ARC, BLOG, Kindle, NetGalley

Cheddar Late Than Dead by Linda Reilly

About the Book

Title: Cheddar Late Than Dead

Series: Grilled Cheese Mysteries

Author: Linda Reilly

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Release: January 31, 2023

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

My Impressions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Purchase

The Bookshop of Secrets by Mollie Rushmeyer Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Bookshop of Secrects

Author: Mollie Rushmeyer

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction (Christian)

Release date: October 25, 2022

A collection of lost books holds the clues to her family’s legacy…and her future.

Hope Sparrow has mastered the art of outrunning her tragic past, learning never to stay anywhere too long and never to allow anyone control over her life again. Coming to Wanishin Falls in search of her family’s history already feels too risky. But somewhere in the towering stacks of this dusty old bookshop are the books that hold Hope’s last ties to her late mother—and to a rumored family treasure that could help her start over.

Only, the bookshop is in shambles, and the elderly owner is in the beginning stages of dementia and can’t remember where the books lie. To find the last links to the loved ones she’s lost, Hope must stay and accept help from the townsfolk to locate the treasured volumes. Each secret she uncovers brings her closer to understanding where she came from. But the longer she stays in the quaint town, the more people find their way into the cracks in her heart. And letting them in may be the greatest risk of all…

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Mollie writes contemporary fiction with a heart for history. What does this mean exactly? She loves to write inspirational fiction in contemporary settings with fascinating historical elements, people, objects, and stories woven throughout.

A modern girl herself– She wouldn’t want to go a day without modern plumbing and central air! But she’s always felt a special connection to the past. The legacies and lives left behind are like gifts waiting to be unwrapped, and she’s excited to share this blend of history and contemporary living with readers.

A born and bred Midwestern gal, Mollie Rushmeyer, makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband and two spunky, beautiful daughters. She is not only a bibliophile (the dustier the better, in her opinion), she’s a true anglophile at heart. Tea and coffee fuel her travels, by Google maps at least, and her passion for the written word.

More from Mollie

Since childhood, opening up a book unlocked a whole new world for me. Of possibilities and adventure, and made me care for people and places that didn’t exist. Like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia, books transported me. It was like magic.

As I began dreaming up The Bookshop of Secrets in its early stages, I knew I wanted to create a character who loved books and was in awe of their transformative and transportive power as much as I am. Thus, Hope Sparrow, a human trafficking survivor and ultimate book lover, was born. I also wanted to honor my grandpa, who planted the seed—love of the written word—in my heart from the time I was very young. And so, Ulysses, the owner of Dusty Jackets Bookshop in the story, is based on my sweet grandpa who has since passed away. But I know he’d love this homage to all things literary.

In the middle of writing this book, in 2018, I had a stroke. As with most medical emergencies, it was quite unexpected. I had a hole in my heart (that has been repaired, thankfully). Afterward, I didn’t know if I’d ever write again and I was more terrified of that than not being able to fully move my left arm again. My brain had to make new connections and it was so difficult, still is some days, to be creative. To find the right words.

But God. In the way that only He can, He brought this forgotten story, this project’s finish line that seemed to be at the summit of an insurmountable mountain within reach. I thought I had something to prove to myself. I begged God not to forget my dream to write. Like He could. But in the end, I just had to trust like my character Hope. Trust that He is good even when life hurts and is uncertain.

“Do you know what the opposite of fear is?”

“Bravery? Peace?” Dare she say her namesake, hope?

“The true counterpart of fear is faith. It takes faith to walk into the future, the unknown, with confidence. Secure in the love of the One who created you and those around you outweighs any hardship, real or imagined, that lies on the path ahead.”

I hope following Hope’s journey of healing and love in The Bookshop of Secrets truly blesses you.

My Impressions

“It’s in our broken places God plants seeds of hope. He will grow something beautiful from ashes.”

Hope Sparrow, fleeing her unspeakably abusive past, lands in Wanishing Falls, MN, at an old mom-and-pop bookstore. Desperate to find books with clues to her past, Hope agrees to stay and help run the store while she searches for her antique books. She doesn’t count on falling in love with the town, the couple that operates the store, nor their handsome, troubled grandson.

I loved seeing the healing that wise, older people can bring as they seek to live out the love of Jesus. Dee and Mags are two wonderful secondary characters I would like to have known.

I loved that Ronan and Kat are so willing to keep on offering friendship even when Hope seems to reject it repeatedly. While that is the Christian way, how many of us would give a person multiple chances in real life?

Hope has difficulty seeing herself as the kind, gentle, caring soul that she is. Instead, she sees herself through lies from her past. She needs to learn that

“the past doesn’t tell us who we are, only where we’ve been.”

The road to faith is rocky for Hope and Ronan. Can they put aside their individual pasts and others’ opinions to trust that God’s love supersedes anything that may have happened to them? Can they truly believe this for good? This whole idea of giving a problem over to God and realizing He’s got it, I can relax, really hit home for me last night, as I struggled with worry and fear. I have to choose to continue in His love.

The one thing that I think readers should know, is there may be trigger subjects. One, which wasn’t the main issue, rang true with me, and made it difficult to read those passages as I lived them with the character.

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! A trigger made some of it difficult to read, but the faith lesson was timely, and I enjoyed the story.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 27

lakesidelivingsite, October 27

Inklings and notions, October 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 28

Simple Harvest Reads, October 28 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

An Author’s Take, October 29

The Write Escape, October 29

deb’s Book Review, October 29

Texas Book-aholic, October 30

Rebecca Tews, October 30

Blogging With Carol, October 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 31

Inspired by fiction, October 31

Life of Literature, October 31

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 1

Cover Lover Book Review, November 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 2

Losing the Busyness, November 2

For Him and My Family, November 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 3

Holly’s Book Corner, November 3

Mary Hake, November 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 4 (Author Interview)

Paula’s Pad of Suspense and Detection, November 4

Blossoms and Blessings, November 4

Sylvan Musings, November 5

Lily’s Book Reviews, November 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 5

A Reader’s Brain, November 6

Book Looks by Lisa, November 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 7

Truth and Grace Homeachool Academy, November 7

Story Craft, November 7

Through the fire blogs, November 8

Pause for Tales, November 8

Labor Not in Vain, November 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 9

To Everything There Is A Season, November 9

Lights in a Dark World, November 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Mollie is giving away the grand prize package of a eBook or signed paperback copy (paperback U.S. Only) of The Bookshop of Secrets and a $50 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/226c7/the-bookshop-of-secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Purchase

Mabel Goes to the Dogs by Susan Kimmel Wright Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Mabel Goes to the Dogs

Author: Susan Kimmel Wright

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release date: June 5, 2022

Mabel plans to bring the thrills of volunteering to the masses—if she doesn’t go to the dogs first.

