Fiction Books

Soul’s Prisoner Blog Tour with Giveaway

My Review:

Soul’s Prisoner is set in 1891 Chicago during the winter. An Historical fiction novel that includes suspense as well as romance.

Mental Illness is very common today but back in the 1890’s it wasn’t something people wanted everyone to know about. Families would have their loved ones put away for many reasons, such as a having a child out of wedlock, if they suffered from a mental illness, and many more reasons. In Chicago, the Dunning Asylum for the Insane was where families would commit their loved ones. This is the setting of Soul’s Prisoner. Even though its a fictional book, there are some things about the asylum that are true. Can you imagine spending winter without any heat and without hot water? That is how these people had to live.

This novel will send chills and will also have you feeling pain for what these people endured. I really enjoyed reading Soul’s Prisoner, Cara Luecht completed her research well upon writing this book. I highly recommend picking a copy of this book up today.

“I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.”

About the Book

Book Title: Soul’s Prisoner

Author: Cara Luecht

Genre: Historical fiction with some suspense and romance

Release Date: December 15, 2015

Chicago, Winter, 1891

Rachel is in danger. She’s seen too much.

She creeps along the cement walls through the dank underbelly of the asylum. She’d never planned to leave her quiet farm life, never thought she’d find a place in the city, never imagined she’d be in the kind of danger that would have her cowering in Dunning’s cold, labyrinthine basement.

Jenny has finally found her place. After a childhood of abuse, she has friends, a real job, and her only wish is to give her adopted son the kind of life she never had.

A life of stability, without the risk and uncertainty of a father.

But when Jeremy, Rachel’s brother, stumbles into their warehouse, asking for help to find his missing sister, Jenny’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Award winning author, Cara Luecht, lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for a Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Guest Post from Cara Luecht

The Setting for Soul’s Prisoner: Dunning Asylum for the Insane

Dunning Asylum for the Insane was built in the 1850s and housed psychiatric patients until the early 1900s. It has since been demolished, and a small park currently stands as the only remaining testament to the people who lived and died on the grounds.

The original plot of land also included a poor farm and a cemetery. A railroad used to connect the grounds to Minneapolis, Chicago, and Milwaukee. It was nicknamed the “Crazy Train”—a phrase that still survives in our language today. Those buried in the cemetery include Civil War Veterans, victims of the Chicago fire of 1871, orphans, paupers, and the residents of the asylum for the insane. Most estimates agree that nearly forty thousand people were buried on the grounds.

There is no doubt that mental illness is hard on families, but in the 1800s, having a family member who struggled with mental illness was an embarrassment. With little understanding of mental health in general, and even less compassion for those who suffered, examples of this tragic response to the threat of mental illness can be seen in the numerous inmates who were there simply due to addiction or depression. There are even cases where women were committed because their families were humiliated by their giving birth outside the bonds of marriage. Often times, challenges with mental health were synonymous with the notion of moral failure or vice. Because of this, even many charities looked the other way when corruption or abuse was exposed. Reporters sometimes wrote about the horrors of the institutions, but once the sensational story was out, and the initial outrage worn away, few worried about the people who suffered on a daily basis. And because of the moral implication of mental illness, families commonly turned over their suffering members to the county, and later simply explained to friends that the person had died.

And that is exactly what the mentally ill would do in the institution. Live there until they died, forgotten.

And that’s how the story played out at Dunning, until late in the 1900s when developers began to dig the roads and foundations for a new neighborhood on the grounds of what was once the Asylum. At that time, Dunning, and the people who had resided there, were still within living memory, so when bones were unearthed, it was no mystery how they ended up on that patch of land. What had slipped from memory was the magnitude of the collective stories of suffering and hardship.

