Blog Tour: The Thorn Healer by Pepper Basham

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I’m so excited to be participating in my first ever blog tour! When I saw this advertised I just knew I had to participate, having loved the previous two books in this series.

Pepper Basham is an awsome author, and I’m pleased to share an interview with her as well as a review of her latest book.

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Jessica Ross’ scars run much deeper than the wounds of war. Determined to escape the ghosts of her past and the German influence on her nightmares, she returns home to the sleepy Appalachian town of Hot Springs, NC, only to find the renowned Mountain Park Hotel has been converted into a ‘prison’ for displaced Germans. To Jessica’s dismay, her grandparents have befriended one of the treacherous internees.
August Reinhold has not only found kinship with Jessica’s grandparents, but as they share their granddaughter’s letters from the Front, he discovers a surprising bond drawing him toward the independent and beautiful woman. Displaced by a war and a painful history, he finds Hot Springs and the intriguing Jessica Ross a tempting place to start over. Determined to scale the heights of her bitterness and show her the power of love, August faces more than just Jessica’s resistance but a more devious design to harm the civilian sailors housed in Hot Springs.

Will August’s tender pursuit bring Jessica the healing and hope she needs, or will bitterness force her into the hands of a “true” enemy waiting to destroy much more than her heart?

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Pepper Basham 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. Her debut historical novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015 and has garnered awards such as Reader’s Favorites Award, finalist in the Grace Awards, shortlisted for the Inspy Awards, and a finalist in ACFW’s Carol Awards. Her second historical novel, The Thorn Keeper, released in Feb 2016 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, released in April 2016 with a 4 star review from Romantic Times. You can get to know Pepper on her website, Facebook, Instagram, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley.

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1-I really love the faith journeys in your books, can you tell me something about your own faith journey? Thank you for saying that, by the way.  I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home in a rural community where my family all lived within a few miles of each other. It was an amazing experience of closeness and love, but as many times happens, circumstances happened as I grew older that sent me into a storm of questioning my faith. Through that heart-searching, Word-seeking, journey, I discovered a deeper understanding of God’s love for me in Christ that really became a stronger foundation. I’ve also had the beautiful experience of having a heritage of strong Christian women in my life who have been examples of God’s strength in the storms of life – I think those examples paired with the beauty of God’s grace, are at the heart of the spiritual elements of my novels. 
2-What would you say to someone who is skeptical of reading Christian books?
I would say, “I understand. I can be skeptical of reading them too sometimes.  But a good story is usually worth your time.” IMO, a good story is ALWAYS worth the read.
 
3-What made you want to write Christian fiction? Has doing this impacted your faith?
I’ve always loved writing – ever since I was a little girl. I still have one of my first ‘long’ stories I wrote (and poorly illustrated) from when I was 10 years old. As I grew up, my faith impacted every part of my life (as it should) and naturally came out in my stories. It wasn’t until I read Siri Mitchell and Mary Connealy that I realized I was actually writing in a market called CBA, but my hope and prayer is that I can write beyond one market and reach lots of readers – just by writing good stories.
 
4-I love historical fiction, particularly the world wars, what made you choose this era?
Hmm….I think they kind of chose me I’d never known much about them until I stumbled upon a book about the Lusitania at a yard sale and once I began researching the time period I was a lost cause. It hit me in the heart and I’ve been in love with it ever since. The clothing, the era, the British/American culture shifts. Absolutely love it!
 
5-What’s the best book you have ever read? Wow, super tough question. I suppose you mean besides the Bible J And in fiction? I’m not sure I have a ‘best book’. I love many for different reasons. Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, Little Women, and Emma are some of my top favorite classics. 
In more modern fiction I adore Redeeming Love, Courting Morrow Little, She Walks in Beauty, The Cautious Maiden, The Convenient Groom, and A Noble Groom, to name a few.
Sorry, I couldn’t get it down to one. TOOOOOO hard 😉

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As I previously mentioned I loved the first two books in this series. They are Christian fiction books that aren’t afraid to tackle hard topics, real emotions, and the complications they can create.

