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

About the Book

Title: On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: June 2021

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

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

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

About the Author

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

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

on Twitter @jaimejowright

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



My Impressions

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

More Notable Quotables:

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

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

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

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

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

ARC, BLOG, Favorite, Purchase

A Mug of Mayhem, #4 The CafFUNated Mysteries by Angela Ruth Strong

About the Book

Title: A Mug of Mayhem

Series: #4 The CafFUNated Mysteries

Author: Angela Ruth Strong

Publisher: Mountain Brook, Ink

Released: September 2021

When their wedding venue becomes a crime scene, the bride and groom are in for a real trick-or-treat.

One week before Marissa plans to get married at her fiancé’s farm, Connor is arrested for a murder in the corn maze. Marissa and her maid of honor, Tandy, must prove the groom innocent before the wedding is cancelled.

With a coffee shop to run, family visiting from out of town, and preparations for the big day, time is running out. The senior citizens who’d been at the farm during the homicide offer to help investigate, but are they witnesses or suspects? A cranky military veteran goes rogue and disappears with his gun, a retired spy suffers from dementia, and a former Broadway star still seems to be putting on a show. Unless the real killer is unmasked, death could do them all part.

My Impressions

Sometimes I need a light, fun, clean cozy to cleanse my literary palate. If you do, too, might I suggest Angela Ruth Strong’s series, The CafFUNated Mysteries? This is a great cozy series about two mismatched barista friends who open a combo coffee/tea shop instead of the original opposing stores. These books need to be read in order because events are sequential. Now that all the books are published, you COULD just binge-read them!

I am sharing about book #4 today, A Mug of Mayhem. Like the other books in the series, there is hilarity enough to make you hold your sides with laughter. The residents of the assisted living home are such “characters” that I found myself talking out loud to them or their caregivers, trying my best to look out for them from the privacy of my living room. (Not advised: nobody listened!) But you will love the old man, Archibald, who plays at being a PI but resembles Elmer Fudd. The elderly Birdie, who has both dementia and sticky fingers, plus a rumored past. Winifred, who sings beautifully as a remedy for any situation. And Pete, who thinks he’s still a farmer. Plus, Marissa and Tandy have picked up the most enigmatic barista help: you’ll have to read the book to see why he’s such a great addition!

I can finally say I actually love Marissa. Before, she was a beautiful, albeit clumsy blonde; the perfect foil for Tandy, a great sparring partner, and love interest for Connor. She will always be “mechanically declined” as my husband terms it. But as Connor’s innocence is questioned, Marissa grows into someone absolutely wonderful in this last book, and I didn’t want her and Tandy to leave us!
Besides, isn’t there more to be said about Tandy and Greg’s love story? (I am now begging.)

Some quotes I loved:

“Her life was like the corn maze. She was blocked at every turn.”

“Tingles shot through Marissa’s body. The answer to all her prayers was on the other end of the line.”

“I run on coffee and combat boots.”

“Not that there was anything wrong with snooping. It solved crimes.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! Tandy & Marissa really need to make a encore!!

About the Author

Angela sold her first story to a national magazine while still in high school and went on to study journalism at the University of Oregon. Her debut novel LOVE FINDS YOU IN SUN VALLEY, IDAHO released in 2010 to a four-star review from Romantic Times. Angela loves connecting with fans and mentoring aspiring authors, which led her to start IDAhope Writers. She currently lives in Boise with her husband and three kids.

More About Angela’s Works

Angela has published multiple books of different genres. One of my favorite series of hers is the Finding Love line. There are four books in this series, and the second, Finding Love in Blue Sky, Montana, has just been made into a movie of the same name, in which Angela and her hubby had small parts! There’s a series for kids, called Fun4Hire, a few romantic suspense, the cozy series The CafFUNated Mysteries, and her new rom-com, Husband Auditions. Several of the titles are included in anthologies and collections with other authors, of which I have only shown one.

