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Saturday, March 19, 2022

 

labor of love

About the Book

Book: Labor of Love

Author: Marguerite Martin Gray

Genre: Christian Historical  Romance

Release date: February 15, 2022

Labor-of-Love-b-663x1024Something sinister lurks in Pitti Palace.

Despite having spent eight years as companion to her cousins, Ana Geovani still questions her role and place in the Medici household. This uncertainty compounds and alarms as her cousin’s marriage approaches and a marriage is arranged for Ana.

With no say in her own future, fear and despair dulls even the splendor of the gardens she holds so dear.

As the newest under gardener at the palace, Marco Rossi should have everything he’s dreamed of–beautiful gardens to tend and master architects and gardeners to learn from. Yet a secret mission threatens his peace of mind, his position, and even the love of Ana. Although God is always with him, reminding him of a bigger plan, Marco feels the weight of the consequences he will face if he challenges a Medici member.

The desires of men and women, both royal and common, create costly dilemmas and potential disasters of hearts and souls. What will it take for Marco and Ana to prevail against everything driving them apart?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

margueriteMarguerite enjoys the study of history, especially when combined with fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches French and Spanish and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and a MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. She has two grown children and currently lives with her husband in north Louisiana. She writes historical fiction.

 

More from Marguerite

Are you a gardener? My mom calls me the accidental gardener. Is there such a thing? Well, I threw a pumpkin off my deck into a flower bed in December. By March, I had a garden full of beautiful, big pumpkins and luscious vines.

I love the idea of gardening, although I’m not very successful with my planting and grandiose plans. I stick with zinnias, potatoes, and onions. But I admire all kinds of gardens—flower and vegetable. Gardens are full of surprises—zingers in my ordinary life.

From the beauty of organized formal gardens like Versailles and Boboli to quaint, colorful English gardens, I relish the assault to all the senses. I’m refreshed, renewed, and relaxed just by being in a garden.

The birth of my Gardens in Time series arose from my travels. Labor of Love, set in the Boboli Gardens in Florence, springs from memories of wonder and beauty as I roamed the avenues and paths as a child and then an adult. I never had the adventures of Ana as she struggles and grows in the court of the Medici, but I walked in the Medici’s steps and let my imagination journey with Ana. She now has her own story.

I hope that you can experience some of the awe and amazement through Ana’s wanderings. I invite you to roam the Boboli Gardens with Ana.

MY REVIEW 

It is with great admiration that I review this book. The author swept me away to a place where beauty was plentiful. Oh to be beside Ana as she tends to the garden would be wonderful. I wanted to follow her as she took great care with each flower she planted and the herbs that grew with ease. The garden is where she found peace and a place of belonging. She didn’t have a bad life but one that was not chosen by her. To think that her father would send her away only so he would gain wealth when she married someone with power and money was heartbreaking. 

I enjoyed getting to know the members in the Medici household and learning about their social obligations. The palace was large and Ana was brought there to be a companion to her cousins. All around her were talks of balls and marriage. Would she find freedom some day to marry who she desired? Her father has already decided who she will marry but the man is cruel and heartless. I loved how she turned to God and cried out to him to rescue her. She knew in her heart that He was there and would protect her from evil. 

Marco is such a charming gentleman. He has come to the palace as a gardener  but he has a secret mission that no one  can find out about. The beautiful friendship that develops  between him and Ana is sweet and written with emotions that are genuine. The author captures not only the beauty of the garden but the gentle spirit of hope as the two main characters slowly recognize that they have feelings for each other. Marco is very aware that something is not quite right with the man who wants to marry Ana. Will he be able to prove that this man  is evil and a threat to not only the members of the Medici family but to Ana especially?

Rich in historical facts the author brings this story to life  with wonderful characters, intrigue , beautiful landscape and God’s promise of protection. I loved this story so much that I reread it because it gave me a feeling of peace as the words flowed with grace and contentment. Where do you go to find peace and God’s presence? 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 19

Texas Book-aholic, March 20

Inklings and notions, March 21

For Him and My Family, March 22

Betti Mace, March 23

deb’s Book Review, March 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 26

Connie’s History Classroom, March 27

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 28 (Spotlight)

Mary Hake, March 28

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 31 (Author Interview)

Paula’s Persuasion, March 31

Blossoms and Blessings, April 1

Inside the Wong Mind, April 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Marguerite is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a 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/1bc99/labor-of-love-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

The Last Gasp

About the Book

Book: The Last Gasp

Author: Chautona Havig

Narrator: Christa DelSorbo

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale

Release date: December, 2021

1- The Last Gasp AUDIOAt the pinnacle of his Hollywood career, Garrison Prince’s reign ends tonight.

