BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

The House at the End of the Moor by Michelle Griep

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About the Book

Title: The House at the End of the Moor

Author: Michelle Griep

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

Release: April 2020 (I received an ARC from the author, as well as an e-copy from NetGalley through Celebrate Lit)

What Can a London Opera Star and an Escaped Dartmoor Prisoner Have in Common?

Opera star Maggie Lee escapes her opulent lifestyle when threatened by a powerful politician who aims to ruin her life. She runs off to the wilds of the moors to live in anonymity. All that changes the day she discovers a half-dead man near her house. Escaped convict Oliver Ward is on the run to prove his innocence until he gets hurt and is taken in by Maggie. He discovers some jewels in her possession—the very same jewels that got him convicted. Together they hatch a plan to return the jewels, clearing Oliver’s name and hopefully maintaining Maggie’s anonymity.

My Review

(Just a note here. I am on the author’s launch team, so I am posting now. I will post again when the Celebrate Lit Tour takes place.)

“Books are light and air.” This one was sweet ambrosia to my soul. It was midnight. I was just finishing Michelle Griep’s The House at the End of the Moor. All I could do was sit in my chair and grin hugely. The House at the End of the Moor was everything and more (pardon the pun) I could hope for from Griep. Firstly, the two Regency protagonists, Maggie and Oliver, are three-dimensional. They are both wonderful and flawed. And, yes, it is easy to fall in love with them as we learn more about their broken backgrounds. Griep writes with great imagery, humor, and skill. “Words stagger around on my tongue like little drunkards.” “…  ‘Every soul has value.’” “ ‘Even Barrow’s?’” “…That stung. Of course, Barrow was one of God’s creatures–but so was a rat.” (BTW, this “value” theme carries over from her last book, but yet The House at the Edge of the Moor is also a great stand-alone.)

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The enemies are dark, dangerous, and even described as demons. How I loved that. But how I loved, even more, the subtle thread of one very lost, dark soul beginning to hear God’s call on his life. How far is too far for forgiveness? With people? With God? The faith element is present at appropriate times. Strong, but fitting. If you can’t have faith when approaching death, when can you? Does this same faith carry over into life? Greed, need of a loving father, trust, backward prejudice, judgment, and justice are all themes woven into this deliciously rich book that went down like honey into my reader’s soul. “True justice starts with repentance. How can we ask God to show justice in the world while willfully nursing our own hidden prejudices, selfishness, lusts, greed…our own broken relationships?”

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By the end of the novel, I had completed a romance, filled my head with beautiful words, received words of faith to consider, and enjoyed more twists than I could have imagined. Yet every twist actually was credible. Thus, I closed the book, extremely happy. If only it weren’t over. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author as well as from NetGalley and Celebrate Lit. This in no way influences my opinions, which are solely my own.  

 

My Rating

5 Stars- Superior- Hit My Reading Sweet Spot, Tasted Like Honey to My Reading Soul

About the Author

I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me two options: 2754194choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I chose the latter. Way cheaper. I’ve been writing since I discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write…except for that graffiti phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?

 

BLOG, NetGalley, Revell

Out of the Embers, #1 Mesquite Springs by Amanda Cabot

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About the Book

Title: Out of the Embers

Series: Mesquite Springs

Author: Amanda Cabot

Publisher: Revell

Released: March 2020

Genre: Historical Romance

Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents’ murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds refuge in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don’t include a family of his own.

At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage?

Suspenseful and sweetly romantic, Out of the Embers is the first in a new series that invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s when the West was wild, the men were noble, and the women were strong.

