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The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer

About the Book

Title: The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow

Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Publisher: Waterbrook-Multnomah

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Impressions

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


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


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

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

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

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Trouble in the Ruins, #3 Stones of Gilgal by CL Smith Celebrate Lit Tour and Giveaway



About the Book

Book:  Trouble in the Ruins

Author: C.L. Smith

Genre:  Biblical fiction

Release Date: September 2019

Return to the turbulence of ancient Canaan in Book Three of The Stones of Gilgal. Even the raging floods of the Jordan could not stop the Israelites from crossing the river and setting up camp near Jericho. Canaanite kings and kingdoms—even the Anakim giants—are in turmoil. Former enemies jostle for power in new alliances, united only in their determination to destroy the Israelite invaders.

When the massive fortifications of Jericho collapse, Salmon rushes into the ruins to save Rahab, the beautiful harlot who had rescued him and his fellow spy from certain death. But saving her from her own city is not so easy. And that is only the beginning of the trouble, treachery and devastating ruins they and their friends face as they settle into their new life in the Promised Land.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

CL Smith’s Trouble in the Ruins, # 3 Stones of Gilgal, gripped my heart with terror and wonder. Terror of the Anakim in the land. I wondered as Smith describes the Anakim and their devotion to Baal if I would have been faithful to follow Joshua and Caleb’s urging to conquer the Promised Land (although that actually occurred in a previous book, we see so much of the Anakim, I can understand the Israelites’ fear. If only they could KNOW that their God is greater…) Wonder at the greatness of God.
“Night after night, the stars declared Yahweh’s message. Israel did not face evil alone. God would provide a deliverer. It was the message of Passover.”
Evil abounds, whether in Jericho, or in the Anakim, or the hearts of man, not fully committed to God. We travel with Israel and observe the wondrous defeat of Jericho, only to see the treachery that causes the defeat at Ai. I love how each character is presented as realistically, struggling, and sometimes failing, in their walk with Yahweh. Yet we see several attaining redemption, while others reject Yahweh and rail against Him. I liked how even the “good” characters like Caleb’s daughter Acsah and her friend Abihail find they need forgiveness and cleansing. Sometimes those who think themselves most righteous have to re-examine God’s Word for guidance on how to treat others.


My heart yearned in agreement with statements about the young people:
“Passover is not their story, but it must become so. It is the birth story of our people. I must tell it and retell it. Make it theirs. Tell it every year until I die—my parting gift to future generations.”
So many touching quotes. So many competing storylines, yet they work. Especially if you have read the first two books, which I had not, or are familiar with the Biblical Exodus. I give Ms. Smith points for putting the map in front (where I believe all maps belong) and the lengthy character list in back, where one can refer to it, once you have enough knowledge to hang your hat on. Otherwise, I find a list of names at the front off-putting. Add footnotes to Biblical allusions and references, great! At times the prose is not only compelling, but it is also melodic. This is a book that was hard to put down, as I followed each character and grew to love them.
Of course, with so many characters getting their turn in the sun, many did not see the ending I was hoping for. Fortunately, we are promised two or three more books to bring this Israelite saga to a satisfying conclusion. I went and bought the first two stories. I would have bought the sequels if they were available. If you like exciting Biblical fiction, give Trouble in the Ruins a try.
Notable Quotables:


“…we must not let the living force of the story be lost.”

“God transforms tears into jewels. He has a new plan for me than the life I imagined. A higher place, and it will be good.”

“Welcome to a place where identity and dignity are found in covenant with Yahweh.”

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. (I also bought my own copy.) All opinions are my own, and no positive review was required.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent

About the Author

C.L. SMITH, former missionary, retired junior high English/history teacher, has captivated audiences around the world for years with the timeless thrill of biblical tales. Now her six-part Stones of Gilgal saga brings the mayhem and miracles of the book Joshua to life. Well researched and beautifully written, the author weaves her lifetime love of learning and people into the fabric of the biblical text, creating a tapestry of rich scenes and colorful characters the reader will not soon forget.

