Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Every Serengeti Sunrise


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Every Serengeti Sunrise
(From Kenya, With Love #4)
Rula Sinara
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 368 pages
December 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Elephants, Africa’s wild savannah and three best friends…

When attorney Maddie Corallis returns to Kenya to fight a humanitarian vs animal rights case, the last thing she expects is for her childhood friend, wildlife veterinarian Haki Odaba, to be the very man she’s up against. Loyal and protective, Haki would never turn his back on the elephants he’s devoted to saving, any more than Maddie could abandon the native tribes she’s come to protect. An impossible battle…but nothing compared to the fight they face when old feelings surface and the soul-deep connection they’ve always shared threatens the worst kind of betrayal...that of their dearest friend Pippa. The one Haki is expected to marry.

Denying their feelings is torture, but giving in is not an option. Not with the suffering it would cause. Besides, Maddie left Kenya once and she’ll be leaving again soon. An ocean, a case and a friend between them. Maybe love can’t always find a way…or can it?


Other Books in the Series



My Thoughts

“We cannot condone the hunting of elephants, be it
for a warrior’s rite of passage or for retaliation,
and especially not for ivory.”
- Haki

Every Serengeti Sunrise, a clean romance in Harlequin’s Heartwarming line, will certainly appeal to romance fans, but this story is so much more. I’m not naturally drawn to Kenya as a setting and love triangles don’t really appeal, but I wanted to read this story because the author had been recommended – and I was blown away. Rich characterization, breathtaking setting, and poignant storyline all combined into a compelling, epic read that captured me emotionally from page one and never let go. The writing of Rula Sinara is impressive and I love her gentle warmth and humor.

The story centers around Maddie, Haki, and Pippa, three childhood friends who are reconnected upon Maddie’s return to Kenya. Haki and Maddie had never acted upon their feelings for each other, and when Maddie left for the States, he and Pippa kind of drifted into a romantic relationship based on their friendship, shared interests and family expectations “because their lives had become so intertwined he couldn’t see them ever being apart.” Suddenly Maddie returns, finds herself opposing Haki in a legal situation, and nothing is the same.

The author excels at breathing life into the wildlife setting so that the senses pick up on all that there is to see and care about. I'm so very impressed by wildlife rescue and am now in love with the baby elephants in need of help. The legal issues placed human rights and animal rights at odds with each other, and I could identify with each point of view. And the romance? Wow! I had to just sit back and take a big breath after turning the last page.

Every Serengeti Sunrise is book #4 in the series, and while it stands alone, I’m sure that reading the previous three would help to better understand the family background and relationships that I found a little hard to follow. Don’t let that stop you from reading this story, though! Then maybe, like me, you will be eager to follow the complete series.

Highly recommended.

I was provided a copy of this book through Prism Book Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


About the Author


National and USA Today Bestselling author Rula Sinara lives in rural Virginia with her family and crazy but endearing pets. She loves organic gardening, attracting wildlife to her yard, planting trees, raising backyard chickens and drinking more coffee than she'll ever admit to.

Rula's writing has earned her a National Readers Choice Award and HOLT Medallion Award of Merit, among other honors. You can discover more about Rula at her blog A Writer’s Rush, on Twitter, on Facebook as RulaSinaraAuthor or on her website www.RulaSinara.com, where you can also sign up for her newsletter.



Tour Schedule

November 13th: Launch Colorimetry
November 21st: Wishful Endings & The Power of Words
November 22nd: Heidi Reads... & I Am A Reader
November 23rd: underneath the covers
November 24th: Becky on Books
November 25th: Grand Finale


Tour Giveaway


Prize Pack #1: (one winner, U.S. residents only)
- A set of three, 15X15 in cotton canvas ‘From Kenya, With Love’ tote bags
- A handmade wooden ‘Believe’ star ornament
- A set of 3 plush wild animal TY Teeny Tys (great stocking stuffers!)
- An autographed copy of A Heartwarming Christmas Craft & Cookbook
- An autographed copy of After the Silence
- An autographed copy of Through the Storm
- Every Serengeti Sunrise bookmark

Prize Pack #2: (one winner, open to U.S. and International residents)
Amazon Kindle (gifted) copies of The Promise of Rain and After the Silence (Winner may substitute a different backlist book by Rula Sinara, if one of the above titles is already owned. No other substitutions apply.)

