Thursday, May 17, 2018

An Interview With Author Jody Hedlund Plus....A Giveaway!

I am thrilled to share a recent interview with author Jody Hedlund today. And....I am giving away one copy of Together Forever to one lucky reader.  In order to win, you must live in the United States.

1. What is the inspiration behind your orphan train series?

I have long been fascinated by the era of the 
Orphan Trains and the heart-wrenching stories of the homeless and helpless young orphans that were taken from the streets of New York City and other eastern cities and shipped west by the dozens. I was familiar with stories of those scared orphans who were placed out in what was thought to be a more wholesome, healthy environment of the newly settled Mid-Western states. Some of the orphans found happy endings and were adopted into loving families. Others experienced great abuse and heartache in their new homes.

While stories of the orphans who rode the trains have been told—and rightly so—the stories of the women who were involved in the movement are not as well known. One of the things I particularly like to do when telling my stories, is focus on women who have been overlooked by the pages of history. I consider it a great privilege to be able to bring forgotten women to life for our modern generation. Thus, throughout this series, I’ll be focusing each book on a different aspect of the Orphan Train movement, particularly from the perspective of women who experienced riding the trains in one form or another.

2. How did you come up with the idea for the second book in the series, Together Forever?

Since the first book in the series centers around the jobless and homeless adult women who rode the orphan trains, I decided for this second book to show the orphan train experience through the eyes of placing agents who worked for the Children’s Aid Society.

The Children’s Aid Society (CAS), started by Charles Loring Brace, was the major placing organization of orphans in New York City from its inception in 1853 well into the twentieth century. CAS hired numerous ministers, single men and women, as well as married couples, to escort orphans from the east to their new homes in the west. The agents spent weeks and months on the road caring for the children, all the while trying to place them in loving homes.
Thus the main characters for Together Forever take on the role of the placing agents, giving readers a glimpse into the lives of these dedicated men and women who wanted to make a difference to the many homeless children living on the streets of NYC.

3. What special research did you do in writing Together Forever?

In researching the roles of CAS placing agents, I came across one of the most well known placing agents, Clara B. Comstock, who traveled west with children from 1911 to 1928. During her years as a placing agent, she made seventy-four trips and wrote about her experiences.

I drew from her notes about what it was like before the trip, the clothes the orphans were given, to the detailed lists of supplies and food she packed. She also spoke of what it was like during the journey west along with what happened once they arrived at their destinations, including an incident where she was quarantined with a young five year old boy who contracted diphtheria.

At the end of her life, Clara Comstock said this about her experiences: “The work was a great adventure in Faith. We were always helped and grew to expect kindness, deep interest and assistance everywhere. A sense of responsibility was keenly felt by all the workers. My life has been greatly enriched by the varied experiences found in everything the Children’s Aid Society and the contacts made. It is an honor to have followed from afar, the founder of this work.”

4. Usually readers are more sympathetic to the orphans and less forgiving of the charity organizations who placed the orphans in the west. How do you elicit reader empathy for the placing agents?

In Together Forever, I hoped to portray the struggles that placing agents felt right along with the struggles of the orphans. I have no doubt what the orphans experienced was far more emotional and painful; nevertheless, the job of the placing agent was not an easy one. It consisted of weeks of demanding traveling, difficulty in placing children, as well as the logistical challenges in revisiting each child before returning to New York City.

The agents not only faced the ups and downs of handling such a wide variety of children, but they also faced the challenges of the job itself. Since nothing had ever before been done like the placing out, the agents basically had to learn on the job and make up the rules as they went.

In the early years, record-keeping was inconsistent, placements irregular, and the screening process non-existent. While many of the agents meant well and truly cared about providing better lives for the children in their care, the lack of consistent practices provided further hardships to many orphans. Overall, I hope readers are able to gain a better appreciation for the well-meaning efforts, even if things didn’t always turn out the way everyone wanted.

5. You make the conditions of New York City and the orphans sound so bleak. Was it really as bad as you portray in your books?

It’s hard to believe, but an estimated 30,000 homeless children really did roam the dirty city streets and alleys of New York City in the 1850’s.
30,000. Children. Let that sink in for a minute. That’s the size of a town.
Historians look back on that time and try to make sense what led to such horrific conditions for children. The influx of immigrants was at an all time high. The financial disaster of 1857 caused even more problems. Jobs and housing were scarce. Diseases were rampant. Hunger and poverty became a norm.

