19 June 2018

Audiobook Review - A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden

A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden, Audiobook
A Daring Venture
By: Elizabeth Camden
Narrated by: Rachel Botchan
Length: 10 hrs and 46 mins
Release date: 06-05-18
Publisher: Recorded Books

Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels

I purchased my copy as a download from Audible.com. 

My Ratings: Five Stars Story, Five Stars Overall *****
Narration was okay but could have been better. I gave this Three Stars. It didn't affect my enjoyment of the story so much as annoyed me. The accents were very different than in the first book in this series, which I loved.  A Dangerous Legacy was narrated by Morgan Hallett, who did a stellar job. So my caveat to the listener is to add a pair of "New Jersey over-accented filters" on your ears while you listen! 

Story and characterization was solid and very enjoyable. Elizabeth Camden is an amazing writer. This is a wonderful series set just after the turn-of-the-century. Camden portrayed biochemist Rosalind beautifully, incorporating nuances of the scientific mind. Similarly her characterization of Nick, a former plumber with a heart of gold, takes into account his blue collar roots without overdoing it. I loved, loved, loved the start of this book where Camden gives us the poignant backstory for Dr. Rosalind Werner. Definitely shed some tears there and it totally sets you up to understand her motivation.

There's a lot of tension in this story, both romantic and in the story line. Camden is a master at pacing. A master of writing. Period.

You'll find yourself looking forward to every one of your listening sessions for A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden!

Publisher's Summary
Dr. Rosalind Werner is at the forefront of a groundbreaking new water technology - if only she can get support for her work. Nicholas, Commissioner of Water for New York, is skeptical - and surprised by his reaction to Rosalind. While they fight against their own attraction, they stand on opposite sides of a battle that will impact thousands of lives.

As a biochemist in early 1900s New York, Doctor Rosalind Werner has dedicated her life to the crusade against waterborne diseases. She is at the forefront of a groundbreaking technology that will change the way water is delivered to every household in the city - but only if she can get people to believe in her work.

Newly appointed Commissioner of Water for New York, Nicholas Drake, is highly skeptical of Rosalind and her team's techniques. When a brewing court case throws him into direct confrontation with her, he is surprised by his reaction to the lovely scientist. While Rosalind and Nick wage a private war against their own attraction, they stand firmly on opposite sides of a battle that will impact far more than just their own lives.

As the controversy grows more public and inflammatory and Rosalind becomes the target of an unknown enemy, the odds stacked against these two rivals swiftly grow more insurmountable with every passing day.

This book is available in multiple formats. If you do a sample listen of the story on audible.com and you're not happy with the narrator, go buy an ebook or paperback copy!

Highly Recommend!!!
Question: Do you listen to more audiobooks in the summer?

14 June 2018

Giveaway: Andrea Stephens' review of "Shenandoah Hearts" by Carrie Fancett Pagels

"Shenandoah Hearts" by Carrie Fancett Pagels novella in The Backcountry Brides Collection (Barbour, May 2018)

Andrea Stephens' review of "Shenandoah Hearts"
First, I have to say I had the distinct pleasure of being a beta reader for this novella. I loved the story when I read it the first time. It was fun to see the subtle changes and final edits when I read this published version, making me love it even more. Carrie Fancett Pagels does not disappoint with this fictional telling of the beginnings of the French-Indian war.

The main story is about Magdalene and Jacob. They worked together in a shop in Philadelphia, each
having unspoken feelings for the other. Magda moved with her family to the Shenandoah Valley where three of her brothers have built a cabin for the entire family. Jacob is enticed by his brothers to join the same wagon train and move himself, ending up close to where Magda and her family have settled. I loved the back and forth flirting between Magda and Jacob. The family banter and teasing by both of their families. Magda's ailing mother even says to her “You and that Jacob are just alike in keeping your feelings too...too close...”

Magdalene was all to aware of their different stations in Philadelphia but “out here in the valley, by these blue mountains, those differences in status seemed to disappear.” No spoilers but just when I thought they would get together, the war begins and everyone from the surrounding settlements move within the walls of the fort. Despite the tension and all the hard work war brings, the romance develops and feelings grow. There are also some surprises for other family members as well.

