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

Anything but Plain by Suzanne Woods Fisher Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Anything But Plain

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Amish fiction

Release date: October 4, 2022

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

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

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

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notable Quotables:

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

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

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

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Fisher’s Best Yet!!

About the Author

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

More from Suzanne

Easily Distracted? 8 Strategies to Help Stay Focused 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 7

She Lives To Read, October 8

The Write Escape, October 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 9

Vicky Sluiter, October 9

lakesidelivingsite, October 10

Texas Book-aholic, October 10

Lighthouse-Academy, October 11

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

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 12

Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 12

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 13

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14

Blogging With Carol, October 14

Elly Gilbert, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 15

For Him and My Family, October 15

Holly’s Book Corner, October 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 16

Splashes of Joy, October 16

Empowermoms, October 17

SusanLovesBooks, October 17

Mary Hake, October 17

Bigreadersite, October 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 18

Blossoms and Blessings, October 18

Cats in the Cradle Blog, October 19

Pause for Tales, October 19

Spoken from the Heart, October 19

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 20

Cover Lover Book Review, October 20

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 20

Giveaway

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

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

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

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, NetGalley

Escape to Amsterdam by Lauralie Bliss Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Escape from Amsterdam

Author: Lauralee Bliss

Genre: Christian Fiction/ Historical / Romance / Intrigue

Release date: September 1, 2022

A University Student Smuggles Children Out of Amsterdam

Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.

Helen Smit believed she was called by God to become a teacher. Little does she know that her care for kids will take a drastic turn for survival when the Germans occupy Amsterdam and Jewish children and parents begin to be deported. Now all she can think of is helping all the kids escape before it’s too late.

Erik Misman’s newfound love for Helen is tested when he joins a plot to help move Jewish children to a safe place in the countryside. If danger can foster a closer bond with Helen and save the lives of the little ones, he will do it all. But a German patrol that stumbles upon the farm where they are hiding with three children and a soldier who takes an unexpected interest in Helen, could well destroy their plans for safety and love.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“The Germans had done more than just invade Poland. They were invading everyday lives and relationships, bringing fear and uncertainty.” This novel, the seventh of the Heroines of WWII, and written by Loralee Bliss, was difficult for me to read. In Escape to Amsterdam, Bliss writes with an easy-to-read style, but the fear and uncertainty mentioned above are so real that I could hardly bear the emotional pain.

We see Helen Smit, a teacher, and Erik Minger, a grocery store worker, take on the challenge of their lives as they ponder what it means to follow the advice of a new friend, Mr. Visser. “We must care for each other as God would have it. There is no greater calling on earth.”

How will this affect their lives? Occupied Holland comes to life with its stifling oppression, great deprivation, and horrible injustices.

So why am I recommending this novel? “ Those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it.” This novel made me feel like there are many parallels to our world today. We have to choose if we will stand up and support what is right, or if we will be silent and slowly let evil overcome.

Another overarching theme: we are stronger working together, and we need to help everyone. Bliss presents the strong Christian message of trusting God when the worst is happening.

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

Notable Quotables:

“Jesus was also tested and that He sympathized with struggle. He was looking down at them—especially those caught in a deep pit either of their own making or by others, and praying over them in love.”

“One can’t live in peace under tyranny.”

“Live life one day at a time, filled with the unexpected—both the easy and the difficult.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! WWII Novel for Our Times

About the Author

Lauralee Bliss is a published author of many romance novels and novellas, both historical and contemporary. Lauralee’s prayer is that readers will come away with both an entertaining story and a lesson that speaks to the heart and soul. When not writing, Lauralee can often be found on the trails where the author has logged over 10,000 miles of hiking. She makes her home in the Blue Ridge mountains with her family. Visit Lauraleebliss.com for more information about the author and her adventures.

More from Lauralee Bliss

Oh, the simple beauty of the Netherlands. Windmills. Tulips. Dutch wooden clogs. Beautiful Delftware and delicious speculaas cookies. Quaint villages nestled beside the waters. And here I am, an American that was able to visit this beautiful country on the heels of my husband winning a contest through his work. We had planned to immerse ourselves in Dutch culture, see the sites, and yes, visit places like the Secret Annex of Anne Frank and the town where Corrie ten Boom and The Hiding Place existed. Little did I realize though that this unique trip would become a journey into the heart of a hurting country in World War II. During our time there, we visited the Jewish Quarter in the center of Amsterdam and learned the details of Nazi occupation for many years that eventually caused two-thirds of the Dutch Jewish population to be exterminated. Walking in the place where a theater once stood and Jewish people gathered there to be deported was indescribable. Seeing the Jewish stars embedded in the pavement and noting the name of a man or woman killed at Auschwitz, was heart-wrenching. But through these horrendous details came the strength of courage and heroism. Across the street from the theater, Jewish children were rescued because of the efforts of those who gave everything to see them go into hiding. Thus the book, “Escape from Amsterdam” was born. It honors those that aided and hid Jewish children from the Nazis to avoid deportation. I am grateful for the opportunity to write this story of two common Dutch people, a college student and a grocery store clerk, called to a dangerous mission to save the innocent when the odds were the greatest. It is a timely book that magnifies the strength of courage in adversity and allows us to become better people because of it. I hope you enjoy this journey and as you do, remember those who came before us and allow their acts of courage to encourage you to persevere, no matter what.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 29

The Write Escape, September 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 30

Inklings and notions, September 30

deb’s Book Review, October 1

Holly’s Book Corner, October 1

Texas Book-aholic, October 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 3

Mary Hake, October 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 4

Through the Fire Blogs, October 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 5

Cover Lover Book Review, October 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 6

Labor Not in Vain, October 6

Connie’s History Classroom, October 7

Betti Mace, October 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 8

Remembrancy, October 8

For Him and My Family, October 9

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, October 9

lakesidelivingsite, October 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 10

Splashes of Joy, October 11

Lights in a Dark World, October 11

Blossoms and Blessings, October 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lauralee is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/2224b/escape-from-amsterdam-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

The Bride of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Bride of Blackfriars Lane

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Christian/Romance/Historical

Release date: September, 2022

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

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

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

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

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

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

Notable Quotables:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words once spoken cannot be unheard.”

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

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

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

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

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

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

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

More from Michelle

A Visit to Borough Market

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

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

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

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

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 27

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 27

Life of Literature, September 27

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 27

Texas Book-aholic, September 28

Book Looks by Lisa, September 28

Bigreadersite, September 28

Betti Mace, September 29

Genesis 5020, September 29

Remembrancy, September 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 30

Christina’s Corner, September 30

A Baker’s Perspective, September 30

She Lives to Read, October 1

Inklings and notions, October 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 1

For Him and My Family, October 2

Blogging With Carol, October 2

Daysong Reflections, October 2

Hallie Reads, October 2

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

Where Faith and Books Meet, October 3

deb’s Book Review, October 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 4

Holly’s Book Corner, October 4

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 5

Bizwings Blog, October 5

Back Porch Reads, October 5

Connie’s History Classroom, October 6

Books I’ve Read, October 6

Blossoms and Blessings, October 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 7

Splashes of Joy, October 7

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

The Write Escape, October 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 8

Vicky Sluiter, October 8

Through the Fire Blogs, October 8

Pause for Tales, October 9

Cover Lover Book Review, October 9

Labor Not in Vain, October 9

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

Melissa’s Bookshelf, October 10

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 10

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, October 10

Giveaway

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

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

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

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

A Gem of Truth by Kimberley Woodhouse Review

About the Book

Title: A Gem of Truth

Series: Secrets of the Canyon, #2

Author: Kimberley Woodhouse

Publisher: Bethany House

Genre: Historical Romance, Christian Mystery/Suspense

Released: September 2022

Length: 320 pp

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

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

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

My Impressions

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

Harvey Girl Uniform

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notable Quotables:

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

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

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

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

About the Author

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

www.kimberleywoodhouse.com

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

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

As Silent as the Night by Danielle Grandinetti Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: As Silent as the Night

Author: Danielle Grandinetti

Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense

Release date: September 13, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

About the Author

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

More from Danielle

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buon Natale.

Merry Christmas.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 13

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

The Sacred Line, September 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 15

Inklings and notions, September 16

For Him and My Family, September 17

deb’s Book Review, September 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 19

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 20

Inkwell Inspirations, September 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 21

Connie’s History Classroom, September 22

Betti Mace, September 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 24

Holly’s Book Corner, September 24

Labor Not in Vain, September 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 26

Giveaway

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

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

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

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Purchase

Mabel Goes to the Dogs by Susan Kimmel Wright Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Mabel Goes to the Dogs

Author: Susan Kimmel Wright

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release date: June 5, 2022

Mabel plans to bring the thrills of volunteering to the masses—if she doesn’t go to the dogs first.

When Mabel finds herself sharing a thicket with a dead body while volunteering with canine search-&-rescue, her life has clearly—once again—gone to the dogs!

After her losing her job at age forty-nine, Mabel thought she’d turned things around. Now she’s doing good by volunteering, and surely, she’ll soon be a successful author, writing about her experiences. After solving two notorious decades-old cold cases while serving as a historical society volunteer, she’s already getting invitations to appear on TV.

Her new assignment couldn’t be simpler. All she has to do is hide in the woods and let Millie the search dog practice finding her. But to her horror, Millie finds more than Mabel—there’s a dead body hiding in the same patch of brush. To make things worse, Mabel’s maybe-boyfriend, suspended PI John Bigelow, has a dark history with the victim.

While struggling with maid-of-honor duties for best friend Lisa, a string of disasters created by handyman Acey, and a disagreeable new neighbor, can Mabel solve another murder in time to save John’s detective license—if not his neck?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“She’d become a successful writer-to-be.”

This line just cracks me up!!

If you like clean cozies and laughing a lot, Mabel Goes to the Dogs by Susan Kimmel Wright should be on your must-get list. I prepared for this book by reading the two that came before it, and I wasn’t sorry. There is a chronological progression to the books that will be more enjoyable if they are read in order. They are all fast reads, but far from silent! I felt so bad for my husband in the same room as I burst out in laughter so many times while reading.

One reason this book appealed to me is that Mabel is an older sleuth, pushing 50 when the series starts. She isn’t stick-thin, isn’t beautiful, and has just been fired from her career job. She likes to exaggerate freely, about her wanna-be careers as either an author or a volunteer. Mabel talks about her forthcoming book in a tv interview. Unfortunately, “Mabel knew “next book” was a slight stretch. The only other “book” she’d ever written was a biographical booklet for the historical society.” Mabel is rather hapless and hopeless as a heroine, and somehow that makes her very relatable!

John, the love interest, is an enigma, waiting to be unraveled. Why doesn’t he have his PI license anymore? Why does he share so little of himself? And, in this book, you may wonder what his real motives are, and why he is putting moves on Mabel instead of staying with the beautiful ex-girlfriend we meet.

Acey is the hired handyman who is anything but. He sure brings his share of the laughs at poor Mabel’s expense!

Animal lovers will rejoice to see more of Barnacle, Mabel’s lumbering dog that lives up to his name, and her snooty cat Koi, as well as John’s cat, one to beware of.

Plus a search and rescue team is involved in this novel, so more delight for canine lovers.

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

My Rating

⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great!! I’m anxious for Mabel’s next volunteer stint!!

About the Author

Susan Kimmel Wright is a child of the Appalachian Mountains. A former lawyer, Susan has published three children’s mystery novels and is a prolific contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Mabel Goes to the Dogs, Book Two in Mysteries of Medicine Spring, her first cozy mystery series for adult readers, is now available from Mountain Brook Ink. Susan shares an 1875 farmhouse in southwestern PA with her husband, several dogs and cats, and an allegedly excessive stockpile of coffee and tea mugs.

More from Susan

A bit about Mabel and how she got herself into this situation…

One of the great joys of writing this series has been the wonderful reaction my main character Mabel has gotten from so many readers. Typical comments are: “I love how quirky and imperfect Mabel is…Mabel is a fun character with a big heart who has the best of intentions.” (I also hear “hilarious” a lot… 😉)

Mabel is fifty, and her entire life has just unceremoniously changed. For the past twenty-three years, she’s had a job as a low-level attorney in a law firm. Boring, yes, but every day, she knew where she was going, what she was doing, and when and how much she was going to get paid. But suddenly, she gets the ax, and her old life is over. Blessed with a severance package from her former employer, as well as an inheritance from her grandma (also named Mabel) that includes a cluttered Victorian house in the town of Medicine Spring, Mabel resolves to reinvent herself. She will do good by volunteering while building a glamorous new career as a writer.

Many readers have told me they see themselves in Mabel. As one reviewer said, “She’s a bundle of insecurities ironclad in over self-confidence and I can relate to that!” And I guess I do too!  While Mabel is certainly a product of my imagination, she also reflects a bit of me. I left my job as a lawyer after about twenty years too (though I didn’t “get the ax!). I also live in a somewhat ramshackle Victorian farmhouse with a bunch of animals, and I see many of Mabel’s insecurities in myself. (Not to mention Mabel’s love of food—writing about Mabel’s diet gives me the opportunity to indulge in all the yummy things I try to limit in real life!)

Of course, nothing goes according to Mabel’s master plan. Mabel knows little about writing, her new old house is stuffed to the rafters with her grandma’s accumulations and comes with a hostile neighbor bent on continuing a decades’ old feud, and her first volunteer endeavor comes complete with a dead body. On the plus side, Mabel and her cat Koi acquire a new family member—Grandma Mabel’s big dog Barnacle, and Mabel seems also to have acquired a possible boyfriend, suspended PI John Bigelow.

By the time we run into Mabel in Mabel Goes to the Dogs, she has stumbled through two homicide investigations and also discovered the solution to an eighty-year-old cold case—the ax murder of a father and son in a neighboring historic house. This has gotten her an invitation to appear on a local morning TV show—and little else. Then Mabel undertakes a new volunteer assignment, helping train search-and-rescue dogs. The discovery of yet another body makes her wonder if she’s somehow bringing this on herself. Boyfriend John assures her, “You’re not causing dead bodies with the power of your mind, you goof.” Mabel isn’t so sure. Nobody else seems to be having this problem.

At least, life is now far from boring in the village of Medicine Spring…

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 8

Lily’s Book Reviews, September 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 10

Inklings and notions, September 11

Texas Book-aholic, September 12

Pause for Tales, September 13

deb’s Book Review, September 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 15

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 18

Blogging With Carol, September 19

For Him and My Family, September 20

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 21 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, September 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of Mabel Goes to the Dogs!!

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/2159b/mabel-goes-to-the-dogs-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Love Inspired Suspense

Twin Murder Mix-Up by Sami Abrams Review and Giveaway

About the Book

About the Book

Book: Twin Murder Mix-Up

Author: Sami A. Abrams

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: August 23, 2022

A case of mistaken identity…

has lethal results

After capturing a murder on her camera, photographer Amy Baker becomes the next target—but her identical twin is killed instead. Now on the run with her sister’s newborn, Amy has only one person to turn to—Detective Keith Young, her childhood crush. But when they discover Keith is the baby’s father, can he regain Amy’s trust to keep them safe…before the killer strikes again?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“…could she let go of her pride and hurt, and let him into her heart?”

Twin Murder Mix-Up is the second book I’ve read by Sami Abrams. I enjoyed this one as much as the first and am adding Abrams to my list of go-to authors for exciting, non-gruesome, romantic suspense.

In the wrong place at the wrong time, Amy Baker witnesses a murder. Trying to eliminate her, the murderer mistakenly kills Amy’s identical twin. When childhood friend Keith Young originally refuses to help, then reluctantly gets involved, can the two get past their own issues and the past itself?

One bad choice leads to another, until Keith cannot face himself or his former best friend. It doesn’t help that Amy’s attitude can be toxic. “if her jabs were firebombs, he’d be burned to a crisp.” I think Keith is very courageous to take on Amy’s protection, when he knows he will likely get burned. I wanted to judge Keith for being so slow to come clean with Amy and for not responding to her for so long. But honestly, Abrams nailed human nature here. Unfortunately, Keith doesn’t realize his biggest roadblock to his relationship with Amy is himself.

Amy has her own issues. Besides the past, she cannot get over her own well-hidden inferiority complex. This type of mental block can sabotage a relationship all by itself, no help needed from other sources! Needless to say, I found Abrams’s characters very realistic.

My fave character? This would have to be Keith’s dad, Ian, if we don’t count the baby. Ian possesses a quiet confidence and an ability to confront truthfully without being abrasive. While he is Keith’s dad, he is also able to be a great surrogate dad for Amy, yet without coming between the two.

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

Notable Quotables:

“Regret wrapped around him like a blanket.”

She might be angry at Keith, but there was no one she wanted more to keep them safe. If only she could fully trust him.

“He had to trust those around him and, ultimately, God to safeguard Amy.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent! Sami Abrams is a name I look for in Romantic Suspense.

About the Author

Sami A. Abrams lives in Northern California, but she’ll always be a Kansas girl at heart. She loves to travel and watch sports. However, most evenings, you’ll find her engrossed in a romantic suspense novel. She thinks a crime plus a little romance is the recipe for a great story.

More from Sami

#Authorproblems   That’s what the excitement around Keith Young was…a problem—Kinda. Lol!

When I started to hear requests for his story, I panicked. Authors don’t want to disappoint their readers. And being new to the published scene…Well, you get the picture. 😊

After the release of Buried Cold Case Secrets, many readers told me they wanted Keith’s story. In fact, the overwhelming response puzzled me. What had I done to create such a buzz about Jason’s partner? And of course, I had to ask why?

The general answer I received…Keith’s a nice guy and the perfect partner.

I have to admit, I got a little nervous since I had already written his story. And I worried if I’d done his character justice?

However, after writing Buried Cold Case Secrets, I knew Keith had to have his own story. He’s such a great guy and needed his happily ever after. So, I dove in and asked, what would happen if he made a huge mistake? Not just a physical one, but a heart one.

By the time I finished, I loved seeing Keith and Amy move past their poor choices and hurt to find acceptance and love. The perfect ending to Keith’s struggles.

All that to say, I hope you love Keith and Amy’s story as much as I do.  #TeamKeith

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 27

Bizwings Blog, August 27

The Avid Reader, August 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 28

Christina’s Corner, August 28

Genesis 5020, August 29

Texas Book-aholic, August 29

Inklings and notions, August 30

Through the Fire Blogs, August 30

EmpowerMoms, August 30

Betti Mace, August 31

deb’s Book Review, August 31

For Him and My Family, September 1

Pause for Tales, September 1

The Sacred Line, September 1

She Lives To Read, September 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 3

Britt Reads Fiction, September 3

For the Love of Literature, September 4

Lights in a Dark World, September 4

Paula’s Persuasion, September 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 5

Book Looks by Lisa, September 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 6

Vicarious Living , September 6

Mary Hake, September 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 7

Bigreadersite , September 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 8

Blogging With Carol, September 8

Simple Harvest Reads, September 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Labor Not in Vain, September 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sami is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon card and signed copy of Twin Murder Mix-Up (US only) or eBook for outside the US!!

