24 May 2018

Audiobook Review of The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

I listened to The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz, Narrated by Aimee Lilly, via an Audible.com download. I almost didn't bother listening after hearing the atrocious accents, in particular the hero's. I'm a big audiobook fan. And I'd just had cataract surgery so I was desperate to listen as reading wasn't possible. What I did was cringe during the bad accents but try to focus on the story. Living in the area where the story was set (and where a number of my own books are set) and comparing with my own experiences was interesting. There were a few errors in what blooms when, here in Virginia, with coastal Virginia having early spring blooms so that in June far less can withstand the heat.

This book was an ECPA bestseller in paperback. I'd recommend you purchase it in that format rather than listening to the audiobook. If reading with your eyes isn't an option, be prepared to force yourself to overlook the truly awful accents used by the narrator. I was glad to have the book to listen to during my recovery. I think the reader would be far less distracted from the story and characters if reading via paperback, ebook, or hardcover large print copy -- all of which are available.

Giveaway: This week we're giving away a copy of The Backcountry Brides, which includes many other colonial-set stories. Leave a comment on the previous post to enter. Leave a comment here for an extra entry!

20 May 2018

Independent Miss Mabel Walker -- Character Interview with Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor

The inspiration for Mabel Walker is actress Tracy Spiridakos

Character Interview with Jennifer Hudson Taylor for her heroine, Mabel Walker
In: The Backcountry Brides Collection (Barbour Books, May 2018)

It’s 1757 and Mabel Walker is grieving over the death of her older brother in the Heart of Nantahalanovella in the Backcountry Bridescollection. He lost his life in a logging accident a month ago, and with the loss of their parents three years ago, Mabel and her fifteen-year-old sister, Bethany, are now alone.

With the inheritance of her brother's logging business and several acres of rich timber land, suitors are lining up, eager to take possession of her newfound property. There is only one problem. Mabel doesn't intend to give up her brother's gift through marriage, especially a loveless marriage. She defies all the unsolicited advice from her friends and neighbors at church, ignores the spiteful comments from her brother's employees who dislike working for a woman, and begins the process of learning all about the logging business.

It isn't until attempts are made on her life and someone tries to sabotage the lumber mill that she realizes how much danger she and her sister could be in. Unsure of who she can trust, Mabel becomes more determined and less dependant on her brother's best friend and foreman. Her faith is seriously tested and several men quit because they refuse to work for a woman. 

Out of the midst of chaos and betrayal, an unlikely ally emerges through a business partnership with Joseph Gregory, a man who clearly wants to purchase her property and business. Mabel finds his rare honesty and loyal support to be of more value than any of the relationships she has formed in Nantahala over the last three years after arriving to the North Carolina colonies.

With medium brown hair often swept up in pearl pins, and intense blue eyes that draw people toward her, Mabel’s appeal even encourages suitors beyond wealth seekers. Think of Miss Mabel Walker as modern-day Canadian actress Tracy Spiridakos in 18th century clothing, hairstyle and hat or colonial cap. I’ve included a photo of Tracy from Wikimedia Creative Commons. 

Mabel is loyal and always dependable. She hates the thought of letting someone down and so it is important for her to carry on the legacy of what her brother built. She’s determined to take care of her sister and the hired help, a Cherokee mom and son who have become like family and also depend on her. Mabel must find a way to overcome her enemies and convince her brother’s former employees that she is a worthy business woman and capable of providing their jobs just as he did. God answers her prayers in a most unexpected way.

CFP: Thanks for visiting with us Jennifer (and Mabel!) 

You can contact Jennifer at:
Author's website: ​
Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Amazon Author Page:
Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Jennifer's Twitter:
Jennifer H Taylor (@jt4novels) | Twitter

Jennifer's Pinterest:

Don't forget we also have a Backcountry Brides collection Rafflecopter with lots of giveaways including a Kindle Paperwhite!

Here's the link:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway: We're giving away a paperback copy of The Backcountry Brides collection this week on the blog. Leave a comment on this post to enter!

16 May 2018

Giveaway & Guest Review of My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado by Rebecca Jepson

(Barbour Books, May 2018)

Andrea Stephens' Guest Review

I simply loved Millie Cooper! She has overcome so much to make a better life for herself. After heartbreak, she leaves Nantucket and becomes a well-trained, respectable nurse, “the equal of any doctor,” with a gentle reassuring touch to her patients. Yet, when faced with the man who caused her heart to break, “she went from a confident nurse in the Rocky Mountains to a trembling girl on the Nantucket shoreline.”

How can she work for his family? She prays over the decision many times and always comes back to the question the disciples faced in the boat on the stormy seas. “Where is your faith?” I loved how the author has Millie relying on her faith even when she knows it will cause her pain. Millie faces it, knowing she is not alone.

