Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“The Memory House” by Rachel Hauck ~ Book Review/ An I Read With Audra Blog Tour & Giveaway

 

 

“The Memory House” by Rachel Hauck

Review copy through I Read With Audra 

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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About the Book:

When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that, either.

Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share.

Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.

Click here to read an excerpt!

Click HERE to order your copy.

My Thoughts:

 

I think this might be my favorite Rachel Hauck book yet. The story drew me in immediately, and I fell in love with the characters. They were each so realistic and believable, and I loved getting to know them. Especially Beck – I think her story was my favorite. But I love how both stories of this split-timeline novel were woven together and complemented each other so much, creating one full and beautiful story.
The faith strand, while fairly subtle, was very well-written and I loved the impact it had on each character.
The Memory House itself sounds fabulous – I would love to visit that house, let alone live there!!
I also loved how the history of each character was slowly unwrapped and we only saw the complete picture at the very end.
Oh, and while I am not much of a dog-person, I really liked Beatle-boo, and how Beck nurtered him so well.
It was a very calming, lovely, and engaging story, and I loved it very much. Definitely recommend it, especially if you’ve enjoyed the author’s previous works!
The Memory House

Giveaway!

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To enter the giveaway, click on the image above, or go HERE.

 

 

About the Author:

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Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York TimesUSA Today and Wall Street Journalbestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie.

Rachel has been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

At home, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically.

A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day.

She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

For more information, visit www.rachelhauck.comFacebook (@rachelhauck)Twitter (@RachelHauck) and Instagram (@rachelhauck).

 

 

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*I received a copy of this novel  from the author/publisher via Audra Jennings at I Read With Audra. All thoughts expressed are my own; I was not paid to give a positive review.

Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“Dance With Me” by A.M. Heath ~ Book Review/Blog Tour

Blog tour Dancer

Welcome to one of the last stops on this fun blog tour! Join me in celebrating the release of A.M. Heath’s newest book, “Dance With Me” – you will find my review below, and continue scrolling to enter the giveaway!

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“Dance With Me” by A.M. Heath

Book #1 in the An Art of Love series (can be read as stand-alones)

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

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About the Book:

Will a new partnership tear their worlds apart … or will it be the piece they never knew was missing?

In 1959, Arleen Thatcher and Neil Fox are fierce competitors on the dance floor, so they’re the least likely pair to enter a televised competition together. But when rivaling studio owners decide to team up, the two will find a partnership they never thought possible. 
Arleen’s reputation around town is reason enough for Neil to keep his distance from his new partner. But as Neil gets to know Arleen, he discovers a side of her few others have seen, one of dark family secrets and carefully-constructed facades.
God’s plan for their partnership may involve more than a single dance; it may be the key to the healing Arleen so desperately needs. 

The Art of Love series is compiled of stand-alone novels where the characters tell their own stories and love means so much more than passion.

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My Thoughts:

 

I love dancing. Let me rephrase that; I love the idea of dancing and watching other talented people dance. ;) I have never been very skilled at it myself, but it is a joy to watch, and such a pleasure to read a book where the main characters were professional dancers. In the 50’s no less! I loved mentally picturing each scene as it unfolded. The writing style made that particularly easy to do. Written in first person, it felt like you were right there with the characters.
The story starts out in 2010, switching back to 1959 and then jumps back to 2010 once or twice more before settling in the past story. At first, that had me a little leery, because split-timeline novels aren’t my favorite cup o’ tea, but at the end, as I saw the big picture and we are again brought to 2010, I found this method to work well in this setting. It wasn’t split up much at all, but it added a sweet touch , as the couple look back on their story.
The main characters were both very realistic and flawed, and yet relatable. My heart went out to Arleen as soon as I got to know her. Every person has a back story; something that molds them into who they are.
I really enjoyed the faith-message. It was very soft-spoken, but also pivotal to the plot.
The romance was rather unique, and very sweet. I very much enjoyed this novel!
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I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review.  
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About the Author:
A.M. Heath breaks out as a Christian novelist with the 2014 release of Where Can I Flee, inspired by her love of Christ and 19th century American history.

