Thursday, September 27, 2018

Interview ~ Jen Turner Turano, author of Caught by Surprise (Apart from the Crowd #3) + Giveaway!!!


I am pleased to welcome USA Today best-selling author Jen Turano to the blog today! Jen is one of my favorite Christian fiction writers. She has 11 published books and another due out in January 2019. Always providing a perfect combination of cozy mystery, humor and faith, Jen's stories will bless your heart!

Welcome, Jen! Tell us a little bit about your latest bookand why you wrote it?

“Caught by Surprise” is the final book in the “Apart from the Crowd” series. It revolves around Miss Temperance Flowerdew and Mr. Gilbert Cavendish, good friends from childhood who land in a most unusual situation, one that might require them, at least according to society rules, to marry. I’ve been wanting to do a friends to something more story for some time now. I’ve dabbled with that troupe in my two novellas, but I wanted to see if I could do a full-length novel, and…I think it turned out rather well.  

Tell us a little about yourself and your writing journey.

I never intended on becoming a writer. I majored in fashion, used to be a buyer, then turned into a stay-at-home mom when my son was born. When he was in third grade, we read this awful series about a bird. He thought it would be fun to try to write our own story, and that’s when I realized I’d forgotten how cool it was to use my brain. My early attempts were awful, but after I got some great advice from agents, some of it rather painful, I worked on the craft of writing, and eventually got to where I landed an agent. She then went out and sold “A Change of Fortune” to Bethany House, and I’ve been writing for them ever since.   

What do you think makes a good story?

Conflict and relatable characters. 

Where is your favorite place to write?

I only write first drafts in my office. I can edit outside or anywhere else in the house, but first drafts I have to be sitting at my desk, typing away.

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and just have to get up and write down a thought?
If so, do you keep a tablet on your bedside table or go to the computer?

I don’t ever wake up in the middle of the night. I will get thoughts at the most unusual times, like in the grocery store, so I will send myself a text, or if I’m cleaning, I always have post-it notes handy to scribble down ideas. 

Do you talk to your characters? Keep story boards? Pictures?

I do talk to my characters, normally when I’m out walking – tends to have people giving me a wide berth. I do keep story boards, but I don’t do pictures, that just messes me up.   

https://jenturano.com/flights-of-fancy/
Can you give us a glimpse into your next book or story idea?

My next series is an American Heiress series. The first book, “Flights of Fancy” will release January 2019. I just turned in the second book in that series, currently untitled, and next I’ll be writing a novella about the Harvey Girls that will feature other Bethany House authors.

In your spare time, do you have any hobbies you enjoy?

I’m very social, so when I’m not writing, my husband and I enjoy meeting friends out. I used to do cross-stitch, but I haven’t done that in years. My eyes just get too tired from being on the computer so much these days.

Do you have a favorite book? What makes it stand out from others?

I’ve always said that “In Good Company” was my very favorite because I adore Millie Longfellow, but “Caught by Surprise” seems to be turning into my favorite. It’s just so out there, what with all the outlandish situations, that I can’t help but love it.

What’s the one food item you can’t live without?

I love cereal – Cheerios is my absolute favorite.

Where can you be found on the internet?

I do most of my interaction on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/

But all of my books are featured on my web – www.jenturano.com

And I have a twitter account – JenTurano@JenTurano – but I’ll be honest, I sometimes forget I have twitter. 

Is there a question you would like my readers to answer in order to be entered to win a copy of your book?

Was there ever a time when something caught you by surprise?

Thank you, Jen, for indulging us today! It is always fascinating to learn more about a favorite writer/author. I am almost finished with my review copy and I can tell my readers that this is one of your best works, maybe the finest! :)

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Anne. Too fun!! 




GIVEAWAY 


After years of hiding her true nature, Miss Temperance Flowerdew is finally enjoying freedom outside of the shadow of her relations, so the last thing she expected on her way to work was to be grabbed off the street by a stranger and put on a train bound for Chicago.

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 her abduction, they're spotted alone together by a New York society matron, putting their reputations at risk.

Even though Gilbert is willing to propose marriage, Temperance is determined not to lose her newfound independence. But when the misunderstanding in Chicago escalates into a threat on her life, accepting Gilbert's help in solving the mystery may lead to more than she ever could have dreamed.