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/210ca/twin-murder-mix-up-celebration-tour-giveaway

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, NetGalley

Laura’s Shadow by Allison Pittman Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Laura’s Shadow

Author: Allison Pittman

Genre: Christian/Historical/Romance

Release date: August 1, 2022

Family Secrets Spill One Conversation at a Time

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

De Smet, South Dakota—1890 
Young women growing up in DeSmet live by two rules: don’t go out in a snowstorm and don’t give your heart to Cap Garland. Young Mariah Patterson only managed to obey one. Orphaned and having devoted her youth to scrapping out a life with her brother Charles, Mariah finds herself with no interesting suitors or means of support. Throwing caution to the wind, she seizes an opportunity to lay her feelings at Cap’s feet, even though she knows Cap sees the world through the torch he carries for Laura Ingalls. Mariah is certain her love for Cap will be strong enough to break both bonds, and she’s willing to risk everything to prove it.

De Smet, South Dakota—1974 
Trixie Gowan is the fourth generation of living Gowan women residing in the sprawling farmhouse on the outskirts of De Smet. Well, former resident. She’s recently moved to Minneapolis, where she writes ads for a neighborhood paper edited by Ron Tumble. She might live and work in the city, but her co-workers still call her Prairie Girl. Thus the inspiration for her comic strip—“Lost Laura”—in which a bespectacled girl in a calico dress tries to make her way in the city. The name is a quiet rebellion having grown up in a household where she’d been forbidden to mention the name, Laura Ingalls. But when her great-grandmother Mariah’s declining health brings Trixie home for a visit, two things might just keep her there: the bedside manner of Dr. Campbell Carter and the family secret that seems to be spilling from GG’s lips one conversation at a time.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“I used to worry about you, our little Trixie. Growing up in this house. None of us set a very good example of how to be a wife or mother. Almost like each of us could do one but not the other.”

Allison Pittman tends to write books just a little grittier than I expect, not quite the happily-ever-after that I often want, but, oh, the impressions her books leave behind!

Laura’s Shadow by Pittman surprised me in a few ways. I had never imagined people NOT liking Laura Ingalls (except for Nellie Olsen, but does she count?) So this took me aback. Then, I had another issue to overcome. Usually, a main character or such a prominent one is positively portrayed, but I really did not like Mariah much. She was a very bitter woman, who gave up what she could have for something she knew was out of reach and bounds. That said, there are a lot of unlikable people in life. So, I really appreciated Mariah’s character. Her personality made this novel feel more like literature. Bold move, Ms. Pittman, bravo!

My heart just went out to each of these four women for different reasons. Each, except for Trixie, acted in such a way that I was sure I didn’t like her. Then, as Pittman reveals secrets and motivations one-by-one, like a slowly peeled onion, my feelings reversed. Perhaps that is why we are not to judge others. How can we really understand what they’ve been through, without knowing them deeply? Only God knows us that thoroughly.

I loved the romantic triangle. Another well-drawn sub-plot.

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

Notable Quotables:

“That was a bald lie, but it seemed the thing to say, and the relief that washed across his face justified the sin.”

“Was there sin? Yes, but sin can be forgiven. Shame you drag around with you.”

“Life was exercise. We never got to stop moving until we died.”

“I knew the living child would be a piece of God’s mercy I could hold in my hands. I felt his love in a way I would never feel Oscar’s. I swallowed his forgiveness along with my unshed tears.”

“She’d been living with a decades-old broken heart, and that heart had been broken by Cap Garland.”

“I don’t know how many tomorrows I have left.”

“There’s nobody at this table with a right to throw stones.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent! Memorable, Literary Vibes

About the Author

Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a four-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series, once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties and most recently for the critically acclaimed The Seamstress which takes a cameo character from the Dickens’ classic A Tale of Two Cities and flourishes her to life amidst the French Revolution. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website, allisonkpittman.com.

More from Allison

I can credit Laura Ingalls Wilder for just about every aspect of my identity. I’m a reader because I read her books over and over and over again, checking them out from my little elementary school library. I can still see them—last bookcase, bottom shelf. During the summer, I checked them out from the Bookmobile, and one magical Christmas, I received my own set. The well-worn, yellow paperbacks have a place of honor in my office: top shelf, center stage. It was amazing to my eight-year-old self that I could pick up Little House in the Big Woods, skip the dull parts, and jump straight to These Happy Golden Years in a single afternoon.