Being raised in a small Tennessee town, A.M. Heath grew up with a love for southern history and nostalgia. Her husband and 4 children embrace the small town lifestyle and southern standard of back porch relaxing, tea sipping, homemade comfort food, strong Christian values, and tightly woven family bonds.

GIVEAWAY!!

Grand Prize
This giveaway runs from April 8th-14th. You can enter by clicking the photo above or entering HERE.
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Blog Tour Stops:
Monday April 8th: 
Debbie @ Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
Loretta @ Just Writing
Laura @ Blue Eye Books PLUS an interview
Tuesday April 9th:
Kaylee @ Kaylee’s Kind of Writes
Karen @ KarenSueHadley
Wednesday April 10th: 
Deana @ Texas Book-aholic
Jana @ Review from the Stacks
Becky @ Blossoms and Blessings
Thursday April 11th: 
Bella @ Bella Putt: The Pen and the Pages
Alicia @ A Brighter Destiny
Friday April 12th: 
Esther @ We’ve Got Pockets PLUS an interview
Raechel @ God’s Peculiar Treasure
Dancer Christ 2
Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“Who I Am With You” by Robin Lee Hatcher ~ Review/An I Read With Audra Blog Tour

robinleehatcher

“Who I Am With You” by Robin Lee Hatcher

Who I Am with You is the first book in Robin’s new “A Legacy of Faith” series.

Review copy through I Read With Audra blog tours

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

(clicking on the above graphic will lead you to the giveaway. Ends tomorrow -25th.)

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About the Book:

 

For these two broken hearts, the first step toward love will be a huge leap of faith.

Jessica Mason isn’t looking for love when she meets Ridley Chesterfield. Instead she is still reeling from the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband and daughter—and awaiting the arrival of her unborn child. Harboring the secret of her husband’s betrayal, her pain is deeper than anyone knows.

Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in Hope Springs, Idaho, avoiding a political scandal and the barrage of false media headlines that have tarnished his good name. The last thing Ridley wants is a relationship—but when fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with his reclusive and pregnant neighbor, he wonders if this small-town hideout might be more of a long-term destination. 

When Jessica begins to read her great-grandfather’s Bible, she finds a connection with a man she never knew. Somehow the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins open her heart to healing. And as Ridley and Jessica help each other forgive the people who have broken their hearts, they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again.

Who I Am with You weaves together a modern-day romance with Jessica’s great-grandfather’s story from the 1930s, reminding us that some truths can cross generations and that faith has the power to transform families forever.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I’m very glad I tried my first Robin Lee Hatcher book – “Who I am With You” is such a sweet read, with writing that feels very familiar in style for me.
I loved the realistic characters and the realistic events and struggles they went through, and yet how it wasn’t overwhelming when they struggled. I didn’t feel like there was anything unnecessary or unrealistic. It was a very touching romance story, slow and sweet.
Jessica is still recovering from many hurts involving her husband and daughter’s car crash and the history preceding it. Ridley is recovering from lies spoken about him and false claims regarding his actions on a political campaign. It was a delight to watch both of them find their healing in a way that was both separate from each other and yet connected at the same time.
At the end of each chapter, we also get to read about Jessica’s great-great grandfather, Andrew Henning. She has inherited his Bible, which connects her to him, and we as the reader feel connected as well as we read along with his life. I thought having his story at the end of the chapters was a lovely touch and not at all overwhelming or hard to switch over as some split-timeline stories can be.
I was also pleased that faith was interwoven frequently and beautifully throughout the entirety of the novel. It was definitely a Christian piece, in that if you took away that strand from the novel, the story wouldn’t hold together as well, and I appreciated that so much! When I read Christian Fiction, I want to see God in it and I did with this book. It wasn’t thrown in your face, but it was done very well and I enjoyed it.
Looking forward to the next book in this series!
_no need to be sorry, dear. we can't shut off our feelings whenever we want. they are what they are._  a cultural marvel

 

 

 

 

About the Author:

 

Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of over 75 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Robin is an ACFW Carol Award winner and an eight-time finalist and has won two RITA Awards and been a finalist eleven times. Her numerous other awards include the Christy Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award. She is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon dog and a persnickety tuxedo cat.

