23 October 2014

Diana Reviews The Daughter Of Highland Hall By Carrie Turansky

The Daughter of Highland Hall
Multnomah Books, Oct. 7, 2014

 Reviewed by Diana Flowers
~5 stars~*****

No Spoilers!
Edwardian Fiction At Its Finest!

With pen in hand, er keys rather, author Carrie Turansky once again sweeps the reader away on a wonderful Edwardian adventure -- from the glamorous balls, social functions, and opulent mansions of the very elite -- to the poverty stricken streets of London's East End.

The beautiful and spunky, Katherine Ramsey, is determined to take the social season by storm and secure her future by finding a wealthy husband. Under the strict tutelage of her aunt, Lady Louisa, Kate attempts to learn all the social graces needed to attract eligible suitors and win the approval of their parents as well. She catches the eye of the aristocratic, charming, Edward Wellington, but a scandal in her family threatens to rob her of the very future she has so carefully planned out. She refuses to give up, however, for surely Edward can give her everything she needs and desires out of life...or can he? As Kate is introduced to the poor and needy in London's East End by handsome medical student, Jon Foster, will she find that a life of service to others in dire need is so much more satisfying than a self-indulgent one? 

I fell in love with this amazing book from the very first chapter! Not just simply a novel of fluff, frippery, and finery, Ms. Turansky compassionately delves into the plight of the poor on the opposite end of the spectrum. Realism unfolds as the heroine, hero, and a secondary character become involved trying to rescue an unwed pregnant woman from her abusive boyfriend, and much danger ensues as a result! I especially love how the heroine evolves considerably from the first book in the series, The Governess of Highland Hall. This novel may be read easily as a stand-alone, as the author does a fine job of recapping the characters we so grew to love in the first book. If you enjoy a book with a realistic plot and characters, plenty of romantic tension, excitement, and a spiritual thread throughout, then be sure to order your copy of The Daughter of Highland Hall today!

I was given an advanced reader's copy by Multnomah in exchange for my honest opinion. 
 This book may be purchased through Amazon, CBD, and your local bookstore. 

GIVEAWAY! Carrie Turansky has generously offered to give away a copy of The Daughter of Highland Hall to one blessed commenter!!

21 October 2014

Patty Smith Hall Christmas Traditions Series Novella - Guest Reviews by Tina St.Clair Rice and Regina Fujitani

Christmas Lessons (Christmas Traditions Series Book 5) 

Blurb: Love isn't always enough. 

If it were, history teacher Claire Davenport would have married her childhood sweetheart Billy Warner in a heartbeat. But Billy has big dreams of coaching college football, a plan that could be sidetracked by Claire's disability. Fearing he'll resent her, Claire breaks their engagement and sets out to build a life around the children at her school. 

But Christmas is the Season of Miracles! 

Two years later, Billy Warner is back in Marietta, the new head coach at the school where Claire teaches, and determined to find out why she broke his heart. Working together to give Christmas to needy families in their community, they can't deny the love they've always shared, but will it be enough to last a lifetime? 

Review by Tina St.Clair Rice

Five Stars *****

As a child, Claire Davenport learned she had Polo which left one of her legs weakened and her walking with a cane. Because of her disability, she broke off her engagement two years ago to the love of her life, Billy Warner.

After the broken engagement Billy leaves Marietta to pursue his dream of coaching football. Now back in Marietta, he accepts the head coach position at the school where Claire teaches. Claire learns he is back and will be working at the school at a staff meeting. Added to that, he will be helping Claire as she works to give Christmas to the needy families in the community.

Can Billy learn why Claire really broke their engagement? As they work together will they find that they still love each other? I enjoyed reading about Claire and Billy's story in this sweet novella.

A touching and lovely Christmas novella that will warm your heart 
Review by Regina Fujitani
Five Stars *****

A must read Christmas story! A disability that hindered her forever love, a coach broken hearted. Claire has polio, she chose not to get married because of her disability. Billy left home broken hearted, but now he is home to be the new coach. What will bring these two back together?

I understand being disabled and not thinking you can measure up. But, God healed me of thinking! He says in Philippines, I CAN do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me. No matter if you have a disability or not, you can do it on God's strength! Including love! God has a purpose for everyone! As Claire discovers, she too discovered that she can love and be loved in return, despite her disability.

Thank you Tina and Regina for sharing your reviews with the OWG blog!

Giveaway: We're giving away THREE copies of Patty's new ebook this week plus a set of volumes 1-5 in Christmas Traditions Series (novellas by Cynthia Hickey, Niki Turner, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Darlene Franklin, and Patty Smith Hall). Leave a comment to enter.

