Monday, February 27, 2017

Review ~ Shine Like the Dawn Celebration Tour + Giveaway

First off, I want to apologize to Celebrate Lit and the author for my tardiness in posting on my date during the tour. Due to an emergency, I was out of town all last week and just couldn't get my review posted. Thank you for your understanding and showing me grace during this difficult time.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: Shine Like the Dawn  

Author: Carrie Turansky  

Genre: Historical

In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible tragedy reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. But Maggie is resilient and will do what she must to protect her sister Violet. Still, the loss of her parents weighs heavily on her heart and she begins to wonder if what happened that day on the lake…might not have been an accident.

When wealthy inventor and industrialist William Harcourt dies, his son Nathaniel, who is Maggie’s estranged childhood friend, returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s vast estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend.

Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate—and reconciling with God? Will their search for the truth about her parents’ death draw them closer or will it leave them both with broken hearts?

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My Thoughts

Shine Like the Dawn is a beautiful depiction of faith and family and love, radiating a sunburst of emotions that swept this reader deep into the story, making it difficult to come up for air. At first, I wasn’t sure if Maggie and Nate were going to overcome the past but they did and ended up having a lovely romance entwined with a more than satisfying mystery. There are elements of a couple of classic novels woven into this story and I was pleased to recognize some of the labor tensions from North & South (Gaskell). In my opinion, Turansky is an author not to be missed. Her ability to bring the Edwardian Era to life on the printed page is amazing! I thoroughly enjoyed this story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit and the author for participating in this blog tour. No compensation has been received and all opinions stated are my own.
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About the Author

CARRIE TURANSKY is an award-winning author of more than a dozen novels and novellas. She has been the winner of the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award, and a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award and the Maggie Award of Excellence. A prolific writer of contemporary and historical romance, women’s fiction, short stories, articles, and devotionals, Carrie lives in central New Jersey with her husband Scott. They have five adult children and four grandchildren.


Guest Post from Carrie Turansky

Hats, Glorious Hats!

By Carrie Turansky

One fun part of my research for Shine Like the Dawn was learning about hat making in the early customers request, so that creates some humorous conflict in the story.
1900s. My heroine, Maggie Lounsbury is a milliner who designs women’s hats. She learned this skill from her grandmother who owns a small shop in the village of Heatherton. Maggie has an artistic eye and she enjoys making stylish hats, but she doesn’t like the overdone designs some of their

Hats in the Edwardian era were large and often covered with feathers, flowers, lace, netting, berries and bows. The “bird nests,” as Coco Chanel called them, were held on with large hat pins stuck through piles of hair on the crown. These hats were called Gainsborough or Picture hats because of the way they framed a lady’s face. They often featured huge dried flower arrangements and sometimes included real leaves and twigs! No doubt the Garden hat was a fitting name. 1907 The Merry Window hat became very popular after the leading lady in the play by that same name wore a hat that was even taller and wider than usual. Some people complained these hats were too big and obtrusive in public places like the theater or picture shows. But English women loved them and wore them to all kinds of events.

The popularity of using large feathers and stuffed birds on hats caused concern for the welfare of birds. Many protective laws took effect and milliners had to use more ribbon and tulle and only large ostrich feathers to decorate hats. Those ostrich feathers came from birds that were raised on farms and their feathers were collected as they fell out naturally. The movement toward smaller hats began around 1913 when hats still had high crowns but smaller brims. Straw boaters, small top hats, and mini versions of picture hats were very common.

Motion pictures had the greatest influence on Edwardian hat fashion. After the release of The Three Musketeers many ladies wanted to wear tricorne and bicorne shaped hats. They were still very large but now had shapes other than just round. Hat brims were folded up on the side, at an angle, or all around to create drama. Veils disappeared in the early 1900s only to come back again as a long scarf that wrapped over the hat and under the chin for the new sport called motoring.

I’ve had fun dressing Edwardian style for book launch tea parties and other book events. It made me feel very special to wear these lovely hats. What do you think of Edwardian Hats? Would you like to wear one?

Thanks to friends at the Vintage Dancer website for some of this information.

Stop by Carrie’s Facebook author page and view her live videos February 21 – 25, 3:00 pm Eastern. She’ll be talking about the story behind Shine Like the Dawn and giving away a fun prize each day to one person who leaves a comment. Even if you can’t catch the live video you can still enter for 24 hours after it’s posted. She is also hosting a book launch celebration and giveaway on her blog February 25 – March 6.

