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Waltz in the Wilderness by Kathleen Denly

Waltz in the Wilderness by Kathleen Denly


Waltz in the Wilderness by Kathleen Denly

Waltz in the Wilderness is Kathleen Denly’s debut novel set in California during the 1850’s. This story is a fresh take on the wild west aspect of California’s history with a dash of adventure, romance, and danger. I particularly enjoyed seeing the early days of San Fransico and San Diego, traveling between the two via steamer, and experiencing the wilds between the two. It is an exciting view of history with lots of wonderful details. The characters were relatable and fun to watch as they maneuvered physical dangers, forbidden love, and family conflict. I would recommend this book to readers of sweet romances.

Genre: Historical Romance, California Gold Rush, 1854

Plot Overview:

She’s desperate to find her missing father. His conscience demands he risk all to help. 

Eliza Brooks is haunted by her role in her mother’s death, so she’ll do anything to find her missing pa—even if it means sneaking aboard a southbound ship. When those meant to protect her abandon and betray her instead, a family friend’s unexpected assistance is a blessing she can’t refuse.

Daniel Clarke came to California to make his fortune, and a stable job as a San Francisco carpenter has earned him more than most have scraped from the local goldfields. But it’s been four years since he left Massachusetts and his fiancée is impatient for his return. Bound for home at last, Daniel Clarke finds his heart and plans challenged by a tenacious young woman with haunted eyes. Though every word he utters seems to offend her, he is determined to see her safely returned to her father. Even if that means risking his fragile engagement.

When disaster befalls them in the remote wilderness of the Southern California mountains, true feelings are revealed, and both must face heart-rending decisions. But how to decide when every choice before them leads to someone getting hurt?

What I loved: The adventure of the story as well as the inner strength, loyalty, and honor of the hero, Daniel.

Favorite Character and Why: Eliza was a character I could really connect to, as I too struggle to be in control of everything. Her fear for her father drives her to dangerous things, and it is an emotion I can completely understand. Honestly, I could see my self behaving in the same manner as she.

Who would like this? Those who love sweet romances, rich in historical details, unique settings, and wilderness settings. It was a fun read which will have you turning pages.

Rating and Why: Four stars. It is a book I enjoyed and will likely read again.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon.com     Barnes and Noble     Book Depository   Books-A-Million     Walmart

Kathleen Denly Giveaway and Interview

Kathleen Denly Giveaway and Interview

Hi friend! I pray you are finding peace and a new rhythm in these crazy times. I know I’m still struggling with the latter now that my kids are home full time and we’re having to watch my MIL extra closely. But we are choosing joy and to find leveity wherever we can.

For today’s distraction, I have the wonderful Kathleen Denly to introduce you to as well as a GIVEAWAY to brighten your day. (Check it out all the way at the bottom!)

Kathleen Denly writes stories to entertain, encourage, and inspire readers toward a better understanding of our amazing God and how He sees us. She enjoys finding the lesser-known pockets of history and bringing them to life through the joys and struggles of her characters.

Sunny southern California, a favorite setting in her stories, is also her home. She lives there with her loving husband, four young children, and two cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. Always happy to hear from her readers, you can email Kathleen and follow her on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. You might also consider joining Kathleen’s Readers’ Club to learn the latest updates, receive exclusive content and be eligible for KRC exclusive giveaways!

 

Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Kathleen with rapid-fire.

 

 

CC: Sweet or Unsweet Tea?

KD: Neither. I don’t do tea or coffee or soda. I’m kind of a pain to hang out with at coffee shops. LOL But I do love lemonade and I’ll happily drink tap water.

CC: Lemonade and water are so much better for you anyway. 😉

 

CC: Beach Vacation or Mountain Getaway?

KD: Oh tough choice! Seriously, do I have to choose? I live in San Diego where I can spend my morning on the beach and drive just two hours to spend my evening in the mountains. (Don’t be jealous. 😉 )

CC: Hard not to be jealous! That seems like the perfect balance!

