Monday, May 21, 2018

The Esther Paradigm

GIVEAWAY
MONZON, SARAH
THE ESTHER PARADIGM

Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan she grew up with as a missionary kid, and finally her hopes are coming true. But shortly after she returns to the desert from her college years in the U.S., she discovers her parents have received threats from their Muslim neighbors. As the danger escalates, Hannah finds she's in the middle of a battle no one seems to understand. She must decide to what lengths she'll go to stay faithful to the mission God has called her. Even if it costs her everything.

As sheikh,Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravishes the clan's flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, locals believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, Hannah, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep them safe -- even if the only solution can be found within marriage vows.

In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, Christianity is outlawed, and foreigners are mistrusted,will their union heal wounds or inflict the final fatal blow?

My Review:

Well, I'm gobsmacked. Not sure I can find the words to express what an impact this book made on me. How much I loved the hero and heroine and their sublime romance even though it seemed like it shouldn't work.

First things first -- dust off your fainting couch (which shouldn't take too long if you're anything like me. Mine gets quite the work out with all the romance I love to read!) And then prepare to give yourself plenty of savoring time because Monzon has created such spellbinding imagery that you'll be tempted to linger for awhile.

We are treated to two very distinct first person points of view courtesy of Hannah and Karim. And I do mean distinct. Karim's 'voice' is so...exotic. Not sure if that's quite the right word but somehow, the author brings a multicultural flare to his thoughts. It's in the cadence of his words and the imagery he conjures up to describe or explain something...or someone. Like Hannah. Swoon. Fainting couch here I come! And it's also apparent in the reverence he has for his people and his God.

And Hannah -- caught between two worlds. She's lived among the Bedouin clan since she was six with the exception of a sojourn stateside for college. In some ways, she's spent her whole life trying to fit in - not Arabian enough for her beloved clansmen and women and not American enough for her college friends. She's a unique blend of both cultures and doesn't quite fit with either though there's no doubt her heart belongs to the people of the desert.

Hannah is an interesting mix of conviction and trepidation. She struggles, as many of us do, with being 'enough'. Doubts and feelings of inadequacy threaten the life God is leading her towards. Emotions are raw, circumstances uneasy and Hannah has to step out in faith in midst of turmoil. Such a beautiful parallel to the biblical Esther's story.

And the ending -- goosebump-raising, hallelujah chorus-singing perfection.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of The Esther Paradigm, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday May 27 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

May Giveaway -- Week Three

CONGRATULATIONS!
AND SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THE WINNERS...

1) Since I only reviewed four books this week, I selected  TWO winners from our Friday's Reader's Choice Wishlist Giveaway.

2)  Books will be sent out the week of May 27.

3) It would be super helpful if winners could contact me with their mailing address instead of waiting for me to contact them. kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca BUT I won't email you back until I order the book at the end of the month.

AND THE WINNERS ARE.....

WON BY TAMMIE EDINGTON SHAW

WON BY KAY GARRETT
AND SUSAN POLL

WON BY LAURA DRUMB

WON BY LORI

Image result for THE SECRET LIFE OF SARAH HOLLENBECK
WON BY PAM WESTFALL

Image result for FALLING FOR YOU BECKY WADE
WON BY MARIA DB
LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK'S GIVEAWAYS (only 4 reviews this week -- Monday - Thursday but we'll be back to normal the following week): 

Image result for the esther paradigmImage result for texas ranger showdown margaret daley

Image result for the lost castle kristy cambronImage result for amish rescue debby giusti


Friday, May 18, 2018

Reader's Choice - Cross-That-Off-My-Wish-List Friday!

GIVEAWAY

Alas, I didn't quite make it to the end of the week. I'm stalled on book # 5 --- happily so as it happens. The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon is the kind of book you have to savor. Must not be read quickly and the thought of trying to assemble my thoughts into something coherent...well, that's not going to happen tonight. So....I'm pushing that review and giveaway to next week - look for it Monday. And I won't do a retro read this Saturday. :-( But it's a three day weekend coming up so I should be able to catch up as I rest up!

BUT DO NOT DESPAIR!!!

Today is Cross-That-Off-My-Wish-List Friday!!!!!

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And that means you get to request the book you'd like to win if your name is drawn. One from that lovely long wishlist I know we all have. Must be Christian Fiction but can be any genre or publication date through to this month. And because I know it's impossible to pick just one go ahead and pick two titles. Just state them in two separate comments below or email them to me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca (you can put both titles in one email.) Use Friday's Giveaway as the subject line so it grabs my attention.

Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday May 20 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!

Image result for cheerleading clipart royalty free

And a note for my cheer squad:

Not wanting to brag or anything, but I might just be able to touch my hands to the floor now! And yes, that's HUGE since I could only reach my knees before with a lot of awkward slowness while hanging on to something. 

AND

For the first time in EIGHT years I can lift my heels off the floor and press into the balls of my feet!!!! Yes, I'm sitting down but my feet can bend!!!!! Chair yoga rocks!!!!!


Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Bachelor's Perfect Match

GIVEAWAY
SPRINGER, KATHRYN
THE BACHELOR'S PERFECT MATCH

He loves adventures...She only reads them...until now!

Maddie Montgomery, Castle Falls shy librarian, has always played it safe. Enter Aiden Kane, the town's resident adventurer, on the mend from an accident and in need of Maddie's help. As Maddie assists Aiden with his search for a long-lost relative, the handsome outdoorsman coaxes Maddie out of her safety zone. But can Maddie take the biggest risk of all - giving in to love?

My Review:

"At nine o'clock on Monday morning, Maddie Montgomery brewed a cup of Earl Grey tea and opened the Castle Falls Library, ready for another quiet, ordinary day. And then someone dropped a pirate off at her door."  Sqqquuueaaallll - doesn't that opening scream 'Read me! Read me!' Like, right now. So I did. Eyes glued to page until I reached the end. I mean...I can't even...

Shy, bespectacled librarian meets adventure-seeking pirate -- how perfect is that? Except...wait...Maddie lives through her books while Aiden doesn't even read them! Gasp! Say it ain't so -- how can a non-reader be my hero? Especially since I'm like Maddie when it comes to books:

"For Maddie, sharing a favorite book was like sharing a secret. You weren't just giving people a book. You were offering them a glimpse into your heart" (p 39)

Disgruntled sigh. I was prepared to make Aiden work for my hero worship but then he winked at me. Well, at Maddie. And Maddie's tummy went all aflutter just like mine did. And there was Aiden all adorably needy after being in a car accident and grumpy because he's not the kind of guy who likes to be fussed over. In fact, as the youngest Kane he has to endure a lot of  'brother smother' as his macho older siblings try to make things easier for him. So he's hiding out in the library wondering how he totally missed the cute librarian all these years. Because Castle Falls is the kind of small town where everyone knows everyone else. Clearly this hero and heroine lived in different worlds until fate stepped in and...the unlikeliest romance blossoms!

And there's a dog!!! Injured, abandoned and when he bares his teeth it might be preface to a growl or a smile. No one's exactly sure. But he's got attitude, which exactly matches Aiden's so this non-reading hero just went up a notch in my estimation since he's kind to animals (sort of...in a grumpy way.)

A brilliant plot held me spellbound not just because of Maddie and Aiden but a host of captivating secondary characters as well. And dare I hope that the author has set the stage for fourth book in this series? Even though all the brothers have found their matches there's a tight-lipped deputy who caught my eye. A single dad who seems a tad out of his element. I'm hoping he gets his own story and I know just the woman for him...

Oh -- and by the way, this is the third book in Kathryn Springer's Castle Falls series. I missed the first one but The Bachelor's Twins was just as sublime as this one so I highly recommend the series.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of The Bachelor's Perfect Match, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add an email to your comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday May 20 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Melody of the Soul

GIVEAWAY
TOLSMA, LIZ
THE MELODY OF THE SOUL

Anna has one chance for survival -- and it lies in the hands of her mortal enemy.

It's 1943 and Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost nearly everything. Most of her family has been deported, and the Nazi occupation ended her career as a concert violinist. Now Anna is left to care for her grandmother, and she'll do anything to keep her safe - a job that gets much harder when Nazi officer Horst Engel is quarted in the flat below them.

Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Horst, dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.

Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals might stop the music forever...

My Review:

Liz Tolsma has crafted another compelling World War II novel that digs deep into the complexities of human nature. A story that is as heart-wrenching as it is hopeful. The dilemmas these characters face are incomprehensible. Especially since I know that this type of thing happened to real people all over Europe during the war. Anna poses a piercing question to Horst: "Why didn't your people stop this madman? You should have known, should have seen, what was coming." (p 105) That's a question I constantly ask myself when I read a Holocaust story. And then I think: what are we doing as a society to safeguard ourselves from such atrocities again? Clearly not enough.

