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

The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer

About the Book

Title: The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow

Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Publisher: Waterbrook-Multnomah

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Impressions

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


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


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

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

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

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley

The Black Midnight, #7 True Colors by Kathleen Y’Barbo

About the Book

Book: The Black Midnight

Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Release Date: August, 2020

Two Series of Murders Seem Mysteriously Connected

Book 7 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Three years before Jack the Ripper began his murderous spree on the streets of London, women were dying in their beds as The Midnight Assassin terrorized the citizens of Austin, Texas. Now, with suspicion falling on Her Majesty’s family and Scotland Yard at a loss as to who the Ripper might be, Queen Victoria summons her great-granddaughter, Alice Anne von Wettin, a former Pinkerton agent who worked the unsolved Austin case, and orders her to discreetly form a team to look into the London matter.

The prospect of a second chance to work with Annie just might entice Isaiah Joplin out of his comfortable life as an Austin lawyer. If his theories are right, they’ll find the The Midnight Assassin and, by default, the Ripper. If they’re wrong, he and Annie are in a bigger mess than the one the feisty female left behind when she departed Austin under cover of darkness three years ago.

Can the unlikely pair find the truth of who is behind the murders before they are drawn into the killer’s deadly game? From Texas to London, the story navigates the fine line between truth and fiction as Annie and Isaiah ultimately find the hunters have become the hunted.

Click here to get your copy!


My Impressions

As I started the Black Midnight, #7, True Colors, by Kathleen Y’Barbo, I was shaking in my boots. What kind of grisly murder story was I in for this time? The True Colors series has been very interesting, as different authors take turns spinning factual historical crimes into a fascinating, but often gruesome story. The inclusion of a romantic thread often collides against the seriousness of the crimes.
Y’Barbo has taken on the story of “The Servant Girl Killer“ which occurred in Austin,Texas in 1884-1888 added it to the story of Jack the Ripper in England, starting in 1888.
I was glued to the pages as Annie, a distant royal, and a Pinkerton, tried to keep her sleuthing job hidden from her Granny, the Queen. Ike, also a Pinkerton, is obviously in love with Annie, but can the two locate the killer in Austin while falling in love?


Y’Barbo did a tremendous amount of research and it was so neat that she shared so much of it with us in fiction form, including a certain room in the Palace, crime scenes, and the many varied rumors about the possible perpetrators of the murders. I found my reading speed increasing as the story wound up, my heart beating way too fast.

There are author notes at the end that separate fact from fiction and allow the reader to be doubly educated. For those who enjoy mysteries and crime thrillers with a touch of romance, The Black Midnight is a good choice. But be loyal and have your other society member’s backs!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

KathleenYbarbo

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than sixty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad.

More from Kathleen Y’Barbo

I am a tenth generation Texan, but London has held a place in my heart for over ten years. You see, I have a son who has lived there for more than a decade. Thanks to him and his family of three—my granddaughter was born there on New Year’s Eve 2019—the city will always be special to me. There is absolutely nothing like walking those streets with a thousand years of history close enough to touch.

It was on a walk with my son through this great city that the stories of nineteenth century London came alive. With fog shrouding the rooftops of buildings that were hundreds of years old and our footsteps echoing on the cobblestones, I could imagine a time when lack of electricity and CCTV would make this place less than charming on a dark night. What reminded me of my favorite childhood movie, Mary Poppins, quickly became more reminiscent of Jack the Ripper. And then a story was born.

Only I just had half the story.

The other half came to me several years later when I stumbled across an article in Texas Monthly magazine about a serial killer who rampaged through Austin, Texas in 1884 and 1885 and was never caught. Some surmised this madman, called “The Midnight Assassin” by some, might have been Jack the Ripper honing his skills before he crossed the Atlantic to begin his famous crime spree in Great Britain.

But Austin? Ironically, my other two sons lived in Austin. So while part of my heart was in London, two more parts of that same heart resided in the Texas capital. I thought I knew Austin inside out. Between one of my sons getting not one but two degrees from the University of Texas (this Aggie grad is still proud of him in spite of what I jokingly call his burnt orange rebellion) and my other son living there and managing a restaurant at the time (and who just graduated from Texas A&M Galveston last month!), I had spent many years in the city. And yet I had never heard of the Midnight Assassin.

Research turned up a tale that sounds so close to fiction I had to write about it. Discovering the theory that the Austin killer might also be the Ripper just added to my interest—neither had been caught. And I like to write about Pinkerton detectives.

From there the story unfolded. If you’ve read any of my historical romances, you know that I love incorporating actual history into my stories. As you’ll see when you read The Black Midnight, this book is no exception. While I will continue writing the historical romances I love to bring to you, I will confess that writing this book has me itching to research another one like it.

What’s next in my foray into true crime novels? Maybe Houston. You see, I have a daughter who lives there…

In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy reading The Black Midnight as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 27

Genesis 5020, August 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 27

Inklings and notions, August 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 28

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 28

Older & Smarter?, August 29

Texas Book-aholic, August 29

Artistic Nobody, August 29 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For the Love of Literature, August 30

Connie’s History Classroom, August 30

For Him and My Family, August 31

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 31

Betti Mace, September 1

Robin’s Nest, September 1

Bigreadersite, September 1

deb’s Book Review, September 2

Splashes of Joy, September 2

Just Your Average reviews, September 2

Rebecca Tews, September 3

Just the Write Escape, September 3

Emily Yager, September 3

Christian Bookaholic, September 4

reviewingbooksplusmore, September 4

KarenSueHadley, September 4

Remembrancy, September 5

Through the Fire Blogs, September 5

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 6

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 6

Blogging With Carol, September 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 7

Life of Literature, September 7

Mary Hake, September 7

Godly Book Reviews, September 8

Back Porch Reads, September 8

Daysong Reflections, September 8

Pause for Tales, September 9

Blossoms and Blessings, September 9

Hallie Reads, September 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 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/ffb7/the-black-midnight-celebration-tour-giveaway

Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

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

About the Book

Title: Piecing It All Together 52536471

Series: #1 Plain Patterns

Author: Leslie Gould

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: August 2020

Genre: Amish Dual-Timeline

 

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

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

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

 

My Review

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

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

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

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

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

You can also connect with Leslie on Twitter.

Twitter

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

At Love’s Command, #1 Hanger’s Horsemen by Karen Witemeyer

About the Book

Title: At Love’s Command  53166117._SX318_SY475_

Series: #1 Hanger’s Horsemen

Author: Karen Witemeyer

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: June 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Western

 

 

 

 

Ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries who defend the innocent, but when a rustler’s bullet leaves one of them at death’s door, they seek out help from Dr. Josephine Burkett. When Josephine’s brother is abducted and she is caught in the crossfire, Matthew may have to sacrifice everything–even his team–to save her.

 

My Review

Karen Witemeyer can be counted on for several hours of enjoyable historical fiction. At Love’s Command, #1 Hanger’s Horsemen, is no exception. Captain Matthew Hanger and 3 other men are so disillusioned with the atrocities of victory at Wounded Knee (1890) that they leave the military and join to form a vigilante service to solve crimes the local lawmen can’t. But this group, Hanger’s Horsemen, agrees not to use their guns to kill unless absolutely necessary.
This is the story of how Matt Hanger and Josephine Burkett meet. This novel proves that adage, “There’s somebody for everyone.”
Matthew seems so grief and conscience-stricken that he is only able to be a commanding military figure, kind and caring to his comrades, but otherwise without emotions or entanglements. He just isn’t the type to go soft in the head over some female.

At Love's Command 1
It takes someone like Jo who isn’t cowed by his “I’m in-charge” demeanor, but who is also abundantly capable in her field to catch his attention. While I appreciated Matt’s growing admiration for Jo, I felt like her lack of listening to him at times could have been downright dangerous. I wanted her to respect him a little more in his area of expertise. Just my opinion.
I look forward to reading the stories of the other Horsemen, but especially Jonah, who is a man of color. He already promises to be a very unique and interesting person, who might educate a few of us.

