27 February 2016

7 Reasons to Read Jen Turano's New Release "Playing the Part" Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Five Stars *****


Although a prominent actress, Lucetta Plum, is far deeper than her admirers might think. She's not a fragile flower waiting to be rescued. And she has some unusual "gifts" that have affected her life. When her stepfather intrudes back into her life, threatening Lucetta's safety, her widowed friend Abigail takes her to her grandson's Gothic estate on the Hudson River.
(The picture on the left is of Eaton Hall, gothic architecture, and I think it gives the "vibe" of the Haverstein estate!) 
Bram Haverstein collects misfits and has multiple secrets he's hiding on his estate. He's been harboring secret affection for Lucetta, the actress, although he's never met her in person. Therein lies the rub -- when we "think" we know someone, but we don't!

Absolutely charming story. Highly recommend. Jen Turano never disappoints. I love her writing so much that I "saved" this read for a day I needed something new and spectacular to read and she delivers royally!  Thank you to Net Galley for giving me this early opportunity to read this book for review and to Bethany House for making the title available. I am under no compulsion to write a positive review and these thoughts are my own.  

7 Reasons to Read 1) It is SO funny that you will be laughing out loud!
2) Has the trademark Jen Turano adorable and quirky characters!
3) Storyline is tight but has great twists and turns!
4) Jen's bright and hopeful author's voice shines through!
5) She doesn't put exclamation points everywhere, you can feel the exclamations!
6) You'll get to "meet up" with some of your favorite characters from books earlier in the series.
7) You'll get a cool surprise at the end of the book!

Giveaway: We're giving away a paperback copy of Playing the Part by Jen Turano (Thank you Bethany House!) to one of our readers.  Answer this question -- have you read any other novels where the heroine was an actress?

25 February 2016

Giveaway and Review of Susanne Dietze's "For a Song"


The Cowboy's Bride Collection

Book blurb:
Ride onto the open range alongside cowboys and cowgirls who embrace the adventures of living in the Old West from Kansas to New Mexico, Colorado to Texas. Whether rounding up cattle or mustangs, training horses, fending off outlaws, weathering storms, competing in rodeos, or surviving drought these cowboys work hard each day. But when hardheaded men have their weaknesses exposed by well-meaning women will they stampede away or will a lasting love develop? Find out in this exciting collection of nine historical romances.


For a Song (individual novella) blurb:
Two songbirds, red and yellow—a straightforward order for an upstanding widowed rancher’s lonely daughter. But when a sister-act of saloon singers (a redhead and a blonde) arrives on the stagecoach expecting him to give them a job, his daughter changes her tune and starts singing not for a pet, but a pretty ginger-haired Mama.

Setting: South Texas, 1858

My review:

What if you sent away for a pair of songbirds, the aviary kind, and instead two beautiful young singers arrive in your town, looking for their new home? That's the premise for Susanne Dietze's lovely new novella in the Cowboy's Bride Collection. Because I have a manuscript with songbird in the current title, I was very interested in reading the story to see what Susanne did with her novella. As usual, she delivers a lovely Christian historical romance sure to please! She's quickly becoming one of my favorite Christian historical romance authors!

Disclaimer: I received my copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My views are my own.

Giveaway: An ebook copy to one commenter. Answer this question -- Which Barbour collection in the past two years has been your favorite and why?

23 February 2016

Diana Reviews Beyond The Silence By Tracie Peterson And Kimberley Woodhouse


Beyond The Silence By Tracie Peterson And Kimberley Woodhouse
Bethany House Publishers, Jan. 2016

Reviewed by Diana Flowers
(No Spoilers!)
Riveting Historical Fiction!

Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse have successfully teamed up to pen an intriguing, heartwarming read about a young woman who travels to the lush, rolling hills of California seeking to fulfill her dreams and finds much more than she bargains for—a chance at love and life threatening danger stalking her every move.

Lillian Porter's dream of going west has finally come to fruition as she defies her grandfather and accepts the position of a nanny in Angels Camp, California. But as dark and terrible rumors swirl around her from the local townsfolk, she wonders if she has made the right move. Her 7-year-old charge, Jimmy, has not spoken in over a year and there are sinister accusations made concerning Jimmy's fatherher
 handsome, enigmatic employer—Woodward Colton. The Colton olive farm holds many a malevolent secret as Lillian encounters strange happenings taking place, but she is hopelessly drawn to Woodward in spite of the vicious rumors. She loves Jimmy as her own and her greatest desire is to help the traumatized lad to talk again. However, her efforts seem futile as Jimmy and her grandfather both refuse to speak—will they ever move beyond the silence to a bright future?

