A Name Unknown

UntitledA name unknown quoteLadies (and gentleman, if you’re out there) I am privileged to finally be able to post about Roseanna White’s newest, A Name Unknown. Some of you might remember when I geeked out a bit with the cover reveal a couple months ago. I helped with a very small tibit of research (which we both love and I do a good bit of in my day job) and was super excited to see if any of it got incorporated into the book. A tiny bit did as it had to do with some of the questions of citizenship and how to prove it 1914. Needless to say, it is my one claim to fame in life. I am very privileged to have been able to help in any way. One day, hopefully, I’ll be able to meet Roseanna in person as we only live a couple hours from each other. Until then, I shall content myself with gobbling up any new books.

The Story

A Name UnknownRosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered. 

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?

My Review

Would it be cheating to just say “Read it, it’s awesome?” Yes? Ok, then. Let me start by saying I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher and am not required to write a positive review, but I am going to anyway because as Mikey always said “I really like!” Roseanna blends together two different world, classes, viewpoints, faith outlooks, etc. beautifully in a story that teaches both main characters that we’re never to old or young to learn and there is almost always a compromise if we allow ourselves an open mind and heart.

I could not put it down and was constantly drawn to the “what comes next?” That said, it broaches on war, and while it does get into some of those elements, it is not overwhelming to the story. You can feel the constant tension and the uncertain future, and I think just a little taste of what life would have felt like full time during that time period. I”m eager to see where Roseanna takes the family.

About the Author

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna’s fiction ranges from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at www.roseannamwhite.com.

 

Manuscript for Murder – On Tour with Celebrate Lit

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Click here to pick up your copy.

About the Book

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Book title: Manuscript for Murder

Author: Chautona Havig

Release date: October 13, 2012

Genre: Mystery

Alexa Hartfield. Author, local celebrity, fashion connoisseur. She chose Fairbury for its close proximity to Rockland, its small town atmosphere, and its low crime rate.

Then someone made her life a literary cliché. A mysterious accident with a light bulb sparked an interesting idea for her latest novel—and for Fairbury’s new serial killer. The first replication infuriated her. The second left an even worse taste in her mouth. The third blasted more than her self-confidence, and the fourth beat her down so far she’s considering giving up writing completely.

Who is killing Fairbury’s citizens, and furthermore, why and how are they using her novels to do it?

My Thoughts

My favorite thing about this book is Alexa. She is such a great character that knows what she likes, is confident, and possess a courage in fashion I wish I could possess. This mystery hovers between a cozy and suspense, describing enough to give it a little edge while not going so far as to make it hard to sleep at night. For those of you who don’t like a lot of romance in your mysteries, you might like this one; there is some, but not overly so. My understanding is that it grows with the series.

I have to admit that it was hard for me to get into the story initially as is started slow and took awhile for someone to die (that’s such a morbid thought; I was sad someone didn’t die quicker). About halfway through I found myself really draw into the story and wanting to know how it all ended. The slower start is more typical of the first book in a series, but at the same time, some of you might tend to give up too early and miss a solid story; I encourage you to stick with it.

About the Author

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Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert with her husbnd and five of her nine children. Through her novels, she hopes to encourage Christians in their walk with Jesus.

Guest Post from Chautona Havig

How Arrows & My Obsession with Vintage Clothes Inspired Murder

A swath of fabric cut across my bedroom at an odd angle but that angle ensured that I could stretch it all out. With painstaking precision, I pinned every last piece to the fabric, disgusted at the enormous waste stretching out before me.

The pattern called for three and a half yards. I’d crammed it into two at most.

Just as I picked up the scissors for the first cut, Mom popped her head in the door to see how I was doing. I pointed out the waste. “Grandma said patterns always told you to buy way too much, but I’ve got enough to make another dress!”

Mom stepped closer. I want to say a cigarette hung from her lips, but let’s face it. No way would Mom ever allow the ashes to drop on the carpet. But it felt like one was there, nonetheless. Mom pointed. “Chautona, I don’t know anything about sewing, but I think those arrows are there for a reason.”

And with that, she turned away.

I stared down at the pattern. My arrows zig-zagged all over the place. A glance at the directions showed all arrows going exactly the same direction. Straight up and down the fabric.

You know, if I’d been doing this for the first time in 2017, I could have just zipped on over to “the Google,” as Mom calls it, and looked up why. Instead, I grabbed a thick sewing manual I’d bought for a buck at Pick-N-Save and flipped through it until I found a section on laying out patterns.

A couple of minutes later, I flew down the stairs. “The book says that the long, smooth edges are called selvages. The arrows are supposed to run parallel or the dress might hang wonky.”

Here, I can guarantee Mom took a puff of that cigarette. Man, I hated those things. “Well, like I said. I don’t know anything about sewing, but they looked important.” She blew a puff of smoke.

That’s when I suspected that Mom knew more about sewing than she’d let on.

What does this little sewing lesson have to do with mysteries and murder?

Well, see. This was a test dress. I’d only decided to learn to sew because I’d also decided that I wanted Nancy Drew’s wardrobe. In 1982, you couldn’t buy trim, neat clothing from the 50’s. I had Gunne Sax skirts and preppy tops with ruffles that my parents hated. When they found out I wanted a sewing machine to make clothes like that, they got me one.

Yep. I cut my reading teeth on Nancy Drew and didn’t stop there. I read all the youth mysteries—Bobsey Twins, Trixie Belden, Hardy Boys, Meg Duncan (she was a fave, too), and when I got a little older, Phyllis Whitney.

I loved the challenge of seeing events play out—and figuring out why. Why told me who. You get to where you can figure out things rather easily. But if you make me doubt my ideas, that’s good enough. I love that.

Is it any wonder that one of the first books I conceived was a mystery? I’d never put the ideas together until I began working on this post, but really… is it any wonder that I gave that author a love of vintage fashion? Too funny. But those arrows on that pattern? They taught me pretty cool lessons as a kid. Like Mom said:

“Those arrows are there for a reason.”

Isn’t that what God’s directional arrows in His Word are like? They’re there for a reason. They keep us from getting all wonky. It’s why Alexa writes the kind of books she does. I never could, but as she says when she describes telling someone why she writes horror/suspense,

“I tried to describe a world where we never see justice—where sin surrounds us, but the only response we see is a sweet romance or a heartwarming tale of doing good to our neighbors… And God is a God of more than love and mercy. [He’s also a God of] justice.”

Alexa writes what she does to help people sort out those crossed arrows and see that there is a point to it all—that eventually justice and mercy converge paths into one rather than criss-crossing all over the place, trampling each other. She doesn’t write Christian fiction, but I don’t know how a Christian can write fiction without some part of faith shining through. In Alexa’s, and I hope in mine as well, there’s an overarching theme that illustrates that the Lord hasn’t forgotten the people He created.

Blog Stops

July 25: A Baker’s Perspective

July 25: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

July 26: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

July 27: The Fizzy Pop Collection

July 28: Bigreadersite

July 29: Avid Reader Book Reviews

July 30: A Reader’s Brain

July 31: Blogging With Carol

August 1: Mommynificent

August 2: Moments Dipped in Ink

August 3: Carpe Diem

August 4: With a Joyful Noise

August 4: A Simply Enchanted Life

August 5: Lots of Helpers

August 5: Christian Bookaholic

August 6: Kat’s Corner Books

August 6: Southern Gal Loves to Read

August 7: Karen Sue Hadley

August 7: Blossoms and Blessings

Giveaway

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In honor of her Manuscript for Murder Celebration Tour, Chautona is giving away a mystery prize package worth over $100. Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/bc16

Would you like to know what’s in it? Find the first clue within the giveaway image below, then hop on over to Chautona’s website to begin the search for more clues and you might find a special giveaway just for clue hunters! Can you find all the clues before Augusta Septemus does?