For more information, visit www.robinleehatcher.comFacebook: robinleehatcherTwitter: @robinleehatcher and Instagram @robinleehatcher.

Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“Retrieve” by Sarah Addison-Fox ~ Book Review//Giveaway

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Be sure to check out the giveaway at the end!

 

Retrieve Cover

Retrieve (The Stormer’s Trilogy #1)

By Sarah Addison-Fox

Ecopy for review from the author

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

What if the job you took to stay alive might be what kills you?

Kade knows what it is to suffer. He knows what it’s like to lose everything and everyone around him.

His job in a Stormer Unit guarantees not just his survival in the decimated country of Azetaria, but his sister Meg’s. Even if it means facing the Numachi warriors baying for his blood, he’ll do what it takes to keep her safe.

Hadley is alone and surviving the only way she knows how. By hiding where predators won’t find her and scavenging enough just to keep her alive.

When desperation drives Hadley to search for her missing brother, she mistakenly accepts the offer of recruitment into the Stormer’s camp, only to be partnered with Kade and sent as a scout into Numachi territory.

The intimidating young Stormer may just know where her brother has gone. But can they stay alive long enough to find him?

Goodreads Book Link

Amazon Book Link

Where to find the author:

Sarah Author image

Facebook

Instagram

Website

Twitter: @saddisonfox

Facebook Fanpage

Blog

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

Well, that wasn’t what I was expecting. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but this novel surprised me – especially the ending. Because…where is book two? I know we only have to wait a month till that one comes out, but I kind of need to know how the story continues. :)
Anyway!
The first bit of this book definitely had a “Mulan” feel to it which was great. I liked the characters – I liked Hadley from the start, though Kade took a smidgen longer. He’s a rough one. ;) But it was enjoyable seeing their journey together. This is an action-filled story that keeps you on your toes. And I was actually quite thankful for that! I wanted something that kept me wanting to read. “Retrieve” definitely did that.
I’m not sure what this book is technically classified as, but it felt quite “fantasy” like without the magic elements, and I liked that a lot. Kind of like Jaye L. Knight’s Ilyon Chronicles. :) The world was very real, and my mind had no trouble picturing everything. And it was great that even though the book centered on two characters almost exclusively, it wasn’t boring at all, nor did you wish for more character interaction – I loved Hadley and Kade’s relationship. And I want to see it continued. Bring on book two. ;)
One thing I will say – there is a fair amount of swearing involved, and while I know that it was realistic for the character, I didn’t care to read all the cursing continuously. It didn’t shock me, but I wasn’t a fan either. I get when something needs to be realistic, but I prefer the “He cursed” or “swore” etc. Actually reading the words isn’t my favorite, because in essence then I am swearing and that is not a habit I want.
There were mentions of ‘gods’ (ex. “If the gods were real, they wanted nothing to do with them”, etc.), and one they referred to as the Ancient religion, which I assume is alluding to Christianity since the one time it was mentioned, the ‘h’ in “Him” was capitalized. It was very brief in this book, definitely not center or even side plot yet. Not sure if that will change in the next book, though I am curious to see. As it is, I wouldn’t classify this as a Christian book, but it was clean and wholesome (except for the swearing).
If you’re looking for an adventure novel with great characters and exciting plot (not to mention the need to keep reading even when the next book isn’t out…) be sure to check out this one. I enjoyed it very much!
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GIVEAWAY!
Click on the image to enter to go HERE.
Posted in 1940's, blog tour, Book reviews

“When the Heart Sings” by Liz Tolsma ~ Blog Tour/Book Review

 

when the heart sings blog tour

 

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for When the Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

 

 

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“When the Heart Sings” by Liz Tolsma

Review copy from the author through the JustRead Tours

Series: Music of Hope #2
Author: Liz Tolsma
Publisher: Gilead Publishing
Release Date: October 9, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

Natia has a secret, and she’s hiding him right beneath her captor’s nose…

The Nazis have forced Natia and Teodor from their Polish farm to a labor camp. When the couple is separated, Natia is chosen to be the housekeeper for the camp’s overseer, and Teodor is sent to work in the factory. Despite the strict camp rules—and the consequences for disobeying them—Natia finds a way to communicate with Teodor by sending messages through song as she passes Teodor’s dormitory.