Like to my Facebook Author page:
Link to my Book Launch Blog Post:

Blog Stops

February 21: New Horizon Reviews
February 21: Bookworm Mama
February 22: Book by Book
February 23: Bibliophile Reviews
February 23: Smiling Book Reviews
February 23: A Readers Brain
February 23: Faithfully Bookish
February 23: Lane Hill House
February 24: Back Porch Reads
February 24: The Scribbler
February 24: I Hope You Dance
February 25: Stuff & Nonsense
February 25: The Power of Words
February 25: A Greater Yes
February 26: cherylbbookblog
February 26: Moments Dipped in Ink
February 26: Splashes of Joy
February 27: Genesis 5020
February 27: inklings and notions
February 27: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
February 28: Karen Sue Hadley
February 28: Neverending Stories
March 3: Pause for Tales
March 3: Mary Hake
March 4: Radiant Light
March 6: Baker Kella


To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away all 4 books: Shine Like the Dawn, The Governess of Highland Hall, The Daughter of Highland Hall, and A Refuge at Highland Hall.! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rebecca Reviews ~ A Note Yet Unsung (Belmont Mansion #3) by Tamera Alexander

Paperback, 448 pages
Published January 31st 2017 by Bethany House Publishers
Despite her training as a master violinist, Rebekah Carrington was denied entry into the Nashville Philharmonic by young conductor Nathaniel Whitcomb, who bowed to public opinion. Now, with a reluctant muse and a recurring pain in his head, he needs her help to finish his symphony. But how can he win back her trust when he's robbed her of her dream?
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Rebecca's Review
5 STARS!!!

"I meant it. Every word. But the fact remains, you are a woman."

Crushed beneath the weight of reality, master violinist Rebekah Carrington wonders how words given as a compliment could possibly deliver such disappointment to her soul. Maestro Whitcomb has confirmed what she has known to be true all of her life, it's not her lack of talent or extraordinary training, it's her gender.

Returning from years abroad in Vienna, Rebekah must find a way to survive on her own; her beloved grandmother is dead, her inheritance squandered by a vile stepfather, her mother barely acknowledging her presence and now her dream of playing in Nashville's Philharmonic Orchestra dashed into bits and pieces. All things considered, Rebekah is grateful when the opportunity presents itself to tutor Adelcia Acklen Cheatham's daughter, which also politely requires her, based on this association with the orchestra's most generous benefactor, to assist conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb as he rushes to complete his own symphony for an opening night performance, the same conductor who refused her entrance into his orchestra just days before.

Tate Whitcomb is enamored with the lovely Rebekah Carrington, underestimating her ability and stubborn determination on an almost daily basis. However, it's when his own life nearly spirals out of control that Tate's feelings shift from admiration to something much deeper, as Rebekah's patience, encouragement, and friendship bring him back from a dark place time and time again. Together they make great strides with his music, discovering the joys of collaboration with equally gifted talents. As his deadlines loom closer and closer, Tate cannot help but wonder how he can ever release her, after his dreams are realized and hers have only begun?

"Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace . . . . "

Resonating sounds of music permeate this lovely example of a talented writer at work, for Tamera Alexander has completed her "Belmont Mansion" series on a very high note!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

Rebecca is a graduate of Bryan College with a degree in Christian Education and is currently serving at the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, North Carolina as the Director of Children's Ministry. With nearly 28 years of experience in her field, she has had many opportunities to use her love of reading and writing in creative ways across the generations. A wife, mother of four "nearly" grown children, and grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren, Rebecca has been able to return to her love of reading and more recently reviewing, with a renewed passion for the "beauty of story".
CBD Purchase Link:
~Happy Reading~

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Be gracious to me, O God...

Upon awakening this morning, I reached for my cell phone to check and see if someone I have been trying to reach for over eight days had responded to any of my messages, whether through FB, email or messenger. Okay, you might say overkill on the messaging but I really need to get in touch with this person. It is imperative. Or so I think. And right there is the clincher.

I should have reached for the Word of God first, in order to be prepared for what I would or wouldn't see. But I didn't. And in not doing so, I caused myself all kinds of angst. From the moment I realized there was nothing from this person, nothing, my heart dropped, my stomach started fluttering (and not in a good way), and I became worried and anxious. All things I am not supposed to do! 

Did I immediately reach for my Bible, then?! No. I hurriedly fixed my husband's lunch, ironed his work shirt, and made him breakfast. I usually wait until he has left before starting my devotions and checking messages each day. But I need to reach this person. I really do. Don't I?

After my husband left, did I reach for God's Word? Did I think, now Anne, you know he will calm your fears and encourage you? Nope. I put out a call on my Facebook page for prayer. Prayer for this unreachable person and prayer for me that I would stop worrying. Immediately my FB friends rallied and told me they were praying, even a few of them shared Scripture. It was like a lightbulb came on in a dark room. I had a conversation with myself and it went something like this, "Duh, Anne! Get off the computer and open your Bible. Run to your heavenly Father first before running to your friends!"

And so I did. Open my Bible, that is. And it opened right to Psalm 56. The heading says...

 In God I Trust 

Now that right there is just cool! I didn't have to flip through my Bible looking for just the right Scripture. It just fell open to Psalm 56. Fell. Open. 

As you can see, it's one I have studied before because it is highlighted and underlined and bracketed with a notation about wandering. It might not be talking specifically about my situation today but Y'all, I had wandered. Right out of peace to anxiety. Right out of trusting in God to trusting in myself. I needed to read the entire Psalm but verses 3-4 and 9b-11 struck a chord in my heart and I had to repent of fear and unbelief and not trusting the Lord. As soon as I did, His sweet peace came down to settle me.