This last book is representative of several book collections that Angela Ruth Strong’s stories appear in.
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On Sugar Hill, #2 Georgia Magnolias, by Ane Mulligan

About the Book

Title: On Sugar Hill

Series: #2 Georgia Magnolias

Author: Ane Mulligan

Publisher: Heritage Beacon Fiction

Released: May 2021

To make ends meet, the Fitzgerald women must open their home as a boardinghouse, but will the secrets they uncover prove their undoing?
The day Cora Fitzgerald turned sixteen, she fled Sugar Hill for the bright lights of New York City, leaving behind her senator father’s abuse. But just as her career takes off, she is summoned home.
The stock market has crashed. The senator is dead. Her mother is delusional, and her mute Aunt Clara pens novels that expose the town’s secrets. Then there’s Boone Robertson, who never knew she was alive back in high school but now manages to be around whenever she needs help.

And the Fitzgerald women need a lot of help, indeed. They are forced to find a way to make ends meet, whether it s mining for gold or doing what Southern women have done for generations in times of need turning their home into a boardinghouse.

But will the people of Cora’s past keep her from returning to a brilliant future? 

My Impressions

Ane Mulligan has been an author whose works I buy immediately upon release ever since I met her Chapel Hill characters. The Georgia Magnolia series is set around the Great Depression. The female characters “have iron in their veins.” They are stronger than they know as they face insurmountable odds together. It is not necessary to read the books in order, as they are connected by theme, not characters.
But how I learned to love those characters! Fitzie, the Senator’s wife, and mother of Cora and sister to mute Clara. Just how sane has reality left Fitzie? And yet, she is such a blessing to those around her and retains a wonderfully positive attitude despite her life.
Clara is quite the enigma. Mute, but not deaf. She has strong opinions and contributes much to the solutions that will rescue the ladies from their troubles.


Pearl is just wonderful! She is loving and beneficent to those around her, when she has every reason to be hateful and resentful instead.
Poor Cora! She is easy to identify with, and one wonders if she’ll ever escape the mental prison others have made for her.
Boone is drawn in such a way I wanted to trust him and wanted Cora to fall for him, but what if he’s hiding more than can be seen?
Try to read this when you’re not hot or hungry. Every time I read about Cora’s wonderful support group, the Dillies, I pictured ice cream bars! Seriously, they are some truly refreshing friends.
To wrap this up, if you liked Steel Magnolias, you’ll love On Sugar Hill, #2 The Georgia Magnolias.
Notable Quotables:

“You can forgive the person and still hate what they did.”

“Some voices are harder to turn off than others.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Southern Fiction at its Best, Imbued with Hope!

About the Author

I’ve been a voracious reader ever since my mother instilled within me her own love of reading at an early age. Together we would escape together into worlds otherwise unknown.

A new love entered my life when I saw Mary Martin in PETER PAN. Struck with a fever from which I never recovered, I submerged myself in drama through high school and college, but, alas, Broadway never found my phone number.

While a large, floppy straw hat is my favorite, I’ve worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), business manager, creative arts director and writer. My lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for my Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast).

I wrote and published my first script in 1996 and to date have over 4-dozen scripts in print, nine books, and numerous articles on various aspects of Christian drama and the craft of writing. In Jan of 2003, having quit my job with my husband’s encouragement, I began to write full time. I reside in Sugar Hill, Georgia with my artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler. 

ARC, BLOG, Kregel, Purchase

Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong

About the Book

Title: Husband Auditions

Author: Angela Ruth Strong

Publisher: Kregel

Release Date: August 17, 2021

Genre: Christian Romance, Comedy

How far would you go to find the perfect husband? All the way back to the 1950s?

In a world full of happily-ever-after love, Meri Newberg feels like the last young woman on the planet to be single, at least in her Christian friend group. So when she’s handed a strange present at the latest wedding–a 1950s magazine article of “ways to get a husband”–she decides there’s nothing to lose by trying out its advice. After all, she can’t get any more single, can she?