Learn more at www.stonesofgilgal.com

More from C.L. Smith

The Stones of Gilgal biblical novels follow the epic adventures of a group of ordinary young Israelites. As they battle evil together, they sink their roots deeper and deeper into the bedrock of God’s Truth and Love, slowly growing from a stand of saplings to a forest of giants.

Two of the seven young characters in my series have to deal with a lot of Trouble in the Ruins in this bookLots of trouble. Lots of ruins.

Rahab the Harlot barely escapes the ruins of Jericho, but the ruins of her former life threaten to keep her ever an alien among the people of Yahweh.

Abihail is Acsah’s best friend from childhood, but she is also a fictionalized daughter-in-law of the biblical Achan. Her life is slammed with heart-rending trouble and ruin as that horrific Old Testament drama unfolds.

The Title: Trouble in the Ruins

The inspiration for this title comes from a couple of “plays on words” in Hebrew.

Trouble: The name Achan in Hebrew sounds very similar to the word Achor meaning trouble. The story of the biblical character Achan is forever tied to the word trouble at the end of Joshua 7 when the valley where he was stoned and buried under a “monument” of rocks received the name the Valley of Achor.

Ruins: Achan’s sin led to defeat at a little fortress known as Ai which means ruin. Some scholars suggest that the fortress was built on or near the ruins of a city destroyed in an earlier time. Following the glory of the crossing of the Jordan and the crumbling walls of Jericho—the Hebrew mind would find great dramatic irony in Israel being defeated by a “ruin.” The story jolts us out of complacency, underscoring the life and death consequences of obedience versus breaking covenant with God.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 1

For the Love of Literature, September 2

For Him and My Family, September 3

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 4

Emily Yager, September 4

Artistic Nobody, September 5 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 7

deb’s Book Review, September 7

Inklings and notions, September 8

Betti Mace, September 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 10

Batya’s Bits, September 11

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 12

Mary Hake, September 12

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

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 14

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, C.L. Smith is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!! (U.S. Only)

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/fff7/trouble-in-the-ruins-celebration-tour-giveaway

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The Sleuth’s Surprise, #4 The Librarian Sleuth by Kimberly Rose Johnson

About the Book

Title: The Sleuth’s Surprise

Series: #4, The Librarian Sleuth

Author: Kimberly Rose Johnson

Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink

Released: Sept 2020

Mary Daley has been the sheriff of Tipton County for more than two decades, but someone wants her job. When it seems circumstances can’t get more complicated, a murder happens on her watch. Had she been the intended victim?

Deputy Chief Lyle Griffin only wants Mary to be happy, but when he asks her if she’d consider retiring, it sets off a string of events and emotions that muddy their friendship.

Nancy Daley-Malone can’t believe anyone would run for sheriff against her mom. She is onboard to help run the best campaign Tipton County has ever seen until the sheriff’s opponent is murdered and Nancy’s husband joins the race. On top of that, it appears someone is out to kill her mother as well.

Can Nancy, along with the sheriff’s department, find the murderer before it’s too late? Will Lyle and Mary be able to admit their feelings for one another or will the status quo remain?

My Impressions

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”
I first loved The Sleuth’s Surprise, #4 The Librarian Sleuth, because it is a Christian cozy. No bad words, no bad scenes, but a small town with a murder and an amateur sleuth.
While I vaguely remembered the librarian, Nancy, who tries to solve the mystery (I’d only read one other book in the series), it was obvious that this book could stand on its own merits. Yay.

The main character, Mary, is a mature woman, into her fifties. She is quite capable and respected in her job AND she has a romance waiting to happen IF she and a friend can get past the “friend” point. How often main characters are only in their twenties or thirties at best! Thank you, Ms. Johnson.


The competition that Kimberly Rose Johnson sets up for Nancy’s heart. How can Nancy ever decide whom to support between the two people she loves most.
Just for free, the main characters of the other book I read were also involved and their relationship grew, as well.
Lighter than my most recent read, The Sleuth’s Surprise was a timely, delicious surprise for a hungry bookworm.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

Award winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.


Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter via her website at: https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/ 

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The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

About the Book

Title: the Haunting at Bonaventure Circus

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: September 1, 2020

1928
The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the “Watchman,” she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa’s search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Present Day
The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk’s shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot’s history, she’s also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend. 