When Mabel finds herself sharing a thicket with a dead body while volunteering with canine search-&-rescue, her life has clearly—once again—gone to the dogs!

After her losing her job at age forty-nine, Mabel thought she’d turned things around. Now she’s doing good by volunteering, and surely, she’ll soon be a successful author, writing about her experiences. After solving two notorious decades-old cold cases while serving as a historical society volunteer, she’s already getting invitations to appear on TV.

Her new assignment couldn’t be simpler. All she has to do is hide in the woods and let Millie the search dog practice finding her. But to her horror, Millie finds more than Mabel—there’s a dead body hiding in the same patch of brush. To make things worse, Mabel’s maybe-boyfriend, suspended PI John Bigelow, has a dark history with the victim.

While struggling with maid-of-honor duties for best friend Lisa, a string of disasters created by handyman Acey, and a disagreeable new neighbor, can Mabel solve another murder in time to save John’s detective license—if not his neck?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“She’d become a successful writer-to-be.”

This line just cracks me up!!

If you like clean cozies and laughing a lot, Mabel Goes to the Dogs by Susan Kimmel Wright should be on your must-get list. I prepared for this book by reading the two that came before it, and I wasn’t sorry. There is a chronological progression to the books that will be more enjoyable if they are read in order. They are all fast reads, but far from silent! I felt so bad for my husband in the same room as I burst out in laughter so many times while reading.

One reason this book appealed to me is that Mabel is an older sleuth, pushing 50 when the series starts. She isn’t stick-thin, isn’t beautiful, and has just been fired from her career job. She likes to exaggerate freely, about her wanna-be careers as either an author or a volunteer. Mabel talks about her forthcoming book in a tv interview. Unfortunately, “Mabel knew “next book” was a slight stretch. The only other “book” she’d ever written was a biographical booklet for the historical society.” Mabel is rather hapless and hopeless as a heroine, and somehow that makes her very relatable!

John, the love interest, is an enigma, waiting to be unraveled. Why doesn’t he have his PI license anymore? Why does he share so little of himself? And, in this book, you may wonder what his real motives are, and why he is putting moves on Mabel instead of staying with the beautiful ex-girlfriend we meet.

Acey is the hired handyman who is anything but. He sure brings his share of the laughs at poor Mabel’s expense!

Animal lovers will rejoice to see more of Barnacle, Mabel’s lumbering dog that lives up to his name, and her snooty cat Koi, as well as John’s cat, one to beware of.

Plus a search and rescue team is involved in this novel, so more delight for canine lovers.

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

My Rating

⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great!! I’m anxious for Mabel’s next volunteer stint!!

About the Author

Susan Kimmel Wright is a child of the Appalachian Mountains. A former lawyer, Susan has published three children’s mystery novels and is a prolific contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Mabel Goes to the Dogs, Book Two in Mysteries of Medicine Spring, her first cozy mystery series for adult readers, is now available from Mountain Brook Ink. Susan shares an 1875 farmhouse in southwestern PA with her husband, several dogs and cats, and an allegedly excessive stockpile of coffee and tea mugs.

More from Susan

A bit about Mabel and how she got herself into this situation…

One of the great joys of writing this series has been the wonderful reaction my main character Mabel has gotten from so many readers. Typical comments are: “I love how quirky and imperfect Mabel is…Mabel is a fun character with a big heart who has the best of intentions.” (I also hear “hilarious” a lot… 😉)

Mabel is fifty, and her entire life has just unceremoniously changed. For the past twenty-three years, she’s had a job as a low-level attorney in a law firm. Boring, yes, but every day, she knew where she was going, what she was doing, and when and how much she was going to get paid. But suddenly, she gets the ax, and her old life is over. Blessed with a severance package from her former employer, as well as an inheritance from her grandma (also named Mabel) that includes a cluttered Victorian house in the town of Medicine Spring, Mabel resolves to reinvent herself. She will do good by volunteering while building a glamorous new career as a writer.

Many readers have told me they see themselves in Mabel. As one reviewer said, “She’s a bundle of insecurities ironclad in over self-confidence and I can relate to that!” And I guess I do too!  While Mabel is certainly a product of my imagination, she also reflects a bit of me. I left my job as a lawyer after about twenty years too (though I didn’t “get the ax!). I also live in a somewhat ramshackle Victorian farmhouse with a bunch of animals, and I see many of Mabel’s insecurities in myself. (Not to mention Mabel’s love of food—writing about Mabel’s diet gives me the opportunity to indulge in all the yummy things I try to limit in real life!)

Of course, nothing goes according to Mabel’s master plan. Mabel knows little about writing, her new old house is stuffed to the rafters with her grandma’s accumulations and comes with a hostile neighbor bent on continuing a decades’ old feud, and her first volunteer endeavor comes complete with a dead body. On the plus side, Mabel and her cat Koi acquire a new family member—Grandma Mabel’s big dog Barnacle, and Mabel seems also to have acquired a possible boyfriend, suspended PI John Bigelow.

By the time we run into Mabel in Mabel Goes to the Dogs, she has stumbled through two homicide investigations and also discovered the solution to an eighty-year-old cold case—the ax murder of a father and son in a neighboring historic house. This has gotten her an invitation to appear on a local morning TV show—and little else. Then Mabel undertakes a new volunteer assignment, helping train search-and-rescue dogs. The discovery of yet another body makes her wonder if she’s somehow bringing this on herself. Boyfriend John assures her, “You’re not causing dead bodies with the power of your mind, you goof.” Mabel isn’t so sure. Nobody else seems to be having this problem.

