ARC, BLOG, Kindle, NetGalley

Cheddar Late Than Dead by Linda Reilly

About the Book

Title: Cheddar Late Than Dead

Series: Grilled Cheese Mysteries

Author: Linda Reilly

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Release: January 31, 2023

The next in a delicious new culinary cozy series featuring a grilled cheese eatery owner who must solve murders in her small town before someone is cheddar off dead

Winter in Balsam Dell is a snowy affair, and to add in some cheer after the holidays Carly’s former classmate Klarissa Taddeo is hosting her extravagant bridal shower at the historic Balsam Dell inn. That is, until a double-booking throws some mold in the cheese and leaves Klarissa scrambling. With the venue moved to the maid of honor’s family mansion and Carly rinding to create a new delicious treat it seems the group is going to pull off the shower without a hitch.

That is, until a rowdy band of groomsmen crashes the event. Klarissa is furious with her groom-to-be and when a loud argument ensues, everyone is shocked by what they hear. When the groom is later found dead at the bottom of the stairs, his drink spiked with a hefty dose of poison, Carly must put her nose to the rind and save Klarissa from being suspect #1.

Because you know what they say: it’s always the (almost) wife.

About the Author

Armed with a degree in Criminal Justice, Linda Reilly once contemplated a career in law enforcement. But life took a twist, and instead she found her niche in real estate closings and title examinations, where the dusty tomes in the Registry of Deeds enticed her into solving mysteries of a different sort. A dyed-in-the-wool New Englander, Linda lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband and her rescue cat. A member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Cat Writers’ Association, she loves solving mysteries of the cozy type. When she’s not pounding away at her keyboard, she can usually be found prowling the shelves of a local bookstore or library. Visit her on the web at lindasreilly.com

My Impressions

I am always on the lookout for clean cozies! Let me tell you about Cheddar Late Than Dead by Linda Reilly. First, while third in the series, I jumped into this one without reading Reilly’s others and still caught on quickly.

I enjoyed the idea of a grilled cheese restaurant, a unique-to-me setting. I loved the special recipe idea Carly has as a centerpiece for the book. Unfortunately for my taste, Carly was able to be gone too often from her restaurant as her capable staff takes over. I prefer a cozy where the sleuth does not take lots of time off from her work to pursue the crime.

I like the thread involving Valerie. She sounds like a gem, a great find for the restaurant as well as a really sweet person. She will be a welcome addition to Carly’s “support group,” so to speak.

I did think the sudden attitude changes following the revealing of the perpetrator were a bit unrealistic. Too many people suddenly changed their tunes.

Read Cheddar Late Than Dead for yourself and let me know what you think. I read an ARC through NetGalley, but you can pre-order your copy, due January 31, 2023, here:

https://www.amazon.com/Cheddar-Late-Grilled-Cheese-Mysteries/dp/1728238382

I received a copy of the book from NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

ARC, BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, Purchase

The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels

About the Book

Title: The Sugarplum Ladies

Author: Carrie Fancett Pagels

Publisher: Hearts Overcoming Press

Released: October 2022

Genre: Inspirational Christmas Romance

1867 Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and Detroit, Michigan


When Canadian barrister Percy Gladstone finds his aristocratic British family unexpectedly descending upon him for Christmas, he turns to American social reformer Eugenie Mott and her fledgling catering crew, The Sugarplum Ladies, for help. Little does Percy, AKA Lord Kent, realize that this Christmas may start entirely new traditions. And little does Miss Eugenie Mott, to her chagrin, realize that the British idea of Christmastide extends through Epiphany! This Christmas is one to remember.

About the Author

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., writes stories about overcoming with God’s help (including a Romantic Times Top Pick inspirational novel). She has 25 published fiction books. Carrie is an ECPA-bestselling award-winning author. She won the Maggie Award for Excellence medallion. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination. She’s the mother of two and married to the love of her life.

My Impressions

“I love the idea of helping others help themselves.”

The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels is a delightful, light historical Christmas novella. The gorgeous holiday cover itself will be enough to draw you in.

Eugenie Mott, an 1867 Detroit resident, is resisting her father’s schemes to marry her off to a much older man. She prefers her work helping Civil War widows gain skills as waitresses so they can acquire needed jobs.

After meeting Canadian lawyer Percy Gladstone, Eugenie is drawn into his company. When Percy’s parents arrive from England while Percy has sent his servants on Christmas break, can the ladies that Eugenie has been training rise to meet the need?

I loved the heart both Eugenie and Percy have for helping others. Eugenie realizes that just giving money to a cause isn’t enough. She is a social reformer on a small scale, taking area widows, some of whom have turned to questionable ways to earn money, and giving them help for a lifetime by teaching them marketable skills.

In so many ways, the giving spirits of both Percy and Eugenie caused them to reach out to those around them and better lives. “This was what Christmas was truly all about. Loving others as Christ would love us.”

I found the notes about names, factual events, and recipes at the end very interesting!!

I was gifted a copy of the book by the author, plus bought my own copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! I really enjoy Ms. Pagels’ stories that blend faith and history.

ARC, Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, NetGalley, PB, Purchase

The Premonition at Withers Farm by Jaime Jo Wright

About the Book

Title: The Premonition of Withers Farm

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Dual Timeline

Released: October 2022

The voices of the past cannot stay silent forever.

