Boondock Ramblings

Sunny (The Weather Girls Book One). Book Review with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: The Weather Girls: Sunny

Author: Jennifer Lynn Cary

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: September 6, 2021

TheWeatherGirls1 Sunny Cover

She got stood up on Valentine’s Day…

…Then she lost her job

Could the legend of the cardinal change her luck?

With a disposition as bright as her name, Sunny shakes it off the worst day of her life and makes a new start. She’s got the brains that it takes, but she’s more than a little scared. It’s not just her reputation on the line.

Would this cockeyed adventure be the thing her siblings need too?

Pat only wants peace in the family and never dreamed doing a favor for his sister could drop him into so much hot water. Torn between what he’s always wanted and what is staring him in the face, someone is bound to get hurt.

Odds are it will be him.

But then, only the cardinal knows for sure.

Return to 1970 Indiana with Sunny, the first book in The Weather Girls series—get into the miniskirts, bell-bottoms, and Christian family values.

You’ll love Sunny for the music, the fashions, and the hilarious antics, because who can resist a romantic trip down memory lane?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

If you are looking for a light read with minimal conflict, then Sunny (The Weather Girls Book One) is the book for you. The story takes place in 1970 with Sunny Day as the main character. Yes, that’s right, her name is Sunny Day, much to her embarrassment. Her sisters are named Stormy and Windy Day and when Sunny ends up starting a new endeavor it isn’t long before she has help from family and a new handsome friend, Pat Whitcomb, of the very well-known Whitcomb family. 

I fell in love with the characters, which were well developed, and felt like people I might know myself. Sunny and her sisters supported each other through each trial, showing a close-knit family, but not one without flaws and heartache. There isn’t a large focus on the heartache, though, making this book mostly light-hearted and touching. Humor and romance are sprinkled throughout. I’m a sucker for a book with a meddling grandmother and this one definitely has one and Gramma is one of the brightest spots of the book, besides Sunny herself.

The only aspect of the book which left me a little confused was that there was very little to no mention of a relationship with Jesus throughout the book until it was thrust upon the reader suddenly and in a somewhat awkward way with what I felt was an abrupt “salvation scene.” I don’t disagree with the scene’s content in any way, I just felt it could be written in a little bit more of an organic way. I do not, however, feel that this took away from the book overall and I am looking forward to snatching up a copy of the next book, Stormy, which focuses on the story of Sunny’s sister and is already available on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited (at the time this review was written anyhow). 

I was given a complimentary copy of this book to review in exchange for an honest review. I give it a 4 out of 5.

About the Author

Jennifer Lynn Cary likes to say you can take the girl out of Indiana, but you can’t take the Hoosier out of the girl. Now transplanted to the Arizona desert, this direct descendant of Davy Crockett and her husband of forty years enjoy time with family where she shares tales of her small town heritage and family legacies with their grandchildren. She is the author of The Crockett Chronicles series and The Relentless series as well as the stand-alone novella Tales of the Hob Nob Annex Café and her recent split-time novel The Traveling Prayer Shawl.

More from Jennifer Lynn

I was born in the 50’s, grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, and married in 1980. I relate to K.T. Oslin’s song “80’s Ladies” a little too well. 😉

Though we moved from Kokomo, Indiana in 1972, it always will be my hometown.

A few years ago my sister headed up a plan to have an annual Cousin’s Reunion in Kokomo. Two cousins came from Ohio and my sister and I came from the west to converge on our family who still call Kokomo home. Each trip back reminded me of how much I loved growing up there.

One day Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny” came on the Oldies station and caught my attention. Then I remembered the songs “Stormy” and “Windy” and wondered what it might be like for girls with that sort of name—especially if their surname was Day. Would their dispositions match their names? Why would their parents give them those names? The questions kept coming and I fell in love with the whole storyline.

The best part was putting the house I grew up in into the book(s). Yep, as you read the story, Hazel Day’s house is set up mostly like the one where I grew up only I added a den and an extra bedroom upstairs.

Ferguson House is based on the Seiberling Mansion—I love that place and tour it every chance I can when I get back to Kokomo. It’s amazing.

