25 September 2018

Jen Turano's Caught By Surprise Audiobook

Once again, author Jen Turano delivers the goods -- a wonderfully enjoyable listen! I loved Temperance's character as well as Gilbert's! Such a fun listen. Caught by Surprise on Audible.com is narrated by Lauren Ezzo who did a great job bringing the characters to life! The Audiobook is from Two Words Publishing LLC. 

Caught by Surprise is available in multiple formats besides audio: paperback, ebook, and hardcover. So you can enjoy it is the manner you most prefer! Check out the links to purchase on Jen's page for this title. Bethany House is the publisher.

Here's the publisher's summary: Miss Temperance Flowerdew is on her way to work when a stranger suddenly grabs her off the street and sends her on a Chicago-bound train before she can figure out what happened.

When Mr. Gilbert Cavendish is called upon to rescue a missing woman, he follows the trail to Chicago only to discover that the woman is his good friend Temperance. Before they can discover who was behind the abduction, they’re seen alone together by a New York society matron, putting their reputations at risk.

Gilbert is willing to propose marriage–except Temperance will have none of it. She’s finally stepped out of the shadow of her relations and won’t give up her independence. But when it becomes clear the misunderstanding in Chicago has escalated into a threat on her life and followed her to New York, accepting Gilbert’s help in solving the mystery may lead to more than she ever could have dreamed.

Giveaway: I'm giving away a box of Christian fiction books this week to one of the commenters on my review posts. Leave a comment on this and my other review to enter!

16 September 2018

Deceit & Greed in Victorian Times -- Giveaway

In my latest release, the novella The Sugarplum Ladies, in The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection, my heroine, Eugenie Mott finds herself in a situation where someone is lying about her. Not only does this man claim that she is his fiancĂ© (she never accepted his offer) but he announces it in the newspaper! She's a wealthy Detroit heiress and a "do gooder" working with Civil War widows who are learning catering skills. Set immediately after the Civil War, in Victorian times, my heroine is up against a conniving man who is using deceit to make his greedy dreams come true. 

In those days, an announcement of an engagement could be perceived as a contractual agreement. Lucky for my heroine, she has an American attorney who can help her out. And the handsome Canadian barrister, Percy Gladstone, also lends aid!

Blurb: The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1867 Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and Detroit, Michigan
When Canadian barrister Percy Gladstone finds his aristocratic British family unexpectedly descending upon him for Christmas, he turns to American social reformer Eugenie Mott and her fledgling catering crew for help.

Bio – Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of sixteen Christian historical romances, including ECPA bestsellers. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper,” in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.
My Pinterest page for “The Sugarplum Ladies” 

GIVEAWAY: Have you ever had someone lie about you and use deceitful means to do you harm? How did God send help your way?  Answer the question for a chance to win a copy of this beautiful new release! 

19 August 2018

Seasons of Change by Carrie Fancett Pagels & Giveaway!

Mackinac Island Harbor, View from the Fort

Seasons of Change
by Carrie Fancett Pagels

It's that time of year again--Summer's end! Here around the Straits of Mackinac, tourists are still flocking to see the beauty of the area. But there are fewer and fewer families, fewer children. Many, you see, are preparing to go back to school. Some students have even begun their studies, again. Meanwhile, in Virginia, temperatures still hover around 90 degrees. Yikes! We've had an unusually warm (frequent days in the 80's) here in upper Michigan and quite dry, triggering concern throughout the state for this excessive dry spell.

Like the seasons of the year, seasons in our life evolve. For some people, the season of end-of-life brings many things to the forefront, particularly family and possible regrets and also the focus on joys previously experienced. Entering the "Golden Years" of life also brings its many issues -- loss of friends who have died, loss of physical strength yet also the wisdom that comes from having experienced many things in life and also the joy of an expanding family with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Mackinac Island's beautiful Arch Rock -- from the Road

For first time kindergarteners, first year in middle school, that big freshman year of high school, and entry to college -- all are major stepping stones in life. Very exciting yet also potentially stressful, especially for students with special needs.
Fort Michilimackinac's late summer garden -- Mackinaw City, Michigan