Looking at Laura’s writing now (as I often do), I realize I spent my childhood absorbing the art of telling a story. Her books masterfully string meaningful vignettes within an over-arching conflict. She creates stories-within-a-story-within-a-story whenever Pa launches into a tall tale, and minor characters come to life no matter how brief their appearance. (Aunt Docia, anyone?)

When I first came up with the concept of writing a story set in the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder, I knew I couldn’t bring Laura herself in as a character. There’s a sacredness to her story, and I wouldn’t dream of inserting myself into the cannon of her pages. But—I thought—surely she had peers who grew up alongside her, classmates who also hated Miss Wilder, young men who might have set their own cap for her, townsfolk who remembered the vibrant young woman with the button-brown eyes and dark curls. And then I pondered further: maybe there was another side to Laura—a side that she kept from the romanticized ideal skipping through the pages of her books. My first thought was to create a fictional De Smet town girl, but then…

In researching and reading Pioneer Girl, The Annotated Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, I came across a bit of information that brought the story to life for me. In These Happy Golden Years, Laura teaches her first class: five students, two families. And while the “Brewster” children are documented in other sources, the Harrison children are not. There are no census records, land deeds, or any official documents to support the identity of Charles and Martha as they are depicted in the novel. And so, it clicked. If Laura could fictionalize these people, well, then, so could I. Thus Martha Harrison was lifted from those pages, renamed Mariah, and given a new life and a new story in mine.

Writing Laura’s Shadow allowed me to indulge in a few favorite directions. First, I’m fascinated with the idea of extreme longevity (showcased in my novel All for a Song), and creating a character whose lifespan stretches from homesteading to disco was delightful. My Mariah chafes at the romanticized depiction of pioneer life, telling us in her old age that it was really more of a daily struggle for survival. I also enjoyed exploring the family dynamic of four generations of women and how each generation faced the  same battles and fought them so, so differently. Finally—and this is what truly speaks to my fourth-grade self…

You know that Elton John song, “Your Song” with the lyrics, “I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words…” Well, I got to put down in words my lifelong crush on Cap Garland. Sure, Almonzo is great and everything, but I always thought Cap was more exciting. More fun. More…more. Bringing him to life in this book set my old heart racing. My research for this novel took me to De Smet, and to his gravesite, where I spoke this story to his stone. I like to think he’d approve, and I hope all of the Laura fans will join me in this tale and let their imaginations run wild.

Blog Stops

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions , August 31

Texas Book-aholic, August 31

Genesis 5020, September 1

Inklings and notions, September 1

The Avid Reader, September 2

For Him and My Family, September 2

deb’s Book Review, September 3

Simple Harvest Reads, September 3 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 4

Blogging With Carol, September 4

Betti Mace, September 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 5

Blossoms and Blessings, September 6

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 6

lakesidelivingsite, September 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 7

Connie’s History Classroom, September 8

Mary Hake, September 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 9

Through the Fire Blogs, September 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 10

Bigreadersite, September 11

Pause for Tales, September 11

For the Love of Literature, September 12

Labor Not in Vain, September 12

Remembrancy, September 13

To Everything There Is A Season, September 13

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions , August 31

Texas Book-aholic, August 31

Genesis 5020, September 1

Inklings and notions, September 1

The Avid Reader, September 2

For Him and My Family, September 2

deb’s Book Review, September 3

Simple Harvest Reads, September 3 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 4

Blogging With Carol, September 4

Betti Mace, September 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 5

Blossoms and Blessings, September 6

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 6

lakesidelivingsite, September 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 7

Connie’s History Classroom, September 8

Mary Hake, September 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 9

Through the Fire Blogs, September 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 10

Bigreadersite, September 11

Pause for Tales, September 11

For the Love of Literature, September 12

Labor Not in Vain, September 12

Remembrancy, September 13

To Everything There Is A Season, September 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon E-gift card and a copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/210cb/laura-s-shadow-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Purchase

Legends of the Donut Shop by Terry Overton Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Legends of the Donut Shop

Author: Terry Overton

Genre: Fiction/Middle Grade YA

Release date: March 19, 2022

At seventeen years of age, Wes Williams is injured in a head-on collision and nearly loses his life. Wes does not know if he will live or die. In a mysterious near-death experience, he travels back in time to his earlier years and the time he spent with his grandfather and his old buddies at the Donut Shop. The humorous gang of old veterans, and one retired sheriff, retell their stories once again. This time, Wes understands the meaning of each story.

This is a book of second chances, life lessons, and forgiveness. Wes’s life is changed forever, and he begins a new chapter in his life.

This book was written for a group of actual Donut Shop friends who gathered weekly with my dad. I often went with him to hear the stories these people told. The men were all veterans. At the suggestion of one particular veteran, I wrote the book so that younger people, middle school age, YA, etc., could experience what these groups of guys are like and to appreciate U.S. history.

