The Thief of Lanwyn Manor (2020) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: Read an Excerpt + My Thoughts

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About the Book

Thief of Lanwyn ManorBook: The Thief of Lanwyn Manor

Series: Cornwall #2

Author: Sarah E. Ladd

Genre: Regency Romance

Release Date: January 7, 2020

In this sweet Regency romance, Julia knows Matthew Blake, copper mine owner and very eligible bachelor, is the gentleman she should set her eyes upon. But why can’t she steal her gaze away from his younger brother, Isaac?

Cornwall, England 1818—Julia Twethewey needs a diversion to mend her broken heart, so when her cousin invites her to Lanwyn Manor, Julia eagerly accepts. Lanwyn Manor is at the heart of Cornwall’s mining industry, and as a guest, Julia is swept into its intricate world. It’s not long, though, before she realizes something dark lurks in the home’s ancient halls.

As a respected mine owner’s younger son, Isaac Blake is determined to keep his late father’s legacy alive through the family business, despite his brother’s careless attitude. In order to save their livelihood—and the livelihood of those around them—the brothers approach the master of Lanwyn Manor with plans to bolster the floundering local industry. Isaac can’t deny his attraction to the man’s charming niece, but his brother has made his intentions to court the lovely guest clear. And Isaac knows his place.

When tragedy strikes, mysteries arise, and items go missing, Julia and Isaac find they are pulled together in a swirl of strange circumstances, but despite their own best efforts to bow to social expectations, their hearts aren’t so keen to surrender.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

sarahladdSarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for The Heiress of Winterwood. She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing family and spunky golden retriever.

Website  ℘  Facebook  ℘  Twitter

Read an Excerpt

Click HERE to read an excerpt from The Thief of Lanwyn Manor.

My Thoughts

The Thief of Lanwyn Manor may be Sarah Ladd’s best novel yet. This story has it all — mystery, intrigue, suspense, and romance. This is the kind of story I hated to have to put down. The plot is super engaging. The characters are extremely well written. The writing is stellar; I felt like I was inside the story actively watching everything play out. The Thief of Lanwyn Manor is a story I won’t soon forget.

wp-1579229570635.jpgIsaac Blake is my favorite. He is a dreamboat of a hero — he’s manly and protective, he is handsome and compassionate, and he is honorable and intelligent. He always wants to make the right choice because he never wants to let anyone down or cause anyone unnecessary pain. Unfortunately for Isaac, his sense of never letting anyone down is so strong he sometimes becomes inactive and doesn’t make any decision at all. He gets so caught up in what could potentially go wrong that he becomes stagnant. A pastor I love to listen to — Alistair Begg — once said, “Tomorrow is the devil’s favorite word.” The idea here is that sometimes we put off today what we should do because we allow our fears to get the better of us. When this happens, we’re putting off God’s work. Isaac, because of his fear of failing others, has become very good at saying, “not today.” If God sets things up for us, it is our duty to overcome our fears and worries today so we can accomplish God’s will for us. Easier said than done, I know, but a great reminder for us today for sure. Does Isaac learn his lesson and overcome? Well, you’ll just have to purchase a copy of The Thief of Lanwyn Manor to find out!

The Thief of Lanwyn Manor is a highly engaging, well-written novel I highly recommend. Sarah Ladd is a fabulous storyteller, and I look forward to the third installment in this outstanding series.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


BLOG STOPS

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Texas Book-aholic, January 15

Through the Fire Blogs, January 16

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Wishful Endings, January 16

deb’s Book Review, January 16

Betti Mace, January 17

KarenSueHadley, January 17

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, January 17

Robin’s Nest, January 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 18

The Christian Fiction Girl, January 19

Remembrancy, January 19

Books, Life, and Christ, January 19

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, January 20

My Devotional Thoughts, January 20

Hallie Reads, January 20

Blogging With Carol, January 20

Kat’s Corner Books, January 21

Life of Literature, January 21

Danielle Lozada, January 21

She Lives to Read, January 22

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 22

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 22

By The Book, January 23

Blossoms and Blessings, January 23

SPLASHES of Joy, January 23

My Precious Bits and Musings, January 24

Mary Hake, January 24

Back Porch Reads, January 24

Daysong Reflections, January 24

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 25

Mamma Loves Books, January 25

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 25

Hookmeinabook, January 26

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, January 26

Simple Harvest Reads, January 26 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

