Category Archives: Giveaways, Book Tours, Cover Reveals, Interviews, and more!

66 Ways God Loves You, and a Giveaway!

9780718087708-jpgBook Review: 66 Ways God Loves You

Author: Jennifer Rothschild

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Amazon’s website for 66 Ways God Loves You:

66 books, one incredible message

God’s Word is many things—instructive, historical, poetic. Yet to Jennifer Rothschild, the Bible is also an incredible love letter. In 66 Ways God Loves You, she walks you through each of the sixty-six books of the Bible and shows, in concise and thoughtful ways, how every book reflects God’s love for each of us, such as:

In Genesis God fashions me with His hands.

In Esther He Makes me royalty

In Acts God’s Spirit comes to live in me.

In I Peter God gives me victory over suffering.

Each chapter includes a succinct, meaningful reading on the message of that book in the Bible, along with a simple takeaway to help you bring the message to light in your own heart and life.

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            I really enjoyed this book. I was encouraged as I read it, and very impressed by how Ms. Rothschild could take one book of the Bible, narrow its focus down so she could write two pages about how God’s love is portrayed in it, and make it applicable for us without taking it out of context. This book is visually appealing, but also appeals to the heart and soul as she teaches the reader more about how much God loves them.

Though it’s a small book focused on the love of God, 66 Ways God Loves You is also surprisingly rich in doctrine. I wasn’t sure what sort of doctrinal basis this book would have, if it would only focus on God’s love and forget His justice, but I was very impressed by Ms. Rothschild’s ability to balance that out. Inevitably, different doctrinal issues came up in this book, but I found we agreed on most everything, which I found interesting.

One of my favorite (because I can’t narrow it down to one!) chapters was the one from Zephaniah, The Mighty God Sings Over Me with Great Joy. It was such an awesome reminder that not only does God love me, He likes me too! And He delights in me.

            All in all, I really liked this book. It’s definitely a keeper for me, and maybe for you too! Today, courtesy of the publisher, I’m going to be giving away one copy to one of you! Make sure you enter to win this great book.

Click on the link and fill out the options to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/fea9d3732/

About the Author

Biography from Thomas Nelson’s website: Jennifer Rothschild has written 13 books and Bible studies, including the bestsellers, Lessons I Learned in the Dark and Self-Talk, Soul-Talk. She has appeared on Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Life Today, and a Billy Graham television special and spoken for Women of Faith and Extraordinary Women. She is the founder of the Fresh Grounded Faith conferences and womensministry.net. She lost her sight at age 15 and regularly travels and speaks around the country, sharing her story and all God has done in her life. Jennifer lives with her family in Missouri.

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

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When Love Arrives

28637702Book Review: When Love Arrives

Author: Johnnie Alexander

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Revell’s website for When Love Arrives:

Dani had planned to spy on Brett–so how did she end up on a date with him?

Dani Prescott can’t believe the lie Brett Somers is trying to sell to the media. During an interview about the plane crash that killed his parents, he blamed Dani’s mother. But the crash killed her as well. Vowing to restore her mother’s reputation, Dani has been following Brett and taking photos, hoping to find something she can use to discredit him. But when she catches his eye instead, she quickly finds herself agreeing to a date. Brett knows this mystery girl is hiding something–but he’s got his own secrets to keep. What will happen when he discovers who she really is?

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            So, I struggled with this book for the first half of the story. The back cover made me think this story was going in a different direction, so I had a hard time figuring out where, exactly, this story was going. I didn’t like either Dani or Brett at the beginning. Neither one is a very nice person. But as the story progressed, I found that I started to like them more, though it wasn’t until the ending that I was on board with the two of them. I really liked the secondary characters and what was going on with them. The change that occurs in both Dani and Brett seemed authentic, so I enjoyed reading that. Overall, it was an ‘ok’ book. Not my favorite, but not a bad book either.

About the Author

Biography from Revell’s website: Johnnie Alexander is the award-winning author of Where Treasure Hides and Where She Belongs. Johnnie is an accomplished essayist and poet whose work has appeared in the Guideposts anthology A Cup of Christmas Cheer. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, spending time with her grandchildren, and taking road trips. She lives near Memphis, Tennessee. Learn more about Johnnie and her books at: http://johnnie-alexander.com/

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

Among the Fair Magnolias

51mx7tavsmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Book Review: Among the Fair Magnolias

Authors: Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, Elizabeth Musser

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Book Look Bloggers’ website description of Among the Fair Magnolias:

Four Southern women are at a turning point in history . . . and in their own hearts.

To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander

The Civil War cost Savannah Darby everything-her family and her home. When Aidan Bedford, an attorney from Boston, buys the Darby estate, he hires Savannah to redecorate. Can she find a mysterious treasure before her job is finished?

