Saturday, April 29, 2017

Great New Amish Fiction in the Hope Chest of Dreams Series!

             "Annie's Recipe"
           By Lisa Jones Baker

About the Book:

Three young Amish women, each gifted with a hand-carved hope chest, find that one by one, with patience and faith, their most blessed dreams for the future can come true…

Annie Mast and Levi Miller were best friends until his father was shunned by the church. Now, ten years later, Levi has returned to Arthur, Illinois, for a brief visit, and he and Annie discover their bond is as strong as ever. Spending as much time together as possible, Annie finds herself dreaming of a future with Levi. And Levi is soon dreaming of building a home on a beautiful local hillside—to live in with Annie. Yet their longings are unlikely to become reality…

Levi is part of the English world, and while Annie cannot see herself there, she knows she must reveal her heart’s truth to him. And Levi, strongly reminded of his Amish roots, knows he must heal the bitterness of the past. And together, with love on their side, they just may find their way to an answered pray. 

My Thoughts:

As the Amish fiction genre just happens to be a favorite of mine, I was honored to be able to review this new book.  The cover grabbed my attention right away, making me wonder what this young Amish woman was going to create in her kitchen, with the handsome man, who obviously is NOT Amish,  watching her closely.

The characters are realistically and well developed in such a way that make them very easy with whom to identify. Annie is such a precious girl who struggles to make sense of the challenges that life throws at her. She stumbles along to  attempt to solve her dilemma while keeping her faith and beliefs intact. Levi also encounters many problems that cause him to question his beliefs. 

The plot seems to start out slowly  but after a couple of chapters I was caught up in this adventure. A sweet romance develops within the confines of an Amish community , where mixed relationships are frowned upon. The underlying theme of keeping true to one's faith is apparent throughout the story. How can one possible trust a God who causes us to question our beliefs??? But, isn't that what our Lord wants us to do?  He wants us to give him our absolute trust to follow Him and not question His plans.

 Annie's recipe for sponge cake is an unexpected bonus included at the conclusion of the tale. I can honestly say that it is delicious!!!

I will definitely be watching for the next book in this series!

About the Author:  

I write heart-warming stories with Amish characters; I grew up near an Amish town and began interacting with the Plain Faith when they custom made our kitchen cabinets. Since childhood, I've been fascinated.
I dream up stories that I love and hope that my readers will love them, too.
My HOPE CHEST OF DREAMS series features wonderful female characters, and my debut
book, REBECCA'S BOUQUET, got a starred review from Publishers Weekly.
I've been blessed to have been raised by Christian parents, have been on five out of seven
continents, was once a high school teacher, and love horse and buggy rides almost as much as I love tomatoes from my dad's garden!
You can message me on facebook or on I may be a little
slow to respond, but I will get back to you. Thanks for reading my page, and enjoy REBECCA'S BOUQUET, ANNIE'S RECIPE, and RACHEL'S DREAM!
Lisa Jones Baker

Excerpt From Book:  

Annie Mast tossed a rock into Pebble Creek and giggled.  She clapped her hands as the small stone hit the water.  Beside her, Levi Miller nodded his approval.  Their contest was always who could make the bigger splash.  Of course, Levi usually won.  But she guessed when her efforts trumped his, it was because he allowed it.  After all, at eight years of age, it wasn’t easy competing with a twelve-year-old boy.  Especially a boy much taller and stronger than she was.

Levi joined in the applause. “If you keep throwing like that, I’ll have to practice.”

Annie grinned. Automatically, they stepped side-by-side up the incline leading to their sitting spot. Hills were unusual in predominantly flat Illinois, but she was sure God had planned this particular elevation especially for her and Levi.

Without talking, she claimed her stone at the same time he declared his. Not wasting a moment, Annie reached into the wicker basket between them for a sponge cake. Levi accepted the napkin-covered, sweet-smelling dessert with an appreciative grin. As he did so, she automatically took in the curve of his high cheekbones and determined jaw. Brightness lightened his autumn-brown hair a shade. As always, he waited to bite into the treat until she held hers between her fingers. Together, they ate while the late August sun caressed them. In her long Amish dress and apron, Annie quickly forgot the unusually hot temperature when Levi pointed to old Sam Beachy’s barn.

