Monday, October 28, 2019

Beautiful tale that spans generations -- The Painted Castle





About the Book

Book: The Painted Castle
Author: Kristy Cambron
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: October 15, 2019

Bestselling author Kristy Cambron concludes the Lost Castle novels with this sweeping tale of art and secrets long buried in England.

It was supposed to be a one-week job: survey an art find, collect a hefty fee, and use that to settle historian Keira Foley’s life back into balance. But from the moment she sets foot in the East Suffolk countryside, the mysteries surrounding the old English manor and the enigmatic art thief who’s employed her stir more questions than answers. Then, Keira finds the existence of a portrait captivating enough to upend all of her expectations. This one could be a twin-a painting so close in composition to a known masterpiece, it may be rendered priceless if it truly captured the likeness of a young Queen named Victoria.

Set in three time periods-the rapid change of Victorian England, the tumultuous skies over England’s eastern shores in WWII, and modern day-The Painted Castle unfolds a legacy of faith, family, and stories that are generations in the making.

Click here to grab your copy.  

My Thoughts


I think I've read every novel Kristy Cambron has written and have been captivated by each one. She has a great skill with words that allows her to draw you in from the very first sentence and keep you engaged to the end.

Simply put -- I loved The Painted Castle! Each of the three stories is fascinating on its own. But the beauty of this tale is the way details from three different time periods all converge into a beautifully crafted whole. Characters from a wide span of time come alive as secrets are revealed and pieces fall into place to complete a complex puzzle. In each setting, it becomes obvious that things -- and people -- are not necessarily what they first appeared to be. Elements of romance and subtle threads of faith round out the compelling story.

The Painted Castle is the third book in a series but can be read as a stand-alone. There are references, though, to events from the previous books which draw the reader to want to go back to pick up those stories as well. I have read the second installment in the series and definitely want to indulge in the first.

Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of The Painted Castle. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Author 


KRISTY CAMBRON is an award-winning author of historical fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping series. She’s a Women’s Ministry Leader at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, and a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10Library Journal Reviews’ Best BooksRT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations. Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation, working with such companies as the Disney Institute, IBM/Kenexa, and Gallup. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.  

More from Kristy


About The Painted Castle

A war-torn estate holding its secrets close. A lost library bricked off from the world. And a portrait-maker’s unknown masterpiece of a Queen named Victoria… What stories do they long to tell?

It was supposed to be a one-week snatch-and-grab: survey an art find, collect a hefty fee, and use that to settle historian Keira Foley’s life back into balance. But from the moment she sets foot in the East Suffolk countryside, the mystery of an old English manor, a crumbling beekeeper’s cottage, and a library that had long ago been sealed off brick by brick, all stir more questions than answers. What begins as a novice assignment instead peels back layers, lulling Keira into the depths of the estate’s long-forgotten history. Despite questions swirling around the enigmatic, rumored art thief who’s employed her, Keira finds the existence of a portrait captivating enough to upend all of her expectations. This one could be a twin—a painting so close in composition to a known masterpiece, it may be rendered priceless if it truly captured the likeness of a young Queen named Victoria…

1842— In order to salvage what’s left of her family’s shaky circumstances, artist Elizabeth Meade knows her duty must be to marry well. But she hopes looks can be deceiving enough to hide her true motives behind a congenial smile and gain entry into the ballrooms of England’s noble elite. Instead of husband-hunting, Elizabeth searches for the one thing that’s seared to her memory—the eyes of her father’s killer, whom she unwittingly sketched one snowy night in Piccadilly ten years before. She never expects to find answers tucked away in the countryside at Parham Hill, in the form of a portrait-maker who could help her artist dreams come true, if only she could forget the highwayman she’s hunted for the last decade—the estate-owner who unwittingly selects her as his betrothed…

