July 4, 2019

Blog Tour Review :: Curse and Consequence by Savannah Jezowski



I am so pleased to participate in the blog tour for this book! I am definitely a fan of tales that take place during regency times and the synopsis of this story intrigued me. So it was a happy day when I was able to get this book for review! :)

My Thoughts


The first words that came to mind once I'd finished this story were cute and entertaining. Plus a bit of silliness, which came from the brothers of the story. Sedgwick and Hugh could both use a bit of growth seeing as how they are constantly frustrating each other and acting like children. And then Sedgwick decides a curse is a good idea. Never a good idea! The consequences bring lots of shenanigans.

But the cuteness? That comes courtesy of watching Rea and Sedgwick figure out their hearts. These two are pretty perfect for each other and made me giggle several times. I enjoyed watching them banter back and forth a bit, as well as just swoon over each other. I didn't need to do any swooning, the two of them did plenty enough by themselves! ;)

The only downside to the story that I found was the fact that it ends on a cliffhanger of sorts! And now I have to wait a whole year or so before I find out what happens next! In the meantime, I'd better go back and reread this one over again.

** I received a complimentary copy via the author. All opinions expressed are my own.



About the Book


When Love visits Ravenhead Hall, sparks fly…quite literally.

Miss Rea Abernathy only wants to honor the family who has taken her under their wing, rescuing her from a life of poverty. But thanks to two determined suitors, she finds herself in a state far worse than the one from which her benefactress saved her.

When Mr. Sedgwick Whitby sets his sights on his mother’s sweet-tempered pig keeper, his orderly life is thrown into chaos: Rea’s station is less–than-desirable, and another gentleman may be pursuing her. Hoping to get his annoyingly charming twin brother out of the way, Sedgwick purchases a simple curse from a disreputable faery which consequently plunges them all into a misfortune far more serious than troubles of the heart.

With time running out to break the curse and tempers flying high, can Sedgwick and Rea set things right and find love after all? Jane Austen meets dragons in this frolicking fantasy romance about a comely pig keeper, two wealthy gentlemen, and the curse binding them all together. Perfect for fans of Diana Wynne Jones and Gail Carson Levine.



About the Author


Savannah Jezowski lives in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor and a wee warrior princess. She is the founder of Dragonpen Designs and Dragonpen Press, which offers author services such as cover design, developmental edits, and interior formatting. Her debut novella “Wither” is featured in Five Enchanted Roses, an anthology of Beauty and the Beast, and is a prequel to The Neverway Chronicles, a Christian fantasy series filled with tragic heroes and the living dead. She is also the author of When Ravens Fall, a Norse Beauty and the Beast retelling. She is featured in several Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, including Mythical Doorways, Tales of Ever After, and Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales. When she isn’t writing, Savannah likes to read books, watch BBC miniseries, and play with cover design. She also enjoys having tea with her imaginary friends.


Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, June 1st
Tuesday, July 2nd
Wednesday, July 3rd
Thursday, July 4th
Friday, July 5th
Saturday, July 6th
Sunday, July 7th




June 29, 2019

The INSPY Awards :: 2019 Winners



 The INSPY Awards have official winners for 2019! I am quite privileged to participate as an Advisory Board member and have the honor of sharing the joy with all of you today.

The judges for each category did a wonderful job of parsing down the shortlist. And without further ado....let's get to the winners! :)


2019 INSPY Award Winners


CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE / ROMANTIC SUSPENSE



Falling for You by Becky Wade is what good Inspirational Fiction is made of. Readers will relate to Corbin and Willow and their personal struggles as the two work through the mystery and come face to face not only with each other, but with their faith. The story pace is balanced; the romance between Corbin and Willow, peppered with light-hearted and sweet moments, is one of great depth. Falling for You is a layered romance of mystery, struggle, and vulnerability that reflects our relationships with each other and God.

Meet Becky! A Conversation with Becky Wade


DEBUT FICTION



Though it’s a debut novel, Among the Poppies exhibits all the right elements a memorable story needs; charming and emotional in equal parts. The spunky heroine refuses to give up on anyone, which is just one of the qualities we love best about her;the swoony hero who never backs down from his duty as a soldier will win your heart over from the moment you meet him. Set during the tumult of WWI, J’Nell manages to weave good into a novel that doesn’t shy away from the conflicts and horrors of its setting. Those who enjoy Downton Abbey or historical fiction will find an inspired and romantic story inside the pages of Among the Poppies. It’s a solid debut that tugs on the heartstrings and stays with its reader.

Meet J’nell! A Conversation with  J’nell Ciesielski


GENERAL FICTION



Katie Ganshert stepped into risky territory to bring us all a gripping novel with a much needed message for today. The multi-perspective view opened the doors to a more powerful story with deeper connections to the characters within. The characters faced a whole spectrum of emotions as they were forced to examine their views toward the people around them once they infringed upon their way of life. It develops a deeper sense of empathy for the readers as they step inside the shoes of others and examine their own biases they may or may not know they’ve held. A relevant story for current times, this is a novel not easily forgotten.