Her brother’s roommate sees the whole thing as a great opportunity. Not to fall in love–Kai Kamaka has no interest in the effort a serious relationship takes. No, this is a career jump start. He talks Meri into letting him film every silly husband-catching attempt for a new online show. If it goes viral, his career as a cameraman will be made.

When Meri Me debuts, it’s an instant hit. People love watching her lasso men on street corners, drop handkerchiefs for unsuspecting potential beaus, and otherwise embarrass herself in pursuit of true love. But the longer this game goes on, the less sure Kai is that he wants Meri to snag anyone but him. The only problem is that he may not be the kind of husband material she’s looking for . . .

With droll comic timing, unbeatable chemistry, and a zany but relatable cast of characters, Angela Ruth Strong has created a heartfelt look at the reality of modern Christian dating that readers will both resonate with and fall for. 

About the Author

Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there’s nothing else she’d rather write about. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, been optioned for film, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. She also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho, and she teaches as an expert online at WRITE THAT BOOK. Get to know her even better at http://www.angelaruthstrong.com.

My Impressions

“Poor ideas in real life often make the best entertainment.” And so is born the premise of this hilarious rom-com novel from Angela Ruth Strong. Meri and Kai, reluctant roommates (actually housemates)act and film respectively in a reality-made-for-YouTube channel serial movie about 100 ways to catch a husband. The catch of Husband Auditions is, that the rules are taken from a 1950s women’s magazine and applied in today’s world. As filming progresses, Meri and Kai begin to wonder how wise it is to complete this unusual project. Will there be a winner, or just losers?

With a sense of humor that will have you laughing out loud, Ms. Strong also presents very real moral situations for her characters to work through. Staid Sunday School answers need not apply. How does the very real love of Jesus work itself out in (gasp)Hollywood? In personal boundaries? In how we judge and treat others? Conservatives may have a hard time with the emphasis of the fact the Meri and Kai and another beauty are roommates(housemates). Strong WANTS you to be uncomfortable. Are we as readers assuming relationships that are not present? Do people answer to God or us? One of many dilemmas couched in Strong’s trademark humor to challenge your reactions to others and make you question if you are fully living out your faith.

My Rating

5 Stars!!

Magnificent! Hilarious Rom-Com

Angela has added a special prize, so I am reporting this on the date Husband Auditions is officially released.

All right, guys. [Today] is the big day!!! And I have big news. I’m giving away a free flight to one lucky winner. Here’s the link where you can sign up and share! https://mailchi.mp/50fe6fc73514/husband-auditions-book-launch/

ARC, BLOG, Kregel, Purchase

Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong

About the Book

Title: Husband Auditions

Author: Angela Ruth Strong

Publisher: Kregel

Release Date: August 17, 2021

Genre: Christian Romance, Comedy

How far would you go to find the perfect husband? All the way back to the 1950s?

In a world full of happily-ever-after love, Meri Newberg feels like the last young woman on the planet to be single, at least in her Christian friend group. So when she’s handed a strange present at the latest wedding–a 1950s magazine article of “ways to get a husband”–she decides there’s nothing to lose by trying out its advice. After all, she can’t get any more single, can she?

Her brother’s roommate sees the whole thing as a great opportunity. Not to fall in love–Kai Kamaka has no interest in the effort a serious relationship takes. No, this is a career jump start. He talks Meri into letting him film every silly husband-catching attempt for a new online show. If it goes viral, his career as a cameraman will be made.

When Meri Me debuts, it’s an instant hit. People love watching her lasso men on street corners, drop handkerchiefs for unsuspecting potential beaus, and otherwise embarrass herself in pursuit of true love. But the longer this game goes on, the less sure Kai is that he wants Meri to snag anyone but him. The only problem is that he may not be the kind of husband material she’s looking for . . .

