ARC, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, Waterbrook-Multnomah

Freedom’s Song by Kim Vogel Sawyer

About the Book

Title: Freedom’s Song

Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Publisher: Waterbrook-Multnomah

Released: October 2021

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Her voice made her a riverboat’s darling–and its prisoner. Now she’s singing her way to freedom in this powerful novel from the bestselling author of The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow.

“[An] enjoyable faith-filled adventure . . . Sawyer’s episodic narrative and rich assortment of characters fighting for freedom provide the story with many twists and unexpected side-plots.”–Publishers Weekly

Indentured servant Fanny Beck has been forced to sing for riverboat passengers since she was a girl. All she wants is to live a quiet, humble life with her family as soon as her seven-year contract is over. However, when she discovers that the captain has no intention of releasing her, she seizes a sudden opportunity to escape–an impulse that leads Fanny to a group of enslaved people who are on their own dangerous quest for liberty. . . .

Widower Walter Kuhn is overwhelmed by his responsibilities to his farm and young daughter, and now his mail-order bride hasn’t arrived. Could a beautiful stranger seeking work be the answer to his prayers? . . .

After the star performer of the River Peacock is presumed drowned, Sloan Kirkpatrick, the riverboat’s captain, sets off to find her replacement. However, his journey will bring him face to face with his own past–and a deeper understanding of what it truly means to be free. . . .

Uplifting, inspiring, and grounded in biblical truth, Freedom’s Song is a story for every reader who has longed for physical, emotional, or spiritual delivery. 

My Impressions

“Just ’cause somethin’ is legal don’t make it right.” Truer words were never spoken. In her new book, Freedom’s Song, Kim Vogel Sawyer has many such pearls of wisdom. This multiplies a book’s value to me.

Travel back to 1860 and land on a riverboat on the Mississippi River. Fanny Beck is a popular concert attraction on the River Peacock. Held against her will, she longs for freedom from Sloane, her unscrupulous manager.

I loved the plot and characters of this book. The novel flows smoothly, albeit with suspense and I found myself often holding my breath. The characters are very relatable, except for maybe Sloane. However, Sawyer paints even her antagonist as multi-dimensional, and I enjoyed seeing the fight between good and evil within a person.

It’s amazing to see how well some people can care for their own needs while callously ignoring those of others. This was true of people back then, and is, unfortunately, still true of people today.

I was disappointed to have to leave some of our new friends before we got a chance to know them well. Sawyer created them so well, I wanted them to remain throughout the novel. However, their leaving enables the next scenario, with more people that I began to love because of their great personalities. I fell in love with toddler Annaliese. And Walter is so much more valuable than he gives himself credit for.

If you like themes of redemption, finding true freedom, and friendship; set against a mid-1800’s America, you will love this novel of faith and suspense.

A Reader’s Guide is included at the conclusion. This follows an epilogue, one of those oh-so-satisfying ending touches.

A copy of this book was provided by Waterbrook-Multnomah. No positive review was required. All opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

Kim Vogel Sawyer has a gentle style that reminds me of Janette Oke.

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. 

Kim Vogel Sawyer > Series

Kim Vogel Sawyer
33,052 ratings (average 4.09)
71 works

Waiting for Summer's Return
Where the Heart Leads
A Promise for Spring
Fields of Grace
A Hopeful Heart
Courting Miss Amsel
A Whisper of Peace

Heart of the Prairie (10 books)
by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Goodreads Author)
 4.05 avg rating — 13,147 ratings

My Heart Remembers
In Every Heartbeat

My Heart Remembers (2 books)
by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Goodreads Author)
 4.01 avg rating — 5,025 ratings

Bygones
Beginnings
Blessings

Sommerfield Trilogy (3 books)
by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Goodreads Author)
 4.11 avg rating — 2,354 ratings

When Mercy Rains
When Grace Sings
When Love Returns

The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy (3 books)
by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Goodreads Author)
 4.25 avg rating — 1,360 ratings

Bringing Maggie Home
Unveiling the Past

Bringing Maggie Home (2 books)
by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Goodreads Author)
 4.29 avg rating — 1,244 ratings

What Once Was Lost

What Once Was Lost (1 book)
by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Goodreads Author)
 4.16 avg rating — 892 ratings

Just As I Am
Echoes of Mercy

Echoes of Mercy (2 books)
by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Goodreads Author)
 4.14 avg rating — 805 ratings

Katy's New World
Katy's Debate
Katy's Homecoming
Katy's Decision

Katy Lambright (4 books)
by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Goodreads Author)
 3.85 avg rating — 731 ratings

Sweet Sanctuary
My Soul Sings

Sweet Sanctuary (2 books)
by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Goodreads Author)
 4.13 avg rating — 598 ratings

A Seeking Heart
A Heart Surrenders
When A Heart Cries

Mountain Lakes (3 books)
by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Goodreads Author)
 4.24 avg rating — 299 ratings

Dear John
That Wilder Boy
Promising Angela

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

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright, Review

About the Book

Title: On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: June 2021

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

1885.
Adria Fontaine has been sent to recover goods her father pirated on the Great Lakes during the war. But when she arrives at Foxglove Manor–a stone house on a cliff overlooking Lake Superior–Adria senses wickedness hovering over the property. The mistress of Foxglove is an eccentric and seemingly cruel old woman who has filled her house with dangerous secrets, ones that may cost Adria her life.

Present day.
Kailey Gibson is a new nurse’s aide at a senior home in a renovated old stone manor. Kidnapped as a child, she has nothing but locked-up memories of secrets and death, overshadowed by the chilling promise from her abductors that they would return. When the residents of Foxglove start sharing stories of whispers in the night, hidden treasure, and a love willing to kill, it becomes clear this home is far from a haven. She’ll have to risk it all to banish the past’s demons, including her own. 

About the Author

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

You can find Jaime at her website at http://www.jaimejowright.com

on Twitter @jaimejowright

or on GoodReads at
http://www.jaimejowright.com



My Impressions

“Foxglove Manor was alive. It had eyes in the walls and a soul in the floorboards.” Indeed, Foxglove Manor is an imposing, sinister house that sits on the cliffs at the edge of cold and howling Lake Superior. Jaime Jo Wright expertly evokes a very melancholy, ominous dual-timeline mystery in her latest, On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor.

In the post-Civil War story, Adria Fontaine is exiled to the manor as punishment for embarrassing her family. She can only get back in her father’s good graces by finding what he is searching for.

My heart went out to poor Adria, whose father and sister are incredibly cruel and self-centered. A large part of who she is, negatively, is caused by their abus
ive behavior towards her.

What an assorted, unusual cast of characters inhabit Foxglove when Adria arrives. I did not figure out this mystery, but I sure enjoyed how Ms. Wright drew her characters with such depth and intrigue. I loved how all the puzzle pieces came together at the end, quite differently than I would have deduced.

I did figure out a little bit more of the present-day part of the mystery, but it again was multi-faceted, so no wins there for me. Kudos to Wright for the way she stretches and twists her characters to conform to the shape of this compelling, spooky story! Yet it is all very plausible. More kudos.


And Jude. This quote shows all of Kailey’s love and respect for him, when many would disregard him. “But the questions drilled into her by kidnappers at the age of five had their answers embedded in the mind of Jude, the boy with autism. And now Jude was the man with autism, whom too many looked on as less than instead of what he was—a veritable genius.”
I love how Jaime Jo Wright shows what an incredible genius an autistic person can be, way more than the average person we tend to see as “normal!”

The two tales tie together well, with the one dependent on the other. Intrigue and suspense run high as shenanigans, manipulation, and abuse are slowly revealed. Romance and some humor plus faith round out this amazing tale and make it a must-read for those who love dual-timelines, mysteries, the Great Lakes, the Civil War, special needs people, etc.

More Notable Quotables:

“The truth that Foxglove Manor would twist its way into your soul until one day it owned you, and it called to you, and it didn’t cease hunting you until you returned.”

“I am losing my mind, and Raymond wants to take all the fun out of it.”

“…there’s a smartness in being a coward. A person stays alive when they run.”

“Stereotyping and ostracizing because of differences were the worst sorts of cruelty.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Eerie, Historic, & Amazing Dual Timeline Not to be Missed!!

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley, New-to-Me Author

The Cryptographer’s Dilemma

About the Book

Book:  The Cryptographer’s Dilemma

Author: Johnnie Alexander

Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Release date: August, 2021

9781643529516

A Code Developer Uncovers a Japanese Spy Ring

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

FBI cryptographer Eloise Marshall is grieving the death of her brother, who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, when she is assigned to investigate a seemingly innocent letter about dolls. Agent Phillip Clayton is ready to enlist and head oversees when asked to work one more FBI job. A case of coded defense coordinates related to dolls should be easy, but not so when the Japanese Consulate gets involved, hearts get entangled, and Phillip goes missing. Can Eloise risk loving and losing again?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Eloise Marshall cannot stand Phillip Clayton. She finds him arrogant, condescending, and full of old-fashioned ideas about women’s roles in society.

Phillip Clayton can’t believe his new partner is a woman. One with no espionage experience or training, and this mission they’re on… interviewing women about collector’s dolls?! Child’s play when you consider the life-and-death case he is currently wrapping up.

How do two mismatched people move from disdain and contempt to grudging admiration to love? Author Johnnie Alexander aptly traces this very gentle, romantic adventure from its inception in her suspenseful novel, The Cryptographer’s Dilemma, #1 Heroines of WWII.

I love the way that we see the softer sides of both Phillip and Eloise come to light in the other’s eyes, and their integrity become evident.

This line made Phillip swoon-worthy to me:

“In the depth of his eyes, she detected curiosity, but more than that, she found compassion.”

Yes, Phillip is good looking, but Eloise finds that off-putting until she realizes his gentle, caring nature. Isn’t that an important quality most women want in a man?

Eloise, for her part, like Phillip, knows when to pry and when to give him space until he’s ready to share the massive burdens weighing down his heart. Plus she’s brave, adventurous, smart, and good at ferreting out information from suspects.

One part of the storyline gave me pause. I puzzled over it for a couple of days, wondering if the character’s actions fit with how that person was drawn. I finally decided one never knows the human heart and its machinations. I may or may not have written that part of the story with those results, but I agree it could be plausible.

If you like WWII novels, near-enemies to lovers(clean) stories, or tales where individuals overcome hurts in their past, this Johnnie Alexander novel is calling your name. Listen.

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

My Rating

Magnificent! WWII Espionage with Dolls. You will fall in love with the hero and heroine as they gradually learn to work together.

About the Author

Johnnie Alexander creates characters you want to meet and imagines stories you won’t forget in a variety of genres. An award-winning, best-selling novelist, she serves on the executive boards of Serious Writer, Inc. and the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference, co-hosts Writers Chat, and interviews other inspirational authors for Novelists Unwind. Johnnie lives in Oklahoma with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon. Connect with her at http://www.johnnie-alexander.com and other social media sites via https://linktr.ee/johnniealexndr.

More from Johnnie

American Traitor in WWII

Not all secret messages involve substitution codes where random letters and numbers replace the original letters and numbers. Velvalee Dickinson, a doll collector who owned a doll shop on Madison Avenue in New York City, used jargon code to pass along information to the Japanese about the U.S. ships that had been damaged at Pearl Harbor.

Here’s an excerpt from one of the letters (as originally written):

The only new dolls I have are THREE LOVELY IRISH dolls. One of these three dolls is an old Fisherman with a Net over his back—another is an old woman with wood on her back and the third is a little boy….I can only think of our sick boy these days. You wrote me that you had sent a letter to Mr. Shaw, well I want to see MR. SHAW he distroyed Your letter, you know he has been Ill. His car was damaged but is being repaired now. I saw a few of his family about. They all say Mr. Shaw will be back to work soon.

Velvalee, who the FBI nicknamed The Doll Woman, wrote this letter on her Underwood typewriter. She used the return address and forged the signature of one of her regular customers, Mary Wallace of Springfield, Ohio. Then Velvalee mailed the letter to an address in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Unknown to Velvalee, the Japanese had abandoned the Buenos Aires address as a drop point. The letter was marked “return to sender.” When Mrs. Wallace received it, she turned it in to the Post Office Director in Springfield who passed it along to the FBI.

Cryptographers determined that the letter was written in jargon code. To the casual reader, the letter is about dolls. But the intended recipient would have understood it’s about much more than that.

In this example, only one of five letters given to the FBI between February and August of 1942,

cryptographers decoded the message as follows:

  • Old Fisherman with a Net over his back ~ refers to an aircraft carrier which has anti-torpedo nettings on its sides.
  • Old woman with wood on her back ~ refers to an older battleship, one made of wood.
  • A little boy plus our sick boy ~ a damaged ship.

Cryptographers believed that the words Mr. Shaw and Your were purposely capitalized and that the word distroyed was purposely misspelled to draw attention to them. Mr. Shaw referred to the USS Shaw, a destroyer (distroy + your = destroyer).

The remainder of the letter says Mr. Shaw is ill but “will be back to work soon.”

The ship was in dry dock at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. As the heroine in The Cryptographer’s Dilemma explains, “About two weeks before this letter was written, it [the USS Shaw] was undergoing repairs in San Francisco.”

In the novel, Eloise Marshall is a naval cryptographer who teams up with FBI agent Phillip Clayton, to find the person responsible for forging the signatures on the letters. Their search takes them from Washington, DC to the Springfield, Ohio, to the west coast and back again. On their journey, Eloise will confront an unexpected specter from her past and Phillip will risk his life to save hers.

Blog Stops

Life of Literature, August 25

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 25

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 26

Reflections From my Bookshelves, August 26

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 27

Bizwings Blog, August 27

Daysong Reflections, August 27

Texas Book-aholic, August 28

A Baker’s Perspective, August 28

Inklings and notions, August 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 29

For Him and My Family, August 30

Simple Harvest Reads, August 30 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Older & Smarter?, August 31

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 31

Aryn the Libraryan 📚, September 1

Rebecca Tews, September 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 2

deb’s Book Review, September 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 3

Blossoms and Blessings, September 3

Mary Hake, September 3

Connie’s History Classroom, September 4

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, September 4

Sodbusterliving, September 4

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 5

Labor Not in Vain, September 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 6

Moments, September 6

Splashes of Joy, September 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 7

Pause for Tales, September 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Johnnie 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/1161a/the-cryptographer-s-dilemma-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Hardback, NetGalley, Purchase, YA

Shadow, #2 Heirs of Neverland, by Kara Swanson

About the Book

Book:  Shadow

Author: Kara Swanson

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Release date: July 13, 2021

Swanson - Shadow

Peter Pan has crash-landed back on Neverland. But this is not the island he remembers.

Desperate to rescue Claire and the fractured Lost Boys, Peter must unravel what truly tore his dreamland apart. But with each step, he is haunted by more of his own broken memories. Not even Pan himself is what he seems.

Claire Kenton is chained to a pirate ship, watching the wreckage of Neverland rocked by tempests. When she finally finds her brother, Connor is every bit as shattered as the island. Claire may have pixie dust flowing in her veins—but the light of Neverland is flickering dangerously close to going out forever.

To rescue Neverland from the inescapable shadow, the boy who never grew up and the girl who grew up too fast will have to sacrifice the only thing they have left: each other.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

This!! This YA retelling of a childhood favorite, Peter Pan, and how Neverland came to be, is a must-read all Peter Pan lovers. Some of us reluctantly left Peter Pan behind, realizing we had to grow up, wishing we could stay in his world, but our metaphysical world marches on, not allowing that. Somehow, Kara Swanson’s Heirs of Neverland series has healed that yearning of my soul to stay in Neverland, but in a most wonderful way. Swanson guides us first in Dust, now in Shadow, to meet the present, disturbed Neverland. Peter is partially grown up physically, but his emotional growth is questionable.

We meet siblings Claire and Connor. Connor has been taken to Neverland by Hook in Dust and Claire is working to get him back. Shadow is not a light-hearted book, although there are moments of joy, romance, and hope struggling to overcome the darkness that is fast becoming Neverland. Will these be strong enough to offset the reality of childhood abuse, nightmares, and evil determined to overtake Neverland and all the beloved inhabitants we remember (and a few new friends)? Enough angst, despair, evil, intrigue, with glimmers of hope, love, and growth struggling to break through to appeal to both young adults, those who work with them, and anyone who once journeyed with Pan and Wendy to Neverland. Just incredible!!


I gratefully received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. I also purchased a hardback copy for myself and a friend. No positive review was required. All opinions are my own.

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! JUST INCREDIBLE!!

About the Author

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

More from Kara

One of my favorite CS Lewis quotes is this:

“Some day you’ll be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

There’s something subtly profound about the idea that the very stories which captivate our imagination and shape our perspective on good and evil as children, will reveal more gems when we return to them later. When we’ve conquered some dragons of our own.

This was especially true when I write my Peter Pan retelling duology Dust and Shadow. These YA novels literally return to a fairy tale. I took a familiar story and dug even deeper, pushing Peter himself to grow a little more and see what new bits of pixie dust and hope there may be in a familiar story.

But there is another reason why our hearts gravitate toward fairy tales.

I think GK Chesterton put it brilliantly in a quote that is actually at the very front of Shadow:

Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

Because maybe even more than being reminded of the whimsy of a fairy, we need the reminder that even in a world filled with dragons – they can be killed.

We can conquer.

And that simple truth, told a hundred different ways, will always lift our hearts and our chins.

Shadow was not an easy book to write – and it is not a particularly lighthearted tale. It is raw and vulnerable and at times lives up to it’s title in some darker moments. But there is always a sense of courage there too. A reminder that even in the shadowed places, the valleys, the instances that steal our breath and twist our hearts and make us wonder if all is lost –

There is another page to turn. Another step to take.

We are not finished.

No matter how young we are, we can strap on our armor, lift our swords, and fight for the light.

We are not overcome because our strength does not come from us.

It comes from our King.

And in the end, He will make all wrongs right, and there will be a happy ending to our tale, even if it may not be the ending we expect.

Because it may not be easy to slay the dragon, but as the fairy tales do remind us –

The important thing is that they can be slain.

Blog Stops

Babbling Beck L’s Book Impressions, July 31

Inside the Wong Mind, July 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 31

The Write Escape, August 1

Remembrancy, August 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 2

Connect in Fiction, August 2

Blossoms and Blessings, August 2

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 3

Texas Book-aholic, August 3

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 4

Losing the Busyness, August 4

For the Love of Literature, August 4

Worthy2Read, August 5

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 5

Wishful Endings, August 5

Inklings and notions, August 6

Mia Reads, August 6

For Him and My Family, August 7

Sodbusterliving, August 7

Mary Hake, August 7

deb’s Book Review, August 8

Nancy E Wood, August 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 9

Through the Fire Blogs, August 10

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 10

Artistic Nobody, August 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 11

Cats in the Cradle Blog, August 11

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 12

Simple Harvest Reads, August 12 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

The Book Chic Blog, August 12

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 13

Labor Not in Vain, August 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kara Swanson 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/110e4/shadow-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, NetGalley, Thomas Nelson

The Ice Swan by J’nell Ciesielski

About the Book

Book:  The Ice Swan

Author: J’Nell Ciesielski

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: July 6, 2021

IS cover

Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian court, a Russian princess on the run finds her heart where she least expects it.

1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not rest until they have erased every Russian aristocrat from memory.

Born the second son of a duke, the only title Wynn MacCallan cares for is that of surgeon. Putting his talents with a scalpel to good use in the hospitals in Paris, Wynn pushes the boundaries of medical science to give his patients the best care possible. While treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter and underground Russian clubs where drink, culture, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka.

Out of money and options, Svetlana is forced into a marriage of convenience with Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn can’t help hoping the marriage will turn into one of true affection. As the Bolsheviks chase them to different corners of the earth, Wynn and Svetlana begin to see they will never be able to outrun the love they have for one another.

Click here to get your copy!



My Impressions

Open the Ice Swan by J’nell Ciesielski and be deeply immersed in the fearful world of the Bolshevik Revolution combined with WWI. Look over your shoulder every step with Princess Svetlana as she runs for the lives of herself and her family. Who does she dare trust? Can she support her histrionic mother without enabling her erratic behavior? What of her own dreams?
“I had hope once.” … “Such notions belong to ruins of the past.” Can she find hope amid tragedy or will fear and distrust win for life?


I love Ciesielski’s suspenseful, smooth style of writing that places the reader smack-dab in the middle of the action, and even in the mental indecision of both Svetlana and Dr. Wynn. I love the witty, excellent repartee between Svetlana and Wynn.
I love Dr. Wynn for his persistence, great desire to help people, and his desire to push medical boundaries to improve medicine.
I think of books like this, comparable to the book of Esther in the Bible. Not a lot of reference to God or prayers, yet the discerning reader can see His fingerprints all over the final masterpiece. Well done, Ms. Ciesielski!! Anxious for your next book!!
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. All opinions are my own and no positive review was required.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Ciesielski marries intrigue and romance to bring forth deeply satisfying WWI story for both men and women.

About the Author

With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com.

More from J’Nell

When we think of the Great War we often only think about events happening right on the battlefield of France, Belgium, and Germany. It was a time of great upheaval for so many people and countries, none more so than Russia. It was during the Great War that the Bolsheviks rose up against the monarchy, assassinated the tsar and his family, and plunged Russia into civil war. The country was in such chaos that they pulled out of the war to deal with their own revolution. The Russian Revolution was the result of centuries of oppression and imperialism that finally boiled over. As the Bolsheviks seized power, nobles and anyone associated or favorable to the monarchy were stripped of their privileges and homes, many killed, and still thousands of others fled in fear of their lives where they became the great wave of White emigres.

The stories of the ill-fated Anastasia and the evil Rasputin are legendary, but it wasn’t until recently when I watched a Russian miniseries called Road to Calvary that I became fascinated with the nobles and their struggle and from all that an idea sparked that would become my upcoming release, The Ice Swan. It’s about a Russian princess fleeing the Revolution to Paris in 1917 where she meets a handsome surgeon who is breaking new grounds in cardiology. We see the plight of the White emigres who have taken refuge in Paris and founded their own little Russia in the heart of the city, the exhausted City of Light after four years of war, the overflowing hospitals, and highly controversial advancements in surgery. Plus, a romance to prove that true love can overcome any difference and who doesn’t need a little more love these days?

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, July 19

Where Faith and Books Meet, July 19

Books and Everyday Life, July 19

Texas Book-aholic, July 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 20

Reflections From My Bookshelves, July 20

All-of-a-kind Mom, July 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 21

She Lives To Read, July 21

The Write Escape, July 21

Lakesidelivingsite, July 22

Remembrancy, July 22

Inklings and notions, July 22

For Him and My Family, July 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 23

The Christian Fiction Girl, July 23

deb’s Book Review, July 24

Rachael’s Inkwell, July 24

To Everything There Is A Season, July 24

Life, love, writing, July 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 25

Life of Literature, July 25

Inside the Wong Mind, July 25

Betti Mace, July 26

Bliss, Books & Jewels, July 26

Older & Smarter?, July 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 27

Connect in Fiction, July 27

Mary Hake, July 27

Connie’s History Classroom, July 28

Back porch reads, July 28

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, July 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 29

Blossoms and Blessings, July 29

Genesis 5020, July 29

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 30

Splashes of Joy, July 30

Simple Harvest Reads, July 30 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Through the fire blogs, July 31

Just Your Average reviews, July 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 1

Labor Not in Vain, August 1

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 1

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a paperback copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/10fa9/the-ice-swan-celebration-tour-giveaway

ARC, Bethany House, Biblical Fiction, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

Between the Wild Branches, #2 The Covenant House, by Connilyn Cossette

About the Book

Title: Between the Wild Branches

Series: #2 The Covenant House

Author: Connilyn Cossette

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Releases: July 6, 2021

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Ten years ago Lukio fled Kiryat-Yearim, where he’d been adopted by the Levite family who guarded the Ark of the Covenant. Feeling betrayed by everyone, he returned to his birthplace in Philistia to become a famous fighter. Now the champion of Ashdod, Lukio has achieved every goal with the help of his ruthless cousin. But just as he is set to claim the biggest prize of all, the daughter of the king, his past collides with his present in the form of Shoshana.

After a heartbreaking end to her secret friendship with Lukio, Shoshana thought to never see the boy with the dual-colored eyes and the troubled soul again. But when she is captured in a Philistine raid and enslaved in Ashdod, she is surprised to find that the brutal fighter known as Demon-Eyes is Lukio himself.

With explosive secrets and unbreakable vows standing between them, finding a way to freedom for both may cost them everything. 

My Impressions

“I had run away like a spoiled child all the way to Ashdod, wounded by my perceptions…I’d run away instead of standing strong and acting like the man I’d insisted I was back then.”
What an incredible Biblical fiction novel Connilyn Cossette brings to us in Between the Wild Branches, #2, The Covenant House. Lukio, who scorned the love of his adopted Israeli family has returned to his native Philistia . There, he rises to prominence as “Demon-Eyes,” and “The Champion of Ashdod,” a pugilist who is wealthy, popular, and can have any woman he desires.

Unfortunately, he wants the one, Shoshana, he cannot have. Lukio attracts the notice of Ashdod’s power-hungry king, Nicaro. The action ramps up from here and never lets up.
First things first: read book one, To Dwell Among Cedars, before reading Between the Wild Branches. The novel will be enhanced greatly. Just as the covers fit together into one picture, so the novels fit seamlessly together and one is not complete without the other.
Cossette is a fabulous storyteller, researcher, suspense artist, and Biblical scholar. I couldn’t bear to put this book down. I felt like I had opened a treasure chest when I opened this book. So many truth nuggets burst forth.


A clean romance builds as it winds through the tale, achingly beautiful as Cossette feeds us only snippets of the past interwoven sporadically with the present. Biblical times customs and culture of both Israel and Philistia are explored, and the reader’s eyes are opened to what life in those countries was truly like. Strategy, intrigue, and suspense will keep either male or female readers flipping through pages as fast as their fingers and eyes can move. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
My thanks to the author and publisher for a copy of this book. No positive review was required. All thoughts are my own, voluntarily submitted.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! Blown Away!!!

About the Author

Connilyn Cossette is a Christy Award and Carol Award winning author whose books have been found on both ECPA and CBA bestseller lists. When she is not engulfed in the happy chaos of homeschooling two teenagers, devouring books whole, or avoiding housework, she can be found digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible to discover gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although she and her husband have lived all over the country in their twenty-plus years of marriage, they currently call a little town south of Dallas, Texas their home. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Favorite, NetGalley

Bridge of Gold, #3 Doors to the Past by Kimberley Woodhouse

About the Book

Book:  Bridge of Gold

Author: Kimberley Woodhouse

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: June 2021

Repairs on the Golden Gate Bridge Uncover a Century-Old Murder

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

Underwater archaeologist Kayla Richardson is called to the Golden Gate Bridge where repairs to one of the towers uncovers two human remains from the late 1800s and the 1930s. The head of the bridge restoration is Steven Michaels, who dives with Kayla, and a friendship develops between them. But as the investigation heats up and gold is found that dates back to the gold rush, more complications come into play that threaten them both. Could clues leading to a Gold Rush era mystery that was first discovered during the building of the bridge still ignite an obsession worth killing for?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“The mystery and legend of the Lucky Martha just got a lot more complicated. Because they weren’t just dealing with an excavation. Now he was pretty certain they were dealing with murder. “ Travel back in time to the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, the years before as San Francisco is being formed, and again forward to present-day San Fran. Bridge of Gold by Kimberley Woodhouse is certainly one of Woodhouse’s best! The third in the Doors of the Past series, each book is a standalone novel, involving a dual timeline. Woodhouse has masterfully built so much suspense into this story of two couples, Luke and Margo, and Kayla and Steven. Generations apart, 3 of the four individuals are divers, working on or around the Golden Gate Bridge.
I love dual timelines, and this one is no exception, extremely well-done. Woodhouse alternately hands us various “jigsaw puzzle pieces” of the story, challenging the reader to put together the mystery (and there are several!) before it(they) are revealed.


Fear, Trust, Letting Go, Greed, Entitlement, and Forgiveness (of the most heinous crimes) are all themes.) I loved being inside so many different characters’ minds. I could feel each person’s need to keep secrets or respond in the way they did (mostly).
Woodhouse pulls out all the stops with some great twisted thinking on the part of her criminals, great story twists, and even the fact that the author’s notes came in the beginning, as opposed to the end of the story. That alone really whetted my appetite for this great historical fiction novel!
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher via Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required. My thoughts are voluntarily submitted, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Another Winner for Barbour and Woodhouse!

About the Author

Kimberley Woodhouse is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than twenty fiction and nonfiction books. A popular speaker and teacher, she’s shared her theme of “Joy Through Trials” with more than half a million people across the country at more than 2,000 events. Kim and her incredible husband of twenty-five-plus years have two adult children. She’s passionate about music and Bible study and loves the gift of story.
You can connect with Kimberley at: http://www.kimberleywoodhouse.com and http://www.facebook.com/KimberleyWoodhouseAuthor

More from Kimberley

BRIDGE OF GOLD was a blast for me to write. Not only do I love writing dual-timeline stories, but the present-day hero and heroine are named after my daughter and her husband. Steven and Kayla in the book are fictitious, but there are a few things in the book that do mimic their real-life namesakes.

One of them is food.

My son-in-law Steven in real life is six-foot-four and active military. The man can eat. It’s amazing to me how many calories it takes just for him to survive! Then there’s my daughter, Kayla. She was an elite swimmer for many years along with her brother. I could never keep them fed when they were at the height of their swimming careers. In fact, I joked that all I did was cook and load the dishwasher during those years.

To celebrate the release of BRIDGE OF GOLD, I’m going to give out a recipe that I created almost thirty years ago. It went through many revisions the first few months as I perfected it and now you get a special treat because I do not give this recipe out. In fact, one of my dearest friends begged for it when our kids were little. I gave in but made her promise to close her eyes while she made it (LOL) and to never, ever give it to anyone else.

