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Monday, July 22, 2019

Romanov REVIEW

ROMANOV

Title:  Romanov 
Author:  Nadine Brandes
Where to purchase: Amazon
Print Length: 337 pages
Publication Date: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Edition:  audiobook
Genre:  Retellings, Historical Fiction, Young Adult Fantasy
BOOK LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon |  

I borrowed an audiobook copy of this novel from my library through the Hoopla app. All opinions are my own, any review is voluntary.  




Synopsis:

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are to either release the spell and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other. 

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Main Characters

  • Romanov family- story starts out with them in exile
  • Bolshevik army- keeping Romanov family in prison
Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov- Grand Duchess, youngest daughter to the Tsar
Alexei- prince, has a blood disease that keeps him mostly bedridden 
Zash- a Bolshevik guard

Plot

This is an Anastasia retelling, but I’ve only watched the cartoon decades ago and don’t remember it at all so I went in blind. The Russian royal family has already abdicated the throne and is in exile at the start of the book. Told from 16 year old Anastasia's point of view. The family spends a lot of time dreading being in prison and clinging to each other as they await their trial and fate (which is not a happy ending).

Setting

1918 Russia, at the end of the Romanov rule





Theme

Always choose love, even when others mistreat you

What did I like about the book?

The author picks historical stories I know nothing about. This is my second book by Nadine Brandes (I read Fawkes last year) both are historical events without a happy ending and a magical element added. Halfway through the book I had no idea how it would continue but was satisfied with the ending.

Romanov is a dark story filled with hope and a constant reminder to choose love despite circumstances or treatment. I loved the writing and the personal strength of the characters. 

I like the magic element going on and the writing. I guess if I can’t go to Hogwarts I wouldn’t mind learning to use spell ink. There are few spell masters that can create and use magic but Anastasia knows one useful application, a temporary pain reliever for her brother. Since he has a blood condition that keeps him bedridden most of the time Anastasia spends a lot of time worrying about his and how to help. The family dynamic was awesome.

What did I not like about the book?

Romanov is much heavier than I expected because the main characters are in captivity from the first page. They were under surveillance, had no privacy, restricted rations, limited fresh air, and surrounded by people that hated them. Since I know ZERO about this historical event I was shocked when they were led to a room and executed. 

There was a romance- I didn't HATE it most of the book because it was just a 16 year old hormonal teenager stuck in an abusive situation who starts to like the first guy that is sort of nice to her sometimes. I get it, that's realistic. Anastasia knew it was a bad idea and for the most part acted appropriate and kept her distance from her guard. What I didn't like was when she genuinely believed she liked the guy and he liked her back at the end. I was just creeped out. Why can't they just part ways and start over apart? Or her be introduced to a promising young apprentice that has no bad history with her family? Ugh- just no.

Date Started/Finished : July 8th-16th




Recommend? yes

If you like magic, and don't know anything about the story of Anastasia- this is a good book. 
Rating: 4/★★★★★
based off Goodreads' ratings: 4 stars – really liked it, really enjoyable. Definitely recommend and I like seeing it on my bookshelf or lending it out to friends.





I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
**No monetary compensation was received for this review. Posts may contain affiliate or referral links. Thank you for your support!**

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Underestimating Miss Cecilia BLITZ

Cover_Twitter_UnderestimatingMissCecilia_JR 
Welcome to the Blitz for Underestimating Miss Cecilia by Carolyn Miller with JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Underestimating Miss Cecilia 
Series: Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley, Book 2  
Author: Carolyn Miller  
Publisher: Kregel Publications 
Release Date: July 23, 2019  
Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Shy, sweet Cecilia Hatherleigh has always been in love with Edward Amherst, the boy next door. Yet he’s never seen her as anything but the quiet girl in the background as he flirts with the other vivacious women of the ton.

When a near tragedy brings Edward’s attention to his family duties, this prodigal son decides he needs to settle down with a proper wife. Cecilia hopes to convince him to choose her—but God may want her to forget the wayward nobleman and put her future in His hands alone.

These two try to find their way toward happiness, but prejudice, political riots, and the changing face of England’s societal structures begin to block them at every turn. Can their struggles turn to triumph—or will their paths permanently diverge?