My Review

There’s just something magnetic about a light romantic tale from the Old West. Add some mystery and suspense and you have the ingredients for a very enjoyable read by Amanda Cabot, Out of the Embers.
Evelyn Radcliffe and young Polly escape the orphanage fire that is deliberately set. How far must they run to find a new, secure life?
Evelyn is a very mature, loyal young woman who will do anything to protect those she loves. Her “adoption” of Polly proves how unselfish she is. I liked how her unselfish helping at the Circle C eventually leads to her dream future. But the path to get there is rocky.
Wyatt Clark is quickly interested in the young woman who comes to stay at the Circle C. However, the facts aren’t building a truthful foundation for a friendship, let alone anything more. Wyatt is a very responsible and caring individual who puts others above himself, as well. Which is why he is still present on the Circle C, a place he longs to leave. I love that Wyatt is not afraid to accept help and that he also listens to the voice of reason. These qualities go far in any relationship, be it friendship or love. Eventually, we see the far-reaching effects of lives lived for others.
I am not as impressed with Polly, the child in this novel. However, she does seem to act true to her identity.
Unless he shows up again in future books and bigger roles, I was unimpressed with the story thread of “the Watcher.” You’ll have to read the book to see if you agree. You may form a totally different opinion, which makes writing and reading these reviews fun. You get to read the actual text, write a review, then see what other readers think.
One thing I know. I got a sneak peek at a few pages of the next book, and I am anxious to read the next volume, Dorothy and Brandon’s story.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley. This did not influence my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent- I Gladly Recommend This Book

About the Author

1609844With both parents avid readers, it’s no surprise that Amanda Cabot learned to read at an early age. From there it was only a small step to deciding to become a writer. Of course, deciding and becoming are two different things, as she soon discovered. Fortunately for the world, her first attempts at fiction were not published, but she did meet her goal of selling a novel by her thirtieth birthday. Since then she’s sold more than thirty-five novels. When she’s not writing, Amanda enjoys sewing, cooking and – of course – reading. Follow Amanda’s writing on her website, http://www.amandacabot.com/

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

One Little Lie, #1 Pelican Harbor Series by Colleen Coble

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About the Book

Book:  One Little Lie

Author: Colleen Coble

Series: Pelican Harbor #1

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Genre:  Romantic Suspense

Release Date: March 3, 2020

 

50852923._SX318_SY475_It started with one little lie. But Jane Hardy will do everything in her power to uncover the truth in this gripping new romantic suspense.

Jane Hardy is appointed interim sheriff in Pelican Harbor, Alabama after her father retires, but there’s no time for an adjustment period. When her father is arrested for theft and then implicated in a recent murder, Jane quickly realizes she’s facing someone out to destroy the only family she has.

After escaping with her father from a cult fifteen years ago, Jane has searched relentlessly for her mother—who refused to leave—ever since. Could someone from that horrible past have found them?

Reid Bechtol is well-known for his documentaries, and his latest project involves covering Jane’s career. Jane has little interest in the attention, but the committee who appointed her loves the idea of the publicity.

Jane finds herself depending on Reid’s calm manner as he follows her around filming, and they begin working together to clear her father. But Reid has his own secrets from the past, and the gulf between them may be impossible to cross—especially once her father’s lie catches up with him.

 

Click here to get your copy.

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot (If only we didn’t have to wait for the ending!)  😦

My Review

A green police chief, vigilante justice, and a town full of secrets. Mixing these together with Colleen Coble’s compelling suspense and a dollop of romance brings you One Little Lie, a “most excellent” police adventure.
I really loved the storyline and most of the characters. The jury is still out on a few of them, namely the mayor, whom I’m trying to figure out. I did enjoy Jane Hardy and Reid and Will Dixon. Will sounds like one very neat teenager. Jane and Reid work together well. I have to wonder about how involved Reid was in the cases, as a civilian. Yet, my mind argues back that real life can be hard to separate into separate columns, and this just solidifies that point.

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The bay seems to be a little murky and so are so many of the relationships in this faith-filled novel. We see true friendship, bad parenting, misguided parenting, great parenting, and arms that lost the child they should have parented. I can just imagine Jane, if she had a theme song, singing “Lies,” from Jonathan Butler eons ago. The question is, who would she be singing it about? Faith, love, forgiveness, deceit, and revenge all surface in Pelican Harbor. Unfortunately for us, the readers, a neat ending does not. I appreciated Coble’s note that explained her reasoning. I appreciated that we had a “soft” ending, with more to come in the next Pelican Harbor installment ( Two Reasons to Run, coming September 2020), rather than a rushed, messy ending. Definitely a book to pick up, but preferably during daylight hours, with plenty of safe people around.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. This does not affect my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

About the Author

33227Best-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. You can visit her website at http://colleencoble.com.