With droll comic timing, unbeatable chemistry, and a zany but relatable cast of characters, Angela Ruth Strong has created a heartfelt look at the reality of modern Christian dating that readers will both resonate with and fall for. 

About the Author

Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there’s nothing else she’d rather write about. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, been optioned for film, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. She also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho, and she teaches as an expert online at WRITE THAT BOOK. Get to know her even better at http://www.angelaruthstrong.com.

My Impressions

“Poor ideas in real life often make the best entertainment.” And so is born the premise of this hilarious rom-com novel from Angela Ruth Strong. Meri and Kai, reluctant roommates (actually housemates)act and film respectively in a reality-made-for-YouTube channel serial movie about 100 ways to catch a husband. The catch of Husband Auditions is, that the rules are taken from a 1950s women’s magazine and applied in today’s world. As filming progresses, Meri and Kai begin to wonder how wise it is to complete this unusual project. Will there be a winner, or just losers?

With a sense of humor that will have you laughing out loud, Ms. Strong also presents very real moral situations for her characters to work through. Staid Sunday School answers need not apply. How does the very real love of Jesus work itself out in (gasp)Hollywood? In personal boundaries? In how we judge and treat others? Conservatives may have a hard time with the emphasis of the fact the Meri and Kai and another beauty are roommates(housemates). Strong WANTS you to be uncomfortable. Are we as readers assuming relationships that are not present? Do people answer to God or us? One of many dilemmas couched in Strong’s trademark humor to challenge your reactions to others and make you question if you are fully living out your faith.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Hilarious Rom-Com

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Missing in the Desert, #2 Desert Justice, by Dana Mentink

About the Book

Book:  Missing in the Desert

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspy suspense

Release date: July 27, 2021

Five years ago, her sister disappeared…
Now someone is coming for her.

Who would believe that Mara Castillo’s sister—missing and presumed dead—suddenly sent a one-word text? Now Mara wants answers, even if it means stepping into a killer’s sights with her brother’s best friend, rancher Levi Duke, as her only protection. But with someone who has everything to lose after her, uncovering a long-buried secret could save her life…or claim it.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Poisoned Pen Press. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

Hello, readers! Boy am I excited! Since the virus-that-not-shall-be-named is being brought under control, I am cautiously venturing out again and our first vacation spot will be a return to Death Valley. Papa Bear and I love the amazing diversity of Death Valley, from the salt flats, to the sand dunes, mountains, and everything in between. Writing this book allowed me to relive the incredible topography, as well as let my mind run loose imagining a cold case that warms up to fiery levels in this ferocious climate. Part of this story revolves around “Camp Town Days” which was inspired by the Encampment Days, an event held in November by a volunteer group called the Death Valley 49ers that aims to capture the pioneer spirit with their wagon rides, parade, poetry readings, a vendor show, and historical talks. I hope you can feel the desert wind in your face and hear the distant howl of the coyote as you dive into the second book in the Death Valley Justice series.

My Impressions

“You are a good man, and you wouldn’t manipulate Seth. I can see why he’d want to jump in to the Rocking Horse. It’s…a special place…But special isn’t going to pay the bills.” Just why has Mara Castillo agreed to help Levi with the struggling Rocking Horse Ranch at the edge of Death Valley? Both she and her parents resent her brother Seth’s financial involvement in the ranch, and their animosity only seems to increase. Indeed, “Horses were so much easier to read than people…” thinks Levi Duke as he puzzles this out.
I love seeing the family loyalties as both the Castillos and the Dukes are fiercely protective of their own, to the point of rudeness(unfortunately) and judging either Levi’s or Mara’s motives. I love seeing them being forced to work together, despite misgivings, and some grow beyond their distrust and cruelty.


I have to admit, Dana Mentink’s Missing in the Desert achieved favorite status for me. Perhaps the western desert locale affected that. Definitely the large part horses played helped. The importance of sibling close relationships probably also influenced that status. Twists and turns affected my choice. Mentink’s inclusion of a young child also probably swayed me. If any of these factors, plus faith, forgiveness, gentleness, loyalty, and romantic suspense call to your reading spirit, pick up Dana Mentink’s Missing in the Desert, #2, Desert Justice, today. (While part of a series, and you will recognize friends from the first book, it is not necessary to read book one first.)

