BLOG

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano

36394907

About the Book:

Title: A Rumored Fortune

Paperback, 416 pages
Published July 31st,2018 by Fleming H. Revell Company (first published July 2018)

Tressa Harlowe’s father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first.

Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they’ll not soon forget.

MY REVIEW:

Powerful!! A Rumored Fortune, only the second book written by Joanna Davidson Politano, is on my list of top ten for 2018. More importantly, though, this novel will be in the running for top honors among book awards. This is my prediction for a novel of such high-caliber.

Tressa Harlowe’s odd vineyard-keeping father has disappeared from their mid-1800’s castle. Sadly, the search begins not so much for him, but for the treasure rumored to have been behind.

I should mention the narrative switches between first person, the rich heiress, Tressa; and third person, Donegan, the vinedresser in a class beneath her. Considering the societal differences so important at that time, this is extremely
clever of Politano.

This book grasped my attention from the start and held on, like the sea and mist that surround the castle and rarely loosen their clutches on it or its land.

Sadly, no matter what time period, people change very little. There are those who hear of someone else’s fortune and justify it should be theirs instead; schemers descend like vultures determined to get their share of the grand meal.

Obviously, Politano is an anglophobe and describes the area, life, and characters with a poetic prose that makes them “a wonder to behold.” She is a romantic in the linguistic sense of the word.

Fortunately, Politano is quite the romantic in the more common sense of the word. We see several possible romances, involving more than just the main characters. Which will thrive, and which will die, because there was no real connection?

Speaking of connections, Tressa has three main interests: her father, (and the vineyard because that was his obsession); relationships, and the fortune. Politano weaves them all together in an unforgettable story of agricultural lessons for life, including the spirit, romance, and intrigue that will leave you amazed at the experience you have just sojourned.

Hard to pick just a few quotes, but here are some faves:
“Strength comes to the branch through connection, and that’s what I’m offering.” How Tressa needs connections in more ways than one!

“It takes a harsh summer to yield abundance in the vineyards…When you feel you’re dying in the summer, all a branch needs to do is hang on.” So timely for anybody going through a rough patch!

“…isn’t the sort of man I would imagine knowing much Scripture.” ‘No, …he simply lives it out.’” We all need to live out our faith like that unnamed character!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. (I also bought my own copy.) This did not affect my opinions in any way, nor was I required to leave a positive review.

About the Author:

16355029

Joanna Davidson Politano

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.

BLOG

Killer Green Tomatoes,#2 Farm-to-Fork Mysteries by Lynn Cahoon

37703498

About the Book:

Kindle Edition, 182 pages
Published July 3rd, 2018 by Lyrical Underground
ASIN
B078LJPT23
  • Killer Green TomatoesKiller Green Tomatoes
    Genre: Mystery, Cozy, Contemporary

The time seems ripe for success as Angie Turner opens her farm-to-table restaurant in her Idaho hometown—until her new tomato supplier is accused of murder and Angie has to pick the real killer . . .

To Angie, nothing tastes more like summer than her Nona’s fried green tomatoes. Eager to add the recipe to the menu at the County Seat, she’s found the perfect produce supplier—her sous chef Estebe’s cousin, Javier. Just one problem: ladies’ man Javier’s current hot tomato Heather has turned up dead, and he’s the prime suspect. Somehow, between managing her restaurant and navigating a romantic triangle between Estebe and Ian, the owner/manager of the farmer’s market, Angie needs to produce evidence to clear Javier—before this green tomato farmer gets fried . . .

MY REVIEW:

In Lynn Cahoon’s second book of the Farm-to-Fork series, titled Killer Green Tomatoes, Angie and Felicia are beginning to hit their groove with the rest of the restaurant staff. The County Seat is a popular place to eat, with reservations needing to be secured well in advance. 

Angie soon finds she has more than she can chew, though, when she has her elderly neighbor for a house guest and Estebe, her sous chef, has family involved in a murder and disappearance.

I really enjoyed the difficulties between Angie and Mrs. Potter. (Sorry, Angie!) They made for very realistic, yet hilarious times.

