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

What I Would Tell You by Liz Tolsma Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:What I Would Tell You

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance / Historical Fiction

Release date: January 1, 2023

DNA Test Unlocks a Family Mystery

Sephardic Jew Mathilda Nissim watches in horror as the Germans invade her beloved city of Salonika, Greece. What angers her most is the lack of resistance her people put up to their captors. In secret and at great risk to her life, she continues to publish her newspaper, calling her people to action. She doesn’t trust God to help them. When she and her husband find out they are expecting a child, Mathilda may have to resort to desperate measures to ensure her daughter’s survival.

Three generations later, college student Tessa Payton and her cousin take a popular DNA test only to discover they don’t share any common ancestors. In fact, the test shows Tessa is a Sephardic Jew from Greece. This revelation shakes Tessa’s tenuous faith and sends her on a journey to discover what happened to her great-grandmother and how all this relates to her faith and her life today.

Click here to get your copy!

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

Take a Trip to Greece with Me

I was privileged to travel to Greece last year to research my upcoming WWII novel, What I Would Tell You. God orchestrated it so beautifully. Because of Covid, we weren’t sure my daughter would be able to travel there for the summer internship she had applied for. Eight weeks before her scheduled departure, Greece reopened to foreign visitors. Around that same time, I sold What I Would Tell You, which is set in Thessaloniki, Greece, to Barbour Publishing. I had to go and visit!

Greece is a beautiful country. The pictures you see don’t do it justice. And to someone like me, the history is one of the best parts. My daughter and I explored the old city wall, built in the 1400s, many churches that predated the Ottoman Empire, and many excavated Roman ruins that have been dug up in the city’s process of putting in a subway system.

Because this is a WWII book, we also spent a great deal of time learning about the history of the Jews in the city. The Kapani Market, just down the street from our apartment, was a vibrant mix of colorful fruits, fragrant spices, and a cacophony of languages. I could well imagine what this old Jewish market was like prior to the war with people hawking olives, fish, and oregano.

We wasted no time in visiting the Jewish museum. I was shocked by the heavy security presence with armed guards outside of the building. Once inside, we had to show our IDs and were required to turn in our phones. Antisemitism is alive and well in Greece. But what a place. There were displays after displays tracing the history of the Jewish people in Thessaloniki from 1492 until WWII. The most breathtaking was the room with stone-covered walls, the names of all 48,000 Salonikan Jews killed in the Holocaust carved into the marble. There’s an entire scene in the book that deals with this room.

What saddened me most was what we saw when we visited the trainyard where the Jews were herded into cattle cars and shipped to Auschwitz. Before we got to where the station once stood, there was a wall on which someone had painted a mural covered with black-and-white figures in their striped uniforms, their eyes and mouths wide in horror. As if that weren’t difficult enough to view, what sickened me was the blue swastikas someone had painted over them.

We also trekked to the other side of the city to visit what had once been the Jewish cemetery, now the grounds of Aristotle University. All that remains to testify that half a million people were once buried here is a small, ill-kept memorial. There were two dead Christmas wreaths placed there. We visited in August.

In addition to a moving and thought-provoking story, I hope to also introduce you to the amazing city of Thessaloniki and give you a peek into the people and the culture of this amazing place. If you ever find yourself in Greece, plan some time in Thessaloniki. Many Americans miss this gem, but it’s packed with charm and history.

My Impressions

“You must be ready. The story of the Jews in Thessaloniki, or Salonika as they called it at the time, is not happy. It is sometimes hard to hear. Sometimes it rips your heart right from your chest. You saw the names on the wall. They each represent a person. They are not just letters written on a piece of stone.”

I must begin my review with this quote, because it sets the tone of much of the book. Yes, there is hope infused by the faith that Liz Tolsma includes, but it must shine out of a very dark time.

“This is the day I dreaded, the day I feared might come, the day I prayed never would. Greece will never be the same.” So writes Mathilda Nissim in her diary in 1941 Salonika, Greece, in Liz Tolsma’s What I Would Tell You. Wow!! My question would be, can I or you, read this book, and be the same? I cried. I think I may cry some for days to come. The historical part of this powerful dual timeline focuses on a young Jewish woman and how her life changes as the German occupation begins and bears down on her people.

Mathilda and her friends are so real with their fears and their love for each other, the way they bolster each other up as needed. I can taste their fears and feel their hunger. My feet freeze and I worry how to keep a young child quiet. Who to trust? And the biggest question, why is God turning His back on His people?

In the present-day timeline, I enjoyed the modern sites and tastes of Thessaloniki with Tessa. Tolsma has sold me on the idea of a trip to Greece. But what a discovery Tessa starts in motion when she visits the Jewish museum in Thessaloniki!! Will discovering the roots of her past lead her to a new and improved future?

A must-read from Barbour Books!

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

Notable Quotables:

“I am more afraid of what will happen if we do nothing than of what will happen if we do something.”

“We can’t live in a land where we made different choices. That’s a place where only crazy people live. What we have to do now is face what is to come with our heads held high. We can’t allow them to rob us of our dignity.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Chillingly Magnificent!! I learned so much about Greek Jews in WWII.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 28

Texas Book-aholic, January 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 29

Blogging With Carol, January 29

Genesis 5020, January 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 30

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 30

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 31

For Him and My Family, January 31

Cover Lover Book Review, February 1

Lily’s Book Reviews, February 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 2

deb’s Book Review, February 2

Betti Mace, February 3

Connie’s History Classroom, February 3

Paula’s Pad of Inspriation, February 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 5

Books You Can Feel Good About, February 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 6

Holly’s Book Corner, February 6

Bigreadersite, February 7

Blossoms and Blessings, February 7

Mary Hake, February 7

Labor Not in Vain, February 8

Pause for Tales, February 9

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, February 9

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, February 10

Southern Gal Loves to Read, February 10

Lights in a Dark World, February 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-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/23ccb/what-i-would-tell-you-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

Barking up the Wrong Tree by Janice Thompson Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Author: Janice Thompson

Genre:Christian Fiction / Mystery / Romance

Release date: January 1, 2023

Inquisitive, detail-oriented, Veterinarian Kristin Keller prides herself on winning over any dog. But has this self-proclaimed dog whisperer finally met her match in a Sheltie named Remington who has just won the Texas state agility course competition? The champion pooch is acting out of sorts—almost as if he is not the same dog. Has he, by chance, been switched out with another dog just before the next big competition? Kristin and the other Lone Star employees will do anything to help the Atkinson family figure out this mystery surrounding their beloved Remington.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

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

More from Janice

Barking up the Tree is book three in the Gone to the Dog series. Kathleen Y’Barbo and I are writing six books, in total, and we’re very excited about this series. I happen to be in the dog rescue business. I’ve worked with multiple Houston-based dog rescues over the past five years and have been blessed to care for over fifty dogs in nearly every shape, size, and breed. I am always interested in dog-themed stories.

As a Texan I wanted to place this series in my neck of the woods. Kathleen and I settled on Brenham, Texas, a town not far from where we both live. It’s the home of Blue Bell ice cream (yum!) a favorite here in the Lone Star state. We created a large fictional cast of characters and placed them in a town we know and love.

Along with writing books I’m also a baker and run a baking blog (www.outoftheboxbaking.com). With that in mind I would love to share a recipe from the book. Enjoy!

Nanny’s Coconut Pecan Cake (aka Italian Cream Cake)

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 1 white cake mix
  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut (flakes)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding (powder)

FOR THE FILLING/TOPPING:

  • Toasted coconut
  • Toasted chopped pecans

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 1 cup (two sticks) salted butter (softened)
  • 1 block cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 rectangle Crisco (can omit if you prefer traditional cream cheese frosting)
  • 1 bag (7-8 cups) powdered sugar
  • Clear vanilla extract

Instructions

MAKING THE CAKE:

  • Combine all ingredients except nuts and coconut. Mix well.
  • Work in the nuts and coconut.
  • Grease and flour three 9” pans.
  • Divide batter between the three pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (approximately) until cake springs back to the touch.

MAKING THE ICING:

  • Bring ingredients to room temperature.
  • Mix butter and cream cheese until soft and creamy.
  • Add Crisco and continue to beat until incorporated. (You can leave out the Crisco if you prefer traditional cream cheese frosting.)
  • Add extract and then lower the speed of your mixer to add powdered sugar (more or less to desired consistency).

FILLING AND ICING THE CAKE

  • Level all three cakes.
  • Put one cake on your cake board and add a layer of cream cheese frosting.
  • Pipe a ring around the edge of the cake and add some toasted pecans and coconut.
  • Continue to stack and fill.
  • Turn the top cake upside down, so that it’s bottom up.
  • Ice the cake with a crumb coat and chill.
  • Once chilled, ice liberally with frosting.
  • Add chopped (toasted) pecans and coconut to the sides and top then pipe trim or rosettes to add further décor.

My Impressions

“Dogs weren’t the only ones who responded to love. People did too.”

In this third installment in the Gone to the Dogs Mysteries, Janice Thompson has accomplished exactly what she set out to do. Barking Up the Wrong Tree had me thoroughly engrossed in the mystery, loving the focus on the rescue dogs and the Lone Star Vet Clinic gang. I loved how Thompson highlighted her knowledge of dog shows, agility competitions, and the love between dogs and their devoted owners.

I was a bit surprised to find Dr. Kristin Keller to be the first person narrator. Somehow, I expected the series to continue to revolve mostly around Trina and Mari. We do get to see them, and quirky Grandma Peach figures into the equation as a side character.

Kristin’s family is having trouble releasing her to be her own person and allowing her to leave the family. Kristin is having trouble appreciating her family. How often we don’t appreciate our flawed, but more than adequate (actually blessed) backgrounds until someone close points out how much we’re taking for granted. Kristin also learns from Tyler and others how to truly give of herself to others.

We eventually see more of Mari and gain a deeper appreciation of this young vet tech. A real encourager and team player, Mari goes out of her way to help others. Hopefully, as the series progresses, she will come to understand that she can’t save every dog or person. Nor is that her responsibility.

Great twists are a tool Thompson wields well, and I found myself talking back to the book on more than one occasion.

I belly-laughed often. Barking Up the Wrong Tree is great medicine for a troubled soul! A few times I wondered if situations resolved themselves too simply, but then, this is a cozy (and zany) world!

I would highly recommend this book, read in order of its publication. Each book in the series builds on the next.

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! I absolutely loved the emphasis on a rescue dog effort and the vet clinic!! Few cozies really get into the dog business as much as this one and yet remain clean!!

