Thursday, October 17, 2013

Treasures of Norway SWEEPSTAKES by Lauraine Snelling!



To celebrate the release of her new novel, An Untamed Heart, author Lauraine Snelling and Bethany House Publishers are pleased to present the TREASURES OF NORWAY Sweepstakes, and your chance to win one of three spectacular prizes, all closely connected to the story.

Read on!!

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Twenty-year-old Ingeborg Strand is certain she is destined to be an old maid.

She’s had several suitors but none she deemed worthy of spending her life with. That is, until she meets a university student from Oslo, and feelings stronger than friendship begin to develop between them. But tragedy strikes, and the future begins to look bleaker than ever.

Grief settles heavily over Ingeborg, and her mother suggests that she leave Norway and start afresh in America, as so many others have done before her. But how will she accomplish that with little money and no one to accompany her?

It isn’t long before she meets Roald Bjorklund, a widower who has been planning to go to America for some time, lured by the promise of free land. He’s a good man, a hard-working man–and he has a young son who desperately needs a mother. He’s clearly interested in Ingeborg, but is he the answer to her prayers? And what about love? This isn’t how she’s always imagined it.

Ingeborg Strand has a heartrending decision to make…

(Click on the book cover to read an excerpt!)

GIVEAWAY!!
TO ENTER, click the banner below and complete the entry box, anytime between October 5 and October 24.



Check out these amazing prizes!!


GRAND PRIZE:
HAPPY HOUSECLEANER PRIZE PACK
In An Untamed Heart, young Ingeborg Strand is tasked with cleaning her Onkel Frode's house, an ominous task indeed! But Ingeborg never backs down from tough tasks, and the result is a house so clean, any woman in Norway would be proud to call it home.

We might not have the luxury of a housecleaning visit from Ingeborg, but our Grand Prize winner will win the next best thing: a $200 housecleaning gift card to Maids.com, plus a handmade Tokheim Fjordhorse Mug and a bag of Ingebretsen's Viking Coffee so you can brew a cuppa, sit back, and relax while your house is transformed.


SECOND PRIZE:
GUNLAUG'S GOURMET PRIZE PACK
Ingeborg and her cousin Gunlaug are some of the best cooks in the in the mountain village of Valdres, Norway. Cookies, cheeses, flatbreads, jams...their cooking and baking is a culinary-lover's dream!

Our Second Prize winner will have Gunlaug's and Ingeborg's favorite Norwegian foods delivered right to their door with this $120 Norwegian gourmet prize pack.

This package includes fresh Norwegian lefse, cheeses, flatbread, Nordic butter, jelly, Romme Grot cream porridge, Gjende shortbread, Uff Da chips, Fattigman cookies, and Norwegian chocolate.


THIRD PRIZE:
CHRISTMAS IN NORWAY PRIZE PACK
Ingeborg and the Strand family prepare for Christmas with music and handmade decorations, while secretly weaving and carving special gifts to give each other in celebration of Gott Jul.

Our Third Prize winner will have the chance to bring Gott Jul to their home this holiday season, with this $100 Christmas In Norway prize pack.

This prize includes a Norwegian Christmas CD, a set of 2 Norwegian wood spool candle holders, and a woven, 14" wide x 43" long, Ã…ttebladrose Christmas table runner, perfect for dressing your dining table in the warm colors of Norway.

This giveaway starts October 5, 2013 and ends October 24, 2013 @ 11:59 pm (PST). Entry is open to US residents only, age 18 and over. Winners will be selected Friday, October 25, 2013, and announced at laurainesnelling.com.

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**DISCLOSURE: Lauraine shared a thank you gift with me in exchange for sharing this giveaway with my readers. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser



Welcome to the Litfuse Blog Tour for The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser!

ABOUT THE BOOK:
When a socialite from the nation's capital embarks on a journey to the Wild West, her life is changed forever.

A setting populated by hundreds of laborers, outlaws, and Indians is hardly the place for a wealthy general's daughter. But Josephine Cain is determined to visit her father, who supervises the day-to-day work involved in the grandest ambition of post-Civil War America: the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. Life with the railroad is far from the proper life Josephine is used to, and she faces deadly gunfights, harsh weather, and vigilante uprisings. She is torn between the West and the East; between her privileged upbringing and the challenges of a new frontier; between the pull of the suitable beau her parents approve of and an attraction to a rough but charming Irish railroad worker. But if Josephine is willing, she just might find a new life, a unique purpose . . . and true love.

MY THOUGHTS:
I've read a couple of Nancy's books, and some have taken more effort to 'get into' than others. I felt that way with Josephine's story.

The words just didn't grab and hold my attention. It was easy to set the book down, and I wasn't anxiously awaiting a moment where I could pick up the story again.

Josephine herself was a bit hard for me to like. She's a bit spoiled, rash, and bull-headed, and though she grows and changes as the story progresses, I had a hard time connecting with her through most of the book.

I enjoyed learning about the progress of the railway after the Civil War, but overall, The Journey of Josephine Cain wasn't a 'keeper' book for me.

That's what I thought! Click HERE to see what other Litfuse reviewers has to say!

Thank you to Nancy and Summerside Press through Litfuse for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook!

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears



This week, CFBA introduces A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

A Tender Tale of Love on the Prairie!

Although Everett Cline can hardly keep up with the demands of his homestead, he won't humiliate himself by looking for a helpmate ever again--not after being jilted by three mail-order brides. When a well-meaning neighbor goes behind his back to bring yet another mail-order bride to town, he has good reason to doubt it will work, especially after getting a glimpse at the woman in question. She's the prettiest woman he's ever seen, and it's just not possible she's there to marry a simple homesteader like him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. Having finally worked up the courage to leave her life in Massachusetts, she's determined to find a place where people will value her for more than her looks. Having run out of all other options, Julia resorts to a mail-order marriage in far-away Kansas.

Everett is skeptical a cultured woman like Julia could be happy in a life on the plains, while Julia, deeply wounded by a past relationship, is skittish at the idea of marriage at all. When, despite their hesitations, they agree to a marriage in name only, neither one is prepared for the feelings that soon arise to complicate their arrangement. Can two people accustomed to keeping their distance let the barricades around their hearts down long enough to fall in love?

MY THOUGHTS:
I've always loved a good mail-order bride story, and A Bride for Keeps did not disappoint. Often the bride or groom have some sort of painful past to overcome, resulting in a struggle to let go and love the other.

Melissa's story was unique in that both Everett and Julia are hurting. One fears rejection, the other feels worthless. When one finally begins to let the emotional walls crumble, the other is still not ready to accept true and honest love.

A Bride for Keeps was warm and sweet, and I really enjoyed it! I look forward to more books by Melissa!

AND FOR YOU, a peek into the book:


Thank you to Melissa and Bethany House through CFBA for sending me a copy to read and review!

Also reviewed on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wishing on Buttercups by Miralee Ferrell



Releasing after the New Year, I had an early chance to look at Miralee Ferrell's second book in her Blossoms in Oregon series: Wishing on Buttercups.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Can Love Survive When Secrets Collide?

She’d kept her secrets safely hidden—those from her past, and those in the present. Some things, Beth Roberts knows, a lady simply doesn’t share, even in the 1880’s West. The townspeople would never understand. No one ever has. 

Jeffery Tucker, a handsome young writer, has kept his own secrets. He doesn’t have a right to pry into Beth’s affairs but finds himself strangely drawn to her and intrigued by the whiff of mystery surrounding her. 

Beth knows that one day someone will unravel the threads of her past. And when two men from her past arrive, the truth might just hurt... Beth’s future and her heart. As shadowy memories surface, Beth sketches the scenes she sees and is shocked by what—and who—her illustrations reveal. Dare she risk her heart again?

MY THOUGHTS:
I really enjoyed Miralee's first book in this series, Blowing on Dandelions, so I couldn't wait to read Wishing on Buttercups. You don't have to read Dandelions first, but it is helpful to be acquainted with the other people in the boardinghouse (and it was good, so do)! ;-)

Once again, Miralee weaves an important topic into her story – this time, trust and past scars, both physical and emotional. The characters were great – couldn't help enjoying Mrs. Cooper and Aunt Wilma's interactions – and the whole paint incident was downright humorous (even funnier that it was based on facts)!

It's so hard to imagine searching for a loved one in that day and age. Nowadays, it's almost impossible NOT to be found, thanks to the internet! The strain of both Beth and Mrs. Mason's search was palpable and I couldn't help turning the pages, hoping the impossible would right itself! The tension of romance and trust was also real in regard to Brent and Jeffery.

Wishing on Buttercups was a very enjoyable read, and I can't wait to hear Steven's story in Dreaming on Daisies!

Preorder your copy HERE!

Thank you to Miralee and David C. Cook through NetGalley for sending me a copy to read and review!

Also reviewed on Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Home for My Heart by Anne Mateer



Thanks to NetGalley, I had the opportunity to read Anne Mateer's newest book, A Home for My Heart.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Sadie Sillsby works as the assistant to the matron at the Raystown Home for Orphan and Friendless Children, pouring all her energy into caring for the boys and girls who live there and dreaming of the day she'll marry her beau, Blaine, and have children of her own. But when the matron surprises everyone by announcing her own engagement, Sadie is suddenly next in line for the esteemed job of running the orphanage.

There's one glitch. The matron cannot be married. She must focus her attention on the financial, legal, and logistical matters of the Home. Sadie's heart is torn. Should she give up her plans for a life with Blaine in order to continue serving these children who have no one else? Does she, a young woman who was once an orphan herself, have what it takes to succeed in such a challenging career? And when the future of the Home begins to look bleak, can Sadie turn things around before the place is forced to close forever?

MY THOUGHTS:
It's been a long time since a book made me cry...and A Home for My Heart gave me a case of the sniffles! This is the second book I've read by Anne – I read and loved Wings of a Dream (which also made me cry)! In A Home for My Heart, Anne captures the struggle between duty and love in a realistic and tender way.

I empathized with Sadie, because I've got a pride problem, too! It can be so difficult to humble yourself and give up jobs that you are capable of doing to others who are God-gifted in the task, despite their appearance or background.

The entire story flowed so well and the characters were genuine and easy to love (or be frustrated with, depending on the moment). I read it in less than a day and loved it!

AND FOR YOU, a peek into the book HERE.

Thank you to Anne and Bethany House through NetGalley for sending me an ebook to read and review!

Also reviewed on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

The Courier of Caswell Hall by Melanie Dobson



Litfuse Blog Tour: The Courier of Caswell Hall by Melanie Dobson

ABOUT THE BOOK:

An unlikely spy discovers freedom and love in the midst of the American Revolution.

As the British and Continental armies wage war in 1781, the daughter of a wealthy Virginia plantation owner feels conflict raging in her own heart. Lydia Caswell comes from a family of staunch Loyalists, but she cares only about peace. Her friend Sarah Hammond, however, longs to join the fight. Both women's families have already been divided by a costly war that sets father against son and neighbor against neighbor; a war that makes it impossible to guess who can be trusted.

One snowy night Lydia discovers a wounded man on the riverbank near Caswell Hall, and her decision to save him will change her life. Nathan introduces her to a secret network of spies, couriers, disguises, and coded messages---a network that may be the Patriots' only hope for winning the war. When British officers take over Caswell Hall and wreak havoc on neighboring plantations, Lydia will have to choose between loyalty and freedom; between her family's protection and her own heart's desires.

As both armies gather near Williamsburg for a pivotal battle, both Lydia and Sarah must decide how high a price they are willing to pay to help the men they love.

Part of the American Tapestries™ series: Each standalone novel in this line sets a heart-stirring love story against the backdrop of an epic moment in American history. This is the fifth book in the series.

MY THOUGHTS:
I was enjoying the Early American time period of The Courier of Caswell Hall as well as the intrigue of spying (women, especially!) for the war.

However, I was sorely disappointed to encounter swearing halfway through the story. The word was not used in a biblical manner, like a preacher referencing judgment. I could not see any reason why the word had to be used.

Unfortunately, one word ruined a whole book for me and despite my past enjoyment of Melanie's books, I could not finish or recommend The Courier.

That's what I thought. Check out what other Litfuse reviewers had to say HERE.

Thank you to Melanie and Summerside Press through Litfuse for sending me a copy to read and review!

Also reviewed on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**
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