This is where things get very interesting. I can't spoil the story though.
You need to know that Katherine Drexel is a mean, shrew of a woman toward Millie.  John Drexel is the oldest son, financially responsible for his family from a young age, he puts their needs and comfort above his own. Stephen Drexel, in my opinion, seems to an entitled brat, at least in the beginning.

This book has beautiful descriptions, family drama, secrets, catastrophic loss, misunderstandings galore and among it all, a wonderful love story.

There is more than one heart that belongs in Glenwood Springs. I will say it again, I loved Millie Cooper.

My favorite line from the book “...she'd choose to trust her Lord, He'd taken her on a choppy, blustery voyage that ended with not with sunshine, but with a rainbow. A promise. One she'd heard before, but hadn't dared to believe. “I will be with you, your troubles to bless.”

Now, I recommend that you all get this book. You will see faith in action and it will touch your heart in ways you can't imagine.

*I purchased a Kindle copy of this book but must thank Barbour Publishing for providing me with an early copy. No review was required but I cannot help but share my love for this series of My Heart Belongs books. 

Check out ALL the My Heart Belongs books from Barbour (click here) and download a series tracker!!!

Publisher's Book Description
Millie Cooper, fisherman’s-daughter-turned-nurse, flees a painful entanglement with the wealthy Drexel family who summered near her childhood home in Nantucket, only to encounter them again six years later in Glenwood Springs. The serenity of her mountain hideaway in a town with healing springs is disrupted when she faces caring for the elderly mother and the expectant wife of Stephen Drexel, the man she’d once loved—at the request of his brother John, the man who’d kept them apart. Will Millie forgive the wrongs she feels were done to her, or will she come to see them as a blessing in disguise that leads her to greater joys?

Journey now to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, of 1888 and meet a woman on the precipice of unexpected love.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this review for a chance to win a paperback copy of My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs, ColoradoMillie's Resolve by Rebecca Jepson! (Void where prohibited by law.)

13 May 2018

Tribute to Mama by Teresa S. Mathews

Mama for all the things you did for me when I was just a child; 
I’d really like to tell you thanks and to see your pretty smile. 

I would love to show you a million ways just how much I care, 
one more hug, one more kiss and or just some time to share. 

Mama, if only I could see your face, my joy would be complete, 
or hear you call my name in prayer, that, would be so sweet. 

How did the years go by so fast, how did they slip away? 
How did we not have forever, our goodbyes to say? 

Now you’re up in Heaven living without a care; 
seeing all your loved ones and talking to Jesus there.

Thank you, Mama for telling me about God’s salvation plan, 
so when it comes my time to go I’ll meet you in that land. 

Mama I sure do love you and I just wanted you to know, 
I will carry you in my heart, no matter where I go.

Teresa S. Mathews © 2018

I lost my sweet mom in October 27, 2016, it was right at the time I had found out I had breast cancer. I am so grateful for the fact that mom and dad had taught me about Jesus so I knew I had a refuge to run to when it felt as though my life was falling apart. It had only been a little over 15 months since I lost the love of my life, (Carlton) to cancer.

With my faith in God I was able to come out on the other side, then November 4, 2017 my precious mother-in-law was called home suddenly. That was another blow, since she had always been my other mom. I felt as though she was the only other person that knew the depth of grieve I felt when Carlton passed. 

Today I am feeling the loss of two great women of God, who truly lived the Proverbs 31 life, Flossie Sharpe and Shelby Mathews.

Proverbs 31:10-31

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

JAN 14, 1927 - OCT 27, 2016
APRIL 25-1939 - NOV 3, 2017 

11 May 2018

Backcountry Brides -- More Reviews by Regina Fujitani

The Backcountry Brides Collection (Barbour Publishing, May 2018)
More Reviews by Regina Fujitani

"Hearts of Nantahala" by Jennifer Hudson Taylor
Mabel owns a successful lumber mill. Every man wants to marry her so they can inherit all she has. Except for Joe, he comes with business proposal that’s too hard to resist. Its a delight to be reading Jennifer’s books again! Another talented and gifted writer.

"A Heart So Tender" by Debra E. Marvin
A delightful tale between Arch and Susannah. Arch is a Lt. and is a soldier through and through. He was talked into watching over the Kimball family. That’s when he meets the lovely Susannah. A great story by Debra!

"A Worthy Groom" by Angela K. Couch
Marcus and Lorinda have a lot to learn as married couple. Lorinda has every right to fear men. Marcus has to win her heart and show her his not like the other Cowden men. Things start happening around the farm...who can it be? A wonderful story of strength in trials and forgiveness. Importantly loving those who are around you.

"Love's Undoing" by Gabrielle Meyer
Home is truly where the heart is. Abi has to discover this sentiment all too well. All is not fresh roses in Montreal. Henry discovers more to his life and who is a worthy bride.

