Sunday, March 31, 2019

"A Very Austen Valentine"

A Very Austen Valentine FB Cover

About the Book

A Very Austen Valentine Book Cover

Book: A Very Austen Valentine  
Author: Robin Helm  
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency), Religious and Inspirational  
Release Date: December 29, 2018

Six beloved authors deliver romantic Valentine novellas set in Jane Austen’s Regency world. Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite, together with Susan Kaye and Mandy Cook, share variations of Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility, featuring your favorite characters in sequels, adaptations, and spinoffs of Austen’s adored novels. Experience uplifting romance, laugh-out-loud humor, and poignant regret as these authors deftly tug on your heartstrings this Valentine’s Day.  

I Dream of You by Robin Helm

Newly-married Elizabeth Darcy has a plan: to charm her too-busy husband into desiring her company as much as he did when he was courting her. A series of romantic dreams gives her just the push she needs to put that plan into action. S

ir Walter Takes a Wife by Laura Hile

Faced with a lonely future and finding himself strapped for cash, Persuasion’s Sir Walter Elliot manfully decides to marry again. But his careful plans go sadly awry! A lighthearted Valentine mash-up featuring two of Jane Austen’s worst snobs.  

My Forever Valentine by Wendi Sotis

Jane and Charles Bingley have married, even though Miss Elizabeth Bennet remains certain Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy gave his best effort to keep them apart. After Mr. Darcy refused to stand up with Bingley and did not attend the wedding, she despises the gentleman more than ever and finds his company intolerable. How will she endure her visit to Kent if Mr. Darcy turns up everywhere she goes?  

Pretence and Prejudice by Barbara Cornthwaite

A chance encounter with a handsome stranger forces Elizabeth to resort to subterfuge in order to discover his true intentions.  

My Valentine by Mandy H. Cook

Little Charlotte was always determined and independent, traits which served her well as she battled a serious childhood illness and later as she took on Polite Society. Will those traits now deprive her of true love? Or would her lifelong Valentine win her heart?

The Lovers’ Ruse by Susan Kaye

 In this Persuasion alteration, Anne is so altered by Wentworth’s love in the summer of 1806, she refuses to give him up when both her godmother and father try to persuade her. “The Lovers’ Ruse”follows Frederick and Anne through their whirlwind courtship and their secret engagement. When Wentworth returns for his Annie girl, the cat comes out of the bag.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review:

This is such a fun and romantic anthology to read!  I thoroughly enjoyed every single story in this collection.  All are based on some of Jane Austen's characters and they are retellings that are sure to delight any Austen fan or really anyone whom enjoys reading stories set in the  Regency era!  I love that each of the stories is written by  a different author, so I was introduced to new authors and also each story has a different feel, or style of writing to it.  If I had to choose a favorite from this collection, it would be "My Valentine" by Mandy H. Cook.  I really liked Charlotte and how her character was portrayed.  She had to deal with challenges and she managed them and now is trying to find the balance between who she is as a person and not losing who she is but also opening her heart to love.  This is a great collection that will have you smiling, and enjoying the sweet, clean romance that is shared among the characters. 

About the Author


robin helm

Robin Helm’s books reflect her love of music, as well as her fascination with the paranormal and science fiction. Previously published works include The Guardian Trilogy: Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy (a guardian angel protects a supernaturally gifted girl), the Yours by Design series: Accidentally Yours, Sincerely Yours, and Forever Yours (Fitzwilliam Darcy switches places in time with his descendant, Will Darcy), and Understanding Elizabeth (Regency sweet romance). She contributed to A Very Austen Christmas: Austen Anthologies, Book 1, an anthology featuring like-minded authors, in 2017, and A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 2 which was released on December 29, 2018. New releases for 2019 include More to Love, a standalone historical sweet romance dealing with body image; Lawfully Innocent, a historical U.S. Marshal romance book in the Lawkeepers series; Maestro, a historical sweet romance featuring a brilliant musician and his student; and A Very Austen Romance: Austen Anthologies, Book 3. She lives in sunny South Carolina where she teaches piano and adores her one husband, two married daughters, and three grandchildren.  

More from Robin

Do you love Historical romance, but avoid “those” covers like the plague? Would you enjoy an anthology featuring six Valentine-themed novellas set in the Regency period written by Christian authors? In A Very Austen Valentine, stories range from a young wife searching for a way to bring her marriage back to the way it was, to a laugh-out-loud courtship between Jane Austen’s worst snobs. Misunderstandings, concealed identities, and romance abound. There is even a sequel featuring the children of the Darcys and the Brandons. Every reader will find something to love in this wonderful collection.  