20 October 2014

Patty Smith Hall Interview - Coping with Pain

Author Patty Smith Hall

Patty, welcome to Overcoming With God. We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 
Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? 
Probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to overcome in my life is my battle with chronic pain. At twenty-three, I was attacked by a psychotic patient and told I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was forty, that having children would be an impossibility, that the career I had worked toward for years was over before it had even begun. That’s a lot to handle in your twenties, especially when you feel that God had led you down that path. At first, I fought the experts—I continued to work in nursing and even managed to have two daughters, though both were born extremely early. As I grew older and my back condition grew worse, my anger at God grew. How could He allow this to happen to me when I had always tried to follow His will? I couldn’t see it then that though He hated seeing me hurt, God had a bigger, more wonderful plan for me.

CFP: Patty, I'm so sorry you've had to cope with chronic pain. All of us on the OWG do the same and we'll lift you up in prayer.

What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times?
The verse that I recite to myself when the pain gets tough is Romans 8:28—And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to the will of God. Whether life is good or bad, God works things together for GOOD. So my pain, as hard as it is, refines me and is working toward good according to the will of God.

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio? Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print?  
My last two books with Love Inspired Historical, Hearts in Hiding and Hearts Rekindled were both released in large print. 
Christmas Lessons Book 5 in Christmas Traditions Series 

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation? 
The hero and heroine in Christmas Lessons, my latest release, deal with physical disabilities, mainly the effects of polio. My last LIH, Hearts Rekindled, is set in a home for physically and mentally disabled children in 1945 Georgia. 

Question you’d like to ask readers:
What kind of Christmas traditions do you have in your family? In Christmas Lessons, Claire is in charge of the school’s annual Christmas project, supplying food and Christmas presents for families in need—something my mother and I did for many years when my girls were young. 

Author bio: Patty Smith Hall has been making up stories to keep herself occupied since she was knee-high to a grasshopper. Now she’s thrilled to share her love of history and storytelling with everyone, including her husband of thirty one years, Danny; her beautiful and talented daughters, Jennifer and Carly, and her future son-in-law, Dan.

GIVEAWAY: We're giving away 3 copies of Patty's new Christmas Traditions ebook novella this week and a set of Books 1-5 by Cynthia Hickey, Niki Turner, CarrieFancett Pagels, and Darlene Franklin. Leave a comment on this interview and on reviews to enter.

18 October 2014

"Christmas Bounty" by MaryLu Tyndall - Review

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection (Barbour Books, 2014)
Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels 

Five out of Five Stars! *****

Christmas Bounty
by MaryLu Tyndall

Set in Santa Barbara, California, in 1855, this is an engaging story that is pure MaryLu! Of course we had to have a handsome pirate with a heart of gold.  Widowed Caroline Moreau is attempting to fulfill her late husband's wish of producing wine that will rival that made in Europe. With her two young children, Phillippe and Abilene, she faces danger in this task. Someone is trying to sabotage her efforts.  When captured pirate, Dante, is about to hang from the gallows, Caroline rescues him. He in turn, in the story, saves her and her children. But the relationship is fraught with difficulties. Neither one wants to accept their relationship as more than a business arrangement--but their hearts say otherwise.

This story is unique and you won't want to put it down until you are through reading it.  MaryLu Tyndall fans know that she creates swoon-worthy heroes and she doesn't disappoint in this novella. The ending has a bit of "Gift of the Magi" feel to it, with the sacrifices made. I loved that story by O. Henry, another great Christmas read and a classic.

Giveaway: OWG is giving away a paperback or ebook copy of this book this week. Susan Page Davis, who has a new novel out set in Maine, is also giving away a copy of The Westward Christmas Brides plus a copy of her new novel Mainely Mysteries!

16 October 2014

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection - Review of Vickie McDonough's Novella

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection

Forging a Family by Vickie McDonough
The Westward Christmas Brides Collection (Barbour Books, 2014)
Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels 

In Forging a Family, Vickie McDonough has crafted a beautiful Christmas novella. Beth Ruskin is accompanying her father, a physician, west and is bringing one last (of ten) orphan on the train, hopeful to find little Lizzie a home. Meanwhile burly blacksmith Cade Maddox, a widower, is trying to figure out how he can possibly take care of his daughter, Annie, three, by himself.

The bridge washed out and the train passengers all must find places in a tiny town to stay.  When little Annie is injured, Beth and Dr. Ruskin must help.

Sparks fly when Beth meets Cade. He's the first man she can really imagine herself falling in love with. But her father would never approve of a smithy. And Cade thinks the same thing. He has tried unsuccessfully to find a caregiver for Annie, in his small town.

