When The Tides Turn Review

 

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I’ve followed author Sarah Sundin through her Wings of Glory and Wings of the Nightingales series, and now through the Waves of Freedom with When The Tides Turn being the final story. It’s been such a fabulous journey, and I can’t wait for more from this talented author.

Here’s the Blurb:

When fun-loving glamour girl Quintessa Beaumont learns the Navy has established the WAVES program for women, she enlists, determined to throw off her frivolous ways and contribute to the war effort. No-nonsense and hoping to make admiral, Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills to fight German U-boats. The last thing he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess. For her part, Tess works hard to prove her worth in the Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit in Boston–both to her commanding officers and to the man with whom she is smitten. When Dan is assigned to a new escort carrier at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he’s torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help Tess root out a possible spy on shore. The Germans put up quite a fight, but he wages a deeper battle within his heart. Could Tess be the one for him?

My Take:

Okay, this review may be a tad bias due to the undeniable fact that the 40s era is my absolute favorite! But really, this story is so well-written and the plot kept me guessing. As with each novel penned by Sarah Sundin, I’m dropped right in the midst of the intriguing action of WWII. I’m still in amazement at the precision of her research—she really knows her stuff—and how she sews these historical gems into a vivid plot with true-to-life characters. Dan and Tess have a way of leaping off the page and into the heart.

Adventure is mixed with a mind-boggling mystery, topped with a tender romance, and all wrapped with a refreshing and strengthening spiritual theme of perseverance, trusting God even when you’re wading in troubled waters. I enjoyed the development of the main characters, and experienced some growth of my own. “When times get tough—and they will—stay the course.” What a tremendous heart-fortifier that line is!

So you get mystery, adventure, love, and yes, a few giggles that all lead to a satisfying read worth every bit of your time. I’m sad to see this series come to an end, but I’ll keep the Avery family and company tucked in a special place in my heart.

 

About the Author:

Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. She is the author of nine novels, including the Waves of Freedom series (Through Waters Deep, Anchor in the Storm, and When Tides Turn, March 2017).

A mother of three, Sundin lives in northern California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and enjoys speaking to community, church, and writers’ groups. Her novel Through Waters Deep was a 2016 Carol Award Finalist, won the INSPY Award, and Booklist named it to the 101 Best Romance Novels of the Past 10 Years and the Top 10 Inspirational Fiction: 2015. Her novella in Where Treetops Glisten was a finalist in the 2015 Carol Awards, and in 2011 she received the Writer of the Year Award from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. She belongs to American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Please visit Sarah at www.sarahsundin.com, on Facebook at Sarah Sundin Author, and on Twitter at @sarahsundin.

Interested in purchasing a copy of When The Tides Turn click here.

*I was given a copy by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

How God Used Housework To Enlighten Me

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Sunday night after I put the kids to sleep, I entered ninja cleaning mode. I scrubbed baseboards, washed walls, chiseled unknown substances off the entryways. After I scraped the playdough chunk from the arm of the couch, I scanned the area. Ship-shape and ready for the guest arriving at nine the next morning.

Fast forward to 7 a.m. the next day. I wake to the sun rising! Friends, cloud coverage had been so thick over the past week the poor sun didn’t stand a chance. But that morning, the sun put on a show for me. Searing pink hues danced across lavender tufts of sky and then melted into a blazing orange casting a burning haze on my deck. It was spectacular, refreshing. But as much as the sunrise branded my memory what happened next is what I hope will never leave.

Light flooded the room.

The area I declared as spotless last night was riddled with flaws. Dust hung like a streamer from the far corner, my recessed lighting boasted ribbons of filth, too. Spots hidden in the artificial light now glared at me.

I didn’t see the the grime until the purest and strongest light exposed it.

How true is that in my spiritual journey? I need His light to be clean. I need His Word. (Ps. 119:130, The entrance of His words gives light) I need His presence flooding me so I can see the flaws and faults that would be concealed otherwise. It’s simple to be caught up in the things of this world—the artificial light—where filth clings to me unseen. I need Jesus, the Light of the World to expose it. Imitation can never supersede the original. I can’t linger in the shadows of my circumstances, be it failure or success, because it’s vital for me to bask in the light. Where burdens fade and He shines. Weakness dissolves and I’m fortified by a strength not my own.

What’s been stirring in you lately? Share below 🙂

A Note Yet Unsung

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I had the fabulous privilege of reviewing Tamera Alexander’s A Note Yet Unsung, and let me say this book had it all—dynamic characters, enamoring settings, and a gushing romance.

