Monday, April 7, 2014

AUTHOR TRACY L. HIGLEY

BARB'S REVIEW OF
THE QUEEN'S HANDMAID
BY
TRACY L. HIGLEY


Alexandria, Egypt 39 BC



From the servant halls of Cleopatra’s Egyptian palace to the courts of Herod the Great, Lydia will serve two queens to see prophecy fulfilled. 

Orphaned at birth, Lydia was raised as a servant in Cleopatra's palace, working hard to please while keeping everyone at arm's length. She's been rejected and left with a broken heart too many times in her short life.

But then her dying mentor entrusts her with secret writings of the prophet Daniel and charges her to deliver this vital information to those watching for the promised King of Israel. Lydia must leave the nearest thing she’s had to family and flee to Jerusalem. Once in the Holy City, she attaches herself to the newly appointed king, Herod the Great, as handmaid to Queen Mariamme.

BARB'S REVIEW

FIVE STARS

This story is a stunner!   Stopped in my tracks, I pondered over much that I read.  Astonished that factually, this was shortly before Christ's birth, a fact I had not fundamentally grasped about Cleopatra and the cast of real characters’ existence in ancient history (i.e. Caesar, Antony, Herod to the Ptolemaic family).  Author Tracy Higley wrote with intense acumen of the murderous politicians, their zealously for power causing turmoil and punishment for the citizens and royalty beyond imagination.   I wish my history classes in school and college would have been so clarifying, they would have been much more fun.

Ms. Higley begins this entrancing story about Lydia in 39 BC   Orphaned at birth, and given to serve the palace in Alexandria, Egypt at a young age, Lydia is now a handmaid to the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra.   Herod is about to make his first visit to meet the queen and everything is nervously aflutter in preparation; while Cleopatra is plotting manipulatively to seductively charm Herod politically into her power.  Lydia has been summoned by her friend and mentor Samuel.  She finds him bleeding and dying from unknown attackers upon her arrival,  With only just enough time, he charges her with secret writings of the Prophet Daniel stored in a chest  that must be delivered to Jerusalem watchers for the promised King of Israel.  Lydia’s journey is long and dangerous and through action-packed events, ultimately becomes the handmaiden to Herod’s bride Queen Mariamme. 

Twisting and turning real historical events and people into gripping intrigue made A Queen’s Handmaid one of the best writings I have read.  Spiritual mystery combined with the actual coming of Christ kept me glued to the story until finished.  Ah, then there is the hint through a simple amulet that could reveal Lydia’s parentage.  Whose head will roll next in the line of royalty?  Which empire will be shaken next?  Drama is highly described.  Lydia has many frightening experiences and secret thoughts about all happening around her.  Does romance figure into this story?  Perhaps, however you will need to read for yourself this incredible book.  Trauma is an everyday event in the royal palaces among the royalty and servants…..and that part of the book is not fiction and the players were real people.

I enjoyed the questions at the end of the story and the answers to many questions I had about the research the author ensured before writing the book.  Tracy L. Higley gave the reader a wonderful synopsis of information about the political kingdoms’ histories, which was personally greatly appreciated.  Beautifully placed before the most important event in life, that remains the whole point of this remarkable story.  Thank you Tracy Higley for the greatest history lesson I have ever had.  I look forward to catching up with all your previous books before The Queen’s Handmaid.  You are blessed!


I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion by the Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not further compensated to review this product and all thoughts and sentiments expressed above are completely my own and unbiased.


MEET AUTHOR TRACY L. HIGLEY.......

From her earliest childhood, there was nothing Tracy loved better than stepping into another world between the pages of a book. From dragons and knights, to the wonders of Narnia, that passion has never abated, and to Tracy, opening any novel is like stepping again through the wardrobe, into the thrilling unknown. With every book she writes, she wants to open a door like that, and invite readers to be transported with her into a place that captivates.

Tracy started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. After attending Philadelphia Biblical University, she earned a B.A. in English Literature at Rowan University. She then spent ten years writing drama presentations for church ministry.

A lifelong interest in history and mythology has led Tracy to extensive research into ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome, and shaped her desire to shine the light of the gospel into the cultures of the past.

She has traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Italy to research her novels, and looks forward to more travel as her writing continues. Click on the link Tracy’s Travels, to explore some of the fascinating locations of her books.

Tracy is thrilled to bring readers adventures set in the ancient past, and it’s her hope that in escaping with her, readers will feel they’ve walked through these deserts, explored ruins, felt the white sand and blue sea under their feet, and met with the Redeeming God who is sovereign over the entire drama of human history.


What I believe about our relationship with God –

I believe that each of us is born separated from God, a separation that we can do nothing to rectify on our own. No amount of right living will make us perfect, which is the standard a holy God requires.

