“A Change in Tune” ~ A Just Read Blog Tour & Giveaway (ends 9/28/21)

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A Change in Tune JustRead Blog Tour Welcome to the Blog Tour for A Change in Tune by Ashley Rescot, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Change in TuneTitle: A Change in Tune Series: The Strings of Sisterhood #1 Author: Ashley Rescot Publisher: Rescot Creative Release Date: September 15, 2021 Genre: Christian Romance, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult, Music Fiction

Violinist Victoria Pearson dreams of attending Johann Conservatory of Music in New York City for graduate school. As the oldest of five sisters, she hopes to escape her Midwestern college town and hectic family situation to fulfill her passion in life—music. But when she decides to participate in Belton University’s Concerto competition to bolster her chances of acceptance, Victoria finds herself competing against her sister Adrienne and lifelong cellist friend Jerry Chang. This sets in motion a rivalry that questions the roles of sisterhood, friendship, and maybe love.

Victoria wants to maintain the rigors required of a professional classical musician without losing her family and friends, not to mention her sanity, in the process. The demands of her large family might hinder her ability to achieve her dreams. What sacrifices will she make to reach her goals, and are they worth the cost? A new, twenty-first-century generation of little women takes the stage in A Change in Tune.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Rescot

Ashley Rescot is a professional violinist, educator, writer, and Fulbright Scholar. An aficionado of music, pedagogy, family, faith, and language, she writes about her life as a musician. With degrees in both music and literature, she hopes her stories will inspire the next generation of musicians, encourage music professionals, and educate others about the exciting world of music.

CONNECT WITH ASHLEY: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(4) winners will receive a print copy of A Change in Tune plus ONE of the following stories featuring a violin: The Main Dish by Victoria Kimble, A Note Yet Unsung by Tamara Alexander, A Song Unheard by Roseanna White, or Night Song by Tricia Goyer.

A Change in Tune JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight September 21, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 28, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

About A Change in Tune

In A Change in Tune, we meet Victoria Pearson, one of 5 children in a musical family. She is the violinist; her sisters play piano, other stringed instruments, and sing. Victoria is a senior and her plans are already made; to study at a renowned musical conservatory in Manhattan. Of course, to win a place to study there, she has to keep her first chair standing in the college’s orchestra. And ace the audition.

She’s working hard on all these things. But it’s hard living in a loud home where someone is always practicing or getting into her business. Her next younger sister, Adrienne, is many things that Victoria is not (all the annoying things, anyway), yet Victoria finds herself inadvertently in competition with her sister both inside the orchestra and out. It doesn’t help that their good friend, cellist Jerry Chang, is being romantically targeted by Adrienne, just as Victoria thinks that she might have feelings for him.

Ahead of the sisters are arguments, duets, difficult decisions, and events that might just bring heartbreak. How on earth will Victoria be able to achieve her goals with her sister seemingly undermining her at every turn?

My thoughts

I was drawn to this book when I saw it was described as “a modern-day Little Women.” And indeed, it does resemble that beloved book of my childhood (and even adulthood!). Although sometimes it’s more like the sisters in Pride and Prejudice in their frequent disagreements. Anyway, it was a fun book to move into. I definitely found myself identifying with a character or two!

I enjoyed a foray into a book where most of the characters were musicians. I never played a string instrument but was fascinated by Ashley Rescot’s descriptions of the joys and challenges the protagonists experienced both with their instruments, individual performances, and playing in an orchestra. I could imagine and visualize the scenes quite easily. As a musician herself, Rescot understood and described the great pressure that a top musician faces, and the various ways they might deal with that pressure.

The characters’ faith was definitely present, although at first, it didn’t seem to inform or direct the siblings’ squabbles (all quite normal) or relationships much of the time. Yet Victoria definitely thaws a bit and allows God to heal and help the relational challenges that many face in families. She’s fortunate that they do all have their faith in common. Also, while there is a good bit of smooching in the book, the author keeps it on the G-rated side.

If you: are interested in music or a musician yourself; if you have sisters or a large family; if you’d like to see a modern Little Women-esque novel in the Christian fiction category, this book is for you! It’s also good news to hear that Rescot’s book is the first of several about the musical Pearson sisters!

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLAIMER:

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

New kids’ devotional: “Roar Like a Lion” (and giveaway too! Ends 9/29/21)

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Hi everyone! I have a fantastic kids’ devotional giveaway for you today: Levi Lusko’s Roar Like a Lion. I received a copy of this book from Momentum Influencer Network; and they’re going to give away a copy to one reader as well!

About Roar Like a Lion

This devotional is written for kids aged 6-10 from a Christian perspective. Co-written by pastor Levi Lusko and Tama Fortner, it encourages kids to embrace courage, remain hopeful, build their own faith, and, as the book says so beautifully on the back cover, “Understand how you are a part of God’s great story.” There are 90 devotional readings contained in a 192-page hardcover book, sized just right for kid hands (6 1/2″ x 8 1/4″). It’s illustrated by Catherine Pearson.