Blog Stops

Emily Yager, March 29
Moments, March 31
Mary Hake, March 31
Pause for Tales, April 1
Book by Book, April 2
The Becca Files, April 7


To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away
Grand Prize: a $50 Amazon gift card 1st Place: An autographed paperback of A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 1 2nd Place: An autographed paperback of A Very Austen Christmas: Austen Anthologies, Book 2 3rd Place: A set of three ebooks – Reader’s Choice of any three of my books and 4th Place: a $5 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

"Dark Blossom"

What happens when doctor and patient find themselves in the same sinking boat, yet rowing in opposite directions—one clinging to the past, and the other unable to move beyond it? 

Sam returns home from a business trip a day before his son's thirteenth birthday to find his world cruelly shattered in one fell swoop. Initially thinking he can cope on his own, Sam finally seeks the help of Cynthia, an experienced therapist. What he doesn’t know is that Cynthia herself is trying to recover from a debilitating divorce and the sinister shadow of her ex-husband. In the midst of it all is Lily, Cynthia's daughter, who harbors a secret that has the power to explode the lives around her.

Taut with tension and intensity, "Dark Blossom" explores what lies beneath the surface of the lives of apparently “normal” people.
My Review:
"Dark Blossom" is a wonderful debut novel from Neel Mullick and he is going to be an author to watch.  Cynthia is back to working with patients after taking time to process and work through a change in her own life, and yet she is unprepared for how Sam and his story is going to affect her personally.  Sam has not been able to cope with the death of his wife and child and is reaching out for help.  As Cynthia and Sam's lives become intertwined they are forever changed. 
I loved how this story flows so nicely and at the same time kept me furiously turning pages to find out what was going to happen next.  Having a counseling degree and background, this book was so interesting to me and I love learning how people are impacted by situations and how they are coped with.  Each person we come into contact will have an impact on our lives, big or small, large importance, or little impact, no matter it is some type of impact.  The characters are all well-developed and become so real, it truly felt as if they came to life within the pages.  I am eager to see what Neel will write next!
Neel Mullick is the author of "Dark Blossom." The Head of Product and Information Security at a Belgian family-office technology company, Mullick is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and INSEAD. He mentors female entrepreneurs through the Cherie Blaire Foundation for Women, is involved in raising a generation of digital and socially aware leaders with Nigeria’s Steering for Greatness Foundation, supports improvement in the quality of life of domestic workers through Peru’s Emprendedoras del Hogar, and works with IIMPACT in India to help break the cycle of illiteracy plaguing young girls from socially and economically impoverished communities. "Dark Blossom" is his first novel.
*Thanks to FSB Associates for the complimentary copy of this book.*

sharing the gift of hospitality

"Open-Door Living: easy ways to share the gift of hospitality" is such a nice book!  This is a square, textured hardcover edition and it is filled with photographs, recipes and tips.  Jen addresses the concept of hospitality, really the heart of it, and explores the differences between entertaining and hospitality.  Then she addresses in various sections, different aspects and areas that are connected with opening our  homes.  Creating a welcoming space is discussed with suggestions for doing it.  Eating and food is a large part of social gatherings and being hospitable, so numerous recipes are shared.  An interesting section to me is when Jen discusses our senses and how to make our homes appealing to all of the senses, taste,  touch, feel, smell, sound.  Cozying up the home is something that plays into our senses and I think we all long for that cozy, at home feeling to really come through and be apparent to ourselves and others.  Jen has even included conversations starters, so this book is truly a complete guide to being hospitable.  I highly recommend this book, you will not be disappointed. 

*Thanks to the B&H/Lifeway Blogger Program  for thee complimentary copy of this book.*

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

"Lies Girls Believe"

Lies Girls Believe: And the Truth That Sets Them Free   -     By: Dannah Gresh
This book is perfect for tween girls and one that can help guide conversations between girls and their mom or other trust female in a girl's life.  Kids these days are being faced with so much more than we had to deal with growing up with social media and the backlash that comes with posting things about one's self and being able to compare one's self with virtually millions of other people.  This book is colorful, and fun looking when you flip through it, so it is definitely appealing to the eye and will appeal to tween girls.  Then once you start reading, you will see that it is not just another book to read, but it is an interactive book willed with quizzes, questions, activities and things to reflect upon that the girl Zoey is facing and having to make decisions about.  This book covers a wide variety of things and that is a feature I love as well, everything from feelings to grades to appearance to frenemies to boys.  I also love the Bible verses and lessons that are tied in as well, giving the girls a firm foundation for determining what is lies and what is truth.  This is an excellent resource and book for girls and for moms to use with their daughters. 

