A new time-slip novel where a tea chest links one woman to the past... The Tea Chest by Heidi Chiavaroli (Review) @TyndaleHouse



I've been looking forward to this book for a while. Read my review below...

The Tea Chest
By Heidi Chiavaroli
Christian Time-Slip Romance
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 464 Pages
February 4th 2020 by Tyndale House Publishers

Summary

Boston, 1773
Emma Malcolm’s father is staunchly loyal to the crown, but Emma’s heart belongs to Noah Winslow, a lowly printer’s assistant and Patriot. But her father has promised her hand to Samuel Clarke, a rapacious and sadistic man. As his fiancĂ©e, she would have to give up Noah and the friends who have become like family to her—as well as the beliefs she has come to embrace.

After Emma is drawn into the treasonous Boston Tea Party, Samuel blackmails her with evidence that condemns each participant, including Noah. Emma realizes she must do whatever it takes to protect those she loves, even if it means giving up the life she desires and becoming Samuel’s wife.

Present Day
Lieutenant Hayley Ashworth is determined to be the first woman inducted into the elite Navy SEALs. But before her dream can be realized, she must return to Boston in order to put the abuse and neglect of her childhood behind her. When an unexpected encounter with the man she once loved leads to the discovery of a tea chest and the document hidden within, she wonders if perhaps true strength and freedom are buried deeper than she first realized.

Two women, separated by centuries, must find the strength to fight for love and freedom. . . and discover a heritage of courage and faith.

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

THE TEA CHEST is an emotional story about two women who live centuries apart from each other, but who relate in similar ways. They're connected by a tea chest, allowing for the woman who comes later to find strength in the woman who came before her. A story about family, loyalty, freedom, perseverance, faith and love.

I immediately got into Hayley's story. She was facing the extreme challenge of BUD/S training to become a Navy SEAL. I loved her determination and her heart. I also felt like her character was complex as she had quite a bit of baggage to work through and a future she was trying to grasp. I really wanted a bit more development between her and Ethan as I felt there was a lot there to dive into and didn't feel like her faith and the romance with Ethan was as developed as much as it could have been. It took me a bit to fully get into Emma's story. She wasn't a character I loved at first, so she had to grow on me. Her character felt a bit more one-dimensional compared to Hayley's, but I know readers connect with characters differently. Her story was very emotional towards the end and brought me to tears in a few places. The setting being around the Revolutionary War and the Boston Tea Party made it unique and intriguing. I love history, so I enjoyed this aspect of the story quite a bit. The ending was bittersweet and perfect.

My only complaint was that there were times I wanted the story to switch sooner or later. It wasn't always consistent. This was also much more of an historical novel than contemporary as the contemporary part had fewer pages in comparison. It's a bit of a difficult thing to write in this genre without it feeling jarring switching time periods, without disrupting the reader's interest, and creating love for both storylines. I felt like the author did a fairly good job in that.

In the end, was it what I wished for? I very much enjoyed reading this! Both storylines are interesting with likable characters, emotional plots, and sweet romance. Recommended to Christian romance and time-slip fans.

Content: Some violence and references to drugs, drinking and abuse, and some references to marital relations (not detailed in any way).
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Heidi Chiavaroli began writing thirteen years ago, just after Jesus grabbed hold of her heart. She used her two small boys' nap times to pursue what she thought at the time was a foolish dream. Despite a long road to publication, she hasn't stopped writing since!

Her debut novel, Freedom's Ring, was a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist, a Romantic Times Top Pick, and a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut. The Tea Chest is her third novel with Tyndale House Publishers.

Heidi loves exploring places that whisper of historical secrets, especially with her family. She loves hiking, baking, and dates with her high school sweetheart and husband of sixteen years. Heidi makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons.



Is this one on your list to read? Have you read any other books by this author?

Read an excerpt from A Girl's Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate (Excerpt & #Giveaway) #GirlsGuideTour #TNZFiction @PrismBookTours


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome! I'm so looking forward to this book after reading Love and Other Mistakes and
will be reviewing it next week, so look for that! Read an excerpt and enter the giveaway below...