My Impressions

“Life was not unlike the wisp of fog that curled around the base of a grave marker, softly caressing the marble before dissolving into the violet shadows of the night.” And so, Jaime Jo Wright begins spinning her chilling web of mystery, wonderment, and deceit in The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus.
At first, it seems like there might be a lot of unrelated information we are given. Like Alice in Wonderland, we just never know down which rabbit hole Ms. Wright will take us, or what to do with the scenes we see. With a dual timeline story, Wright alternates chapters between past and present. Double the rabbit holes; add a baby elephant, a Sasquatch-like man, a self- proclaimed medium, and a pit-bull, in no particular order.

We see young Pippa Ripley, adopted daughter of the circus owner, who longs to know her people and find value in her life. Before we can discover too much about Pippa, Wright pulls us out of the mire and thrusts us into the quagmire that is Chandler Faulk’s story. As we sort through her present-day needs to survive, excel, and raise a child on her own, we are again uprooted and thrown back into the circus world, or as close as Pippa is allowed to venture. Actually, Wright does a wonderful job of feeding us just enough information about each young lady, both searching for belonging, significance, and love. Then, like a crazy carnival ride, we are tossed back and forth between the two narratives, hanging on for dear life, and trying our best to hang onto our wits as well. When I finished the book, I looked back in astonishment, amazed at the wild ride I’d been on, helpless to change it (I tried, but Pippa wouldn’t listen).


What a slowly-building whirlwind adventure that turned out to be! The book is finished but the repercussions will live on in my mind. Dare to read the book and leave it unfazed.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

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!

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Miss Fanshawe’s Fortune, #2 The Brides of Mayfair, by Linore Rose Burkhard

About the Book

Title: Miss Fanshawe’s Fortune54593789._SY475_

Series: #2 The Brides of Mayfair

Author: Linore Rose Burkhard

Publisher: Lilliput Press

Genre: Christian Regency Romance

Released: August 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Respectability was all she needed to win his heart…and precisely what she lacked.

Miss Frances Fanshawe’s past is shrouded in mystery. Raised genteelly as an heiress to a fortune, she is forced to question everything after her mother dies and leaves her with only a single clue to the money. Unless she can locate her father or otherwise prove her heritage, not only the fortune but her very respectability is at stake.

In line for a baronetcy, Sebastian Arundell has no time for sorting out questionable tangles for young women with dubious histories. No matter if they are young, appealing, and have ridiculously large chocolate eyes to melt a man’s heart. But when it becomes apparent that other people are after Frannie’s supposed fortune, he is drawn to investigate. As the search deepens, Frannie falls in love with handsome, proper Sebastian. But if it only proves what he suspects—that she’s an illegitimate pauper—will all hope to win his heart be lost?

 

My Review

Whoa. This is a Dickensian Regency that will have you learning as you laugh,
wonder, and swoon with the story.
For all its ostentatious words, Miss Fanshawe’s Fortune by Linore Rose Burkhard is a
very clean, fun, and relaxing weekend read.
The first item that made me a happy reader was the inclusion of a glossary, timeline,
and map at the back of the book. These appendices are mentioned in the front, so
you know what tools are available, should you desire.
“Edward Arundell suspected from the moment he almost ran her down on
Monmouth Street, that Miss Fanshawe would be trouble.” Second inkling this will be
a great book. A great opening line.
A dear widow woman who has been ousted from society because of a terrible
accident, Mrs. Arundelle is both a delight and an enigma, as she holds a longstanding
grudge. Yet, she quickly insists that homeless Miss Fanshawe should be her society
companion and eventually, an inexplicable part of the family.
Of course, who would not love poor, sweet Frannie, who only wants respectability
and answers? I felt like I was watching a play, cheering for a romance between
Frannie and somewhat stern Sebastian (Beau).
Miss Fanshawe's Fortune 2
Roadblocks to the romance and to any answers to Frannie’s ancestry are plenty. This
is where the unbiased observer can see just how far Sebastian goes in his search for
Frannie’s answers until the search becomes his quest, too. Got to love a gentleman
like that.
But if this were a play, the supporting actress award would have to go to Mrs.
Fanshawe. Bold, manipulative, shrewd, and cunning, she is also overbearing,
designing, and determined. What a character. She certainly drives a lot of the action.
Hopefully, others can put on the brakes.
Miss Fanshawe's Fortune 1
If you like Regency romances with faith, mystery, and high-brow language of the ton,
then this is a great book for you.
I received a complimentary copy of this book, plus I bought my own. All opinions are
my own. No positive review was required.

