Litfuse Blog Tour: The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Loyal Heart
Shelley Shepard Gray
Copyright 2016
ISBN: 9780310345398
The Story: 
Robert came to Galveston to fulfill his promise to a dying man and look after his widow. He didn't expect to find love in the unlikeliest of places.
Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything.

After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Miranda's home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip's name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone.

Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. He's mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can. He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesn't prove to be an easy task---Robert knows something about Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well.

Purchase a copy:

Read what others have to say about the book on the Litfuse website

TLC Book Tours: Inkspirations: Fruit of the Spirit Coloring Book REVIEW + GIVEAWAY!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Inkspirations Fruit of the Spirit
Inspirational Adult Coloring Book

I absolutely love to color. I have always loved to color. Before the adult coloring book craze a few years ago, I would buy coloring books from the children's book section. Coloring is such a fantastic way to unwind at the end of a stressful day. A Disney coloring book is fun for kids at heart, but I love being able to purchase books with more challenging illustrations and thicker weight paper so I can use markers, colored pencils, or whatever medium I feel.

My favorite coloring page in the book!
One of the newest adult coloring books not only provides me with relaxation, but encouraging and uplifting spiritual messages. Inkspirations Fruit of the Spirit coloring book from Health Communications combines dozens of beautiful graphics and illustrations with Scriptures that a lot of us are familiar with. Peace, hope, and love are just a few of the encouraging themes throughout this book and are paired nicely with pretty illustrations -- some challenging and some less so. My favorite pages are the "Love is patient" floral motif and the under the sea "Through deep waters..." art. How did I do?

If you love to color and want a little reminder for your spirit every day, this Inkspirations coloring book is definitely worth a look!

~ My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars ~ 

*I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*

Litfuse Blog Tour + Giveaway: Fetching Sweetness by Dana Mentink

Monday, August 15, 2016

Coco and Toby and Sweetness!

The Story:
Standing between Stephanie and her dream is one hundred pounds of lovable trouble. 

It should have been so simple for Stephanie Pink: Meet up with Agnes Wharton in a small town in California, retrieve the reclusive author’s valuable new manuscript, and be promoted to a full-fledged literary agent.

But Agnes’s canine companion, Sweetness, decides to make a break for it before Stephanie can claim her prize. Until Agnes has Sweetness safely back at home in Eagle Cliff, Washington, Stephanie will never set eyes on the manuscript she needs to make her dreams come true.

When Stephanie tracks the runaway mutt to a campground, she meets Rhett Hastings—a man also on the run from a different life and a costly mistake. Rhett agrees to help Stephanie search for the missing dog…thus launching a surprising string of adventures and misadventures.

Once Sweetness gets added to the mix, it’s a recipe for love and loss, merriment and mayhem, fun and faith in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest.

Learn more about the book!

Read what other reviewers are saying about this cute romance!

My Thoughts:
Oh, Sweetness, you are the cutest thing! If there's one author whose books I will read simply for the fact that she writes the cutest four-legged critters into her stories, it is Dana Mentink. I fell in love with Tippy in Sit Stay Love and am now head over paws for Sweetness of Fetching Sweetness!

Celebrate Lit Blog Tour: Twice Redeemed by Mimi Milan

Saturday, August 13, 2016

To purchase your own copy, click here.

About the Book

Who will save her from herself? After helping another girl escape, Mercedes Nobles suffers unspeakable abuse at Jericho. So when an American cowboy rides into town, she jumps at the opportunity to start a new life… even though she carries a secret that could destroy any chance of happiness for either of them. John Durbin may have turned in his badge, but he still believes in living by a code of honor. That includes returning to a seedy Mexican saloon and rescuing a woman who helped his friends escape. However, the tables turn and he finds himself married in name only. Struggling with cultural differences, they questions if their marriage will survive. Will John sacrifice his faith to make his new bride happy? How will Mercedes redeem herself when John learns of the secret she’s hiding?

