Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Book Review: A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams

Title:  A Certain Age
Authors: Beatriz Williams
Publisher: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins
Release Date:  January 3, 2017 (Paperback)
Genre: Historical Fiction

The bestselling author of A Hundred Summers brings the Roaring Twenties brilliantly to life in this enchanting and compulsively readable tale of intrigue, romance, and scandal in New York Society, brimming with lush atmosphere, striking characters, and irresistible charm.

As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband.

But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingĂ©nue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice.

Full of the glamour, wit and delicious twists that are the hallmarks of Beatriz Williams’ fiction and alternating between Sophie’s spirited voice and Theresa’s vibrant timbre, A Certain Age is a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’s comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York.

Owlcrate Unboxing July 2016 through November 2016

Hi! I've been delinquent in sharing my reviews and unboxing of my Owlcrate (& other bookish box subscriptions) until a friend mentioned they missed seeing it on my blog. So I'm going to try to be more diligent.

Here are the pics of the rest of 2016 boxes (which I shared on instagram when I remember to). Lol.

July 2016 - Good vs Evil

Monday, January 23, 2017

New Beginnings: Eric Vetsch

Just Commonly welcome authors to drop by and share with us their take on a book that embodies a predetermined Word of the Month!  For the full year of 2017, every Monday, a new post by a new author will be posted!

We have award-winning author, Erica Vetsch sharing this week about  New Beginnings in a book from an author she loves.

"New Beginnings, what an excellent topic here in the first month of 2017. When I knew I was going to contribute a blog recommending my choice for a book about New Beginnings, I admit, I was scrambling…not to find one, but to narrow the list down!

I finally landed on Wildflowers from Winter, Katie Ganshert’s debut novel. I had the privilege of reading this book before its release, and I was blown away by Katie’s gifted writing style. One of the things I especially love about Katie’s stories is that she is absolutely fearless when it comes to tackling tough subjects. She is a courageous and talented writer, passionate Jesus-follower, and…little-known fact…she does an awesome “Running Man” dance-step."

Multi-published, best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and college basketball. She’s a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, and she married her total opposite and soul mate! When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks. You can connect with her at her website, www.ericavetsch.com where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/EricaVetschAuthor/  where she spends way too much time!

CONNECT WITH ERICA:  website, facebook,  twitter,  pinterest



Like the winter, grief has a season. Life returns with the spring.

A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built the life she dreamed of during her teen years in a trailer park.  An unexpected interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa. 

Determined to pay her respects to her past while avoiding any emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected inheritance of five hundred acres of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan.
Handsome farmhand Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years.  When Bethany is left the land, Evan must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he disagrees with Bethany’s vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps so carefully locked away.

For Bethany, making peace with her past and the God of her childhood doesn’t seem like the path to freedom. Is letting go the only way to new life, love and a peace that she’s not even sure exists?   

TO PURCHASE A COPY of Wildflowers from Winter

Thank you, Erica! 

ABOUT FORT BLISS, TEXAS: Priscilla's Reveille by Erica

Fashion artist Priscilla Hutchens has a grudge against the army. The military has ruined her family and taken from her the people she holds most dear. When her niece and nephew are left orphaned at Fort Bliss, Texas, she is on a mission to get custody of them as soon as possible. There’s just one thing standing in the way. The post surgeon, Major Elliot Ryder, who also has a claim to the children. They’ll cross swords, but each will have to lay down arms if they’re to find a lasting peace and the love and family both are longing for.



Don't miss the rest of the Word of the Month series, every Monday.  Click on the image below to take you to posts already published.

Authors, I still have a few spots left throughout 2017. Please contact me via the "Contact Me" form or message me on Facebook if you would like to sign up.  Thank you!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Book Review: Return of the Continuums by Jennifer Brody

"Her mind was made up. There was no going back now." (220)

Title:  The Return of the Continuums
Series: The Continuum Trilogy
Author: Jennifer Brody
Publisher:  Turner Publishing
Release Date:  November 1, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Reaching the surface was just the beginning.