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

Linore Rose Burkard

Linore Rose Burkard


Website


Twitter

Linore Rose Burkard ( L.R.Burkard) is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite, and hopeless romantic. An award-winning author best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, her first novel (Before the Season Ends) opened the genre for the CBA. Besides historical romance, Linore writes contemporary suspense (The Pulse Effex Series, as L.R. Burkard), contemporary romance (Falling In), and romantic short stories (ie., “Three French Hens”). Linore has a magna cum laude English Lit. degree from CUNY which she earned while taking herself far too seriously. She now resides in Ohio with her husband and family, where she turns her youthful angst into character or humor-driven plots.
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Dual Power of Convenience: #1 Independence Islands by Chautona Havig with Giveaway

Dual-Power-of-Convenience-FB-Banner-768x284

About the Book

Book:  Dual Power of Convenience

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre:  Christian Contemporary Romance

Release Date: July 28, 2020

When Richard Danforth inherits the family estate on Merriweather Island, he 52900839._SY475_doesn’t have time to deal with it—especially not from halfway across the globe. He’s too busy working to become the world’s newest billionaire and avoiding the women who would detract him from his goals.

Enter Lyla Santana. Fresh out of Oxford University with a degree in antiques and a relationship that nearly killed her to leave, she’s eager for the isolation and treasure trove that is Danforth Hall. Lyla also is determined to avoid men at all costs. Forever.

It was supposed to be a match made on paper. With him halfway across the globe, they’d never have to see each other again.

So, what’s Richard doing on Merriweather just weeks after the wedding? And how will his arrival test Lyla’s faith, not to mention stretch their so-called relationship?

In a twist on billionaire romance and marriage of convenience, this “Merriweather book” kicks off a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

This series, Independence Islands, authored by six various raconteurs, promises to be as refreshing and unique as a visit to Merriweather Island could be. Southern to-the-core, you can close your eyes and feel the refreshing breezes and hear the waves and the call of the gulls. In this first book, Dual Power of Convenience, Chautona Havig introduces two females whose friendship develops when Lyla Santana moves to the island to catalog antiques. Mallory Barrows is the islander who befriends Lyla. As Lyla helps Mallory find ways to better sell her merchandise in her mobile bookstore, Mallory returns the favor with her knowledge of the island people. This friendship will be essential as Lyla enters into a marriage of convenience with the island’s “favorite son,” whom she has never met. She does not expect the marriage to change her life, per the agreement.

Dual Power of Convenience 1
Havig tackles not one, not two, but three tropes here: a marriage of convenience, fake relationship, and billionaire. She approaches this in a way that encourages the reader to be willing to suspend disbelief while enjoying tongue-in-cheek, witty banter between characters. A few pop culture references are totally fitting and hilarious, some with double entendre. While a billionaire from a little country called Azadi might be the first hint a practical reader should run the other way, real problems like allergies, getting rid of an unwanted pet, and visits to the coffee/bookstore and taco truck, balance the feelings of normalcy.

Dual Power of Convenience 2

The question becomes, can Lyla and Richard ever find a sense of normalcy to their very unusual marriage? I recommend this novel as a great way to spend a few relaxing hours.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. All opinions are solely my own and no positive review was required.

 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

media-headshot-sm-240x300Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

Did I Really Agree to Write a Romance Series?

When my fledgling little idea for a single book transformed into a series that then transformed into a SERIES, I kind of missed the part where I agreed (and likely suggested, if truth be told), that the books should be contemporary romance.

I mean, beach reads.  Romance.  Duh.

There’s just one problem?  I rarely write a straight-up romance.  And if I do, it’s usually a short novella in a collection—often at Christmas.