 

CC: Homebody or Love to Travel?

KD: Both. (I’m starting to feel like a bit of a pest by refusing to choose, but it’s true.) When I’m at home I really want to stay there and have gone days without even leaving the house. BUT before I met my husband I wanted to be a flight attendant and I still have a map marked with all the places I want to see. So far, I’ve visited 25 of the mainland states, plus Hawaii. I’ve been to France, Switzerland, Italy, and Monaco once, twice to South Korea & China and three times to Mexico.

CC: That is a lot of traveling! I only have Hawaii and Alaska left for the US, but my international travel is limited to Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, and Jamaica.

 

CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?

KD: Definitely a night owl! My mom says I even moved more at night when I was in the womb and I gave her loads of trouble with not wanting to sleep as a toddler. It’s been the same ever since. In my perfect world, days would begin at 11am and end somewhere around 2 or 3 in the morning. My creative juices flow best after dark (especially after my four littles have settled down to sleep).

CC: I’m amazed you have the energy. I still prefer night, but family life has reduced me to bed at 10:30 and up at 6:30. I’m a bit jealous of you…again. 

 

CC: Bookmark or Dog-ear Pages?

KD: I’m going to pretend you didn’t just ask if it was okay to damage a book rather than find something else to hold your place. 😉 I wrote a whole blog post on book crimes and this was one of them.

CC: Whew! I always cringe while waiting for an answer to that one! Bookmarks all the way.

Thanks for sharing those fun things. Let’s dive right into talking about your debut novel, Waltz in the Wilderness!

She’s desperate to find her missing father. His conscience demands he risk all to help. 

Eliza Brooks is haunted by her role in her mother’s death, so she’ll do anything to find her missing pa—even if it means sneaking aboard a southbound ship. When those meant to protect her abandon and betray her instead, a family friend’s unexpected assistance is a blessing she can’t refuse.

Daniel Clarke came to California to make his fortune, and a stable job as a San Francisco carpenter has earned him more than most have scraped from the local goldfields. But it’s been four years since he left Massachusetts and his fiancée is impatient for his return. Bound for home at last, Daniel Clarke finds his heart and plans challenged by a tenacious young woman with haunted eyes. Though every word he utters seems to offend her, he is determined to see her safely returned to her father. Even if that means risking his fragile engagement.

When disaster befalls them in the remote wilderness of the Southern California mountains, true feelings are revealed, and both must face heart-rending decisions. But how to decide when every choice before them leads to someone getting hurt?

 

CC: Who was the most challenging character to create and what made them so challenging?

KD: Alice was by far my most difficult character to write because her outward personality and external goals are so similar to Cecilia’s. On the surface they could seem the same but, their maturity levels and who they are at their core is very different. They have always been two distinct people in my mind but, figuring out how to show their differences on paper was tricky. Since Alice appeared after Cecilia, she bore the burden of distinguishing herself. I’ve been assured by readers that I did manage the task, however.

CC: I agree, you did make both Cecilia and Alice distinct characters. I never once felt they were remotely the same.

What was some of your favorite research you discovered while writing this story?

KD: When researching the way mail was handled in 1854 San Francisco, I discovered a fascinating etiquette rule. To receive one’s mail most people had to stand in line for several hours. There were windows assigned to various sections of the alphabet at which men stood to receive their mail. Then there was the “ladies’ window” where the ladies waited to receive their mail. However, if the lady didn’t wish to stand in line, she could send a male to wait in her place. The trouble with this was that any gentleman standing in line at the ladies’ window was expected to give up his place to any lady arriving after him. So he was constantly moving to the back of the line. Can you imagine how long a man might wind up standing there, waiting for the very last lady to arrive before he finally reached the window? I couldn’t resist writing this into my story.

CC: That is really fascinating, and it makes me so glad I don’t live in that time. I’m rather a fan of having things delivered.

What about writing in general? Does it exhaust you or invigorate you?