I also included favorite landmarks. Scotty’s Drive-In saw a lot of me in my early teen years. Great for grabbing a coke and not that far from either school or home.

The funny thing about memories is that they can blur and morph over time. Thankfully someone from my hometown has put together a Facebook page where I can ask questions and get more than enough answers.

Many locales I remember no longer exist, so writing about them helps them live on.

I hope you will check out Sunny and 1970 Kokomo and come back for the rest of The Weather Girls trilogy.

Abundant blessings!

Blog Stops

Blogging With Carol, October 6

CarpeDiem, October 6

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 7

By the Book, October 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 10

The Author Reads, October 10

Texas Book-aholic, October 11

Inklings and notions, October 12

Boondock Ramblings, October 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 13

Connie’s History Classroom, October 14

For Him and My Family, October 14

Batya’s Bits, October 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 16

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 17

deb’s Book Review, October 18

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, October 18

Vicky Sluiter, October 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 19

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon card with signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/11fdc/the-weather-girls-sunny-celebration-tour-giveaway

Blood From a Stone Book Review with Just Read Blog Tours

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Blood From a Stone by David James Warren, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The continuing adventures of Rembrandt Stone from the creative minds of James L. Rubart, Susan May Warren, and newcomer David Curtis Warren, writing collectively as David James Warren.

Title: Blood From a Stone

Series: The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone #5

Author: David James Warren

Publisher: TriStone Media

Release Date: October 5, 2021

Genre: Time Travel Detective Series

He fled the future with blood on his hands. Now, he’ll do anything to stop a killer.

Tragedy has yet again taken from Detective Rembrandt Stone everything he loves. Now, he has one last chance to get things right and stop a killer he’s been hunting across four timelines. Instead, he gets tangled in a petty crime that just might cost him his one chance at justice.

With two murders to stop, and thirty-eight lives still in the balance, Rembrandt must play his hand against time just right if he wants to win his future. Play it wrong and his life will stay shattered beyond repair.

What sacrifices will he have to make to come home to his wife and daughter?

The stakes have never been higher in the heart-wrenching, edge-of-your-seat fifth story of the True Lies of Rembrandt Stone.

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

BOOKS IN THIS SERIES

CONNECT WITH REMBRANDT STONE: Website | Instagram


REVIEW

I have loved every book in the Rembrandt Stone series so far and the fifth book, Blood From A Stone, was no exception. There were aspects of this book I didn’t enjoy as much as others, but that was only because certain situations weren’t working out the way I wanted them to. I wanted the parts of the main character’s life that were broken in other books to be fixed. Fixed I tell you!

I was hooked on this series from page one of the first book, Cast the First Stone. I fell fast in love with Rembrandt and his wife Eve and their daughter Ashley and all the supporting characters around them.
My fast attachment is probably why I have read these books with a “fist in my gut” as Rem would say. I’m on edge, anxious to know if it will all turn out okay, if the family will be happy again, which isn’t a spoiler if you know these books are time travel thrillers. In time travel there is always a chance things will go wrong, but that they can be corrected again. They can be corrected again, right? Right?! Of course, they can, as long as the author (or in this case authors) want it to. Oh, I truly hope these authors want it to.

Most who review this book, and others in the series, are going to tell you they love the fast-paced action, the way Rem breaks the fourth wall, the characters, the backstories that are woven through the series and I love all those aspects as well. What I also love, though, is how marriage is portrayed in these books. It’s not boring, mundane, or something to get out of. It is passionate, special, something to fight for. The bond between Rem and Eve spans timeline after timeline but each time Rem knows that Eve belongs with him, that without her his life isn’t worth living, no matter how many cases he solves, how many wrongs he makes right.

You rarely find a series of books that can balance suspense, mystery, action, and romance. Thankfully, the Rembrandt Stone series is one of those rare, to-be-treasured finds.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James L. Rubart, Susan May Warren, David Curtis Warren

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He’s the best-selling, Christy Hall of Fame author of ten novels and loves to send readers on mind-bending journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He’s dad to the two most outstanding sons on the planet and lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at http://jameslrubart.com/

CONNECT WITH JAMES: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling, Christy and RITA award–winning author of more than eighty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. The mother of four grown children, and married to her real-life hero for over 30 years, she loves traveling and telling stories about life, adventure, and faith.

