Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review ~ After a Fashion by Jen Turano

Bethany House Publishers

After a Fashion 
A Class of Their Own #1
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 3rd 2015
Miss Harriet Peabody dreams of the day she can open up a shop selling refashioned gowns to independent working women like herself. Unfortunately, when an errand for her millinery shop job goes sadly awry due to a difficult customer, she finds herself out of an income.

Mr. Oliver Addleshaw is on the verge of his biggest business deal yet when he learns his potential partner prefers to deal with men who are settled down and wed. When Oliver witnesses his ex not-quite-fiance cause the hapless Harriet to lose her job, he tries to make it up to her by enlisting her help in making a good impression on his business partner.

Harriet quickly finds her love of fashion can't make her fashionable. She'll never truly fit into Oliver's world, but just as she's ready to call off the fake relationship, fancy dinners, and elegant balls, a threat from her past forces both Oliver and Harriet to discover that love can come in the most surprising packages.

My Review

With a trademark style all her own, Jen Turano has written a witty and fast-paced story set between opulence and despair in 1880’s New York City. 

One of the best things about a Turano book is the dialogue. Honestly, I’m not sure where she comes up with this stuff but it is never flagging. It’s always pushing along at breakneck speed, capturing the excitement and rush of the big city in conversation. I like that because it means I am never bored or mentally exhausted with minute details.

Miss Harriet Peabody and Mr Oliver Addleshaw can’t be more incompatible, or so it seems. I chuckled often when reading about their antics, and actually felt as if I was right there on the pages of the story with them. Now that makes a great book!

I hope that with the introduction of some of the supporting characters that I am seeing the next two books that will be coming along. There are certainly a few characters that need could use their own stories. That’s another plus about Jen’s books. They aren’t overwhelming with people and places. They have just the right mix and that causes me to anticipate and envisage what is to come.

I highly recommend After a Fashion to anyone who enjoys fun, clean historical fiction with an underlying faith theme. Jen Turano delivers every time!

I was gifted a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. No monetary compensation has been received.

About the Author

Jen Turano is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in Clothing and Textiles. She pursued a career in management for nine years before switching to full-time motherhood after the birth of her son. When she's not writing, Jen can be found watching her teenage son participate in various activities, taking long walks with her husband and dog, socializing with friends, or delving into a good book. She lives in suburban Denver, Colorado. Learn more at 

~Have a blessed day~ 


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Page-turner Suspense from Diann Mills and a Giveaway!!!

FBI Agent Laurel Evertson’s investigation into a scam targeting the elderly takes an unexpected twist when key evidence leads her to Morton Wilmington, a felon she arrested five years ago on her first undercover assignment. That case has haunted her since, and though she’s vowed to forget Wilmington—and what she sacrificed to put him away—he is now her best lead.
Houston Police Officer Daniel Hilton fears his grandparents may be the scammer’s next targets, and he’ll do anything to protect his family—even force interagency cooperation. But he’s quickly drawn to Laurel’s empathy and zeal and agrees to follow her lead . . . even if it means teaming up with a felon.
As the unlikely trio uncovers evidence suggesting the scam is more extensive and deadly than they imagined, both Laurel and Daniel find themselves in the crosshairs of a killer. Together they must decide if they can trust Wilmington’s claims of redemption, or if he’s leading them straight into a double cross.

This is Diann's newest book. Doesn't it sound fantastic?! I have never been disappointed in one of her stories. She's one of the best suspense writers in Christian Fiction. 

 And she's having this AWESOME giveaway!!!

Just click on the image above and it will take you to her website. From there, follow the instructions to be entered in the giveaway. 

Pssst...they are the same as on the graphic above but you can check out her other books while you are there. ;)
Do NOT enter here on my blog!!!

Have fun and I hope one of you wins!

