Friday, November 29, 2019

Book Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: The End of the Magi by Patrick W. Carr

On Tour with Prism Book Tours End of the Magi
By Patrick W. Carr
Christian Historical Fiction
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 384 Pages
November 5th 2019 by Bethany House Publishers

Centuries before the magi arrived in Bethlehem,
a prophecy sets a young magus on his path . . .

Following his vision of the coming Messiah, the prophet Daniel calls forth a select group of men who will count down the calendar until the arrival of Israel's promised king. Centuries later, as the day draws near, Myrad, a young magi acolyte, flees for his life when his adoptive father and others are slain by a ruthless Parthian queen.

Equipped with very little, in haste Myrad escapes the city and, searching for a way to hide from the soldiers scouring the trade routes, tries to join the caravan of the merchant Walagash. The merchant senses that Myrad is keeping secrets, but when the young man proves himself a valuable asset, an epic journey filled with peril, near captures, and dangerous battles begins.

With every day that passes, the calendar creeps closer to the coming Messiah. And over everything shines the dream of a star that Myrad can't forget, and the promise that the world will never be the same.

Praise for the Book

"Carr retells the story of the Magi in this bustling biblical adventure . . . . Myrad's divine vision of the star and his arduous trek battling his own physical problems to pay homage to the Messiah capture the majesty of biblical narratives and will appeal to Christians well versed in scripture."--Publishers Weekly

"Patrick Carr brings us a captivating tale in The End of the Magi. Based on the Holy Bible, he weaves a fictional tale of the adventures of a group of magi from the east looking for the Messiah. Myrad is a strong main character even though he doesn't see himself as strong. He has great character traits and these help him find triumph over tragedy. . . . The End of the Magi is a great holiday read and gives us much to think about in our journey to know God better."--Fresh Fiction

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Chapter 31
“We need to slip away from whoever is watching us. Your messiah’s family must be warned. Herod will be looking for the child.”
Myrad blinked, confused. “Why do you care what happens to the Messiah?”
“If Herod finds and kills your messiah, the threat to his sovereignty has been eliminated,” Masista said. “He will be less likely to march on Parthia.” He glanced toward the door. “We must get away from the soldiers they’ve posted to watch this inn.”
A light knock at the door prefaced Roshan’s entrance. “We have a pair of guards watching the inn,” she said. “If we’re going to leave, we’ll need a distraction.”
“Can they be drugged?” Walagash asked.
Masista shook his head. “They’re Romans. They won’t accept food or drink from a stranger while they’re on guard duty.”
Roshan pointed back the way she’d come. “When I passed through the inn’s kitchen, I saw the innkeeper’s servant preparing food and drink to take outside. When I asked him about it, he said it was for the Romans keeping watch.”
“It seems your God is with us,” Masista said. “We have lax guards standing watch.”
“How long before they bring them the food and drink?” Yehudah asked.
Roshan shrugged. “An hour perhaps.”
“Do what you need to do,” Yehudah said, rising to his feet. “I’ll rejoin you as quickly as I can.”
“Where are you going?” Masista demanded.
“We need information of a different type, and we’re not going to get it from Herod or his Romans.” He looked at Roshan and Storana. “How long will the guards sleep?”
“As long as we wish.”
“Two hours then,” Yehudah said.
“Shouldn’t someone go with you, magus?” Walagash asked.
Yehudah shook his head. “The guards won’t follow one man, but they might split up to follow two.” He slipped out of the inn.
Roshan and Storana left the room too but headed for the kitchen, leaving the rest of them to wait. An hour later, they returned. “It’s done,” Roshan said.
Before long, Yehudah returned as well. Nothing in his expression provided a clue as to where he’d been or what, if anything, he accomplished there. Moving as quickly as the demand for silence permitted, they left the inn. To Myrad, the clatter of hooves as they rode away screamed for attention, but there remained enough traffic on the streets of Jerusalem to cover their noisy departure. After a brief conversation with Yehudah, Walagash ordered the caravan to go back the way they’d come, taking the road to Emmaus.
“If we are seen or someone remembers our passing,” Yehudah said, “we don’t want to give Herod any idea which way we’ve gone.”
Once outside the city, they stopped to muffle their horses’ hooves with strips of cloth. Twice after they departed from Jerusalem, they left the road in secret and hid, waiting for signs of being followed. None came.
Next to Myrad, Roshan breathed a sigh that carried regret.
“What’s wrong?” he asked her.
“The men assigned to watch us will be put to death.”
Hakam twisted to look at them, his mouth twisting.  They’re Romans.”
Storana’s eyes narrowed to mere slits. “They were men doing their job—”
“Look,” Yehudah interrupted. By the light of a gibbous moon, Myrad saw him pointing back toward Jerusalem.
Hanging in the sky above Herod’s palace shone the King’s star. It bobbed once, moved southward, then stopped. The star stayed there in its new position as if waiting for them.
“What do you see?” Roshan asked.
Myrad pointed. “The star’s moved.”
“What does it mean?” Walagash asked.
“It means the Messiah’s not in Jerusalem,” Yehudah said.
Hakam’s voice carried a note of justification. “And Herod’s place has been given to another.”

About the Author

Patrick W. Carr is the author of the acclaimed fantasy series The Staff and the Sword. A Cast of Stones won the 2014 Carol Award for Speculative Fiction and the 2014 Clive Staples Award. A Cast of Stones and The Hero's Lot were both finalists for 2014 Christy Awards. He teaches high school math and makes his home in Nashville, Tennessee, with his incredible wife, Mary, and their four sons.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

- One winner will receive a print copy of The End of the Magi and a $20 B&N gift card
- Four winners will each receive a print copy of The End of the Magi
- US only
- Ends November 29, 2019

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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Review: Faceoff by Rebecca Connolly, Heather B. Moore, Sophia Summers

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


She isn’t supposed to want him. He isn’t supposed to want her. But wanting each other is inevitable.

Clint McCarthy has finally achieved his dream of playing for a professional hockey program, and is eager to make his mark with his new team. While getting settled in his new city, he happens across Bree Stone, whom he has known for years, with their respective brothers both being in the famed Belltown Six Pack. But for the life of him, he can’t remember Bree ever looking so attractive. Or being so captivating. Or taking over his every waking thought.

In the middle of her graduate degree, Bree has no time or desire for working on her dating life, or lack thereof, but the impossibly handsome Clint McCarthy coming back into her life makes everything complicated. She shouldn’t be focusing on him, or on them, not when her professional future hangs in the balance. But once she hears about Clint’s past with the Northbrook Hockey Elite program, and where that program stands now, Bree just might find a way to make her career, and a future with Clint, come to life.

My Review

Yay!!! I'm so happy there is another sports romance series from this trio of authors! There is a tie-in from the Belltown Sixpack characters, but this one is definitely all hockey. I think what makes these books stand out to me is how effortlessly well-developed the characters are; I feel like I get to know them quickly and their personalities are unique. Clint is in a major transition of his life and while he's capable and confident, we also see a vulnerable side of him as he gets used to his new circumstances. I love how his friendship with Bree progresses naturally to romance and the maturity they both have in their relationship as they fall in love but also realize that there are major parts of each others lives that they choose not to compete with, rather, they support and encourage each other. And they have *great* chemistry! Bree has not been a hockey fan but learns the game for Clint's sake which was super sweet and fun how it impresses him. I enjoyed the descriptions of the game play and how it brought the emotion and intensity of the players to life. We are introduced to the characters the future books in the series will feature- the alumni from Clint's youth hockey league who are working together to revitalize the program. I am so excited to continue reading this series, especially after such a strong first book!

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

Welcome to Northbrook Hockey Elite

Six professional hockey players used to play on an elite club team together, but have all separated and now play in the pro-hockey leagues. Not all of them were friends, yet circumstances bring them together, and for the greater good, maybe they can put aside their differences.

Visit us on Facebook: Swoony Sports Romances

Northbrook Hockey Elite series:

About the Authors

Rebecca Connolly

Rebecca Connolly writes romances, both period and contemporary, because she absolutely loves a good love story. She has been creating stories since childhood, and there are home videos to prove it! She started writing them down in elementary school and has never looked back. She currently lives in the Midwest, spends every spare moment away from her day job absorbed in her writing, and is a hot cocoa addict.

Heather B. Moore

Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty publications. Her historical novels and thrillers are written under pen name H.B. Moore. She writes women's fiction, romance, and inspirational non-fiction under Heather B. Moore. This can all be confusing, so her kids just call her Mom.

Heather attended Cairo American College in Egypt, the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in Utah. Heather is represented by Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret.

Sophia Summers

Sophia Summers is an award winning author who just wants to relax a little and enjoy a great beach read. She lives in a quiet southern town brimming with an extra dose of hospitality and a
whole lot of charm.

She writes historical romance under a different name. You can follow her on Be SURE to join her Newsletter for freebies and fun. 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Review & Giveaway: A Match for Emma by Pepper Basham

A Match for Emma JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for A Match for Emma by Pepper Basham, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


A Match for Emma by Pepper BashamTitle: A Match for Emma
Author: Pepper Basham
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 21, 2019

Emma Mitchell may enjoy sprinkling romance into the lives of others, but her own plans involve a single first-class ticket to culinary school in Europe.

When her best friend, Jon Noble, suddenly moves back to Ransom, Emma’s fairly certain her life can’t get any better…until her matchmaking schemes nosedive, her culinary future falls flat, and a life-long friendship begins to teeter on the brink of something unexpected.

With a little inspiration from Jane Austen’s classic and a touch of Blue Ridge charm, will Jon and Emma discover that what they need the most may be the last thing they’re trying to find?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | AmazonBook Depository


3 stars / I liked it

It took me a while to get into this somewhat leisurely-paced story and connect with the characters, but by the halfway point I was invested and eager to see Jon and Emma finally realize what they have. The plot follows Jane Austen's Emma so it felt too predictable, but it was fun to match up the characters and see how the author put her own twist on the story with the details.  There is a strong sense of community in Ransom, and especially at Daphne's cafe, where Emma practices new recipes on unwilling locals. There is a nice balance of humor and heart, with Emma and Jon's friendly banter and teasing, but also holding each other accountable for their flaws. There is a unique level of loyalty and devotion in their friendship, and my favorite parts are when they began to be attracted to each other on a romantic level (this author excels at kissing scenes!) The supporting cast of family and friends gives depth to the story and I hope to see more of Liam and Kayla in future books! The inspirational message comes across pretty strongly in the latter part of the book, and Emma and Jon both encourage and support each other in overcoming their weaknesses.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions expressed in this review are my own)


Pepper Basham 

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her most recent historical romance, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, showcases her Appalachian heritage and family history, as well as her love for humor and family.

She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus. Her upcoming release, A Match for Emma, is the third book in her popular Mitchell’s Crossroads series.

Pepper loves getting to know readers and other authors through social media. You may also learn more about her on her website!

CONNECT WITH PEPPER: Website | FacebookTwitterInstagram


(1) winner will receive a Paris cube decorative tote, paperback copy of Jane Austen's Emma, paperback copy of A Match for Emma (or another one of the Mitchell's Crossroads books, if preferred), a 'love' ornament,  a mug that reads "You're my cup of tea", and Misty Mountain handcrafted soap (made locally) - the scent is Mountain Berries!

A Match for Emma JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 9, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on November 16, 2019. Open internationally except where prohibited by law or logistics. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Review & Giveaway: The Piper's Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


A plague of rats. Children going missing. A giant beast attacking just outside the walls of Hamlin. And one young woman determined to save her town.

Katerina’s stepfather, Hennek, is neither a good father nor a good husband, but he is the mayor of Hamlin. Could he somehow be causing the misfortunes that have befallen her beloved town? The evidence points to a beast of unusual size—a wolf, perhaps, or a large dog—killing people who venture too far from town. But does that explain the disappearance of so many children, many of whom seem to have gone missing from inside the town walls?

Steffan knows he must reconcile with his father, the Duke of Hagenheim, but he’s not sure he’s ready. In the meantime, he roams from town to town seeking adventure and reward. When he hears of a giant beast terrorizing the town of Hamlin and an equally giant reward that includes gold, money, and the mayor’s daughter in marriage, he heads to Hamlin. Steffan plans to kill the beast, rid the town of its rat infestation, and take the reward—everything except the girl in marriage. However, when he meets Katerina, he’s not so sure. Perhaps his plans need changing.

Katerina is hunting the Beast of Hamlin for herself, determined to win liberation from her conniving and controlling stepfather. When she finds one of the children who has been missing for many months, dirty and wandering around the woods, the mystery only seems to deepen. Katerina will have to team up with Steffan, the handsome but brash duke’s son who infuriates her—he’s the only one in town who isn’t controlled by the mayor. Danger dogs them from both man and beast. Can Katerina and Steffan stop the “Pied Piper” from stealing every last child from Hamlin? Or will their interference create an even worse fate?

My Review

I really enjoyed seeing Steffan's path to redemption and getting to know Katerina- these characters really came to life as they worked together to solve the mystery of the beast and the disappearing townspeople and children. Katerina is complex, with major trust issues and a defensive exterior, while inside she is full of compassion for those being abused and willing to fight for them. We see Steffan's rebellious nature in The Warrior Maiden, but in this book we begin to understand where his head was and why he made the choices he did. I liked him much better as he seeks to become a better man and realizes the folly of his past. There is plenty of suspense and action, and the romantic tension slowly grows as Steffan proves himself worthy of Katerina's trust. I wish I could have envisioned the setting better, and would have loved more description of the town especially. Overall, an exciting and satisfying escape into this creative retelling of The Pied Piper.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

About the Author

Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author who combines her love for history, adventure, and romance. Her books have won a Christy Award, two Maggie Awards, The National Reader’s Choice Award, the Christian Retailing’s Best Award, the Book Buyer’s Best Award, the Golden Quill, and the Carol Award. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children and adults in the U.S., Germany, and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing stories of love and adventure near Huntsville, Alabama.


Prize: 1 finished copy of The Piper’s Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson (USA)
Starts: 11/18/19
Ends:  11/28/19

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