Monday, August 21, 2017

Brentwood's Ward by Michelle Griep #BookReview #Giveaway

*Please read giveaway details carefully.

and other fine booksellers.

Back Cover Copy:
 Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge.

The Why:
The reason I first picked up this book is because I'd heard of the "Bow Street Runners" and thought the occupation must be terribly thrilling and interesting to read about. So when I learned Michelle Griep (fellow author in the Of Rags and Riches Collection) had written a story about one, well I just had to read it.

The Main Characters:
Intriguing, entertaining, gritty, unique, mysterious... These terms best describe this tale--and it's hero--for me. Nathan Brentwood puts me in mind of Lawrence of Arabia, perhaps in his back story at least. The heroine is a well-portrayed reflection of the times, garnering more interest with every page. I was quite attached to both by the time the book ended.

The Secondary Characters:
I sort of fell in love with secondary character Alexander Moore and just found out he has his own book coming soon called The Inkeeper's Daughter! Huzzah!

The Author's Particular Talent:
Michelle is incredible at writing plot twists, action sequences, and sense-igniting phrases. Her word-smithing carves a path that you're mind must follow until you no longer are reading about the character--you are the character.

The Stakes:
The constant threat of death cried out from every page, whether the death of a career, one's innocence, a friend, or a love interest, and kept me leafing through into the small morning hours.

While a tad grittier than some CBA historicals (a near-rape scene comes to mind), the story brings to life so much history of the time and location. The characters were unlike any others I had read, and the thrill of the chase made this story shine. I wished for a little more of the heroine's faith-journey at the end, but very much admired the hero as he struggled yet relied on God no matter the circumstances.

The More Factor:
Definitely wanting to read more mysteries and historicals from this author's pen.

I'm giving away a Kindle copy of Michelle's The Captive Heart, pictured below. To enter, comment with your email (in AT/DOTcom format). OR email me at natalieATnataliemonkDOTcom if you have trouble commenting on the page. For extra entries paste an URL where you've shared this giveaway on social media. 

Back Cover Copy:
On the run from a brute of an aristocratic employer, Eleanor Morgan escapes from England to America, the land of the free, for the opportunity to serve an upstanding Charles Town family. But freedom is hard to come by as an indentured servant, and downright impossible when she’s forced to agree to an even harsher contract—marriage to a man she’s never met.

Backwoodsman Samuel Heath doesn’t care what others think of him—but his young daughter’s upbringing matters very much. The life of a trapper in the Carolina backcountry is no life for a small girl, but neither is abandoning his child to another family. He decides it’s time to marry again, but that proves to be an impossible task. Who wants to wed a murderer?

Both Samuel and Eleanor are survivors, facing down the threat of war, betrayal, and divided loyalties that could cost them everything, but this time they must face their biggest challenge ever . . .Love.

Comment Fodder:
Have you read any of Michelle Griep's books? If so, do you have a favorite?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

35 Book Christian Romance #Giveaway

Lots of giveaways going on here on the blog right now, and I'm adding a new one (recap on the other two at the end of this post)! But in the giveaway below, you could win THIRTY-FIVE BOOKS AT ONCE, including Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection.

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My other two giveaways are running in their own respective posts (click the covers to go to the posts):

Comment Fodder:
How many books have you read this summer?
Which were your favorite?

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Promise of Breeze Hill by Pam Hillman #BookReview #Giveaway

***Please read giveaway details carefully.***

From the Back Cover:

Anxious for his brothers to join him on the rugged frontier along the Mississippi River, Connor O’Shea has no choice but to indenture himself as a carpenter in exchange for their passage from Ireland. But when he’s sold to Isabella Bartholomew of Breeze Hill Plantation, Connor fears he’ll repeat past mistakes and vows not to be tempted by the lovely lady.
The responsibilities of running Breeze Hill have fallen on Isabella’s shoulders after her brother was found dead in the swamps along the Natchez Trace and a suspicious fire devastated their crops, almost destroyed their home, and left her father seriously injured. Even with Connor’s help, Isabella fears she’ll lose her family’s plantation. Despite her growing feelings for the handsome Irish carpenter, she seriously considers accepting her wealthy and influential neighbor’s proposal of marriage.
Soon, though, Connor realizes someone is out to eliminate the Bartholomew family. Can he set aside his own feelings to keep Isabella safe?