“You want to know a secret?”

She lifted an inquisitive brow while anxiously awaiting the response.

 “One day you’ll be as good a cook as Esther.”

Annie’s heart smiled. Everyone knew Sam’s wife made the best dishes around.

Excitement edged Annie’s voice. “You really think so?”

He took another bite before offering a quick, definitive nod and lowered his pitch to a whisper. She wondered why. There wasn’t anyone within hearing distance.

“There’s no doubt in my mind.”

Annie’s heart jumped with happiness. Even more than matching Esther’s baking skills, what really mattered was that she and her best friend were together. And as long as she was with Levi, how could life get better?

Buy Link:

This book was received as a gift. The opinions and thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

Lisa will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. See Link on Sidebar.

Follow the book tour at the following link! Enter to win a terrific prize!! The more visits you make , the more chances you have to win!!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Great Combination of Suspense and Romance!! Enter the Author's Giveaway!!

"Finding Hope in Savannah"
     By Melissa Wardwell    

About the Book:

Book: Finding Hope in Savannah
Author: Melissa Wardwell
Genre: Christian Suspense/Romance
Release Date: September 15, 2016
Elizabeth “Liz” Thompson liked her quiet, predictable life with her son.When she witnesses something horrifying and dangerous, they are forced into hiding. She seeks refuge in the small community of Isle of Hope, Georgia only to find that her life and her heart are still hanging in the balance.
Officer Jake Andrews, dedicated his life to protect and serve the people of Savannah. In the back of his mind always wondering “what if?”. The arrival of a young woman from his past forces him to face a long-buried secret, that will change how he sees his future.
As danger comes to Georgia, Liz & Jake must learn to trust God and each other, to see their way out of the situation.
Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts:

Having greatly enjoyed  a previous book by this author, my expectations were high when presented with this new one. No disappointment !! This novel was a very enjoyable read. The subject of a single mom's life immediately appealed to me. Her life was not perfect! Is anyone's?? What is the natural and unfortunately human thing to do in times of despair??? Turn one's back to God! Life is not a dream come true! We all wish it could be but let's face it, life has its hills and deep valleys!! Liz, the main character was no exception. Easy to identify with, this woman experiences tough times. Finding peace with her past and hope in her future involves the need to realise that God loves one in ALL circumstances. Jake is a natural protector. His past with Liz demands that he not only help her but face those hidden times that seem to be better forgotten. The characters are all described so realistically that the reader walks alongside them on their journey back to faith and redemption.

The plot moves steadily at a quick pace, with just enough twists and turns, to indulge those of us who enjoy suspense. The sweet romance, at times , seems to sour, but with the help of Christian friends, it grows. The need to have an active relationship with God is the underlying theme throughout the novel. Prayer and study of God's Word is the basis to a more meaningful life. The past is forgiven and forgotten. 

I am eagerly awaiting the next book by this author!! 
Definitely, a five star book!!!
This book was received as a gift. The thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.
About the Author:   
Melissa resides in a small mid-Michigan farm community with her husband and three children, all of whom they home school. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, taking photos, and motorcycle rides with her husband. Her hope is that each story touches your heart, gives you hope, or just gives you a moment away from the chaos of life.

Guest Post from Melissa Wardwell

Finding myself though “Finding Hope in Savannah”
Writing this book opened my eyes to quite a few things about myself. It opened a door to a need to discover new places and try new things. To step outside of my shell and not be afraid to discover what I am capable of as a wife, mother, and a Christian Woman. In one scene, I have “Liz” talking about how she wishes she could be brave enough to face things without being so fearful of the outcome. I was reminded that when we are moving in Christ’s will for our lives, there is nothing to fear. (Insert image of Woman on top of the fountain)
When I came up with the idea for “Finding Hope in Savannah” I wanted a location that was unlike any place I have ever been. All my other books take place in my area. So, I set out to find images of some place warm and southern. I came across images of this little community on the outskirts of Savannah Georgia called Isle of Hope. I loved the looks of this little haven so much, I made it the location of this book.
Writing the descriptions on the location was a bit of a stretch of my imagination. I hadn’t seen it, smelled it, or touched it in any way. The writing of this book just so happened to be the same year as when our family would be driving to Florida for a family vacation. After expressing my frustration in not getting the feel of the place right, my darling husband suggested leaving a bit earlier and spending some time in Savannah on the way down. I am so glad we did and I discovered for myself why it is considered the most beautiful city in the United States.
This book isn’t just a love story or a story about a woman in hiding, but about a single mother of a tween boy who is trying her best to find her way in this world. Having two teen boys of my own I know how fun, as well as gross, boys can be but to get the right mind set for “Liz” I had to do some homework. It took watching and talking to my friends who are single mothers, hear their concerns about life and managing their time. I admire those who have to play both roles every day and still have a smile on their faces. With my husband’s job, I am on my own with the kids part of the time, but it is only part time. I couldn’t imagine raising my three all by myself. My hats off to all the single mommies of the world.

Blog Stops

April 8: Karen Sue Hadley
April 11: A Greater Yes
April 12: Bigreadersite
April 14: Carpe Diem
April 15: my site/autism mom
April 16: Quiet Quilter


To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away one print copy of “Finding Hope in Savannah” as well as a $10 Amazon gift card!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Topnotch Humorous Romance by Pepper Basham!! Enter the Giveaway!!

     "Just the Way You Are"
       By Pepper Basham
About the Book:
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Single mom, Eisley Barrett, prefers to keep romance safely housed within a centuries-old mystery, but when she travels to England to unearth the secret, an actor with a sordid past offers her reluctant heart a very different type of discovery.
Wes Harrison has a past he’s ashamed to confess. Suspicious and cynical, he’s managed to avoid romantic entanglements since a tragedy upended his career and life, that is until American Eisley Barrett comes along. Her authenticity and kindness upend his bitter assumptions and send his heart into unscripted territory.
When his past threatens to ruin a second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grace salvage their unexpected romance?

My Thoughts:

"Just the Way You Are" , Book One in the Pleasant Gap Romance series, was the most enjoyable, light read that I have had in a while!! Pepper has a unique talent of combining a delightful romance with the perfect amount of humor to allow you to giggle throughout the good times and the bad. This author grabbed my attention in the first chapter, making it impossible to put the book down until I had read the last page!!

The characters were realistic and totally believable, with whom I could identify easily! What an unlikely couple:  a single mom from the Appalachian Mountains and a proper Brit movie star!! That alone brings a smile to my face!! What a strange combination!!! I fell in love with all of these very different characters, with their quirky and humorous ways of dealing with things. 

The plot moved steadily and quickly, with twists and turns at every corner. Trust issues played a huge part in the development of the romantic relationship, as well as God providing second chances to those who don't always expect them! The fear that Eisley hung on to almost caused her to miss her opportunity to fall in love. Risk taking played an important part of the story as it was proven over and over again that God gives us so much, but the individual must take a chance and put total trust in His power to forgive our pasts. 

One quote stood out to me and has remained with me long after reading the novel, " God  loves you just the way you are." What an awesome and overwhelming truth!! How many of us forget that ?! I absolutely LOVED this book !! I chuckled, I cried, I believed!!! God comes through in the end!!!

Definitely a five star book! Looking forward to more by this author.

This book was a gift. The opinions and thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

About the Author:

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes novels inspired by her love for history and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4-stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, her newest release, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars. Her newest contemporary romance, Just the Way You Are, releases in April 2016.You can get to know Pepper on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, or Instagram

Guest post from Pepper Basham

Thank you so much for featuring my newest novel,  Just the Way You Are, on CelebrateLit. I am THRILLED to be a part of this and to share a story that is very dear to my heart.

