Thursday, May 6, 2021

Guest Post: Depression Era Lesson for Today By Stephanie Landsem

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.


About the book:

A story about the price of fame, the truth sacrificed on its altar, and the love that brings a prodigal daughter home.
As the Great Depression hits the Midwest, Minerva Sinclaire runs away to Hollywood, determined to make it big and save the family farm. But beauty and moxie don’t pay the bills in Tinseltown, and she’s caught in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation, and compromise. Finally, she’s about to sign with a major studio and make up for it all. Instead, she wakes up next to a dead film star and is on the run for a murder she didn’t commit.

Only two unwilling men—Oscar, a Mexican gardener in danger of deportation, and Max, a too-handsome agent battling his own demons—can help Mina escape corrupt police on the take and the studio big shots trying to frame her. But even her quick thinking and grit can't protect her from herself. Alone, penniless, and carrying a shameful secret, Mina faces the consequences of the heartbreaking choices that brought her to ruin . . . and just might bring her back to where she belongs.




Depression Era Lesson for Today

By Stephanie Landsem 



My dad, who was a child during the Great Depression, had a saying that still holds true today:


Use it up.

Wear it out.

Make it do

or do without.


Good advice, and after the upheaval of 2020, we can see the wisdom of that little ditty and take heed of it in our modern lives. Here are some ways our parents and grandparents put this advice to use in the hard times of the 1930s. We can do the same today.


Make it yourself. From clothes to knitting to bread to soap and cheese, if they couldn’t make it themselves, they often did without. There’s great satisfaction in taking a loaf of bread from the oven or making the last stitch on a knitting project—and an appreciation for the finished product that lasts longer than the thrill of purchasing something ready-made.


Grow it yourself. Anyone who had a few square feet of dirt planted seeds and grew their own garden. It’s what saved many families from both hunger and malnutrition. From microgreens to herbs to an all-out vegetable garden, even those of us in urban areas can grow something, whether on the kitchen counter or in the backyard.


Fix it yourself. In the thirties, clothes were patched or remade for younger siblings. Cars were held together with bailing wire and a prayer. Appliances in those days were made to be repaired and to last for decades. Shoes were resoled when they became worn, and many Depression-era folks cut new soles from rubber or cardboard, then stitched and glued their shoes together again. These days, it’s often cheaper to replace something than to fix it. But the cost to the environment, we know now, can be devastating. Buy the best quality you can afford, my dad always said, then keep it in good repair and fix it when it breaks. 


Use it up. In the dire days of the 1930s, household objects were repurposed out of pure necessity. Flour sacks were made into dresses and shirts. Worn-out clothing was made into rugs. Rubber tires were used for flower pots. Tin cans and jars were reused for food and storage. Before you throw something away, look at it again and see if it can be used for something new—saving the environment and your pocketbook.

 

Entertain yourself. Hollywood was big in the thirties, and going to the movies was a popular event, but plenty of people couldn’t afford the twenty-five cents to see a show. Board games became a thing, with classics like Sorry! and Monopoly coming out at the time. Playing cards was a common family activity. Picnics were a popular community activity, as were games like Red Rover and Blind Man’s Bluff, which needed nothing more than enthusiasm and an open field. Try turning off the TV and unplugging the WiFi for a night of old-fashioned fun.


Help your neighbors. As bad as people had it in the thirties, they knew a lot of folks had it worse. Whether it meant bringing extra food to the family next door or helping out on the neighboring farm during harvest, charity in hard times was the norm. It was the right thing to do, and everyone knew they could be the next family in need. In these times of isolation, reaching out to our neighbors can bring hope and healing for both the helper and the helped.



 



Stephanie Landsem writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she's explored ruins, castles, and cathedrals on four continents and has met fascinating characters who sometimes find their way into her fiction. Stephanie is just as happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four adult children, two cats, and a dog. When she's not reading, researching, or writing, she's avoiding housework and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Spotlight: Falling for the Fifties: A Time Travel Historical Romance (The Back Inn Time Series Book 2) by

I'm excited to share with you this spotlight for the second book in the Back Inn Time series. I really enjoyed the first book and what I've read of this one so far. :) 

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Falling for the Fifties: A Time Travel Historical Romance (The Back Inn Time Series Book 2) 

What would you do if you finally found Mr. Right…in the wrong time?

