Review + Blog Tour: “The Dating Charade” by Melissa Ferguson

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

About the Book

The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson

Contemporary Romance, Christian

Available in: paperback, audiobook & ebook, 336 Pages

Release date: 12/3/19 by Thomas Nelson

Just when you think you’ve met your match . . . the charade begins.

Cassie Everson is an expert at escaping bad first dates. And, after years of meeting, greeting, and running from the men who try to woo her, Cassie is almost ready to retire her hopes for a husband—and children—altogether.

But fate has other plans, and Cassie’s online dating profile catches the eye of firefighter Jett Bentley. In Jett’s memory, Cassie Everson is the unreachable girl-of-legend from their high school days. Nervously, he messages her, setting off a chain of events that forces a reluctant Cassie back into the dating game.

No one is more surprised than Cassie when her first date with Jett is a knockout. But when they both go home and find three children dropped in their laps—each—they independently decide to do the right and mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong?

Melissa Ferguson’s hilarious and warmhearted debut reminds us that love can come in very small packages—and that sometimes our best-laid plans aren’t nearly as rewarding and fun as the surprises that come our way.

Goodreads | Amazon

Review

From laugh out loud moments to more emotional and serious layers, The Dating Charade has appeal far beyond its cute cover and promising synopsis. Fans of Melissa Tagg and Bethany Turner, take note! The plot reminded me of the classic “Yours, Mine, and Ours” (the Lucille Ball + Fonda version) in the very best way!

I am a fan of romantic comedies, whether in movie, TV, or book form. Rarely, though, am I spurred to laughing out loud while reading. With this novel, I had at minimum 5 instances where I snickered or laughed out loud. One time, I was hoping my coworkers wouldn’t think I was crazy! 😉 I love how Melissa Ferguson has taken the most mundane things and used them for humor in situations I could relate to. Her witty writing style made the pages fly by. In particular, I LOLed at certain scenes that involved a toddler and a gallon of milk, church nursery workers, screening content of children’s books, and the hero’s propensity to be “clumsy” when necessary.

In addition to the humor and fun characters (can Sunny be the hero of a novel someday, pretty please?), relevant issues and themes are an integral part of Cassie and Jett’s character journeys. From motivations, dreams, relationship expectations, to the sacrifice of parenting, all are part of the fabric of the story. These point to an important message of the priority of family and how love and happily-ever-afters might not end up how one plans. In fact, they might involve sleepless nights with a newborn, messy hair, and endless vats of macaroni and cheese.

With just one novel to her name (she has a novella I’m wanting to read!), Melissa Ferguson has found her way onto my must-read author list. I eagerly look forward to whatever she pens next!

Thank you to Prism Book Tours for the review copy. This is my honest review.

About the Author

Melissa Ferguson is an adjunct professor for Bible and religion at King University. She lives in the charming town of Bristol, Tennessee, with her husband, twin toddlers, and baby girl. She used to have hobbies like running and backpacking the Appalachian Trail outside her door. Now her hobbies include admiring the Appalachian Trail out her minivan window while singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” en route to the library.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram

Tour Schedule

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Review + Blog Tour & Giveaway: “A Match for Emma” by Pepper Basham

A
Match for Emma JustRead Blog Tour Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for A Match for Emma by Pepper Basham, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Match for
Emma by Pepper BashamTitle: A Match for Emma

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: November 21, 2019

Emma Mitchell may enjoy sprinkling romance into the lives of others, but her own plans involve a single first – class ticket to culinary school in Europe. When her best friend, Jon Noble, suddenly moves back to Ransom, Emma’s fairly certain her life can’t get any better…unt il her matchmaking schemes nosedive, her culinary future falls flat, and a life – long friendship begins to teeter on the brink of something unexpected. With a little inspiration from Jane Austen’s classic and a touch of Blue Ridge charm, will Jon and Emma discover that what they need the most may be the last thing they’re trying to find?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

BOOK REVIEW

A Match for Emma is the quintessential contemporary romance with a little Austen, a little Appalachia, and a whole lot of heart. I loved returning to Ransom and the Mitchell clan’s territory for Emma’s story. With subtle nods and influence from Jane Austen’s classic Emma, Pepper Basham weaves a deeper tale of friendship, trust, romance, grace, and even touches on grief and pride through the stories of Jon and Emma. The slow-growing romance has the right amount of tension for the reader to be fully engaged until the promised happily-ever-after!

FB_IMG_1574066627090.jpgIf sweet friends-to-romance is your favorite story trope, you will love Jon and Emma’s journey. In my opinion, the pacing of the romance and beginnings of attraction is portrayed in the “Goldilocks” just right way. Emma and Jon’s dynamic friendship is what MAKES this story fantastic. Emma knows just how to break through his armor, and he knows just when to “speak truth” (if not always how) to help her be a better person.