For exciting updates on her new releases, previous books, and more, visit her website at www.susanmaywarren.com.

CONNECT WITH SUSAN: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

David Curtis Warren is making his literary debut in these novels, and he’s never been more excited. He looks forward to creating more riveting stories with Susie and Jim, as well as on his own. He’s grateful for his co-writers, family, and faith, buoying him during the pandemic of 2020, and this writing and publishing process.

CONNECT WITH DAVID: Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a print copy of Blood from a Stone and a $15 Amazon gift card!

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight October 5, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on October 12, 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


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

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Two books free on Amazon this week (I know. I hate advertising too!)

I hate advertising on my blog. I just like rambling and sharing and connecting with my blogging friends, but I guess I will mention that you can get my books, The Farmer’s Daughter and Harvesting Hope, free through Kindle on Amazon (so ebooks) today and tomorrow.

If you have read the books and enjoyed them (even a little) and would like to leave a review that would be great, as it helps with sales. I do NOT make a fortune off these books but every little bit helps put money toward feeding my kids and paying for things like heating oil. Reviews don’t have to be indepth. A short little “Hey, I liked it” and a rating are just fine. For those who have read the books, reviewed them, and pointed out improvements I can make for later, thank you so much! I appreciate it more than you could ever know. Truly.

Comfort reading with The Cat Who . . . book series

I’m a stickler for books set in smaller towns with a large cast of fun and quirky characters, if you couldn’t tell by the stories I share on here for Fiction Friday.

I mention The Cat Who books by Lilian Jackson Braun from time to time and when I do I write that I am reading one as “comfort reading.” I consider them comfort reading because I used to read them when I was a teenager. For me, reading about James Mackintosh Qwilleran and his Siamese cats, Koko and Yum-Yum, and the cast of characters around them, feels oddly like coming home.

I call them The Cat Who . . . books because all of the book titles start with The Cat Who . . . followed by something the cat did.

Examples include The Cat Who Played Brahms, The Cat Who Sang for the Birds, The Cat Who Lived High, and The Cat Who Sniffed Glue. There were 29 books written between 1966 and 2007. There were 18 years between the third and fourth book and after reading that in an article while researching for this post, I started to wonder what the delay was all about. What did Braun do in between and what made her pick up the series again? I did some digging and learned there were a few reasons for the break, including the death of her husband and the fact that she was working at The Detroit Free Press as the “Good Living” editor during that time, and for 30-years, retiring in the late 70s. The other, bigger, reason for the break, though, was that when she turned in the manuscript for the fourth book, the publisher said they were interested in books with more sex and violence.

Luckily Braun was able to find a publisher in the future who recognized that not every reader wants books full of sex and violence.

As a writer who has started writing fiction fairly “late in life,” I found it interesting that Braun published her first fiction book at the age of 53. She was 97 when she passed away and her husband told a newspaper that her biggest regret was dying before she could finish her 30th book, The Cat Who Smelled Smoke.

When she did release a new book in 1986, after that 18 year break, it was called The Cat Who Saw Red. It was published under a new publisher and nominated for an Anthony Award and an Edgar Award in the best original paperback category. The new publisher also re-released her other three books.

The original cover of the first The Cat Who book.
The second book with the original cover.
The third book with the original cover.

The books always offer a mystery, of course, usually in the form of a murder or two, but woven within the mystery are hilarious anecdotes about the people of Pixax, the town James Qwilleran, a retired crime beat journalist and columnist, has settled into.

The series started out with Qwilleran working “Down Below”, as the country folk call the city of Chicago. After inheriting some money from an eccentric distant relative (who, if I remember correctly he wasn’t even biologically related to), he ends up moving to the tiny town where many of his mysteries occur, which makes me ask, “how many criminals live in this one tiny town?” That thought always makes me a bit paranoid, since I also live in a small town. After reading one of these books (or watching an episode of Murder She Wrote) I start looking at my neighbors in a different light.

“Do you think Mrs. Smith down the road is capable of murder?” I might ask my husband, but I don’t actually since there isn’t a Mrs. Smith down the road.
Or sometimes I think, “What does Mr. So-and-So have in those containers in his back yard? Compost or . . . bodies?!”