At Love's Command 2
Another point of interest in the novel for me is the faith element. It is an integral part, without being drawn-out or preachy. Just shown as the basis for life.
Redemption and growing up are also themes of this book, thank goodness. Our God is a God of second chances, but sometimes it is hard to know if you dare trust a promise-breaker again.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to leave a positive review. These are my own thoughts, voluntarily submitted.

 

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot!

 

About the Author

3114906For 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. A transplant from California, Karen came to Texas for college, met a cowboy disguised as a computer nerd, married him, and never left the state that had become home.

Winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and a finalist for both the RITA and Christy Awards, Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She also loves to reward her readers. Every month she gives away two inspirational historical novels to someone from her newsletter list and offers substantial bonus content on her website. To learn more about Karen and her books, or to join her subscriber list, please visit www.karenwitemeyer.com.

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

Dead End, #3 Kaely Quinn Profiler, by Nancy Mehl

About the Book

51044063._SX318_SY475_

Title: Dead End

Series: #3 Kaely Quinn Profiler

Author: Nancy Mehl

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: March 2020

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

When a body is discovered in a field in Iowa, the police uncover fourteen additional corpses ranging from 20 years old to recent. The remains point to a serial killer with an MO the authorities have seen before–Ed Oliphant, a man who has been in prison for over 20 years . . . and is Special Agent Kaely Quinn’s father. After several failed interview attempts to discover if Ed has been training someone to be a copycat killer, the police turn to Kaely in St. Louis.

Kaely promised herself she would never step foot in her hometown or set eyes on her father again. She’s always refused to confront her past, but if she wants to prevent any more deaths, she must come face-to-face with the man she’s hated for years.
As more bodies are discovered, Kaely races against time and her own personal turmoil to uncover the killer. Will this most personal case yet cost Kaely her identity and perhaps even her life?

 

My Review

If you like intense romantic suspense, with the emphasis on suspense, this Kaely Quinn,
Profiler series by Nancy Mehl may be the one for you. I just finished the third and final
book, Dead End. Personally, Mehl has taken me to the end of my ability to endure with
her Kaely character. Kaely is very focused on her work and will let nothing get in the
way of her catching the worst criminals. Even if her methods are unorthodox.
Unfortunately, her pride threatens her relationships with God and her special coworker,
Noah.
Dead End NM1
Noah and Kaely travel to Iowa to interview Kaely’s father, an infamous serial killer, in
hopes of stopping a new serial killer. While Kaely may be the only hope to get the
Raggedy Man to talk, will she self-destruct before the mission is accomplished?
Noah grows by leaps and bounds in this novel, but I almost want to tell Noah he’s headed
down a dead-end path.
Never did I see the ending coming.
I appreciated that Mehl shows
equal parts evil and good in this fictional crime-chiller story. Mehl shows that man’s
depravity comes from the pit itself. Only God can combat that kind of horrendous
opposition, and we must be fully equipped. As such, there is a lot of Scripture included in
this book.
Dead End NM2
Who will Kaely rely on- herself, her unusual friend, God, and or Noah?
Noah knows God doesn’t always rescue His people. Grab this book and grab your closest
huggable as you read super-speed to discover whether Kaely can survive.
Samson
(My closest huggable, Samson.)
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through
NetGalley, plus I bought a copy. This in no way influenced my opinions, which are solely
my own.

My Rating

5 Stars-    Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

630286Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband, Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. First published in 2001, she has now authored nine books, including an omnibus mystery collection, Cozy in Kansas, which contains three of her previously published Ivy Towers mysteries. Book three in the series, For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Mystery Book of the Year award. Nancy’s main writing interests lie in mystery although her new Harmony Series leans more toward the romantic suspense genre. Nancy runs a HUD program for the city of Wichita and is president of a volunteer organization, Wichita Homebound Outreach. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Kansas Authors Club.