The Blizzard Bride (2020)

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About the Book

wp-1578790368833.jpgBook:  The Blizzard Bride

Series: Daughters of the Mayflower #11

Author: Susanne Dietze

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: January 15, 2020 (eBook), February 1, 2020 (paperback)

A Blizzard Changes Everything

Abigail Bracey arrives in Nebraska in January 1888 to teach school…and to execute a task for the government: to identify a student as the hidden son of a murderous counterfeiter—the man who killed her father.

Agent Dashiell Lassiter doesn’t want his childhood sweetheart Abby on this dangerous job, especially when he learns the counterfeiter is now searching for his son, too, and he’ll destroy anyone in his way. Now Dash must follow Abby to Nebraska to protect her…if she’ll let him within two feet of her. She’s still angry he didn’t fight to marry her six years ago, and he never told her the real reason he left her.

All Dash wants is to protect Abby, but when a horrifying blizzard sweeps over them, can Abby and Dash set aside the pain from their pasts and work together to catch a counterfeiter and protect his son—if they survive the storm?

Click HERE to purchase your eBook copy!

Click HERE to pre-order your paperback copy!

My Thoughts

The Blizzard Bride by Susanne Dietze is a wild ride. I mean the kind of ride that leaves the reader holding her breath and clinging to the edge of her seat. These Daughters of the Mayflower novels are excellent, and with each subsequent novel, they just keep getting better and better. Just when I think, “Aw, that book was the best!”, another story comes out and blows me away with its awesomeness. The Blizzard Bride packs a serious punch in only 256 pages and is definitely one of my favorites in this series.

Abby, the heroine of The Blizzard Bride, has had a rough few years. The love of her life up and left her with NO explanation, her father was murdered, she and her mother lost everything because of his death — their finances, their home, and their social standing. Eventually, Abby’s mother dies from a broken heart. And, Abby has broken ties with God. If He is going to abandon her, she thinks, then she will abandon Him. In six year’s time, Abby has slowly become a bitter, angry, and spite-filled woman bent on making the villains pay. She has closed herself off — no God, no friends, no loved ones. Abby figures that if she is closed off from everyone and everything she will save herself from getting hurt. But then Abby meets curmudgeonly Mr. Yates and sees a glimpse into what her future will be if she continues her path of anger and isolation. So Abby makes the only choice she can — she befriends Mr. Yates. She recognizes that, like her, Mr. Yates has some serious trauma that’s not been properly dealt with, and so reaches out to him in an attempt to get them both back on the right track.

wp-1578790368864.jpgThis subplot in The Blizzard Bride provides an excellent warning to us all — it is imperative that we deal with our lives with God, or we will end up alone and deeply hurting. This actually makes me think of Psalm 32:2-3 (ESV; my emphasis): “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groanings all day long.” When Abby stops and really takes a look at Mr. Yates she sees dark, deep pouches under his eyes, a permanent downcast to his mouth, tight, crossed arms, and stooped shoulders. Clearly, Mr. Yate’s anger, hatred, and alienation have worn him down and he is wasting away. Abby comes to understand as David does in this Psalm, that unconfessed pain and sin eat at us and hurts our physical and spiritual selves. Abby realizes that she must turn back to God, speak her feelings, confess her sins, and ask for forgiveness. Mrs. Dietze’s subplot beautifully points out that when we turn to the One who can truly heal, we find the real peace we need in order to move beyond the hurts of our past.

As I stated above, this book packs a punch. In fact, it contains multitudes. There are super endearing characters that I won’t soon forget. A winter storm that terrified me. In fact, I didn’t take a full breath for three chapters because the storm is that intense. The romance is sweet and the mystery is captivating. All in all, The Blizzard Bride is a great read I highly recommend. This book is another home run by Susie Dietze.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via her publisher, Barbour Books through NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

An Uncommon Woman (2020) — Release Day, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

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♥♥♥ HAPPY RELEASE DAY ♥♥♥

About the Book

wp-1578193266907.jpgBook:  An Uncommon Woman

Author: Laura Frantz

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: January 7, 2020

Unflinching and plainspoken, Tessa Swan is not your typical 18th-century woman. Born and bred on the western Virginia frontier along with her five brothers, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Quiet and courageous, Clay Tygart is not your typical 18th-century man. Raised by Lenape Indians, he returns a hero from the French and Indian War to the fort that bears his name, bringing with him Tessa’s long-lost friend, Keturah, a redeemed Indian captive like himself.