In 1910 Michigan, Perliett Van Hilton is a self-proclaimed rural healer, leaving the local doctor convinced she practices quackery. It doesn’t help that her mother is a spiritualist who regularly offers her services to connect the living with their dearly departed. But when Perliett is targeted by a superstitious killer, she must rely on both the local doctor and an intriguing newcomer for assistance.

In the present day, Molly Wasziak’s life has not gone the way she dreamed. Facing depression after several miscarriages, Molly is adapting to her husband’s purchase of a peculiar old farm. A search for a family tree pulls Molly deep into a century-old murder case and a web of deception, all made more mysterious by the disturbing shadows and sounds inside the farmhouse.

Perliett fights for her life, and Molly seeks renewed purpose for hers as she uncovers the records of the dead. Will their voices be heard, or will time forever silence their truths?

My Impressions

“The mind of a killer is a journey into chaos.”

What makes a Jaime Jo Wright novel, esp The Premonition at Withers Farm, such a great read? For those who like “spooky,””eerie,” and a murder mystery, there is plenty of that vibe going on in both parts of this split-time novel. For any that have dealt with depression caused by life’s circumstances, Wright deals compassionately with this as we see Molly in the present day, struggling to survive another day. For those who like to see the power of a good friendship, I loved the support that Sidney provides to Molly.

Some will say that séances and evil have no place in a Christian novel. My answer would be, see how Jaime Jo Wright deals with them from a Christian perspective. She doesn’t wham the reader with absolutes early on, but slowly, non judgmentally leads to her Biblical conclusions. A very satisfying tale from all threads involved!

Highly recommended!

I received a copy of the book from the publisher and NetGalley. I also bought my own copy for my keeper shelf. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“There will always be agony in the living. But it is in the agony that we discover our roots, and so often what we thought we needed wasn’t really what we need at all. It’s who we needed.”

“faith wasn’t something you achieved, it was something you fostered.”

“Moving on doesn’t mean forgetting.” She dropped her hand, wiping a cobweb onto her shorts. “It means living with their memory until God reunites us. It means finding a resolution to their death so you can keep on living.”

“Funny how when a person took a step back from all the expectations they had on themselves, that grace stepped forward and picked up the pieces that made no sense.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Eerie, Chilling, Hopeful Dual Timeline with Surprising Connections!

About the Author

Daphne du Maurier and Christy Award-Winning author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing suspenseful, mysteries stained with history’s secrets. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimewrightbooks.com!

PS. Jaime Jo Wright has just been nominated for and, as of this writing, is a finalist for another Christy award for her novel, On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor!

ARC, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, NetGalley, PB, Purchase, Revell

Anything but Plain by Suzanne Woods Fisher Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Anything But Plain

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Amish fiction

Release date: October 4, 2022

It’s not easy being the bishop’s daughter, especially for Lydie Stoltzfus. She’s not like other Amish girls, as much as she wishes she were. The only thing she does well is disappoint others. Leaving her family and church seems unbearable, but staying might be worse.

Knowing Lydie is “between” jobs, the local doctor asks her to fill in at the front desk for a few months. To Lydie, this is a boon. It gives her time to figure out how she’s going to say goodbye to her neighbor, Nathan Yoder–the main reason she needs to leave Stoney Ridge. Nathan claims he’s in love with her, but she knows she’s not good enough for him. If in doubt, Nathan’s father reminds her frequently.

As Dok spends time with Lydie, she recognizes symptoms of an uncommon disorder among the Amish. She offers treatment for Lydie. But will it be enough to make her stay? Or has help come too late?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Stoney Ridge and especially Bishop David Stoltzfus’s home is my favorite setting that Suzanne Woods Fisher has penned. While Anything but Plain could be read as a stand-alone, it is sweeter if you have read the preceding books.

Everyone loves Lydie, but having the Bishop’s youngest daughter work for them is another matter. As Edith says, ”Everyone says you’re an accident waiting to happen.” (How can some people be so cruel to others?)

Mammi, David’s widowed mother, comes for a visit. Before long, she informs Lydie, “‘You’re the reason I’m here.’ Mammi smiled. ‘You’re going to be my special project. We are going to fix you.’” Oh, the angst in that household , and not just for Lydie, as Mammi settles in! I love how Fisher weaves that one event into so many subplots.

I was slightly dismayed to find in this book that David himself is not perfect. He has always been such a humble, wise, and godly bishop. To find he has faults was indeed sad. May it be a reminder to all of us that we cannot put church leaders on pedestals. The only one we worship and adore is God. He alone is perfect.

I loved Nathan. He is humble, kind, knowledgeable about his organic farming, and eloquent as well. He is very forgiving, more than most.

One plot twist did throw me for a loop. I did not feel the reader had been properly prepared or armed with enough understanding to receive that twist as plausible.

Still, this is probably my fave Fisher novel so far for the unusual subject matter, (ADHD among the Amish) and the way Fisher deals with it.

I received a copy of the book through Celebrate Lit, and also NetGalley, plus I bought a copy to give away. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Act first and think later. Lydie’s life in a nutshell.”

“He needed to seek things to be grateful for, something Birdy was always reminding him of. Search for them like a lost coin, she would say, because his mind didn’t naturally go to gratitude.”

“The Lord God did not make a mistake when he made you. Everything about you was ordained from the beginning. You have to start believing that.”

“She had a knack for solving problems, for seeing things he couldn’t see.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Fisher’s Best Yet!!

