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The Secret Life of Lady Evangeline, #1 Secrets, by Jan Davis Warren, Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  The Secret Life of Lady Evangeline

Author: Jan Davis Warren

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: September 22, 2020

LadyEvangeline

Everyone believes Lady Evangeline is dead, so why not let them? Her survival depends on it.

After escaping from assassins and healing from her injuries, Evangeline Stanton finds refuge in a crumbling abbey. Her physical scars are nothing to the wounds left by the death of her daughter and abandonment of her husband. She spends most days disguised as Sister Margaret Mary, but when necessary, she dons the disguise of the recently deceased bandit, the Fox, to steal from the rich and help the starving children and widows who come for aid.

Lord Henry Stanton still grieves the death of his beloved wife, Evangeline. Raising their young daughter is now the most important role in his life, even though the child serves as a daily reminder of the love he and his wife once shared. He may never shed the weight of his guilt for not protecting Evangeline from the band of outlaws who killed her, as well as the lies sown by his sister-in-law, which he allowed to separate him from his wife just before her death.

When Henry’s ailing father-in-law sends an urgent request for help to manage his lands, he has no choice but to take his daughter with him to Castle Brighton. But the nun who comes to care for the sick man catches Henry’s notice from the first moment he catches sight of her. When the life of their precious daughter is threatened, can they overcome the lies and secrets of the past and join forces to save their daughter before it is too late?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

The Secret Life of Lady Evangeline, #1, Secrets, by Jan Davis Warren is a thrilling medieval adventure that I found totally enthralling. Warren starts her novel with prickles of danger warning Evangeline Stanton that something is very wrong. The suspense never lets up. As one situation starts to resolve, another quickly presents itself. The pacing was very even and well-balanced. At no time did my attention wane. I did chuckle a few times as the twists and turns were fulfilled in pleasing, yet surprising ways. I found Warren to be a great, thorough writer. Many separate elements are introduced, yet Warren brings every single one to a satisfying conclusion. This is a rare talent.


It was heartbreaking to see Evangeline and Henry struggle so to overcome the past. I loved that they kept on trying, and forgiveness was part of Evangeline’s attitude towards others. She determines that a course is right spiritually, and commits to it verbally, and lets the feelings happen later.
Recommended for those who dream of the world of lords and ladies, medieval castles, pirates, and Robin Hood-type lore. Also, for those who enjoy a suspenseful struggle between good and evil with spiritual lessons woven in.


I cannot wait to get ahold of the next book in this series! May it live up to its predecessor!
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are solely my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!!

About the Author

Jan Davis Warren is a mother, grandmother, and a young-at-heart great-grandmother. Her wonderful husband passed away the same year she won the ACFW Genesis Award for Romantic Suspense. That win and many others are encouraging reminders that God wants her to continue writing even in the tough times. Learn more at http://www.janwarrenbooks.com.

More from Jan

Hello Dear Reader,

That you are reading this means you come from some hearty and courageous ancestors. Over thousands of years, they survived good times and bad, plagues, famines, wars, and all manner of tribulations. No matter how many different places around the globe your ancestors ventured, or where they lived and died, you are living proof they existed.

This thought never crossed my mind while writing and winning awards with contemporary romantic suspense, westerns, and even sci-fi. It wasn’t until Lady Evangeline stirred me with her story that I was lured into writing about the Middle Ages. I was even more surprised when I won RWA Faith Hope & Love chapter’s, Touched by Love historical category and the overall award with The Secret Life of Lady Evangeline. Thus began my next exciting adventure, for I had never written a medieval.

While doing research for the time period, I was humbled by the revelation that I’m alive because of ancestors further back than my genealogy has thus far revealed. They survived not only the medieval era, but many other difficult, even horrific times over the centuries before my birth. You and I are truly blessed by our ancestors’ perseverance. We are alive at such a time as this for a reason. Help us Lord to be the light so others might find You and through You life eternal.

Blessings!

Jan Davis Warren

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 25

Blogging With Carol, September 25

For Him and My Family, September 26

Inklings and notions, September 27

deb’s Book Review, September 27

Texas Book-aholic, September 28

Connect in Fiction, September 28

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 29

Romances of the Cross, September 29

Connie’s History Classroom, September 30

The Book Chic Blog, September 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 1

CarpeDiem, October 1

Older & Smarter?, October 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 3

Life, Love, Writing, October 3

Artistic Nobody, October 4 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Labor Not in Vain, October 4

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 6

Emily Yager, October 6

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 7

Mary Hake, October 7

Splashes of Joy, October 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jan is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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/10116/the-secret-life-of-lady-evangeline-celebration-tour-giveaway

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The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

About the Book

Title: The Edge of Belonging

Author: Amanda Cox

Publisher: Revell

Released: September 2020

Genre: Christian Dual-Time, Contemporary

When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee an estate sale, she soon discovers that her grandmother left behind more than trinkets and photo frames–she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy’s adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.

Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he’s ever loved.

In this dual-time story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth–both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others–takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go. 

My Impressions

The Edge of Belonging is such a spellbinding, dual-time novel from Amanda Cox. I foresee Edge of Belonging winning an award for debut novels. For myself, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page. Heart-rending themes such as foster homes, homelessness, human trafficking, depression, and PTSD are dealt with from both the sufferer’s and a loving helper’s POV. The raw loneliness hurt, and need that several of the characters experience is portrayed so poignantly. It seems each character in the earlier story (Harvey, Pearl, Thom, and Miriam) feels they are on the edge of belonging to some degree.

In the later story, Ivy is the focal point who feels like she doesn’t quite belong, but her best friend Reese has often struggled with those same sentiments. I was thrilled to see how the book’s title applied to so many. I also loved seeing the hope and mercy that certain characters, especially Pearl and Reese, generously dole out to others. Again, so many of Ms. Cox’s characters show significant growth by the end of the story.
While it is easy to see early on where the stories will connect, there remains the fascination of just how Ms. Cox is going to work it all out.


I usually like to pick a favorite character, but they were all faves. I love Reese for his steadiness and undying care. Harvey, for the way he supersedes his own fears to love another. And Pearl, for her radar to find and genuinely love lost souls.
Get your own copy of this must-read debut!
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Revell Reads via NetGalley. All opinions are my own and no positive review was required.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

Amanda Cox is a blogger and a curriculum developer for a national nonprofit youth leadership organization, but her first love is communicating through story. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible and theology and a master’s degree in professional counseling. Her studies and her interactions with hurting families over a decade have allowed her to create multidimensional characters that connect emotionally with readers.

Connect with Amanda on her website at https://amandacoxwrites.com

or on Twitter @amandacoxwrites

ARC, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, Purchase, Waterbrook-Multnomah

The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer

About the Book

Title: The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow

Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Publisher: Waterbrook-Multnomah

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

A traveling librarian ventures into the mining towns of Kentucky on horseback and rediscovers her passions in this powerful novel from the best-selling author of A Silken Thread.

During the Great Depression, Addie Cowherd dreams of being a novelist and offering readers the escape that books gave her during her tragic childhood. When her adoptive father loses his job, she is forced to leave college and take the only employment she can find–delivering books on horseback to poor coal mining families in the hills of Kentucky.

The small community of Boone’s Hollow is suspicious of outsiders and steeped in superstitions that leave Addie feeling rejected and indignant. Although she finds an unexpected friend in an elderly outcast, the other horseback librarians scorn her determination to befriend Nanny Fay.

Emmett Tharp grew up in the tiny mountain hamlet where most men either work in the coal mine or run moonshine. He’s the first in the community to earn a college degree, and he has big dreams, but witnesses the Depression robbing many young men of their future.

Then someone sets out to sabotage the library program, going so far as to destroy Addie’s novel in progress. Will the saboteur chase Addie and the other librarians away, or will knowledge emerge victorious over prejudice? Is Emmett the local ally that Addie needs–and might their friendship lead to something more?

Inspired by the real WPA program that sent librarians on horseback to deliver books to hill families in Kentucky, Kim Vogel Sawyer immersed herself in Appalachian history to tell this captivating story.

My Impressions

A while back, some polls were taken of Christian fiction readers. Many said their favorite fiction book of all time was Catherine Marshall’s Christy. Now we are blessed with several Christy-like books on the market. Certainly, the Appalachia of times gone by has a nostalgic pull for readers.
Kim Vogel Sawyer’s depiction of the Kentucky hills and her proud, but superstitious people will sate some of the longings to know these people who lived by their own code of honor. It wasn’t enough to live in the hills, one needed to be born and bred in the hills, know the neighbors from birth, and adhere to the superstitions.


In 1936, Addie Cowherd and Emmett Tharp, near strangers, and separate of each other, leave college in Lexington, KY, and attempt to make their respective homes in Boone’s Hollow (pronounced ”Holler” by the mountain folk). Emmett is rejected because of his outside education; Addie, for being a total stranger to an area where being a stranger ”like to as not” can get you shot on sight.
Sawyer shows us throughout the story what life in the mountains could be like. Superstitions run high, distrust of strangers is learned early, family feuds are fed for generations, and anyone stepping off the mountain is seen as a traitor.
Stills hide in the trees, feeding addiction, which then, in turn, feeds abuse, yet neighbors refuse to break the ”code of honor.”