Determined to avoid any romantic entanglements as fort commander, Clay remains aloof whenever he encounters the lovely Tessa. But when she is taken captive by the tribe Clay left, his hand–and heart–are forced, leading to one very private and one very public reckoning.

Intense, evocative, and laced with intricate historical details that bring the past to life, An Uncommon Woman will transport you to the picturesque and dangerous western Virginia mountains of 1770.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Tessa Swan is an amazing woman. She is bright, passionate, and strong-willed. She is also beautiful, compassionate, and hard-working. But, Tessa is also just like every woman who’s ever walked the face of this earth — she, too, has insecurities and fears and doubts. While it is clear that Clay, the fabulous hero of An Uncommon Woman, is very attracted to Tessa for a plethora of reasons, Tessa still worries that she is not good enough for him. I completely understand Tessa’s feelings, as unfounded as they may be. For the most part, I’m pretty confident in the woman God has made me, but every now and then I, too, struggle with thoughts that I’m not good enough or pretty enough or skinny enough or smart enough for my husband. In Tessa’s case, she knows that Clay has access to genteel, upper-class women, women who have access to the best clothes money can buy and are always put together daintily and prettily. These women definitely do not have grime under their nails from working the land. Tessa has a blessed life — she’s educated where most are not, she has a loving family, and her needs are definitely met — but Tessa works for a living. Her hands are not pristine and her clothes are workworn. How could she ever compare to a back-east belle?

What I love so much about Tessa is she refuses to give in to these depressing thoughts and comparisons. In fact, a verse from Proverbs 31 comes to mind, which “renews her courage and straightens her shoulders” (113). She acknowledges that she may not be fancy like the ladies back east, but she does have the Bible to strengthen her. Tessa understands that God has made her a woman of strength and honor no matter how humble her circumstances (113). Isn’t this so beautiful? And it’s super encouraging too. Our worth as women is established by the loving Creator who made us, not by fickle society. Tessa’s example of going to her Bible to be reminded of how God sees her is the BEST message, and a reminder I think a lot of us ladies need today. The next time I’m feeling a little uncertain in my skin, when I’m feeling a little down or frumpy, I’m going to do what Tessa does — I’m going to go to God so He can remind me of my true value.

An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz is a beautiful illustration of a Proverbs 31 woman hard at work. Tessa Swan is a superb heroine, and I am really going to miss her. She is a heroine I will remember long after finishing this book! If you are looking for a story that is well-crafted and beautifully penned, that takes you on a journey during a tumultuous time in our American history, and that is delightfully romantic, I highly recommend An Uncommon Woman. It’s truly a breathtaking story!

I received a review copy of this novel in paperback form from the author via her publisher, Revell. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

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I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy of An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz. My giveaway begins today, 1-7-20 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Saturday, 1-11-20 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!

Congrats to Patty R.!

You have won this giveaway. Thank you for participating. I appreciate your support!

***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** One winner will be notified via email at the end of the giveaway and will be announced here on this page. For full giveaway disclosures and policies, click HERE.

Misleading Miss Verity (2019) + Giveaway

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About the Book

FB_IMG_1575760493384.jpgBook: Misleading Miss Verity

Series: Regency Bride: Daughters of Aynsley #3

Author: Carolyn Miller

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: November 26, 2019

Verity Hatherleigh has a mind of her own—but her actions do not impress her viscount papa. When she gets into one scrape too many, he sends her off to the wilds of Scotland to rethink her headstrong ways.