~Have a blessed day~

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Exciting Times for our Family

I dropped off the radar this month and I haven't regretted it a bit. On April 17th, our oldest son graduated from USAF BMT (Basic Military Training). We drove 21 hours to San Antonio, TX to share in the joy of this huge accomplishment in his life.

image taken by my husband
After 7 1/2 weeks, this is the moment I was waiting for...that first hug! 
It is an overwhelming moment, to say the least.

 This was taken just before saying farewell on Sunday. Our seven days flew by and the next time we see him, it will be late summer or early autumn. This moma heart is already missing him something fierce!

If you have a loved one in the Armed Services, thank them for me, would you? And to all those who have served in the past, Thank You from the bottom of my heart! 

It's a great sacrifice and privilege to serve our country.  

~Blessings for a joyful week~

*As time goes on, I will share more photos from our trip but I won't be sharing any face photos of our graduate. It's a security thing and they asked us not to, so I'm complying with the rules on this one. 
Trust me when I say he is as handsome as can be in his uniforms! :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Review ~ Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told by Scott Turansky, Joanne Miller

We need a parenting revolution!

Most parenting approaches end up encouraging children to ask the wrong questions about life: What's in it for me? Are you going to pay me for that? What's the minimum I need to do to get by?

But God's Word gives us a better way to parent, one that builds strong internal motivation in children. When parents change the way they parent, kids change the way they live. This practical book explores a theology of internal motivation and then gives parents real-life solutions to equip their kids for life.

You'll learn . . .

- how to parent in ways that build internal motivation so that kids don't have to rely on you to get things done.

- the four promptings of the conscience and how to coordinate your parenting to take advantage of them.

- ways to energize your spiritual training with fun and creativity.

- how to help children respond to mistakes instead of blaming, defending, or justifying.

The greatest gift you can give your child is strong moral and spiritual development--this book shows you how. Every chapter includes practical examples of families applying the Bible to their current issues. Join the revolution!

Learn more from the authors, Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN, @ National Center for Biblical Parenting website -

There are tons of resources for parents on this site including a Biblical Parenting Podcast! 

When I first started reading Motivate Your Child I wasn’t really sure what to expect. It’s been a long time since I read a book on parenting. My main reason for requesting this book was because I have read and reviewed a few of Dr. Turansky’s wife’s Christian fiction books, and through blogging have gotten to know her. I admire her godly and compassionate spirit when she talks about her husband and family, and that’s what ultimately led me to want to read this book. 

That being said, I have been undeniably convicted about my own parenting skills, or lack thereof, as I read Motivate Your Child. My parenting was/is based on a combination of  how I was parented and what I didn’t like about it. For the most part, I thought mine was a sound method. We all make mistakes, but wow, when reading this book I could see all the places that I failed miserably. Wait. I still see some of those things and I don’t like what I am seeing. It’s too late for me to go back and start at the beginning, as mine are all grown, but I have begun implementing with our 18 year old who still lives at home the “What’s your plan?” rather than  “Please do this or that” method that I had been using. So far, it actually seems to be working.  He is taking his responsibilities more seriously and getting to them sooner rather than later. We still have a ways to go as it's easy to fall back into old habits. But, isn’t it the goal of every parent to raise conscientious and responsible adults that don’t have to be told what to do and when to do it?

I can see where training them early on to want to willingly and joyfully participate in household activities such as taking out the trash, picking up their toys or making their bed without being bribed or constantly instructed, is a more effective and loving way to parent. This book deals with heart, or internal, motivation and how to instill in your children the proper motivation for doing things without being continually harangued, which causes frustration in both the parent and child. 

Parenting is a lot of work no matter how you go about it but in order to use the method laid out in this book, you had better be prepared to devote yourself 110% to being a hands on parent! Which, I hope if you have children, you are willing to do so. Not only is there a lot to teach your children but there are wonderful skills to acquire as a parent. I do believe I can use some of these with my grandchildren, so maybe it isn’t too late for me after all.

Motivate Your Child is not a complicated read. Make sure you have a highlighter handy because you will find yourself needing one. I believe any parent can glean from this book whether they are Christian or not. The principles laid forth are timeless. I plan on passing it along to my daughter, who has four little ones of her own.

