Friday, October 31, 2014

"becoming bea" by leslie gould

William Shakespeare meets the Amish in this delightful novel.

Can Bea and Ben Turn Rivalry Into Romance?

Beatrice Zook knows God wants her to learn patience toward others. When assisting a family overwhelmed by triplets proves surprisingly successful, her confidence in dealing with others, both young and old, grows.

One person she'll never be able to find peace with though is Ben Rupp. They've known each other forever, and Ben understands precisely how to antagonize her. What neither she nor Ben will admit is that beneath all their bickering, attraction awaits. When friends decide to try and bring the couple together, will the pair be able to find true love? Or will they damage their relationship beyond repair?


I absolutely love Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. I also love modern retellings of classic literature ... even though the retellings often leave something to be desired. Leslie Gould is no novice at these reimaginings, as Becoming Bea is the fourth novel in her Courtships of Lancaster County series, each of which is based on one of Shakespeare's plays. I've read two of the previous novels in the series, and while I greatly enjoyed Courting Cate, I didn't particularly care for Minding Molly. I knew I wanted to read Becoming Bea simply because I love the source material, but I wasn't sure if I'd truly enjoy it. Fortunately, Becoming Bea exceeded my expectations.

Becoming Bea is a completely endearing novel. I love the way Gould took the basic plot of Much Ado and adapted it to fit her story. Bea and Ben are obviously Beatrice and Benedick, but they also bear some resemblance to Hero and Claudio. And while many of Much Ado's events occurred in one form or another, they didn't always involve the characters I expected them to. This kept me on my toes and made the novel far less predictable than I anticipated. (I'd wondered how on earth Gould was going to work in a "Kill Claudio" scene, and it turned out that she didn't have to.)

Those familiar with Much Ado will enjoy the parts that reference it, and those who aren't will simply enjoy a great story. And now I'm off to watch my copy of the Kenneth Branagh version of the play! 4 stars.

See what others are saying.
Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Courting Cate and Minding Molly.

Fun fact: Apparently, my cousin was one of Gould's early readers, and she's mentioned in the acknowledgements. Small world.



Leslie Gould is the coauthor, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 CBA bestseller The Amish Midwife, a 2012 Christy Award winner; ECPA bestseller Courting Cate, first in the Courtships of Lancaster County series; and Beyond the Blue, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice for Best Inspirational Novel, 2006. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She and her family live in Portland, Oregon.

Find Leslie online: website, Facebook, Twitter


Leslie Gould is back with the latest book, Becoming Bea, in her Shakespeare-inspired series, The Courtships of Lancaster County. Don't miss the other books in the series, Courting Cate (retelling of The Taming of the Shrew), Adoring Addie (inspired by Romeo and Juliet), and Minding Molly (inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Leslie is celebrating the series with a Kindle giveaway and a Facebook party on November 11th.
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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • One copy each of the entire The Courtships of Lancaster County series: Courting CateAdoring Addie, Minding Molly, and Becoming Bea.
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 11/11. Winner will be announced at Leslie's 11/11 Becoming Bea Facebook author chat party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Leslie and Amish fiction fans, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!
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{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 11th!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"a promise to protect" by patricia bradley

"Don't judge a book by its cover," they say, and in this case, I'm glad I didn't.

In a steamy small town riddled with broken promises, one woman's secret could change everything.

Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn't heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn't mean he can get her—or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago—out of his head. When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. But all too soon, Ben is charged with a different task—protecting Leigh from the people after her brother. With Leigh doing everything in her power to avoid Ben, it's no easy task. And the secret she is keeping just may change their lives forever.

I enjoy two types of suspense novels: romantic suspense, where the romance is the driving force of the novel but there's also suspense, and suspense with a touch of romance (because you have to have romance, right?). I'd classify A Promise to Protect as the latter. There definitely is a romantic thread, but the suspense is the focus of the novel.

