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Book, Chapters, Vows by Chautona Havig

About the Book

Book: Book, Chapter, & Vows

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: July 26, 2022

Falling in love with Benjamin wasn’t in the plan, but Mallory finds she’s all but lost her head and her heart after two and a half years of banter, memories, and now shared books.

But when her ex-fiance (does it count if it was just for a few hours?) shows up right in the middle of a writing project with Benjamin, the guy manages to ruin her happiness… again.

Benjamin has been keeping one tiny part of him back from Mallory–just the one thing that’ll repel her for good.
So when the ex-boyfriend-slash-fiance shows up, and things look serious again, he takes a giant step back and prays he can keep his heart intact in the process.

They’re clearly meant for each other. God obviously has a plan. So what’s it going to take for Mallory and Benjamin to work things out and get those vows made?

This Breakers Head novel is Chautona Havig’s final book in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Say the hard things. Admit the faults, choose to make the sacrifices, step out in faith.”

A lady after my own heart, who loves books, coffee,( and other hot drinks) and loves to sell them together! Mallory Barrows is struggling to make her dream of a small bookmobile/ hot drink shop on the islands a reality. Now she has finally fallen for islander Benjamin Hornigold, a young friend of her beloved uncle Bud. Benjamin loves Mallory enough to do almost anything for her- except bare his soul of the secret that could separate them.

Chautona Havig invites us to slow down and return to life on Independence Islands, where Mallory Barrows is hoping for that big question from her true love, Benjamin. But deep-seated fears in both Mallory and Benjamin could overpower their love as a new threat or two lingers on the horizon. Will a joint project of love and some negative examples from the past be enough combined with faith and prayer to see these lovers united, or are they destined to a repeat their loved ones’ examples?

The quote at the top expresses one of the basic truths of the novel. So many to be gleaned from a Havig book. Another truth Havig’s characters are confronted with, one it took me years to learn, is this one:

“the Lord blesses our service however we offer it, but that doesn’t mean that every job is ours to do. He said sometimes we need to step aside because that frees up the work for the person the Lord has planned for it, and it frees us to do the work He has planned for us. I never saw it that way.” So happy Mallory and Benjamin could learn this early in life! It will save them a lot of frustration, thinking they are serving the Lord, when He may have other people better equipped for the job.

And Havig always makes me smile! “Is that what you get with a degree and success? A masters in rudeness?” This is especially potent as it applies to the characters’ situations.

Bottom line: if it’s a Havig novel you’re considering, buy it!! One read won’t do it justice. Considering the spiritual and wisdom value of this book, coupled with the entertainment value, I give it five stars!

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

Notable Quotables:

“I plan to live the story in my heart. That’s how I best tell a story, lovey.”

“If the primary love of your life isn’t Jesus, you’ll fail the one you vow to love until death.”

‘…the lessons you learned don’t change based on the number of years you’ve been married. Truth is truth.’”

“But if you go through life as if everything you say and do is part of some checklist to godliness and marital bliss, you’ll miss out on the bold, daring life God has given us.”

“But I don’t think we should treat people like only their mistakes define them.”

“It will hurt. Change is just hard and it stinks. But sometimes we have to do the hard things.”

“Then a new character arrived on the scene. It walked over to guilt and elbowed guilt out of the way as if to say, “I’m determination, and I outrank you.’

“…every time you give in to those impulses, they become more frequent and more intense than the last. It’s harder to break the habit than it is to fight the temptation to let it form.’”

“You can’t fix it.”

… “But you can start fresh—like Anne Shirley—a new day with no mistakes in it.”

“His mercies,” Benjamin began. “‘They are new every morning.’”

About the Author

“Say the hard things. Admit the faults, choose to make the sacrifices, step out in faith.”

A lady after my own heart, who loves books, coffee,( and other hot drinks) and loves to sell them together! Mallory Barrows is struggling to make her dream of a small bookmobile/ hot drink shop on the islands a reality. Now she has finally fallen for islander Benjamin Hornigold, a young friend of her beloved uncle Bud. Benjamin loves Mallory enough to do almost anything for her- except bare his soul of the secret that could separate them.

Chautona Havig invites us to slow down and return to life on Independence Islands, where Mallory Barrows is hoping for that big question from her true love, Benjamin. But deep-seated fears in both Mallory and Benjamin could overpower their love as a new threat or two lingers on the horizon. Will a joint project of love and some negative examples from the past be enough combined with faith and prayer to see these lovers united, or are they destined to a repeat their loved ones’ examples?

The quote at the top expresses one of the basic truths of the novel. So many to be gleaned from a Havig book. Another truth Havig’s characters are confronted with, one it took me years to learn, is this one:

“the Lord blesses our service however we offer it, but that doesn’t mean that every job is ours to do. He said sometimes we need to step aside because that frees up the work for the person the Lord has planned for it, and it frees us to do the work He has planned for us. I never saw it that way.” So happy Mallory and Benjamin could learn this early in life! It will save them a lot of frustration, thinking they are serving the Lord, when He may have other people better equipped for the job.

And Havig always makes me smile! “Is that what you get with a degree and success? A masters in rudeness?” This is especially potent as it applies to the characters’ situations.

Bottom line: if it’s a Havig novel you’re considering, buy it!! One read won’t do it justice. Considering the spiritual and wisdom value of this book, coupled with the entertainment value, I give it five stars!

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

Notable Quotables:

“I plan to live the story in my heart. That’s how I best tell a story, lovey.”

“If the primary love of your life isn’t Jesus, you’ll fail the one you vow to love until death.”

‘…the lessons you learned don’t change based on the number of years you’ve been married. Truth is truth.’”

“But if you go through life as if everything you say and do is part of some checklist to godliness and marital bliss, you’ll miss out on the bold, daring life God has given us.”

“But I don’t think we should treat people like only their mistakes define them.”

“It will hurt. Change is just hard and it stinks. But sometimes we have to do the hard things.”

“Then a new character arrived on the scene. It walked over to guilt and elbowed guilt out of the way as if to say, “I’m determination, and I outrank you.’

“…every time you give in to those impulses, they become more frequent and more intense than the last. It’s harder to break the habit than it is to fight the temptation to let it form.’”

“You can’t fix it.”

… “But you can start fresh—like Anne Shirley—a new day with no mistakes in it.”

“His mercies,” Benjamin began. “‘They are new every morning.’”

More from Chautona

It Happened AGAIN!

I remember the first book I had trouble finishing. Beneath the Cloak. It was the last book of the Wynnewood series, and I was dying to reveal the big secret that had been a big part of the story line. I spent hours writing very few words. Someone asked if I had writer’s block, but I didn’t. I knew every word I wanted to put on that page, but I kept procrastinating.

For weeks. We’re talking long, agonizing weeks.

Finally, I realized a significant part of why I hadn’t finished was because I didn’t want to. I didn’t want the series to end. Say goodbye to beloved characters? Agony, okay? I wanted to spend the rest of my life in Wynnewood seeing what happened with all the characters and all the things that would happen.

I just wanted to write a bunch of other books, too. What can I say? It’s a thing.

So, as I dove into writing the book I’ve been dying to write since I penned the opening scene of Christmas on Breakers Point, you’d think I’d have been prepared for the inevitable. I mean, it’s happened with several other series since that first time, so… yeah. All ready to combat the problem, right? Not hardly.

To be fair, I was also coming off being very sick, my mother being even sicker, so being crazy behind on everything. I mean, that had a lot to do with it taking so long to get going on it. But once I did, I’d type like crazy and then ignore it for a day or two before the story demanded more telling.

Then, just as I neared the big scene of Book, Chapter, & Vows… I went nuts on doing everything but finishing that book. No joke. I did. Sigh. Again, you think I’d learn.