I. simply. fell. in. love. with each of the characters in this amazing story minus one of the most evil, menacing villains I have ever encountered. (gasp!) Poor, grief-stricken little Jimmy stole my heart from the very get go, Lillian is tough as nails and gentle as a lamb, Mrs. Goodman, the grandma-like housekeeper, is a "dearie" with a heart of gold, and then there is Harry. I can't wait for you to meet Harry—pure hearted, innocent Harry with a simplistic child's mind in a man's body. I wanted to hug him more than once and I'm sure you will, too. :) There are so many loose ends that get tied up in a nice little bow and make for a satisfying conclusion that will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy. Kudos to Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse for staying true to the genre, Christian fiction. Isn't a permeating theme of God's love, healing, and miraculous power the reason we read Christian fiction to start with? Highly recommended!



California Olive Farm


AND...



California Olives!

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Thanks to Net Galley for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

This book may be purchased through Amazon, CBD, BAM, and your local bookstore.

GIVEAWAY: Tracie Peterson is generously giving away a paperback copy to one blessed commenter! (US entrants only.) To be eligible be sure to leave your email address for contact purposes -- written (at) and (dot) to protect yourself from spammers. 

21 February 2016

Interview with Susanne Dietze

Author Susanne Dietze

Susanne, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 
Thanks for having me!

Would you tell us about the one of the most difficult things in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?   
The last time I was here, I shared about a diagnosis hanging over me. It seems like God uses health crises to teach me to rely on Him, because it’s something of a theme with me. A health problem arises with my family, and I get anxious.
I’ve struggled with anxiety for years, but stressful circumstances can set me on a spiral. These circumstances most often happen when one of my children is sick, stuff like pneumonia, paralysis+limp=possible brain tumor (turned out to be Bell’s Palsy and a strained muscle), and the possibility of lymphoma. I wish I could say I handled each event with aplomb and faith, but I didn’t do well. I couldn’t eat. I cried out to God but didn’t trust Him to help us. Even now, when I think of those times, I get a pit in my stomach. I haven’t healed, and it’s a reminder I need to work on this element in my spiritual walk.

What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times?
Ps. 112:7 ~ They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
Ps. 28:7 ~ The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
Ps. 34: 4 ~ I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

What helped you get through or helped you cope with this difficulty?
An understanding family helps. I have a good friend who offers spiritual direction, and it’s wonderful how she doesn’t judge, but listens with encouragement and love. Also, I’m learning to keep track of God’s victories in my life, times He’s shown me He’s faithful or blessed me, etc., so I can go back to the list and remember that yes, He hears me. Yes, He loves me. One last thing I’m working on is sitting still in His presence, focusing on His character.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?  
One theme in the book is that God’s love can be hard for some to accept since we associate Him with the behavior of His children. Members of our family and/or Christians, people we’d expect to nurture and welcome us, don’t always reflect God’s unconditional love. Lily, the heroine, expected church to care for her when her mother died, but instead parishioners scorned her for of her father’s sin. Therefore, Lily feels God didn’t take care of her. She doesn’t yet know God as her perfect Father who’s always held her in the palm of His hand.


BIO:
Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others. A pastor’s wife and mom of two, she loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. Susanne is the author of six new and upcoming novellas; her latest, For a Song, is in Barbour’s The Cowboy’s Bride Collection. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com.

Susanne’s Links:

Question you’d like to ask readers:
Lily thinks she’s taking matters into her own hands to provide for herself and her sister, but God has used the situation for His purposes. Have you ever been in a situation God used for a purpose other than you intended?

GIVEAWAY: We're giving away a paperback copy or ebook copy of Susanne Dietze's new release from Barbour (paperback USA only.) Answer Susie's question and leave your email address if we don't have that from previous contacts with you.

18 February 2016

Diana's Review Of 'The Steeplechase' By Carrie Fancett Pagels


Reviewed By Diana Flowers
~5 stars~

(No spoilers!)

                    Heart"racing" Historical Romance!

With a sweep of her pen, er quill rather, author Carrie Fancett Pagels has written an intriguing story of our country's history leading up to the war of 1812. Excitement and romance are in the air as Americans celebrate their freedom from British rule and signs of a new nation being rebuilt are everywhere. However, under the guise of gaiety, parties, frippery, and trips to the theater—emerges an underlying fear—as rumors of another war and spies are whispered about, and young Americans are being kidnapped to fight for the British navy.

Martha Osborne of Virginia is terribly concerned for her six-year-old brother, Johnny, who has been sent off to boarding school while her stepmother continually travels back and forth to her homeland of England. Her one desire is to somehow earn enough money to retrieve her brother from school and put a deposit on the livery and cottage she hopes to run. Oh, to be out from under her stepmother's berating tongue and to be able to ride her horse to her heart's content. Praying for God to send her an angel, it appears her prayers have been answered as the handsome Phillip Paulson—equestrian trainer at Yorkview Academy and premier horseman in all of Virginia—enters her life. But can he be trusted during these unsettling times—or for that matter can anyone? An expert rider, Martha decides to enter the race to the steeple in lieu of her brother, Christopher, as the prize money will be enough to accomplish her goals. She enters into a bet with Phillip, but as danger begins to nip at her heels will the price be too high to pay?

Carrie Fancett Pagels has written an outstanding, detailed story that is so jam-packed it reads like a full length novel. Action, intrigue, spies, breathtaking romance—it's all in there! I found the concept of the steeplechase in historical times fascinating, and wasn't aware there were no rules and that maps were actually drawn out beforehand to aid in a swift race to the church steeple! Ms. Pagels descriptive imagery of the countryside, opulent plantations, and the sights and scents of the busy malodorous docks, all lend to the exhilarating aura of colonial Virginia! With some surprises and as many twists and turns as a steeplechase map...be sure to order your copy of one of my fave novellas today!

Will Phillip beat Martha to the steeple!?
The answer may surprise you!

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This novel may be purchased through Amazon.


GIVEAWAY: I will be giving away two ebook copies to two blessed commenters to celebrate Carrie Fancett Pagels' new release! *International entrants welcome!* To be eligible be sure to leave an email address for contact purposes written (at) and (dot) to protect yourself against spammers.


16 February 2016

Bonnie's Review of Debbie Lynne Costello's "Shattered Memories"

Reviewed by Bonnie Roof 

August 30th, 1886 - Charleston, S.C.:

The Macqueen family - Papa, Mama, daughter Olivia and son Simon are deep in a serious discussion re: how to prosecute former employee Lloyd Pratt for embezzlement of funds and writing fake insurance policies - without damaging the family name and that of their business. Involved in a previous relationship with Lloyd, against her father's wishes, Olivia was abused by Lloyd when she ended the relationship. Since treating Olivia's wounds, childhood friend Dr. Andrew "Drew" Warwick has won Olivia's trust and affection, and has plans to propose to her the following Friday.

August 31, 1886, 9:50 p.m.: 

Mr. and Mrs. Macqueen and Olivia's quiet evening at home is interrupted by a long low rumble drifting in the window as if a heavily-laden horse-drawn wagon is approaching. Seconds later the low rumble has turned into a terrifying roar, the floor rolling beneath their feet, the whole house swaying, the chimney buckling and spitting bricks forward. An earthquake has hit the city of Charleston, toppling the Macqueen home!

Sifting through the wreckage, Drew finds Olivia unconscious, penned under a collapsed doorway frame, and her parents expired. Olivia awakens, more than a week later, with total amnesia of the previous year. She has no knowledge of who Drew is, and believes herself still engaged to the nefarious Lloyd, who sees this as the perfect opportunity to absolve himself of any responsibility for his crimes. Drew is faced with either helping Olivia remember her past, or re-winning her heart before she marries the wrong man.


Debbie Lynne Costello has penned a novel full of non-stop action, gripping suspense, emotion-filled romance, and laced with a thread of faith. Based on an actual event, the realism of "Shattered Memories" kept me captivated from beginning to end - a beautifully sensitive story with spiritual lessons of God's love, forgiveness, and trusting His timing! 

Additional info re: the 7.6 magnitude earthquake, from Debbie's Feb. 7th, 2016 post on the blog Heroes, Heroines, and History: Gas and water lines broke, fires broke out - the broken water lines making fighting the fires hopeless, wires were cuts and railroad tracks torn apart - separating Charleston from the outside world. People gathered in city squares, many singing songs to calm the crowds; homes not being safe to sleep in - people slept on lawns, and in parks. Tents were sent in as the word of the earthquake got out to the rest of the world. There were over 300 aftershocks over the next 3 years, 60 people died, the health of many was affected - with PTSD, nausea, headaches, loss of hair, some people even dying from fright. 14,000 chimneys fell, damage was in excess of 112 million dollars (in today's market), and structural damage was reported as far away as Alabama, central Ohio, eastern Kentucky, southern Virginia, and western West Virginia.       

I was provided a copy of "Shattered Memories" in return for my honest opinion, which I have given. 

GIVEAWAY: A copy of Debbie Lynne's new novel in ebook.



14 February 2016

DebbieLynne Costello -- When Husband Diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma


My life was turned upside down this past April when my husband was diagnosed with a rare form of non-hodgkin’s lymphoma called Mantle Cell. He wasn’t even seeing the doctor because he was sick. The man is never sick. And I mean never!

My life since April has been living in Houston more than South Carolina. But God has been here with us in amazing ways!
The first thing I did as a Christian, I fell to my knees and cried out to God. I don’t mean just pray I cried out—out loud—pleading with God. I contacted every person I knew who would pray and asked them for prayers. And God moved. First He guided us to MD Anderson. A dear friend and nurse practitioner from Dallas called when she heard about Joe. She convinced us to come to Houston to MD Anderson for a second opinion. She then called her best friend in Houston and got us a place to stay when we came.


Then I got an email from a lady who had called me weeks earlier about getting a sheltie puppy from me. This woman knows nothing about Joe. Her email goes something like this. “I don’t know what is going on but God told me to tell you that He’s got this.” I cried. I responded and told her what WAS going on. She told me that she didn’t want me to think she was weird or anything but that she’d been driving down the road and God told her to pray for me. She said I thought to myself okay God I’ll pray when I get home, but she felt like God was yelling at her in her head saying pray now! She said she almost pulled her car over. Then people started telling me they were praying and they really felt like God told them He’s got this! I probably heard that at least 6 times. And no one knew what this other woman had told me.

It seemed every time my faith got low, God sent someone else to remind me He had this! It was so amazing. I’m a person who believes in ‘bugging’ God. I remind Him of His promises. I am like the man in the bible who has company come in the middle of the night and so he goes to his neighbors and won’t quit knocking on his door until he gets up. God wants us to cry out to Him.

In the lowest valley we’ve ever walked, God has been there every step of the way. We never said why us? Things like this can bring a person closer to God. I know I want God to use me through this. It has been amazing to watch God move. I’ll quick give you some ways He blessed us.

Friends, neighbors, and family stepped up to the plate to help. It was unbelievable. You see I have 3 shelties, 1 German Shepherd, 1 cat, 5 horses (one is a young colt), and a miniature donkey. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. Friends and family take care of our animals when we are gone.
We went to the hospital and Joe was put with Doctor Wang. People ask us, How did you get in with Dr. Wang? You see he is one of the 2 top doctors for Mantle Cell Lymphoma in the World! 


Joe has probably had MCL for 2 to 4 years. But God wanted us at MDA at this time. Because it just so happened that Dr. Wang was starting a clinical trial for MCL patients and Joe was immediately accepted into the study! Had his Mantle Cell been discovered earlier we would have missed the trial.
We fell in love with the woman we were staying with. She’s like family. She offered her home to us every time we come down and even when we have to stay for 5 months!

God has been so good to us and I am so thankful for all His blessings. That’s not to say we never have hard days. We do! We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. But keeping our eyes on the Lord is the key to keeping a good attitude. I don’t think God is disappointed with us for hurting sometimes or getting discouraged. But what He does want is for us to know where to turn when that happens. He wants us to look up and run into His open arms.

CFP: DebbieLynne told me about this picture: “This is a really cool paper Lockness. Each piece of paper was colored and then the papers were cut randomly by hand making this beautiful piece of art. This picture really doesn't do it justice. It is displayed in MDAnderson.” This is DebbieLynne’s daughter, Kacie.

Giveaway: Winner's choice of either of DebbieLynne's novels winner's choice of paperback or ebook (USA only paperback). Answer this question: Have you had a loved one battle cancer? What helped in coping?  


11 February 2016

Noela reviews A Spy's Devotion by Melanie Dickerson

A Spy's Devotion

Waterfall Press (February 9, 2016)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 STARS *****
A Riveting Regency Romance

Melanie Dickerson’s sweeping new Regency novel encompasses a delectable Jane Austen aura and an exquisite charismatic romance. And with the combination of the additional heart-pounding suspense and thrilling pace, you’ll be left utterly breathless and completely spellbound!

In an era gone by where society was divided by classes and propriety was of the utmost import, Julia, the niece of Robert Wilhern of England’s high society, constantly strives to excel in gentility. She hopes it will help her to be accepted and loved without the condescension that accompanies being an unequal to her cousin, Phoebe Wilhern. When the self-absorbed Phoebe sets her heart upon marrying Nicholas Langdon who has temporarily returned from the war due to an injury, she enlists Julia to help garner Nicholas’ attention. What is Julia to do except assist her cousin, even while battling against her own intensifying affections for the handsome army officer. It is the way of things, for she has neither title nor worthwhile inheritance.

Before Nicholas Langdon returns to the war, he determines to fulfil a dying soldier’s wish for Nicholas to deliver a coded diary to a relative. Little did Nicholas realize the significance of the diary concerning England’s future or to the danger it held for him and others. When suspicions point towards Julia’s uncle, Nicholas must lean on her for help. Together they must stand against the evil intended for their country at enormous risk to themselves. Will they also have the fortitude to protect their hearts as well?

It’s hard to believe this is author Melanie Dickerson’s first Regency novel for it is a pure masterpiece! I flew through this novel in record time and while I wanted to linger, it was impossible to do so. I was swept up in a world of balls and dancing, of lowly maids and lonely governesses, and of treason and traitors. Filled with irresistible characters, surprises around each bend, and capped with palpable romantic tension, this was one satisfying novel! Highly recommended!


**Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion which I have given.**

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You can purchase this book from: AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE

GIVEAWAY: Melanie Dickerson is generously giving away a paperback copy or e-book of A SPY'S DEVOTION to one blessed commenter! *Outside of US, e-book only.* To be eligible, please leave your e-mail address for contact purposes, written (at) and (dot) to protect yourself against spammers.


09 February 2016

Giveaway Susie Dietze's Novella One Word from You - Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels

One Word from You by Susanne Dietze, Part of the Austen in Austin Collection

One Word from You by Susanne Dietze is a novella in the Austen in Austin Collection Available in ebook and in paperback from WhiteFire Publishing ( 2016).


One Word from You by Susanne Dietze, based on Pride and Prejudice 
A down-on-her-luck journalist finds the story of her dreams, but her prejudice may cost her true love . . . and her career. 

This third Austen in Austin novella is based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice 

Urged by her family to marry for the sake of their dwindling finances, Eliza Branch prefers to pay for the remainder of her time at the Austen Academy by writing for the local paper. There’s plenty to write about now that railroad baron William Delacourt has come to Austin. His proposed northbound line may be good for local business, but she’s still stinging from his terrible first impression. If the rumors about William are true, then he deserves to be skewered in print. But when Eliza’s pen gets ahead of her conscience, it’s William who makes everything right—and the reasons behind his sacrifice just might be the story of Eliza’s lifetime.
Austen in Austin (WhiteFire, 2016)

I have a confession -- I am a Susie Dietze fan. She's a really sweet lady in person and I love her writing. After reading her latest novella, I reached out to offer her an author endorsement for this lovely novella.  Here's my endorsement (Amazon only allows you a few sentences): 

"A sweet novella and great read. Susanne Dietze brings Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice to Texas in grand style!" - Carrie Fancett Pagels, multi-published award-winning author of The Christy Lumber Camp Series

Five Stars *****

(Aren't those gorgeous covers WhiteFire's Roseanna White that did for One Word from You and for Austen in Austin?)

My review: This is a darling story! The heroine, Eliza, writes for a newspaper while completing Austen Academy. When railroad baron William arrives in town, Eliza and William do not hit it off. This story is inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice but Susie's signature style shines through. 

Eliza makes some poor decisions. She is, after all, a very young woman, intent upon proving herself. But she has formed some very real prejudices against wealthy William. And he's a wonderful hero, so the reader really wants to root for him! Will William rise to the occasion and rescue Eliza from herself? A very sweet read!

This is a novella you can get through in one to two evenings and you'll want to finish it in one fell swoop if you are able, so you can learn how things turn out!

Giveaway: Susie is giving away an ebook copy of her novella. We'll be reviewing one or more of the other novellas in the Austen in Austin collection in the weeks ahead. Answer this question: Have you read Susanne Dietze's other wonderful novellas in her two publications with Barbour?




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