1942—When the 390th Bomb Group arrives at Amelia Woods’ Parham Hill Estate, the American flyboys bring playing cards, B-17 “flying fortresses”, and enough bravado to believe they can triumph over Hitler just by staring him down. Amelia isn’t certain, and she’s unwilling to compromise the safety and security in a carefully-crafted world she’s built for the dozens of London-evacuated children left in her charge. But with Anderson shelters buried in the gardens and an Allied airfield a stone’s throw away, Amelia may have no choice but to wait out the war under blackouts and bombs, and accept help from the captain who offers it—even if it means risking all she has left of her late husband’s memory…

From the streets of Piccadilly and the lavish halls of Buckingham Palace to the countryside surrounding Framlingham Castle, a warn-torn estate, a hidden library, and the lost portrait of a queen come together to write the final chapter in the Lost Castle series. Set in three time periods—the rapid change of Victorian England, the tumultuous skies over England’s eastern shores in WWII, and modern day—The Painted Castle unfolds a legacy of faith and the family we fight for, of risk and reward, and the artful crafting of a story that can be generations in the making… yet still change everything about a single life.



 

  Blog Stops


All-of-a-kind Mom, October 15
The Power of Words, October 15
The Avid Reader, October 16
Betti Mace, October 16
Fiction Aficionado, October 17
AndreaChristenson, October 18
She Lives to Read, October 18
Bloging With Carol, October 18
Back Porch Reads , October 19
KarenSueHadley, October 20
Livin’ Lit, October 20
A Reader's Brain, October 20
Genesis 5020, October 21
Worthy2Read, October 21
Life of Literature, October 21
D'S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 22
janicesbookreviews, October 22
Older & Smarter?, October 23
Mia Reads Blog, October 23
The Becca Files, October 23
Daysong Reflections, October 24
Connect in Fiction, October 24
Texas Book-aholic, October 24
Moments, October 25
Pause for Tales, October 26
Lis Loves Reading, October 26
Hallie Reads, October 26
Remembrancy, October 28
Batya's Bits, October 28
Leona J. Atkinson, October 28

Thursday, October 10, 2019

More from Promise Lodge -- New Beginnings at Promise Lodge (with excerpts and a GIVEAWAY)



In New Beginnings at Promise Lodge, Charlotte Hubbard takes her readers back for another visit to this unique Amish community for more romance and other engaging tales as the residents work their way through new adventures and challenges.

Some of the Promise Lodge characters find themselves in unfamiliar sets of circumstances, including some who even move into new locations in the community. Established relationships continue and new ones develop as life continues to happen in new and unexpected ways. One thing is for sure in Promise Lodge -- you just never know what will happen next or who will find their way to the church camp turned Plain settlement. Whatever happens, though, there are friends and neighbors willing to work together -- by often unorthodox means -- through whatever challenges arise.  

Thanks to Charlotte for providing a copy of her book and to Goddess Fish Promotions for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of this tour. I was happy to share my thoughts in this review.



About the Book:

Recently widowed after twenty years of marriage, Frances Lehman is only just tasting the freedom and opportunity that her Promise Lodge friends enjoy. So she's not about to be pressured into marriage by her widowed brother-in-law, even if she and her daughter have no real means of support. Much more promising is her new friendship with Preacher Marlin Kurtz, though their respective families don't see their relationship as proper . . .

When Frances suffers a serious injury, she's determined to prove she can recover—and remain independent—without burdening Marlin. Now, with his steadfast belief in real love tested, Marlin's hope is that Promise Lodge's irrepressible residents can help him restore Frances's joy—and that faith will show them a way to turn their fragile second chance into a blessed and abiding future together.

Excerpts from the Book:

Frances shaded her eyes with her hand, enthralled with what she saw. “It doesn’t seem like you and I have walked such a long distance, yet from here, the lodge and our homes look like part of a toy village.”

“We’ve come a long way,” Marlin remarked softly. “I’m glad you’ve walked with me, Frances. Our community has taken on even more of a glow because I’m seeing it through your eyes.”

The tone of his voice made Frances’s pulse thrum with an unusual sense of energy, as though the preacher had something on his mind besides the view.
           
We’ve come a long way.

#  #  #

Allen treasured Phoebe’s rapt expression and the closeness of her slender body as she leaned against him. He’d given her a gift by showing her Promise Lodge from this hilltop vantage point.

“What about that parcel of land behind the Lehman places?” she asked dreamily. “We’d have a beautiful view of the lake. What do you think, Allen? Should I ask Mamm if I can have it?”

Allen’s throat closed with a sudden case of nerves. He eased away from her, pretending to look at something near the lodge so she wouldn’t see how she’d startled him. Their relationship, which had felt so comfortable over the past week, now gave him the sensation that an invisible halter had been fastened around his head—and that Phoebe was holding the lead rope.

Other Books in Series:

If you haven't already done so, be sure to check out the three previous books in the Promise Lodge series.




About the Author:

In 1983, Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. She wrote around 70 of those confession stories, and she’s sold more than 50 books to traditional or online publishers. A longtime resident of Missouri, she’s currently writing Amish romances set in imaginary Missouri towns for Kensington. She now lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband of 40+ years and their Border collie, Vera.


Website: http://www.charlottehubbard.com
FB:  https://www.facebook.com/charlotte.hubbard1

Giveaway:

Charlotte will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to one randomly drawn commenter via rafflecopter. 

Enter to win a $15 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit other blogs and comment to increase your chances for winning. Click here to find the tour schedule.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Heartwarming Amish Story -- Stitches in Time

 

About the Book


Book: Stitches in Time
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Contemporary Amish fiction
Release Date: October 1, 2019  

Detachment had worked well as a life strategy for horse trainer Sam Schrock.  Until he met Mollie Graber . . .

New to Stoney Ridge, schoolteacher Mollie has come to town for a fresh start. Aware of how fleeting and fragile life is, she wants to live it boldly and bravely. When Luke Schrock, new to his role as deacon, asks the church to take in foster girls from a group home, she’s the first to raise her hand. The power of love, she believes, can pick up the dropped stitches in a child’s heart and knit them back together.

Mollie envisions sleepovers and pillow fights. What the 11-year-old twins bring to her home is anything but. Visits from the sheriff at midnight. Phone calls from the school truancy officer. And then the most humiliating moment of all: the girls accuse Mollie of drug addiction.

There’s only one thing that breaks through the girls’ hard shell–an interest in horses. Reluctantly and skeptically, Sam Schrock gets drawn into Mollie’s chaotic life. What he didn’t expect was for love to knit together the dropped stitches in his own heart . . . just in time.

Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the little Amish church of Stoney Ridge for a touching story of the power of love.  

Click here to get your copy! 

My Thoughts


Stitches in Time is a great book with the complexity of several interconnected story-lines going on at the same time. The characters are at different points in their journeys through life -- even their journeys into the Amish life -- and are learning a variety of lessons through shared experiences.  One of my favorite threads throughout the story is the way the author weaves important lessons from scripture (especially the 23rd Psalm) into the daily activities of her characters.

Suzanne Woods Fisher just keeps adding to her heartwarming stories of life in the Amish community of Stoney Ridge. Every time I read one of these stories, I feel like I am going back to visit old friends, along with some new folks who have made their way into the community as well. 

While this is the second book of  The Deacon's Family series, and about the third series set in the same community with some of the same characters, I don't think you would have a problem jumping into the story without having read the others. Going back to some of the earlier books, though, would be like going through the process of getting to know someone better as you understand more about their past. I highly recommend Stitches in Time and all the other Stoney Ridge stories to fans of great Amish fiction.

Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of this book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Author


Carol-award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes untold stories about inspiring people. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World to the historical novel Anna’s Crossing. 



More from Suzanne


Have you ever felt the tug to become a foster parent? On any given day, there are nearly 438,000 children in foster care in the United States. Most states have a critical need for more foster parents, and the number of children placed in foster care increases yearly. There are plenty of assumptions about having foster children, but most are incorrect. The media has a tendency to focus on the negative, but from all the research I conducted to write this book, for every bad news story, there were two good ones. Good stories just don’t make the news. Below are some of the most common assumptions about foster care, with corrected information that is applicable across the United States (but keep in mind that each state has their own requirements).

Myth: Kids in foster care are bad or troubled.
Truth: Children in foster care are good kids taken out of a troubled situation. They need a caring foster parent who is patient and understanding. When given the opportunity, most of these children begin to thrive.

Myth: To be a foster parent, you need to be married and own a home and be a college graduate.
Truth: You don’t need to be married or to own a home or even be a college graduate. That means if you’re single or renting, you can be a foster parent.

Myth: I can’t afford to be a foster parent.
Truth: There are monthly reimbursement rates for children in foster care based on the level of care you provide. Medical and dental care is paid through state Medicaid programs.

Myth: Most kids in foster care are teenagers.
Truth: The average age of a child entering foster care is seven years old.

Myth: Most kids are in foster care because their parents have abused drugs.
Truth: Now, this one is not a myth. It’s true. There are fifteen categories that can be responsible for a child’s removal from a home. Drug abuse from a parent has had the largest percentage increase.

Myth: Fostering could require a commitment until the child turns eighteen.
Truth: Generally, children remain in state care for less than two years. Only six percent spend five or more years in foster care.

Myth: It’s too hard to give a child up to his biological family.
Truth: Most children are in foster care for a short time, returning to their biological families. Reuniting a child to his family is the ideal situation. Foster families provide a safe haven for a child. Healthy grieving is to be expected, but it’s for the right reasons. It’s healthy.

Myth: You can’t adopt foster children.
Truth: In 2016, more than 65,000 children—whose mothers and fathers parental rights were legally terminated—waiting to be adopted. Also in 2016, more than 20,000 children “aged out” of foster care without permanent families. Research has shown that those who leave care without being linked to a “forever family” have a higher likelihood than the general youth population to experience homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration as adults.

Is there room in your heart and family for a child in need? There are many ways to get involved, some that do not even require foster care. One recommendation: volunteer with The National CASA Association (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children. You can find out more information here: www.casaforchildren.org.

Or consider small ways to connect to children in need—after school tutoring at your public library. Volunteering at a community center. Buy Christmas gifts for a family in need through an Adopt-a-Family program with a local church. Support a family who does provide foster care with respites—babysitting or meals. There are many ways to get involved to care for children in need. And every little bit makes a difference.

Blog Stops


The Power of Words, September 26
The Becca Files, September 26
SusanLovesBooks, September 26
Library Lady's Kid Lit, September 27
Through the Fire Blogs, September 27
Anne Rightler, September 28
Texas Book-aholic, September 28
Jeanette's Thoughts, September 29
Blogging With Carol , September 29
Hookmeinabook , September 29
The Avid Reader, September 30
Mia Reads, September 30
janicesbookreviews, October 1
Maureen's Musings, October 1
CarpeDiem, October 1
Stories By Gina, October 2
Activating Faith, October 2
A Reader's Brain, October 3
EmpowerMoms, October 3
Wishful Endings, October 3
Pause for Tales, October 4
Quiet Quilter, October 5
Vicky Sluiter, October 5
Hallie Reads, October 5
Bigreadersite, October 7
By The Book, October 7
She Lives to Read, October 7
Moments, October 8

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of her book!!

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

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Great Suspense -- Strands of Truth


About the Book


Book: Strands of Truth
Author: Colleen Coble
Genre: Suspense
Release Date: September 10, 2019

Harper Taylor is used to being alone—after all, she grew up in one foster home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.

So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future.

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

Click here to get your copy.  

My Thoughts


I had a real problem while reading this book. There were other things I needed to be doing, so I kept thinking, "I'll finish this next chapter and then put the book down so I can move on to something else."  I would get to the end of that chapter and just couldn't stop there. "OK, I'll go one more chapter."  Well, I guess you get the idea. Truth is, I read the book in one sitting because there just wasn't a good stopping place until the very last page!