Jen is offering a signed copy of Caught by Surprise to one blog follower. Please leave your email address in a non-spam format AND a comment answering Jen's question --

Was there ever a time when something caught you by surprise?

-- along with how you follow Stuff & Nonsense and a winner will be chosen using Random Number Generator on Oct 2. US Only due to postage costs.



Sunday, September 23, 2018

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!


**Lavender and brick makes a perfect backdrop for this inspirational graphic inspired by the hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness. It was written by Thomas Obadiah Chisholm and published in 1923. I marvel at the timeless truths that are embodied within this hymn and wonder if Thomas had any idea when he wrote it that it would still be such a powerful verse 90 years later.

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!“
  Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
    “Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


As I contemplate the majesty of the Lord displayed in creation and conveyed in this hymn, I stop and soak in His presence. Singing these words penned so long ago brings me peace; He is strength for my weary and grief stricken soul. Each day I arise, His mercies are new. I worship Him, for He is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Lord!

**This was an excerpt from a guest post on June 13, 2013. You can read the full post here ---> @ https://theenchantingrose.blogspot.com/2013/06/guest-post-anne-from-stuff-nonsense.html

~Have a blessed day~


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Reviews ~ Kingdom Files: Who was Esther? and Kingdom Files: Who was David? by Matt Koceich

Note: All is well here in coastal VA. Hurricane Florence stayed south and did not affect us as anticipated. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those that have been impacted by the storm.


Paperback, 96 pages
Published August 1st 2018 by Barbour Books


About the Book
What do you know about Esther? 
Was she:
. . .the beautiful Queen of Persia?
. . .the woman who hid her Jewish heritage from the king?
. . .the courageous one who risked her life to save her people?
. . .all of the above?

Journey along with Esther in a luxurious Persian palace, in the presence of a powerful king, in the very center of God’s amazing power!

This biblically accurate story of Esther, created just for the kids in your life, explores the life of the beautiful Queen of Persia, while drawing 8- to 12-year-olds into a fascinating time and place as they learn about the woman who hid her Jewish heritage from the king and ultimately risked her life to save her people. Featuring three key sections—a Fact File, an Action File, and a Power File—kids will enjoying learning about the life of Esther while coming to understand that an ancient Bible story really does apply to their lives today. Dozens of captivating line art pieces add depth and interest to every chapter.


My Review
4 STARS

The story of Esther has always fascinated me. Koceich has done a great job making this condensed version rich in detail and characterization easy to read and understand for children ages 8-12. The story flow is smooth and intriguing with plenty of room for notes and questions to be jotted down throughout the book. Quality time can be spent with your child investigating and delving deeper into the story in God’s Word, and if you have an artistic child, maybe even creating their own illustrations. It would make a great supplement for a home school Bible study curriculum as well as a take-home resource for youth Sunday school attendees.
I received a copy from Barbour. No review was required. No compensation received.



Paperback, 96 pages
Published August 1st 2018 by Barbour Books


What do you know about David?

Was he:
. . .a shepherd boy turned king?
. . .a faithful harp player?
. . .a brave giant slayer?
. . .all of the above?

Journey along with David in a field of sheep, in the presence of a towering giant, in the very center of God’s amazing power!

This biblically accurate story of David, created just for the kids in your life, explores the life of this shepherd boy turned king, while drawing 8- to 12-year-olds into a fascinating time and place as they learn about this faithful harp player and courageous giant slayer. Featuring three key sections—a Fact File, an Action File, and a Power File—kids will enjoying learning about the life of David while coming to understand that an ancient Bible story really does apply to their lives today. Dozens of captivating line art pieces add depth and interest to every chapter.
 

My Review
3 STARS
This book is targeted at children ages 8-12 but younger readers could handle the narrative too. Home school children and tactile learners might have fun making props to go with the story. My sons would definitely have been trying to make the weapons when they were that age. It could also be a resource for putting on a small play in Sunday school.
I expected this one to be as interesting as Who was Esther?, but the storytelling seemed snail-like and the illustration of David bothered me. I have never visualized him as having blonde hair and a blonde beard. Aside from that, the Power-Up section is great! It has encouragement and memory verses and room to write down a few thoughts.
I received a copy from Barbour. No review was required. No compensation received.