I'm working on my first Women's Fiction in over a decade and I've been focusing on the changes women face in their lives. This has been a summer season of coping with health challenges and trying to get in book signings, author speaking engagements, and find placement for books as well as doing research for this current Work-in-Progress and other stories I've been working on. It's been an exciting time and a very different type of lifestyle than I normally have!
Entrance to Mackinac Bridge, Sunset over Lake Michigan, from Michilimackinac's Park in Mackinaw City, Michigan

I'll be gone from Michigan before the beautiful autumn leaves begin to change, but I'll have enjoyed this gorgeous summer season.  How about you? Have you enjoyed your summer or this particular season of life?

My Christy Lumber Camp Series' covers have gotten an update! Change is everywhere isn't it?

Giveaway: Leave a comment for a chance to win a set of these books (one long novella and two short novels!) set around the Straits of Mackinac in the 1890's -- in Mackinaw City, St. Ignace, Mackinac Island, and Newberry, Michigan!

16 August 2018

My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas: Madeline's Search by Kathleen Y'Barbo

Barbour Publishing (2018)

Publisher Summary:
Journey now to Galveston, Texas, of 1880...
Where is Mrs. Smith's granddaughter? Who is the mysterious Mrs. Smith?

Pinkerton agent Jonah Cahill is hired by the mysterious widow to find her lost granddaughter, rumored to be living in Galveston, Texas. Though Jonah prefers to travel alone, Mrs. Smith insists that she and her companion accompany him. Madeline Latour, investigative reporter, has been acting as Mrs. Smith’s assistant for several months, and Madeline will not allow anyone—even a Pinkerton agent—to ruin the story of a lifetime. The pair forges an uneasy truce as the investigation grows dangerous.

Is there a bigger story beyond a missing girl to be revealed?

Andrea Stephens' Review

I don't think I'm spoiling anything if I say, “Yes. There is a bigger story beyond a missing girl!”
What a great story it is too! Kathleen Y'Barbo gives us an adventure-filled tale of a missing granddaughter, possible pirate treasure, mysteries and the reluctant reuniting of a formerly engaged couple. Will they be able to get over past betrayal and find love again? You will have to read the book yourself to find out!

Jonah Cahill grew up in a house built on top of land that famed pirate Jean Lafitte built and burned his house down, leaving behind the legacy of the possibly buried treasure. As a child, Jonah enjoyed digging holes in the basement but never found anything. Now grown, he is a Pinkerton Detective working a private case for Mrs. Smith, searching for her long lost granddaughter.

Madeline Latour, comes from a family of professional secret keepers. She works at a newspaper in New Orleans but is posing, undercover, as a writer working for Madame (Mrs. Smith) putting all her memories on paper, while secretly hoping to find a bigger story.

I liked how Jonah says, “Hello, Madeline.” when he sees her. The banter between the two is very entertaining. The two are not exactly happy about working with each other in the beginning, but do eventually remember that they once “made a good team.”  Once they overcome their past, they realize they still make a good team.

As Jonah and Madeline search for Madam's granddaughter, we meet many interesting characters, some with mysteries of their own that need solving.

It's very hard to write a review for this book without giving spoilers. There are many plot twists and several surprises. I will tell you that I loved it and did not want it to end.
The faith element is lightly sprinkled throughout the book and I really liked how Jonah listened to “that still small voice.”

This is another 5 Star book for me! I highly recommend it. If you are a history buff, Kathleen provides some very interesting author notes, telling us some real history and where she had to bend it a little for this fictional story.

The My Heart Belongs series is taking a summer break and will return in November with
My Heart Belongs in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Clarissa's Conflict by Murray Pura. I can't wait to read it!

Purchase: You can view ALL the My Heart Belongs books and find links to purchase at this link: http://www.myheartbelongs.com

Giveaway: A copy of My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas: Madeline's Search by Kathleen Y'Barbo. Answer this question: What is your "happy place" for vacation?

29 July 2018

Different Kinds of Beauty

Isn't this cream colored daylily from the Straits of Mackinac lovely? It lacks color in the main part of the petals yet it has a bright purple and yellow center, drawing your eye right there!  I'l admit I'm accustomed to seeing mostly a common orange daylily where I live. Something more like the flower pictured below.

Not only does the cream-colored daylily lack the orange pigmentation but it is much shorter than the orange daylily which looks much like mine in Virginia. I've come to think of this type of daylily as the typical or expected variety. So I've come to compare other daylilies to this type. It's everywhere. So common. And a standard of daylily beauty.
This pretty pale peach daylily has broad smooth petals. It is medium tall. It isn't flashy, but it is a very pretty flower. It catches your eye mainly for its simplicity. With fully open smooth petals it reminds me of an open-hearted and warm person.
This deep red, almost maroon colored daylily has a lot of flare to it, doesn't it? The petals flare back more sharply than the other daylilies. It is showy and certainly not a shy wallflower!

These twin buttery yellow daylilies have a delicate perfection and look rather star-like. It has a clean beauty. A soft almost shy feeling to the flower draws you to it.

God created all these variations in the daylilies. How many more does he create in people? He puts beauty in us all. 

Question: Which flower do you feel your personality most resembles?  

01 July 2018

Interview with Kelly Goshorn's Heroine, Ruth from "A Love Restored"

CFP: I was privileged to receive an advanced copy of "A Love Restored", a new release from Kelly Goshorn of Virginia. And I gave an endorsement to this book!  Kelly is having her heroine, Ruth Ann, visit with us today for an interview!

Ruth Ann, welcome to Overcoming With God. We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers.

Hello Carrie,
Thank you for inviting me to visit with your readers today. Kelly has asked me to share our painful struggle with weight and self-perception. By way of introduction, my name is Ruth Ann Sutton. I am the heroine in her novel, A Love Restored. She created me to tell her own story. Did you know that? A Love Restored is the retelling of her real-life romance with her husband, Mike. She chose to set the story in the 1870s because she is a . . . what’s the word I’m looking for here? Oh right, she calls herself a “history geek.”

Before we get started, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am twenty years old and the youngest of two daughters born to my parents, Charles and Hannah Sutton. My father died suddenly when I was thirteen and I miss him terribly. The locket he gave me always adorns my neck. My older sister, Sarah, was married by my age. She is beautiful and petite—just like mama. I’m quite the opposite. With broad shoulders, round hips and a head full of unruly curls, I haven’t had many suitors. Look at me prattling on and I barely know you. If mama were here, she’d remind me that “young ladies should be seen and not heard.”

Would you tell us about the one of the most difficult things in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? 
Like Kelly, I have struggled with weight issues my entire life. Suitors have been scarce. Mama has arranged for me to marry James Thornton, the son of a prominent Virginia politician. I find him a bit dull. If you don’t mind me being frank, which I am prone to be, I believe he’s more interested in my familial connections than me, as a woman. Mama says I should be grateful for his attention because in her words, “Gentlemen do not court and marry a woman who is plump and opinionated. They desire a woman who is a reflection of themselves and the image they want to convey to their contemporaries.”

Mama’s “simple truth,” coupled with schoolyard taunts and empty dance cards, created a lasting impression that I was unworthy. Overtime, I allowed my self-worth to be determined by a yardstick that measured my value according to the size of my waist or the flatness of my stomach, always coming up short. I yearned for a love that would look upon my heart and find inestimable worth, despite my physical flaws. Why was it so hard to believe a man might find me attractive? Even love me?

I replayed the unkind words of others in my mind until I became so defined by the negative comments and opinions of those surrounding me, I no longer saw anything to esteem in myself. No matter the exact phrasing, it all boiled down to the same thing in my mind—I was undesirable, therefore unlovable. At my lowest point, I curled my hand around a bottle of laudanum and began chugging the bitter liquid hoping to escape the pain I could no longer bear.

What helped you get through or helped you cope with this difficulty?
While the enemy taunted me that night reminding me how unworthy I was, another voice spoke to my damaged heart reminding me of His great love for me. His voice was so clear and unmistakable that I wonder if I did not hear our Lord’s audible voice telling me that indeed I was not a mistake and that He loved me more than any man ever would. The overwhelming weight of inadequacy that had burdened my spirit since childhood disappeared, replaced by a soothing peace that soaked into my parched soul like water in the dessert.

What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times?

This is a wonderful question because even though God intervened and prevented me from hurting myself that dreadful night, the process of “taking every thought captive,” as the Bible instructs us to do, had only just begun. Months were spent in tearful prayer and every time the enemy whispered negative thoughts in my ear, I had to replace them with scriptural truth until the pattern was broken. These are some of the verses that spoke to my heart during that dark time.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Cor 10:5

For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7b

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:14

And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten. Joel 2:25a

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart. Psalm 34:18a

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

What do you hope readers will gain from your story?
A Love Restored is not only a story of love, romance, heartache and restoration, but also a story about the power of words over our lives. It is a story about the struggle each of us faces to take our thoughts captive to the truth of Scripture so we may experience the fullness of God’s unequivocal love for us. As Benjamin and I discover, it is only then that we are truly able to give and receive love, unconditionally.

My prayer for you and your lovely readers is that you will not allow the enemy to steal the joy that is rightfully yours as a child of God. Speak the truth of the gospel over yourself every day and ask God to give you His eyes to see yourself as He does.

"A Love Restored" Book blurb:
She was nothing like the woman he’d envisioned for his bride, but he was everything she’d ever dreamed of—until a promise from his past threatened their future.
With pert opinions and a less-than-perfect figure, Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to society’s vision of a perfect lady. When she accepts a position teaching in a Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer Ruth Ann is likely to receive. She’s forced to choose between life as a lonely spinster or reinventing herself to secure a respectable proposal.

Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Coulter’s reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earn him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor for the railroad—a position that will garner the respect of other men. After a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, Benjamin is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality.

When others ridicule his choice, will Benjamin listen to his heart or put ambition first?

Question you’d like to ask readers: How do you handle thoughts of inadequacy? What scriptures do you rely on in those times?

Kelly weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith and family set in nineteenth century America. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Kelly has been enjoying her own happily-ever-after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for 28 years. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, scrapbooking with friends, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi.

Kelly’s Links:
You can connect with Kelly through her Newsletter, Website, Facebook,Twitter, Pinterestor Instagram.

26 June 2018

Audiobook Review: The Accidental Guardian By: Mary Connealy

The Accidental Guardian
By: Mary Connealy
Narrated by: Morgan Hallett
Series: High Sierra Sweethearts, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 16 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 04-03-18
Publisher: Recorded Books

Five Stars All Around! *****
Five Stars for Performance & for Story *****

Stellar Listen!

I'll admit I got pretty mad at Mary Connealy when I started listening to this story. You see, I like to listen to my audiobooks while I am doing something. Since I'm getting ready to make my transition to up North, Mackinaw City, for the summer, I'm super busy. I started listening to Mary's new audiobook and it was SO AMAZINGLY GOOD that I did not want to miss a word! ACK! What's a girl to do?  So I had to maneuver my listening around so that I did truly mindless tasks, on autopilot, while I listened to this amazing audiobook. And I'll admit that I also laid down and listened to it at bedtime, too!

The hero, Trace, is one of the best heroes I've come across in a long time. He's top of the line! And Deborah is a perfect match for him, a strong but super lovable heroine. The tension and pacing in this story couldn't have been better.  The narrator was perfect for the story, too.

Highly recommend! Don't miss out on this story!!! I purchased my copy via Audible.com and listened to it on my Audible app on my iPhone. 

Publisher's Summary

When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes the hand behind the attack as the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he'd finally carved out a home and started a herd - while serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail, driving off dangerous men. He'd hoped those days were over, but the latest attack shows he was wrong.

Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace offers the only shelter for miles around and agrees to take them in until she can safely continue. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture, and their arrival is unsettling - yet enticing. Working to survive the winter and finally bring justice to the trail, Trace and Deborah find themselves drawn together - yet every day approaches the moment she'll leave forever.

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