Thursday, January 19, 2017

Summer on Sunset Ridge Blog Tour & #Giveaway



 
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book



Book: Summer on Sunset Ridge, Freedom Series Book 1  

Author: Sharlene MacLaren  

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Brought up on a Quaker farm near Philadelphia at the brink of the Civil War, plainspoken Rebecca Albright is charitable, peace-loving, submissive—and a feisty abolitionist. Determined to aid the Underground Railroad no matter what the cost, her path collides with that of formidable slave-catcher Clay Dalton. When Rebecca is assigned to nurse Clay back to health following a near-fatal gunshot wound, her uneasiness around him and the questions surrounding his mysterious past complicate their strained but developing relationship.

Sherriff Clay Dalton is grimly fighting several battles of his own as he stays on at the Albright farm to work off his debt to the family that has saved his life and taken him in. He is torn between his past commitments in the South and his unlikely present among this quiet Quaker community in the North. Almost against his will, he begins to ponder the impossible idea of a future with Rebecca.…

When tensions between North and South escalate, Rebecca and Clay find themselves propelled on a journey to discover just who God has called them to be, and they soon realize that each holds a key to the other’s answer.


MY REVIEW- I found this book to be a much different style than I normally expect from Sharlene MacLaren. I love her historical novels and while this one is historical, it is also about Quakers. But don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean I didn't love it any less! This is a story that pulls you in from the beginning, a tale of courage and strength, of passion and fight. If you don't care for stories about the Civil War, this one is probably not for you. But while I am not a big fan of them, my interest was kept throughout the whole book. An intriguing story, rich in detail and history!

About the Author



Sharlene MacLaren Born and raised in western Michigan, award-winning, bestselling author Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. After graduating, she traveled with a nationally touring Christian vocal ensemble, returning home to Spring Arbor to marry her husband, Cecil, whom she’d known since childhood. Together they raised two daughters. Now happily retired after teaching elementary school for 31 years, “Shar” enjoys reading, singing in the church choir and worship teams, traveling, and spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren. Her novels include the contemporary romances Through Every Storm, Long Journey Home, and Tender Vow; the beloved Little Hickman Creek series (Loving Liza Jane, Sarah, My Beloved, Courting Emma, and Christmas Comes to Little Hickman Creek, a novella), and three historic romance trilogies: The Daughters of Jacob Kane (Hannah Grace, Maggie Rose, and Abbie Ann); River of Hope (Livvie’s Song, Ellie’s Haven, and Sofia’s Secret); Tennessee Dreams: Heart of Mercy, Threads of Joy, and Gift of Grace.
 

Blog Stops

January 19: Giveaway Lady
January 20: The Power of Words
January 21: Bigreadersite
January 23: Genesis 5020
January 24: Pause for Tales
January 25: Book by Book
January 26: A Greater Yes
January 27: Splashes of Joy
January 29: Stuff & Nonsense
January 30: cherylbbookblog
January 30: Daysong Reflections
February 1: Rhonda’s Doings

Giveaway



To celebrate Sharlene’s tour, Whitaker House is giving away:

Grand Prize

Brown and tan fashion purse with cross, multiple interior and exterior pockets and

and

Five Sharlene MacLaren titles: Summer on Sunset Ridge (Forever Freedom #1); Heart of Mercy (Tennessee Dreams #1); Livvie’s Song (River of Hope #1); Hannah Grace (Daughters of Jacob Kane #1); Loving Liza Jane (Little Hickman Creek #1)

Second Prize

“Keepers of the Light” Orange/Cinnamon/Clove candle from www.acheerfulgiver.com and
Summer on Sunset Ridge

Third Prize

Summer on Sunset Ridge

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway!





**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Friday, December 23, 2016

When Calls the Heart Christmas 2016 Preview Part 2 #Hearties

Well, anyone ready for part two of my preview write-up for When Calls the Heart Christmas? I am going to be delving a little further into the episode, so again, if you don't want to know anything, please don't go past this point.




WHEN CALLS THE HEART CHRISTMAS
SUNDAY DECEMBER 25 8/7C




SPOILER BELOW!!!! DO NOT READ PAST THIS POINT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING!!



So, where did we leave off? Oh, that would be right after Jack is on one knee, proposing something to our sweet school teacher, Elizabeth. See the response he gets?