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads, March 10

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Texas Book-aholic, March 10

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 11

The Avid Reader, March 11

Lighthouse Academy, March 11

By The Book, March 12

Older & Smarter?, March 12

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April Hayman, Author, March 13

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Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 14

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deb’s Book Review, March 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 15

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Just the Write Escape, March 16

For Him and My Family, March 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 16

Robin’s Nest, March 17

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 17

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 17

Stories By Gina, March 18

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Mary Hake, March 18

Empowermoms, March 18

For the Love of Literature, March 19

Blossoms and Blessings, March 19

Because I said so – and other adventures in Parenting, March 19

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A Baker’s Perspective, March 20

Quiet Quilter, March 20

Simple Harvest Reads, March 20 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Splashes of Joy, March 21

Moments, March 21

amandainpa, March 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 21

Pause for Tales, March 22

Britt Reads Fiction, March 22

Spoken from the Heart, March 22

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 22

To Everything There is a Season, March 23

Life love writing, March 23

Daysong Reflections, March 23

Lights in a Dark World, March 23

*No Giveaway for this Celebration Tour

 

 

Bethany House, Biblical Fiction, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

Like Flames in the Night, #4 Cities of Refuge by Connilyn Cossette

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About the book

Title: Like Flames in the Night

Series: Cities of Refuge, #4

Author: Connilyn Cossette

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: March 2020

Strong-willed Tirzah wants to join her people in driving the enemy from the land of Israel and undergoes training for a secret mission inside the stronghold of Shechem. But soon after she has infiltrated the ruthless Aramean commander’s kitchen, she makes a reckless decision that puts her and her allies in grave danger.

Fresh off the battlefield, Liyam returns home to discover his beloved daughter is dead. After his vow to hunt down her killer leads to months of fruitless pursuit, his last hope is in a family connection that comes with strings attached. Strings that force him to pose as a mercenary and rescue an infuriating woman who refuses to leave her mission uncompleted.

When an opportunity to pave a path to a Hebrew victory arises, can Tirzah convince Liyam to fight alongside her in the refuge city of her birth? Or will Liyam’s thirst for vengeance outweigh his duty to his people, his God, and the woman he’s come to love?

 

My Review

Connilynn Cossette consistently brings us novels of Biblical times that draw the readers in and make us believe that we are part of the ancient world she has flung open like a door. Like Flames in the Night is a tale of the nation of Israel as it is terrorized by the cruel Arameans, with Othniel leading the resistance. More specifically, we meet brave, bold Tirzah, who yearns to do her part to free the Hebrew people. Liyam is a warrior who loses his faith when he loses his dearest possessions. Somehow these two are key players in Israel’s struggle to be free. 

Tirzah is a highly relatable character because she has several brothers and is very comfortable competing against them. Many female readers will either relate to the idea of competing with brothers or just wanting their contributions to be as valued as men’s. Some may say that women leaders were unheard of in Israeli history, but we can easily recall names of heroines such as Miriam, Deborah the judge, or Esther. I love how Tirzah slowly recognizes that Yahweh Himself has spoken through her outspoken personality. God uses us as we are. 

Ah, Liyam. Heartthrob, spy, blood-avenger. He looks so good in his protective role, one might actually think he can let go of his blood-lust. What a tension this creates as Tirzah’s family tells their own history, and multiple friends urge the angry Hebrew to pursue life, not death. But is that even possible for Liyam? 

I almost forgot Odeleya. She will worm her way into your heart and find a permanent spot.  

If you like Biblical fiction, you need to add this last book in Cities of Refuge series to your collection. You could read this book as a stand-alone, but the series is too great. You will want to read all four books in Connilynn Cossette’s series.  

So many “notable quotables.” I will keep them to just a few. 

“Has Yahweh disappeared? Or has the power that split the sea diminished since the Arameans took control? Or have we simply forgotten who we are?” 

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“…where the black shadow of Har Ebal stood, and at its peak, the altar of Yehoshua.  “A fire will burn there again soon. And when it does, be assured that it was your iron strike against our flint hearts that created the first spark.” 

“But it is our duty as men consecrated by Adonai Most High to speak truth. We have hidden too long in our homes, cowering, keeping His Words locked in our hearts instead of on our tongues.” 