As plain old Gary Prinz, he can pursue his Bible education, buy a bungalow in Pasadena, acquire a few chickens, and marry the girl of his dreams. He just never imagined trading the silver screen for a pulpit would wreak such havoc.

A cigarillo girl, Lucinda Ashton spends her days with her boyfriend, Gary, and her evenings selling candy and “gaspers” to the Hollywood elite at the Taj Mahal Theater.

However, when gunshots ring out just as intermission begins, Lucinda finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a brouhaha that leaves three dead, and no one has a clue why.

All the police know is that the evidence points to Lucinda as the killer and Gary as the intended target.

Four new friends, one young orphan, and a potluck of clues that don’t seem to fit anywhere leave the police baffled, Lucinda in fear for her freedom, and Gary ready to trade in his acting shoes for gumshoes if it’ll save his “Cinda.”

The first book in the Ever After Mysteries combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries, The Last Gasp. This Cinderella retelling blends a murder with enough crime and story clues to keep you on the edge of your seat.

MY REVIEW 

I have previously reviewed this book but I wanted to add a bit more since I have had the pleasure of listening to the audio. When you find a gifted person who can bring a story to life by their voice you know that it is going to be special. I knew what the story was about, but to hear Christa narrate it made it even more spectacular. She has this special talent to grab  readers attention  with her smooth voice and make each character distinctive. 

Let’s journey back to the 1920’s as the author pens a retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales. I could see the movie theater as actors were greeted with smiles and adorations. The cigarillo girls parading up and down the aisles with candy and cigarettes were fun to read about. It is hard to think about a time where someone would bring you refreshments as you sat in your seat ready for the picture to begin.

I began to wonder with the mystery taking center stage how the story of Cinderella would tie in. Oh but I needed not to wait long as the author crafts a web of twists that feature a shoe and a young woman who learns to believe in herself. Cinda finds herself behind bars and trapped as she tries to prove her innocence. Here is where I started piecing together fairy tale and story as I remembered Cinda’s landlord. Oh what an evil woman she was trying to get favors for the other girls by having Cinda do something that would get her in trouble.

I loved how the author made the story historically accurate with her intensive research and details. It is easy to place yourself there as the murders were committed and the chaos that followed. I really tried to figure who the guilty person was and why they did it but was unable too. The author gives us a twist on a fairy tale in a very clever way with mystery, danger and characters that come to life. As I finished the book I thought about what the story meant to me. I witnessed people idolizing others and belittling those who seemed not as important. However the best lesson I received was how faith can give us hope. He sees past our imperfections and lovingly gives us grace.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.


 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

media-headshot-sm-240x300Using story to connect readers with the Master Storyteller.

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours, and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

 

 

 

About the Narrator

christaheadshots20-2Speaking Life into Story

Queen of the one-eyebrow quirk, Christa DelSorbo auditioned for the role of Tarzan’s mom and has the photos to prove she ended up as the only cast member in a literal cast. These days, they keep her stuck in a box with a ball on a stick and only feed her when she reads another chapter of another fabulous book. She loves every minute. Or so they tell her. *eyebrow slowly raises *

 

More from Christa

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 16

For Him and My Family, March 17

Book Butterfly in Dreamland, March 17

Inklings and notions, March 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 19

Texas Book-aholic, March 20

Connie’s History Classroom, March 21

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 23

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 24

Book Looks by Lisa, March 24

Just Your Average reviews, March 25

Sodbuster Living, March 26

Books I’ve Read, March 26

Vicarious Living, March 27

Rachael’s Inkwell, March 28

Vicky Sluiter, March 29

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Christa is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book in the winner’s preferred format!!

