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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Author Spotlight - Jen Turano


Welcome to the FINAL Spotlight for my Blogiversary Celebration! I want to send a HUGE "Thank You" to all of the participating authors and to the readers that support them. You all make the world a little brighter and I am so very thankful for you! Remember to enter the Giveaway via the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post. Only a few days left! 



JenTuranoA USA Today Best-Selling Author, Jen Turano has written the critically acclaimed Ladies of Distinction series, and A Class of Their Own series, published through Bethany House Publishers. Her novel, After a Fashion, was chosen as a top pick from Romantic Times, as 

well as being named a top ten romance of 2015 from Booklist.  It is also a nominee for Romantic Times 2015 Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her book, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, was chosen as a top ten romance by Booklist in 2013. Her seventh book, Playing the Part, released in the spring of 2016, and will be followed by a new four-book series, Apart from the Crowd. When she’s not writing, Jen spends her time outside of Denver with her husband and neurotic Cattle Dog, enjoying herself as an empty-nester since her son recently abandoned her for the college life. She can be found on Facebook or visit her on the web at www.jenturano.com. She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.



You may be surprised to learn that I haven't read all of Jen's books. I have THREE left. But like Jody's, I love Jen's books SO.MUCH...that I am savoring them. I can only read them for the first time once after all. I discovered Jen's books with After a Fashion and have been enraptured ever since. 

Click on the covers to learn more!

Ladies of Distinction


A Class of Their Own


Apart From the Crowd


Coming Soon!!!
Out of the Ordinary is the next book in Apart From the Crowd series and I can't wait!

Releases November 7, 2017
Miss Gertrude Cadwalader hoped her position as the paid companion to Mrs. Davenport would be easy. But as she becomes acquainted with her employer, she realizes the wealthy Mrs. Davenport has a strange tendency to be a bit light-fingered with other people’s trinkets. Gertrude is relieved when Mrs. Davenport decides to have a quiet summer away from the social scene–until the woman changes her mind in order to help a young socialite launch into society.
When Gertrude is caught in the act of trying to return one of the trinkets by Mrs. Sinclair, the mother of shipping magnate Harrison Sinclair, the woman jumps to an unfortunate conclusion. Harrison is determined to mend fences with Miss Cadwalader, but he’s unprepared for the escapades a friendship with her will entail.




So blessed by this amazing woman!
 There is NO doubt that Jen Turano is one of my very favorite people...EVER. She keeps trying to convince me that she is just an ordinary person...But I beg to differ. Her books are full of humour, faith, suspense, and quirky characters (both human and animal). I fell in love with Jen's books as soon as I began reading After a Fashion. The story and the style was like nothing I had ever read before. And then, I read In Good Company when my son had to be unexpectedly hospitalized. And I could not have chosen a better book to have with me. 

Rachael and I got the biggest surprise
having Jen show up at CFRR this yer!
Jen is caring, generous, funny (imagine that), and yes she is a person too...an extraordinary person. A person that you want to have in your corner. A person that I love to hang out with and chat with. A person who has gone above and beyond in her books, and in her relationship with her readers. She is fabulous and I hope you all get a chance to read her books someday. I am blessed to know Jen and to call her my friend. I am so thankful she followed the direction God gave her to write the way she writes. And for kicks and giggles...I do LOVE sharing this photo...this is what my bookish friends have lovingly titled, "Rachel's Jen Turano Face".  Because no matter how many times I talk to her, or see her face-to-face...My little nerd girl heart will be freaking out and flailing about....EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.



And now my friends, I am giving you a sneak peek into Jen's most recent book, Behind the Scenes. 

