Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Author Spotlight + Giveaway - Jody Hedlund

Jody Hedlund

Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and finalist for the Christy Awards, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Click on the cover to learn more. You will find links to my reviews below the titles. Even though I have not read ALL of Jody's books...I do own every single one (in a combination of print and ebook...working on getting all print).

Young Adult



A Daring Sacrifice


Historical Romance

The Beacons of Hope Series




Undaunted Hope (Beacons of Hope #3)

Forever Safe

Never Forget

The Michigan Brides Collection




The Hearts of Faith Collection





Luther & Katharina
Newton and Polly


The Orphan Train Series

Trying to fill the ache she feels in her empty life, wealthy Christine Pendelton decides to volunteer at Centre Street Chapel. Reaching the worst part of New York City, the chapel aims at making a difference in the lives of the impoverished immigrants flooding the city. After seeing firsthand the hopelessness of the poor women and orphans, Christine believes more can be done to help them.
Guy Bedell has been serving at the Chapel and pouring his heart out for the poor people he’s grown to care about. When Christine begins to challenge his methods and offers a new vision of reaching out , can he trust that perhaps God has bigger plans in store for him–plans that may include this feisty socialite?

A Riveting Look at the Orphan Train from Historical Novelist Jody Hedlund

When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She’s had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children’s Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn’t want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.

The son of one of New York City’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother’s shadow and is determined to win his father’s challenge. He doesn’t plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.

LOOK at this PIN that one of my wonderful readers, Jodi Abbot made!! I'm so honored!! And just tickled to death! Thank you so much Jodi!
Image made by Jodi Abbot - Pinterest
Have you ever found an author that from the minute you crack open the pages of their newest release, you just KNOW that nothing else will get done until you finish. Well, Jody Hedlund is THAT author for me. I have to get caught up on dishes and laundry before I allow myself to bask in the glory of her story. Faith is embedded in every sentence of Jody's books...and like Pepper...she is able to take one of your least favorite characters and turn them into someone who you want as your best friend. I have lost count how many times Jody's books have made me cry (full blown tears and snot streaming down my face kind of crying). If you want an intense roller coaster ride, Jody is your author! Characters who make you angry, heroes who make you swoon, heroines who defy the odds, and settings that will steal the very breath from your lungs. I am so excited about Jody's NEW SERIES! Definitely a must read! But my personal favorite is Newton & Polly, which is why it is a part of the giveaway. Such a powerful story! If you haven't read any books by Jody before, she has three novellas for FREE that you can check out HERE! And don't miss the excerpt from Newton & Polly below.

Newton & Polly
A Novel of Amazing Grace

December 1742
Chatham, England

“I fear that our wassailing has become a nuisance.” Polly Catlett slowed her steps, her toes aching in the stiff leather of her boots, the damp chill of December finally taking its toll. “Nonsense.” Susanna Smith linked her arm into Polly’s and dragged her toward the front door of the tenant farmhouse that stood across the road from the Blue Anchor Inn. “You’ve such a pretty voice. You could never be a nuisance.” One of Susanna’s friends, an older Quaker widow who held the beribbonned wassail bowl, knocked on the farmhouse door, while the others in the wassailing group formed a semicircle for the singing. A mangy mutt had announced their presence with deep-throated barking that echoed in the crisp cloudlessness of the coming night. The fading golden brocade that streaked the sky overhead was all that remained of the daylight but enough to show the frozen rosy splotches on each of their noses and cheeks. Enough for Polly to glimpse tension on the face of the older Quaker widow. “This is the last house,” Polly whispered to Susanna, flexing her aching fingers inside her wool mittens. “Then we shall return home.” “Of course,” Susanna conceded as the door opened and bright light poured out upon them, illuminating a spark in Susanna’s eyes, a spark Polly knew all too well. A spark that meant something was afoot. The
Quaker widow stepped away from the door and took her place among other Dissenters in the group who were attired in plain and unadorned garments as was their custom. Earlier, after Susanna had convinced Polly to join her for the wassailing, Polly wasn’t entirely surprised to discover that their company was made up of Susanna’s Dissenter friends. Susanna made no pretense about her strong political views and never passed up an opportunity to gather with like-minded friends whenever she came to visit. Although Polly would have preferred to wassail with friends from her own social circle, she hadn’t been able to begrudge Susanna the favor. Nor had she been able to resist an opportunity to sing, even if the group was strange and sober. Susanna’s poke through her heavy cloak was Polly’s sign to begin her song. As the open doorway filled with several women, Polly took her place at the fringe of the group and hummed several notes before starting, “A jolly wassail bowl, a wassail of good ale…” The others allowed her to sing the first stanza by herself, and her voice lifted clear and pure with the melody of the traditional song. A hush fell over the women who were now stepping out of the farmhouse. As her song rose, even the dog stopped its barking. At the Blue Anchor Inn across the road, she could feel the attention of several patrons upon her, men who were either coming to or going from the alehouse. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see that one stocky man had leaned his shoulder against the weathered clapboards and was staring at her from beneath the triangular brim of his cocked hat.