Connor: A gentle, protective, swoon-worthy hero. Irish. 
Isabella: A gutsy heroine determined to save her struggling plantation home. 
They both dearly love their families and put their heart and soul into pursuing their goals.
Secondary characters in this novel are memorable as well! Many unique and vivid portraits of Southern folk. This heroine has a mystery tied to her mother, which was intriguing. And I found it interesting to watch her grow from an impetuous young girl into her role of perceptive woman-of-the-house.

Fascinating history. Life and times of Mississippians at the end of the 18th century. This was before statehood, so when the men gathered on the porch to drink lemonade, they spoke of the territory and governor and banded together as property owners to deal with the issues facing them and their loved ones. I also found interesting the mentions of Irish slaves and their role during this time period.

From the moment Connor and Isabella meet at the auction block, he is so wounded and guilt-ridden and defensive, but matures through his love for the heroine and his realization that his perceptions from his past life are wrong. Connor has had a previous, hurtful relationship, but Isabella is quite innocent about men. About many things, as she has been sheltered and well-guarded in her plantation home and social circles. Though Connor has been ill-treated by a woman, gives care to be respectful and gentle with Isabella, no matter how little he trusts her. As their feelings grow, their relationship develops tenderly, showcasing Connor's protective instincts.

Well-paced, flowing, and varied. Thoughtful at times and action packed at others. Goes perfectly with lemonade and porch swings!
The danger of highwaymen along the Natchez Trace and specifically the Devil’s Backbone were historical bits I’d never heard of until reading Pam’s blogs about her research for this book. An eye-opening subject since sometimes we, at least I, tend to think of the Natchez Trace as a peaceful, scenic joyride. Not so during the 18th century. I'm glad for books like these that bring out the struggles of those in prior centuries, familiar struggles that I can relate to and learn from.

Overall Impression
The history fascinates, characters made me care about them, and I can’t wait to see what happens to the other Connor brothers!

I'm giving away a Kindle copy of Pam Hillman's STEALING JAKE, pictured below, c
elebrating one of my favorite stories from Pam's back-list. To enter, leave your email in a AT/DOT format. OR email me at natalieATnataliemonkDOTcom if you have trouble commenting. For extra entries, sign up for my/Pam's newsletter and/or post an URL in the comments where you've shared this giveaway on social media. Giveaway ends 8pm CST August 14, 2017.
Back cover copy:
When Livy O’Brien spies a young boy jostling a man walking along the boardwalk, she recognizes the act for what it is. After all, she used to be known as Light-fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she’s helping to run an orphanage. Now she’ll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself.
Sheriff’s deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy—literally—while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town—as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off—Jake doesn’t have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can’t seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn’t willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman.

Comment Fodder:
Have you read Pam Hillman's books before? If so, do you have a favorite?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Of Rags and Riches Made the ECPA Bestsellers List!

God is so good! 

My agent emailed me last night with some news, and I liked to have jumped out of my seat! If you're Southern, you'll know what I'm saying here. She forwarded the link to August 2017's ECPA Bestsellers List and told me to check out #16. I was FLOORED. (Another Southern phrase? I'm not sure.) 

Someone was on the phone in the room with me, so I couldn't jump up and squeal and do a Scooby Doo dance like I wanted. So I held my breath a few seconds, ran and found my mom in the other room and told her, then my sister and Dad. What a fun surprise!

Congrats to all my sister-authors in this Collection! Getting this news felt like a God-hug to me, and just knowing He is in control means so much. 

While you're here, have a slice of cake! We have chocolate, caramel, birthday, red velvet, German chocolate, orange slice, coconut, strawberry, Italian creme, and a good Southern favorite, hummingbird cake. (Anyone know where that name came from?)

I want let you in on the celebrating, so I'm giving away a paperback copy of Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection! Winner will be announced August 14, 2017. Comment with your email to enter. (Remember, to avoid spammers, separate your email into pieces or use the emailaddressATserverDOTcom format.)

Comment Fodder: What's your favorite flavor of cake?