Saturday, September 29, 2018

Stealing Mr. Smith - My Review

This is the first book by Tanya Williams I have read, and of course, I cannot wait to read the first book in this series.  This second book, Stealing Mr. Smith, was a bit different than I thought the storyline would be; however, the plot and characters made it a page turnover.  Throughout the highs and lows, each person attempted to deal with what was in front of them, in order to make the best of what life dealt them.  Good and bad decisions were made, and ultimately, this book showcases the journey of life--reminding the reader that each moment matters, and that there are consequences to everything we do. 

Bernice Rosin never imaged she would hold certain responsibilities as a child.  Too much is put on her at a young age, and she is required to handle what many adults would find difficult.  Her family is falling apart, and all she wants to do is to find the glue to put it back together.  She does not understand why certain people will not help her and her little sister.  Shouldn’t family always be there during the bad times?  Yet Bernice is determined to find her independence and her place in the world.  She cannot wait until she is full grown, so that she can make whatever decisions she wants to in life.  Sadly, she does not understand that growing up also contains its share of hurt and pain. 

Patty Rosin loves her family, and in many ways is quite na├»ve regarding their affections.  Thankfully though, she holds more joy than her sister Bernice, and she tries to enjoy the life in front of her.  When Bernice leaves her side, Patty must grow up in her own way—she must find the path laid out for her—even though it might be very different from what the rest of her family is doing.  Happily, Patty finds comfort in the arms of other kind individuals who help her during the difficult days.  If only Bernice could have understood the same. 

This book explores the realities of life; therefore, it does not cover up the issues that can occur when one follows the wrong advice or path.  I think that is due to the history Williams bases her stories on, which is so incredible to read about—check out the author’s notes at the back of the book.  These characters must endure great growth and hardship—even to the point of bringing others down with them.  What will be the end fate though?  Will the people around them fall in the same manner?  Or will they rise up during the challenges?  Be sure to check out this story—and the first in the series—and thankfully, there will be a third book coming soon!  Happy reading! 

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the author for my copy.

After surviving the loss of both her parents – one to illness and the other to abandonment – Bernice Rosin finds herself at a South Dakota orphanage that will never feel like home. Longing for a life free of poverty and misfortune, she takes matters into her own hands, determined to secure her own happily ever after no matter the cost. 

In 1948, a relocation west promises a life rich with upper class pleasantries until a naive mistake shatters both Bernice’s pride and her heart. Convinced she can still rise above her allotted station, she returns to South Dakota to calculate her options. 

Desperate for a hero all her own, she singles out John Smith, a simple man with a kind heart and a gentle smile. John appears to be the perfect escape from a life fraught with disappointment. The fact that he comes with the baggage of two children and a past he seldom speaks of, has little bearing on her new obsession. Caught unprepared for such cleverness and deception, John falls right into the path of Bernice’s affection as she has set her sights on changing her last name to Smith, even if she has to steal it. 

A writer from a young age, Tanya E Williams loves to help a reader get lost in another time, another place through the magic of books. History continues to inspire her stories and her insightfulness into the human condition deepens her character's experiences and propels them on their journey. Ms. Williams' favorite tales, speak to the reader's heart, making them smile, laugh, cry, and think.

The non-fiction title, Breathe, was Tanya Williams' first publication. Having been involved in the art of meditation for nearly two decades, she has come to understand and appreciate that it is often the simplest forms of meditation, such as focused breathing, that are the most effective.

Becoming Mrs. Smith is the first in a three book series, and is Ms. Williams' debut historical fiction title.

Tanya resides in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada with her photographer husband David and their son. She continues to explore the world around her, writing about her daily experiences on her blog which can be found at:

Friday, September 28, 2018

First Line Fridays

I know it might be a bit early to mention--but I love Christmas books!  In fact, someone commented on my blog last week about a Christmas novella she was currently reading.  :)  That sounds like a wonderful plan and story to me.

The book I picked to highlight this week is one I just purchased, and I can't wait to read it!  I thought we could look at the first story in the book this week.  Happy reading!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  Christmas Stitches: A Historical Romance Collection 
by Judith Miller, Nancy Moser, and Stephanie Grace 

And the first line is...

September 1888

"Hannah Cooper fumbled with the buttons of her gray wool jacket while making a rushed entry into the Pullman Arcade."  

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 

Friday, September 21, 2018

First Line Fridays

I know many of you are at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference this week--have bunches of fun for me!  Everyone's pictures on Instagram are fantastic, and it looks like a beautiful venue.  :) 

For this week's FLF, I saw this book advertised on the Hallmark channel, and thought it looked interesting.  Several of the Hallmark books seem to be based on the movies, or perhaps that is the other way around.  :)  However, I don't think there is a film for this book.  So before I start reading Christmas books, I think I will check this one out.  Happy reading! 

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  Sunrise Cabin 
by Stacey Donovan

And the first line is...