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/1bc93/the-last-gasp-audiobook-celebration-tour-giveaway


 

Heart of the Rockies

About the Book

Book: Heart of the Rockies

Author: Angela Breidenbach

Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Romance

Release date: November 1, 2021

Heart-of-the-Rockies-Generic1892, Helena MT: Delphina O’Connor believed God-given dreams for women didn’t stop at marriage and children. Hers might not include a husband or family at all. So when Hugh Thomas rescues the new swimming instructor at the elegant Broadwater Natatorium from near drowning in the Victorian-styled resort pool, how can anyone believe the freedom to enjoy swimming, competition, and a healthy body is an appropriate activity for a proper lady? Hugh is about to find out status quo is the starting line for a courageous woman with a dream!

Elaborate true history of the Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium in romantic fiction. You’ll meet several iconic people from Montana’s true history in these pages. What do you do when you think differently than the world around you?

Lovely story sharing the early days of women in synchronized swimming nearing the turn-of-the-century when traditional sensibilities battle modern ideas. How does a traditional man learn to love a modern woman?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

BreidenbachAngela-HeadshotAngela Breidenbach is a professional genealogist, media personality, bestselling author, and screenwriter. She’s also the Christian Authors Network president. Angie lives in Montana with her hubby and Muse, a trained fe-lion, who shakes hands, rolls over, and jumps through a hoop. Surprisingly, Angela can also.

 

More from Angela

I toured Helena, MT for the research that kicked off my passion for the Queen of the Rockies series. While there, I searched for more on the history of the Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium. Visiting the now empty fields, staring through the fence where the resort once stood, I missed the elegant beauty even though I’d never known her. The way the mountains swooped up from the valley with the hot springs at the base created a dramatic sense of place. I had to write a story set at the Broadwater!

While volunteering with a non-profit for children, the executive director asked why I’d gone to Helena recently. Bubbling over with enthusiasm, he started telling me everything he knew, saw, and experienced at the resort area while growing up near the Broadwater in Helena. His wife and he had even attended the final auction in the 1960s before the grand lady lost her battle with time and damages from the major earthquakes of 1935. She was demolished after the auction! The ornamental elements of the hotel and natatorium took record auction prices from doorknobs to copper bathtub rings. Even what was left of the stained-glass windows sold. What I hadn’t found in history books, online, or at the local history museum/society my friends shared with misty-eyed memories. The sweetness of hearing their stories and being able to use them in my book was pretty miraculous. I had a front seat to history.

The Broadwater Hotel had an interesting feature in their bath/shower rooms. If you’ve ever heard of a “needle” shower, it sounds painful. But it was a revolutionary new therapy treatment in the 1890s. I saw a few black and white faded photos. Those pictures in history books and online couldn’t do justice to the real invention. Want to see a little more before you read Heart of the Rockies? Here’s a link to visit on the Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium. I think you’ll want to immerse yourself (pun intended) in a story set in her extravagant, elegance. See what you think…

http://www.helenahistory.org/Broadwater_1.htm

One weekend, my husband and I took a trip to Butte to stay at the Copper King Mansion. The stay included a tour and use of their facilities. (Don’t pass that bed and breakfast overnight up. It’s really amazing and closely preserved through the families that lived there!) The original owner, William A. Clark, had a needle shower installed to help his sickly son. What do you know? It still worked! I tried it that night. Because the tiny sprays are in a circular design all the way around your body, the shower rings you. The experience, minus the issue of one ring being right at face level causing a lot of battles to breathe, was exhilarating. More so because of the unique nature. But when the water pressure is all the way on, the water can sting with the force on your skin. I fully understood the name! Adjusting the spickets brought the water pressure under control, but I had one further difficulty. The pipes that ringed my neck and head sprayed water into my face no matter what direction I moved. They’d been built to the height of a young man. Let’s just say it was a near-drowning! Super fun to try though.

Besides visiting Helena, make sure to stop in for your weekend in Butte, MT at the Copper King Bed and Breakfast. Take the tour. Then when you’re free of the museum visitors, and the house is all yours for the night, step into the needle shower (maybe really bring a waterproof step) and be swished back in time to the Gilded Age. Hmm, maybe I should be writing a time travel novel??

Come plunge into the pages of Heart of the Rockies with me.

MY REVIEW 

Oh my did I love this story. It is rich in history where one man made a difference in many lives. I have not heard of Charles Broadwater before I read this book. The author does an excellent job of introducing  this man to readers. He was a gentleman who was successful in many business ventures. This story focuses on the Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium. I was very fascinated by this man and how humble he was. His contributions were adventurous and at times a risky. I would encourage readers to find out more about Charles Broadwater and discover how he left a lasting impression on many. I can just imagine him hearing these words from God; “Well done thy good and faithful servant.”