Each devotional starts with a title. Then, the Bible verse is listed. Next, the authors share how the verse could apply to kid life (in situations with siblings, parents, peers, friends, the world at large, or in their own choices). The devotional ends with simple prayers. Also, there are sidebars on the right which tell an anecdote or story, or summarize events from the Bible which relate to what kids have just read. These are entitled “Get Ready to Roar!” or “Did You Know?”

What you’ll read inside

You’ll find thoughtful, gently and kindly-written words that are just right for kids to read to themselves. (Of course, this could also be read by kids and parents together, in the morning or just before bed.) The authors know what it’s like to be kids, and to face issues that they face, because (of course) they were kids once themselves! Levi Lusko also is the parent of several children. So armed with day-to-day life experience, years of pastoring, and the Bible, they offer clear explanations of Bible verses and how they really do apply to kids’ daily experiences.

The writing is warm and clearly written in a caring manner, so that kids and readers know the authors understand what it’s like to face a world and situations that are beyond kids’ experiences; and that the Bible have loving and helpful words to apply. Verses that kids will remember or can memorize.

And, I have to mention the artwork! As you saw above, the cover art is breathtaking. I thought of stained-glass windows, while my son thought of origami-type paper art. (I think we’re both right!) Inside the book, under each title, you’ll find art that illustrates each particular devotional. Those echo again the collage/paper feeling of the cover art. They’re cheerful and wonderful. I even was reminded of one of my own favorite illustrators of children’s books and her work, Lois Lenski. Kids and parents will love the art, which takes each topic and brings it to life vividly.

So what are some kid life challenges that readers will discover here? Here are some of the topics:

  • Even kids can be leaders
  • God loves us and speaks to us
  • School days that are tough
  • What to do when you don’t know how to proceed
  • Fears
  • How God sees us
  • And one of my own cherished phrases: “But God…”
  • and more!

I particularly loved how Lusko wove the story of Jesus and Jairus and the woman who touched Jesus’s robe so she could be healed, into an illustration of how we might feel when we are interrupted…and how Jesus dealt with the same thing. Or about our habits, and Jesus’s habits! Or, how seemingly impossible situations were worked out by our “But God…” God. Over and over, devotionals are presented that will help kids know that God loves them and holds them close, and is so ready to lead and guide them always.

I had many favorite passages in this book. But I wanted to show you one of my top faves:

God never will leave us. And He will NEVER break His promises.

That’s an exceptional word for all of us, whether we’re kids or adults!

Where to purchase Roar Like a Lion

Just click on the Buy Link below!

Buy Links

Best of all, I have a copy of Roar Like a Lion to give away!

One FINCHNWREN reader will receive a copy of Roar Like a Lion! To enter, simply click on the pink “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools page where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. US only. Giveaway closes on 9/29/21. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: Many thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing this product/product information for review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive the product in exchange for this review and post.

Win a Prayer Journal Duo in the Falling Into Leaves Giveaway Hop (ends 9/30/21)

Hello there, everyone!

To celebrate our moving into the fall season (pumpkin spice is everywhere!), I’m participating in the Falling Into Leaves Giveaway Hop, hosted by MamatheFox and including tons of fun bloggers. Keep reading for ways you can enter all the giveaways, and to hear more about my prize!

First, you’ll want to check out the Falling Into Leaves Giveaway Hop page, where you’ll be able to see all the participating blogs and click thru to visit their giveaways. (Such cool prizes!) To get to that page, just click on the InLinkz button below (the one with the frog on it). That’s all you have to do, and that will take you to the hop page!

And now, for the FINCHNWREN giveaway!

I don’t know about y’all, but I am always looking for ways to organize my lists of the people I’m praying for. I vary what I use, just because sometimes it’s hard to keep my lists going! A few years ago, I was introduced to Kelly O’Dell Stanley when I reviewed her wonderful Designed to Pray a few years ago. She is an artist and she loves combining fun, artsy stuff with prayer. Now, she has designed this neat Prayer Prompt Journal, and I’m giving a copy away to one FINCHNWREN reader!

The Prayer Prompt Journal is a spiral-bound, slim book that’s about 5″ x 7″ in size. Inside, Kelly has placed different categories on each set of facing pages, like “personal identity,” “Lord, teach me…,” “beauty & growth,” and more. Then, on each page, there are 3 squares with ideas for prayer that include praying for others, thanking God, different words that are prompts for praying, and more, plus some blank lined pages at the end for notes.

In addition, I’m including a felt-tipped calligraphy pen!

So, one reader will be selected to win both:

  • the Prayer Prompt Journal
  • and a blue Elegant Writer 2.5mm felt-tipped calligraphy pen

How to enter the FINCHNWREN giveaway

To enter to win the prayer journal and the pen, simply click on the “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter to win in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes on 9/30/21, and one winner will be selected to win both items. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLOSURE:

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Lynette Eason’s “Hostile Intent” ~ a Revell Reads review

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I always enjoy Lynette Eason’s suspense thrillers, and I was so excited to get to read her newest in the “Danger Never Sleeps” series, Hostile Intent. I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads, and it was a wild ride of a read. Let me tell you more!

About the book

A horrible crime has just been committed; sadly, against an entire family. FBI agents Caden Denning and Zane Pierce are called to the scene. There don’t seem to be any obvious suspects, but there is a security camera recording that shows evidence (except the perpetrator, of course). Caden and Zane discover, however, that there is a similarity between these murders and a number of others that have been committed across the U.S. What is the connection between the families, and who could have committed such terrible acts?

Ava Jackson enlisted in the Navy and loved her time there. However, when her mother was hospitalized due to dementia, she left the military to be with her mom in her final days. But an attempted kidnapping of Ava in the hospital parking lot is prevented by her skills and Caden’s being there at just the right moment. Who would try to kidnap Ava; and what does that have to do with the other killings? There is a connection, but it just isn’t visible yet.

The question is, can the crimes be solved before a vital witness–and Ava–are attacked as well? And will the sparks that fly between Ava and Caden develop into anything?

My thoughts

I love suspense and thriller novels. Especially when they involve secrety-agent stuff between nations and individuals. Hostile Intent totally fits into those categories, and I couldn’t put it down! Lynette Eason understands how to pace a story; how to create characters and situations that hold the reader spellbound; and how to weave in a little romance to brighten everything up. I found Ava’s character to be fascinating and sympathetic. She’s a tough woman, and that strength not only came from her Navy career but her unusual family life. It also helped that she’d had almost a lifelong crush on Caden, all-around great guy and FBI agent. Special agent, that is. Their mutual attraction is appealing (will Ava FINALLY get the guy??) and their faithful fight against cruelty and evil is something the reader can totally get on board with.

The crimes, results of years of global and national politics (and poor decisions here and there), are horrible but also understandable (from the villains’ points of view, anyway). And they certainly remind us that the pursuit of revenge because of personal pain doesn’t really go well for anyone. Eason’s gradual unfolding of the secrets from the past that are still affecting the present not only kept my attention but kept me racing to the finish.

Hostile Intent is another fantastic addition to Eason’s “Danger Never Sleeps” collection. Appealing characters, fun love story, and fantastic suspense will please readers both old and new.

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All opinions are honest and my own.

Sally Clarkson’s new book, “Help, I’m Drowning” ~ A JustRead Blog Tour & Giveaway (ends 9/20/21)

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Help, I'm Drowning JustRead Blog Tour Welcome to the Blog Tour for Help, I’m Drowning by Sally Clarkson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Help Im DrowningTitle: Help, I’m Drowning Author: Sally Clarkson Publisher: Bethany House Publishers Release Date: September 14, 2021 Genre: Christian Women’s Spiritual Growth

Life is filled with unexpected storms that take you by surprise.

In these storms of life, it’s easy to feel helpless, exhausted, afraid . . . and alone. We can feel like victims to circumstances out of our control. Beloved author Sally Clarkson understands deeply. Through almost seven decades of life, she has found herself tossed about in overwhelming life storms through many different seasons. In Help, I’m Drowning, Sally identifies the challenges that took her by surprise and then leads you to the wisdom she gathered from her experiences. Finding grace to walk through the darkness and hope to make it through will give you the comfort and encouragement you need in knowing you are not alone. Though there are no easy, formulaic answers that apply to every situation, Sally leads us to the One who is with us and will see us through. Sally found the anchors that held her steady in the midst of every storm, and she wants to help you find your anchors too. She invites you into her own personal story of anchoring well, and then–with honesty, grit, and her trademark wisdom–she will help you heal and move forward with courage and strength.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

ALSO AVAILABLE


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sally Clarkson

Photo Credit: © Steve Hixon

Sally Clarkson is the beloved author of many bestselling books, including Awaking Wonder, Own Your Life, The Lifegiving Home with her daughter Sarah, Desperate with Sarah Mae, and Different with her son Nathan. As a mother of four, she has inspired thousands of women through Whole Heart Ministries. She advocates relentlessly for the power of motherhood, the foundational importance of family, and the influence of home through her Mom Heart conferences, speaking to audiences on several continents. Mentoring women to understand how to love God in a more personal way and how to live a satisfying Christian life are threaded through her messages. Sally’s podcast, At Home with Sally Clarkson and Friends, has more than 14 million downloads.

CONNECT WITH SALLY: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a four-book prize including Awaking Wonder by Sally Clarkson, The Happy Crab by Layla & Kevin Palmer, Make Their Day by Karen Ehman, and Prevail by Susie Larson!

Help, I'm Drowning JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight September 13, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 20, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

My thoughts

Oh, I have so many! (Thoughts, I mean.) Help, I’m Drowning: Weathering the Storms of Life with Grace and Hope was yet another book that I didn’t know I *needed* but which poured out comfort, wisdom, strength, and important points to reflect upon as I: remember my past, walk through my present, and also look toward my future; all those years as a woman, a wife, and a mom. I have to admit that there were a few moments in which I wished this book had been written about 10 years ago, as there were storms my family and I were buffeted by then, and I was completely unprepared for the difficulties I was about to walk through. (You know! As if I had that time machine that I could use to take a copy of this book back to 2011 me!)