For this novel, the people and events are fictitious. However, when examining old news stories from an institution known for corruption, it is not hard to imagine situations like the ones in the novel. The details that are true are the nearly one thousand inmates, no hot water, little to no heat in the winter, bad food, and the general feeling of living ghosts, intentionally forgotten, and doomed to never leave the grounds.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, March 8

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 8

Multifarious, March 9

Remembrancy, March 9

Connie’s History Classroom, March 10

History, Mystery & Faith, March 11

Reading is My Superpower, March 11

amandainpa, March 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 12

Texas Book-aholic, March 13

Carpe Diem, March 14

Maureen’s Musings, March 15

Blogging With Carol, March 16

Two Points of Interest, March 16

proud to be an autism mom, March 17

A Greater Yes, March 17

Bibliophile Reviews, March 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 18

Janices book reviews, March 19

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 19

Simple Harvest Reads, March 20 (Guest Post from Mindy)

Pursuing Stacie, March 20

For The Love of Books, March 21

Bigreadersite, March 21


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of Soul’s Prisoner and sketching art supplies!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cb74

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Fiction Books

Soul’s Cry Blog Tour/Giveaway


My Review:

Soul’s Cry is a beautifully written book by Cara Luecht. I enjoyed reading Ione’s and Miriam’s story. Story of happiness, abuse, love, happiness, and having everything you need. Soul’s Cry will leave you wanting to hear more of their story. This is a great book. One you will enjoy.

“I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.”

About the Book

Title: Soul’s Cry

Author: Cara Luecht

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: June 15, 2017

Ione has everything she’d wanted with her busy shop filled to the brim with sumptuous fabrics, gossiping debutants, and a neatly increasing profit margin. Not to mention the unexpected attention of a man who doesn’t know her past.

And then the letter dropped from the mail slot onto to lush carpet. He was back. And the abuse, the shame, rushes in, reminding her of how unworthy she really is.

Miriam also has everything she’d wanted—and with a baby on the way, for the first time in her life, she has everything to lose. When she’d been alone, the future had held promise, but now with her life full, it also holds fear.

Unwilling to risk a vision of loss, Miriam stops painting what will be…right before Ione needs it most.

Click here to purchase your copy

About the Author

Award winning author, Cara Luecht, lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. In addition to freelance writing and marketing, Cara works as an English Instructor for a local college. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for a Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Guest post from Cara Luecht

The moment you realize how subtle racism can be.

As someone of Northern European ancestry, I approach this topic with caution and with the knowledge that I can never fully understand racism in America from a personal perspective. That being said, part of me knows that unless white America owns up to the problems that still exist, they will never go away, or if they do, they will not go away because of what I have done. I don’t want to be on the right side of history as a spectator.

Writing Soul’s Cry was daunting, because the main character in this part of the trilogy is African American. I’ll tackle the challenges with that in another blog. For now, I want to talk about one simple example of ongoing racism.

A few months ago, my publisher contacted me looking for inspiration pictures for the cover. The picture I had pinned to my desktop for Ione was from the 1800s, and heaven-only-knows how I would find permission to use it. Besides, it was in black-and-white, and we needed something that would go well with the other covers in the trilogy.

I went to the popular sites that cover designers use to look for modern pictures of women, in Victorian Era clothes, who had the smart, determined expression I’d imagined for Ione.

I found a bunch of models–problem is, they were all white.

I then typed in “African American Victorian Woman.” One picture. And she was dressed as a burlesque dancer. Nice. I tried “Black woman in 1890,” a bit miffed that I had to use the term “Black” rather than “African American”—nothing. I got desperate, rolled my eyes, and even attempted the archaic “Negro woman in 1890” in hopes of getting something…nothing.

I tried other sites. I found the same problem.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised—when you think of a high-society Victorian woman, does an African American face come to mind?

This doesn’t match up with the truth, though. In the late Victorian era, there was a thriving, influential, African American community in Chicago as well as many other major cities. While there were indeed crowded ghetto areas, the “Black Elite” prospered in the medical and legal professions.

Unfortunately, we rarely hear of these remarkable people who moved beyond the place society had deemed was theirs, who built on the humble foundation of literacy, who pushed innovation forward, who served on boards and cultural societies, and who worked to pull their families out of the devastation of slavery and the Civil War.

It is uncomfortable to admit, but the picture that comes to mind when thinking of an African American in the late 1800s has more in common with slaves than with a prosperous, thriving community.