The portrayal of the Basque people was very tasteful and sensitive to a group very proud of their heritage. 

In this book, we start to see the inner connectivity of people in the town. Several attitudes and actions are based upon someone’s protectiveness or love for another. This is actually true for multiple characters. Small town living, as Angie rediscovers, has both its joys and its jinxes.

Things one may not like: some may figure out the murderer, but there were enough twists that I was ultimately surprised. Sex was mentioned quite a bit. However, true to cozy form, there were no bedroom scenes.

Bottom line, I enjoyed this book, as Angie and Felicia and their crew really start to become their own “work family.” 

I gratefully received a copy of this book from the author and NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinions, for which I am responsible. I was not required to leave a positive review.

About the Author:

5857424
Lynn Cahoon
Website
Twitter
Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. GUIDEBOOK TO MURDER, book 1 of the series, won the Reader’s Crown for Mystery Fiction in 2015. She also pens the Cat Latimer series available in mass market paperback. This year, she’s released WHO MOVED MY GOAT CHEESE in March as part of the new Farm to Fork series. She also writes romance under Lynn Collins. She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies. Sign up for her newsletter at www.lynncahoon.com
BLOG, Uncategorized

Exposed: A Christian Romantic Suspense Boxed Book Set by Alford, Bonner, McDaniel, Phillips, Strong, Terry, andVaughan.

41036375

About the Book:

by
Lynnette Bonner,
 Mary Alford,
Lesley Ann McDaniel,
Lisa Phillips,
Angela Ruth Strong,
Alana Terry,
Virginia Vaughan
Kindle Edition, 1802 pages
Published August 2nd, 2018 by Serene Lake Publishing
ASIN
B07G5DDQYR

 

 Mary Alford – Hallowed Ground
After a terrorist attack claims the life of her partner, CIA Agent Erin Sandoval would not have survived Blake’s death without the help of fellow agent, Jax Murphy. When Erin’s unit is deployed to Afghanistan to find the elusive terrorist the CIA believes responsible for taking Blake’s life, the mission proves to be a setup, wiping out almost the entire team. As the only survivors of the attack, Erin and Jax must cut through a wealth of lies and misdirections to uncover the killer’s identity. Yet nothing prepares them for the truth, and the biggest threat to their survival might prove to be their growing feelings for each other. When you’re running for your life, the most dangerous place to fall is in love.

Lynnette Bonner – Fire
Years ago, teacher Kyra Radell’s brother died because of drugs, so when students in her school start buying a new street drug called Fire–and dying because of it–she’s determined to help. Even if that means putting her own life in danger.
Case Lexington, an undercover cop, has been sent in to pose as a high school senior. He wants her to stay safe, but she’s not willing to listen to a mere student.
Can he protect her and keep his cover intact? More importantly, will he be able to find the drug dealer before any more students–or teachers–die?

Lesley Ann McDaniel – Jill Came Tumbling After
Jill Martin has finally kicked her alcoholic husband to the curb. Now, with two kids and no money, she has no choice but to take a job at the new factory that’s about to open in Madison Falls. When she begins to suspect that the owner plans to illegally dispose of toxic waste, will she be strong enough to blow the whistle…or will her boss do whatever it takes to keep her quiet?

Lisa Phillips – Deadly Exposure
Navy SEAL Bradley Harris returns home to find his sister, Senator Rachel Harris, has been abducted. The FBI’s prime suspect is Alexis Calvert, Rachel’s best friend and the woman he gave his heart to long ago. Proving she’s innocent is going to be tough. Especially when he realizes the truth behind Alexis’s public shaming. Bradley must get his sister back and protect the woman he loves before the worst happens…and he loses everything.

Angela Ruth Strong –  Dead on Arrival 
The daughter of the Peruvian President, Maritza Rosado, arrives in Washington D.C. only to discover the world thinks both she and her father died on a plane crash in the Amazon. Worse, the man she’d once considered an uncle has taken over her nation and ordered two consulate workers in the U.S. to assassinate her. Desperate and alone in a foreign country, she hides out in a soup kitchen where youth group leader Levi Parker recognizes her from a recent mission to Peru and wants to help.
Can they possibly take down the crime ring together, or will Levi’s involvement do nothing more than put his life–and the life of every teen in his youth group–at risk?