Why?

Isn’t it obvious?

Despite nine kids and being married for almost thirty-two years, I am THE most unromantic woman on the planet. No habla amor.  Or something like that.

So there I was, toodling down the 395 (a treacherous bit of road between my house and the publisher’s) when all of what I’d agreed to exploded in my brain.  I’m still scraping brain matter off the windshield and trying to stuff it back in. I need every last one of those “little gray cells,” thank-you-very-much!

Romance.  My heart sank.  Boy meets girl.  They like each other.  They fight.  They get back together.  They live happily ever after.

It’s a thing, folks.  A formula.  And if you deviate, true romance readers get annoyed.  What was I going to do?  I didn’t want to write romance.  Not really. I had ideas.  The prequel book had been all about trying to bring a young woman back to the Lord.  That’s more my speed, okay?

The wheels began churning.

The ones in my head, I mean.  The tires still rolled along the ground. Fortunately, my cranial explosion hadn’t caused an accident or anything.  Just in case you were curious.

I considered making each one loosely related to a fairy tale retelling.  I’d have a Cinderella story, a Beauty and the Beast, a… nope. That made it that far and I just couldn’t.  The minute we got to Sleeping Beauty, I’d have my readers in comas.  No. Thanks.

Next came Rom-com.  We’d make it funny.  All the stuff that happens in beach romances gone wrong.  Why not?  We live once!

I was yawning before the thought finished forming.

Right about then, I think, is when I wondered what kind of tropes I needed to consider.

See, romance tropes are a thing.  I even talk about them on my podcast.  The tingling sensation that comes when a good idea is brewing happened.  A grin formed.

Tropes. I’d play with tropes.  I’d take all those familiar things and twist them somehow.  Why not?  It would be fun.

And it was.

Right about then is probably when I began recording my ideas.  Creosote and sage whizzed past at breakneck speeds (let me dream.  I’m not a speed demon, but c’mon… for the sake of poetic license and all?). And the ideas whizzed faster (no license needed.  They really did).

Book 1.  Marriage of convenience.  I mean, those are always fun, right?  So why on earth would someone need to get married?

Every idea I came up with has been done… and done again.

That’s when I upped the stakes. Authors do that, you know. We come up with a way to torment our characters, and then we say, “Okay, now how can I make this worse?  Nope, I need it even worse.  Oh, and…” Bam!  The story goes from interesting to can’t-put-it-down.  All because we’re not afraid to be cruel to non-existent people. Score!

How’d I do it with this one? I added in another trope. One I personally just can’t “get.”  People love the things, and I’ve got no idea why.  But it answered my first question of why someone might need a marriage of convenience or… as my gal puts it… “a paper marriage.”

My guy became the world’s newest billionaire.

Yep, you read that right. I wrote a “billionaire romance.”  Sort of.  Now, if I could figure out how on earth I’d take two people on opposite sides of the world and get them together.

*insert hands rubbing together in fiendish delight*

Oh, yeah.  I did it.  And even more than that, I love it.  I made my characters do some stupid things. I really did (you know, like how two Christians didn’t even pray about their marriage decision?  Like how they didn’t even ask if the other person was saved?  Why should they?  They’ll never see each other again… they said.  Ha!  The Lord had other ideas.  Sorta.  This is fiction, right?  Oops! I suddenly feel like that crazy Kathy Morningside in Miss Congeniality).

From Adelanto to Kramer Jct., I planned out that first book—Dual Power of Convenience.

(the title gives away that reason for marrying, no?  Also, links may be affiliate links that provide a small commission at no extra expense to you.)

It was almost too easy.

Then I started playing with the next ones, and the series became a reality to me.

– Dual Power of Conveniencewhen a woman too afraid of men goes to work for a man who is too busy making money to want anything to do with that whole marriage and family thing.

– Bookers on the Rocks— This couple’s marriage is on the rocks (that’s the trope, of course), and neither of them has a clue. They’ve been married for twenty-five years, neither is having an affair, no one wants a divorce, life is good, so why is it on the rocks?  You’ll see…

– Directing Hearts— The Crawforths got tricked into allowing a reality matchmaking show film on their islands. Brooks Crawforth tangles with the director until their verbal battles turn into a different kind—a battle for their hearts (enemies to “lovers”)

– Just a Memory— In this one, Mallory Barrows (who makes appearances in all of the books) comes across an old journal that tells a story she’d never heard. It’s the old Patti Paige song “Go On with the Wedding” but over forty years later!  Mallory knows something that might just create a (here comes the trope) second chance at romance.

Printed on Her Heart— After being instrumental in so many couples’ relationships, it’s Mallory’s turn in this dual-trope story.  In this one, we get a mashup of friends to more and love at first sight.  Can’t wait to share it.  Squee!

Okay, that’s the deal.  Yes, I really did agree to write a romance series.

And yes, it probably was my idea.

I might deny it to my dying day, but it is also a whole lot of fun… so far.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, August 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 5

Inklings and notions, August 6

lakesidelivingsite, August 6

deb’s Book Review, August 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 7

Rebekah Jones, Author, August 7

For Him and My Family, August 7

Artistic Nobody, August 8 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 9

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 9

21st Century Keeper at Home, August 9

She Lives To Read, August 10

Simple Harvest Reads, August 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 11

Adventures of a Traverlers wife, August 11

Emily Yager, August 12

Stories By Gina, August 12

CarpeDiem, August 12

cultivating us, August 13

Connect in Fiction, August 13

Livin’ Lit, August 13

Read Review Rejoice, August 14

Quiet Workings, August 14

Blossoms and Blessings, August 14

Just Your Average reviews, August 15

Rebekah Reads, August 15

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 15

Lis Loves Reading, August 16

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, August 16

Splashes of Joy, August 16

Pause for Tales, August 17

Captive Dreams Window, August 17

Spoken from the Heart, August 17

Lots of Helpers, August 18

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 18

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book (winner’s choice of eBook or paperback format)!!

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/ff14/dual-power-of-convenience-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Favorite, Purchase

Iced Over, #2 Barks and Beans Cafe Mysteries, by Heather Day Gilbert

About the Book

52527969._SY475_

Author: Heather Day Gilbert

Series: Barks and Beans Cafe

Publisher: Woodhaven Press

Released: July 2020

Genre: Clean Cozy Mystery

BOOK TWO in the ALL-NEW BARKS & BEANS CAFE cozy mystery series!!

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

Black Friday turns fatal when an armored security truck hits an icy patch and runs over an embankment near the cafe. With one driver dead and the other in a coma, police are baffled by the discovery that $500,000 is missing from the truck’s cache.

When strangers show up at Barks & Beans asking nosy questions about a young cafe employee, Macy’s mama bear instincts kick in. She can’t ignore what her gut is telling her—that things aren’t all they seem on the surface—and with a little help from her brother, Bo, and her Great Dane, Coal, Macy follows up on a few leads of her own. But if the ruthless thief beats her to the stash, the thin ice she’s been skating on might just crack.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown…with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series in order:
Book 1: No Filter
Book 2: Iced Over
Book 3: Fair Trade

 

My Review

When I saw Iced Over, #2 Barks and Beans Café Cozy Mystery, by Heather Day Gilbert was for sale, I had to preorder. This is a book I would not want to miss. The wonderful smell of flavored coffee beans, the sound of espresso machines, the chance to pet shelter dogs with a view to adopt…plus the chance to play Nancy Drew with a brother who used to be a DEA agent? Let’s just say I wonder if I could convince one of my loyal brothers to open a dual purpose shop like this? “Bo and I were bringing happiness into our corner of the world, one coffee drink and one perfect doggie match at a time.”

Iced Over 1
Gilbert keeps her cozies to the cozy foundations. No swearing, no sex scenes, but there is a small town with an amateur sleuth. As one of my friends said about Gilbert’s previous book, “a book I don’t have to be on guard as I read. “
Macy has a heart the size of her adopted Great Dane, Coal. I loved the way she actually puts feet to her prayers that her employee’s family would have their needs met.
I also loved that one of the secondary characters who we get to know is an unashamed plus-size 24-year- old. She is fashionable, fun, and has a good head on her shoulders. While she may not be perfectly pleased with her body, she accepts herself and that causes others to look beyond the outer wrappings.
One thing I always look for in a cozy is whether our sleuth actually spends time working at his or her purported job. Macy does indeed spend much of her time at the café, and it is so well described, I really wish I could at least visit one if I can’t work at one.

Iced Over 2
The sleuthing side becomes a little dangerous, and I am glad I am enjoying solving the mystery vicariously. I loved the introduction of another possible love connection
for Macy, but I wanted to see more romance for Bo, too. However, as Macy says, “Bo was about as romantic as a pot of cold coffee.”
Gilbert likes to end her cozies with a nice twist, leaving you needing the next book.
If you are a dog parent or a coffee aficionado, you will want to read this fun cozy.

 

My Rating

5 Stars – Hit My Reading Sweet Spot!

( Ms. Gilbert, THANK YOU  for following the original cozy rules. I wish all cozy authors did!)

 

About the Author

7232683HEATHER 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.

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No Filter, #1 Barks and Beans Cafe Cozy Mysteries by Heather Day Gilbert

51986384._SY475_

About the Book

Title: No Filter

Series: The Barks and Beans Cafe Mystery Series

Author: Heather Day Gilbert

Publisher: WoodHaven Press

Released: May 2020

BOOK ONE in the ALL-NEW BARKS & BEANS CAFE cozy mystery series!!

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

Fed up with her go-nowhere job, newly single Macy Hatfield moves back to her small hometown in West Virginia. She joins forces with her brother Bo in his crazy new venture—the Barks & Beans Cafe, which caters to dog lovers and coffee drinkers alike.

When a golf instructor is murdered at the nearby spiritual center, Macy winds up adopting his Great Dane. Just after Macy finds a mysterious message sewn under the dog’s collar, her Dane is dognapped. She launches into a relentless search for her newfound canine friend, but along the way, she digs up a cruel and confident killer.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown…with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series in order:
Book 1: No Filter
Book 2: Iced Over

My Review

I am excited to share with you a new cozy mystery series by Heather Day Gilbert. While I love cozies, I start a new one with much trepidation. Will there be sex on the page or a lot of innuendoes? Will there be bad language? I am thrilled to say No Filter , #1 Barks & Beans Café Cozy Mysteries, fits every category I am looking for in a cozy:
1. Small town setting
2. No bad language
3. No sex
4. Amateur sleuth
5. Murder not presented in gory manner
6. Bit of Romance (my addition)

No Filter 2

In No Filter, we find Macy and Bo Hatfield, unlucky-at-love siblings who decide to retreat to their small town origins, Lewisburg, West Virginia. Not giving up, they open up a coffee shop combo therapy dog petting area. Now Gilbert has my full attention, and the shop gets its dogs from the local shelter, to give the dogs for adoption more publicity. Looking up Lewisburg, WV, right now on my GPS. Think it would be a great place to live.
But maybe not. There are the “haves” and the “haves snot.” (Imagine the “haves” looking down their noses at the “snots.”) The mingling of these two classes at the local spiritual center-country club leads to murder, art fencing, and a wealth of possible culprits. I felt there were a lot of characters to keep straight, but we will see many of these players again in book 2, Iced Over, and book 3, Fair Trade.

No Filter 1
Only one complaint- I am seriously considering whether people can be both coffee connoisseurs and tea aficionados at same time! I’d be surprised if Great Danes don’t become popular after this series. I loved the sibling loyalty and strong bond. I enjoyed seeing the set-up of possible romances (I already have my “teams” going)! I even enjoyed seeing unlikely characters succeed to benefit the town. But watch out! Gilbert manages to find a way to leave you hanging by a thread!
I need to cool down. Bring on Iced Over!!
Quotes to Note:

“No, I’d rather have both feet on the ground than feel them getting sucked in with ocean water where fish pooped, sharks lurked, and currents could catch and kill you.”

“She seemed to be a wealth of information, and she had no hesitation in sharing it.”

My Rating

5 Stars- Superior- Hit My Reading Sweet Spot (and I can’t wait for the sequels!)

About the Author

HEATHER 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 7232683engaging 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.