My Thoughts
First off, Twice Redeemed is book two in The Jericho Resistance series, so if you can, start with that book first. Now that that's out of the way -- on to the book! Twice Redeemed is a quick read that blends historical fiction with Christian romance. It's certainly not the best story I've ever read, but I so appreciated the fact that the author didn't go the typical cowboy/western romance route. I can honestly say this is the first romance I've read set in Mexico during the early days of the first world war. That said, I would have loved to have had the history play a larger role in the book. Even though my iPad says this book is well over 300 pages, I read it in less than two hours. This book could have been a big, juicy saga. I love a well-researched historical and am saddened by the fact that such a unique time period and setting wasn't expanded upon. Mercedes and John are a likeable pair, but I felt just as I was getting to know them both, their story was over. Maybe book three goes into further detail. All told, still, Twice Redeemed is a sweet novella -type story that would make a good lunch break diversion or poolside treat.

Shades of Summer - Warby Parker's Field Series Sunglasses Collection

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Everyone who knows me will tell you that summer is my favorite time of year. I've always loved warm, sunny days when I can relax on the deck or by the ocean with a good book. I think it's because I was born on the last day of summer that the appreciation for the season comes naturally. Here in Pennsylvania the season seems to race by. You gotta soak up the sun while it's high in the sky...with the proper SPF, of course! While books and beaches are two things I associate with summer, flip flops and sunglasses are two other key ingredients for the perfect summer.

Just in time for county fair season, the folks at Warby Parker, a top name in prescription eyewear, have introduced a line of multi-layered sunglasses (the Field Series collection) that are definitely on-trend and perfect if you want to achieve a unique look. Is there such a thing as uncool sunglasses? Not at Warby Parker ! I am such a sucker for a bold frame. My wardrobe tends to lean towards black, white, and neutral hues, so my glasses and sunglasses need to have a pop of color. 

TLC Book Tours: The Valley by Helen Bryan

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Valley
by Helen Bryan
Copyright 2016
Lake Union Publishers
ISBN: 9781503936157
The Story:
Left suddenly penniless, the Honorable Sophia Grafton, a viscount’s orphaned daughter, sails to the New World to claim the only property left to her name: a tobacco plantation in the remote wilds of colonial Virginia. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a handsome young French spy—at gunpoint— she gathers an unlikely group of escaped slaves and indentured servants, each seeking their own safe haven in the untamed New World.

What follows will test her courage and that of her companions as they struggle to survive a journey deep into a hostile wilderness and eventually forge a community of homesteads and deep bonds that will unite them for generations.

The first installment in an epic historical trilogy by Helen Bryan, the bestselling author of War Brides and The Sisterhood, The Valley is a sweeping, unforgettable tale of hardship, tenacity, love, and heartache.

Check out what other readers have to say about this book on the TLC Book Tours page.

About Helen Bryan 
Helen Bryan is a Virginia native who grew up in Tennessee. After graduating from Barnard College, she moved to England, where she studied law and was a barrister for ten years before devoting herself to writing full-time.

A member of the Inner Temple, Bryan is the author of four previous books: the World War II novel War Brides; the historical novel The Sisterhood; the biography Martha Washington: First Lady of Liberty, which won an Award of Merit from the Colonial Dames of America; and the legal handbook Planning Applications and Appeals. The Valley is the first in a planned trilogy based on her childhood stories of ancestors who settled in Virginia and Maryland before Tennessee became a state.

Bryan resides in London with her family.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

My Thoughts:
Frontier sagas are some of my all-time favorite stories to read. I don't know what it is, the danger, the uncertainty, the hardships our ancestors faced -- it's just all so interesting to me. Of course, I had to jump on the opportunity to read a brand new book that promised just that in a few short lines on the back cover blurb. Unfortunately, I didn't love the book.

Exclusive Teaser Trailers from SDCC

Sunday, July 24, 2016

You. Guys. SDCC, or San Diego Comic-Con for those of you not as familiar with geek speak, is THE place to be if you love movies, TV, comics, or pop culture of almost any kind. Unfortunately, I have never had the opportunity to attend, but I always follow the goings on pretty closely online. There are always a plethora of teasers, character reveals, and of course exclusive movie trailer releases. This year's SDCC guests have not disappointed. I gotta say I thought superhero films were getting a liiiittle played out, but boy was I wrong. The trailer for Wonder Woman just blew me away and the second official Doctor Strange trailer is trippy as all get out. And the tagline for that one..."The impossibilities are endless". Whoa. Superheroes are clearly here to stay and both films are bound to be blockbusters or I'll eat my hat!