Alana Terry – Termination Dust
After her mother’s death, Kimmie has no reason to stay under her stepfather’s abusive rule.
No reason, that is, except for her innocent half-brother who would bear the brunt of his father’s anger if Kimmie ran away.
After befriending a compassionate Alaska state trooper, Kimmie is emboldened to hope for a better future.

************************************************************************

MY REVIEW: ( I read only DEAD ON ARRIVAL by Angela Ruth Strong, but I can see I will also have to go back and read the others!)

Just finished Dead on Arrival by Angela Ruth Stong. Tremendous faith, great twists, and more suspense than I thought I could handle! Great work!

The action starts in the first sentence of the book, with incredulity at what had or hadn’t happened. From that point on, it is a hot race to keep the President of Peru’s daughter, Maritza, alive while she is on American soil.

In a “God-incident,” Maritza is recognized by a youth leader in DC with his youth group on a mission trip. Both Maritza and Levi will be stretched to their emotional, physical, and spiritual limits as they attempt to thwart determined assassins.

The spiritual thoughts about God occurred very naturally and were well-woven into the extremely action-packed book.
I received a copy of this book from one of the authors. This in no way affected my opinions and I was not required to leave a positive review.

*********************************************************

About the Author: (Angela Ruth Strong)

4746114

Born
in Glendale, The United States
Twitter AngelaRStrong
Tamara Leigh
Tracey Bateman
Rachel Hauck
Deeanne Gist
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.

 

 

 

 

 

BLOG

River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart

36569429

About the Book:

Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 3rd, 2018 by Revell
Original Title
River to Redemption
ISBN
0800723643 (ISBN13: 9780800723644)

Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She’s determined to find a way to buy Louis’s freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she’ll face an uphill battle.

Based partly on a true story, Ann H. Gabhart’s latest historical novel is a tour de force. The vividly rendered town of Springfield and its citizens immerse readers in a story of courage, betrayal, and honor that will stick with them long after they turn the last page.

MY REVIEW:*******************************************

Ann Gabhart pens a painful look back at our past when not all were considered equal. To entertain the opposite thought, as a person of color could bring punishment or death; as a white, it could mean ostracization or physical danger as well.

Gabhart’s narrative begins in the summer of 1833 when a cholera epidemic ran rampant around much of the US. Seven-year-old Adria Starr watches as her father, mother, and brother all die from the disease. Louis, a slave whom she has never before seen, rescues her and helps Matilda nurse Adria back to health.

Louis is an amazing character. I love the way he trusts God, cares for others at risk to his own safety and does not seek the best in life for himself.

Matilda longs for freedom but also possesses a very strong faith. Over and over, her response to obstacles is the faith-filled refrain, “The Lord will provide.”

I love the way Adria, Ruth, Will, Carlton, and even Logan all show character development and great wrestling with life decisions. All have to decide what they will do with the question of slavery and how deeply will they get involved. What cost is each willing to pay to address the flowing tide that refuses to be ignored or dammed up? Who will find physical redemption and who will find redemption for his soul?

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand some of the soul-searching times leading up to the Civil War. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. No positive review was required. All opinions are strictly my own.

 

*********************************************************

About the Author:

311723

Ann H. Gabhart

Born: Lawrenceburg, KY, The United States
Website http://www.annhgabhart.com/
Twitter.com/annhgabhart
Genre Historical FictionYoung AdultBiographies & Memoirs
Influences  Mother, Aunt TThe GrandmotherEx Preacher
Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She’s published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800’s, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009. Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960’s. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, will be followed by Small Town Girl. Visit Ann’s website http://annhgabhart.com or her two blogs, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com, and the Hollyhill Book of the Strange, www.hollyhillbookofthestrange.blogspo…. Giveaways several times a year.
Uncategorized

More Than Meets the Eye,#1 PatchWork Family by Karen Witemeyer

36353369

About the book:

Paperback, 347 pages
Published June 5th, 2018 by Bethany House Publishers (first published June 2018)
ISBN
0764212834 (ISBN13: 9780764212833)
Edition Language
English
Series  Patchwork Family #1

Seeking justice against the man who destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront the person responsible. But his quest is derailed when, instead of a hardened criminal, he finds an ordinary man with a sister named Evangeline–an unusual beauty with mismatched eyes and a sweet spirit that he finds utterly captivating.