Anyhow, back to the books. Not all of them aren’t all winners, a couple of them are stinkers, only saved by the cats and quirky characters. Still, I keep reading them, enjoying the feeling of coming home, in a way, much like I do when I read and re-read the Mitford books.

It isn’t only the quirky characters and pets that captures my interest in the books. Being a veteran of the journalism world, I also find myself drawn to the parts of the stories that involve reporting and the newspaper office. The characters of the small town newspaper are about as odd as some of the people I used to work with, but not quite.

When the subject of reporters and journalists come up in a conversation, I often comment that a newspaper’s newsroom is full of people who are two clicks away from being certifiably crazy. Then I remember I was once one of those people and wonder what that means about me. I guess it means I was the only sane person in the four newsrooms I worked in over my 15-year career.

Braun’s own career in journalism helped her to become a prolific novelist, releasing one or two books a year. She said she was used to continously writing after doing it for 50 years. I can relate to the idea of being used to writing often and a lot, since that’s what I did when I worked at newspapers, but of course I only did it for 15 years, not 50!

When I picture Qwill in my mind he’s a cross between Sam Elliott and a former boss of mine (who incidentally no longer has the mustache he used to have). Qwill is an old school newshound with a passion for digging up the answers to mysteries, even after he stops working as an investigative reporter and knows it isn’t his place.

How I picture Qwill but without the long hair.

Getting to the bottom of something was my favorite part of being a reporter. I loved to dig for the news, but I was nowhere near as good at is as my husband is. He’s like a dog with a bone. When he gets a tip, he’ll dig that thing out of the ground and bring it in the light no matter who tries to stop him.

He isn’t as obsessed with it as I am, though. I remember laying awake at night wondering what the local school board or district attorney was hiding from me while he comes home, drops the mystery at the door, picks up a book and doesn’t pick up work things again until the next morning. Usually anyhow. Some nights he does lay there worrying about work things, but not necessarily a story he is working on.

Throughout the books, Qwill ages from his late 40s to his mid-50s. He is a divorced, slightly overweight, former alocholic who now declines offers to drink any alcohol when the books first start. He loses the extra pounds as the series progresses.

Women find him irrestible, Braun writes, and one reason they do is because of his “luxurious mustache.” He also has salt-and-pepper hair, but it is the mustache that is the most intriguing, not only because of it’s appearance.

An excerpt from an article on Wikipedia describes the role of the mustache perfectly.

Whenever Qwilleran gets a suspicion that something is wrong or his instincts are right, he will get “a tingling sensation on his upper lip.” Depending upon the strength of the sensation, he may be seen “stroking it with his fingertips” to “pounding [his mustache] with his knuckles”.

Characters in the books (especially women) are also drawn to Qwill because of his willingness to listen, a skill he picked up in his job as a reporter. It’s a skill I picked up as well. I found that the more I let a person talk, the more they would tell me, without even realizing they were telling me it. Idle chitchat also helped relax the subject of a story or the person I was interviewing. I never felt like I was manipulating the person. I was simply reminding them that I was human too and helping them to feel comfortable with talking to me.

Qwill uses this tactic in his reporting, but also in his sleuthing. It may appear to the reader that the character is simply telling Qwilleran about the new decor in their homes, but Qwilleran might hear something quite different, including the fact that the person who designed the new look for their home new the victim in a recent crime.

Now, I would be very remiss if I did not mention that Q’s cat Koko helps him solve his crimes in unusual and distinct ways. Koko sometimes yowls at the guilty person, flips a book to a page that offers a clue, or leads Q to a clue when they go on their walks, with Koko on a harness and leash.

Koko’s full name is Kao K’o-Kung and he is named after a 13th-century Chinese artist of the same name. He was once owned by an art critic who Qwill used to work with at the Fluxion, a newspaper Down Under. His first owner fed Koko a gourmet diet of lobster, chicken, and other fancy meals, which means he won’t eat normal cat food.

Qwilleran later adopts Yum-Yum, another Siamese, and ends up having to feed both cats expensive food on his sometimes meager salary, which of course expands when he inherhits a fortune and mansion later in the series.