Maddie Palmer is done with dating. Internet matchmaking landed her one dud after another. Tired, frustrated, and finished with love, Maddie stays the night at a quirky Victorian bed and breakfast on the eve of her grandparents’ sixty-fifth wedding anniversary. When she suddenly wakes up in 1956, she gets the unexpected chance to witness her grandparents’ fairy tale love unfold and finally learn the secret to finding “the one.” But what is she going to do when she meets her own Mr. Right—only to discover he’s Mr. Wrong Time?

Nathanial Hall is set on one mission. Pass his training exam and join the Hurricane Hunters at Keesler Air Force Base. When he mysteriously finds himself on base sixty-five years too early, there can only be one explanation. He has to save the crew destined to die in Hurricane Flossy. But when a beautiful singer snags his heart and derails his carefully planned life, he has to decide if staying in the past is worth risking his entire future.

♥ The Back Inn Time series short novels are fun, faith-filled stories of what it might be like to suddenly experience life in a different time. These clean historical romances are packed with humor and adventure. Perfect for fans of dual timeline or time slip stories and Christian historical romance, these books answer the question every historical fiction fan wonders—what would it be like if I went back to that time? If you enjoy the wholesomeness of Amish, Western, or frontier fiction and adore romantic comedies, then a visit to a seaside Victorian inn where you can “step back inn time and leave your troubles behind!” is for you.

Available in Audio, ebook, and paperback. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Review: Backlash by Rachel Dylan

About the book:
With a target on her back, she's determined to find answers.
But can she escape the deadly backlash?
CIA analyst Layla Karam is thrust into a dangerous DEA field operation against a cartel, and after one of her team members is murdered because of fallout from the op, Layla is left scrambling to find safety.
At the same time, the CIA opens an internal investigation against her. Out of options, Layla turns to ex-boyfriend and private investigator Hunter McCoy for help finding out who might want to ruin her career.
Layla and Hunter soon discover that a mole inside the DEA has sold out the team's identity to the cartel. She needs to clear her name with the Agency in order to protect herself and her teammates from cartel retaliation. With threats on all sides, Layla must put her trust in Hunter--the man who broke her heart--and hope they both come out of it alive.
For those who are content sensitive: this book contains non-graphic scenes and descriptions of physical and sexual assault.
This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

My rating:
4 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:
Backlash is the second book in Rachel Dylan's Capital Intrigue series and another thrilling suspense. I found the characters likeable and I liked how there were some unexpected twists. 

I'm not sure if it was just me and my reading mood at the time, but the storyline was a little difficult to completely follow at times. It might be because I wasn't really in the mood to read at the time and trying to get over a slump. It was still enjoyable…but I think some things went over my head. 

All in all, Backlash was a good read. I look forward to reading the next book when it releases. If you are a fan of romantic suspense, then I think you'll like this one, too.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Review: When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin


About the book:
Munich, 1938
Evelyn Brand is an American foreign correspondent determined to prove her worth in a male-dominated profession and to expose the growing tyranny in Nazi Germany. To do so, she must walk a thin line. If she offends the government, she could be expelled from the country--or worse. If she does not report truthfully, she'll betray the oppressed and fail to wake up the folks back home.
Peter Lang is an American graduate student working on his PhD in German. Disillusioned with the chaos in the world due to the Great Depression, he is impressed with the prosperity and order of German society. But when the brutality of the regime hits close, he discovers a far better way to use his contacts within the Nazi party--to feed information to the shrewd reporter he can't get off his mind.
As the world marches relentlessly toward war, Evelyn and Peter are on a collision course with destiny.

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

My rating:
4 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:
It's been four years since I've read a Sarah Sundin novel, so I was excited to dive into When Twilight Breaks. I felt like this book was slightly different from her other stories, but it was still amazing. 

I loved the story and found it so intriguing to read this point in history from the setting of Germany. I thought the story was believable and written in a way that made me feel like I was really there. 

There were points in this book where I was on the edge of my seat in suspense. I didn't know what was going to happen and there was so much danger. 

All in all, When Twilight Breaks was a great read. I highly recommend it. Now I must make a point to read my backlist of Sundin novels. ;)


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Review: Network of Deceit by Tom Threadgill

About the book:
She's following her instincts. They're following her every move.
After her rescue of nearly fifty kidnapped children made international headlines, Amara Alvarez gets what she's worked for: a transfer to San Antonio's Homicide Division. But reality sets in quickly when her first case, the suspicious death of a teenager at a crowded local water park, plunges her life into chaos.
As the investigation moves forward, Amara finds herself stalked online by cybercriminals who uncover her personal life in frightening detail. With few leads, she's forced to resort to unconventional methods to find the killer and prevent her first murder investigation from ending up in the cold case files.
Tom Threadgill is back with another riveting page-turner featuring the detective who is willing to put everything on the line to see justice served and lives protected.
This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

My rating:
4 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:
Network of Deceit is the second Amara Alvarez book and the first Tom Threadgill book I've read. I started the book with no expectations since I hadn't really heard much about this author and so I was just hoping for the best. I'm so happy to say that it was unbelievably good and I am eager to read the next book whenever it releases. 