Part of my own struggles was the pair of rose-colored glasses I was wearing (I was comforted to read that Sally had begun her marriage with a similar pair). Apparently when I read the Bible’s verses on suffering, I studied them but then was SHOCKED when the pains of life showed up on my doorstep. (I know! Also as Sally says about herself and us, I was totally a toddler myself in some ways!) As we all do, I muddled through. But reading Help, I’m Drowning today provides a different pair of glasses for me to view my life with; one that says that storms will come, but I have the hand of my loving Father God who will walk me through them; and that I can begin to trust Him even more with those storms as well as life’s joys and blessings. So as we know, if we live in the world today, there are all sorts of difficulties that life can bring. Sally chooses some to speak about here that I know have affected me and many of my friends and family. She speaks, not in a “one-size-fits-all” manner, but as a loving older mentor sharing what she has learned that might help others. Here are some of the ideas that meant most to me:

  • Does God not care about me as I am going through this suffering?
  • Fear desires to intimidate and even stop us in our tracks
  • It really is okay to feel sadness
  • Some of our storms are created by difficult people
  • We can be tender and gentle with ourselves (!)
  • We really can grow and mature as we walk through the storms

There is a lot there, right? More really, than I can unpack for you here in one post. I can say, overall, that Sally’s book was a breath of not only fresh air, but of loving and kind support and encouragement. Sally’s words and the way she shared her own life experiences told me that what I had lived and struggled with was normal for this life, and this world that we live in. That the Bible even left us examples of similar struggles faced by the early church (or, of course, by the Hebrews and Israelites in the Old Testament). The author’s personal, honest stories meant so much to me as a Christian and as a mom myself.

Perhaps even more helpful to me than the “Yes, this is what life can contain and you’re not a weirdo for going through this,” were the insights Sally included about how we can walk through these troubles (as Jane Bennet calls them in Pride and Prejudice). We can know, as we live through our days, that we are not unnoticed by the God who loves us; that He promises to work things out for our good; that He is not embarrassed or ashamed of us when we struggle. All of those things that, in my deepest valley of suffering, I forgot as if I’d never learned them in the first place! We can have a disconnect when trouble comes; but both Sally and Scripture remind us of the truth of the God who’s standing with us in all things.

This is such a beautiful, instructive, and helpful book for women and for moms. I believe I’m going to be garnering riches from it for a long time.

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLAIMER: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLAIMER: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

“Blue Man” ~ John L. Moore’s engaging new thriller (a review)

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How would you like to read a fast-paced, suspenseful thriller that contains elements that include the political, the supernatural, and the Western? If that sounds interesting, I recommend John L. Moore’s new Blue Man. I received a copy of this book from Jones Literary, and when I began to read it I finished it in less than 5 hours. I love thrillers, and while this book definitely fits into that category I must say that it’s unlike any other of its genre that I’ve ever read. This is a book that will not only engage readers, but it will likely increase their faith in an amazing way.

About Blue Man

Ezra Riley is a longtime Montana cowboy. He and his wife Anne run a ranch with a large herd of cattle. They are empty-nesters (in fact, Anne has just left Montana to visit the new grandbaby at her son’s home in Brazil). Ezra loves the land, his horses, and caring for the cattle, daily riding out among hills and plains to search out calves or wandering cows. There’s a wilder cow, Wildebeest, who’s calved and is hiding out with her calf, that Ezra needs to find. His good friend, Barney, checks in on Ezra daily.

Then, of all things, Ezra receives a summons. The President of the United States has had a recurring dream. It’s alarming him. And they’ve heard that Ezra, a Christian man, is skilled in dream interpretation. So “civilian consultant” Davis Browne flies to Montana in a Gulfstream to meet Ezra, telling him that the president needs his particular skills–immediately. The two fly back to Washington, D.C., and Ezra meets with the leader of the free world. Briefly. And then he returns home.

But much more is going on than Ezra realizes, at first. There is an unseen puppet master, who’s been preparing a special kind of operative, Blue Man, for decades. Blue Man can reach beyond the miles, into minds and hearts, to create confusion, cause hallucinations, and even dreams. Or nightmares. William Anderson Hall, who controls Blue Man, potentially has almost unlimited power to influence or injure public or private citizens. His niece, Gray Lady, directs the duo’s physical assignments in the political realm. And suddenly, Ezra’s very life is in danger.

As Ezra returns to Montana, this visit to the president is only the beginning of odd and unsettling events in his life. A battle has begun, and he is standing alone against powerful forces. Will Ezra be able to stand, and is there anyone who can strengthen him so he doesn’t fall?