A Girl's Guide to the Outback
By Jessica Kate
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 368 Pages
January 28th 2020 by Thomas Nelson

Summary

How far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand? This funny, sweet, and romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.

Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly.

When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church.

As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster strikes the farm, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

(Affiliate links included.)

Excerpt

Ahead of her, Sam walked toward the yard gate, oblivious to the jealousy that oozed through her veins. Between Butch, Jules, and Mrs. Payton—due home in a couple weeks for Christmas—Sam had a real family. A real family with a real home.
A home now under more threat than they realized.
In addition to getting her Wildfire work done, Kimberly had spent late-night hours since she’d arrived scouring the six months’ worth of financial documents Jules had given her, looking for a way to free up the cash they needed.
Not only was there none, but Jules seemed to be on a downward trajectory that, given the frequency of Australia’s natural disasters, would probably lead to foreclosure. But to convince Jules of the need for a change—or even just to confirm her suspicions—she’d need Sam’s help. Sam, who’d expressly told her not to meddle beyond finding a short-term fix for their money woes. Who wanted to believe this was nothing more than a rough patch.
Who’d bent over her hand and pulled splinters with such care that her hand still tingled when she thought of it.
How could she keep quiet and watch Sam and Jules lose all they had? Still, Sam’s words to her on her first night here swirled in her brain. “If you want my help talking my sister into some scheme of yours, don’t count on it.”
But friends had their friends’ backs.
Palms clammy, she hustled to catch up to Sam. He swung the gate open and held it for her to enter the yards. “What’s wrong?”
She hesitated. Were her thoughts that obvious? “What do you mean?”
“You have your ‘Something’s wrong’ face on. Last time I saw it was—” He stopped. She finished the sentence in her head: “When you told me about your plan for Wildfire.” “—when Tariq threw up on the foosball table.”
She wrinkled her nose. “If I was pulling any face, it was my ‘I’m trying not to also vomit’ face. I was the one who cleaned that up. You got to bundle him in the car and take him home.”
His lips twitched upward. “Yeah, thanks for taking that bullet.” The moment rested between them. A shared memory, and they were actually both smiling.
Sam relatched the gate, and she summoned the depths of her courage. Just rip it off like a Band-Aid. “Sam, can you help me talk to Jules about letting me dig way deeper into the finances? I’m worried the farm’s in real danger.” She rushed the sentence out.
The smile playing around his lips froze then drained away.

From A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate. Used with the permission of the publisher, Thomas Nelson. Copyright © 2020 by Jessica Kate Learn more at TNZ Fiction.

About the Author


Australian author Jessica Kate writes inspirational romances with wit, sass, and grit. Jessica is a screenwriting groupie, cohost of the StoryNerds vlog and podcasts, and her favorite place to be—apart from Mum and Dad’s back deck—is a theme park. She has traveled North America and Australia, and samples her favorite pasta wherever she goes—but the best (so far) is still the place around the corner from her corporate day job as a training developer. She loves watching sitcoms with her housemates and being a leader in a new church plant.


Tour Schedule


Tour-Wide Giveaway


One winner will receive a print copy of Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate
US only
Ends February 12, 2020

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Will you be reading this one? What did you think of the excerpt?

A western inspirational penny novel... Lone Star Ranger by Renae Brumbaugh Green (Review & #Giveaway) @Celebrate_Lit



Welcome to my tour stop! Check out my review and enter the giveaway below...

Lone Star Ranger
(The Texas Ranger Series #1)
By Renae Brumbaugh Green
Christian Historical Romance, Western
Paperback & ebook, 164 Pages
January 21st 2020 by Wild Heart Books

Summary

Elizabeth Covington will get her man.

And she has just a week to prove her brother isn’t the murderer Texas Ranger Rett Smith accuses him of being. She’ll show the good-looking lawman he’s wrong, even if it means setting out on a risky race across Texas to catch the real killer.

Rett doesn’t want to convict an innocent man. But he can’t let the Boston beauty sway his senses to set a guilty man free. When Elizabeth follows him on a dangerous trek, the Ranger vows to keep her safe. But who will protect him from the woman whose conviction and courage leave him doubting everything—even his heart?