The stakes get higher when Natia finds a Jewish orphan on the overseer’s doorstep. She is determined to protect the boy and raise him as the child she and her husband were unable to bear— but if her German captors discover how much she’s hiding, both she and Teodor may pay the ultimate price.

PURCHASE LINKS:  Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Christian Book | Book Depository

 

 

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Thoughts:

 

Author Liz Tolsma has written another heartfelt WWII novel, and what a story it is! I have read a lot of WWII fiction, but hers seem to be a style all of their own.  There is so much rawness, and reality in this novel that it pulls on your heartstrings for sure. The characters are life-like, and their struggles true to life as well.

The atrocities that happened to the Polish and Jewish people is horrendous, and hard to read about. And on the same hand, the daringness and bravery others showed to help them is so admirable.

This story is primarily Natia’s story. Her husband’s as well. Another character we get to know is the German woman, Elfriede who keeps Natia in her employ. They form a friendship, and both share a deep love for the child Natia found. I really liked Elfriede – her story was sad, though in different ways from Natia’s. She was naive’, and rather innocent almost like a child herself. She came into her own strength though that was impressive, and her decision at the end was painful and heroic. I know she was the side character, but I really enjoyed her, and I think maybe bonded more with her than the main characters. But I did like the main characters, and felt connected to their plight as well. There was on incident at the end though, regarding Natia’s attitude that I didn’t care for. It felt selfish and flippant in light of the situation.

The faith strand was present, though maybe a bit lightly so. I did like what was there though – it felt realistic, and the message was good.

All in all, a very well written book that deals delicately with the tough reality that was the war!

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

liz tolsma

Passionate might best describe Liz Tolsma. She loves writing, research, and editing. Her passion shone through in her first novel which was a double award finalist. On any given day, you might find her pulling weeds in her perennial garden, walking her hyperactive dog, or curled up with a good book. Nothing means more to her than her family. She’s married her high-school sweetheart twenty-eight years ago. Get her talking about international adoption, and you might never get her to stop. She and her husband adopted three children, including a son who is a U.S. Marine, and two daughters.

CONNECT WITH LIZ:  website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

 

 

 

when the heart sings blog giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive (US only)

  • a print copy of When the Heart Sings
  • Just One More Chapter’ throw pillow seen HERE

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 26, 2018 and last through 11:59pm December 3, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

 

 

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

November 26
Book by Book
Heidi Reads…
Ecc1012
Inkwell Inspirations
Where Faith and Books Meet
Reading Is My SuperPower

November 27
The Power of Words
Dee’s Farm and Family
Genesis 5020
All-of-a-kind Mom
Singing Librarian Books

November 28
Inklings and Notions
Radiant Light
The Becca Files
The Shelf Life
Southern Gal Loves to Read
Proverbial Reads

November 29
By The Book
Cara Putman
Library Lady’s Kid Lit
Happily Managing a Household of Boys
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae

November 30
Pause for Tales
Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic
Running Through The Storms
Remembrancy
Wishful Endings

Posted in blog tour, Book reviews, Books

“Yesterday’s Christmas” by A.M. Heath ~ Blog Tour/Giveaway/Review!

Betty Tour

 

Hello readers! Please join me in participating in – and enjoying – the latest release of A.M. Heath’s with a fun blog tour! There’s a fun giveaway, sales, and other stops on this tour, so be sure to check it all out!

 

 

 

Yesterday's Christmas (A Season Passed, #2)

“Yesterday’s Christmas” by A.M. Heath

Book Two in A Season Passed Series

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the book:

During a snowstorm, Betty Tanner finds herself stuck with her estranged husband. Spending Christmas with Glenn wasn’t what she had in mind, and her thoughts reluctantly travel back three decades to their first Christmas together, when another snowstorm caused her to wreck her car outside the Tanner home … 

1954: Stranded with the Tanners over Christmas, Betty is forced into the company of Glenn, who has spurned her for years. But as the snow falls outside, the walls between Betty and Glenn begin to melt, revealing a side of him she never knew existed. A side she longs to know better.

Pride and bitterness can make a beast out of anyone. And the hardships they face in their relationship are of their own making. But can following Christ’s ways lead Betty and Glenn to the reconciliation they long for?

A.M. Heath invites you to spend Christmas with the Tanners in a dual-timeline novel loosely inspired by Beauty and the Beast. You’re sure to fall in love again and again.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

Second in the series, but also my second read from author A.M. Heath and it didn’t disappoint! I really love the writing style. It flows remarkably well, and is just so easy to read to the point where you don’t know how you are already done with the story. <3
In this novel, we are transported back to both the 1980’s and the 1950’s as we get to know main character Betty, and her strained relationship with her husband Glenn.
Once again, I loved the quotes from the original Beauty and the Beast fairytale, as well as the meaningful Bible verses used at the beginning of each chapter. It added such a level of charm and more meaning to each chapter – definitely a creative use of the original fairy tale retold in hints through “Yesterday’s Christmas”.
The characters are realistic and definitely dealing with some struggles. There was immense bitterness portrayed, and it was lovely to see how the story as a whole came to conclusion – to see how Betty and Glenn’s relationship was healed and restored – and still growing. No relationship is easy or predictable.
I will admit that I didn’t connect as deeply with this set of characters as much as I did in the first, but I think that has to do with a couple factors, one being that I am very much single and have not been married for any number of years ;)
But I think this is a beautiful story with a beautiful message, and a great second book in this fantastic series!

 

About the Author:

Besides being an Indie Author, I’m a wife, mother of four, children’s Sunday School teacher, sweet tea drinker, history fanatic, romantic, bubbly, lover of broccoli, and cake decorator who has a soft spot for Christmas trees, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What I’m not is a laundress (or at least not one who keeps up very well), a duster, tall, or patient in a doctor’s office.

You can visit me online on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and my blog. *Note: I’m most active on Facebook and my blog.

Whether you’re on social media or not, you can ensure that you never miss one of my sales, giveaways, or new releases by signing up for my newsletter. I’ll send you a direct link to your email anytime something big happens. http://eepurl.com/dDbVNz

Giveaway!!

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You can click on the graphic above to enter, or Enter Here.

 

 

Don’t miss out on the SALE happening too!

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And check out other stops on the tour!! Full schedule here: https://amheathblog.wordpress.com/blog-tour-landing-page/

 

 

Posted in Author Interview, blog tour, Book reviews, Books, character introduction

Author Interview! A.M. Heath (Blog Tour/Book Review)

Blog tour

 

Good morning, readers! For September’s interview, it’s a little different – it is apart of the blog tour for “If Only It Were Yesterday”! So there is a lot of extra fun going on here, including a giveaway, facebook party, and my review. So let us get on with this fun-filled post, shall we?

 

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The Book:

If Only It were Yesterday (A Season Passed, #1)

 

Liz Cooke has two problems in life: Her social media is filled with brewing political conflict and her idea of a perfect man seems to have gone extinct a century ago. Inspired by the contents of an antique trunk, Liz dreams she time-travels to 1885. As she sets out to enjoy the Victorian era in all its glory, armed with knowledge gleaned through historical novels and period dramas, will she find the past to be all that she thought? And does the right man for her exist only in her dreams or has he been in her life all along?
Loosely inspired by Alice in Wonderland, A.M. Heath brings you a fun read chock-full of humor and whimsy with a special message for the avid reader in all of us.

 

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My Review:

*Happy sigh* This was a perfectly delightful read! The first I’ve read by this author, but it most certainly won’t be my last!

I read this as an e-copy, but I made quick work of securing a print copy for myself, because it was that enjoyable and I wouldn’t hesitate to read it again.

Main character Liz Cooke was real and quirky and lovely, and also very relatable. Starting in present day, we get to know Liz and see how she struggles with believing that times past would be a better place to live instead of this trial-torn present day world. Owning an antique store, she comes across a very special trunk that throws her back in time…

There were so many pleasant nods to Alice in Wonderland, and I love the quotes scattered throughout. The Bible verses at the beginning of the chapters was a joy as well, and it was fun seeing how they were interwoven into the chapters.

“If Only It Were Yesterday” portrayed the historical timeline in a realistic way, showing the beauty as well as struggles that we find today too. I loved the encouraging faith message in this book, and the reminder that God is in control and has placed us in the time period He knows is right for us. Being content where we’re at, and serving Him here.

I was just thoroughly impressed with this novel, and eagerly anticipate the following books in the series! Such a good read <3

(And on a bit of a fangirl note…I loved Scott. He was the best ‘best friend’, and he was adorable. I want to see more of him…XD)

 

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AI AM Heath

 

Welcome to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here :)  Would you please introduce yourself and the genre that you write:

 

Thanks so much for having me! My name is Anita and I write under A.M. Heath. I write Christian Fiction. Most of what I pen is historical or historical romance. But I have some Contemporary/contemporary Romance under my sleeves as well. ;) But all my stories carry a message for the soul and a bit of clean romance.  

 

 

What inspired “If Only It Were Yesterday”?

 

Me. Lol I inspired the novel. Seriously though, I had to learn the hard lesson about the trap of idolizing history and/or fiction. Once I saw reality a little more clearly, I couldn’t help but notice how many avid readers had fallen into the same trap. I wanted to reach out to them. I wanted to remind them that most of what we see in fiction is an illusion. While there ARE elements of reality, there are also a great deal of unrealistic elements. It blessed me abundantly to hear back from the early readers who admitted to being a little too much like Liz. But it’s an easy trap to fall into, especially when there’s so much around us that makes us discontent. From there, it’s only a matter of longing for that contentment elsewhere … never realizing that it doesn’t exist in our settings but ind Christ.

 

 

Of your characters, is there one that you relate to more than the others? And if so, why?

 

Definitely Liz. I basically just allowed her to become me in many ways. Her natural curiosity. Her need to know what really happened. Her fixation on history and all things Austen. All of this comes from me. And because of that, this was probably the most natural story/character to write. She is her own person in other ways,  but she also a great dose of myself.

 

 

Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names?

 

Lol I’m probably the most laid back person you’ll talk to about naming characters. It seems that everyone has a system except for me. I literally just start tossing around ideas, just whatever pops in my head. I also thumb through a list of era-appropriate names and jot down whatever jumps out at me. At that point, it’s just a matter of calling out names until the character answers to one of them.
LOL Okay, I’m aware that this explanation makes me sound a bit crazy. But if you’ve seen The Man Who Invented Christmas, you’d understand. Dickens’ method in the movie actually IS my method. It’s worked well for me so far! And the characters really do come to life when you stumble upon the right name.

 

 

I have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one?  If so, would you mind sharing?

 

I have a specific playlist that I like to play while I’m writing. I’ve found that most songs outside of that list tend to annoy me and distract me from my writing.

Oh! Here’s another that I never knew was odd, but the more I talk to other authors, the more I find that it’s rare. When a new book idea is conceived (we’ll have to call it the plotting process because it’s typically the only real plotting I do) I tend to work with the last things first. Almost immediately, I’m hashing out title ideas, naming main characters, and visualizing my cover options. Once these things are established and I have a basic sense of my plot, I’m ready to start writing. And I don’t go far before I’m writing the clincher and ending scenes. I think for me, the most vital part of the plotting process, is to be able to visual the final product. To see those characters in their most crucial scenes and to have a solid idea of a the cover and title gives me a sense of direction that a detailed outline gives to a seasoned planner. I’ve tried several times to formally outline a story, but I can’t seem to do it. I use that finished imagine in my head to guide me. Knowing the title helps point me toward my goal and purpose for the story. I typically know the starting point and the end result, so I just wing it from there.