I couldn’t believe that at the end of the story, Ms. Sawyer had me loving the person she had shown unlovable. That’s talent! And those are characters- who can forgive that mightily! So much to learn, more than even reading, from the people of ”Boone Holler.”
My two favorite characters (who like to be too shy to take a bow) would be Emmett’s mother, Damaris, and Nanny Fay. They just might could be the backbone of the mountain.
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. I also bought my own copy, to be sure I didn’t miss it. All opinions are my own, and no positive review was required.
Notable Quotables:
“…yawning during a sermon is most certainly a sin.”
“Just ’cause nobody else knows you done somethin’ extra special don’t mean it ain’t special.”
”She’d cracked that mirror herself so her soul could escape if the mirror captured it, but she didn’t want to take no chances by looking at herself too long.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

Award-winning, bestselling author Kim Vogel Sawyer told her kindergarten teacher that someday people would check out her book in the library. The little-girl dream came true in 2006 with the release of Waiting for Summer’s Return. Kim’s titles now exceed 1.5 million copies and are available in six different languages. A former elementary school teacher, she now enjoys a full-time writing and speaking ministry. Kim’s passion lies in writing stories that point the reader to a deeper, more intimate relationship with God. When Kim isn’t writing, you’ll find her traveling with her retired military hubby, spoiling her granddarlings, petting the cats, quilting, or–as time allows–participating in community theater. You can learn more about Kim’s writing and speaking ministries at her website, KimVogelSawyer.com. 

Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

Piecing It All Together, #1 Plain Patterns, by Leslie Gould

About the Book

Title: Piecing It All Together 52536471

Series: #1 Plain Patterns

Author: Leslie Gould

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: August 2020

Genre: Amish Dual-Timeline

 

When Savannah Mast’s fiance dumps her a week before their wedding, she flees California for the safety of her Amish grandmother’s farm near Nappanee, Indiana. She’s not planning on staying long but becomes unexpectedly entangled in the search for a missing Amish girl. She can’t leave–especially not when her childhood friend Tommy Yoder is implicated as a suspect.

When Savannah accompanies her grandmother to Plain Patterns, a nearby quilt shop, the owner and local historian, Jane Berger, relates a tale about another woman’s disappearance back in the 1800s that has curious echoes to today.

Inspired by the story, Savannah does all she can to find the Amish girl and clear Tommy’s name. But when her former fiance shows up, begging her to return to California and marry him after all, she must choose between accepting the security of what he has to offer or continuing the complicated legacy of her family’s faith.

 

My Review

Piecing It All Together, #1 Plain Patterns, by Leslie Gould, is one novel I want to label purely “Wunderbar.” I was fortunate to catch a sample chapter somewhere on my phone and I was hooked. I immediately requested a copy from NetGalley. I must admit, I was a little uncertain. Some of Gould’s collaborations I have loved, while one particular series was not my style. But I am so glad I didn’t miss this one, and I will be first in line for book two, it is that enticing.

Piecing It All Together 1
Gould’s riveting novel is a dual-timeline, with two young women, either Amish or with
Amish ties, who are desperately seeking their place in life. Gould weaves so much
tension into each story, switching between the two effortlessly. I couldn’t stand to put the
book down and finished it in one day. So many emotions are pulled out of the reader’s
heart, as you journey life with both present-day Savannah and 1842’s Emma and begin to
see the greater picture come together.
So many takeaways for any reader. As we see overt and covert prejudice, we see what
the cost is to fight for true equality. Some people don’t give troublesome teenagers a
chance to grow and mature into upstanding adults. We see characters who, one step at a
time, rise far above anything they’d ever imagined. And we see incredible courage in the
face of insurmountable odds, only to be recognized after the fact. Faith and forgiveness
lived out to the fullest. I can’t rave enough about this book and its unforgettable
characters.

Piecing It All Together 2
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through
NetGalley. No positive review was required and the opinions are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

151399Leslie Gould is the #1 bestselling and Christy Award-winning author of thirty novels. She received her MFA from Portland State University and teaches writing at Warner Pacific University. Leslie enjoys traveling, hiking, and history. She and her husband, Peter, are the revolving-door parents of four children and two cats. Visit her at http://www.lesliegould.com/.

You can also connect with Leslie on Twitter.