(Affiliate link included.)

My Review

LONE STAR RANGER is a short and sweet western romance with danger, a headstrong leading lady, and a rugged, Texas Ranger leading man. It's a case of mistaken identity played out in the west with a ruthless outlaw to find in order to save a man's life. Christian historical romance readers who are looking for something fun to read may enjoy this story.

This reminded me quite a bit of a penny novel. It's a short read and on the lighter side, with a strong inspirational element. The characters are all likable and the plot has some exciting moments, even if unrealistic. I really liked both Elizabeth and Rett and thought they played their roles well. I think I would have enjoyed the story more if the mistaken identity would have felt more realistic. I just couldn't get over why a telegram couldn't be sent back east to Boston to clear things up, so I really had to suspend belief. Stories work better for me if they're plausible.

In the end, was it what I wished for? Overall, this was an enjoyable story. I did have one big hangup, but I think most readers can ignore it and still find this quite entertaining.

Content: Some violence, but clean.
Source: I received a complimentary copy through Celebrate Lit, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to an Amazon affiliate link.)

About the Author

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a city-girl-turned-country-diva. She’s married to a handsome country boy named Rick, and she’s mom to four nearly-perfect, nearly-grown children, two rowdy dogs, and some ducks. They live in rural Texas where Renae wears overalls, western boots, and bubblegum pink nail polish. She’s a bestselling author of over 30 books, an award-winning humor columnist, and an online English teacher. In her free time, she can be found leaping tall buildings and rescuing kittens from trees. Or, she’d like to do those things, if she had free time.

More from Renae

I’ve been a fan of historical romance from the moment I graduated from The Babysitter’s Club. A friend of mind introduced me to the Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke, and I was hooked. In college, between exams and extracurricular stuff, I read those books like they were M&Ms. That’s why, when I started writing grown-up fiction, I knew historical was my genre.

But there’s another reason—perhaps a more compelling reason—why I had to write The Texas Rangers series. See, my granddaddy was a Texas Ranger. Not the baseball player kind. The gun-toting, cowboy-hat-and-badge-wearing kind. As far as I know, he was not a master of any kinds of martial arts, so if you’re a fan of Walker, Texas Ranger, I’m sorry to disappoint.

And he was not alive during the late 1800s, as are the characters are in this series. Grandaddy died in 1980 when I was 12 years old. He was a good man, known for rescuing puppies and bringing small gifts and toys to children in stressful situations—i.e. when their parents were arrested. My favorite memory of him is sitting on his lap, falling asleep to the sound of his big, round pocket watch ticking. I have a picture of myself, age three, sitting on his knee while he typed up his reports. I love that typewriter picture, and find it significant since I’m now a writer.

Grandaddy was Robert Everett Smith, and Grandmother (yes, I called her that—she was very formal, but also very sweet) was Ellie Marie (Edgar) Smith. The two lead characters in Lone Star Ranger are named Rett (Everett) and Elizabeth, in their honor.

Like Grandmother, Elizabeth is refined and formal, yet strong headed, with her own lady-like brand of spunk. She hails from Boston, and is a little overwhelmed at the grit and gravel of Texas lawmen. But she’s not intimidated—not even by handsome Texas Ranger Rett Smith.

Thanks so much for sharing in my cherished family memories. I hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it!

—Renae Brumbaugh Green

Tour Schedule

Among the Reads, January 21
Pause for Tales, January 21
deb’s Book Review, January 24
Texas Book-aholic, January 25
Becka Jimenez, January 26
Betti Mace, January 30
Wishful Endings, January 30
Maureen’s Musings, January 31
Older & Smarter?, January 31
Hallie Reads, February 3

Tour-Wide Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Renae is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Do you enjoy reading westerns? Do you have a favorite?

The author tells us about the characters from Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani (Guest Post & #Giveaway) @the_ffbc


Welcome! Learn more about the characters from this story and enter the tour giveaway below...

Seven Deadly Shadows
By Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani
YA Fantasy, Paranormal
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 288 Pages
January 28th 2020 by HarperCollins

Summary

Kira Fujikawa has always been a girl on the fringe. Bullied by her peers and ignored by her parents, the only place Kira’s ever felt at home is at her grandfather’s Shinto shrine, where she trains to be a priestess.