My dad had seen the cover of the book and a summary of what I was writing. He and my mom both died of Covid ten days before the book was published. He never got to read it. I was able to pass it out to the men from the local donut shop at Mom and Dad’s funeral on March 30th. I hope to pass these stories on, just like Dad wanted.

Legends of the Donut Shop earned 5 Star Reviews from Reader Views and Readers’ Favorites.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

How does a person remember something? Generally, because we attach great emotion to the event. The greater the emotion, the stronger the memory. So, Terry Overton has penned an emotional book, placing 17-year-old Wes Williams in a fight for his life, having flashbacks of important lessons learned with his grandfather and the grandfather’s contemporaries in a local donut shop. This is a book I will remember because of Wes’s emotional and physical struggles. But as I do, the life lessons presented by Grandpa will come alongside. While written for middle schoolers and YA, I believe anyone who enjoys history, values family, or values the spiritual lessons that Overton promotes, will enjoy this novel.

Along the way, I fell in love with the relationship that Grandpa and his friends have so purposely built into Wes. What a great way to show someone the way to live. Spending time, being such an example that others can’t help but want to emulate you!

Since the novel is experienced in the first person with Wes, I was quite eager to read on to find out whether he would live, regain his full abilities, or remain extremely frustrated by his circumstances.

I rather think the title is double-entendre. I love that!

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! The strong emotions evoked will surely help you remember the important life lessons! Good book for all ages, while written especially for YA.

About the Author

Terry Overton is a retired university professor of educational and school psychology. She has an Ed.D. in Special Education and a Ph.D. in Psychology. Her professional experience includes teaching public school, teaching at the university level, and being a college dean. She has two children and six grandchildren. Her writing and publication experiences include textbook and journal articles in the fields of special education and school psychology. She seeks to answer God’s call to share the good news and grow the church by writing Christian books and devotionals. Her book Both Sides of the Border is a Firebird Book Award, Bookfest Winner, America Writing Award, and International Book Award Finalist, for categories of Cross-Genre, Socio-Political Fiction, and Women’s Fiction. Her book, America of We the People was awarded the Firebird Book Award for Socio-Political and Political categories. She and her husband live in the southern tip of Texas where they enjoy semi-tropical weather and spending time with their friends and family.

More from Terry

This book was written for a group of actual Donut Shop friends who gathered weekly with my dad. I often went with him to hear the stories these people told. The men were all veterans. At the suggestion of one particular veteran, I wrote the book so that younger people, middle school age, YA, etc., could experience what these groups of guys are like and to appreciate U.S. history.

My dad had seen the cover of the book and a summary of what I was writing. He and my mom both died of Covid ten days before the book was published. He never got to read it. I was able to pass it out to the men from the local donut shop at Mom and Dad’s funeral on March 30th. I hope to pass these stories on, just like Dad wanted.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 26

Lights in a Dark World, August 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 27

Texas Book-aholic, August 28

Inklings and notions, August 29

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 30

For Him and My Family, August 31

Bigreadersite, September 1

Blossoms and Blessings, September 2 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 4

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 6

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 7

Simple Harvest Reads, September 8 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 26

Lights in a Dark World, August 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 27

Texas Book-aholic, August 28

Inklings and notions, August 29

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 30

For Him and My Family, August 31

Bigreadersite, September 1

Blossoms and Blessings, September 2 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 4

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 6

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 7

Simple Harvest Reads, September 8 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Terry is giving away the grand prize package 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/210c9/legends-of-the-donut-shop-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

Matters of the Heart by Heidi Gray McGill Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Matters of the Heart

Author: Heidi Gray McGill

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release date: July 15, 2022

When those experiencing the same fate she endured show up at her doorstep…

Katie determines to be their champion, no matter the fallout.

Will the man who fought for the other side also fight for her?

Unconventional Katie empathizes with the widows and orphans of the Civil War, searching for a place to call home in Shumard Oak Bend. But with no one to help her, she’ll need to do it secretly, a challenge she readily accepts. She’s taken charge before, and she’ll do it again, no matter who she has to outwit to get the job done.

He vowed to be his own man and stop doing everyone else’s bidding. But he follows orders when a pair of emerald green eyes, blazing red hair, and freckles that dance on the bridge of a pert nose conscript him to duty. Be his own man. Who is he kidding? Skunks don’t change their stripes. They leave disasters in their wake wherever they go, just like him.

Overcoming personal obstacles and finding your true self doesn’t mean going it alone. Yet the answer isn’t always in the one you seek.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“You’re seeing your failure. I’m seeing your worth.”

Third in a series Discerning God’s Best, Matters of the Heart by Heidi Gray McGill is easily a standalone novel. Set in 1866 Missouri, with the Civil War barely past, there are situations and a few words that some might find offensive, but which are true to the times.

PTSD, homelessness, caring for widows and orphans, standing up for oneself and one’s friends, and running from God are all themes of this book.