Anthony Jardine relished his role as curate, but his new duties as laird of Dungally aren’t always to his liking. Though he thought his new inheritance would be a blessing, somehow he’s finding nothing but trouble on these estates. And the intelligent, compassionate, feisty lass who was sent to rusticate in his territory is one of the biggest problems. He’s falling in love with her, but she doesn’t share the faith that’s his foundation—not to mention he’s been lying to her about who he really is. For the truth-loving Verity, that may be unforgivable.

The tangled web these two have woven may spell disaster for their happiness—and for the tenants of Dungally.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

I have a difficult time saying goodbye. Whether it’s my favorite aunt leaving after a fun visit or the last twenty-five pages in the final novel of a series, I struggle to let go. Confession time — I’ve had a copy of Misleading Miss Verity sitting on my desk for a while now, but I just couldn’t face saying farewell to a series I have loved and enjoyed SO much. I finally did it though; I devoured the pages in a few sittings, and then took some days to digest all the amazingness that is Misleading Miss Verity. What a fantastic story! Verity and Anthony are excellent characters. Their love story is my absolute favorite of all Ms. Miller’s stories. I was so engaged the entire read I could not put the book down. And the themes are so timely. Truly, Misleading Miss Verity is a superb Regency novel.

Verity pulled at my heartstrings the entire story. I so badly wanted to reach into the pages of this novel and mom-hug her so hard. Like Verity, I have never felt like I belonged in my family. To call me the black sheep would be an understatement. On more occasions than not, I have left my family gatherings devastated. I know God doesn’t make mistakes, but it sometimes feels like I’m the mistake in my family. Verity has always felt like a mistake. If only she were born a boy, then maybe her mom and dad would love her. You see, Verity’s older sisters are perfect. They are exactly who their parents dreamed them to be. But Verity — Verity is wrong in every way. Kind of like me and my brothers. It is very clear that my brothers can do no wrong while I can do no right. But what I love so much about Verity is she doesn’t change who she is to please her family. She knows who she is and she accepts herself as God made her, impetuousness and all. Being OK with who we are is exactly what God wants because He does not make mistakes! If He wanted us to be the way our parents wanted, He would have made us that way.

My mom is amazing. I love her so much, but her criticisms and disappointment in who I am have caused me a lot of emotional pain. I believe her heart has always been in the right place, she does want what best for me. I just wish who I am was good enough for her. Verity’s mom, however, is beyond rough. She is downright mean. The constant negative remarks about Verity wear Verity down. Reading Misleading Miss Verity made me think about how I am as a mom. When I think of my daughter, a smile as big as Texas forms on my face. I love my kid. I think she is amazing. She is so goofy, intelligent, witty, caring, and resilient. She loves so much. I genuinely admire her spunk, creativity, and people skills. I don’t want my daughter to ever feel like a mistake. I know what it is like to be a Verity. I know how crushing it feels to never meet parental expectations no matter how hard one tries. Because of this, I make it a daily concerted effort to remind my daughter that both God and I believe she was made to fulfill an amazing purpose — God’s purpose. My daughter is no mistake, and I always tell her and show her that I love her exactly as she is.

Carolyn Miller is my favorite Regency-era novelist. Her writing style is superb, her characters are endearing and relatable, and her plots are some of the most engaging I’ve ever encountered. Misleading Miss Verity is Ms. Miller’s best novel to date, and I’m really going to miss my time with these fabulous characters. But, I do look forward to all Carolyn Miller has in store for us readers in the future. I’m positive it will be as exceptional as the Daughters of Aynsley series is.

I received a review copy of this novel in paperback form from the publisher, Kregel Publications. I also purchased an eBook copy from Amazon on November 26, 2019, to read and review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

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I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy of Misleading Miss Verity by Carolyn Miller. My giveaway begins today, 12-10-19 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Saturday, 12-14-19 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!

Congrats to Amy S.!

You have won this giveaway. Thank you for participating. I appreciate your support!

***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** One winner will be notified via email at the end of the giveaway and will be announced here on this page. For full giveaway disclosures and policies, click HERE.

The Rebel Bride (2019)

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About the Book

9781643522401__94802.1569954518 (1).jpgBook: The Rebel Bride

Series: Daughters of the Mayflower #10

Author: Shannon McNear

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: December 1, 2019

Can Love Form Amidst Tensions of War?

