One minute they’d been taking selfies and videotaping the band, and the next they were on the floor . . .

Where were Mara and Desiree? She hadn’t even looked for them! Should she go back for them?

No, that would be insane. She could smell the smoke and fire from here. They would know to come to the car when they got out.

Call the police!

She tried to steady her hands as she swiped her phone on.

“911, what is your—”

“An explosion!” she cut in, her voice hoarse. “At the Ed Loran rally at Trudeau Hall!”

“Where are you now?” the woman asked in a voice that was robotically calm.

“I got out. There’s fire . . . People are still in there. Please send ambulances!”

“Ma’am, did you see what exploded?”

“No . . . the stage area, I think. I don’t know where my friends are. Please . . . hurry!”

“We’ve already dispatched the fire department and police, ma’am.”

She heard sirens from a few blocks away and cut off the call. She raised up, looking over the dashboard for the flashing lights. She couldn’t see any, but the sirens grew louder.

She knelt on the floorboard, her knees on her floormat and her elbows on her seat, and texted Desiree.

I’m at the car. Where are you?

No answer. She switched to a recent thread with Mara and texted again.

Got out. At car waiting. Where are you?

Nothing.

She dictated a group text to both of them.

Are you all right?

They were probably running or deaf, fighting their way out like she had. She tried calling them, but Mara’s phone rang to voicemail. When Desiree’s phone did the same, she yelled, “Call me! I’m waiting at the car and I’m scared. Where are you?” She was sobbing when she ended the call.

***

Excerpt from Aftermath by Terri Blackstock. Copyright 2021 by Terri Blackstock. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. She’s the author of If I Run, If I’m Found, and If I Live, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, Moonlighters, and the Restoration series.

Visit her at:
www.TerriBlackstock.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram - #terriblackstock
Twitter - #terriblackstock
Facebook - @tblackstock

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Click here to view Aftermath by Terri Blackstock Tour Participants.

 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Terri Blackstock & Thomas Nelson. There will be ONE (1) winner of one (1) physical copy of Aftermath (US Addresses only). The giveaway begins on May 10, 2021 and ends on June 5, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours


I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)



Monday, May 10, 2021

The Elnora Monet by Rachel Skatvold Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  The Elnora Monet

Author: Rachel Skatvold

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: April 27, 2021

Islanders call him the Elnora Monet.

Is that island speak for “pompous, arrogant jerk?”

When Carly Mulligan volunteered to make house calls on Elnora, she never imagined treating the richest cat on the islands. What other feline has his own wing in a mansion like the Belshaw Estate?

After a wrong turn in the mansion, Carly stumbles across a secret room—one filled with incredible paintings. Perhaps there’s something more to the man than she first thought.

Most people envy Jean-Luc Belshaw’s position. The heir to a lucrative business and family fortune, he should have everything he could dream of.

But Luc dreams of days past. Days when he traveled the world with his wife and painted the breathings of his soul disappeared with Angeline’s passing.  Faith and inspiration gone, he wonders if returning to France to take his place in his father’s business is the right thing to do.

Carly has a few relational demons of her own, and she’s reluctant to trust him, but Luc’s paintings draw her in even as his story touches a long-empty place in her heart.

Only God can transform two broken pasts into a work of art.

The Elnora Monet continues the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore

Click here to get your copy!

 My Review

I enjoyed this romance, part of the series featuring stories set on the Independence Islands. This novel is of the ordinary girl meets handsome billionaire type. There is a trip to Europe on a corporate jet, a private museum tour and an exclusive picnic in a vineyard. A dazzling romantic adventure only a billionaire could provide.

I appreciate Skatvold adding some interesting issues to what might be a common romance plot. Luc, the billionaire set to take over the hotel business, must choose between loyalty to family and the potential of romance. He has given up painting because of grief over the death of his wife and has become somewhat of a recluse. Carly, helping in her sister's veterinary business, is challenged with a grief stricken cat, the one that belonged to Luc's wife. Who knew there were therapy cats? And Carly herself is therapy for Luc, inspiring him to be creative again.

This is a good romance with a strong faith message and insights into daring to live again after loss.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Author

Rachel Skatvold is a Christian author and stay-at-home mom from the Midwest. She enjoys writing inspirational romance and encouraging blogs. Rachel completed her first series, the Riley Family Legacy Novellas in 2014 and is now working on the Hart Ranch Series, set in the Montana wilderness and the Ladies of Ardena Series, set in medieval times. She is also a contributing author in the Whispers in Wyoming and Brides of Pelican Rapids Series. Other than writing, some of her hobbies include singing, reading and camping in the great outdoors with her husband and two young sons. You can find more information about Rachel and her books on her website: www.rachelskatvold.com.