The suspense was amazing. I had so much fun trying to figure out who the killer was and what was really going on. There were several twists and the ending was satisfying. 

All in all, with a great storyline and believable characters, Network of Deceit was a very good read and I recommend it. 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

Friday, March 12, 2021

Weekend Wrap-Up | March 12, 2021


Weekend Wrap-up is where I share what I read this past week, am currently reading, and my reading plans for the coming week. 

Feel free to join along and post your own Weekend Wrap-up on your blog/site (if you do, please leave the link in a comment so I can stop by) or, in a comment, share what you've read this past week. :)

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This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

~
Books I Finished This Past Week:


Both 5 star reads. I absolutely loved these books. :D

What I'm Currently Reading: 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Guest Post: Tips for Surviving your Time Travel Adventure | Review: A Wagon Train Weekend by Stephenia H. McGee

Guest Post by Stephenia H. McGee

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Tips for Surviving your Time Travel Adventure


Have you suddenly found yourself stranded in an era not your own? Did you book a room at a mysterious bed and breakfast, expecting an old-fashioned room and a hot meal, only to find yourself transported to a different time?

This handy little guide will help you anticipate some of the more jarring aspects of your trip.

  1. There are no cell phones. Depending on your particular time location, you will need to conduct all communications by letter, calling card, carrier pigeon, or face-to-face interactions. Some trips are equipped with telephone services, but can only be accessed through available land lines. Consider this a great time to disconnect and work on anemic people skills!

  2. Bathroom facilities can vary wildly. To best prepare, don’t expect hot water unless it comes from a pot heated over a fire. Showers, in almost all cases, are nonexistent. But don’t worry. Hats are provided to cover dirty hair and scented handkerchiefs help you avoid the smells of others.

  3. The people around you may exhibit wildly different mannerisms than you are used to. Try to keep an open mind about attire, idioms, and customs. When in doubt, try to blend in as much as possible. 

  4. Modes of transportation. For most adventures, you will not be equipped with motorized vehicles. Be prepared to travel by animal or by foot. In most cases, horses will be the most common means of travel. If you are afraid of horses, we suggest locating a comfortable pair of shoes as soon as possible.

  5. To avoid such mishaps as public panic and possible time in an asylum, it is best to refrain from informing those around you that you have traveled from the future.


Finally, keep in mind that should you wish to return to your time of origin, you will need to figure out why you got sent back in time in the first place. Lessons will vary from traveler to traveler, but in order to get your ticket home, you’ll need to make certain discoveries in relation to your own personal hang-ups, expectations, or character flaws. Should you fail, we hope you enjoy your new home.


Good luck and happy travels!


About the book:

It was just one night at a Victorian B&B. Until they woke up in 1857.

Collette Donaldson never should have taken her boyfriend to her cousin’s wedding. Or introduced him to her parents. After a disastrous weekend, all she wants is to get back home and sort out the mess that had once been their relationship. A heartbreaking fight, a flat tire, and an inconvenient storm force her and Seth to stay the night at a quaint bed and breakfast. But when Collette finds an antique photograph of herself, circumstances quickly shift from weird to unimaginable.

Seth Stone was ready to propose. Now he isn’t sure if he and Collette even have a relationship. People he'd never want to be his in-laws, an irritable girlfriend, and now he has to spend the night in a creepy old Victorian inn. He should have never wondered how things could possibly get worse. When they wake up stranded on a wagon train in 1857, Seth is determined to get home. But the only way to get out of the past is to face the problems stealing their future.

Available now in kindle and kindle unlimited, paperback, and audio.


About the author: 

Award winning author of Christian historical novels, Stephenia H. McGee writes stories of faith, hope, and healing set in the Deep South. She’s a homeschool mom of two boys, writer, dreamer, and husband spoiler. Stephenia lives in Mississippi with her sons, handsome hubby, and their fur babies.

Visit her website at www.StepheniaMcGee.com and be sure to sign up for the newsletter to get sneak peeks, behind the scenes fun, the occasional recipe, and special giveaways.

Facebook: Stephenia H. McGee, Christian Fiction Author

Twitter: @StepheniaHMcGee

Instagram: stepheniahmcgee

Pinterest: Stephenia H. McGee




This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.
My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

A Wagon Train Weekend is the first book I've read by this author, but I'm excited to read more. This story, while short, was SO good. I wasn't too sure how I would like the whole time travel aspect, but I think it was very well done. 

I really liked the characters. It was great to see how their relationship was tested throughout this story and the ending was perfect. I also enjoyed the wagon train aspect - that was interesting. ;)

All in all, A Wagon Train Weekend was a great read and I recommend it. I can't wait to read the next one!


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), B&N, Goodreads

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Monthly Reflections (January 2021) & February TBR List


Monthly Reflections, where we take the time to reflect on the previous month.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Review: Dreams of Savannah by Roseanne M. White

About the book:
Cordelia Owens can weave a hopeful story around anything and has long since won the hearts of Savannah's society with her whimsy. Even when she receives word that her sweetheart has been lost during a raid on a Yankee vessel, she clings to hope and comes up with many a romantic tale of his eventual homecoming to reassure his mother and sister.

But Phineas Dunn finds nothing redemptive in the horrors of war. Struggling for months to make it home alive, he returns to Savannah injured and changed. The beliefs he once held about slavery and the entire war have been upended, and he's all too sure that he is not the hero Delia seems determined to make him.

When the Confederacy deems Savannah a lost cause and the future wavers, Phin and Delia must both decide where the dreams of a new America will take them--and if they will go there together.

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:
Dreams of Savannah was a story that I absolutely loved. I've been a fan of Roseanne M. White's novels ever since the Culper Ring series and it seems like every new story is another favorite...but this one takes the cake. It was just SO amazing!

The characters were fantastic. Cordelia was probably my favorite - as her love of stories was endearing and I also loved her strength. Phineas was a wonderful hero and the romance between him and Cordelia was the best.

All in all, Dreams of Savannah is going on my "favorites" shelf and I highly recommend it. Well worth the read and I can see myself rereading it very soon. :)

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Top Ten Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To


This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Top Ten Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To 

  1. Backlash by Rachel Dylan
  2. The Defiance by Laura Gallier
  3. Some Bright Someday (Maple Valley #2) by Melissa Tagg
  4. The Cul-de-Sac War by Melissa Ferguson
  5. Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes
  6. At Love's Command (Hanger's Horsemen, #1) by Karen Witemeyer
  7. The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen
  8. Romanov by Nadine Brandes
  9. Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin
  10. An Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klassen



What are some books you meant to read last year, but didn't get to?


Friday, January 15, 2021

Review: Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.
About the book:
They're both too busy for love . . . but love is not too busy for them

Selah Hopewell seems to be the only woman in Virginia Colony who has no wish to wed. True, there are too many men and far too few women in James Towne. But Selah already has her hands full assisting her father in the family's shop. And now she is in charge of an incoming ship of tobacco brides who must be looked after as they sort through their many suitors.

Xander Renick is perhaps the most eligible tobacco lord in the settlement. His lands are vast, his crops are prized, and his position as a mediator between the colonists and the powerful Powhatan nation surrounding them makes him indispensable. But Xander is already wedded to his business and still grieves the loss of his wife.

Can two fiercely independent people find happiness and fulfillment on their own? Or will they discover that what they've been missing in life has been right in front of them all along?

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

Tidewater Bride was a phenomenal read. I've long been a fan of Laura Frantz's stories, so I could hardly wait to read this new book. It surpassed my already high expectations! 

The main characters were amazing. They had such depth and I loved getting to see their romance progress. The setting was very interesting and unique. I enjoyed the "tobacco bride" aspect and also thought the little bit of danger in the story really added a suspense that I loved.

All in all, Tidewater Bride was amazing and I highly recommend it to fans of historical romance. I am eager to see what Laura Frantz writes next. :)

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Top Ten Resolutions/Goals for 2021 (bookish or not!)

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Top Ten Resolutions/Goals for 2021 (bookish or not!)

2. Read at least 125 books
3. Read all the Love Inspired books I have from NetGalley
4. Get my Goodreads' TBR shelf down to 200 books
5. Review every fiction book I read
6. Read at least 12 nonfiction books
7. Finish at least 3 series I started prior to 2021
8. Get back to drinking at least 72 ounces of water daily
9. Go for long walks routinely 
10. Finish the afghan I've been crocheting f.o.r.e.v.e.r. (lol!)



What are some of your resolutions/goals for 2021?

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021


This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021






Those are the releases I'm most anticipating for the first half of this year! What are some books on your list?


Some of the links in my blog posts, tweets, social media posts, etc. contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.
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