Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Review Susan Karsten Regency Romance

A Match for Melissa (Honor's Point #1)

A Match for Melissa
Susan Karsten

Inspirational Historical fiction—Regency romance
Prism, a division of Pelican Book Group

July 2017

eBook $4.99
Print $15.99

Buy on Amazon 

About the Book
Melissa Southwood goes along with her ambitious father’s matchmaking schemes until one event throws all into question.

Amidst balls, carriage rides, dinner parties, and danger, Melissa must navigate an arranged courtship as well as the attentions of another nobleman.

Which aristocratic suitor will win her heart?

My review
A very sweet and highly inspirational Regency romance. Karsten’s debut shows a true enjoyment of the historical era. The story comes from the nouveau rich who desire to be part of London’s elite at any cost—marrying into it, if no other way.

Melissa visits her former companion, now serving as housekeeper to her bachelor minister brother, and comes across a wounded man. They later meet again through their mutual desire to serve others. The wounded man is none other than Lord Russell, reluctantly stepping in to take over the manor at his brother’s death. His new responsibilities and near-death experience lead him toward a change of heart and new-found faith.

While Melissa’s father is determined to use her as a stepping stone into high society, she is determined to find a faith-filled soulmate. Lord Russell would like nothing better than to marry a soulmate as well, but first he has to stay alive.

Karsten’s tale is the first of a series, and is a multiple-character story with many twists and a large cast. I look forward to reading future books.

About the Author

Susan Karsten
Susan Karsten lives in a small Wisconsin town, is the wife of a real estate broker and mother of three, mother-in-law to one, and grandma to two baby boys. Her hobbies include fitness (mostly jogging with her friend, Sandy and her friend's dog, Millie), quilting (definitely taking a back seat to writing), and reading. Her love for writing developed while in college where she earned a BS degree in Home Economics, with a minor in Speech. Having home-schooled her children, and with child-rearing days at an end, Susan now invests time in writing fiction and working at a bank. With a contracted three-book Regency historical romance series, a humorous chapter book, and a cozy mystery complete, she is working on a Regency novella. Her personal blog can be found at

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What I Gain Through His Pain with Nicole Benoit Roy

Write Now Literary is pleased to announce 

What I Gain Through His Pain 
by Nicole Benoit-Roy. 
Virtual Book Tour.  August 1-31, 2018. 
@wnlbooktours @nicoleroy52
Genre:  Christian Non-fiction

About The Author
Nicole is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in educational leadership at Andrews University. She directs the Children Ministries Department at her church. She works as a special education teacher by day, a literature evangelist by night, and writes during the wee hours of the night. She enjoys reading and playing the piano (beginner). Nicole struggled with college writing, which lead her to eventually drop out. For this reason, one of her many goals in life is to become a best-selling author to the glory of God. Nicole and her husband, Roosevelt Roy, have been married since 1994, and are the proud parents of a handsome brown-eyed son, Nolan. They currently live in Brooklyn, New York.


    About The Book

In a society filled with easy Christianity and cheap grace, Nicole Benoit-Roy takes her relationship with Christ to a much deeper level. Since becoming a Christian, she has been learning about her newfound Savior, Jesus Christ. She is an educator who vows to be a student for as long as she lives. The more she learns about the cross of Christ, the more she realizes the importance of it in her life. As she meditates on His suffering, she concludes that His pain is the reason for every blessing in her life. In this book, "What I Gain Through His Pain," she shares her story about the benefit of the cross as she expresses gratefulness for His pain.

Something Fishy

Daddy practiced Voodoo, but even as a child I considered it foolish. During summer vacations in Haiti, the family expected my sister, my next younger brother and me to go to Lèogane. As the summer months drew to a close, my father lined up every child in the house to bathe us with a special Voodoo water made with crushed leaves.