Twitter

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, YA

Dust, #1 Heirs of Neverland, by Kara Swanson and Giveaway

Dust-FB-Banner-768x284

About the Book

Title: Dust

Authors: Kara Swanson

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Release Date: July 21, 2020

The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale Claire Kenton Swanson-Dust-195x300believes the world is too dark for magic to be real—since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London…and a boy who shouldn’t exist. Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins. The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan—and herself.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

“When did this fairy tale become a nightmare?” So moans Claire Kenton as she re-examines the old Peter Pan book, the only clue she has to her missing brother, Connor.
Reasons NOT to read DUST by Kara Swanson:
1. You don’t want to know about the 2020 YA inspirational book that has everybody abuzz. This book is a shoo-in for awards.
2. You don’t like books changed up. You’ll stick with the tried-and-true, don’t mess with perfection, please. Only as Kara Swanson so ably points out in her retelling of the Peter Pan tale, Neverland actually ISN’T perfect.
3. You don’t like dark retellings. Ah, but if there weren’t darkness, you wouldn’t see the light. The pixies are best seen at twilight or dawn. Also, darkness and shadows are an unfortunate part of life. But, “You were created for more than to bear the weight of your shadows—but you have to choose to no longer let them define you.
You have to choose to let the light shine through the shattered pieces.”

Dust 1


4. You don’t see any need for Pan to grow up. Who-wee, in Dust, we see the real results of Pan’s refusal to think beyond childish imaginations. All of Neverland is out of whack.
5. You don’t think your YA could learn any helpful lessons from Dust. I’ve found as a parent, your child only listens so much. But find someone else promoting the same thinking through a fun avenue like an action-packed, slightly dark book, and they’ll absorb lessons almost by osmosis.
6. Too much darkness in this tale. Not true. It is dark, but choices are made, like Claire’s. ”And most of all, for me, for the girl who believed she was broken but who couldn’t see the beauty shining inside. For the person the creator of the stars made me to be. ’I choose light.’ ”

Dust 2


7. Dust ends on a cliffhanger. I can’t help you there. But author Kara Swanson has SHADOW coming out next! Don’t miss either of these!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. This in no way affects my opinions which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent her childhood running Kara-Swason-_-Floral-Headshot-1000-300x300barefoot through the lush jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the fantasy genre. The award-winning author of The Girl Who Could See, Kara is passionate about crafting stories of light shattering darkness, connecting with readers, and becoming best friends with a mermaid—though not necessarily in that order. Kara chats about coffee, fairy tales and bookish things online (@karaswansonauthor) and at karaswanson.com

 

 

More from Kara

I wrote Dust not just for those who grew up loving the original Peter Pan story — but especially for the children who were left behind. Those of us who never escaped through a window to a magical world, whose childhoods oftentimes felt a little shadowed.

Dust follows Peter Pan when he is cast out of Neverland, grounded in London. For the first time, this Peter has to start thinking about someone other than himself—and become a beacon to remind any Lost ones that there is still magic to be found.

Dust also follows a young woman named Claire who can create pixie dust, but is desperately afraid of herself because when her fears and insecurities leak out, her dust starts to burn. Claire has seen too many shadows to believe in fairytales anymore and is doing everything she can just to lock away the strange dust dripping from her fingertips. But when she meets Peter, he challenges everything she thought she knew.

I wrote Claire for those of us who may feel too weighted to even remember what it feels like to have hope lift your soul. Who can look at ourselves and all we see are our own shadows and shortcomings.

Throughout the course of the novel, Peter has to teach Claire how to see the spark of light inside herself that is far brighter than the darkness. As he helps this girl learn how to fly, Peter rediscovers what it is that truly makes him Peter Pan: the unquenchable childlike belief that there are weightless thoughts in all of us that can lift us out of the shadows.

This story is a love letter to anyone who has ever needed that reminder. We have value simply because we exist. We do not have to be weighed down by our shadows. There is still light that can lift our hearts if we have faith, trust…and a dash of the impossible.

 

Blog Stops

Andrea Christenson, July 31

Rebecca Tews, July 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 1

Texas Book-aholic, August 1

For the Love of Literature, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 2

Emily Yager, August 2

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 3

Blessed & Bookish, August 3

Through the Fire Blogs, August 4

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 4

Worthy2Read, August 5

Losing the Busyness, August 5

Adventures of A Travelers Wife, August 5

Remembrancy, August 6

Wishful Endings, August 6

Inklings and notions, August 7

April Hayman, Author, August 7

For Him and My Family, August 8

Musings of A Sassy Bookish Mama, August 8

Inside the Wong Mind, August 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 9

Nancy E Wood, August 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 10

Mia Reads, August 10

Simple Harvest Reads, August 11 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Faery Tales Are Real, August 11

Artistic Nobody, August 12

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 12

Pause for Tales, August 12

Just the Write Escape, August 13

Blossoms and Blessings, August 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kara is giving away the grand prize package of a Dust-themed bundle that includes a signed hardcover, bookmarks, character cards, Peter + Claire art print, and an exclusive Dust pin!!

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/fe3a/dust-celebration-tour

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Iced Over, #2 Barks and Beans Cafe Mysteries, by Heather Day Gilbert

About the Book

52527969._SY475_

Author: Heather Day Gilbert

Series: Barks and Beans Cafe

Publisher: Woodhaven Press

Released: July 2020

Genre: Clean Cozy Mystery

BOOK TWO in the ALL-NEW BARKS & BEANS CAFE cozy mystery series!!

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

Black Friday turns fatal when an armored security truck hits an icy patch and runs over an embankment near the cafe. With one driver dead and the other in a coma, police are baffled by the discovery that $500,000 is missing from the truck’s cache.

When strangers show up at Barks & Beans asking nosy questions about a young cafe employee, Macy’s mama bear instincts kick in. She can’t ignore what her gut is telling her—that things aren’t all they seem on the surface—and with a little help from her brother, Bo, and her Great Dane, Coal, Macy follows up on a few leads of her own. But if the ruthless thief beats her to the stash, the thin ice she’s been skating on might just crack.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown…with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series in order:
Book 1: No Filter
Book 2: Iced Over
Book 3: Fair Trade

 

My Review

When I saw Iced Over, #2 Barks and Beans Café Cozy Mystery, by Heather Day Gilbert was for sale, I had to preorder. This is a book I would not want to miss. The wonderful smell of flavored coffee beans, the sound of espresso machines, the chance to pet shelter dogs with a view to adopt…plus the chance to play Nancy Drew with a brother who used to be a DEA agent? Let’s just say I wonder if I could convince one of my loyal brothers to open a dual purpose shop like this? “Bo and I were bringing happiness into our corner of the world, one coffee drink and one perfect doggie match at a time.”

Iced Over 1
Gilbert keeps her cozies to the cozy foundations. No swearing, no sex scenes, but there is a small town with an amateur sleuth. As one of my friends said about Gilbert’s previous book, “a book I don’t have to be on guard as I read. “
Macy has a heart the size of her adopted Great Dane, Coal. I loved the way she actually puts feet to her prayers that her employee’s family would have their needs met.
I also loved that one of the secondary characters who we get to know is an unashamed plus-size 24-year- old. She is fashionable, fun, and has a good head on her shoulders. While she may not be perfectly pleased with her body, she accepts herself and that causes others to look beyond the outer wrappings.
One thing I always look for in a cozy is whether our sleuth actually spends time working at his or her purported job. Macy does indeed spend much of her time at the café, and it is so well described, I really wish I could at least visit one if I can’t work at one.

Iced Over 2
The sleuthing side becomes a little dangerous, and I am glad I am enjoying solving the mystery vicariously. I loved the introduction of another possible love connection
for Macy, but I wanted to see more romance for Bo, too. However, as Macy says, “Bo was about as romantic as a pot of cold coffee.”
Gilbert likes to end her cozies with a nice twist, leaving you needing the next book.
If you are a dog parent or a coffee aficionado, you will want to read this fun cozy.

 

My Rating

5 Stars – Hit My Reading Sweet Spot!

( Ms. Gilbert, THANK YOU  for following the original cozy rules. I wish all cozy authors did!)

 

About the Author

7232683HEATHER 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.”

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

BLOG, Favorite

In High Cotton by Ane Mulligan

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About the Book

Title: In High Cotton

Author: Ane Mullligan

Publisher: Heritage Beacon Press

Released: August 3, 2020

While the rest of the world has been roaring through the 1920s, times are hardscrabble in rural South Georgia. Widow Maggie Parker is barely surviving while raising her young son alone. Then as banks begin to fail, her father-in-law threatens to take her son and sell off her livelihood—the grocery store her husband left her. Can five Southern women band together, using their wisdom and wiles to stop him and survive the Great Depression?

My Review

This title puzzled me from the get-go. What could Ane Mulligan mean by “In High Cotton”? I quickly discovered that this is the story of single mother, Maggie Parker, and her seven-year-old son who live in the small Georgia town of Rivers End in 1929. (Points to Ane Mulligan for the town map at the front of the book.) I was relieved to see Ms. Mulligan capture my attention almost against my will, since the Depression is not one of my favorite historical eras.
But present it well, she did. The small town has some big-hearted people, like Sadie and Mama Faylene and Wade, and even little Barry. It also has some small-hearted people, who can’t see beyond the color of one’s skin, one’s gender, or their own ambition. Mulligan balances out the town’s population with enough of these that Maggie must constantly watch her back and her store.

In High Cotton 1


But this is a novel to be loved for so many things. Maggie’s story is one of most unique and compelling voices I’ve read in 2020!! I loved how Maggie keeps reaching out to help people, because they have needs apparent in front of her, even as her store is struggling. As Sadie would say, “Southern women may seem as delicate as flowers, but we’ve got iron in our veins.” The metal (mettle) of these ladies is truly glorious to behold, whether it is Maggie or Sadie challenging Cal;
the transformation of a surprising character; or Mama Faylene quietly standing up to the worst of the lot.

IN HIgh Cotton 2


Reminiscent of the movie, Steel Magnolias, you will want to have your tissues ready, but also keep an eye out for the wonderful humor, funny sayings and colloquialisms of the time. By the time you close the book, your heart may feel like you, too, are In High Cotton! Mine did.
Themes include finding true family, trusting God, and standing tall against evil, together. If only Ms. Mulligan’s map had shown how to get to River’s End.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.
 

 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

8061216I’ve been a voracious reader ever since my mother instilled within me her own love of reading at an early age. Together we would escape together into worlds otherwise unknown.

A new love entered my life when I saw Mary Martin in PETER PAN. Struck with a fever from which I never recovered, I submerged myself in drama through high school and college, but, alas, Broadway never found my phone number.

While a large, floppy straw hat is my favorite, I’ve worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), business manager, creative arts director and writer. My lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for my Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast).

I wrote and published my first script in 1996 and to date have over 4-dozen scripts in print, nine books, and numerous articles on various aspects of Christian drama and the craft of writing. In Jan of 2003, having quit my job with my husband’s encouragement, I began to write full time. I reside in Sugar Hill, Georgia with my artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler.

You can connect with Ane at

https://www.anemulligan.com

https://goodreads.com/anemulligan

 

 

BLOG, Favorite, PB, Revell

An Appalachian Summer by Ann H Gabhart

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About the Book

Title: An Appalachian Summer

Author: Ann H Gabhart

Publisher: Revell

Released:  June 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

In 1933, most people are focused on the Great Depression but all Piper Danson can think about is how to get out of being a debutante and marrying Braxton Crandall. In an act of defiance, Piper volunteers as a frontier nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains where adventure awaits.

My Review

*Sigh* After reading An Appalachian Summer, I wonder how a reader could not consider signing up to be a horse courier for Mrs. Breckenridge’s Nurse-Midwife Service. Sure, the year is 1933, and the locale of most of this unputdownable book is the hills and mountains of Kentucky. The adventure that Ann H Gabhart effortlessly spins rolls from one escapade to the next.
Of course, we might not all be as courageous as Piper Danson, who trades her debutante life for the wild unknown. Who needs to decide between two suitors when there are bigger mountains to climb… literally? What with snakes, men who might shoot before asking questions if a stranger is found on their land, odd jobs the girls have never before dreamed of attempting…life is never dull in these beautiful hills.

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This is a journey of faith, friendship, love, and the soul. Faith that the mountain people have and readily share, as one lady on the train does to Piper:
“I’m guessing things has always been easy for you. That can make it harder to recognize what the Lord does for you. You can think maybe you’ve done it all yourself and don’t need him none. But you walk down some rocky trails with troubles on every side , and you’ll be wanting the Lord right there with you.”
Gabhart doesn’t belabor points, but inserts faith as a given for the mountain people.
Friendships. So many different kinds in this story. Some lead to respect. Some lead to good new friends. Some lead to love. *Sigh* It is just so much fun to follow the paths Gabhart winds, almost as twisty as the mountain paths themselves, before allowing her characters to settle their hearts.
There’s magic in those hills. Especially the ones inhabited by Mrs. Breckenridge, Piper, Suze, Dr. Jack, Billy, and on and on. This is a TV show waiting to be picked up.
Be able to say you read the book first.

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Notable Quotables:

“…the joy of the song can be in you whether it tickles the ears or not.”

“Sometimes a person had to forget the obstacles and jump into the moment.”

“I think we all have a calling. Sometimes we live up to it, and sometimes we don’t.”

“…every person should be allowed one idiotic dream in her lifetime.”

“You get up high on those hills and the Lord just seems nearer.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Revell Reads. I also bought an ecopy and a copy to bless a special friend with. All opinions are my own, and are freely given.

 

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot!

 

About the Author

311723Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She’s published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800’s, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009. Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960’s. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, will be followed by Small Town Girl. Visit Ann’s website http://annhgabhart.com or her two blogs, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com, and the Hollyhill Book of the Strange, www.hollyhillbookofthestrange.blogspot.com.Giveaways several times a year.

BLOG, Favorite, PB, Revell

What Momma Left Behind by Cindy K Sproles

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About the Book

Title: What Momma Left Behind

Author: Cindy K Sproles

Publisher: Revell

Released: June 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Worie Dressar is seventeen years old when influenza and dysentery ravage her Appalachian Mountain community in 1898, leaving behind a growing number of orphaned children with no way to care for themselves. Worie’s mother has been secretly feeding a number of these little ones on Sourwood Mountain. But when she dies suddenly, Worie is left to figure out why and how she was caring for them.

Plagued with two good-for-nothing brothers–one greedy and the other a drunkard–Worie fights to save her home and the orphaned children now in her begrudging care. Along the way, she will discover the beauty of unconditional love and the power of forgiveness as she cares for all of Momma’s children.

Storyteller and popular speaker Cindy K. Sproles pens a tender novel full of sacrifice, heartache, and courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

 

My Review

I want this over with. I want things back to the way they was. We didn’t ask for this mess.
And every minute that passes just pours more manure on top of us.” No, this is not
someone present-day talking about the Corona virus. This is 17-year-old Worie Dressar,
who in 1877 has watched both the flu and typhoid decimate her part of Appalachia. Now,
Worie’s mother is gone, and Worie’s faith is put to a fearsome test as 1877 proves to be
the hardest year of her young life.
Why should you pick up this book, what Momma Left Behind, by Cindy K Sproles? First,
it’s amazing to think sometimes that there was another time and place as arduous as this
year (2020) has seemed. There can be something comforting to see someone go through
something- a pandemic and separation from society, no less, and realize it’s possible to
come out alive and more mature on the other side. Oh, but the process!
Then there’s that quaintness about the speech patterns of the mountain people that pulls
you into the story faster than you can say “moonshine.” One example:
“Anger crawled up from the deepest part of me, hurt seeped outta my heart, and fear eat
at me like a hungry buzzard. Momma had left me in more ways than one.”
This novel is very reminiscent of Christy by Catherine Marshall. There’s even a young,
interested preacher. Pastor Jess is such a good complement to Worie. He has such a great
soothing way with people when Worie tends to fly off the handle.
What Momma Left Behind 1
I loved all, no, most, of the secondary characters. But all were well-drawn, even Calvin,
Justice, and deceased Momma.
Ely is a voice to be reckoned with. One part comfort, one part Scripture, one part reproof,
one part encouragement.
The children. They were my undoing.
I never knew what to expect around the bend, be it literal or figurative.
Sproles deftly diffuses more than one molasses-like sticky situation with humor and I
found myself laughing out loud. Sometimes the tears came. But then, I’d think how
strong the mountain women were.
As Momma would say, “Take a day to mourn your lot, then shovel it over your shoulder
and move ahead.”
What Momma Left Behind 2
The values of family, hope, and forgiveness shine above judgment and false self-
perception. You may move beyond this novel, but a piece of Sourwood Mountain will
forever rest in your soul.
Notable Quotables:

“I’d heard folks talk about lightnin striking twice in one place. I reckon it had done struck me twice and then some.”

“Them mountains, they’s like the hills and valleys in our souls. We can’t have one without the other, but we can figure the best way to
climb.”

“I thought trust was something you could find, but I’m seein it ain’t found- it’s gived.”

“…truth ain’t promised to be easy, but it is promised to always be right.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

Cindy Sproles is an author and speaker. She has cofounded ChristianDevotions.us and serves as managing editor for SonRise Books and Straight Street Books, imprints of 214Fl3syn+L._CR0,0,160,160_UX160Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas/Iron Stream Media. Cindy teaches at Christian Writers Conferences and ladies retreats and ladies conferences across the country. Her devotions are heartfelt and honest. Edgy and inviting. Cindy serves as the executive editor of ChristianDevotions.us, a writing mentor, and life-coach.She shares mentoring with best-selling author, Yvonne Lehman at Write Right. Author of four non-fiction books, Cindy’s Fiction debut novel, Mercy’s Rain(Kregel Publishing), was book of the year and her second novel, Liar’s Winter won numerous awards. Cindy’s 3rd Appalachian Novel, Revell Publishing, What Momma Left Behind, releases June 2,2020 She is a contributing author to CBN.com and InspireaFire.com and serves as the director of the Asheville Christian Writers Conference. Visit her at http://www.cindysproles.com or contact her at cindyksproles@gmail.com

Cindy is available for speaking events by contacting her at cindyksproles@gmail.com.

 

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, YA

Victoria Grace, the Jerkface by SE Clancy with Giveaway

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About the Book

Book:  Victoria Grace: The Jerkface

Author: S.E. Clancy

Genre:  Young Adult Contemporary

Release Date: June 15, 2020

 

51480082Ever since Tori Weston and MamaBear were abandoned by her dad, finances have been tighter than a new pair of skinny jeans. As if keeping her grades up for scholarships and working every spare moment weren’t enough, Tori gets suckered into visiting a retirement home and paired with ancient resident Marigold Williams. After learning she’s the only one to visit Marigold in decades, Tori becomes a regular at Willow Springs. Besides, someone has to help with her history homework.

Corbin Dallas barges into Tori’s life with a prosthetic leg and a dimple, working his way into her hectic schedule. Though she tries to deny it, there’s something beyond his Texan drawl that gets Tori hoping she’s more than his sidekick. Together, they race to find Marigold’s missing family before she fades away. Tori ditches her soul-sucking job, along with her dreams of having a paint-peeled clunker to call her own, in order to help her friend one last time.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

A multi-generational story that will appeal to both young adults and adults as it pulls on your heartstrings and leaves you a bit undone. My emotions are so raw as I finish this novel of an unlikely friendship between an awkward seventeen-year-old and a ninety-six-year-old lady. SE Clancy has a clear winner in Victoria Grace, the Jerkface.
“My delicate stick of dynamite.” This is how a friend of Victoria Grace (or Tori, as she’s known to everybody but Marigold), describes our socially awkward and misfit book nerd heroine. Tori has no father present in the home, a mom (“MamaBear”) who is a cop, and a bike for transportation. She wants out of Redding, where they have recently moved…NOW.
In reluctant response to a youth group challenge, Tori ends up at Willow Springs Retirement Home where she meets and slowly befriends prim and proper Marigold.
I love the paradox that is Tori. Unpopular, she is a friend to Madison, who seems like she should be on the inside track. She’s part of the self-joined group of Grammar Police. “Fingernails down a chalkboard. No matter how many times I teased or corrected her, Madison’s text messages looked like an illiterate goat typed them, one hoof at a time.” Oh, do I love Tori!  And her sarcasm is cute and ever-present, as is her quick wit. Who else would call a bus a “rolling metal zoo”?

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Marigold, of Willow Springs, is sweet, feisty, secretive, and regal, all at once. I love the way Tori and Marigold develop a symbiotic relationship and become stronger as two than they are as individuals.
Ah, Corbin. Not quite perfect, but close. In the right spot at the right time, he grows on you. He complements Tori well.

Victoria Grace, the Jerkface 2
This book somehow conjures up the same feelings as A Walk to Remember. So be warned and ready. Open the book prepared for laughs, memories, love, and tears. Don’t forget the Kleenex.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher via Celebrate Lit. This in no way influenced my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

5 Stars– Superior- Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

 

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S.E. Clancy (aka Sarah) is a bit of a sci-fi nerd, geek, and self-proclaimed dork. There isn’t much she won’t try at least once…unless it involves mayonnaise, because that stuff is just gross. You can learn more about her at seclancy.com.

 

More from S.E.

Victoria Grace the Jerkface started as a short story after I’d listened to my favorite song by Nat King Cole: The Christmas Song. I’d overheard a teenager say, “I don’t even know what a chestnut is.” I typed that into a note on my phone because it struck a chord. Within days, a photographer named Tom Hussey issued a series called “Reflections” that featured elderly people gazing into mirrors and seeing their younger selves. That same night, one of my children asked for a project to earn school credits. Like flint to tinder, the idea of this teenager who didn’t know what a chestnut was having to visit an older person left in a care home began to grow.

To add in a bit of my mom and myself to the story, I had my main character Tori (Victoria Grace) love her mom’s meatloaf. It’s a recipe that my mom used from her grandma, an amazing woman we called Grandma Ted.

Ted’s Meatloaf

  • 1 pound thawed ground beef or turkey
  • 1 packet of dry onion soup mix
  • 1 – 2 heels of bread torn into dime-sized pieces (1 for turkey, 2 for beef)
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a single bowl. Works best if you use your hands, but mix really well if you use a spoon to incorporate all of the ingredients.

Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray. Do not use parchment paper—no one wants a soggy bottom. Plop the entire mixture into the pan and place into the middle of the oven. Cook for an hour.

This recipe doubles easily, just change the cooking time to 1 ½ – 1 ¾ hours and check the internal temp with a thermostat.

 

Blog Stops

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 15

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 16

Books, Life, and Christ, June 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 18

Texas Book-aholic, June 19

Inklings and notions, June 20

Robin’s Nest, June 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 21

Nancy E Wood , June 21

For Him and My Family, June 22

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 23

deb’s Book Review, June 24

Batya’s Bits, June 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 26

CarpeDiem, June 26

Pause for Tales, June 27

Artistic Nobody, June 28 (Guest Review from Kelsey Barela)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, S.E. is giving away the grand prize package of signed book, origami bookmark, marigold seeds, & $10 Amazon gift card!!

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/fc81/victoria-grace-the-jerkface-celebration-tour-giveaway