This book was no different. Jessica has spent the previous years serving as a nurse in the war, and has seen more pain and suffering than anyone woman should ever endure. This has, understandably, left her feeling bitter, and enormous resentment towards the Germans she encounters upon returning home. Especially one in particular.

Although I know most of us will never have to face such an extreme situation, I’m sure we can relate to these emotions, whether in our own personal lives, or in relation to the current political climate of distrust of foriegners.

I know fans of historical romance will love this book, but as it deals with such timeless issues as love and jealousy, I’m sure that other readers will enjoy it too. Just make sure to read the previous two books in the series first! Although this book does stand alone, you would be missing out on a huge treat in avoiding the first and second instalments!

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December 5–Bookworm Mama | cherylbbookblog
December 6–Bibliophile Reviews
December 7–Faithfully Bookish | Singing Librarian Books
December 8–Flowers of Quiet Happiness
December 9–Smiling Book Reviews
December 10–Reading Is My SuperPower
December 11–Red Headed Book Lady | Christian Bookaholic
December 12–Cherry Drop Princess
December 13–Toni Shiloh Soulfully Romantic | Robin’s Nest 212
December 14–Book by Book
December 15–Cordially Barbara
December 16–The Green Mockingbird

 

 

Great Reads for Autumn 2016

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I’ve recently had to move house and leave my job due to unforeseen circumstances. Thankfully I now have another job in the pipeline, once all the paper work has gone through.

It’s been a tough couple of months, but it has meant that in the last few weeks I have had time to catch up on doing some of the things I love, like reading and crochet!

These are books I have read and enjoyed during this transient time, that I think others will enjoy as well. I am thankful to the publishers and Netgalley for allowing me to read the following in exchange for an honest review. Continue reading

New Christian Fiction: Summer 2016

As you may have guessed, I am a prolific reader, and I love sharing book recommendations with others. I’ve got some really great ones to share from the last few weeks:

cover80592-mediumThe Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron

A lovely story of two women who find there lives entwined in circus life. One an ordinary girl from America, the other, an English noble woman from Yorkshire.
I loved the exciting setting of this sweet tale. It was interesting picking up many facts about circus life. It reminded me of a slightly less gritty version of water for elephants. Whenever I set this book down I couldn’t wait to pick it back up again and return to the circus.
The faith element was there throughout the story although it definitely wasn’t shoved down your throat. I finished the book with a definite feeling of hope, despite the hardships so many of the characters faced.

cover83996-mediumThe Things We Knew by Catherine West

An intense family drama which reveals  new secrets on almost every page.
The highlight of this book for me was the characters, I adored the main character Lynnie, and the supporting characters were all realistically drawn. The author managed to make you love them, even when they were doing the most stupid things.
This is one of those books where you don’t want to give too much of the plot away: Lets just say it centres around a possible murder, old and new family secrets and real love. If any of those sound interesting to you then this book is definitely worth your time.

 

cover82516-mediumInto the Free by Julie Cantrell

This was such a sad story, seriously, I was fighting back tears the whole way through, and I’m not someone who often cries at stories.
Just when you think that thin

 

gs can’t get any worse for young Millie, the main character, they do. And then they get worse and worse.
And yet, despite all the tragedy, there is hope. And despite all the sadness, I wanted to keep on reading.
I would recommend this book, but not if you’re already feeling down, as it might just push you over the edges. Even so  this is one of the best books I have read in a long time, I went straight on the read the sequel, When Mountains Move, which is also an amazing story.

Thanks for sticking with me until the end. Are there any other titles you would recommend. (I love receiving recommendations as well as giving them!)

 

 

New Biblical Fiction Summer 2016

I was unsure about reading biblical fiction. After all is it really even biblical to mess around with bible stories?

For this reason I began reading these books with some trepidation, looking our for misinterpretations of scripture. But although I didn’t agree with everything these authors wrote, I found that reading these books gave me a greater understanding of the stories they were based on and left me reaching for my bible.

Yes, some artistic licence had been used, but reading these books got me excited about the bible stories in a new way and truly blessed me. I am sharing these reviews as  I am certain they will bless other women as well.