While there is a lot of plot crammed into this 331 page novel, it never gets confusing or overwhelming. In fact, it's probably more realistic than if Tony's murder investigation was the sole focus—would a sheriff really only have one case at a time? I don't think so!

Leigh and Ben are both interesting characters, and I enjoyed the redevelopment of their relationship. But the most interesting relationship was between Leigh's son TJ and Ben's dad. Their relationship was so sweet as TJ tried to help Ben's dad regain his speech following a stroke.

Overall, I very much enjoyed A Promise to Protect. The cover appears a bit cheesy (or, as another reviewer said, like it's the poster for a Lifetime movie), but the story is oh so good. Fans of suspense will enjoy this one! 4 stars.

Buy the book.

Patricia Bradley is the winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award and a 2012 Touched by Love Award and was also a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award. The author of Shadows of the Past, she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Bradley makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell through the Revell Reads program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"the bachelor" giveaway information

In December, I'll be reviewing Stephanie Reed's The Bachelor for a Kregel blog tour. But right now, you have a chance to win your own copy and a Kindle Fire through a promotion Reed is doing with Litfuse. Also, there's a Facebook book launch party tonight where you can win other prizes! Keep reading for more info:

Don't miss Stephanie Reed's newest book in the Plain City Peace series, The Bachelor. This compelling second book deftly weaves together the strands of a solid, simpler time with the turmoil of an era of change, revealing the strengths of both in its powerful narrative.

Join Stephanie in celebrating the book's release by entering her Kindle giveaway and RSVPing to her Facebook launch party on October 28th!
The Bachelor, Stephanie Reed
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Bachelor by Stephanie Reed
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 11/9. RSVP for the Facebook launch party today for a chance to connect with Stephanie and Amish fiction fans and a chance to win some great prizes! Winner will be announced November 10th here.
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Friday, October 24, 2014

"a lady at willowgrove hall" by sarah e. ladd

Fans of Regency Romance will love Sarah E. Ladd's latest novel, A Lady at Willowgrove Hall.

Her secret cloaks her in isolation and loneliness.

His secret traps him in a life that is not his own.

Cecily Faire carries the shame of her past wherever she treads, knowing one slip of the tongue could strip away everything she holds dear. But soon after accepting the position of lady's companion at Willowgrove Hall, Cecily finds herself face-to-face with a man well-acquainted with the past she's desperately hidden for years.

Nathaniel Stanton has a secret of his own—one that has haunted him from birth and tied him to his father's position as steward of Willowgrove. To protect his family, Nathaniel dares not breath a word of the truth. But as long as the shadow looms over him, he'll never be free to find his own way in the world. He'll never be free to fall in love.

When the secrets swirling within Willowgrove Hall come to light, Cecily and Nathaniel must confront a painful choice: Will they continue running from the past . . . or will they stand together and build a future without the suffocating weight of secrets long suffered?

Sarah E. Ladd is quickly establishing herself as a must-read regency romance author. A Lady at Willowgrove Hall provides just the right amount of romance and intrigue. As the story began, I thought I wasn't going to like Cecily at all, but her experience at the beginning really shaped her, and I came to love the woman she became. I definitely appreciate characters who evolve through a novel!

While this is the third book in Ladd's "Whispers on the Moors" series, it's only loosely connected to the others, and you could very easily read this book with no knowledge of the others. I will say it didn't have as much suspense as I expected (I just thought the secrets would have more weight and would be used against Nathaniel and Cecily more than they were), but it was still a very satisfying read. 4 stars.

See what others are saying.
Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Ladd's The Heiress of Winterwood and The Headmistress of Rosemere.


Sarah E. Ladd has more than ten years of marketing experience. She is a graduate of Ball State University and holds degrees in public relations and marketing. The Heiress of Winterwood was the recipient of the 2011 Genesis Award for historical romance. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.