I loved this story and was very satisfied with the epilogue. Honestly, a tear escaped my eye and fell onto the last page.

I highly recommend it to all.

You can read a clip of the collection by clicking here!

Blurb: Shenandoah Hearts by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1754 - Great Wagon Road, into the Shenandoah Valley (Virginia)
As the French-Indian War commences, Magda Sehler wonders if Jacob Owens lost his mind to have abandoned his Philadelphia business and moved to the Shenandoah Valley. Or has he lost his heart?

Check out the Christmas Anthology associated with Carrie's story on the Colonial Quills group blog (Click Here).



GIVEAWAY: We're giving away a copy of The Backcountry Brides Collection this week -- leave a comment on today's review and on Carrie's post on having branches trimmed for two entries.

10 June 2018

When God Severely "Trims" Your Branches by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Sometimes when we are "Overcoming With God" then He puts us through a season of severe trials. While those times are terrible, He never leaves us without a benefit. Are you running around a lot doing things but not feeling satisfaction? Maybe you need some spiritual trimming.

Because we only get so much TIME on this earth. And if part of our fleshly self, or an abundance of ourself, isn't in alignment with what God needs to do with us while we are here, then He has to deal with that. And we do want to be pleasing to God, don't we? And what He brings about can bless you and others.  Hard to imagine that being trimmed down to the core of what God wants us to do can feel "right" but it can.

Having been through a number of seasons of difficulty, including almost five years where I could barely walk, I can tell you that your life will be readjusted by God. He may prune out works of the flesh that are for getting praise or something out of doing the behavior. Works that were never motivated by pleasing God. Are you a people pleaser? Ouch! That may require some huge branches being cut from your life. But when God takes away those opportunities to be a people pleaser He's doing you a huge favor. Because then you grow closer to Him and realize that trying to please people is futile. You don't want to feel frustrated by that, do you?
Four Seasons from Wikipedia
Are you working a system when you're doing your good works because you want something out of them? If you do some favor you're always expecting the favor to be returned? God may take away your ability to even extend such favors. Do all to please God. A caveat here, though--be sure that it is God telling you to help and not simply sympathy for the person. Let the Holy Spirit direct your path.

When we're engaging in nonannointed works, it seems like there's something in the way. It's hard. We're frustrated. We're engaging in dead works. But don't we really want to do what God has planned for us? It may be a far narrower view than what we had of our lives being. But in working with the Holy Spirit there is an ease that comes. A satisfaction that what we're doing is "right".

Life passes quickly. When you look at the big picture of things, when you're engaging in activities that aren't done for God, you'll welcome that pruning. Sometimes we get so engaged in being "busy" with stuff that seems important we really do miss that point. And God may have to step in with a tree trimmer or even a chain saw if what you are doing isn't producing "good fruit"

The following is a great companion passage from the NIV version of the Bible. Thank you to Bible Gateway for the passage.
1 Corinthians 3: 10-15
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

Takeaway: Giving God the glory. Taking the high road even when it hurts. Making our lives about what God wants us to do. All those things will make the sting of the trimming worth it all! 

Giveaway: In my novella "Shenandoah Hearts", in The Backcountry Brides Collection,  both the heroine and the hero go through some severe trimming.  I'm giving away a copy of of this collection this week. Comment on this post or on Andrea Stephens' review of my novella later in the week to get up to two entries.

05 June 2018

In Places Hidden by Tracie Peterson, Audiobook Review

In Places Hidden (Recorded Books)
by Tracie Peterson
Narrated by Angela Lin
Golden Gate Secrets Series Book 1

Audiobook Review
by Carrie Fancett Pagels

What a great start to this new series by one of my favorite authors, Tracie Peterson! And I've listened to many of her audiobooks (she has over 100 books released!) but this is one of my favorites. The narrator did a wonderful job of bringing the story to life.

Camri is a fiesty young woman searching for her missing brother. The secrets and intrigue really move the story along. Patrick is a compassionate young man with a heart of gold. These two are from very different backgrounds but their common interest in finding her brother, Caleb, fosters a friendship.

Highly recommend In Places Hidden especially on audiobook! Set in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, you'll love the setting, especially the chocolate factory.

