Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Book Review: Honor Redeemed by Christine Johnson

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Title: Honor Redeemed

Author: Christine Johnson

Series: Keys of Promise #2

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult


Two Men Vie for Her Affection - Survival Will Depend on Choosing the Right One

Two years ago, Prosperity Jones waved farewell to her beloved David as the army sent him to faraway Key West. Now with her parents gone, she has but one prospect for the future: make the dangerous journey from Nantucket to Key West to reunite with David and secure a happier life. Arriving penniless in the South, Prosperity is dismayed to find David married to someone else. Scrambling to survive and nursing a broken heart, she gains the friendship - and the affection - of a kind doctor. Could he be the answer to her loneliness? Or will her life be upended by circumstance yet again?

With a deft hand, Christine Johnson fills the reader's senses with the sights, sounds, and smells of Key West in this heartwarming story of honor lost, honor redeemed, and a love forged in adversity. 

**3 stars**

Honor Redeemed, book two in the KEYS OF PROMISE series by Christine Johnson, was a thought-provoking story set in the Key West, 1852. It was a bit different from the first book, Love's Rescue, but I still liked it!

Prosperity Jones is now an orphan. Determined to reunite with her beloved David, she sets sail alone to the Key West, where he's stationed. But when she arrives, she shocked to find that things between her and David were obviously not as she had thought. Now married and a father, will David ever have his honor restored? What will Prosperity do now that the man she staked all her hopes on has hugely disappointed her?

It was more focused on the romance and emotions concerning that - rather than adventure, action, daring escapades, drama, and forbidden love as was in Love's Rescue. I was a little bit let down, and not sure what to think of the unusual, messy (emotion/relationship-wise) storyline. But then I did get into it and came to like it by the end! *smiles* It was interesting, thoughtful, painful ... and ultimately, heartfelt.

A little more mature than Love's Rescue perhaps, as there's a theme concerning hasty weddings due to women pregnant out of wedlock.

Overall, a good book. I look forward to more by Christine Johnson!

I received a copy of Honor Redeemed from Revell Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: To Love a Stranger by Colleen Coble

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Title: To Love a Stranger

Author: Colleen Coble

Series: Wyoming #4

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult


Bessie Randall is shocked to discover that, thanks to her sister’s meddling, she is now married by proxy to Jasper Mendenhall, a man she’s never met. Since her plain looks have attracted no other suitor, Bessie travels to Fort Bridger to take up life with this stranger and discover what surprises God has in store for them both.

**4 stars**

To Love a Stranger by Colleen Coble was such a lovely, little book! Though I hadn't read by the author in a long time, as soon as I saw the gorgeous cover, I knew I had to request it to read&review! And I'm quite happy I did! ^_^

To Love a Stranger is a mail-ordered bride story; and originally came out in 2000 as the fourth book of Colleen Coble's WYOMING series. Now it's been republished in 2016 with it's absolutely stunning new cover! Jasper Mendenhall and Bessie Randall's unlikely romance is a sweet one. Journey to Arizona Territory with these two for a heartfelt adventure.

I just loved it. It's an endearing western/prairie, Christian romance, reminding me something of Janette Oke's stories. Marriage of convenience. Frontier. Native Americans. Babies. Working through the rough spots of life ... basking in the joys. This book was simple and sweet. Short and exciting. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I recommend To Love a Stranger to fans of Christian Historical Romance ... and also fans of western/frontier romance. It's heart-tugging and ultimately very satisfying. Great book from Colleen Coble!

I received a copy of To Love a Stranger from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Blog Tour: A Love To Come Home To by Alicia G. Ruggieri

Time for a book spotlight! Today we're looking at A Love To Come Home To by Alicia G. Ruggieri. I haven't read any of the A TIME OF GRACE series yet, but I am really excited too when I get the chance someday! *smiles*

Title: A Love To Come Home To

Author: Alicia G. Ruggieri

Series: A Time of Grace #3

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult

Release Date: July 22nd, 2016


Hardened Ben Picoletti thought he’d turned his back on Depression-era Rhode Island years ago. Nothing remains there for him, except for haunting memories of an abusive childhood. Yet when a criminal accusation shatters his ambitions, Ben has nowhere to flee but back to his stepfather’s home.

There, he finds that redemption yet waits for him… but the sacrifice required to attain it may exceed the limits of his family’s hearts.

Meanwhile, his musical sister Grace continues her studies in New York. She longs to hear a word of affection from her high-school beau … yet only Paulie’s silence greets her. Grace must decide whether she wants to live in the past or move into an unknown future with unexpected love.

Lyrical and sensitive to the aching heart, A Love to Come Home To affirms that God delights in being a stronghold in times of trouble; that He renews His mercy every morning; and that He will work every bitter thing together for the good of His children.

About the Author

Alicia G. Ruggieri writes grace-filled, Christ-centered fiction, including the A Time of Grace Trilogy. She’s a graduate of Rhode Island College, where she studied Communications and History, and her adventures include children’s theatre direction, restaurant management, and small business ownership. Alicia and her husband live in coastal New England, where she may be found drinking far too much coffee and penning stories with her emotionally-disturbed second-hand pug by her side.