I received a digital copy of this book from the author/publisher for promotional purposes. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

Crazy about Alaska- On Tour with Celebrate Lit- Giveaway

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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

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Book title: Crazy about Alaska

Author: Shannon L. Brown

Release date: June 30, 2017

Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance

Can she trust love?

Holly has her eye on a handsome state trooper. Not on her boring, oh-so-serious, former professor, Adam.

Having her toes curl when she’s near Adam must be ignored.

Holly just wants a great dad for her twin girls. She’s going to find one, write a novel to fulfill her dreams, and create a happy life.

Falling in love isn’t part of her plan.

My Review

Crazy About Alaska is the first book that I’ve read by Shannon Brown. When I finished the book, I immediately thought, “I HAVE to get the first two in this series” and promptly went to look them up on Amazon. I am always a little hesitant to try new authors, but it sounded like a sweet romance story line, and I am trying to broaden my horizons. Crazy About Alaska is exactly what I hoped it would be; a sweet romance, but with just enough depth to not make it too sugary.

I will admit that the first couple chapters had a lot of place names, which was a little overwhelming, but as Alaska is a huge place and the characters end up going to many various locations, it helped to have the lay of the land. Alaska is a beautiful place and Shannon’s descriptions really take you there. I hope one day I’ll be able to visit in person.

The premise of a professor-student relationship is something I’ve wondered about many times with so many “older” adults going back to school. Shannon captures the angst that I felt as a student wanting to succeed in my classes while balancing the more mature perspective that age and mommyhood bring. The interactions between Holly and Adam are never boring and were enjoyable to read as their relationship transitioned from professor-student, to friends, to more. Holly’s relationship with her sisters’ and what you see of her sisters’ relationships all make me want to get to know more of this family.

If you’re looking for a gripping story line or deep characters, this may not be your thing. But, if you’re looking for a pleasant way to pass en evening with an entertaining story that leaves with that happy sigh, I’d encourage you to pick up a copy.

I can’t wait to see the next thing from Shannon!

 

About the Author

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Writing books that are fun and touch your heart

Even though Shannon L. Brown always loved to read, she didn’t plan to be a writer. She earned two degrees from the University of Alaska, one in journalism/public communications, but didn’t become a journalist.

Years passed. Shannon felt pulled into a writing life, testing her wings with a novel and moving on to articles. Shannon is now an award-winning journalist who has sold hundreds of articles to local, national, and regional publications.

Shannon was born and raised in Alaska so she enjoyed writing the books in the Alaska Dream Romance series. “The Feather Chase” was her first published book and began the Crime-Solving Cousins Mystery series. The eight-to-twelve-year-olds in your life will enjoy this contemporary twist on a Nancy Drew-type mystery.

Shannon lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her professor husband and adorable calico cat.

Guest Post from Shannon Brown

Open Doors

When a character opens the door and steps from her world into mine, writing about her is easier. Holly Harris in Crazy About Alaska is a real estate agent, and I was once one. I’ve driven clients around and shown them houses only to have them go a different direction. My husband and I bought a new house a few years ago, so I have tales to tell from that experience too. (Readers may think the purple shower is made up. Think again.) I chose to bring a college professor into her life as a love interest. I’m married to one.

Some of myself always finds its way into a story. Sometimes, it’s just something I might like to do. Holly’s sister Jemma rehabs furniture in Falling for Alaska, book one in the series. The idea for her business came while I was watching HGTV’s Flea Market Flip. Taking trash and making it beautiful sounds like something I’d like to try. Jemma also dislikes coffee and drinks tea. (Here I am again.) But she is not exactly me. She’s cooking challenged, and I’m a good cook.

Does the story become about the author when she inserts herself into it? Reality is only a fun fraction of the book. Holly has two men vying for her affections. That never happened. (It might have been fun if it had!) She also has five-year-old twins. I never experienced that.

