20 June 2017

Sword of the Matchmaker Reviewed by Teresa S. Mathews

Sword Of The Matchmaker 
by Debbie Lynne Costello
Forget Me Not Romances,  A division of Winged Publications
  
5 Stars*****
Once again Debbie Lynne Costello takes us back to the enchanting times of Ladies in Waiting and Knights in Shining Armor, but this particular tale has a slight twist. The beautiful heroine in this story is not some timid young Lady awaiting a handsome Knight to ask for her hand in marriage, she is protector of her clan! 

Penelope Beatty, hated that she, a brave warrior of her Scottish Clan had to set foot on English soil to seek help from a man she didn't know but since her father's death she had nowhere else to go. She had come a long ways and would not give up until she finds Hamon Godfrey. Instead Penelope finds herself surrounded by a group of soldiers led by one very arrogant Knight by the name of Sir Thomas.  

Thomas Godfrey was usually a man that was straight to point when confronted but there was something about this tall Scottish beauty that made him smile. Perhaps it was the men's garb she wore or the fact that she thought herself a warrior, perhaps even his equal. When Penelope asks to speak to his father, Hamon, he can't resist having a little fun at her expense.  

Taking Penelope to his father's grave and seeing her reaction makes Thomas realize he needs to hear her story. Afterward Thomas vows that as the eldest son he would be willing to help her. Thomas then takes Penelope back to meet Lord Royce and Lady Brithwin at Hawkwood and something inside tells him things will never be the same again.  

Debbie Lynne Costello is a very talented writer of stories that flow beautifully through out. I loved Penelope and Thomas' story, and it was good to see Royce and Brithwin from Debbie Lynne's Sword of Forgiveness, book one of this series. I have read both books, and I think you won't have a problem reading this as a stand alone but I promise you will also enjoy Sword of Forgiveness. There is also a third one in the wings and I can't wait to read that one, too! Thank you Ms. Costello for this truly enjoyable read!



Blurb:

Penelope Beatty made up her mind long ago she would live and die a Scottish warrior not a wife. But when nearly all her clan is killed and she is betrayed, she loathes doing the unthinkable, but must seek the help of an Englishman who owed her father his life.

Thomas Godfrey never married, but when a Scottish warrior lass shows up needing his aid, he finds her both annoying and irresistible. But the last thing he wants is to marry a woman who fights alongside him. If he was going to marry—which he isn’t—it would be to a soft, submissive woman. But when the Lady Brithwin meets the Scottish lass, she’s sure she’s found the perfect match for Thomas and nothing is going to stop her from seeing a summer wedding.

GIVEAWAY: A copy of Sword of the Matchmaker (if you have purchased the book you can choose one of Debbie Lynne's other books). Leave a comment to be entered.
  
Purchase link:


18 June 2017

Happy Father's Day to Joe Costello -- Mantle Cell Lymphoma Survivor


It's great to be back on OWG blog, Carrie, and I want to thank you for inviting me back. The Last time I was here, I shared about my husband, Joe's, battle with Mantle Cell, a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Today I’d like to share what it is like after the chemo and the words remission. When we first heard those magical words a weight lifted off our shoulders and each day was like a new lease on life. But every four months we have to return to MD Anderson for PET/CT scans and that reminds us that the doctors aren’t so sure this cancer will never return.

God healed Joe—he just used MD Anderson to do it. So when we return every 4 months for those rechecks Satan wants us to live in fear that the mantle cell has returned. He wants to rob us of the joy and assurance the Lord has given us. It’s hard sometimes not to look over your shoulder to see what is there, but God wants us to look up rather than back.

So how does one go on after beating a cancer like MCL? Joe and I have found that keeping our eyes focused ahead of us and on God keeps us putting one foot in front of the other.  It’s been a year this month that Joe was declared cancer free.  When we walk out of MDA with the new results it is always a positive feeling. And the next three or so months we continue on with our normal life which is always busy.

But as the weeks creep by to the next four month checkup, there is Satan whispering fear and negativity into our ears. I am the one who sees a glass half-full and Joe is the realist. LOL! His words. Mine are more like pessimist. We agree to disagree on that title. So I expect him to worry but not me! No, I am the positive one. I’m not supposed to have these doubts.  However, try as I may to keep my faith and not let fear get a foothold, many times it does.

