Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“Desert Willow” by Patricia Beal ~ CelebrateLit Blog Tour/Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

Desert_Willow_frontcover_finalBook:  Desert Willow

Author: Patricia Beal

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Release Date: February 12, 2020

After a failed engagement, Captain Andrew Lee James has focused on building a career in the Army he loves. That commitment includes helping a feisty, out-of-work ballerina whose devotion to her grandmother’s dying wish immediately grabs his heart. She’s the one, but will he be able to win the heart of a woman who has vowed to never be involved with a soldier?

College graduate Clara Malone swore to never love anyone in the military again but when her dying grandmother asks her to deliver a love letter to the general who broke her heart decades ago, she agrees and finds herself escorted by a handsome Army captain whose kindness challenges her beliefs. Surrounded by desert willows that shower her path with pretty pink flowers and sing with the buzzing of hummingbirds, Clara enjoys the wild beauty of El Paso—and her time with Andrew—more than expected.

Can she deliver her grandmother’s last love letter without losing her heart to a man who represents everything she fears?

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Patricia Beal_HeadshotPatricia Beal is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. A Season to Dance is her debut novel (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, May 2017). Her second novel comes out in February of 2020. Patricia graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and has worked for the U.S. Army as a writer and editor for many years. Patricia writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and two children. You can find more info about Patricia on her website here.

 

More from Patricia

Desert Willow: A Love Song to the City of El Paso, to Family, and to Prince Harry

I enjoy this story so much! It’s great to finally get to share it with you.

Desert Willow started as a NaNoWriMo project in 2015 and has a lot of my grandma’s history in it—life in the German colonies of the south of Brazil, the beginning of the shoe industry there, and the story of the most influential man her town has ever known, my great-grandfather.

And what does that have to do with El Paso and Prince Harry?

Well, my Prince Harry lookalike, a young Army captain named Andrew Lee James who lives in El Paso, is helping the protagonist deliver her grandmother’s last love letter, a letter she was urged to write all those years ago after what happened in Brazil.

The contemporary story of Clara (protagonist) and Andrew was fun to write too because I’ve been around the Army since the nineties. We moved to Fort Bliss/El Paso in 2012 and lived there for six years. I thought I was going to hate it, but I loved it, so I just had to write an El Paso story.

Now I think that what I enjoyed the most about writing this novel was making all the connections and showing how the actions of a distant past affect and inform the modern story so deeply.

Some of you have journeyed with me for a while and know that my debut, A Season to Dance, was my salvation process. What comes after salvation can be hard. What’s that? Well, looking at past mistakes through God’s eyes and realizing just how wrong we were, for starters.

We know how quickly God forgives us, but can we forgive ourselves and each other as quickly?

Desert Willow deals with all that. And with Prince Harry… 😊

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was a well written story about Clara Malone, a ballerina, and Andrew James, a Captain in the Army. Despite their initial background hesitations to start a relationship, they are undeniably drawn to each other upon first meeting, and this story follows their relationship as they each deal with their own struggles, and forgivenes.

There’s, of course, more to their story than that, but I figure you can read the description to get a better understanding ;)

I enjoy the author’s writing style, and it’s easy to stay interested. I didn’t really connect with either character, but I still enjoyed seeing their story play out. There were a couple instances where their actions bugged me (not their past decisions…), but I was glad to see them resolved. The message of faith was accomplished in a delicate but meaningful way and I appreciated that being the end goal of the story.

I also enjoyed the ballet aspect – I’ve never been in or around ballet, but it’s interesting to read about.

 I received an electronic copy from the publishers through Celebrate Lit. All thoughts expressed are my own.

 

GIVEAWAY

kindle (1)

To celebrate her tour, Patricia is giving away the grand prize of a Kindle Fire 7 (https://amzn.to/37TEN21)!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f8de/desert-willow-celebration-tour-giveaway


BLOG STOPS

Among the Reads, April 13

The Power of Words, April 13

For the Love of Literature, April 14

Robin’s Nest, April 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 15

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 15

Batya’s Bits, April 15

She Lives to Read, April 16

Older & Smarter?, April 16

Texas Book-aholic, April 17

deb’s Book Review, April 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 18

Writer Without a Space, April 18

The Christian Fiction Girl, April 19

Rebecca Tews, April 19

Emily Yager, April 20

Simple Harvest Reads, April 20 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Hallie Reads, April 20