At least, life is now far from boring in the village of Medicine Spring…

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 8

Lily’s Book Reviews, September 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 10

Inklings and notions, September 11

Texas Book-aholic, September 12

Pause for Tales, September 13

deb’s Book Review, September 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 15

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 18

Blogging With Carol, September 19

For Him and My Family, September 20

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 21 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, September 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of Mabel Goes to the Dogs!!

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/2159b/mabel-goes-to-the-dogs-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

Matters of the Heart by Heidi Gray McGill Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Matters of the Heart

Author: Heidi Gray McGill

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release date: July 15, 2022

When those experiencing the same fate she endured show up at her doorstep…

Katie determines to be their champion, no matter the fallout.

Will the man who fought for the other side also fight for her?

Unconventional Katie empathizes with the widows and orphans of the Civil War, searching for a place to call home in Shumard Oak Bend. But with no one to help her, she’ll need to do it secretly, a challenge she readily accepts. She’s taken charge before, and she’ll do it again, no matter who she has to outwit to get the job done.

He vowed to be his own man and stop doing everyone else’s bidding. But he follows orders when a pair of emerald green eyes, blazing red hair, and freckles that dance on the bridge of a pert nose conscript him to duty. Be his own man. Who is he kidding? Skunks don’t change their stripes. They leave disasters in their wake wherever they go, just like him.

Overcoming personal obstacles and finding your true self doesn’t mean going it alone. Yet the answer isn’t always in the one you seek.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“You’re seeing your failure. I’m seeing your worth.”

Third in a series Discerning God’s Best, Matters of the Heart by Heidi Gray McGill is easily a standalone novel. Set in 1866 Missouri, with the Civil War barely past, there are situations and a few words that some might find offensive, but which are true to the times.

PTSD, homelessness, caring for widows and orphans, standing up for oneself and one’s friends, and running from God are all themes of this book.

You will enjoy the characters you meet in this story. Sassy, fiery, passionate Katie, with an impossible dream. Hans, “tired of doing everyone else’s bidding. Tired of living under another’s rule. Tired of lying to himself that he could change.” Reverend Jenkins, oh, my! What a character he is!! And Aunt Aideen- so wise, humble, loving, encouraging, and willing to challenge people to be their best. Plus so many more secondary persons you will love as well.

I love that McGill focuses on the fact that though people are different, working together brings the best results. I love the belief not in coincidence, but “God incidence.” Also, there is a lot Truth for living imparted in these pages.

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

Notable Quotables:

“So far, you’ve told me how you feel but not how God feels.”

“You’ve shared your thoughts, desires, and plans, but you need to listen to what God would have you do. It’s His path that matters.”

“He did not need a woman. He did not need this family, and he did not need God. He’d be just fine on his own.”

“…he wondered if he could ever outrun himself.”

“He’d heard more than once that freedom cost dearly. The war may be over, but there was no freedom for those now enslaved by their scars.”

“Now, he wanted to make something of himself, be his own man, prove to himself he could do more than just follow rules and orders.”

“Don’t make a decision based on a season of life that will alter the rest of your life.”

“He was telling her to live in the ‘yet’—that transitional time where she could grow and learn until He was ready to fulfill His will.”

“Yes, every step forward changes the view, it never remains the same.”

“I trust my God enough to believe He will provide exactly what we need at the moment we need it. Not a second early, nor a minute late.”

“But, scriptures are just phrases until we know God on a deeper level and on more than just paper. I learned God’s Word doesn’t become powerful until it becomes personal.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great!! A great post-Civil War novel with many nuggets of truth!!

About the Author

Heidi is an optimist who chooses to find the silver lining in life’s clouds of doubt. This plays out in her writing. Her ability to weave scripture seamlessly into the lives of her characters will uplift and encourage you, while her masterful storytelling will keep you turning page after page and wishing for more.

Heidi lives with her husband of thirty years near Charlotte, NC. When she isn’t writing, you will find her outside playing with her two grandsons, walking, scrapbooking, reading, cooking, traveling, or finding an excuse to have an outing with a girlfriend.

Fusing Faith and Fiction™

True Christian Fiction. Relatable Characters. Life-changing stories.

More from Heidi

Where did the idea for Matters of the Heart originate?

Before I was an author, I was the founder and director of an English as a Second Language ministry. The program touched the lives of students from 35 different countries. Regardless of culture, religion, language, or age, I found a substantial similarity in these students—they all wanted to improve their lot in life and that of their children.

Stories abounded of walks across deserts, financial hardships, desperate attempts to explain emergencies to medical professionals or law enforcement, failed verbal connections with schoolteachers, and an inability to obtain work because of their lack of language skills. Prejudice and distrust blocked them, culture shock took them outside their comfort zones, and the urgent need to survive made them scramble to dig deep inside and find creative ways to secure shelter and put food on their tables.

It wasn’t that these immigrants weren’t capable of achieving success. In their home countries, vocations varied from chemist and biologist with PhDs, to teachers, lawyers, and medical professionals. Others came from poverty and had little education but were not afraid of hard work, long hours, and low pay. They were tenacious, and they worked with relentless determination and a bullheaded resolve to achieve their goals. They relied on each other and soaked in everything around them in their desire to assimilate into the American culture and find a new place to belong.

Immigrants in the late 1800s were not much different. Individuals came to improve their lot in life and be a part of the greatest country in the world. In Matters of the Heart, Hans Korhonen left Finland with his brothers to take advantage of the land grants. Together, they worked to establish a farm large enough to sustain four families and support troops during the Civil War. Yet, in their desire to belong and give back to our great nation, Hans’s idyllic life changed through his service as a Union soldier.

Kathleen Murphy, or Katie, came to the United States to escape a life of extreme poverty and abuse in Ireland. Working in her aunt and uncle’s boarding offered more than a job. It provided the love and support of a family. Katie rose from her previous station and started fresh with hope on the horizon. She found a source of ministry that gave her life a purpose she’d not had before.

My association with my former ESL students helped me develop the characters in this book into individuals with which readers can identify.

Join Katie and Hans as they establish themselves in their new home of Shumard Oak Bend.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 5

Texas Book-aholic, August 6

Book Butterfly in Dreamland, August 6

Inklings and notions, August 7

lakesidelivingsite, August 8

For Him and My Family, August 9

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 11

Blossoms and Blessings, August 12

deb’s Book Review, August 12

Connie’s History Classroom, August 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 14

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 15

Pause for Tales, August 16

Truth and Grace HomeschoolAcademy, August 17

To Everything There Is A Season, August 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 18

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Heidi is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copy of the first three books in the series!!