While locals often credit Qwill when he solves a crime, there are some who know Koko is the real brains in the operation, as shown by this exerpt from The Cat Who Played Brahms:

“Qwilleran’s Siamese cat was a celebrity at the Press Club. Koko’s portrait hung in the lobby along with Pulitzer Prize winners, and he was probably the only cat in the history of journalism who had his own press card signed by the chief of police. Although Qwilleran’s suspicious nature and inquisitive mind had brought a few criminals to justice, it was commonly understood at the Press Club that the brains behind his success belonged to a feline of outstanding intelligence and sensory perception. Koko always seemed to sniff or scratch in the right place at the right time.”

In addition to the newspaper angle, I, of course, like the way the books nail the personality of cats, especially Siamese, right on the head. I had a cat that our vet said was part Siamese and he was a very interesting cat, so I relate to the way Braun writes about cats as well as the mysteries.

Being a cat lover, and the owner of two Siamese herself, Braun certainly had first-hand experience about the behavior of cats.

Braun with the Siamese she named after her literary cats.

The good thing about these books is that they are fairly simple and straight forward. They aren’t raunchy, have very little to no swearing, and don’t feature grotesque or detailed descriptions of violence. They are almost completely void of romance, other than a very tame, chaste storyline involving Qwill and town librarian Polly Duncan.

I have been having fun snatching books from the series up at book sales but have also purchased a few through my Kindle. I don’t know why, but I prefer reading The Cat Who books as hard copies, maybe because that’s how I started reading them when I would sign them out at the local library.

So, how about you? Do you have a series of books that are like “comfort reading” to you? I would love to hear about the series.

Book Review: Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong Book Tour with Audra Jennings PR

Book Title: Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong

Genre: Christian Romantic Comedy

Publisher: Kregel Publications

Release Date: August 17, 2021

Description: How far would you go to find the perfect husband? All the way back to the 1950s?

In a world full of happily-ever-after love, Meri Newberg feels like the last young woman on the planet to be single, at least in her Christian friend group. So when she’s handed a strange present at the latest wedding–a 1950s magazine article of “ways to get a husband”–she decides there’s nothing to lose by trying out its advice. After all, she can’t get any more single, can she?

Her brother’s roommate sees the whole thing as a great opportunity. Not to fall in love–Kai Kamaka has no interest in the effort a serious relationship takes. No, this is a career jump start. He talks Meri into letting him film every silly husband-catching attempt for a new online show. If it goes viral, his career as a cameraman will be made.

When Meri Me debuts, it’s an instant hit. People love watching her lasso men on street corners, drop handkerchiefs for unsuspecting potential beaus, and otherwise embarrass herself in pursuit of true love. But the longer this game goes on, the less sure Kai is that he wants Meri to snag anyone but him. The only problem is that he may not be the kind of husband material she’s looking for . . .

With droll comic timing, unbeatable chemistry, and a zany but relatable cast of characters, Angela Ruth Strong has created a heartfelt look at the reality of modern Christian dating that readers will both resonate with and fall for.

REVIEW

This is a witty and humorous/light hearted and fun read. The characters are — specifically Meri and Kai, but also Gemma — are immediately likeable.

What I liked about this book was how real and raw it was, mixed in with the humor. I loved how Strong wasn’t afraid to be blunt about issues of marriage without being crass or crude. When the subject of sex in marriage was broached, it was done so in a mature, natural, and to the point manner without descriptions or any kind of detail. In other words, there are zero sex scene in this book, making it very clean; but the subject was discussed in a very appropriate way.

Strong also knows how to get in the head of a man and show how clueless they can be sometimes. I know. That sounds super sexist but let me explain. Men and women are wired differently (obviously). Men don’t often sit and debate issues in their head to death like a lot of women do. Men just go do things and figure it out later.

That’s not always bad, but sometimes, like Kai in this book, it is. I love the differences between men and women and too many female authors write their male characters like they are women — emotional, sentimental, dramatic.

That’s not realistic.

Strong wrote a realistic man in this book, which is why there are many women who aren’t going to like him. I, for one, did. I don’t know if I agreed with some of the ideas that he or Meri had that led to the ending of this book, but it has me thinking and I don’t see that as a bad thing.