Ends November 29th

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Charming the Troublemaker



About the Book

Title: Charming the Troublemaker  
Author: Pepper Basham  
Genre: Contemporary Romance  
Release Date: November 1, 2017

Troublemaking never looked so good… 

When Dr. Alex Murdock is demoted to a university in rural Virginia, the last thing he expects to find is a future. But country charm never looks as good as it does on Rainey Mitchell. 

Rainey Mitchell doesn’t need a high-class flirt in her wounded world, but trouble and temptations wafts off the new professor as strong as his sandalwood-scented cologne. 

When circumstances thrust them together to save her tutoring clinic, can the troublemaker find the hero inside and encourage the reticent Rainey to open her heart again.

Click here to purchase!


My Thoughts

Yes, it’s entirely possible to fall in love with a fictional family, and that’s how I feel about the Mitchells. I am so glad that A Twist of Faith now has a sequel because this family just begs for more stories and time spent together, especially with Mama Mitchell. Here’s hoping for many more to come!

Pepper Basham is an excellent writer who knows how to spin an entertaining, moving story – and she has become one of my favorites. Charming the Troublemaker is filled with wit, charm, romantic chemistry, and even a little suspense – all beautifully wrapped up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Appalachia.

Although I live in the Atlanta suburbs, my heritage is the mountains of North Georgia, so I found the Appalachian setting especially appealing. Mama Mitchell feels like someone I’ve known all my life, and I believe she might have a little of my grandmother in her. Rainey and the whole Mitchell clan are so very appealing and real.

The attraction between Rainey and Alex is easily felt, yet to categorize this as a simple romance doesn’t come close to doing it justice. There’s a lot of complexity in these characters beneath the surface – and their past creates some rocky moments in their relationship. Take Rainey’s ex-husband, Gray, for instance … “If Granny’s saying about ‘pretty is as pretty does’ was true, Gray’s insides resembled what the cows left behind.” It’s easy to understand how the ultimate betrayal colored future relationships for Rainey.

Alex goes on my favorite leading men list, and his relationship with Rainey’s daughter, Sarah, is one of my favorite parts. Sarah simply steals the show – and this reader’s heart as well. I loved how the author incorporated such a wide variety of scenes and emotions: unbelievably funny scenes (watch for Underoos and you’ll know what I mean) … tension-filled scenes … and incredibly poignant scenes, like when Alex went to church and was challenged by a message about grace, as well as the Mitchell family singing.

There’s no other way to say it … I simply adored Rainey and Alex. Rainey with her determination to save the speech-language pathology center, and her reluctantly changing attitudes toward Alex. I loved the gradual peeling back of layers that exposed a good-hearted, caring and protective man of depth.

And then there’s the spiritual element. I admire Pepper Basham for creating a story where people not only live out their faith daily, but they talk about it. Faith is essential to their very being. Alex questions his relationship with God – Why would he think God would listen to some superficial failure from a broken family and a damaged present? – and through Alex’s struggles, we see the God who accepts us exactly as we are – sins, failings, shortcomings and all.

Mama Mitchell is a class act and I want to take her words to heart …

“A wise heart is brave enough to offer kindness, smart enough
to bypass jerks, and faithful enough to believe in possibilities.”

Highly recommended.

I was provided a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


About the Author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes novels inspired by her love for history and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4-stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, her newest release, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars. Her newest contemporary romance, Just the Way You Are, releases in April 2016. 

You can get to know Pepper on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, or Instagram.


Guest Post from Pepper Basham

I have a thing for underdogs. 

Misfits. 

Lots souls who desperately need to find where they belong. 

I can’t help it! Call it a ‘fix-it’ mentality or an awareness that God rescued me and now I want to rescue other people…even fictional characters, but I’m definitely a softy for those characters that people are less likely to root for. Catherine from The Thorn Bearer/Keeper became my first rescue…and I just HAD to find another. 

I guess that’s how Charming the Troublemaker came into existence. 

Dr. Alex Murdock desperately needed to be rescued. 

In a bad way. 

If you’ve had a chance to read my first book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series, A Twist of Faith, you’ll know that Alex doesn’t seem to be made up of much hero material. He’s a flirt, a little arrogant, and…well, kind of like a lost puppy. 