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/2070c/matters-of-the-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, New-to-Me Author, Wild Heart Books

Byway to Danger by Sandra Merville Hart

About the Book

Book: Byway to Danger

Author: Sandra Merville Hart

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: July 19, 2022

Everyone in Richmond has secrets. Especially the spies.

Meg Brooks, widow, didn’t stop spying for the Union when her job at the Pinkerton National Detective Agency ended, especially now that she lives in the Confederate capital. Her job at the Yancey bakery provides many opportunities to discover vital information about the Confederacy to pass on to her Union contact. She prefers to work alone, yet the strong, silent baker earns her respect and tugs at her heart.

Cade Yancey knows the beautiful widow is a spy when he hires her only because his fellow Unionist spies know of her activities. Meg sure didn’t tell him. He’s glad she knows how to keep her mouth shut, for he has hidden his dangerous activities from even his closest friends. The more his feelings for the courageous woman grow, the greater his determination to protect her by guarding his secrets. Her own investigations place her in enough peril.

As danger escalates, Meg realizes her choice to work alone isn’t a wise one. Can she trust Cade with details from her past not even her family knows?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Sandra Merville Hart takes us deep into the dangers of the Civil War in Byway to Danger. In Richmond, Meg Brooks, a former Pinkerton, visits with relatives and works in a bakery, but most importantly, looks for intelligence to pass to the North. Her bakery boss, Cade Yancey, is also a Northern sympathizer. Like Meg, he spies for the North. As they grow closer, Meg doesn’t reveal much of her business or history to Cade, thinking what he doesn’t know, he can’t tell. Cade is even more tight-lipped about his past and connections. Can they work together to further freedom, or will their secrets drive them apart?

This book is the third of a trio, but stands alone nicely. It started slowly for me. I had a hard time initially becoming invested in the characters. Fortunately, by the end of the book, I was quickly thumbing pages, eager to discover the future of Meg and Cade and others. I set the finished book aside with a satisfied sigh.

My favorite secondary characters were Aunt Trudy and her servants, Clara and Harold. All three are wise, kind, and willing to go out of their way to help others. All had reasons they could have refused to do so.

If you’re looking for a clean, Faith-based historical romance based on Civil War times, I recommend Byway to Danger by Sandra Merville Hart.

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

Notable Quotables:

“Hard to say what turns some men into animals, as if they turned their backs on the sense the Good Lord gave them.”

“How can you, a man of few words, know just what to say?” She smiled to lighten the moment. Mournful blue eyes met hers. “Because I lived it.”

“Their relationship felt as if they had waltzed into a courtship without discussing it.”

“And my greatest hope for him is that he learns that he’s cherished by his Savior.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! I recommend this suspenseful Civil War novel.

About the Author

Sandra Merville Hart, award-winning and Amazon bestselling author of inspirational historical romances, loves to discover little-known yet fascinating facts from American history to include in her stories. Her desire is to transport her readers back in time. She is also a blogger, speaker, and conference teacher. Connect with Sandra on her blog, https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.

More from Sandra

In Byway to Danger, Book 3 of my “Spies of the Civil War” series, both Cade and Meg—our hero and heroine—are Union spies living in Richmond, the Confederate capital in 1862. As if this isn’t dangerous enough, Meg is also a former Pinkerton spy. One Pinkerton spy was hanged in the spring and three others now sit in Richmond jails.

Meg works as an assistant in Cade’s bakery. The strong, quiet man keeps a secret from Meg to protect her, for he’s a conductor on the Underground Railroad. He provides food, clothing, and a safe place to stay until he’s able to take them on to the next stop several miles outside the city. Cade has done this for years before the Civil War and continues as the war rages, a perilous mission.

Historically, early in the war on May 23, 1861, three men escaped slavery and fled to Fort Monroe. Frank Baker, Shepard Mallory, and James Townsend had worked on Confederate fortifications before escaping on a rowboat. They sought the safety of Union soldiers at the fort. The men informed Union Major General Benjamin F. Butler that they escaped from Confederate Colonel Charles K. Mallory of the 115th Virginia Militia.

The next day, Confederate Major John B. Cary arrived at Fort Monroe under a flag of truce. Cary met with Butler and requested he return the enslaved men to Mallory as required by the Fugitive Slave Act.

Butler did some fast thinking. Since the three men had been building fortifications for war, they could be seized as “contraband of war” and didn’t have to be returned. His refusal to return the men was a pivotal decision and sparked a future law that protected fugitives who sought the protection of Union camps.

Dozens of fugitive men, women, and children had joined Baker, Mallory, and Townsend at Fort Monroe within three days. Many others fled to the fort in the following months. “Grand Contraband Camp” was established about three miles from Fort Monroe on the charred remains of Hampton to accommodate the hundreds of fugitives.  It was the nation’s first self-contained black community. By 1865, thousands lived in this camp.

Part of my research for this novel involved a trip to Virginia’s Fort Monroe. (If you love history and have never visited Fort Monroe, I recommend it!) Though I wasn’t certain of my story at the time of my visit, I was so inspired by the fort’s history that I knew it had to be part of my story. And it is!

Avenue of Betrayal, Book 1, is set in the Union capital of Washington City (Washington DC) in 1861, where a surprising number of Confederate sympathizers and spies lived. Boulevard of Confusion and Byway to Danger are set in Richmond, the Confederate capital in 1862. Actual historical spies touch the lives of our fictional family.

Through both real and fictional characters, this series highlights activities spies were involved in and some of the motives behind their decisions.

