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.

Memorable Monday #68

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Welcome to Memorable Monday! The purpose of Memorable Monday is to showcase an influential book read in the past that still sticks with you today. This fun Monday morning post is hosted by the lovely Becca at The Becca Files.


This week, I am featuring:

A Bride for Keeps

Unexpected Brides #1

by Melissa Jagears

17350829

Amazon

Bride for Keeps is a good debut novel. I thought that, overall, it does a good job of setting up the series. I did find parts of the story a bit slow, but overall a good story. My favorite aspect is the friendships created between the various female characters. If you are in the mood for a sweet romance with a historical setting, this is definitely a book to consider.

About the Book

Everett Cline will never humiliate himself by seeking a mail-order bride. Not again. He’s already been jilted by three mail-order brides and figures a wife just isn’t in his future. However, a well-meaning neighbor hasn’t given up on seeing him settled, so she goes behind his back to bring yet another woman to town for him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. A mail-order marriage in faraway Kansas is a last resort, but she’ll do anything to leave her life in Massachusetts and the heartbreak she’s experienced there.

Although Everett doesn’t see how a beautiful, cultured woman like Julia could be happy sharing his simple life, he could really use a helpmate on his homestead. Determined to prove she’s more than just a pretty face, Julia agrees to a marriage in name only. Faced with the harsh realities of life on the prairie and hesitant to explore the tentative feelings growing between them, can Everett and Julia ever let each other in long enough to fall in love?


NOW IT’S YOUR TURN!

Share a book you’ve read in the past and explain briefly why it’s so memorable to you in the comments below.

If you would like to join Memorable Mondays, check out Becca’s blog site by clicking HERE. Scroll to a Memorable Monday post for info.

First-Line Fridays #118

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The Blizzard Bride

Daughters of the Mayflower #11

by Susanne Dietze

46295161

About the Book

Chicago

December 3, 1887

“Forgive my cryptic invitation to lunch, Miss Bracey, but I dared not go into detail on the chance your post was intercepted.”

Abigail Bracey was not the sort of person whose mail was intercepted.

No one showed the least bit of interest in her monotonous life, but Mr. Welch, the balding gentleman seated across the white-draped table from her, was probably accustomed to others attempting to intercept his correspondence.

I know this is more than one line, but isn’t it fabulous?! In just two sentences we are shown so much about the main character. I love this. Writing like this is why I love Susie Dietze’s novels so much. She is master of saying much in a small number of words. And, I am SOOOOOO excited to read this book. When I learned that Susie was writing a novel for the Daughters of the Mayflower series, I knew I had to get my hands on this book ASAP. Definitely check back soon for my full review.


NOW IT IS YOUR TURN!

GRAB THE BOOK YOU ARE CURRENTLY READING, OPEN TO CHAPTER ONE, AND POST THE FIRST SENTENCE (OR SECOND SENTENCE) IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

THEN HEAD ON OVER TO HOARDING BOOKS TO SEE ALL OF THE FLF PAGES THIS WEEK (JUST CLICK ON THE FLF BUTTON BELOW).

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

His Encouragement #110

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Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday! I don’t know about you, but Thursdays are my struggle day of the week. By Thursday, I have already been working hard at school and at home, and I just wish it would hurry up and be Friday already. LOL! I definitely need a little extra Jesus time on Thursdays.

Trisha, my blogger friend at Joy of Reading, and I decided on calling this post “His Encouragement” because our real source of peace, strength, and security can only come from Jesus Christ. He and He alone is our constant! We pray and hope that these Thursday posts become a real encouragement to you and help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. God bless!


Today’s Thursday Encouragement comes from:

Psalm 32 (ESV)

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Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. 3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

6 Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. 7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. 10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. 11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!


Psalm 32 is one of the most beautiful Psalms in all the Psaltry. In most translations, Psalm 32 is titled, “Blessed are the Forgiven.” We are also told that this Psalm is a “Maskil of David.” Side note, the word maskil is derived from a Hebrew word that means enlightened or wise. I think this is an important idea since the entire Psalm is about sin, asking forgiveness, and being cleansed. The reader of this Psalm would be “wise” to pay close attention to the words in this very important poem!

I did some study and commentators say the best way to analyze this Psalm is to chunk it. You will notice that I have color-coded the Psalm into chunked parts. You may also notice that the chunks fall around the word selah. According to commentators, this is not accidental. They believe selah is a musical notation calling for a pause so that the hearers of the Psalm can contemplate the information discussed in the chunk of text. I like that idea, so today, I want to discuss each segment and I ask that you, dear reader, take a pause to consider the concepts discussed in each chunk. They are filled with super important info from God. Of all the Psalms, I feel that Psalm 32 is a very real love letter to God’s children.

Chunk 1

Transgression, sin, iniquity, and deceit.

These are bad things. Transgression is when we break a rule or law that God has set up for us. Sin is when we miss the mark. Iniquity is gross injustice or wickedness. And, deceit is purposely concealing the truth, purposely misleading someone, or cheating.

Verse 3 is interesting in that when we keep silent about our sins, when we run away from God and others out of shame and guilt because of our sins, our body takes matters into its own hands. Our bones waste away and our soul groans. When we have unconfessed sin our bodies feel wrong. We sigh, our tummies hurt, our chests throb, maybe even our heads ache. We get depressed and maybe a little testy. Our attitudes stink. And, we can’t help but feel heavy, like something is pressing in on us. As David expresses in verse 4, we feel heavy because YAHWEH is pressing on us. It’s His way of calling us to Him so we can have a conversation.