And since poor African Americans outnumbered wealthy ones, I suppose one could make the argument that this reflected how a majority of African Americans lived. And that would be true…

…but it would also be true for whites. One of my grandfathers was born in an Iowa coal town. Another, into the dustbowl conditions of North Dakota. In fact, if I look back in my own history, almost every one of my ancestors lived in poverty.

So why is it that when I think about a Victorian Era woman, the picture that comes to mind looks like someone from the set of Meet Me In St. Louis.

And here’s the twist…because the picture of the woman in my mind looks a bit like me (in that we are both white), her poise, the no-nonsense posture and expression…it makes me feel a bit of pride—even though I have no real connection with her. The fact is, I can look at these old pictures and see in her the determination I hope to have. I want to live up to this woman’s expectations. As crazy as it sounds, when I look at these pictures, I feel pride in a heritage I do not own. My family was in poverty, but because of these pictures, I can identify with affluence. Prosperity does not feel like a foreign concept.

Now imagine that every picture of a white woman I saw as representative of my past looked haggard, tired, and hopeless.

I’ll leave the implications for you to puzzle out.

Blog Stops

Connie’s History Classroom, January 23

Blogging With Carol, January 24

Simple Harvest Reads, January 24

allofakindmom, January 25

Avid Reader Book Reviews, January 26

Pursuing Stacie, January 26

A Reader’s Brain, January 27

proud to be an autism mom, January 28

Bigreadersite, January 28

Bibliophile Reviews, January 29

A Greater Yes, January 30

margaret kazmierczak, January 30 (Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, January 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 1

Janices book reviews, February 2

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 3

Carpe Diem, February 4

A Baker’s Perspective, February 5


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away a grand prize of signed copies of the entire series!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c729

Fiction Books

Friends and Enemies

Friends-Enemies

Friends and Enemies is a 425 page novel in the Christian historical fiction genre. It is published by Hope Spring Books and was released on Jan 5, 2015. To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book

Widowed seamstress Heidi Wetzel finds new meaning in life by caring for evacuated children on a farm in war-torn western Germany. Never a supporter of National Socialism, she takes pleasure in passive resistance, but must exercise caution around neighbors who delight in reporting to the Gestapo. Having lived in the United States, she wonders about her friend Rachel.

Flying cadet Paul Braedel’s wife dies while he trains for the U.S. Army Air Corps. Following bereavement leave, he joins a navigation class. He’s lost his zest for life and heads to England, not caring if he lives or dies.

When he and his crew are shot down over Germany, he evades capture and, for the first time since Rachel’s death, hears the voice of God whisper guidance. “Find Heidi.”

Heidi meets a man she recognizes from her high school days in America. Aiding a downed airman is punishable by execution, but she agrees to help. Then they’re betrayed.

About the Author

TerriTerri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.
Connect with Terri: www.terriwangard.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorTerriWangard
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/terriwangard/

Giveaway

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Enter to win a copy of Terri’s new book Friends and Enemies or a $10 Amazon card.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Review:

If you are looking for a great book set during World War 2 then Friends and Enemies by Terri Wangard is the book for you. This was the first book by Terri that I have read and I will say that I could not put the book down (or Kindle), I loved the story line she used and it is very clear that she did her research prior to writing this book. This book is full of twist and turns, love, and heartache, a book you definitely will want to read over again.

Terri has outdid her self with Friends and Enemies, I highly recommend this book to others.

Thank you to Celebrate Lit, Terri Wangard, and the publisher for providing me with a ebook copy for my review.

Blog Tour Stops

Visit each blog to read their review and have another entry to the giveaway!

Jan 5: Writing Between Sundays

Jan 5: Book Reviews from an Avid Reader

Jan 6: Thinking Thoughts

Jan 6: Novel pastimes

Jan 7: Simple harvest Reads

Jan 8: Artistic Nobody

Jan 9: A Greater Yes

Jan 10: Cassandra M’s Place

Jan 11: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberation

Jan 12: The Grafted Word

Jan 13: Our Perfectly Imperfect Life

Jan 14: Texas Book-aholic

Jan 15: Christian Book Aholic

Jan 16: Bukwurmzzz

Jan 17: Through the Open Window

Jan 18: Highlighted Author

Jan 18: For the Love of Books

 

Fiction Books

Change of Heart and Giveaway

Change of Heart by Molly Jebber is a 288 page novel in the Amish historical fiction genre. It is published by Zebra Publishers and will be released on June 30, 2015. To pre-order a copy, click here.

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Overview

Ohio, 1899. Soft-spoken midwife Becca Yost lived by her Amish faith’s strict rules—until her fiancé jilted her before their entire community. She’s never been away from home, but the bustling Englischer town of Massillon, Ohio, is a welcome unexpected refuge. Especially when she goes to work for Dr. Matt Carrington, who shares her passion for healing those in need. His outgoing spirit and gentle strength show Becca a surprising new world of choices—and irresistible love. But there is one formidable obstacle: Matt’s wealthy mother is determined her son will marry a society woman.

With her newfound resolve challenged, Becca decides that she and Matt must not be destined for each other after all. She accepts that she will have to forge a life alone—until a wrenching crisis and life-changing revelations teach her that true faith lies in all things, especially impossible second chances. . .

About the Author

Molly Jebber is the author of CHANGE OF HEART, an Amish historical romance. Fascinated by the Amish history, culture, Molly perused her passion to write. Her love or writing led to a book deal with Kensington Publishing as well as three more titles debuting in 2015/2016. Publisher’s Weekly magazine announced and listed this book number three in their best ten review list for 2015. Romantic Times gave Change of Heart 4.5 stars.Molly enjoys time with her family, friends, traveling, swimming and golf. She loves God and serving Him.

http://www.mollyjebber.com – Sign up for Molly’s newsletter, for giveaways, appearances, and latest news on book releases.

My Review:

Change of Heart is not the typical Amish Fiction that I am used to reading, I really enjoyed reading this book and found that I couldn’t put it down. I will be honest, it takes a few chapters for me to get into it, but once I did, I could not put it down. Change of Heart is a historical Amish fiction that takes place in 1899 and tells the story of a young Amish girl, Becca Yost, who had been left at the altar. Becca leaves the Amish community and takes a job work for Dr. Matt Carrington. Becca finds her self falling for the Dr. but his mother wants him to marry someone in the community, not an Amish lady. Becca’s heart is broken and feels that it is not meant to be for her and Matt. Becca’s life is about to change.

I highly recommend this book to those that enjoy historical fiction as well as Amish fiction. This book may not be for everyone. I give Change of Heart 4 out of 5 Stars.

Thank you to Celebrate Lit for providing me with a copy of this book for my honest review.

Molly Jebber has provided a copy of the book for a giveway.

Fiction Books

A Heart’s Rebellion

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A Heart’s Rebellion

By

Ruth Axtell

 

Thank you to the publisher for providing me a copy for my honest review

 

 

 

 

About the Book:

 

Dutiful Jessamine Barry is tired of waiting patiently for a man to decide her future. So even though Lancelot Marfleet, second son of an aristocrat, is taking an interest in her during the London season, she refuses to consider him as a suitor. Instead, she’s ready to take fashionable society by storm–and finds a rakish young man all too willing to help her do it. When things go too far, Jessamine will learn that the man who is faithful through thick and thin is more worthy than the one who speaks pretty words. But will her disgrace keep Lance from reconsidering her as a wife? And when tragedy strikes and Lance becomes his father’s heir and a titled gentleman, will he think she only wants him now because of his title?

Fans old and new will love this lush Regency London story of discovering one’s true self and finding one’s true love.

 

 

About the Author:

 

Ruth Axtell is the author of many novels, including Moonlight Masquerade and Wild Rose, one of Booklist’s Top Ten in Christian Fiction. Currently a resident of Downeast Maine, Axtell has lived in the Canary Islands, Miami, and the Netherlands. Learn more at www.ruthaxtell.com.