I see women reviewers write things like, “I didn’t connect with HIM”, about books like Strongs all the time. The reason for that is because the author wrote a realistic male character, and most female readers want to read a book where the man thinks and acts like a woman. That’s just weird. If I’m not confused by the male character, then I know the author doesn’t know how to write from the point of view of a man.

Bottom line, this was a fun and easy read that I needed and one I have a lot of other people need these days. Yes, it featured some deep thoughts and challenges, especially for Christians, but those deep thoughts aren’t enough to pull the book, or reader, down.

I received a complimentary copy through Audra Jennings Book PR, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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)

GIVEAWAY

To enter a giveaway for a copy of this book visit Audra Jennings PR.

To enter a giveaway for a free flight on Alegiant Air by Angela Ruth Strong click HERE.

Book Review: Rose Among Thornes by Terrie Todd with Just Read Blog Tours

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

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: 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

REVIEW

Rose Among Thornes offers a unique story that I don’t believe a lot of people are aware of, especially Americans.

As an American, I knew there were Japanese internment camps in the United States during World War II. I didn’t realize this happened in Canada as well. The story told in his book will open the eyes of many Canadians to their nation’s history, which, sadly, is as heartbreaking as my own nation’s past.

It’s hard to read Todd’s book without falling in love with the main characters, Rose and Rusty. Their story is what carries the reader on through the pages, hoping to find some happiness within the very difficult journey they both find themselves in the midst of.

Rusty’s story of being a prisoner of war and Rose’s of being forced into an internment camp are equally heartbreaking. This book isn’t only about heartbreak, though. It’s about forgiveness, about not judging an entire race or group of people based on what one person or small group has done, and it’s about hope rising out of what looks like hopeless situations.

Rating: 4 stars

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author and Just Read Blog Tours. All views expressed are my honest opinion.

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


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

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Book Review: Journey to ChiYah by Kimberly Russell. A deeply allegorical journey of our walk with Christ.

Book Title: Journey to ChiYah

Author: Kimberly Russell

Genre: Christian fiction/Christian fantasy

Goodreads Description: JADE PEPPERDINE HAS A PROBLEM

Her life is crumbling beneath the weight of the past, events of the present, and fears for her future. Things need to change, but she doesn’t know where to start.Answers come in the form of an unexpected opportunity when Jade finds herself stuck in a mythical land. She meets Mayor Dudley, who insinuates she is emotionally broken and in need of repair … a fact she’d just as soon ignore. He offers to help her get home if she is willing to face her issues through a process of restoration. Frightened and skeptical yet out of options, Jade grudgingly agrees. And soon figures out that change is a journey, not a destination.Come along on the adventure of a lifetime, and maybe you’ll find someone you never knew you lost: Yourself. 

Excerpt from the author (Thank you, Kim!):

Abaddon’s eyes darkened black like coal. “My idea is simple. You’ve got a gal coming in soon that I think will be perfect for this experiment.” He clucked his tongue. “Thirtyish, a bit, chubby, works in a library. Same tired scenario as the others. Past issues affecting her present. Fear and insecurities. Blah, blah, blah.”

Watch it. She’s one of mine.”

Abaddon’s mouth tightened. “Aren’t they all? Just send her off to gather her journey relics like always, but if I can get them away from her, she stays with me, and I get the Avnet, too.”

Mayor grunted in distaste. No wonder his nemesis’ name meant destruction in Hebrew. He opened his mouth to put the rogue in his place then hesitated. Maybe he could use Abaddon’s plan against him and teach him a lesson he wouldn’t soon forget. A deterrent against future complications.

But at what price? Did he really want to potentially position one of his own in harm’s way? No, but assigning his top emissaries to the case would keep her safe. The unsuspecting woman would be fine, and Abaddon would get what he so richly deserved. And it wouldn’t be the Avnet.

Mayor pushed to his feet. “Fine. Do what you have to.” He whirled and threw a scowl over his shoulder, “But you cannot hurt her. I’m warning you.”

“Oh, I won’t.” Abaddon shot him an evil leer. “Not much, anyway.”

