Sunday, May 27, 2018

Highlands by Chautona Havig (Journey of Dreams: Book Two)

Highlands banner

About the Book

Title: Highlands
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Release Date: October, 2015
highlandsIntrospection–this place invites it. I’ve never allowed myself the time to pause and get to know myself. My father taught me it was weak. Focus on the prize–eyes off yourself. The goal matters. You are just the instrument to get you there.
Here… Is this what that goal was and I never knew it? The peaks above, the trees that stand tall beside me as if my own personal bodyguards.
I am alive–maybe for the first time in my life–and I think it’s because I’m dead. 
A Journey of Dreams
Welcome to a new world: the world of Highlands.
When Tony Frazier arrives in Highlands, he must come to grips with a world that embraces birth defects as beautiful and to be celebrated–even those easily corrected. Balancing the beauty of utter acceptance and the wisdom of when to alter the “workmanship of God” creates tension between Tony and the Highlanders.
The Journey of Dreams series explores themes in the Christian life from a different perspective–from a world that can’t exist anywhere but in the dreams of the people who live there.
Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review:

I somehow missed book one in this series. This book is about Tony, a guy headed for the Olympics when it all comes apart. Or did it come apart? Tony has wakened in The Highlands, and it can feel rather crazy. Bryn, she's his friend in this strange place that looks like it came from the past. Tony has a challenge, can he move past the programming he's dealing with and become more, or is he not the person he thought he once was? 
Disabilities, pain, acceptance, forgiveness, and growth are themes in this book. I liked it well enough, but sometimes it frustrated me. I struggled to like Tony for a while, possibly because I haven't always related well to jocks. I was glad when he started having growth and development. 

4 stars 

About the Author

ChautonaThe author of dozens of books in a variety of genres, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert where she uses story to nudge her readers to the feet of the Master Storyteller.






Guest Video From Chautona Havig



Blog Stops

Mary Hake, May 27
Carpe Diem, June 3
Bigreadersite , June 4
Simple Harvest Reads, June 5 (Spotlight)
Artistic Nobody, June 6 (Spotlight)
Quiet Quilter, June 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Chautona has put together a fun giveaway!
Grand Prize: I picture cool mornings in the mountains of Highlands. So, I’ve put together an early morning reading package for our grand prize winner. Even if it’s July, just crank up the AC, grab a lightweight throw (a scarf would even work!), brew up a cup of this delicious tea, and see what happened to Jessa (Prairie) and Tony (Highlands) when they woke up having received the desires of their hearts directly from the Lord in these contemporary fantasy novels. Happy reading!
Over a $50 value including:
Fearfully & Wonderfully Made Mug from Etsy
Tin of Tea
Paperbacks of the first 2 books in the Journey of Dreams Series!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cebc/highlands-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

Together forever copy

About the Book

Together Forever
Title: Together Forever, Orphan Train Book 2
Author: Jody Hedlund
Genre: Inspirational historical romance
Release Date: May, 2018
Determined to find her lost younger sister, Marianne Neumann takes a job as a placing agent with the Children’s Aid Society in 1858 New York. She not only hopes to offer children a better life, but prays she’ll be able to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train so they can finally be reunited.
Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing-out trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children, firm but tender and friendly. Underneath his charm and handsome looks, though, seems to linger a grief that won’t go away–and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden.
As the two team up, placing orphans in the small railroad towns of Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever.
Click here to purchase your copy!
My Review:
The concept of an orphan train was new to me. I'm sure I should have read it before, but I don't remember it. I can't believe I missed the first one in this series, now I need to read it. 

The Children's Aid Society is trying to find homes for all these displaced and homeless children. Working with children in distress is hard. In the middle of all this is a couple. Marianne and Andrew are drawing close to 1858. However, there's something major lurking that's a very real threat/issue.

Drew, aka, Andrew, has a lot of growing he needs to do. I'm hoping that if he is another book we see that growth. He really needed to protect her more and think about how things would affect her more than he did, but I have seen this a great deal in Christian books. It's well written and focuses on God getting us through obstacles and issues, but I still want someone to beat some sense into Drew for being such a jerk. 

4 Stars

About the Author

Jody hedlundJody Hedlund is the author of over a dozen novels, including Love Unexpected, Captured by Love, Unending Devotion, The Preacher’s Bride, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for historical romance. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog at www.jodyhedlund.com.



Guest Post from Jody Hedlund

30,000 Abandoned Children
By Jody Hedlund
Imagine a city where 30,000 abandoned and homeless children live on the streets.
Sounds like something from a futuristic dystopian novel, doesn’t it? Or something that might happen after a war or apocalypse or major disaster, right?
This exact thing actually happened in the 1850’s. And the city was New York City.
It’s hard to believe, but an estimated 30,000 homeless children roamed the dirty city streets and alleys of New York City.
30,000. Children. Let that sink in for a minute. That’s the size of a town.
Historians look back on that time and try to make sense what led to such horrific conditions for children. Of course, the influx of immigrants was at an all time high. Jobs and housing were scarce. Diseases were rampant. Hunger and poverty became a norm. (Orphan Train Depot)
Together forever 1Together forever 2
As more and more people became aware of the enormous problem within the crowded slums, courageous heroes rose up and attempted to do their part to make a difference.
While we may not always agree with the methods that were used to save the thousands of homeless children, we can admire the men and women who could no longer sit idly by.
The Children’s Aid Society was started by Charles Loring Brace as one such attempt to help the hordes of homeless children. His “Emigration Plan” is better known today by the term “Orphan Trains.”
Together forever 3Together Forever
My latest series tackles various elements of the orphan train movement. Together Forever, releasing in May, highlights the placing agents, those devoted people who rode the trains with the orphans. The agents spent weeks and months on the road caring for the children, all the while trying to place them in loving homes.
(If you’d like to try out the series, start with my FREE novella, An Awakened Heart.)
Like the brave men and women who came before us, may we always strive to do our part to make a difference! 

Blog Stops

By The Book, May 22
Genesis 5020, May 23
Radiant Light, May 26
Mary Hake, May 27
Carpe Diem, May 27
Simple Harvest Reads, May 28 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Bigreadersite, May 30
Vicky Sluiter, June 2

Giveaway

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

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Simple Soul of Susan by Noel Branham

The simple soul of susan FB banner copy

About the Book

The Simple Sould of Susan
Title: The Simple Soul of Susan
Author: Noel Branham
Genre: Romance, YA, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary
Release Date: October 11, 2017
Susan Combs had long ago found the love of her life. The only problem was the other party still didn’t know he had been found.
Every day Susan saw Calder Hurtz, her next door neighbor and childhood best friend. They always enjoyed the short drive to school down the dusty streets of their small Texas town. She was happy in those perfect moments, for her life at home was most imperfect. The challenging homestead she inhabited was also the favorite subject of local gossip.
But one autumn day she overhears Calder and another boy having a conversation. This occasion of accidental audience sets Susan’s life on an unforeseen path. In the seasons to come, her future will be changed by two hospitalizations, two confessions of love, and one betrayal.
Compulsively readable, The Simple Soul of Susan is an engaging, soul-endearing romance and a mesmerizing debut.
Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

This was definitely a romance read and a good debut book. From the title I figured Susan would be anything but "simple", but in some ways, she was incredibly simple. She's insecure, yet competent in caring for her ailing father. She's a ditz, but she can be very "put together." In these ways, she is more real, but sometimes more aggravating than some characters. Susan is in love with her high-school sweetheart, her best friend for ages. Calder is into every other girl possible. Yes, that changes via her most unexpected path(s). It has the expected ending that sits rather well, only afterward, I still wished there had been more for Susan and Calder. Some added things that just didn't quite get all the way there for me. However, I am odd so that is probably just me! 

4 Stars

About the Author 
Noel BranhamBorn and raised in a small Texas town, Noel Branham started her career in digital communications after graduating with a degree in English. An award-winning communicator, she now writes from her residence in Florida about things closest to the heart: home, family, and love.





Guest Post from Noel Branham

Fictional Romance: A Real Relationship Killer?
You’ve heard it before… All romance novels give readers unrealistic expectations of relationships. Yep. They totally do. But I think most of the time, with life in general, we have unrealistic expectations not only of others but of ourselves. We live in a world where there is always something else to try, buy or satisfy our ever-evolving aspirations of happiness and fulfillment. So here are three things to remember while reading romance novels that will lead to having deep, meaningful, romantic, relationships in real life:
  1. Happiness isn’t fulfilled expectations. When you expect your significant other (SO) to see you and romantically sweep you off your feet while pulling flowers from behind your back and force feeding you chocolates… you may have some unrealistic expectations. Would it be nice? Sure! But there is always something more they could do to make you happy, feeling loved, satisfied, etc. It’s a bottomless pit of desire and implied anticipated actions. We have to realize that no matter how many things we want out of a relationship, we can never receive them all… because realistically, we could never live up to the things expected of us either. Romance is a two-way street.
  2. Happiness is the unexpected, fulfilled. Wait… how can you fulfill something that isn’t expected? You can’t. And that’s what makes it so great. Your SO fills your car up with gas, takes you out for a date for no particular reason, watches that Victorian-era PBS drama with you even though they can’t understand the accents… When we get rid of expectations for ourselves and others we are able to really enjoy the things and people we already have and anything else is simply adding to lovely life that we already possess.
  3. Happiness in relationships is what you make of it. Just not feeling the love anymore after five years together? Was it that you chose the wrong person? Was it something they did? Something you did? Love can be a feeling and an action. Your relationship doesn’t have to be defined by feelings. Feelings fade. They aren’t realistic. They change with time as people change with time because all people change. But actions… actions are what you choose to do on a regular basis. They are a daily intentional choice (made by you) to care for another person. You can control your actions, but not so much your feelings. Funny thing is often times your actions create feelings you never thought you could have.
If you are looking for a romance novel with a bit more realism to test out these principals, check out The Simple Soul of Susan. You can have the realistic expectation that you won’t be disappointed 🙂

Blog Stops

Multifarious, May 11
Remembrancy, May 11
Artistic Nobody, May 15 (Spotlight)
Mommynificent, May 16
Carpe Diem, May 19
margaret kazmierczak, May 20 (Interview)
Simple Harvest Reads, May 21 (Guest post, Mindy Houng)
Reading is my Super Power, May 21 (Interview)
Bigreadersite, May 22

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Noel giving away
Grand Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card
First & Second Place Prize: eBook copy of the Simple Soul of Susan!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cee4/the-simple-soul-of-susan-celebration-tour-giveaway

Saturday, April 28, 2018

She Who Knows No Fear by Barbara Bras

She Who Knows No Fear FB Banner copy

About the Book

Bstsell auth
Title: She Who Knows No Fear
Author: Barbara Bras
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Release Date: December 8, 2017
Cassie’s dream is about to come true. She’s marrying her best friend, the love of her life.
She will never be alone again.
But when Zack fails to return from surfing, Cassie’s safe world comes crashing down around her and she begins her struggle anew.
Haunted by her conviction that her late grandmother left her something that will help her, Cassie discovers hidden “treasures” in the house she inherited.
With the help of her stepmother, Cassie unlocks the secrets of her grandmother’s journey and along the way finds the ultimate answer for her own life.
Click here to purchase your copy.
My Review:
What a lovely sequel. I first fell for the title. I hate fighting fear. Would Cassie be fearless by the end of this book? I had to find out. Then the secrets started and I was completely hooked. The characters are even more real to me than in the first book. I enjoyed the family history and the life lessons intertwined into this book, and the vivid Hawaiian setting. 

5 stars

About the Author

untitled-1In 2015, Barbara Bras left her career to pursue her dream of serving God. She believed that her first step was to share the amazing story of God’s blessings in her life. Wrapped in God’s Grace, A Life Rediscovered does so through a trio of narratives. It begins with the story of her son’s miraculous adoption and the challenging years that followed, her grandparents’ remarkable survival in Armenia, and her own quest for purpose and love. Once written, Barbara realized her life’s new purpose. Captured by St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, she views her writing as a tribute to the God who comforts and strengthens us in hardships and trials, and as her mission to encourage others. Her first novel, She Who Knows, A Tale of the Heart,seeks to inspire and encourage. The sequel, She Who Knows No Fear: Another Tale of the Heart, released in December 2017. Solo Deo Gloria, To God Alone Be the Glory

She who knows no fear image

Blog Spots

A Greater Yes, April 29
Among the Reads, April 30
Reading is my Super Power, May 3 (Interview)
Carpe Diem, May 5
margaret kazmierczak, May 6 (Interview)
Mary Hake, May 7
Simple Harvest Reads, May 7 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Barbara is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card plus a signed copy of She Who Knows and She Who Knows No Fear!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/ca74