Connect with Nancy at via her

Website

 

Twitter

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes

53141215._SX318_SY475_

About the Book

Title: Set the Stars Alight

Author: Amanda Dykes

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: June 2020

Genre: Christian fiction, Timeslip

Lucy Clairmont’s family treasured the magic of the past, and her childhood fascination with stories of the high seas led her to become a marine archaeologist. But when tragedy strikes, it’s Dashel, an American forensic astronomer, and his knowledge of the stars that may help her unearth the truth behind the puzzle she’s discovered in her family home.

Two hundred years earlier, the seeds of love are sown between a boy and a girl who spend their days playing in a secret sea cave, while the privileged young son of the estate looks on, wishing to join. As the children grow and war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, a story of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption unfolds, held secret by the passage of time.

As Lucy and Dash journey to a mysterious old estate on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers–and the healing–they so desperately seek.

 

My Review

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes is a book that I had to get my hands on. I hope you will want to, also. This is a realistic story, yet stirred into it are the timeless allure of magical inklings, coupled with family ties swelling and shrinking. Love slowly takes root and blossoms, yet is carefully guarded until the right time. And the wondrous fact is, that this is actually true of both subplots of this amazing novel, which comprise this split-time tale.
One portion of our adventure concerns Lucy, born to a clockmaker in London in recent times. Lucy’s warm, welcoming family time is built around tales spun by her enigmatic father and amended by her jovial mother. Dash, a young misfit, American boy, is welcomed into their familial atmosphere. Suddenly, life flips and flops, and Lucy finds herself alone and floundering with only her marine interest to keep her afloat.
The second saga is a melodrama about a young son of a military hero in the war against Napoleon. Frederick tries hard to make his father proud, but loyalty and fate interfere.

Set the Stars Alight 1
Split-time stories depend upon the author’s fantastic ability to draw two separate, believable strands, at first totally disparate paths, then cause them to become parallel roads, then bring those parallel roads into an obvious intersection where the highways then become one. I had trouble suspending disbelief at some points. I wanted more communication in others. Some issues dragged on too long between people because of a fear of communication that I didn’t find realistic.
So, I thought this was a great book, but it stopped short of the terrific level of Ms. Dykes’s debut novel. Still a very worthy read. Get ahold of Set the Stars Alight and judge for yourself.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.
Notable Quotables:

“When things seem dark…that’s when you fight for the light.”

“The God of the stars . . . He is coming, and coming, and coming after you. Always. The heart of a father who will never forget his daughter.”

“But it started with smaller things, which bigger things built on again and again until the big betrayal no longer felt like a plunge to him. It was a small—almost natural—next step.”

“‘Impossible?’…The word had been gifted to them all their lives as a challenge. A lens to see wonder where others saw walls.”

 

My Rating

4 Stars- Great, Almost Terrific!

 

About the Author

517ufoFnplL._US230_Amanda Dykes is the author of Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale, the critically-acclaimed bicycle story that invited readers together to fund bicycles for missionaries in Asia. A former English teacher, she has a soft spot for classic literature and happy endings. She is a drinker of tea, a dweller of Truth, and a spinner of hope-filled tales, grateful for the grace of a God who loves extravagantly.

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Green Dress: #6 True Colors by Liz Tolsma with Giveaway

The-Green-Dress-FB-Banner

About the Book

Book:  The Green Dress

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense9781643524757-197x300

Release Date: June 2020

 

Death Seems to Follow Harriet’s New Friend

Book 6 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

When Harriet Peters came to Boston in 1882, the Robinson family took her in like one of their own, and Harriet became closer to Lizzie Robinson than her own siblings. Now, four years later, Lizzie is deathly sick, failing quickly just like several others in her family have done over the past few years. How can so many in one family die from the same mysterious illness? Harriet doesn’t have answers, but she is determined to help the family, bringing in a new-to-the-neighborhood doctor, Michael Wheaton.
As Harriet and Michael close in on the answer, putting their own lives at risk, can the cause be found before anyone else dies?

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

Aha! This was a crime I could solve, I thought. Each book in this True Colors series is an
historical American crime fictionalized to reach and even educate a wider audience than
the bare, macabre facts in a dusty tome. So, I was game. Liz Tolsma is creator of this fact-
turned-fiction tale aptly named The Green Dress.
Ready, Set, Go. The cast of characters was listed at the front. The year is 1886, and we first
meet Harriet Peters as she hurries to the sickbed of her best friend, Lizzie Robinson.
Much consternation abounds, as Lizzie’s symptoms exactly match those of other family
members who suddenly fell ill and died. Doctors are mystified by the repeated identical
deaths occurring solely in the Robinson household until a fresh-faced doctor is called in.
This was certainly another incredible crime. It wasn’t caught, largely because people
refused to even consider all possibilities, though those evidences were staring them in
the face.
“Outward appearances don’t always reflect a person’s character.”
The Green Dress 1
If only… Harriet had taken Lizzie’s words to heart, “No debt in friendship.” You can be
sure I heard those words and may or may not have screeched them aloud…more than
once.
Liz Tolsma does a great job with the story’s pacing. From the first sentence to the last, I
was captivated. I really did figure out some of the crime, but the whole timbre of the
novel was such that I had to stay up late to finish it in one sitting. No putting this one
down.
I enjoyed the romance development between Harriet and Michael Wheaton. I especially
liked seeing Michael grow in confidence and follow up on his hunches. Speaking of
hunches, Harriet ignores some of hers in the novel. I disagree with the author’s view
about where those hunches came from. As a Christian, God could certainly make sure
Harriet heard an audible voice.
Because death was a common occurrence in this story, the question of assurance of
salvation is addressed.
The Green Dress 2
Ending notes in a tale like this are essential, and the author shows both her great
research and care with this superior project.
The whole scenario sounds like something out of our time, not the 1880’s. Alas, for me,
Tolsma has the final word or twist. Good for her. The clues were all laid, I just didn’t put
those pieces together. Well done, Ms. Tolsma. This could have been a great Twilight Zone
episode.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through
Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hit My Spooky Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

 

Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native  Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with LizTolsma-200x300her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.

 

 

More from Liz

We’ve all been there—started a letter or an email or even a list, didn’t like what we had, crossed it out or hit the delete button, and tried again. Now imagine that happening when you’re writing a novel.

 

That’s what occurred with The Green Dress. Finding the perfect place to start a novel can be tricky, but when you’re trying to balance fact with fiction, it’s even harder. I needed the fictional heroine, Harriet Peters, to have a good reason to come into contact with and become close to the factual Robinson family. And I needed for the hero, Michael Wheaton, to meet Harriet early on. So I dove into the story. Five chapters later, the hero and heroine hadn’t yet met. The book wasn’t working.

 

I scrapped those chapters and started at a different point. At first, it seemed to be going better. I was happy. Until I got to the fifth chapter, when I realized again that the book wasn’t working. Frankly, it was boring. So those ended up in the virtual trash bin. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking on my deadline. I was desperate to find the right starting point, at a place with high tension. Finally, I had an “aha” moment, and the story flowed from there. That’s how the first five chapters (and the rest of The Green Dress) came to be.

 

—Liz Tolsma

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, June 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 26

deb’s Book Review, June 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 26

A Reader’s Brain, June 27

Rebecca Tews, June 27

For Him and My Family, June 27

Texas Book-aholic, June 28

Back Porch Reads, June 28

Inklings and notions, June 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 29

Genesis 5020, June 29

Emily Yager, June 29

Christian Bookaholic, June 30

Robin’s Nest, June 30

To Everything There is A Season, June 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 30

Blogging With Carol, July 1

Bigreadersite, July 1

Read Review Rejoice, July 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 2

Life of Literature, July 2

Connie’s History Classroom, July 2

Betti Mace, July 3

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 3

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 3

Stories By Gina, July 3

For the Love of Literature, July 4

Remembrancy, July 4

Reviewingbooksplusmore, July 4

Godly Book Reviews, July 5

Splashes of Joy, July 5

Vicky Sluiter, July 5

Older & Smarter?, July 6

Through the Fire Blogs, July 6

Daysong Reflections, July 6

amandainpa, July 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 7

Pause for Tales , July 7

Just the Write Escape, July 7

Hallie Reads, July 8

Where Faith and Books Meet, July 8

Blossoms and Blessings, July 8

Spoken from the Heart, July 9

With a Joyful Noise, July 9

Artistic Nobody, July 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize of a $25 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/fcd8/the-green-dress-celebration-tour-giveaway

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

The Runaway Bride, #2 The Bride Ships by Jody Hedlund

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About the Book

Title: The Runaway Bride

Series: #2 The Bride Ships

Author: Jody Hedlund

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: March 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Haunted by mistakes in her past, will she ever again trust her heart to another?

Wealthy Arabella Lawrence flees to British Columbia on a bride ship, still bearing the scars of past mistakes. One of the few single women in the boomtown, she immediately attracts suitors, but she is determined not to find herself trapped again by making a poor choice.

Vying for her hand are two very different men. Lieutenant Richard Drummond is a gentleman in the Navy, held in high esteem. Peter Kelly is the town’s baker who has worked hard to build a thriving business. He and Drummond not only compete for Arabella’s affections, but also clash over their views of how the natives should be treated in the midst of a smallpox outbreak.

As Arabella begins to overcome her fears, she discovers someone in dire need—a starving girl left behind by her tribe. Intent on helping the child, Arabella leans on Peter’s advice and guidance. Will she have the wisdom to make the right decision, or will seeking what’s right cost both her and Peter everything?

 

My Review

Jody Hedlund won me over in The Runaway Bride, #2 The Bride Ships, with her hero. He
is Pete Kelly, a baker who is well-liked and charismatic. He also has a keen eye out for
injustice done to his fellow-man and is quick to get involved. He is kind, has compassion
even on his enemies, and is really trying to live for God. Which brings up his biggest
question for God: if he’s living according to God’s plan, why is his life so tough? Pete has
to decide if living life God’s way is worthwhile if it doesn’t always result in a life of ease
or happiness.
Runaway Bride #1
Arabella is one very confused lady. She certainly seems to have a severe case of
indecision. She brought to mind that verse in James about a double-minded person that
is “blown and tossed by the wind.” (James‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬) Just when I thought, “Now she’ll come
to her senses and understand which direction to go,” she would falter and backpedal
faster than a carriage whose horses are spooked. Thank goodness for Hedlund’s author’s
notes. Hedlund assures us she’s aware we 21st-century readers might have difficulty
understanding a 19th-century English woman’s hesitation to step outside of societal
norms. By the novel’s end, Arabella develops a very strong spine and I wondered if I
would be that courageous.
Runaway Bride #2
This is a nonlinear story, so we are fed a bit of the present story, then a memory bite of
the past. Eventually, the dichotomous storyline is completed after much danger, soul-
searching, and exciting adventures with a few clean romantic kisses, plus a nice ending
twist.
Perhaps the players I most admired stayed in the background. Mercy taught Arabella so
much by her example. Mrs. Moresby and Hayward were ladies I really wanted to meet
and enjoy knowing.
One other note. Hedlund’s historical research is impeccable and a reader can learn a
great deal about Victoria in the 1860s.
Notable Quotables:

“He’ll give you courage like no other can.”

”I always figured if God thinks the condition of a person’s heart matters more, then I should, too.”

”She’d been satisfied with eating crumbs in her relationships when there were feasts that awaited if she just had enough courage to partake.”

”…when we stand up against injustice, we’ll likely suffer for doing the right thing.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Bethany House through NetGalley. This in no way influences my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars– Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

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Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Find Jody at her website, http://jodyhedlund.com/
or on Twitter as JodyHedlund.
BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley

This Wandering Heart, #1 Madison River Romance by Janine Rosche with Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  This Wandering Heart

Author: Janine Rosche

Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Romance

Release Date: May 5, 2020

In the first entry in the Madison River Romance series, Keira Knudsen gets the traveling opportunity of a lifetime, but when she reunites with her first love, Robbie, she learns that even a wandering heart needs a home….

No one in the quaint town of West Yellowstone, Montana, knows that unassuming geography teacher Keira Knudsen moonlights as sensational travel blogger Kat Wanderfull. No one, that is, except for her first love, Robbie Matthews, who has just discovered the woman he is falling for online is the same one that broke his heart five years ago.

But Robbie has another problem: the mother of his daughter, Anabelle, has resurfaced after a three-year absence determined to rip Anabelle away from him. Robbie needs a steady paycheck for a chance at custody, and now, on the eve of a grand adventure that could give Keira a chance to flee her old, troubled life once and for all, she is in need of assistance.

With so much broken trust between them, Keira and Robbie must keep an arms-length away to make this partnership work. But the more time they spend together, exploring majestic places and sharing new experiences, the closer they get–until their secrets and dreams threaten to cost them everything.

My Review

Can Keira, a history teacher by day and a travel social media presence by weekend; and Robbie, an expert builder but non-intellectual; get honest enough with each other to explain their past issues and build a new future?

This Wandering Heart, #1 Madison River Romance by Janine Rosche was a Hallmark-type Christian romance. I wasn’t sure what to think of Keira. I really liked her, but she didn’t seem to know her own mind. She had a rough past, but when things got tough, it was hard to predict which way the wind would blow. She does show tremendous growth when she finally stands up to her father and tells her mother, “…courage isn’t something we’re born with. It’s a choice.” Kiera does find the bravery needed to make some other changes in her life that create great life choices for her.

I immediately liked Robbie for his great, tender care of his daughter by himself. He was totally dedicated to Annabelle. Robbie has several issues to sort out, all coming to a head at once. He was wise enough to lean on God and his family to help him produce the resources he needed to weather some very tough storms.

Annabelle was another show stopper. How could anyone not fall in love with this sweetheart?

I even loved how Vivian was drawn as more than 2- dimensional. Sometimes the villian only seems to have one side- bad. But I could actually identify with Vivian as Ms. Rosche wrote her.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. This in no way affected my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent- Will be Glad to Recommend

About the Author

Prone to wander, Janine Rosche finds as much comfort on the open road as she does at home. This longing to chase adventure, behold splendor, and experience redemption is woven into her Madison River Romance series. When she isn’t writing or traveling, she teaches family life education courses to college students, takes too many pictures of her sleeping dogs, and embarrasses her four children and husband with boy band serenades.

More from Janine

Do you remember that weird kid who would sit at their desk in elementary school and stare into space for minutes at a time? If you don’t, then chances are, you were that weird kid. Welcome to the club—you know, the club for people who believe that what could be is worth imagining.

“If you imagine it, then it will never happen,” my junior high friends said.

“You’re setting yourself up for disappointment,” my high school mentor advised.

“Close your mouth, or you’ll catch a fly,” my second grade teacher warned.

While that last one scared me into buttoning my lips while staring blankly at the chalkboard, those early naysayers didn’t keep me from daydreaming. I couldn’t help it. I loved imagining a world far more exciting, awe-inspiring, and romantic than my own. Even when I’d finish books or movies, I would happily dream myself into the story where courage abounds and heroes are truly larger-than-life.

Of course, through the years, disappointment did come, and so did reality. In love, my heart was broken. In my career aspirations, my confidence was shattered. My daydreams almost stopped entirely.

People often ask me if it was a lifelong dream of mine to publish a book. The answer to that is yes…and no. It had been once, but holding on too tightly to that while also believing it was too far out of reach for someone like me created such an overwhelming ache in my heart. And so, I buried it. However, that dream, along with the storylines and characters in my mind weren’t content to stay buried. For eight years they awakened me at night and distracted me by day, until finally, I chose to spit out the words in a blank spiral notebook. I’d hoped that by writing down the story that had festered, I’d finally have peace, but then the next story came, and the next.

“I’ve learned that courage isn’t something we’re born with. It’s a choice.” That line of dialogue comes from a key moment in my debut novel, This Wandering Heart. In the story, my heroine, Keira, rises above an awful childhood to live a life of adventure. The line was quite autobiographical. I could have chosen to keep believing the naysayers. That would have been easy. It took no courage–no risk at all—to believe the lies, the criticism, and the discouragingly low probability statistics of publication.