I have collaborated with all of these authors and I am so excited for this giveaway! I am giving away a box of FIVE books...All signed (one signed bookplate sticker) by the authors! I will also be including some bookish/reading items in the box of books, bookmarks, tea, chocolate, etc. Each "Blogiversary" post will have MORE options to enter to win, so make sure you check back. Today we are kicking it off pretty easy! Please enter via the Rafflecopter form below. If you are having difficulties please email me and we will get your name entered.

Jody Hedlund has contributed a SIGNED copy of Newton & Polly for the giveaway!

**ONE (1) Winner will be selected by Rafflecopter at the end of the giveaway**
Books provided for giveaway by the individual authors and myself. Books included: Just the Way You Are, The Lady and the Lionheart, The Illusionist's Apprentice, Newton & Polly, Behind the Scenes. I am not compensated for any portion of this giveaway. Some of the books were donated for the giveaway. Giveaway will run 8/1/17 - 9/1/17 at 12:00am PDT. Open internationally. Void where prohibited. Please see Policies and Disclosures for more information. *Bookish swag items subject to change*

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Childhood Favorites (Back to School)

So glad to be back with Top Ten Tuesday with The Broke and the Bookish! Today we have a "Back to School" Freebie. My oldest starts school this year and I will be homeschooling...It is all rather intimidating. So, I decided to share with you 10 of my favorite books that I read while I was in school. I don't remember when I first read these books because I have loved books for as long as I can remember. But  was definitely school aged. (In no particular order...Click on the cover to find out more info.)

Between Two Flags Series - This is the cover of book 2 because Goodreads didn't have the cover for book 1 up. Weird. Set during the American Civil War. I remember it being good, sad, and full of adventure!

I loved this series! Still do. This is the first book I ever read that talked about the Potawatomi tribe. Which is MY tribe. So that was fun. 

Dear America is one of the reasons I love Historical Fiction so much. HIGHLY recommend to any and all school aged (and older) haha! This particular one is ONE of my favorites.  

The Royal Diaries are a spin off of Dear America. And yes, I have read every single one of them...

This isn't the first time this series has landed on my blog. I adore this series and was a huge factor in cultivating my love of history.

I have always been fascinated by the classics. When the husband and I first started hanging out together, this is the book I let him borrow....He never read it hahaha! I love it though. And he still won my heart in the end, so it's all good.

My very first introduction to Lewis was at a doctor's office, sitting the waiting room with my siblings while our mom had her appt. I wasn't VERY young, but young enough to not know what Narnia was yet. A father was reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to his daughter....I have been hooked ever since.

Wishbone is another great culprit for my love of classics, history, fiction....I wanted a Jack Russell for YEARS! Even joined the fan club....before it was sadly dismantled.  