As I got older (though not much older), I grew to detest the act and so I decided not to go on vacation anymore. I thought it ridiculous to allow myself to be bathed with stinky water. I never believed in the Voodoo stuff either. I had a good sense of who I was since early childhood. I knew God made me, and no evil could harm me (Now I know evil can’t touch me without His permission). That knowledge made me very bold and never afraid of any Voodoo stuff. My father had a special table with a white small washbasin and other Voodoo items on it. No one was supposed to touch them. However, on many occasions, I pretended to be cleaning just to touch and rearrange everything on that table. I held no fear. I just knew they lacked any authority over me. It's weird though, no one told me that Voodoo held no potency. It was always a gut feeling. I was always very bold about expressing my belief every chance I got.

My father use to hold Voodoo ceremonies where kids in the house were expected to eat out of special wooden bowls. All that I shunned eventually. Because my brother Kesnel and sister Carol were twins, the ceremony held every year honored the twins (a Voodoo ritual) even though Carol died as a baby. Those were the kinds of things that made no sense to me, leading me to refuse to take part in them as soon as I grew old enough to say no. With me so hardheaded and strong-willed, no one in my family could force me to take part once I said no. Not even my father.

On one occasion, something terrible happened in my family, causing my father to be the focus of suspicion. I felt his pain afterward. He needed so much to have someone on his side. Unfortunately, not even his favorite little girl was willing to be that someone.
In desperation, one evening in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, he pulled me aside. In a private conversation, he explained his own version of the incident after he visited my mother in the U.S. in 1982 for the first time.

He said, “Nicole, I know you’re getting older. You can understand what I’m about to tell you.”

I was 14 years old then.

“When I went to New York,” he continued, “I swear I did not take your mother’s soiled panties. It’s only after I came back to Haiti I saw them in my suitcase. I swear I did not take them.”

I listened attentively, but my eyes stared at the cement floor as we sat on the edge of my bed.

“You believe me, don’t you, my girl.” He held onto my left arm as if begging me to say yes.
I’d heard the rumor that he wanted to use her underpants to hurt my mother through witchcraft so often that I’d already made up my mind of his guilt.

My father returned to Haiti finding himself in an awkward predicament. At that age, I was naïve and awfully honest.

“Well, I can’t say whether you did it or not. I wasn’t there. You’re the only one who knows if you did it or not,” I said.

Suddenly, the look he gave me told me he wanted another answer. His eyes turned red. His pain turned into hatred.

I knew then I was not his favorite little girl anymore and I would pay.

In retrospect, I realized I could have answered differently had I known better. I still feel his pain even now as I write about it.
As soon as my mother found out her panties were missing, she demanded that my father purchase a plane ticket and return them to her.

When he did, she burned them in his presence.

My father continued to make his regular weekly visits from Lèogâne bringing us fresh produce every time. Our relationship was never the same, however. At times, I’d purposely stayed away to avoid seeing him altogether, not showing up until after he left. He was the enemy of the family. He knew it. That made him very uncomfortable and angry.

During one of his visits, he threatened to beat me because I did not greet him. Of course I put up a fight. He tried to pin me to the ground. I escaped from his grip and ran to a nearby stony hill. I picked up a stone and made the motion to throw it at him, but an invisible power stopped me. I knew Who kept me from flinging the stone, and I’m glad He did. Deep down inside I really loved my father. I believed that he gave me so much love and attention that he made it possible to never feel insecure about myself.

During my college years at Stony Brook University in New York, our father-daughter relationship remained broken. I recall lying on the bed in my dorm room reminiscing about my childhood. My entire family lived in the U.S. by then. My mom and dad separated shortly after the panties incident, although they waited to divorce until eleven years later. I finally realized the pain my father must have gone through to have his whole family against him, and the pain he continued to feel every time he and I met.

“Look at Nicole, the daughter I loved so much. Now, she can’t even talk to me,” he sometimes said.

At that time, we were on greeting terms. As I empathized with my father, I decided to put an end to our broken relationship. I picked up the phone.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hi, daddy, how are you?” It felt uncomfortable saying “daddy” but I also realized that doing the right thing was never easy.

“Who’s this?” he asked.

“This is Nicole,” I said. “I just call to tell you that I love you. Bye.”

“Ok,” he said.

I hung up the phone, feeling a burden lift from my chest.

For the first time I began to understand the power of forgiveness. I still had a long way to go.

Our relationship continued to improve after that phone call. My father is now ninety-two years old, and I love him as if nothing ever happened between us.

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 5:16, “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you.” (NLT). I desire to obey God's Word. Through this experience, I learned that making mistakes is what we (humans) specialize in the most. What’s essential is that we learn from them.

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Purchase Links
Amazon: ebook
Amazon paperback

Tour hosted by Write Now Literary

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

PREVIEW Love and Warfare series and special release day surprise!

Product Details
Buy book 1 in the series, For Life or Until here.

Subduing the barbaric hordes came easy, until he married one of them.

Everyone in the Celtic Catuvellauni village assumed Ness would marry the man she had loved since age fifteen. Their eventual matrimony seemed preordained. His inscrutable rejection of Ness sends shock through the entire community. Heartbroken but resilient, Ness accepts a marriage proposal from a most unlikely eligible bachelor.

Battle scarred and weary of solitude, Roman Tribune Aquilus trained to do just one thing all his life—stoically serve the empire. The beautiful tribeswoman perfectly answers a long ignored call from deep within his soul. Though he adores his new bride, when Ness harms a political connection, Aquilus lays down the law.

But Celtic women aren't inclined to submit to inconvenient rules, and the only obstacle standing between Ness and a Celtic divorce is Aquilus's garrison of legionaries.

Will Roman might, Celtic stubbornness, or something else entirely prevail?

Buy book 2, When Gambling here.

She rolls the dice, but only God controls the cost of her wager.

Cara of Camulodunum dreams of traveling the world, but as the daughter of a blacksmith, the height of her exploration is the plebian carpenter’s shop of her intended. Then she meets the patrician’s son, Eric Paterculi, who regales Cara with tales of Greece and Hercules.

The sons of Roman noblemen are meant to become soldiers and politicians, and Eric’s father, the Legate of Britannia has illustrious plans for Eric. However, Eric fails rhetoric class and seems more interested in training for the Olympic Games than for statesmanship.

At the training grounds, Victor Ocelli, a member of the Viri piracy ring, befriends Eric in order to use him against his father.

The more Cara learns about Eric, the more she desires to break free from the restrictive rules of her intended. But breaking the rules lands Cara in a bondage worse than she could have imagined. Only Eric can save her, but will a patrician defy his familia to rescue a plebeian?

Watch for the September 22 post for a chance to enter and WIN a copy of For Life or Until or other cool prizes by commenting below and telling me what historical era you enjoy reading about most.


Cedric of the Catuvellauni: A “Choose Your Adventure” 

Short Story & Giveaway

Cedric of the Catuvellauni is a short story prequel to the four book Love & Warfare Series

A Catuvellauni village in the province of Britannia, the Roman Empire,

Summer 84 A.D.

On September 22, a SPECIAL TOUR will be offered in which you can CHOOSE which way the story of Cedric will go. Watch for your opportunity to play along.

About the Author:
updated profile pic 2Anne is a mental health counselor, military spouse, and mama to an opinionated preschooler named “Joe-Joe” and a very dramatic baby named “Chip.”

Reading Rosemary Sutcliff as a middle school student and taking Latin in college instilled in her a love of the Roman Empire, leading to her Love & Warfare series. Moving to the CO Rockies inspired her to write the Lawmen & Suffragette series, romantic comedies set in the Old West. Working in mental health got her interested in writing women’s fiction.

When not writing or reading, you can find Anne introducing her boys to the outdoor wonders of colorful Colorado.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Holding On (Love Blooms at Bethel, #1)

About the book:

A modern retelling of the Old Testament story of Ruth—a sweet romance about courage, loyalty, and second chances.

When Julia passes through the small town of Coldwater, driving her screeching pickup with her mother-in-law and everything she owns in the RV they’re towing, all she wants is to get Helen settled on what’s left of the family farm and hurry back to civilization.

Julia’s still mourning her husband, and so romance is the last thing on her mind. But whenever Neil Ashe shows up, the attraction between them flares—even though his divorce has left him leery of city women, and she’s not interested in muscle-bound farmers, no matter how handsome they may be.

Julia soon realizes she’s going to have to stick around to help Helen hold on to her forty-acres because someone is after them. Besides, how could she leave her mother-in-law to the tender mercies of the legalistic bullies who have taken over Bethel Church? They pick at Helen like Job’s “friends,” telling her God has cursed her. Why else would her husband and both sons die in tragic accidents?

Julia is determined to deal with everything on her own, just as she’s been doing ever since Lucas died. But Neil thinks it’s his job to make all their problems go away. Will Julia stubbornly go it alone, holding on to both her pride and the memory of her husband, or will she ask Neil to come to the rescue—and into her heart?

Lisa's review:

I was a Deborah Heal fan before I learned she was working on a series of Biblical fiction set in contemporary times. This story of Ruth and Naomi is a beautiful and timeless story perfectly fit for today. I learned a lot about the setting and fully enjoyed the characters as they played out the loyalty, despair and love that go along with making a forever commitment. I adore too-good-to-be-true heroes, even though they make me sigh into tomorrow and realize they're not perfect. That only makes them sweeter. We don't get to know Boaz's inner angst in the Bible, but the author of Holding On made an excellent and determined effort to show it.

No, it's not the time traveling adventure of her earlier series, but show Heal's versatility, and you a way, we do time travel here in this story that parallels the biblical romance of Ruth and Boaz. Recommended for teens and up. Told from multiple viewpoints.

3.99 eBook
11.99 Print

Buy on Amazon US

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Opposites on Steroids with Susan Baganz

Bratwurst and Bridges book review
Susan Baganz

Bratwurst & Bridges

Pastor Dan Wink has suffered his greatest loss. His best friend, Sharon, died a year ago. He’s ready to walk away from ministry…and life. But the men he’s ministered to over the years won’t let him. Sometimes accountability stinks! And the redhead next door, with her precocious, adorable children, brings up desires he thought had died with his wife.

Skye O’Connell has given up much to rescue herself and her kids from her ex-husband’s drug abuse. With a new career, she’s come to the Milwaukee suburbs to start over…but something about the enigmatic pastor who lives across the hall has her asking uncomfortable questions.

A man stuck in grief is challenged by a woman who is lost…can both find their way to life and love?

4.99 eBook
15.99 Print

Buy on Amazon -
Buy on BN -

My review:
Opposites on steroids!
A man who’s so stuck in his inability to move forward and a young woman who’s trying to move past her bad choices end up across the hall from each other in a Milwaukee apartment complex. Fuzzy pink boots and two energetic kids frazzle the uptight pastor who recently lost his wife after years of being unable to have children. Coming to terms with being a forgiven daughter of the King makes the freewheeling artist wonder why she keeps falling for the wrong men. Surely a divorced woman who doesn’t play the piano is all wrong as a pastor’s wife.

Facing a life of imperfection creates strange company as two lost souls kindle friendship, support, a new sense of purpose and commitment. Then realize that two really are better than one, especially with Christ as their cornerstone.

Loving addition to the Orchard Hill series of contemporary romances. Readers new to the series will be able to perfectly follow this story; readers familiar with the characters will enjoy running into past friends. Sweet contemporary romance suitable for late teens on up. Told from two viewpoints.

About the Author

Susan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits and is a native of Wisconsin. She is an Acquisitions Editor with Prism Book Group specializing in bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view.

Susan speaks, teaches and encourages others to follow God in being all He has created them to be. With her seminary degree in counseling psychology, a background in the field of mental health, and years serving in church ministry, she understands the complexities and pain of life as well as its craziness. She serves behind-the-scenes in various capacities at her church as well as on the board of her local ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) group. Her favorite pastimes are lazy ones--snuggling with her dog while reading a good book, or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup of spiced chai latte.

You can learn more by following her blog, her twitter feed @susanbaganz or her fan page,