Saturday, October 31, 2015

Luther and Katharina: A Novel of Love and Rebellion by Jody Hedlund, © 2015

"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." - Martin Luther

Jody Hedlund has brought fact together with a livelihood of characters that brings us into their daily lives. Such depth in discovery, she has brought her research to the forefront, revealing God's Truth in an era of deluge of irony in princes and peasants, and power asserted over those willing and those placed from a young age, incapable of caring for themselves.

Katharina von Bora assists other nuns as they escape the abbot and convent that has been their home and daily knowledge forging the wall to the other side. Upon pamphlets and writings of Martin Luther brought in and passed from one to another, they risk all they have known to return to the world outside the cloistered gates.
"I'm no more your servant than you are my mistress. One cannot change the natural order of life by wishful thinking."
   Katharina von Bora, Luther and Katharina, 162
Martin Luther has printed Truth of the Scriptures, promoting others to read for themselves. Standing in the middle of the overseers and those under their command, Martin chooses to rid tradition and loyalty to anything save the Holy Word that stands on its own, unobstructed by mankind. Not a popular notion by all, he continues to write, published and distributed from Wittenberg presses.
   "I'm always astonished," he said, "that the songs and praise intended to glorify God have the dual role of benefiting us, of lifting us out of our mire and muck to renew our spirits."
   Martin Luther, Ibid., 167
Uncertain of close contacts to be trusted, Katharina's skills as apothecary and doctoring come in handy. Martin is overcome by maladies and her trusted hand brings him through more than once to the land of the living. His belief that God will provide enriches all of their lives as the quest for freedom prevails.
"... ultimately prayer must come freely from the heart, without any made-up or prescribed words. It must form the words that are burning in the heart."
   reflected from Martin Luther, Ibid., 195
This is not a novel to be read lightly and taken away with a sweet love story. It is a story of growth, determination, and individualized following the path set before them. My most noticeable character is Aunt Lena, a solitary figure that plays greatly in the background of Katharina's life.
                              Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
                                  --John 15:13
She laid her life down to save Katharina's.

This story covers the Spring of 1523 to the Summer of 1526 in the lives of these noble men and women who sought Truth and to share it with others through their lives.

ISBN 978-1-60142-762-5 release date October 6, 2015

Luthers Hochzeit, Stadtfest, Wittenberg, 2012. Martin Luther, Katharina von Bora. Porträts, Lutherhaus Wittenberg. Reportage. Copyright: Lutherhaus Wittenberg. Aufgennomen von 
DW / Maksim Nelioubin.
Martin Luther, 1483-1546                 Katharina von Bora, 1499-1552

Back cover:
She was a nun of noble birth. He, a heretic, a reformer…an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire.
In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.
  His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself.
  Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different.
  But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love.
  Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.
  Jody Hedlund
                        author Jody Hedlund
Jody Hedlund is a CBA best-selling author with twelve novels and two novella prequels. Her first novel, The Preacher’s Bride, won the Reader’s Choice Award as part of the RWA Faith, Hope, and Love contest. Hedlund revels in bringing forgotten historic women to life and can usually be found with a book, a cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate. She lives in Midland, Michigan with her husband and five children.

***Thank you to WaterBrook Multnomah Blogging for Books for sending me an advance reading copy for review of Jody Hedlund's historical fiction novel, Luther and Katharina: A Novel of Love and Rebellion. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Book 3 In Print!! Dawn Crandall's The Captive Imposter ~*Giveaway*~ Estella's story

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rejoice!! Book 3 of The Everstone Chronicles is ready in print for release on November 3, 2015!

Book 3 The Everstone Chronicles

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

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

Did you notice the very top of this posting?? Don't hesitate to enter and miss out on the opportunity to be a winner of book 3 ~ I haven't read yet!! Yippee! 

Book 1 The Everstone Chronicles
Book 2 The Everstone Chronicles
Books 1 and 2 are also now in print ~ all three are in eBook format too

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Christmas Stamp by Cynthia Hickey, © 2015

Kindle copy available for order here.

Just in time for the holidays, but a story that bears telling any time of the year, A Christmas Stamp is a short novella packed full of interesting characters and a budding romance. I liked how the story began and the characters remained genuine throughout as they were just doing their job, or so they thought. Lilly Tipton's first day on the job as switchboard operator in a small corner of the Noel, Missouri post office, becomes more than she expected as Calvin Monroe comes in to get his rural delivery mail. It is their second meeting, as they run into each other on her way home, that endears her to him. In fact, he has decided to pick her up on his way to keep her out of the weather.

The postmaster has a plan for a contest to design a special rubber stamp just in time for Christmas. Just what is needed to celebrate their little town of Noel: A postmark on outgoing mail to look as if it came from the North Pole!

It gets lively as the whole town shows an interest and volunteers arrive to sort the entries coming from throughout the state. With an unintended extension, what will be decided? Awaiting the selection, there appears to be more results from the contest than one winner. Join Noel, Missouri, as a merry Christmas is sure to arrive.

***Thank you to author Cynthia Hickey for sending me a beta copy of A Christmas Stamp for review. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Refuge at Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky, © 2015

Edwardian Brides Series, Book 3

A Refuge at Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky - Featured on the Penguin Random House Website

A lovely story of hope and love during turbulent times.

Happenstance acquaintanceship builds throughout the story, as those spark a need further on.

Tyntesfield house #3
1915, World War I
Zeppelin 1915:
London Airship Raids - Zeppelin 1915

Moved to the countryside at Highland Hall, near Fulton, in Berkshire, a family closes up their Kensington home following blitz bombings throughout London by the Germans, removing women and children out of harms' way.
Leaving London 1915:
The childhood home of sisters Kate Foster and Penny Ramsey, they rejoin their cousin Sir William Ramsey and his wife Julia, now overseeing the estate of Highland Hall since the death of the sisters' parents. Julia's brother, Dr. Jonathan Foster and his wife, Kate, have brought their orphaned and abandoned children they rescued from the streets in need of care. Five girls and three boys, ages four to fifteen, the country life has brought them hope and a new experience of being able to play freely on the grounds.

German prisoners are brought in to care for the fields, after the departure of the men going to British war aide. All is not as it seems, as some were children when they arrived with their families from Germany, but because of their parentage they are detained in encampment with guards. Those who had been bankers and other trades, going on with their lives, caring for their families and loved ones. War has brought upheaval to their lives as well, disrupting what they hold dear.

Lieutenant Alexander Goodwin and his sister, Lindy, become reacquainted with hope for a future contact between them. Their parents had divorced, now their father deceased and their mother remarried. It took bravery for Alex to knock on the London home he had not lived in to seek out his welcome and his younger sister separated from him for so many years. Spurned away, he seeks refuge with new friends, Dr. Jon whom he has known since their boyhood in India, on his three-day weekend before returning for pilot training with the Royal Naval Air Service against enemy craft.
Penny and Alex write to each other after he returns to his service. Uplifting for him, gives her a personal interest in the war, as they share encouragement back and forth. 

My favorite part was how Alex spoke into Andrew Ramsey's life by being honest and vulnerable with his own decisions. Young Andrew will one day inherit Highland Hall, as the eldest son. Invaluable imparting wisdom and love by example, Alex will have a huge turn about in Andrew's life choices.

The Edwardian Brides Series includes book 1, The Governess of Highland Hall; book 2, The Daughter of Highland Hall; and book 3, A Refuge at Highland Hall written by author Carrie Turansky.

***Thank you to author Carrie Turansky for inviting me to be a part of the review team for this third novel, A Refuge of Highland Hall, and for sending me a pre-release copy from WaterBrook Multnomah. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

Click here:
Be sure to check out book launch giveaway through October 24


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Lilacs for Juliana by Carrie Fancett Pagels, © 2015

The Christy Lumber Camp Series, Book 3

Overcoming With God: Diana's Review Of LILACS FOR JULIANA By Carrie Fan...:

A lovely story begins of good intentions. How often do we portray who we are, or are we coy, hoping others will interpret our actions? Miss Juliana Beauchamps must find her heart's desire in leaving the past behind and not allowing it to affect her future decisions of who she is truly. Come along as the good intentions are eventually portrayed in a heart that is noble and true. But the story must progress, as our lives, daily ~ not arriving in one big humph and we're there.

Richard "Moose" (as his family and other loggers call him) Christy, has come to nearby St. Ignace in Michigan's eastern Upper Peninsula to set up Christy Lumber Camp at Grand Crossing, readying it for the loggers who will be coming to this new section. With a camp bunkhouse lodge larger than previous camps his father has operated, Richard is hoping to bring in the very best for this new operation. His first agenda is to find cooks to keep the men's bellies full and their enthusiasm up without lack. Cherishing his nurturing time with reading, he sets out to the St. Ignace town library ~ until he finds out his favorite is not only literary. Juliana is the librarian. Five feet to his six-six in height, she already is set to look up to him! So sweet when he comes upon the children's hour storytelling, embellishing Paul Bon Jean, famed woodsman of tales (parallels the giant lumberjack originated by loggers in folklore's oral legend ~ Paul Bunyan).
With Richard unable to tell her of his longings, Juliana seems to slip through his fingers as she travels to Milwaukee for a very long month ahead.
Although this is a Victorian Mansion - Chicago IL, it could work for my beer baron's house in Lilacs for Juliana, and that house would be in Milwaukee.:
Leaving her home to assist the set up of the personal library of a beer baron in Milwaukee, Juliana has time to consider her past and her future.

Baron James Yost has always been able to persuade with his wealth, charm, and talent. Setting details without inquiring with those he has determined to appeal to his liking, to his credit is his little daughter, Isabelle. As a widower, she is his delight and has such a sweet appealing countenance, you will be uplifted by her lightness in a situation that could be hampering.

Actually, James Yost does Juliana a favor by no choice but to meet her past and resolve it. Offering forgiveness is one thing, actually experiencing it is another.
Image result for marionettes  How can we twist a person's life by our suggestions. Wait a while; consider this ~ pulling us from our true intent? How it affects others as our decisions appease.
How to Grow Lilac Bushes....One of the easiest plants to grow even in poor soil.:   Wait until you find out the true lilacs of the heart given to Juliana, an heirloom for generations to enjoy.

***Thank you to author Carrie Fancett Pagels for sending me a copy of Lilacs for Juliana, inviting me to be part of the blog tour for book 3 in The Christy Lumber Camp Series. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

Book 1 ~ The Christy Lumber Camp Series
Book 2 ~ The Christy Lumber Camp Series

Overcoming With God: Blog Hop for Lilacs for Juliana!!! Kindle Fire Giv...:

This blog entry concludes the Blog Hop for Carrie Fancett Pagels Lilacs for Juliana. Be sure and go back and comment on at least seven of these blog reviews to be entered for the Grand Prize. A copy of Lilacs for Juliana will be given to one commenter at each blog review, by the author!
Here are the direct links:
September 7th  Heroes, Heroines and History
September 12th  Overcoming with God
September 14th  BookBabble
September 16th  Cheryl B Book Blog
September 18th  D’s Quilts & Books
September 23rd  Sunnie Reviews
September 24th  Buzzing About Books
September 30th  Captive Dreams Windows
October 1st  Singing Librarian Books
October 5th  Perspectives by Nancee
October 7th  Stuff and Nonsense
October 14th  Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
October 21st  Lane Hill House