Like countless other things on this journey, God had already put things in place, this time a scripture to cling to when my faith waivered.  Several years ago our pastor chose Mark 9:24 for our verse that year. Many of the sermons throughout the following months tied in to that verse. Mark 9:24 is a short verse and reads, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”


It’s a reminder to me that though God wants us to have faith and trust Him, He recognizes that we are human and at times our faith is going to waiver. For those times He has given us a verse to cling to. It’s a verse that shouts out to us that God wants to help us when we face hard situations where our faith wanes.

Bio:
Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children's Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland Sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband take pleasure in camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses.

Debbie Lynne's latest book:

Media links For Debbie Lynne:

Amazon Author page

GIVEAWAY: We're so glad Debbie Lynne's husband, Joe Costello, is overcoming Mantle Cell Lymphoma! Happy Father's Day to Joe! We're giving away a copy of Debbie Lynne's latest book which is also available in this collection! Leave a prayer for Joe to enter!


15 June 2017

Audiobook Review Renee Ryan's A Touch of Scarlet




Renee Ryan's A Touch of Scarlet, Gilded Promise's Book Two
(Brilliance Audio, January 2017)


Lovely Gilded Age story set in New York City.

Four Stars ****
Four Stars **** for Narration

Blurb:
Never was there a more charmed debutante than the impeccable Elizabeth St. James. Her sterling reputation makes her a favored guest in the most exclusive homes in New York City. But behind the gilded curtain of turn-of-the-century society, Elizabeth despises being her mother's perfect "specimen" and refuses to forgive the woman for her treacherous family betrayal. Now, with only two months before Elizabeth sets sail for London to marry a British lord, she resolves to live a lifetime of adventure - including kissing a man under the moon and stars. And Elizabeth has the perfect candidate in mind: Luke.

Lucian Griffin, the brother of Elizabeth's dearest friend, intends to protect Elizabeth from letting her adventures forever sully her reputation. He knows too well the regrets that come from taking unnecessary risks. Soon his earnest fondness for the sweet debutante gives way to deep affection. But if either is to have a chance at true love and happiness, they must have the courage to let go of the past - and the grace to embrace forgiveness.

Carrie's review:
This is my second book of Renee Ryan's and A Touch of Scarlet won't be the last. I'm hoping to listen to the third book in this series Once An Heiress which releases in September. I'm really looking forward to Gigi's story because she is acting as a maid in the first two book and my heroine, Maude Welling, in My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island acts as a maid at the Grand Hotel. 

But back to this audiobook. Although the narrator, for this novel, Karen Peakes, was fantastic for the first novel in this series. In the second one, her over-the-top emotionally charged narration distracted me. It was weird because I loved the first audiobook. It was like I never got an emotional break from the romantic tension.  Some of that was how the story was written, though. This is a highly romantic story with less of the beautiful scenes and Gilded Age decor, etc., and more focused on the love story.


The story: 

In contrast to book one, where we have a super-sympathetic Caroline St. James, and English woman coming to seek justice from her grandfather, in this book we have a young woman who had grown up in a  wealthy family and has had many privileges. She simply isn't as sympathetic a character as Caroline was. I think if this wasn't the second story and I'd just listened to the other first I'd have found her even more likable than I did. 

I missed the historic details that were sprinkled throughout the first story. But I think the author was trying to stay true to this heroine's story -- which was, like I mentioned, a super-charged romance. The writing is good, this was a good listen and I do recommend it particularly for those who enjoy a soaked-in-romance story throughout. I like more history in my historical romances and I get complaints that my own writing isn't as filled with romance as some readers would like.  

This entire series is likely to be a stunner when it wraps up and I am looking forward to Gigi's story in September. It will be available on audiobook for sure, as indicated on Amazon.

Note:
I listened to this as an Audible.com download. If you'd like to listen to this audiobook and haven't received any free downloads from Audible in the past there's a way for me to ask them to send a copy of this audible download to one person.  Leave a comment if you'd like to try that and I'll draw one of our guests for that!

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