Find Sarah online: website, Facebook, Twitter


Award-winning author Sarah E. Ladd examines how to escape the clutches of a tainted past in the final installment of her Whispers on the Moor series. A Regency-era novel, A Lady at Willowgrove Hall cleverly shows that even though our pasts may be shameful or painful, God can take the darkest personal histories and turn them into the brightest futures.

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Celebrate with Sarah by entering her Kindle HDX giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 2nd. Winner will be announced November 3rd here.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

"lights out" by travis freeman with rebeca seitz

I've sometimes imagined what it would like to be blind. It always seems absolutely horrific as I think about all the things I'd have to give up, and I end up thanking God that I have my sight. Travis Freeman's story has given me a new perspective ...

When illness completely stole Travis Freeman’s sight at 12 years old, his dream of playing football felt dead. However, the unshakable kid found a way to overcome the impossible and not only play football, but become a champion. 

A severe migraine attacked Travis after he’d returned from a week at summer camp. Multiple visits to doctors in different cities yielded no diagnosis. Not until an eye doctor saw something that sent Travis to the hospital clinging to his life. The undiagnosed condition was Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis, an infection attacking his ocular nerve. Doctors saved his life, but not his sight.

Doctors warned that he would go through a period of depression, but Travis never did. Instead this determined young man attacked learning to live in a sighted world with inspiring ferocity. “God let this happen to me for a reason,” Travis said.

Opting to stay at his school instead of attending the Kentucky School for the Blind, Travis was surrounded by a support system that had known him most of his life. That included the junior high football coach who found a spot on the team for Travis, not as a manager or water boy, but as a player. That year, with Travis playing Center, his team won the championship. Travis continued to play football all through high school, astonishing other teams and officials across the state. 

Lights Out is part memoir, part Christian living, and part Bible study, and those parts come together to form a fascinating book. While Travis Freeman's story of how he became blind and then didn't let his blindness stop him from living life to the fullest is inspirational, I most appreciated how he used his story as a springboard to present the gospel in a very natural and unforced way.

Travis Freeman isn't looking for a pat on the back or for people to feel sorry for him; instead, he's using his story to encourage believers and share Christ with others. The book is written in such a conversational style that the reader can't help but be drawn in—and I found myself nodding in agreement as Freeman talked about spiritual blindness and the disabilities that we all face. Everyone struggles with something—it's just that Freeman's struggles are more readily apparent than most people's. How we deal with our struggles is what's important, and Freeman is quick to point the reader to Christ.

Lights Out is a very inspirational book, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it. 4-1/2 stars.

Buy the book.
Watch the trailer for 23 Blast, the film based on Freeman's story.



Disabled people can do anything they want to in life. Travis Freeman proves that. After learning how to play football completely blind, Travis went on to win a championship with his team. The story of a blind football player caught the attention of the national media, spawning interviews with Dateline and TODAY. He went on to serve as the equipment manager for the University of Kentucky football team and earned his doctorate from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Travis teaches religion at The University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky.

Learn more about Travis at his website.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Glass Road Media & Management. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

"the promise" by beth wiseman

Sometimes when something seems too good to be true, it is ...

Mallory's search for happiness leads her to a faraway place. There she finds heartache, betrayal—and danger.

Mallory Hammond is determined that no one will stand in the way of her goal—to save a life. She had that chance years ago, and she failed to take it, leaving her adrift and in search of the real meaning of her life. Finally, she meets a man online from a volatile corner of the world who offers her the chance to find that purpose. But she will have to leave everyone she loves behind in order to take it.

Tate Webber has loved Mallory for many years. He understands that Mallory will never be happy with him until her deepest heart's desire is satisfied. When Mallory decides to travel across the world to fulfill her dreams, Tate begs her not to go but tries to give her the space she needs. Mallory embarks on her dangerous journey only to discover how swiftly and easily promises can be broken. And Mallory can only pray that she will make it out alive.

Inspired by actual events, The Promise is a riveting love story that asks the question: how far will we go for love?