But Kira’s life is shattered on the night her family’s shrine is attacked by a vicious band of yokai demons. With the help of Shiro—the shrine’s gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune—Kira discovers that her shrine harbors an ancient artifact of great power . . . one the yokai and their demon lord, Shuten-doji, will use to bring down an everlasting darkness upon the world.

Unable to face the Shuten-doji and his minions on her own, Kira enlists the aid of seven ruthless shinigami—or death gods—to help stop the brutal destruction of humankind. But some of the death gods aren’t everything they initially seemed, nor as loyal to Kira’s cause as they first appeared.

With war drawing nearer by the day, Kira realizes that if this unlikely band of heroes is going to survive, they’re going to have to learn to work together, confront their demons, and rise as one to face an army of unimaginable evil.

(Affiliate links included.)

Guest Post: Meet the Characters

Hi everyone, Courtney Alameda here, co-author of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS! Please allow me to introduce you to a few members of the cast . . . which, of course, includes one very grumpy “cat!”

KIRA FUJIKAWA: Kira is a regular Japanese girl . . . or at least she wishes she was! She studies hard at a prestigious high school and spends her afternoons working as a miko, or shrine maiden, at her family’s Shinto shrine. Though she tries to fit in, she’s still treated as an outsider by the other students at her school. This is partially because Kira’s family isn’t as wealthy as the other students’ families are, and because she’s not always good at reading a room. It doesn’t help Kira can see yokai—monsters that have haunted Japan since time immemorial—either, as the monsters like turning Kira’s classmates against her.

Despite the hardships she faces, Kira is loyal to her family, courageous despite the dangers she faces, and is kind to outsiders. Kira’s favorite snack is raspberry Kit Kats, she loves music from the K-pop girl group TWICE, and when she grows up, she wants to be the head priest of the Fujikawa Shrine. (Portrait by Elwenz Art)


SHIRO OKAMOTO: Shiro is a kitsune, which means he’s just as clever and mischievous as a fox! He’s often described as having “K-pop idol” good looks, and in front of humans, he hides his fox ears with magic. He has a gentle, fun-loving personality, despite the sadness lurking in his past. He currently works at the Fujikawa shrine as a magical shrine guardian, and is very devoted to Kira. (Portrait by Elwenz Art)


ONI-CHAN: Oni-chan is a nekomata, a type of devilish cat yokai (or monster). He’s friendlier than your average nekomata, and he won’t eat you . . . so long as you feed him good snacks! His favorite treat is yakitori chicken skewers, which are a popular street food in Japan. Nekomata have two tails, and it’s said that they can to grow to frightening proportions when they’re so inclined . . . (Art by MonMon Cats)


THE SHINIGAMI: Okay, okay, if you want to know about the shinigami, you’re going to have to discover them for yourself—just as Kira does! Shinigami are “death gods” or psychopomps, and are the Japanese equivalent of the western Grim Reaper. In Japanese folklore, shinigami are neither good nor evil; rather, they invite the living toward death. The shinigami you encounter in SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS are inspired by the ones found in manga works like Tite Kubo’s BLEACH or Tsugumi Ohba’s DEATH NOTE—one part warrior, one part monster.
Thanks for reading! And should you take the time to listen to Kira’s tale, Valynne and I hope you enjoy it! Just remember, don’t fear the shadows . . .

About the Authors

A veteran bookseller and librarian, Courtney Alameda now spends her days writing thriller and horror novels for young people. Her debut novel, SHUTTER, was nominated for a Bram Stoker award and hailed as a "standout in the genre" by School Library Journal. Her forthcoming novel, PITCH DARK (Spring 2017), is a genre-blending science fiction/horror novel in the vein of Ridley Scott's 1979 film ALIEN.

Courtney holds a B.A. in English literature with an emphasis in creative writing. She is represented by the talented John M. Cusick of Folio Literary. A Northern California native, she now resides in Utah with her husband, a legion of books, and a tiny five pound cat with a giant personality.


Valynne E. Maetani (pronounced Vuh-lin Mah-eh-tah-nee) grew up in Utah and obtained a Bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In a former life, she was a project manager and developed educational software for children with learning disabilities. Currently, she is a full-time writer. She is a member of the We Need Diverse Books team and is dedicated to promoting diversity in children's literature because every child should grow up believing his or her story deserves to be told. Her debut novel, Ink and Ashes, is the winner of the New Visions Award 2013, a Junior Library Guild 2015 selection, and Best Fiction Book in Salt Lake City Weekly’s Best of Utah Arts Award for 2015. She lives in Salt Lake City.


Tour Schedule
Tour-Wide Giveaway


Grand Prize: Win a signed copy of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS, a signed copy of Courtney Alameda's SHUTTER, and a signed copy of Valynne Maetani's INK AND ASHES; anime portraits of Kira and Shiro; a stuffed fox omamori charm from the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Japan; an origami fox hand-folded by Valynne Maetani; a yokai mini sticker sheet; and an assortment of Japanese Kit Kats (not pictured)

Second Prize: Win (1) of (2) A signed copy of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS with anime portraits of Kira and Shiro

Ends February 11, 2020

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What did you think about the characters from the guest post? Will you be reading this one?

I Can't Wait for... Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey (Can't-Wait Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday) #CWW #WOW


Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here, at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. If you're continuing with WOW, feel free to link those up as well! Find out more here.

This cover is just awesome! It feels like a mix of Austen and Sherlock and I love it when a cover seems to fit the story so well. I loved Anstey's previous books that were full of humor and whit. Her last book (The Hummingbird Dagger) I didn't love as much as most of that humor was missing, but I still enjoyed it and plan on enjoying this one just as much if not more. Plus, I love a good mystery, especially one set historically in England. It's my pick this week...

Deadly Curious
By Cindy Anstey
YA Historical Romantic Suspense
Paperback & ebook, 352 Pages
April 14th 2020 by Swoon Reads

Summary

A twisty tale reminiscent of Jane Austen―with a dash of murder―Cindy Anstey's Deadly Curious is perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Agatha Christie.

Some secrets are better left buried...

1834. Sophia Thompson wants nothing more than to be one of the famed Bow Street Runners, London's most elite corps of detectives. Never mind that a woman has never before joined their ranks―and certainly never mind that her reclusive family has forbidden her from pursuing such an unladylike goal.

She gets the chance to prove her capabilities when an urgent letter arrives from her frantic cousin Daphne, begging Sophia to come look into the suspicious death of Daphne's brother.

As Sophia begins to unravel the tangled threads of the case―with the help of a charming young policeman―she soon realizes that the murderer may be even closer to her family than she ever suspected.

(Affiliate links included.)


Will you be reading this one?

A mysterious and romantic standalone fantasy.... The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg (Review & #Giveaway) @jeanbooknerd


Welcome! You can follow the tour here, and read my review and enter the tour giveaway below...

The Will and the Wilds
By Charlie N. Holmberg
YA Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 268 Pages
January 21st 2020 by 47North

Summary

A spellbinding story of truce and trickery from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician series.

Enna knows to fear the mystings that roam the wildwood near her home. When one tries to kill her to obtain an enchanted stone, Enna takes a huge risk: fighting back with a mysting of her own.

Maekallus’s help isn’t free. His price? A kiss. One with the power to steal her soul. But their deal leaves Maekallus bound to the mortal realm, which begins eating him alive. Only Enna’s kiss, given willingly, can save him from immediate destruction. It’s a temporary salvation for Maekallus and a lingering doom for Enna. Part of her soul now burns bright inside Maekallus, making him feel for the first time.

Enna shares Maekallus’s suffering, but her small sacrifice won’t last long. If she and Maekallus can’t break the spell binding him to the mortal realm, Maekallus will be consumed completely—and Enna’s soul with him.

Praise for THE WILL AND THE WILDS

“…An immersive, dangerous fantasy world. Holmberg draws readers in with a fast-moving plot, rich details, and a surprisingly sweet human-monster romance. This is a lovely, memorable fairy tale.” —Publishers Weekly

“Holmberg ably builds her latest fantasy world, and her brisk narrative and the romance at its heart will please fans of her previous magical tales.” —Booklist

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

THE WILL AND THE WILDS is a story of loss, family, and love set in a world where monsters lurk in the woods and where a girl lives secluded with her father outside a small town. The setting is vividly drawn, with complex characters that are easy to like, and a story that is mysterious and entertaining from beginning to the end. Highly recommended to fantasy fans who like stories with a bit of a darker edge!

I connected and fell in love with Enna, the protagonist, from the start. She was this mix of independent boldness, but also reserved, and extremely loyal and caring for her father who had lost part of his mind after travelling to the Deep in the world below. Then there was Maekallus who came off as a bad-boy trickster from the start, but with the hope of there being something redeeming about him. As a reader, I knew he couldn't' be trusted right along with Enna, but I couldn't help falling for him at the same time. Both of these characters were complex with different layers that were revealed as the story progressed. They also changed as they worked together to try to save themselves. I thought the author did an amazing job in making the plot work so well, especially the climatic and bittersweet ending. There was a bit of edginess to the story, like you'd find in most stories involving fae or fairies. There also was a constant undertone of mystery and danger the entire story. I loved just about every minute.

My one warning is that some parts are rather sensuous, so I'd recommend to older YA and adult readers.

In the end, was it what I wished for? If you like stories about sacrifice and redemption, with complex characters and swoon-worthy romance, then this story is for you. Definitely recommended to fans of dark fairy tales, stories with fae, or with elements of the underworld.

Content: Some violence, innuendo, some heavy making out, and a few suggestive references.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through JeanBookNerd, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author


Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and finally adopted a dog. Her fantasy Paper Magician series, which includes The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician, and The Master Magician, has been optioned by the Walt Disney Company. Her stand-alone novel, Followed by Frost, was nominated for a 2016 RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance, and her novel The Fifth Doll won the 2018 Whitney for Speculative Fiction. She is a board member for Deep Magic Ezine and lives with her family in Utah.

PHOTO CONTENT FROM CHARLIE N. HOLMBERG


Tour-Wide Giveaway


- 3 Winners will receive a Copy of THE WILL AND THE WILDS by Charlie N. Holmberg.
- Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter | Ends February 10, 2020

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Will you be reading this one? Have you read any of her other books?

A Q&A with the author... Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar (Interview) @TyndaleHouse


Welcome! I'm pleased to be shearing about this new biblical romantic
fiction release with an interview with the author. Check it out below...

Daughter of Rome
By Tessa Afshar
Christian Historical Romance, Biblical
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 416 Pages
February 4th 2020 by Tyndale House Publishers

Summary

A woman with a devastating secret. A man bent on proving his worth. A chance encounter that catapults them into the heart of history.

When the daughter of a prominent Roman general meets a disinherited Jewish immigrant, neither one can dream of God’s plan to transform them into the most influential couple of the early church. Nor can they anticipate the mountains that will threaten to bury them. Their courtship unwittingly shadowed by murder and betrayal, Priscilla and Aquila slowly work to build a community of believers, while their lives grow increasingly complicated thanks to a shaggy dog, a mysterious runaway, and a ruthless foe desperate for love. But when they’re banished from their home by a capricious emperor, they must join forces with an unusual rabbi named Paul and fight to turn treachery into redemption.

With impeccable research and vivid detail, Daughter of Rome is both an emotive love story and an immersive journey through first-century Rome and Corinth, reminding readers once again why Debbie Macomber has said that “no one brings the Bible to life like Tessa Afshar.”

(Affiliate links included.)

Author Interview
(Provided by the Publisher)

What made you want to write about Priscilla and Aquila?

Although we know little about this extraordinary couple, what we do know is spellbinding: they saved Paul’s life, set up house churches in three different cities in the Roman Empire, shared the gospel with many, and became influential spiritual leaders through some of the most harrowing years of the church’s history. Their marriage must have been remarkable! Priscilla served alongside her husband. The unusual mention of her name before his in several passages suggests that, indeed, on certain occasions, she might have been considered the more knowledgeable teacher and a respected leader in her own right.

An exceptional woman, a powerful marriage bond, a courageous couple who faced danger more than once for the cause of Christ. It’s the stuff good stories are made of.

Given the few details we know about Priscilla and Aquila from the New Testament, how did you go about crafting a detailed, plausible backstory for them?

I started with what I did know. Details like their names, for example. Priscilla is a nickname for Prisca, a name that may give us a clue to this fascinating woman’s background. The male version of Prisca’s name, Priscus, was a well-known Roman appellation, belonging to a noble Roman family. Prominent Roman households had a habit of naming their slaves after the patriarch. As such, Prisca (female for Priscus) could be a slave name. However, Priscilla was married, which means she could not have been a slave, as slaves were not allowed to marry. Hence, she was either an actual member of the Priscus family or a freed slave. The latter option is not likely since the Romans rarely freed their female slaves. To me, the most plausible option points to Priscilla being a scion of the Priscus family. My story deals with this heritage.

The Bible tells us that Aquila, a Jew, was originally from Pontus (Acts 18:2). We know that the church had been well established in Pontus by the early 60s AD (1 Peter 1:1-2), about ten years after the events in Daughter of Rome take place. Certainly, during this period, there would have been Christians in Pontus. Yet, in spite of their extensive travels, Pontus is never mentioned as one of Priscilla and Aquila’s destinations. The plot takes this curious absence into account.

Obviously, aspects of the backstory I created are completely fictional. We don’t know anything about this couple’s courtship! But using a little historical detective work, I wove as much real history into this novel as I could.

From your experience, what qualities most help a woman function in a leadership role in the church?

For me, that’s like asking which fruit is the most delicious. There isn’t one right answer. Women (and men) can make effective leaders using a wide variety of abilities and gifts. Perhaps the one indispensable quality for leadership in the church is a deep and intimate relationship with our God. It is his anointing that helps us accomplish the impossible, love the unlovable, survive the unendurable, and persevere through the intolerable in order to achieve the inconceivable.

What do you think readers will resonate with most from Priscilla and Aquila’s story?

Daughter of Rome is about two wounded, imperfect individuals whose love for each other and for God transforms not only their own lives, but the lives of friend and foe alike. Sometimes, as I wrote the story, I myself felt challenged and moved by this couple’s decisions! I hope readers will have a similar experience as they delve into the story. Both in the context of marriage and in dealing with difficult people and challenging situations, Priscilla and Aquila make choices that will hopefully inspire us. They are not perfect! Sometimes they make mistakes. Grave ones! But I think most of us can resonate with the way they turn to God in the midst of confusion and blunder and fear.

Ultimately, of course, this is a novel. It’s supposed to offer the readers some fun and a healthy diversion. So I also threw in a dog with an attitude problem, a boy with a mysterious past, and some first-century-style romcom!

What kind of problems did the church face in Priscilla and Aquila’s time? How are they similar to the problems in our time? How are they different?

In the early years of their ministry (the years covered in Daughter of Rome), Priscilla and Aquila would have encountered persecution and threats from the Jewish population in Rome’s synagogues. Eventually, they were expelled from Rome by the emperor Claudius. In later years (which the book does not cover), the persecution of the church intensified under Nero, leading to the arrest and death of many followers of Christ, including Paul. Today, at least in the West, we don’t face the same kind of physical persecution. Our lives are not in danger.

On the other hand, the first-century church was messy. It grew explosively, especially among the Gentiles. This caused friction between the Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus. People on both sides grew offended. They felt left out, put down, disrespected. The new believers, especially the Gentiles who came from a very different moral background, needed a lot of nurture and good teaching. Priscilla and Aquila would have felt overwhelmed, overworked, overtired. And in that sense, the church today has not changed at all!

What can Priscilla and Aquila teach us about building strong marriages and strong Christian communities?

One of the first things I noticed about this couple as I studied them is that there is no Priscilla without Aquila, and no Aquila without Priscilla in the Bible. Every time Paul mentions one, he includes the other. They work together. Minister together. Host together. Teach together. They are a team. Together, they are able to accomplish what neither could have done alone. This suggests a rare level of unity. Clearly, they respect each other’s talents and support the expression of the other’s gifting.

Have you ever had one of those moments when your spouse is excited about something, and you are too tired or irritated or plain uninterested to give them your attention? I have a feeling Priscilla and Aquila had very few moments like that. They rose above the flesh a lot, and led with the Spirit.

Having a strong marriage will not necessarily lead to a ministry, but in order to have a flourishing ministry as a couple, you need a strong marriage. Priscilla and Aquila must have had a powerful foundation of love and mutual respect. Sometimes a couple mistakenly pours so much time and effort into their ministry that they forget about their marriage. But if you don’t feed a marriage, if you don’t give it intentional attention, it will unravel. Marriages aren’t built on a foundation of ministry. They are built on a foundation of Christlike love. To me, this is what Aquila and Priscilla demonstrated.

Do you have a favorite minor character from the book?

I find it very hard to pick a favorite. But the dog may have to win this round.

What is the biggest lesson you learned from writing this book?

I was astounded by Priscilla and Aquila’s commitment to God. They moved several times for the sake of the Gospel. They were expelled from their home in Rome, and rather than sinking into self-pity or disappointment with God for allowing this hardship, they picked themselves up and began to minister in his name where they were planted. Later, when Paul asked them to uproot themselves again and go to Ephesus, they packed their baskets and off they went without complaint.

Eventually, they returned to Rome, and ministered there in the brutal years under Nero’s reign. Because the verses that refer to them are few and short, we sometimes overlook their indomitable spirit and profound impact. Not only did they risk their lives for Paul, but their ministry was so far-reaching that Paul said all the churches of the Gentiles were thankful for them. (Romans 16:3-4)

Priscilla and Aquila challenged my soul. They challenged me to be tougher in my faith, more resilient toward hardship and spiritual attack. They challenged me to strengthen my resolve in the Lord and accomplish what I am called to do.

What is your hope for readers of Daughter of Rome?

I hope they will laugh and cry and fall in love. I hope they will determine to love God more and serve their neighbor better. A few months ago, a therapist told me that several of her patients came to her because of my books. I gulped and asked what she meant. She told me that the internal struggles of the characters flagged an area in her clients’ lives that needed healing. Daughter of Rome has a couple of hard-hitting threads that might touch a reader’s heart. That’s what I pray for—that the story, while it entertains, may also bless the reader with insight and the beginnings of God’s healing. May lead to forgiveness of events in their past that they still can’t forgive themselves for. May lead, ultimately, to peace.

About the Author

Tessa Afshar is the award-winning author of several works of historical fiction. Her most recent novel, Thief of Corinth, was an Inspy Award finalist in the historical romance category. Land of Silence won an Inspy Award in the general fiction category and was voted by Library Journal as one of the top five Christian fiction titles of 2016. Harvest of Gold won the prestigious Christy Award in the historical romance category, and Harvest of Rubies was a finalist for the 2013 ECPA Christian Book Award for fiction. In 2011, after publishing her first novel, Pearl in the Sand, Tessa was named New Author of the Year by the FamilyFiction-sponsored Reader's Choice Awards.

Tessa was born in Iran and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She then moved to England, where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds a Master of Divinity from Yale, where she was co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship. She served in ministry for nearly twenty years before becoming a full-time writer and speaker.




Have you read any of Afshar's other books? Will you be reading this one? What did you think of the interview?

Check out this new release... A Girl's Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate (Tour Launch & #Giveaway) #GirlsGuideTour

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

A Girl's Guide to the Outback
By Jessica Kate
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 368 Pages
January 28th 2020 by Thomas Nelson

How far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand? This funny, sweet, and romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.

Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly.

When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church.

As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster strikes the farm, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

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About the Author


Australian author Jessica Kate writes inspirational romances with wit, sass, and grit. Jessica is a screenwriting groupie, cohost of the StoryNerds vlog and podcasts, and her favorite place to be—apart from Mum and Dad’s back deck—is a theme park. She has traveled North America and Australia, and samples her favorite pasta wherever she goes—but the best (so far) is still the place around the corner from her corporate day job as a training developer. She loves watching sitcoms with her housemates and being a leader in a new church plant.


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Ends February 12, 2020

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