As book 1 grew and came to a close, I knew Alex and Rainey’s story would be next…but I immediately ran into a real problem. 

Who in the world was Alex Murdock? We really didn’t get to know him very much in book 1. He zoomed in a few times, ruffling feathers and then finally showing off some interesting kindness/compassion in the end, but…he was still a big-time flirt. 

So the question emerged: Can a flirt be a hero? 

What is Alex hiding behind that ready smile and sense of humor? Why does he seem so lost? 

The answers were surprising!! Just wait. 

The Mitchell family draw him right in, as they did with Dee, and his world is forever changed. 

And then there’s Rainey. Strong-willed and independent, she is deeply wounded by her ex-husband’s betrayal. Though she gives off all these ‘confident’ vibes, she hides her insecurities behind a tough exterior in a desire to keep people at a distance – well, everyone except her family. 

Alex rocks her world with his ready charm. 

And she sees beyond the plastic grin to recognize another wounded soul. 

Throwing them together into a book has been a hilarious and heart-stirring adventure, I wasn’t prepared to encounter. They’re so much fun! 

AND…he’s ADORKABLE!! Seriously!! He is SUCH a dork, but makes me grin. And…he looks like Armie Hammer 😉 

Let me just give you a hint to some of my favorite scenes: 

Anything with Sarah! 

Underoos 

All of the scenes in Rainey’s house 

And those in Mama Mitchell’s 

Okay, I like the WHOLE STORY…and I can’t wait to see what you think too.


Blog Stops

By The Book, November 14
Just the Write Escape, November 14
Moments Dipped in Ink, November 15
Fiction Aficionado, November 16
autism mom, November 16
Inklings and Notions, November 17
Faithfully Bookish, November 18
Radiant Light, November 18
The Power of Words, November 19
Cordially Barbara, November 20
Red Headed Book Lady, November 20
Smiling Book Reviews, November 20
Kat’s Corner Books, November 21
A Greater Yes, November 21
100 Pages per Hour, November 22
Splashes of Joy, November 22
Carpe Diem, November 23
Bookworm Mama, November 23
Daysong Reflections, November 25
Rachel Scott McDaniel, November 25
Remembrancy, November 26
Karen Sue Hadley, November 27


Giveaway




Please help spread the word by clicking on this link and sharing my Facebook post, then leave a comment here. Thank you!

To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away a grand prize of a paper copy of A Twist of Faith, a mug from the Blue Ridge Parkway, one driftwood scented candle, one mango scented candle, and a Troublemaker snickers 😉 highly appropriate. Chocolate with a nutty personality :)!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/c1f1

Spotlight: The Baker's Daughter




The Baker’s Daughter
By D. P. Cornelius
Genre:  Christian, Fiction, Historical, Young Adult
Publisher: LPC
Publication date: February 1, 2017


After her carelessness lands her boyfriend in the hands of a Nazi officer, seventeen-year-old Liddy questions her worthiness for God’s love. But, inspired by Bonhoeffer and Kolbe, she confronts evil, putting her own faith on the line in hopes of redeeming the officer and saving the family bakery.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

_________________________


In his debut Christian novel, Doug Cornelius hopes to inspire young adults to reflect on Gods unconditional love while re-living historys experiences confronting evil. 

A Twin Cities, Minnesota native, retired from careers at Target, Amex, and 3M, he enjoys spending time with his wife, two children, three amazing grandchildren, complacent old dog, and frolicsome new cat, Selah.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE





What inspired you to become an author?
An older sister created the challenge by writing and publishing two books, and throughout my business career people complimented me on my writing. Ultimately, though, I believe God challenged me late in life to hone my skills to write Christian novels as my missional contribution.

What does your writing process look like?
I have a favorite chair in a sunroom with a view of nature not far from the Mississippi River. I usually write in the mornings. My first draft is long-hand in a spiral notebook, second on the computer. My plot outline is usually a couple of pages with just enough detail to get me started and keep me headed in the right direction. I then back-fill along the way.

Who are some of your favorite authors? Do they inspire your own writing?
I’ve been to two Christian writers’ conferences (Colorado and Florida) and have learned to appreciate Dan Walsh and Tim Shoemaker for their voice and style. As male role models in the Christian fiction genre, their success has been an inspiration.