I have read several books by Colleen Coble, but this just might be my favorite. The suspense was at a great level. There were hints along the way that started to put some of the pieces together but never enough to spoil the story. The characters were interesting and well-developed. And there was a lot to be learned about a variety of things -- like DNA testing, marine biology, sea silk. All in all, it was a great story.

Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of this book. I was happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Author


Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s EdgeTwilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series. Connect with Colleen online at colleencoble.com; Instagram: colleencoble; Facebook: colleencoblebooks; Twitter: @colleencoble.  


Read a Premium Excerpt


Harper Taylor’s childhood are resurfacing—but will the truth save her . . . or pull her under? 

Harper Taylor is used to being alone— after all, she grew up in one foster home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.

So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future. 

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

“Free-dive into a romantic suspense that will leave you breathless and craving for more.” –DiAnn Mills, bestselling author

“As always, Colleen Coble never disappoints. Strands of Truth is no exception. I was hooked from the first page. Trying to read this story slowly is impossible. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself flipping the pages in a hurry to find out what happens next! This one is for your keeper shelf.” –Lynette Eason, bestselling, award-winning author of the Blue Justice Series

“Colleen Coble’s latest book, Strands of Truth, grips you on page one with a heart-pounding opening and doesn’t let go until the last satisfying word. I love her skill in pulling the reader in with believable, likable characters, interesting locations, and a mystery just waiting to be untangled. Highly recommended.” –Carrie Stuart Parks, bestselling author of Formula of Deception

“Once again, Colleen Coble delivers an intriguing, suspenseful tale in Strands of Truth. The mystery and tension mount toward an explosive and satisfying finish. Well done.” –Creston Mapes, bestselling author

“Just when I think Colleen Coble’s stories can’t get any better, she proves me wrong. In Strands of Truth, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The characterization of Ridge and Harper and their relationship pulled me immediately into the story. Fast paced, with so many unexpected twists and turns, I read this book in one sitting. Coble has pushed the bar higher than I’d imagined. This book is one not to be missed.” –Robin Caroll, best-selling author of the Darkwater Inn series

“It’s in her blood! Colleen Coble once again shows her suspense prowess with a thriller as intricate and beautiful as a strand of DNA. Strands of Truth dives into an unusual profession involving mollusks and shell beds that weaves a unique, silky thread throughout the story. So fascinating I couldn’t stop reading!” –Ronie Kendig, bestselling author of The Tox Files

Blog Stops


A Baker's Perspective, September 3
Inspired by fiction, September 3
EmpowerMoms, September 3
Blogging With Carol, September 3
Christian bookaholic, September 4
KarenSueHadley , September 4
Susan Cornwell, September 5
Inside the Wong Mind, September 5
Godly Book Reviews, September 5
Emily Yager, September 6
Older & Smarter?, September 6
Blessed & Bookish, September 6
Andrea Christenson, September 6
Avid Reader Nurse, September 7
D'S QUILTS & BOOKS, September 7
The Becca Files, September 8
Mary Hake, September 8
Spoken from the Heart, September 9
Betti Mace, September 9
Back Porch Reads, September 9
Moments, September 10
All-of-a-kind Mom, September 10
For Him and my Family, September 10
Bloggin' 'bout Books, September 10
Texas Book-aholic, September 11
Retrospective Spines, September 11
Daysong Reflections, September 11
SusanLovesBooks, September 11
Remembrancy, September 12
Worthy2Read, September 12
Just the Write Escape, September 12
Bigreadersite , September 13
janicesbookreviews, September 13
As He Leads is Joy, September 13
Livin’ Lit, September 13
To Everything A Season, September 13
Simple Harvest Reads, September 14
Pause for Tales, September 14
A Reader's Brain, September 15
Quiet Quilter , September 15
Hallie Reads, September 15
Inklings and notions , September 16
By The Book, September 16
Real World Bible Study, September 16
Patiently Waiting, September 16