*Thanks to the Moody Publishers Blogger Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*

"Memory Making Mom"

Book Description from the publisher:

Be a different kind of mom. Break through the distractions and create lasting memories.
What’s the solution to gaining the balanced, meaningful life you desire with your family? Create traditions that bring joy and significance. Popular "Smartter Each Day" blogger and mom of three, Jessica Smartt explains why memory-making is the puzzle piece that today’s families are longing for. She highlights ten tradition-gifts kids need most, including a rich resource of two hundred–plus unique traditions. She also offers practical encouragement to modern parents to keep on adventuring—even when they are fighting distractions, are on a budget, and exhausted.

My Review:
Jessica has done a great job with writing this book!  I love the introduction as she is being clear that not everyone can or will want to do everything that she is sharing in this book, no one is perfect and no one can just dive in and live a life like what she is presenting here.  The purpose of this book isn't to tell you that you have to do this, that or this other day, but instead here are some suggestions to help you create traditions that work for you, that are your family.  A definition for traditions: "Traditions are a planned determination to remember, celebrate, and value what is important;" this is a perfect definition as it is it going to be different for each person and each family as we all have different things that are of value, of importance.  Each chapter focuses on a different aspect such as holidays, Sundays, learning, to name a few.  Jessica shares her thoughts, her practices and then offers suggestions and various ways to take ownership of these areas and mold various practices  to then become traditions.  This is a great read for moms who want to spend time creating memories that will always be remembered and things that may turn into traditions that are practiced each month, each year and remembered for years to come and passed on even.  I highly recommend this book!

*Thanks to the BookLook Bloggers Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

"Almost Home"

Cover Art

Book Blurb from the publisher:

The things that tear us apart can also bring us together

With America's entrance into World War II, the town of Blackberry Springs, Alabama, has exploded virtually overnight. Workers from all over are coming south for jobs in Uncle Sam's munitions plants--and they're bringing their pasts with them, right into Dolly Chandler's grand but fading family home turned boardinghouse.

A struggling young couple from the Midwest, unemployed professors from Chicago, a widower from Mississippi, and a shattered young veteran struggling to heal from the war are all hoping Dolly's house will help them find their way back to the lives they left behind. But the house has a past of its own.

When tragedy strikes, Dolly's only hope will be the circle of friends under her roof and their ability to discover the truth about what happened to a young bride who lived there a century before.
My Review:
"Almost Home" is a story that is beautifully shared and will have the reader longing for a circle of people to live life with such as the characters in the book.  Blackberry Springs is a place that is changing so much due to World War II and Dolly finds her home changing and her life both after she opens her open to be a boardinghouse.  As Dolly connects with newcomers to town and neighbors, she realizes she needs them all just as much as they all need her home and each other.  Tragedy and changes can create a wedge between people, but it can also build a tie just as strong and result in hope.  Reading this book painted such vivid pictures for me, as the author's style of writing is so descriptive and flowy, it felt as if I was a part of the story.  I loved getting to know the characters, they all became so real to me and I loved learning their stories and seeing the bonds that they all built with each other.  As the intrigue and backstory of the house draws them even more together, I loved seeing this play out and this aspect of the story as it added an additional element to it.  I am looking forward to reading what Valerie will write next!

*Thanks to the Revell Reads Blogger Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Monday, March 18, 2019

"A Tender Hope"

Cover Art

Book Blurb from the publisher:

As far as Thea Michener is concerned, it's time for a change. With her husband murdered and her much-anticipated baby stillborn, there is nothing left for her in Ladreville. Having accepted a position as Cimarron Creek's midwife, she has no intention of remarrying. So when a handsome Texas Ranger appears on her doorstep with an abandoned baby, Thea isn't sure her heart can take it.

Ranger Jackson Guthrie isn't concerned only with the baby's welfare. He's been looking for Thea, convinced that her late husband was part of the gang that killed his brother. But it soon becomes clear that the situation is far more complicated than he anticipated--and he'll need Thea's help if he's ever to find the justice he seeks.