My thoughts about Blue Man

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I read for two hours straight one evening, then picked the book up the next day and finished it. Author John L. Moore creates a fantastic storyline that keeps the reader engaged from the start to the finish. He doesn’t reveal all of his characters’ inner lives and pasts immediately; instead, the reader learns about their histories and abilities as events progress. Ezra has an unusual spiritual gift, yet he and his wife are isolated from the local church. They confine their worship to televised Christian services, of varying denominations. When perhaps the biggest spiritual showdown of Ezra’s life begins, he is alone. Or is he?

I was reminded, of course, of King Nebuchadnezzar (a great dreamer) and the prophet Daniel from the Bible (although Daniel, of course, wasn’t a cowboy. Other Bible passages are referenced obliquely; yet the tone and truths of Scripture are revealed in hugely encouraging and wonderful ways in the book. Author Moore is able to follow the directions I’ve heard are often given to fiction writers: Show, don’t tell. And readers of this book are given a marvelous tale, as they race through Blue Man to discover what Ezra, and the titular character, will do…and if they will survive!

I’m very happy to recommend Blue Man to anyone who loves a suspenseful novel with spiritual and supernatural elements included. Reading Blue Man was a fun, wild ride that left me uplifted in spirit as well as satisfied in mind and heart.

About the author, John L. Moore

John L. Moore is an award-winning novelist and journalist. He’s published seven novels, several non-fiction books and
over 2,000 articles, poems, short stories, columns and reviews. A third-generation Montana rancher best known for
his western classic, “The Breaking of Ezra Riley” and a pioneer in the Christian fiction genre, he is the winner of
numerous awards, including a 2015 Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction for his sixth novel, “Looking for
Lynne”. Active in ministry for over a quarter century, Moore has appeared in four documentaries due to his knowledge
of the history of horses on the Northern Great Plains. He is a member of the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and the
Montana Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. (from Jones Literary)

Find John L. Moore on social media:

Facebook: John Moore Writer
LinkedIn: John Moore
Find the book on Amazon here

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Jones Literary. All opinions are my own.

“A Second Chance” ~ A JustRead Blog Tour & Giveaway (ends 9/7/21)

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A Second Chance JustRead Blog Tour Welcome to the Blog Tour for A Second Chance by Walt Mussell, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Second ChanceTitle: A Second Chance Author: Walt Mussell Release Date: August 24, 2021 Genre: Historical Fiction with Christian, romantic, and fantasy (time travel) elements

Kira Sakamichi is a career-driven woman, trying to achieve success before her mother’s constant interference sentences her to a relationship. But when a grudging drive to meet her mother’s latest “selection” ends in a lake accident, Kira wakes up lost in the past, the concubine of a 16th-century samurai, and mother to his six-year-old son. When actions in battle lead to the samurai’s condemnation, Kira learns that she and her son will share the samurai’s fate. Only by understanding the importance of duty and family in both time periods can they survive.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookBub


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Walt Mussell

Walt Mussell is an award-winning author who primarily writes historical fiction with a focus on medieval Japan, an interest he gained in the four years he lived there. You can connect with Walt via his website www.waltmussell.com (please use the contact form to be added to the newsletter) or connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.

CONNECT WITH WALT: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $25 Starbucks gift card! If the winner is Canadian, the winner can request Tim Horton’s!

A Second Chance JustRead Blog Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight August 31, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 7, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

My thoughts about A Second Chance

First of all–that cover!! Isn’t it gorgeous?

That is what first caught my eye. But the storyline grabbed my attention as well: a young woman in a car accident wakes up in the 1500s with a mostly different identity. Kira goes from a successful businesswoman in current-day Atlanta to being a concubine in Japan nearly 500 years ago. And, she’s the mother of a samurai’s son!

I thoroughly enjoyed Walt’s Musser’s novella. Our family has had an interest in Japan and Japanese art and literature for a number of years; so reading Kira’s story of inadvertent time travel was fascinating. Musser, an aficionado and student of Japanese history, brought 16th century Japanese culture to life vividly. Readers experience life in a samurai household, interact with monks, view tea ceremonies, and experience battle (although at a distance). Kira after emerging from a lake where she’d hit her head (where the story takes its plunge into the past), discovers a small boy calling her the Japanese equivalent of “Mama!” She’s led to shore and, while her name stays the same, everything else is enormously different. She’s the mother of a deeply loved son, the friend of a priest, a sort of servant to the samurai’s wife, and…his concubine. The story doesn’t dip into the samurai’s and concubine’s relationship; it’s just presented as a fait accompli. And yet that “done deal,” so to speak, vastly affects Kira’s life…and any future she might have. Will she make it back to her own day and time? What about these dear people in her life, in her moment in the past?