Is there anything from SDCC that you want to discuss? What films are you most excited to see? Any surprising TV news? Please feel free to comment! 

TLC Book Tours: The Daredevil Snared by Stephanie Laurens (Review + Giftcard Giveaway!)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Daredevil Snared
by Stephanie Laurens
Copyright 2016
ISBN: 9780778318965
The Story:
Responsibility knocks, and a reckless, hedonistic man responds and opens the door to love—thus is a daredevil snared.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens brings you the third installment in THE ADVENTURERS QUARTET, continuing the drama of Regency-era high seas adventure, laced with a mystery shrouded in the heat of tropical jungles, and spiced with the passionate romances of four couples and their unexpected journeys into love.
Captain Caleb Frobisher, hedonistic youngest son of a seafaring dynasty, wants to be taken seriously by his family, and understands he has to prove himself sufficiently reformed. When opportunity strikes, he seizes the next leg of the covert mission his brothers have been pursuing and sails to Freetown. His actions are decisive, and he completes the mission’s next stage—but responsibility, once exercised, has taken root, and he remains in the jungle to guard the captives whose rescue is the mission’s ultimate goal.
Katherine Fortescue has fled the life of poverty her wastrel father had bequeathed her and come to Freetown as a governess, only to be kidnapped and put to work overseeing a child workforce at a mine. She and the other captured adults understand that their lives are limited by the life of the mine. Guarded by well-armed and well-trained mercenaries, the captives have been searching for some means of escape, but in vain. Then Katherine meets a handsome man—a captain—in the jungle, and he and his crew bring the sweet promise of rescue.
The sadistic mercenary captain who runs the mine has other ideas, but Caleb’s true strength lies in extracting advantage from adversity, and through the clashes that follow, he matures into the leader of men he was always destined to be. The sort of man Katherine can trust—with her body, with her life. With her love.
The first voyage is one of exploration, the second one of discovery. The third journey brings maturity, while the fourth is a voyage of second chances. Continue the journey and follow the adventure, the mystery, and the romances to the dramatic end.
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My Thoughts:
I read the first book in the series and thought it was just okay -- too slow getting started for me. This book started out similarly, BUT the setting was so interesting that I didn't mind that there wasn't a whole bunch of action. I can't say I've ever read a romance novel where the heroine was kidnapped to work a diamond mine. Yeeeah, it's a little off the wall, but it kind of works. Sometimes in a historical novel, it's nice to leave the ballroom for some suspense and danger.

Radiant Lit Blog Tour: Jilted by Varina Denman

Friday, July 1, 2016

Title: Jilted
Author: Varina Denman
Genre: Drama
Publisher: David C. Cook
Date: June 1, 2016
Book Three in the Mended Hearts series
Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago. Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life where the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.
Jilted tells of a woman who has lost the joy of living, a man determined to draw her back toward happiness, and a town that must—once and for all—leave the past where it belongs. It is a gentle reminder that all things can work together for good.
Author Bio – Varina Denman is author of the Mended Hearts series and a native Texan. She spent her high school years in a rural town and now writes stories about the struggles women face in similar small town settings. She and her husband live near Fort Worth, where they enjoy spending time with their five mostly-grown children.

My Thoughts:
Sometimes it's good to switch things up a bit in your reading routine. I've been on a romance bender for most of the year, and I needed to take a detour. Thankfully, this book by Varina Denman was just what the doctor ordered. 

Continuing the Avery Family WWII Saga with Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Anchor in the Storm
Waves of Freedom, Book 2

by Sarah Sundin
Copyright 2016
Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800723439

The Story:
One Plucky Female Pharmacist + One High-Society Naval Officer = Romance--and Danger

For plucky Lillian Avery, America's entry into World War Ii means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg's attentions only annoy--even if he is her brother's best friend.