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“If the people of Yahweh rise up and remember who they are, nothing will stop our armies from being victorious over the Arameans this time. Nothing.” 

“Who was I to speak to the mind of the Eternal One? Or to turn my face away from the gifts he’d given me?  Perhaps even the trials I had endured were gifts in a way, making me stronger, wiser, more prepared to accomplish his purposes.” 

“Justice without mercy was tyranny, and mercy without justice was lawlessness.” 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and the author. This in no way influenced my opinions, which I am voluntarily leaving. I am solely responsible for these opinions. 

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the author

14134437Connilyn Cossette is the Carol Award Winning and ECPA Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series and the Cities of Refuge Series from Bethany House Publishers. When she’s 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. She delights in discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com

BLOG, Favorite, Kensington, Lyrical Underground, NetGalley

Belinda Blake and the Birds of a Feather, #3 Exotic Pet-Sitter Mysteries by Heather Day Gilbert

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About the Book

Title: Belinda Blake and the Birds of a Feather

Series: #3 Exotic Pet-Sitter Mysteries

Author: Heather Day Gilbert

Publisher: Lyrical Press (Kensington)

Released: February 2020

Genre: Clean, Cozy Mystery

When exotic pet–sitter Belinda Blake starts pecking at the details of a suspicious accident in her sleepy hometown, she inadvertently digs up a murder case that won’t be solved without ruffling a few feathers . . .

The moment Belinda arrives in Larches Corner, her Upstate New York hometown, she’s immediately recruited to care for a deceased friend’s flock of homing pigeons. But Belinda’s plans for a swift visit scatter after a local college student is mowed down in a malicious hit-and-run that has the whole town reeling.

At first, the gruesome demise of Jackson Hait appears to be a random tragedy. But Belinda quickly uncovers connections to a tight-knit group of friends and a similar death three years earlier . . . one that wasn’t as accidental as it seemed. Now, Belinda must pluck the truth from a tangled nest of lies before a cruel killer takes wing.

My Review

The third novel in the Belinda Blake series by Heather Day Gilbert has finally arrived. Birds of a Feather is a great addition to Gilbert’s superb cozy series. I have loved the love triangle that developed between Stone the Fifth and Belinda and Jonas, but never quite understood so well Belinda’s attraction to Stone the Fifth until this book: Stone looks like a ”modern-day Remington Steele.” Ooh, la, la, pretty certain that might have swayed me a little more (ok, a LOT more) to Team Stone the Fifth over Team Jonas.

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Belinda returns home to her little hometown for the funeral of Jonas’s mom. She reluctantly agrees to sit the pigeons Jonas’s mom was watching at the time of her death. While home, Belinda meets up with an old reporter friend who quickly involves her in a mystery of first one drunk college literary club member, then another.
I would have liked to see the pets (pigeons) play as big a role in this novel as the snake and the wolves did in the first two. I did enjoy the heightening of romantic elements. I also loved this mystery. I could really feel the tension of needing to “help” solve the crime before Belinda herself is in mortal danger. But guess the correct murderer? Nope. Gilbert still was wilier than me. AND Gilbert left the door open, that just MAYBE, there COULD be a book four. Bring it on!!

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. This did not influence my opinions, which are my own, and for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot with a Flock of Praise

About the Author

Heather Day GilbertHEATHER DAY GILBERT, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Publisher’s Weekly gave Heather’s Viking historical Forest Child a starred review, saying it is “an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership.”

Find Heather on Pinterest (heatherdgilbert), Instagram (@heatherdaygilbert), Twitter (@heatherdgilbert), and Facebook (heatherdaygilbert). You can find all her books at heatherdaygilbert.com.

BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, Revell

Two Steps Forward, #3 The Deacon’s Family by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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About the Book

Title: Two Steps Forward

Series: #3 The Deacon’s Family

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Publisher: Revell

Released: February 2020

Genre: Amish Romance

Length: 319 pg

Back and broke in Stoney Ridge, Jimmy Fisher has coasted as long as he could through life on charm, good looks, and deep-set dimples. They always worked just fine for him–until they didn’t. His smile has no effect on the violet-eyed beauty he met at the Bent N’ Dent, the one with that stunning horse. She’s offered him a job, but nothing else.

The last thing Sylvie Schrock King needs around Rising Star Farm is a grown boy working for her, especially her neighbor Edith’s son. The woman holds a serious grudge against Sylvie and her son, and hiring Jimmy Fisher will only fan the flames of Edith’s rancor. But Sylvie is desperate for help on the farm, and Jimmy understands horses like no one else.

While Jimmy’s lazy smile and teasing ways steal Sylvie’s heart, Edith is working on a way to claim her land. Has Sylvie made another terrible mistake? Or is it too late to outfox the fox? More importantly . . . just who is the fox?

Writing with both wit and warmth, Fisher delivers a supremely satisfying conclusion to the popular Deacon’s Family series.

 

My Review

In this heartwarming, soul-searching tale, Suzanne Woods Fisher invites us back to Stoney Ridge. In Two Steps Forward, we see Luke Schrock maturing as a deacon; Izzy still looking for her missing childhood, and Jimmy Fisher returning from Colorado. Unsure of his plans, Jimmy accepts an unexpected offer from widow Sylvie Schrock King to help with her horse and farm.
Sylvie is a very likable character. She is independent, a hard worker, and she will defend and protect those she loves. For her, the question seems to be, is Jimmy worth loving?
I really couldn’t decide how I felt about Jimmy. Fisher drew him in such a way that I liked him, felt sorry for him, but despised and wanted to be done with him.

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The creek, which divides Sylvie’s property from Edith Fisher Lapp’s, is slowly meandering closer and closer to Edith’s house. Perhaps symbolic of the way Edith’s sphere of influence gets smaller and smaller the more in control of others she tries to be.
Edith is NOT a nice person, but Bishop David Stolzfus gives her lots of room (grace) to be herself. In our time in Stoney Ridge, I have enjoyed watching his people-handling skills, honed by hours of prayer. David is a very patient and wise bishop and is teaching Luke well by example.
While Luke has grown by leaps and bounds, Izzy is still chained to her unfulfilled childhood longings. Will she ever feel that she can move on without the ability to settle her past?

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Themes include righting wrongs towards others (mending fences); forgiveness (can those already given grace pay it forward)?; protecting those who can’t defend themselves (adoption or fostering). It’s important to take action, realizing by being part of the solution, we can help people, one by one.
Yet, a fourth theme was the importance of a loving father in the home.
I totally enjoyed this story and recommend it. That being said, I wish there had been one less twist at the end.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and the author through NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

5 Stars- Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot and makes me want to stay in Stoney Ridge.

 

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling, award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books, host of the radio-show-turned-blog Amish Wisdom, a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine.

Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, who was raised Plain. A theme in her books (her life!) is that you don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate the principles of simple living.

Suzanne lives in California with her family and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To her way of thinking, you just can’t take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth.

Suzanne can be found online at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley, Thomas Nelson

A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate

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About the Book

Book:  A Girl’s Guide to the Outback

Author: Jessica Kate

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Release Date: January 28, 2020

How far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand? This funny, sweet, and 44441985romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.

 Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly.

When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church.

As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile, Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster strikes the farm, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

My Review

“Samuel Payton was an idiot.” What a great opening sentence to A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate. Kimberly Foster and Samuel Payton may work together, but they seem destined to be each other’s number one antagonizer.
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Wow, this is the rom-com book to pick up for something light, yet with a message.
I liked and disliked all four main characters by turns, depending on whose point of view examined them. Kimberly, Sam, Jules, and Mick all have lots of personalities but the lies they believe often cause them to act as if there is only one possible trajectory for their lives. When their eyes see their own weaknesses, it tends to be through magnifying glasses that so enlarge their weaknesses and fears they can’t move forward. They have trouble viewing themselves in light of God’s Word, based on their own experiences or others’ perceptions of them.
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I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in a lighter, clean rom-com with spiritual overtones.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. This is no way affects my opinions for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

5 stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author 

jessica kateAustralian author Jessica Kate writes inspirational romances with wit, sass, and grit. Jessica is a screenwriting groupie, cohost of the StoryNerds vlog and podcasts, and her favorite place to be—apart from Mum and Dad’s back deck—is a theme park. She has traveled North America and Australia, and samples her favorite pasta wherever she goes—but the best (so far) is still the place around the corner from her corporate day job as a training developer. She loves watching sitcoms with her housemates and being a leader in a new church plant. Visit her online at jessicakatewriting.com; Instagram: jessicakatewriting; Facebook: jessicakatewriting; Twitter: @JessicaKate05.