Blog Posts

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 26

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 26

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 27

Remembrancy, January 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 28

For Him and My Family, January 28

Texas Book-aholic, January 29

deb’s Book Review, January 30

Mary Hake, January 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 31

Cover Lover Book Review, February 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 1

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 3

Pause for Tales, February 4

The Book Club Network, February 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 5

Blogging With Carol, February 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 7

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, February 7

Labor Not in Vain, February 8

Divine Perspective, February 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Janice 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/23cc8/barking-up-the-wrong-celebration-tour-giveaway

Bethany House, BLOG, Kindle, NetGalley

The Apostle’s Sister by Angela Hunt

First off, I must admit I am playing catch-up with my NetGalley list. I’m sure nobody else understands this predicament!!🤪🤪

About the Book

Title: The Apostle’s Sister

Series: #4 Jerusalem Road

Author: Angela Hunt

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: June, 2022

She’s always longed for more, but what if the path she’s chosen requires more than she’s willing to give?

Aya, daughter of Zebulun of Tarsus, does not want a traditional life. After years of being overshadowed by her brilliant brother Sha’ul, she wants a chance to use her own gifts beyond being a wife and mother. When her father insists that she marry a Torah student, she reluctantly agrees.

A dedicated scholar, Sha’ul, or Paul, returns to Tarsus to follow the instructions of the Law and wed the woman his father has chosen to raise his profile and help him earn a seat on the Great Sanhedrin–the highest religious court in the land. But when the Nazarene, Yeshua, and his followers bring trouble to the Holy City, Sha’ul will stop at nothing to silence them.

After moving to Jerusalem with her husband, Aya expects to be bored in her role as wife to a Torah student. Instead, she finds herself fascinated by his studies. Then her brother makes a life-altering decision, and she must face a troubling question: Can she remain true to her beliefs and still love her blasphemous brother?

About the Author

Christy-Award winner Angela Hunt writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected in novels from this versatile author. With nearly six million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the best-selling author of more than 150 works ranging from picture books (The Tale of Three Trees) to novels.

Now that her two children are grown, Angie and her husband live in Florida with Very Big Dogs (a direct result of watching Sandlot too many times). This affinity for mastiffs has not been without its rewards–one of their dogs was featured on Live with Regis and Kelly as the second-largest canine in America. Their dog received this dubious honor after an all-expenses-paid trip to Manhattan for the dog and the Hunts, complete with VIP air travel and a stretch limo in which they toured New York City. Afterward, the dog gave out paw-tographs at the airport.

When she’s not home writing, Angie often travels to teach writing workshops at schools and writers’ conferences. And to talk about her dogs, of course.

Readers may visit her web site at http://www.angelahuntbooks.com.

My Impressions

“When HaShem bestows a gift, does He not expect us to use it?”

I really enjoyed my first Biblical fiction novel by Angels Hunt. While The Apostle’s Sister is #4 in the Jerusalem Road Series, I never once felt at a loss for knowledge of what may have transpired in previous books.

Shaul ( eventually Paul) and Aya, his independent sister who longs to be free to use her voice in public, alternate narrating chapters. We meet the Jewish family who in this novel, have great social Greek connections. Yet, some facets of their lives are very restricted by the law. Shaul studies in Jerusalem under Gamaliel, constantly debating the finer points of the law with other students and teachers. “In this city, perhaps in homes not far from me, other young men were debating similar questions, focusing their energy on minuscule points of the Law while they missed the miracle of what HaShem had done through Yeshua.”

We get great insight into the workings of the Jewish high court and hierarchy system therein. We also see the intense pressure and persecution that comes as followers of the Way are discovered and weeded out. I may have needed Kleenex in several places, so I obviously connected to the characters closely.

Aya especially struggles with a sense of significance under the Jewish laws and customs. How does she “Honor the gift HaShem gave you,” when her culture and life circumstances prohibit it?

“I enjoy singing because when I sing, people see who I am.” Can HaShem help her find the sense of significance we all strive for?

Hunt includes an abundance of Scripture references, which is good thing in this book. I was amazed Hunt could skillfully tie so many in, without info dumping or preaching. Obviously, Hunt has done her Biblical scholar work!

I highly recommend The Apostle’s Sister along with a reading pet companion and plenty of Kleenex.

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! Love the insight into Biblical-times Jewish Ruling Council and Culture!

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

Passages of Hope by Terri J Haynes Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Passages of Hope

Author: Terri J. Haynes

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance

Release date: November, 2022

Discover the Story Behind a Secret Passageway 

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

Gracie Kingston begins renovations on the Philadelphia house inherited from her grandmother and finds a secret room. It is connected to a house nearby, the home of William Still, the man known as the father of the Underground Railroad. As she researches, she discovers a mystery in her house’s ownership. In 1855, Olivia Kingston helps a mother and her young child by hiding them in a secret room in her home. As she helps, she learns that there may be an impostor conductor in their community. As Gracie’s and Olivia’s stories intertwine, they learn the meaning of sacrifice and love.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Terri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband). She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As she grew, her love for writing grew as she tried her hand at poetry, articles, speeches and fiction. She is storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers in the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.
Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include: Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Urbanfaith.com, Vista Devotional, and Publisher’s Weekly.
Terri holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology, a Master’s degree in Theological Studies and a certificate in creative writing and graphic design, meeting the minimal requirements of being a geek. She and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.
Website: http://www.terrijhaynes.com
Blog: http://www.inotherwords.terrijhaynes.com

More from Terri

Family, Underground Railroad, two strong Black women, and knitting in one book? Yes.

In addition to being an author, I am a knitter, crocheter, indie yarn dyer, business owner, unofficial historian, wife, mother, and sister. At first glance, all those things seem too different to combine in one book. But they weave together so perfectly.

As an author, I explore my world with curiosity. I find many subjects interesting and it shows in this book. It’s not often that an author can combine such a range of topics in one novel. I’m so glad I got to do it for this one.