More from Rachel

Thank you for helping celebrate the release of The Elnora Monet by following this Celebration Tour hosted by Celebrate Lit. I hope you enjoy learning a little more about the characters and what inspired the story. Please follow the other stops on this tour and don’t forget to enter in the giveaway. Thank you!

It has been a wonderful experience working with the talented authors and editors in the Independence Islands Series. Each of these stories has a heartwarming message of faith and the characters always teach me something new. Ever since writing Kendall Mulligan’s story in Her Merriweather Hero, I’ve been excited to share her free-spirited younger sister’s story.

Carly had many struggles in the first book, questioning what purpose God had for her life. This time around, her feet are more grounded, but she still has some growing to do when it comes to faith. Carly has been a fun character to write about because of her witty extroverted personality and some of the humorous predicaments she ends up in…one of them including getting caught snooping around a billionaire’s mansion.

While not outspoken as Carly, I can relate to the character’s search for direction. Sometimes it is difficult learning to trust, especially during troubling times, but we can rely on God’s promises. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight.” This verse means so much to me because I know even when I can’t understand something, He is behind the scenes guiding me in the right direction. For Carly, it leads in a direction she never expects, but it is worth it in the end.

Certain parts of the story were inspired by my mom. If you have read Her Merriweather Hero, you know the Mulligan sisters are originally from New England, close to where my mom grew up. I love hearing about her memories of spending time at Nantasket Beach, drinking orange pop, and putting chips in her sandwich so they wouldn’t blow away. Even though I grew up in the Midwest, I still put chips in my own sandwich because of watching her do the same thing and her fridge is always stocked with orange pop to this day. Little bits of my mom’s childhood are weaved into this story, making it close to my heart.

I hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about characters and story behind The Elnora Monet. Now continue reading for a summary of the book and giveaway. Blessings!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 10

Lakesidelivingsite, May 10

Rebekah Reads Lit, May 10

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, May 11

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, May 11

She Lives to Read, May 12

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 12

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 13

deb's Book Review, May 13

Texas Book-aholic, May 14

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, May 14

Inklings and notions, May 15

CarpeDiem, May 15

For Him and My Family, May 16

Cultivating Us, May 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 17

Books and Everyday Live, May 17

Blossoms and Blessings, May 17

Library Lady's Kid Lit, May 18

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, May 18

Lots of Helpers, May 19

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 20

Blogging With Carol , May 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 21

Godly Book Reviews, May 21

Kayem Reads, May 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 22

Connect in Fiction, May 22

Splashes of Joy, May 23

Simple Harvest Reads, May 23 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10bb3/the-elnora-monet-celebration-tour-giveaway

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Sunday, May 9, 2021

The Shell Collector by Nancy Naigle

About the Book:

Two years after her husband's death, Amanda Whittier has two children to raise alone, an abandoned dream of starting a business, and a fixer-upper cottage by the sea. She has no room in her life for anything else and little interest in moving on after losing the man she loved.

Paul Grant is a relatively newcomer to the area, and his work with former military dogs needing rehabilitation has been good for the town. Though he loved once before, he's convinced he's not suited for romance and is determined to find meaning – alone – through his work and role in the community.

Widowed Maeve Lindsay was born and raised in Whelk's Island. Spirited, kind, and a little mischievous, she pours her life into the town. But she carries a secret that shapes her every move.

Together, these three souls find encouragement in the most mysterious places and discover a love that's bigger than their pain, healing their wounded hearts in ways none of them could have hoped for or expected.

Read the first chapter here.

My Review:

I enjoyed this novel of healing of grief through relationships. I like how the two women, though a generation apart, help each other as they navigate loss in life. I like Maeve's wisdom and that she is a good listener. I like Amanda's determination to do what is best for her children. And my favorite characters by far, Amanda's children. They are so sweet and their enthusiasm for life is contagious. Would that all children could be so delightful after experiencing tragedy. But then, this is fiction.

I liked the setting and the times on the beach. Living on an island, there is something special about the ocean meeting land and Naigle has done well in portraying it. The possibility of romance is done well, contrasting an impending opportunity for Amanda and a missed opportunity for Maeve. I liked Paul, bringing gentle healing to Amanda's children. I do wish he would have been a little slower and more gentle in his pursuit of romance. Recovery in that area takes time and cannot be rushed.