I appreciate the way Pepper Basham draws on the power of dreams and incorporates it into this story to emphasize that dreams are worth chasing. Retellings are often fun and insightful, but A Match for Emma draws out even deeper parts of the classic characters and sends them on a unique journey all their own. For instance, grief is an unexpected theme; one that is articulated and experienced by Jon in real-life ways. And, Emma’s own struggle with pride and surrender adds layers to her personality. Spiritual themes are incorporated through Emma’s growth especially, allowing her to recognize mistakes and see how God uses all of the pieces of our lives to make a beautiful picture. The supporting characters, both family and friends (ahem Mama Mitchell!) also offer discernment, insight, and wise counsel to Jon and Emma’s lives.

I’m a big fan of Pepper’s stories from the beginning but there is just something special about the Mitchells that hits home for me and is the most relatable. With plenty of good cooking, cupcakes, Scrabble games to root for, Narnia the talking cat, and a Thor look-alike, this novel has enough humor and heart to keep me grinning for a while. I’m already ready for the next Mitchell’s Crossroads story!

Thank you to JustRead tours for the review copy. This is my honest review.

Reviews of the first two books in series: A Twist of Faith & Charming the Troublemaker

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pepper
Basham Pepper Basham is an award – winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her most recent historical romance, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, showcases her Appalachian heritage and family history, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech – language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of choco late, jazz, hats, and Jesus. Her upcoming release, A Match for Emma, is the third book in her popular Mitchell’s Crossroads series. Pepper loves getting to know readers and other authors through social media. You may also learn more about her on her website!

CONNECT WITH PEPPER: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a Paris cube decorative tote, paperback copy of Jane Austen’s Emma, paperback copy of A Match for Emma (or another one of the Mitchell’s Crossroads books, if preferred), a ‘love’ ornament, a mug that reads “You’re my cup of tea”, and Misty Mountain handcrafted soap (made locally) – the scent is Mountain Berries!

A Match for Emma JustRead
Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 9, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on November 16, 2019. Open internationally except where prohibited by law or logistics. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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Review + Blog Tour: “In Sight of the Mountain” by Jamie McGillen

In Sight of the Mountain
by Jamie McGillen

Publication Date: September 4, 2019
The Evergreen Bookshelf
eBook & Paperback; 356 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

~ Inspired by the trailblazing women of the 19th Century who dared to summit Mount Rainier ~

In the devastating aftermath of the 1889 Great Seattle Fire, nineteen-year-old Anna Gallagher faces considerable pressure to marry well and soon.

She has two serious suitors: a well-meaning but condescending doctor, and an evasive fisherman who challenges her mind. But Anna has no intention of giving up her freedom to keep house; she has a dream to reach the summit of Mount Rainier.

Despite her family’s disapproval and her own self-doubt, she secretly trains, raises money for supplies, and buys a train ticket to the base of the mountain. If she succeeds in reaching its icy peak, she could pioneer the way for women mountaineers; but it’s a tall task and there’s much at risk—including the heart of a man who just might love her as an equal.

On the journey, Anna will face glaciers, avalanches, and frozen temperatures, all without knowing if she even has a family or a future to return to.

In Sight of the Mountain is a charming coming-of-age story, but it also casts the reader’s gaze upon issues of colonialism, class, and women’s far-too-narrow options.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Review

In Sight of the Mountain is a bright debut novel from Jamie McGillen. Showcasing a unique point in history in the Pacific northwest at the turn of the 20th century, it follows Anna’s journey as she learns important lessons of strength and dreams.

The relationships in this novel are my favorite part. From family and siblings to friendships and romance, Anna’s life is full of relationships that both teach and encourage her. The romance, in particular, is sweet in its encouragement and the way the hero sees and loves Anna just as she is (quite independent for her time!).

The beautiful descriptions of nature and attention shown to cultures and history are more facets of this story I enjoyed. A little mystery and adventure occurs, too, that adds to the depth of the story, enlightening the immigrant history of the region.

Thank you to HFVB Tours for the review copy. This is my honest review.

Praise

“Focusing on themes of the liberation of women, the American class system and effects of colonialism, this intelligent and heart-warming novel introduces us to Anna Gallagher at the tender age of nineteen… In an epic and gripping work of historical fiction with modern sensibilities, author Jamie McGillen gives you everything you could possibly hope for in this inspiring and dramatic tale… Overall, In Sight of the Mountain is the perfect historical read for fans of pioneering heroes and tales of triumph over discrimination.” –K.C. Finn, Reader’s Favorite (5 Star Review)

“As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, I found it entertaining to try to picture Seattle as a frontier town and see Mount Rainier without its modern trappings. The story begins with the 1889 Seattle fire (a true event) and I was immediately hooked… In all, In Sight of the Mountain is a really great read–compelling, educational, containing complex characters and a well-crafted plot. Recommended for all readers YA and up who enjoy historical fiction. I’d give it more than 5 stars if I could.” –Donna Gielow McFarland, Reader’s Favorite (5 Star Review)

About the Author

Jamie McGillen lives in the shadow of Mount Rainier, and no matter how many times she moves away, it draws her home. Everything about large evergreen trees delights her, except how poky they are, and the sap. Her poems and essays have been published in numerous literary journals, and she teaches English Composition at Highline College. When she’s not teaching or cutting strawberries for her starving children, she enjoys writing rhyming poetry, but it’s simply not as popular as it used to be. You can find out more about her at www.jamiemcgillen.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 18
Review at The Green Mockingbird

Tuesday, November 19
Review at Bookish Rantings

Thursday, November 21
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Friday, November 22
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, November 25
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, November 26
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, November 27
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Friday, November 29
Guest Post at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Monday, December 2
Interview at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 5
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Friday, December 6
Review at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback back copy of In Sight of the Mountain! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Giveaway: In Sight of the Mountain

Review: “The Light Before Day” by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Happy Saturday! I’m featuring a review for a novel I read earlier this year” The Light Before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher. While it is the third in a series, it read like a standalone — I didn’t feel like I was “missing” key information about any of the characters.

About the Book

After three years on a whaling voyage, Henry Macy returns to Nantucket to news that his grandmother has passed, bequeathing her vast fortune to him and his sister, Hitty. And it was truly vast. But Lillian Coffin was no fool. The inheritance comes with a steep cost, including when they should marry and whom–a Quaker in good standing, of course. But if they relinquish the inheritance, it all goes to Tristram Macy, their father’s thieving business partner

As Hitty and Henry seek a way to satisfy the will’s conditions, they’ll be faced with obstacles on every side–and it may be that Lillian Coffin will have the last word after all.

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher surprises and delights with this story of hope and renewal, love and redemption, arriving just when most needed. 

Goodreads | Amazon

Review

A new to me era/setting combo! I don’t think I’ve ever read about Nantucket, or a novel featuring the early settlers and Quakers of that region. That part was fascinating and a unique look at the history of that time, especially some of the social concerns and segregation divides prior to the Civil War. It has a unique storytelling perspective with a brother and sister’s point of view. I can’t recall a historical I’ve read with such a POV (contemporaries yes). I liked how their individual personalities were portrayed and how you see the influence of the same upbringing yet separate uniqueness coming out of it. I was entertained and intrigued by the possibilities within the story for each sibling’s love interest(s). I had predicted one thing near the beginning, but it turned out to be opposite in the end! I liked that surprise.

Things I didn’t like as much: abrupt ending. I thought a few things could’ve been wrapped up more neatly and one or two relationships could have been shown with a little more detail and resolve. I would have felt better about the HEA. And, I was slightly annoyed with the use of Thee as a pronoun. I know, I know, the people of the day spoke like that. But I am not used to hearing it and it seemed used overmuch.

I appreciated the perspective from ancestral journal entries (based on an actual historical figure) that alluded to themes in the current events and shed light on early settlement of Nantucket in the 16-1700s.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy. This is my honest review.

My bookish week: the Christy Awards & The Art of Writing Conference

This week I was extremely fortunate to have been able to attend bookish events in Nashville. Namely, a reader breakfast, the Art of Writing conference, and the Christy Awards Gala. (This is like the Oscars equivalent awards for Christian fiction.)

Image courtesy of The Christy Awards

While there, I met blogger friends in person (finally!), met and reconnected with favorite authors, and made new friends in the bookish sphere. Like any good event, much of this was around or over food, starting with a lovely reader breakfast at Fido, a BBQ lunch with two authors, and dinner at the awards gala.

The entire day was full of memorable moments and engaging speakers who readily shared their hearts and talents with others. It reflected the intent of this industry to uplift, encourage, and point to Christ through story. This all reminded me how thankful I am to be a recipient of this work as a reader and part of the blogging community.

The evening concluded with a delicious dinner and a moving awards ceremony as authors were recognized for various achievements and honored with awards in different categories. You can find a full list of the finalists and winners here. I’ve also linked my reviews of finalists in a list at the bottom of this post.

Congratulations to all the finalists and the winners, and a special congratulations to Patti Callahan for her winning novel Becoming Mrs. Lewis being recognized as Book of the Year, the highest honor.