I personally love these two together and they are just so vibrant! I know everyone has been anxiously awaiting a proposal, and worried about what happens after they get married. I don't think we need to have any worries about that issue. After all, there are many shows that continued for years after the main characters got married. And one of the main reasons I love this show, is that it isn't just a romance. I see so much more to it!



Okay, so back to the show. The youngsters in this series are just amazing. Full of sparkle and emotion, I love watching them act their parts.



Cody does excellent, going between a little boy wanting to only get the part he wants in the play, to wanting to do nice things because he desires to. Even if that means he might have to give up something of his own. And no, Abigail is not letting him have cookies for breakfast :)



Clara arrives at the restaurant with an odd look on her face, informing Abigail that the stage just pulled in. And after you see who it is? I can understand their trepidation.



He is the mayor, but Bill discloses to Abigail that he cannot go back to work for the Government in any capacity as he is still under investigation. So guess what that means?? Someone has to take over as Mayor, handling all the bills and paperwork. As you can see, Faith is the one who brought him back from Union City, and while she is trying to help him, he is as grumpy as ever.



The children are busy decorating their gingerbread houses when Elizabeth realizes that Harper isn't there. If you all remember, his father died in the flooding that took place, leaving his wife Nancy to mourn the loss. I really wanted to shake her a bit. I know that she had just gone through something terrible, but Harper needed her and it was like she didn't even care. She lost her husband so her world is gone.




You know, I have to admit something to you all. Shh, don't let Jack or Elizabeth know :) But I do believe my favorite couple on here would have to be Rosemary and Lee. I just love their banter back and forth, his ability to steer her in the right direction, her zest for life, and how well Lee handles her flighty tendencies. Rosemary visits Elizabeth at the schoolhouse, offering her assistance with something. Oh the things that come out of her mouth!! I just love her spunky spirit :)



Pastor Frank is walking down main street and spies Nancy loading a wagon. She informs him, quite sadly, that she is leaving town. Without Virgil there is no way she can celebrate Christmas. Oh the grief and pain in this woman's eyes is haunting. And Frank? When he offers to help, she tells him to ask God why he couldn't save her husband. The weight of her burden has settled on his shoulders as we see him doubting himself.





I will take a moment and say, I personally love Bill and I think he is the right person for Abigail. But Frank has slowly wormed his way into my heart. I like him a lot, just don't know if he is the one I would put with Abigail.



Speaking of Abigail, she makes a visit to the former Mayor of Hope Valley, Henry Gowen. Who is looking remarkably well, the scar on his forehead serving to make him quite striking. And while they start off pleasant, it quickly escalates, with Gowen accusing her of taking his job. Wow, he is a hard nut to crack! He also firmly tells her not to concern herself with Nora, so we find out nothing more about what happened and where she is.



When Elizabeth and Jack run into Frank while walking to the school, Frank lets them know that Nancy Tucker left Hope Valley. Part of why I love this show so much is the friendship and compassion that is shown by all.



They see he is downhearted and stop to ask if everything is okay. While standing there, everyone hears a jingle and guess who appears? Sam Bailey, the peddler who Jack and Elizabeth ran into earlier in the forest. He was supposed to be heading for Union City, but ends up sticking around. Jack warns him on how to act around town, and they part on friendly terms, though I am not sure everyone trusts the warm peddler.



The next part is one of those scenes that makes me think Bill and Abigail are the perfect pair. I just love their banter and the companionship they have together. Bill actually opens his mouth and inserts his foot, risking the wrath of Abigail when she mentions that she might be taking over as interim mayor. They kind of get into a tiff, but the spark is there, and the comfortable presence of each other, making me smile as they go back and forth.



And yes, it leaves Bill standing there with an apron over his shoulder :)



I know I have said it before, the whole Rosemary sparkle and the way Lee deals with her, but the scenes between them are full of witty remarks and loving glances. After all, check out the look Lee is sharing here!


Of course, for some reason, Rosemary is buttering him up at the moment, making sure he is all settled and happy. Might there be an ulterior motive? 



I will only bring up one more thing before I leave you all. Nurse Faith is quite evident in this episode, almost like they are patching things up with the Christmas spirit. As a matter of fact, she ends up over at Elizabeth's house and they have a meal together. I think she is going to fit in quite nicely, so long as she is only pining for another Mountie in red, not for Jack :)

Ad of course, I would be remiss if I didn't leave you one last picture of our elegant and beautiful Miss Thatcher dancing in the arms of handsome Jack Thornton. 