Just the Way You Are is my first ‘true’ Britallachian romantic comedy. Even though I’ve written comedy in some of my other novels and included elements of both Appalachia and Britain, this one embodies the tag #britallachian to the core. For those of you who’ve read some of my previous books, you know I’m a big fan of my native Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian culture. You may also know that I’m a proud Anglophile.
Those two loves met in Just the Way You Are – and I tossed lots of other things I love best into the mix. What are those ingredients, you might ask?
Well, let me just tell ya! Just the Way You Are is a blend of Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian culture, big (hilarious) family dynamics, matchmaking, Britain, a swoony English hero, a quirky, magnanimous heroine, a bunch of adorable kids, Scooby Doo and Indiana Jones references, lots of humor, a historical mystery, a devious villainess, stately manor houses, secret rooms, love letters, and matchmaking all rolled into one…oh, and did I mention brain-numbing romance?
(Did anyone else feel the need to add “fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, miracles, true love….” From the Princess Bride?) J I don’t think I included torture, giants, or monsters in Just the Way You Are…but I may have the other elements in this novel J
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating about the brain-numbing, but I do have a tendency to err on the side of overly dramatic J
Within the pages of Just the Way You Are, you’ll meet people from my own family, people from my imagination, and some people who stepped into the story without one ounce of my planning to ever meet them. This story came out of my desire to write something I love reading – spicy romance, clean humor, culture clashes, the big love of family, and redemption.
How did my heroine Eisley Barrett evolve? Out of thin air. I was washing dishes one afternoon and staring out the window into our small backyard with the Blue Ridge Mountains painting a purplish-blue frame on the horizon when I closed my eyes. Into my imagination came this ginger-headed woman walking through Heathrow International Airport pulling a hot pink bag behind her…and then, she tripped and fell. That was it. That’s how I was introduced to my insecure, hilarious, romance-loving, single-mom heroine.
And the dashing hero? Okay, this may sound ridiculous, but I was watching an interview about Richard Armitage (Thoron Oakenshield, Guy of Gisborne, etc) regarding his lovely costume drama North and South where he plays a very dashing British hero. Anyway, he was SUCH a gentleman to watch during the interview. So polite. Kind. Funny, in a sweet way, and then, out of the blue, he said the word ‘gosh’. I know, that may not be a big deal to anyone but me, but after watching celebrity interviews where every other word needed a censor, the very fact that this elegant man used the word ‘gosh’, sent my writing brain into motion. My first internal question? What if a movie star with a tender heart had been burned by the pretension and expectation of celebrity status? What kind of woman could touch a heart who’d lost his faith in love’s authenticity?
Enter my red-head single-mom toting her pink bag through Heathrow and you have the very beginning of Just the Way You Are – a story of forgiveness, second chances…and a little bit of movie magic.

Click here to purchase your copy.

Blog Stops

April 6: cherylbbookblog
April 8: Bookworm Mama
April 9: Quiet Quilter
April 10: Faithfully Bookish
April 10: Back Porch Reads
April 11: Robin’s Nest
April 13: Cordially Barbara
April 14: A Greater Yes
April 15: Just Commonly
April 15: 100 Pages per Hour
April 16: Book by Book
April 17: Splashes of Joy
April 18: Karen Sue Hadley
April 19: Henry Happens
April 19: Baker Kella

Enter the Giveaway!!
Grand Prize Giveaway:
A 'chest' - in JTWYA historical letters are discovered in a chest that relates to the historical storyline, so meof these lovely goodies are going to be safely inside this chest.

Chocolate - several references take place in JTWYA that compare the hero to chocolate ;-)

A plaque about family - because that's a main point of importance in JTWYA

A Spider-man zipper pull - Pete, the heroine's son, is a major Spider-man fan.

English Breakfast Tea - The hero is English...swoony English

A dishcloth - again, something that relates to a scene in the book regarding the hero and dishes (twice)

Stirring spoon and measuring cups - food and cooking are a big part of Appalachian culture and fellowship, something celebrated in JTWYA

A notebook - Eisley (the heroine) is taking notes about a historical family mystery

A lovely container full of cloth flowers (for fun, and beauty) - the container says - Love and you will be loved. Loving others has an amazing way to find its way back to us (as is what happens in JTWYA)

A little plaque that reads "You are Loved" - a theme of this story

A beautiful lace doily from England (the English part of the story)

Some "Pixie Dust" a fun visualization of the 'magic' of romance in this story

A copy of Just the Way You Are