Pursuing your dream, though, requires a lot of courage. Courage to be laughed at, to fail, to be rejected. Courage to be terrible at this new thing you’re trying. Certainly more courage than I carried in my spirit. So I prayed. I climbed onto that metaphorical rope dangling from the hand of God, and swung.

It was a choice. To be completely honest, it still is a choice to believe these daydreams of mine. Each day, it takes faith to chase this dream of writing novels and to imagine what could be. I guess you could say that I’ve found my way into the story after all. And it truly is exciting, awe-inspiring, and—dare I say?—romantic.

I’m honored to have you all join me on this incredible journey! But it’s not all about me. What daydream are you tempted to believe in your life?

Everyone is eligible to receive a free subscription to the Love Wander Read Journal, a quarterly digital magazine from Janine Rosche that aims to provide inspiration for a life well-lived. Link: http://janinerosche.com/the-love-wander-read-journal/

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, June 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 8

Texas Book-aholic, June 9

Read Review Rejoice, June 9

My Devotional Thoughts, June 10

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 12

Get Cozy Book Nook, June 12

Batya’s Bits, June 13

deb’s Book Review, June 13

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 14

The Becca Files, June 14

Older & Smarter ?, June 15

Through the Fire Blogs, June 15

For Him and My Family, June 16

Vicky Sluiter, June 17

Pause for Tales, June 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 19

Britt Reads Fiction, June 19

Life of Literature, June 20

Hallie Reads, June 21

Livin’ Lit, June 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Janine is giving away the grand prize package of a set of GelConnie leather bracelets, a 2020 National Geographic Road Atlas, and a $50 Visa 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/fc1c/this-wandering-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, NetGalley, Waterbrook-Multnomah

Being Known, #2 Haven Makers by Robin Jones Gunn

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About the Book

Title: Being Known

Series: #2 Haven Makers

Author: Robin Jones Gunn

Genre: Inspirational Contemporary

After her mom passed away, Jennalyn was in the midst of moving, having a baby, and helping her husband work toward his dream job. At the time, she thought she processed the shock and loss, but only now that Jennalyn has two small children, a lovely new home, a lucrative side hustle with her art, and a husband who is always working does she feel the full impact of the loss.

Enter an old boyfriend who knew Jennalyn well and who shares many fond memories of her mom. Jennalyn begins to doubt her marriage and all her other life choices ever since her mom passed away. It takes the power of truth, close friends who know her well, and a series of choices at the heart level before Jennalyn can surface from the confusion and see with clarity where her life is headed.

 

My Review

I’ve never read a novel like this one. The story is almost a “reality novel,” as true-to-life as possible, about the lives of five young women. Most of the ladies are married with children. This narrative centers mostly on Jennalynn and her marriage to Joel, but it also highlights the other women, especially Tess. While second in a series, the book stands alone well.
I loved how Jennalynn, Christy, and their friends have developed a very special Christian support group. As such they are not only physically present for each other, but help guard each other emotionally and spiritually.

“Love grows in fields of grace, not in ruts of shame.”
Jennalyn finds her relationship with Joel on slippery ground as a result of his long work hours and her not being willing to confide her innermost issues.
While the book isn’t “preachy,” its goal is to teach and guide through some of the life issues that occur. It could possibly be used in counseling, and every young Christian wife should read it to gain real insight in how to make wise choices.
About the edible oils…Many will argue that NO oils should be ingested.
Notable Quotables:

“Love grows in fields of grace, not in ruts of shame.”

“...your word for the year was like
“…your word for the year was like a love note from the Lord.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Waterbrook-Multnomah. This in no way influences my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent – I Would Recommend This Book

 

About the Author

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ROBIN JONES GUNN is the much loved author of over 100 books with more than 5.5 million copies of her titles sold worldwide. Her Father Christmas books have been made into 3 Hallmark movies. Her popular Christy Miller series now continues in Christy & Todd: The Married Years and The Baby Years. Robin’s novels and non-fiction works have received multiple awards and are a favorite with book clubs and study groups. Robin and her husband have a grown son and daughter and live in Hawaii.