KD: I find writing both invigorating and exhausting. By the time I reach my word count goal each day, my mind is mush and my sentences start looking like my nine-year-old wrote them, BUT my mood is somewhere in the clouds and I feel an incredible peace that makes handling the rest of life’s struggles slightly easier. I think this is because when I write I am in constant communication with God. I begin each session with Bible study and regularly pause to ask God to show me where the next scene should lead or how a particular character should react and what Truth He wants me to shine a light on through my story

CC: I LOVE that routine. Anytime we commune with God, whether writing or otherwise, it is so refreshing.  

What is your writing Kryptonite?

KD: Arguing with my husband. If my husband and I have had a big blowout and haven’t completely resolved things yet (because he had to go to work or I had to go somewhere before we could finish our “healthy discussion”), then I am useless. I can’t sleep, don’t want to eat and definitely cannot write until he and I are good again.

CC: As much as that stinks, I am glad that it leads you to always resolve your “healthy discussions.” It’s good for your marriage and for our TBR piles. 😉

Thank you so much for joining me today and providing all of us with a wonderful distraction. What is your writing mascot, and why?

KD: My cat, Ana. Any time I’m writing in bed or on the couch rather than at my desk (which she can’t get to), she will find her way to my side and curl up for a nap. (Which is exactly where she is and what she’s doing as I type this.) OR she might start rubbing her face on my hands while I’m trying to type. That’s not quite as cute but, I’d still make her my mascot.

CC: She sounds like a cuddly cat. How sweet!

I have another great give away to continue the distractions.

GIVEAWAY TIME

One lucky winner will win an e-book copy of Waltz in the Wilderness, a serenity prayer magnet, a pocket cross, and some bible journaling stickers! Just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. A winner will be randomly chosen before Tuesday’s book review goes live (Tuesday, March 24), so make sure you get those entries in by midnight on Monday night! The e-book is open to international winners, however, the magnet, stickers, and cross are limited to the contiguous United States only. (Sorry, friends!)

I’m praying for you during these crazy times. Stay in touch (virtually of course) and keep reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Three Little Things by Patti Stockdale Review

Three Little Things by Patti Stockdale

Three Little Things is Patti Stockdale’s debut novel set in Spit Falls, IA during WWI. This fascinating read really opened my eyes to the struggles German-American faced during this very anti-German period in American history. It was a sweet romance that started as a childhood friendship but developed into more through letters and brief meetings during the War. It’s a story of everyday heroes and the lives they lived at home, in camp, and eventually across the ocean.

Even better, this story has its inspiration from Patti’s grandparents’ love story. My favorite part? The exchange of “three little things” in each of the letters you read. Read below to find out more about this wonderful story.

Genre: Historical Romance, World War I, 1916-1917, Split Falls, IA

Plot Overview:

One forbidden love. Two broken hearts. Three little things.

Hattie Waltz should forget the troubled neighbor leaving for boot camp in 1917. He forgot about her ages ago. It had always been the Waltzs verses the Kregers, his family pitted against hers. When she hands him a farewell gift, a chemistry lesson unfolds. The good kind.

Arno Kreger can’t leave Iowa or his old man fast enough. He’s eager to prove his worth on the battlefield and stop blaming himself for his brother’s death. Before entering the train, he bumps into Hattie. He’s loved her forever, always from the sidelines, because nobody crosses Hattie’s pa.

One innocent letter soon morphs into many. Arno and Hattie share three little secrets in each letter and grow closer together. But he’s on his way to a war across the ocean, and she’s still in her father’s house. Their newfound love will need to survive dangers on both fronts.

What I loved: The exchange of three little things between Arno and Hattie. It was such a sweet way of getting to know each other and so special. It made me want to start exchanging three little things with those I love.

Favorite Character and Why: Hattie and Arno really stole my heart. Their struggles to decide what they wanted and who they were so true to life. They were real to me and I understood each emotion they felt. Karl also deserves a mention. That man was a hoot and a great counterpart for Arno.