Read about the other two novels in Tracie's Golden Gate Secrets Series (click here.)

Publisher's summary: On her way to San Francisco to find her brother, Caleb, who went missing three months ago, Camriann Coulter meets Judith and Kenzie, who both have their own mysteries to solve in the booming West Coast city. The women decide to help each other, including rooming together and working at Kenzie’s cousin’s chocolate factory. Camri’s search for her brother, an attorney, leads her deep into the political corruption of the city–and into the acquaintance of Patrick Murdock, a handsome Irishman who was saved from a false murder charge by Caleb. Patrick challenges all of Camri’s privileged beliefs, but he knows more about what happened to her brother than anyone else. Together, they move closer to the truth behind Caleb’s disappearance. But as the stakes rise and threats loom, will Patrick be able to protect Camri from the dangers he knows lie in the hidden places of the city?

31 May 2018

Giveaway - Becky Wade's Audiobook - Falling For You

I listened to my audiobook via an audible.com download. I have a platinum membership.

I read the second book first. You can listen to or read this book first without having read the first one. I think you'll get more out of listening to the first. I plan to re-listen to this audiobook now that I have read the first one.

Falling for You
By: Becky Wade
Narrated by: Stephanie Cozart
Series: Bradford Sisters, Book 2
Length: 13 hrs and 8 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-11-18
Language: English
Publisher: Recorded Books

My Review

Fantastic Fiction!
Author Becky Wade did an amazing job on this contemporary Christian romance. This is Book 2 in The Bradford Sisters series. Willow Bradford, despite being a supermodel, is a relatable heroine. She's sweet, lovely, and has a strong faith. She's not perfect and she's trying to cope with people who think she is supposed to be so. Hero Corbin Stewart has his own issues. He has a spiritual arc that unfolds beautifully in the story. He has some significant life issues and changes that he must cope with that make this NFL quarterback also more sympathetic.

This story moves forward at a brisk pace with great characterization, wonderful narrator and author's voice, and storyline. Highly recommend! You'll love this novel! I did, and I don't normally read contemporary fiction. Becky Wade has become a new favorite author.


Publisher's Summary

Famously beautiful model Willow Bradford is taking a temporary break from her hectic schedule to work as the innkeeper at her family's small-town bed-and-breakfast. She was enjoying the peace of her hometown, Merryweather, Washington, right up until she came face-to-face with Corbin Stewart, the man she loves to hate. A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin - and suffered the consequences when it all fell apart.

Former NFL quarterback Corbin is forceful, charming, and accustomed to getting what he wants...except where Willow Bradford is concerned. Unable to forget her, he's never stopped regretting what happened between them. When their paths unexpectedly cross again, he's determined to make her give him a second chance.

When a decades-old missing persons case finds Corbin and Willow working together, they're forced to confront their past and who they've become - and whether they can risk falling for one another all over again.
©2018 Rebecca C. Wade (P)2018 Recorded Books
You can follow the links to purchase on Becky's Books page (click here.)
Giveaway: Becky Wade has graciously offered to give away a copy of one of the Bradford Sisters Books this week! So leave a comment on this post or on the earlier review of Book One.

29 May 2018

Becky Wade True To You Audiobook Review

True to You
By: Becky Wade
Narrated by: Stephanie Cozart
Series: Bradford Sisters, Book 1
Length: 13 hrs and 38 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-02-17
Language: English
Publisher: Recorded Books
4.5 out of 5 stars 4.6 (98 ratings)

A Lovely Listen!

I had two cataract surgeries in May and a good part of the time my resolving vision didn't allow for reading with my eyes. I am not much of a contemporary Christian fiction reader but I was drawn to the descriptions of Becky Wade's Bradford Sisters series. So I listened the the newest audiobook (second in the series) first and then went back and listened to book one, True to You. This is not my fave genre but I loved these books, Becky Wade's voice, her characterization. This Christy-award winning author has the whole shebang! 