Here’s the blurb:

A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the new maestro at the Nashville Philharmonic. But women are “far too fragile and frail” for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah’s hopes are swiftly dashed when the conductor–determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music–bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah’s new employer, agrees with him.

Nationally acclaimed conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville’s youngest orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head, he must finish composing his symphony before the grand opening of the city’s new symphony hall. Even more pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music–his dying father. As Tate’s ailment worsens, he knows Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how can he win back her trust when he’s robbed her of her dream?

My Thoughts

This is the very first story I’ve read by Tamera Alexander and I was overwhelmingly surprised. Because I’ve been involved with music most of my life, I was drawn in by the overall theme. The author did a brilliant job intertwining musical terms and definitions—she definitely knew her stuff!

Like I said above, the characters were dynamic. Right away I was intrigued by Rebekah’s spunk and yet held a note of compassion when I read about her family situation. And Tate…well…I thought I had his character pegged, but as I continued to read on, I discovered I was completely wrong. (I’m avoiding spoilers here 😉

The author also sprinkled in some beautiful lines. When describing the sound of water—Ancient but never old. I love that! And the entire story was filled with these little gems, keeping me turning the pages.

The storyline itself moved brilliantly and the twists and turns along the way made it such an enjoyable read! Plus, there were some emotional scenes that pulled me right in. The spiritual thread of overcoming hardship and following after the dream God placed in your heart resonated with me. It truly was a mesmerizing story and it’s one of my favorites I’ve read so far this year. I recommend this book and this author.

About the author

Tamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers in the historical fiction genre. She and her husband live in Nashville, Tennessee, not far from the Southern mansions that serve as the backdrop for six of her award-winning novels. For more about Tamera’s books, visit http://www.TameraAlexander.com

So yeah, this book was fiction form Godiva chocolate and if you’d like to purchase it click here.

*I was given a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

 

Shine Like The Dawn Review

 

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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: Shine Like the Dawn

Author: Carrie Turansky

Genre: Historical

In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible tragedy reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. But Maggie is resilient and will do what she must to protect her sister Violet. Still, the loss of her parents weighs heavily on her heart and she begins to wonder if what happened that day on the lake…might not have been an accident.

When wealthy inventor and industrialist William Harcourt dies, his son Nathaniel, who is Maggie’s estranged childhood friend, returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s vast estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend.

Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate—and reconciling with God? Will their search for the truth about her parents’ death draw them closer or will it leave them both with broken hearts?

My Thoughts

Shine Like The Dawn was the first story I’ve read by author Carrie Turansky, but it won’t be my last. It had all the ingredients that I love—The Edwardian era, a dashing hero, and a tender romance.

Maggie was immediately endearing to me because my heart broke over the tragedy she’d suffered. Her struggle with raising her younger sister by making ends meet as a milliner while attempting to keep resentment and grief at bay tugged at my heart strings. I rallied for her to give happiness a chance again.

As Nate’s character flaw was…um…er…nothing. He was the perfect hero! Always wanting to do what’s right. Always the mannerly gentleman. His attentive dealings with Maggie and sensitivity toward her pain made me hope for a match between them. He reminds me a lot of Edward Farrars from Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

I was surprised by the mystery weaved through the story and enamored by the gentle romance. Above all, the theme of forgiveness and unfailing love danced across the pages and into my heart.

So in conclusion, I recommend this story and this author. 🙂

*I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

cturansky-2.jpeg CARRIE TURANSKY is an award-winning author of more than a dozen novels and novellas. She has been the winner of the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award, and a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award and the Maggie Award of Excellence. A prolific writer of contemporary and historical romance, women’s fiction, short stories, articles, and devotionals, Carrie lives in central New Jersey with her husband Scott. They have five adult children and four grandchildren.

 

Guest Post from Carrie Turansky

Hats, Glorious Hats!

By Carrie Turansky

MaggieinHat-300x298.jpegOne fun part of my research for Shine Like the Dawn was learning about hat making in
the early 1900s. My heroine, Maggie Lounsbury is a milliner who designs women’s hats. She learned this skill from her grandmother who owns a small shop in the village of Heatherton. Maggie has an artistic eye and she enjoys making stylish hats, but she doesn’t like the overdone designs some of their customers request, so that creates some humorous conflict in the story.