I invite you to read the whole “Spies of the Civil War” series beginning with Book 1 Avenue of Betrayal, Book 2 Boulevard of Confusion, and Book 3 Byway to Danger!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 22

Spoken from the Heart, July 22

Bizwings Blog, July 23

Inklings and notions, July 24

Betti Mace, July 25

Book Looks by Lisa, July 25

Texas Book-aholic, July 26

For Him and My Family, July 27

Connie’s History Classroom, July 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 29

deb’s Book Review, July 30

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 31

Vicarious Living, July 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 2

Blossoms and Blessings, August 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sandra is giving away the grand prize of a $50 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/1f7f8/byway-to-danger-celebration-tour-giveaway

ARC, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Love Inspired Suspense, New-to-Me Author

Hunted in the Wilderness by Kellie Van Horn Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Hunted in the Wilderness

Author: Kellie VanHorn

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Release date: June 28, 2022

Protecting the evidence
means facing down assassins and an unforgiving wilderness…

Framed for murder and corporate espionage, future aerotech company CEO Haley Whitcombe flees in her plane with a camera full of evidence that could clear her name—until she’s shot out of the sky. Now trapped in North Cascades National Park, her survival in the wilderness depends on park ranger Ezra Dalton. Yet escaping the wild will mean nothing if they can’t outrun their merciless hunters…

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Hunted in the Wilderness by Kellie VanHorn is a must-read for romantic suspense fans. From the first sentence that starts the tension to the last, you will be glued to your seat to find out what happens next. This story is a whirlwind of action set juxtaposing the corporate world vs. the beautiful, but unforgiving wilderness. Van Horn makes me want to visit the North Cascades National Park, with her compelling depiction of the beauty there. However, fleeing from one’s enemies as Hailey Whitcombe and Ezra Dalton find themselves doing, would be beyond terrifying!

I did guess one of the betrayers early on. It was just too obvious. But that didn’t make the novel any less interesting.

I did have a little difficulty figuring out who one character was. His full name is used twice on one page in passing, then he is referred to only by first name multiple times, even though he’s not yet a major player. Maybe I am the only one with this issue.

I had to laugh at the disagreements that Hailey and Ezra have. How true to life! Hailey hurts Ezra with a pointed barb. Couples often go for the jugular, and that sure felt like it. And Ezra’s comment? “I want you to stop pretending you’ve got it all together.” Vulnerability makes a person so much more appealing.

I felt like Hailey’s and Ezra’s struggles with trying to earn God’s favor, and an inability to trust God due to our past, are both very relatable. “Maybe she’d been thinking about it all wrong—maybe His grace wasn’t something she could earn, but something He freely bestowed, like this beautiful sunrise painted across the mountains.”

————————————————————

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

————————————————————-

Notable Quotables:

You’ve brought a whole new level of chaos to my life.”

Maybe it was time for her to step aside and let Him be in charge. Had she ever even stopped to ask what His plan for her life was? Or had she always simply plowed ahead, following everyone else’s wishes and asking Him to bless her?

Strength and warmth wrapped around her heart. She wasn’t alone. God was with her, and no matter what happened, He wouldn’t abandon her. That was the solution to the equation, the answer to every one of life’s questions. Walking in relationship with Him.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great!! Non-stop action, gorgeous scenery!!

About the Author

Kellie VanHorn is an award-winning author of inspirational romantic suspense. She has college degrees in biology and nautical archaeology, but she’s always found her sense of adventure most satisfied by a great story. When not writing, Kellie can be found teaching her four children, camping, baking, and gardening. She lives with her family in west Michigan.

More from Kellie

One of my favorite things about being a writer is living out wild adventures in my imagination. I get to enjoy all the action and feels without any of the unpleasant real-life problems I’d face if I were actually being chased by bad guys with guns. The more exciting and far-off the setting, the better! My family loves to travel and to camp, so we’ve spent a lot of time visiting national parks around the U.S. Our favorites include Grand Teton, Rocky Mountain, Devil’s Tower, and Badlands. We pile our four kids into the car, fill it to the brim with gear, and tent our way from park to park for weeks at a time in the summer.

For Hunted in the Wilderness, I wanted to explore a park we haven’t had the chance to visit yet—North Cascades National Park in Washington state. In fact, my first glimpse of the story came to me when I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw a picture of a lake in the Cascades. Inspiration struck, and I knew the heroine of my next book had just crash-landed her Cessna airplane in those mountains, and she needed a handsome, single park ranger to come help her escape the bad guys.

What makes this park such a perfect setting for a romantic suspense is not only the gorgeous scenery, but also the fact it’s very remote. The region is easy enough to access via road from Seattle, but most of the protected land can only be reached on foot, horseback, or float plane. Because I hadn’t been there myself, I relied on a topographic map and lots of research to help me craft the setting and make it an indispensable part of the plot.

Of course, now that I’ve studied the trail systems so extensively, I’d love to visit the Cascades in person one day. One of my teenaged sons who loves hiking has all sorts of plans for us to take a long backpacking trip out there, even though neither of us has ever backpacked before. I might have to work up my courage a bit before I’ll be ready to hit the trail without our minivan full of gear. 😉

One of my favorite things about being a writer is living out wild adventures in my imagination. I get to enjoy all the action and feels without any of the unpleasant real-life problems I’d face if I were actually being chased by bad guys with guns. The more exciting and far-off the setting, the better! My family loves to travel and to camp, so we’ve spent a lot of time visiting national parks around the U.S. Our favorites include Grand Teton, Rocky Mountain, Devil’s Tower, and Badlands. We pile our four kids into the car, fill it to the brim with gear, and tent our way from park to park for weeks at a time in the summer.

For Hunted in the Wilderness, I wanted to explore a park we haven’t had the chance to visit yet—North Cascades National Park in Washington state. In fact, my first glimpse of the story came to me when I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw a picture of a lake in the Cascades. Inspiration struck, and I knew the heroine of my next book had just crash-landed her Cessna airplane in those mountains, and she needed a handsome, single park ranger to come help her escape the bad guys.

What makes this park such a perfect setting for a romantic suspense is not only the gorgeous scenery, but also the fact it’s very remote. The region is easy enough to access via road from Seattle, but most of the protected land can only be reached on foot, horseback, or float plane. Because I hadn’t been there myself, I relied on a topographic map and lots of research to help me craft the setting and make it an indispensable part of the plot.