Author Links:




July 19 (12 a.m. EST) – July 29 (8 p.m. EST)
Open to U.S. residents only due to shipping costs.
One winner will receive:
  • A complete set of signed softcovers of the A Time of Grace Trilogy.
  • “Paulie’s Pearls” – So named in honor of Paulie’s first gift to Grace, these are freshwater pearl earrings set in 10k gold.
  • “One Day in Your Courts” journal

Blog Tour Schedule

July 19 ~ Rachel Greene @

July 20 ~ Rachel Rossano @

July 21 ~ Faith Blum @

July 22 (Release Day) ~ A.M. Heath @

July 23 ~ Shantelle @

July 25 ~ Iola Goulton @

July 27 ~ Rebekah Neal @

July 28 ~ Meghan Gorecki @

July 29 ~ Amanda Tero @

July 30 – Wrap-up and giveaway winner announced:

Thursday, July 14, 2016

By The Book Tag

Good day, all! I'm here to do the By The Book Tag, which I was tagged for by the lovely Raechel @ God's Peculiar Treasure Rae. Thank you, Raechel! ^_^

So without further ado . . .

What book is on your nightstand now?

Honor Redeemed by Christine Johnson. It's the second book in the KEYS OF PROMISE series, and I'm just thrilled to be reading a review copy from Revell!

What was the last truly great book you read?

I finished Valiant by Sarah McGuire about a week ago, and it was splendid! A retelling of The Brave Little Tailor ... clean, adventurous fairy tale!

And I know I've already mentioned Waking Rose by Regina Doman like a hundred times in the past couple weeks, but that was truly a great book. ^_^

If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?

Goodness, do you really want me to name them all?? It would give me immense pleasure to meet Jaye L. Knight and Tricia Mingerink, both authors of Christian fantasy, because they've been such great online friends and writer mentors ... and I LOVE their books!

Nadine Brandes!!! Just because, I'm part of her ninja team and I love her, and love her books, and ... yes! ^_^

Yet-to-be-published writers ... I must meet Deborah O'Carroll someday! She's just a darling and very wonderful online friend! And Amanda Beguerie, Hannah Williams, & Raechel (who tagged me)!! And Hannah Rhodes!!! <3 And a host of others! :D

Also, Melanie Dickerson, because I think we have a lot of the same likes/thoughts - she said I was a kindred spirit after reading my review for her book, The Golden Braid. :)

Sarah Sundin, Laura Frantz, R.J. Larson, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, ... you know, just to chat, fangirl a little, get my books of theirs autographed and all that! :D

What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

Um ... I don't know? Some of the Sisterchicks series by Robin Jones Gunn? I usually don't read much for contemporary-fiction, but I read one of these books, and they're really humorous and light. :)

How do you organize your personal library?

I rearrange it often, so it depends ... But right now, I have it organized into genres: Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling, Historical, Contemporary, Dystopian, and lastly, Christian Living/Self-Help. Each genre is organized in alphabetical order by author's last name. I've been quite pleased with this arrangement.

What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around yet?

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I'm going to give it a try sometime!!

Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?

Not really. I don't need anyone telling me what to read. I know what I like! :)

Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you are supposed to like but didn’t?

I don't know. There's definitely some books I don't like, but it's probably not because they're not good, and just because they're not my kind of book.

Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund. Yeah ... not my kind of book. It infuriated me to no end. And some of the romance content I really don't prefer to read. This is one of those authors I will probably just stick to their YA books.

What kind of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?

Fantasy, fairy tale-ish-ness! Deep, real, soul-stirring stories of faith & journeying to God's heart. Novels that explore relationships between father and daughter, mother and daughter, brother and sister, and friends are favorites for me. Rich historical, regardless of the era, captivates me. I adore a sweet romance.

My reads need to be clean! It can't have swearing in it (if there's just one or two minor ones, I'll black them out with a marker). No dark magic/witchcraft being portrayed as good. I don't like when romances get too focused on the physical, detailed, or sensual. There are quite a few Christian author I've chosen to no longer read by, or I just read their YA novels.

If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

Going with Raechel's answer: the Bible! Great answer! After all, I believe it was our first president, George Washington, who said it's impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible!

What do you plan to read next?

Most likely To Love a Stranger by Colleen Coble, which is my next review book! :)

I TAG ...

Deborah O'Carroll @ The Page Dreamer

Christine @ Musings of an Elf

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Book Review: Courageous by Dina L. Sleiman

Purchase HERE

Title: Courageous

Author: Dina L. Sleiman

Series: Valiant Hearts #3

Genre: Historical

Audience: Young Adult


Valiant Hearts: Where Adventure and Romance Meet

Inspired by the vision of the Young Lady Sapphira, Rosalind of Ipsworth joins a group of men, women, and children as a defender of the cross, seeking to free captives from prisons near Tripoli. She gladly gives herself to the cause, as she's haunted by a tragic mistake and no longer deserves such joys as marriage and family might bring.