Inklings and notions, April 21

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 21

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 22

Godly Book Reviews, April 22

For Him and My Family, April 23

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, April 23

As He Leads is Joy, April 24

God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae, April 24

A Reader’s Brain, April 25

janicesbookreviews, April 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 26

Pause for Tales, April 26

April Hayman, Author, April 26

Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“A Season To Dance” by Patrica Beal ~ Celebrate Lit Book Tour/Book Review

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A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Release Date: May, 2017

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House all figured out until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, returns to Georgia to win her back. Despite a promising start towards her ballet career and pending marriage to landscape architect, Peter Engberg, Ana wonders if her dreams of dancing at the Met are as impossible as her previous romantic relationship with Claus.

Then, an on-stage kiss between Ana and Claus changes everything.

Convinced the kiss is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off their engagement. With an old dog crippled by arthritis and dreams deferred but not left behind, Ana moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own feelings for Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company are a high price for a shot at success. Ana seems on the verge of having everything she ever dreamed of, but will it be enough?

Click here to get your copy!

 

A Season to Dance cover

My Thoughts:

 
I really liked the writing style, and easily became involved in this story, reading as much and often as I could. Main character Ana’s story was…captivating. And raw. This is not a sugar-coated fluffy romance book. It has a definite hopeless, ever-searching feel to it in the beginning, and the journey is pivotal to the book. It is a salvation message story, one that shows the reality of life first without Christ, always searching to be fulfilled. Ana was constantly searching, struggling to feel content. She slept with the two men in her life, hoping their love would be enough. She was constantly reaching out for the next thing, until everything came crashing and all the signs up until that moment culminated in saving grace. There was lots of pain involved. Lots of mistakes. Lots of regrets. But the message was clear – the powerful message of Jesus’ salvation, and that was beautiful.
The author’s note at the end along with what she wrote about this book and how it came about really added a depth to the novel that I appreciated. It made the story even more real.
I will warn that this book shows the realities of living a life without Christ as your Savior – as mentioned, this book contains premarital sex, along with alcohol consumption, and aspects of deceit. Some of it is not pretty, but it paints the picture of this life well, and underlines the desperate need for Jesus.
Personally, it wasn’t my favorite thing to have Ana in love with two men and waffling between the two. I’m not a huge fan of love-triangles in general, but I know everyone’s preference is different.
The ballet angle of this book was lovely – I’ve never been involved or around the ballet world but it was beautiful to read about in a novel. :)
*I was provided an electronic copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.  

About the Author

Patricia Beal

Patricia Beal is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. A Season to Dance is her debut novel (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, May 2017). Her second novel comes out in February of 2020. Patricia graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and has worked for the U.S. Army as a writer and editor for many years. Patricia writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and two children. You can find more info about Patricia on her website here.

 

 

 

More from Patricia

A Season to Dance: The Book That Wrote Me

When I wrote the first line of my first novel in January of 2011, I wanted to get published because I was desperate to feel important.

I finished writing A Season to Dance that fall and hired coach Gloria Kempton via Writer’s Digest to look at the whole thing and tell me if it was any good.

She saw potential in the story of a small-town professional ballerina with big dreams, but explained I needed a clearer quest, more telling details, better scene structure, and better balance between sequels and dramatic scenes. I joined Gloria’s critique group and spent a year rewriting.

During that year, my husband got orders to move the family from Fort Benning, Georgia, to Germany, and he deployed for the sixth time soon after we settled on a lovely mountaintop in Idar-Oberstein.

When I finished rewriting, Gloria said the novel looked good and had everything a novel was supposed to have. But… “Something’s still missing. I don’t know what it is. We’ve covered it all.”

So of course I did what any writer desperate for validation would do. I told my coach that surely nothing was missing and that it was time to query. I hired a service to blast queries everywhere for me. I know… Shame on me… But God used that.

 

God’s Plan—Phase One

One query ended up with Mrs. Joyce Hart, of Hartline Literary. The novel wasn’t Christian—I wasn’t a Christian. She shouldn’t have received my query. But she did. She sent me a note saying she liked the storyline but that in Christian novels the protagonist couldn’t live with her love interest without being married. She was very kind and said that if she was missing the point and if the novel was indeed Christian that I should resubmit explaining the living together piece.

When I read it I laughed and rolled my eyes. I started typing a condescending reply. Something about Christian fairy tale brains and me living in the real world, but I decided not to send it.