An Outlaw’s Heart by Shelley Gray

When Russell Stark returns to Fort Worth, he’s determined to begin a new life. But when he arrives at his mother’s homestead, he discovers that she is very ill and the woman he loved is still as beautiful and sweet as he remembered. With time running out, Russell must come to terms with both his future and his past.

A Heart So True by Dorothy Love

Abigail knows all too well what is expected of her: to marry her distant cousin Charles and take her place in society. But her heart belongs to another. A terrible incident forces Abby to choose between love and duty.

Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser

Emily has a secret: She’s in love with one of the freedmen on her family’s plantation. Meanwhile, another man declares his love for her. Emily realizes some things are not as they seem and secrets must be kept in order to keep those she loves safe.

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Of all four of these authors, I’d previously read novels by a grand total of…one. But reading about the Old South before, after, and during the Civil War has always been fascinating for me. I think it’s because of how transitional the time was, how it took great courage to stand true to what you believed in, and the complex paradoxes people faced. Not everything was black and white. Gray abounded during this time. These four authors did a superb job of providing four intriguing, unique stories that didn’t feel rushed, despite the shorter wordcounts. Yet they all still provided what I love about this time period.

I enjoyed To Mend a Dream more than I did the novel where Savannah Darby first made an appearance, To Win Her Favor (you can read my thoughts on that book here). I liked Savannah as a character. She was hardworking, courageous, and struggled with her prejudice and the difficulties of working in a house in which she was previously mistress. A great wrap up to her story.

An Outlaw’s Heart is actually placed last in the collection, not second, just so there’s no confusion. This was a great ending to this collection, a true Western with a noble, yet flawed hero and an utterly villainous bad guy. 😉 It didn’t take me nearly as long as Nora to fall (again?) for Russell. A truly fun story.

Shudder, Charles. That’s partly what I remember from A Heart So True. Poor Abigail had to face whether to live up to her family’s heavy expectations, or follow the longing of her heart that clearly was leading in the right direction.

I honestly wasn’t sure which way the story, Love Beyond Limits, would go. Elizabeth Musser kept me—and Emily!—guessing. The Ku Klux Klan, that infamous group of the reconstruction period (and somewhat beyond) has a part in this book. I really enjoyed reading about Emily and how she tried to follow her convictions, yet at times found herself judging others unfairly.

Among the Fair Magnolias fufilled all it promised to be: Four sweet love stories, set during turbulent times, with choices demanded of the heros and heroines. I would definitely recommend this collection, especially to those who enjoy this historical time period. Or if you’re simply wanting to read something from your favorite author as well as discover someone new, this is a great collection in which to do so.

About the Authors

Biographies from Book Look Bloggers’ website:

Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of numerous books including A Lasting Impression and The Inheritance. Her richly-drawn characters and thought-provoking plots have earned her devoted readers worldwide. Tamera is a two-time Christy Award winner, two-time RITA winner, and a recipient of the prestigious Library Journal Award. Tamera and her husband recently returned to her Southern roots and now make their home in Nashville. Visit her website at http://www.tameraalexander.com Facebook: tamera.alexander Twitter: @tameraalexander

A native of west Tennessee, Dorothy Love makes her home in the Texas hill country with her husband and their golden retriever. An award-winning author of numerous young adult novels, Dorothy made her adult debut with the Hickory Ridge novels. Facebook: dorothylovebooks Twitter: @WriterDorothy

Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), The Protector, recently made the New York Times best seller list. A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Colorado and taught school for ten years. She and her husband have two children and live in Southern Ohio. Visit her website at http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com Facebook: ShelleyShepardGray Twitter: @ShelleySGray

Elizabeth Musser, a native of Atlanta, Georgia now living in France, is a novelist who writes what she calls ‘entertainment with a soul.’ Elizabeth attended The Westminster Schools in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee where she majored in French and English literature, graduated magna cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

I was given a review copy of Among the Fair Magnolias from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

An Uncertain Choice

51Jxz888HML._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Book Review: An Uncertain Choice

Author: Jody Hedlund

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Zondervan’s website description of An Uncertain Choice:

Due to her parents’ promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, a month before her birthday, a friend of her father’s enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents’ will left a second choice-if Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow.

Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the competition for her heart seemingly results in a knight playing foul, she begins to wonder if the cloister is the best place after all. If only one of the knights-the one who appears the most guilty-had not already captured her heart.