You will enjoy the characters you meet in this story. Sassy, fiery, passionate Katie, with an impossible dream. Hans, “tired of doing everyone else’s bidding. Tired of living under another’s rule. Tired of lying to himself that he could change.” Reverend Jenkins, oh, my! What a character he is!! And Aunt Aideen- so wise, humble, loving, encouraging, and willing to challenge people to be their best. Plus so many more secondary persons you will love as well.

I love that McGill focuses on the fact that though people are different, working together brings the best results. I love the belief not in coincidence, but “God incidence.” Also, there is a lot Truth for living imparted in these pages.

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

Notable Quotables:

“So far, you’ve told me how you feel but not how God feels.”

“You’ve shared your thoughts, desires, and plans, but you need to listen to what God would have you do. It’s His path that matters.”

“He did not need a woman. He did not need this family, and he did not need God. He’d be just fine on his own.”

“…he wondered if he could ever outrun himself.”

“He’d heard more than once that freedom cost dearly. The war may be over, but there was no freedom for those now enslaved by their scars.”

“Now, he wanted to make something of himself, be his own man, prove to himself he could do more than just follow rules and orders.”

“Don’t make a decision based on a season of life that will alter the rest of your life.”

“He was telling her to live in the ‘yet’—that transitional time where she could grow and learn until He was ready to fulfill His will.”

“Yes, every step forward changes the view, it never remains the same.”

“I trust my God enough to believe He will provide exactly what we need at the moment we need it. Not a second early, nor a minute late.”

“But, scriptures are just phrases until we know God on a deeper level and on more than just paper. I learned God’s Word doesn’t become powerful until it becomes personal.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great!! A great post-Civil War novel with many nuggets of truth!!

About the Author

Heidi is an optimist who chooses to find the silver lining in life’s clouds of doubt. This plays out in her writing. Her ability to weave scripture seamlessly into the lives of her characters will uplift and encourage you, while her masterful storytelling will keep you turning page after page and wishing for more.

Heidi lives with her husband of thirty years near Charlotte, NC. When she isn’t writing, you will find her outside playing with her two grandsons, walking, scrapbooking, reading, cooking, traveling, or finding an excuse to have an outing with a girlfriend.

Fusing Faith and Fiction™

True Christian Fiction. Relatable Characters. Life-changing stories.

More from Heidi

Where did the idea for Matters of the Heart originate?

Before I was an author, I was the founder and director of an English as a Second Language ministry. The program touched the lives of students from 35 different countries. Regardless of culture, religion, language, or age, I found a substantial similarity in these students—they all wanted to improve their lot in life and that of their children.

Stories abounded of walks across deserts, financial hardships, desperate attempts to explain emergencies to medical professionals or law enforcement, failed verbal connections with schoolteachers, and an inability to obtain work because of their lack of language skills. Prejudice and distrust blocked them, culture shock took them outside their comfort zones, and the urgent need to survive made them scramble to dig deep inside and find creative ways to secure shelter and put food on their tables.

It wasn’t that these immigrants weren’t capable of achieving success. In their home countries, vocations varied from chemist and biologist with PhDs, to teachers, lawyers, and medical professionals. Others came from poverty and had little education but were not afraid of hard work, long hours, and low pay. They were tenacious, and they worked with relentless determination and a bullheaded resolve to achieve their goals. They relied on each other and soaked in everything around them in their desire to assimilate into the American culture and find a new place to belong.

Immigrants in the late 1800s were not much different. Individuals came to improve their lot in life and be a part of the greatest country in the world. In Matters of the Heart, Hans Korhonen left Finland with his brothers to take advantage of the land grants. Together, they worked to establish a farm large enough to sustain four families and support troops during the Civil War. Yet, in their desire to belong and give back to our great nation, Hans’s idyllic life changed through his service as a Union soldier.

Kathleen Murphy, or Katie, came to the United States to escape a life of extreme poverty and abuse in Ireland. Working in her aunt and uncle’s boarding offered more than a job. It provided the love and support of a family. Katie rose from her previous station and started fresh with hope on the horizon. She found a source of ministry that gave her life a purpose she’d not had before.

My association with my former ESL students helped me develop the characters in this book into individuals with which readers can identify.

Join Katie and Hans as they establish themselves in their new home of Shumard Oak Bend.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 5

Texas Book-aholic, August 6

Book Butterfly in Dreamland, August 6

Inklings and notions, August 7

lakesidelivingsite, August 8

For Him and My Family, August 9

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 11

Blossoms and Blessings, August 12

deb’s Book Review, August 12

Connie’s History Classroom, August 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 14

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 15

Pause for Tales, August 16

Truth and Grace HomeschoolAcademy, August 17

To Everything There Is A Season, August 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 18

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Heidi is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copy of the first three books in the series!!

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/2070c/matters-of-the-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway