Thursday, February 2, 2023

Twice Sold Tales by Chautona Havig (Bookstrings Book 1)

 

About the Book

Book: Twice Sold Tales

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian / Romantic Women’s Fiction

Release date: November 2, 2022

If only owning a bookstore didn’t mean dealing with people.

No one was more surprised than Harper Brevig when Great Aunt Lorene (not “Lori,” thank-you-very-much) died and left her least favorite niece her bookstore–including a prime piece of real estate in downtown Red Wing, Minnesota.

Making a go of the place shouldn’t be too hard. With her library science degree, she should be set. Then again, the website describing library degrees had said it would teach her excellent communication skills. It had not. Could she get a partial refund?

Still, owning the building should mean crazy-low overhead to offset her less than optimal “book-side” manner.  Ahem. So when yet another huge bill arrives, and she starts getting twitchy about the low bank balance, Harper does the only thing she can think of.

Enter Milton Coleridge. He’d been excited about the possibilities of the store last year, but Harper had sent him packing before he could talk to her about them.  Now he has a chance to make a difference. But she’s right. She’s bleeding money, and it doesn’t make sense!

Milton’s job is to figure out what’s going on, plug the financial leak, and maybe… do a little matchmaking. That dad with the adorable little boy would be good for her… and she’d be good for him. Probably.

Twice Sold Tales: the first full-length novel in the Bookstrings series releasing with The Mosaic Collection

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Review:

It's a book store, so that's going to grab my attention instantly. For more fun, there's a ton of title dropping. I should go back and count because I have read so many of the books that were mentioned, I want to be sure I didn't miss one. LOL! I liked Harper and I was so happy that Pepie was included. I have know about Pepie for a while. What can I say, I'm a sucker for monsters? Harper has quite an adventure here, getting her own place and a bookstore to boot. It's a lot to handle and while she didn't first, now Harper is now wiling to let Milton help her. The store is losing funds and he's happy to help. If possible and with God's help, he'll save the girl, the store, himself and his child. The first in a series, I wonder where it go next. 

4 Stars 

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling author Chautona Haviglives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

“What kind of research does a contemporary book need? I mean, she’s a bookstore owner in a town you’ve been to several times. What’s there to research?”

I can’t be the only author to get questions like this. And I certainly can’t be the only one who has to fight the urge to laugh. Folks, authors research everything. In Twice Sold Tales, I think I looked up almost as much as I did in my Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries!

Because here’s the deal. What I didn’t know about Red Wing, Minnesota wouldn’t have hurt the story most of the time. Who cares that Bev’s Café has amazing creamy cucumbers? It doesn’t technically matter. Well, except to my character who hates veggies but will eat those. They make her feel virtuous. And you get to know about it.

But… what you discover about a place or a time or an occupation or whatever can totally change the course of your story. Case in point? I went to a website about River City Days because my niece suggested it might be a good thing for Noah to do with his son. That led me to the Farmer’s Markets and to other things. How I got to the first Ghost Walk in Red Wing taking place this year? I don’t even know. What I do know is that the moment I read about it, I knew Harper had to go. And if she did, and if Milton were the instigator, Noah had to go. #BecauseMatchmaker.

And this is where it got really cool. To make the walk as authentic as I could, I read everything I could find about it. And I discovered something super cool. Like… blow you out of the water cool.

Red Wing, Minnesota sits near the shore of Lake Pepin. Little House on the Prairie lovers will remember this as the lake that Laura Ingalls crossed in the wagon as they left the Big Woods of Wisconsin (you know, right across the river/lake from Red Wing???) Well… Lake Pepin has a monster—the Nessie of the Mississippi. Yes, you read that right… a monster! I went looking and guess what? The “monster” has a name. Pepie! Needless to say, Pepie became a an important part of my story. Because how could he not?

And… I happened to find a stuffed Pepie at Treats & Treasures in Lake City, just south of Red Wing, so I ordered a couple for giveaways—including the one with this blog tour. Happy reading, and what do you think? Shouldn’t someone write Pepie’s story?

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 21

Vicky Sluiter, January 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 22

Mary Hake, January 22

Texas Book-aholic, January 23

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, January 23

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, January 24

deb’s Book Review, January 24

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 25

Lots of Helpers, January 25

Cover Lover Book Review, January 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 26

Splashes of Joy, January 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 27

She Lives To Read, January 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 29

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 30

For Him and My Family, January 30

Divine Perspective, January 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 31

Aryn the Libraryan, February 1

Books I’ve Read, February 1

Blogging With Carol, February 2

Back Porch Reads, February 2

Pause for Tales, February 3

Spoken from the Heart, February 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback of the book, a stuffed “Pepie” and a few other bookish goodies!!

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/23bc5/twice-sold-tales-celebration-tour-giveaway


Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Shattered Reflection by Madisyn Carlin (The Shattered Lands Book 1)


About the Book

Book: Shattered Reflection

Author: Madisyn Carlin

Genre: New Adult Christian Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling

Release date: December 21, 2022

Can hope be found for four shattered souls?

Princess Nordica Icerri’s crown will be purchased with blood—her blood. Now the sole heir to the throne, she is determined to be the queen the Snowlands deserve, but that comes with a price: a numbed heart and soul. Only when she meets kidnapped physician Loren Alocer does Nordica allow herself to hope she can become queen without completely losing herself. But not everyone wants what’s best for the Snowlands, and Nordica’s upcoming rule is compromised at every turn. Can the criminal physician—and his faith—thaw Nordica’s heart, or is she destined to be the heartless queen she is being forced to become?

War shattered not only Breac Finson’s heart, but his faith as well. Tired of fighting, Breac only wants to be left alone, but his efforts are for naught when a friend calls in a favor. He soon finds himself in an unexpected alliance with Layree Alocer, a woman determined to find her wrongfully-kidnapped brother at all costs. Can a broken soldier help right a wrong—and find his faith again in the process?

Sides must be chosen and loyalties will be tested as a new war approaches. Can broken lives be mended in time to help save the Snowlands, or is evil already too deeply embedded?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 My Review:

This is high fantasy. It's mixed with a fairytale retelling, so when you feel a familiar thread or stream, that's why. As a high fantasy, this is also a big book with many characters. The maps are a boon, because this is huge! Princess Nordica Icerri is due to become Queen Of the Snowlands. Based on The Snow Queen this story takes that and goes in depth and a lot farther. I found a lot of characters I just loved! It's got twists and turns, and in depth epic level adventures and action. There's so much here it's hard to quantify it in just one review. Come read this and fall for these characters and expect to lose sleep - because this is that engrossing. I can't wait for the second book! 

5 Stars

About the Author

Madisyn Carlin is a Christian, homeschool graduate, blogger, voracious bookdragon, and author. When not spending time with her family or trekking through the mountains, she weaves tales of redemption, faith, and action.

Want to connect? https://linktr.ee/madisyncarlin

 

More from Madisyn

What comes to your mind when you think about fairytale retellings? Is it Disney’s 1950 retelling of Cinderella? Glittery swirls of magic? Talking animals? Pretty gowns? Or, perhaps, frying pans or a sassy dragon?

My interest regarding fairytales was first piqued when I was young. Though I was only three, I distinctly remember riding in the car and flipping through the three-story fairytale collection my mom just purchased for me. I couldn’t read, but the bright colors and abundance of animals entranced me. Now I not only read fairytales, I write retellings of them.

Why, though? Aren’t fairytales just fun stories that sometimes impart a lesson?

No. Fairytales are much more than that. The majority of fairytales contain deep, important lessons the authors or culture of that time wanted their readers and listeners to learn from. Fairytales offer encouragement, hope, and include gentle reminders about doing the right thing even when we don’t want to. 

Take, for instance, The Snow Queen, which is the fairytale I modeled Shattered Reflection after. In The Snow Queen, the forefront themes are loyalty and perseverance. No matter what trials the female protagonist endures, she pushes on with the mindset that rescuing her best friend is worth the effort and pain.

Aside from being rich in wry humor, breathtaking scenic descriptions and worldbuilding, and interesting characters, The Snow Queen contains faith and reminds readers that our ultimate source of strength is God—not ourselves.

This is what I wanted to emulate in Shattered Reflection. This story—with its broken characters, tattered kingdoms, and insidious antagonists—contains plenty of faith amidst pain, questions, and wounded hearts. I wanted to illustrate that, no matter what we’re going through, God is in control and nothing and no one ever slips from His grasp.

What is Shattered Reflection?

Title: Shattered Reflection
Series: The Shattered Lands | Book One
Genre: NA Christian Fantasy
Subgenre: Fairytale retelling (The Snow Queen)
POVS: 5
Ages: Appropriate for ages 15+ due to non-graphic violence
Core Themes: Salvation, Loyalty, and Forgiveness

Shattered Reflection is a Christian fairytale retelling which incorporates heavy faith elements, numerous action scenes, clean romance, and plenty of evil villains.

Content Warning:
SR1 contains heavy topics, although none are described in a gratuitous and gory manner. There is also a lot of violence, so I do not recommend this book for anyone younger than fifteen. If you are older than fifteen and are easily bothered by such content, then this probably is not the book for you.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, January 22

To Everything There Is A Season, January 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 24

Cover Lover Book Review, January 25

deb’s Book Review, January 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 26

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 28

Literature Approved, January 28

Denise L. Barela, January 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 30

Blogging With Carol, January 31

Through the Fire Blogs, February 1

Pause for Tales, February 2

For Him and My Family, February 3

Rebecca Tews, February 4

Holly’s Book Corner, February 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Madisyn is giving away the grand prize package of one autographed paperback copy of the book and 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/23bc6/shattered-reflection-celebration-tour-giveaway


Monday, January 30, 2023

A Winter at the White Queen by Denise Weimer (Romance at the Gilded Age Resorts Book 1)

 

About the Book

Book: A Winter at the White Queen

Author: Denise Weimer

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: January 3, 2023

In the world of the wealthy, things are never quite as they appear.

Ellie Hastings is tired of playing social gatekeeper—and poor-relation companion—to her Gibson Girl of a cousin. But her aunt insists Ellie lift her nose out of her detective novel long enough to help gauge the eligibility of bachelors during the winter social season at Florida’s Hotel Belleview. She finds plenty that’s mysterious about the suave, aloof Philadelphia inventor, Lewis Thornton. Why does he keep sneaking around the hotel? Does he have a secret sweetheart? And what is his connection to the evasive Mr. Gaspachi, slated to perform at Washington’s Birthday Ball?

Ellie’s comical sleuthing ought to put Lewis out, but the diffident way her family treats her smashes a hole in his normal reserve. When Florence Hastings’s diamond necklace goes missing, Ellie’s keen mind threatens to uncover not only Lewis’s secrets, but give him back hope for love.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Review:

This book hails from The Gilded Age. That's the time after the Civil War and near the 20th century and for this book, it's 1910. Ellie Hastings is a good leading lady for this story. She's got a great balance of strength and weaknesses. Lewis is a worth male lead. Since this is split time, the other half is in Pinellas County, in Florida. The author did a great job of the setting then, and now. In addition to a strong romance with history elements, this book packed a lot of faith filled lessons or reflections in it. Cora, Lewis's niece is a lovely character as well, who really adds to this story. There's a light mystery and the theme of trusting God, praying, and showing people love and Christ run through the story. The end is a bit of a whirlwind, but I'd recommend this book easily. 

5 Stars 

About the Author

North Georgia native Denise Weimer has authored a dozen traditionally published novels and a number of novellas—historical and contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and time slip. Having served three years as managing editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ two historical imprints, as well as a freelance editor, she’s helped other authors reach their publishing dreams. A wife and mother of two daughters, Denise always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.

More from Denise

Enter the Age of Wonder …    

I like to think of the time period between the Gilded Age and WWI as the Age of Wonder. New ideas and inventions swept society in waves while those who wanted to preserve the old ways tried in vain to hold back the tide. Opportunity and advancement flowed as railroads and communications linked America’s coasts, motorcars allowed individual freedom of travel, and companies flourished following Reconstruction.

My goal was to capture this excitement and promise in A Winter at the White Queen. You follow my heroine, Ellie, and her uncle and his family for their fashionable winter 1910 season at the Hotel Belleview in Clearwater, Florida. Ellie is more than “the poor relation companion” to her younger cousin Ava. She’s also a trusted friend, and like the heroines in her female detective novels, a budding sleuth—sniffing out promising matrimonial candidates for Ava at the bequest of Aunt Florence. Little does she expect to stumble into her own romance—and a mystery surrounding a certain intriguing entrepreneur. 

Ellie Hastings is tired of playing social gatekeeper—and poor-relation companion—to her Gibson Girl of a cousin. But her aunt insists Ellie lift her nose out of her detective novel long enough to help gauge the eligibility of bachelors during the winter social season at Florida’s Hotel Belleview. She finds plenty that’s mysterious about the suave, aloof Philadelphia inventor, Lewis Thornton. Why does he keep sneaking around the hotel? Does he have a secret sweetheart? And what is his connection to the evasive Mr. Gaspachi, slated to perform at Washington’s Birthday Ball?

Ellie’s comical sleuthing ought to put Lewis out, but the diffident way her family treats her smashes a hole in his normal reserve. But when Florence Hastings’ diamond necklace goes missing, Ellie’s keen mind threatens to uncover not only Lewis’s secrets, but give him back hope for love. 

Lewis’s work allowed me to sprinkle White Queen with clever inventions that spark Ellie’s curious nature. Among them are:

Temperature-compensated balance wheels, which Lewis invented as a teen. The backstory of how he sold his invention to the railroad, allowing them to synchronize all their watches, provides an unexpected link to uncover between Lewis and Ellie.

The cinématographe, patterned after Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope but intended by the Lumière brothers to show films to a wider audience. Used in the show at Washington’s Birthday Ball to end the season, the cinématographe aids in the culmination of the mystery of Florence’s missing diamond necklace.

The magical orange tree, which not only blossomed but appeared to grow actual oranges, was a real mechanical invention featured at Ava’s birthday party by The Great Gaspachi.

The Hydro-Vacu. I couldn’t resist including this titter-worthy, real-life machine, used, of course, by the appearance-conscious Aunt Florence. After applying a bleaching cold cream or “tissue food” to ensure plump cheeks, the massaging “Depurator” was rotated slowly over the face. How long until that idea makes a comeback?

As fun and whimsical as A Winter at the White Queen may be, our characters have some real growth to do … if they can get past the social expectations and masks, the suspicions and past hurts. I hope you’ll brighten your winter days by joining them at the White Queen.

Blog Stops

Book Looks by Lisa, January 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 20

An Author’s Take, January 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 21

deb’s Book Review, January 22

Christina’s Corner, January 22

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 23

Connie’s History Classroom, January 24

Betti Mace, January 25

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 25

Texas Book-aholic, January 26

Paula’s Pad of Inspiration, January 26

Bigreadersite, January 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 27

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 28 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, January 28

Cover Lover Book Review, January 29

Holly’s Book Corner, January 29

Rebecca Tews, January 30

Blogging With Carol, January 30

Back Porch Reads, January 31

Simple Harvest Reads, January 31 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For Him and My Family, February 1

Blossoms and Blessings, February 1

Pause for Tales, February 2

To Everything There Is A Season, February 2

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Denise is giving away the grand prize of a $50 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/23bc4/a-winter-at-the-white-queen-celebration-tour-giveaway


Sunday, January 29, 2023

What I Would Tell You by Liz Tolsma


About the Book

Book:What I Would Tell You

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance / Historical Fiction

Release date: January 1, 2023

DNA Test Unlocks a Family Mystery

Sephardic Jew Mathilda Nissim watches in horror as the Germans invade her beloved city of Salonika, Greece. What angers her most is the lack of resistance her people put up to their captors. In secret and at great risk to her life, she continues to publish her newspaper, calling her people to action. She doesn’t trust God to help them. When she and her husband find out they are expecting a child, Mathilda may have to resort to desperate measures to ensure her daughter’s survival.

Three generations later, college student Riley Payson and her cousin take a popular DNA test only to discover they don’t share any common ancestors. In fact, the test shows Riley is a Sephardic Jew from Greece. This revelation shakes Riley’s tenuous faith and sends her on a journey to discover what happened to her great-grandmother and how all this relates to her faith and her life today.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Review: 

You have to have a really good WWII story for me to like it. I'm just odd that way. This one was very interesting. For Jews in this time, oh my goodness. The time split brings us some Greek history, which I ironically had in school. The author did a great job of making me feel like I'd been there. The time split was just amazing because it's so well woven. I was thrilled with how strong and how amazing this book turned out. I was quite moved and terribly gripped to the point of distraction. 

5 Stars  

About the Author

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

 

More from Liz

Take a Trip to Greece with Me

I was privileged to travel to Greece last year to research my upcoming WWII novel, What I Would Tell You. God orchestrated it so beautifully. Because of Covid, we weren’t sure my daughter would be able to travel there for the summer internship she had applied for. Eight weeks before her scheduled departure, Greece reopened to foreign visitors. Around that same time, I sold What I Would Tell You, which is set in Thessaloniki, Greece, to Barbour Publishing. I had to go and visit!

 

Greece is a beautiful country. The pictures you see don’t do it justice. And to someone like me, the history is one of the best parts. My daughter and I explored the old city wall, built in the 1400s, many churches that predated the Ottoman Empire, and many excavated Roman ruins that have been dug up in the city’s process of putting in a subway system.

 

Because this is a WWII book, we also spent a great deal of time learning about the history of the Jews in the city. The Kapani Market, just down the street from our apartment, was a vibrant mix of colorful fruits, fragrant spices, and a cacophony of languages. I could well imagine what this old Jewish market was like prior to the war with people hawking olives, fish, and oregano.

 

We wasted no time in visiting the Jewish museum. I was shocked by the heavy security presence with armed guards outside of the building. Once inside, we had to show our IDs and were required to turn in our phones. Antisemitism is alive and well in Greece. But what a place. There were displays after displays tracing the history of the Jewish people in Thessaloniki from 1492 until WWII. The most breathtaking was the room with stone-covered walls, the names of all 48,000 Salonikan Jews killed in the Holocaust carved into the marble. There’s an entire scene in the book that deals with this room.

 

What saddened me most was what we saw when we visited the trainyard where the Jews were herded into cattle cars and shipped to Auschwitz. Before we got to where the station once stood, there was a wall on which someone had pained a mural covered with black-and-white figures in their striped uniforms, their eyes and mouths wide in horror. As if that weren’t difficult enough to view, what sickened me was the blue swastikas someone had painted over them.

 

We also trekked to the other side of the city to visit what had once been the Jewish cemetery, now the grounds of Aristotle University. All that remains to testify that half a million people were once buried here is a small, ill-kept memorial. There were two dead Christmas wreaths placed there. We visited in August.

 

In addition to a moving and thought-provoking story, I hope to also introduce you to the amazing city of Thessaloniki and give you a peek into the people and the culture of this amazing place. If you ever find yourself in Greece, plan some time in Thessaloniki. Many Americans miss this gem, but it’s packed with charm and history.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 28

Texas Book-aholic, January 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 29

Blogging With Carol, January 29

Genesis 5020, January 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 30

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 30

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 31

For Him and My Family, January 31

Cover Lover Book Review, February 1

Lily’s Book Reviews, February 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 2

deb’s Book Review, February 2

Betti Mace, February 3

Connie’s History Classroom, February 3

Paula’s Pad of Inspriation, February 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 5

Books You Can Feel Good About, February 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 6

Holly’s Book Corner, February 6

Bigreadersite, February 7

Blossoms and Blessings, February 7

Mary Hake, February 7

Labor Not in Vain, February 8

Pause for Tales, February 9

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, February 9

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, February 10

Southern Gal Loves to Read, February 10

Lights in a Dark World, February 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and 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/23ccb/what-i-would-tell-you-celebration-tour-giveaway