 Will I hear from this 'unreachable' person anytime soon? I don't know. I want to but do I really need to? God is so much better at communicating with people than I am. His Holy Spirit will reach out and 'call' this person and when he does, they will answer His call. That's where my focus and prayer needs to be. Not on me hearing from them, but on God 'hearing' from them. 

I was reminded, as I hope you are, to start my day with the One who holds all things and people in His hands. He will never fail us! 

 When I am afraid,
    I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
    in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
Psalm 56:3-4

Sharing with

Scripture and Snapshot

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Congratulations to our ❤Valentine's Day giveaway winners!

Dianne Casey won the US giveaway



Marian Baay won the International giveaway

I've emailed both winners. If I don't hear from one or both in a few days, I'll pick another winner/s. 

Thank you to all who follow Stuff & Nonsense and entered the giveaway. You are appreciated and loved! 

We enjoyed reading your favorite love stories and hope each of you know the greatest love story is that of God the Father! John 3:16-21 says...

For God So Loved the World

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.  And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

I love you with an Everlasting Love. A Love Letter to you from your Heavenly Father with free graphic printable ve

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Valentine's Giveaway because we LOVE our Followers!!!

 Be sure and read the entire post as there are two giveaways, one for Contiguous US followers and one for International followers. I wish it was feasible to send a great big old package anywhere in the world but that's just not economical with postal prices being what they are nowadays.

Rebecca and I appreciate each and every one of you, our precious followers!!! You support us in our reading endeavors and are so kind to stop by and encourage us by leaving comments and asking questions. We want to share with you the opportunity to win three delightful books and this lovely journal as our way of saying Thank You!
We love and appreciate our International followers too!!! 
Soooo....Y'all can enter to win A Season to Wed: Three Winter Love Stories, from authors Cindy Kirk, Rachel Hauck, and Cheryl Wyatt!

These stories are part of the A Year of Weddings #2 and include December, January and February novellas. I purchased a gift certificate for them through Amazon and will be sending it through email, so be sure and leave your email addy in case you win!

Now, if you're visiting for the first time or perhaps you have visited before but just haven't signed up to follow us, you can do so in the right sidebar. There are several ways too! We prefer GFC as it is a 'visible' number to publishers or authors who might check out our blog but it's certainly not the only way you can sign up. :-)

Here are the rules of entry for both giveaways:
  • Please leave your email address in a non-spammy format so we can contact if you are the winner! No email address, no entry.
  • You must be a follower of the blog to be entered in either drawing. 
  • To be entered, leave a comment below telling us your favorite romantic story. Maybe it's your own! :-)
  • Tell us which country you live in!
  • Winner will be randomly drawn on Tuesday, February 14th.
Since Rebecca and I don't reside in the same town anymore, our Contiguous US winner will receive two shipments. Rebecca will be mailing two of the books and I will be mailing one book and the journal.
Thanks again for being a book buddy!

Image credit  - Embracing the Lovely
 “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28b-31

 ~Happy Reading & Happy Valentine's Day~

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Review ~ Bible Trivia, Jokes, and Fun Facts for Kids by Troy Schmidt

Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 17th 2017 by Bethany House Publishers
What could be more fun than seeing kids laugh and have their curiosities piqued while they learn a thing or two about God's Word along the way? Every page of this book is sure to tease their brains and tickle their funny bones.
Troy Schmidt has been writing for kids for 30 years. He's written children's Bible-based storybooks for the "Their Side of the Story" collection and worked as a creative consultant for children's television programs. This book is guaranteed to entertain children for hours with chapters like "He Stands at the Door and Knock Knocks," "Matches Made in Heaven," and "Are You Smarter Than King Solomon?" A great gift for kids to share with their friends, and moms and dads might even find themselves laughing and learning too!

 My Thoughts
4 STARS!!!

I have never been much of a joke teller but my children became interested in joke books when they each turned about 8. I’ve heard the same old jokes told over and over and obligingly laughed at each one. But I can tell you that Bible Trivia, Jokes, and Fun Facts for Kids has some funny stuff in it! Youngsters will find the jokes amusing and perhaps even sidesplitting. I admit my husband and I guffawed over a few of them; even our 19-year-old son cracked a smile a time or two. I’m hoping my grandsons are going to get many hours of hilarity out of this book. They are always excited to share a new joke with us and sometimes get so excited when trying to tell the joke that they can hardly speak for their own laughter bubbling over. I’m looking forward to laughing at these again and again! 

Learning is a definite plus when it comes to the facts and trivia! I was surprised how much of it I didn’t know. Several things even stumped my husband who is pretty good at Bible trivia. Granted, some of it is kind of obscure but it was still fun to put our old noggins to the test.  

I highly recommend Bible Trivia, Jokes, and Fun Facts for Kids to the entire family! You’ll share hours of fun and laughter and learn together.

Bethany House Publishers provided me a free copy of this book for review purposes. No compensation has been received.

 ~Happy Reading~