Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

A Perfect Silhouette by Judith Miller

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About the Book 

Title: A Perfect Silhouette

Author: Judith Miller

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: August 2019

In 1850, Mellicent “Mellie” Blanchard takes a job at a mill in Manchester, New Hampshire, to help support her family. In search of additional earning opportunities, she approaches a daguerreotype shop owner with the proposal that he hire her to make paper cuttings or silhouette portraits for those who can’t afford an expensive daguerreotype.

When a particularly charming customer–whose broad smile and twinkling eyes catch her off guard–asks to escort her home, the seeds of romance begin to blossom. All the pieces of her new life seem to have fallen perfectly into place, but when her new venture brings her an unexpected opportunity, she is confronted with the truth that all is not as it seems. Will Mellie, who is keeping secrets of her own, find happiness in the new life she has carved out for herself in the busy mill town?

Get your copy here.

My Review

A Perfect Silhouette by Judith Miller is the second Christian Historical I’ve read recently involving working in the mills. Set in 1850 New Hampshire, we view the mill town, boarding house, and mill itself through the eyes of one young woman, Mellie Blanchard. We see the deplorable conditions within the mill walls, sweating to near-fainting with Mellie and breathing in stifling lint-laden air. The undeniable monotony of watching the loom shuttles whiz back and forth may have threatened to put me to sleep!

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I thought William Morgan was very brave to take on a role beneath his social class in order to discover more about the true workings of his family’s mills.
There were some details about the looms that were hard for me to follow, or I wanted to leave for business people like Morgan and his father.
Trust and forgiveness are themes that are addressed as are loving one’s enemies, plus standing for one’s convictions.
One part of the story I am still puzzling over- could it really have happened like that? I’m not quite convinced.

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I have enjoyed reading Miller’s books as she has lately taken us through several different professions in America’s history.
Quotes:
« He’d stepped into this new identity thinking he could do good, yet each lie had required another. He was beginning to have trouble sifting the lies from the truth. »
« “Prayer is our best hope—in all circumstances… »
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This did not affect my opinions for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

4 Stars = Excellent, just short of hitting my reading “sweet spot”

About the Author

Judith is an award-winning and best-selling author of historical fiction for Bethany House Publishers.206097 With a love of history, a dash of romance and a touch of mystery, Judith transports her readers to another time and place. Her passion for history and love of God keep her inspired. Judith and her husband are empty-nesters who live in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Judy blogs with four other historical novelists at http://www.writespassage.blogspot.com

 

Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite

Hashtag Rogue (Agency Files #5) by Chautona Havig

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 About the Book 

Book: Hashtag Rogue

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Fiction / Contemporary / Suspense

Release Date: August 20, 2019

Something is terribly wrong in The Agency. Again.    48055616._SY475_

Flynne Dortmann: computer specialist extraordinaire. The right arm of every agent in The Agency. And totally untrained for agent duty.

So when no one takes a threat seriously, Flynne does the only thing she can think of.

With money she has no authorization to use, a gun she’s never fired in her hip pocket, and more zip-ties than any agent should be allowed to carry, Flynne takes on protective detail for an unwilling client. #Rogue.

Mark Cho hasn’t had a chance to get used to being Marco Mendina—head of the Eastern US Agency. Not only that, every sign points to someone knowing he isn’t who he appears to be. His agency is in trouble.  His agents may be in danger, and with an office girl gone rogue, deciding what problem to tackle first is a problem in itself.

Not to mention, he misses his office assistant with her emoji-speak, killer tech skills, and sharp instincts.

 

Click here to grab your copy!

My Review 

Hashtag Rogue, by Chautona Havig, is a very unique Christian Romantic Suspense novel. When her secret agent boss doesn’t act to protect a coworker, valley girl/teen slang slinger Flynne Dortmann acts solo. What a wild ride this is! At times I was confused, which I believe could have been avoided by reading previous books in the series. On the other hand, it is a good author who can weave a crooked trail to land a believable ending. Sometimes a narrative simply needs time to play out, when it all makes sense. I would say this book can stand alone on that premise.

Coolio
Two things I do know. One is that I will be hunting down the rest of The Agency series.
The second? Chautona Havig can allow real subject matter( violence, swearing, gangs, human trafficking) in her books while still being very uplifting. Not only does Havig talk seamlessly about faith, but her real sound bites on swearing are hilarious. «  A sailor’s dictionary of unsavory words flew at him… » and
« …until Mark had exhausted his supply of swearing— both foreign and domestic. » I doubled over from these descriptions as Havig creatively expressed her characters’ blue language.
#Gobuythisbooknow
#Ilovedit
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit and the author. This did not affect my opinions, which are my own.

My Rating

5 Stars = Superior Reading

About the Author  

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look  Chautona-240x300startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

Read an Excerpt

Erika ordered her eyes to open. They declined the offer. Once more, and with as much of a mental drill sergeant tone as she could muster, she demanded the possibility of sight.

Neither eyelid gave so much as a twitch.

Resigned, she then tried to ascertain the reason for said incorporation by the lids of her eyes. Her brain, too, had gone AWOL. White noise replaced rational thought, grit, replaced natural eye moisture, and if the sensation coming from her tongue could be trusted, she’d transformed into a cottonmouth.

Except that I can’t slither. I know I can’t.

That, Erika decided, was improvement. It just had to be rational thought. Oh, God please.

A question arose. Do I pray? The moment she asked, Erika nodded—inwardly, anyway. I do. Not sure since when… maybe that’ll come next.

Clarity formed when a voice broke through what might or might not have been consciousness. “Oh, thank whatever you’re supposed to thank—don’t want to be, like, totes offensive if I’m not supposed to say, ‘God,’ but I was afraid you had flat-lined.”

“Flynne?”

“Yay! She lives!”

Why do I feel like that’s supposed to be “He lives?”

“So, can you sit up if I help you?”

Bile churned in Erika’s gut. Her eyes felt like they bugged, but she wasn’t even confident she could see anymore. Then Flynne’s purple, green, and blue hair came into view. She glared, wrestling her mouth into contortions and fighting back the urge to vomit. “Please!”

It came out more like, “Mmmweeeeeffff”

“Can’t understand you.” Flynne’s eyes narrowed.

Perspiration formed on Erika’s forehead, neck, and in every other uncomfortable place. Cold, clammy perspiration.

“Do you promise not to scream if I take this off?” She tapped the tape.

Erika just nodded with vehemence that nearly lost her what breakfast she’d eaten.

Again, Flynne’s eyes grew even narrower than the first time. “Okay…” Eyes wide, the girl ripped off her high-top converse and pulled a sock from her foot. “So help me, if you scream, I’m stuffing this in your mouth—supes gross.” She wriggled it for effect—just in case Erika didn’t catch the utter disgustingness of it.

Once more, Erika nodded and pleaded. You’re so going to regret threatening me with that.

If Satan wanted to recruit torturers to relieve demons, Flynne would have been perfect for the job. She worked the tiniest corner of the duct tape free. Erika choked and grimaced. She jerked her head hard to the right. Flynne stared. Once more, she jerked it.

“You want me to rip it off? That’ll hurt!”

But the moment Flynne said “rip,” Erika began bobbing her head fast enough to ensure she drowned in vomit within seconds. Flynne had mad ripping skills, however. In less than three seconds, the tape jerked free—and so did the contents of Erika’s stomach.

All over Flynne’s bare foot and Converse shoes. The moment she stopped heaving, Erika glared up at the girl and moaned, “That’s payback for this.”

The battle of the glares began. Flynne broke the silence that followed first. “If you weren’t Keith’s girlfriend and religious, I’d swear at you. Consider yourself cussed out.” Before Erika could choose between the half-dozen scathing remarks fighting for preeminence, Flynne froze. “Wait. You called me, like, every name in the book. I thought you religious people couldn’t do that!”

The churning began again. “I did?” If she could have gagged, she would have. If she could have puked she might have. “Do I want to know what I said?”

Without hesitation, Flynne rattled off every inappropriate word Erika had spent the last few months working to eradicate from her vocabulary. “Then you got all sesquipedalian on me.”

“Sesquatch-what?”

Flynne turned a little green herself as the stench of partially digested breakfast assaulted her olfactory system. “Sesquipedalian.” At Erika’s doubtful look, Flynne went into action. She removed her other shoe, disappeared outside, returned with clean feet and ready to do business. “For your information it’s a big word that means, ‘a big word.’”

“No offense, Flynne, but you aren’t exactly known for your erudition.”

The girl gave a fine imitation of a puppy cocking its head—a blue, green, and purple-haired puppy. “That’s not one of the word-of-the-day words I’ve had. C’mon… let’s get you cleaned up and inside.”

She peeked her head outside, scanned the area, and looked back at Erika. “No one’s in the neighborhood that I can tell, but you’d be smart not to go all screamo on me or anything that would call the cops.”

“And why’s that?”

Flynne tried to be surreptitious, but Erika caught her eying a white Camry on the other side of the garage before answering, “Because I can get you out of here before they arrive, and you don’t want to be awake when I’m driving fast.”

Something deep in her gut—something other than the renewed churning that hinted she might lose what was left of the contents of her stomach—hinted that Flynne might not be exaggerating. But I’m not going to let her know that. It’d serve her right if I puked all over that car. What’d she do with hers, anyway?

After throwing a dark look at her, Flynne stalked from the garage and returned a few minutes later with a roll of duct tape slid over her arm like a grunge bracelet gone wrong. “You’re already in hot water with the Big Guy for your potty mouth, so don’t add lies. Stuff it or stick it?”

“If you tape my mouth and I vomit, you’ll be responsible for my death. Just sayin’.”

“Then don’t make noise.” Flynne glared at her. “I’m just trying to help here. Just sayin’.

Didn’t know you had that much grit. The woozy, stomach-revolting-on-every-side feeling returned in time for Erika to make a decision. “I’m not going to scream. I don’t want to puke in a cop car, either. But if you don’t get me inside where I can be comfortably horizontal with a bowl by my side, I’m going to puke all over you and enjoy every second of it.” Her stomach rumbled. Mostly.

That perked Flynne up for reasons Erika couldn’t fathom. She hooked her tape-free arm under Erika’s and said, “Then let’s go, Kokomo!”

That’s way too old-school—like fifty years old school. A vague memory poked through the cloud cover of her mind. “I think Keith gave me vitamins or drugs to combat after-effects. I think I need those.”

Not until Flynne had her tucked up on a couch in the family room, a bright red mixing bowl on the floor beside it and a glass of water on the coffee table, did Flynne bother to answer. “Sorry. I was freakazoiding when I left the Agency and just got what I thought I needed to get you safe. I’m not trained for this.”

“Then call Keith. He’ll come. He is trained, and he’ll take care of me.”

Even as she said it, Erika knew it was futile. Flynne had it in her head that this was necessary. So, she could wait. The Agency would take care of her job, her bills, and Flynne could learn that being an agent wasn’t a good career choice. Everything would be just fine for a few days—until Flynne got over herself.

The first epithet marched across the stage of her mind, stepped up to the mic and tapped it, ready to let loose. Erika groaned.

As if propelled by itself, the red bowl appeared at her lips. “I’m sorry! I don’t know what I’m doing. The stuff these guys have to do—totes amazeballs!”

“I was groaning at my language. Can you be quiet for a minute or two while I pray? It’s totes impossible to take repentance seriously when you’re puffy hearting your cray-cray amazeballs.”

“Coolio. Sure thing.”

I just lost fifty IQ points. I know it. Let’s start with prayers for rejuvenated little gray cells and move onto repentance after that. Okay, Lord?

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, September 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 18

As He Leads is Joy, September 19

April Hayman, Author, September 19

Emily Yager, September 20

CarpeDiem, September 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 21

Moments With Mercy, September 21

EmpowerMoms, September 22

Connect in Fiction , September 22

Texas Book-aholic, September 23

Betti Mace, September 23

For Him and My Family, September 24

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, September 24

Aryn The Libraryan ? , September 25

Hookmeinabook , September 25

janicesbookreviews, September 26

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, September 26

A Reader’s Brain, September 27

Bettie Rushlow, September 27

Inklings and notions , September 28

Adventures of a Traveler’s Wife, September 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 30

Blogging With Carol, September 30

Lots of Helpers, October 1

Mary Hake, October 1

Giveaway

BLOG, Favorite, Lyrical Underground, NetGalley

Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery #2 by Heather Day Gilbert

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About the Book

Title: Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Series: An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery

Publisher: Lyrical Underground

Released: October 2019

Exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake is nervous about her new job at the White Pine Wolf Preserve, but it turns out that the care and feeding of wild carnivores may be the least dangerous part of the gig . . .
 
Pet-sitter Belinda Blake is no stranger to dealing with wild animals, but she’s wary when the owner of the Greenwich, Connecticut, preserve asks her to help out with her “fluffy darlings.” Her caution seems justified on her very first day, when she discovers a tour guide—dead, bloodied, and surrounded by wolves in the enclosure.

Was it death by predator or something more sinister? The body count rises, but something’s not adding up. As she gets to know the rescued wolves and wolf-dog hybrids better, Belinda realizes that her human colleagues are not above suspicion. With help from her own “pack”—her pregnant sister, Red the chauffeur/bodyguard, and hunky farmer Jonas—Belinda is hot on the killer’s tail, but if she doesn’t find him soon, he’ll do more than muzzle her to keep the truth from escaping.

 

My Review

Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Heather Day Gilbert was one of the most satisfying cozies I have read. It just hit my reading sweet spot. The characters and story will stay with me as will the fear and trepidation. If I could, I would pick up book three, and start reading immediately. Thoughts?
First, while you can read this as a stand-alone, it will flow better if you read the books in order.

Belinda Blake and the Wolf..1
Secondly, this cozy was totally satisfying…from the first word to last. The mystery involved animals, it was believable, and it moved along at a good pace. I was both in awe of the wolves and terrified of them at the same time. There were several quirky characters, but this is the Greenwich area, non? Gilbert draws some characters in ways that will cause you to love them, others are written to be abhorred, but all are mysterious and possible schemers. Finding the killer before she/he finds Belinda eluded me.
Thirdly, we begin to see a pretty interesting love triangle develop. Where is book three?! Ah, Sigh!

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Fourthly, there were plenty of humorous lines to off-set the seriousness of the subject, keeping this fun novel well within the « cozy» parameters. Available Oct. 1st or you can pre-order.

I received an ARC complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. This did not affect my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars = Superb!

About the Author

HEATHER DAY GILBERT, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Publisher’s Weekly gave Heather’s Viking historical Forest Child a starred review, saying it is “an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership.” 7232683

Find Heather on Pinterest (heatherdgilbert), Instagram (@heatherdaygilbert), Twitter (@heatherdgilbert), and Facebook (heatherdaygilbert). You can find all her books at heatherdaygilbert.com.

BLOG, Revell

Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano

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About the Book

Title: Finding Lady Enderly

Author: Joanna Davidson Politano

Publisher: Revell

Released: September 2019

Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London’s east end when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley and offers her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady. Things she could only dream of might be coming true. But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.

Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within–and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.

 

My Review

Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano is a great Christian fiction historical mystery. Like Cinderella, Raina rises from rags to riches. Rothburne Abbey would be a reporter’s paradise, as the questions «Why? Who? Where? When? » and « How? » would, when answered, bring either a great treasure or a terrible calamity.
Once the action started, I was swept away to another time and another land. Were events glorious or were they tragic? Through it all, Raina ponders who she was, who she is, and who she will be in the future.
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I found it interesting and true to life that Raina couldn’t read her Bible and pray while involved in deception.
Great twists and turns throughout until the climax is reached. Also, some great Biblical answers for Raina (which makes the book so much richer). Unfortunately, once the denouement is reached, the wrap-up seems a little weak compared to the incredible action that precedes it.

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Great secondary characters. If this were a movie, some would have won an Oscar for best supporting character.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

golden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-star

About the Author

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie 16355029Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.

 

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, NetGalley, Thomas Nelson

Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble

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About the Book

Book: Strands of Truth

Author: Colleen Coble

Genre: Suspense

Release Date: September 10, 2019

Harper Taylor is used to being alone—after all, she grew up in one foster42769231 home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.

So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future.

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

My Review

Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble brings a fresh setting for a romantic suspense adventure. Told in snippets of split-time fashion, this novel will have you kicking your heels and gasping for air as you learn about pen shell beds that Harper and Ridge collaborate on. With key themes of family or lack thereof, relationships and trust, many readers can find common ground with the protagonists.

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Coble makes it easy to learn spiritual lessons, presenting truth plainly and succinctly, without slowing the action. The storylines are woven together beautifully, like the beautifully spun sea silk.

disappointment
There are some great twists and turns in this novel. Coble writes suspense so effectively I still feel the jangling of my emotions and a sense of loss, which will need some time to settle. If you love Christian romantic suspense blended with diving tales and mermaids, detailed via split-time; you will enjoy Colleen Coble’s Strands of Truth.
I was given a complimentary copy of this novel from the author and publisher via NetGalley. No positive review was required.

My Rating 

golden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-star

About the Author

colleen-coble-headshot-smallColleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s EdgeTwilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series. Connect with Colleen online at colleencoble.com; Instagram: colleencoble; Facebook: colleencoblebooks; Twitter: @colleencoble.

 

Read a Premium Excerpt

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

Strands of Harper Taylor’s childhood are resurfacing—but will the truth save her . . . or pull her under?

Harper Taylor is used to being alone— after all, she grew up in one foster home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.

So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future.

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

“Free-dive into a romantic suspense that will leave you breathless and craving for more.” –DiAnn Mills, bestselling author

“As always, Colleen Coble never disappoints. Strands of Truth is no exception. I was hooked from the first page. Trying to read this story slowly is impossible. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself flipping the pages in a hurry to find out what happens next! This one is for your keeper shelf.” –Lynette Eason, bestselling, award-winning author of the Blue Justice Series

“Colleen Coble’s latest book, Strands of Truth, grips you on page one with a heart-pounding opening and doesn’t let go until the last satisfying word. I love her skill in pulling the reader in with believable, likable characters, interesting locations, and a mystery just waiting to be untangled. Highly recommended.” –Carrie Stuart Parks, bestselling author of Formula of Deception

“Once again, Colleen Coble delivers an intriguing, suspenseful tale in Strands of Truth. The mystery and tension mount toward an explosive and satisfying finish. Well done.” –Creston Mapes, bestselling author

“Just when I think Colleen Coble’s stories can’t get any better, she proves me wrong. In Strands of Truth, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The characterization of Ridge and Harper and their relationship pulled me immediately into the story. Fast-paced, with so many unexpected twists and turns, I read this book in one sitting. Coble has pushed the bar higher than I’d imagined. This book is one not to be missed.” –Robin Caroll, best-selling author of the Darkwater Inn series

“It’s in her blood! Colleen Coble once again shows her suspense prowess with a thriller as intricate and beautiful as a strand of DNA. Strands of Truth dives into an unusual profession involving mollusks and shell beds that weaves a unique, silky thread throughout the story. So fascinating I couldn’t stop reading!” –Ronie Kendig, bestselling author of The Tox Files

 

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, September 3

Inspired by fiction, September 3

EmpowerMoms, September 3

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Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 4

My Devotional Thoughts, September 4

Christian bookaholic, September 4

KarenSueHadley , September 4

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 5

Susan Cornwell, September 5

Inside the Wong Mind, September 5

Godly Book Reviews, September 5

Through the Fire Blogs, September 6

Emily Yager, September 6

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Blessed & Bookish, September 6

Andrea Christenson, September 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 7

Avid Reader Nurse, September 7

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, September 7

The Becca Files, September 8

Blossoms and Blessings, September 8

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 8

Mary Hake, September 8

Spoken from the Heart, September 9

Betti Mace, September 9

Back Porch Reads, September 9

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 9

Because I said so and other adventures in parenting. , September 9

Moments, September 10

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 10

For Him and my Family, September 10

Bloggin’ ’bout Books, September 10

Texas Book-aholic, September 11

Retrospective Spines, September 11

Daysong Reflections, September 11

Christian Bookshelf Reviews , September 11

SusanLovesBooks, September 11

Remembrancy, September 12

Worthy2Read, September 12

Just the Write Escape, September 12

Southern Gal Loves to Read, September 12

Bigreadersite , September 13

janicesbookreviews, September 13

As He Leads is Joy, September 13

Livin’ Lit, September 13

To Everything A Season, September 13

Simple Harvest Reads, September 14

Pause for Tales, September 14

For The Love of Books , September 14

Living Life Free In Christ, September 14

A Reader’s Brain, September 15

Quiet Quilter , September 15

Hallie Reads, September 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 15

Inklings and notions , September 16

By The Book, September 16

Real World Bible Study, September 16

Patiently Waiting, September 16

Barbour, BLOG, Favorite

Once Upon a Dickens Christmas: 3 Charming Christmas Tales Set in Victorian England by Michelle Griep

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About the Book

Title: Once Upon a Dickens Christmas: 3 Charming Christmas Tales Set in Victorian England

Author: Michelle Griep

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

Released: September 2019

Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan-favorite Michelle Griep:

12 Days a Bleakly Manor: Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

A Tale of Two Hearts: Pleasure seeker William Barlow needs a wife immediately to gain his uncle’s inheritance, and Mina Scott is just the girl to make him look respectable—too bad she turns him down. Ought he give her a second chance?

The Old Lace Shop: Recently widowed Bella White is finally freed from the domination of the overbearing men in her life, but when she enters into a business partnership with the handsome Edmund Archer, she begins to wonder if marriage is worth a second chance.

My Review

A “second chance coin” and something that reminds me of “six degrees of separation ” from Charles Dickens threads itself through these three, lovely Yuletide novellas. Two have already been published (but a truly good story is always worth a re-read), while the third is brand-new.
I enjoyed reviewing The Twelve Days at Bleakly Manor. It brings our first couple together, Clara and Ben. 

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This novella was the recipient of the 2018 Christy award. My quote here?
“If you knew all the answers, there’d be no need for trust, little one.”
Next was one of my favorites, The Tale Of Two Hearts. It is the story of scoundrel William Barlow who pretends to be married to serving maid Mina Scott, in order to inherit. Oh, how I loved the characters in this one! Mina sure can stand up for herself! And the descriptive quotes:
“His face was a road map of years.”
“He wore his wrinkles like a garment, the deep creases on his
face in sore need of ironing.”
Indeed, Griep speaks Dickensian quite fluently.
“… real joy is not found in the best moments of life, but in trusting that God is making the best of every moment.”
“Maybe, perhaps, true meaning in life had nothing to do with outward trappings but with inward genuineness.”

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The Old Lace Shop brings us, Edmund and Bella, thrust together as unwilling business partners. I loved the mystery on a couple of different levels, and the wisdom both Bella and Edmund show.
Quotes:
“The two are as thick as scabs on a pox victim.”(Try picturing that one!)
“Either your faith will move mountains or your doubt will create them.”
This next sentence reminds us that even those without the “usual” gifts others have, may have a greater gift, the gift of joy. “How I wish I could bottle up the child’s laughter and carry it around with me, opening it now and then for a draught of joy when needed.” How true!
I received this complimentary book from the author and publisher. No positive review was required and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

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About the Author

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I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I chose the latter. Way cheaper. I’ve been writing since I discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write…except for that graffiti phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?

connect with Michelle here: https://www.goodreads.com/michellegriep

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Undiscovered Treasures (An Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery, vol. 3) by Carole Brown

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About the Book

Title: Undiscovered Treasures

Series: An Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery Book 3

Author: Carole Brown

Publisher: Story and Logic Media Group

Released: November 2016

Co-owner of Undiscovered Treasures, Caroline Gibson particularly relates to the ballerina music box: forever spinning and never going anywhere. But when her dream prince appears, she’s sure her prayers have been answered. Trouble is, even though family and friends hint that the local artist is the guy for her, Caroline forgets about trusting God and takes matters into her own hands.

Andrew Carrington has loved Caroline since they were kids and knows he’ll never measure up to what she wants. But when God—or is it?—suddenly sends contracts begging for his signature, Andy thinks this just might be the way to win the only woman he can ever love.

And then there’s the hitch in both their plans. Someone is stealing Andy’s pictures, and why would they do that when he’s an unknown–so far? Is something deeper going on neither understand? Caroline must put aside her on-going battle to avoid Andy and his art so they can discover the art thief in Appleton before Andy loses the chance of a lifetime to ‘make it big.’

My Review

“Undiscovered Treasures” by Carol Brown is one of those sleepers that could be as romantically endearing on the big screen as While You Were Sleeping.
Caro has two suitors, including her dream suitor. The other is, of course, the boy she grew up with, Andy, who is a rising painter. Caroline seems like a very spoiled, rude person much of the time. I tired of her character’s behavior fast, because she was so desperate to be rid of Andy that she was downright insufferable. Andy is such a great communicator, but Caro’s got her mind made up.

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I enjoyed the light mystery mixed with the romance. While the romance drives the book, the mystery fills it up with extra flavor.
I liked Brown’s low-pressure presentation of truth. She set up the character’s temptation; supplied an applicable Bible verse, accompanied by a couple of sentences of contemplation; and boom, she was done! No over- preaching or dragging out a long-winded sermon. Yet it seemed much more powerful.
Jealousy is a powerful card to play, and Andy plays his card like a pro. Lauren Stephens, the red-headed heiress, is everything Caro is not, including attentive. The line from Big Yellow Taxi comes to mind here, …  « don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. »
The novel stands well by itself, although I got a hankering to know more about Toby and his girlfriend’s story.

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This book is a treasure. For those single, it may help you look at people differently. For those long-married, it can be a walk down memory lane.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

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About the Author

Carole Brown’s debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, is a 2015 Book of the Year in General Fiction from Christian Small Publishers, a RWA Oklahoma International Digital Award 2nd place winner, a Clash of the Titles top three finalist, a Selah Award finalist in debut novels, and a semi-finalist in the Genesis contest. 933700

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, she enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband have ministered and counseled across the country. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

I’d love to connect with readers at:
Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleBrown.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/browncarole212
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5237997-carole-brown