I thoroughly enjoyed A Second Chance. I think all of us have had moments when we’re longing for Doctor Who’s TARDIS, a time machine which can take us to the past to undo or relive what we’re longing either to change, or to experience again. (Of course, with the Doctor, time travel *never* goes quite as anyone thinks it will!) Kira’s trip is unplanned, but she encounters a rich and lovely life, along with relationships she did not have in her present. So the reader gets to see the same Kira, but in hugely different settings, with unbelievably different amounts of personal power. I was also fascinated with the recounted way that a Japanese alphabet was utilized to help students with dyslexia. I’ve recently been captivated with the idea of learning kanji (a Japanese writing system utilizing adoped Chinese characters) or shodo (a Japanese calligraphy art form); the characters are quite beautiful. (So far, however, I’m still a bit intimidated!)

I do recommend this book to you! It’s a fascinating way to engage with the Japanese past just a bit, via appealing characters and an interesting story. Bonus for history buffs: some characters and events are drawn from real life history!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

“Rose Among Thornes” ~ A JustRead Blog Tour & Giveaway (ends 9/6/21)

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Rose Among Thornes JustRead Blog Tour Welcome to the Blog Tour for Rose Among Thornes by Terrie Todd, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Rose Among ThornesTitle: Rose Among Thornes Author: Terrie Todd Publisher: Iron Stream Media (Heritage Beacon) Release Date: August 31, 2021 Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Forgiveness is the deadliest force on earth. War might be raging overseas, but Rose Onishi is on track to fulfill her lifelong goal of becoming a concert pianist. When forced by her government to leave her beloved home in Vancouver and move to the Canadian prairie to work on the Thornes’ sugar beet farm, her dream fades to match the black dirt staining her callused hands. Though the Thorne family is kind, life is unbearably lonely. In hopes that it might win her the chance to play their piano, Rose agrees to write letters to their soldier son. When Rusty Thorne joins the Canadian Army, he never imagines becoming a Japanese prisoner of war. Inside the camp, the faith his parents instilled is tested like never before. Though he begs God to help him not hate his brutal captors, Rusty can no longer even hear the Japanese language without revulsion. Only his rare letters from home sustain him—especially the brilliant notes from his mother’s charming helper, which the girl signs simply as “Rose.” Will Rusty survive the war only to encounter the Japanese on his own doorstep? Can Rose overcome betrayal and open her heart? Or will the truth destroy the fragile bond their letters created?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terrie Todd

Terrie Todd is the award-winning author of The Silver Suitcase, Maggie’s War, Bleak Landing, and Out of My Mind: A Decade of Faith and Humor. Her next novel, Rose Among Thornes, releases in August 2021. The Last Piece releases in November 2021. Terrie is represented by Mary DeMuth of Books & Such Literary Agency. She lives with her husband, Jon, in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada where they raised their three children. They are grandparents to five boys. When she’s not writing, Terrie can usually be found reading, cleaning, cooking, painting, weeding, watering, or watching something. You can follow her at www.terrietodd.blogspot.com

CONNECT WITH TERRI: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive the winner’s choice of one print copy: The Silver Suitcase, Maggie’s War, or Bleak Landing!

Rose Among Thornes JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight August 30, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 6, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

About Rose Among Thornes

Rose Onishi of Vancouver is like many teenaged girls of her era. She and her best friend Freda adore movie stars and films, glamourous evening gowns (not they actually own any), and cute boys. Music as well, though Freda is a violinist and Rose, a gifted pianist. Rose’s heartfelt goal is to attend college, and then, to become a concert pianist. It actually could be possible for Rose; music flows from her soul and her fingertips, and she can master the most difficult of compositions. Her chief obstacle to this goal seems to be her mother, who’d be happy to keep her at home. Their might also be an issue with her family tree. Rose’s grandfather immigrated to Canada from Japan. Her parents are Canadian citizens of Japanese heritage, as is Rose, though she doesn’t even speak Japanese. “Casual” racism does affect them from time to time; but they are and remain proudly devoted to the Canadian flag.

East of Rose’s Vancouver, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Rusty Thorne prepares to say goodbye to his family (and the family beet farm) as his orders direct him to head west for parts unknown. He was, most recently, in tropical Jamaica. But it’s 1941, and it could be anywhere. As Rusty and his best friend Bert discover, Hong Kong is their destination, to stand together with the British against a possible attack from Japan.

Rose and Rusty, though they’ve never met, have no idea that the attack on Pearl Harbor is just a few days away, and it will turn their lives upside down. Rose and her family are sent to several internment camps, away from Vancouver into the interior of Canada. Eventually they end up in Manitoba, at the Thorne family’s sugar beet farm, as resident workers. Rusty and Bert are taken prisoner when Japan actually does invade Hong Kong, and are sent to harsh prisoner of war camps. Rusty is thankful to have Bert and his Christian faith as life becomes harder, then unimaginable. Eventually, the soldier and the pianist/farm worker become connected in the oddest of ways; through letters written back and forth. Rusty knows that Rose is living and working with his parents on their farm, yet he is unaware that she is of Japanese origin; from the same roots as the cruel and merciless guards of the prison camp, which he is becoming less and less able to regard with anything but hatred.