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a Christy finalist, a Carol Award winner, a two-time ECPA Book of the Year finalist, and the Publishers Weekly, ECPA, CBA, bestselling author of more than thirty books. Her genres include contemporary and historical romances, Amish romance, and women’s fiction. She and her husband live in a small town in California, where everyone knows everyone else, knows what they are doing and why. Most folks act a little nervous around Suzanne because they usually wind up in one of her novels. She has four grown children and enough grandchildren to keep her young. Visit Suzanne at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

More from Suzanne

Easily Distracted? 8 Strategies to Help Stay Focused 

Anything but Plain is a story about a young Amish woman with undiagnosed ADHD. Lydie Stoltzfus feels like a square peg in a round hole. She just doesn’t fit in and, to make matters worse, she’s the bishop’s daughter. At this point, the only path forward she can see is to leave Stoney Ridge. Leave her church, her friends, her family, her neighbor Nathan Yoder. It’s better to leave, Lydie decides, than to keep disappointing everyone she cares about. I won’t say anymore so that I don’t spoil the story for you.

ADHD is not a common diagnosis among the Amish and many might assume it’s not a real thing. Of course, they’re mistaken. ADHD is a real thing. While I don’t have ADHD, I do have many friends and family members who have been diagnosed. It’s challenging! And something we should all take seriously. Here’s why:

Evidence is mounting that a growing dependence on digital devices could be giving all of us some ADHD-like symptoms. Have you wondered if distractibility is becoming a problem for you? Or has a spouse or child or friend remarked on how often you pick up your phone to check a text message or scroll Instagram? You might remain physically present but your mind has wandered away. For me, the answer is, regrettably, yes.

There’s a recurring phrase in Anything but Plain that comes from an old-fashioned farming term: Walking the beans. Literally, it means weeding by hand. Figuratively, it means paying attention to our priorities. To pull the weeds before they take root.

One of the takeaway lessons of this book is to “walk the beans” of technology’s role in my life. So…I’ve been working on a few strategies. When I practice, I see a difference. Life is calmer. More manageable.

So…I wanted to pass these tips along to you. (If you have little children, these might not work for you. Not when your little ones are awake, anyway.) Hopefully, you’ll find them to be useful, and maybe spark some strategies of your own.

  • Make a plan. I start the day with an index card and write down the day’s priorities. And I check off tasks as I finish them!
  • Go off-line. Create an environment that helps you stay focused. Turn your cell phone to silent. If working on the computer, close your email app. Put yourself in distraction-free mode until you’re accomplished what you need to do
  • Finish one task before moving on to the next. Even little tasks.
  • Distractibility is at its peak during transitions. Build in margin. For example, arrive a few minutes early instead of rushing in a few minutes late.
  • When distractions are high, make tasks smaller and break down your large projects into smaller tasks to help you concentrate and give you a sense of accomplishment and progress.
  • When I’m facing a big task, I’ll break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • Set a deadline for a task. Beat the clock! Use a timer.
  • Rewards! When I beat the clock, I’ll take a break from computer work and pop up to the garden, text a friend, walk the dog. Something that feels good.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 7

She Lives To Read, October 8

The Write Escape, October 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 9

Vicky Sluiter, October 9

lakesidelivingsite, October 10

Texas Book-aholic, October 10

Lighthouse-Academy, October 11

Simple Harvest Reads, October 11 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 12

Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 12

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14

Blogging With Carol, October 14

Elly Gilbert, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 15

For Him and My Family, October 15

Holly’s Book Corner, October 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 16

Splashes of Joy, October 16

Empowermoms, October 17

SusanLovesBooks, October 17

Mary Hake, October 17

Bigreadersite, October 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 18

Blossoms and Blessings, October 18

Cats in the Cradle Blog, October 19

Pause for Tales, October 19

Spoken from the Heart, October 19

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 20

Cover Lover Book Review, October 20

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/21e05/anything-but-plain-celebration-tour-giveaway

ARC, Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, NetGalley, Purchase

The Bride of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Bride of Blackfriars Lane

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Christian/Romance/Historical

Release date: September, 2022

Detective Jackson Forge can hardly wait to marry the street-sly swindler who’s turned his life upside down. Kit Turner is equally excited to wed the handsome detective, and what better way to show her love than providing him with a gift any man of the law would love? She determines to bring to justice the men who years ago maimed his brother—despite Jackson’s warning to leave the past in the past. As she digs into the mystery of what happened, she unwittingly tumbles into her own history and endangers her future happiness with Jackson.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Why you should run out and buy this Michelle Griep book immediately!

  1. The author. Griep. The Bride of Blackfriar’s Lane is historical fiction at its best. You will race through the ratty streets and back alleyways of London with Kit and Jackson, learn to love the street urchins, and look over your shoulder every time the hair on the back of your neck prickles. Plus, enough language from 1880s inner city London to put you squarely in those streets that will give you the willies.
  2. A special-needs character is presented with great authenticity and compassion. As someone who has worked with special needs people for a length of time, this is essential to me.
  3. Humor in all the right places, plus a ton
    of great metaphors! How does Griep do it?!

All I can say is, that I have bought a paper copy and an ecopy of the book so far, plus I received a copy from the publisher. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

This will be one of the few I will be rereading for great relationship advice applicable to today!! Times change, but basic relationship issues do not.

Notable Quotables:

“You’d keep secrets from God Himself if you thought you could get away with it.”

“The Mayfair neighbourhood had a way of frowning down upon those who didn’t belong, like a great aunt with a penchant for lip curling, making one feel the size of a grease ant for having shown up at the dinner table with a crooked collar.”

It wasn’t as if you could slam the door on fear’s face when it came calling.

“Look up, child,”… “Look ever upwards, therein shall you be saved.”

“What have I done?” she whispered. “Dear God, what have I done?”

“More than anything, a husband must be able to trust his wife, for she holds his very heart in her hands. Respect that truth. Respect him. That is the most precious gift you can give.”

Words once spoken cannot be unheard.”

If the lad wasn’t careful, he might sprain his tongue with such verbal gymnastics.

“Sometimes there is just no righting a wrong, sir.”“Good thing God doesn’t hold that view.”

“Yes, you were wronged, but that doesn’t mean you must spend the rest of your life playing the victim.”

“Why did you not rail against God?” A small chuckle rumbled in his throat. “Never raise a fist against one who is more powerful than you.”

“I have learned,” he said at length, “to look past the darkness of my anger and see the light of creation. To choose to think on the good my Creator has brought into my life rather than the hardships. Anger and bitterness are a choice. Either you may dwell on your losses or you may be grateful for what you have.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Amazing Action, History, Humor, Romance, & Truth!! I love Michelle Griep!!

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at http://www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

And guess what? She loves to hear from readers! Feel free to drop her a note at michellegriep@gmail.com.

More from Michelle

A Visit to Borough Market

Whenever I skip across the pond, I make it a point to stop at the Borough Market for some great meals. This area was—and is—a popular place to shop and an absolute must-see for food lovers. From grocers, fishmongers, cheese sellers, and butchers to all kinds of ethnic eats, it’s hard not to want to sample everything. My personal favorite are the buddha bowls.

Believe it or not, Borough market has been in operation for the past thousand years. Yes, you read that correctly. It actually began as a bridge, constructed in 990. But let’s fast forward to the Victorian era, shall we?

In the nineteenth century, a railway viaduct was constructed through the middle of the market, which brought in more people—but also brought in more noise, soot, disruption, and crime. In such a hotbed of activity, it’s easy to imagine cutpurses and pickpockets of all sorts.

And that’s the perfect scene for a certain con-artist turned investigator to meet with an informant. In The Bride of Blackfriars Lane, Kit Turner is up to her old shenanigans, much to Jackson’s chagrin. You can visit Borough Market along with her in this wild ride through Victorian London. It’s just one of the many stops in a city that never gets old.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 27

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 27

Life of Literature, September 27

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 27

Texas Book-aholic, September 28

Book Looks by Lisa, September 28

Bigreadersite, September 28

Betti Mace, September 29

Genesis 5020, September 29

Remembrancy, September 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 30

Christina’s Corner, September 30

A Baker’s Perspective, September 30

She Lives to Read, October 1

Inklings and notions, October 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 1

For Him and My Family, October 2

Blogging With Carol, October 2

Daysong Reflections, October 2

Hallie Reads, October 2

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, October 3 (Author Interview)

Where Faith and Books Meet, October 3

deb’s Book Review, October 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 4

Holly’s Book Corner, October 4

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 5

Bizwings Blog, October 5

Back Porch Reads, October 5

Connie’s History Classroom, October 6

Books I’ve Read, October 6

Blossoms and Blessings, October 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 7

Splashes of Joy, October 7

Simple Harvest Reads, October 7 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

The Write Escape, October 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 8

Vicky Sluiter, October 8

Through the Fire Blogs, October 8

Pause for Tales, October 9

Cover Lover Book Review, October 9

Labor Not in Vain, October 9

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, October 10

Melissa’s Bookshelf, October 10

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 10

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, October 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a copy of The Bride of Blackfriars Lane!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/21aab/the-bride-of-blackfriars-lane-celebration-tour-giveaway

ARC, Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, NetGalley, Purchase

A Gem of Truth by Kimberley Woodhouse Review

About the Book

Title: A Gem of Truth

Series: Secrets of the Canyon, #2

Author: Kimberley Woodhouse

Publisher: Bethany House

Genre: Historical Romance, Christian Mystery/Suspense

Released: September 2022

Length: 320 pp

Julia Schultz has a reputation for being a storyteller–or as others see it, a liar. But with a dark and painful past, stories were all that kept her company and made her interesting to others. Longing for a fresh start and a second chance to earn real trust, Julia takes a job as a Harvey Girl at the El Tovar hotel, where she’s challenged to be her true self.

Learning the trade of a master jeweler is hard work, but Christopher Miller takes pride in running his family’s small shop and earning the respect of the people around him. But when he discovers that he has six weeks to buy his shop from his landlord before it is sold, he must find a way to save his grandfather’s legacy.

United by the discovery of a legendary treasure, Chris and Julia find hope in each other. But when Julia’s past catches up with her, doubt creeps into Chris’s heart. Can he really trust her and her stories? 

My Impressions

After reading Kimberley Woodhouse’s first book in the Secrets of the Canyon series, I knew I had to read the next, A Gem of Truth. What a gem it is, too! Set mainly at the Grand Canyon Harvey House in the early 1900s, history and romance marry action to form an exciting book you won’t soon forget. 

Harvey Girl Uniform

“Instant friends. If only there were such a wonderful thing.” I could empathize with poor Julia who had trouble feeling worthy and making friends. Unfortunately, Julia tells fantastically entertaining stories to gain approval, but loses people’s trust in bargain. Will she learn to tell the truth before her life lays in shambles at her feet? 