 

Exclusive Excerpt

Click here to read an exclusive excerpt of the book!

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, February 3

Just the Write Escape, February 3

Through the Fire Blogs, February 3

Robin’s Nest, February 4

Hebrews 12 Endurance, February 4

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 5

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, February 5

Genesis 5020, February 6

Wishful Endings, February 6

Texas Book-aholic, February 7

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, February 7

Batya’s Bits, February 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 8

For Him and My Family, February 9

deb’s Book Review, February 9

Inklings and notions, February 10

Inside the Wong Mind, February 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 11

Kat’s Corner Books, February 11

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 12

Hallie Reads, February 12

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 13

Mary Hake, February 13

Moments, February 14

Stories By Gina, February 14

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, February 15

Britt Reads Fiction, February 15

Pause for Tales, February 16

With a Joyful Noise, February 16

*No Giveaway for this Celebration Tour

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kensington, NetGalley

Hannah’s Courage by Molly Jebber Celebrate Lit Tour with Giveaway

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About the Book

Book:  Hannah’s Courage

Author: Molly Jebber5-30-3019-Hannahs-Courage-FROM-Kensington-180x300

Genre:  Amish Historical Romance

Release Date: January 28, 2020

A loaf of fragrant cinnamon bread for breakfast . . . a sweet and creamy custard pie for dessert. In 1912 Ohio, the Amish Charm Bakery has something to delight locals and visiting Englischer alike. And within this warm, welcoming community, there’s always room for love to grow . . .

Hannah Lapp’s life, like a long-cherished recipe, is satisfying just the way it is. She enjoys whipping up desserts at the bakery, tutoring local children, and socializing with dear friends. One of those friends, Timothy Barkman, has made his interest in Hannah clear, but she’s been in no hurry to change her circumstances.

No sooner does she feel ready to grow closer to hard-working, handsome Timothy than Hannah finds she may have waited too long. Charlene Shetler intends to become Timothy’s fraa. It’s little wonder he’s attracted to such a pretty, forthright young woman, but is the newcomer all that she seems? Only when Hannah is willing to confront some difficult truths can she move bravely toward a life of abiding faith and love . . .

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

Hannah’s Courage by Molly Jebber is a cute, Amish romance with a love triangle that confounds me.
Hannah Lapp works in a bakery with Ellie and Magdalena, and eventually a few others. The relationships we see there are warm and energizing. If you wouldn’t want to work in Liza’s Bakery, you would at least want to make it a daily stop, like Sheriff Williams and Dr. Harrison. These older mid-life men are fun secondary characters, adding breadth to the story.

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No one but Timothy Barkman is going to like Charlene. At first, helping a newcomer to the area, he finds she attaches stronger than a hungry flea. Unfortunately, she’s rude and rotten to the core. (Ellie likes to call Charlene “Miss Nasty.”) Everyone but Timothy can see Charlene’s bad personality, and I’m left thinking, ”Can even a person in love be this blind?!” Charlene fails to consider Timothy’s wishes and requests about her forward behavior.

Hannah's Courage 1
As a former teacher, the book both delighted and dismayed me. These reactions had to do with Hannah and the course of actions she took. I can’t say more without spoilers.
What unimpressed me? The story moseyed a little slower than I would have liked. I wished the novel would have had a little more substance. Also, I felt like there was one possible loose end that loomed over most of the book and then quietly disappeared.
Why would I want to read more? The relationships in the bakery mentioned earlier. Maryann is a person that enters the book early on. By the end, I am intrigued enough that I will look for the next book by Molly Jebber to read her story.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. This does not influence my opinions. I am voluntarily leaving my thoughts, for which I am solely responsible.