This is one of the greatest classics ever written. The movie doesn't do it justice by a long shot (I still love watching it though). So much info, so many plot twists...AHHHH! READ IT! NOW!

And my list would never be complete without Tolkien. He is a brilliant man who created an amazing world and story. I could never do this series justice with my words...

And there it is...Books that left a resounding mark on my heart from my school years. Never underestimate the power of story. Even at a young age, those stories will live with you forever. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Books & Things Launch & GIVEAWAY - CFRR 2017 Recap

Pepper Basham EEEEE!
I have been scarce online this week due to the fact that I have been pretending to be alive. CFRR (Christian Fiction Readers Retreat) was held this past weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio. So.Much.Fun! I will get around to posting pictures on social media...eventually. But at least I am posting a recap this year. I still have last year's recap saved as a draft...ya...that didn't happen. 

Me, Jen Turano, and Rachael
This year, Rachael from Rachael's Reads and I teamed up to give you a "brief" (trust me, we could go on ALL DAY if you let us) recap of our adventures AND we have an EXCLUSIVE giveaway going (details below)! So make sure you get your comments in ON THE VIDEO POST BELOW!!!! Below the video you will find author and blogger links for those that we talked about. We absolutely LOVED spending time with each and every person at CFRR! I wish we could tell you all the details of the day, but I guess you will just have to come next year and experience it for yourself! Although a few highlights, that I may or may not have mentioned in the video include...

  • Staying up until 2am with Pepper's daughter Lydia who bunked with me, Rach, and Meghan Gorecki. 
    Me & Kristi Ann Hunter
  • Tim Tams from Mikal Dawn! (Dark Chocolate)
  • Getting to chat with Jen Turano...A LOT! (Who surprised us by showing up! AHHHH)
  • Fangirling over....everyone...#freakingoutandflailingabout
  • Meeting Kat and Charity
  • See that other crazy lady in the pic above...that's Meghan Gorecki....I adore her!
  • Carrie...Annie...Bonnie...Just to be in the same room as all 3 of them blows me away!
  • Being Pepper's REAL assistant...as in, I got to do her hair for the costume segment hehe
  • Flying home with a friend unexpectedly. Becca and I happened to have the same flight out of Cincinnati and were able to switch our seats so we could sit together!
  • Skyline Chili with my sis-in-law who drove FIVE hours to see me!
  • And SO.MUCH.MORE!!!!
If you enjoyed our video, let us know! And PLEASE let us know what kind of topics you would like to see us discuss for future videos! 

FOUR winners will be chosen. Anyone who did NOT attend CFRR 2017 is eligible to win. Prizes include:
1. Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig & The Thorn Keeper Lip Balm 
2. Many Sparrows by Lori Benton 
3. Special Agent by Valerie Hansen & The Cowboy's Baby Blessing by Deb Kastner 
4. Plain Retribution by Dana Lynn & The Engagement Charade by Karen Kirst 

Each winner will also receive a variety of bookmarks from the swag bag. We were so blessed by the authors this weekend and ended up with some duplicates/extras and just want to pass on the blessing! 

To enter you must post a comment on the ORIGINAL Facebook post found above. Make sure you ANSWER THE QUESTION WE ASK IN THE VIDEO TO BE ELIGIBLE. 

Giveaway will be open until Monday 8/21/17 12:00am PDT. Random.org will choose a winner from those who entered to win. Winner will be contacted via Facebook. So check your inbox and the comments thread!

Giveaway is not sponsored or endorsed by Facebook or its affiliates. Void where prohibited. If the winner does not claim their prize within 48 hours of being notified, they risk forfeiture of prize and a new winner will be selected. Thanks everyone and good luck!


Reading is my SuperPower

I KNOW I am going to forget someone! Please know it wasn't intentional...we will blame it on the "pretending to be alive" factor. Oh my goodness, it was INCREDIBLE getting to see everyone!