This is a touching story about healing from grief. It highlights the importance of relationships and being open to asking for help. It explores the difficult task of letting go of the past and looking toward the future. While death is a major theme in this novel, its happening and recovery from it was handled well. Engaging characters and a touching plot make this a good summer read.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Nancy Naigle is a USA Today bestselling author whose many contemporary romance novels include the Adams Grove, Book Creek, and Christmas in Evergreen series. Several of her novels have been adapted to the television screen, airing on the Hallmark Channel and on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, including the popular Christmas Joy and Hope at Christmas.

She makes her home in North Carolina. For more information, visit http://www.nancynaigle.com.

WaterBrook, 352 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Kill the Noise by Ryan Ries

This is quite a prodigal son story. Although the son of a Calvary Chapel pastor, Ries went into a life of partying, music, drugs and sex. He shares many of his experiences and then how he finally got saved as an adult. He writes that his parents were aware of his lifestyle and tried to get him help but he refused. I found it interesting he either ignored childhood Christian influence or was not given any as he later in life did not know where Romans was in the Bible nor who Habakkuk was. (71)

This combination memoir and life lessons book would appeal to young people, people who speak about dudes and cribs and say a friend is dope. This book is for people who don't look like nor worship like traditional Christians and would appreciate Ries writing about Jesus kicking butt.

Unfortunately, Ries says he has no answers as to how he got so far off the rails. (119) So those who hoped to find some parenting advice in this book will be disappointed.

There is good teaching in the book but some of it might be a bit confusing. Ries writes, “One of the things you learn by reading the Bible is how easy it actually is to not do the wrong stuff.” (77) Then he goes on to tell us how hard it actually is to not do the wrong stuff. He writes about having to get strong, how he had to build resolve as he was in a daily spiritual battle. (102, 112) He encourages us to not think stopping sinful behavior is easy. (102) “Living for Christ is a battle,” he writes. (114)

This is a book for young people who think God could not possibly love them or want them. Ries' story of bad behavior and return to faith is a good example of God loving the prodigal back to a relationship with Him. God will not kick you to the curb if you mess up, Ries says. “Whenever you turn back to God, He will be there waiting for you with open arms of forgiveness and acceptance.” (35)

You can watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Ryan Ries is cofounder of The Whosoevers movement, a nonprofit organization that empowers students at public schools, colleges, and universities around the world to make positive choices no matter their circumstances. Ryan teaches Bible studies at Calvary Chapel Golden Spring, and speaks to thousands of teens and adults at music festivals, concerts, skate parks, churches, juvenile detention centers, and rehabs each year. He produces films, organizes music festivals, and hosts a Saturday night radio talk show, The Ryan Ries Show. Ryan continues to work personally with musicians and action sports athletes. Ryan is married to Crystal, and they have triplet daughters and one son. They live in Southern California.

Worthy Publishing, 224 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Saturday, May 8, 2021

To Save a King by Rachel Hauck Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  To Save A King

Author: Rachel Hauck

Genre: Christian Royal Romance

Release date: May 8, 2021

A modern-day fairytale of rescue and hope from NYT bestselling author Rachel Hauck

Growing up in small town Hearts Bend, Tennessee, Gemma Stone had big dreams. So she headed to Hollywood to make her mark in the world.

But dreams have a way of becoming nightmares. When she returns home twelve years later, she’s limping through life and harboring a dark secret.

Running a rescue ranch and raising her friends’ orphaned daughter is her sole mission now. All the while she’s well aware these defenseless ones are also rescuing her.

HRH Crown Prince John has learned a royal title cannot shield him from heartbreak. He had the perfect life as heir to the revered House of Blue, the royal dynasty of Lauchtenland, and married the love of his life. Then tragedy changed everything. Is there any way to be saved from a life of grief?

When he finds himself in Hearts Bend on a mission for his mother, Queen Catherine, he catches up with a good friend–country music great Buck Mathews. He has no intention of joining the 4th of July fun until he’s cajoled into a three-legged race with the beautiful Gemma Stone.

The disastrous race leads to a quick friendship. They are easy and comfortable around one another because love is absolutely not an option.

John desperately wants to hold onto the memories of his wife while Gemma refuses to trust her heart to any man. Even a prince.

When trouble in Lauchtenland calls the prince home, he realizes how much Gemma has rescued him. Saved him and restored his hope for his role as future king.

For Gemma, falling in love with the prince must be quenched. If it weren’t for her past, she’d give him her heart in a second. How could she risk bringing her shame to the House of Blue and the world stage?

However, she’s not the only one who can rescue and heal the wound. If she saved Prince John, why can’t he save her? And when he tries, will she have the courage to say yes to the best role of her life?