By far the most challenging of the sisters in the series was Bree in book two, Loving Alaska. She’s a doctor, and my knowledge of the medical profession comes from sitting on the exam table, not from doing the exam. I spoke with doctors I knew and brought her to life. But Bree isn’t all made up either. She despises being in nature, especially camping. I’ve camped on a frozen river, beside a lake after canoeing or boating in, and many more places, but I’m with Bree and hotels are greatly preferred. There I am in the story again.

Reading the books I’ve written helps you know who I am. I’m a woman with a big imagination who enjoys bringing stories to life. Oh, and that slightly sarcastic sense of humor you may notice with Jemma and Holly? That might be from me as well.

Blog Stops

July 20: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog

July 20: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

July 21: A Baker’s Perspective

July 21: Reading Is My SuperPower

July 22: Artistic Nobody

July 22: Just Commonly

July 23: Live.Love.Read.

July 23: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

July 24: Carpe Diem

July 24: autism mom

July 25: Redeemed Hope Dweller

July 25: Baker Kella

July 26: A Rup Life

July 26: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

July 27: Karen Sue Hadley

July 27: Quiet Quilter

July 28: Pause for Tales

July 28: Have A Wonderful Day

July 29: Remembrancy

July 29: Cafinated Reads

July 30: Zerina Blossom’s Books

July 31: History, Mystery & Faith

August 1: Kat’s Corner Books

August 1: For the Love of Books

August 2: Avid Reader Book Reviews

August 2: Ashley’s Bookshelf

Giveaway

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To celebrate this tour, Shannon Brown is giving away a grand prize of a book lovers gift basket – a basket filled with book-related things!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bb35

I received a digital copy of this book from the author/publisher for promotional purposes. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

Always Watching

Guys, a small miracle happened in our house last night; my husband told me to pre-order a book. This is a major milestone as we are such opposites when it come to reading for enjoyment. While hubs tends towards avoiding it as much as possible and reading non-fiction at that, it’s not unusual for me to devour three fiction books a week. You know what convinced him? Lynette Eason is in the collection of stories.

I can’t even recall how I got him to read Always Watching, I can’t even remember how I got a copy as it’s not my normal genre. In all likelihood I won it off of someone else’s awesome blog. But, he did, and now he’s hooked. And while some of her stories can get a bit scary for me since I’m a pansy (even Jurassic Park gives me nightmares), I will keep reading her books forever and always because she’s a great writer and it’s something we both can enjoy. I’ve just learned to start her books on a Saturday morning when I have “nothing” to do and can get most of it read in a day (I read FAST ya’ll.) I am always surprised though when it gets to be late and I have to put it down because Lynette is so good at drawing you completely into her story world. I find her premise for this series very interesting as it revolves around an agency of female body guards. Go girl power! I love that Olivia defies cultural norms and kicks butt while her big strong man needs rescuing. What Olivia doesn’t know is that she might just be putting herself in the villain’s sights.

Bonus: I went to look up the Amazon link, and it looks like it’s free on Kindle right now!

always watchingThe bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have more than just skill and prowess in common–they’re also all women. When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians in order to protect his son.

But when Wade’s bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. Olivia’s skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade’s stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him. Olivia has the feeling that she’s next on the list. And to complicate things even further, she realizes that her heart may be in as much danger as her client.

Bestselling author and fan favorite Lynette Eason drops readers right into the action in this fast-paced new series with a unique twist. Readers will love these strong female characters who put it all on the line to save lives.