All ready now for Sunday? I know I sure am! Again, I can't say enough about how tender and heartwarming this episode is. Definitely brings the town together in a way that it has never been before. Also a couple surprises at the end that made me smile. Make sure to be ready on Sunday!!




**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette Review & #Giveaway




MY THOUGHTS- I have to tell you, when I first heard the title of this book, I was almost positive I wasn't going to like it. I mean, it is unlike any of the other books on my shelf, almost sounded irreverent, and really, if they couldn't come up with a shorter title? LOL! In all seriousness, I went into it unsure, and came out a very different person.

The author writes in a very comforting and assuring manner. I found myself literally falling into the book, becoming quite contemplative while reading. See, one of my major flaws is wanting to be a person pleaser. I never really saw it as anything bad before. After all, who doesn't like to be pleasing to others? I grew up that way and was taught to do that. But after reading this book, or rather while I was reading this book, I realized how harmful that mind set is. There are times where I have kept quiet when I should have spoken up, all because I wanted to please others. I know how hard it is, especially to break a trend. God wants us all to be different and fresh, not people walking around with the mind of others. I really did learn a lot and have marked certain areas to go back and read through again.

GIVEAWAY

One of my readers will win their own copy of this delightful book. Giveaway will end 12/28 and winner will be chosen through Random.org. They will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. USA only!



"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant  per mailing address, per  giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”



Saturday, December 17, 2016

When Calls the Heart Christmas 2016 Preview #Hearties

Yikes! It is so hard to believe that the year is almost over, and another season of When Calls the Heart is coming up quickly. But, before that happens, we have the joy of watching, When Calls the Heart Christmas!!! This is such an amazing hour and a half long program!! I am going to give you a teaser preview of it, not giving away everything, but it will definitely pique your interest in seeing this delightfully heartwarming installment.

WHEN CALLS THE HEART CHRISTMAS
DECEMBER 25 8/7C



When a train derails and delays the arrival of much needed food, supplies and presents, Christmas in the settlement town of Hope Valley is in jeopardy. With the help of a mysterious visitor, a simple peddler who has a knack for helping people find what they need, Jack, Elizabeth and Abigail rally the town residents to come together in the true spirit of kindness and giving, proving that Christmas really is the season for miracles.


SPOILER ALERT!!!!! THIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS, I DO NOT GIVE EVERYTHING AWAY, BUT I DO POST SOME PICS, SPOILERS, ETC!!!! IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE UPCOMING SHOW, DO NOT READ PAST THIS POINT!!







For those of you who are avid fans, the wait between one season to the next is almost unbearable. But Hallmark knows how to keep us sitting on the edge of our seat, by bringing us a spectacular episode known as When Calls the Heart Christmas. It is a vivid call to the season, and it pulls at the heartstrings with the people from the settlement who are without homes, Lee and Rosemary are still on their honeymoon, and many of the townspeople aren't sure what will happen with Nora and Henry Gowen. Well, I am going to be able to put some things to rest, but hopefully, I can also stir up some excitement for this upcoming installment as well.



The town is buzzing with the joy of the season, decorations are in view everywhere, and Elizabeth is busy with the Christmas party plans. Since Mrs Coulter (going to take a bit getting used to that) is gone, it is up to her to forage ahead with the festivities. She is flitting from one place to the next, overseeing Mr Avery in putting up the town tree, checking in with Jack on the buildings for the settlers from the river, and planning a banquet that will make everyone proud! And yes, Florence is her normal sunshiny self who is skeptical on whether Elizabeth can pull everything off :)



The arrival of Mr and Mrs Coulter on the stage marks the start of some very funny parts with these happy newlyweds. Boy are they a hoot and watching them spar together is so refreshing. From Rosemary calling Lee her honey bunny?? to searching for the present he bought for her, they are really one of my favorite couples on this show. And take a guess at where they end up staying til the new house is built? Gonna keep that one a secret for you all to find out :)



The settlers are given the opportunity to move in with members of Hope Valley, while Jack is busy renovating the other houses for them. While some have excitement, others are more hesitant, especially those who have lost so much. This episode really tugs at the heart strings and we see it with those who are starting over in a manner of speaking, and in those who lost more than just their belongings. Such a one is Nancy and Harper, who lost a husband and father.



As you grieve with these people it is an aspect of the show that comes shining through. It is more than just a romance between Jack and Elizabeth, or a historical show. It has become about the families, their ups and downs, and the perseverance that brings them through their struggles. After all, it is Hope Valley!


As you see from the picture above, nurse Faith Carter is present and there were some surprising moments showcasing her. I have to admit, after all the trouble she caused last season, I kind of like how she is turning things around. Spunky, pretty and on the lookout for a Mountie ;) And no, it isn't Elizabeth's mountie she is after.



I love how much the children are featured in this episode. For a while it seemed like we only saw them for a couple minutes, but they are back and in front for this one. Ruby, Maggie, Cody, Harper and all the other youngsters are so sweet, striving to be chosen for the nativity play.



Maybe it is just me, but in this Christmas themed episode, Bill Avery is somewhat grumpy. Maybe he is supposed to be the "scrooge" style character, though he does end up having more cheer at the end. His little comments and quips about Christmas had me smiling, and the frowns he displays so readily turned my frown upside down!




Jack and Elizabeth have some really sweet scenes together and one of them includes going to find the perfect Christmas tree where they stumble upon Mr Bailey, a peddler passing through on his way to Union City. Now to me, this gentle soul appears to be a throwback to It's A Wonderful Life, angel wisdom and all :)



Lee arrives home to find his domicile decked out in all the Christmas finery that Rosemary can put in it, though she says she isn't quite finished. They really are a cute couple and the marriage seems to agree with them. Except for when Lee is hiding something and Rosemary wants to go searching! It is her present after all, right??



Now, for all the fans who want to see Abigail with a certain someone... This episode is not so encouraging. In fact, it almost makes things very muddled!

Including a long romantic kiss with Frank... 



Many long eye-catching moments with Bill.....



And even a surprise moment of shock with Henry Gowen!!





You take your pick here all!


I would be remiss if I didn't leave you with a cliffhanger. Jack and Elizabeth have a super sweet moment where he bends on one knee and asks a certain question. This is a total suspense moment here!!



I am not going to spoil it with any answers as to what happens, but you are going to love it. This episode is full of so much more than I have given you, but it is a glimpse into what is in store. There are tender moments, times where people doubt and question themselves, and yet through it all shines the light of hope, of Christmas cheer and love for each other. I get so much pleasure out of viewing these episodes, a moment of joy for the week!



**DISCLOSURE:  No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Michèle Phoenix’s ‘Of Stillness and Storm’ Bookworm On-the-Go Prize Pack


Of Stillness and Storm (Thomas Nelson, December 2016)


“I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing.”
It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing.
At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.
Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.


MY REVIEW- Hmm, a review like this is always hard to write, especially when you want so badly to like it but ends up not being your style of book. I enjoy a lot of different genres within the Christian Fiction realm. And sometimes I like a story that isn't my normal read, but for some reason I just could not get into this one. I think some of it was the pace, and some of it was the subject it was dealing with.

For many people, they look at their whole life and don't think of how it can be changed. The little choices we make, from people we friend, to answering a simple email, or the big decisions of moving across the world. The author explores this in a very big way. From a family who moves to Nepal as missionaries, to Lauren who discovers an old friend on Facebook. The little choices that change our world forever and in ways we never imagined.

Once I read about half of the book, I was much more interested in what was going on. The author does a good job at fleshing her characters out and making the world they live in realistic. In more ways than one I felt connected to Lauren. Her hard decisions, the way she responded in certain areas, etc. Did she essentially make the right choice? It is so hard to say in either direction so I will leave the reader to make their decision on that. I will warn you, there is some language that you don't find normally in Christian fiction, and some topics are covered in a brutally honest fashion, including emotional adultery and dying from cancer. If these things might disturb you, I would say to pass this one by.




THE GIVEAWAY DETAILS!!

A tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry—don't miss Michèle Phoenix's new intimate and bold release, Of Stillness and Storm. It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. When a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again, the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past might be too much. Will it be the family's undoing?

Take Michèle's new book with you on your winter vacation and enter to win her Bookworm On-the-Go Prize Pack (because you can't take a stack of books with you when you travel).

of-stillness-and-storm-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 31. The winner will be announced January 3 on Michèle's blog.

of-stillness-and-storm-enterbanner




**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**
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