6. What do you hope readers take away from Together Forever?

I pray that in reading this story, not only will readers gain greater insights and a different perspective of the orphan train movement, but that they will also be encouraged to know God is present in their weakest moments.

He doesn’t necessarily promise to give us the courage of a lion or to make everything perfect. But He does promise that His strength is available and that His power will rest upon us. Perhaps that strength will be just enough to get out of bed for another difficult day. Or perhaps it will be just enough to face the illness or hurt or heartache we bear.

We can rest assured it will always be just enough. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Personal Q & A
7. How do you decide on names for all your characters?

The process of coming up with names is quite complicated, and I generally take a lot of elements into consideration. I keep a running list of all the heroes and heroines of my books and try not to duplicate anything too closely to a name I've already used. I also take into consideration names used doing the time period and the ethnicity of my characters. For example, in the orphan train series, I chose German names that were commonly used during the 1800's for my heroines since they’re from Germany. Sometimes I consider symbolism for names. Other times, particularly in my inspired-by-stories, I try to pick a name that is similar to the character from history that I'm portraying.

8. What is your favorite part of the writing process? Your least favorite?
As a writer, I love telling stories. I especially like the feeling that comes as I near the end of the book when everything looks hopeless, the characters are in big trouble, and somehow I’m able to wrap up the book in a satisfying way. I call it the first-draft love affair! I fall absolutely and madly in love with the story and think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written.
I struggle the most during the editing phase of each of my books. The love affair that started during the first draft comes to an end. I fall out of love with my books. By the last edit—called the Galley Review—I finally reach a point where I loathe the book, think it’s the worst thing I’ve ever written, and wish I could just throw it away.
9. Do you have any writing quirks?
I don't have too many quirks, other than needing a cup of coffee on hand while I'm writing (especially in the morning!).
One of the things I like to do to help me keep on track with my writing is give myself half hour word count challenges–a specific goal of how many words I can get written in a thirty minute time span. Doing these mini-challenges keeps me from getting too distracted by other things while I'm in a writing mode.

10. Is there a Scripture verse that has inspired you in your writing?
Among many, here’s one I aspire to live by: Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. (Ecc. 9:10) I believe in working responsibly and hard with the gifts we’ve been given.
11. What advice do you have for anyone interested in writing and pursuing publication?

Write a couple of books first and unleash your creativity. Then start reading books that explain how to write. Study techniques, practice them, and keep writing. When you begin reaching a level in your writing where you think you’re ready for publication, get a critique partner or two to read your work and give you feedback, vamp up your online presence, and immerse yourself in the writing industry by learning all you can about traditional and self-publication. Don’t rush into either! Make sure your writing craft and story-telling skills are ready first.

12. Together Forever is the second book you’ve released in 2018. How many other books are slated for publication this year?

This year, I’ll have a total of four books releasing. The first book, A Loyal Heart, released in March. It’s part of my young adult medieval romance series that started several years ago. I’ll be finishing this particular series with a final book in the fall.

Then in addition to Together Forever, the next book in the orphan train series, Searching For You, releases in December. The original plan for publication was next June, but when my publisher asked if I could turn it in for an earlier release, I decided why not? Then readers won’t have to wait quite as long to find out what happens next!

13. What are you working on next?

I’m in the editing phase of the third and final book in the orphan train series, Searching For You, which releases in December. It wraps up the story of the Neumann sisters by finally giving long-lost Sophie her happily-ever-after. I don’t want to give too much away, but I can tell you that Reinhold Weiss also has a major role in helping Sophie as she struggles to make a new life for herself.

14. Do you have any parting words?
I love hearing from readers! Make sure you stop by one of these places and say hello!
I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website:
Find me on Instagram:
Come pin with me on Pinterest:

To be entered to win  your own copy of Better Together, leave a comment about why you want to read Jody's book.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Journey 31 Days and Feel Simply Blessed

Simply Blessed: Finding Joy in the Little Things by [Chaffin, Kim]
publisher's notes....

Enjoy each day with God

Why study the Bible? Who are the patriarchs? Am I really saved? Is there a special way to pray? New believers have many questions. But even the most experienced believers can overcomplicate life and fill the day with more busyness than meaning. Often the little things of life show us the true character of God. In Him we can find joy and blessing if we are willing to look.

