Sarah Sundin’s ‘Anchor in the Storm’ All Hands on Deck Giveaway

In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love? Pharmacist Lillian Avery and Ensign Archer Vandenberg are about to find out in Sarah Sundin’s new book, Anchor in the Storm. During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves—and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions Lillian has been filling? As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question. But can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

Celebrate the release of Sarah’s Anchor in the Storm by entering to win her All Hands on Deck Prize Pack!

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One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A signed copy of Anchor in the Storm
  • Nautical tote bag lined with anchor fabric
  • Anchor necklace made from copper reclaimed from the USS Constitution in Boston during restoration
  • 365 Devotions for Hope by Karen Whiting
  • Shine: Nautical Inspirational Adult Coloring Book
  • “Hope Anchors the Soul” journal
  • Set of two nautical tea towels
LF AIS full group 2

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 8th. The winner will be announced June 9th on Sarah’s blog.

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Book Review: Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

Anchor in the Storm
Review: Anchor in the Storm 

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series: Waves of Freedom

Publisher: Revell

Publication: May 2016

About the book:

One plucky female pharmacist + one high-society naval officer = romance-and danger

For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attentions only annoy—even if he is her brother’s best friend.

During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves—and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

Sarah Sundin brings World War II to life, offering readers an intense experience they won’t soon forget.

Purchase a copy:http://bit.ly/1YFAtJ9

Review:
Like a fine wine ages beautifully over time, author Sarah Sundin’s sweeping World War II novels just keep getting better. I knew when the first book in her Waves of Freedom series ended that I wanted to read its successor; however, I had no idea how much I would enjoy Achor in the Storm. This book has been the highlight of my “read” list for 2016, and I’m almost certain it will take the spot of my most coveted book the year. Without a doubt, with its grace-filled romance, captivating historical backdrop, and suspense element,  Anchor in the Storm could be Sundin’s best book yet.

Main characters Lillian Avery and Archer Vandenburg are perfect foils for each other as they navigate the choppy waters of what it means to be loved for who they really are. While I admit both of their struggles are foreign to me, Sundin creatively played with unique challenges for these characters. I enjoyed not only stepping into Arch and Lillian’s shoes, but in doing so through circumstances affected both by history and by social stratus.

While romance was intricately weaved into Anchor in the Storm, it was the history and suspense elements that kept me turning the pages of novel. Before reading this story I never would have called myself a reader interested in suspense, but if Sundin continues combinding suspense with her history, I will most definitely join the bandwagon on this genre. The author’s experience and insight into the pharmaceutical industry, combined with her passion for World War II history, created a riveting storyline that fascinated me. In addition to the drug-ring storyline, sub-plots involving PTSD and naval history satiated my World War II history craving.

I absolutely love this novel and am already planning ahead for when I can re-read all of  Sundin’s books. I recommend this book not only for readers of World War II history, but readers of all fiction. It is that good!

Rating: 5 stars
*Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book exchange for an honest review. I not required to give a positive review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for Litfuse Publicity and Revell for my copy of Anchor in the Storm.

Giveaway:

Come back to my blog starting at 8am on May 23rd for the link to a giveaway for Anchor in the Storm and other nautical gifts from Sara!


About the author:
 

 
Sarah Sundin is the author of Through Waters Deep, as well as Wings of the Nightingale and the Wings of Glory series. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force. Sarah lives in California.

Book Review: A Twist of Faith by Pepper Basham

A Twist of FaithA Twist of Faith (Mitchell’s Crossroads #1)
Publisher: Firefly Southern Fiction
Published: April 6th, 2016
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Love does not have an accent … 
Dr. Adelina Roseland has worked ten years in research as an accent reduction specialist to attain her dream job. But a secret wager to transform Appalachian cattle farmer Reese Mitchell into corporate material challenges Adelina in ways she never expected, threatening her new position.

 

For one, Adelina didn’t plan for the faith and friction of Reese, or the unexpected influence of his chaotic family. Now, drawn into a culture she’d tried to forget, Adelina finds the warmth of family, the hope of faith, and the joy of love melting away the deep wounds of her past.

But when Reese discovers that he’s a pawn in her climb up the academic ladder, will he forgive Adelina s deceit or will their miscommunication end in two broken lives?