 

2e59191fde836985dfd98f399afeae46-200x300.jpgHats in the Edwardian era were large and often covered with feathers, flowers, lace, netting, berries and bows. The “bird nests,” as Coco Chanel called them, were held on with large hat pins stuck through piles of hair on the crown. These hats were called Gainsborough or Picture hats because of the way they framed a lady’s face. They often featured huge dried flower arrangements and sometimes included real leaves and twigs! No doubt the Garden hat was a fitting name.
1907 The Merry Window hat became very popular after the leading lady in the play by that same name wore a hat that was even taller and wider than usual. Some people complained these hats were too big and obtrusive in public places like the theater or picture shows. But English women loved them and wore them to all kinds of events.6ca0c7f3f38874b8095d6884c2fd52f6-197x300.jpg

The popularity of using large feathers and stuffed birds on hats caused concern for the welfare of birds. Many protective laws took effect and milliners had to use more ribbon and tulle and only large ostrich feathers to decorate hats. Those ostrich feathers came from birds that were raised on farms and their feathers were collected as they fell out naturally.
The movement toward smaller hats began around 1913 when hats still had high crowns but smaller brims. Straw boaters, small top hats, and mini versions of picture hats were very common.

68e75a1cae2f5eb955404bdff990157c-300x187.jpgMotion pictures had the greatest influence on Edwardian hat fashion. After the release of The Three Musketeers many ladies wanted to wear tricorne and bicorne shaped hats. They were still very large but now had shapes other than just round. Hat brims were folded up on the side, at an angle, or all around to create drama. Veils disappeared in the early 1900s only to come back again as a long scarf that wrapped over the hat and under the chin for the new sport called motoring.

I’ve had fun dressing Edwardian style for book launch tea parties and other book events. It made me feel very special to wear these lovely hats. What do you think of Edwardian Hats? Would you like to wear one?

Thanks to friends at the Vintage Dancer website for some of this information.

Stop by Carrie’s Facebook author page and view her live videos February 21 – 25, 3:00 pm Eastern. She’ll be talking about the story behind Shine Like the Dawn and giving away a fun prize each day to one person who leaves a comment. Even if you can’t catch the live video you can still enter for 24 hours after it’s posted. She is also hosting a book launch celebration and giveaway on her blog February 25 – March 6.
Like to my Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/authorcarrieturansky/
Link to my Book Launch Blog Post: http://carrieturansky.com/index.php/blog/

 

REMAINING BLOG STOPS

March 5: Christian Bookaholic

March 6: History, Hope, Laughter & Happily-ever-after

March 6: Baker Kella

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away all 4 books: Shine Like the Dawn, The Governess of Highland Hall, The Daughter of Highland Hall, and A Refuge at Highland Hall! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b0fb

 

 

 

 

Letting Go

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What you’re reading is my third attempt at this blog post. First I tried something deep, emotion-filled, but it turned out cheesy. Next, I endeavored to tell a story, but that fizzled out as well.

I’m sitting here, searching my “brainfiles,” combing through scenarios and situations that I can forge into a decent post. I came up with nothing. Zilch.

This past month had been so draining both physically and emotionally, I considered not posting at all. Because really—what can I offer?

Then I thought of the boy with two fish and five loaves of bread. Here are thousands of hungry people. Have you ever been in a crowd that large? (Early in our marriage, we went to Daytona for a NASCAR race and there were thousands in the stands.) So I visualize the great multitude and then picture the small boy’s lunch. That measly meal compared to the expansive group of people looked laughable. Ridiculously impossible. Yet what did the child do? He put it in God’s hands. Then a miracle happened.

Our dreams and goals may seem impossible. Maybe a thousand hindrances are blocking the road to our goals. Or a multitude of challenges stretch before us. It’s time to release the death-grip we have on our own meager ability and placing it into God’s massive palm. Letting go of our tiny, not-even-close-to-being-enough talent, and trusting that HE can make something of it to bless others. A willing heart is all it takes for a miracle. 🙂

Rescue Me Review

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So a couple weeks ago, It was 20 degrees outside and the wind was curling snow gusts against my house, and I decided it was a fabulous time to dive into an adventure taking place in the Montana’s Glacier National Park. Mountains and danger coupled with romance and you have Rescue Me by Susan May Warren.

Here’s the blurb:

When Deputy Sam Brooks commits to something, nothing can sway him–not just on the job as liaison between the Mercy Falls sheriff’s department and PEAK Rescue, but in his private life. He’s the one who stuck around to take care of his mother after his father’s accidental death. And he’s the one–perhaps the only one–who believes Sierra Rose is the perfect girl for him. Safe, practical, and organized, she’s nothing like her hippie, impulsive, bleeding heart sister, Willow.