 

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

 

Typically, it energizes me. I actually get weighed down if I don’t get to write for long periods of time. Editing and formatting drains me to no small degree, so I keep another draft in the writing process, so I can slip away and refuel with some creative time.

 

 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

 

SLOW DOWN! So many new self-published authors rush to finish their first book that it suffers as a result. I was one of those. I ended up revising my first book and re-releasing it the following year because I wasn’t completely satisfied with the outcome as the reviews started rolling in. With a traditional publisher, an author doesn’t have a choice except to wait until they’re picked up. But with self-publisher, the author is in charge of everything and it’s all too easy to let your eagerness put something out when you and the story isn’t quite ready.  

 

 

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

 

There’s a great network of authors who have helped me in various ways, some of which I’m just beginning to get to know. But Alicia G. Ruggieri, Amanda Tero, and Krista Noorman have worked alongside of me for several years. They’re always there to encourage me as well as help critique and line edit my work. I highly value their lovingly honest opinions. They, along with others on my team, push me to craft a better story. And there’s no substitute for talking shop with someone who knows what you’re going through.  

 

 

How important to you is the faith-element in your writing? Is it central to the theme or more of a sideline plot?

 

Normally, when I craft the plot, the spiritual theme is in clear view and a central part of the story. There have been a couple of times when the faith element was hidden and had to be layered on in order to bring it into focus properly. But, for me, it really is the heart of the story and the reason I’m penning one at all.

 

 

What does your family think of your writing?

 

They’re very proud. Some of the women in my family read my books. And my kids are always thrilled to see Mommy’s books in print. Lol My husband isn’t a reader so I think the whole tedious process baffles him. He’s told me multiple times that he doesn’t see how I sit in front of the computer as long as I do. Lol But I love it.

 

 

And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read, or plan on reading, your latest, “If Only it Were Yesterday”?

 

I’ve given this a lot of thought. The character, Liz, is such a fan of Jane Austen, so I don’t think you could go wrong by picking up one of her novels or any classic. But another would be Lynn Austin’s Wonderland Creek. The fact that it has Wonderland in the title is a fun coincidence. But I would recommend it because they’re both written in the first person and both main characters have an unfortunate addiction to fiction which leads them astray and brings them to some tough lessons.

 

 

Thank you for the wonderful interview, Anita! I so enjoyed your answers, and you’ve been a joy to get to know!!

 

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Besides being an Indie Author, I’m a wife, mother of four, children’s Sunday School teacher, sweet tea drinker, history fanatic, romantic, bubbly, lover of broccoli, and cake decorator who has a soft spot for Christmas trees, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What I’m not is a laundress (or at least not one who keeps up very well), a duster, tall, or patient in a doctor’s office.

 

You can visit me online on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and my blog. *Note: I’m most active on Facebook and my blog.

Whether you’re on social media or not, you can ensure that you never miss one of my sales, giveaways, or new releases by signing up for my newsletter. I’ll send you a direct link to your email anytime something big happens. http://eepurl.com/dDbVNz

 

 

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Facebook party! Click on the graphic below to join!


Liz Party

And don’t miss out on the give-away!! Click on the graphic below to go to the giveaway and enter!

Grand Prize

Also, catch up on the other stops of this blog tour!

Release Day Spotlights: 
Sept 4: 
Amanda Tero @ With a Joyful Noise
Becky Dempsey @ Blossoms and Blessings 
Alicia G. Ruggieri @ A Brighter Destiny

Reviews for If Only It Were Yesterday:

Sept. 5:
Laura Wilson @ Blue Eye Books

Sept. 6:
Alicia G. Ruggieri @ A Brighter Destiny

Sept. 10: 
Karen Hadley @ Karen Sue Hadley

Sept. 11:
Becky Dempsey @ Blossoms and Blessings

Sept. 12: 
Virginia Winfield @ Bigreadersite

Sept. 13:
Heather G. @ Blue Jeans and Teacups

Sept. 17:
Raechel Lenore @ God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae

 

**I also did a Character Introduction post featuring Liz Cooke from “If Only It were Yesterday” – you can check that out here!

CI Liz Cooke