Now on to our two charming characters that bring laughter and fun to this story. Delphina is a head strong young woman who is out to prove that women are capable of athletic endeavors such as synchronized swimming. I adored learning about this sport and the costumes they wore. Delphina is gifted and knows she can help bring in more people but there are a few stumbling blocks. The big challenge is to find costumes that will be modest while also being more safe while doing their shows in the water. 

Hugh is a charming man hired by Mr. Broadwater as the swimming instructor for the men.  The encounter between Hugh and Delphina is comical and reminded me of a very funny lady who had her own show years ago. Hugh knows he must work with Delphina but first he needs to show her that he is not the enemy. I loved the interaction between the two and how they wanted to help make Mr Broadwater’s  dream come true with the success of the hotel and Natatorium. 

The story is easy to read and is full of historical facts about Montana. After reading the author’s notes I would love to visit Helena and enjoy its charm. I loved how the author gives us a glimpse into the world of business during 1892 and how risky it could be when investing in certain places that depended on tourism. The ending is sweet and does use faith in the story to show that God has a plan for each of us. Never give up on your dreams and trust God to direct your path. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 18

Texas Book-aholic, March 19

Christina’s Corner, March 19

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 20

Betti Mace, March 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 21

Inklings and notions, March 22

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 23

For Him and My Family, March 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 24

Blogging With Carol, March 25

deb’s Book Review, March 25

Connie’s History Classroom, March 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 27

Miriam Jacob, March 27

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 29 (Spotlight)

Pause for Tales, March 29

Spoken from the Heart, March 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 31

Blossoms and Blessings, March 31

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Angela is giving away the grand prize of a a set of gemstone earrings handmade by Thai Hill Tribe (made of sterling silver with amethyst Swarovski crystals)!!

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/1bc98/heart-of-the-rockies-celebration-tour-giveaway

Friday, March 18, 2022

 

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Counterfeit Love by Crystal Caudill 

READ WITH AUDRA BLOG TOUR 

About the Book

Can this undercover agent save the woman he loves--or is her heart as counterfeit as the money he's been sent to track down?

After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa Plane owes it to him to save the family name--and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors' threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn't all Grandfather was hiding. And the secrets he kept have now trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home--and the truth.

After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiance is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career--but that's better than failing her twice in one lifetime.

They must form a partnership, tentative though it is. But there's no question they're both still keeping secrets--and that lack of trust, along with the dangerous criminals out for their blood, threatens their hearts, their faith, and their very survival.

To read an excerpt of Counterfeit Love click here.

About the Author

Crystal Caudill is the author of "dangerously good historical romance," with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW.

She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Caudill can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio.

Learn more at crystalcaudill.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.




MY REVIEW 

This is a very fast paced  story deep in espionage and criminals that try to outwit the law. I loved learning about how desperate people were to make fake money to deceive others. How sad it was for Theresa to find that her grandfather had some dark secrets that endangered her life. Now she has to decide who to trust in this dangerous game. Theresa’s emotional state is shaky as she blames herself for a death. I think we all have been in a place where we question ourselves when things don’t turn out the way we hope. 


 Broderick is a very smart man who is on a mission to save Theresa, catch a murderer and the people responsible for making counterfeit  money. He has a history with Theresa that will have an impact on the story. The author slowly unveils their connection and I thought it was done very tastefully. 

I really didn’t care for Edward even though he was Theresa’s fiancĂ© . Something told me he was hiding something. I wonder if I am right? He does seem to try  very hard to convince Theresa that he is the perfect match for her. 

The story is filled with intrigue and danger as Broderick tries to uncover the people behind the  counterfeit money. Theresa gets caught in the middle and is shattered by secrets from her grandfather who she dearly loved. It is hard to find forgiveness when you have been betrayed. 

The author does a great job of illustrating the struggle that Theresa has with her faith. She feels like God has deserted her in her most difficult time and finding her way back to Him is an emotional journey. Get ready for a story that takes you to the depths of deceit and how forgiveness leads to trust . 


“A man is judged by the promises he keeps.”

I received a copy of this book from the author and Read With Audra Blogging Program. The review is my own opinion.

Giveaway