Simply Blessed contains thirty-one heartfelt devotional stories for the woman seeking to know God for who He is: a loving God who longs to have a relationship with her. Kim focuses on the foundation of a woman’s faith, tackling issues she faces on a daily basis and providing joyful and practical lessons for a woman’s heart.

Discover a God of relationship not religion. He is never too busy. In the humorous, frustrating, and mundane parts of life, God is pouring out His love on you.

my thoughts....
Simply Blessed by Kim Chaffin is a delightful study.  Kim offers on the cover that we will be "Finding Joy in the Little Things" and she is right.   Each day I felt as though I were having coffee with a good friend who shared the joy she has found in every day life.  She challenged me to journal and I accepted that challenge.  I have many empty journals that I "should" have filled up by now.  It is my goal to get them filled before I am tempted by a cute cover to buy yet another one.  But, I digress...I did journal and found myself looking up passages that she recommended in the book.  I have bookmarked many of these verses because she seemed to know just what I needed when I needed it.  Who does that?  How does she know?  

I have met Kim on occasion and she is just the woman you expect when you read her thoughts.  Down to earth with real life situations that many of us face, even older women like me, who haven't figured it all out yet.  She has done the hard work by writing the book.  Does that make it easier for the reader?  Not necessarily.  For myself, I had to look inside and see how these all applied to my life.  I did the work she assigned to me each day and it was a good way to start the day. 

Each lesson starts with Kim telling a good story with scripture application.  This book is for anyone who wants to move from rote prayers to thoughtful prayer that will move you to a relationship with God.  He is alive, inside each of us.  You will find Him in places you often overlooked.  Taking this thirty-one day devotional was a wonderful experience for me. I recommend this book with 5 stars.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

notes from the publisher

Journey now to healing spa town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado in 1888
Where the past and present collide and a woman is on the precipice of unexpected love.

Millie Cooper, fisherman’s-daughter-turned-nurse, flees a painful entanglement with the wealthy Drexel family who summered near her childhood home in Nantucket, only to encounter them again six years later in Glenwood Springs. The serenity of her mountain hideaway in a town with healing springs is disrupted when she faces caring for the elderly mother and the expectant wife of Stephen Drexel, the man she’d once loved—at the request of his brother John, the man who’d kept them apart. Will Millie forgive the wrongs she feels were done to her, or will she come to see them as a blessing in disguise that leads her to greater joys?

My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado: Millie's Resolve by [Jepson, Rebecca]my thoughts....

Millie Cooper, the heroine in this book was the beautiful young woman who raised herself up from poor circumstances to become a gifted nurse in Colorado.  Her dedication to duty was to a fault and made it difficult to turn her back on the Drexel family in their time of need.  She put aside decades old hurt to give the best possible care to Mrs. Drexel who often took the opportunity to remind Millie of her lowly upbringing.  She took such care for the wife of the man who left her behind and took the brunt of all in the household when her methods didn't' seem to suit them.  Still, she persisted and practiced her nursing skills while burying her feelings inside a heart she longed to quiet forever.

It is through time and duty that she discovered her true purpose in life.  As with many of us, she learned over years of experience how what we think we wanted in our youth may not have been the best path to follow.  God has a way of showing us, whether through a perilous illness to, seeing, finally, what lays before us and giving us a chance to make the best choice. His choices are our best choices and while we don't always see that, things often present themselves to  us as though we should have known all along.

I enjoyed reading about Millie Cooper and her courageous way of facing such a challenging path.  She is a champion for those who dream of a better life even when there are those who would keep you down on your luck.  This book is for those who seek encouragement to keep their faith for the good things to come.  

The My Heart Belongs series is unique because each book is written by a different author.  This is my third venture into the series and the books are not written in cookie cutter fashion.  Rebecca Jepson developed believable characters set in the backdrop of the beautiful red rocks of Colorado.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Together Forever A Ride You Won't Forget

Last spring, since reading With You Always by Jody Hedlund, I have been anticipating the release of Together Forever, Book 2 in the Orphan Train Series. This series tells the story of children who were either orphans or from families who could no longer care for them. The financial crisis in New York, 1857, left many factory workers in dire straits worse than the tenement lifestyles we can only imagine today. Living on the streets was dangerous and many safeguards today were unheard of then. Charles Loring Brace founded the Children's Aid Society in 1853. This was an incredible movement and many children placed with families went on to live lives that would have been unheard of had they stayed in the poverty that laced the streets of New York City.