Life is a tapestry of many colors knit together and my goal was to show that. That family and history, grieving and crafting, struggle and triumph, are all entwined threads. Their vibrancy can be combined to create a beautiful project, the pain and joy both add hue and color to life. This is what I hope you find in this book.

My Impressions

“…she was a strong Black woman in a long line of strong Black women.”

“With a little time and patience, any mistake can be fixed.”

Each Doors to the Past dual timeline novels has been incredible, and Passages of Hope by Terri J Haynes will be seared into my memory for a long time.

The suspense of the 1860s story line is palpable and almost unbearable as Olivia Kingston works as a stationmaster on the Underground RailRoad. Who can be trusted and who is the enemy? Olivia’s tendency to try to handle problems on her own creates some real dangers.

I loved the two romances. While the one is more traditional, the other shows a marriage needing mended. I am glad that Haynes allows the reader to see both loves developing and deepening.

Speaking of love, Gracie McNeil is convinced she is a loser and will need a special realization of how much she is loved, if she is to overcome her negative, self-fulfilling thoughts. “Her childhood knitting teacher had told her that she took to knitting like she was born with needles and yarn in her hands. The compliment stung. She had not been born with yarn and needles. She had been born with trouble.” What an intrinsic self-doubt that only God can help an individual overcome!

Haynes populates both stories with wonderful characters. Douglas stands out, as do Clarence, Ms. Lila, and Ada. But the person who is most intriguing to me, is one we never actually meet, Gran.

All these novels stand alone, so if you haven’t read any, Passages of Hope is an excellent place to start. I can’t recommend it enough!

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

Notable Quotable:

“‘God’s business—’ ‘—ain’t your business,’” “But Gran kept telling me that. That God has His own ways of doing things that we may not understand.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! A novel of tremendous hurt and inhumanity with Hope peeking through!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 29

lakesidelivingsite, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, November 30

Cover Lover Book Review, December 1

Inklings and notions, December 1

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 2 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, December 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 3

For the Love of Literature, December 4

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 4

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 5

Connie’s History Classroom, December 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 6

Holly’s Book Corner, December 6

Blossoms and Blessings, December 7

Mary Hake, December 7

Remembrancy, December 8

For Him and My Family, December 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 9

Lis Loves Reading, December 9

Through the fire blogs, December 10

Spoken from the Heart, December 10

Pause for Tales, December 11

Labor Not in Vain, December 11

Betti Mace, December 12

Marriage, Motherhood, & Homeschool, December 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a print 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/22cd0/passages-of-hope-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

His Delightful Lady Delia by Grace Hitchcock Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: His Delightful Lady Delia

Author: Grace Hitchcock

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: November 1, 2022

Kit Quincy never misses opening night, but when his sister begs him to help get her husband out of an Italian opera star’s arms, Kit accidentally confronts the younger Lady Vittoria instead. When he meets the stunning young diva again, he attempts to make amends, but then finds himself pulled into a society matron’s plot to win the great opera war. To draw attention to Delia Vittoria as the Academy’s new soprano star, Kit is convinced to act as both Delia’s patron and the enigmatic phantom who once haunted the Academy years ago. But when a second phantom appears, more than Delia’s rising career is threatened.

Behind the curtain, she must put on the performance of a lifetime . . . while love and risk take center stage.

Delia Vittoria’s mother has lost her voice at last. After five years of being her diva mother’s understudy, it is time for Delia to assume her place as the lead soprano onstage behind the Academy of Music’s faded velvet curtain. And she is all that stands between the Academy and its greatest threat–the nouveaux riches’ lavish new Metropolitan Opera House.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Grace Hitchcock (www.gracehitchcock.com) is the award-winning author of multiple historical novels and novellas. She holds a master’s degree in creative writing and a bachelor of arts in English with a minor in history. Grace lives in the New Orleans area with her husband, Dakota, and their sons and daughter.

More from Grace

I’m pretty certain every author started as an avid reader who dreamed of how they would change an ending or change who the heroine ended up with if they could write the book instead. (Anyone else think Theodore Laurence should have married Jo March?) It’s that ever-beautiful question of “what if” that has haunted some of my favorite stories and often drives my own stories to spark to life.

I first discovered The Phantom of the Opera as a child and fell in love with the beauty of the Broadway musical, a love that continued into my adulthood. So, when I was researching ideas for Book Three in the American Royalty series and I stumbled upon the great opera-house wars between the new money’s opera house and the Academy’s elite opera house, the “what if” sequence began and I knew I had to write my version of a phantom-of-the-opera story. Then when I researched the Italian opera company, I grew even more excited, as I’m from a large Italian family. And when I say large, I mean it’s not uncommon for our smallest gatherings to be only forty people, and when the whole krewe is together, we need a large facility to house us all. I’ve also visited New York and Italy and felt I could add some authenticity to the Italian characters in my novel, which brings me to the leading lady—a delightful opera singer named Delia Vittoria, who takes a beloved hero from Book One in My Dear Miss Dupré, Kit Quincy, by surprise.

I knew from Kit’s character that if he’d met the woman he was meant to wed, nothing would have stopped him in his pursuit, so I knew I had to introduce a new heroine instead of a lady introduced in Book One. It is rather daring to bring in a new lead in the third book of a series without some form of introduction in prior novels, but I felt Kit’s character warranted it. Kit is by far the “oldest” hero I have written about to date, and to my delight, he captured my heart with his genuine soul and fierce devotion toward the woman he loves. Because of his age and personal experience, I felt that Kit could be a wonderful example of true, godly love to a woman who has seen almost nothing but poor imitations. I hope that you will enjoy their journey toward love and my nod to The Phantom of the Opera! Happy reading, friends!