Sir Randel Penigree was reared to serve in the church, but dreams of protecting the innocent as a knight. Joining a crusade to escape humiliation at home, he finds himself drawn to Rosalind as they partner to train and protect a group of young adolescents. When they face political machinations, danger, and an unknown enemy bent on their destruction, they are forced to reconsider their priorities and the very nature of the God they serve.

**4 stars**

I've enjoyed the VALIANT HEARTS series by Dina L. Sleiman. They're adventurous, somewhat unique, romantic, and retellings of legends such as Robin Hood and Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Courageous was a pretty good tale, keeping my interesting and giving me some thoughts to mule over.

It follows the life of a few different characters, one of them being Rosalind, who we met in Chivalrous and were left knowing only she had made some tragic mistakes and was far from healed inside.
     After a vision from a young girl named Lady Sapphira, Rosalind sets out on a crusade to free some prisoners with a group of other zealous warriors. Will they find victory ... and healing, along the way?

I was excited to read Rosalind and Sir Randel's story! Lady Sapphira was an interesting POV character as well. And, oh my goodness, I totally did not figure out the whole mysterious villain! That was rather a shock for me, finally finding out who it was! I loved the secondary stories of people finding Christ ... beautiful. ^_^ It was fun to read about the travels. Delightful to get another peek at the lovely characters from the previous books in the series! Courageous was a thoughtful, messy, ultimately beautiful story of redemption, grace, and following God's guidance.

There were certain points of the book concerning faith and whatnot that had me kind of confused. I wasn't sure what to think about a few aspects, and not sure I agreed with others. But in the end, I think most things were sorted out in a way I understood and found to be Biblical.

Another note: I do not like reading from the villain's POV. Especially if it gets gruesome. Just not my thing. That happened in this book, just to give you a heads up.

Anyway, I enjoyed this novel! And there were some truly poignant and precious moments. Adventure, faith, and some romance. It was a good book.

I received a copy of Courageous from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Book Review: Valiant by Sarah McGuire

Purchase HERE

Title: Valiant

Author: Sarah McGuire

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling

Audience: Teen/Young Adult


Saville despises the bolts of velvet and silk that her father loves- he's always prized them more than he's ever loved her. Yet when he's struck ill, she'll do anything to survive, even donning boys' clothes and begging a commission to sew for the king.

Piecing together a fine coat is far simpler than unknotting court gossip about an army of giants led by a man who cannot be defeated. And they're marching toward Reggen to seize the throne. But Saville knows giants are just stories, and no man is immortal.

Then she meets them, two scouts as tall as trees. She tricks them into leaving, but tales of the daring tailor's triumph quickly spin into impossible feats of giant-slaying. And mere stories won't deter the Duke and his larger-than-life army.

Now only a courageous and clever tailor girl can see beyond the rumors to save the kingdom again. 

**5 stars**

I quite loved this book! Valiant by Sarah McGuire is a retelling of The Brave Little Tailor, which I used to read (the mickey mouse version, hehe) all the time when I was little! It was so, so fun seeing the similarities ... when I found out it was indeed a retelling of that fairytale, I was very excited!

There was a little bit of romance - so sweet and satisfying. Some violence/gruesomeness/creepiness due to the giants and whatnot; but not much at all. I really liked all the characters! Our little tailor, Saville; the boy, Will; and the most wonderful Galen ... *hugs them* Love them! There were a lot of other great characters as well ... some you like, some not so much. But well-done cast of characters!

It got a little slow in the middle, as I remember. But it still deserves my five-star rating! Because overall ... *huggles book* ... it was just wonderful and unique and fantastic, and I'm thrilled to have it on my bookshelf next to my other fairy tale retellings! ^_^

My friends, if you like the fairy tale retelling genre, you should most definitely give Valiant a try! Giants, velvet, clever street urchins, and brave tailors. Emotion, action, and poignant themes ... Good winning out over evil! Read it! *smiles*

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cover Reveal: A TIME TO RISE by Nadine Brandes

Friends, I can hardly contain my excitement!!! *smothers fangirly squeals* It is time to reveal the totally amazing cover of A Time to Rise, the third and final book in the OUT OF TIME series by Nadine Brandes!

Have you read this series? No? Then you must!!! Yes? *high five* We must discuss! ^_^

It's so beautiful! I cannot wait to read it and see how this awesome Christian dystopian series concludes! Are you excited yet? *grins*

*Ahem* Take a look at this epic gorgeousness ...

Title: A Time to Rise

Author: Nadine Brandes

Series: Out of Time #3

Genre: Dystopian

Audience: Young Adult

Release Date: October 14th, 2016


What more can you sacrifice than your life?

Parvin Blackwater is dead.

At least … that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.

Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world?

Connect with Nadine Brandes:

Check Out the Other Books in the Series!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

> So, what do you think?? Comment your thoughts on A Time to Rise's cover, and which cover in the series is your favorite! Who's excited to read this book come October? *cheers*