As Beth helps Cade and Annie, bringing little Lizzie along with her, you can see they were meant to be a family. But when Cade goes through some difficult struggles and is seriously injured, all bets are off. But of course there is a satisfying happy-ever-after or I wouldn't give it five stars~

This story was a real page-turner yet the author managed to make sure you were grounded in the setting in each scene.

Five out of Five Stars *****

Bibliotherapy elements: Loss of spouse, adoption, injuries, making difficult life choices.

Giveaway: We're giving away an ebook or paperback copy of The Westward Brides Collection this week. Have you read any other stories about orphan trains?

14 October 2014

Bibliotherapy at Christmas! A Review

Another Christmas Story by Susan Page Davis
Novella in The Westward Christmas Brides Collection by Barbour (2014)
Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

SPOILER ALERTS: I have a couple of spoilers in my review so if you don't read reviews with spoilers stop right now and just leave a comment to enter for the giveaway!

Bibliotherapy Galore!
For a short novella, Susan Page Davis's story packs a punch! The story starts right out with a bang as the heroine, Beryl, and her young brother, Sam. learn that their father has been seriously injured on their wagon train ride west. They are forced to take refuge in a nearby town and with the unlikely assistance of the store owners and their handsome son, James. Although Beryl has heard that Clara, the proprietor's wife, drives a hard bargain, the family is extremely generous to them, putting the little family of three (other family members died before the trip) up in a cabin they own. So far then, in the story, we had previous loss of family (grieving), relocating elsewhere, now severe life-threatening injury, and plans derailed.

Which makes one pause and ask--is this really a Christmas story? I think Susan Page Davis tagged it appropriately, almost tongue-in-cheek by calling it Another Christmas Story. This is a story about all the awful stuff that can still happen near the holidays. (The story does not terminate at Christmas, like most seasonal stories but continues on, again, a surprise in a novella of this length.)

Beryl's and James' romance is sweet and unfolds slowly. When her father dies and a difficult winter strikes, Beryl and Sam move in with James and Clara. This has a great boon for her brother because Sam benefits from instruction he receives with the Lassen family. Meanwhile, Mr. Lassen heads off to resupply their store.

There is a creepy episode that takes place at the store, with unwanted intruders. Again, not Christmas-like. And another tragedy in store. Again, not what one expects in a Christmas novella. BUT, Christmas doesn't come and go without there being many difficulties for many people. I think readers who are going through a hard time at Christmas might be able to relate to this story very well and draw comfort from the fact that it is so different.

This is NOT just Another Christmas Story. It is a story full of bibliotherapy elements. It's one of those stories where a friend might point out that particular novella to a friend who is suffering losses. And lest you fret--there is a happy ever after for the young couple.

Giveaway: We're giving away a copy of either ebook or paperback copy of The Westward Christmas Brides collection this week.
Question: Have you ever had an awful Christmas season? Did you read anything during that time that helped?

12 October 2014

Interview with Susan Page Davis - Stroke Overcomer

Author Susan Page Davis

CFP: Susan, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? 

I had a major stroke when I was 42 years old, and the doctors could not find a cause for it. I now have no residual effects physically. I feel my recovery was a direct answer to the prayers of many people.

(CFP: My sister suffered a major stroke last year and my father had one, also. Their recovery also a miraculous intervention from God. PTL for your healing, Susan!)

What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times?
In the most difficult times, I remember Psalm 48:14, which tells me that even if I change, God never changes. “For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death.”

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print? 
I have several books in large print, including the Mainely Mysteries series, Ladies’ Shooting Club series, the Alaska Weddings series, Almost Arizona, Hearts in the Crosshairs, The Crimson Cipher, and Finding Marie.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?  

My novella in Westward Christmas Brides, “Another Christmas Story,” deals with grief, loss of a parent, raising a precocious child, and lack of security. It is set in the 1850s.

(CFP: This novella will be reviewed this week on the OWG blog by me and has strong bibliotherapy elements as you have mentioned, Susan.)

Westward Christmas Brides (novella collection) 
Author: Susan Page Davis, “Another Christmas Story.”

Susan Page Davis is the author of more than fifty published novels. A history major, she’s always interested in the unusual happenings of the past. She’s a two-time winner of the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award, and also a winner of the Carol Award and the Will Rogers Medallion, and a finalist in the WILLA Awards and the More Than Magic Contest. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com .
  • Links for Westward Christmas Brides
Buy from Amazon 
Buy from Barnes & Noble  
Buy from Christian Book

Question you’d like to ask readers:
When you’ve faced a difficult decision, did God show you an alternative you hadn’t thought of?

Giveaways: Susan will give one copy of Westward Christmas Brides (paper) and one Mainely Mysteries (e-book). (We're also giving away a second paperback copy of Westward Christmas Brides this week.)

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