My Review: 5 starts out of 5



Some who read the title of the book will be perplexed and think, “I don’t think this is the book for me,” but they would be wrong. This is a book for everyone.

The book is “fantasy”, I suppose you might say, but it is also deeply allegorical to our journey through life and especially our journey with God and Christ.

This book will transport you to a world of restoration, healing, redemption, and personal revision. It will remind you that we do not merely war against flesh and blood, but “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

The book takes the reader on a fantastical journey with Jade Pepperdine, a 30-something woman who has faced her fair share of heartache, rejection, and flattened self-worth.

Hook yourself in, readers. This is a work of fiction but for many it will be a hard dose of reality wrapped up in a gentle embrace.

After an accident tosses Jade, quite literally, upside down, she finds herself in a mystical land, which she at first believes is part of a dream. She soon learns that ChiYah is very real indeed. A group of five eccentric helpers come alongside her to help her battle her way through the various dangers of ChiYah to reach her personal healing.

But reaching restoration won’t come easy for Jade. She’s agreed to the quest Mayor Dudley has offered to her, albeit grudgingly, so she can go back to her reality in “the real world” working at a library and fending off her overly critical mother. Now she has to sidestep the traps along the way, including unassuming attacks from a mysterious stranger who hopes to cause her to stumble and come work for him instead.

Journey to ChiYah is a book that will have you looking inside yourself, maybe not liking what you see, and then considering taking your own quest to make peace with every part of you  — the happy parts, the grumpy parts, the sometimes unreasonable parts, the parts that have been hurt, the parts that have been rejected, the parts that still have hope left in them.

Russell is a talented writer who uses well-written, engaging fiction laced with humor, well thought out dialogue, and entertaining characters to drive her point home. She uses fiction and prose to touch on so many issues we frail humans deal with, including anxiety, anger, unforgiveness, self-deprecating behavior, distrust, insecurity, a critical spirit.

Most of all, though, she uses her talent to point us to the only one who can heal us of the issues that threaten our joy — a Heavenly Father who wants to take us on a journey that might seem difficult but in the end will lead us into a meadow of peace, even with the chaos of life swirls around us.

Book Review: Sarah’s Choice by Pegg Thomas

Book: Sarah’s Choice

Author: Peggy Thomas

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release date: August 3, 2021 (preorder here).

Bottom line: Four stars out of five. Heart pounding read. Not for the faint of heart.

My review: If you are a lover of historical fiction in all it’s raw and gritty detail then Sarah’s Choice is a book you want to pick up.
It is well-written with vivid descriptions and heart pounding action.
The story is well-paced throughout but really picks up in Chapter 2 and goes full force from there.
I had a hard time putting it down, chewing my fingernails much of the book, even though I’m not normally a fingernail chewer.
Pegg Thomas is an award winning author and it looks like she has another winner on her hands with this one.

The characters are engaging and clutch at your heart, leaving an impression you’ll certainly feel for days, if not longer, after you finish the book.
I will, however, warn you that this isn’t a book where you will find a message of forgiveness, toward the natives who lived on the land before the settlers came. If you are looking for a well-rounded view of the early history of settlers, you’re not going to find it here. One reason you won’t find it here is because the author, by her own admission, is presenting one viewpoint. That isn’t a bad position, since it is the point of view of the characters, it’s just the full story, which again, Pegg reiterates on her Goodreads page:

Because I’d recently researched Pontiac’s Rebellion for a novella, it was fresh in my mind. It was a harsh, even brutal event in American history, and I knew it would provide the backdrop that Sarah’s story needed. Sarah’s Choice does not present all sides of the conflict, instead, it is seen only through the eyes of Sarah and Cully.

I hope to give the reader a glimpse of what happened in a time and place that was incredibly volatile from the perspective of the people caught up it in unawares. It was not my intent to interject 21st-century norms or ideals into the 18th century. It does no good to look at history through the modern lens. What happened, happened. It’s history to be learned from, warts and all.

There is only one opinion of Native Americans held in the mind of the main character throughout the book, right up until the end. Her feelings were valid considering all she had been through, however, which is what makes the book very authentic (uncomfortably so).