It must have been frightening for the children who rode the train to new homes and families. Placing agents, like Andrew Brady and Marianne Neumann supervised all aspect of the journey from the preparing for the trip, supervising the ride, placing the children with families and checking in with them at a later date. It must have taken a special person to be an agent and I believe Marianne and Drew fit that role well.

Marianne and Drew both had secrets from their past that they were reluctant to share with each other. It is only with the realization of true love that one can relinquish their fears only to discover that those who love us can do so without reservation. It is within that safety net that understanding and faith for the other reside.

Drew was indomitable in his pursuit of her. No reminders of her implied engagement to Reinhold could dissuade him. He was falling for her yet he wouldn't tell her because he just knew he was unworthy of her. He believed his past, once she found out, would stop any chance he may have had in winning her heart.

Marianne admired Drew. He was a wonderful agent and had such a way with the children, especially the older boys, who could easily get under her skin. It wasn't easy to be a young woman who was not much older than 15 year-old Liverpool. He was hardened after living on the streets since he arrived in New York alone at a tender age. He knew he could get to Marianne and it was Drew who stepped in and kept the young man in check.

She could easily fall for Drew, a handsome, capable man, but she reminded herself often that she took her job with the Children's Aid Society solely to find Sophie. Besides, if he found out that she had "lost" Sophie he wouldn't want anything more to do with her. She was determined to concentrate on the children she was responsible for as her job as a placing agent. The children came first to both of them.

It is only when tragedy strikes and one of them is on the line with responsibility, they find more than anything just how much they were united through the children. In a surprising turn of events, Marianne proves much stronger than I would have guessed. She reached an independent maturity that helps her rise above what she perceives are her dark past.

I recommend Together Forever with 5 stars. The writing is what I expected from Jody Hedlund. Her research is thorough, and her characters are well developed and come alive. My heart was with the children who expressed their fears and delights. The wit between Drew and Marianne was filled with humor yet they were very intentional in other aspects of their roles as agents. Their story and the story of the children riding the train is worth reading!

Monday, April 23, 2018

It All Started In The Quilt Shop In Alice's Notions

publisher's notes:

In this quaint mountain town, things aren't always what they seem. 

World War II widow Alice Brighton returns to the safety of her home town to open a fabric shop. She decides to start a barn quilt tour to bring business to the shop and the town, but what she doesn't know is sinister forces are using the tour for their own nefarious reasons 

Between her mysterious landlord, her German immigrant employee, her neighbors who are acting strange, and a dreamboat security expert who is trying to romance her, Alice doesn't know who she can trust.

my thoughts.....

I enjoy a good mystery and Alice's Notions was fun to read.  Poor Alice went through quite a bit in this roller coaster ride in the early days of the cold war.  She was a war widow, who opened a quilt shop to bring about community in her small town.  A quilt shop seemed just the thing she thought other women would enjoy.  A place to gather, sew and find all the notions and fabric they needed to create comfortable homes.  At one of her first sewing circles she mentioned an idea for a quilt block tour.  On the tour, the participants would paint a quilt block on their barn.  They could make it a community event and invite people from other towns in the area.  The ladies in the circle thought it was a wonderful idea.  She never dreamed, however, that there would be resistance from others for both the shop and the tour.  

The book was definitely a sign of post war feelings, including prejudice against German people immigrating to America.  Alice herself felt prejudice against Greta, a displaced young woman from Germany who knocked on Alice's door as part of a program Alice signed up for.  She had no idea she would get Greta....her husband was killed in Germany and she just didn't think she could house or employ a woman from Germany.  

Her landlord Rick had prepared a modern apartment above shop for Alice filled with all the modern conveniences.  He took many opportunities to let her know that women should not be owning businesses when men had returned from war and needed to resume their positions as the breadwinners.  As a widow, this was no small annoyance.  He was a well to do man about business but she had no idea what that business could be.

Others around the circle included, Lois, who was married to Alice's lone brother Pete.  Lois was an interesting figure who hadn't bargained for life in the back country, complete with wood stoves for cooking and an outdoor privy.  

The Toliver's were such a helpful couple and the Mrs. was a bossy woman who would take over the Quilt Barn Tour....but things just weren't as they seemed and Alice found mystery after mystery as the community event drew near.  Could she keep this event from being shut down before the big day?  Could she trust these people who seemed to want to sabotage this event?  

It was fun to read this story, set in a very interesting time in our history.  Alice was a wonderful heroine and she had a hand in an incredible mystery!  I recommend this to the reader looking for a different type of mystery, it will keep you turning will just want to know what happens next! 

  click here to purchase your own copy!

About The Author:
Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest and has other novels and novellas in print. She’s been married for 39 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and three grandchildren. 
Tamera has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist and has written children’s church curriculum. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Starting From Scratch by Kate Lloyd Much More Than Just A Romance....

from the publisher....

At age twenty-nine, that's what Eva Lapp considers herself. And who could argue with her? Finding a good Amish husband at her age will be next to impossible. Plus, Eva's unwarranted bad reputation in Lancaster County precedes her. Maybe living the Englisch life would be better.

Squeezed out of her childhood home by her brother's boisterous family, Eva finds lodging and a new job managing a small café at a local plant nursery. But the challenge of her new position isn't enough to distract from her current predicament.
To Eva's surprise, her first love, Jake Miller, suddenly returns to Lancaster County. Flooded with emotions and filled with questions about Jake's past, can Eva trust what she's feeling?
Jake and Eva face many obstacles in their quest for a fresh start in the community, but perhaps with God's help, they can find the redemption they both desperately need.

my thoughts....

From the first page I could feel for Eva Lapp. Her life took so many unsuspecting turns and yet she was open to almost everything.  She was the subject of gossip for things she didn't do, she loved Jake Miller even when she shouldn't and wasn't quite sure she was ready to be thrust out of her home when her brother's family moved into the big house.  

She could have fallen on her face several times yet recovered with the help of new friends who took her for who she was and could become.  In the midst of being hired to manage a restaurant instead of working with plants, she stood her ground and learned not just her job, but how to work with people she never would have associated with before: Stephen, a handsome Mennonite man and Beatrice, an Italian Catholic who seemed to be everywhere and know just about everything.  

In the middle of finding her way in her new life, there was Jake Miller, her long time love who just seemed to be everywhere fumbling with her emotions.  Would he return to the community and join the church?  Would Eva join the church or find another life with Stephen?  

I think it is a good omen when I like the first book in a series so well that waiting for the second book seems like a long time. When I picked up A Letter From Lancaster County by Kate Lloyd, I knew I would enjoy it based on reading her other works.  Starting From Scratch kept me up reading two nights in a row.  The characters were well developed and I found myself trying to help Eva decide the path she wanted to take.  I rooted for Stephen, yet Jake was determined.  As she battled within her mind, I was excited to see the unlikely friendship developing with Beatrice, who was old enough to be her mother.  These characters make the story richer.  This coming of age story is not just about Eva and Jake. It is filled with other people who grew once Eva started working at Yoder's Nursery Cafe.  Kate Lloyd is a master when it comes to delving into the heart of a matter.  I recommend this one without reservation!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Spring Reading!

It is fun to just kick back and read.  I seem to have become my mother in this respect, something I didn't expect.  She was always reading and wanted all of us to share her love.  We were taken to the library often by either mom or dad.  Ironically, I didn't read as much for pleasure then. Why bother when she often read aloud to us.  Chapters a night of Pollyanna or other chapter books....or favorite children books. 

I am amazed when I look at my book list on Goodreads I am nearly a third away from my goal of 150 books for the year.

I just finished reading Alice's Notions by Tamera Lynn Kraft, which I will review later this week. 

Not being ready to be without a book I picked up Kate Lloyd's Starting from Scratch, second in her Lancaster Discovery Series.  Easy to get into, as her books usually are...and I was looking forward to this one after reading a little tease from the first book, A Letter from Lancaster County

I have been listening to several audio books as I work around the house.  We recently finished a major remodel in our home and listening to a book is a great way for me to stick with the process of purging unnecessary items from closets and drawers gathered over so many years.  It is amazing how these things accumulate.  This week I went back to a favorite and am listening to Persuasion.  The wonderful Anne Elliott and Captain Wentworth! 

My daily reading also includes Simply Blessed: Finding Joy in the Little Things by Kim Chaffin.  I  have been looking forward to reading this thirty day study each morning. 

In my childhood I much preferred all the joys of running around the neighborhood with my brothers and sisters. Whether digging forts, riding bikes, jumping rope or playing hopscotch, reading took a backseat.  How different from today with video games and busy soccer schedules.  I savor my reading time. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Pelican Point Beckons Your Return to Hope Harbor

Pelican Point: A Hope Harbor Novel by [Hannon, Irene]
publisher's notes...

A crumbling lighthouse is not part of the inheritance Army doctor Ben Garrison expects to claim when he journeys to Hope Harbor. Fresh out of the service, he wants only to unload the tower of bricks, decompress from years of treating battlefield trauma, and prepare to launch his civilian career.

Hope Harbor Herald editor Marci Weber has other ideas. She may not be a Hope Harbor native, but the small Oregon seaside town has become home--and she's determined to save the Pelican Point landmark.

Sparks fly as the two go head to head over the fate of the lighthouse. But when they start to cooperate, a different kind of fire ignites. And as they work together, might Hope Harbor heal the hearts of these two romance-wary souls.

Bestselling author Irene Hannon invites readers back to their favorite town for a story that will light a beacon of hope within their hearts.

my thoughts...

I looked forward to this book for many months and it lived up to my expectations.  It took me back to the coastal town of Hope Harbor and many of the characters I loved in the first two books of the series.  

Although they got off on the wrong foot, newcomers Ben Garrison and Marci Weber fit right into the small community.  Both of them had plans that didn't include a romance yet they continued to connect on many levels, especially when it came to the Pelican Point Lighthouse. Pelican Point, a landmark that was slated to be purchased by a wealthy developer  was probably going to be demolished in favor of a sprawling development.

Irene Hannon is a master when it comes to character development.  She takes on challenging issues and shows us how a little faith can make a big impact on the lives of those she intertwines within the story.  Greg is a young, disabled veteran who moved back to Hope Harbor with his wife Rachel.  Bitter after an I.E.D. attack took his leg, it seems as though life couldn't get any worse for them.  For Rachel, life with Greg wasn't what she dreamed of when she left home to marry her handsome soldier.  

One constant in all the Hope Harbor books is Charley, Fish Taco stand owner extraordinaire.  He silently observes everything about the community and is a quiet force who makes his customers think of things that may seem unconnected, yet as they walk away his wisdom radiates.  If I have to have a favorite character, it has to be Charley because he seems to be that still, small voice we often hear when we aren't ready to listen.  Even though I don't eat fish tacos I would willingly try one just to meet Charley. 

Best selling author Irene Hannon is a three-time RITA Award Winner. If you have  ever read her books you know why.  Whether it is the coastal Hope Harbor series or perhaps a thriller such as Dangerous Illusion in her Men of Valor series you will be hooked into the story right away and be looking for publication dates for the the next book in the series as you turn the last page.  

If you enjoy a good romance with a nice coastal village setting, this is for you.  I recommend this book with 5 stars as the Oregon Coast beckons within the pages, and you will almost hear the seagulls calling.

Monday, April 2, 2018

A Most Noble Heir

Publisher's Notes

When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl's heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.

Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope--believing that once their marriage is sanctioned by God, Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between pleasing Hannah and living up to his father's demanding expectations.

At every turn, forces work to keep the couple apart, and a solution to remain together seems further and further away. With Nolan's new life pulling him irrevocably away from the woman he loves, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.
my thoughts....

This is not the first book I have read by Susan Anne Mason so I wasn't surprised to find myself easily getting into the story.  Her style is engaging and her characters are well developed.

I found Nolan interesting because even as a stable hand he wasn't unhappy in his circumstances. He worked hard and had solid plans to forge a wonderful life with the woman he loved. He was an easy character to like because he thought of others and how he could improve their lot in life. 

The determination of Hannah was also inspiring because she was adamant that she would be Nolan's wife only if she were truly the wife of his heart. She would not be his wife solely as an obligation fulfilled as a result  Nolan's youth, later to be regretted in his new life.  

Just when the author has masterfully gotten us hooked and believing there is no resolution to new found wealth and love with the kitchen maid, the story, just as in life, takes a turn where a little faith is applied.  All is not lost when a crumpled up note from Hannah's mother becomes an ace in the hole and a knock on a door produces a wonderful lifeline. Alas, one cannot give everything away but here is where the story becomes all the richer and those breaths of faith are rewarded.  The outcome proves that one person, or perhaps a couple can impact the lives of many. 

Well written with inspiring characters, I heartily recommend A Most Noble Heir for the reader who enjoys uplifting Christian Fiction. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Celebrate Lit Tour & Giveaway: The Innkeeper's Daughter A Suspenseful HIstorical Novel A Must Read!

About the Book

Title: The Innkeeper’s Daughter 
Author: Michelle Griep 
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction 
Release Date: March 1, 2018

A London officer goes undercover to expose a plot against the Crown
Dover, England, 1808: Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the king—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue...until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm.
All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother.
Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.
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my thoughts...

Michelle Griep has done it again!  Captured a tale by the stroke of her pen. Alex and Johanna definitely share a bond that began when she literally landed in his arms.  No small fete for this couple to meet and fall in love in the midst of a man on a particular mission.  His duty to the crown was foremost on his mind yet this woman and her family captured his heart and he knew he needed to remain focused on his task.

This book has all the elements of a suspenseful thriller rivaling anything that we can see on the big screen.  When I read this book I felt as if I were transported back to England in 1808.  As a woman I felt powerless to try to improve the lot of Johanna and her mother as they worked their fingers to the bone to keep their ramshackle inn afloat.  No matter what they did it was hard to keep up with their rent.  It was a wonder why a classy gent like Alex was commanded to stay at this inn at this time.  Patience, dear reader for all will be told in one neatly tied package at the end.  
I think Michelle  Griep created fascinating characters for this book.  I was surprised to learn the identity of the traitor.  There were, after all, some pretty unsavory characters in this book.  You will go deep into the gaol and gamble with high stakes with a Viscount.  The drudge of day to day life for those without wealth will grip your heart and hopefully make you grateful for all that you have.  Alex had a deep faith and shared that with Johanna in one of her dark moments.  When confronted with seemingly hopeless events, she relied on that faith he helped her reawaken.  It surprised me that Alex possessed such a deep faith with all that he had been through in his life and his current lifestyle.  I appreciated this book all the more with his conviction and how it truly helped them all in the end.  

About the Author

Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog “Writer off the Leash” or visit

Guest Post from Michelle Griep

Celebrating Oak Apple Day
Spring is just around the corner, or maybe it’s in full bloom in your neck of the woods. Regardless, by this time of year, everyone is ready to celebrate. . .and nothing new is under the sun. For centuries people have been eager to welcome budding greenery and warmth.
In my recent release, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, I incorporated a spring holiday that’s been around for over 500 years in England, one you may never heard of.
Oak Apple Day.
This ancient celebration dates back to the year 1651. At the time, Charles II escaped the Roundhead army by taking cover in an oak tree. Everyone loved ol’ Charlie and was glad he lived, so in his honor, a new national holiday was born—one that in some parts of England is still celebrated today.
Another name for this annual event is Royal Oak Day and the festivities occur every May 29th. Celebration traditions vary from parades to the ringing of bells, but one thing that is standard is that it’s a day to pin an oak leaf on your lapel. If you fail to wear one, you could end up getting pinched.
The hero in my latest release is kind enough to remind the heroine that she forgot to pin on her leaf, thus saving her from untoward pinches. Interested in hearing more about this gallant fellow and the forgetful miss? Here’s a blurb about The Innkeeper’s Daughter
Tension is high with the threat of a Napoleonic attack in Regency England, but risk from abroad means nothing when there’s danger at home.
Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the crown—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue . . . until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm.
All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother.
Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.It’s a race against time for them both.

Blog Stops

Mommynificent, March 16
Among the Reads, March 17
Mary Hake, March 17
Karen Sue Hadley, March 18
Kathleen Denly, March 19
Remembrancy, March 20
Book by Book, March 20
Bookworm Mama, March 22
Vicky Sluiter, March 22
Carpe Diem, March 22
Pause for Tales, March 23
margaret kazmierczak, March 23 (Interview)
A Greater Yes, March 24
Simple Harvest Reads, March 26 (Mindy Houng Guest Post)
Pursuing Stacie, March 27
Bigreadersite, March 27
The PhD Mamma, March 28


To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of The Innkeeper’s Daughter and a $25 gift card from Barnes & Noble!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!