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, and Underestimating Miss Cecilia, all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc.  

CONNECT WITH CAROLYN: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Instagram

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Hannah R. Conway AUTHOR INTERVIEW

 

Welcome to the Blog Blitz  for The Mosaic Collection, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE COLLECTION

For His glory...  

The Mosaic Collection is an international community of women authors who use faith-based fiction to touch hearts with the good news that Christ's finished work on the cross has made us one family, and to nurture affection for the people God has placed within our circles of influence, so that the grace and glory of God may become visible and personal to everyone we meet.

...and our good

We are sisters, a beautiful mosaic united by the love of God through the blood of Christ. We have experienced the redemptive, restorative power of God's grace in our marriages and families, and we believe our God is able to heal, restore and redeem our brokenness. His love fills us with the courage to persevere, and to offer others a Christ-like compassion that is full of His wisdom and grace.

Visit the Mosaic Collection Website to stay posted on each new release & follow the collection blog for meaningful posts from the authors!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Hannah R. Conway is a military wife, mother of two, middle school teacher, best-selling author, and popular speaker. Her novels are a deployment experience of their own, threaded with faith, and filled with twists and turns. Hannah is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and My Book Therapy. She and her family live in Tennessee.

CONNECT WITH HANNAH: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pnterest

Cornerstone message from the collection: 
My cornerstone message is about freedom. Freedom from the past, from the messes, the mistakes, regrets, fears, and failures. As a military wife, freedom means so much to me, but as a Christian, I want to be as free on the inside as I am on the outside. This cornerstone message resonates with many believers. We say we’re free, but often we’re in that freedom.


AUTHOR NTERVIEW

1) What’s a local-favorite activity to do during the summer in the area where you live?

We really enjoy visiting our local pool in the summertime, and our church hosts a kids camp where the kids help serve in our community--it’s wonderful!

2) Do you have a scripture that really speaks to you around the latest book you wrote? Did that influence your writing at all?
Matthew 28: 19-20 or the Great Commission really speaks to me regarding the latest book I wrote.
 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This verse definitely influenced my writing, especially for “Christmas on a Mission.” In my own personal life, I’ve struggled with where God wanted me to go, and how He wanted me to serve. It was until I was a young adult that I realized wherever I was--that was where I was supposed to go and make disciples. I wanted to show that in action with “Christmas on a Mission”. The readers get to meet Audria and see how she’s living out the Great Commission in her hometown. I pray they are inspired to do the same.

3) If you could have any creature as a pet (real or fantasy) what would it be? Do any characters in your book have a pet or allergy to a type of animal?

I adore animals. I have a white lab named Albus, andwould love more pets--maybe I should talk with my hubby about that. If I could have any creature as a pet, it would have to be a Unicorn! When I was a little girl, I used to pray for one. 

4) How many books have you written? Which one is most dear to you and why?

I’ve written four books so far, and it’s truly hard to choose which one is most dear. If I had to pick, it would have to be “Christmas on a Mission”. First of all, it’s set in Gatlinburg, TN and there’s a log cabin involved! LOVE IT! 

Audria Rylatt is my character. She works for a school system as a homeless liaison, or advocates for students who are homeless. Not many people realize that there are students who are considered homeless. Our school system has a homeless liaison and over 400 students are served. So, Audria works to make sure their needs are met, and keeps busy to combat the hurt she’s felt since her fiance was killed in combat two years ago. Christmas is coming and it’s time to make it special for the homeless students, but this year the possibility of a new love enters her life. Now, Christmas may stand to deliver a lifetime of magical memories. “Christmas on a Mission” is a delightful story of hope, life, love, and second chances, filled with all the joy and cheer Christmas brings.

I adore this story!

5) What is a go-to dish you take with you to social gatherings (picnic, dinner with friends, holiday, ect)?

Buffalo chicken dip! I cannot get enough of that stuff!

6) One of your favorite lines you’ve written (character saying, quote, scene, ect)?

Goodness that’s so difficult! And for those that haven’t read my books I could be giving away so much! Hmmm...so, in my latest book, “Christmas on a Mission,” there’s this scene where Audria and her sort of love interest--Quinton, are baking in the kitchen. She’s trying to teach him to make macarons, and the scene is just adorable, and sweet, and I seriously grinned the entire time I wrote it!


TOUR GIVEAWAY

Giveaway_MosaicBlitz_JRnew?w=600 

(1) winner will receive a $50 Amazon eGift Card & an ebook prize pack*!

Winner will receive an ebook of:
  • Where She Belongs
  • Pieces of Granite
  • Lifelines
  • Christmas on a Mission
  • Vigilant
  • Other Side of the River
  • The Third Grace
  • Carolina Grace
  • The Benefit Package (a devotional)
  • Dance of Grace
  • When Love Calls
Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight July 10, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on July 24, 2019. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Open internationally, but international winner will receive a gift card only *(may be substituted for a Book Depository gift card if winner cannot accept from US Amazon)

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


 
See tour landing page for a complete list of authors & book release dates. 
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Regina Rudd Merrick AUTHOR INTERVIEW

 

Welcome to the Blog Blitz  for The Mosaic Collection, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE COLLECTION

For His glory...  

The Mosaic Collection is an international community of women authors who use faith-based fiction to touch hearts with the good news that Christ's finished work on the cross has made us one family, and to nurture affection for the people God has placed within our circles of influence, so that the grace and glory of God may become visible and personal to everyone we meet.

...and our good

We are sisters, a beautiful mosaic united by the love of God through the blood of Christ. We have experienced the redemptive, restorative power of God's grace in our marriages and families, and we believe our God is able to heal, restore and redeem our brokenness. His love fills us with the courage to persevere, and to offer others a Christ-like compassion that is full of His wisdom and grace.

Visit the Mosaic Collection Website to stay posted on each new release & follow the collection blog for meaningful posts from the authors!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Regina Rudd Merrick is a writer, church musician, wife, mother, former librarian, and grateful follower of Jesus Christ. Having lived most of her life in Western Kentucky, she dreams of the sound of crashing waves and sandy beaches. Married to her husband of 35+ years, she is the mother of two grown daughters, and the keeper of a 100-year-old house where she lives in the small town of Marion, KY. She is the author of three books: Carolina Dream (Apr. 2017), Carolina Mercy (July 2018), and Carolina Grace (February 2019) in the Southern Breeze Series.

CONNECT WITH REGINA: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

Cornerstone message from the collection: 
Trust God and do the next right thing.

I want my readers to know that they are not alone, and that what they’re going through is not unique to them. Life isn’t a series of obstacles to overcome, but a series of events that point us to Jesus, who loves us more than we can imagine.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1) What’s a local-favorite activity to do during the summer in the area where you live?
In Kentucky, it’s hot and humid, so staying inside in the air conditioning is wonderful! If we must be outside, you may find us sitting on the porch or deck sipping iced tea, playing corn-hole in the evenings, visiting a friend who has a pool, or anything that will keep us cool! We live near the Kentucky and Barkley Lakes area, as well as the Ohio River, so boating, kayaking, and swimming are very popular in our area!

2) Do you have a scripture that really speaks to you around the latest book you wrote? Did that influence your writing at all?
I use different scripture for each book I write, but I always go back to my life-verse, Psalm 37:4. When we truly delight ourselves in the Lord, He gives us HIS desires. You can’t get any better instruction than that.

3) If you could have any creature as a pet (real or fantasy) what would it be? Do any characters in your book have a pet or allergy to a type of animal?
I would probably have a dog, a cat, or a cow. I don’t like birds, so that’s out, and reptiles and rodents repel me, so those are out, as well! My characters are pretty normal. They find a mother cat who’s had kittens, so guess what? They get to have cats!! Most of my characters have had dogs, too, at one time or another.

4) How many books have you written? Which one is most dear to you and why?
I’ve written three novels and a novella in the “Southern Breeze” series. Carolina Dream, my first book, is probably the most dear, although they all are special in different ways. Carolina Dream was the result of an actual dream and a bunch of “what if” questions that fleshed out the story. A lot of myself is in that book, which makes it a little more near and dear to me!