My Review:
Amanda Cabot is one of my must-read historical romance authors and once again she has written an excellent book!  "A Tender Hope" is book #3 in her Cimarron Creek Trilogy and it is such a good book to wrap it up.  Thea is ready to start over with a new life and to put the past behind her we quickly learn as soon as we begin reading the book.  Aimee is joining her on the trip to the new town and Thea is happy for the company and a friend.  Thea is going to be working as the town's midwife and Thea is seeking answers as to her family as she is seeking to find her biological parents.  The ladies are in for a surprise when they arrive in town to find a Texas Ranger and a baby on their new doorstep.  Jackson is seeking answers and justice and he believes Thea is the woman he is looking for or at the very least she will be able to help him with answers.  However, this is real life and things do not always go as planned or work out as smoothly as expected. 
I thought this story flowed so nicely and the storylines were interwoven together well. The characters are all so easy to like and feel a connection with and I loved seeing some of the characters from the other books in this trilogy as well. Although I am sad to see this series end, I am eager to see what Amanda writes next!

*Thanks to the Revell Reads Blogger Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*

"Courting Mr. Emerson"

Cover Art"Courting Mr. Emerson" is the latest novel from Melody Carlson and it is another excellent read from her!  This is unlike some of her other novels and different from many other romance novels as the main characters are older, and in different stages of life.  George is facing retirement with mixed feelings.  He has lived his life his own way, simple and following the same routine and lifestyle each day.  His life takes a sudden change the moment Willow West breezes into his classroom during the last few days of the school year requesting he to write a letter of recommendation for her grandson whom she has custody of.  George finds himself caught up in this whirlwind named Willow and her life that is so different from his own.  Willow lives her life large and full of color and she does not hold back but shares her heart with all whom she comes into contact with, including George.  Willow has made mistakes in her life in the past, but she is managing her own art gallery, has raised her grandson and now is given another chance to connect with her daughter and work on that relationship.  As George and Willow's lives intersect throughout this summer, change and growth results in both of their lives and their relationship with each other and with others.
George and Willow are both such great characters, different in so many ways, but also alike in ways as they are both searching for things in their lives and really finding that peace that has been lacking and leaving a void.  Collin and Josie are both characters whom I loved as well, and I loved how things weren't glossed over in their relationship, but that they had to put in time and effort in order to build a relationship.  The home projects and renovations place a big role in the book and symbolize the changes that the characters make within themselves and in their homes as well.  I really enjoyed this book and all the many layers to it and to their characters.  I was not ready for the book to end, as the ending is really a new beginning and I would love to read more and spend more time with these characters and where their lives may take them now.

*Thanks to the Revell Reads Blogger Review Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

"Breaking the Power of Negative Words"

Cover ArtWords are so powerful; it is easy to forget just how powerful until the damage is done.  I love the tagline on the back cover - "Words are powerful - use wisely." This is such a great book discussing the power, the damaging impact of negative words and then how powerful positive words can be, how they can heal.  I love how this book is laid out.  It is divided into 3 sections - the first focusing on words spoken to us, the second words we say to ourselves and the third words we speak to others.  Each section is further divided into chapters and specific points and concepts addressed.  Each chapter ends with questions, really making the concepts personal and interactive.  There are so many good points in this book, I have underlined so many things.  One thing that really stood out was how negative self-talk and a negative mindset impacts how we feel physically.  Really our minds and mouths play such strong roles and can cause harm that lasts for years and years.  The author strives to help the reader work through the impact of damaging words and breaking free of the harm and really trying to use positive words with others and one's self.  I highly recommend this book.

*Thanks to the Revell Book Bloggers Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*

inspiring read!

Cover Art
Book Blurb from the publisher:

Overlooking the Hudson River on the campus of the United States Military Academy at West Point are 12 granite benches, each inscribed with a word representing a key leadership virtue: compassion, courage, dedication, determination, dignity, discipline, integrity, loyalty, perseverance, responsibility, service, and trust. These benches remind cadets of the qualities that lead to victory and success, not just on the battlefield, but in all of life.

With his signature enthusiasm and insight, Pat Williams shares the incredible stories of West Point graduates who exemplified these traits, from the Civil War to the War on Terror. He shows readers of all backgrounds how to develop these 12 essential virtues in their lives, whether they are in the corporate world, the academic world, the military, the church, or in some other sphere.

My Review:
This is a great book to read that is filled with history, influential people, and encouragement to live life with these core values a part of who we are.  The writing is very straight forward and easy to read and understand the point of what is being shared.  These are qualities that I strive to live practicing and ones that I hope shine through. However, more importantly these are qualities that I want my children to learn and model as well as they are the future and ideally those in leadership especially would live life based upon these guidelines and values as well.  I highly recommend this for anyone and everyone to read. 

*Thanks to Revell Reads Blogger Review Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Monday, March 4, 2019

"The Secrets of Paper and Ink"

Book Description from the publisher:

Brought together by a charming bookstore in England, three women fight to defy expectations, dream new dreams, and welcome love into their lives.
As a counselor, Sophia Barrett is trained to help people cope with their burdens. But when she meets a new patient whose troubles mirror her own, she realizes she hasn’t dealt with the pain of her recent past. After making a snap decision to get away for the summer, Sophia moves overseas to an apartment above a charming bookstore in Cornwall, England. She is hopeful she will find peace there surrounded by her favorite thing: great literature.
Bookstore owner Ginny Rose is desperate to save her business without asking for help from a husband who’s decided to take a break from their marriage. Ginny never imagined she’d be solely responsible for keeping afloat her husband’s dream, but the unexpected friendship with her new renter has her feeling more optimistic. Between the two of them—and Ginny’s brother-in-law, William—the bookstore might stand a chance.
Then Sophia finds a notebook in the bookstore that contains journal entries from Emily Fairfax, a governess who lived in Cornwall more than 150 years ago. Sophia learns that Emily harbored a secret passion for becoming an authoress—as well as a deep love for her childhood friend, Edward, whose station she dared not dream to touch.
Eager to know more of Emily’s story, Sophia goes on a quest—dragging Ginny and William with her—to discover the heart of the woman behind the beautiful entries. Soon Ginny’s need to save the bookstore becomes more than a way to save her marriage, and Sophia finds new purpose of her own. Together they find that sometimes both heartache and hope can reach across the centuries.

My Review:
 How true that people expect you to have it all together if you have a degree or a job with helping others, this was the case for Sophia.  Sophia works daily helping others work through the issues in their own lives, but that does not mean that she lives a carefree life and has worked through and resolved issues in her own.  When Sophia is forced to face some things that she has pushed aside and left unresolved for years, she impulsively decides to get away to work through it.  Let me tell you if I was in Sophia's shoes I would have made a decision like she did; who could blame her, an apartment above a charming bookstore?  My idea of an ideal home! This begins such an eye-opening and healing journey not only for Sophia, but for so many others as well. 
I absolutely loved this book!  The description of the book was so intriguing to me and I loved the setting.  I was completely wrapped up in the story as soon as it started and I loved the going back and forth between the journal entries and today's storyline.  This is an excellent book and I highly recommend it! 

*Thanks to the BookLook Bloggers Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*

Friday, March 1, 2019

"Whispers and Wildflowers"

Cover Art"If you've been running too fast for too long, give yourself some time to rest, be refreshed, and soak in the wisdom God has imparted to Sarah."--Susie Larson, show host, author, national speaker

Book blurb from the publisher:

Do you feel constantly busy but, deep down, constantly soul-weary? In this inspiring and practical book, Sarah Beth Marr helps you develop a regular practice of withdrawing from busyness to realign and refresh your heart, mind, and soul. She helps you

· discover Scripture that will lead you to peace
· connect with God on a deeper level
· run to God rather than to other things that do not satisfy
· experience less stress and more contentment
· be fully present in your life

If you feel distracted, burnt out, depleted, or overwhelmed, let Sarah Beth be your gentle and uplifting guide to greater personal peace and simplicity.
My Review:
This is such a beautiful book in every sense!  First of all, the cover has a textured feel to it, and the watercolor look to it is beautiful and soothing.  Next, the layout is so nice as there is a boxed quote or a few lines at the start of each chapter that states the overall theme of the day's reading, followed by a Bible verse.  Then after a few pages of the actual text reading for the day there is a "Garden Moments for your soul" section which is a couple of questions for you to reflect upon and answer and there is ample space for you to record your answers.  Followed by this is a pray and then a lined space for you to write your own prayer, thoughts, reflections, whatever you choose.  This is the layout of the book for 30 days. 
I feel like Sarah has accomplished her mission with this book of giving the reader a way to relax and refocus on Jesus and really just destress and be more present in the daily moments.  The readings do not take long, but they are in depth enough.  I really enjoyed these readings and they will be ones that I will work through again in the future for another 30 days. 
Sarah Beth Marr is the author of Dreaming with God and danced professionally for more than fifteen years as a ballerina. She now encourages women in the dance of life and faith through her writing, speaking at MOPS International groups and women's events, and teaching the Word. She and her husband, Brian, have three sons and live in Dallas, Texas. Learn more at

*Thanks to the Baker Books Blogger Review Program for the complimentary copy of this book.*