Enjoy! And thanks for joining us on the tour for BRIDGE OF GOLD. I hope you love it.

Kim’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies – recipe by Kimberley Woodhouse

2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. kosher salt

¾ cup melted/browned butter (this is important! Don’t skip this step)

2 Tb. Hot chocolate mix

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

1 – 12 ounce package mega morsels (I use Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips)

Directions: combine the first three dry ingredients and mix well. In a small saucepan on the stove, melt and brown the butter. Medium heat is recommended but you’ve got to watch it so it doesn’t burn. You want a beautiful caramel color. Set aside and allow to cool to around 100 degrees F before continuing. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Once the browned butter is cool, add the hot chocolate mix to it. Transfer to a stand mixer and blend the butter mixture with the sugar. Whip it until well combined and frothy about 2 mins. Gradually add eggs and flour mixture, beating on low just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, drop heaping TB scoops 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-14 minutes, watching carefully. Allow to cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks. Enjoy!

For other fun tidbits about BRIDGE OF GOLD make sure you check out my blog at – kimberleywoodhouse.com

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 24

The Sacred Line, June 24

The Write Escape, June 24

lakesidelivingsite, June 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 25

HappyWhenReading, June 25

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 25

Through the Fire Blogs, June 25

Texas Book-aholic, June 26

Bigreadersite, June 26

Pause for Tales, June 26

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, June 26 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, June 27

Christian Bookaholic , June 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 27

For the Love of Literature, June 28

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, June 28

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 28

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 29

Bliss Books and Jewels, June 29

Lis Loves Reading, June 29

For Him and My Family, June 29

deb’s Book Review, June 30

Simple Harvest Reads, June 30 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Livin’ Lit, June 30

Remembrancy, June 30

Older & Smarter?, July 1

Lighthouse-Academy, July 1

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 1

Genesis 5020, July 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 2

Betti Mace, July 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 3

Inspiration Clothesline, July 3

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, July 3

Live.Love.Read., July 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 4

Mamma Loves Books, July 4

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 4

Mary Hake, July 4

Blossoms and Blessings, July 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 5

Blogging With Carol, July 5

Connie’s History Classroom, July 6

Life of Literature, July 6

A Baker’s Perspective, July 6

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 7

To Everything There Is A Season , July 7

KarenSueHadley, July 7

Splashes of Joy, July 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kimberley is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and 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/10e03/bridge-of-gold-celebration-tour-giveaway
Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, NetGalley

The Silver Shadow, #11 True Colors by Liz Tolsma

About the Book

Book:  The Silver Shadow

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release date: May 2021

A Shadowy Figure Is Intent on Harming Denver’s Women

Book 11 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Denver of 1900 is still a dangerous place to be following the silver crash of 1893. And of out of the dark comes a shadow intent on harming women. Ambitious young Denver newspaper reporter Polly Blythe is searching for the big story that’s going to launch her career. On Friday evening, August 24, 1900, she gets her break when two women are cracked over the head within a two-minute walk of each other. But policeman Edwin Timmer thwarts Polly’s ideas of a serial criminal. . .until the shadowy figure strikes again. Will the reporter and the policeman team up to find the culprit before he strikes too close for comfort?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“God had given him the job to bring order to the world again. And that’s just what he would do.” Every crime has a motive, but when the perpetrator sees his motive as heaven-blessed, watch out world! The year is 1900, and women have begun the fight for the right to vote. Many men feel that a woman’s place is in the home, either under her husband or her father’s protection and jurisdiction.


Polly Blythe is trying hard to disprove her father of that notion as she struggles for a place in the newsroom of the Denver Post. Can she succeed against the odds in a man’s world, as an evil force begins to target people surrounding her and finally Polly herself?
I think the wonderful unfolding of the relationship between Polly and police detective Edwin Price held me captive from the first. I loved the whole Price family. And villains? Tolsma gives us plenty to dislike heartily, and I just couldn’t put the book down no matter how late the hour. Be ready for unexpected twists and one thrilling chill of a ride!
I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher via Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. No remuneration was received and no positive review was required. All thoughts are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! A Fave!

About the Author

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at http://www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

More from Liz

One of the most popular questions I’ve gotten from many readers of the True Colors Crime series is how do I come up with the ideas for the books? For the first two, Becky Germany, acquisitions editor at Barbour Publishing, had the ideas. That made my life easy. I just had to fictionalize it, and I had a book. But when I was putting together the proposals for The Gold Digger and The Silver Shadow, it was up to me to find the true crimes I wanted to use.

I went online and scoured historical crime blogs and books for ideas. I wanted crimes that I could work easily with, that made for compelling stories. As I was doing this, my husband and two daughters and I were driving home from Georgia. We were somewhere in Indiana. Don’t ask me why I remember this when I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, but I do.

And then on Google Books, I discovered a book about crimes the world had forgotten. The first one in there sounded so good. Not too grisly, something that no one would be able to guess the culprit very easily. It was perfect. Imagine my excitement when Becky told me they would be publishing The Silver Shadow.

Then I sat down to research it more. And I could hardly find anything! What? Where was all the information on this? There had to be more. That chapter in the one book couldn’t be all there was. He had to get his information from somewhere.

Eventually I did come across some articles from various Colorado newspapers with a few details. Not many at all. None from any of the Denver papers, even though that’s where the crimes were committed.

In the end, that’s all the information I discovered. In a way, it was freeing. I could write whatever I wanted, and no one would be the wiser. Even if they did some research and some digging, there wasn’t much to find. I was able to take the facts that I did have, combine that with what I found out about Denver in 1900, and put it together in a story. I tried to use historical details wherever I could, but of my four True Colors Crimes books, this is the most fictional of them all.

Blog Stops

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 25

lakesidelivingsite, May 25

Reviewingbooksplusmore, May 25

For the Love of Literature, May 26

Bigreadersite, May 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 26

Texas Book-aholic, May 27

Genesis 5020, May 27

Christian Bookaholic, May 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 28

Vicky Sluiter, May 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 28

The Write Escape, May 29

Betti Mace, May 29

Inklings and notions, May 29

Southern Gal Loves to Read, May 30

For Him and My Family, May 30

Rebecca Tews, May 30

Older & Smarter?, May 31

deb’s Book Review, May 31

Blogging With Carol, May 31

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 1

Remembrancy, June 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 2

Pick a Good Book, June 2

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 2

Connie’s History Classroom, June 3

Godly Book Reviews, June 3

Mary Hake, June 3

Through the Fire Blogs, June 4

Melissa Wardwells Back Porch Reads, June 4

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 4

KarenSueHadley, June 5

Amanda Tero, Blog, June 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 6

Grace-Filled Writer, June 6

Pause for Tales, June 6

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, June 7

Blossoms and Blessings, June 7

Daysong Reflections, June 7

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of The Silver Shadow!!

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/10c96/the-silver-shadow-celebration-tour-giveaway

ARC, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, LibraryThing Early Readers, NetGalley, PB, Revell

At Lighthouse Point, #3 Three Sisters Island, by Suzanne Woods Fisher

About the Book

Book:  At Lighthouse Point

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: May 4, 2021

at lighthouse

Blaine Grayson returns to Three Sisters Island with a grand plan–to take Camp Kicking Moose to the next level. Her dream starts to unravel when she discovers Moose Manor’s kitchen has been badly remodeled by her sister, Cam, who doesn’t know how to cook. Added to that blow is the cold shoulder given by her best friend, Artie Lotosky, now a doctor to the unbridged Maine islands.

As old wounds are opened, Blaine starts to wonder if she made a mistake by coming home. Little by little, she must let go of one dream to discover a new one, opening her heart to a purpose and a future she had never imagined.

Click here to get your copy!


My Impressions


Welcome back to Three Sisters Island, ME, and another visit with Paul Grayson and his three grown daughters. (I was thankful for the character list at beginning of this book. With the books in the series a year apart, it can be hard to remember who’s who.) At Lighthouse Point, #3 Three Sisters Island, by Suzanne Woods Fisher is very enjoyable as it focuses especially on Blaine’s return to the island, yet we see Cam and Maddie maturing in their marriages and the dynamics of the family as a whole. There are so many character developments or relationships examined, that the flow of the storyline is wonderfully robust and busy from every angle. With healthy doses of faith that are spoken in Woods’ trademark profound but easy-to-understand style, this book is the perfect conclusion to The Three Sisters’ Island series. Woods even surprised me a few times with her twists and turns.


I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via Net Galley and LibraryThing Early Reviewers. No positive review was required and all thoughts are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! A fave for its truths and tightly woven storyline.

About the Author

Award winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected. With more than one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of more than 30 works, ranging from novels to non-fiction books to children’s books. Currently, she lives with her very big family in the East Bay.

More from Suzanne

10 Curious Facts about Lighthouses

People love lighthouses. There’s just something special about those sturdy sentinels with their beacons of light, patiently sweeping the water, their mournful and haunting wail of a foghorn. Longfollow’s poem, The Lighthouse, written in 1850, captured the allure so well:

And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,
Through the deep purple of the twilight air,
Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light,
With strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!

“Unearthly splendor.” Wow, doesn’t that hit the nail on the head? A lighthouse, to me, represents a spiritual truth: Someone’s watching out for us, looking out for the dangers ahead, and always glad to welcome us home.

Here are 10 facts about lighthouses that you might not know:

  • THE FIRST KNOWN LIGHTHOUSE was Egypt’s Pharos of Alexandria, Egypt, built in the third century B.C. The lighthouse was made from a fire on a platform to warn sailors of the port’s entrance. This lighthouse was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  • THE OLDEST EXISTING LIGHTHOUSE IN THE WORLD is considered to be La Coruna in Spain that dates from ca. 20 B.C. A Roman lighthouse is located on the Cliffs of Dover in the UK that was constructed in 40 A.D.
  • THE UNITED STATES IS HOME to more lighthouses than any other country.
  • THE FIRST LIGHTHOUSE IN AMERICA was at Boston on Little Brewster Island (1716). The first keeper was George Worthylake who, sadly, was drowned, along with his wife and daughter, when returning to the island in 1718.
  • THE TALLEST LIGHTHOUSE is on Cape Hatteras, NC. Built in 1872, it reached 196 feet tall.
  • THE FIRST WEST COAST LIGHTHOUSE was built on Alcatraz Island in 1854.
  • DAYMARKS are the painted colors and patterns (diamonds, spirals and stripes) on lighthouse towers to distinguish them from each other.
  • LIGHTHOUSE KEEPING was one of the first U.S. government jobs available to women, as far back as the 19th century. Most obtained their position when their husband died or became incapacitated.
  • THE RANGE OF THE LIGHTHOUSE LIGHT produces a light seen 25 miles at sea.
  • ABOUT 700 LIGHTHOUSES are still in active use in the United States.

As I wrote the third book in the ‘Three Sisters island’ series, I just had to give that little charred lighthouse its day in the sun. It had patiently played a role in the first two books, waiting for its turn on center stage. Not only did its setting provide a very unexpected “WHAT? How did that happen?” conclusion to the series, it even stole the headline! The undisputed title: At Lighthouse Point.

Do you have a favorite lighthouse? If so, please add your picture in the comments below. Don’t forget to include its location.

Thanks for reading! Stay well, stay home, and read.

Suzanne

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, May 11

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 11

Wishful Endings, May 11

The Avid Reader, May 12

Just Writing, May 12

The Write Escape, May 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 12

By The Book, May 13

HappyWhenReading, May 13

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, May 13

Texas Book-aholic, May 13

Inklings and notions, May 14

Cultivating Us, May 14

Blogging With Carol, May 14

Batya’s Bits , May 14

Betti Mace, May 15

Bizwings Blog, May 15

Southern Gal Loves to Read, May 15

For Him and My Family, May 15

deb’s Book Review, May 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts , May 16

HookMeInABook, May 16

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 16

Connie’s History Classroom, May 17

Lighthouse-Academy, May 17

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, May 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 18

Godly Book Reviews, May 18

Daysong Reflections, May 18

Mary Hake, May 18

Artistic Nobody, May 19 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 19

EmpowerMoms, May 19

SusanLovesBooks, May 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 20

Older & Smarter?, May 20

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 20

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 21

Simple Harvest Reads, May 21 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Splashes of Joy, May 21

Blossoms and Blessings, May 21

Through the Fire Blogs, May 22

Vicky Sluiter, May 22

Pause for Tales, May 22

Moments, May 22

She Lives To Read, May 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 23

Labor Not in Vain, May 23

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 24

Life, Love, Writing, May 24

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 24

Remembrancy, May 24

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne 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/10bb6/at-lighthouse-point-celebration-tour-giveaway

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, NetGalley

Hope Between the Pages, #2 Doors to the Past by Pepper Basham

About the Book

Book:  Hope Between the Pages

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: April, 2021

9781643528267

Uncover the Story Behind a One-Hundred-Year-Old Love Letter

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

Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint of the man’s identity in her great-great-grandmother’s letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Pepper Basham is a relatively new author for me, but she is quickly becoming a fave. The locale of her books I’ve read so far, the Blue Ridge Mountains, seems to be a beckoning finger to many a reader.
And the Biltmore Estate of Asheville, North Carolina? A magnificent structure at any time, but especially while the Vanderbilts still resided there in 1915. Plus, a look at it today, in addition to a quaint village in England, and how can any self-respecting history buff not be in total love? Great scenic descriptions of topography, the beauty of architecture, and the wonderful unveiling of unforgettable, relatable personalities make this novel a must-buy. What avid reader wouldn’t fall in love with sweet, nurturing Sadie, who sees books as “portable adventures”? And it is impossible not to fall in love with either Oliver or Max. They are so incredible in their tenderness and care. Mystery, forbidden romance, split-time presentation, and the true “hope between the pages” are presented for those who are eager to mine the book’s deepest meanings. I felt the need to rise and applaud Basham at the end of the novel. So well-crafted and executed.

“How many of these women had felt unseen, discarded?’…

“I have redeemed you…I have called you by name. You are Mine.”…

Sadie still knew she was loved–knew who and whose she was. And that made all the difference in how she lived…”

I am claiming this wonderful TRUTH for someone very close to me. THIS. THIS is what Christian fiction is all about, in my book. Finding HOPE BETWEEN THE PAGES. Thank you, Pepper! Hugs from me to you!!

I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. All opinions are my own and are voluntarily submitted.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

(Beyond) Magnificent!!

About the Author

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

More from Pepper

Books are a uniquely portable magic – Stephen King

Appalachia is known for having a high illiteracy rate. A place of beautiful scenery and rugged landscapes, the people of the mountains developed stories through oral storytelling much more than “book learning”.  As a young girl growing up in this world, I loved hearing my granny share tales from up to five generations ago, filling in the narrative gaps between a birth date and a death date on a tombstone – giving flesh and breath to the stone-etched names.

It’s no surprise then, with a heart cultivated from rich oral stories, I fell in love with reading. Books became that “portable magic” that took me places my little Appalachian community couldn’t provide. I fell in love with the Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew. Wept through the end of Bridge to Terabithia and Old Yeller. Traveled to the plains with Sarah Plain and Tall and fell in love with horses with The Black Stallion. But when I was in seventh grade, I read my very first “British” novel, The Secret Garden. In that one introduction, my world expanded into mysterious English manor houses and British classics. Before long, I’d consumed Jane Eyre, Austen’s classics, some Dickens, Dracula, Frankenstein…and the list goes on! And then…I found Tolkien and Lewis – and the ‘real’ world swelled into OTHER worlds.

I’m grateful for true stories of book-loving pioneers traveling into the world of Appalachia to provide books and literacy training to “my people”, because I know some of those books made their way to my tiny elementary school library…and not only brought me the chance to discover stories, but to write them too!

Isn’t it amazing how books can do that?

In Hope Between the Pages, I wanted to bring the same awe and discovery I felt as a child (and continue to feel as an adult reader) to the story of two people whose words had seemed small. Stories stretched their worlds, but the stories also gave them wonderful imaginations and positive perspectives. It’s still amazing to me that ink-and-paper words can make such a lasting impact on hearts and minds. They can lead us to dream, teach us new things, encourage our hearts, help us to think outside the box, swell our imaginations, broaden our horizons, and encourage our hope.

Books are not a replacement for real adventures and relationships, but they certainly provide a beautiful “door” into other lives and worlds that we may never have a chance to experience in real life. Sadie, my historical heroine, and Clara, my contemporary heroine, both have kept close to home but traveled greatly through books…and BOTH are given the opportunity to reach beyond the bindings to discover real-life adventures. I’d like to think that their love for stories helped them have the courage to step away from the page and into their own tales even more prepared than they would have been without stories.

What are some of your favorite books you read as a child? Did any of them influence you to become a more avid reader?

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, April 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 24

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 24

Worthy2Read, April 24

Texas Book-aholic, April 25

Reviewingbooksplusmore, April 25

Christian Bookaholic, April 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 25

She Lives To Read, April 26

Books and Everyday Life, April 26

For the Love of Literature, April 26

For Him and My Family, April 26

Wishful Endings, April 27

Bigreadersite, April 27

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 27

deb’s Book Review, April 27

Inklings and notions, April 28

Connect in Fiction, April 28

Writing from the Heart Land, April 28

Blogging With Carol, April 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 29

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 29

Life of Literature, April 29

Pick a good book, April 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 30

Betti Mace, April 30

Kathleen’s Blog, April 30

lakesidelivingsite, May 1

Connie’s History Classroom, May 1

Fiction Book Lover, May 1

Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 1

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 2

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 2

Godly Book Reviews, May 2

Mary Hake, May 2

Older & Smarter?, May 3

Genesis 5020, May 3

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 4

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads , May 4

Blossoms and Blessings, May 4

sodbusterLiving, May 4

Splashes of Joy, May 5

Where Faith and Books Meet , May 5

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

Through the Fire Blogs, May 5

Pause for Tales, May 6

To Everything There Is A Season, May 6

Remembrancy, May 6

Lights in a Dark World, May 6

Live.Love.Read., May 7

Karen Sue Hadley, May 7

Amanda Tero, blog, May 7

The Write Escape, May 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Pepper 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/10b27/hope-between-the-pages-celebration-tour-giveaway