Of course, now that I’ve studied the trail systems so extensively, I’d love to visit the Cascades in person one day. One of my teenaged sons who loves hiking has all sorts of plans for us to take a long backpacking trip out there, even though neither of us has ever backpacked before. I might have to work up my courage a bit before I’ll be ready to hit the trail without our minivan full of gear. 😉

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 30

Genesis 5020, June 30

Texas Book-aholic, July 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 1

Inklings and notions, July 2

EmpowerMoms, July 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 3

Christina’s Corner, July 3

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 4

Book Looks by Lisa, July 4

Paula’s Persuasion, July 4

For Him and My Family, July 5

Blogging With Carol, July 5

deb’s Book Review, July 6

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

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 7 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 7

Mary Hake, July 7

Betti Mace, July 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 8

Bigreadersite, July 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 9

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, July 10

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 10

Labor Not in Vain, July 11

Through the Fire Blogs, July 11

Bizwings Blog, July 12

Pause for Tales, July 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kellie is giving away the grand prize package 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/1f7ef/hunted-in-the-wilderness-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle

Much Ado about Persuasion by Barbara Cornthwaite Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Much Ado About Persuasion

Author: Barbara Cornthwaite

Genre: Historical/Jane Austen Retelling

Release date: May 3, 2022

Muchado-663x1024

Some duel with swords, others with ships. In love, however, they duel with hearts.

When Sir Walter Elliot, secret admirer of the Navy, invites officers to visit his estate, what could be more natural than for his two daughters to find themselves in love?

Elizabeth Elliot’s legendary, bitter pride clashes with Admiral Baldwin’s stubborn conceit until any hope of a match seems impossible. They say love conquers all, but does it?

All looks hopeful for Anne Elliot and the dashing Captain Wentworth, but when a cousin steps in and sets evil plans into motion, is their love enough to withstand the storm, or is it best to let the captain sail that ship… alone?

Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing meets Jane Austen’s Persuasion in this story about trust, disappointment, and disguises.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Regret is a loathsome burden to carry.”

“Happy are the men that hear their detractions and can put them to mending.”

Because I had not read Austin’s Persuasion and Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing, I chose to find summaries of the plays to better understand what to expect from the novel Cornthwaite’s Much Ado about Persusaion. Once I had done that, I could better appreciate how Barbara Cornthwaite marries Much Ado about Nothing and Persuasion.

I did not connect with the characters immediately. Slowly, as I became more acclimated to the antiquated language, I really began to enjoy the multiple storylines presented. A robust tale, with several relationships threatened, forming, or desired, it was at first difficult to keep all the characters straight. Happily, I found that continued reading rectified this problem. There were actually several times I laughed out loud. While the original tales are older and the language mimics that of earlier centuries, there were so many nuggets of truth that are applicable today! How I loved that! I underlined a great many quotes.

Faith is included with appropriate Scripture quotes or even sermon snippets that fit right in to the fabric of the story. Nothing contrived there, which can be a tricky maneuver for an author.

I recommend this novel for fans of Jane Austen and William Shakespeare. Other historical fiction lovers might also be enthralled with the story.

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

Notable Quotables:

“good people collect other good people around them.”

Good birth is no guarantee of good character.”

“Pride is a very empty comfort when you are alone.”

“…the best thing would be to start off by praising her. Not something about her beauty, which might seem like mere flattery, but something about her character.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! Keep at this one until you discover the gems inside!!

About the Author

Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her six children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.

More from Barbara

I discovered Jane Austen in college when I was required to read Pride and Prejudice. This was in the dark ages before the famous adaptations, and I knew nothing about the storyline. In fact, I expected it to be depressing, probably because the title sounded similar to War and Peace. It was a delightful surprise to be charmed by the novel, and I went on to read all Austen’s other books on my own. Each of them have a special place in my heart. I love Emma so much that I wrote a two-book parallel novel for it (the George Knightley, Esquire series). I also have novellas based on Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma in the A Very Austenanthologies. This book, however, is the first thing I’ve written based on Persuasion.

Mixing the stories of these two authors has been great fun, and redeeming a couple of characters who didn’t learn anything from their mistakes in the original stories gives my version a spiritual twist. I hope you enjoy it!

Shakespeare I met in high school, and furthered my acquaintance with him in college. Much Ado About Nothing is, I think, my favorite of his plays (although there are several close contenders for the top spot). His grasp of character is unmatched, and his language, even after five hundred years, is striking.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 17

Texas Book-aholic, June 18

Miriam Jacob, June 18

A Reader’s Brain, June 19

Britt Reads Fiction, June 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions , June 21

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 22

For Him and My Family, June 22

Inklings and notions, June 23

deb’s Book Review, June 24

Of Blades and Thorns, June 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 25

Connie’s History Classroom, June 26

Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen, June 26

She Lives To Read, June 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 28

Sylvan Musings, June 28

Labor Not in Vain, June 29

Back Porch Reads, June 30

Melissa’s Bookshelf, June 30

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1eff5/much-ado-about-persuasion-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

Sabal Palms and the Southern Squall by Terry Overton Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Sabal Palms and the Southern Squall

Author: Terry Overton

Genre: Christian Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Release date: April 5, 2022

8976DCE1-8605-4C90-9F39-4FD7DFDA3644_4_5005_c

Elaine Smith lived in the small coastal town of Sabal Palms long enough to know when to worry about a squall and when to simply close the windows and wait for it to pass. This one would be significant. It would be significant in terms of damage, but that was to be expected. What no one expected was the profound effect it would have on the lives of people from the Texas coast to New York City. Positive qualities of humanity are often displayed during times of natural disaster.
But a supernatural power had attached to this storm and subsequently worked within the hearts of the most needy, the most lonely, and the most sinister. The lives of four delightful women, a homeless teen, a rebellious son, a grieving lover who is at the bottom, a son who lost his faith, and a hired murderer, are all intertwined in the aftereffects of a Category 3 hurricane thanks to a few passages written by one determined woman.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“I don’t write for the money, I write hoping to change people’s lives.”

Terry Overton presents a very unique, heartwarming story about four older, widowed women who take refuge together from a hurricane. We see four mismatched persons who are very different, yet work together to form a strong, safe friendship. But that friendship is subject to two dangerous cancers. One is gossip, and the other is not encouraging a friend in her chosen line of work, simply because the results are not obvious.

I enjoyed this in-depth look at a hurricane, something unfamiliar to me. I loved how people rallied around each other to rebuild and restore necessities after the damage of the hurricane.