Chunk 2

Take responsibility. Go to God and confess. Hide NOTHING.

God already knows.

Once you go to God, He will forgive you!

Chunk 3

When we finally go to God, we realize the truth that has been staring at us all along — God is our hiding place. He keeps us from trouble. He delivers us FROM OUR SINS. We just have to be in right relationship. We have to offer prayer. And, we have to do it God’s way, not our way. If we do it our way, we may not find God.

Chunk 4

This last chunk is my favorite. It’s written as if God is talking directly to us. He tells us that He is our Teacher. He will train us up the way we need to go. He also tells us that He has His eye upon us. I love that! I love that God sees us.

Then, God gives us a warning: don’t be like mules and horses. This is pretty clear symbolism. Mules are incredibly stubborn and horses have to be broken in order to get them to submit to the will of the owner. What God is saying here is that we need to be wise. Take God at His word. Come to Him when we mess us and ask for forgiveness. Don’t be stubborn. Don’t be the person who has to learn the hard way with stress and guilt and shame eating at your bones. Those who choose to go the hard way will have many sorrows, but those who choose to follow God’s teachings will be surrounded by His steadfast love. Being surrounded by God’s steadfast love is cause for joyous celebration.

To sum up, we all sin. We all make mistakes. “None is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10 ESV). Don’t make yourself sick hiding your sins thinking no one will ever find out. No one can survive that two-faced kind of life. Instead, be wise and go to GOD! He’s waiting for you so He can instruct you, protect you, and surround you with His incomparable, steadfast love.

God is always the answer. AMEN and AMEN!


NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN!

WHAT BIBLICAL VERSE IS ENCOURAGING YOU TODAY?

Check out more Thursday Encouragement from my fellow blogger friends:

Trisha @ Joy of Reading

Jacquelyn @ A Heavenly Home

Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective

Becca @ The Becca Files

Gina @ Stories by Gina

Rebecca @ Rev. Rebecca Writes

Andi @ Radiant Light

Leslie @ Edits & Reviews by Leslie

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.

Memorable Monday #67

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Welcome to Memorable Monday! The purpose of Memorable Monday is to showcase an influential book read in the past that still sticks with you today. This fun Monday morning post is hosted by the lovely Becca at The Becca Files.


This week, I am featuring:

The Painter’s Daughter

by Julie Klassen

24974122

Amazon

The Painter’s Daughter was one of the first Klassen novels I had ever read. I absolutely loved this superb story. It’s so well written that the pages fly. And, the characters are excellent. The Painter’s Daughter is definitely a story that sticks with the reader days and weeks after finishing it. If you have not yet read this book, I highly recommend adding it to your TBR pile today.

About the Book

Sophie Dupont, daughter of a portrait painter, assists her father in his studio, keeping her own artwork out of sight. She often walks the cliffside path along the north Devon coast, popular with artists and poets. It’s where she met the handsome Wesley Overtree, the first man to tell her she’s beautiful.

Captain Stephen Overtree is accustomed to taking on his brother’s neglected duties. Home on leave, he’s sent to find Wesley. Knowing his brother rented a cottage from a fellow painter, he travels to Devonshire and meets Miss Dupont, the painter’s daughter. He’s startled to recognize her from a miniature portrait he carries with him–one of Wesley’s discarded works. But his happiness plummets when he realizes Wesley has left her with child and sailed away to Italy in search of a new muse.

Wanting to do something worthwhile with his life, Stephen proposes to Sophie. He does not offer love, or even a future together, but he can save her from scandal. If he dies in battle, as he believes he will, she’ll be a respectable widow with the protection of his family.

Desperate for a way to escape her predicament, Sophie agrees to marry a stranger and travel to his family’s estate. But at Overtree Hall, her problems are just beginning. Will she regret marrying Captain Overtree when a repentant Wesley returns? Or will she find herself torn between the father of her child and her growing affection for the husband she barely knows?


NOW IT’S YOUR TURN!

Share a book you’ve read in the past and explain briefly why it’s so memorable to you in the comments below.

If you would like to join Memorable Mondays, check out Becca’s blog site by clicking HERE. Scroll to a Memorable Monday post for info.

First-Line Friday #117

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Veiled in Smoke

The Windy City Saga, #1

by Jocelyn Green

46125026

About the Book

Chicago

Thursday, September 28, 1871

Meg’s father was gone. Again.

Oh. My. Goodness. This book is AMAZING! I devoured this novel in two days because I simply could not put it down. I may have even stayed up one night until 3 AM reading. I promise to have a more succinct review for release week but suffice to say pre-order this book today. This is one you just have to read!!! In fact, click HERE — it will take you straight to Jocelyn’s novel on AMAZON***.

***I get nothing financial if you click the link to Amazon. I am not affiliated with Amazon in any way other than being a binge book shopper. I just want you to buy Jocelyn’s novel because it is fantastic, and you deserve a fantastic read! 😉 😍


NOW IT IS YOUR TURN!

GRAB THE BOOK YOU ARE CURRENTLY READING, OPEN TO CHAPTER ONE, AND POST THE FIRST SENTENCE (OR SECOND SENTENCE) IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

THEN HEAD ON OVER TO HOARDING BOOKS TO SEE ALL OF THE FLF PAGES THIS WEEK (JUST CLICK ON THE FLF BUTTON BELOW).

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books