 

My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent – I Would Recommend This Book

About the Author

Molly Jebber’s Amish Historical Romance books have been featured on Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Ten Recommended Reads, in USA Today’s HEA, Romantic Times and many Molly-Jebber-268x300other media sites. She’s tours and speaks for Stonecroft Ministries – Women’s Christian Connection, and about Amish history/traditions, writing, marketing, publishing, and her books. She loves God, her family, and friends. She enjoys swimming, golf, reading, and says yes to butterscotch pie and parasailing, but no to coconut and skydiving! Visit http://www.mollyjebber.com for a complete list of her books and speaking events.

 

More from Molly

I related to Hannah in this book where I had to find the courage to make some hard decisions. Maybe you’ve had some hard choices to make and finding the courage to follow through has been difficult for you.

Have you had a bad day where nothing goes right? We’ve all had those. Hannah’s has many days like this, and she is torn about what to do from one problem to the next in her life. She makes some snap decisions, and faces life-altering challenges. You’ll laugh and want to stomp your feet at the twists and turns in this story.  She’s good at giving her friends advice, but has trouble following it. I can relate to this in my life at times. Maybe you can too.

The Sheriff and Dr. Harrison are still regular customers at the bakery where she whips up mouth-watering desserts. She and her friends cry, laugh, and offer each other advice. I love time with girlfriends, and Hannah’s no different. You’ll relate to her, root for her, want to reach in the book and shake her at times (I’m sure my friends have wanted to do this with me a time or two!), and wonder how what the future holds for her.

I hope you’ll follow my blog tour and enter for a chance to win the Grand Prize at the end of the tour. The more you enter, the more chances you have of winning!

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. Your Facebook comments help me to get to know you better, and I appreciate it so much!

 

Here’s a recipe Hannah’s whipped up for you. And there are more in the back of Hannah’s story.

 

Cake

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoonnutmeg
  • ½ teaspoonsalt
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cupbrown sugar
  • 3eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 3large apples, peeled and cut into large pieced

Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoonvanilla

 

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 9 x 13 pan with butter and coat with 2 tablespoons of flour
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Sift two additional times and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine oil and both sugars, and mix until well blended.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla and mix again.
  5. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the batter and mix thoroughly. By hand, fold in apples and walnuts and mix until evenly combined.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool in the bundt pan for 20 minutes.
  8. While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine all of the glaze ingredients. Bring to a boil and allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute.
  9. Remove the cake from the pan, onto a serving plate. Spoon the glaze over the warm cake.
  10. Cool for a little longer before serving.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, January 30

Genesis 5020, January 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 31

Texas Book-aholic, January 31

Batya’s Bits, February 1

Quiet Quilter, February 1

She Lives to Read, February 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 2

Bigreadersite , February 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 3

For Him and My Family, February 4

deb’s Book Review, February 4

Inklings and notions, February 5

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 5

Pause for Tales, February 5

Older & Smarter?, February 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 6

Blossoms and Blessings, February 7

Lighthouse Academy Blog, February 7 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 8

Christian Bookaholic, February 8

For the Love of Literature, February 9

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 9

SusanLovesBooks, February 10

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, February 10

Connie’s History Classroom, February 11

SPLASHES of Joy , February 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 12

Vicky Sluiter, February 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Molly is giving away a Molly Jebber grand prize collection that includes a handmade quilt and Amazon 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/f564/hannah-s-courage-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

 

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Blizzard Bride, #11 the Mayflower Brides by Susanne Dietze

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About the Book

Title: The Blizzard Bride

Series: The Mayflower Brides, #11

Author: Susanne Dietze

Publisher: Barbour

Released: February 2020

A Blizzard Changes Everything

Abigail Bracey arrives in Nebraska in January 1888 to teach school…and to execute a task for the government: to identify a student as the hidden son of a murderous counterfeiter—the man who killed her father.

Agent Dashiell Lassiter doesn’t want his childhood sweetheart Abby on this dangerous job, especially when he learns the counterfeiter is now searching for his son, too, and he’ll destroy anyone in his way. Now Dash must follow Abby to Nebraska to protect her…if she’ll let him within two feet of her. She’s still angry he didn’t fight to marry her six years ago, and he never told her the real reason he left her.

All Dash wants is to protect Abby, but when a horrifying blizzard sweeps over them, can Abby and Dash set aside the pain from their pasts and work together to catch a counterfeiter and protect his son—if they survive the storm?

My Review

Susanne Dietze pens a worthy addition to the Mayflower Brides series with her title, The Blizzard Bride. Hoping against hope for snow this year, the title appealed to me, as I love the cold ferocity of a blizzard (as long as my family is all safely ensconced at home with me).
Set in the open plains of Nebraska in 1887, Abigail Bracey agrees to help the Secret Service by posing as a school teacher while looking for a missing boy and a counterfeiter. That might have been simple if the operative assigned the case were not Dash Lassiter, who left her six years ago amid their dreams for a wedding.
Abby has a lot of courage and spunk, but she also needs to learn to rely on others and the Lord. Life’s difficulties have taught her to reject getting too close to people, and to trust only herself.
Blizzard Bride 1
Dash has been cut to the core by people’s mean assessment of his lack. I found myself wondering whether Abby would truly be able to see beyond these deficiencies or whether she would reject Dash for good. Then, the big question, can Dash see himself as a person of worth in God’s eyes, or will he forever believe his inability equals personal failure?
Themes in The Blizzard Bride include questions of unanswered prayers and why we suffer for others’ sins. We also see lessons of forgiveness, fairness, the spirit of love (& spunk) fostered by forgiveness.
Blizzard Bride 2
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, for which I am solely responsible.
My Rating
5 Stars- Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the award-winning, RITA®-nominated author of several romances who’s seen her work on the Publisher’s Weekly, ECPA, and Amazon Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com. 13657688

BLOG, NetGalley, Thomas Nelson

Synapse by Steven James

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About the Book

Title: Synapse

Author: Steven James

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Released: October 2019

Genre:  Christian Speculative, Sci-fi

Thirty years in the future, when AI is so advanced that humans live side by side with cognizant robots called Artificials, Kestrel Hathaway must come to terms not just with what machines know, but with what they believe.

Soon after experiencing a personal tragedy, Kestrel witnesses a terrorist attack and is drawn into a world of conspiracies and lies that she and Jordan, her Artificial, have to untangle. With a second, more brutal attack looming on the horizon, their best chance of stopping it is teaming up with federal counterterrorism agent Nick Vernon.

But the clock is ticking—and all the while, Jordan is asking questions Artificials were never meant to ask.

My Review

When I finished, I am reminded why I am drawn to speculative/sci-fi fiction. Being written from a Christian viewpoint, I like the conclusions better than those of a secular book. Steven James packs a lot of solid Biblical truth into Synapse and utilizes key story threads to do so. The lack of bad language or bedroom scenes is a real plus for me!
Synapse 1
I enjoyed seeing how James develops the characters of Kestral, Jordan, Nick, and Trevor. Interestingly enough, ALL of them show growth. You’ll have to read the book to see why that’s an ironic statement. The action really accelerated near the end. I love to be surprised by who some of the villains and allies are, and this book did not disappoint.
It did take me a while to get into the book, as James uses different point-of-views and even tenses for each character. Switching out of third-person past to the first-person present and back again was not comfortable for me. There were spots where James felt it appropriate to write the text all next to each other, with no breaks for words. These spots could be a paragraph long, and unfortunately, I was also fighting off dizziness the day I read this part, so I was doubly dismayed. All in all, though, I did enjoy the book. It came together well in the end. I would read another of Steven James’s novels and see where he takes mankind.
Synapse 2
I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the author and publisher. This does not affect my opinions, for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent – I Would Recommend This Book

 

About the Author

Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

His latest novel, SYNAPSE, a near-future thriller, is set to release on October 8, 2019.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book EVERY WICKED MAN one of their “Best Books of 2018,” says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game,” and RT Book Reviews promises that “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”

Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, “Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.”

Equipped with a unique Master’s Degree in Storytelling, he has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades and has spoken more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe.

Steven’s groundbreaking books on the art of fiction writing, STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE and TROUBLESHOOTING YOUR NOVEL, have both won Storytelling World Awards. Widely recognized for his story-crafting expertise, he teaches regularly as a Master Class instructor at ThrillerFest, North America’s premier training event for suspense writers. He also hosts the biweekly podcast, The Story Blender.

When Steven isn’t writing or speaking, you’ll find him trail running, rock climbing, or drinking dark roast coffee near his home in East Tennessee.