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

Godly Book Reviews, May 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 8

Britt Reads Fiction, May 9

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, May 9

Blogging With Carol, May 9

Worthy2Read, May 9

For Him and My Family, May 10

Genesis 5020, May 10

The Book Chic Blog, May 10

CarpeDiem, May 10

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

Hebrews 12 Endurance, May 11

Splashes of Joy, May 11

Cultivating Us, May 11

Texas Book-aholic, May 12

Just Writing, May 12

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

Kayem Reads, May 12

Blossoms and Blessings, May 13

Betti Mace, May 13

Inklings and notions, May 13

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.)


Friday, May 7, 2021

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky

About the Book:

Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans – but was that the truth?

After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the poorhouse in London in 1908, leaving their mother to scrape by for her three younger children, while the oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and eaight-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans' home before Laura is notified about her family's unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything.

Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that his common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more?

Inspired by true events, this moving novel follows Laura as she seeks to reunite her family and her siblings who, in their darkest hours, must cling to the words from Isaiah: “Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am they God.”

You can watch the book trailer here.

My Review:

This is an engaging novel based on historical events. I was appalled that overseers in homes for orphaned children in England had the right to gather children for just about any reason. In the story Turansky tells, it was because their mother was temporarily sick. I was also appalled that the children could be sent to Canada without their parent's permission. (206) That was well portrayed in this novel too.

We readers get a vivid idea of how this handling of children could go terribly wrong. Turansky does a good job of showing how some children are brought into homes in Canada and horribly mistreated. Sensitive readers might have trouble reading about some of that treatment. Turansky also paints a clear picture of the social levels in England at the time, especially on the sea voyage to Canada. The travel accommodations for first class passengers was certainly different than those of the emigrating children.

This is a good book for readers who like a novel based on historical events, especially dealing with how penniless children were treated. Turansky's writing style is good and her characters engaging. Readers who liked Orphan Train or Before We Were Yours will like this one.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Carrie Turansky is an award-winning author of more than twenty novels and novellas. She has won the ACFW Carol Award, the Holt Medallion, and the International Digital Award. She loved traveling to England to research her latest Edwardian novels, including No Ocean Too Wide, Across the Blue, and the Edwardian Brides series. Her novels have received starred reviews from Library Journal. They have also been translated into several languages and enjoyed by readers around the world. You can find out more at http://carrieturansky.com/.

Multnomah, 364 pages.

(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.)