 

My Review:

 

A Heart’s Rebellion: A Regency Romance is the second book in the London Encounters series by Ruth Axtell. This is the first book by Ms. Axtell that I have read and I really enjoyed it. Set in 1815 London, England you have the story of Jessamine Barry who is longing to find love. Jessamine and her friend Megan go to London, Jessamine is heartbroken because the man she loved marries another. While in London, Jessamine encounters Lancelot Marfleet, the son of an aristocrat who takes interest in her but she refuses him.

 

A wonderful story set in the regency era and you will not be disappointed. Even though it is the second book in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone. I really enjoyed this book.

Fiction Books

Sincerely Yours: A Novella Collection

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Sincerely Yours: A Novella Collection

By

Jane Kirkpatrick, Ann Shorey, Laurie Alice Eakes, and Amanda Cabot

 

Sincerely Yours is a collection of four historical romance novellas by four talented Christian authors. Four women each write a letter that will forever change lives.

 

Moonlight Promise by Laurie Alice Eakes is set in 1825 and is the story of Camilla who is aboard a steamboat traveling to the Erie Canal. In this novella, you will find suspense, adventure and romance.

 

Lessons In Love by Ann Shorey set in 1858 and takes place in Chicago. In this novella, Marigold Montgomery Bentley writes an advice column on marriage for the Kipler’s Home Weekly. Will they find out that M.M. is a woman and not a man?

 

One Little Word by Amanda Cabot set in Plato Falls, NY in 1892 is the story of Lorraine Caldwell who has to marry or she will lose her family fortune. Will she marry or will something or someone unexpected show up?

 

A Saving Grace by Jane Kirkpatrick set in Olalla, WA in 1911 is the story of Grace who travels to Puget Sound to find a friend. What mischief will she get into? Will she find her friend?

 

I really enjoyed reading Sincerely Yours, a great book that you can’t put down till you finish and it will leave you wanting more.

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

Fiction Books

Love’s Sweet Beginning

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Love’s Sweet Beginning

Sister’s at Heart Book 3

By

 Ann Shorey

 

*Thank you to the publisher for providing me a copy of this book for my honest review*

 

About the Book:

 

It wasn’t Cassie Haddon’s fault that she had managed to reach the age of twenty-five without possessing any useful skills. Until the war, she had always had servants to wait on her. Since then, she and her widowed mother had moved from place to place, relying on family to care for them. Now she’s forced to find work to support them both. What isn’t in her plans is falling for Jacob West, a local restaurateur and grocer. She needs a job and he needs help. But what they both need is love.

With her signature sweet romance, Ann Shorey weaves a tale of two people from very different backgrounds finding common ground and the hopes of a bright future together.

 

About the Author:

 

ANN SHOREY has been a story collector for most of her life. Her writing has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul, and in the Adams Media Cup of Comfort anthologies. She made her fiction debut with the At Home in Beldon Grove series for Revell. The Edge of Light, released in January 2009, is the first in the series, followed by The Promise of Morning and The Dawn of a Dream. Her new Sisters at Heart series for Revell debuted on January 1, 2012, with Where Wildflowers Bloom. Book Two, When the Heart Heals, will release Feburary 1, 2013.

When Ann’s not writing, she teaches classes on historical research, story arc, and other fiction fundamentals at regional conferences. She lives with her husband in Oregon. Learn more at http://www.annshorey.com.

 

 

My Review:

 

Love’s Sweet Beginning is the third book in the Sister’s at Heart Series by Ann Shorey. This is the first book that I have read out of this series. As I started reading this book, I felt lost that I haven’t read the other two books before this one. But after reading several chapters I became intriqued with what I was reading.

 

Cassie Haddon has always been used to having everything done for her. Never having to lift a finger for anything, she is what we say spoiled rotten. After her and her mom move to Noble Springs to find her uncle, she is left to support them both. Cassie goes to the Mr. West and pleads for a job, and he gives her a chance.

 

Jacob West owns the local restaurant and has had his heart broken by non other than Cassie’s best friend Rosemary. Jacob is interested in Cassie but is afraid to let another have his heart.

 

Will Jacob and Cassie fall in love? Will Cassie survive working to support her and her mother? You will need to read the book to find out. I highly recommend this book to all, especially if you love historical fiction.