 

MY REVIEW:

This fantastic Christian historical fiction story by Karen Witemeyer is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. More Than Meets the Eye will pull on your heartstrings as you realize the pain Evie goes through all her life because of her miss-matched eyes. People can be so cruel, not just back then, but even now, when others are different from themselves, in a way they don’t understand.

I loved the way the orphans joined together to form a formidable, unshakable bond they considered family. They learned how to deal with each others’ needs in order to create the strongest possibility for each to survive.

Both Logan and Zach need to learn that the future is not theirs to shape, no matter how desperate they are they retain their tenuous hold on the future. “…control was an illusion. No man controlled fate. God alone claimed that honor.”

Healing from brokenness is a big theme in the book. At first reading, it seems obvious who has the biggest holes in their hearts and who may have transgressed the most. However, broken people heal best when they and those who may stand in judgment all realize that we are all broken somewhere. “People might try to hide their broken places and pretend to be whole, but the truth is that we all have failings. That is why we need each other.” We all need to work together to forgive and forge a new path.

I highly recommend this book. I both bought a copy and received a complimentary copy from Bethany House. This in no way affected my opinions, which are freely given and for which I am solely responsible.

About the Author:

3114906

Karen Witemeyer

Born

in The United States

Website

 

Genre


For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. A transplant from California, Karen came to Texas for college, met a cowboy disguised as a computer nerd, married him, and never left the state that had become home.

Winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and a finalist for both the RITA and Christy Awards, Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She also loves to reward her readers. Every month she gives away two inspirational historical novels to someone from her newsletter list and offers substantial bonus content on her website. To learn more about Karen and her books, or to join her subscriber list, please visit www.karenwitemeyer.com.

 

Uncategorized

The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristen Billerbeck

36390001

About the Book:

Paperback, 277 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Revell
ISBN
0800729447 (ISBN13: 9780800729448)
Edition Language
English

Other Editions (3)

According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious science, as serious as Maggie takes herself. But science can’t always account for life’s anomalies–for instance, why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream-fueled chick flick binge.

Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie’s friends book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she’s qualified to teach others about happiness when she can’t muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can’t ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.

Filled with memorable characters, snappy dialogue, and touching romance, Kristin Billerbeck’s The Theory of Happily Ever After shows that the search for happiness may be futile–because sometimes happiness is already out there searching for you.

 

MY REVIEW:

What better setting for a chick-lit book than a singles’ cruise! Kristen Billerbeck certainly takes off on the right boat here in the Theory of Happily Ever After.

Each chapter starts with a quote from Maggie’s own book, The Science of Bliss. Yet, of course, Maggie can’t find bliss herself. Her friends feel the need to drag her on a cruise to restart her work and social lives.

Maggie seems unable to pull herself out of her own swamp of despair and live by her own advice. That was just irritating. Maybe I am beyond the Chick-lit genre.

The ending glosses over the hard feelings that have been building. Yes, people forgive. However, sometimes it takes a while for the feelings to catch up with reality and sometimes relationships change because of issues, even forgiven ones.

“The church is simply people, Maggie. Flawed and sometimes just plain wrong when they make their own rules.” Haley says this to comfort Maggie. While Maggie needed to realize the humanity of the people in the church, I would hope that she would find the God of the Church very real, and another congregation better showing His love. Church was mentioned a lot, but God Himself didn’t seem so important in the characters’ daily lives.

This book might work well for twenty-something singles who want a light read. I gratefully received a complimentary copy of the book from NetGalley and the publisher. This in no way influences my review, which I am voluntarily leaving.