During the clash between Union and Confederacy, quiet Tennessean Pearl MacFarlane is compelled to nurse both Rebel and Yankee wounded who seek refuge at her family’s farm. She is determined to remain unmoved by the Yankee cause—until she faces the silent struggle of Union soldier Joshua Wheeler, a recent amputee. The MacFarlane family fits no stereotype Joshua believed in; still, he is desperate to regain his footing—as a soldier, as a man, as a Christian—in the aftermath of his debilitating injury. He will use his time behind enemy lines to gather useful intelligence for the Union—if the courageous Rebel woman will stay out of the line of danger.

Click here to pre-order your copy today!

My Thoughts

I’ve greatly enjoyed the Daughters of the Mayflower series. What I’ve appreciated the most is finding new-to-me authors such as Kathleen Y’Barbo, MaryLu Tyndall, and Shannon McNear. Honestly, all of the authors who have written for this series are amazing, but I have to say that Ms. McNear is a stand-out to me. I was completely blown away by The Cumberland Bride, and now with The Rebel Bride, I can confidently say that McNear is a novelist I will definitely follow. The Rebel Bride is superb storytelling. The plot is outstanding, the conflict is so engaging I couldn’t help but stay up late into the night turning pages, Pearl and Josh’s romance had me swooning, and the history is so artfully brought to life I felt like I was in Tennessee in 1863. Truly, The Rebel Bride is an amazing ride!

To keep things simple, I’ve created a list detailing why I love this book.

  • The conflict between Pearl and Josh is perfect. A Confederate woman falls in love with a Unionist soldier. Talk about compelling the reader to turn page after page! On their own, Pearl and Josh are unique characters. Pearl is feisty and strong and courageous and so hardworking. And her faith! I long to have faith like Pearl. Josh is rugged, handsome, polite, and so strong. And his need to protect Pearl — be still my heart! Separate, as unique characters, Pearl and Josh are great, but together they are an amazing couple. And the chemistry between the two is perfect. I love how their relationship builds over the course of the story — very genuine and realistic.
  • PhotoCollage_20191126_213002842.jpgI love that historically speaking Ms. McNear wrote the truth. She didn’t sugarcoat or romanticize anything. The Civil War was truly awful and it killed thousands upon thousands of men. Not all men for the Union fought to free slaves. In fact, many men in the Union were worried about losing jobs to the now-freed slaves. And, many Southerners found slavery repugnant. What they hated was a government forcing its will upon sovereign states. Isn’t that why America fought against the tyrannous British during the Revolutionary War? What I appreciate about The Rebel Bride is that McNear does an excellent job of illustrating a realistic portrayal of the men and women and children affected by the Civil War. There are no stereotypes in this story, and it really gets the reader thinking.
  • My most favorite aspect of this novel is the illustration of relying on God. Pearl is forced to open her home to the enemy. Not only is she forced to give her enemy food and shelter, but she is also required to care for them and nurse them back to health. On her own, Pearl is incapable of such a task. But with God, Pearl is able to rise above her circumstances and her very real feelings and do what needs doing. At first, it is awful. She goes to God often. She is in prayer every minute she can spare, and her earthly father quotes apt Bible verses to help keep her on track. Over time, Pearl does come to see that her notions about the enemy are mostly incorrect and that the men who have come to her for care are men just like her brothers, cousin, and father. But she never would have been able to get to this point if it weren’t for God.

I could go on and on about how excellent this novel is, but I won’t because I don’t want to spoil a single thing. Suffice to say, The Rebel Bride is an excellent novel — one I cannot recommend enough. Purchase a copy for yourself today. You will not be disappointed!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Barbour Books, via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Diamond in the Rough (2019)

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About the Book

71faGxsNs4L.jpgBook: Diamond in the Rough

Series: American Heiresses #2

Author: Jen Turano

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: September 3, 2019

When Miss Poppy Garrison accepts her grandmother’s offer of financial help for her family in exchange for Poppy joining the New York social season, she quickly realizes she is far less equipped to mingle with the New York Four Hundred than even she knew. As she becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, becoming the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs her to be looks more impossible by the day.

Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, is in New York to help his cousin find an American heiress who can help save his family’s estate. But when his very proper British manners lead Poppy’s grandmother to request he teach etiquette to Poppy, he quickly finds himself in for much more than he bargained for.

And while they couldn’t be more opposite, Reginald and Poppy just might find they have more to teach each other than they ever could have expected.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

When I was a little girl, my most favorite TV show was Three’s Company. I had a serious little-girl crush on Jack Tripper. I thought he was the funniest man ever. There was this one episode where Jack and Janet and Terri are at a barn. I cannot remember why they were there, but I can remember how funny Jack was. He was so inept at farmwork it was hilarious. He fell from a hayloft, he couldn’t milk a cow, and he smacked himself in the face with the handle end of a hoe. This one episode had little-girl me dying I was laughing so hard.

Why am I telling you this? Because Diamond in the Rough by Jen Turano filled me with the same level of joy I felt when I was a little girl watching Three’s Company. Later in life, I would learn that John Ritter’s style of comedy is called slapstick, and I became quite a fan of the physical comedy schtick. I can say with certainty that when it comes to writing, Jen Turano is the queen of slapstick. There are so many delightful moments in Diamond in the Rough where I laughed out loud. Poppy Garrison, the heroine of this novel, is a veritable force to be reckoned with, and mayhem follows her at every turn. She is awesome!!!

My most favorite character is Murray. He may be the most endearing character I’ve ever had the delight to encounter, and his growth from page one to the end is superb. I quite literally cheered Murray on the whole story. Around the 60% mark, Murray makes a realization, and I found his realization to be a stellar reminder for me too. Due to earlier mayhem in the novel, Poppy, Reginald, and Murray meet a young girl named Maria. Maria and her family have fallen on hard times and now live in a rough part of town. Maria sells flowers. In an effort to help Maria’s family, Poppy, Reginald, and Murray pay exorbitant amounts of money for Maria’s flowers. Maria protests that they are giving too much but Murray counters, “I have plenty of money, Maria, but you’ve just had me realizing that I’ve never appreciated that before, nor have I ever done anything worthwhile with the money I have. You’ll be allowing me to feel useful for once if you simply accept my gift. Your Christmas present to me.”

I love this teachable moment so much! It reminds me to count my blessings and take stock in myself. Am I utilizing my blessings the way God wants? Am I filled with gratitude, or have I turned into a woman who takes God’s blessings for granted? As Murray realizes in Diamond in the Rough, I too need to make sure that I am giving thanks to God for His blessings in my life, and I need to make sure that I am honoring God by being a good steward of those blessings.

Diamond in the Rough by Jen Turano is a literary gem. I thoroughly enjoyed every second spent reading this novel, and I will miss these characters greatly. If you are in the need for a well written, hilarious, and endearing read this holiday season, I highly recommend Diamond in the Rough. You will love this book!

I purchased an eBook copy of this novel from Amazon on September 3, 2019, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

The Bright Unknown (2019) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: A Guest Post & My Thoughts + A Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Bright Unknown FB Banner

About the Book

cover Bright UnkownBook: The Bright Unknown

Author: Elizabeth Byler Younts

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: October 22, 2019

Two young friends embark upon an epic journey across 1940s middle America in search of answers, a family, and a place to call home.

The only kind of life Brighton Turner understands is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of a rural Pennsylvania asylum. A nurse has thoughtfully educated and raised Brighton, but she has also kept vital information from her in order to keep her close. Brighton befriends a boy whom she calls Angel—he doesn’t know his name—and as the two of them learn more about what lies beyond the walls they call home, they fight for their release and eventually escape.

However, the world outside the only place they’ve ever known is not what they expect. They have no real names, no money, and no help—and they must rely upon the kindness of strangers as they walk and hitchhike from Pennsylvania to Michigan to find their last hope of a home.

This heartbreaking journey, narrated in gorgeous prose, explores what it means to belong—and to scour the universe with fresh eyes for the brightness within.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Elizabeth Younts

Elizabeth Byler Younts gained a worldwide audience through her first book, Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Solace of Water and the Promise of Sunrise series. Elizabeth lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, her two daughters, and a small menagerie of well-loved pets.