Like all of us, Anna and Horst have been shaped by experiences in their childhood. And both have been powerfully influenced by their mothers' faith. I don't know if it's because I read this book on Mother's Day - but I kept seeing that recurring theme play out throughout this story. Such an amazing testimony of the longstanding impression we can make on our children's faith walk. These memories become the moral compass that guides Anna and Horst through their darkest days. And it sustains them until they are able to dig deep and develop their own life-sustaining faith.

Tolsma knows how to draw out a scene, build the suspense and skewer a reader's tender heart with turbulent emotions.And now that the read is done I'm left basking in a jittery mix of grief and joy and eagerly awaiting the release of the next book in the Music of Hope series which comes out later this year.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like to win a copy of The Melody of the Soul, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday May 20 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Killer Country Reunion

GIVEAWAY
KILLER COUNTRY REUNION

Her family's being eliminated, one by one...but he won't let her be next.

After gunmen attack Caroline Marsh, she's stunned that she survives - and shocked that her rescuer is her ex-fiance, Zane Coleman. With her family's safety on the line, there's no time for grudges over the past. The killers on her trail won't give up easily. And although Zane already left her once, for her own protection, he's not about to lose Caroline again.

My Review:

"She tried to yell for help as she ran, but the terror flooding her body gripped her lungs so tightly that it was all she could do to keep breathing." (p 10) You and me both, Caroline. Awesome opening scene that's guaranteed to steal breaths and weaken knees! And once we get a chance to catch our breath we're left with a puzzling mystery -- who is after Caroline and why?! I had several working theories as the story progressed and I was hard pressed to pick just one. Love when a suspense challenges me that way!

The second chance romance works it's way along an angsty path which is just as edge-of-your-seating as the suspense. Both have nice breathing spaces so we're not always in a tilt-a-whirl frenzy and there's time to delve deeper into the past as well as build -- however shaky -- a new relationship.

Awesomesauce from start to finish!

My thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of this book.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

Woohoo - 2 chances to win as Jenna Night has also provided an autographed copy for a giveaway. Woot!

If you would like a chance to win a copy of Killer Country Reunion, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday May 20 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!

Monday, May 14, 2018

A Home for Hannah

GIVEAWAY
LILLARD, AMY
A HOME FOR HANNAH

In Pontotoc, Mississippi, the Amish was means a chance to rebuild, renew and rekindle a love from long ago...

Fifteen years. That's how long it's been since Hannah McLean set foot in the Amish community where she was raised. Through it all her heart has never forgotten Pontotoc - or Aaron Zook, her first love. Now widowed, and left with little more than her hurting teenager and her prayers, she returns home, even knowing she and her son may be turned away.

When Aaron learns Hannah has returned, he nearly falls to his knees. He's a strong man, but lately the care o f his three motherless children and family land have been more than he can handle. Now providence has delivered the first woman he loved, and with her, the rush of feelings they once shared. But will his simple, removed way of life leave Hannah longing for something more, or can they begin anew, finding a new way forward together?

My Review:

Ah, the perils of second chance romance! Be prepared to have your tummy tied up in knots as you navigate your way through the complicated twists and turns of Hannah's messy life. She's dealt with a lot since she left her Amish community in Pontotoc, Mississippi (love the unusual setting!) Now she's headed home after a fifteen year absence -- virtually penniless and with a sullen teen in tow. Talk about abounding angst!

The conservative Old Order Amish community Hannah wanted to escape as a teen has now become her haven - a place where she can regroup and figure out what's next in her life. And maybe breech the ever widening gap between her son and herself. What she hadn't counted on was her first love, Aaron Zook, being a widower or her family throwing the two together in hopes of urging Hannah back to the fold.

There's such sweet agony as feelings reawaken even though it seems hopeless. There's no way to bridge their Amish and Englisch worlds and meet all their family obligations. I was on tenterhooks trying to figure out how Lillard was going to make this romance work. It isn't a perfect ending...but it's a good one.

A Home for Hannah is the first book in the Amish of Pontotoc, Mississippi series. I already love this community and am excited to see what happens next and luckily I won't have long to wait - A Love for Leah releases this July! 

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of A Home for Hannah, leave a comment below or emailme at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday May 13 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!