“Another compelling royal story by the master of princely tales!”  Susan May Warren, USA Today bestselling, RITA award-winning novelist

Click here to get your copy!

 My Review

We are never too old for a fairy tale and Hauck has given us an entertaining one. The characters are engaging. We root for Prince John, hoping he will take a chance on love again after the tragic loss of the wife he loved so dearly. We root for Gemma, hoping she will find love when she feels one mistake too many has forever ruined her chance for future happiness.

Hauck has included a few life lessons in the story. One is the distinction between our identity and our essence. Another is that God can use even our most terrible decisions for good. And there are some fun fairy tale characters included, like Emmanuel, so much like Jesus, and a quirky angel of princesses.

Yes, there are lots of loose ends and unanswered questions at the end of this novel. But then, this is a fairy tale and we believe everyone will live happily ever after, even when that seems to go against any reasonable future.

This is a good novel for readers who enjoy a modern day fairy tale of forgiveness, restoration, and unlikely love.

This is the second novel in a series but reads well on its own. You can read my review of the first in the series, To Love a Prince.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner. Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie. Three more of her titles are under film contract.

Rachel was awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A retired member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Executive Board, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

In the real world, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically.

A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day.

She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

More from Rachel

One of the biggest challenges in a series is keeping the reader interested. Even more of a challenge is writing in a trope like royals.

I never set out to write a second royal series. With five stories in the Royal Wedding Series, I thought I’d explored the topic to my satisfactions.

Yet when readers asked for more, and when I found myself in a season to produce my own stories, another royal series seemed like the perfect fit.

But can I be honest? Really honest? Come close. I’ll tell you a secret. Closer…

Royals can be a bit boring. At least to write. You laugh but I’m serious.

What do we really know of their day to day lives? They attend national functions, patron charities, represent the nation on walkabouts around the world. They are ambassadors with no real political agenda. They champion causes.

But what exactly do they do with their days? What are the inner workings of palace life? What are the real expectations? Do they call the queen “her majesty” when talking among themselves? When talking to her? Are they as formal as it seems on television?

Yet royals are the most documented people in history. So there is a lot to glean from when I make up my worlds.

But at the end of it all, they key for me in writing royal characters is to make them real, everyday people. The prince is the kind of chap you want to chat with over tea. The heroine is the sort of girl you’d love to see become a princess. Maybe even see a bit of yourself in her.

In To Save A King, Crown Prince John is trying to emerge for a year of grief. Gemma Stone is desperate to escape her past.

Gemma’s story has some what of an edge to it. In her attempt to achieve her goals, she walked a path she never thought she’d walk when she was a girl growing up in Hearts Bend, Tennessee. And it proved her undoing.

While we may have never faced a past like Gemma’s, we can all relate to personal betrayal of our values from gossip to immorality. I hope Gemma’s story reminds us the nearness of love and forgiveness.

On a lighter side, I recently learned British society has moved away from chap and bloke, replacing it with the American term “guy.” Isn’t that funny. Louise Lee, my narrator, said it was funny to read those words in To Love A Prince since there were more her parents’ generation. Ah, the signs of a more global society.

Well, I didn’t care if they have gone out of style for young people. I used them anyway. I like them. Maybe we should adopt “chap” and “bloke” over here. What do you say, guys?

I hope you enjoy To Save A King, book two in the True Blue Royal series and find your heart cheering on broken, wounded characters to a happily ever after worthy of a prince and princess.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 8

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Britt Reads Fiction, May 9

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For Him and My Family, May 10

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The Book Chic Blog, May 10

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Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, May 11

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Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 12

Kayem Reads, May 12

Blossoms and Blessings, May 13

Betti Mace, May 13

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deb's Book Review, May 14

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, May 14

Inside the Wong Mind, May 14

Moments, May 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 15

Rachael's Inkwell, May 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 15

Connect in Fiction, May 15

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 16

Kathleen's Blog, May 16

Remembrancy, May 16

Mary Hake, May 16

Where Faith and Books Meet, May 17

She Lives To Read, May 17

Wishful Endings, May 17

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 18

Back Porch Reads, May 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 18

Livin’ Lit, May 18

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 19

Simple Harvest Reads, May 19 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Bizwings Blog, May 19

Mamma Loves Books, May 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 20

By The Book, May 20

The Sacred Line, May 20

Daysong Reflections, May 20

Through the fire blogs, May 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 21

Artistic Nobody, May 21 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize of a Kindle Fire!!
*May be different than one pictured.

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10bb0/to-save-a-king-celebration-tour-giveaway

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)