My Impressions

“We are stronger than their secrets.”

Truly delightful, this novel by Grace Hitchcock delivers! History, duplicity, intrigue, love in many forms, and double standards all come together to create an unforgettable tale of a talented young singer searching for identity and a father’s love. His Delightful Lady Delia captured my attention and kept me glued to the pages until the last word. While this book is third in the series, it stands alone well. It did whet my appetite to read the other two!

One thing that stands out to me is the double standard that surrounds the opera houses. The very rich love to go and be seen, be known as patrons, yet the singers themselves are looked upon with disdain by the common person. Their morality is questioned and they are often isolated from society. No wonder Delia is searching for love and belonging.

The other thing that resonates with me is how imperfect and selfish “love” can be. Madre is both in competition with her daughter and supporting her daughter’s professional growth. Madre is protective of Delia, yet still ego-centric. She gives real meaning to the phrase “prima donna.”

I loved the mystery of the Phantom. I was partially correct in guessing the culprit, but also totally off. I never saw that character in that role before he is revealed! How satisfying. Great twist at the end. I am also grateful for the historical notes at the end, that separate fact from fiction. I closed the book with a very satisfied sigh.

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

Notable Quotables:

“A man can love two women at the same time”…“Not well, nor in the manner they deserve—with respect.”

“Kit was slowly chipping away at her safely hidden emotions that she only trotted out for the stage. When had pretense become reality?”

“This time she would not bow to someone because they thought themselves superior simply because they had money. She was precious in God’s eyes, and even if her father had abandoned her, she still had her character…”

“Just remember, Delia, your worth does not hang on the dithering praises of society. Keep your trust in Jesus and He will never leave you. He will cover you with the shadow of His fatherly wing and protect you. As a believer, you are a child of God and will forever know to whom you belong—not to a mother with scandal dripping from her name, not to society, not to that wayward father of yours, but to God alone.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent! I loved this historical mystery!!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 19

Melissa’s Bookshelf, November 19

Texas Book-aholic, November 20

Inklings and notions, November 21

The Book Club Network, November 21

deb’s Book Review, November 22

For Him and My Family, November 22

Girls in white dresses, November 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 23

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 24 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 25

Holly’s Book Corner, November 25

Remembrancy, November 26

Connie’s History Classroom, November 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 27

Book Looks by Lisa, November 28

Cover Lover Book Review, November 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 30

Blogging With Carol, December 1

Back Porch Reads, December 1

Splashes of Joy, December 2

Through the Fire Blogs, December 3

Labor Not in Vain, December 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Grace is giving away the grand prize package of a $30 e-gift card to Baker Book House and a paperback copy of all three books in the American Royalty series: My Dear Miss Dupré, Her Darling Mr. Day, and His Delightful Lady Delia!!

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/22ec4/his-delightful-lady-delia-celebration-tour-giveaway

ARC, BLOG, Kindle, NetGalley

Cheddar Late Than Dead by Linda Reilly

About the Book

Title: Cheddar Late Than Dead

Series: Grilled Cheese Mysteries

Author: Linda Reilly

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Release: January 31, 2023

The next in a delicious new culinary cozy series featuring a grilled cheese eatery owner who must solve murders in her small town before someone is cheddar off dead

Winter in Balsam Dell is a snowy affair, and to add in some cheer after the holidays Carly’s former classmate Klarissa Taddeo is hosting her extravagant bridal shower at the historic Balsam Dell inn. That is, until a double-booking throws some mold in the cheese and leaves Klarissa scrambling. With the venue moved to the maid of honor’s family mansion and Carly rinding to create a new delicious treat it seems the group is going to pull off the shower without a hitch.

That is, until a rowdy band of groomsmen crashes the event. Klarissa is furious with her groom-to-be and when a loud argument ensues, everyone is shocked by what they hear. When the groom is later found dead at the bottom of the stairs, his drink spiked with a hefty dose of poison, Carly must put her nose to the rind and save Klarissa from being suspect #1.

Because you know what they say: it’s always the (almost) wife.

About the Author

Armed with a degree in Criminal Justice, Linda Reilly once contemplated a career in law enforcement. But life took a twist, and instead she found her niche in real estate closings and title examinations, where the dusty tomes in the Registry of Deeds enticed her into solving mysteries of a different sort. A dyed-in-the-wool New Englander, Linda lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband and her rescue cat. A member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Cat Writers’ Association, she loves solving mysteries of the cozy type. When she’s not pounding away at her keyboard, she can usually be found prowling the shelves of a local bookstore or library. Visit her on the web at lindasreilly.com

My Impressions

I am always on the lookout for clean cozies! Let me tell you about Cheddar Late Than Dead by Linda Reilly. First, while third in the series, I jumped into this one without reading Reilly’s others and still caught on quickly.

I enjoyed the idea of a grilled cheese restaurant, a unique-to-me setting. I loved the special recipe idea Carly has as a centerpiece for the book. Unfortunately for my taste, Carly was able to be gone too often from her restaurant as her capable staff takes over. I prefer a cozy where the sleuth does not take lots of time off from her work to pursue the crime.

I like the thread involving Valerie. She sounds like a gem, a great find for the restaurant as well as a really sweet person. She will be a welcome addition to Carly’s “support group,” so to speak.

I did think the sudden attitude changes following the revealing of the perpetrator were a bit unrealistic. Too many people suddenly changed their tunes.

Read Cheddar Late Than Dead for yourself and let me know what you think. I read an ARC through NetGalley, but you can pre-order your copy, due January 31, 2023, here:

https://www.amazon.com/Cheddar-Late-Grilled-Cheese-Mysteries/dp/1728238382

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

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

The Dog Days of Summer by Kathleen Y’Barbo Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Dog Days of Summer

Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo

Genre: Christian/Mystery/Romance Fiction

Release date: October, 2022

Trina Potter, Nashville country music star, buys a ranch near her hometown in Brenham, Texas, to help her niece open a rescue facility for dogs. Her presence in town stirs up some old high school rivalries—and romance. Finding property to buy is a challenge, convincing her mother to move there with her is daunting, and navigating a string of strange accidents is perplexing. Sometimes Trina feels like she’s purchased her own three ring circus instead of a beautiful piece of land. But her first priority will be figuring out who wants Second Chance Ranch shut down before they even have the grand opening.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and bestselling author of more than one hundred books with over two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she is a member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, Texas A&M Association of Former Students and the Texas A&M Women Former Students (Aggie Women), Texas Historical Society, Novelists Inc., and American Christian Fiction Writers. She would also be a member of the Daughters of the American Republic, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and a few others if she would just remember to fill out the paperwork that Great Aunt Mary Beth has sent her more than once.

When she’s not spinning modern day tales about her wacky Southern relatives, Kathleen inserts an ancestor or two into her historical and mystery novels as well. Recent book releases include bestselling The Pirate Bride set in 1700s New Orleans and Galveston, its sequel The Alamo Bride set in 1836 Texas, which feature a few well-placed folks from history and a family tale of adventure on the high seas and on the coast of Texas. She also writes (mostly) relative-free cozy mystery novels for Guideposts Books.

Kathleen and her hero in combat boots husband have their own surprise love story that unfolded on social media a few years back. They make their home just north of Houston, Texas and are the parents and in-laws of a blended family of Texans, Okies, and one very adorable Londoner.

More from Kathleen

Do you love dogs…or cats…or both…? I’m firmly in the “both” category. Since childhood I’ve always lived in homes that had at least one or the other, usually several of each. With every dog or cat comes at least one good story. One of my favorites is the tale of Bandit, the inspiration for the cover of my cozy mystery DOG DAYS OF SUMMER.

Once upon a time there was a black and white dog named Bandit. He was an English Springer Spaniel by birth but was completely convinced he was human. Bandit loved his people—three growing boys and a baby girl—even more than he loved popcorn and playing keep away (his version of catch). After many years, Bandit’s people grew up and he grew old. Toward the end of his very long and pampered life, he was plagued by the unwanted and yet much appreciated friendship of an ornery orange striped cat named Baby and a snooty pedigreed feline named Fifi.

Everyone loved Bandit…except the territorial squirrel who lived in a tree in our back yard in Southeast Texas. From the moment Bandit joined the family, the furry fellow was determined to rid himself and his back yard of the trespassing canine. The squirrel’s favorite tactic was to tease Bandit until the dog chased him up a tree. Once treed, the crafty critter would run around the trunk just out of Bandit’s reach. Once the squirrel tired of this, it would retreat to a limb. There, the battle of the backyard beasts would commence again but with the squirrel lobbing pinecones and the dog trying to catch them.

While every good story has a beginning, middle and end, unfortunately at the end of this one there was no winner in the dog vs. squirrel wars. A job transfer led us to Houston where squirrels were in abundance in our new neighborhood but none of them were nearly as much fun as the one Bandit left behind. The last time I spoke with the owners of our old house, they told the funniest story: they loved their new home, but there was this squirrel in the back yard that kept throwing pinecones at everyone.

In DOG DAYS OF SUMMER, I tell the story of another Texas back yard. This one is located in Brenham, Texas, and it is about to become a very special place for some very special dogs named Patsy and Cline. Have I mentioned these dogs belong to a country singer named Trina who has a mother named Mama Peach who happens to own a cat named Hector that dislikes almost everyone and can open doors? Then there’s the problem of the next door neighbor and his penchant to forget to close the lid on his grill when he’s cooking? Did I mention that Patsy and Cline enjoy nothing more than whatever they happen to find on an unguarded grill? While the two furry scoundrels are rounding up trouble next door, there is even more trouble happening at the building site for Second Chance Ranch Dog Rescue on the other side of the property. Apparently not everyone is happy about the new neighbors. The mystery is who that person might be. While you’ve got to read DOG DAYS OF SUMMER to find out, I can give you one hint: it’s not the squirrel!

I’ve told you mine; now tell me your favorite dog or cat story. I can’t wait to read them.

Do you love dogs…or cats…or both…? I’m firmly in the “both” category. Since childhood I’ve always lived in homes that had at least one or the other, usually several of each. With every dog or cat comes at least one good story. One of my favorites is the tale of Bandit, the inspiration for the cover of my cozy mystery DOG DAYS OF SUMMER.

Once upon a time there was a black and white dog named Bandit. He was an English Springer Spaniel by birth but was completely convinced he was human. Bandit loved his people—three growing boys and a baby girl—even more than he loved popcorn and playing keep away (his version of catch). After many years, Bandit’s people grew up and he grew old. Toward the end of his very long and pampered life, he was plagued by the unwanted and yet much appreciated friendship of an ornery orange striped cat named Baby and a snooty pedigreed feline named Fifi.