The Promise is a very intriguing—and scary—novel. It's one of those books that you can't put down because you have to know how it all turns out, but you want to put it down because the protagonist is being so stupid. However, it's a whole lot easier to see someone else's stupidity than your own, so I guess I understand, at least a little, how Mallory could have been taken in by Abdul.

The novel actually reminded me a lot of a Lifetime movie—you know, the ones based on true stories where naive women fall under the spell of dangerous men. And I wouldn't be surprised if this story does make its way to the small screen someday.

Overall, even thought I wasn't a huge fan of Mallory, I did enjoy this book. And I do think there are a lot of idealistic young women who should read this novel, as it provides a powerful warning and shows the power of real love. 4 stars.

Content note: While The Promise is put out by a Christian publisher, I wouldn't label it Christian fiction. Some of the characters are religious, but there's little evidence faith in Jesus Christ. I don't think that's necessarily a problem as far as the story goes, but I do think readers should know what--and what not--to expect.

See what others are saying.
Buy the book.
Read my review of Wiseman's The Wonder of Your Love and A July Bride.

Beth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series. Having sold over 1.3 million books, her novels have held spots on multiple Bestseller lists. She was the recipient of the prestigious Carol Award in 2011 and 2013. In 2013 she took home the coveted Holt Medallion. Her first book in the Land of Canaan series--Seek Me With All Your Heart--was selected as the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year. Beth lives in Texas with her family.

Find Beth online: website, Facebook, Twitter


In a daring new novel, Beth Wiseman jumps way outside the box. The Promise will take readers far away from Amish country and small Texas towns to a dangerous place on the other side of the world. Inspired by actual events, this is the book Beth has been working toward for a long time.

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Curious? Click here to read the reviews, and be sure to enter Beth's Kindle HDX giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Promise by Beth Wiseman
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 9th. Winner will be announced November 10th here.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"an october bride" by katie ganshert

As you probably know, I've been on this Year of Weddings train from the start. It started out with Denise Hunter's "A December Bride," and since then, I've read some amazing wedding stories ... but none has excited me as much as Katie Ganshert's "An October Bride."

She wants to make her father's dream come true. She doesn't realize her own dream has been in front of her the whole time.

Emma Tate isn't a risk taker, so everyone in her small Midwest town is surprised when she suddenly becomes engaged to lifelong friend Jake Sawyer. No one but Jake and Emma know the true reason they're getting married-so Emma's dying father can walk her down the aisle.

While Jake and Emma plan an autumn wedding together, it becomes clear that their agreement has a few complications-the biggest being their true feelings for each other.

In this novella by award-winning author Katie Ganshert, a young woman must reconcile her dying father's dreams with her own dreams for love and for her future.


I love fake fiance/fake wedding stories. They're done all the time, and they're usually rather similar—two people pretend to be in love, and by the end of the story, they are. "An October Bride" doesn't break the mold, but it's an absolutely satisfying journey. Jake and Emma are both really likable characters, and I found myself identifying with Emma from the moment I began reading. The supporting characters are just as delightful, and I hope Ganshert will revisit this wonderful small town again—I think Emma's best friend needs her own story. I also really enjoyed the point of view—first person, present tense from Emma's perspective. It drew me into the story immediately.

I had incredibly high expectations for "An October Bride"—due to both the subject matter and the author. Happily, those expectations were met. I loved every second I spent reading "An October Bride," and I'm now itching to get my hands on another Ganshert novel! 5 stars.

Buy the book.
Read my review of Ganshert's Wildflowers from Winter.
Read my reviews of the other "Year of Weddings" entries: December, JanuaryFebruary, March, April, May, June, July, August, and September.

Katie Ganshert graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her husband, their young son, and their goofy black lab, Bubba. When she's not busy writing or playing or reading or snuggling, she is obsessing over the paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption. Visit her website at katieganshert.com.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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