5) What is a go-to dish you take with you to social gatherings (picnic, dinner with friends, holiday, ect)?
Iron Skillet Chocolate Pie. Once you’ve had it, you can’t go back to chocolate cream pie. Just sayin’.

6) One of your favorite lines you’ve written (character saying, quote, scene, ect)?
This is the beginning of a scene in my Mosaic book. Nick Woodward is a contractor, working with his best friend’s sister, Lisa, whom he hasn’t seen since college days. 
There were many things he didn’t expect to happen today. A mystery door in the basement was just one of them. Seeing a decidedly grown-up Lisa Reno was another.



TOUR GIVEAWAY

Giveaway_MosaicBlitz_JRnew?w=600 

(1) winner will receive a $50 Amazon eGift Card & an ebook prize pack*!

Winner will receive an ebook of:
  • Where She Belongs
  • Pieces of Granite
  • Lifelines
  • Christmas on a Mission
  • Vigilant
  • Other Side of the River
  • The Third Grace
  • Carolina Grace
  • The Benefit Package (a devotional)
  • Dance of Grace
  • When Love Calls
Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight July 10, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on July 24, 2019. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Open internationally, but international winner will receive a gift card only *(may be substituted for a Book Depository gift card if winner cannot accept from US Amazon)

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


 
See tour landing page for a complete list of authors & book release dates. 
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
cropped-justread-logo.png
*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Johnnie Alexander AUTHOR INTERVIEW

 

Welcome to the Blog Blitz  for The Mosaic Collection, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE COLLECTION

For His glory...  

The Mosaic Collection is an international community of women authors who use faith-based fiction to touch hearts with the good news that Christ's finished work on the cross has made us one family, and to nurture affection for the people God has placed within our circles of influence, so that the grace and glory of God may become visible and personal to everyone we meet.

...and our good

We are sisters, a beautiful mosaic united by the love of God through the blood of Christ. We have experienced the redemptive, restorative power of God's grace in our marriages and families, and we believe our God is able to heal, restore and redeem our brokenness. His love fills us with the courage to persevere, and to offer others a Christ-like compassion that is full of His wisdom and grace.

Visit the Mosaic Collection Website to stay posted on each new release & follow the collection blog for meaningful posts from the authors!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Johnnie Alexander creates characters you want to meet and imagines stories you won’t forget. Her award-winning debut novel, Where Treasure Hides (Tyndale), is a CBA bestseller. She writes contemporaries, historicals, and cozy mysteries, serves on the executive boards of Serious Writer, Inc. and the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference, co-hosts an online show called Writers Chat, and interviews inspirational authors for Novelists Unwind. She also teaches at writers conferences and for Serious Writer Academy. Johnnie lives in Oklahoma with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon.

CONNECT WITH JOHNNIE: Website | https://linktr.ee/johnniealexndr

Cornerstone message from the collection:
One of the first verses I ever claimed as my own was Proverbs 31:25. The translation I love most reads: Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.
The first part of the verse is almost a mantra, a phrase I repeat to myself when I need courage. Maybe I’m faced with something as simple as a phone call I don’t want to make. Or maybe the situation is much more serious. An ectopic pregnancy. Family tensions. Divorce. A dying parent.
Life takes courage. And at the heart of courage--true courage--is trust. We can smile at the future, no matter what difficult, frightening, horrible situations we face because of God’s steadfast love and His promise of eternal life with Him.



AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1) What’s a local-favorite activity to do during the summer in the area where you live?

I’ve only lived in Oklahoma a little over a year. Last summer is a bit of a blur--except I remember it was very hot--and this summer I’ve been visiting with family in Missouri and Tennessee. 

However! 

My stay with my daughter, son-in-law, and two adorable granddaughters at their home in rural northeastern Missouri coincided with Clarence Homecoming Days, an annual event for their small town (population about 800). 

Homecoming, Clarence-style, has nothing to do with football but everything to do with community and tradition. My son-in-law emceed the Queen Contest, my daughter was the parade announcer, and my granddaughters passed out candy as they followed their church’s float. We attended a live concert by Fairground Saints, an up-and-coming pop-country group who were recently featured on the Today Show.