Saturday, September 8, 2018

Rebecca Reviews ~ Formula of Deception by Carrie Stuart Parks + Giveaway

***UPDATE*** 

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED DUE TO HURRICANE FLORENCE AND EVACUATION IN MY AREA. 

Praying God's protection for all in the path of this storm!

Thanks for the interaction and great recommendations for suspense novels!!!

TRIXI is our WINNER!!!!
Trixi, I am emailing you and Rebecca.


About the Book
When her twin sister was murdered, Murphy Anderson changed her name and appearance and moved to Kodiak to avoid the press and publicity. But when local authorities discover she’s an artist and request her help in drawing a dying man’s memories, she unintentionally ends up in the limelight again—and may be back in the killer’s crosshairs.
The memory that Murphy was asked to draw was from an Alaskan hunter who discovered five bodies on remote Ruuwaq Island ten years ago, but has only shared the information with the police now that he’s dying of cancer. When they go to the island to investigate, no skeletons remain but there is evidence that the bodies may have been deliberately destroyed. But the big discovery is of a World War II Quonset hut.
As one by one the people who were at the hut die, Murphy knows there is something much deeper at stake. What happened there during WWII? And who is willing to kill to keep those secrets buried? 





Rebecca’s Review
4 STARS!!!
"You can't trust him. You can't trust anyone . . . . You have a mission."

Memories are a funny thing; some are quite trustworthy, while others may present themselves as a "formula of deception". Murphy Anderson finds herself caught in between, as bewildering flashbacks handicap her ability to recalibrate her life in Kodiak, Alaska following the heinous murder of her twin sister.

Posing as a forensic artist, Murphy is pulled beside the deathbed of another Alaskan who is forcing painful memories to the surface. Capitalizing on her artistic abilities, his trail of sketchy details leads the crime team to the remote Ruuwag Island, where a rather routine search for clues turns into a labyrinth of evidence so volatile that everyone who comes in contact is promptly eliminated.

Deemed a "soul searcher" by the natives, Murphy's unique skill for gathering details has placed her squarely in the crosshairs of those who are carefully guarding their secrets. So many questions. And so few answers. This thrilling novel by Carrie Stuart Parks has more twists and turns than an underground cave, and its readers will be awestruck when they discover how she fits it all together.

Senior Reviewer, Rebecca Maney

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".
Giveaway:

Rebecca is offering an extra copy of this book to one Stuff & Nonsense blog follower. US Only due to postage costs. Sorry, Y’all!!! It’s just so expensive to mail anything outside of the 48 contiguous states. L
The giveaway will end on Sept 13 12 due to storm evacuation. Please leave a comment and let us know how you follow the blog AND if you have read any of Parks’ books. If so, favorites? If not, recommend a good suspense thriller. Don't forget to leave your email so we can contact you if you win!!! J

~Happy Reading~



Friday, September 7, 2018

Review ~ The Patriot Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #4) by Kimberley Woodhouse



Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 1st 2018 by Barbour Books

About the Book
Faith Jackson and Matthew Weber are both working covertly to aid the Patriot cause. But will they be willing to sacrifice all for their fledgling country?

Spies Work Together for the Patriot Cause
Faith Jackson is a wealthy widow, friend of George Washington, and staunch supporter of the Patriot cause. Matthew Weber is friends with both Ben Franklin and his son William, who increasingly differ in their political views; and Matthew finds himself privy to information on both sides of the conflict. When a message needs to get to a spy among the Loyalists, Faith bravely steps up and in turn meets Matthew Weber. Suddenly she believes she could love again. But someone else has his eye on the Faith she portrays in elite social circles. What will Matthew and Faith have to sacrifice for the sake of their fledgling country?
Purchase Link:

My Review
4.5 STARS!!!

Woodhouse brings a touching story in The Patriot Bride. I was completely enamored from the beginning. There are so many great elements in this story and Woodhouse’s incorporation of two of our country’s greatest founders is brilliant. Just imagining George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in this setting, hearing their thoughts and feelings added an incredible depth to the story for me. I adored Washington’s relationship with Faith, especially the prologue that had me chuckling and then tearing up. And Franklin’s friendship with Matthew was such a delight.