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Added to my fave lists!!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 28

Simply Susan, July 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 28

Remembrancy, July 29

Inklings and notions, July 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 30

For the Love of Literature, July 30

deb’s Book Review, July 31

Through the Fire Blogs, July 31

She Lives To Read, August 1

Batya’s Bits, August 1

For Him and My Family, August 1

Pause for Tales, August 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 2

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 3

Genesis 5020, August 3

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 4

Bigreadersite, August 4

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 5

Blossoms and Blessings, August 5

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 6

Reviewingbooksplusmore, August 6

Older & Smarter?, August 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 7

Labor Not in Vain , August 7

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, August 8 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, August 8

Life, Love, Writing, August 8

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

Betti Mace, August 9

Daysong Reflections, August 10

Splashes of Joy , August 10

Blogging With Carol, August 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed 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/110df/missing-in-the-desert-celebration-tour-giveaway
BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Hardback, NetGalley, Purchase, YA

Shadow, #2 Heirs of Neverland, by Kara Swanson

About the Book

Book:  Shadow

Author: Kara Swanson

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Release date: July 13, 2021

Swanson - Shadow

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

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

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

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

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

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

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


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

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! JUST INCREDIBLE!!

About the Author

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

More from Kara

One of my favorite CS Lewis quotes is this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We can conquer.

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

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

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

We are not finished.

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

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

It comes from our King.

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

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

The important thing is that they can be slain.

Blog Stops

Babbling Beck L’s Book Impressions, July 31

Inside the Wong Mind, July 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 31

The Write Escape, August 1

Remembrancy, August 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 2

Connect in Fiction, August 2

Blossoms and Blessings, August 2

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 3

Texas Book-aholic, August 3

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 4

Losing the Busyness, August 4

For the Love of Literature, August 4

Worthy2Read, August 5

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 5

Wishful Endings, August 5

Inklings and notions, August 6

Mia Reads, August 6

For Him and My Family, August 7

Sodbusterliving, August 7

Mary Hake, August 7

deb’s Book Review, August 8

Nancy E Wood, August 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 9

Through the Fire Blogs, August 10

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 10

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

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

Cats in the Cradle Blog, August 11

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 12

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

The Book Chic Blog, August 12

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 13

Labor Not in Vain, August 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kara Swanson is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/110e4/shadow-celebration-tour-giveaway

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A Lady in Attendance by Rachel Fordham

About the Book

Title: A Lady in Attendance

Author: Rachel Fordham

Publisher: Revell

Released: June, 2021

Genre: Historical Romance

Five years in a New York state reformatory have left a blemish on Hazel’s real name. So when she takes a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts’s lady in attendance in 1898, she does so under an alias. In the presence of her quiet and pious employer, Hazel finds more than an income. She finds a friend and a hope that if she can set her tarnished past in order, she might have a future after all.

As Gilbert becomes accustomed to the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, he can’t help but sense something secretive about her. Perhaps there is more to this woman than meets the eye. Can the questions that loom between them ever be answered? Or will the deeds of days gone by forever rob the future of its possibilities?

Rachel Fordham pens a tender tale of a soft-spoken man, a hardened woman, and the friends that stand by them as they work toward a common purpose–to expunge the record of someone society deemed beyond saving–and perhaps find love along the way. 

My Impressions


Reading the author’s “why” behind one of the main characters made me love this story all the more. Rachel Fordham certainly accomplishes what she set out to do… make a quiet, unassuming, often brunt-of-jokes character into a sympathetic, greatly caring, and deep personality! How I loved him, and I believe most readers will connect well with Gil as he slowly emerges from his self-made cocoon.
The leading lady that is so opposite Gil and draws him out? Readers won’t be able to help but love Hazel, either, as we gradually are able to compare the amazing person she is, with the persona she exhibited for so many years.


Fordham fleshes out the story with some friends of Gil and Hazel I grew to love. They showed more depth than I would have credited them. Which, by the way, was one of the major themes of the novel- judging people based on looks, their pasts, or societal relegations. And, oh, that we could all learn the forgiveness that would set us free. Several characters must choose what degree of forgiveness they will offer-or receive- and that will make ALL the difference.
Loved the inclusion of art, corn harvest, dental practice, reformatory life, and more. Just a powerful story.
I received a copy of the book through Revell Reads. I was not obligated to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own, voluntarily submitted. 

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! Powerful Story!!

About the Author

Rachel Fordham has long been fascinated by all things historical or in the words of her children “old stuff”. Often the historical trivia she discovers is woven into her children’s bedtime tales. Despite her love for good stories she didn’t attempt writing a novel until her husband challenged her to do so (and now she’s so glad he did). Since that time she’s often been found typing or researching while her youngest child naps or frantically writing plot twists while she waits in the school pick-up line. In addition to her passion for storytelling she enjoys reading, being outdoors and seeing new places. Rachel lives with her husband and children on an island in Washington state.

Learn more about current projects at rachelfordham.com 

Books by Rachel:

A Life Once Dreamed
The Hope of Azure Springs
Yours Truly, Thomas

A Lady in Attendance

ARC, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Purchase

Pint of No Return, #1 Shake Shop Mystery by Dana Mentink

About the Book

Book:  Pint of No Return

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release date: May 25, 2021

The first in new dessert cozy mystery series! A murder in town is bound to shake things up…

After her divorce from her thrice-married embezzler husband, Trinidad Jones is finally ready for a fresh start. So when she’s left one of ex’s businesses in Upper Sprocket, Oregon, she decides to pack up her dog, cash in her settlement, and open her dream business: the Shimmy and Shake Shop, introducing the world to her monster milkshakes. And even with a couple sticky situations underway, namely that the other two ex-wives also call Sprocket home, Trinidad’s life seems to be churning along smoothly.

That is, until she discovers her neighbor, the Popcorn King, head down in his giant popcorn kettle. When one of Trinidad’s fellow ex-wives is accused of the murder and Upper Sprocket descends into mayhem, it’s going to take a supersized scoop of courage to flush out the killer.

Click here to get your copy!


My Impressions

“Sometimes I feel like damaged goods, like I have to pay a price forever just because I believed the wrong man.”
Unfortunately, not only has Trinidad Jones been married to a cheater and a liar, but life has also now forced her to start her new shake business in the same town where her ex’s other two exes live. Ooh, the gossip this starts. And the connections just get better or worse, depending on who you ask. First, Trinidad’s first friend is an unbelievable person. Then she has barely gotten settled when she finds a dead body. When she investigates with the help of the few friends she makes, the police chief is not a fan.
“I am still more than annoyed to find you popping up in this investigation at every turn. You’re like a human-sized whack-a-mole.”


I loved Trinidad’s special dog, Noodles. He is such an important part of the novel. And the relationship between brothers Doug and Quinn. What a joy to see that play out. Plus, Papa Luiz. Everyone needs a Papa Luiz in her life. Fortunately for us, we get to see more of Papa Luiz in the next book. Clean, no bad language, cute, prominent dog, quirky characters, special needs character, plus an amateur sleuth who honestly works her yummy business. Get Pint of No Return, #1 Shake Shop Mystery by Dana Mentink, now.


I wish to thank the author for a copy of this book via Celebrate Lit. I also purchased my own copy. No positive review was required. All thoughts were left voluntarily, and are solely mine.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! — All the Great Cozy Elements

About the Author

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is the Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harvest House, and Poisoned Pen Press. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

Freakshakes. The name says it all, right? Allow me to explain. A freakshake is a milkshake festooned with so many extras (sprinkles, cookies, candy, donuts, cake, slabs of pie) that it is hardly liftable. It is the stuff my sugar fantasy dreams are made of! Now picture a freakshake shop called the Shimmy and Shake in the quaint and quirky town of Upper Sprocket in Eastern Oregon. Known as the “Swiss Alps” of Oregon, this fictional place is the new home to a woman named Trinidad Jones, a lady starting out on the second phase of her life after her husband’s betrayal. Sprinkle in a dose of Papa Luis, her darling Cuban grandfather (inspired by my own Cuban grandfather) who drives a classic Buick, and a devoted service dog flunk out named Noodles. You know what’s missing? A murder, of course! That happens shortly after Trinidad opens her new shop, and from there on out it’s a sticky, spine tingling, sweet and satisfying and slightly funny adventure in mystery land. I had an absolute blast writing the first installment in this series, and I’m knee deep in the second as I write this. Thank you for coming along on the adventure and I hope it’s as satisfying as a monster milkshake!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 25

The Avid Reader, June 25

The Write Escape, June 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 26

Texas Book-aholic, June 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 27

Blogging With Carol, June 27

Inklings and notions, June 28

Genesis 5020, June 28

Among the Reads, June 29

Daysong Reflections, June 29

Bigreadersite, June 29

For Him and My Family, June 30

Betti Mace, June 30

Worthy2Read, July 1

deb’s Book Review, July 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 2

Through the Fire blogs, July 2

EmpowerMoms, July 2

Blossoms and Blessings, July 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 3

Lighthouse-Academy, July 4

Labor Not in Vain, July 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 5

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

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 6

Vicky Sluiter, July 6

Simple Harvest Reads, July 6 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

She Lives To Read, July 7

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 7

KarenSueHadley, July 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 8

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a a signed copy of Pint of No Return, an ice cream bowl and spoon set, and a $30 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/10e05/pint-of-no-return-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Purchase

The Elnora Monet, by Rachel Skatvold

About the Book

Book:  The Elnora Monet

Author: Rachel Skatvold

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: April 27, 2021

The Elnora Monet

Islanders call him the Elnora Monet.

Is that island speak for “pompous, arrogant jerk?”

When Carly Mulligan volunteered to make house calls on Elnora, she never imagined treating the richest cat on the islands. What other feline has his own wing in a mansion like the Belshaw Estate?

After a wrong turn in the mansion, Carly stumbles across a secret room—one filled with incredible paintings. Perhaps there’s something more to the man than she first thought.

Most people envy Jean-Luc Belshaw’s position. The heir to a lucrative business and family fortune, he should have everything he could dream of.

But Luc dreams of days past. Days when he traveled the world with his wife and painted the breathings of his soul disappeared with Angeline’s passing.  Faith and inspiration gone, he wonders if returning to France to take his place in his father’s business is the right thing to do.

Carly has a few relational demons of her own, and she’s reluctant to trust him, but Luc’s paintings draw her in even as his story touches a long-empty place in her heart.

Only God can transform two broken pasts into a work of art.

The Elnora Monet continues the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“‘…this isn’t normal, sir.’” Outspoken, spontaneous, and fun-loving vet assistant Carly Mulligan discovers that billionaire Jean-Luc Belshaw, Jr., needs some help returning to “normal.” She meets Luc on a house call for a very spoiled cat named Descartes. Appalled at his lack of interest in his pet, Carly wonders what story lies behind Luc’s tortured eyes.
The Elnora Monet, by Rachel Skatvold, quickly intrigued me as a fun-to-read, well-written contemporary romance with a poor girl meets rich guy trope. The major part animals play in the story shows Skatvold has a good understanding of feline and canine behavior. With the emphasis of the art style being French Impressionism and Monet specifically, readers attracted to that style will sit up and take note. And a chance to revisit Elnora Island, plus a trip to Paris? Be still my beating heart! A great faith thread is incorporated, and I should have loved the book.


But a mental block appeared. The book was good, even great, but for me, stopped short of magnificent. Deniable plausibility, that wonderful phrase, struck early on and I couldn’t let go. One of Carly’s important actions early in the book felt inconsistent with what she already knew. This may not be a problem for anyone else but me, and I would definitely encourage readers who like Christian contemporary romance with a poor girl-rich guy trope to give this novel a try.
My thanks to the author and publisher, Celebrate Lit, for providing a copy of this book. No positive review was required, and all thoughts are solely my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Life has no meaning for an artist who’s not creating…no matter what form of art it might be.”

“I’d rather spend my life trying and risk failing, than doing nothing to change the situation.”

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great!

About the Author

Rachel Skatvold is a Christian author and stay-at-home mom from the Midwest. She enjoys writing inspirational romance and encouraging blogs. Rachel completed her first series, the Riley Family Legacy Novellas in 2014 and is now working on the Hart Ranch Series, set in the Montana wilderness and the Ladies of Ardena Series, set in medieval times. She is also a contributing author in the Whispers in Wyoming and Brides of Pelican Rapids Series. Other than writing, some of her hobbies include singing, reading and camping in the great outdoors with her husband and two young sons. You can find more information about Rachel and her books on her website: http://www.rachelskatvold.com.

More from Rachel

Thank you for helping celebrate the release of The Elnora Monet by following this Celebration Tour hosted by Celebrate Lit. I hope you enjoy learning a little more about the characters and what inspired the story. Please follow the other stops on this tour and don’t forget to enter in the giveaway. Thank you!

It has been a wonderful experience working with the talented authors and editors in the Independence Islands Series. Each of these stories has a heartwarming message of faith and the characters always teach me something new. Ever since writing Kendall Mulligan’s story in Her Merriweather Hero, I’ve been excited to share her free-spirited younger sister’s story.

Carly had many struggles in the first book, questioning what purpose God had for her life. This time around, her feet are more grounded, but she still has some growing to do when it comes to faith. Carly has been a fun character to write about because of her witty extroverted personality and some of the humorous predicaments she ends up in…one of them including getting caught snooping around a billionaire’s mansion.

While not outspoken as Carly, I can relate to the character’s search for direction. Sometimes it is difficult learning to trust, especially during troubling times, but we can rely on God’s promises. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight.” This verse means so much to me because I know even when I can’t understand something, He is behind the scenes guiding me in the right direction. For Carly, it leads in a direction she never expects, but it is worth it in the end.

Certain parts of the story were inspired by my mom. If you have read Her Merriweather Hero, you know the Mulligan sisters are originally from New England, close to where my mom grew up. I love hearing about her memories of spending time at Nantasket Beach, drinking orange pop, and putting chips in her sandwich so they wouldn’t blow away. Even though I grew up in the Midwest, I still put chips in my own sandwich because of watching her do the same thing and her fridge is always stocked with orange pop to this day. Little bits of my mom’s childhood are weaved into this story, making it close to my heart.

I hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about characters and story behind The Elnora Monet. Now continue reading for a summary of the book and giveaway. Blessings!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 10

Lakesidelivingsite, May 10

Rebekah Reads Lit, May 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 11

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, May 11

She Lives to Read, May 12

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 12

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 13

deb’s Book Review, May 13

Texas Book-aholic, May 14

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, May 14

Inklings and notions, May 15

CarpeDiem, May 15

For Him and My Family, May 16

Cultivating Us, May 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 17

Books and Everyday Live, May 17

Blossoms and Blessings, May 17

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 18

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 18

Lots of Helpers, May 19

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 20

Blogging With Carol , May 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 21

Godly Book Reviews, May 21

Kayem Reads, May 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 22

Connect in Fiction, May 22

Splashes of Joy, May 23

Simple Harvest Reads, May 23 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel 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/10bb3/the-elnora-monet-celebration-tour-giveaway