 

cover80016-mediumLand of Silence by Tessa Afshar

I’ve read the story of Jesus healing the woman who suffered from the disease of the blood so many times. But I never really  thought about the life of the woman Jesus healed, or how deeply this illness would have affected her.
How she would not be able to simply hug her friends, how people would be considered unclean after sitting in the same chair as her, how she would have to have become such an outcast.
This story, although a work of fiction, really opened my eyes to the life that woman might have led, and the huge impact Jesus restoring would have had on her life, not only healing her physically. (like I had previously imagined) but restoring her dignity, and in the process, giving her a whole knew life as well.
I highly recommend this, the story of Elianna, a tale of heartbreak and hope, to anyone. Read it and be reminded how Jesus transforms lives if we just take a risk and reach out to him.

cover79750-mediumCounted with the Connilyn Cossette

This book started out brilliantly, it was so interesting reading about the plagues from the point of view of an Egyptian slave girl, Kiya.
This book really made me think about the story in a new light, the faith of the Hebrews and the fear that must have been running through the hearts of the Egyptians as  all they had worked for fade away.
This part of the story was definitely the strongest for me.  The second half, focused on the Exodus, was fun to read, but became more of a romance set against the backdrop of history, it was still interesting, but just not as good as the first half.
I would definitely recommend this book, for the interesting point of view, and the way it may me think about a very familiar story in a new way.

Have you ever  read any biblical fiction? Are there any books you would recommend?

These books were both received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

February/March Reads

Wow I’ve been off the radar for a little while. I’m not quite sure how that happened. I guess I just haven’t been feeling particularly inspired. But I can happily say I’m back, just to share a few books today, but I have got another devotional for later this week as well!

I read some great books earlier this year, courtesy of Netgalley and Book Look Bloggers so I thought I had better share the reviews.

You are Loved no Matter What by Holley Gerth

I really enjoy reading books like this, the kind of books aimed specifically at women that leave you feeling encouraged and challenged in your faith.
To be honest when I started reading this book I wasn’t sure if it was for me, it seemed to be aimed more a perfectionists, and I’m definitely not a typical one. I certainly don’t mind a bit of mess and clutter! Although I do harbour a few secret tendencies! But this book this book spoke to me in ways that I wasn’t expecting.
I particularly enjoyed the chapter on personality type and the ones that dealt with the popular bible verse “be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect.”
I would highly recommend this book, as I think everyone would get something out of it, whether they are a typical perfectionist or not!

 

If I Run by Terri Blackstock

This was a fast paced and exciting novel, that I couldn’t wait to get back to reading every time I put it down. The action switched between Casey, who was running from a false accusation of murder and the detective tasked with finding her.

The action didn’t let up in this exciting and enjoyable book, but at times it felt like it was aimed at teenagers, and there were a few too many coincidences!

I was disappointed with the ending as there was a major cliff hanger. It was frustrating as this was only a relatively short book anyway. When this happens I always feel like its some kind of marketing ploy to get you to buy the next book.

All in all an enjoyable story. Until the final chapter!

A Spy’s Devotion by Melanie Dickerson

I think I have developed a little but of weakness for these Christian historical romance novels. Sure, they might be a bit cheesy, but you know you are going to get something clean and easy to read.
A Spy’s Devotion was no exception, and it was probably one of the most fun ones I have read. While it’s not a story I’m likely remember for years, it was a great way to spend a couple of hours.
The main character is a sweet, eager to please orphan, who finds herself having to step out of her comfort zone and defy her relatives in order to assist a spy.
if you want a light-hearted book, with spies and romance and characters you will love to hate. I would definitely recommend this.
In fact my only annoyance with this book was that the author kept on referring to the east end of London as the “east side.”

Thanks for reading!

January Reads

Okay, okay, I know where now a good few days into February, but I’ve been feeling ill, al least that my excuse.

So in January I managed to read a couple of good books for review. I love reading books for review, as it allows me to read great books for free, and discover new authors.

Girl-Meets-ChangeGirl Meets Change by Kristen Strong

The only thing constant in life is change. And how true this statement is. Sometimes change is chosen, but often it’s not, however it is rarely easy. That’s where this great book comes in.
Easily readable and relatable, Kristen continually points us to Christ, the one constant in times of change, as well as offering practical advice and many real life examples. The main point I will take from this book is the need to look for positives and praise good in all circumstances, no matter how tough it may seem.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone, as we all go through periods of change in one way or another.

 

 

The Girl From the Train by Irma Joubertthe-girl-from-the-train

Occasionally you read a book which you know will stick with you for a long time to come. This is one of those books. Translated from Afrikaans, it is the beautiful story of a young girl who managed to escape the train destined for Auschwitz.

It is a love story, but it’s also so much more. It’s a story of hope against all odds, enduring friendship and the impact of prejudice on one girls life. I dare anyone to read this story and not be moved.

 

 

 

 

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Until the Dawn by Elizabeth Camden

This is a nice, quick and easy read about buried family secrets, finding joy despite harsh circumstances, and overcoming your past.
Sophie is an unusually cheerful woman, despite three failed engagements and her mothers death. Nicholas carries the weight of both physical and emotional scars. These scars lead to him becoming cynical and depressed. When Sophie enters his world its easy to seed that sparks will fly and they will fall in love.
The real beauty of this book was the setting. It had a kind of return to Eden feel about it. I was also reminded about the importance of choosing joy.
I would recommend this book if you want an easy yet deceptively deep book..

Joy despite circumstances seemed to be a real theme in my reading over the last month. I believe that God is trying to tell me something in this, and will be sharing more on the subject over the coming weeks.

Please share any awesome books you have recently read.

 

What I’ve Been Reading Recently

I spend a lot of my free time in the bath with my head in a book, that was no different over the Christmas Holidays! And I managed to read some great ones, which I thought I would take the opportunity to share.

25316736The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck

A tale of an old wedding chapel, built in the middle of the woods. A story of two couples undone. A tale of faith and hope, but most of all a good and proper love story! I love books which are set on a dual tie frame, and also books which are based around family secrets. This book ticked both of these boxes. It also seamlessly blended the Christian aspects in a non cringeworthy manner.
If you enjoy Nicholas Sparks books and movies, I would recommend this although, spoiler alert! It has a much happier ending than his books!

24974122The Painters Daughter by Julie Klassen

A lot of people can be quite sceptical about Christian fiction. Although I read some myself I can understand why. Sometimes these stories can be overly sentimental or simplistic, reading (how I imagine) a Mills and Boon novel would..
The Painters Daughter left me with none of these worries. It was genuinely good, not just good- for a Christian novel.
I loved reading about the mess Sophie found herself in after becoming unexpectedly pregnant, and marrying the fathers brother, to save face.
I found her feelings realistic, and liked the fact hat neither herself, or any of the other characters were perfect people. There was some spiritual aspects, and the main character grew in her faith throughout the story, but it was never too in your face.
There was also a Secret Passage, which satisfied the Enid Blyton loving child in me!

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty19486412

This is not a Christian book, so more sensitive readers may want to read with caution.

Oh my goodness, I could not put this book down. Within the first chapter we find out that someone has been murdered at a school quiz night for parents, we just don’t know who it was… or who did it.

As we read through the book we discover the deadly impact which secrets, kept by both parents and kindergarten children can have. It was gripping reading, with some massive twists. However reading this did make me a little terrified to have children and meet the playground mafia for myself.

Also, it’s being made into a major TV series, starring Reece Witherspoon, very soon. So if you like being ahead of the crowd and being able to say: “I read the book first,” then I would recommend picking it up ASAP.

22668636Tongue Pierced by Nelson Searcy

Okay, so I haven’t actually finished reading this book yet, but I’m already being more than challenged about the importance of words and how we should use them. (Also I thought I should add in some non-fiction to make myself look more intellectual!) If I’m totally honest, I was worried that this book might be quite dry, but it is actually really readable, full of relevant, real life stories.

It’s highly recommended and only 99p as a kindle download at the moment, so grab it while its cheap!

So tell me, what great books have you been reading recently?