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Top Ten Tuesday

I don’t often join in on the Top Ten Tuesday, though I think it’s an awesome feature since it’s my normal day to post a new review. But, today’s topic of top ten reads so far this year is one that’s been percolating in my brain anyway. So unlike my friend Carrie at Reading is my Super Power, I was excited! These are all books I’ve read this year, regardless of print date, and pulls from either print or audio books. Also to help narrow it down since I read a copious amount, these are all full-length novels (no novellas) and they are all ones I’ve either purchased or am on the street team for (as opposed to library or friend borrows).

  hearontheline   Behind The Scenes   LizzyJane  berry-on-top   stilllife   uncommoncourtshipcover   True to you   rescueme  chili slaw dogs   ever after

There you go! I hope you find some new reads. There are many more books I’m really looking forward to this year. Stay tuned!

Heart on the Line

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Made by @melissag823.

defaultToday I am reviewing a super fun book! Karen Witemeyer is one of my favorite authors for good reason and her newest release, Heart on the Line, reinforces that notion. One of my favorite things about this book is it’s geekiness. Not even sure if that’s a word (I’m sure a grammar geek will let me know). So many heroes and heroine seem to be all of the ideals manhood/womanhood wrapped up into one. You know, ruggedly hansom and the perfect mix between brooding and charming, or slender, but with curves in all the right places? Not for the focus of this story. Instead, they are both telegraph operators! And, they LOVE IT (Fun link of Karen’s about “online” dating). It makes me think that if they were visiting my house, they’d hop right into a game of Settlers of Catan with the the hubs and I.

hearonthelineGrace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can’t let the villain she believes responsible for her father’s death release his wrath in Harper’s Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she’s ever known.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship–dare he believe, courtship?–has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

My Review

There are so many good things about this book, I’m not sure were to start or that you’ll read long enough for me to list them. As I mentioned above, this book was very refreshing with it’s less than “ideal” hero in Amos Bledsoe with his glasses, bike riding, and self-described unmanly physique. But what Amos doesn’t have in appearance he makes up for in heart, and that ladies, is what we ultimately fall in love with. My husband is much closer to Amos then all the ruggedly handsome heroes I read about and I think that makes Amos all the more attractive to me; men with patient constant hearts. Amos proves himself worthy of Grace’s trust by being patient and sticking around no matter what.

My heart hurts for Grace and all she’s experienced. We’ve glimpsed Grace in two previous Harper’s Station stories and I knew her back story couldn’t be a pleasant one. She is slow to trust, but through Amos’ steadiness and God’s quiet prodding, Grace learns the true meaning of her name.

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Image by @redheadzee.

What’s not mentioned in the descriptions is the sub-story that happens throughout the book with Helen, which I found delightful. Helen struggles with very real fear, an emotion that I frequently battle that is sometimes overwhelming. I am super proud of this girl and she inspires me to also loose the chains fear holds over my life.

The geeky side of me wants to learn Morse Code so I can tell if all of the dashes and dots are correct, but I trust that Karen has done her homework. I also may want to sew up a pair of bicycle bloomers.

(…and…as regulations require… I have received a copy of this book from the Publisher for promotional purposes. All opinions are truthfully my own!)

There are many great quotes in this book, hence all of the photos included in this post, but I’ll close out with my favorite. I think it’s self explanatory.

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Image by Brandy!

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A Song Unheard Cover Reveal

A Name UnknownTuesday has come a day late this week! What?! You think I’m crazy? I’m not. Saved this week’s post for today as we have a special announcement. Roseanna White is revealing her newest cover for the second book in the Shadows Over England series! The first book, A Name Unknown, comes out in July. Early on I helped Roseanna out with a small research task and I am totally geeky over that fact. I don’t know if any of it was helpful or made it in the final cut, but the sheer fact that I could help might have put a little swagger in my step. I am super excited to be part of the street team, so you bet you’ll be hearing more. Roseanna is fantastic about connecting with her readers, so make sure to subscribe to her awesome blog/newsletter and find her on Facebook. Without further ado…

A Song Unheard

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

The Cover

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Love it! The red dress is sure to pop out on shelves and I like having an idea of a face to put with a name. It also fits so well with the first book’s cover, don’t you think?

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Be sure to add both of these on Goodreads and your pre-order!

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