More from Elizabeth

The Bright Unknown was born out of a seed of a true story that my husband’s grandmother, Gigi, shared with me. Gigi told me that when she was a young girl living in Oklahoma her mom had a friend who was a nurse. During one of her visits over coffee, she would occasionally talk about her patients at the local asylum. One particular story really intrigued Gigi and even decades later she still remembered it. The story was about a patient who had a baby while at the hospital and while Gigi remembers nothing about the patient or the child, she knew that when she moved out of Oklahoma several years later that asylum-born girl was around eighteen and still living within the walls of that hospital along with her patient-mother.

That story stuck with me. This trapped girl and her mother wouldn’t let me go. I began to wonder over her and ask all sorts of unanswered questions. Slowly but surely my imagined story for her came to life. Layer after layer I learned about Brighton, my name for her. I also named two characters after Gigi, her first and middle, as an honor to her. This story was born from a memory but now these characters feel real and present in my life today and I hope you will journey with them in The Bright Unknown.

My Thoughts

I was born on April 25, 1981, at 4:16 p.m. in a traditional hospital setting. The name on my birth certificate reads Nicole Patricia Durso. I was always told that I was named after my father — Nicholas Patrick Durso — because I was firstborn and every firstborn on my dad’s side of the family is named Nicholas Patrick. I accepted this story but thought it sounded kind of fishy. I appreciated the connection to my father and grandfather and great grandfather, but I’ve always believed this tradition should have been kept through the male line. When I got a little bit older, I had to do a family tree project for school and discovered that this name thing was grossly incorrect. Most all of the men on my dad’s side of the family are NOT named Nicholas or Nicholas Patrick.

So, I confronted my mother: “What gives, mom? Why was I named Nicole Patricia?” She confessed that I was actually supposed to be named Elise Marie. My dad was really struggling with impending fatherhood while my mom was pregnant with me, and she was worried. So much so that when the recording nurse took down my vitals after I was born my mom loudly informed her that I was to be named Nicole Patricia. Why did my mom pull this switcheroo? Because she believed sharing a name with my father would make him less scared to be a dad, and it would bond us better. My mom was afraid my dad wouldn’t love me if I was called Elise Marie.

In The Bright Unknown names are important. Names are our identities. They become a vessel upon which our personalities are shaped. In a very real way, names are who we are. I am Nicole Patricia. I am not Elise Marie. That’s someone else or no one at all. Names are so important that if they’re stripped from us we become lost. Brighton and Angel, the heroine and hero of The Bright Unknown, go through many “Who am I?” moments, and at certain points become unnamed and lost. It’s actually quite painful to watch these two characters go through these periods.

This topic really weighed heavy on me for a couple of days, so much so I had to turn to my Bible. What does God say about names, about knowing us, and about our identities? In Jeremiah 1:5, God tells us that He knew us BEFORE He formed us in our mother’s wombs, and in Isaiah 49:16, God tells us that He has engraved His kids on the palms of His hands. Can you imagine that?! On God’s hands — His beautiful, perfect hands — are our names, and my name is Nicole Patricia. And, if Brighton and Angel were real, their names would be on God’s hands too. The point is no matter what humans do here on earth to make us invisible, worthless, or unimportant God knew us, knows us now, and forever sees our names on His palms. Can I get an AMEN?!

The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts is a masterpiece. This novel is beyond excellent. It is poignant, heartbreaking, refreshing, and so filled with hope. I thoroughly loved every second spent with Brighton and Angel and will miss them now that I have turned the final page. It goes without saying that I highly (times infinity) recommend this must-read story.

I received a review copy of this novel in paperback form from the author via Celebrate Lit. I also purchased an eBook copy and an audio copy of this novel to review.  In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


Rafflecopter Giveaway (hosted by The Christian Fiction Girl)

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I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy of The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts. This giveaway is NOT part of the Celebrate Lit Tour. My giveaway begins today, 11-3-19 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Thursday, 11-7-19 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!

Congrats to Shannon W.!

You have won this giveaway. Thank you for participating. I appreciate your support!

***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** One winner will be notified via email at the end of the giveaway and will be announced here on this page. For full giveaway disclosures and policies, click HERE.


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