As Myra Jackson and her friends set out to find the First Continuum, Captain Aero Wright and two companions from the outer space Second Continuum find themselves banished for treason and stranded on Earth. Wright has vowed to complete his late father’s mission to recolonize their ancestral planet, but his true mission is to find the mysterious girl who haunts his dreams. Meanwhile, Myra and the young refugees of the underwater Thirteenth Continuum must make an unlikely ally if they are going to survive the hostile surface world and reach their destination, the nexus of humanity’s hope for survival. As their paths begin to converge, the Beacons that guide and connect Myra and Aero begin to prove their power, and a shadowy force with a centuries-old grudge reveals itself.

Book Review: Murder Under the Mistletoe by Terri Reed

"It's okay to be mad, but your feelings shouldn't dictate your trust of God. " (148)

Title:  Murder Under the Mistletoe
Series: Northern Border Patrol, Book 3
Author: Terri Reed
Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense
Release Date:  November 3, 2015
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction / Suspense

DEA agent Tyler Griffin must stop a drug cartel that's using an Idaho Christmas tree farm to smuggle narcotics across the Canadian border. But to do his job, Tyler needs the cooperation of farm owner and widowed mother Heather Larson-Randall—whose informant brother died on Tyler's watch. Tyler knows a crucial piece of evidence is hidden somewhere on the property. But getting the protective mother to trust him is the hardest part of his mission. As threats against Heather mount, he vows to keep her and her child safe…and clear the farm of danger before Christmas. 

Northern Border Patrol: Keeping the US-Canadian border safe..

Friday, January 20, 2017

Author Interview with Regina Jennings on Her Characters!

We welcome Regina Jennings to Just Commonly for the first time to share about her characters! Big round of applause, please!

Before we dive into the characters, lets chat about Regina's books!

From all of your books, which:
  • story was the hardest to write and why? 
Love in the Balance. When I wrote my first book, I hadn’t done a good job setting up the characters for a sequel. The second book—my first one to write under a deadline and while balancing all the new author stuff—had to do a lot of quick rearranging to get our characters in the right place for a sequel. I’ve learned my lesson. Populate your cast with single people so you can write a whole series.

  • story was the most fun to write and why? 
Her Dearly Unintended. Novellas are fun to write anyway because they have a much simpler plot, but this one was particularly fun because Katie Ellen and Josiah were childhood sweethearts and they both just said whatever they thought to each other. What would’ve been rude for a heroine to say in another story, was perfectly appropriate for her to say to Josiah, whom she grew up with.

  • story was your favorite cover? 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Book Review: For the Record by Regina Jennings

"Rather Than Wait for a Hero, She Decided to Create One"  (back cover)

Title: For the Record
Author:  Regina Jennings
Publisher:  Bethany House
Release Date:  December 6, 2016
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction

Rather Than Wait for a Hero, She Decided to Create One 

Betsy Huckabee has big-city dreams, but nobody outside of tiny Pine Gap, Missouri, seems interested in the articles she writes for her uncle's newspaper. Her hopes for independence may be crushed, until the best idea she's ever had comes riding into town. 

Deputy Joel Puckett didn't want to leave Texas, but unfair circumstances have made moving to Pine Gap his only shot at keeping a badge. Worse, this small town has big problems, and masked marauders have become too comfortable taking justice into their own hands. He needs to make clear that he's the law in this town--and that job is made more difficult with a nosy reporter who seems to follow him everywhere he goes. 

The hero Betsy creates to be the star in a serial for the ladies' pages is based on the dashing deputy, but he's definitely fictional. And since the pieces run only in newspapers far away, no one will ever know. But the more time she spends with Deputy Puckett, the more she appreciates the real hero--and the more she realizes what her ambition could cost him.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Book Review: Amish Christmas Blessings: The Midwife's Christmas Surprise \ A Christmas to Remember by Marta Perry and Jo Ann Brown

Title:  Amish Christmas Blessings
Authors: Marta Perry & Jo Ann Brown
Publisher: Love Inspired
Release Date:  October 18, 2016
Genre: Amish Fiction (Novellas)

A special 2-in-1 story to celebrate the holidays!

The Midwife's Christmas Surprise by Marta Perry: Three years ago, the man Anna Zook hoped to marry left her and their Amish community for the English world. Now devoted to proving her abilities as a midwife, Anna has given up on marriage and children for herself. But when Benjamin Miller returns, now a changed man, can delivering a Christmas baby reunite these two hurting hearts?

A Christmas to Remember by Jo Ann Brown: When a little girl leads shop owner Amos Stoltzfus to an Amish woman in distress, he rushes them to his family's farm. "Linda" has no memory and doesn't know if the sweet child is her daughter or even her kin. As Christmas arrives and Linda's identity is revealed, will Amos be able to claim his holiday guests as his own?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Title:  Orphan Train
Author: Paulina Simons
Publisher: William Morrow, Imprint of HarperCollinsPublisher
Release Date:  November 29, 2016 (Paperback Edition)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Christina Baker Kline’s #1 New York Times bestselling novel—the captivating story of a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to long-buried questions…now with an extended scene that addresses the number one question readers ask, and an excerpt from Kline’s upcoming novel A Piece of the World

“A lovely novel about the search for family that also happens to illuminate a fascinating and forgotten chapter of America’s history. Beautiful.”—Ann Packer

Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?

As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.

Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, and unexpected friendship.

Monday, January 16, 2017

New Beginnings with Vannetta Chapman

Just Commonly welcome authors to drop by and share with us their take on a book that embodies a predetermined Word of the Month!  For the full year of 2017, every Monday, a new post by a new author will be posted!

We have acclaimed author, Vannetta Chapman sharing this week about  New Beginnings in her new series, The Remnant, beginning with Book 1, Deep Shadows.

"I think we all enjoy stories about new beginnings. Deep Shadows is the story of a solar flare that knocks out our electrical grid for 40 years. That sounds like an ending. Right? But actually every ending is also a beginning. Shelby and Max and Carter learn to live a different kind of life--one where they must depend on their faith, their neighbors, and each other. This is a story about starting over, and the take away is that God’s grace is always sufficient for any circumstance we find ourselves in."

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace, including romantic suspense and Amish romance novels. She is the author of seventeen novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, The Shipshewana Amish Mystery series and Anna’s Healing, a 2016 Christy Award finalist. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups.  She was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. For more information, visit her at www.VannettaChapman.com

CONNECT WITH VANNETTA:  website, facebook,  twitter,  instagram

Saturday, January 14, 2017

COTT: Interview with Shoba Sadler, author of Child of Dust


Today we'll sit down to chat with Shoba Sadler, author of the contemporary title Child of Dust. Shoba will take us behind the scenes of her unique new novel and give us a glimpse into her writing.

Shoba, why did you choose to write this type of novel?
Social status and cultural barriers makes for great conflict. Child of Dust is like a modern-day classic of Romeo and Juliet only instead of opposing families, these lovers, Kim and Bryan have cultural and social barriers to contend with.

Kim, the rich and spoilt socialite who loses her money is taken under the wing of her reluctant chauffeur, Bryan, who has his own struggles to deal with. They find love under the most unexpected circumstances.

Can you tell us why you started with an Asian setting for your first two novels?
I was founder of Agape Christian magazine in Malaysia. I also freelanced for the leading English, secular newspaper in Malaysia, The Star. My feature stories forThe Star were several page write-ups with gorgeous photos. Many of my stories were selected by the features editor to be cover stories as well.

As I interviewed people all over the world for Agape, I saw God moving powerfully in Asia and yet there were so few stories coming from there especially in the Christian romance genre.

In Asia, Christianity is seen very much as a Western culture. Yet so many Asians have had powerful encounters with Jesus Christ. Then there is the struggle to validate their faith in the midst of culture, tradition, loss of identity, social stigma and so on.

Book Spotlight: The Fate of Tearling by Erika Johansen

Title:  The Fate of Tearling
Series: The Queen of Tearling, Book 3
Author: Erika Johansen
Publisher:  Harper
Release Date:  November 28, 2016 (Paperback Edition)
Genre: ADULT Fantasy (I would not recommend to YA audiences)

The thrilling conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Tearling trilogy.

In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has transformed from a gawky teenager into a powerful monarch. As she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, the headstrong, visionary leader has also transformed her realm. In her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies—including the evil Red Queen, her fiercest rival, who has set her armies against the Tear.

To protect her people from a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable—she gave herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy—and named the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, regent in her place. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign, imprisoned in Mortmesne.

Now, as the suspenseful endgame begins, the fate of Queen Kelsea—and the Tearling itself—will finally be revealed.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Book Review: Waiting for Wonder: Learning to Live on God's Timeline by Marlo Schalesky

Title: Waiting for Wonder: Learning to Live on God's Timeline
Author:  Marlo Schalesky
Publisher:  Abingdon Press
Release Date:  November 15, 2016
Genre: Christian Living / Non-Fiction

What if, in this waiting, God is calling us to more?

It's easy to believe God when a promise is new. It's hard when the years pass and nothing changes. It's even harder when desperation strikes, your plans backfire, and still God does not fill the emptiness. But what if, in this waiting, God is calling us to more?

Join author Marlo Schalesky on a unique, contemplative journey to reveal the wonder that is often missed when we find ourselves struggling to wait well. Walking through the life of the biblical character Sarah, one who knows what it means to wait, you will discover a glimpse of God's character that will give you strength to keep hoping and praying for the desires of your heart.

Waiting for Wonder is a journey into the heart of God where you will wrestle with personal questions, think deeply about God's true character, and learn to appreciate His divine work as you discover your own path to the promised land. Recapture your hope, restore your soul, and renew your vision of a wondrous Savior when you learn to live on God's time.

Leader guide also available.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Top 3 Kick-Butt Meet Cutes by Nichole Parks & share your own!

Welcome Nichole to Just Commonly! 

I’d be okay if I came close to dying.

And church just doesn’t seem like the place for that to go down, for me to meet some handsome bugger, for my meet cute to finally happen. I mean, sure. If you want to get technical about it, boy meets girl . . . and a lot of other congregants during the “greet your neighbor” part of service.

But the boy rescues girl part . . . ? I just can’t think of any place safer. Shouldn’t there be a little risk involved?

As far as I can tell, it makes for the best stories.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Book Review: The Cherished Quilt by Amy Clipston, An Amish Heirloom Book 3

A quilt to remember . . .

Title:  The Cherished Quilt
Series: Amish Heirloom series, Book 3
Author: Amy Clipston
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Audio Release Date:  November 29, 2016
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Amish Fiction

Tragedy tore Christopher’s world apart. But Emily believes there are enough pieces left behind to stitch together a beautiful new beginning.

Emily Fisher is eager to meet the new employee at her father’s shop in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. But when Christopher Hochstetler arrives, his cold demeanor freezes her attempts at building a friendship.

Longing for a fresh start, Christopher travels from Ohio to Bird-in-Hand to work at his uncle’s shop. Christopher’s heart is still wounded from memories of home, and making new friends is the last thing on his mind—he knows the pain that comes with losing those you love. When Emily is kind to him, he tries to remain distant, but he soon finds himself stealing glances at her throughout the day.

When Christopher shares his tragic reasons for leaving home, Emily decides to make a quilt for him as a gesture of their friendship. Even though he is not a member of the church, she’s found someone with whom she can imagine a future. The two are quickly falling in love when a family emergency calls Christopher back to Ohio without warning.