Who would like this? Anyone who enjoys sweet, everyday romances; stories with a light touch on war and a view of life on the homefront; and relatable characters that feel like your best friend.

Rating and Why: Four and a half stars. It’s sweet, full of historical tidbits, and well written. It’s a story I will reread and recommend to others.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon.com     Barnes and Noble     Book Depository   Books-A-Million     Walmart

Giveaway & Interview with Patti Stockdale

Giveaway & Interview with Patti Stockdale

Hello my lovelies!

Long time no see. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been absent for a few weeks and for good reason. The marvelous, amazing, newborn Momma, Savanna Kaiser was hard at work developing my new website. I didn’t want to add any more content and make her job harder so I’ve held off.

BUT NOW I get the incredible honor and joy of introducing you to my critique partner and friend, Patti Stockdale and her debut historical romance, Three Little Things.

TO CELEBRATE PATTI’S DEBUT, BE SURE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY AT THE END OF THIS POST

Patti Stockdale has returned to her home state of Iowa after moving around the country for years. She’s a freelance writer and previously worked as a director at a nonprofit, an administrative assistant, and a corn detasseler – a big challenge since she’s five foot one. Love letters her grandparents exchanged served as the inspiration for Three Little Things.

 

It is such and honor and blessing to have you here to celebrate the release of your debut! Before we dive in to the detailed questions, I would love to hit you with my fast five.

 

 

CC: Sweet or Unsweet Tea?

PS: Unsweetened and decaffeinated. Loose-leaf blueberry is my favorite.

CC: Oh, blueberry sounds interesting! I’m going to have to find some and try it!

 

CC: Beach Vacation or Mountain Getaway?

PS: The beach is my go-to vacation spot.

CC: The older I get, the more I like the beach. It is so relaxing!

 

CC: Homebody or Love to Travel?

PS: I’m a homebody who loves to travel.

CC: That is a sweet combination! The best of both worlds.

 

CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?

PS: My husband rises at 5:30 for work, so that’s usually when I start my day too.

CC: Bless you, friend. No one should be up that early. LOL

 

CC: Bookmark or Dog-ear Pages?

PS: I love bookmarks, but I can’t ever find one when I need it.

CC: You created some beautiful bookmarks for your release! Of course, you probably mailed all of those out.

I feel like even though I’ve known you for a couple of years now, that I know you even better after that. So now to the even more fun stuff! 

 

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

PS: I either wanted to be a ballerina or operate the cash register at Van’s Grocery.

CC: That is so adorable! I can see a younger version of you dressed in a tutu playing with a toy cash register.

 

CC: What is your favorite Bible verse? Why?

PS: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 Whenever I’m struggling, either physically or emotionally, the verse delivers peace.

CC: That is such a powerful verse. I agree it’s one to turn to in times of struggle for a measure of peace.

 

Now for one of my favorite parts! Introducing your book! So here is the blurb for Three Little Things.

 

One forbidden love. Two broken hearts. Three little things.

Hattie Waltz should forget the troubled neighbor leaving for boot camp in 1917. He forgot about her ages ago. It had always been the Waltzs verses the Kregers, his family pitted against hers. When she hands him a farewell gift, a chemistry lesson unfolds. The good kind.

Arno Kreger can’t leave Iowa or his old man fast enough. He’s eager to prove his worth on the battlefield and stop blaming himself for his brother’s death. Before entering the train, he bumps into Hattie. He’s loved her forever, always from the sidelines, because nobody crosses Hattie’s pa.

One innocent letter soon morphs into many. Arno and Hattie share three little secrets in each letter and grow closer together. But he’s on his way to a war across the ocean, and she’s still in her father’s house. Their newfound love will need to survive dangers on both fronts.

 

 

CC: So, Patti, which character was the most fun to create? What made them fun?

PS: My favorite character to write was Jeb, the protagonist’s brother. He dropped out of school early and starts reading the dictionary to expand his vocabulary. 

CC: I did love Jeb and his sort of know it all attitude, too. Just like a brother. 

 

This story has a special place in your heart. Can you explain why?

PS: Three Little Things is inspired by letters my maternal grandparents exchanged. Initially, I tried to tell their story. But there were too many gaps, and I couldn’t assign flaws to my grandparents.

CC: Grandparents are always perfect in our eyes aren’t they. I love that they exchanged letters and you can follow their romance through it. What a sweet way to get to know them better.

How did you select the names of your characters?

PS: To honor my grandparents, I used their first names: Arno and Hattie in Three Little Things. Another character is named after my paternal grandmother: Lena. I also ask friends to tell me their grandparents or great-grandparents’ names. Then, I pick my favorites.

CC: Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this interview. I just have one more fun question for you. What would be your writer mascot and why? 

PS: I’d choose a sweet teddy bear as my mascot. They’re snuggly, friendly, and make me smile.

CC: Awww, that sounds an awful like someone I know. Except we don’t cuddle, but I’ll take one of your hugs any day.

 

GIVEAWAY TIME

Now to my reader friends, in order to celebrate my wonderful friend’s debut, I’d like to offer you a chance to win an e-book copy of Patti’s debut. This giveaway is open internationally and will end on March 2nd at 11:59 PM (EST). To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Circle of Spies by Roseanna White

Circle of Spies by Roseanna White

Circle of Spies is the third and final book in the Culper Ring series, but you don’t necessarily have to read the others to enjoy the last, although I HIGHLY recommend it as you will get connections missed otherwise. This particular story takes place during the last months of the Civil War and full of espionage and tension.

As I prepare to write my own Civil War series, it was a great way to get my mindset in the time period. As always her characters have special gifts that make them stand out. The heroine, Marietta, has a photographic memory. This comes as a curse which she eventually learns to accept as a gift. It truly was a fascinating read with historical details that really got my mind working.

Genre: Historical Romance, Civil War, 1865 – Baltimore

Plot Overview:

1865―Marietta Hughes never wanted to be a spy, but the family legacy of espionage is thrust upon her as the War Between the States rolls on. Unknown to her, the Knights of the Golden Circle―a Confederate secret society bent on destroying the Union her brother died for―has been meeting in a hidden lair beneath her home. Faced with the secrets of her late husband and his brother, whom she thought she could trust with anything, Marietta’s world tilts out of control. Can she right it by protecting a Union agent infiltrating the KGC?

Slade Osborne, an undercover Pinkerton agent, is determined to do whatever is necessary to end the conflict between the North and the South. When he infiltrates this secret cell, it isn’t just their inner workings that baffle him―it’s the beautiful woman who seems to be a puppet for the new leader and yet…so much more.

Do they dare trust each other in this circle of intrigue? Will their shared faith sustain them? And can Mari and Slade stymie the enemy long enough to see their beloved country reunited?

What I loved:
History is always a big one for me, but I enjoyed then tension and ending action of this one. Everything seemed to go a believable path while still keeping me on the edge of my seat.

Favorite Character and Why: It’s hard to put my finger on one, but Grandpa Thad is definitely still a favorite of mine.

Who would like this? Anyone who enjoy American history, especially Civil War fans. The romance in this one is a bit different, but realistic of two broken people learning to become new in Christ. If you like danger, history, and characters with unique gifts, this is definitely a go to read.

Rating and Why: Four and half stars. I love the history, tension, and action of the story.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon.com Barnes and Noble Christianbook.com Walmart

2019: A Year in Review

It’s been a great year of ups and downs. And now that Christmas is over, it’s time to look back and see what’s been accomplished. For you, it means a chance to read some reviews and maybe pick out a few books to spend your gift cards on. This is a short and sweet post so that you and I can get back to relaxing with family, reading a book, or planning for the new year.

HAPPY READING!

Book Reviews:

Novella Collection: All for Love

Picture Book: The Knight in Battered Armor by Brianna Tibbetts

Writing Craft: How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method

Author Interviews:

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