Sunday, February 28, 2021

Lady in Residence by Allison Pittma

 


About the Book

Book:  The Lady in Residence

Author: Allison Pittman

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: February 2021

Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?


Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.

In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?

 My Thoughts:

This was an intriguing read.  It is a split time book that is historical and paranormal.  It was an interesting plot and I liked reading the mysterious portions of it.  I had an issue with big parts of it that just seemed dry to me, but I did enjoy different parts of it.  

I liked Dini and the 'current' time period more than the historical portion, but the historical portion had to be there to make the book work.  There is a lot going on and a ghost mystery.  I liked how Dini got so into the historical story and that did tie in together well.  Overall, it was a well-written story.

3/5.

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book via Celebrate Lit.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a four-time
Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series, once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties and most recently for the critically acclaimed The Seamstress which takes a cameo character from the Dickens’ classic A Tale of Two Cities and flourishes her to life amidst the French Revolution. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website, allisonkpittman.com.

 

More from Allison

From Haunting to Healing: How Stories Bring New Life to Old Ghosts

If you really think about it, every story is a ghost story. Not the floating spirits of the dearly departed kind, not bumps in the night or mysterious howling in the darkness—but the best stories come from examining a haunted heart. Memories that pursue the present.

A few years ago I took the walking tour of haunted San Antonio. It was a lark, a fun tourist-y thing to do with some visiting friends. I’m not a believer in ghosts, but I am a collector of stories. The tour opens at the Alamo—sacred ground of slain soldiers. The second stop is the Menger Hotel, listed as one of the most haunted hotels in the United States by those who measure and evaluate such things. And while the tour guide waxed on about the guests’ litany of haunted experiences (including Teddy Roosevelt raging through the lobby), my mind stuck with the story of Sallie White. Sallie White is the Menger Hotel’s most famous ghost—a chambermaid whose apparition is reported to be seen walking the halls, towels draped over her arm, or to be heard as an efficient two-rap knock on your door late at night. My mind, however, didn’t dwell on Sallie the ghost, but Sallie the woman—just a normal, hard-working, poor woman, murdered in the street by a man who claimed to love her. But for that, she would have passed into history unknown. Instead, her story is told every night as strangers gather on the very sidewalk where the crime took place.

Years after first hearing the story of Sallie white, I stayed in the Menger for a few days to gather details for The Lady in Residence. I booked what they call a “Petite” room—meaning it is a room that maintains its original structure. Read: tiny. Exposed pipes, creaky wooden floors, antique furniture—the only update, the bathroom fixtures. As it turned out, my room was directly above the place where Sallie White was murdered. One night I pressed my ear against the glass and listened to the ghost tour guide tell her story. The next morning, I stood in the exact spot with a fancy Starbucks drink, thinking about her. She lives on, not because people claim to see her walking and hear her knocking in the dead of night, but because she is a woman remembered.

So, is that beautiful? Is it ghoulish? Maybe it’s both, but when I was given the chance to write a story set in and around the Menger Hotel, I was determined to make Sallie White’s story a part of it. I didn’t want to write her story—that would have required embellishment beyond those few historic, factual tid-bits that such a woman left behind. Sallie White didn’t have correspondence to catalog or a journal to give us insight to her thoughts. Instead, I wanted to tell it to readers everywhere who might never make it to San Antonio to hear it for themselves. When you read The Lady in Residence, you are going to hear the true story of Sallie White, all of it taken from a newspaper account of the time. And then, I did what all historical writers do…I folded it into my own tale and folded that tale into another.

That’s really the joy of writing a split-time novel—being able to draw back and shoot a narrative-arrow straight through the hearts of two stories, threading them together, to bring a haunting to a place of healing.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 23

Artistic Nobody, February 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Fiction Aficionado, February 24

For the Love of Literature, February 24

Where Faith and Books Meet, February 24

Texas Book-aholic, February 25

Mia Reads Blog, February 25

Connie’s History Classroom, February 26

Inspiration Clothesline, February 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 27

Books I’ve Read, February 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 28

Remembrancy, March 1

Bigreadersite, March 1

For Him and My Family, March 2

Hallie Reads, March 2

deb’s Book Review, March 3

Blogging With Carol, March 3

By The Book, March 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 5

The Write Escape, March 5

Life of Literature, March 6

Inklings and notions, March 6

Godly Book Reviews, March 7

Vicky Sluiter, March 7

To Everything There is A Season, March 8

Pause for Tales, March 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Lady in Residence!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1086e/the-lady-in-residence-celebration-tour-giveaway

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Soon the Dawn by Linda Brooks Davi

 


About the Book

Book:  Soon the Dawn

Author: Linda Brooks Davis

Genre: Historical  fiction

Release Date: February 9, 2020

Ella thought becoming a mother to five daughters a month after marriage would be difficult. 
Sixteen years later, letting go is even harder.  What should be a joyous time of Amaryllis spreading her wings as she graduates from the College of Industrial Arts… isn’t.

Ella fears that Amaryllis will lose a grip on her faith, her upbringing, and the goals Ella believes she should have.  Will Ella’s mother-in-law’s high society friends puff up the girl until Amaryllis loses sight of what’s important?  If Amaryllis stays away, can Ella trust that the Lord will keep the girl safe? Can she trust Him with her daughter’s well-being period?

Of course, she can!  But will she?

When everything begins to crumble around her, Ella must decide where she will place her trust—in her own capable hands or in the Lord’s sovereign ones.

 My Thoughts:

This is a novella, but it is packed full.  So while it is a short read, the author breaks your heart several times though the story.  My heart truly broke for Ella with her pain and dealing with everything.  I think the author did a great job making her a real person and not making her perfect.

I can't imagine taking in so many children in such a short time after getting married, but Ella handled it well.  I think even when she was mad and questioning, that the author did a good job of showing her faith.  Just because things happen and we get mad at God, doesn't mean we've lost faith but just that we are hurting.  Really good story here.

4/5.

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book via Celebrate Lit.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Linda’s debut novel, Amazon best-selling The Calling of Ella McFarland, Book One in
the Women of Rock Creek series, is set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. It won Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel in 2014 and subsequently, ACFW’s Carol award for debut novel 2016. The sequel novella, A Christmas to Remember, is set in 1908 Oklahoma. A second novella, A Christmas Measure of Love, is set in 1910 and is the prequel to Linda’s second full-length novel, which is set in 1914, Amazon best-selling The Mending of Lillian CathleenBook Two. The third novella, A Christmas Tale for Little Women, releases in 2020 and is set in 1912. It is a prequel to Book 3 in The Women of Rock Creek series, The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, which is set in 1918.

Linda and her beloved husband Al worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and dote on six grandchildren. Readers may contact Linda through her website, www.lindabrooksdavis.com.

 

More from Linda

When the Backstory Is Tragic

 

Family lore abounds in my family tree, much of it tragic. There’s the Boyd Irish crystal heiress who forsook her heritage for love in 1747 colonial America. The Billingsley American patriot hanged in his front yard by Tories in 1776. The Brooks great-grandfather who lost his three brothers in the Civil War and its aftermath. And the De Graffenried Swiss baron who brought a group from Switzerland to establish New Bern, North Carolina in 1711 and was captured by Indians.

 

Among the most tragic stories is how my grandmother, Ella Pyle Banks, buried 5 daughters and 2 husbands. Mama Ella and Papa Tribble’s story has waited years to be told. Part of it is the inspiration for my latest novella release, Soon the Dawn.

 

Ella Jane Pyle met William Tribble Banks in Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. They married in Elmore City in 1904 and welcomed seven girls over the next 18 years. Papa Tribble, a kind and sensitive one-armed man, farmed. And Mama Ella, known for her salt-of-the-earth character and neighborliness, was the one folks called on to tend their sick and prepare their loved ones’ bodies for burial. She possessed a will of iron, but her voice was whisper soft. I love the story about how Papa tried to kiss her while they were courting, and she responded with a slap. “No kiss from me until you’ve proposed.”

 

When I decided to write for publication, I knew I would create stories based on my family’s experiences. There are transatlantic stowaways, rejection by Quaker brethren, murder of a groom at his wedding reception, prisoners of war, deaths by lightning, fortunes won and lost, and more disease and death than I can imagine. With such drama hanging on the various branches, how could I not include these stories?

 

What’s an author to do with such tragedy?

 

Tragedy and loss are integral parts of life on fallen Earth, but triumph invariably attends each loss. Wellness follows disease. Light peeks through the darkness. Blessings attend tragedies. And life follows death. It’s the space between the two that intrigues me as a storyteller.

 

My task, then, in creating a story inspired by Papa Tribble and Mama Ella’s experiences was to find the colorful strands among the black, the shining light amid the darkness, and the blessings tucked into the folds of the woe.

Soon the Dawn contains dark and light strands and many colors between. But it’s the stitching—Jesus—who binds the strands together. He turns an ordinary morning into a hint of the “Sweet By & By.” As the delicate aroma of the Rose of Sharon, He scents the sultry stillness before a summer storm. And He wraps the bitterness of grief and failure in the richness of His incomparable grace.

I offer Soon the Dawn to Jesus as a tale that reaches beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary because of His grace.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 22

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 23

Sara Jane Jacobs, February 23

Texas Book-aholic, February 24

Lighthouse Academy Blog, February 25 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Rebecca Tews, February 25

Inklings and notions, February 26

Betti Mace, February 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 27

For Him and My Family, February 28

Connie’s History Classroom, March 1

Bizwings Blog, March 1

deb’s Book Review, March 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 3

Artistic Nobody, March 3 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 4

She Lives To Read, March 5

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

Pause for Tales, March 7

CarpeDiem, March 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize of a handmade 8×12 wooden cross suitable for shelf or hanging with winner’s personalized engraving on back!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1086b/soon-the-dawn-celebration-tour-giveaway

Friday, February 26, 2021

Catching Hope by Kathy Cassel

 


About the Book

Book:  Catching Hope

Author: Kathy Cassel

Genre: Young Adult, action/suspense

Release date: February 1, 2021

Catching Hope—a pursuit fraught with danger.

Newly adopted Lexi Michaels is taking her first real vacation as she, twin brother Levi, adoptive brother Chad, and new cousin Jen head to Haiti where their dad, a pediatrician, will be volunteering in an island clinic. But who is the man who displays such hatred for the Michaels when they arrive at their resort? Is an attempted burglary as random as it appears? Will Jen ever accept the newcomers to the family? When the four teens set out to explore Haiti’s sights and history on their own, an unexpected encounter and natural disaster plunge them into adventure and danger. With their very survival at stake, can the four teens work together or will Lexi’s dream of a “forever family” end in tragedy?

 My Thoughts:

This was a really good book.  It is short and easy to read but it has a lot packed into those pages.  Geared more towards teens, I had no trouble getting into the book and rooting for the characters.  I have to say that I think the author handled the angle of adopted siblings really well.

Lexi finally got her forever family, at least she hopes so.  She is on her first family vacation and things are just a bit off.  Then disaster strikes and she has to depend on this family more.  Overall, the author did a really good job with all of it.  I liked that there was so much going on that I didn't want to put the book down at all.  You didn't feel overwhelmed by all of it, it just kept the pace of the book up.

4/5.

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book via Celebrate Lit.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Kathy Cassel lives in the Florida panhandle with her husband and four of their eight children,
five of whom are adopted. She is a motorcycle rider, scuba diver, and loves spending time with her family. Her debut novel, Freerunner, was published by Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. in 2019.

 

 

More from Kathy

My Experience with Haiti

Prior to the 2010 catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that caused immense damage to the country of Haiti, many people would not have been able to tell you that Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniola just a two hour flight from Miami.

I knew where it was because our family had adopted a child from Haiti in 1997. At the time the earthquake took place, my husband and I were in the process of adopting twins from a different orphanage in Port au Prince Haiti. It had been over three years and our adoption was not yet complete. During those three years I visited the twins at the orphanage five times. Other family members went with me on some of those trips, and at one point, all of our children still living at home went to visit the orphanage.

This was an eye opening experience for my family. In fact, I volunteered us to do the daily wash. That meant hand washing clothes and sheets for 135 orphans using large metal tubs and harsh soap, then rinsing the clothes in other tubs before hand wringing them and hanging them on clotheslines. Once home, my children no longer complained about unloading the dryer!

Cooking was done in large pots over open fires and mainly consisted of rice and beans, or red sauce over rice. The cooks originally prepared the food in a wooden shack, but more than once one of them would get so hot she’d pass out, so an outdoor area was set up for food preparation.

After the earthquake, there was a mountain of paperwork to be done to get refugee status for children in the orphanages who had families waiting for them. Finally the children were brought to the United States, although some of the orphans went to other countries too, to be united with their forever families. Sadly, many were held in the airport for days before being released. For our family, the long wait was over January 25, 2010. Now our family is complete with three birth children and five adopted children, three of whom are from Haiti.

Some of the places mentioned in the book resemble real places in Haiti, although they have been fictionalized. I hope you will not only read Catching Hope, but will also take time to learn more about the country of Haiti.

Blog Stops

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 27

For the Love of Literature, February 28 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, March 1

Inklings and notions, March 2

For Him and My Family, March 3

Wishful Endings, March 4 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, March 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 5

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 6

Artistic Nobody, March 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 8

deb’s Book Review, March 9

Simple Harvest Reads, March 10 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, March 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Books-A-Million Gift Card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1089e/catching-hope-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn Miller

  


About the Book

Book:  Winning Miss Winthrop

Author: Carolyn Miller

Genre: Regency Historical Romance

Release date: March 2018

Catherine Winthrop is almost at her last prayers, rejected years ago by the man who stole her heart.
When tragedy brings him back into her life, she must suffer further grief in silence, amid her family’s pain and hostility, which eventually sends her to seek solace in Bath. 
Jonathan Carlew might be wealthy, but the mystery surrounding his birth has shadowed his life, bringing fresh challenges as he takes on the Barony. Caught between appeasing the Winthrop family’s concerns and doing what he could to salvage their failing estate, he must also weigh the echoes of the past with the demands of his new responsibilities.
Two hearts must decide whether present speculation will condemn them to the dust of their memories, or if the whispers of forgiveness can provide freedom for the future.

My Thoughts:

This was a really good book.  Catherine and Jonathan are both flawed characters, but not in a bad way.  I felt so bad for Catherine and how her life was changing, but not falling apart.  She's had her heart broken and it's hard for it to heal when you have to be around the one who broke it.

The author obviously loves the Regency period and is really good at writing it.  She also isn't afraid to openly (not subtly) add faith into her characters daily lives and I really enjoyed that.  The story was good.  The characters were great.  Overall it was a really good read.

4/5.

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book via Celebrate Lit.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.
Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with
her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher. 
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss Winthrop, Miss Serena’s Secret, The Making of Mrs. Hale, A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, Underestimating Miss Cecilia, and Misleading Miss Verity, all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc.

More from Carolyn

In 2015 I was fortunate enough to visit England and see my sister who was living there at the time. What followed was three weeks of visiting parts of England, Ireland and Scotland in a whistle-stop tour of some of the places I’d long dreamed about visiting, but never thought I’d get the chance: London, Brighton, the Blarney stone in an Irish castle, Chatsworth in the Peak District, Loch Ness and Culloden in the Scottish Highlands, the gorgeous grounds of Dunrobin Castle, and the beautiful Cotswolds of England, which includes World Heritage-listed Bath.

I’ve used many of the places I’ve visited as inspiration behind my historical stories, but none as much as the places I visited while in Bath. Pretty much every place I visited – Sydney Gardens, Bath Abbey, the Pump Room, The Assembly Rooms and more – were mentioned in my story Winning Miss Winthrop, which I view as my homage to Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which vies with Pride and Prejudice as my favorite Austen novel.

I loved my all-too-brief time in Bath, and I love this story, with its depiction of two people learning to overcome the misunderstandings of the past in order to find a future. Winning Miss Winthrop is the first book in the Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope series, and has the attention to period detail, romance, banter, and faith threads that readers in the Regency Brides series have come to expect. I hope readers enjoy Catherine and Jon’s story.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 17

lakesidelivingsite, February 17

For Him and My Family, February 18

Texas Book-aholic, February 19

Labor Not in Vain, February 19

KarenSueHadley, February 20

Woven by Words, February 20

Artistic Nobody, February 21 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

deb’s Book Review, February 22

Mia Reads, February 22

Inklings and notions, February 23

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 23

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 24

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 25

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, February 26 (Author Interview)

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, February 26

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, February 27

Connie’s History Classroom, February 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 28

Spoken from the Heart, February 28

Simple Harvest Reads, March 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Hallie Reads, March 1

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carolyn is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon prize and a paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1074d/winning-miss-winthrop-celebration-tour-giveaway