Becky Wade's Bradford Sisters' series, so far, in my opinion, second, can be read out of order as standalone. I think you might (didn't affect me though) enjoy them more to listen in order. True to you, with heroine Nora Bradford, was a little slower start than her sister Willow's story. Nora is a very different sister from Willow. The narrator, Stephanie Cozart did an amazing job of capturing the author's version of Nora's voice--so much so that I thought it was a different narrator at first! 

You'll fall in love with sweet Nora, who is a geeky young woman who needs to own her personal beauty and not compete with her gorgeous sisters. John Lawson is the perfect hero to Nora's heroine. Their chemistry is a joy to behold. You'll be rooting for them both, all the way. And Becky Wade does a great job of working in elements of healing, faith, hope, and coping with end of life issues and disabilities. 

I was a psychologist for twenty-five years, and we also have extended family members with bipolar disorder. To have it addressed in a Christian novel was both touching and refreshing. It was handled well. John is suffering from an inherited condition, a disabling condition, (I won't do spoilers here), that I also haven't seen addressed. This blog is all about overcoming -- so I have to say this book would be the best one I've read this year about coping with and overcoming issues.

Also, I have an interest in Christians whose behavior is toxic. "Grandma" in this story borders on toxic but she's handled with so much humor and grace by the heroine and her family that I was snorting out loud with laughter.

Downside of listening to these books -- now I have to wait for the next after the first two. "Because of You" is a novella in The Christmas Heirloom novella collection releasing in 2018. Upside -- there's a novella, a prequel novella also available on audible.com,  Then Came You, that I just downloaded and plan to listen to ASAP! I've definitely become a Becky Wade fan, despite not being a big fan of contemporary fiction. That's how good her writing is.

Highly Recommend -- this needs to be in your audiobook library pronto! Love this collection!

Publisher's Summary

Exciting start of a brand-new series by a contemporary romance fan favorite.

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100% focused on the present. But when he's diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.

The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John's already dating someone and Nora's not sure she's ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.
©2017 Rebecca C. Wade (P)2017 Recorded Books

Purchase: There are MULTIPLE ways to purchase this novel. Click here.

I have a review up of Falling for You by Becky Wade, scheduled for this Thursday.

Giveaway: Becky has graciously offered a paperback copy of one of the Bradford Sisters series books to one of our readers this week. Simply leave a copy on this post or on the review of Falling for You, to get up to two entries for the drawing! Copy will be shipped after mid-June.

27 May 2018

Debra E. Marvin -- Heroine Susannah Kimbell & Giveaway!

Miss Susannah Kimball’s story, "A Heart So Tender", in The Backcountry Brides collection is story set in July, 1764 at Fort Niagara. This great historical landmark lies at the mouth of the Niagara River where it flows into Lake Ontario. While Susannah lives a rather unusual frontier life as the daughter of the music and literature teacher at Sir William Johnson’s Mohawk School, she is not prepared for the cultural tensions rising at what Sir William, Indian Agent for the Crown, is calling “The Great Gathering”.
Blockhouse at Fort Niagara

Susannah lives in the settlement of Johnstown (NY). There, Sir William has built a community of white settlers and Mohawk families. And he’s succeeding. Johnson is unusually accepting of people of all colors and faiths and has great hopes for peace along the frontier.

Susannah has the same hope.
French Castle at Fort Niagara

It is her dream to open her own school for girls, primarily native girls, but it’s not entirely unselfish. Her adopted brother Benjamin, an Iroquois orphan, straddles two worlds. Teaching would give him a place of respect that he might not otherwise find in the white world, nor among the Haudenosaunee. To celebrate and promote what Susannah believes in, she sings duets with her brother. The Mohawk call her Yonterennothiyo, (She who sings beautifully) or “Songbird”, and in my story, Sir William uses this gift to his advantage as well.

But Susannah has another reason to desire a life of service as a single teacher, a secret she can’t share and one that requires she never fall in love.

I hope you find yourself reading The Backcountry Brides Collection and enjoy my novella, A Heart So Tender for more of Susannah’s story!

CFP: Thanks for visiting with us, Deb!  Readers, you can purchase a copy of Backcountry Brides at:
Check at your local Christian bookstores, e.g., Lifeway, to see if they have copies, too! 

GIVEAWAY:  Tell Deb what Native American history is found in your area for a chance to win a paperback copy!

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