March 1883 - New York City

"Pressing her nose against the glass of the carriage window, Miss Permilia Griswold felt her stomach begin to churn as she took note of the throngs of people lining Fifth Avenue. Even though darkness had descended over the city hours before, the lure of witnessing New York society trundling down the street in their fancy carriages, on their way to Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt’s costume ball, was apparently enough of a spectacle to keep people out and about on a chilly spring night. That her father’s carriage was still blocks away from their destination of 660 Fifth Avenue and yet crowds were pressed three deep in and around the sidewalk, gave clear testimony to the importance of this particular ball and to the interest New Yorkers had for its highest society members. Even though Permilia was included on the invitation list for the most important societal events in the city, she’d not grown up within the cosseted inner circles of society, which exactly explained why her stomach was churning. She was uncomfortable in social situations, had yet to master all the rules that went with being a member of New York society, and . . . “You’re fogging up the window, Permilia, which is obscuring my view and making all the people outside our carriage appear to be little more than ghosts wobbling about. It’s a most unnerving sight.”Tearing her attention away from a crowd she could see perfectly fine through the merest trace of fog on the window, Permilia settled it on her stepmother, Ida Griswold. “Forgive me, stepmother. That was most inconsiderate of me.”Turning back to the window, Permilia began swiping at the mist with a gloved hand, stopping midswipe when Ida suddenly took to tsking. “A

lady must never use her glove in such a common fashion,”Ida said, her words having Permilia’s hand dropping into her lap. “And”—Ida’s gaze swept over Permilia’s form—“you’ve taken to slouching again. On my word, if you’d simply remember to maintain a proper posture at all times, I’m quite certain you wouldn’t find yourself cast in the troubling role of wallflower season after season.”Swallowing the sigh she longed to emit, Permilia forced a smile instead. “Contrary to the prevalent thought of the day, I’m not a lady who feels as if my life has been ruined simply because I’ve obtained the somewhat undesirable label of wallflower.”“Of course your life has been ruined,”Ida countered. “You’re twenty-something years old, have never taken within society, nor have you ever attracted the devotion of a gentleman. Why, even your own stepsister doesn’t care to spend time in your company.”“I believe that has more to do with the fact that Lucy and I have nothing in common than my tendency to slouch upon occasion.”Permilia switched her gaze to her stepsister, Miss Lucy Webster, who was sitting ramrod straight on the seat opposite her, staunchly ignoring the conversation as she waved to the crowds gathered along the street." (Used with permission)



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.

Jen Turano has contributed a SIGNED bookplate & copy of Behind the Scenes 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*

Friday, August 25, 2017

Favorite Line Friday + Giveaway - Newton & Polly - Jody Hedlund


Happy Friday!

Welcome to the last edition of FAVORITE Line Friday! This week I have been talking about Jody Hedlund's books. You can read the spotlight HERE, where you can find a full excerpt from Newton & Polly. But today I am going to share with you ONE of my favorite lines from this book with you! Don't forget to enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter form below! It is open until 9/1/17 12:00am PDT! 




Needless to say, this is a forever favorite of mine. You can read my review HERE.





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.

Kristy's Book Included in the Giveaway is a SIGNED copy  of The Illusionist's Apprentice.


**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*

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Secret of Pembrooke Park - Julie Klassen

My Rating
★★★★★ - You have bewitched me, body and soul. (More Info)

About the Book
Abigail Foster fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry to improve her charms and the one man she thought might marry her--a longtime friend--has fallen for her younger, prettier sister. 
When financial problems force her family to sell their London home, a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play...

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem to know something about the manor's past, the only information they offer Abigail is a warning: Beware trespassers who may be drawn by rumors that Pembrooke contains a secret room filled with treasure. 

Hoping to improve her family's financial situation, Abigail surreptitiously searches for the hidden room, but the arrival of anonymous letters addressed to her, with clues about the room and the past, bring discoveries even more startling. As secrets come to light, will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?

My Thoughts
To this day, I can honestly say that THIS is my very favorite book by Julie Klassen. The setting the characters, the mystery...It all results in this fabulous story! If you love Regency settings, you are sure to love this book!
(Original review published December 2014)

Mystery, murder, treasure and romance. All of which can be found in Julie Klassen’s The Secret of Pembrooke Park. This book will have you turning pages until the wee hours of morning.