We are in need of a Savior for our salvation, and this Savior was provided in the person of Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, who gave His life to purchase our freedom. His death broke our bondage. His resurrection gives us victory.

Our lives are to be about two things: Loving God and Loving Others, and both of these are accomplished through our intimate relationship with God, who lives in us from the moment that we apply His offered gift to ourselves.




Escape the everyday with me! Get a Free Short Story--> http://bit.ly/1hKOFhK


Friends, 
Aren't you happy now that you didn't pass by PASSING IT FORWARD!!  This book is a definite five star recommendation from me.  I sincerely hope you will visit your favorite book store or library now and get Tracy Higley's grand book for your library.  Be sure and let us know what you think of her story!  That's it for today - please invite your friends to my blog so we can build up viewers.  Enjoy this spring April.
Passing Forward Many Blessings,
Barb


Saturday, March 22, 2014

THE THIEF

AUTHOR STEPHANIE LANDSEM

by

STEPHANIE LANDSEM


My God, my God, 

why have you abandoned me?




ABOUT THE STORY.......

Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Abandoned by the God she once loved, her only recourse is to depend upon Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, to keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and the landlord satisfied. 


Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure and is desperate to escape the accursed Judean province. Accepting a wager that will get him away from the aggravating Jews and their threats of revolt, he sets out to catch the thieves harassing the marketplace. 



When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Nissa hopes for freedom from her life of lies. But the supposed miracle brings only more misfortune, and Longinus, seeking to learn more about the mysterious healer, finds himself drawn instead to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures. 


Cedron, Longinus, and Nissa are unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. As danger closes in on them from every side, they must decide if the love and redemption Jesus offers is true or just another false promise. How can the so-called Messiah save them from their shackles, when he cannot even save himself?



BARB'S REVIEW.......



Exciting and compelling, the scenes written so realistically that moments of holding my breath during the tense drama of this saga were literally “breathtaking.” My personal reading appetite for Biblical fiction mixed with fact was satiated upon complete digestion of The Thief by Stephanie Landsem. My imagination needed no help as the characters leaped into my mind lucidly through Ms. Landsem’s colorful word paintings describing ancient Jerusalem in a wholly distinctive approach during the most life changing events to ever occur.



Nissa, a shrewish unmarried Jewish woman feeling abandoned by God, was pressed to provide for her household and blind younger brother Cedron. Their uncaring and abusive parents were sinful addicts, her mother to wine – her father to gambling. There are the usual traits peculiar to human nature at all times, it seems. Nissa has a secret about her relationship to Mouse and the Greek Dismas, both talented thieves. Cedron could be a depiction of the blind man healed by a mysterious healer in the Pools of Siloam. One might think the parents would be overjoyed over Cedron’s healing, however their unwarranted shame caused their complete abandonment and disowning of Cedron and Nissa, again left to fend for themselves. Longinus, a Roman centurion was a bystander at Cedron’s healing and for the first time noticed Nissa, to whom he was strangely attracted; as well as questioning the new mixed emotions and amazed curiosity about the miracle he had just witnessed. Could the Hebrew belief of there being only One God be true? Who is this miracle worker called Jesus? Longinus has problems of his own having just lost his best childhood friend and comrade centurion to murder; and assigned the duty to arrest the thieves before Passover to earn a transfer out of Judea. The breed of personalities encapsulating the Roman soldier’s brutality and unmerciful violence was compulsory to author this story to its paramount finality. The supporting cast is spectacular and many surprises and shocks are yet to come.



Ms. Landsem’s research into Biblical history, layout of Jerusalem’s city streets and alley ways, study of religious laws and holy commandments were only a few of the facts that drew this fictional story together as a sensational read. I deeply appreciated the background she drew into each character adding more depth to the story’s significant consequences from the actual incidents. Stephanie Landsem’s narrative brings the glory to God as each character is brought to the foot of the cross to recognize the Messiah. Ms. Landsem’s pen was indeed guided by the master author of the universe. It touched my heart and soul. Well done!


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.




ABOUT AUTHOR STEPHANIE LANDSEM.......


Stephanie writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s backpacked through Germany and Eastern Europe, studied in Salzburg, enjoyed gelato in Italy, rode a camel in Morocco, and floated in the salty Corinthian Sea. Her favorite cities are Rome, Berlin and Budapest. Her travels kindle her imagination, fuel her love of history and foreign culture, and introduce her to one-of-a-kind characters.
Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about her next adventure - whether it be in person or on the page.

Author, The Living Water Series: The Well, The Thief, The Tomb. Authentic, fast-paced Biblical fiction from Howard Books. Introvert. Traveler.

Favorite Books

Jane Austen, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, The Book Thief, The Hunger Games, Terry Pratchett, Dean Koonz


Awards

2011 Genesis Finalst
2010 SCBWI mentorship award 






Hi friends, 
The Thief is a great read, and I hope you will honor Stephanie Landsem by reading it.  This is the first of her books that I've read and reviewed, and I intend to read others soon.  I hope you are all coming out of our nation's deep freeze and seeing spring begin to blossom.  Please invite your friends to my blog....the traffic needs desperately to grow on my blog, or I won't be able to continue posting - so I need help.  As many of you know, blogging and reviewing is hard work for which there is no compensation except to bring interest and joy to others.  Thank you for visiting and I'd love to hear any comments you might be kind enough to leave.
Blessings,
Barb


Friday, February 14, 2014

SHADOWED BY GRACE

BY

CARA C. PUTMAN

WITH DETAILS ABOUT A FANTASTIC GIVEAWAY




AUTHOR CARA PUTMAN

She found peace in a time of war.

Desperate to save her dying mother, an American woman accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy where she takes photographs dangerously close to the front lines during World War II. 

But Rachel’s real motive in this journey is to find the father she never knew, an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive at such a desperate time.

In her quest, Rachel becomes involved with what will become the Monuments Men effort to save great monuments and works of art from the Third Reich. Soon enough she will find more than she ever imagined—in war, in love, and in God.

MY REVIEW

5 Stars

The morning after I finished reading Shadowed by Grace, the daily newspaper had a front page article about the movie Monument Men, and I immediately flew to my computer and wrote an excited note to Cara Putman that went something like this:

Hello Cara, Just last evening I completed reading your wonderful book Shadowed by Grace. This morning I picked up today's edition of the Ft Worth Star Telegram and my eye immediately fell to the lower left column on the first page. There was a picture of Robert Edsel above the words “Dallas man drove movie on WWII art rescue”...and went on to talk about the movie made about Monument Men, based on his book about the group’s heroic efforts. Of course, my attention was caught immediately because I had just read his name in your personal notes at the back of the book.  Just wanted to let you know....your story made quite an impression on me...imagine finding this article this morning!! Best of God's Blessings, Barb Shelton

Not only did reading this article put real faces to the imaginary names in Cara’s story, it enlightened me to the thorough research she immersed herself within to write this fascinating story. Now, I could see Lieutenant Scott Lindstrom as George Clooney (instead of Gregory Peck) and had already imaged Anne Hathaway as Captain Rachel Justice.

Cara Putman’s story is indeed based on cultural affairs….and I do not mean that word loosely regarding Rachel and Scott!  Each, the epitome of respectable ethics in an ungracious period of history. Some of the characters in the story rank as unscrupulous and conniving, while other’s exhibit bravery and faith in God to grace them with safety and daily provisions of which there was little.  It was dangerous to lose direction while traveling by jeep, especially if the driver had already lost his way spiritually
.
This is a love story surrounded by treacherous conditions of war.  Ms. Putman’s exclusive subject on saving historical art masterpieces was literally unknown to me and I reverentially appreciate learning how this world has been able to continue the study and enjoyment of historic art because of a few military men  assigned their duty as Monument Men..  God is our eternal guardian and brings about good from the worst of circumstances through his children and angels
.
If you have noticed the absence of story details in this review, that is on purpose.  You can read those in other fine reviews of Shadowed by Grace and on the back cover of the book. The uniqueness of this story is complimented by the unusual civilian career as an art museum curator held by Scott Lindstrom; and the fact that a woman photographer, Rachel Justice, assigned to the war zone during that time in history was not a common happening. Will the mystery of finding the father in Italy Rachel never knew be “wrapped up?”  Will Scott be allowed to understand why Rachel is so afraid of falling in love?  Why is Rachel’s ill mother so unwilling to offer Rachel the answers to her birth?  This story is about war, peace, love, culture, fear, bravery, searching, redemption, and God’s grace fulfilled.  Oh, by the way, Cara Putman graciously replied to my note, and my respectful regard for her as an author and friend is sincerely touched.  Her writing fulfilled my expectations because it taught me something important about history I did not know. I eagerly anticipate reading her next book.  You need to read this story!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received.



THE MOVIE - MONUMENT MEN
Having just released Shadowed By Grace, a novel about the Monuments Men, Cara Putman was eager to see the new blockbuster about this untold story. Cara shares her reactions to the movie below—will this be the perfect movie date for you this weekend? Make sure to enter for the chance to win tickets to see The Monuments Men and a copy of Shadowed By Grace! 
(details below)




WHAT CARA SAID ABOUT THE MOVIE "MONUMENT MEN"
Last night, Eric and I got a chance to watch The Monuments Men on opening night. This is a movie I have anticipated since learning George Clooney was in production in the fall of 2012. That’s a long time to anticipate the movie!

I wasn’t disappointed.

This movie captures the tone of The Monuments Men. It grasps what this small group of men was trying to do and honors their memories. It also communicates their sacrifice and devotion. It visually portrays a piece of what was at stake during WWII — and the balancing act. Yet it did this without becoming dark and maudlin. Eric and I saw the 9:15 p.m. showing — in a theater filled primarily with college students — students who laughed out loud multiple times. The humor never detracted, but in enhanced the movie because it didn’t become slap-stick.

The Monuments Men has an A cast: Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, Hugh Boneville and more. They all fell into their characters and became the Monuments Men they portrayed. The movie is a war movie, but the violence is limited and at a level I can take my 13 and 10 year-olds to see. There was some language, but not heavy . . . I didn’t count, but it wasn’t a distraction.

There is also only mild innuendo and the outcome to that was PERFECT. I literally bounced in my chair because it mirrored history!

There were a couple twists to the story. Nothing major — the key one being the kid who interpreted didn’t show up as early as they portrayed, but he did play a role later in the process. This is a movie I will see again — and enjoy.

Enter to Win Movie Tickets to The Monuments Men and a Copy of Shadowed by Grace

Monuments Men Giveaway


ABOUT AUTHOR CARA PUTMAN.....

Ordinary Mom, Amazing God

Cara C. Putman is an award-winning author of seventeen books with more on the way.

Cara C. Putman graduated high school at 16, college at 20, and completed her law degree at 27. An award-winning author of seventeen books with more on the way, she is active in women's ministry at her church and is a lecturer on business and employment law to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. Putman is currently pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration at Krannert. She serves on the executive board of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization she has served in various roles since 2007. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana.

My writing journey started in 2005 when I decided to write my first novel. People say I’ve accomplished a lot and that I must have life by the proverbial tail. Hardly! I grew up as a homeschooled kid when homeschoolers were misunderstood and oddities. I struggle with balancing my writing and law career, plus being a good mom and wife. I often fear people won’t like my books. I’ve walked through the deep pain of miscarriage. Really, I’m just like you – I don’t have it all together and have gone through tough times. But in His strength, I’ve discovered a strength I never knew I had. A strength I want you to discover, too. In the end I’m just an ordinary mom who has seen God do some wonderful things as I’ve been obedient to step into the calling He’s led me into.

You can connect with Cara online at her website (www.caraputman.com), Facebook, Twitter(@cara_putman), Pinterest, and Goodreads. 

Favorite BooksThe Bible
Gone with the Wind
Circle Maker by Mark Batterson
Anything by Colleen Coble, Lynette Eason, Lisa Wingate and many more great Christian fiction authors.




Saturday, February 1, 2014

Blast banner



Today, February 1, 2014 
The Naomi Chronicles, Book One,

Beginning Anew

will release on Amazon.

***


Beginning Anew Cover
ABOUT THE BOOK

Naomi and Chaz know that miracles really do happen for at a friend’s wedding they reaffirmed their love and are Beginning Anew!


Yet there are consequences that the couple must face. Will Chaz love and protect his wife? Will Naomi learn to trust Chaz?


Find out in the first novel of Paula Rose Michelson’s four-book saga e Naomi Chronicles.




Available at:

***

The Naomi Chronicles: Book One
Authored by
Paula Rose Michelson
Naomi and Chaz know that miracles really do happen, for at a friend's wedding they reaffirmed their love and are Beginning Anew! Yet there are consequences that the couple must face. Will Chaz love and protect his wife? Will Naomi learn to trust Chaz? Find out in the first novel of Paula Rose Michelson's four-book saga, The Naomi Chronicles.




Previously, in Book 2 of Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing 
Naomi's journey from pain to faith where she dealt with her husband's rejection of her, and Chaz discovered that secrets were kept from him, and began his own journey of discovery that enthralled readers. While their friends planned to use Nicco and Lucinda's wedding to bring Chaz and Naomi together again, God had His hand on this star-crossed couple.

EXCERPT FROM MY REVIEW

Naomi fled, full of shame, pain and deeply confused. She huddled underneath the blankets in the backseat of her friend Alex’s car not wanting to be detected by those she felt shunned her just hours before at what should have been a surprise celebration blessing her by new husband Chaz and their friends. Her lifelong secret revealed by a vindictive girl seeking revenge for no reason but to steal the love of Naomi’s life. Naomi intended to tell Chaz herself that night,, but forced to admit her secret in front of Chaz and her friends – Chaz hollered at her “Why did you deceive me?” and walked away.

As Alex sped her away from the Barrio, she showed no curiosity of where he was taking her. He explained he was taking her to a safe place at Wawayanda State Park in New Jersey, part of the Appalachian Trail. From here on Naomi was in strange territory with people like none she had never known. Her closest friend was Ruth – can it be God’s own humor that He would put another Ruth and Naomi together? Will you see the parallels in their lives? Will Naomi believe the truth that Ruth and even Marvin; a little child will tell her when she meets him on the Blessings Rock?




to read the rest of review



Before that, Book 1 of Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing
let readers experience Naomi's journey from adolescence to womanhood, from frightened isolation to heiress with a mission, and responsibility many would shirk placed upon her shoulders, and kept them guessing especially when they realized that Naomi guarded two secrets. When Naomi married and fell in love with Chaz, she decided to tell him about herself. Before she could, Lola, a teenager she rescued from immigration, revealed her secrets. Hearing Chaz's hate-filled words, and seeing many in Spanish Harlem turn away from her, Naomi fled.


EXCERPT FROM MY REVIEW


Paula Rose Michelson wrote with brilliance her story of Naomi. To better understand the Spanish mind-set toward those of Jewish birth and faith, I recommend emphatically the reader peruse the Preface regarding Sephardic Voices as well as Historical Notes. This stunning historical information revealed intense research and study on Ms Michelson’s part that distinguish her talent and story above some others.

Naomi, being forced to live a lie by omission of who she really is, we meet as a young teenage girl beginning a peculiar lonely life in a strange new world. Her former world in Spain created about her grievous conditions for all of Jewish heritage and faith. This cruel and fearful prejudice against their religion forcing them to join the Catholic Church or face persecution, possibly death was a historical fact unknown to me in my naivetĂ© that I find despicable, however vital to Naomi’s story all inclusive in Spanish Harlem.

Go to

to read the rest of review

***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Casa Series 001-1


Paula Rose Michelson is the wife of Lutheran Pastor, and Chosen People Ministries field Missionary, Ron Michelson. Paula Rose Michelson is not only an author but also a mother of two married daughters, and the grandmother of seven. She authored the Casa de Naomi Series.

This Messianic author of faith books founded LAMB Ministries in 1988, which helps women recover from trauma and abuse through the effective use of Scripture and prayer. She asked God to give her a unique work, and while praying about the lost tribes of Israel, she believed the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) called her to write about the hidden Jews. She wrote the Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing and The Naomi Chronicles Books because of her heart response to that commission. 

While awaiting the copyright for the first LAMB recovery book titled, "Why Did We Become Angry?"

She wrote a series of politically incorrect articles that will be published under the title, "The Purple Pitch Seduction of America." These will release in 2014.


Paula can be found online on:


***

For this release blast Paula has decided to do a giveaway.

The prizes are:

Prize pack Anew Blast

1st:
3 sets of the previous Casa de Naomi Books (digital format)

and

2nd:
3 x Casa de Naomi: Book One (digital format)

Thursday, January 16, 2014


REVIEW 

THE HEADMISTRESS
OF
ROSEMERE

SARAH E. LADD
AUTHOR



Patience Creighton has devoted her life to running her father’s boarding school. But when the enigmatic master of the estate appears at her door, battered and unconscious, the young headmistress suddenly finds her livelihood—and her heart —in the hands of one dangerously handsome gentleman.

At twenty-five, Patience Creighton is already a spinster. The busy headmistress of Rosemere always expected a dashing man to sweep her off her feet and take her away . . . but that man never came. And since her father’s death, keeping the school running and her mother happy has been plenty to keep her occupied. 

William Sterling dallied his way into financial trouble and mortal danger. When he is assaulted by his creditors’ henchmen on the road home from a tavern, he guides his horse to the doorstep of his tenant, the Rosemere School for Young Ladies. After being tended to byPatience, the wounded William rides off into the dawn—but makes a point to learn more about the lovely headmistress. 

As he spends more time at Rosemere, something delicate begins to develop between William and Patience. But that will not deter William’s creditors. With little money to repay his debts, and less for the upkeep of his estate, it becomes clear that sacrificing Rosemere may be the only way to preserve his legacy. But it may also cost him his happiness.


MY REVIEW

If I had been shopping in a bookstore, the beautiful enticing cover of The Headmistress of Rosemere would have caught my eye and my hand would have reached for it quickly with curiosity. Sarah E. Ladd caught my attention immediately with the vivid description of darkness and danger in the night. William Sterling sensed he was being followed. He was, and what happened from there lead the reader to the Rosemere School for Girls where we meet Patience Creighton before dawn, coming unexpectedly face to unconscious face with William Sterling to tend his wounds. There is a tinge of possible romance developing– at least from the imagination of Patience. 

Having not read Sarah Ladd’s writings previously, or realizing this book is the second in the series, “Whispers on the Moors,” The Headmistress of Rosemere stands second to none in excellent story quality and clear Christian morality. I consider it a stand-alone story. However, it is my intention to read The Heiress of Winterwood, the first novel in this series. It is not my tendency to draw out details of the events and interactions of the characters in my reviews, at the risk of spoiling the read for others. My purpose is to draw the reader’s interest as a possible read depending on their own taste and expectation.

However, I will introduce the major characters who Sarah Ladd has casted so appropriately in her story. Lovely in appearance and a credit to her name, raven haired Patience Creighton is the Headmistress of Rosemere since the passing of her beloved father, leaving her mother Margaret grief-stricken and inconsolable. Rawdon, older brother of Patience, disappeared, neglecting his inherited duties at Rosemere, abandoning his lady love, causing all the women vexation and disillusionment. Handsome William Sterling inherited Eastmore and his father’s holdings, including Rosemere. An impractical and fast living man, whose drinking and gambling are causing him insurmountable problems. William is in dire financial straits, risking the loss of everything. Raising race horses appeals to William as an answer to solving his financial difficulties, but will it? Emma Simmons, one of the little girls at Rosemere is one of Patience’s favorites. How does a child so small and innocent figure such prominence in Ms. Ladd’s plot? Cassandra, a teacher at Rosemere, is the best friend of Patience and in love with Rawdon. Who are Lydia, Isabel, George, Lewis, Captain Rafertee, Ewan O’Connell and Angus? Each character and others essential to this setting are refined to perfection and mixed well with the era to bring about Ms. Ladd’s fascinating and curious story. Enjoyment of the unexpected mysterious twists amidst this Regency romance appealed to my liking. 

The accentuated weight of surmounting strife is effectively calmed through forgiveness, redemption, Christian love and salvation, proving God works all things together for good for those that love Him. Indeed, God’s grace falls on the words originating from Sarah E. Ladd’s pen covering this wonderful story. Thank you, Ms. Ladd for giving me several hours of “getting away from it all” and finding myself in the nineteenth century.


This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest review from Litfuse Publicity. 

5 STARS


ABOUT SARAH E. LADD

Every word has a melody.
Every sentence has a rhythm.

This truth has intrigued me since my early years. Even before I fully understood the meaning behind many of the words, I devoured literature and consumed poetry.

Austen, Alcott, Wordsworth: I left no piece of literature untouched, left no author unexamined. I continue to see magic in how a word is transformed by the word next to it and how written thoughts can incite emotion and evoke change.

In addition to a lifetime of writing and exploring fiction, I have more than ten years of strategic marketing and brand management experience, including five years of marketing non-fiction books and three years of marketing the musical arts. I live in Indiana and am blessed to share my life with my amazing husband, sweet daughter, and very lovable Golden Retriever.

Sarah’s Resources for Authors

Every author needs a marketing plan, but do you know where to begin?

Read my recent Seekerville blog post Your First Marketing Plan: Why Every New Author Needs One and How To Get Started for step-by-step instructions and download my Author Marketing Plan Worksheet to start creating your plan today! Need help with creating your Author Facebook Pages? Here are my tips!

Recognitions:

2011 Genesis Contest: Winner, Historical Romance Category
2011 Touched by Love Contest: Overall Winner
2011 Fool for Love Contest: Winner, Inspirational Category 2011 MSRW Dixie First Chapter Contest: Winner, Inspirational Category
2011 Lone Star Writing Competition: Winner, Inspirational Category
2011 Frasier Contest: Bronze Medalist 


Website: http://www.sarahladd.com

Memberships

Saturday, December 7, 2013

 

PLEASE PARDON MY ABSENCE!!
Hello friends, it really is me....apologizing for my long absence from this blog.  The past few months have been a true testing of not only my life in numerous ways, but of my family, my mother, my church and my personal computer.  First of all, I turned 75 in October and am wondering if the Lord decided to test me to let me know I'm still capable of coming to the fore and meeting new challenges.
Plans had been made for my daughter and I to visit my mother during the month of November for the purpose of celebrating her 95th birthday and Thanksgiving.  We arrived in Portland, Oregon from Texas, met mama and my brother at the airport and stopped for a lovely dinner at Appleby's before going to mama's home where she and my brother live.  We settled down for the night completely unexpecting to be awakened early in the morning to mama having a stroke.  We rushed her fearfully to the emergency room at Providence Hospital in Portland beginning to realize that it truly was providential that we were there with mother.  Five days in the hospital, praying diligently for answers.  God blessed my mother with grace to continue her life, only quite different from what she was accustomed.  Her balance and ability to walk without help was drastically changed - and physical/occupational therapy began before leaving the hospital and will continue indefinitely at home.
Now...became a tougher test for me in particular.  Over the past twelve years of personally experiencing illness and physical setbacks, I became somewhat physically immobilized - enough that my husband became my caregiver, cook, housekeeper, chauffeur and encourager.  In Portland, God blessed me with a supernatural strength to nurse mama, cook, etc for the entire month of our visit.  It was difficult, to say the least - and oh, how grateful that I was able to help in this crises.  My daughter was extremely helpful during all of this time and has my loving appreciation.  And yes, we celebrated mama's 95th birthday and were very thankful at Thanksgiving.  Of course, now that I am home again, my husband is convinced that he will be the recipient of home cooked meals from his wife again.  So, Lord, hear my prayer!!
Before leaving for Portland, my personal computer gagged, hiccuped and passed out.  One of my sons is a computer specialist and lives in Illinois.  It's not possible for me to explain the logistics of how he was able to work on my computer in my absence from Texas....but I'm relieved to announce that during the coming week, my computer will show up on my desk once more.  In the meanwhile, I've been using an aged laptop, my Samsung tablet  and cell phone to communicate with the world.  Those authors who had requested my reviews kindly understood why I could not finish my work during this time.
However.....the testing isn't over yet!!  We arrived home hours before the ice age took over and we are still housebound.  But, this too shall pass and we know not what plans the Lord has in store for us - so our prayers rise to the heavens like mini-clouds of breath. Sure hope they aren't delayed by icicles hanging from their ascension.
Well friends, I can't promise a definite date when I'll be blogging, reviewing and writing again......but....I'll be back when the Lord assigns the time.  Stay safe during the rush and busyness of this season of celebrations.  Be blessed with the grace of Jesus at this festive observance of His birth.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A BLESSED NEW YEAR!!!
Barb
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Monday, October 28, 2013

MY REVIEW
ON
SPRINGTIME IN SAVANNAH
BY
GAIL WARNER

It seemed a normal spring morning in Savannah until Jonathan Rayburn heard an angelic voice on Monterey Square. Within moments of setting eyes upon the exceptionally beautiful Keri McGuire, he welcomed her to his beloved city and into his heart. In the days ahead, his faith is severely tested because of one homeless man and a civil lawsuit. Daniel Stanton, a busy attorney in St. Augustine, arrived at Mrs. Quinn’s home, questioning why his father’s client has requested his legal advice. One portrait upstairs caught his attention; one nearly identical portrait in the music room captured his wishful thoughts. Never in his life had he been so disappointed when he actually met the granddaughter from Milwaukee. While Laura Martin challenged his ethics, he prayed to be a man of conviction.



MY REVIEW

It was a surprise to me that more reviews hadn’t been written on this beautifully composed story about Springtime in Savannah by Gail Warner.  Truly, this story does not stand alone – but of several stories skillfully intertwined to keep the reader drawn in.  Each story has the possibility of being complete as one – but to include so many well defined characters, each with different personalities and problems, was done with proficient cleverness by Ms. Warner.

The author went deep into research on the history of Savannah, as well as interesting facts that I would never have known without reading this novel.  At times, I felt I was reading a travelogue which made the scenery in my mind vivid through the color of illustrious scripting.  The story is lengthy – and never boring.

What can I say about this story that wouldn’t add spoilers to future readers?  My heart was warmed by the conversions to faith in Jesus.  Some of the characters were idiosyncratic and unlikeable.  I fell in love with those characters that were fun in spite of themselves.  My compassion lay with the emotionally and physically abused with admiration for their passion to change their lives through Christ.  The love interests were enthralling and romantic.  Budding romance was proven unpredictable in the length of time and adversities the couples faced.  I sensed this author was emotionally involved with her characters, as I also felt.  Her characters and situations were so real that I found myself praying for those in the story that continued to sin and live evilly.  It felt silly to pray – Gail had already decided their outcome!  Will there be hope for these individuals in Gail’s story?  You’ll be amazed as you watch God working in the lives of all under the pen of Gail Warner. 


Ms Warner shows herself a person of deep faith in God; in tune with reality of our world today and historically, and that she is intelligent and capable of sculpting words with such an inspiring touch.  Gail is an accomplished author that I will follow and look forward to her future publications.  Whew, I got through this review without spoilers….so if you want to meet the characters, learn the answers, take a guided tour of Savannah – history included -  you’ll need to get you own copy!

MEET AUTHOR GAIL WARNER

Gail Warner's parents joined the family of God five years before she was born, and they faithfully attended a large rural Nazarene Church named Richfield, near Flint, Michigan. For thirty-five years, Gail's varied roles as a minister's wife brought her great fulfillment and opportunities to witness for Christ. With fond memories, she recalls the years in a parsonage setting, where she and her husband, Richard, raised three outstanding daughters. Gail finds joy in traveling with their family, singing in a quartet, working in her flower garden, participating in Beth Moore Bible studies, and connecting with friends on Facebook. Though she is a five-time cancer survivor, she thanks God for giving her good health. Gail lives with her husband in Illinois, but because of Eugenia Price's novels, she has a love for historical places.

SPRINGTIME IN SAVANNAH GROUP PAGE - https://www.facebook.com/groups/SpringtimeinSavannah/



Friday, October 4, 2013

MY REVIEW 
ON OLIVIA NEWPORT'S 
"THE INVENTION OF SARAH CUMMINGS"

Sarah Cummings has one goal in life--to break into Chicago's high society. Desperate to stop serving dinner and to start eating at society tables, Sarah alters cast-off gowns from the wealthy Banning women to create lustrous, flattering dresses of her own. On a whim at a chance meeting, she presents herself as Serena Cuthbert, weaving a fictitious past to go with her fictitious name. But as she gets closer to Simon Tewell, the director of St. Andrew's Orphanage, Sarah finds that she must choose between the life she has and the life she dreams of. Will she sacrifice love to continue her pretense? Or can Simon show her that sometimes you don't have to pretend for dreams to come true? Olivia Newport brings us back to Prairie Avenue to explore the place where class, social expectations, and romance come together. Readers will enjoy following the intrepid Sarah as she searches for true love in a world of illusions.



MY REVIEW..............


Feeling somewhat at a loss having not read the first two books in this series, I nevertheless enjoyed The Invention of Sarah Cummings as a standalone story.  Olivia Newport was unfamiliar to me as an author and I presently regard her highly as a fine writer and am excited to read her future works.  The time period of late 1800’s is a favorite of mine in this historical genre.

It was difficult at times not to be a tad judgmental of Sarah’s choices; but learning her background definitely gave me more understanding and compassion toward her as an individual.  She was impetuous, to say the least and at first, quite unlikeable.  Without that compelling characteristic, the story wouldn’t have taken hold of my interest as it did.  Ms Newport’s story is rich in history around the 1800’s time frame, including the political tensions on all sides of the presidential election between William McKinley vs. William Jennings Bryan.  The author obviously is a deep researcher into historical facts which lends completely in writing truth into fiction – a very admirable quality.

Chicago high society in that day is snobbish and discriminating – developing a wide gap in expected behavior between the rich and the poor, particularly those in service to the “polite society.”  Sarah Cummings became an orphan in her early teens through a tragic loss of both parents.  Without anyone to take guardianship over her, she was placed in St Andrews Orphanage, where she met Simon Tewell, the director of St Andrews who had a secret affinity for Sarah.  Sarah had no faith in a God that would allow such misfortune and unhappiness in her life.  She was empty and developed some vindictive conniving habits that she felt deservedly would take her where she wanted to go.  A chance meeting in a hat shop with a young lady of culture, Lillie Wagner was the beginning of Sarah Cummings new identity as Serena Cuthbert with an impressive new history of living the life of wealthy infamy.  Lillie and Serena became instant and fast friends.

So – here we go, hold onto your hat!  Lillie takes Serena in hand and introduces her to the society of Chicago and Prairie Avenue, where coincidently Sarah was in service as a maid to the Banning family.  Sarah, talented with a needle and thread and could fashion her own clothing from hand-me-downs with an aura perceived as high fashion readily disguising her as the wealthy young woman of good grace named Serena Cuthbert.  Story tension builds when Serena meets Bradley Townsend and targets him as husband material.  Bradley is involved in the political scene with a life of his own that caused the infrequent dates that was frustrating to Serena.

Serena exploited others unwisely in her endeavors to exist in her disguise.  Serena’s antics at being in two places at once, her deceptions, her unique contriving  routes of travel, and lies was dizzying.  I felt I needed to keep a score card going page after page of Sarah’s demise as Serena could head for a downfall at any time.  In my mind, I fathomed Ms Newport still held a few surprising shocks ahead, which kept me involved.  Would waiting for Serena and Sarah to meet the real Creator be fulfilled?  Candidly, there is nothing further I can share with you about this finely structured tale without ruining your own joy in reading Sarah/Serena’s story.   Olivia Newport has written a story of what can happen to anyone without proper respect and value for God’s love, grace and tender mercies.  Great lessons can be learned from this worthwhile and imaginative writing skill of Ms Olivia Newport’s Invention of Sarah Cummings.



About the Author..................

Olivia Newport is the author of The Pursuit of Lucy Banning and The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow. Her husband and two twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is. Olivia Newport's novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet.



Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

I received this book through Revell's Blogger Tour, and was not required to give a positive review.

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