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An Uncertain Choice is a different type of book from what Jody usually writes. Rather than a novel set during the 1800s, this book plays out during medieval times. Also, instead of featuring a hero and heroine in their 20s or 30s, this book features young adult characters. Though An Uncertain Choice differs in some areas, it still has what I’ve come to love from Jody. Settings that come alive, characters that are colorful, God-honoring romance, and attention-grabbing twists. Let’s dive into the particulars. 🙂

Getting into the flow of this book was difficult at first, just because An Uncertain Choice is so different from Jody’s other books. I had to adjust my expectations a bit. Once I got into the story, though, I was hooked. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how Rosemarie was going to pick a suitor in such a short period of time and if it would be accomplished in a believable way, but Jody worked it out well. I was able to guess a lot of what was going to happen next in the story, but even then, I still enjoyed this book. I really admire how Jody wanted to write a Young Adult book that promoted godly romance through an adventurous story. Finding books that do that for teens can be difficult, so I’m excited to see where Jody is going to take this series, and possibly other books in the future (?).

If you know of a teen who enjoys both adventure and romance in their reads, or one who can’t get enough medieval tales, then I encourage you to point them to An Uncertain Choice.

About the Author

Biography from Jody’s website: Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of seven novels, including Captured By Love, Rebellious Heart, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award and INSPYs Award. She received a bachelor’s from Taylor University and a master’s from University of Wisconsin, both in social work. Currently she makes her home in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. To learn more, you can check out her website: http://jodyhedlund.com/

I was given a review copy of An Uncertain Choice from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Love’s Fortune

wren-1Book Review: Love’s Fortune

Author: Laura Frantz

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Baker Publishing Group’s website description of Love’s Fortune:

With two very different horizons stretched out before her, one young woman stands on the cusp of an unknown future.

Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena “Wren” Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas’s vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Wren makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world–family members she’s never met, dances she’s never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew.

As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes’ shipping line. Even with his help, Wren feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way . . . to her peril?

With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, Laura Frantz brings 1850s Pennsylvania alive with a tender story of loss, love, and loyalty.

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I love how Laura was able to take three different characters, spanning three different generations, all from the same family, and make each young woman’s personality, journey, and love story unique. Love’s Fortune made me think of her first book, The Frontiersman’s Daughter. It’s more of that style, especially with Wren coming from that area.

It took me a little longer to get into Wren’s head than the previous two novels. I think I had some preconceived ideas of what she was going to be like, so correcting those and really getting into her character took some time. One of the things I really appreciate about Wren was how she stood firm on things that mattered to her. She didn’t cave to Andra or Bennett or even Malachi, when it came down to it. She is a woman of integrity and faith, which was really fun to read about. I couldn’t help but cheer for her. 🙂

James Sackett is a great hero. Laura develops his character in such a way throughout the story that the reader learns about him as Wren does, about his past, present, and hopes for the future.

Laura did a great job with this book of keeping the tension up over how Wren and James would finally be together, as well as the external danger threatening them both. Then to end the series, she slipped in a sigh-worthy epilogue, bringing the trilogy full-circle. If you’re coming in late to this series, I would definitely recommend reading these novels in order. Having that back story for the other characters is really helpful, and gives a different perspective on the characters.

About the Author

Biography from Baker Publishing Group’s website: Laura Frantz is a lover of history, is the author of The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, and The Colonel’s Lady, and currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons. Visit her website at http://laurafrantz.net/

I was given a review copy of Love’s Fortune from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

We have a winner…

Well, the 4 book giveaway has ended and a winner has been drawn. The winner is…

Virgina from A Blog From the Heart!

Virgina, I have emailed you with the details of how to receive your books.

Thanks everyone who entered and stopped by to celebrate my blogiversary with me! It’s been a great year, and I’m planning on making the next one just as fantastic, with even more wonderful reads to present to you.

My One Year Anniversary + 4 Book Giveaway

And now…for what I’m sure you’ve ALL been waiting for… 😉 *drum roll please*

Onto Her Bookshelf’s One-Year Anniversary Giveaway!!!

Today has been exactly one year since I put up my first blog post, and what a year it has been. Let’s take a quick review, shall we?

  • 27 book reviews total
  • 19 Historical Fiction reviews
  • 3 Speculative Fiction reviews (fantasy and science fiction)
  • 3 Nonfiction reviews
  • 2 Contemporary Fiction reviews
  • 9 other blog posts, including giveaways, author interviews, one movie review, and a nomination for the Most Uplifting Blogger Award!

What a year it has been! To celebrate, I’m going to give away a few of the books I’ve reviewed on this blog, including the book that inspired me to begin writing book reviews, Fireflies in December. You have the opportunity to win three historical fiction books and one fantasy book:

  1. Fireflies in December
  2. A Noble Groom
  3. Grace’s Pictures
  4. Dragonwitch

This giveaway is only open to U.S. residents, sorry Internationals. :/ One winner will be chosen on the 16th of February. The winner will be contacted by email and expected to reply within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen.

Follow the link below to the Rafflecopter form where you can enter for the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway