Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Redemption of Lydia Wickham by MJ Stratton ~ Blog tour ~ Spotlight & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! Today, I'm spotlighting a new book by author MJ Stratton, The Redemption of Lydia Wickham. I love to see Lydia turn her life around and be a better person, don't you? 

The Redemption of Lydia Wickham
by MJ Stratton

Publication date: Sept. 1st, 2022


I may not be the most book-learned girl in the country, but I would like to think that I am wiser than I was, and much less silly. 

Lydia Wickham used to think herself rather clever, having caught a handsome man and being the first to marry of her sisters. Soon, however, she finds herself trapped in a marriage to a man who is not what she thought him to be. Her pride keeps her from revealing her plight to her sisters and family, suffering in silence for years. 

Unexpectedly, Lydia is freed from her marriage and begins life away from her misery in Newcastle. The changes in her are apparent to most, but there are those that resist seeing her for who she is and not who she was. As Lydia seeks to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become, she reunites with her loved ones and makes many friends along the way. But will Lydia get what she always wanted? Will she have what her sisters have, that which she craves desperately? Will Lydia Wickham find love of her own? 

The Redemption of Lydia Wickham is a full length novel centered on the idea that even a foolish 16-year-old girl can grow up and become wiser. 

Warning: this book contains brief, non-graphic mentions of spousal abuse and assault.
Buy: Amazon (paid link)
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. I will receive a small commission if you purchase a book through the link provided. Thanks!

About the Author

MJ Stratton has been writing for years, though never in any official capacity. As a teacher and a mom of 4, writing has always been something that came last, whenever time could be found. Now after many years, her first JAFF novel is ready to be released! The Redemption of Lydia Wickham is written on the premise that anyone, given the right inducement, can grow and change, even if they are one of the silliest girls in all of England. MJ loves books, chocolate, baking, and taking long walks with her husband. The creation of Lydia in this book is a reflection of how the author has viewed her own life and coming of age. 

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! As part of a blog tour, MJ Stratton is giving away three Kindle e-Book copies of The Redemption of Lydia Bennet
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below. Open Internationally

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you, MJ, for stopping by today to share your new book and for the lovely giveaway! 

I hope you are looking forward to reading The Redemption of Lydia Wickham as much as I am! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below! Thanks!

Monday, August 29, 2022

The Little Women Devotional by Rachel Dodge ~ My Review

Hello, my friends! I love a good devotional, and when it's mixed with my favorite literature - well that makes it just plain fun! I've read three different Jane Austen devotionals, but today I'm reviewing a Little Women devotional! 

The Little Women Devotional
By Rachel Dodge

Publication Date: December 1st, 2021
Publisher: Barbour Books
Pages: 232
Received: I received a hardback from the publisher for my honest review.
Rating: 5 stars.

Devotional Inspiration from the Lives of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy   

The Little Women Devotional offers lovely inspiration that explores the themes of faith, family, contentment, wisdom, and joy in the classic Louisa May Alcott novel, cherished by generations of readers. 

Each reading corresponds with a chapter from the book and invites you to embrace God’s guiding hand in your life as His cherished daughter. This beautiful chapter-by-chapter devotional includes original artwork throughout, and each reading includes examples from the novel, scripture, life application, and prayers perfect for groups, book clubs, or personal reflection.
My Review

The Little Women Devotional by Rachel Dodge is a beautiful book. Chapter by chapter, it pulls spiritual insights from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. It combines them with scripture, personal application, and prayer. I loved the illustrations and found them whimsical and charming.

There is so much to glean from this devotional. From helping a neighbor or the less fortunate to Jo’s struggle with her anger. The need for encouragement and to fight the good fight.

I also thought it would be fun to read a chapter a day from Little Women simultaneously! I did not get a chance to do this because I was doing another study, and my time was limited. But I had a strong urge to do just that!

I have always loved reading devotionals that combine literature and scripture! If you are fond of Little Women, you will absolutely adore The Little Women Devotional

FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of the story for my honest review.

Buy: Amazon (paid link)
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks! 

Many thanks to Rachel Dodge and Barbour Books for my copy of The Little Women Devotional!

Do you read devotionals? Give it a try! I also think this would make a great gift! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Big Swamp by Kelly Dean Jolley ~ Blog Tour ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! Today, I have author Kelly Dean Jolley visiting with an excerpt from his new book, Big Swamp! This romance and detective noir is set in Opelika, Alabama.

Big Swamp
by Kelly Dean Jolley

Publisher: Meryton Press
Release Date: August 11, 2022


A Private Eye in a One-Eyed Place? 

Ford Merrick is a softhearted detective in a sleepy southern town, Opelika, Alabama—a “one-eyed, blinking sort of place.” A provoking visit from beautiful Rachel Gunner complicates his work and his life. This stunning woman asks Ford to tail her uncle and discover what he is up to. Taking the case, Ford quickly finds himself swamped in mysteries: Who is Rachel's uncle, and what is his secret business? Then there’s the mystery of an earlier death at Noble Hall where Rachel and her uncle now live. But the greatest mystery may be Rachel Gunner herself. Mired, Ford struggles to find his way, unearths tragedies old and new, and exposes his heart to a hard test.

 By the time I get back to the office, Talbot’s getting on his bike to go home.
   He invites me to dinner—Olive’s making baked chicken and sweet potatoes—but I beg off. Hungering after Rachel Gunner and consuming one of Olive’s feasts are not obviously compatible. But I’m too empty to face being full, if that makes any sense.
    Probably not. I’m babbling…glub, glub. Like Talbot, I should forfeit words and manage with sounds.
   I need to finish this case for Rachel.
   I need to finish with Rachel. For my own good.
   It must be obvious to her that she can have me if she wants me and have me for as long as she’s here; no one’s indicated how long that will be. It would be better to refuse her, but I’m honest enough with myself to know there’s no chance. She may refuse fried food and processed sugar, but I’ve no power to refuse her. She’s had me since the first day in the waiting room.
   If I were like my detective heroes—Phillip Marlowe, say—I’d be more indifferent to how this plays out. But though I may be able to channel a little of Marlowe’s form, I can’t really channel his content. He’s a harder man than I know how to be—although he’s not as hard as his reputation among inattentive readers suggests.
   Rachel’s harder than I know how to be too. I don’t mean she’s hard exactly, any more than Marlowe is. But that thing with her eyes—that look I struggle to describe—that’s beyond my ken or my reach, so it’s probably no surprise I can’t describe it. I can’t live it; I have no first-person access to it.
   My POV can’t reach that level of objectivity. I see things in personal terms, and I can’t help it. Helen complains about it sometimes. As a doctor, she manages that dissector’s gaze occasionally.
    Not me. I’m not exactly sorry about that or ashamed of it, but it may be a career killer for a PI.
   Talbot pedals away, and I start to unlock the door, then reconsider. I go around the building to Miller’s office door. The sign says, “Closed,” so I go back to my door, but I don’t unlock it.
   I get back in the car and go home.
   Helen’s rocking on the porch, smiling to herself. Mondays are usually hard days for her; crowds of parents with over-the-weekend sick kids show up and overwhelm her. But she looks happy, unflustered.
   She notices me as I walk up to the house, and she points to the other rocker. A pitcher of lemonade is on the small table between the rockers. An unused glass of melting ice is sweating beside the pitcher.
   She nods and grins. “With gin dumped in. Medicinally, you know.”
   Laughing, I sit and pour some over the melting ice. I take a long swallow, puckering. I somehow always forget how sour Helen likes her lemonade to be. “You seem in a good mood for a Monday evening.”
   She grins again. “I am. Dr. Nettles came by and took me to Ed’s for lunch. We were kind of hoping to see you there. I really want the two of you to talk. I know you saw each other at the party, but…”
   “Right. Talbot and I had sandwiches from Ford’s BBQ.”
   Helen frowns. “You need a meal that does not come between slices of bread.”
   “I suppose.”
   “How was your Monday?” Helen asks as she pours herself a little more from the pitcher.
   “Surprisingly…surprising. I got a new case, and I believe I made some progress on it and my other case both today.”
   “That’s good. I suppose you can’t tell me anything?”
   I nod. “Not a thing.”
    She frowns again. “It’s frustrating that neither of us can talk much about work.”
    “Yeah,” I agree, “it’d be nice to know some details once in a while.”
    “Were you in the office all day? Or were you actually out investigating?”
    “Out investigating.”
    “Say,” Helen says, “I talked to Ruth. She asked about you. You didn’t talk to her today?”
“No.” I kissed Rachel Gunner today, and I wanted to kiss her again and again. But I don’t say that. I rock.
   Helen gives me a look: half mother, half sister. “How do you think it would feel, Ford, pining away for someone who can’t or won’t make up his damned mind?”
   I give no answer, but I know how that feels—not for as long as Ruth has, but I know.
   I take out my phone and text Father Halsey, asking if we can chat tomorrow morning. I could use some wise counsel, even if it comes packaged as abuse.
   Jesus—even the Episcopal priest is harder than I am.

About the Author

Kelly Dean Jolley is the Goodwin Philpott Endowed Chair of
Religion and Professor of Philosophy at Auburn University.  He lives in Auburn with his wife, Shanna, two dogs, two cats, too many books, and a collection of manual typewriters.  Beyond his academic publications, he has also published a book of poetry, Stony Lonesome.

Connect with Kelly Dean Jolley

Buy Links

Add to Goodreads.

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon US. I am an Amazon Associate. I will receive a small commission if you purchase a book through the link provided. Thanks!

Blog Tour Schedule

August 22 ~ Elza Reads 
August ~ So little time... (You are here!)
August 24 ~ The Reading Frenzy 
August 26 ~ Meryton Press Blog

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Meryton Press is giving away six eBook copies of Big Swamp by Kelly Dean Jolley. The giveaway is international. The giveaway ends August 29th at 12:00 AM Central Time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations to Kelly Dean Jolley on the release of Big Swamp!

Many thanks to Janet Taylor @ More Agreeably Engaged for organizing and including me on this tour!

So, friends, tell me what you think of this excerpt! 
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