Giveaway: We're giving away a paperback copy of The Backcountry Brides Collection this week. Leave a comment on this post and on Shannon McNear's Character Interview for up to two entries for the prize! 

09 May 2018

Beneath A Prairie Moon Audiobook by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Beneath a Prairie Moon by Kim Vogel Sawyer, Recorded Books, Image from Audible.com
Beneath a Prairie Moon 
by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Fantastic Story -- Compelling Listen!

I downloaded my listen from Audible.com. I loved this story! It was a great story and beautiful characterization. I recently reviewed another Kim Vogel Sawyer title, so I'm on a roll! I had my first cataract surgery last week and another next week. 

You will definitely find the heroine, Abigail, very difficult to take at first. She's a handful! Opinionated, high strung, and with "rules, rules, rules" her leading guide. Whew! But she has suffered much and she has a good heart beneath all that prissiness. I love that we got a second romance in this story, with Abigail's boss.  Or is it a romance? Hmm. Seems like one. But I might have been wrong. Maybe that's a strong friendship, due to their age difference. Maybe the author is leading up to something else...

Hero Mack is wonderful. You'll love him from the start. And he'd never be satisfied by a passive sweet wife. Wait -- he is one of the only ones not wanting a mail-order bride. But this guy needs a wife. Trust me, I know the type! With all the head-butting he and Abigail do, it would be a wonder if they could overcome their differences and be friends much less sweethearts. Will Kim Vogel Sawyer work her magic on these two?

Highly Recommend! This novel is available in multiple formats. Check out CBD's options.

Publisher's summary: Abigail Brantley grew up in affluence and knows exactly how to behave in high society. But when she is cast from the social registers due to her father's illegal dealings, she finds herself forced into a role she never imagined: tutoring rough Kansas ranchers in the subjects of manners and morals so they can "marry up" with their mail-order brides. Mack Cleveland, whose father was swindled by a mail-order bride, wants no part of the scheme to bring Eastern women to Spiveyville, Kansas, and he's put off by the snooty airs and fastidious behavior of the "little city gal" in their midst. But as time goes by, his heart goes out.

06 May 2018

Emotional Camouflage -- Heroine Interview with Shannon McNear

Actress Mila Kunis is OWG's inspiration for Lizzy Cunningham
 "The Counterfeit Tory"  
In – The Backcountry Brides Collection (Barbour, May 2018)

 HEROINE Lizzy Cunningham             

Strong heroines have become as cliché as anything else in recent years, and I tend to like atypical characters. So when this tough girl first introduced herself to me as “too sharp-tongued for any man to put up with,” I knew she had to possess some hidden vulnerability.
            And wow, did she ever.
            Lizzy Cunningham is the daughter of a loyalist innkeeper, and the fictional cousin of the infamous William Cunningham. Quite a dangerous thing in the middle of increasingly “rebel” (aka patriot) territory. In the years since her mother’s death, her father and brothers grew neglectful and abusive by turns, and that sharp tongue has been both her defense and camouflage. She isn’t necessarily sharp edged by choice—she’s really just trying to avoid trouble while helping keep the family business afloat. But why should she expect any man to come to her defense when those closest to her see her as a step above slave labor (or perhaps don’t value her even that much), or treat her as a plaything for their own entertainment? And it isn’t like she’s anything to look at, either. (Jed wishes me to tell you that she is indeed beautiful … that her hair is an abundant, glossy brown, like wood well polished, and that her eyes hold all the hues of a Carolina autumn day—blue, green, and brown with flecks of amber.)
            Imagine such a girl’s shock, and fear, when a decent-acting (and -looking) man sails into her life and not only notices her situation, but expresses a wish to alleviate the issue. Why would she not immediately be suspicious? And what a terrible risk it is to hope that the goodwill he speaks is indeed genuine!
            Why does Lizzy keep finding herself choosing to not expose his suspicious behavior to her father and brothers? Worse, why does she find it so easy to not only trust him, despite her family’s political leanings, but give him her own heart?


And the prequel, The Highwayman, is now available as a standalone:  (click here to purchase)

Author Shannon McNear
After more than two decades in the South, Shannon McNear now makes her home on the windy northern plains with her husband, four of their eight children, two German Shepherds, four cats, several chickens, and a noisy flock of guinea fowl. She serves in worship and youth ministry, and has been writing novel-length fiction since age 15. Her first novella, Defending Truth, from A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® nominee. When not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the Dakota prairies.

You can connect with Shannon on her website as well as on:

GIVEAWAY: We're giving away a paperback copy of The Backcountry Brides Collection on the blog this week. Get an entry by leaving a comment here on this post and on our review post later in the week! 

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