England, 1817, Abigail Foster and her family are in the midst of a financial crisis that could ruin them forever, when an offer to let Pembrooke Park is brought before them. The house has been vacant for almost 20 years, and there is a lot of clean up needed before they can move in, but the terms seem too good to be true. This is just the opportunity the Foster’s need so they can begin to rebuild their lives. Abigail and her father travel to the village of Caldwell to begin fixing up the property. It is not long before whispers and rumors make it to Abigail’s ears regarding the previous inhabitants. Whispers of treasure and murder and ghosts. What happened here so many years ago? Will Abigail be able to uncover the truth? Clues are found and mysterious letters are sent to Abigail from what appears to be someone who lived at Pembrooke Park. Does the miniature doll’s house hold the key to where the treasure was hidden? Abigail befriends the previous steward’s daughter, Leah Chapman, who has her own mysteries of the past that she is concealing. William Chapman, Leah’s sister and the local pastor, seems to become interested in Abigail, but will Miss Foster’s sister, Louisa sweep him off his feet as she does to every man she meets? And Mr. Chapman is not the only man that has taken an interest in Abigail. Truth, faith and love are the primary factors guiding our players. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt.”

I have not enjoyed a book so much as I enjoyed reading The Secret of Pembrooke Park. I stayed up late many a night reading when I should have been sleeping. Most definitely a page turner if I ever read one. I cannot praise Mrs. Klassen enough for her fine works. The historical accuracy, the depth, the feeling. Creative liberties are used in regards to classes intermingling, but that’s what makes her books so intriguing. The suspense and mystery was mild (compared to the thrillers my husband reads), but it was enough to make my head turn at the sounds of my own house creaking in the night. I am looking forward to her next release. I told my husband that I want the rest of Julie Klassen’s books for Christmas this year!

As a part of their blogger review program, I received a complimentary copy of The Secret of Pembrooke Park from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.





About the Author

Julie Klassen
Photo Credit: © Farrow Media
JULIE KLASSEN loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full-time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing's BEST Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards and ACFW's Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter // Website

More Books by Julie Klassen on Bookworm Mama
I will be featuring a few more of Julie's books in the weeks to come, but you can check out my reviews HERE.

Many thanks to Canva for providing an AMAZING program for me to design all these beautiful graphics. Book covers, publisher/tour logos, and author pictures not owned by me. All other graphics created by Bookworm Mama with public domain photos on Canva unless stated otherwise. 



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


THE VOW: PREQUEL TO AN UNCERTAIN CHOICE


AN UNCERTAIN CHOICE

A Daring Sacrifice
A DARING SACRIFICE


FOR LOVE AND HONOR


Historical Romance

The Beacons of Hope Series


OUT OF THE STORM: A NOVELLA (BEACONS OF HOPE SERIES)


LOVE UNEXPECTED (BEACONS OF HOPE SERIES #1)


HEARTS MADE WHOLE (BEACONS OF HOPE SERIES #2)


Undaunted Hope (Beacons of Hope #3)
UNDAUNTED HOPE (BEACONS OF HOPE SERIES #3)


Forever Safe
FOREVER SAFE (BEACONS OF HOPE SERIES #4)


Never Forget
NEVER FORGET (BEACONS OF HOPE SERIES #5)

The Michigan Brides Collection


UNENDING DEVOTION


A NOBLE GROOM


CAPTURED BY LOVE

The Hearts of Faith Collection


THE PREACHER’S BRIDE


THE DOCTOR’S LADY


REBELLIOUS HEART

Historicals

Luther & Katharina
LUTHER & KATHARINA: A STORY OF LOVE AND REBELLION
Newton and Polly
NEWTON & POLLY: A STORY OF AMAZING GRACE







NEW!!!

The Orphan Train Series


AN AWAKENED HEART:
A NOVELLA (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?




WITH YOU ALWAYS 
(ORPHAN TRAIN SERIES)
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. (Used with Permission)




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*