During the darkest days of the war, Arch's destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves--and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian's trust and affection?

Sarah Sundin brings World War Ii to life, offering readers an intense experience they won't soon forget.

Read more about the book and get a copy today!

My Thoughts:
I'm enjoying this series which features the Avery siblings and their loves during the first years of US involvement in WWI. Anchor in the Storm follows Lillian Avery as she leaves her home to live in Boston to work in a pharmacy ran by miserly old druggist, Mr. Dixon. She encounters adversity at work and in her personal life due to a disability she's lived with since she was a child. Lillian believes a normal person could never love her because of her appearance and her "cold" heart. Enter ensign Archer Vandenberg, her brother Jim's close friend. He's out to prove he's not like any other man and even though he's wealthy, that he's no snob. Their story is one of intrigue and danger, not so much by the hands of a known enemy, but rather the unknown leaders of a drug ring that threatens their lives and the lives of those keeping the American coast safe from German U-Boats.

Cover Love: Spring 2017 Edition!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 guys. 2017 you say? Why are we talking about 2017 already when 2016 is only half through?! Well, one word -- books!!!!! There's nothing I look forward to more than a good book from my favorite author, and two of my very favorite writers (as in most of their books are on my keeper shelf) are releasing new books right around the same time. Party time for Renee!!

Laura Frantz's A Moonbow Night is publishing from Revell in January 2017...

From Amazon:
On the vast, uncharted Kentucky frontier of the 1770s, Temperance Tucker has learned to be fleet of foot, accurate with her rifle, and silent about the past. But her family secrets complicate her growing attraction to a handsome Virginia land surveyor with a harsh history of his own. Will the hurts and hardships of the past prevent them from a fulfilling future?

Read more about the book on Laura's website.

Pre-order a copy.

...and the final installment in Sandra Byrd's Daughters of Hampshire series, A Lady in Disguise, will be available in March 2017 from Howard Books! 

From Amazon:
In this intriguing novel of romance, mystery, and clever disguise set in Victorian England, a young woman investigates the murder of her own father. 

After the mysterious death of her father, Miss Gillian Young takes a new job as the principal costume designer at the renowned Drury Lane Theatre Royal. But while she remembers her father as a kind, well-respected man of the Police Force, clues she uncovers indicate he’d been living a double life: a haunting photograph of a young woman; train stubs for secret trips just before his death; and a receipt for a large sum of money. Are these items evidence of her father’s guilty secrets? His longtime police partner thinks so. 

Then Gillian meets the dashing Viscount Thomas Lockwood. Their attraction is instant and inescapable. As their romantic involvement grows, Gillian begins to suspect even Lockwood’s motives. Does Lord Lockwood truly love her? Or is his interest a front for the desire to own her newly inherited property? And what should she make of her friend’s suggestion that Lockwood or men like him were involved in the murder of her father? 

Soon Gillian is convinced that her father has left evidence somewhere that can prove his innocence and reveal the guilty party. But someone wants to stop her from discovering it. The closer she comes to uncovering it, the more menacing her opposition grows. With her life on the line, Gillian takes on an ingenious disguise and takes on the role of a lifetime to reveal the true killer—before it’s too late both for her and for those that she loves.

Litfuse Blog Tour: The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron

The Ringmaster's Wife
by Kristy Cambron
Copyright 2016
Thomas Nelson Publishers
ISBN: 9780718041540
The Story:
An ounce of courage. 

A leap of faith. 

Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life—one that’s reimagined from what they might have become. 

In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny—a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.

A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her arranged marriage. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.

When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, choosing instead the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.

A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster’s Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the Greatest Show on Earth!

Read what others are saying about this wonderful book!

Get your own copy!

My Thoughts:
It's been a while since I've read a book through so quickly. Even when I put it down, I was still thinking about what was going to happen next in The Ringmaster's Wife. Even though a romance, it's not like there was a ton of action or super hot chemistry, it was just that the story was so interesting!