My thoughts

Terri Todd has written this book finely and beautifully, although its protagonists experience some of the darkest of life’s tragedies: internment, for Rose, and imprisonment in a Japanese POW camp, for Rusty (although worse than that is coming for him). If you’ve read any of Louis Zamperini’s story, you know a bit about what Rusty is living through. Rose too, is suffering, in very different ways: loss of her home, possessions, and dreams, and even to an extent the loss of her identity as she lays music aside and takes up sugar beet farming. Yet their letters connect them and encourage them; Rose’s faith and joy brings light to the darkest moments of Rusty’s captivity. And looming ahead of them is, years away, the end of the war and the moment they might just meet.

I became, rather quickly as I read, deeply devoted to and connected to Rose and Rusty, and their families. I loved Rose’s growing faith, and thought Terri Todd perfectly described what might have happened when, like Joseph of the Bible, Rusty was dropped into the deepest pit. I was touched by their circumstances and their perseverance, both in very different ways. Yet there were moments when I almost felt liked I’d been clotheslined (to use a football metaphor) as I read further into the book. Those bad things weren’t supposed to happen to people I loved! (Yes. I do feel profoundly for fictional characters in books and movies. I’m sure many of you can relate. I know it’s fiction; but they truly feel like real people to me when I’m in the midst of a story.) But Rose Among Thornes is honest, and it’s truthful, and Terri doesn’t take the easy way out when she could. That can be painful to read sometimes, but it elevates her story to excellence because of her choices.

In the end (well, and also throughout the story), I loved Rusty and Rose. They are so understandable and appealing, whether they’re suffering, in pain or in joy. Rose Among Thornes takes a particularly painful part of human history and makes it personal by introducing us to characters we love who are living out what for us, is in the past. You’ll find reading this well worth your while, and I recommend it to you. Just have a hankie or tissue nearby.

Enjoy–Wren

Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

“Night Watch” ~ A JustRead Blog & Review Tour & Giveaway (ends 8/31/21)

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Night Watch JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Night Watch by Susan Sleeman, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Night Watch Title: Night Watch Series: Night Hawk Security #5 Author: Susan Sleeman Publisher: Independently Published Release Date: August 2021 Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense Everything points to suicide or accidental death… Underwater crime scene investigator, Kennedy Walker is shocked when her mother dies and the police rule her death a suicide or an accidental overdose. Her scientist-mother was on the verge of a scientific breakthrough, and Kennedy knows her mother would never end her life, but the detective won’t listen. Kennedy moves back to her hometown and commits to finding her mother’s killer and finishing her work. And she must prove them wrong. Kennedy digs deeper, garnering the killer’s focus, and he puts her in his cross-hairs. She can’t give up on such an important project, so she swallows down her unease over the tumultuous breakup with Erik Byrd in college and hires Nighthawk Security, not only to protect her, but to help find her mother’s killer. It takes only one look for both of them to know their feelings for each other haven’t gone away. With so many people counting on her to complete the project, giving in to old feelings is a distraction neither she or Erik can afford, and they both need to keep watch. Especially in the darkest hours of the night, when the killer comes out to play. PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | BookBub

MORE BOOKS IN THIS SERIES


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susan Sleeman

Susan Sleeman is the bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than one million books sold. She writes romantic suspense novels that are clean with inspiring messages of faith . Readers love her series for the well-drawn characters and edge-of-your-seat action. She graduated from the FBI and local police citizen academies, so her research is spot-on and her characters are real.

In addition to writing, Susan also hosts TheSuspenseZone.com. She has lived in nine states but now calls Oregon home. Her husband is a retired church music director, and they have two beautiful daughters, two terrific sons-in-law, and two adorable grandsons. To learn more about Susan’s books sign up for her monthly email that includes exclusive excerpts, giveaways, and other goodies.
CONNECT WITH SUSAN: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive the first four ebooks in the Nighthawk Security series!

Night Watch JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight August 24, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on August 31, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

My thoughts

I love suspense thrillers. And police procedurals. I love the mystery, the rollercoaster rides of searching out suspects, bringing a resolution, and, of course, if there’s a little clean romance going on, even better!

I’m relatively new to author Susan Sleeman’s books. But I can tell you that she brings readers a fantastic adventure in the excellent Night Watch. (And, since this is #5 of the NightHawk Security books, I’ll definitely be seeking out numbers 1-4!)

Night Watch protagonists Kennedy and Erik are trying to solve a crime…maybe. They’re not sure if Kennedy’s mom made a mistake with her heart medication or if something much more sinister happened. What they do know is that she was a brilliant chemist who was unlikely to make an error of that nature. So that is more than slightly suspicious. Erik, a former cop turned security expert (along with his 5 siblings), is a fine choice to help Kennedy pursue the truth, except for one thing.

She dumped him years ago, when he was seriously considering proposing marriage. He has no idea why, but Kennedy has secrets she never shared with him.

Secrets that have to do with the Witness Protection Program.

From that thrilling introduction, Night Watch is off and running, with twists and turns both fascinating and unexpected. There is so much to love about Sleeman’s novel! First, the great chemistry and connection shared by Erik and Kennedy, even after they’ve been separated for so many years. I really wanted them to resume their relationship, even though I couldn’t quite see how they’d be able to. But I was rooting for them all the time.

Second, Susan Sleeman builds an exceptional suspense story. The scientific details, evidence of various crimes, forensic details that reveal truth in unexpected places, were all fascinating and added interest to the criminal investigation.

Third, I loved the families that the author built. Erik has a large one, with siblings (that people the previous books in this series) who might tease each other here and there, but who faithfully love and support each other even as they work alongside each other in the Veritas security firm. Kennedy’s family, though flawed, was also interesting.

All of these elements intertwined to create a highly readable, fun, and suspenseful thriller. I definitely recommend this for lovers of suspense novels, especially those who’d appreciate a little romance thrown in!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

“Husband Auditions” ~ A Read With Audra Review & Giveaway (ends 9/14/21)

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I have had the loveliest time reading Angela Ruth Strong’s newest! Through Read With Audra, I received a copy of this charming book, which asks the question: how exactly does one find a husband?

About Husband Auditions

Meri Newberg is the last single gal in her friend group. She just got home from bridesmaiding her best friend Anne’s wedding. Anne’s gift to her? A card with perhaps the snarkiest (yet well-meaning) enclosure ever: The List. Pulled from a 1950s women’s magazine, it tells you with how to find a husband; in all the dated ways one could imagine.

My, how things have changed. Some of the helpful ideas:

  • “Always sit like royalty, with your legs crossed at the ankle. It worked for Grace Kelly, and it can work for you.”
  • “Root for his baseball team. As you know, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”
  • “Practice blowing kisses in front of a mirror to perfect your pout.”
  • And my fave, “Create suspense like Alfred Hitchcock by buying a convertible to go with your headscarf and cat-eye glasses.” (Because who wouldn’t look fabulous in that setting…even if buying a car to engender courtship might be a little much!)

Meri’s brother’s friend Kai LOVES this idea, even as Meri is appalled at the fact that she is still single, when she has prayed and arranged her life perfectly so as to fit in a husband and kiddos. Slacker and surfer dude Kai, a cameraman who’s working the night shift as he waits for his dream job to fall into his lap, seizes the list and offers to help Meri along, by filming her acting out all the suggestions on The List. Maybe she’ll just find the man of her dreams, as Kai compiles the footage into their own YouTube channel, with the catchy title of Meri Me. They even start out using Western flair as Meri lassoes her first date.

Husband Auditions is told in the dual perspectives of Meri and Kai. Not all the list items result in dates for Meri. Yet as they work together, sparks fly. Are they really ready for a relationship?

My thoughts

I was really excited to read Husband Auditions. I found the book and its central premise charming; a dating to-do list from the 50s?? I could just imagine how oddly those instructions could play out in today’s world. And I was right! The List was partially culled from an actual magazine article from that decade, added to by the author and her online friends. The idea of the characters’ bringing that list to life via YouTube absolutely grabbed my imagination. A reality love-life show, but without the tawdriness those can sometimes include.

I was just as charmed as I read the book and got to see everything first-hand, from Meri’s and Kai’s viewpoints. Angela does a fantastic job of voicing vibrant go-getter Meri and the appealing yet lackadaisical Kai…opposites in so many ways, but sharing a common faith. (Very impressive, because she really nailed AND contrasted the male/female perspectives.) They’re wonderful characters, but they really don’t see the purposes of life in similar ways at all.

Husband Auditions is fresh, full of life, and often adorable. It’s also quite truthful and NOT at all predictable. And Kai and Meri are surrounded by excellent side characters. I was not only captivated by the protagonists’ stories, but by their inner dialogues and journeys. I highly recommend this irresistible book. You will not want to put it down…and you’ll be left wanting more!

About the author, Angela Ruth Strong

Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there’s nothing else she’d rather write about.

She is the author of the Resort to Love series and the CafFUNated mysteries. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. Finding Love in Big Sky was recently filmed on location in Montana and will air soon. Her latest release is Husband Auditions.

Strong also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho and teaches as an expert online at Write That Book.

Learn more at www.angelaruthstrong.com, and follow her on Facebook (Angela Ruth Strong Fan Page), Twitter (@AngelaRStrong), and Instagram (@ang_strong)

And now, for the FABULOUS giveaway!!

This is a 2-part giveaway!

First, you can enter to win a copy of the charming and lovable Husband Auditions from Read With Audra.

ALSO, Angela Ruth Strong is giving away a free ROUND-TRIP TICKET on Allegiant Air!

To enter these giveaways, just click on the links below. The book giveaway is via a Rafflecopter entry form, and the airline ticket is via signing up for Angela’s author emails. Be sure to enter both giveaways–you’ll love the book and I know we’d all love to travel!

Enter to win a copy of Husband Auditions

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win the Allegiant Air Round-Trip ticket by signing up for Angela Ruth Strong’s emails

Thank you so much for checking out this lovely book and the giveaway! Best wishes!

Enjoy! –Wren!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.