After much soul searching and even more wailing at God about the cruelty of it all (I was in a dramatic mood, okay?), the solution came to me. Okay, God smacked me upside the head with a 2×4 of memories on how I solved every other, “don’t wanna finish this series” crisis.

See, way back with Wynnewood, the only thing that got me to the finish line was a promise I made to myself. “It doesn’t have to end here. You can write more if you want to. There’s nothing to say you can do ‘Wynnewood, the Later Years’ or something like that.”

Just that one promise to myself that I didn’t have to say goodbye was all it took for me to get back on that trusty old Toshiba laptop and pound out those last few chapters.

And here I was again, not ready to say goodbye to a series—to these islands that feel so crazy real to me. I didn’t want to say goodbye to the characters and their quirky ways. Would you?

Now… you’re going to laugh at me. Go ahead. I mean, I did. See here’s the deal. I didn’t have to make that promise to myself again. “What?” you say? “What do you mean?”

Yeah. I don’t have to say goodbye to the characters or the islands. Why? Because we have another island series coming, the Suamalie Islands, and Mallory is going to visit those islands.

If that isn’t enough for me, I have another series all planned for the Independence Islands, too! Yeah. That. I mean, what was I not thinking?

As soon as I thought of that, I was able to get in there, get the last few scenes written and pass it off to the fabulous Christy for her editorial magic. As for me, I think I’m going to go play around just a little bit with one of the Josie Parker Mysteries. I mean, why not?

It Happened AGAIN!

I remember the first book I had trouble finishing. Beneath the Cloak. It was the last book of the Wynnewood series, and I was dying to reveal the big secret that had been a big part of the story line. I spent hours writing very few words. Someone asked if I had writer’s block, but I didn’t. I knew every word I wanted to put on that page, but I kept procrastinating.

For weeks. We’re talking long, agonizing weeks.

Finally, I realized a significant part of why I hadn’t finished was because I didn’t want to. I didn’t want the series to end. Say goodbye to beloved characters? Agony, okay? I wanted to spend the rest of my life in Wynnewood seeing what happened with all the characters and all the things that would happen.

I just wanted to write a bunch of other books, too. What can I say? It’s a thing.

So, as I dove into writing the book I’ve been dying to write since I penned the opening scene of Christmas on Breakers Point, you’d think I’d have been prepared for the inevitable. I mean, it’s happened with several other series since that first time, so… yeah. All ready to combat the problem, right? Not hardly.

To be fair, I was also coming off being very sick, my mother being even sicker, so being crazy behind on everything. I mean, that had a lot to do with it taking so long to get going on it. But once I did, I’d type like crazy and then ignore it for a day or two before the story demanded more telling.

Then, just as I neared the big scene of Book, Chapter, & Vows… I went nuts on doing everything but finishing that book. No joke. I did. Sigh. Again, you think I’d learn.

After much soul searching and even more wailing at God about the cruelty of it all (I was in a dramatic mood, okay?), the solution came to me. Okay, God smacked me upside the head with a 2×4 of memories on how I solved every other, “don’t wanna finish this series” crisis.

See, way back with Wynnewood, the only thing that got me to the finish line was a promise I made to myself. “It doesn’t have to end here. You can write more if you want to. There’s nothing to say you can do ‘Wynnewood, the Later Years’ or something like that.”

Just that one promise to myself that I didn’t have to say goodbye was all it took for me to get back on that trusty old Toshiba laptop and pound out those last few chapters.

And here I was again, not ready to say goodbye to a series—to these islands that feel so crazy real to me. I didn’t want to say goodbye to the characters and their quirky ways. Would you?

Now… you’re going to laugh at me. Go ahead. I mean, I did. See here’s the deal. I didn’t have to make that promise to myself again. “What?” you say? “What do you mean?”

Yeah. I don’t have to say goodbye to the characters or the islands. Why? Because we have another island series coming, the Suamalie Islands, and Mallory is going to visit those islands.

If that isn’t enough for me, I have another series all planned for the Independence Islands, too! Yeah. That. I mean, what was I not thinking?

As soon as I thought of that, I was able to get in there, get the last few scenes written and pass it off to the fabulous Christy for her editorial magic. As for me, I think I’m going to go play around just a little bit with one of the Josie Parker Mysteries. I mean, why not?

Blog Stops

An Author’s Take, August 9

Lots of Helpers, August 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 10

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 11

The Sacred Line, August 11

She Lives To Read, August 12

Texas Book-aholic, August 13

Splashes of Joy, August 13

Inklings and notions, August 14

lakesidelivingsite, August 15

For Him and My Family, August 15

LIbrary Lady’s Kid Lit, August 16

deb’s Book Review, August 17

Blogging With Carol, August 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 18

Sodbuster Living, August 18

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 19

Simple Harvest Reads, August 19 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 21

Sylvan Musings, August 21

Blossoms and Blessings, August 22

Miriam Jacob, August 22

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback 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/20712/book-chapter-vows-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Enclave Publishers, Kindle, New-to-Me Author, Purchase

The Wonderland Trials by Sara Ella Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Wonderland Trials

Author: Sara Ella

Genre: YA Dystopian Fantasy / Alice in Wonderland retelling

Release date: July 12, 2022

Solve the clues. Face your fears. Survive the Trials. 

All Alice Liddell wants is to escape her Normal life in Oxford and find the parents who abandoned her ten years ago. But she gets more than she bargained for when her older sister Charlotte is arrested for having the infamous Wonder Gene—the key to unlocking the curious Wonderland Reality.

Soon, Alice receives a rather cryptic invitation to play for Team Heart in this year’s annual—and often deadly—Wonderland Trials. Now she has less than twenty-four hours to find her way into Wonderland where nothing is impossible . . . or what it seems.

The stakes are raised when she discovers players go missing during the Trials each year. Will she and her team solve the clues and find the missing players? Or will betrayal and distrust win, leaving Alice alone in a world of her own? Follow the White Rabbit into this topsy-turvy fantasy where players become prey, a sip of the wrong tea might as well be poison, and a queen’s ways do not always lead one where they ought to go.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Nothing is impossible.”

“Wonderland is for Wonders. Outsiders don’t belong.”

Hmmm…This is definitely a YA novel in terms of the mental processing going on, the quick changing of allegiances, the uncertainty of knowing one’s own mind. Seems to me that Sara Ella captured the thought processes of a young adult very well in her retelling of Alice in Wonderland as she pens The Wonderland Trials.

I am going to go out on a limb and say this is an allegorical novel, reminding me loosely of the allegory of C S Lewis’s Narnia. I loved that part. If you love chess, you will certainly want to read this novel. Also, if you love the nonsense of Alice in Wonderland (which I always struggled with), you will love this remade tale. Sara Ella does a fantastic job of incorporating many of the characters and sayings of the original work and making some of them very endearing to a nonpreferred reader of the Lewis Carroll novel like myself. I found an affinity to Chess, Alice, and Dinah that I did not expect out of this novel that contained more nonsense than I thought I could handle. It worked together enough to make a believer out of me by the end of the book! For that reason, while this read is not my chosen cup of tea, it certainly is a great antidote for the skeptic like myself, and I am accordingly giving it 5 stars!

One caveat-reader beware- this book builds in intensity to a near frenzy (how fitting!), then ends in a cliff-hanger. That is something I always want to know before starting a book, and I do not consider that a spoiler!!

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

Notable Quotables:

“We’ve let fear rule us-divide us -for so long-we’ve forgotten we’re all part of the same team.”

“Sometimes family isn’t the one you’re born with. It’s the one you find. Or the ones who find you.”

About the Author

Once upon a time, Sara Ella dreamed she would marry a prince and live in a castle. Now she spends her days homeschooling her three Jedi in training, braving the Arizona summers, and reminding her superhero husband that it’s almost Christmas (even if it’s only January). When she’s not writing, Sara might be found behind her camera lens or planning her next adventure in the great wide somewhere. She is a Hufflepuff who finds joy in the simplicity of sipping a lavender white mocha and singing Disney tunes in the car. Sara is the author of the Unblemished trilogy and Coral, a reimagining of The Little Mermaid that focuses on mental health. Her latest journey into the world of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland feels like coming full circle after her time spent chasing the White Rabbit around Walt Disney World. Sara loves fairy tales and Jesus, and she still believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away.” Connect with her online at SaraElla.com or find her on Instagram at @saraellawrites.

More from Sara

Welcome to Wonderland!

When I started this journey down the rabbit hole, I had no idea where it would lead me. From switching publishers to signing a book contract during a pandemic, this writing journey has certainly been an adventure for the books!

As with every story I write, life handed me a few trials along the way with this one. I didn’t know how it would end until a few weeks before deadline. With that time crunch came an epiphany that altered a good portion of the plot—an idea that had me scrambling to rewrite entire scenes right up until the final hours before I turned the story in to my editor. It was difficult, but the book is better for it—I am better for it.

It could be said that an author shapes the story, but I personally believe it’s equally true that the story shapes the author. Every book I have written has changed me in some way. With The Wonderland Trials, I can pinpoint three takeaways that helped me grow in ways I never expected.

I learned to not take life so seriously.

We all have to do the adulting thing. We have bills to pay and homes to clean and deadlines to meet. But in the midst of all that chaos and craziness is a time to laugh. To play. To make a mess on the living room floor building Legos with my toddler or take a walk to the park.

I found myself often rushing through time with friends because I had to write or work or check more boxes off my task list. But feeling stressed and cutting friend and family time short didn’t accomplish anything. It didn’t get my book written faster. I’m not saying to put things off that need to be done—it’s important to be responsible. I am saying I learned that I have to balance work and play, and most importantly, I need to be present for those in my life.

It’s not only okay to sit back and relax now and again, it’s necessary. I need to let go of the constant to-do list and invest my time in things that bring me joy. That way, when it’s time to sit down and pound the keys, I’m filled and inspired, rather than tired and anxious.

I learned to see the beauty in found family.

They say you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. I disagree. As a girl who was raised by a stepdad who has loved me unconditionally as his own from the time I was two, I think there is something truly special about family that you find and make your own.

There have been times I’ve felt jealous of my friends who still have their biological parents around. I lost my mom in 2012 and my birth dad in 2020. I have maybe a handful of blood relatives left. I love them to bits, and I’m so grateful for them! But my family extends beyond the boundaries of blood. When I really think about it, I have family coming out of my ears and then some.

I have besties who became my soul sisters and women who stepped in as moms and grandmas. I have big brothers who would protect me with their lives and nieces and nephews I get to spoil on holidays and birthdays. As Alice says in The Wonderland Trials, “​​Sometimes family isn’t the one you’re born with. It’s the one you find. Or the ones who find you.”

I learned to believe in the impossible.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m the pessimist in my family. I try to see every worst-case scenario when making a decision. I ask all the what-ifs in the book. I’m like MJ in the Spider-Man movies— “If you expect disappointment, then you can never really get disappointed.”

My husband, on the other hand, has the faith of a child. When I’m lacking in faith, he’s there to remind me of all God can do. And God almost always surprises me with how He goes about doing those things. In a world with drive-thrus, mobile bank deposits, food deliveries, and every other form of instant service we can think of, the call to be patient and wait on the Lord is often forgotten.

I want answers now. I want my family member to be healed now. I want the baby we’ve been waiting over a year to adopt now. God can do the impossible, right? So why doesn’t He hurry up and do it already?

Because God is not a vending machine. And just because He chooses not to perform the miracle I want when and how I want it, that doesn’t mean he isn’t working. In fact, it’s the waiting period when God tends to do His best work on me.

More often than not, I am the impossible one, the impossible heart that needs changing. The stubborn clay that needs molding. The cracked tea cup that needs to be fixed and filled with rivers of gold. What I see as impossible to fix or change, God sees as an opportunity to help me grow. So I’ll keep believing in the impossible. After all, God took me, an impossibly helpless sinner, and made me into something new.

Thank you for taking time to read my thoughts and for giving this little book a chance. Happy reading, Wonders! The impossible awaits!

Sincerely,

Sara Ella

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 30

Rachael’s Inkwell, July 30

A Reader’s Brain, July 31

For Him and My Family, July 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 1

Texas Book-aholic, August 2

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 3

Inklings and notions, August 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 4

deb’s Book Review, August 5

Live. Love. Read., August 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 7

Mary Hake, August 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 8

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 8

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 10

Melissa’s Bookshelf, August 10

Wishful Endings, August 11

Blogging With Carol, August 12

Rebecca Tews, August 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sara is giving away the grand prize package of a signed Limited Edition Hardcover of The Wonderland Trials, $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, and $15 Starbucks 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/2038e/the-wonderland-trials-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, Misty M Beller Books, NetGalley, Purchase

Grace on the Mountain Trail by Misty M Beller Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Grace on the Mountain Trail

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: July 12, 2022

This epic journey is her last hope to find her lost brother—the only family she has left.

When Lola Carson’s father died, his last words spoke of a half-brother she’d never known about. And now, to claim her own inheritance and come to terms with her father’s secret life, she must find this mysterious man—whose last known whereabouts are somewhere west of the wild Rocky Mountains. After hiring family friends to accompany her on the trek, she sets out for a wilderness few white women have ever seen. She doesn’t expect the majestic peaks to captivate her so, nor the half-dead brave they find on one of the slopes.

White Owl left his village and his broken heart behind when he set out for a fresh start. His newfound faith is the one anchor in his life. He’s desperate to learn more about the God he’s committed to follow and become an interpreter for the missionaries who led him to faith. But he barely starts his journey when a hunting accident nearly kills him. The woman who discovers him in the midst of his fevered delirium seems to be a gift from above.

But the more White Owl learns about Lola’s companions and her dangerous quest, the more he realizes his own calling is clear—to take her safely to her brother. The question is, will he have to sacrifice more than his heart to accomplish that goal?

From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and adventure so intense, lives will never be the same.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Just because he was afraid didn’t mean she had to be.”

Beautiful!! I love each novel of Misty M Beller’s better than the last! In Grace on the Mountain Trail, Beller takes us back to the 1830s West as we travel this exciting journey with Lola Cameron and Ike and Will Van Buren. Lola’s cold, distant father has died, and left behind the startling news that she has a half-brother. To keep her home, she must find him and return East within a year. Lola finds a severely injured Native American, White Owl, on the trail, and that changes the trajectory of the journey.

Grace on the Mountain Trail is the 8th book in this series, Call of the Rockies. It is an awesome mixture of faith, fear, doubts, and emotions. Romance struggles with societal expectations and other relationships that may be affected. I loved how the title fits one character’s life all the way through the book, while another only sees the truth of that Grace in retrospect. Beller provides plenty of action, but also draws her characters strongly so that many relationships are equally important to the successful tapestry of the story. I love a tightly woven story like this!

I also loved how Biblical truth was inserted a verse or thought at a time, with a great, short application to the situation, the story flow uninterrupted, but enriched. “Do good to those who persecute you. Repeating the verse was the best way to keep his frustration down.” And how I loved the faith in action of this faithful character!!

I loved how Beller takes a few stereotypes and turns them on their heads. How refreshing! If you love historical fiction and pioneer-age West, don’t miss this Beller offering!

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. I also bought my own ebook. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Between conniving men and stubborn ones, she had her work cut out for her.”

“Truthfulness was one of the gifts she now valued most.”

“…And she’d be on her own with one she no longer trusted.”

“She’d been petty in her life, thinking that the way she’d given God the cold shoulder all those years gave her the upper hand. He had created all this, imagined it and spoke it into being. If He wanted a part in her life, who was she to say no?”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Misty pens such rich, compelling novels, and Grace on the Mountain Trail is no exception!

About the Author

Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

Raised on a farm and surrounded by family, Misty developed her love for horses, history, and adventure. These days, her husband and children provide fresh adventure every day, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

Misty’s passion is to create inspiring Christian fiction infused with the grandeur of the mountains, writing historical romance that displays God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Sharing her stories with readers is a dream come true for Misty. She writes from her country home in South Carolina and escapes to the mountains any chance she gets.

More from Misty

Is this the book for you? 

With so many books out there, it’s sometimes hard to know if a new book will be the right fit for you or not. I thought it might be fun to share some highlights that may help you know if you’d like to read Grace on the Mountain Trail. 

If you…

  • Love adventure and don’t mind being snowed in (at least in your imagination as you sit snuggled in your comfortable house).
  • Fall for Native American heroes who are, yes, strong and capable, but also searching for a fresh start and eager to grow in their fledgling faith.
  • Find unusual and remote settings fascinating, especially the Rocky Mountains!
  • Enjoy historical detail and are eager to live vicariously in the early 1800s Montana frontier.

What to expect from Grace on the Mountain Trail?

  • Emotion-rich sweet romance.
  • Native American heroes who know how to be both tough and gentle.
  • The grandeur of the Montana Rockies.
  • Tough heroines who do what needs to be done.
  • Adventure that will keep you turning pages.
  • A peek at one of our favorite characters from earlier in the series!

If Grace on the Mountain Trail sounds like the right fit for you, I pray you love Lola and White Owl’s story!

Blessings!

Misty

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, August 1

Mary Hake, August 1

Inklings and notions, August 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 2

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 3

Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 4

The Book Club Network, August 4

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 5

Cover Lover Book Review, August 5

Betti Mace, August 6

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 7

Writing From the Heart Land, August 8

deb’s Book Review, August 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 9

For Him and My Family, August 9

Connie’s History Classroom, August 10

Lilys’ Book Reviews, August 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 11

Holly’s Book Corner, August 11

Blossoms and Blessings, August 12

Life, Love, Writing, August 12

Pause for Tales, August 13

Splashes of Joy, August 14

Sylvan Musings, August 14

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Misty 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/21360/grace-on-the-mountain-trail-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

Off the Chain by Jan Thompson Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Off the Chain

Author: Janice Thompson

Genre: Christian Fiction / Mystery

Release date: July 1, 2022

The Town of Brenham, Texas, Has Gone to the Dogs!

Curl up with your pup and sink into a delightful small-town mystery as riddles and rescues stack up in book one of a new cozy mystery series.

Marigold Evans’ first attempt at rescuing an abandoned pooch lands her in a drainage pipe in Brenham Texas. . .and almost in jail, until Parker Jenson comes to her rescue. Then a bad day only gets worse as the Lone Star Vet Clinic, where they both work, is vandalized and the list of suspects starts to climb. With the help of her fellow employees, Marigold sets out to simultaneously solve the crime, rehab the rescued dog, and help more dogs in crisis. But why would anyone continue to work against all their good efforts?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

I thoroughly enjoyed Off the Chain by Jan Thompson. This first in a new series by Barbour, (each cozy mystery written by a different author) is a smashing success in my book. Here’s why:

Faith. I didn’t have to worry about bad language. While I love cozies, what I read is limited because of either bad language or inappropriate bedroom scenes, neither of which are present in this book, nor do I expect them in this series. This is a book and series where faith is very real part of story. There are many mentions of prayers for specific needs, and God’s answers. “Just pray about it, Marigold. God’s got an answer for you.”– I love this advice from one friend of Mari’s. As one radio counselor recently reminded her audience, ‘Instead of taking problems to everyone else, take them to God. He’s the One with the answers!’

Friends. I loved the group of vet clinic workers who actually are friends and supportive of each other. You can see that they will make a great character base in the little town (another must of a cozy) of Brenham.

Hilarity. Another cozy must-have. This one has it in spades. While situations may be ridiculous, that doesn’t stop the genuine laughter from erupting often. Score again.

Animals. Specifically, rescue dogs. And they are a main focus of the story, not just a sideline or afterthought. If you are a dog lover, this book just became irresistible for you(It will actually hook you on the first page).

Romance, loss, and an eccentric grandma. These all feature well into our novel and help round it out to be the great experience it is! Don’t miss this one!

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit via NetGalley, plus I bought my own ebook. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! I can’t wait for the next in this great dog rescue cozy series!

About the Author

Janice Thompson, who lives in the Houston area, writes romantic comedies, cozy mysteries, nonfiction devotionals, and musical comedies for the stage. She is the mother of four daughters and nine feisty grandchildren. When she’s not writing books or taking care of foster dogs you’ll find her in the kitchen, baking up specialty cakes and cookies.

More from Janice

Dogs, dogs, and more dogs! My world is full of dogs. If you follow me on social media you’re probably overwhelmed with dog photos, but I simply can’t help myself. I’m in love with pooches of all shapes and sizes.

My fascination with dogs began when I was six years old and I got my first pup, Spunky. He was a mixed breed terrier. From that day until now I’ve had the pleasure of owning many, many pups—some purebreds, some street dogs that needed a safe place to stay, some elderly with chronic or acute health issues. I can’t get enough. They offer unconditional love, after all!

A few years back I was asked to foster for a local rescue, My Chi and Me. The rest, as they say, is history. For a quick glimpse at some photos, follow this link. You’ll see that I’m mostly enamored with small dogs. (Hey, I live in a tiny townhome and have limited space!) That said, I’m always willing to take on one more.

My most recent rescue ventures landed me squarely in the middle of a book idea: Why not use a dog story as the basis for a cozy mystery? My editor at Barbour Publishing wanted something dog-themed and I was happy to oblige. That’s where the idea for Off the Chain (and the whole Gone with the Dogsseries) came from—a simple idea involving dogs and crime.

I took the opportunity to focus solely on rescue dogs as the idea developed. These days (especially post-Covid) the need for homes for these pups is great. I linked arms with my BFF, Kathleen Y’Barbo, and together we set our series in Brenham Texas, not far from our stomping ground in the Woodlands. I felt strongly that we should merge two separate dog worlds: rescue and veterinary. (Hey, Brenham is close to A&M and they know a thing or two about veterinary training!)

Thus, the Gone with the Dogs series was born. And writing the first book, (Off the Chain), was a blast! I hyper-focused on one primary point of view character, a vet tech. (As the owner of three dogs I feel like I’m always in the vet’s office!) My stories, which is written in first person, took me back to my writing roots. I love, love, love writing in first person because I “become” the character. Fun, right?

My editors loved the book and it got some fun endorsements, so I’m excited to see what my readers think. I can’t wait to get their feedback. I hope it’s not too “Ruff!”

But, seriously. . .I’m hyped! And I’m feeling so blessed to merge my worlds—dogs and writing!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 26

Texas Book-aholic, July 27

The Book Club Network, July 27

An Author’s Take, July 28

Remembrancy, July 28

deb’s Book Review, July 29

Pause for Tales, July 29

The Avid Reader, July 30

For Him and My Family, July 30

Christina’s Corner, July 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 31

Inklings and notions, August 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 3

She Lives To Read, August 3

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 4

Blogging With Carol, August 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 6

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

Mary Hake, August 7

Labor Not in Vain, August 8

Books I’ve Read, August 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Janice is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a paper 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/1ffe2/off-the-chain-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

The Heart of the Mountains by Pepper Basham Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Heart of the Mountains

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance

Release date: July 1, 2022

Can their hearts overcome the darkness of the mountains?

To escape a forced marriage, Cora Taylor travels from England to the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of her brother, who is working as a teacher in a mission school. She hopes to find a place where her nursing skills and independent ideas will be accepted and appreciated, but nothing prepares her for the wild mixture of isolation, community, brokenness, and hope within these mountains…or in the person of Jeb McAdams.

Returning from the devastation of World War 1 emotionally damaged, Jeb McAdams struggles against the rampant mountain alcoholism to soothe his nightmares. It’s easy to hide within the mountains, or it was, before Cora Taylor arrived. Now, she seems to show up at every turn, bringing her modern ideas, curiosity, and beautiful eyes with her.

Bound by their shared war history, the pair develop an unlikely friendship, which unexpectedly hints to something more. But when Cora’s desire to help the women of the mountains crosses an unspoken line, will Jeb be able to protect this feisty flatlander from the wrath of the mountain men or will he end up losing much more than his heart?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

I am so in awe of The Heart of the Mountains by Pepper Basham that I doubt my review can do it justice. While The Heart of the Mountains is actually a sequel to Laurel’s Dream, it could easily be a companion book to Catherine Marshall’s Christy. Basham has so well transported the reader into the same world that Marshall originally created, albeit with different characters.

The style, language, and premise is similar to Christy. An outsider enters the mountains, is rejected by many, yet forges ahead with a mentor. As Cora Taylor falls in love with the mountain’s unique culture and people, I was in rapture as I read one the best Christy-like books out there(and there have been several lately, but all pale in comparison to Basham’s offering.

You will physically ache for the mountain people as well as the outsiders who wish to help them.

So many heroes in this book. But besides the Cora and Jeb(a couple who will live in my mind forever), Caroline McAdams is a wonder. Her trust in God is rock-solid, even in horrible times, and she exhibits unconditional love. She looks beyond actions and sees the heart desires.

“God did love His children. Anyway and always. No matter how broken or lost.” The characters in the novel grapple with (among other themes) social justice, racial equality, and fighting against unimaginable odds. Would Cora be trampled underfoot by all the obstacles in her new world? “People dealt with grief in so many different ways. Some wore their wounds better than others. Some sank beneath the pain, others soared.”

I love finding nuggets of truth for today, my “Notable Quotables,” and Pepper Basham provided so many. What a glorious book!

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit, plus I bought my own copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! I am in awe of this Appalachian- life novel! Ranks right up there with Christy!!

About the Author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

You can learn more about Pepper at her website http://www.pepperdbasham.com or connect with her on FB, IG, or Twitter.

More from Pepper

It’s so interesting how one idea can influence an entire series, or…how one person’s story can.

The idea for The Heart of the Mountainsstarted in Laurel’s Dream with a hint of a family history story about a girl named Kizzie. (Someday, I hope to bring Kizzie’s story to the pages of a book). From there, the idea began to grow out of a love for my Appalachian culture into a series of books which highlighted (and fictionalized) stories from my family history.

The main story in The Heart of the Mountainsis about Jeb and Cora, two different people with similar servant hearts, but the secondary story that touched me so much was the one based on my great grandfather’s life. I write about it in the Author’s Note at the end of the novel, so I won’t go into detail about it. However, what I loved getting to do is bring the truth of God’s redemption in my great grandfather’s life…to life again.

I never knew “Papa Rat”. I only knew the stories handed down to me by my granny and my mama, but in writing this story, I feel as though I had a tiny opportunity to “meet” him in these pages. He was a gruff mountain man with a broken past which led him to make a whole lot of broken choices, but his story is incredibly encouraging, because it points to the God of broken people. My great grandpa wasn’t left in his brokenness, but, after years of running away from God, he would later recount that God pursued him. The beauty of Sam McAdams’ journey in The Heart of the Mountains is only a little glimpse into what I imagine my great grandpa’s redemption story looked like.

Because my great grandpa was forever changed when Jesus saved him (as any of us should be).

I think that’s what my granny and her siblings (and even “Papa Rat” himself) would want most -that his story would point to Jesus. I hope that’s what you see when you read about Sam McAdams in The Heart of the Mountains.

Have you ever read a book based on family history? One of my favorites is Catherine Marshall’s Christy.

Blog Stops

Bizwings Blog, July 28

Rachael’s Inkwell, July 28

Bigreadersite, July 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 29

Texas Book-aholic, July 29

Inklings and notions, July 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 30

Boondock Ramblings, July 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 31

Reading With Emily, July 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 31 (Author Interview)

lakesidelivingsite, August 1

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, August 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 1

Daysong Reflections, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 2

Live. Love. Read., August 2

Betti Mace, August 3

Book Looks by Lisa, August 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 3

Remembrancy, August 4

For Him and My Family, August 4

Blossoms and Blessings, August 4

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 5

By the Book, August 5

Wishful Endings, August 5

For the Love of Literature, August 6

Books, Books and More Books, August 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 6

Connie’s History Classroom, August 7

SodbusterLiving, August 7

Splashes of Joy, August 7

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 8

Back Porch Reads, August 9

Through the Fire Blogs, August 9

Pause for Tales, August 9

Labor Not in Vain, August 10

Miriam Jacob, August 10

To Everything There Is A Season, August 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e- gift card and a paperback 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/20389/the-heart-of-the-mountains-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, New-to-Me Author, Wild Heart Books

Byway to Danger by Sandra Merville Hart

About the Book

Book: Byway to Danger

Author: Sandra Merville Hart

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: July 19, 2022

Everyone in Richmond has secrets. Especially the spies.

Meg Brooks, widow, didn’t stop spying for the Union when her job at the Pinkerton National Detective Agency ended, especially now that she lives in the Confederate capital. Her job at the Yancey bakery provides many opportunities to discover vital information about the Confederacy to pass on to her Union contact. She prefers to work alone, yet the strong, silent baker earns her respect and tugs at her heart.

Cade Yancey knows the beautiful widow is a spy when he hires her only because his fellow Unionist spies know of her activities. Meg sure didn’t tell him. He’s glad she knows how to keep her mouth shut, for he has hidden his dangerous activities from even his closest friends. The more his feelings for the courageous woman grow, the greater his determination to protect her by guarding his secrets. Her own investigations place her in enough peril.

As danger escalates, Meg realizes her choice to work alone isn’t a wise one. Can she trust Cade with details from her past not even her family knows?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Sandra Merville Hart takes us deep into the dangers of the Civil War in Byway to Danger. In Richmond, Meg Brooks, a former Pinkerton, visits with relatives and works in a bakery, but most importantly, looks for intelligence to pass to the North. Her bakery boss, Cade Yancey, is also a Northern sympathizer. Like Meg, he spies for the North. As they grow closer, Meg doesn’t reveal much of her business or history to Cade, thinking what he doesn’t know, he can’t tell. Cade is even more tight-lipped about his past and connections. Can they work together to further freedom, or will their secrets drive them apart?

This book is the third of a trio, but stands alone nicely. It started slowly for me. I had a hard time initially becoming invested in the characters. Fortunately, by the end of the book, I was quickly thumbing pages, eager to discover the future of Meg and Cade and others. I set the finished book aside with a satisfied sigh.

My favorite secondary characters were Aunt Trudy and her servants, Clara and Harold. All three are wise, kind, and willing to go out of their way to help others. All had reasons they could have refused to do so.

If you’re looking for a clean, Faith-based historical romance based on Civil War times, I recommend Byway to Danger by Sandra Merville Hart.

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:

“Hard to say what turns some men into animals, as if they turned their backs on the sense the Good Lord gave them.”

“How can you, a man of few words, know just what to say?” She smiled to lighten the moment. Mournful blue eyes met hers. “Because I lived it.”

“Their relationship felt as if they had waltzed into a courtship without discussing it.”

“And my greatest hope for him is that he learns that he’s cherished by his Savior.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! I recommend this suspenseful Civil War novel.

About the Author

Sandra Merville Hart, award-winning and Amazon bestselling author of inspirational historical romances, loves to discover little-known yet fascinating facts from American history to include in her stories. Her desire is to transport her readers back in time. She is also a blogger, speaker, and conference teacher. Connect with Sandra on her blog, https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.

More from Sandra

In Byway to Danger, Book 3 of my “Spies of the Civil War” series, both Cade and Meg—our hero and heroine—are Union spies living in Richmond, the Confederate capital in 1862. As if this isn’t dangerous enough, Meg is also a former Pinkerton spy. One Pinkerton spy was hanged in the spring and three others now sit in Richmond jails.

Meg works as an assistant in Cade’s bakery. The strong, quiet man keeps a secret from Meg to protect her, for he’s a conductor on the Underground Railroad. He provides food, clothing, and a safe place to stay until he’s able to take them on to the next stop several miles outside the city. Cade has done this for years before the Civil War and continues as the war rages, a perilous mission.

Historically, early in the war on May 23, 1861, three men escaped slavery and fled to Fort Monroe. Frank Baker, Shepard Mallory, and James Townsend had worked on Confederate fortifications before escaping on a rowboat. They sought the safety of Union soldiers at the fort. The men informed Union Major General Benjamin F. Butler that they escaped from Confederate Colonel Charles K. Mallory of the 115th Virginia Militia.

The next day, Confederate Major John B. Cary arrived at Fort Monroe under a flag of truce. Cary met with Butler and requested he return the enslaved men to Mallory as required by the Fugitive Slave Act.

Butler did some fast thinking. Since the three men had been building fortifications for war, they could be seized as “contraband of war” and didn’t have to be returned. His refusal to return the men was a pivotal decision and sparked a future law that protected fugitives who sought the protection of Union camps.

Dozens of fugitive men, women, and children had joined Baker, Mallory, and Townsend at Fort Monroe within three days. Many others fled to the fort in the following months. “Grand Contraband Camp” was established about three miles from Fort Monroe on the charred remains of Hampton to accommodate the hundreds of fugitives.  It was the nation’s first self-contained black community. By 1865, thousands lived in this camp.

Part of my research for this novel involved a trip to Virginia’s Fort Monroe. (If you love history and have never visited Fort Monroe, I recommend it!) Though I wasn’t certain of my story at the time of my visit, I was so inspired by the fort’s history that I knew it had to be part of my story. And it is!

Avenue of Betrayal, Book 1, is set in the Union capital of Washington City (Washington DC) in 1861, where a surprising number of Confederate sympathizers and spies lived. Boulevard of Confusion and Byway to Danger are set in Richmond, the Confederate capital in 1862. Actual historical spies touch the lives of our fictional family.

Through both real and fictional characters, this series highlights activities spies were involved in and some of the motives behind their decisions.

I invite you to read the whole “Spies of the Civil War” series beginning with Book 1 Avenue of Betrayal, Book 2 Boulevard of Confusion, and Book 3 Byway to Danger!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 22

Spoken from the Heart, July 22

Bizwings Blog, July 23

Inklings and notions, July 24

Betti Mace, July 25

Book Looks by Lisa, July 25

Texas Book-aholic, July 26

For Him and My Family, July 27

Connie’s History Classroom, July 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 29

deb’s Book Review, July 30

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 31

Vicarious Living, July 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 2

Blossoms and Blessings, August 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sandra 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/1f7f8/byway-to-danger-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, LibraryThing Early Readers, PB, Purchase, Revell

Where the Road Bends by Rachel Fordham Review

About the Book

Title: Where the Road Bends

Author: Rachel Fordham

Publisher: Revell

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Released: June 2022

The strongest love is formed in the crucible of hardship

As Norah King surveys her family land in Iowa in 1880, she is acutely aware that it is all she has left, and she will do everything in her power to save it–even if that means marrying a man she hardly knows. Days before her wedding, Norah discovers an injured man on her property. Her sense of duty compels her to take him in and nurse him back to health. Little does she realize just how much this act of kindness will complicate her life and threaten the future she’s planned.

Norah’s care does more than aid Quincy Barnes’s recovery–it awakens his heart to possibilities. Penniless and homeless, he knows the most honorable thing he can do is head on down the road and leave Norah to marry her intended. But walking away from the first person to believe in him proves much harder than he imagined.

My Impressions

“The farmland went on forever, and it smelled like happiness.”

One thing I can count on when I read a Rachel Fordham book. I know I’m going to love it, and Where the Road Bends is no exception.

Fordham writes with a sweet, historical romance, prairie-style. I love Norah King and her innocent, one-chance-left-self. She is stronger than she knows, and has a truly compassionate heart for others. How I wish she had had someone she trusted besides Jake Granger and Quincy Barnes to advise her!

Quincy is quite the dashing hero. I loved his willingness to share his faith and his compassionate heart as it prompts him to act, as well. He shares much of himself with Norah, trying to encourage her.

“But I don’t have an author weaving words together, ensuring a happy ending.”~ Norah

…“You do have an author,” he whispered. “He’s there, working for your good.” ~ Quincy

I think I identified most with the housekeeper, Mrs. Dover. She has seen enough of life to give some very sage advice to both Quincy and Norah.

Highly recommended, especially for readers of Kim Vogel Sawyer.

I found the story wonderfully unpredictable. So many heart-wrenching moments, where I wanted to grab up a character and hug them, or yell at them to make a different choice. (It didn’t work.)

I received a copy of the book from Revell through LibraryThing Early Reviewers, plus I purchased my own ebook. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“The dark is easier to cure than other fears.”

“…if you add light, the dark dies.”

“I’m afraid of coming close to happiness, only to lose it again.

“Trust is a finicky thing.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! A Heart-wrenching, Unpredictable Prairie Romance

About the Author

Rachel Fordham has long been fascinated by all things historical or in the words of her children “old stuff”. Often the historical trivia she discovers is woven into her children’s bedtime tales. Despite her love for good stories she didn’t attempt writing a novel until her husband challenged her to do so (and now she’s so glad he did). Since that time she’s often been found typing or researching while her youngest child naps or frantically writing plot twists while she waits in the school pick-up line. In addition to her passion for storytelling she enjoys reading, being outdoors and seeing new places. Rachel lives with her husband and children on an island in Washington state.

Learn more about Rachel’s current projects at rachelfordham.com

BLOG, Kindle, Purchase, Revell

Among the Innocent by Mary Alford Review

About the Book

Title: Among the Innocent

Author: Mary Alford

Publisher: Revell

Released: June, 2022

When Leah Miller’s entire Amish family was murdered ten years ago, the person believed responsible took his own life. Since then, Leah left the Amish and joined the police force. Now, after another Amish woman is found murdered with the same MO, it becomes clear that the wrong man may have been blamed for her family’s deaths.

As Leah and the new police chief, Dalton Cooper, work long hours struggling to fit the pieces together in order to catch the killer, they can’t help but grow closer. When secrets from both of their pasts begin to surface, an unexpected connection between them is revealed. But this is only the beginning. Could it be that the former police chief framed an innocent man to keep the biggest secret of all buried? And what will it mean for Leah–and Dalton–when the full truth comes to light?

USA Today bestselling author Mary Alford keeps you guessing as two determined souls plumb the dark depths of the past in order to forge a brighter future–together.

My Impressions

“The inevitable showdown coming had been a decade in the making. When it was over, would any of them be left standing?”

This quote. It indicates the enormous level of suspense created and maintained throughout novel. I felt the need to check my blood pressure after reading Among the Innocent by Mary Alford, to make sure it was not abnormally high!! This particular novel is a little darker than most I choose to read, but it is oh, so well done!

I did identify with Leah more than I would like at some points. “She’d lost her family to a killer—probably Ellis to the same man. Now she was slowly losing Marge to a different kind of killer.” The killer that stalks Marge is all too prevalent, and so many families must deal with that threat. I loved how that thread strengthens the story.

Sigh. Dalton is swoony dreamboat who might be perfect, but for his secrets. Full of faith despite a rough past, he is protective of Leah, kind, sensitive, and quite the looker. Will he and Leah be able to work together to keep tragedy away from the Amish community, or will they become part of the region’s mounting calamities?

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

Notable Quotables:

“Let it go. The past is written and done, but you’re not.”

He was back. John was back.

“…he wanted to beg her to trust him. Yet how could he ask for trust when he had his own secrets?”

“It’s going to be okay.” And it would, because he’d make sure of it. Yet to get to okay, they’d have to go through a whole lot of bad.

“Her heart kicked out an unsteady beat at his protectiveness. Something about him made her wish for a second that she could be normal.”

“The mountains were black shapes in the distance, but they were always there. Just as God was. Even in the darkest moments when it was hard to feel his presence.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent! A thriller-chiller of the first degree!

About the Author

Mary Alford is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels. Her books have been finalists in the Selah Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and the HOLT Medallion Contest. As a writer, Mary is an avid reader. She loves to cook and can’t face the day with-out coffee. She and her husband live in the heart of Texas in the middle of 70 acres with two very spoiled cats and one adorable rescue dog. Mary is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook and Twitter or any social platforms listed at http://www.maryalford.net.

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, New-to-Me Author

Season of My Enemy by Naomi Musch Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Season of My Enemy

Author: Naomi Musch

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical Fiction / Romance

Release date: June 1, 2022

“Get Your Farm in the Fight” – The Realities of WWII Come to a Wisconsin Farm

Only last year, Fannie O’Brien was considered a beauty with a brain, and her future shone bright, despite the war pounding Europe. With her father’s sudden death and her brothers overseas, Fannie must now do the work of three men on their 200-acre farm—until eight German prisoners arrive and, just as Fannie feared, trouble comes too. Someone seems intent on causing “accidents,” and Fannie is certain the culprit is one of the two handsome older Germans—or possibly both. Can she manage the farm, keep the prisoners in line, and hold her family together through these turbulent times?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“vIctory BegIns on the Farm! overalls are your unIForm!”

“They are my enemies, no matter how many courtesies we share or how hard they work. I must never forget it.”

Wow!! I had never read anything by Naomi Musch before Season of My Enemy, but what a powerful book that tells of some of the unknown history of the home front during WWII. Part of Barbour’s Heroines of WWII series, Musch tells of a Wisconsin farm family, whose father has died and oldest brothers are serving in Europe. Unable to keep the farm running on their own, the O’Brien family is forced to ask for workers from the local German PW(prisoner of war) camp to help with the harvest.

Most of us are quite familiar with “love your neighbor,” and “treat others the way you want to be treated,” but Musch forces us to place ourselves in each family member’s shoes: the mother, Fannie, Jerry, Patsy, and others. How would we react to being dependent on the enemy? Could we trust them? Could we see the PWs as individuals, caught up in something bigger than themselves, or would we, like Fannie, endeavor to hold on to hatred and prejudice?

I loved the reality of the family’s struggle. Just as I would think they all overcoming their fears, events or people would influence them to hold onto their deep bitterness.

I also loved the mom’s path of cobblestones. What a wonderful idea!!

If you like a strong, well-told story of those left behind at home in WWII, you will enjoy this story of uncovered history, faith, slight romance, and intrigue!

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

Notable Quotables:

“We are not involved in a war of ideals. It is a war of hatred.”

“Pray for me, Jerry. I want to believe the best—concerning most of them anyway. They seem like us. Just men stuck in a bad situation.”

“Showing kindness might be the best way to keep them all safe.”

“I pray for all of them. I pray for peace.” “That’s how you manage, isn’t it?”

“Such hatred is a poison, and there is nothing about it that can be understood…” “Only God can change the heart of man.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! I loved this historical fiction by a new-to-me author that taught me Truth and history!! Naomi Musch has been added to my Must-Reads!!

About the Author

Naomi Musch is an award-winning author who writes from a deer farm in the pristine north woods of Wisconsin, where she and husband Jeff live as epically as God allows near the families of their five adult children. When not in the physical act of writing or spending time loving on her passel of grandchildren, she can be found plotting stories as she roams around the farm, snacks out of the garden, and relaxes in her vintage camper. Naomi is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Wisconsin Writers’ Association, and the Lake Superior Writers. She loves engaging with others and can be found all around social media or at her site naomimusch.com

More from Naomi

Welcome to my wilderness – that’s what it says when you pop onto my website, because so many of my books take place in rural and wilderness settings. That’s where my heart lives too. Therefore, when I decided to write a World War II story, I gravitated to the home front, to rural America, where living out the war years meant a different kind of survival.

Before this story idea came to me, I knew that prisoners of war had been held in America during part of the war years. There are a number of other wonderful WWII novels out there set in North America involving POWs, and I adore the 2005 movie Sweet Land. Yet, until looking further, I hadn’t realized that so many German soldiers were held right here in my home state of Wisconsin! In fact, thousands of prisoners were sent to work in our country’s canning factories and on our farms. How could I have grown up and never been told that there had once been a POW camp right in my home town?

In fact, there were 38 such “branch camps” just in Wisconsin alone—camps that housed workers specifically for contracting work on farms and in canneries. Workers were contracted by farmers with the army and sent to labor in the cranberry bogs, cherry orchards, apple orchards; to farms picking beans, peas, corn, and to tend the other crops. By international treaty, prisoners had to be paid for their work, so they were allowed to earn scrip in the equivalent of 80 cents per day which they could spend in camp canteens on personal items.

Bingo! There was the seed that burst through the soil of my imagination for my novel Season of My Enemy.

My heroine Fanny O’Brien is a Wisconsin farm girl who left state teacher’s college to manage her family’s farm during the war. She never imagined herself coordinating the work of eight German prisoners in the process—or what the outcome of that task would be.

I believe a great story has to reveal strong yet subtle themes in order for the characters and their plight to feel real. In Season of My Enemy, Fannie uncovers a lot of prejudice both in her own heart and as her eyes are opened to the broader sphere around her. There are all kinds of prejudice in the world, and some of it revealed in this story may surprise you. In fact, my editor and several other authors of WWII fiction who read the book all said, “I didn’t know that!” (I won’t tell you what they were referring to, because you know…spoilers.)

Season of My Enemy isn’t all about history of course. It’s a heartfelt story of a man and woman who slowly yield their hearts to love amidst unpredictable times and unusual circumstances. They begin as enemies who finally look beyond their prejudices to find they have more in common than they first thought. To overcome terrific odds, they must depend upon their faith and rest in a powerful hope that touches their own lives as well as the lives of others surrounding them.

I hope you’ll read Season of My Enemy, and be sure and pop me a note to tell me what you think!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, June 28

Blossoms and Blessings, June 28

Inklings and notions, June 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 30

For Him and My Family, July 1

Remembrancy, July 2

Pause for Tales, July 2

deb’s Book Review, July 3

Book Looks by Lisa, July 4

Mary Hake, July 4

Betti Mace, July 5

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 7

Connie’s History Classroom, July 8

Books, Books, and More Books, July 8

Bizwings Blog, July 9

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 10

Labor Not in Vain, July 10

lakesidelivingsite, July 11

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Naomi is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback 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/1f45e/season-of-my-enemy-celebration-tour-giveaway

Bethany House, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, NetGalley

In Honor’s Defense by Karen Witemeyer Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: In Honor’s Defense

Author: Karen Witemeyer

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: June 7, 2022

Luke Davenport has been fighting all his life–for respect, for country, and for those unable to fight for themselves. But now that his Horsemen brothers are domesticated, he’s left alone to battle the wildness within. When an opportunity arises to take a job on his own, tracking down a group of rustlers, he jumps at the chance.

Damaris Baxter has mastered the art of invisibility. Plain and quiet, she hides in books and needlework, content to be overlooked. Until her brother dies suddenly, leaving her custody of her nephew. She moves to Texas to care for Nathaniel, determined to create the family for herself that she never thought she’d have and to give him the family he desperately needs.

When Nate finds himself knee-deep in trouble, Luke’s attempt to protect him leaves Damaris feeling indebted to the Horseman. But suspicions grow regarding the mysterious death of Damaris’s brother. And the more questions they ask, the more danger appears, threatening the family Luke may be unable to live without.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Horsemen stand together.”

In Honor’s Defense, #3 Hanger’s Horsemen, by Karen Witemeyer is the story of the fourth and final Horseman. I enjoyed the first but didn’t get a chance to read the second. This book can be read as a standalone, but you will appreciate the relationships and characters so much more, if you read the other two first.

I enjoyed the easy reading style, coupled with the romance, historical western setting, and suspense all wrapped up into one unputdownable package. Witemeyer uses humor to help drive her thoughts home and make her characters relatable and memorable. “She’d persevere, even if the thought of asserting herself among strangers delighted her as much as the prospect of being dragged behind a horse. By her hair. Through a bed of cacti.” How fun this book is!

Prayers, verses, and thoughts on spiritual matters as relates to a character’s development are smoothly woven into the story. I love the verses Witemeyer chooses to include in the story and how very apropos each one is to the situation. And how appropriate the book about “the Preach” would contain numerous Scripture references!

Damaris Baxter and Luke Davenport are two people who are polar opposites, yet life and God throw them together. Damaris has always been overlooked, but Luke’s attention and example help her develop from a wallflower into a formidable force, “Texas Damaris.” I love that kind of influence!

Luke first meets Damaris and her nephew, Nate, when he agrees to locate missing cattle for a neighboring rancher. Luke is attracted to the little struggling family who possesses a sense of home he never had. Can Luke and Damaris work together to rescue not only the ranch, but her nephew’s wayward heart? And what of their own lonely hearts?

Those who like historical fiction, a bit of a mystery, and westerns, will want to read this novel. Also, those interested in troubled youth, and the difference mercy and love can make in lives will find this book a treasure.

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

Notable Quotables:

“To be chosen for herself—it was the secret desire of her heart. To be important to someone. More than a glorified servant who fetched and carried and entertained at her aunt’s whim. To be wanted truly for herself. Seen instead of invisible. Valued instead of tolerated.”

“A good boss knew his men, but no man knew another completely. Everyone had secrets.”

“Strange that she should feel more valued and cherished in the middle of an armed standoff than in the middle of her family.”

“The longer the anger lives in you, the more it erodes your soul and destroys your relationships. If you’re not careful, one day it’ll hollow you out and leave you with nothing.”

“sugarcoating danger only left a person ill-equipped to respond when it came calling.”

“Unfortunately, the law isn’t always about what is true. It’s about what you can get a judge and jury to believe is true.”

“Contentment isn’t chained to a certain set of circumstances, Luke. It’s portable. You can take it with you wherever you go.”

“…it’s that there are always more options than you see at first glance. You just might have to get a little creative in where you look for them.”

“It don’t matter how dark things look or how big your opponent is. If you believe you can win, you’re already halfway to victory.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! A great conclusion to the Horsemen Series!!

About the Author

For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Voted #1 Readers’ Favorite Christian Romance Author in 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, Karen is a multiple award-winning author and a firm believer in the power of happy endings. She is an avid cross-stitcher, tea drinker, and gospel hymn singer who makes her home in Abilene, TX with her heroic husband who vanquishes laundry dragons and dirty dish villains whenever she’s on deadline.

More from Karen

Meet Luke and Damaris

As the Hanger’s Horsemen series comes to a close, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Luke Davenport and Damaris Baxter. If you haven’t read the other books in this series, don’t worry. This one stands on its own just fine.

Luke

Luke Davenport is a former cavalry officer who is part of an elite squad of men known as Hanger’s Horsemen. Haunted by the horrors of war, this group of Texas legends has spent the last few years fighting for justice on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves. Luke is Matthew Hanger’s right-hand man, but when Matt retires the Horsemen in favor of a more settled life with his new wife, Luke is left feeling adrift. So when a solo job comes his way to track down rustled cattle, he jumps at the opportunity.

Known for his strength, his size, and his skill with his fists, I modeled Luke after a pair of football players, Howie Long and JJ Watt. He’s a man of action with a bit of wildness inside, yet his ability to memorize Scripture earned him the nickname Preach. He’s a godly man with scars, seeking to find his place as his Horsemen brothers move on to new phases of life.

 Damaris 

Damaris Baxter has been invisible her entire life. Plain of face and quiet of manner, she it’s the epitome of unremarkable. While she dares heroic feats and grand adventures between the covers of her favorite books, life outside the pages consists of little more than needlework and dull conversation with her great aunt. Until her brother dies under suspicious circumstances and she travels to Texas to care for her nephew. Determined that the “Texas Damaris” will be bolder and braver than her former self, she sets out to win the heart of a grieving boy and ends up mixed up in a dangerous murder plot with a handsome cowboy who actually sees her.

When creating Damaris’s character, I gave her two of my favorite hobbies—reading and cross-stitching. She shares other similarities with me as well. She’s a quiet person who dislikes making waves, but when family needs her, there’s nothing she won’t do to help. Her questionable baking skills might also have found some inspiration in my personal experience. Just ask my husband about my famous transparent chocolate chip cookies. 

Opposites Attract?

I love to explore what brings people together, and while it’s a common idea that opposites attract, I’ve always believed that there must be some core commonalities beneath the differences to bind a couple together for a lifetime. So, while Luke and Damaris seem to be stark opposites—he an adventure-seeking soldier used to solving problems with guns and fists; she a quiet, proper lady used to escaping problems with books and needlework—they actually have several core commonalities. They both crave belonging and family, they both value God’s Word, and they both have a strong, protective instinct toward those they care about. This core common ground is what serves as the foundation for their relationship.

Now that you’ve been introduced to Luke and Damaris, I hope you’ll join them on the adventure that leads them to love.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 27

Book Looks by Lisa, June 27

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 27

Bliss, Books & Jewels, June 28

Daysong Reflections, June 28

For Him and My Family, June 29

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 29

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 30

Pause for Tales, June 30

lakesidelivingsite, June 30

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, July 1

Sylvan Musings, July 1

deb’s Book Review, July 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 2

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, July 2

Babbling BeckyL’s Book Impressions, July 3

Bizwings Blog, July 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 4 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, July 4

Inklings and notions, July 5

Simple Harvest Reads, July 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Connie’s History Classroom, July 6

SodbusterLiving, July 6

Texas Book-aholic, July 7

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 7

Through the Fire Blogs, July 7

Splashes of Joy, July 8

Melissa’s Bookshelf, July 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away a Hanger’s Horsemen prize bundle consisting of autographed copies of all three books in the series, a custom mug, and Horsemen swag!! (U.S. Only)

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/1f45c/in-honor-s-defense-celebration-tour-giveaway