Everyone loved Bandit…except the territorial squirrel who lived in a tree in our back yard in Southeast Texas. From the moment Bandit joined the family, the furry fellow was determined to rid himself and his back yard of the trespassing canine. The squirrel’s favorite tactic was to tease Bandit until the dog chased him up a tree. Once treed, the crafty critter would run around the trunk just out of Bandit’s reach. Once the squirrel tired of this, it would retreat to a limb. There, the battle of the backyard beasts would commence again but with the squirrel lobbing pinecones and the dog trying to catch them.

While every good story has a beginning, middle and end, unfortunately at the end of this one there was no winner in the dog vs. squirrel wars. A job transfer led us to Houston where squirrels were in abundance in our new neighborhood but none of them were nearly as much fun as the one Bandit left behind. The last time I spoke with the owners of our old house, they told the funniest story: they loved their new home, but there was this squirrel in the back yard that kept throwing pinecones at everyone.

In DOG DAYS OF SUMMER, I tell the story of another Texas back yard. This one is located in Brenham, Texas, and it is about to become a very special place for some very special dogs named Patsy and Cline. Have I mentioned these dogs belong to a country singer named Trina who has a mother named Mama Peach who happens to own a cat named Hector that dislikes almost everyone and can open doors? Then there’s the problem of the next door neighbor and his penchant to forget to close the lid on his grill when he’s cooking? Did I mention that Patsy and Cline enjoy nothing more than whatever they happen to find on an unguarded grill? While the two furry scoundrels are rounding up trouble next door, there is even more trouble happening at the building site for Second Chance Ranch Dog Rescue on the other side of the property. Apparently not everyone is happy about the new neighbors. The mystery is who that person might be. While you’ve got to read DOG DAYS OF SUMMER to find out, I can give you one hint: it’s not the squirrel!

I’ve told you mine; now tell me your favorite dog or cat story. I can’t wait to read them.

My Impressions

I am already looking forward to the next book in this series. This is a fun cozy dog rescue series. In the Dog Days of Summer by Kathleen Y’Barbo, we find ourselves back in small town Brenham, Texas. Mari Evans, vet tech and pet rescuer, shares the spotlight with her famous aunt Trina, who must decide which of her two worlds to live in. If, in fact, she and Mari can stay alive.

I liked the fact that there are really two heroines in this novel, one older than the other. I find that refreshing. I appreciated the choices that Trina has to make and the difficulty those decisions could cause.

I loved Wyatt Chastain. He is a patient man, the voice of reason, has a good people sense, possesses a sharp wit, and seems rather laid back. He has learned how to deal with life’s difficult circumstances calmly.

Mama Peach. What can I say? She, along with her cat, Hector, add humor, warmth, and eccentricity to the novel. You’ll want to keep reading just to discover what those two are up to next!

Y’Barbo throws out several red herrings until I was unsure who the perpetrator is. She produces a satisfying conclusion with a few twists I didn’t see coming. Next book in the series, please!

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! I am really enjoying this series!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 28

Texas Book-aholic, October 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 29

Blogging With Carol, October 29

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, October 30 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, October 30

Inklings and notions, October 31

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 1

Lily’s Book Reviews, November 1

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 3

Remembrancy, November 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 4

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 6

Boondock Ramblings, November 6

Labor Not in Vain, November 7

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, November 7

Pause for Tales, November 8

Mary Hake, November 8

For Him and My Family, November 9

Divine Perspective, November 9

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, November 10

The Book Club Network, November 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a print 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/2244a/dog-days-of-summer-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

Mary by Shannon McNear Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Mary

Author: Shannon McNear

Genre: Historical/Christian/Romance Fiction

Release date: October, 2022

Worlds Collide Along the Shores of the Outer Banks

Immerse yourself in the “what if” questions related to the Lost Colony of Roanoke. What if an English boy and a native girl met in the wilderness? The push-and-pull between two very different worlds begins as one seeks simple friendship and the other struggles to trust. And can it—dare they—allow it to be more?

Sparks fly between Mushaniq, free-spirited daughter of Manteo, and Georgie Howe, whose father was brutally murdered by undiscovered native warriors before they’d been on Roanoac Island a full week. As Georgie struggles to make sense of his life and to accept that not all they call “savage” are guilty of his father’s death, Mushaniq grapples with her own questions about who Manteo has become. As tentative friendship becomes more, forged in the fire of calamity and attack upon their community, both must decide whether the One True God is indeed who He claims to be and whether He is worthy of their trust.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When she’s not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies. Connect with her at http://www.shannonmcnear.com, or on Facebook and Goodreads.

More from Shannon

Why did I write Mary? The series started as an idea suggested by my editor and soon became something of an obsession. This installment was inspired partly by the Legend of the Coharie, a fragment of the very murky history surrounding the Roanoke Colony and the Lumbee people of North Carolina. According to this legend, George Howe, the son of the colonist by same name who was brutally murdered a few days after their landing on Roanoke Island, married a daughter of Manteo, the Native man who traveled twice to England, later led a group of the colonists inland for refuge and eventually became an ancestor of the Lumbees. Then, as my Lost Colony research expanded, my interest in the nuances of two cultures meeting and blending grew into a desire to pay tribute to what might have been the first (and possibly only) example of European and Native peoples living together in peace. Imagine if this had been the defining moment of our country’s founding?

As usually happens, fictional characters (even those based on historical figures) sooner or later run away with the story—and that’s the part I find most exciting! I hope you, the readers, also enjoy this tale of Mushaniq (squirrel in Carolina Algonquian) and Georgie, which serves as both a parallel story and sequel to Elinor.

My Impressions

“We can walk in holiness and yet do it in such a way that is loving and gracious!”

Mary by Shannon McNear is an emotional and spiritual coming of age story of two young people from different cultures. McNear strives to show both the good and the ugly of both the English and the Native American cultures. Manteo is the dominant physical thread that holds these two tenuous cultures together. What an unusual man he is! Can Elinor and Sees Far help Manteo guide the fledgling love of Georgie and Mushaniq, as well as guide the racially diverse colony to unity?

McNear’s research is impeccable. I learned a lot of history. But hopefully, mostly, I learned to give grace for those of different from me, so that unity can prevail whenever possible. “The sacraments and doctrines are clear enough! That is not our trouble here. It is that we wish to administer the letter of the law and not be mindful of the spirit thereof.” Would the Roanoke Colony as portrayed in Mary be dissolved from within by disagreement and insistence upon each culture’s mores?

While a sequel to “Elinor, ” Mary by Shannon McNear has quite enough backstory one can read this as a stand-alone.

Different personal rivalries helped drive the action, creating tension and suspense. The outcome of all of them surprised me.

One last note: due to the subject matter, I would recommend this book for mature readers.

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Rating for history, compelling story, fair presentation of both cultures, and message our own world could use today.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 26

Remembrancy, October 27

Inkwell Inspirations, October 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 28

Texas Book-aholic, October 29

Hallie Reads, October 29

Inklings and notions, October 30

For Him and My Family, October 30

deb’s Book Review, October 31

To Everything There Is A Season, October 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 1

Holly’s Book Corner, November 1

Betti Mace, November 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 2

Connie’s History Classroom, November 3

Mary Hake, November 3

Bizwings Blog, November 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 5

A Reader’s Brain, November 6

Sylvan Musings, November 6

Through the Fire Blogs, November 7

Pause for Tales, November 8

Spoken from the Heart, November 8

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/22447/mary-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

The Premonition at Withers Farm by Jaime Jo Wright

About the Book

Title: The Premonition of Withers Farm

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Dual Timeline

Released: October 2022

The voices of the past cannot stay silent forever.

In 1910 Michigan, Perliett Van Hilton is a self-proclaimed rural healer, leaving the local doctor convinced she practices quackery. It doesn’t help that her mother is a spiritualist who regularly offers her services to connect the living with their dearly departed. But when Perliett is targeted by a superstitious killer, she must rely on both the local doctor and an intriguing newcomer for assistance.

In the present day, Molly Wasziak’s life has not gone the way she dreamed. Facing depression after several miscarriages, Molly is adapting to her husband’s purchase of a peculiar old farm. A search for a family tree pulls Molly deep into a century-old murder case and a web of deception, all made more mysterious by the disturbing shadows and sounds inside the farmhouse.

Perliett fights for her life, and Molly seeks renewed purpose for hers as she uncovers the records of the dead. Will their voices be heard, or will time forever silence their truths?

My Impressions

“The mind of a killer is a journey into chaos.”

What makes a Jaime Jo Wright novel, esp The Premonition at Withers Farm, such a great read? For those who like “spooky,””eerie,” and a murder mystery, there is plenty of that vibe going on in both parts of this split-time novel. For any that have dealt with depression caused by life’s circumstances, Wright deals compassionately with this as we see Molly in the present day, struggling to survive another day. For those who like to see the power of a good friendship, I loved the support that Sidney provides to Molly.

Some will say that séances and evil have no place in a Christian novel. My answer would be, see how Jaime Jo Wright deals with them from a Christian perspective. She doesn’t wham the reader with absolutes early on, but slowly, non judgmentally leads to her Biblical conclusions. A very satisfying tale from all threads involved!

Highly recommended!

I received a copy of the book from the publisher and NetGalley. I also bought my own copy for my keeper shelf. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“There will always be agony in the living. But it is in the agony that we discover our roots, and so often what we thought we needed wasn’t really what we need at all. It’s who we needed.”

“faith wasn’t something you achieved, it was something you fostered.”

“Moving on doesn’t mean forgetting.” She dropped her hand, wiping a cobweb onto her shorts. “It means living with their memory until God reunites us. It means finding a resolution to their death so you can keep on living.”

“Funny how when a person took a step back from all the expectations they had on themselves, that grace stepped forward and picked up the pieces that made no sense.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Eerie, Chilling, Hopeful Dual Timeline with Surprising Connections!

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!

PS. Jaime Jo Wright has just been nominated for and, as of this writing, is a finalist for another Christy award for her novel, On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor!

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

Anything but Plain by Suzanne Woods Fisher Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Anything But Plain

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Amish fiction

Release date: October 4, 2022

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

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

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

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notable Quotables:

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

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

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

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Fisher’s Best Yet!!

About the Author

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

More from Suzanne

Easily Distracted? 8 Strategies to Help Stay Focused 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 7

She Lives To Read, October 8

The Write Escape, October 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 9

Vicky Sluiter, October 9

lakesidelivingsite, October 10

Texas Book-aholic, October 10

Lighthouse-Academy, October 11

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

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 12

Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 12

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 13

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14

Blogging With Carol, October 14

Elly Gilbert, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 15

For Him and My Family, October 15

Holly’s Book Corner, October 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 16

Splashes of Joy, October 16

Empowermoms, October 17

SusanLovesBooks, October 17

Mary Hake, October 17

Bigreadersite, October 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 18

Blossoms and Blessings, October 18

Cats in the Cradle Blog, October 19

Pause for Tales, October 19

Spoken from the Heart, October 19

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 20

Cover Lover Book Review, October 20

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 20

Giveaway

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

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

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