Days passed. A week passed. A month passed. And all I did was collect rejections. I became bitter. Bitterly sad at first. Then bitterly discouraged. And then bitterly ugly. I’d never been ugly before. Not like that.

See, up to that point, I’d believed that there was some kind of “god” and that somewhere, somehow, being good was right and that it paid off. But with the disappointments of the publishing journey those beliefs became a joke to me. I stood in the middle of my empty German kitchen—husband deployed, kids at school, my first dog had just died. And I looked at that inbox full of rejections and stated to whomever or whatever was out there: “God is dead.”

Mercy. Surely I said that to the “god” of my imagination, and not to the real God—God as He reveals Himself in the Bible. But I know that He was in that kitchen with me. And phase two of His plan was about to start.

Luke 22:31-32: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

 

God’s Plan—Phase Two

As I lost all restraint and became the worst version of myself, God removed me from my green German mountaintop.

After less than eighteen months in Germany, we were sent back to America, to the Chihuahuan Desert in West Texas. To a place called Fort Bliss—a place from which you can see a Mexican mountain with the words: “Cd. Juárez. La Biblia es la verdad. Leela.” That translates to “City of Juárez. The Bible is the truth. Read it.” Gotta love it. God is good.

During the first six months back in America, I went to two secular writers’ conferences and met more rejection. My lack of restraint and my selfishness didn’t really make me happy. I wanted to go to therapy. I wanted a job. I still dreamed of that book deal that had to be just around the corner. I wanted, I wanted…

But nothing happened, and it didn’t matter how hard I tried to get help, get happy, and find any kind of relief for the pain I felt. Nothing. Happened. I’d never seen so many closed doors—slammed-shut doors—ever in my life. Even the shrink kept double booking, closing early, and somehow cancelling on me. It was ridiculous.

 

The One Open Door

When God planted our family in the desert, He planted us two blocks from a friend from the Fort Benning years. A friend whose claim to fame was church shopping whenever the Army moved her family. I asked her to take me to church on the first Wednesday of January of 2013.

I fell in His arms. Surrendered, defeated, and dependent. Or what God likes to call—ready. I was born again two weeks later and was baptized on Super Bowl Sunday that February.

 

Gloria’s “Something Missing”

I had tickets to go to New York for the Writer’s Digest conference that spring, but sometime in March, it dawned on me: “You silly goose of a girl. You wrote a salvation story without the salvation piece.” My first coach, Gloria Kempton, had been right all along. There was something missing!

A Season to Dance isn’t just the story of a small-town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York and the two men who love her. It’s also the story of a girl desperately trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with often misguided career and romantic pursuits.

I deleted Mrs. Hart’s email that week. Yes, it was still in my inbox. Job well done, Mrs. Hart.

Now, I had work to do. I spent 2013 and the first half of 2014 rewriting the novel. Five ladies from my Sunday school read chapter after chapter as I produced them and cheered me on through that gruesome process. I couldn’t have done it without their support. God is good.

Jeff Gerke edited my novel in the summer of 2014 and had me read Robert McGee’s The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes. God is good.

I went to my first Christian writers conference, the ACFW 2014 in St. Louis. Two weeks later, Les Stobbe offered to represent me. God is good.

ACFW 2015 was fantastic and many houses are looking at that first manuscript. God is good.

In early 2016, we sold the manuscript to Bling! Romance, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. A Season to Dance released in the spring of 2017. God is good.

My family got saved, too. My husband in July of 2013. Our son in December of 2013. My mom in the fall of 2014. And our little girl just this past summer, the summer of 2015. God is amazingly good!

 

 

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Patricia is giving away the grand prize package of a themed basket of book-inspired coffees and chocolate!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f23d/a-season-to-dance-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

 

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, December 12

The Power of Words, December 12

As He Leads is Joy, December 13

Through the Fire Blogs, December 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 15

For the Love of Literature, December 15

Hallie Reads, December 16

By The Book, December 16

Girls in White Dresses, December 17

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 17

Texas Book-aholic, December 18

janicesbookreviews, December 19

God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae, December 19

Godly Book Reviews, December 20

Blogging With Carol, December 20

Christian Bookaholic, December 21

For Him and My Family, December 21

Inklings and notions, December 22

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, December 22

Emily Yager, December 23

CarpeDiem, December 23

A Reader’s Brain, December 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 25

Batya’s Bits, December 25