Willow, however, has been in love with Sam Brooks for as long as she can remember. But she wants her sister to have a happy ending. Besides, Willow has other things to focus on–namely, nabbing the job as youth pastor for her small-town church. Best thing for her to do is to purge Sam from her heart.

Neither can predict the events that will bring them together in a fight for their lives in the forbidding wilderness of Glacier National Park. Stranded, injured, and with the winter weather closing in, Sam and Willow will have to work together to save a crew of terrified teenagers. As they fight to survive, they might just discover a new hope for love.

My Review:

Like I said above, being stuck in the house on a frigid day, this story gave me a fun outlet to wander about mountainsides and be in the thick of adventure with Willow and Sam. The author used the beautiful setting to her advantage, weaving in vivid descriptions and using its tough/perilous terrain to play into the plot.

As for the characters. I liked Willow from book one in the series, Wild Montana Skies. Her carefree yet nurturing heart endeared me to her at the first introduction. I adored how she encouraged others and always sparkled in every scene. With Sam, however, it took a bit to warm up to his character. He seemed irritable in the beginning, acting irrationally at times. But! I believe the author wrote him this way on purpose to show the transformation in him during each encounter with Willow. As the story progressed his caring and protective nature emerged, and it was fun watching their relationship blossom even in the midst of danger.

What I enjoyed best was the spiritual theme of forgiveness and second chances. Sam had to overcome layers of bitterness, and God’s light in Willow helped pulled him out of the darkness of his past.

There’s also an enjoyable subplot with Sam’s brother, Pete, and Glacier PEAK Rescue team member, Jess.

The author did such a fabulous job keeping the suspense high and the romance strong. I recommend this one for anyone who loves the “outdoorsy” settings and fast-paced adventure with a high degree of romance in the mix.

About the author

Susan May Warren is the ECPA and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels, including Wild Montana Skies, with more than one million books sold. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She can be found online at http://www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at SusanMayWarrenFiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren.

If you’re interested in this story you can purchase a copy here.

*  I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

Success…What Is It?

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“When I’m walking in His calling for my life, ‘success’ has a very different definition.” This statement by Pepper Basham skipped around in my heart until I was finally asking myself—What is ‘success’ to God? How does it differ from the view in my mind?

In this life perspective is everything. Two people can be staring at the same piece of art and glean vastly different interpretations. How often does that happen with us and God? Like when I was a teen and volunteered in church. At first it was new and fresh, but then it turned monotonous. But where I had begun to view it as a task or chore, God saw it as an opportunity to share His love, His message.

You see, totally different.

Proverbs 16:3 says, “Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.”

Oh friend, there is so much in that verse. First to give over our works to the Lord. It’s so easy to hover over our endeavors, be the master of our own handiwork, but there’s something freeing in releasing them to the One who, in reality, gave you the ability to complete the work in the first place. When you hand it over, you’ll find it’s for your benefit and others. Like pruning a fruit tree to bear even more. If we hold onto our fruit, we’ll never grow, never produce like He intended us to.

Then He’ll cause our thoughts to become agreeable to His will. What if our desires could mesh with His, our vision blending so we could see from His viewpoint? When that occurs then…our plans are established and succeed. It all works together in a beautiful fluid motion. When we see from his perspective success takes on a whole new meaning.

For example, down here in Rachel-land, success had meant fabulous things like a promotion for hubby, paying off our mortgage, and oh, landing that a book contract or ten ;). But even if I gain all those things on earth…heaven is silent. Yes, God doesn’t object to blessing His children, (every good gift comes from Him, James 1:17) but what stirs the roar of rejoicing in heaven? The conversion of the heart. Where we place value on perishable things He places worth on something eternal, bought by the blood of His Son- the human soul.

In James, mankind is referred to as the precious fruit of the earth. Oh, if we only comprehended the expansive love He directs toward us. I want to get to that place where it’s no longer what I want, but what He wants. For His will to be done through my life. For His compassion to flow through my actions. For His words to flow through my voice. In writing, for His words to flow through my fingertips.

And at the end of it all, to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

That my friend, is success.

*Pepper Basham’s statement was taken from The Writer’s Alley blog. If you’re interested in fabulous posts about writing and life click here. *

And the winner of last week’s BLOGIVERSARY giveaway is…Sharon Connell! Congrats, Sharon, you just won an ebook of Susan May Warren’s latest release Rescue me.