I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network and Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion of the book. No compensation has been received.

  Meet the authors on their blog, too!

This short video explains the importance of parenting.
See more videos on the National Center for Biblical Parenting

                                                                  ~ Have a blessed day ~

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Captive Imposter Blog Tour & Interview with author Dawn Crandall

Dawn's Bio: A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming published, he let her quit her job in 2010 in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary. 

 Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a first-time mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014) and also serves with her husband in a premarriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.

The Everstone Chronicles is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books composing the series were semifinalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Writing Contest, the third book going on to become a finalist in 2013.

Welcome back, Dawn!

Tell us what’s been happening since September 2014!
I’ve been non-stop busy! I know lots of people think I’m super woman and wrote these three books crazy fast, but that isn’t the case at all! They just released from my publisher crazy fast! I had the first two books already written when I signed the book contract, and then had to finish the third while I was struggling through having pregnancy brain, and then having my first baby! The Bound Heart—the second book in the series—released in November, a mere three months after my debut, The Hesitant Heiress! Then I spent all winter finishing up what was a very rough draft of The Captive Imposter.

What’s the best piece of advice you were given regarding a writing career?
Join American Christian Fiction Writers! (ACFW)

What is the best advice you would give to a young mom who wants to be a writer but is struggling with all the responsibities of keeping a home?
Haha! Honestly, I would say WAIT until your children are a little older and in school! That was always my plan, but I ended taking forever to get pregnant and decided to write in the meanwhile. I’m really glad my books have been published, but I regret that they all released within the year of my having Rhett. Instead of being able to take the year off to enjoy my new role as mommy, I had to pretty much start “working full-time”, during any spare minute I had—which is the exact opposite of what every new mom wants to do.  

What is the worst day you’ve had as a writer and how did you handle it?
When my agent had my proposal for The Hesitant Heiresshad been out to publishers for almost a year, I was wondering if it was ever going to happen. I knew from others that sometimes it even takes up to two years for a publisher to hold onto a proposal and finally say yes to publishing, but still—a year feels like a terribly long wait! At that year mark, it was buzzing around the CBA (Christian publishers) industry that all they wanted were Contemporary titles from agents. I just wanted to give up. I was a mopey mess, and I thought about maybe trying to write a Contemporary Romance from first person POV—to see if I would be any good at it. But really, I just wanted to give up and not write another word. And literally, days later I got the call that both The Hesitant Heiress and The Captive Imposter had semi-finaled in the 2013 ACFW Genesis contest….(and The Bound Heart had semi-finaled the year before that). It was a good reminder that readers obviously thought I could write! So I didn’t give up after all.  

Who is your most beloved character in The Everstone Chronicles?
I love best whomever I am reading about at the moment. Yes, I reread my own books. Over and over, actually. 

Your book covers for this series are phenomenal! They are some the prettiest ones I have seen. Who is your designer? Do you have a say in how they turn out?
Wow, thank you! I really love them too! All I know about the designer is that they work at Whitaker House! I have no idea who to give the credit to! I’d been asked by Whitaker House to send them images of settings and of what I thought my characters looked like. I sent them a ton, and wrote out descriptions of what the books were like. That was all! The covers as they are were what were sent back to me a few months later! And I was floored by them! I think every author is nervous about what their publisher will come up with for a cover to their books—and I was very nervous! But, in the end, so very pleased!

Fun  Q&A

If you could pick one place to spend a weekend, where would you go and why?
If I could get to the coast of Maine for a weekend again, I would go there! My husband is from Maine, and we go there to visit his family every summer—but I rarely get to go to the coast. I would specifically go to Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island (where Bar Harbor is situated!—and consequently, where about a third of the scenes in my three books take place!). 

What is your favorite snack food while writing?
I am sure to drink my coffee!—but I usually drink it pretty fast or I’ll forget it’s there. I usually forget to eat while I’m writing. Actually, I think I forget to eat while I’m reading too.

In the summer, are you a barefoot kind of gal or do you prefer flip flops?
I’ve always loved being barefoot.

Bling or no bling on your summer sandals?
No bling—actually just really cushy-gel-padded black or brown Nike flip-flops
Do you have a pet? If so, what kind and how does it get along with Rhett?
We have three cats—one 14 year old Tonkinese named Lilly whom I’ve had since she was a kitten. Pumpkin in an orange male whom my husband became attached to when I brought him home to give away (because I seriously didn’t think he would want another cat!), and Clover is gray and black tiger striped with lots of orange mixed in. She’s actually Pumpkin’s niece, and I rescued her from a hole in the ground when she was just a few weeks old. Rhett absolutely LOVES the cats! They keep around him too, but mostly just out of reach so far. 
You’re going to the beach and you need a book to read. Which new Christian fiction book in 2015 would you take?
I CANNOT WAIT to read Not by Sight by Kate Breslin! Her debut, For Such a Time, was one of my favorite books from 2014! I was so impressed! I’m not even that huge of a WWII reader, but I just love her voice and the way the turns her novels take twist my heart!

The Hesitant Heiress (Everstone Chronicles #1)

After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy disappearing before her very eyes. Now the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: marry within the year to inherit her grandmother’s fortune. Amaryllis reluctantly takes part in her aunt’s society, intent on getting to the west coast on her own… and without a husband.

Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, whose father not only had a part in her expulsion, but whose ominous presence has haunted her dreams for a decade since her mother’s tragic death. Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been managing her life isn't who she thought at all.

Click here to read the review posted on Goodreads by Rebecca Maney, Stuff & Nonsense contributor.

The Bound Heart (Everstone Chronicles #2)

One accidental kiss from Lawry Hampton. That was all it took to throw Meredyth Summercourt's world upside-down. Determined to marry the ever-elusive Vance Everstone, she simply doesn't have the time or the desire to fall for her best friend. But with Vance out of the country, and with Lawry at her side nearly every day, teaching her what the world is like through the eyes of a little orphan girl named Wynn--Meredyth can't deny that what's holding her to Vance is nothing more than a desire to redeem herself from her past.

Will she marry Vance once he returns from Europe? Or will she be strong enough to break free from the tangled web she's convinced she deserves, and accept that God's plan for her life includes redemption...and, quite possibly, Lawry Hampton?

Click here to read the review posted on Goodreads by Rebecca Maney, Stuff & Nonsense contributor.

The Captive Imposter (Everstone Chronicles #3) 

Sent away for protection, hotel heiress Estella Everstone finds herself living undercover as a lady’s companion named Elle Stoneburner at one of her father’s opulent hotels in the mountains of Maine—the one she'd always loved best and always hoped to own one day, Everston. The one thing she doesn't like about the situation is that her ex-fiancĂ© is in the area and is set on marrying someone else. Reeling from her feelings of being unwanted and unworthy, Estella reluctantly forms a friendship with the gruff manager of Everston, Dexter Blakeley, who seems to have something against wealthy young socialites with too much money, although they are just the kind of people Everston caters to.

When Estella finds herself in need of help, Dexter comes to the rescue with an offer she can't refuse. She sees no other choice aside from going back home to her family and accepts the position as companion to his sister. Throughout her interactions with Dexter, she can't deny the pull that's evidenced between them every time he comes near. Estella realizes that while she's been hiding behind a false name and identity, she’s never been freer to be herself than when she's with Dexter Blakeley. But will he still love her when he finds out she's Estella Everstone? She's not entirely sure.

Click here to read the review posted on Goodreads by Rebecca Maney, Stuff & Nonsense contributor.

A beautiful quote from The Captive Imposter, " I love you, Estella; and not because of your family connections or your wealth, but despite them. And because of who you are when you're locked out of a house in the middle of the night, and who you are when you sit with me on a mountain. And who you become when I kiss you . . . . " 

Dawn is celebrating the release of The Captive Imposter with lots of giveaways, so hop on over to her website for the full blog hop schedule here!



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