Poor Elaine. She feels like her writing is making no difference, until she finally writes a small passage for Adrianna. Adrianna is much encouraged, but the other two friends feel Elaine is wasting her time and have no qualms about telling her so.

Then, something begins to change. One by one, we are introduced to several other individuals from various parts of the country, whose lives intersect with the four friends. After finishing the book, I am in awe of what God can accomplish through humble people who are determined to do what He has called them to.

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

Notable Quotables:

“She wondered, as she did every night at the typewriter, if anything she wrote would make a difference for someone else.”

“Tamar wasn’t loved by God because she did good or bad things. She wasn’t loved by God because she had earned His love.” “I don’t understand what you are trying to say.” “Tamar was loved by God first, no matter what. He called her.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! God Rewards Those Who Quietly Do What He Calls Them to Do!

About the Author

Terry Overtonobtained her Ph.D. in Psychology and her Ed.D. in special education. She taught in public schools and was a school psychologist and a professor before retiring in 2016. Her university experiences included teaching at Longwood University in Virginia, the University of Texas-Brownsville, The University of Texas-Pan American, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Stephen F. Austin State University. She held positions as Dean and Department Chair during her tenure in higher education. Her areas of research included behavior disorders, learning disorders, autism, and research in higher education. She currently resides in Laguna Vista, Texas. She enjoys Biblical history and general Bible studies, writing, blogging, and visiting with friends and family. Her books have been recognized and received awards from Firebird Book Awards, American Writing Awards, and have earned five stars from Readers Views and Readers Favorites. Her books have been recognized Finalist for the International and National Book Awards.

More from Terry

This book will take the reader to the southern coast of Texas. In fact, this book happens at the very bottom tip of Texas. The reader will feel the warm sea breezes, view the coastal sunsets and sunrises, and experience the friendships of four close women friends. Here is a sample:

The women gathered at the swimming pool and shed their cover-ups. Next, each lady

took out her favorite sunscreen lotions and creams and sprayed and squirted so much on, they all

looked almost as pasty as a bottle of glue. No one talked at all during this process of slathering

on thick coats of varying SPFs. It was a polite, unspoken agreement that no forbidden words

were ever mentioned when the ladies were in swimwear. Words like cellulite, wrinkles, fat, fatty

tissue, weight, weight loss, weight gain, age spots, and—the worst words ever—skin cancer were

completely and totally off limits.

In times of crises, these four women always bind together and help each other. They have been friends for over twenty years. Here is an excerpt of one of their conversations during a pool party:

What strangers might not understand is the banter back and forth was exactly the only way they could get along. They enjoyed it. They thrived on it.

“Oh, fiddle-faddle, Bonnie, last week you told me you thought the salon was opening up

this week,” Mary jabbed. “It didn’t.”

“I didn’t say that. I said I heard it might be opening next month.”

“You said next week as sure as I am floating on this raft.”

“Had your hearing checked lately?”

“Right after you get yours checked.”

And they both laughed. It was always entertaining.

“Well, horsefeathers! I need to get this hair trimmed again. It is all cattywampus on the

sides.”

“What? You’ve got a cat in there?” Bonnie laughed.

“Feels like it,” Mary retorted.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 30

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, May 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 31

Texas Book-aholic, June 1

Inklings and notions, June 2

deb’s Book Review, June 3

For Him and My Family, June 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, June 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 8

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 9

Mary Hake, June 9

Blogging With Carol, June 10

Pause for Tales, June 11

Spoken from the Heart, June 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Terry is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card & 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/1e381/sabal-palms-and-southern-squall-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, NetGalley, Revell

The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Sweet Life

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release date: May 3, 2022

The Sweet Life Cover

Jilted by her fiancé, Dawn Dixon escapes to beautiful Cape Cod on a groomless honeymoon–with her mother. But she didn’t expect her mom to risk everything, on a whim, to move there permanently or buy a rundown ice cream shop in need of repair. In order to make their new life work, they’ll also need her ex’s help.

Click here to get your copy!



My Impressions

“Never invest with your heart, only with your stomach.”

If you’re not looking for the nearest made-from-scratch ice creamery after you finish The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher, you may not be completely human. The extensive details about ice cream making are fascinating and show Fisher’s great research/familiarity with the cold dessert. For me, this was the strongest and best part of the book.

I truly enjoyed seeing how this mother-daughter duo interacted with each other. I couldn’t decide whether I identified with Dawn or Marnie more. Each had qualities that were relatable, so I flipped back and forth, which really made me enjoy that aspect of the book.

I was a fan of the novel by its end, which is superb. However, it took me a good one-third of the book to truly care about Marnie, Dawn, Kevin, and others the way I wanted to. I felt that we were told, rather than shown, much about the characters in the first part.

Lincoln is such an endearing, encouraging person to have as a friend! If only there were more such selfless people in the world. His view on cancer is upbeat, and he holds out the light of Hope and faith to others traveling that scary path.

Great discussion questions at the end would make a book discussion group easy to lead. I am prepared for a field trip to Cape Cod, Chatham in particular!!

————————————————————————

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

————————————————————————

Notable Quotables:

“Love does not have an expiration date.”

“I’m not going to let you hemorrhage Dad’s life insurance policy on a melting ice cream cone.”

“Cancer is a wonderful teacher. If you let it, it’ll teach you lessons you never dreamed you needed to learn.”

“The most important thing Dawn expected from her ice cream was consistency—because she couldn’t expect it from the rest of her life.”

“God wants to hear those honest prayers. No filter. From the gut…”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! Guess what kind of shop I’m stopping at, on my next vacation!! I’ll be picturing Dawn and Marnie behind the counter!!

About the Author

With over 1.5 million copies sold, Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of over 30 books, ranging from novels to children’s books to non-fiction. She is a Christy Award finalist, a winner of Carol and Selah awards, and a two-time finalist for ECPA Book of the Year. She writes stories that take you to places you’ve never visited—one with characters that seem like old friends. But most of all, her books give you something to think about long after you’ve finished reading it. Suzanne lives with her very big family in northern California.

More from Suzanne

The Sweet Life is a story about a mom and a daughter who, both in need of a little respite from life’s bumps and bruises, start an ice cream shop on Cape Cod…thinking it will be easy. After all, who doesn’t love ice cream?