"Of all the things Paige loved about the little cabin, the view of the sunrise was her favorite."  

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Ornament Keeper - Spotlight Book Tour

TheOrnament  Keeper_BLOG

Welcome to the blog tour & giveaway for The Ornament Keeper by Eva Marie Everson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

the  ornament  keeper Title: The Ornament Keeper  
Author: Eva Marie Everson  
Publisher: New Hope Publishers  
Release Date: September 24, 2018  
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Holiday

Award-winning author Eva Marie Everson wraps up a Christmas story of hope, love, and forgiveness just in time for the holidays.

The Ornament Keeper, a contemporary Christmas novella, features Felicia and Jackson Morgan who are spending their first Christmas apart after twenty years of marriage. But a lifetime of gifted ornaments helps Felicia piece together the story of their marriage and the one mistake of unforgiveness she made before they said, ͞I do.͟

Can these memory-filled ornaments reunite this family before Christmas? Only time will tell.  

PURCHASE: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | CBD | Book Depository


Eva Marie Everson is a multiple-award winning author and speaker who hails from the picturesque Southern town of Sylvania, Georgia. She is president of Word Weavers International, director of Florida Christian Writers Conference, Managing Editor at Firefly Southern Fiction, and enjoys coaching new authors through her company, Pen in Hand. She is an avid photographer who enjoys turning her photos into inspiring memes for you to share (with proper attribution). Eva Marie and her husband make their home in Central Florida. They are the parents of three fabulous children who have blessed them with the world's greatest grandchildren.

CONTACT: website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

1. Favorite Christmas Memory,   

I love everything about Christmas except when it comes to an end. My childhood Christmases were idealic, so that explains part of it. I realize not all children have Santa under the tree … or candlelight services at the church on Christmas Eve … or driving through their small hometown to see how everyone else has decorated and what the center of town looks like … 

But my memories are of that and so much more. My memories are of family … and neighbors … and running from house to house to see what Santa left. My memories, before THE day, are of watching Santa Claus read letters from boys and girls while visiting the Trooper Terry Show (in Augusta, GA) and hoping he will read MY letter. My memories include the Sears and Roebuck catalogue, planning what the list in my letter will include. And then the joy--oh! the joy!--of waking up on Christmas morning to see that, yes, that letter must have been received because … there they all were. Everything I'd asked for and then some.

So, it's difficult to zero in on a favorite memory. Of course I have the memories of my own children waking up and sharing those moments with my husband, their father. The wonder of putting up the tree, the angst of taking it back down. The wonder wrapping the ornaments my children made, thinking about their tiny hands as they worked the craft. What could be better than that? 

2. Encouragement for Beginning Writers

This is what I tell every beginner writer I meet: enjoy the process. Enjoy the learning. Enjoy the writing and the rewriting and the whole process. One day it will be all about the deadlines and the requirements. Right now, it's about the talent. Enjoy these moments. 


the  ornament  keeper  blog  tour  giveaway

(1) winner will receive:
  • a print copy of The Ornament Keeper, and
  • an ornament handpicked by the author
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight September 17, 2018 and last through 11:59pm September 24, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustReadTours for a full schedule of stops!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor - Spotlight Book Tour

Genre:  Adult, New Adult, Christian, Fiction, Historical, Regency, Romance
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Publication date: August 14, 2018
Wealthy socialite Christine Harrison’s life seems perfect until the man she planned tomarry, Mr. Davenport, proposes to someone else. Heartbroken, Miss Harrison vowsnever to love again, and to distract herself, she sets out to rescue a fallen youngwoman. Little does she know that her journey will reveal more than she expected about her friends, her seemingly perfect life, and her own heart.

From writing an award-wining tale of a dragon falling from the stars in the 3rd grade to regency romance written at thirty, Sarah McConkie has always had a passion for creating intriguing stories. After years of singledom looking for romance (and teaching Junior High Choir to fill up real life), Sarah began a Master’s degree in Literacy. When love finally found her, she married and became a wife and eventually a mother. After tucking in her own little princess one January evening she determined to attempt her life-long dream to write and publish a novel. Using her many years of experience in the single realm, a robust knowledge of regency classics, and a love of all things old fashioned and proper, Sarah wrote Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor. She now lives with her own Mr. Right and her two daughters, and believes providing stimulating and moral stories promotes literacy in a world which needs more readers. This is her first novel.

What to do BEFORE you write.

First, it’s important to READ a lot. And critique other people’s writing. Read first, critique second, and write third. The second most important thing is having an idea. Jot it down! Keep a running note on your phone or computer. You’ll be glad you did. Think about it often. Have your mind go there when you do dishes, take a shower, clean the house, or instead of viewing social media. You’ll feel more fulfilled imagining your character’s lives than scrolling through someone else’s. And finally, it’s important (in my experience, although some might disagree) to outline the plot. I like sentences about the main scenes. I also like excel spreadsheets (I got this idea from a writing critique friend), that outlines either chapters or plot structure points. I’ve even checked word count by chapter this way and moved around or deleted unnecessary aspects of the story. It’s ok to delete your own words. You will thank yourself later. In my current WIP, I’ve been following “Save the Cat” plot structure and it’s been quite helpful. I feel like it keeps the action and pacing going in a natural flow. But whatever your process, start writing today! So many people have great ideas in their mind, but it’s when the fingers hit the keys that the magic really happens. In the words of a recent musical I saw, “Give life's little guys some ink, and when it dries just watch what happens.”

Christine breathed deeply, circling her arms around herself. As she stood among those high, stalwart cliffs, she formed a resolution. Their presence spoke to Christine once more, reminding her that she could change. She could be more steadfast in her desires. She determined then to look outward, toward others, and stop caring about herself and her status in life. She affirmed that day that she did not need high connections to validate her existence. She did not need a man to establish or promote her social standing. And perhaps most importantly, Christine resolved to never again let these base motives stand in her way of real and lasting relationships with the people around her.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 14, 2018

First Line Fridays

I always enjoy reading Christmas stories, and I am so excited to read this book, because the first adventure in the series was so good.  I'm glad Michelle Griep decided to continue this saga.  :)  What books do you enjoy reading around the holidays?  Do you like Christmas stories?  If so, I would love some new recommendations--let me know in the comments below.  Happy reading!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  A Tale of Two Hearts 
by Michelle Griep 

And the first line is...

London, 1853

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.  ~Charles Dickens~ 

"In the tiny back courtyard of the Golden Egg Inn, Mina Scott lowered her copy of David Copperfield to her lap and lifted her face to the October sun."  

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Sons of Blackbird Mountain - My Review

This is the first book I have read by Joanne Bischof, and it is an amazing book!  Before I even get to the end of my review, I already have to say that I recommend reading this story.  The characters are so complex and interesting, and the storyline is entrancing.  It was very difficult to put this book down, because I wanted to know what happened next in each character’s journey, which of course was a constant surprise.  This book is filled with joy, pain, sorrow, love, hate, and growth—making it an adventure equal to life, yet still takes the reader to another place and time.

Aven Norgaard makes the journey across the Atlantic from Norway to Virginia.  Her husband is gone, and she hopes to find a new home in the welcoming arms of his family in America.  Yet she truly does not know what she will find there, and indeed, what she discovers is quite different from what she expected.  Upon entering the homestead, more sorrow hits her, and she must learn to cope with more changes in her life.  Why must grief always be a part of her journey?  After being introduced to her husband’s brothers, Aven sets out to find her place.  What must she do now?  And does she have the strength to find it? 

Thor Norgaard is quite different from the rest of his brothers, but that is what makes him unique.  He might communicate differently, but he feels and understands the same as anyone else would.  He has dealt with pain, love, and loss throughout his life, yet he has had to deal with it silently.  Will anyone ever really hear him or understand the difficulties he faces?  There are so many challenges he must conquer, yet shame and regret fill his days.  He hates some of the things he has done, and he hopes that one day he will be able to make things right.

The other brothers and individuals in this book are so well written that the reader will come to understand the issues they face, and what it must have been like to live in the hills of Virginia in the late 1800’s.  As some characters try to move forward, certain characters cannot seem to forget the past, which causes strife in the county.  Will these people find a way to make life work after a war that has left them broken?  And will others be able to ask for forgiveness?  Can there really be peace between those who have been hurt beyond measure? 

If you love adventure and stories that showcase history in a relatable way, then you will love this book.  And if you have read this story, let me know in the comments below.  Happy reading! 

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to TLC Book Tours for my copy.

After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of nineteenth-century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred-acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers' longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar place?

A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.

Purchase Links

An ECPA Christy Award winner and an ACFW Carol Award winner, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. Joanne’s 2016 novel, THE LADY AND THE LIONHEART, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from Romantic Times Book Reviews among other critical acclaim. 
Joanne has a long-standing passion for romance and a budding fervor for theology. She is more and more awed by how wondrously the two go hand in hand. She lives in the mountains of southern California with her three children and is represented by Sandra Bishop of Transatlantic Literary Agency.
Connect with Joanne

Friday, September 7, 2018

First Line Fridays

I hope everyone had a lovely week!  How was your Labor Day?  Hopefully you were able to relax with family and friends.  :)  The weather is still pretty warm here, but the leaves are already beginning to fall from some of the trees. 

Summer will always be my favorite season, but I do love the pumpkin goodies that are being added to the shelves at the grocery store.  Have you ever tried pumpkin coffee?  It is my absolute favorite!  It is the perfect addition to any book.  :)  Happy reading everybody! 

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  An Unforseen Match
by Regina Jennings 

And the first line is...

Dry Gulch, Texas 
Late Summer 1893

"Grace O'Malley heaved her last box of belongings onto the table and peered inside, forgetting it did her little good." 

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating!