26 February 2017

Video from The Vine BookClub Meeting: Blue Ribbon Brides



I (Carrie Fancett Pagels!) recently had the privilege (and fun!) of participating in an online event that Angela Breidenbach set up for all the Blue Ribbon Bride Collection authors. We got to chat, via Skype, with the book club members of "The Vine" church in Indiana. I've never done this before (although I have taught over distance learning, so it was similar.) Here's the link to my personal video from Thursday night, February 23rd, as shown above! https://youtu.be/HiqaT7gg89Q

Lucky Amber Stockton was on a lovely vacation and couldn't be with us. The playlist where all eight videos (Angela's, Becca Witham's, Gina Welborn's, Jennifer Allee's, Niki Turner's, and Darlene Franklin's)  is

Giveaway: An autographed copy of The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection. Watch my video (and enjoy the others', too!) and leave a comment to enter!

21 February 2017

Giveaway - A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander
A Note Yet Unsung
Book #3 in The Belmont Mansion Series
 by Tamera Alexander
Five Stars *****
Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

I am an unabashed Tamera Alexander fan. So much so, that in my recent interview with the Daily Press, for Valentine's Day, I recommended her novels as an excellent example of Christian historical romance! I find it very hard to wait for each new treasure to release. I blame this fixation on my old critique partner, Kim Taylor, who introduced me to Tamera's lovely books.

Blurb:
A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the new maestro at the Nashville Philharmonic. But women are "far too fragile and frail" for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah's hopes are swiftly dashed when the conductor—determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music—bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah's new employer, agrees with him.
Nationally acclaimed conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville's youngest orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head, he must finish composing his symphony before the grand opening of the city's new symphony hall. Even more pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music—his dying father. As Tate's ailment worsens, he knows Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how can he win back her trust when he's robbed her of her dream?
As music moves us to tears yet makes our hearts soar, A Note Yet Unsung captures the splendor of classical music at a time when women's hard-won strides in cultural issues changed not only world history—but the hearts of men.

Warning: There are some spoilers in this review.
Here's my review:
A Richly Textured Masterpiece
Rebekah returns from Europe after her grandmother dies. With memories of a bad situation with her lecherous stepfather, and feeling as though her mother has abandoned her, Rebekah still must return to claim the inheritance that her grandmother promised her.  But her life is about to be turned upside down. With quintessential Tamera Alexander charm, the novel is populated by a host of really lovable characters who she develops to the point that they will become real to the reader. I loved the street urchin, the kitchen workers, and so many more! And she's so great at creating characters that you'll love to hate!

Nathaniel is an amazingly gifted conductor but is impatient and demanding with his musicians. As a reader, and a former psychologist, I kept thinking. . . Oh no. . .  He has a secret he's hiding, but which will soon be apparent. I loved his family and how Tamera Alexander beautifully incorporated them into the story. They are so different from the tony Nashville crowd that he is expected to thrill with his orchestra's performances. As Nathaniel's symptoms of hearing loss progress, I was pretty shocked how this was addressed in the story. Beautifully handled. There isn't always a quick fix or even any kind of fix. 

Although a large part of this story is about the inequity of Rebekah, a master violinist, being unable to perform in Nashville society, there are multiple layers of story. 



Bibliotherapy: Excellent choice for people struggling with hearing loss or with any kind of significant sensory loss. There is hope in this story. There is no pat answer. There's no minimizing. I love that the hero doesn't drift into self-pity for long nor does the heroine treat Nathaniel with pity. Pity doesn't help. 

Audiobook: This novel is available in audiobook, also. I purchased the audiobook and began listening to it, but the narrator is someone whose voice I consistently do not enjoy listening to, which was unfortunate. IF you must read by audio, however, I would still recommend the audiobook listen because although you'll have to tune out the narrator's voice somewhat, Ms. Alexander's words and story still shine through. I'd already read the ebook, however, so I wasn't motivated to keep overlooking the narrator's voice. 

I downloaded an electronic copy of A Note Yet Unsung from NetGalley. I am under no compulsion to post a positive review.

This novel is available in multiple locations and formats, CBD hardcover, Barnes & Noble paperback, Amazon ebook, and audiobook through Audible.com, and in large print hardcover.

GIVEAWAY: We're giving away a copy of A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander  in paperback or ebook or as an audible.com download. Answer this question: Which of Tamera's books is your favorite and why? 

17 February 2017

Audiobook Review of Melanie Dickerson's "A Viscount's Proposal"

A Viscount's Proposal by Melanie Dickerson

A Viscount's Proposal
by
Melanie Dickerson
(Brilliance Audio, 2017)
A very enjoyable listen!
At first Leorah Langdon was not a very sympathetic character, seeming rather shallow and seemingly determined to show she could thumb her nose at society's rules. However, as the story progresses, her faith and her dislike of social behavior that is all for show and that restricts women, becomes more understandable. She perceives her parents have had an unhappy passionless relationship. Her nemesis, Edward, the Viscount Withinghall, seems to show up everywhere she goes and always has some complaint about her which he seems only too happy to announce in public, making him come across as a pompous prig. Edward has his life mapped out. He's in line to become Prime minister and has a suitable woman in mind for wife. But he does have a big heart and a huge sense of justice. 
Leorah's brother is friends with Edward and speaks highly of him. But she has already formed her own opinion of him. When she is injured and rescued by the Viscount and then a frightening accident occurs, the two are pressured to consider marriage. But strong-willed Leorah isn't about to be forced to accept a proposal from a man she can never imagine falling in love with and returning that love. 
Both the heroine and hero have to work through their pasts, their current relationships, and fend off a potential killer. A satisfying ending makes it worth it to have to have listen to the accident recounted over and over again in the audiobook. The narrator is pretty awful but I've heard worse. The plot is rather slow and redundant in parts but it really suits the audio format, making it easier to keep track of the plot lines. This reminds me of some Georgette Heyer audiobooks and should please her readers. Unlike many Regency stories, there aren't a lot of party scenes or social settings in this book but the plot doesn't need it for "dressing."
I am a member of audible.com and listened to a download from their site. This book is available in paperback, ebook, audio download, and MP3. As of February 17, 2017 this book was the #1 Bestseller in Historical Romance
Giveaway: We have a giveaway (USA only other than ebook) for one of our commenters on this post. Which of Melanie's books have you enjoyed most and why?

12 February 2017

Lisa Prysock Guest post - A testimony of Overcoming Divorce & Finding Purpose

Author Lisa Prysock

A testimony of Overcoming Divorce & Finding Purpose
Guest Post
By Lisa Prysock

Twenty years ago I went through a devastating divorce after ten years of marriage.  I had a three-year-old little boy with a heart condition.  I was heartbroken that the marriage had not worked out. 
I kept praying and reading the Word during this time, doing my best to remain faithful to the Lord.  I had to start over and find an apartment after living with my mother during the divorce.  The Lord basically had to rebuild my life from the ground up.  About seven months after my divorce was final, I found an apartment in an old-fashioned Victorian house to live in with my little boy.

It wasn’t easy, but I continued to pray and trust God for a miracle and a new chance at finding love again.  One evening, I found myself at the altar at the end of a Wednesday night service where a special evangelist had ministered to us.  I prayed earnestly for God to give me a Godly husband, someone who would be a Godly father for my son.  The evangelist prayed for me while I was praying and asked God to answer my prayers.  That really strengthened me to know that the man of God was praying for me also.  I had been praying at home too, knowing that the fervent, continual, effectual prayers of the righteous man (or woman) avail much.  I had made a list of attributes I desired to see in a husband.  I don’t remember much about my list, but I know that God likes to answer specific prayers.  I also remember that I asked God for a man who would like to do gardening with me as I enjoyed gardening.

God works so fast sometimes!  When I went back to my seat as the service closed and gathered my Bible, purse and keys to leave, I heard the Holy Spirit speak audibly to me.  Some people don’t believe God can do this sort of thing.  However, the Bible says that my sheep hear my voice and they know me.  He said to me, don’t leave yet.  So I stood still at my seat and tried to act natural as I slowed the process of gathering my things, wondering what was about to happen next.

The evangelist was turning off lights and most people were already spilling out into the parking lot.  I had no idea what was going to happen but I knew I was supposed to wait.  So I waited, expectantly.  I knew God was up to something.  Sure enough, the evangelist asked if I would be willing to give an elderly lady a ride home from church.  He said she’s in her 90’s and doesn’t drive.  So I said, “Yes!  I would be happy to do that for her.”  I knew who he was talking about.  She was a Spirit-filled believer and mighty prayer warrior named Ezella Morris.

For the next three months I took Ezella to church and gave her rides home.  She often prayed over my three-year-old son, who sat in his car seat next to her.  One day, I asked her if she knew anyone who could do minor apartment repairs for some things I needed done at my apartment.  She said her grandson had his own business doing home repairs and gave me his phone number and her name as a reference.

Today, I am happily married to her grandson!  He is a gift from God!  We met and fell almost instantly in love!  He loves God, takes me to church, works hard to be a good provider, and the best part -- he is faithful to the Lord.  He had two daughters (grown now living in other states), so we had three children right off the bat.  The Lord blessed us with two more children for a total of five children!  We have been going strong ever since!  He still owns a handyman business and guess what… he used to be a landscaper.  He knew everything about gardening a woman could want to know.  We do lots of gardening together!

We eventually moved from Ohio to Florida, and then to settle in Kentucky where God revived my writing dreams.  Last year, he built me my very own writing/sewing office.  I’m so thankful for my writing office.  It is such a blessing to me and my work!  I am living proof that dreams do come true!  This year will be our 20th wedding anniversary!

Author Bio:
Lisa M. Prysock lives in the countryside of beautiful, rolling Kentucky just outside of the greater Louisville area near horse farms and four board fences with her husband of nineteen years.  She homeschools the two youngest of their five children (three grown).  She and her husband live in an average, two story, Colonial style home they are continually updating-- with a funny looking Heinz 57 dog; an adorably dainty lady cat; two teenagers; a vegetable garden; numerous flower beds; and a tree house undergoing a remodel.  When not in teaching or writing mode, she is teaching herself to play the piano and violin.  

How to Connect with Lisa:
Links:
Books:
Lisa's most recent publication is a devotional, Arise Princess Warrior (October, 2016) and is currently available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble on line in a full color paperback version or black and white on cream paper.  Also available in Kindle eBook format at Amazon.)  

The Victorian Christian Heritage Series (also available at Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble online):

Giveaway:  One PDF of Arise Warrior Princess, a 30 Day devotional challenge and One PDF of Hannah’s Garden: a Turn of the Century Love Story, a clean historical Christian Victorian Romance reminiscent of Anne of Green GablesLeave a comment for which book you would like to win and two random winners will be chosen.  Be sure to leave an email where you want your book download sent

09 February 2017

Review & Giveaway: The Reluctant Guardian by Susanne Dietze

The Reluctant Guardian by Susanne Dietze

The Reluctant Guardian 
by Susanne Dietze
(Love Inspired Historical, 2017)

Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels


Exceptional Regency by an 
Exceptional 
Inspirational Fiction Author!

Gemma is being held "emotional hostage" by her narcissistic and toxic sister-in-law. Her love for her two darling nephews keeps her in place as she awaits a long-expected forthcoming marriage proposal. Then Tavin Knox interrupts her life, turning everything around.


Initially subtle, the spiritual thread weaves stronger as the novel progresses. I've loved all of Ms. Dietze's other stories and this book was also wonderful. 


I received an advance copy PDF from Susie Dietze, upon my request. I am under no obligation to give a positive rating or review. 

I highly recommend this 
delicious read!!!

Giveaway: Susie has offered the giveaway of a signed paperback copy to one of our lucky readers! Answer this question: What makes you like Regency romance?

07 February 2017

Diana's Fond Farewell! A "Retirement" Party!

Diana L. Flowers
I can't believe it has been SIX YEARS since my first invitation of Diana L. Flowers to do a guest review on the blog. I'd been blogging by myself for a number of years already -- over on ShoutLife (no longer around) and on My Book Therapy blog. But I didn't really get blogging until I started what was Overcoming Through Time blog, which later got renamed Overcoming Through Time With God's Help, and finally Overcoming With God blog! Whew!  A lot of names for a blog that I'd initially started to share how God helps us overcome (I was still working as a psychologist at that time) and how that reflected in fiction. But it got lonely!!! I didn't like blogging by myself.  And there was a fabulous reviewer out there who was such a nice person -- Diana Flowers. So I asked this amazing Christian fiction reviewer if she'd guest post.  And she did! Finally I got to meet her in person in the spring of 2011.



Praise God, Diana has had almost 180 reviews since coming on OWG blog in 2011. Thirty book reviews a year on average! That despite having gone through major surgery and having struggled with ongoing health difficulties.
The above picture was taken in Diana's lovely home in South Carolina last spring, 2016.  We here at OWG blog will MISS "Malibu Barbie" (that's who I thought she looked like when I met her in person!) and our "Senior Reviewer" and AKA "Angel Girl" but she's certainly earned her retirement!


Favorites: 
Some of her favorite authors, whose books she has faithfully reviewed have been: Laura Frantz, Julie Lessman, MaryLu Tyndall, Coleen Coble, and Maggie Brendan and so many more!!!

Here's a message from Bonnie Roof: Diana, I'll miss seeing/reading your beautiful reviews on OWG blog, but am comforted by the fact that I'll still see/read a few, now and then, on Amazon and other sites. I'm even more joyful that I'll continue to see your posts on Facebook, etc. I can't thank you enough for patiently helping/guiding this senior, but newest, member of the OWG team in "learning the ropes." I'm blessed by your friendship, love your sense of humor, and am inspired by your godliness. I can't wait to see what future plans and blessings God has in store for you, and am praying and believing for your total healing. Love, hugs, and prayers!

Here's a message from Teresa S. Mathews: 
Diana to say that words fail me today is almost laughable because we both know how I can talk, but it's so difficult to express the sadness my heart is feeling. 
I can still remember your excitement that night at church when you told me you had become a part of OWG. I was so happy for you and a tad jealous! lol Then the Lord surprised me with the opportunity to join you and Carrie and what a glorious time it has been. You, my precious friend, will be missed immensely but thank the Lord I am blessed to live close enough to you that I can visit from time to time. May GOD bless your future endeavors as only He can do! Love you so much angel girl!


GIVEAWAY: Surprise box of books for one of our party guests! And a tea party gift bag with treats (candy and chocolate!) and earrings for one of our guests, too! Leave a comment for Diana below to enter.

02 February 2017

Erica Vetsch's My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas: Priscilla’s Reveille

My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas: Priscilla's Reveille, by Erica Vetsch


Great Historical Fiction
My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas: Priscilla’s Reveille
(Barbour Publishing)
By Erica Vetsch

Guest Post Reviewed by Andrea Stephens
5 Stars!!!
Great historical fiction! This story made me feel like I was really at Fort Bliss in 1874. Priscilla Hutchens takes leave from her job as artist for the Carterson Ladies' Emporium Catalog in Cincinnati, Ohio to go to Fort Bliss in Texas. 

The book description tells you what she finds when she gets there so I won't repeat it. I will tell you that Priscilla detests Army life. Army first, always. Her father died while out on patrol her mother became estranged from her son, Priscilla’s only sibling when he joined the army. 

Priscilla has no intention of staying more than a few days to retrieve the twins. But those days turn into weeks and her heart begins to change toward their uncle. She is stronger than Major Dr. Elliot Ryder ever thought she would be. 

The author does an amazing job of describing normal every day life in the Fort. There is some action with local and other Indian Tribes. Humorous moments are woven into the story very nicely too. It is the romance that slowly develops between Priscilla and Elliot and what was going to happen to the twins that kept my attention.

I loved this book from the first line to the last.

*I requested and received a copy of this book from the author. A review was not required. These are my own thoughts and feelings about this book.

Giveaway: We're giving away a copy of this launch book in My Heart Belongs series from Barbour!  Leave a comment to enter. Open to international winners, too, as long as Book Depository delivers to your country!  

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