Meet Katie! A Conversation with Katie Ganshert


HISTORICAL ROMANCE



Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof is a novel that offers a unique and touching story of loss, redemption, love, and family. Rustic cabins, apple orchards, freshwater ponds, and wooded hillsides allow the story to grow richly from the landscape of its Appalachian setting even amidst the hurt and uncertainty of life in the South in the years following the Civil War. The well-developed characters are simply captivating and abound with authenticity and vulnerability. Their insecurities, their fears, their needs, and their desires are wholly believable, heart-wrenching, and inspiring. The opportunities, the choices, and the trials that the characters endure are intricately developed, and from them there unfolds a story that is thoroughly enriching and endearing.

Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a novel that artfully balances hope and despair, perseverance and struggle, and faithfulness and uncertainty. With unflinching skill, the author explores raw emotions, painful experiences, and deep hurt. Yet, this journey through and beyond despair and heartache is significantly strengthened and uplifted by meaningful moments of grace and gentle reminders that hope, restoration, healing, and reconciliation are made possible through God’s mercy, forgiveness, and unconditional love.

Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a thoroughly breathtaking novel. Bischof’s writing style is achingly beautiful and utterly immersive strengthened by a lyrical quality that is quietly profound. Within every word and phrase there is deep meaning, real truth, and thoughtful purpose. Carefully detailed, descriptive, insightful, and moving, this remarkable story is certainly one to be savored. We, the judges, wholeheartedly agree that Sons of Blackbird Mountain is truly worthy of the 2019 Historical Romance INSPY Award.

Meet Joanne! A Conversation with Joanne Bischof


LITERATURE FOR YOUNG ADULTS



Shawn Smucker’s The Edge of Over There combines atmospheric prose, compelling characterization, and imaginative storytelling to invite YA readers to ponder the spiritual and physical implications of death—a theme that gets to the very heart of the Christian faith. There is a pervading sense of mystery and suspense as the story unfolds, and Abra and Leo must sort truth from lies and friend from foe as they search for the Tree of Life and consider whether immortality on this side of “Over There” is a gift or a curse. The high literary quality of this thought-provoking read made it a stand-out among this year’s YA selections.

Meet Shawn! A Conversation with Shawn Smucker


MYSTERY / THRILLER



All three of us were quickly hooked within the opening pages that doesn’t let up until the end.  Each timeline contains its own mystery, which keeps the story simmering with suspense regardless of which time period is being read about. We thoroughly enjoyed how the two time periods connect, and how the main characters in each time period are from the same family line. The spiritual thread of the power of offering grace and receiving forgiveness is significant through both time periods which adds to the strength of this story.  The Reckoning kept us on our toes, kept us guessing, and had us turning the pages at amazing speeds, all while offering the most important lesson of all – knowing Jesus. It’s our privilege and honor to award the winner of the 2019 INSPY Mystery/Thriller Category to The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond.

Meet Jaime! A Conversation with Jaime Jo Wright


SPECULATIVE FICTION



It is our honour to recognize Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse as the INSPY Award winner in the Speculative category. While we enjoyed every novel on the shortlist, Mark of the Raven captured us with its powerful storytelling. Busse subverts the Chosen One trope by giving readers a conflicted and complex protagonist in Lady Selene. She feels fated to follow her family’s legacy, yet she has just learned how awful it really is and debates how or if she can rebel against it. The themes of sacrifice, unity in diversity, discovering one’s identity, and learning to use one’s gifts intertwine to weave a magnificent story full of twists and surprises. Busse’s world-building is extraordinary. She explains all the fantastical elements through the story in magnificent fashion, showing rather than telling, enabling readers to become fully and naturally immersed in the world she has created. We eagerly await the continuation of the series!

Meet Morgan! A Conversation with Morgan L. Busse


We’d like to thank our judges for their hard work and careful consideration of each title. Another successful year for the INSPY program has come and gone –  thank you to everyone who helped make this possible.

Congratulations to the winners and all of the nominated authors!  You can meet our shortlist authors by searching the ‘2019 Author Interview‘ tag.




June 26, 2019

Cover Reveal :: Just One Kiss by Courtney Walsh

Hello, my lovelies! Just a quick check in to let you know about the newest book coming from the wonderful Courtney Walsh. She happens to be one of my go to authors for characters I know I'll connect with, so.... You know I'll definitely be reading this one. :)

Without further ado, let's get to the loveliness, right??


SO pretty, am I right?! I love the colors and the sweetness. Definitely makes me even more excited for this one!

So go preorder today and anticipate right along with me, how about it?

About the Book

He broke her heart. Now, he’s back, and he’s determined to show her what they had isn’t over. . . and he can prove it with just one kiss.