How many people can identify with Julia as “she still felt very much alone…Surrounded by people, but lonely.” This is so easy to fall in this trap. We often try to be good enough to please people, hiding who we really are, afraid of rejection if people discover the real us. 

Told in third person, the novel switches back and forth quickly between characters and the reader must be alert. 

I loved seeing our friends from Woodhouse’s first book, as well the new characters who added so much to the story. Ruth figures into this narrative until we are ready for her story, which will be out next year! (Yay!)

Woodhouse has done her Harvey House waitress homework, as well as incorporating a legend masterfully to add so much suspense! And her detail to jewelry making! 

I appreciated that the main characters respected the Hopi Indians and treated them and their culture well. I would love to have seen that part of the Canyon, something we need to rectify next time we visit, as well as visiting the El Tovar.

Don’t miss this book!! I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley, plus I purchased my own ecopy.  No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Would she never get past who she’d been? Would anyone truly love her for who she was?”

“There are no bad eggs, just a bunch of people with sin natures. God loves every one of us the same.”

“Humility is knowing your worth and choosing to put others ahead of yourself anyway.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Exciting Mix of History, Romance, and Suspense in the Grand Canyon!

About the Author

Kimberley Woodhouse is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than twenty-five books. A lover of history and research, she often gets sucked into the past and then her husband has to lure her out with chocolate and the promise of eighteen holes on the golf course. She loves music, kayaking, and her family. Her books have been awarded the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, Reader’s Choice Award, Selah Award, Spur Award, and others. A popular speaker/teacher, she’s shared with over 1,000,000 people at more than twenty-five hundred venues across the country. Married to the love of her life for three decades, she lives and writes in the Poconos where she’s traded in her hat of “craziest mom” for “coolest grandma.” Connect with Kim at 

www.kimberleywoodhouse.com

 www.facebook.com/KimberleyWoodhouseAu…
www.instagram.com/kimberleywoodhouse
www.twitter.com/kimwoodhouse

ARC, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, PB, Purchase

As Silent as the Night by Danielle Grandinetti Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: As Silent as the Night

Author: Danielle Grandinetti

Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense

Release date: September 13, 2022

He can procure anything, except his heart’s deepest wish. She might hold the key, if she’s not discovered first.

Chicago, 1933―Lucia Critelli will do anything for her ailing grandfather, including stand in a breadline to have enough food to make him a St. Nicholas Day meal. When she catches the eye of a goon who threatens her grandfather, she discovers the end of Prohibition doesn’t mean the end of the mafia’s criminal activity.

Retired Marine Scout Giosue “Gio” Vella can find anything, especially if it helps a fellow Italian immigrant, so he has no doubt he can locate his neighbor’s granddaughter, who has gone missing from a local church. Keeping her safe is another matter. Especially when he chooses to hide out with his Marine buddy in Eagle, Wisconsin, the site of a barely-held truce among striking dairy farmers.

Will Christmas bring the miracle they all need or will Gio discover there are some things even he can’t find, particularly when he stumbles upon the most elusive gift of all: love.

As Silent as the Night is the Christmas novella to To Stand in the Breach and A Strike to the Heart.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions


“I find things, Mamma.” But can Gio find what’s really in his heart and reveal it before the opportunity has passed?

Danielle Grandinetti starts out her third novella, As Silent as the Night, in The Strike to the Heart series, with a bang. She wastes no time in setting the stage for the romantic interest and the suspense. Without gore, we are introduced to the post-prohibition world of some of the kingpins of Chicago mobs and their machinations. And, as usual, Grandinetti creates characters you absolutely love because of their big hearts.

Enter Gio, whose story I have been eagerly awaiting. An Italian immigrant, he learns to compromise successfully with both sides of mob gangs in Chicago, so he can feed and care for his fellow immigrants. Gio has a heart of gold, plus he is street-wise, but he has one problem. He can’t allow himself to get close to the one person, Lucia, he is really coming to care for.

Lucia finds herself in danger from the mob. While Gio offers to keep her safe, he can’t protect her heart. Gio’s inability to share his heart and past lead to trust and safety issues for Lucia.

Grandinetti brings in some issues that are as true today as they were then. “…being an American-born Italian left her feeling as if she belonged in neither world, Italian nor American.” This is still true today for anyone who is recognized as part one heritage, and part another. Even in these “tolerant days”, both groups refuse to admit acceptance of someone less than their ideal of perfection. How terribly sad and isolating!!

With the sprinkling of Italian words, culture, close, warm family ties, humor at some pretty tense points, and old friends from the first two books, you will be mesmerized by this Christmas romantic suspense.

While this can be read as a stand-alone, I highly recommend reading the books in order:
1) To Stand in the Breach
2)A Strike to the Heart
3)As Silent as the Night

I am a launch team member for this book. I received a copy from the author and Celebrate Lit, and bought my own ebook plus paperback. All opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Danielle Grandinetti has quickly become my fave historical romantic suspense author! Realistic, Flawed heroes and heroines who love God, want to follow him, and are the kind I would want to introduce my own kids to.

About the Author

Danielle Grandinetti is author of A Strike to the Heart and To Stand in the Breach. She is also a book blogger at DaniellesWritingSpot.com. Her short stories have appeared in several publications and her writing has won the University of Northwestern Distinguished Faith in Writing Award. Originally from the Chicagoland area, she now lives along Lake Michigan’s Wisconsin shoreline with her husband and their two young sons. Danielle especially loves quiet mornings served with the perfect cup of tea.

More from Danielle

I have this memory, from when I was a little girl, of Christmas at my grandma’s house. The table was expanded to hold a dozen people. The little Christmas tree stood on a table before the window, the Nativity beneath it. A gingerbread house sat on the radio cabinet, which played my grandpa’s old Christmas records.

In the kitchen, my Italian grandma, now a widow, had on a ruffled apron as she cooked the Christmas meal. She had short, graying black hair, perfectly curled, and large, round glasses. And, was still taller than me, though she was under 5 foot in height.

Through the haze of childhood memory, I can’t recall everything she cooked that Christmas, I just know it filled the table to overflowing. I can guess who celebrated with us, but I know the large table was completely surrounded by people I loved. And, I’m sure I received gifts, but that’s not what I remember from that day.

What fills my memory is the feeling of family and the love my grandma showed us, through food. My full belly. My contentment. The wonder of the holidays. All through the eyes of my young self.

In As Silent as the Night, I attempt to capture some of this nostalgia, lace it with suspense, and wrap it in romance. I show about some of the traditional holidays celebrated by my characters, from St. Nicholas Day to Christmas Eve. And, while Gio can find anything, love eludes him. However, Lucia may hold the key, but he must first save her.

Silent as the Night concludes my Strike to the Heart series, which began with prequel novella To Stand in the Breach. As sad as it is to say goodbye to the farmers of Eagle, Wisconsin, I have loved sharing the stories of Katy and Joey, Lily and Miles, and Gio and Lucia with you. I hope you’ll enjoy this last installment and I look forward to sharing more stories from other places with you.

Buon Natale.

Merry Christmas.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 13

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 14 (Author Interview)

The Sacred Line, September 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 15

Inklings and notions, September 16

For Him and My Family, September 17

deb’s Book Review, September 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 19

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 20

Inkwell Inspirations, September 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 21

Connie’s History Classroom, September 22

Betti Mace, September 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 24

Holly’s Book Corner, September 24

Labor Not in Vain, September 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 26

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Danielle is giving away the grand prize package of a Bag of Books Bundle, which includes a signed copy of each book: To Stand in the Breach, A Strike to the Heart, and As Silent as the Night, plus a Donkey Tote to carry the books!! (https://www.etsy.com/listing/1130961309/donkey-canvas-tote-bag-heavy-duty)

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/2159f/as-silent-as-the-night-celebration-tour-giveaway

ARC, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Love Inspired Suspense, New-to-Me Author

Hunted in the Wilderness by Kellie Van Horn Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Hunted in the Wilderness

Author: Kellie VanHorn

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Release date: June 28, 2022

Protecting the evidence
means facing down assassins and an unforgiving wilderness…

Framed for murder and corporate espionage, future aerotech company CEO Haley Whitcombe flees in her plane with a camera full of evidence that could clear her name—until she’s shot out of the sky. Now trapped in North Cascades National Park, her survival in the wilderness depends on park ranger Ezra Dalton. Yet escaping the wild will mean nothing if they can’t outrun their merciless hunters…

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Hunted in the Wilderness by Kellie VanHorn is a must-read for romantic suspense fans. From the first sentence that starts the tension to the last, you will be glued to your seat to find out what happens next. This story is a whirlwind of action set juxtaposing the corporate world vs. the beautiful, but unforgiving wilderness. Van Horn makes me want to visit the North Cascades National Park, with her compelling depiction of the beauty there. However, fleeing from one’s enemies as Hailey Whitcombe and Ezra Dalton find themselves doing, would be beyond terrifying!

I did guess one of the betrayers early on. It was just too obvious. But that didn’t make the novel any less interesting.

I did have a little difficulty figuring out who one character was. His full name is used twice on one page in passing, then he is referred to only by first name multiple times, even though he’s not yet a major player. Maybe I am the only one with this issue.

I had to laugh at the disagreements that Hailey and Ezra have. How true to life! Hailey hurts Ezra with a pointed barb. Couples often go for the jugular, and that sure felt like it. And Ezra’s comment? “I want you to stop pretending you’ve got it all together.” Vulnerability makes a person so much more appealing.

I felt like Hailey’s and Ezra’s struggles with trying to earn God’s favor, and an inability to trust God due to our past, are both very relatable. “Maybe she’d been thinking about it all wrong—maybe His grace wasn’t something she could earn, but something He freely bestowed, like this beautiful sunrise painted across the mountains.”

————————————————————

I received a copy of the book from the author through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

————————————————————-

Notable Quotables:

You’ve brought a whole new level of chaos to my life.”

Maybe it was time for her to step aside and let Him be in charge. Had she ever even stopped to ask what His plan for her life was? Or had she always simply plowed ahead, following everyone else’s wishes and asking Him to bless her?

Strength and warmth wrapped around her heart. She wasn’t alone. God was with her, and no matter what happened, He wouldn’t abandon her. That was the solution to the equation, the answer to every one of life’s questions. Walking in relationship with Him.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great!! Non-stop action, gorgeous scenery!!

About the Author

Kellie VanHorn is an award-winning author of inspirational romantic suspense. She has college degrees in biology and nautical archaeology, but she’s always found her sense of adventure most satisfied by a great story. When not writing, Kellie can be found teaching her four children, camping, baking, and gardening. She lives with her family in west Michigan.

More from Kellie

One of my favorite things about being a writer is living out wild adventures in my imagination. I get to enjoy all the action and feels without any of the unpleasant real-life problems I’d face if I were actually being chased by bad guys with guns. The more exciting and far-off the setting, the better! My family loves to travel and to camp, so we’ve spent a lot of time visiting national parks around the U.S. Our favorites include Grand Teton, Rocky Mountain, Devil’s Tower, and Badlands. We pile our four kids into the car, fill it to the brim with gear, and tent our way from park to park for weeks at a time in the summer.

For Hunted in the Wilderness, I wanted to explore a park we haven’t had the chance to visit yet—North Cascades National Park in Washington state. In fact, my first glimpse of the story came to me when I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw a picture of a lake in the Cascades. Inspiration struck, and I knew the heroine of my next book had just crash-landed her Cessna airplane in those mountains, and she needed a handsome, single park ranger to come help her escape the bad guys.

What makes this park such a perfect setting for a romantic suspense is not only the gorgeous scenery, but also the fact it’s very remote. The region is easy enough to access via road from Seattle, but most of the protected land can only be reached on foot, horseback, or float plane. Because I hadn’t been there myself, I relied on a topographic map and lots of research to help me craft the setting and make it an indispensable part of the plot.

Of course, now that I’ve studied the trail systems so extensively, I’d love to visit the Cascades in person one day. One of my teenaged sons who loves hiking has all sorts of plans for us to take a long backpacking trip out there, even though neither of us has ever backpacked before. I might have to work up my courage a bit before I’ll be ready to hit the trail without our minivan full of gear. 😉

One of my favorite things about being a writer is living out wild adventures in my imagination. I get to enjoy all the action and feels without any of the unpleasant real-life problems I’d face if I were actually being chased by bad guys with guns. The more exciting and far-off the setting, the better! My family loves to travel and to camp, so we’ve spent a lot of time visiting national parks around the U.S. Our favorites include Grand Teton, Rocky Mountain, Devil’s Tower, and Badlands. We pile our four kids into the car, fill it to the brim with gear, and tent our way from park to park for weeks at a time in the summer.

For Hunted in the Wilderness, I wanted to explore a park we haven’t had the chance to visit yet—North Cascades National Park in Washington state. In fact, my first glimpse of the story came to me when I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw a picture of a lake in the Cascades. Inspiration struck, and I knew the heroine of my next book had just crash-landed her Cessna airplane in those mountains, and she needed a handsome, single park ranger to come help her escape the bad guys.

What makes this park such a perfect setting for a romantic suspense is not only the gorgeous scenery, but also the fact it’s very remote. The region is easy enough to access via road from Seattle, but most of the protected land can only be reached on foot, horseback, or float plane. Because I hadn’t been there myself, I relied on a topographic map and lots of research to help me craft the setting and make it an indispensable part of the plot.

Of course, now that I’ve studied the trail systems so extensively, I’d love to visit the Cascades in person one day. One of my teenaged sons who loves hiking has all sorts of plans for us to take a long backpacking trip out there, even though neither of us has ever backpacked before. I might have to work up my courage a bit before I’ll be ready to hit the trail without our minivan full of gear. 😉

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 30

Genesis 5020, June 30

Texas Book-aholic, July 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 1

Inklings and notions, July 2

EmpowerMoms, July 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 3

Christina’s Corner, July 3

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 4

Book Looks by Lisa, July 4

Paula’s Persuasion, July 4

For Him and My Family, July 5

Blogging With Carol, July 5

deb’s Book Review, July 6

Simple Harvest Reads, July 6 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 7 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 7

Mary Hake, July 7

Betti Mace, July 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 8

Bigreadersite, July 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 9

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, July 10

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 10

Labor Not in Vain, July 11

Through the Fire Blogs, July 11

Bizwings Blog, July 12

Pause for Tales, July 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kellie is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1f7ef/hunted-in-the-wilderness-celebration-tour-giveaway

ARC, BLOG, Kindle, Love Inspired Suspense

Fatal Forensic Investigation by Darlene L. Turner

About the Book

Title: Fatal Forensic Investigation

Series: #1 Crisis Rescue Team

Author: Darlene L Turner

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense

Released: June 28, 2022

While interviewing the Coastline Strangler’s only surviving victim, forensic artist Scarlet Wells is attacked and left with amnesia. Now she’s his next mark and has no choice but to work with constable Jace Allen to unlock the criminal’s true identity trapped in her mind. Will they be able to recover the hidden memory and hunt down the killer before he strikes again?

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09LSBFRYZ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i3

My Impressions

“Did she want to remember? For some reason, the pencil seemed like home, but it also brought a paralyzing sense of sadness and pain.”

Darlene L Turner’s Fatal Forensic Investigation is a unique romantic suspense for me. Great action, constant danger and tension are present, as one would expect, but I loved the amnesia aspect, which I think is more unusual. It plagues forensic artist Scarlet Wells and renders her less than her usual capable self.

We get the backstory of Scarlet’s childhood tragedy in bits and pieces, which keeps the reader wondering. Sometimes, it takes bravery, to allow the mind to remember.

Another point that caused me much wondering, to my terrified delight, was that we begin to realize that SOMEBODY from the small community is, in fact, the Coastline Strangler (CLS). How fun as a reader to wade through each new person, examining each as a possible suspect, trying to figure out the villain before the CLS is finally exposed! Just like Jace Allen and Scarlet, we wonder if we’re trusting the wrong people.

There are extra romantic interests- hmmm… That always makes investigations sticky, awkward, and uncertain. And provides red herrings or paths to truth.

I liked how comforting Bible verses were brought to mind from memory, sometimes from childhood. God works that way, using His Holy Spirit to remind us of His Truth when we most need it.

A child in the center of the story is a sure way to grab my attention. Such innocence having to face such evil. Can Jace and Scarlet unravel who is ultimately behind this incredible string of murders? Or will their names be added to the victim list?

I received a copy of this book from the author. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

“God, how can I trust You when You keep allowing such heartache?”

“God knows what He’s doing, so we trust. Completely.” What a sense of calm that gives, if we truly believe!

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent. Will have you reading… FAST… till the last word!!

About the Author

Darlene L. Turner is an award-winning author and lives with her husband, Jeff in Ontario, Canada. Her love of suspense began when she read her first Nancy Drew book. She’s turned that passion into her writing and believes readers will be captured by her plots, inspired by her strong characters, and moved by her inspirational message. You can connect with Darlene at http://www.darlenelturner.com where there’s suspense beyond borders.

ARC, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, Love Inspired Suspense, Purchase

Undercover Assignment by Dana Mentink Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Undercover Assignment

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Suspense

Release date: June 28, 2022

This K-9 will stop at nothing to keep a child safe.

When a little boy is threatened, Officer Daniella Vargas and K-9 partner, Zara, are assigned to pose as his nanny to uncover the culprit’s identity. Suspecting one of the guests in his inn, widower Sam Kavanaugh’s only option is to begrudgingly trust Daniella and Zara to help. But can they solve the case and its mysterious connection to Sam’s late wife before it’s too late?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Sam had done more than gotten under her skin. He seemed to have burrowed right into her heart.”

My nurturing heart loves this story! Mentink has a great understanding of toddlers, plus has done her police K-9 research well. Both act as great buttresses to the actual romance. Mentink so vividly describes the wonders of southwestern New Mexico and the Gila National Forest that the reader will put it on their bucket list to visit. IF they can disassociate the terror and suspense of Undercover Assignment from the park itself!

You can’t help but fall in love with three year-old Oliver, whose widowed father, Sam, runs a desert lodge. Sam and his FBI-assigned officer, Daniella Vargas, vie for control of protecting the inn and especially sweet Ollie. Each avoids letting others too close due to very different painful pasts. However, both Sam and Daniella share a strong faith and are learning to trust God even when they can’t understand why God works as He does. “He’d come to a place of acceptance that God had not saved his wife, but he certainly didn’t understand it. The definition of faith, he thought. To trust, even when you don’t understand.”

Book four of The Rocky Mountain K-9 Unit series, there is a thread presented that apparently ties all the books together. However, it is loose enough that you can enjoy Undercover Assignment as a stand-alone, which I did.

Sometimes Mentink just makes me smile, which is a great thing amidst romantic suspense.

“You’re a nanny of many talents.” She waved an airy hand. “Mary Poppins has nothing on me.”

and, “If there was a booklet on how to drive people away, she could probably be a coauthor.”

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I received an ARC of this book from the author through Celebrate Lit, plus I pre-ordered my own copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

————————————————————————

Notable Quotables:

“God loved all His children, dirty or clean, poor or comfortable, in the suffering and the sunshine.”

“People who were determined to do evil would find a way no matter what the circumstances.”

“If you don’t like the path you’re on,” she’d say, “you got two choices. Learn to like it more, or find the new one God’s got for you.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! I always enjoy a Dana Mentink romantic suspense!

About the Author

Dana Mentink is a USA TODAY and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author. She’s written more than forty mystery and suspense novels for Love Inspired Suspense, Harvest House, and Poisoned Pen Press. She is honored to have received two ACFW Carol Awards, a Holt Medallion Award, and a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. Please visit her on the web at http://www.danamentink.com to sign up for her newsletter, or find her on Twitter, Facebook and Bookbub.

More from Dana

What a joy to participate in a series with seven other talented authors! A continuity series is a set of books, each written by a different author, and each with its own suspense plot along with an overarching series plot and characters. It’s a very complicated project to complete, but the fantastic part is chatting, collaborating, and sometimes commiserating with other writers. What a rare treat, since most of our work is done alone in dark rooms with computer screens and bottomless cups of coffee! This series was especially fun to write because of the whole wilderness lodge setting which is my favorite type of story. Picture it! Ancient cliff dwellings, a freak electrical storm, twenty-four hours with no power and a killer on the loose! That’s my kind of suspense novel. I hope you will enjoy this multi author series as much as we enjoyed creating it!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 15

Inklings and notions, June 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 16

EmpowerMoms, June 16

Vicky Sluiter, June 17

For Him and My Family, June 17

An Author’s Take, June 18

Blogging With Carol, June 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 19

Betti Mace, June 20

Texas Book-aholic, June 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 21

Blossoms and Blessings, June 21

She Lives To Read, June 22

Through the Fire Blogs, June 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 23

Labor Not in Vain, June 24

deb’s Book Review, June 25

Pause for Tales, June 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 26

For the Love of Literature, June 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 27

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, June 27

Genesis 5020, June 28

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, June 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize package of a $75 Amazon gift card and a signed book!!

(If the winner is outside the U.S., then he or she will receive an eBook.)

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1eff2/undercover-assignment-celebration-tour-giveaway