~ a few photos from my week~

Finalists or winners I’ve reviewed on the blog:

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

The Christmas Heirloom novella collection (novella finalists include those by Kristi Ann Hunter and Sarah Loudin Thomas

With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano

Falling for You by Becky Wade

Wait for Me by Susan May Warren

Review + Blog Tour: “A Gift Like No Other” by Julie Lessman

A Gift Like No Other Tour Banner

About the Book

Her dream is writing. His is the perfect wife and mother. Until God fulfills them both with a dream like no other. Twelve years ago, Faith O’Connor happily gave up her dream as a copywriter to become a wife and mother, clinging to her husband’s promise she could return someday. But when the opportunity arises to write for the Boston Herald again two days a week, her dream hits a snag … along with her marriage. To Collin McGuire, family is everything because he never really had one of his own. Raised by a father who died early and a mother who didn’t care, Collin is determined to give his children the very best with a full-time mother. But when he denies Faith her dream, he soon discovers he’s denied his own as well … until Christmas day brings a healing through a gift like no other.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

About the Author

JULIE_TURQUOISE IN CHAIR (1)

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoys writing close-knit Irish family sagas that evolve into 3-D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together. Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, Heart of San Francisco, Isle of Hope, and Silver Lining Ranch series, Julie was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered over 18 Romance Writers of America and other awards. Voted #1 Romance Author in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie’s novels also made Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2015, Best of 2014, and “Essential Christian Romance Authors” 2017, as well as Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and Borders Best Fiction. Her independent novel A Light in the Window was an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers’ Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner. Julie has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets. Contact Julie through her website and read excerpts from each of her books at http://www.julielessman.com.

GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | TWITTER PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM | AMAZON | WEBSITE NEWSLETTER | THE SEEKERS | JOURNAL JOTS

Review

Whew! Julie Lessman manages to balance sweetly passionate romances with deep spiritual themes and lessons. A Gift Like No Other does this well, showing the power of prayer and trust in the midst of marriage and everyday life. This Christmas novella will be particularly appreciated by readers of her “Daughters of Boston” or “Winds of Change” series because of all the familiar faces and wonderful family dynamics.

As the summary points out, this story is a little spicier in the romantic department while still being delicate and careful. The romantic scenes between husband and wife are necessary to the story because they play an important part of the plot purposes in illustrating negativity, trust issues, and even (rekindled) attraction within a marriage.

I also appreciated the friendship portrayed between Collin and Brady. Knowing each of their histories, it was good to see them supportive of each other — and the dynamic between Faith and her sisters still delightfully the same! The honesty of this story is the best part, with its message of trust and cherishing the gifts God has given. Thank you to SLB Tours for the review copy. This is my honest review.

Giveaway

lessmangiveaway

Enter the giveaway HERE.

Giveaway ends November 12 at 11:59pm MT. Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.

Tour Schedule

Follow along with the tour HERE.

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Review + Blog Tour: “There’s Something About Darcy” by Gabrielle Malcolm

As I’ve heard another blogger say, there is a WHOLE BOOK about Jane Austen’s Fitzwilliam Darcy now! *cue confetti* I am excited to be a part of the blog tour today, sharing my thoughts on this essay-like portrait of a classic character still relevant today.

About the Book

For some, Colin Firth emerging from a lake in that clinging wet shirt is one of the most iconic moments in television. But what is it about the two-hundred-year-old hero that we so ardently admire and love?

Dr Gabrielle Malcolm examines Jane Austen’s influences in creating Darcy’s potent mix of brooding Gothic hero, aristocratic elitist and romantic Regency man of action. She investigates how he paved the way for later characters like Heathcliff, Rochester and even Dracula, and what his impact has been on popular culture over the past two centuries. For twenty-first century readers the world over have their idea of the ‘perfect’ Darcy in mind when they read the novel, and will defend their choice passionately.

In this insightful and entertaining study, every variety of Darcy jostles for attention: vampire Darcy, digital Darcy, Mormon Darcy and gay Darcy. Who does it best and how did a clergyman’s daughter from Hampshire create such an enduring character?

Goodreads | Amazon

Review

Having been an avid fan of Austen’s film adaptations first then a reader of her timeless novels, I was eager to learn the commentary and perspective an entire book on Darcy would provide. There’s Something About Darcy adds interesting insight into Austen’s work and speaks of her influence in the literary world.

Part of this book reads like an essay on the characteristics and lasting impact of Darcy. The portions I like best are the ones denoting the history of Austen and the influences she used to compile such an impactful character, as well as the portions of her contemporaries and early works influenced by Pride & Prejudice.

A later portion of the book notes the modern works and derivatives of Pride & Prejudice, like the various adaptations (TV, film, & literature alike) and each of their merits and unique facets that interpret, add depth, or detract from Darcy and Austen’s original work. I liked this portion, as well, but some of the explanations of these contemporary works are a bit long and spoiler-y.

Overall, this is a unique analysis of Darcy and his role as hero in classic literature and beyond. While some of this work was a little tedious, I still enjoyed the insights and opinions Malcolm shared concerning history and interpretations of Austen.

Thank you to the pubilsher for the review copy. This is my honest review.

Blog Tour