Well, sure. That’s true. Everybody loves ice cream. But ice cream can be tricky. This I can say with authority. My husband is a serioushobby ice cream maker. He even attended Penn State’s Ice Cream School. While Steve was working on his vanilla recipe, he experimented fifty-nine times before he was finally satisfied. 59 times! Other flavors, like chocolate, can mask mistakes. Not vanilla. Too pure.

Here’s a few other things you probably didn’t know about ice cream:

The very first mention of a frozen dessert dates back to Persia in 550 BC, though it might have been sorbet-like. It’s said that Emperor Nero had ice brought down from the Apennine Mountains to produce a sorbet of honey and wine. And then there are those who insist that ice cream came out of China, and were introduced to Italy with the help of Marco Polo. Regardless of its origins, a love of ice cream has been around for a very, very long time.

Quaker colonists introduced ice cream to early America, having brought their recipes with them from England. Some argue that the French brought ice cream to America. Regardless, during the colonial era, ice cream was sold in shops in New York.

George Washington loved ice cream. So much so that he even brought ice cream making equipment to Mount Vernon! There are many accounts of “ice creem” (as it was then called) served during his administration.

First Lady Dolley Madison, wife of U.S. President James Madison, served ice cream at her husband’s Inaugural Ball in 1813. Common colonial flavors were soft fruits, like peaches or strawberries, added to a vanilla custard. Dolley had a curious favorite flavor: oyster. (Ugh.)

In September of 1846, a Philadelphia house wife named Nancy Johnson filed patent #3254 for a simple hand cranked ice cream churn. Prior to this point, ice cream belonged to the wealthy. Her hand cranked ice cream churn made it affordable for everyone. Nancy Johnson’s design is still used today.

During the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, an ice cream vendor ran out of cardboard dishes. The vendor next door offered to make cones by rolling up his waffles. Voila! The birth of the ice cream cone.

The majority of American ice cream companies have been in business for more than 50 years. Many of them are still owned by single families.

For the last 128 years, Penn State University has held Ice Cream School for professionals and serious hobbyists during January (for obvious reasons). All the greats have attended: Baskin & Robbins, Ben & Jerry, Dreyer’s, Nestle’s, Blue Bell Creamery, Dairy Queen, and…my husband.

The most popular flavor in the world? Vanilla. Of course.

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads, May 26

Inside the Wong Mind, May 26

The Avid Reader, May 27

lakesidelivingsite, May 27

Vicky Sluiter, May 27

Remembrancy, May 28

Southern Gal Loves to Read, May 28

Splashes of Joy, May 28

Texas Book-aholic, May 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 29

Miriam Jacob, May 29

Daysong Reflections, May 30

Inklings and notions, May 30

For Him and My Family, May 31

The Book Club Network, May 31

Blogging With Carol, May 31

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 1

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 2

deb’s Book Review, June 2

Artistic Nobody, June 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 3

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 4

Blossoms and Blessings, June 4

Mary Hake, June 4

Christina’s Corner, June 5

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 6

Book Looks by Lisa, June 6

Simple Harvest Reads, June 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, June 7

Spoken from the Heart, June 7

She Lives To Read, June 8

Bigreadersite, June 8

Labor Not in Vain, June 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $50 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/1e36c/the-sweet-life-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, New-to-Me Author

Canceled by John Faubion Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Canceled

Author: John Faubion

Genre: Christian Thriller

Release date: November 14, 2021

ebook-cover_Canceled

Jerold Steele has been canceled. His identity is stolen. His job is gone. Even more bizarre, the people around him are dying.

Each one was stalked and killed by a supernatural menace that hides

in darkness, and preys on the mind.

Facing exposure, the killer is eliminating every person that threatens him. In his world, there’s only room for one superman, and that superman is going to be him.

Brenda Neal wants to trust him, but the deaths terrify her. Is it better to hide, or fight with him?

CANCELED is a cutting-edge, page-turning thriller, a story you hope won’t be in tomorrow’s headlines.

Read CANCELED to find out what happens when the only thing that will stop a killer is Power no one never imagined.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“We know the enemy, and his name is Evan Gale.”

“Who are you, Evan Gale?”

Canceled by John Faubion is a thriller ride you won’t soon forget. Reminiscent of Peretti, a spiritual battle is taking place while events unfold on earth. A liberal seminary that doesn’t believe in the supernatural begins to question its teachings, as staff members meet violent ends.

I was glued to my seat as I followed Jerold Steele and Brenda Neal in their search for the truth. I could almost taste the fear and terror that Faubion puts some of his characters through. The twists surprised me, as I thought I knew the identity of the killer.

I appreciated the great, easy, and clear gospel presentation as it was very appropriate. I was surprised by the use of a 70’s tract in this very modern story. (I read that tract as a kid.) I would have been happier without denominations being named, since some readers may infer that a particular denomination mentioned must therefore be evil.

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! Suspenseful Thriller that will have you furiously flipping pages!!

About the Author

John Faubion was a foreign missionary in Vietnam, Guam and to the Chinese for nearly thirty years. Then a professional software engineer for more than twenty years after that.

He’s the father of five children, and lives in central Indiana with his wife.

More from John

Cancel Culture? This is worse.

All around us we see our culture changing, and not for the better. Sometimes it seems like all the voices we hear are filled with anger, hatred and intolerance.

There’s a reason for that:  They are all rooted (you guessed it) in anger, hatred and intolerance.

It was time to step back and look at what it’s like to be canceled, but from an entirely different source: The Supernatural.

The main character is a preacher, but one of those who does NOT believe in a supernatural god. He doesn’t know what he believes. But when he’s finally confronted with a supernatural experience he cannot deny, he finds that walking on the dark side is going to cost him his life.

The only solution, both for him and the one he falls in love with, is to know God, and get access to the supernatural weapons he never dreamed existed.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, April 22

For Him and My Family, April 23

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 25

Inklings and notions, April 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 28

Through the Fire Blogs, April 29 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, April 29

Blogging With Carol, April 30

Pause for Tales, May 1

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

Spoken from the Heart, May 3

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 4

Mary Hake, May 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 5

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, John is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card, along with a paperback 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/1d0b0/canceled-celebration-tour-giveaway