127433

Kristen Billerbeck

About Kristin

I grew up with a strong sense of justice. I simply knew the way things should be. And since I’m not smart enough to be a district attorney, I am a novelist. My childhood was slightly confusing. I blame my parents for this. Oh heck, I’m going to blame them for everything. I think I would have turned out normal if it weren’t for them. the billerbeck’s

Okay, probably not. I am a fourth-generation Californian, and an American mutt, but identify most strongly with my Italian heritage. My mother’s family, of strong Norwegian/German descent, tried to teach me how to do things right. How to cook, clean, sew, budget accordingly – all the things a proper young girl should know to be a contributing member of society. I, however, failed miserably. For my 40th birthday, my grandmother gave me a cookie gun, so it’s clear she hasn’t given up on me yet! That is eternal optimism!

My dad’s Italian family taught me about the good life. The indulgent life. How to eat, shop and be merry. My Nana had very tiny feet and a penchant for shoes (she worked at the Emporium, no doubt to fund her shoe addiction). My afternoons at her house had no lessons, other than how to walk in her high heels, drape myself in her mink stole and drip myself with rhinestones. Tastefully, of course. I picked up on this lifestyle much quicker.

I graduated San Jose State University with a degree in Journalism & Mass Communications (emphasis in Advertising), gave my life to Jesus during college and found my true love in a Christian Singles’ Group, which yes, I skewer in “What a Girl Wants”. He is German. Practical. And a Contributing Member of Society. I am still Italian, fluffy and an aficionado of fine shoes & handbags. Together, we have four children and now it’s our turn to confuse them. The circle of life. Dysfunctional family style.

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Too Many Crooks Spoil the Plot, #1 Ditie Brown Mystery by Sarah Osbourne

37703490

About the Book:

Pediatrician Mabel Aphrodite Brown adores kids. So when a childhood friend asks Ditie to babysit her kids for a few days, she jumps at the chance. She never imagined she’d be solving a murder too . . .
 
Despite growing up together, Ditie hasn’t seen Ellie Winston in two years, and she didn’t even know Ellie was living in Atlanta. But when Ellie asks her to take care of Lucie and Jason for the weekend, she thinks nothing of it. They’ll bake cookies together, play with her dog—it’ll be fun! Until the police call with terrible news . . .

Ellie may not have been the best friend, but who would want her dead? Could it have something to do with the vague get-rich-quick scheme she mentioned to Ditie? Or the men in a black truck following her and breaking into her home? Not sure who to trust other than her best friend, Lurleen, Ditie’s buried maternal instincts kick in to protect the kids and find their mother’s killer—before they’re orphaned again . . .

Includes Family-Friendly Recipes!

MY REVIEW:

I am always on the lookout for a new mystery or series. Too Many Crooks Spoil the Plot by Sarah Osbourne is a fast-moving, intriguing mystery that has some very likable characters, a few to dislike, and a few from which to run.

Ditie(short for Aphrodite), Lurlene, and Jason and Lucie are arguably some of the most likable. Ditie is a pediatrician who finds herself suddenly in charge of her friend’s children. Jason and Lucie are adorable, childlike and adult-like by turns, making one’s heart ache and eyes overflow. Lurlene pretends to be French in a cute way and also helps with childcare.

Mason and Dan give the ladies in the book some romance. My complaint would be that Mason never really romances Ditie, he just acts “settled” that she is for him.

The author does a great job of providing plenty of twists and turns in this mystery until my head was reeling with suspect possibilities. I found it hard to figure out who was really behind the murders.

One thing I didn’t care for was a spate of bad language thrown in towards the middle. Maybe to keep the book from getting a PG rating? I would personally prefer the PG rating. One of the tenets of a cozy used to be “no bad language.”

The recipes at the back were quite reasonable, even for someone who considers herself a non-cook. Yum!

I will be checking out the next book, to see how the series progresses. If you like children, police business, and cozies, you may want to check it out this series, also.

17538874
      Sarah Osbourne