What inspired the idea for The Baker’s Daughter?
After watching Ken Burn’s WW II series and taking a Great Course about Christian martyrs, I became determined to weave the examples of sacrificial love exhibited by Maximillian Kolbe (gave his life in exchange for another in a concentration camp) and Dietrich Bonhoeffer into an historical fiction piece in which the protagonists would learn by their examples.

What do you want readers to take away from reading The Baker’s Daughter?
I want the reader to truly understand the full extent of God’s unconditional love for each one of us (even a Nazi officer whose evil heart could be redeemed), such that we have the courage to step out with sacrificial love towards others in many ways (doesn’t have to be a monumental Christ-like sacrifice like giving of one’s life).

When you are not writing, what hobbies do you enjoy? 
I spend way too much time watching and following local sports teams, with the Minnesota Twins and Vikings being my two favorites.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Spotlight (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Into a Silent World




About the Book

Title: Into a Silent World  
Author: Carmina Edwards  
Genre: Biography, Memoir  
Release Date: August 15, 2016

Following Amy’s adventures in A Door Cracked Open, she heads into a world which will test her faith and perseverance to the limit. Instead of settling into a simple, safe and unchanging life like she imagined, Amy is strongly drawn to a vocation with even higher requirements, prompting her to plan some seemingly impossible missions in order to reach her goal.

Click here to purchase your copy.









About the Author

I am a mother of two wonderful grown up children and currently living in the UK, after living in Sweden for three years where I wrote my first book, “A Door Cracked Open.” I was blessed to be able to spend six months in USA before returning to the UK, my home country, to work with my editor in California on the edits of this book and visit friends. 

I am an avid reader and linguist, having also spent some years living in France and have been fortunate enough to have taught Swedish and French over twenty-five years and translate for businesses and manuscripts in both languages. Being unemployed the past few years, has led to me becoming homeless. However, I never give up hope. As I try to portray in my books, God has always had His hand on me. Once again, He has stepped in right at the last minute. I now have a new job in Sweden and will be moving back there. Because I feel passionately about helping the homeless, a large percentage of my royalties will go directly to them.


Guest Post from Carmina Edwards

Into a Silent World follows on from Amy’s story in A Door Cracked Open

With a new beginning ahead of her, a long standing dream about to be realized, she was unprepared for the events which were about to unfold over the next two years. 

Why would God send her to this place of “absolute conviction” and allow her to remain there for that long, if He never meant for her to be there? Amy struggles to understand and seeks His will, but determined that it was His plan, she persevered in order for her dream to be fulfilled.


Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Carmina is giving away ...

Grand Prize:
Paperback copies of A Door Cracked Open & Into a Silent World

1st – 3rd place:
Ebook copy of A Door Cracked Open!!

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



Review + GIVEAWAY: Dead Storage




Dead Storage
By Mary Feliz
A Maggie McDonald Mystery #3
Lyrical Underground, 2017


Summary

As a professional organizer, Maggie McDonald brings order to messy situations. But when a good friend becomes a murder suspect, surviving the chaos is one tall task . . .

Despite a looming deadline, Maggie thinks she has what it takes to help friends Jason and Stephen unclutter their large Victorian in time for its scheduled renovation. But before she can fill a single bin with unused junk, Jason leaves for Texas on an emergency business trip, Stephen’s injured mastiff limps home—and Stephen himself lands in jail for murder. Someone killed the owner of a local Chinese restaurant and stuffed him in the freezer. Stephen, caught at the crime scene covered in blood, is the number one suspect. Now Maggie must devise a strategy to sort through secrets and set him free—before she’s tossed into permanent storage next . . .


My thoughts

“This Maggie McDonald, the one who had friends being held by
the police, the one who just blew off questions from a
detective and who’d been asked to keep secrets from friends,
was someone I scarcely knew. But it looked like we were going
to have to get acquainted quickly …”

I have enjoyed the previous two books in this series, but Dead Storage is a story that stands tall in its own right and becomes one of my favorites. It combines elements of both cozy and traditional mysteries – amateur protagonist along with some police-related involvement – but it’s the emotional impact and complexity that elevates it above other similar novels. There’s a depth beyond what one would expect in a cozy mystery and the theme revolves around serious issues like immigration, the homeless, and PTSD - all wrapped up in the importance of community. The storyline is multilayered, the writing flows smoothly, and I never wanted to put it down for a minute.

Maggie herself is delightful as a caring wife, mom, and friend. As for her career, who wouldn’t want the help of a personal organizer?! Each chapter begins with thoughtful tips and insight, a few of which I made note of. What started out as an organizational meeting, however, quickly evolved into efforts to help a friend and his dog who were in serious trouble. Former Marine Stephen, along with the dog he depends on, both suffer from the effects of PTSD – and both are loved and respected by the community they help. I connected with Stephen back in the first book and have enjoyed getting to know him better. But now Stephen is a murder suspect and Maggie is trying to find out why a teenager was worth protecting … “Stephen in jail was like a caged wild bird. He might survive, but he might never be the same after this experience.”

I think it’s the emphasis on character development and community that makes me enjoy this series so much. The novel’s concluding sentence is, in its simplicity, profound – and too good not to share …

As it so often does, good had won out and those doing the
right thing had overcome those bent on doing evil.

Dead Storage is a wonderfully entertaining mystery and I hope there will be many more Maggie McDonald stories.

Highly recommended.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


_________________________



Mary Feliz writes the Maggie McDonald Mysteries featuring a Silicon Valley professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. She’s worked for Fortune 500 firms and mom and pop enterprises, competed in whale boat races and done synchronized swimming.

She attends organizing conferences in her character’s stead, but Maggie’s skills leave her in the dust.

WebsiteBlogFacebookTwitterKirkus

Purchase Links:
Amazon    IndieBound  B&N  kobo  iTunes  
Google Books


GIVEAWAY

One print copy of Dead Storage!

To enter the drawing, please click on this link and share my Facebook post, then leave a comment here letting me know that you shared.

BE SURE to leave your name and your email address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Wednesday, November 22. Winner will be chosen by random.org and contacted by e-mail.

Eligibility: US residents

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): A Fatal Collection




A Fatal Collection
By Mary Ellen Hughes
Keepsake Cove #1
Midnight Ink, 2017


Summary

Callie Reed makes a long overdue visit to her aunt Melodie, who lives in a fairy-tale cottage in quaint Keepsake Cove, home to a bevy of unique collectible shops on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Just as they’re beginning to reconnect, Callie discovers her aunt’s body on the floor of her music box shop. Grief-stricken, Callie finds she can’t accept Melodie’s death being called accidental. How could her strong and healthy aunt take such a fatal fall? And why was she there in the middle of the night?

As Callie searches for the truth, signs seem to come from her late aunt through a favorite music box, urging Callie on. Or are they warnings? If Callie isn’t careful, she could meet a similar deadly fate amid Melodie’s collection.


My thoughts

In this first book of a new series, Mary Ellen Hughes has created a fascinating small-town community in the picturesque Keepsake Village that I’d love to visit – a village with “brick walkways, ornamental street lights, hanging flower baskets, and Dickensian shop fronts.” Each shop specializes in a certain collectible, such as music boxes, trains, salt & pepper shakers, etc. Even if I couldn’t afford anything, shopping would be so much fun!

A Fatal Collection is my kind of comfortable cozy mystery, although I’d have preferred the murder victim to be someone easy to dislike – but then, that wouldn’t be very realistic. Callie is a likeable protagonist and easy to connect with. Like many young people, Callie hadn’t figured out what she wanted to do with her life, and then her aunt’s death gave her the opportunity for a fresh start – new location, new home, new business. Several characters are introduced in this first story, setting the stage for further development.

The writing flowed smoothly and quickly captured my interest so much that it was hard to find a temporary stopping place. The story had some supernatural and psychic elements that I don’t usually care for, but they worked well in this setting. A couple of neat twists made the murder difficult for me to solve ahead of time, as usual. I thoroughly enjoyed A Fatal Collection and hope this series continues for a good while.

Recommended.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

_________________________


Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries (Penguin), the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. A Fatal Collection is her debut with Midnight Ink. 

A Wisconsin native, she has lived most of her adult life in Maryland, where she’s set many of her stories. Visit her at www.MaryEllenHughes.com.

FacebookPinterestTwitter

Purchase Links – Amazon    B&N   kobo


GIVEAWAY