The author excels at putting readers smack dab in the middle of the fray. Every moment Faith and Matthew had to meet in secret was thrilling and dangerous. And the villain…Woodhouse wrote a certified crackpot!  There is plenty of intrigue and danger, with the right amount of romance woven among this moving historical to make it a must-read. If you’re a fan of history, I think you’ll enjoy this book. And I even read the author notes in the back and learned a thing or two.
I was provided a print copy from the publisher. No review was required. No compensation has been received. 


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Review ~ The Struggle is Real by Nicole Unice

Tyndale Momentum / 2018 / Paperback

About the Book
“It just shouldn’t be this hard!”
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a day where everything that could go wrong does go wrong—you lock your keys in the car while it’s running, lose control with your kids, make a mistake at the office that results in hours more work. And just when you think not one more thing could possibly happen . . . well, fill in the blank.

The struggle is real, friends. It may not be major stuff. Lives are not on the line here. But it makes us feel awful . . . and then we feel guilty for stressing when other people have “real” problems that are so much more serious.

Yet the fact remains: We live in a world that often feels harder than we think it should be. And so it can be easy to believe the stories we tell ourselves—that we’re doing it wrong, that we’ll be stuck in this place forever, that God doesn’t love us. We struggle to practice gratitude, to make godly choices, and to live our daily lives with confidence and contentment. So what can we do?

Join popular Bible teacher and counselor Nicole Unice to discover why the struggle is real . . . and what to do about it. Nicole offers practical tools to help you navigate the daily ups and downs, and ways to rewrite your struggle into a new, God-centered life story. The Struggle Is Real is an invitation to take the hard, hurtful, and confusing moments and turn them into opportunities to grow in wisdom, strength, and joy.
Purchase Link:


My Review
4 STARS!!!

Unice has down-to-earth practical advice about life and how to live the new one we find in Christ. By her own example, as well as from people she knows through her ministry, she shows us how to go forward in the new, and not turn around and embrace the old. I am suitably impressed with her insight and articulation as I have not heard of her so obviously this is the first of her books I have read. Her website says she is a pastor/teacher/counselor and I can certainly see the counseling aspect in The Struggle is Real. I gained some insight into my own past experiences that will help me in my future walk with Christ.

I recommend this book to anyone who is struggling and might not be ready to talk to someone face-to-face. The words of inspiration and truth in this book can help you in your faith journey and point you to who Jesus is and how he has bestowed his grace in your life. 
I was provided a print copy of the book from the publisher. I was not required to write a review. No compensation has been received.

~Happy Reading~


Review ~ Prayers for a Woman's Heart Creative Devotional, Compiled by Barbour Staff


Coming Oct 1, 2018

About the Book
Color yourself creative with the Prayers for a Woman's Heart devotional. 

Fifty-two heartfelt devotional-length prayers complemented by fifty-two unique coloring pages on quality stock will encourage and delight your soul through beautiful design and refreshing insights. As you read the weekly prayer, meditate on the scriptures, and unlock your creativity, you will be drawn to experience an intimate connection to your heavenly Father. The Prayers for a Woman's Heart Creative Devotional will enhance your spiritual journey as you come to know just how deeply and tenderly God loves you.


Pre-order:
CBD



My Review
4 STARS!!!

What I enjoy best about this devotional are the prayers. I find myself extremely moved by them as they are quite similar to ones I have penned in my own prayer journal. The bonus is the coloring sheet to go along with them. You will find the pictures are pretty and feminine and enjoyable to color as you ponder the prayers and perhaps even lift some of your own up to our redemptive Lord of hosts.

As always, devotionals are not meant to take the place of daily Bible study but to enhance what you are already doing. I am inclined to believe this particular devotional would make a great gift for someone who is struggling with their prayer life, or even questions how to pray. A non-believer would benefit by seeing the simplicity and normalcy of prayer. No fancy words. No difficult format. Just an honest heart speaking to God with respect and love.

I received a digital copy of the book from the publisher through Netgalley. I was not required to write a review. No compensation has been received.

~Happy Reading~


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Happy Release Day!!!




Click here -- Roseanna White -- to hop on over to Roseanna's blog to read all about the Giveaways and more!


About the Book

An Hour Unspent

Shadows Over England Book 3


With Danger Creeping Ever Closer,
Do Their Dreams Still Matter?
Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.
Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancĂ© to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.
As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.
 
 
~Happy Reading~