Tell Me More About . . . Elizabeth Maddrey, Inspy Romance Author

Welcome back to an old feature of mine, Tell Me More About . . . I’m so excited to resurrect it this week with super-succesful, Inspy Romance author-extraordinaire Elizabeth Maddrey.

Tell Me More About . . . is a feature which focuses on every day people from a variety of walks of life who impact the world around them in big or small ways.

So, let’s get to it! Welcome, Elizabeth to the blog!


Tell us a little bit about yourself such as background, where you’re from originally and now (general region is totally fine), your family, hobbies, etc.

I grew up in northern New Mexico. We moved to the DC area when I was eleven—just before sixth grade. After college and grad school and a few years with hubby in the Army, we landed back in the DC area, so at this point I feel like I have to call it home. I have a PhD in computer science and my professional life, before I became a mom, was all centered on software engineering in one form or another. That’s probably why my book heroes trend geeky – they’re my peeps and I love them. Hubby and I have been married coming up on 26 years, we have two boys (13 and 9). Hobbies include reading, crochet, and continued attempts to learn to love knitting despite the fact that it stresses me out.

When did the writing bug first bite you?

This is hard to answer! I don’t remember not writing. I’ve always loved to read and it always seemed a natural extension to write. I started getting serious about seeking publication probably eighteen years ago, but it took me another nine(?) before I had something finished that I thought was actually good enough.

What made you pursue becoming an independent author?

Honestly? I spent two years querying agents in search of that dream contract. I got fed up with the “no” that kept coming—or, more often than not, the silence (and I still get frustrated that it’s considered acceptable for agents and publishers to not even bother with a form letter to say no thank you. There are very few other places where that’s considered de rigueur. Although I say that and a lot of the big software companies are that way with resume submission. So you’d think I’d be used to it. Anyway, I did get a contract with a small press and started that way, but the owner encouraged me to go Indie because she knew I had the technical chops to handle it (and you don’t need a ton, but this was back before there were quite so many amazing tools for indies) and that it would be more beneficial for me. So I did.

What advice do you have inspiring authors, indie or otherwise?

Believe in your stories and don’t read your reviews.

What has influenced you in your writing style in your past or present?

I read. A lot. More than 200 books a year across a broad variety of genres. I know there are successful authors out there who say they aren’t readers, but I firmly believe those are the minority. Most authors are also readers.

What author comes to mind when you think of authors who have influenced you over the years?

So many. Anne McCaffrey, who was the mother of so many of my best friends in middle and high school. Elizabeth Moon for the same reasons. L.M. Montgomery. Jane Austen. Madeline L’Engle. Susanna Kearsley. Nora Roberts.

What future projects do you have planned that you would like my readers to know about?

This summer, I have a six-book sorta-billionaire romance series that’s coming out, one book each month through October. And I feel the eye rolls, I do, but I love these stories. I’m so, SO pleased with how they turned out and I hope that readers give them a try and love them as much as I do. The series is called So You Want to be a Billionaire.

How many books have you penned since starting your career?

I have 36 out right now, but if you count all the Billionaires which are written but not released yet, it’s an even 40.

How would you define your writing style? Pantser? Plotter? Share with my readers a little about your writing process, if you don’t mind.

I’m definitely a pantser. Part of what took me so long to finish a book I thought was worthy of trying to have published was that I spent a ton of time doing it the way you’re “supposed to.” I read so many craft books. I made outlines, timelines, character interviews. I cut out magazine photos of people who could be the characters (the Internet was still a baby and I didn’t always want to use the dial up). I found outfits in clothing catalogs. And I hated all of it. I had all this information for the story and by the time I was done doing “what you had to do,” I was over the story. I didn’t want to write any of it. It wasn’t until I gave myself permission to just sit down and let the story come as it did that I was able to write and finish and love the process. So now that’s what I do. I generally have a vague idea of what the story is, but other than that, it’s a blank page and a timer and writing sprints.

Where can readers connect with you online and otherwise?

For non-interactive information, my website: http://www.ElizabethMaddrey.com

For more interaction (which I love!) there’s Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey

And Instagram http://www.Instagram.com/ElizabethMaddrey

And if you sign up for my monthly-ish newsletter on my website, there are two free books as thank yous, so I know I always like that as a reader.