A Beauty Refined by Tracie Peterson

A Beauty Refined



MY REVIEW:

I always enjoy reading Tracie Peterson’s books because I know I will find a well-written historical romance with compelling characters and just the right blend of drama, danger, and suspense to keep those pages turning. It also doesn’t hurt that her research is excellent and I always learn something new with each one of her novels.

The second book in the Sapphire Brides series, “A Beauty Refined” features Phoebe, a young woman visiting Montana with her father, a German count. An unlikely friendship forms between Phoebe and Ian, a local lapidary but a chance encounter with a familiar woman reveals secrets from the past that place them all in eminent danger.

Once again, I stayed up much too late reading because I HAD to know what would happen next. How could one man be so selfish, heartless, and downright evil that even his own family were just pawns in his quest for wealth and power? There just didn’t seem to be any way that the innocent could come out on top this time so although I knew they would prevail, the suspense kept me on edge until the final resolution of the situation.

“A Beauty Refined” is the second book of the series but it easily stands alone. The story also revolves around Montana sapphires but features entirely different characters and situations. I would suggest also reading “A Treasure Concealed” – for the sheer pleasure of doing so and for the background history of the sapphire discovery. Tracie Peterson’s books never disappoint and I highly recommend any of them.

A copy of this book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

What does it take to reveal the true beauty of a hidden gem?

Phoebe Von Bergen, the daughter of a German count, is excited to visit America for the first time while her father purchases sapphires in Helena, Montana. Little does she know, however, that her father’s intentions—both for her and the gemstones—are not what she thinks.

Ian Harper, a lapidary working in Helena, finds the dignified young woman staying at the Broadwater Hotel more than a little intriguing. Yet the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that her family story is based on a lie–a lie she has no knowledge of. And Ian believes he knows the only path that will lead her to freedom.

Meeting Ian has changed everything for Phoebe, and she begins to consider staying in America, regardless of her father’s plans. But she may not be prepared for the unexpected danger that results when her family’s deception begins to unravel.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

Read an excerpt from A Beauty Refined HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tracie PetersonTracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than one hundred books. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana.

Find out more about Tracie at http://www.traciepeterson.com.

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God Bless Us Every One by Eva Marie Everson

God Bless Us Every One



MY REVIEW:

What could be more fun than taking a break from the heat and humidity of July in the south than reading a Christmas novella? “God Bless Us Every One” is my first Christmas book for 2016 and I sincerely hope that I enjoy those to come as much as I enjoyed it.

In this thoughtful but fun story, “God Bless Us Every One”, Charlie Dixon’s life runs roughly parallel to the Dickens Christmas Carol she is helping with behind the scenes. Charlie eventually learns that sometimes our biggest disappointments can lead to the greatest blessings. Easily read in one evening, this novella is written with heart and is filled with love, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Sweet and poignant, it is a must read this Christmas season.

A copy of this book was provided for review by Amazon Vine.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

A timeless classic can change the future.Charlene Dixon—called Charlie by family and friends—is devastated at the recent loss of her job. For the last five years, the twenty-seven-year-old has blossomed as the activities director of an exclusive all-girls school. But when a misunderstanding with the head-mistress leads to a pink slip right before the holidays, Charlie packs up dreams and returns to Grandma Esther, who raised Charlie as her own.When Charlie arrives—broken and confused—Esther immediately puts her granddaughter to work behind the scenes of the local school’s Christmas play, A Christmas Carol. When Charlie disapproves of having to work with Dustin Kennedy, the seventh-grade English teacher, Grandma Esther encourages her to take a deeper look at why the book by Charles Dickens had been written in the first place and what the book could teach Charlie about the needs of the children in their own community.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eva Marie EversonEva Marie Everson is an award-winning speaker and author of The Road to Testament, Things Left Unspoken, This Fine Life, Chasing Sunsets, Waiting for Sunrise, Slow Moon Rising, and The Potluck Club series (with Linda Evans Shepherd). She is the president of Word Weavers International, Inc., a member of AWSA, ACFW, RWA, the director of Florida Christian Writer’s Conference, and the contest director for Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. She and her husband make their home in Casselberry, Florida.

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Escaping Reality by Rachel Skatvold

Escaping Reality



MY REVIEW:

On the surface “Escaping Reality” appears to be one of those escapist romance novels but it is so much more than that. True, there is ample romance to satisfy even the most avid romance addict – but in addition, there are life lessons to be absorbed from its pages. Lessons about faith, trust, and learning to accept God’s plan for your life.

The down-to-earth and realistic characters were wonderful. I loved how accident prone Addie was, especially in view of her famous family and occupation. And Logan, despite his initial strong dislike of Addie, was just too nice a guy to be mean to her. Gramps was special too with his nuggets of wisdom and understated advice scattered throughout the pages.

“Escaping Reality” was easy to read with its steady plot, vivid descriptions, and lively dialogue. I will definitely be looking for more novels by this author.

A copy of this book was provided for review by Celebrate Lit.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Fame gave her a reason to hide. Can anyone unlock her guarded heart?

Reality star ADDISON LEWIS had the perfect life in LA. Or so she thought. After her fiancé betrays her she’s left with one option. Escape. But is anywhere safe from the relentless paparazzi?

LOGAN HART is caught off guard when a mysterious young woman becomes stranded at his family’s ranch. Past heartbreak makes him reluctant to let anyone close, but the city girl’s amusing antics draw them together.

While two lonely hearts collide and secrets loom on the horizon, could God be orchestrating something miraculous behind the scenes?

To purchase your copy, click here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rachel SkatvoldRachel Skatvold is an inspirational author and stay-at-home mom from the Midwest. She enjoys writing inspirational romance, devotions, encouraging blogs. Rachel has just finished her first series, the Riley Family Legacy Novellas and is now working on her first full length novel, Enduring the Flames. Other than writing, some of her hobbies include singing, reading and camping in the great outdoors with her husband and two young sons.

Guest Post from Rachel Skatvold:

Have you ever needed to escape?

Every year my husband and I plan our summer vacation several months in advance. We hardly ever plan anything lavish or expensive. Most of the time we just hook up our camper, load our kids and family dog in the truck and head to a state park for our “escape.” Some of our most treasured family times have been enjoyed without television, electronics or other luxuries. It’s refreshing to leave the noise of the city for a while and enjoy a nice walk in the woods or a quiet night roasting marshmallows over a campfire. It gives us time to rest and appreciate the simple blessings that God has given us.

If someone ever needed to escape, it’s Addison Lewis. From the outside it seemed like she had it all; fame, fortune and a handsome and successful fiancé. However, when her dreams of a happy future come crashing down Addison flees her home in LA and ends up stranded at a dude ranch in the Montana wilderness. There she meets a handsome young rancher named Logan and his family. Will the Hart family’s faith and simple ways help Addison discover God’s true purpose for her life?

Escaping Reality is inspired by Mathew 11:28 which says, “…Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” This theme verse is prevalent throughout the story because Addison is searching for a refuge that will provide peace and rest from her stressful lifestyle. However, in the end she discovers that the peace and rest she’s looking for is not a physical destination but a condition of the heart.

Addison and Logan’s story was one of my favorites to write because of Addie’s spunky personality (not to mention her tendency to fall into mud puddles J) and Logan’s courage during hard times. This story might make you laugh out loud and shed a few tears but most of all I hope it inspires you to recognize and appreciate God’s simple blessings. Happy reading, friends and I hope you enjoy reading Escaping Reality.

BLOG STOPS:

July 5: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

July 6: Blossoms and Blessings

July 7: The Editor’s Note

July 8: Bukwurmzzz

July 9: Texas Book-aholic

July 9: Cassandra M’s Place

July 10: 100 pages per hour

July 11: Reviewing Novels Online

July 12: Inklings and Notions

July 13: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

July 14: Christian Chick’s Thoughts

July 15: Daysong Reflections

July 16: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

July 17: Carpe Diem

July 18: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

GIVEAWAY:

Escapingrealitygrandprize-300x239

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away an autographed copy of her book along with a $10 Amazon gift card.
Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9e0a.

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Going Up South by Janet W. Ferguson

Going Up South



MY REVIEW:

Can we say “AWKWARD!!”? Interactions between several of the primary characters in “Going Up South” are strained through a good portion of the book, mostly due to past history with one of them. I can say that definitely kept things interesting. Oh, but what chances those fine Christians had to practice their love and forgiveness! As you can well imagine, it wasn’t easy for any of them. That’s what made this novel so good – the characters were all so real and down-to-earth. They had the same life struggles with which many readers might actually be able to relate.

“Going Up South” is the second book in Ferguson’s Southern Hearts series but it easily stood on its own merits. I had not previously read the first book “Leaving Oxford” but I now hope to go back and read it as soon as my review schedule will allow. It is already waiting on my Kindle. I really want to know the backstory on these characters before the next book of the series is released.

With a strong character driven plot laced with lots of drama, adventure, and romance, I found myself flipping the pages quickly and reading until the wee hours of the morning to see how everything would turn out. I personally was satisfied with the resolution of the story that illustrated so well that even Christians mess up sometimes but God is always there waiting for them to turn back to Him.

A copy of this book was provided for review by Celebrate Lit.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

No one told him he had a son.

Actor Dylan Conner is furious. Not only has he been left out of his child’s life, the baby boy has been given another man’s last name. Determined to be a better father than the sorry guy who’d left him and his mother, Dylan fights to ensure a significant place in his son’s life. Unfortunately, his bad-boy reputation overshadows his good intentions. Only one woman in this small town sees beyond his Hollywood image. And he’s falling for her. Too bad she’s the custody mediator.

After her scandalous divorce in the small town of Oxford, Mississippi, attorney Cassie Brooks has no intentions of practicing law again. The humiliating experience left a bitter taste for love, marriage, and her profession.

Now friends need Cassie’s help in a custody negotiation, and her role demands she remain objective. She never expected to be drawn to Dylan Conner—the actor who everyone warns is bad news. Not only is the mediation at stake, but so is her heart.

To purchase your own copy of Going Up South, click here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Janet FergusonJanet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served her church as a children’s minister and a youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.

GUEST POST FROM JANET W. FERGUSON:

Hi, I’m Janet W. Ferguson, and I’m so excited to meet the readers of Celebrate Lit!

I’ve always been an avid reader, but I’ve had an odd career path prior to writing.

With a Banking and Finance degree, I took my first job working at a brokerage firm handling their mutual fund trades. After the market crashed in the late 80s, I took a job managing a large, upscale apartment community. During this time, I married and became a stay-at-home mom and church volunteer. My volunteering eventually led to a staff position as children’s minister. After five years, I felt my calling had changed, and I left the job, not really sure what God had in store. Haphazardly, my husband suggested I apply at our local schools. Not long afterward, I certified in teaching and became the library media specialist at the large public high school near our home. I met so many wonderful young people as children’s minister and high school librarian.

During my times as a librarian, I had a story idea for about seven years, but never made time to try my hand at writing. Finally, after my elderly parents passed away, and I felt it was time. I wrote every evening for three months, and finished my first story which was Leaving Oxford. I spent the next three years learning about the craft of writing and editing that story. Yes, there was much to learn! In the meantime, one secondary character from Leaving Oxford demanded his own story… From that, came Going Up South.

I tend to write what I know, and I’m from the peculiar and wonderful state of Mississippi. My first story was set mostly in Oxford, Mississippi. The charming town made the perfect backdrop for book 1. So book 2 is also mostly set in Oxford, although the characters go on a mission trip to Honduras.

The hero of Going Up South, Dylan Conner, is a funny and charming actor that made a number of appearances in Leaving Oxford. From outrageous costumes to intense flirting, he just had a personality as large as the characters he portrayed on the screen. In Going Up South, he realizes that he fathered a child, but he had been left out of the baby boy’s life. Though he’d never planned to have a family, due to his disappointment in his own father, seeing the child, his child, changes his mind.

Dylan’s not sure how he’ll raise a child or what to do, but he finds help in his new friend and custody mediator, Cassie Brooks.

The scripture theme for this series comes from Isaiah 61. This particular book draws on “He binds up the brokenhearted.”

The heroine, Cassie Brooks, is still hurting from her scandalous divorce in a small town. Unlike my last heroine in Leaving Oxford, Cassie had done things the way she’d been taught, avoiding alcohol, drugs, and sex outside of marriage. And her heart was still broken by an unfaithful husband. I wanted to show that life just hands out some tough blows, no matter how hard we try to do the right thing, but God is there in the midst of it all. He does bind up our broken hearts.

I pray that you are uplifted by this story, and whatever hurts life has dealt you, that you find comfort in the arms of our faithful Father. Blessings!

BLOG STOPS:
July 7: A Reader’s Brain

July 7: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

July 8: Bigreadersite

July 8: inklings and notions

July 9: A Greater Yes

July 9: Reviewing Novels Online

July 10: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

July 11: Pause for Tales

July 12: Cindy’s Book Reviews

July 13: Daysong Reflections

July 14: Blogging With Carol

July 15: His Grace is Sufficient

July 16: Karen’s Krayons

July 17: Christian Chick’s Thoughts

July 17: Quiet Quilter

July 18: Cassandra M’s Place

July 18: A Bakers Perspective

July 19: Texas Book-aholic

July 20: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses

GIVEAWAY:

Goingupsouthgrandprize-244x300 To celebrate her tour, Janet is giving away some fantastic prizes including a $50 Amazon gift card! Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9e33

 

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Sweet as Honey by Jennifer Beckstrand

Sweet As Honey



MY REVIEW:

I may have to change my opinion about Amish fiction if they were all as entertaining as “Sweet As Honey”. This was such a sweet and entertaining book, filled with humor, romance, and even some lessons in beekeeping.

The characters were priceless! There were times I wanted to give both Lily and Dan a push or two. Were they both just totally clueless? Could Dan not see how teasing Lily the same way he did at ten years old was no way to romance a gal? And Lily – why on earth did she allow herself to be manipulated by such a jerk as Paul for so many years? Oh my! Enough of that or I will spoil everything. I really did love the girls’ Aunt Bitsy and all her eccentricities. She was such a refreshing change in an Amish novel and added some of that delightful humor as well.

I loved every minute of “Sweet As Honey” and will keep my eyes open for the next two installments of the series. Jennifer Beckstrand is another author I will definitely read again.

A copy of this book was provided for review by Amazon Vine.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Smart, kind, and good-hearted, the three Christner girls are affectionately known as The Honeybee Sisters in the beloved Wisconsin Amish community where, under the care of their aunt, they’ve grown into skilled beekeepers–and lovely, sought-after young women. . .

Though she has blossomed into a beauty, Lily Christner doesn’t really believe it. Deep down, she still feels like a lonely, gawky teenager. Maybe that’s why she’s all but promised herself to Paul Glick, the one boy who never teased her in her awkward girlhood–unlike Dan Kanagy, whose creative name-calling left her in tears many a time. Now he’s back in town after two years away–and being surprisingly sweet, suspiciously attentive–and making Lily unsettlingly yet deliciously nervous. It seems Dan wants Lily’s forgiveness–and her heart. But can he convince her–not to mention her protective schwesters and aendi–that despite the past, her future lies with him?…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jennifer BeckstrandJennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series and the Forever After in Apple Lake series, set in two Amish communities in beautiful Wisconsin. She has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and two adorable grandsons, whom she spoils rotten. Readers can visit her website at www.jenniferbeckstrand.com.

 

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