We had such a great time.

2) Do you have a scripture that really speaks to you around the latest book you wrote? Did that influence your writing at all?

God gave me three verses this year to guide my writing. Each one appears prominently on my Projects Log (an Excel worksheet). 
• "Apply your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge." (Proverbs 23:12 TLV)
• "Plans of the diligent surely lead to gain." (Proverbs 21:5a TLV)
• "You keep in perfect peace one whose mind is stayed on You, because [s]he trusts in You." (Isaiah 26:3 TLV)

Even though these Scriptures aren’t for a specific book, they’re definitely important to my writing career. I have several writing deadlines in the months ahead, and these verses keep me focused. They provide a God-given formula for achieving my goals: Discipline + Diligence = Perfect Peace.

3) If you could have any creature as a pet (real or fantasy) what would it be? Do any characters in your book have a pet or allergy to a type of animal?

I’ll stick with the two dogs I have--Griff, my happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, my grumpy-old-man papillon. We’re already comfortable with each other’s quirks.

The hero in my Mosaic Collection novel, One Sun-Kissed Summer, is a cowboy who is crazy about Candy, his chestnut quarter horse. The heroine is a wildlife rehabilitation specialist who was adopted by a gray cat with white stockings named Caspian.

Most of my life, I’ve almost always had at least one dog so it’s fun for my characters to have dogs, too. But I’ve never thought to have a character with an allergy. 

4) How many books have you written? Which one is most dear to you and why?

So far, I’ve written seven books, three novellas, and a short story. Happily, there are more to come! 

Most dear to my heart is my debut novel Where Treasure Hides. It’s a complex story with multiple themes set during World War II. The characters experience extremely difficult situations and, because it’s war, tragic events occur. Though I love my other novels, too, this one has a depth that resonates with me. I hope it resonates with readers, too. 

5) What is a go-to dish you take with you to social gatherings (picnic, dinner with friends, holiday, ect)?

I sure wish I had one. Sometimes my sister makes something for me--she loves to cook. Unless I make brownies, I grab something from the grocery store. 

6) One of your favorite lines you’ve written (character saying, quote, scene, etc.)?

I’ve had moments when a line or a bit of dialogue seemed to come from such a deep place inside that I was astounded I’d written it. I wish I could remember one of those moments right now! 

Here’s an excerpt from the opening pages of Where Treasure Hides. The boy is part of the Kindertransport, children sent from Germany and Austria to England before WWII. Alison is a Dutch-American artist and the story’s heroine.

A dark-haired boy, no more than seven or eight, held the violin close to his anemic frame. His jacket, made of a finely woven cloth, hung loosely on his thin shoulders. The matching trousers would have slipped down his hips if not for his hand-tooled leather belt. . . . Alison stared at the cardboard square, secured by a thick length of twine, that the boy wore as a cheap necklace. The penciled writing on the square numbered the boy as 127.
….
Alison mentally sketched the tableau before her, pinning the details into her memory. The officer’s hand resting on the boy’s shoulder; the official restlessly tapping his clipboard with his pencil; the dread and hope in the boy’s eyes as he clutched his prized instrument. The jagged square that tagged his identity.

The scene is loosely based on an actual event. A station official wanted to confiscate a young boy’s violin. But the boy played England’s national anthem and fellow travelers made sure he got to keep his instrument.

 

TOUR GIVEAWAY

Giveaway_MosaicBlitz_JRnew?w=600 

(1) winner will receive a $50 Amazon eGift Card & an ebook prize pack*!

Winner will receive an ebook of:
  • Where She Belongs
  • Pieces of Granite
  • Lifelines
  • Christmas on a Mission
  • Vigilant
  • Other Side of the River
  • The Third Grace
  • Carolina Grace
  • The Benefit Package (a devotional)
  • Dance of Grace
  • When Love Calls
Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight July 10, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on July 24, 2019. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Open internationally, but international winner will receive a gift card only *(may be substituted for a Book Depository gift card if winner cannot accept from US Amazon)

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


 
See tour landing page for a complete list of authors & book release dates. 
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
cropped-justread-logo.png
*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.