Single mother Carly Collins likes predictability. However, when her son Jaden’s health is threatened, her neatly controlled world is tossed into a tailspin. Nothing is certain anymore, especially her feelings for Josh Dixon, Jaden’s father, her first love and the man responsible for shattering her heart sixteen years ago.

When Josh Dixon walked out of Harbor Pointe, he left behind his only shot at a real family. Now a successful tech mogul, the town rebel has found a cause—ensure his son’s recovery and prove to Carly and Jaden that he’s not the same guy he was back then.

Carly and Josh are forced to wade through messy emotions and questions that have gone unanswered for years, which would be easier if not for the pesky feelings, every bit as strong and impossible to ignore as they ever were.

Will forgiveness win, giving Carly and Josh a second chance at love . . . or will the past prove too much to overcome?

A small town romance about first love second chances and how our most beautiful life might look nothing like we planned.





Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Forty-Five


More reviews! I told you I've been doing a lot of reading. I guess if you go eight months with very little reading for pleasure, once you get to do it again that literally becomes your life. Not a bad life either, let me just say. :) I hope all is well for my lovely reader friends!

On to the reviews then...


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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine 
by Gail Honeyman
So different than what I was expecting, but wow. This is an excellent read! I was pretty blown away by how very much I loved Eleanor and her quirkiness. I admit, she had to grow on me, I didn't totally love her at first. But it wasn't long until she had found her way into my heart and there she stayed until the final pages. Such a wonderfully written story about brokenness and how Eleanor claws her way out into light and life again. And Raymond? That man is just an incredible friend. Definitely planning to read this one again soon!


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The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
So much cute! I loved Olive. I really did. She and Ethan have fabulous chemistry right from the start. Even if that start is pretty "hate-filled". From the memories of their unfun meet cute to the natural feel of their slow build up to romance, I laughed so many times. And simply enjoyed their journey to finding the love of their lives in each other. A quirky set up to get them in the same place at the same time (Maui for the win!), I so completely adored watching these two fall in love.



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Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
This is so quintessentially Sarah Dessen and I cannot believe it took me so long to finally read it! I love Ms. Dessen's way of writing characters who I connect with and relate to. I understood Sydney's grief and uncertainty, even if she didn't fully understand herself. Her journey to finding who she is, without constantly being in the shadow of her older brother, while simultaneously learning to stand on her own two feet...ah I just got her. I loved all the side characters too, especially the Chatham's. Another wonderfully imperfect family that I fell in love with! And Mac? Yeah, I'll just go swoon a bit over him, shall I? Such a wonderful story! :)



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Interlude by Chantele Sedgwick
Characters who are dealing with grief are ones who I understand so well these days. I loved Mia and the way she chose to do all she could for her sister while she is still living, even though she knows that Maddy could very well die soon. Along her journey, a boy enters her pathway and yes, the cute inevitably follows. :) But this isn't just a story with a sweet romance, this is all about Mia figuring out her own strength. As well as proving just how amazing she is to everyone around her! I loved her journey and am definitely planning to read more of Ms. Sedgwick's stories!



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The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary
I went into this one expecting a cute romance, but I found so much more depth and sweetness than I expected! I mean, yes, the romance between Tiffy and Leon is super adorable, don't get me wrong. But there is much going on underneath the surface of these characters and one must be willing to see beyond the sweetness into their hearts. Hearts that are broken and uncertain and on a journey to discovering their own tenacity. I loved it! I loved Tiffy and Leon's notes and texts. And the slow build up over the course of their story. And I loved watching as their individual trajectories bring them into each other's orbit until they become so sweetly entwined in each other's lives. Very worth reading, friends!


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Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
This was fun! It wasn't perfect, but it was certainly a lot of fun to read. I enjoyed all the references to romcoms because I recognized so many of them! :D I do admit that Annie wasn't my favorite character ever, but I definitely got invested enough in her journey that I wanted her to find her happy ever after. Drew was pretty adorable! I also wasn't a fan of the way the author chose to break up the cute couple towards the end, but okay. I rolled with it and enjoyed the story overall! It certainly made me want to go on a romcom-watching-binge soon. I shall have to get on that.


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Act Like It by Lucy Parker
I've had this one on my radar for quite some time, but had forgotten about it until the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog reminded me. I'm so glad I tried it! Lainie and Richard and their adventures together make for fabulous chemistry. But I loved the natural way their romance developed. They began to see beyond the initial facade each wears in public and then proceeded to fall in love. Cuteness galore! Now I am off to see if I will enjoy the rest of the books in the series...see you when I see you! ;)



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The Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M. Eden
This had just the right amount of sweetness to keep me in enthralled. Catherine and Crispin were pretty adorable together. Yet, there were times I also felt I got a little whiplash as Catherine seemed a bit inconsistent. I didn't always understand her reactions and that frustrated me. But overall I could overlook it and just enjoy the journey of these two characters finding all they could ever want in each other. A sweet and charming read.






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