REVIEW:

Crossing the genre lines between historical fiction and contemporary fiction can bring about heated discussion amongst readers. Sometimes people tend to lean towards one genre or the other; history fans love reading about times past while contemporary fans like the ease of familiarity that comes from reading stories set in the present. Other times,    although admittedly not as often, readers–myself included–fall into both camps. In history books I can be whisked away to the romance of the Regency era, the adventure and drama of World War Two, or the retellings of fairy tales. With contemporary books the possibilities of a different life encompassed by what I know bring both comfort and newness to my world. No matter history or contemporary, when I put down a book I know I will be living a totally different life. That’s a beautiful prospect.

Publishing houses tend to prefer authors choose one genre to write in because, as creatures of habit, people like to know what to expect when they purchase a product. Authors who write in multiple genres face the possibility that readers will not know what to expect from their stories because different romance, contemporary, historical, suspense, thriller, and other genres are comprised of different elements. It is rare, then, for authors to cross genres between historical and contemporary fiction. Pepper Basham, author of the Penned in Time historical fiction series, has broken that rule, though, with A Twist of Faith, the first book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series. From early twentieth century England to modern day Appalachia, Basham has proven with her latest novel that some rules are meant to be broken.

Set in rural North Carolina, Basham’s Appalachian background provides solid support for a novel that sets out to prove that labels do not define who we are. Dee, the heroine of A Twist of Faith, is everything a modern woman should be: successful, driven, poised, and focused on her career. Reese, a hardworking farmer with a strong love of family, helps set the Southern stage with his Appalachian accent and love of the land. Over the course of the novel Dee comes to accept, through the often painful idea that she has to let go, that God’s dreams and plans for her are not what she has expected but are just as beautiful. While Dee comes to find her place in Appalachia, Reese learns how to give his past over to God, which includes giving and receiving a hefty dose of forgiveness. These two unlikely heroes bring us on a faith-filled journey comprised of new dreams, challenges enlivened by grace, and the sentiment that pre-conceived notions rarely show us who people really are.

RATING: 5 stars


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Pepper BPepper Bashamasham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus, and proud AlleyCat over at a group writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. Her debut historical romance novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015, and has already garnered its first award with Readers’ Favorites International Awards. Pepper’s second and third books in the series arrive in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance debuts in April. You can connect with Pepper on her websiteFacebook or Twitter.

 

Book Review: Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

Like Never BeforeLike Never Before (Walker Family #2) 

Maple Valley became Amelia Bentley’s haven after her heart and her dreams of a family were shattered. But her new life as a newspaper editor is shaken when the small-town paper is in danger of closing. Her one hope: A lead on an intriguing story that just might impress the new publisher…if only she new who he was.

After his biggest campaign success yet, widowed speechwriter Logan Walker now has the chance of a lifetime–a spot on a presidential campaign. But his plans are interrupted when he finds out he’s inherited his hometown newspaper. He travels home intent on selling the paper and spending some much-needed time with his young daughter before making the leap into national politics.

But instead of a quick sale and peaceful break from his hectic career, Logan finds himself helping Amelia chase her story. She’s scrappy, but wounded. He’s dependable, but lost. They may butt heads more than expected, but a series of leads on Maple Valley’s quirky unsolved mystery is just the start of the sparks that fly in the office and in their hearts.

REVIEW:

There are certain things I know will bring me smiles: purring kittens, Broadway musicals, Disney movies, Jane Austen adaptations, trips to Barnes and Nobles. The underlying theme of this list–the belief that love conquers all. (Well, maybe that Barnes and Nobles trip doesn’t quite fit that statement, but hey, this *is* my list…and I can find many “love conquers all” stories in B&N.)

And if I want one of those “love conquers all” stories that will make me smile, I know without any doubt that all I need to do is pull a Melissa Tagg novel off the shelf. That’s right, reader friends. Some stories make your heart flutter with the sweet delight of first love; others make your heart pound with the spice; and some make you swoon with the romance. Melissa’s novels have a little bit of all of that, ensuring that no matter what kind of love a reader longs for, they will find it amongst her witty dialog, punchy plots, and quirky characters.

Witty dialog, punchy plots, and quirky characters are enough to make a novel successful, but I fully believe that readers keep coming back for more of Melissa’s books because of the heart of the stories. Melissa crafts characters and storylines that speak to the  heartaches, joys, loves, and dramas that we all experience. Like Never Before demonstrates her natural ability to reach people on a heart-level through seemingly ordinary circumstances (in the book) but truly beautiful life lessons (woven into the story through her unique author voice).

I’ve long loved Melissa’s novels for all those reasons mentioned above, but in Like Never Before I noticed what first caught my attention last winter with her stand-alone novella: this author’s craft is strong, unique, and improved upon in each book she writes. Like Never Before stands out from Melissa’s preceding novels because of her use of wit in her dialog and prose, deep plot lines, and comedic timing. While Melissa’s novels are always funny, the wit and comedic timing in Like Never Before actually had me laughing out loud. She also deepened her story with a historical subplot that strengthened her character’s motivations and added a layer of complexity to her writing. These two elements alone tell me that Melissa is more than capable–and likely will–make a name for herself in a niche market of authors who can write complex contemporary romance novels.

Like Never Before is now one of my favorite novels ever. I am so excited to read Melissa’s future novels, including the next novel in the Walker Family Series (starring Beckett)!

Rating: 5 stars


About the Author: 

Melissa TaggMelissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total Iowa girl. She’s also a multi-published novelist, writing romantic comedies in the banter-filled style of her favorite 1930s and 40s classic films. Her latest book, Like Never Before, was named by Publishers Weekly to their spring 2016 “Religion and Spirituality” Top 10 list. When she’s not writing she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Melissa loves connecting with readers at http://www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook and Instagram.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Flirtation Walk by Siri Mitchell

Flirtation Walk

ABOUT THE BOOK:

West Point History Comes Alive in this Warmhearted Romance

Lucinda Pennyworth, the daughter of a con man, is trying her best to leave her father’s sordid past behind her. When he dies unexpectedly, she takes the opportunity to move to West Point to live with her aunt, ready to take on a new life and determined to marry a respectable man, a West Point cadet, to impress her relatives.
Seth Westcott, a cadet at the academy, is proud to be at the top of his senior class. But when his mother dies and his sister loses their inheritance to a swindler, Seth wants nothing more than to head west to track down the con man. But the army will only send the cadets at the bottom of the class to the frontier…which leaves Seth with some tough choices.
When a woman trying her best to be good meets a man determined to be anything but, can there be hope for love, or will two lonely hearts be condemned to casual flirtation?

AMAZON | GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE

MY REVIEW: 
Reading a book by an author you’re familiar with, or from a genre that you know you love, or set during your favorite time period lends itself to some certainty. That feeling of certain pleasure makes for some good reading when the price of a good book is a hefty fifteen-dollars and at least a few uninterrupted hours.
But when those factors are put aside–when you’re fairly certain you can expect something good out of a book–and something more happens…now that, reader friends, is when book magic comes alive.
 I’ve read a majority of Siri Mitchell’s books over the past seven years; in fact, she was one of the first authors of Christian historical fiction that I ever read. Unfortunately, Siri’s 2015 release did not make it on my favorites list, so for the rest of last year I was unsure of what to expect from this prolific author in 2016.
 I didn’t need much convincing to pick up Flirtation Walk as soon as it released. West Point history? A novel set during the 1800s? A military romance? Yes, please.
Within just a few pages of Flirtation Walk I knew that this book would make it onto my Favorites of 2016 list. I loved this book. From its droll humor, to its historical setting, to its characters that so genuinely want to fulfill their roles and find their dreams, Flirtation Walk just struck a chord with me.
Characters in Mitchell’s latest novel drive the story from the first page to the last. Lucinda is a charming character desperate to be and do good. Although at times I admit her inability to see the good in herself pushed my limits, this was less of a fault of Mitchell’s ability to write than my own frustration in knowing Lucinda was redeemed. I wanted so badly for her to know she was loved by God, her family, and her man, and that to me was a mark of Mitchell’s ability to bring her characters to life. Seth Wescott, hero of Flirtation Walk, is charming as Lucinda’s opposite. Highly regarded at West Point as the top student and leader, Seth’s life undergoes a complete transformation as he has to become someone he’s not in order save his family. Watching drama unfold as Seth valiantly attempts to complete this task was the perfect reason to continue reading Flirtation Walk. I just had to know what was going to happen to these two!
A cast of clever, charming cadets provided humor and hilarity against the background of the prestigious military academy. West Point was a character unto itself–I have always wanted to visit the academy, and while that may not happen for some time, I thank Mitchell for giving me the opportunity to see it in my mind.
By the time I finished this book I was sad the story was over. I genuinely enjoyed every page of Flirtation Walk and smiled at the close of Lucinda and Seth’s romance. This is a novel I will most definitely re-read.
Rating: 4 stars
Find out more about Siri Mitchell here.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own. This review is protected by copyright law.

Release Day: The Sound of Emeralds by Rachelle Rea

Dearest reader friends,

Today is a beautiful day! It’s Friday–but better yet, it’s release day for The Sound of Emeralds, the third book in Rachelle Rea’s  Steadfast Love series. Congratulations, Rachelle!

In celebration of this gorgeous book (put this on your TBR list, friends), I’m hosting Rachelle here on A Way With Words for a short Q & A session.

Q & A with author and editor Rachelle Rea

AWWW: What’s the greatest lesson regarding writing and publishing that you’ve learned over your time spent working on The Steadfast Love series?

RR: I thought I had learned the lesson of grace that I have the privilege of portraying in my series, but I learned it anew in the whirlwind of editing and release dates. I made countless mistakes forgetting emails, missing typos, transposing links…yet I experienced so much grace in the form of readers saying my stories touched their hearts, excellent reviews, an amazing team behind me at WhiteFire and among my influencers. I realized anew this story of Dirk and Gwyn has never been about me, but about the God who gives such grace.

AWWW: What do you believe is the most significant lesson you’ll take away for future writing projects that you learned while writing The Steadfast Love series? (i.e. : always continue learning about the craft, the importance of time management, always listening to your editor, etc…)

RR: Always, always listen to the editor! WhiteFire’s editorial team is just magnificent. So insightful at every step of the way. So superb at catching when my timeline goes askew or I miss historical facts. Oh, the timeline! A practical thing I’ll remember is the importance of having a timeline written down somewhere so I can go back and reference it throughout the revision process. So helpful! Writers, make one. 😉

Doesn’t she have some great advice, friends?


Now, for those of you more interested in the story-side of The Steadfast Love series, I’ve got something fun for you. Fun fact: the love triangle in this series wasn’t always there. So to celebrate the culmination of this triangle in The Sound of Emeralds  Rachelle is having a contest–who do you want to see win Gwyn’s hand? The reformed rogue, Dirk, who has claimed her heart or the loyal friend who could be more, Anders?

As for me, while I love both men in Rachelle’s series, Anders happens to have won my heart. Check out the pictures Rachelle made for #TeamAnders

 

So readers, who is your man in The Steadfast Love series? Are you #TeamAnders or #TeamDirk?

 

 

Book Review: The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

BGGTMThe Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan (Harvest House Publishers, March 2016)

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever–if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

REVIEW:

One of my favorite aspects of reading is its ability to transport me into new worlds, new places, and new times. Through reading, I am able to experience much more than is ever likely I could do of my own accord. In the case of The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder, this is a good thing–because while I have no desire to ever chase murderers through a big city, I quite enjoyed myself as Jem and Merinda did the same in Rachel McMillan’s debut novel. With a keen insight into Toronto’s history and a penchant for wit and humorous dialog, McMillan’s The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder is a refreshing debut novel for the CBA.

Merinda Herringford and Jemima Watts live in early twentieth-century Toronto, battling the social norms and societal expectations placed upon women of the upper class. These best friends fill The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder with laughter and love as their opposite personalities make them the perfect dynamic duo to take on the Morality Squad and power-hungry politicians. Passionate and exuberant, Merinda easily takes charge of the Herringford and Watts detective business. While I could never truly put myself in her shoes, I laughed at her antics and admired her for her courage and tenacity to solve mysteries. Jemima, on the other hand, is just my kind of character: prim and proper, intelligent and brave, and loyal to her best friend, Jemima evolves throughout the novel and her journey is a satisfying one to behold.

This novel was the first I’d read in the cozy mystery genre, and I was unsure if I would be able to handle a story whose central concept was murder. I’m happy to state that The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder is much more than just a murder mystery. Yes, Herringford and Watts are out to solve the wrongful deaths of two of females; however, McMillan uses her wordsmithing skills to weave a story that instead focuses on the circumstances surrounding the conditions that allowed such felonies to occur. I was captivated by her prowess to use this story to bring the challenges and hardships alive that women and immigrants faced in Toronto at this time.

For a vintage-styled twist that brings new life to the historical fiction in the CBA, look no further than Rachel McMillan. The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder is a historical romp that brings humor, history, romance, and social awareness to the forefront of Christian fiction. This is one you’ll want to add to your to-read list right away.

RATING: 4 stars

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

10425088_10155282043665316_1590509899598521150_nRachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.