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

ARC, BLOG, Kindle, NetGalley, Revell

Looking for Leroy by Melody Carlson

About the Book

Title: Looking for Leroy

Author: Melody Carlson

Publisher: Revell

Released: March 2022

It’s official: Brynna Phillips is done with men. They only break your heart. But just when she makes this declaration, her friend Jan convinces Brynna to join her on a camping vacation in Sonoma Wine Country. As they wind their way toward their destination, spanking-new mini camper in tow, Brynna recalls her teenage camp romance with a boy named Leroy. How can it have been nearly 30 years ago? All she remembers is that Leroy was a genuinely good guy and that his family owned a vineyard–in Sonoma. She doesn’t even remember his last name. Jan insists they look for him, and the search begins.

Beyond the slim chance they’d ever be able to find him are questions that have haunted Brynna for decades, including What is the point of digging up the past? and Can Leroy ever forgive me for losing touch?

Bestselling author Melody Carlson invites you on a trip to rediscover the carefree days of youth and, just maybe, to get a second chance at love.

My Impressions

If you’re looking for an easy-flowing, contemporary romance novel with a middle-age pair, Looking for Leroy by Melody Carlson deserves a read. The tone of this story made me smile and laugh.

Brynna is a divorced, elementary school teacher whose vice-principal invites her along on a summer camping trip out west. It is a trip that has the potential to change her life.

Leroy Sorrentino is the widowed vintner of a small California vineyard. Preparing to celebrate the historical longevity of the vineyard, two of his three grown daughters attempt to market and make Sorrentino’s profitable.

I liked the premise of the storyline and the predictable but realistic conflicts Carlson presents for her characters to overcome.

“Had he settled? Both in life and in marriage? He sometimes wondered.” This is a very sad, possibly tragic, thought for a person to have to ponder after it seems to late to make changes.

I also wondered if LeRoy were my friend, what advice I would give him about his love life. Each of his daughters certainly has an opinion! Some characters didn’t grow as much or as fast as I wanted them to. Honestly, people in real life are like that, though. We people don’t always grow as quickly and steadily forward as we should.

Sophie is my favorite character. She seems warm, accepting, able to see the best in others, and willing to forgive. Plus, she’s a hard worker!

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

Notable Quotables:

“Training dogs was much easier than training daughters.”

“Wisdom, understanding, knowledge. More than ever, she longed for those elusive qualities—because she felt foolish, confused, and just plain stupid.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! Sweet Romance with Middle-Age Couple

About the Author

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including Romantic Time’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at

http://www.melodycarlson.com/

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

Love’s Fortress by Jennifer Uhlarik Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Love’s Fortress

Author: Jennifer Uhlarik

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical fiction / Romance

Release date: March, 2022

9781636091815 (2)

A Love Story from the Past Brings Closure to Dani’s Fractured Family

Walk through Doors to the Past via a series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

When Dani Sango’s art forger father passes away, Dani inherits his home. Among his effects is a book of Native American drawings, which leads her to seek the help of museum curator Brad Osgood to decipher the ledger art. Why would her father have this book? Is it just another forgery?

Brad Osgood’s four-year-old niece, Brynn, needs a safe home, and Brad longs to provide it. The last thing he needs is more drama, especially from a forger’s daughter. But when the two meet “accidentally” at St. Augustine’s 350-year-old Spanish fort, Castillo de San Marcos, he can’t refuse the intriguing woman.

Broken Bow is among seventy-three Plains Indians transported to Florida in 1875 for incarceration at ancient Fort Marion. Sally Jo Harris and Luke Worthing dream of serving God on a foreign mission field, but when the Indians arrive in St. Augustine, God changes their plans. Then when friendship develops between Sally Jo and Broken Bow and false accusations fly, it could cost them their lives.

Can Dani discover how Broken Bow and Sally Jo’s story ends and how it impacted her father’s life?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

I enjoyed Jennifer Uhlarik’s contribution to the Doors to the Past series by Barbour. Each book is a stand-alone novel that presents as an intriguing dual-timeline. Love’s Fortress connects the present day Florida to St. Augustine, FL, in the 1870s.

Matty is my favorite character in the present-day scenarios. He is so big, tough, and scary looking, but he has a heart of gold. He loves Jesus and he loves those around him. He sees people without any discrimination. “Everyone’s welcome in God’s kingdom, darlin’. Doesn’t matter what you wear or how you fix your hair. It’s what’s in here.” He is loyal to a fault and can be surprisingly gentle.

Broken Bow is my favorite character in the historical sections. I love how Uhlarik shows the Native American’s probable way of thinking in keeping with their tribal customs. While there are some clashes between the Native Americans and the white peoples, Uhlarik tries to present the good and bad of both sides, never saying one is better than the other. My heart wanted to cry at the injustices that Broken Bow and others like him endured simply because he was not white.

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

Uhlarik includes historical notes and fact vs. fiction at the end, always a welcome addition to any book that draws a historical picture for us.

Notable Quotables:

“Oh, sweet heavenly Father, thank You! You do have a plan!”

“Me? I’m just a mixed-up little girl in a grown-up girl’s body.”

“We may never see the. . .impact we make when we follow God’s leading.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I Learned a Lot About the Time of Native American Incarceration at St. Augustine.

About the Author

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a preteen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a BA in writing, she has won five writing competitions and was a finalist in two others. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenage son, and four fur children.

More from Jennifer

Florida has been my home since I was ten, and I’ve visited the city of St. Augustine several times in my many years here. There, I stumbled across the fact that the Castillo de San Marcos, the town’s 350-year-old Spanish fort, was home to several groups of Native Americans in the 1800s. Ever since learning this fact, I’ve considered writing a story about the three-year period from 1875-1878 when seventy-three Plains Indians from various tribes called the fort (known then as Fort Marion) their home. However, since I’m mainly a western and western romance author, all of my story settings to date have been west of the Mississippi—not in Florida. So this interesting historical factoid remained dormant in my imagination for years, waiting for the right opportunity.

That opportunity came last year when I was asked to submit an idea for Barbour’s dual-timeline Doors to the Past series. These stories must be set in or around a major landmark, the plot must focus on a newsworthy event, and there must be a bit of a mystery that connects the historical timeline to the contemporary plot. Obviously, as the oldest masonry fort in the United States, Castillo de San Marcos is an important and interesting landmark. Originally built by the Spanish, it later became a British possession, reverted again to the Spanish, and eventually became part of the United States’ holdings. With such a long and varied history, I’m sure you can see why this unique structure would make an interesting landmark around which to base a story.

The newsworthy event the plot focuses on is the incarceration of those seventy-three Plains Indians, deemed some of the “worst of the worst” offenders in the Indians Wars of the West. Can you imagine the buzz such an event would create? Once the Indians fell into their routine inside the fort, they were given quite a bit of freedom to interact with the locals and tourists. People came from far and wide to see these men and their historic surroundings along the banks of the Matanzas River. With a simple day pass from the fort’s commander, outsiders could enter, walk among and talk with the prisoners, see the historic fort, and even watch cultural events like dances, powwows, mock buffalo hunts, and archery displays. The Native men could also leave the fort and venture into town to shop or sell handmade goods, from bows and arrows to hand-crafted items made from locally-sourced seashells and plants, to their original “ledger art.”

It’s the ledger art that comprises the mysterious puzzle piece connecting the historical timeline of Love’s Fortress to the present day. When Dani Sango learns her long-estranged father has died, she inherits his rundown St. Augustine house. Inside, she discovers a book of Native American art depicting events from one Indian’s daily life. But because her father was a convicted art forger, Dani questions why he would have the strange and rudimentary artwork. She suspects it was his latest scam, so she enlists the help of Brad Osgood, curator of a western art museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, to help her discover where the art originated and how her father came to possess it. In the process, the pair digs deep into the history of the St. Augustine fort and its former residents.

I found it fascinating to research this brief period in the Castillo’s long history, and I hope you’ll enjoy the story that came from my efforts.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 26

Remembrancy, March 26

The Christian Fiction Girl, March 27

Texas Book-aholic, March 27

Inklings and notions, March 28

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 28

Bigreadersite, March 29

For Him and My Family, March 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 30

Betti Mace, March 30

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 31

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 31

deb’s Book Review, April 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 1

Older & Smarter?, April 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 3

Life of Literature, April 3

Genesis 5020, April 4

For the Love of Literature, April 4

Connie’s History Classroom, April 5

Blossoms and Blessings, April 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 6 (Spotlight)

Splashes of Joy, April 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 7

Through the Fire Blogs, April 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 8

Pause for Tales, April 9

Labor Not in Vain, April 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and 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/1c10d/love-s-fortress-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Purchase

Song of the Rockies by Angela Breidenbach Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Song of the Rockies

Author: Angela Breidenbach

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release date: October 1, 2021

Song-of-the-Rockies-Generic

1890, Helena MT Song of the Rockies is the story of a sweet music teacher and eleven boys given one chance or else! Evan Russell lost everything—his ranch, his wife, and now, after trusting relatives with his young son, even the little boy is missing. How can a beautiful symphony of the heart come from such chaos?

Mirielle Sheehan, a music teacher at an exclusive boys’ school, believes scholarships for disadvantaged boys will solve the plight of hopeless homeless children. Mirielle’s challenge is to turn eleven street ruffians of various ages into stellar, disciplined boys with a future. Most think guttersnipes like this should be sold into indenture to learn a trade or pressed into the military. Get those miscreants off the streets!

Evan Russell, new mining millionaire, lost everything in the disastrous winter of 1886. Then his wife died leaving him with a son. Relatives in Helena offer a safe home for the child while Evan must find work in the mines. When he returns, he’s devastated to learn the entire family perished in a fire, and his son has never been found. Though he gained a fortune, he’s lost everything he valued! Romantic, sweet adventure set in picturesque Helena, Montana written by a bestselling author who is also a professional genealogist.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Could eleven unruly boys really become future community leaders?”

Song of the Rockies by Angela Breidenbach takes us back to Montana in 1890, as Montana stands on the brink of statehood. This is the second book of the Queen of the Rockies series. I suggest reading the series in order.

While Calista and Albert laid the groundwork in the first book for the eleven boys, street ruffians according to most, to be cared for, many still want rid of these “newsies.” Mirielle Sheehan has just a few days to find a way to pay for all eleven boys’ education at the private school where she teaches music.

I love Mirielle, who is another of those brave souls who will stand against society for what she knows is right. She loves the newsies and sees them as valuable humans, not because of what they’ve done, but because God made them in His image. She enlists the help of Evan Russell, who has his own agenda, and Mrs. Broadmore, a leader among high society’s ladies.

I thought the solution Mirielle comes up with is genius, and she executes her plan well. Evan fits into the story nicely and makes a great romantic foil. However, I felt his part of the story seemed like it ended too abruptly. I wanted to see this vein of the novel more developed with a more full resolution.

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

Notable Quotables:

“I suppose we just keep trusting as we keep on doing.”

“There could be no fracture in the team’s purpose. Not a bit of doubt. Hopelessness sprouted as easily as faith. Whichever seed they chose to plant, that’s what they’d harvest.”

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! I am Ready for the Next Installment!

About the Author

Angela Breidenbach is a professional genealogist, media personality, bestselling author, and screenwriter. She’s also the Christian Authors Network president. Angie lives in Montana with her hubby and Muse, a trained fe-lion, who shakes hands, rolls over, and jumps through a hoop. Surprisingly, Angie can also. Catch her show and podcast, Genealogy Publishing Coach!

http://AngelaBreidenbach.com

More from Angela

Song of the Rockies idea came from the need to continue deepen the experience from Queen of the Rockies to share more about the orphaned children on the streets of Helena MT in the late 1800s. A lot of readers asked a lot of questions that kept me fired up and involved in the story. That led to the full six-book series because I just couldn’t stop once the first book sparked all the curiosity.

The people of Montana are very civic-minded, committed to volunteerism, and helping those who can’t help themselves. And that’s the modern society. But that kind of a “personality” of a place doesn’t come from a void. The people of Montana have a reputation of being intensely independent. But the heart of the people isn’t about independence, that’s just the way we are because life here is spread out and requires a lot of individual effort to survive and thrive. The result of such a spread-out population is the opposite of intense independence—devout and loyal support of one another. So, though Montanans are independent, we’re also fiercely supportive.

An ironic history tidbit I ran into on my research for this series, but couldn’t use, was the famous Thomas Meagher who was originally from Ireland. We have a massive, gorgeous statue of him on his horse in front of the Montana State Capital Building in Helena because of his contributions toward Montana becoming a state. He was educated in Ireland by the Jesuits and then in England. He spent time in France as well. His last name is pronounced like the planet, “Mar”. The irony is that Thomas Meagher escaped from imprisonment in Australia, banished there by the British for crime of sedition. He believed in Irish independence. Thomas was a hero to the Irish independent movement, a Civil War hero who flipped from supporting the Confederate South to the Union when the Catholic Church put their support behind the North, and after a successful military career he moved to Montana. Evidently, he put all those skills to good use as Montana became a state. But he was also a well-known scoundrel whose stories didn’t always add up. He met his end in a murky manner, well that’s what they say… Thomas was purportedly drinking and playing cards on a paddle boat up the Missouri River near Fort Benton. Somehow, though he was supposedly a good swimmer, he managed to fall overboard and drowned. Was he drunk? Was he cheating and murdered? Did he run into those he’d flipped on during the war? Was he pushed over? He did have a bad knee… No one knows. His body was never found. Hmm… We have a bar/pub in Missoula called the The Meagher Bar that serves delicious Irish fare. So, if you visit Montana, please don’t ask for the “Meeger” Bar, not a soul will understand what you’re looking for. But now, you know how to pronounce his name.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 18

Bizwings Blog, February 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 19

For Him and My Family, February 20

Mary Hake, February 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 21

Lighthouse Academy Blog, February 21 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Betti Mace, February 22

Inklings and notions, February 22

deb’s Book Review, February 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 24

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 25

Blogging With Carol, February 25

Connie’s History Classroom, February 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 27

Blossoms and Blessings, February 27

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, February 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 1

Austen’s Angle, March 1

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 3

Pause for Tales, March 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Angela is giving away the grand prize 20-minute genealogy consultation to a winner via Zoom!!

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/1ab2b/song-of-the-rockies-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

When Dignity Came to Harlan by Rebecca Duvall Scott Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: When Dignity Came to Harlan

Author: Rebecca Duvall Scott

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release date: January 17, 2021

I made up my mind right then and there that I would just have to wade into this move like wading into a pond or lake I’d never seen before – slow and steady, feeling around for my footing and trying to avoid the sharp edges at the bottom that you never see coming.

***

News of what really happened to me – to us – spread through town like wildfire. It caught from one dry gossip tree to another and burned them to the ground with shame.

***

“Y’can do this, child – show ’em why I call y’Dignity,” my old friend winked at me.                

Skillfully written and sure to draw you in to its pages, When Dignity Came to Harlan is set in the early 1900s and follows twelve-year-old Anna Beth Atwood as she leaves Missouri with her family dreaming of a better life in the coal-rich mountains of Harlan County, Kentucky. Anna Beth’s parents lose everything on the trip, however, and upon asking strangers to take their girls in until they get on their feet, Anna Beth and her baby sister are dropped into the home of Jack and Grace Grainger – who have plenty of problems of their own. Anna Beth suffers several hardships during her time in Harlan, and if it wasn’t for her humble and wise old friend who peddles his wisdom along with his wares, all would be lost.

Based on a true family history, this is a story of heartbreak and hope, challenges and perseverance, good and evil, justice and merciful redemption. It exemplifies the human experience in all its many facets and shows what it means to have real grit.

Take the journey with us and see how, with the unseen hand of God, one girl changed the heart and soul of an entire town.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Rebecca Duvall Scott is an award-winning author with titles holding #1 bestseller within her publishing companies long after release. Her first work was self-help memoir, Sensational Kids, Sensational Families: Hope for Sensory Processing Differences, which she wrote in the years following her son’s sensory processing disorder diagnosis and their family’s successful treatment plan. While her special-needs advocacy helping parents, teachers, and professionals better understand individuals with SPD has a large part of her heart, her roots have always been in historical fiction. Her long-awaited Christian historical fiction novel, When Dignity Came to Harlan, was based on her great-grandmother’s childhood, and Teaching Dignity continues the tender and heroic story. She looks forward to writing more in both the Dignity and Sensational Kids series.

In addition to writing, Rebecca enjoys family, church, educating her children at home, painting, and directing a local homeschool cooperative organization where she works hard to accommodate all special needs.

More from Rebecca

From the time I was a little girl, my grandmother would gather me around her kitchen table – usually with homemade peach pies – and tell me stories of our forebears. I found the experiences of those who came before me to be both tragic and joyful, but most of all I found them worthy of being told and never forgotten. When I was 16, I started taking notes on everything my grandmother could remember about her mother (one of the humblest and most heroic of my ancestors) and as a senior in college, I turned in the first 70 pages of the manuscript based on her childhood, When Dignity Came to Harlan. I’ll never forget how on graduation day, my creative writing teacher shook my hand and said, “Rebecca, please finish the story.” It took years to finish my debut novel… I think because I had to grow up and develop a deep enough emotional well to do it justice… but finish the story I did. Little did I know, however, this bestselling and award-winning book, the one I was always meant to write, would be the starter of a new, yet powerfully old-fashioned, Christian historical fiction series!

My Impressions

Twelve year-old Anna Beth Atwood narrates When Dignity Came to Harlan by Rebecca Duvall Scott. This is a fictionalized account of Scott’s own great-grandmother’s coming-of-age.

Gritty and straightforward, this was an emotionally difficult story to read. I would have liked to have had better warning ahead of time of some of the subject matter. The first-person narration is well-done, with excellent attention to local color and accent.

Ben and Laura Atwood move their young family of four girls from Missouri to the coal mining town of Harlan, Kentucky. Out of both work and money, they farm the girls out to their new neighbors in exchange for the girls’ room and board. And so Anna Beth’s story slowly builds in emotional intensity. I was spellbound while I was terrified for Annabeth and Grace.

While life is difficult for Anna Beth, she determines to make the most of the life she’s been handed. She is extremely brave beyond her years. I was so happy when she was able to make a few friends who sustained her through very tough times.

Anna Beth realizes she needs the faith in God that she saw in her parents and now sees in Grace. True belief in God is equated with a wonderful emotional experience.

Scott includes comprehension questions at the end (I wish she would have called them discussion questions: I felt like a jr. higher answering questions about a passage read at school). A fact vs. fiction chart is also included which is very interesting.

Notable Quotables:

Who would I become if I forgot my roots?

Secrets have a life of their own; they scratch from the inside, clawing their way to the light.

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great!! Anna Beth is Bravery Personified!!

Blog Stops

deb’s Book Review, February 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 13

Inklings and notions, February 14

Texas Book-aholic, February 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 16

For Him and My Family, February 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 18

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 19 (Spotlight)

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, February 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 21

Connie’s History Classroom, February 22

Lots of Helpers, February 23

Elly Gilbert, February 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 25

Giveaway

One winner will receive the grand prize package of signed copies of When Dignity Came to Harlan and Teaching Dignity, a handmade ornament, and popular early 1900s candy!

Click below to enter the giveaway!

https://promosimple.com/ps/1a45d/when-dignity-comes-to-harlan-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, New Author, Purchase

Silencing the Siren by Denise L. Barela Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Silencing the Siren

Author: Denise L. Barela

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale

Release date: January 4, 2022

Silencing-the-Siren-663x1024

Andrew Grayson thought he had everything… until he met her.

The indulged son of wealthy parents, Andrew has always gotten whatever he wanted almost before he knew he wanted it—clothes, gadgets… even a car! What more could a young man desire?

Enter Annabel Thompson. Freakshow mermaid extraordinaire… in a wheelchair!

Of course, her beauty attracts him. How could it not? Add to that a kind heart, and Andrew can’t help but fall for her.

Annabel’s connection with the freakshow repels his parents and their society friends. They want him to sever all ties with her and his new friends. Oh, and marry the “right” girl with the “right connections.” But he won’t do it. He’ll defy them and marry his little mermaid.

When Annabel turns up missing, declared dead, things don’t add up, Andrew begins asking some difficult questions, the most important being, “What happened to the little mermaid of the Coney Island freak show?”

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. Silencing the Siren offers a retelling of “The Little Mermaid” that will keep you gripped to the edge of your seat as you watch the story unfold.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

The seventh in the retold fairytales series, The Ever After Mysteries, Silencing the Siren by Denise L Barela takes place in 1920s New York City and Coney Island. Andrew Grayson is a sheltered, young, rich man who lives in a Central Park mansion, but falls in love with Anabelle, a circus performer on Coney Island.

This is an imaginative retelling of the Little Mermaid. I loved seeing the closeness of the circus performers, who though mostly unrelated, form their own tight family. “This family was put together purely by the love and friendship they had for each other. The love they had ran far deeper than the blood Andrew shared with his parents.” I loved the way they care for and protect each other. Acceptance and love are freely given within the circus confines, things that are sadly lacking from the more affluent and “righteous” community without.

I love to zero in on secondary characters that I would enjoy meeting, often because of the way they treat others. William and Amalia are those people in this tale. Discerning, caring, quick to forgive, and to aid others, they almost need their own story!

Great twists to complete this fairytale! Don’t miss your chance to find out whether the Siren is silenced for good!!

Notable Quotables:

“Anger clashed and rolled with the grief inside him. A war of fire and ice with no clear winner.”

“This city cared about no one but themselves. They had no compassion, no love, and no heart. Why couldn’t these people just open their eyes to the struggles of their fellow men? Why couldn’t they see that while they obsessed over societal expectations and positions, others had to exploit their differences just to survive?”

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

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great! Imaginative Retelling of The Little Mermaid

About the Author

Denise Barela’s passion for fiction, her faith, and general creativity define her life. In all things, she strives to glorify God, though especially in and through her writing. She has spent the past six years working for a publicity company and five years working as the head editor for a publishing company. With an MFA in Creative Writing and a Professional Writing certificate, Denise enjoys using her education and work experiences to help authors achieve their own writing dreams. When she’s not working away at her desk, you might find her reading a good book or following Alice down the rabbit hole…

More from Denise

Hello Readers!

I’m so excited to share Silencing the Siren with you! This book was so much fun to write and research. I learned so many fun facts about old cars, old New York, and even doorbells!

Yes, you read that correctly. Doorbells.

These noisy items were such a novelty in the 1920s that they were often given as Christmas gifts!

Crazy, right?

I wanted both Andrew and Annabel to represent that feeling we have all experienced at least once in our lives. That feeling of not belonging. It looks different for each person, but it’s a uniting feeling.

Annabel will never be accepted by those outside her family, but they more than make up for that. Andrew is popular and well-off in society, but as he comes to know the Lord, he starts to feel that rift with his superficial friends and family. It’s with other believers, Annabel’s family, that he finds that deep relationship he desires. They are more than willing to provide.

This is the beauty of the body of Christ. When we are sick or in need, the body of Christ comes together to support you in that time of need and extend Christ’s love to all corners of the globe.

I hope you enjoy reading Silencing the Siren as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 7

A Baker’s Perspective, February 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 9

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, February 9 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, February 10

Genesis 5020, February 10

Inklings and notions, February 11

Connect in Fiction, February 11

For Him and My Family, February 12

Blossoms and Blessings, February 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 13

deb’s Book Review, February 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 14

For the Love of Literature, February 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 15

Blogging With Carol, February 15

Connie’s History Classroom, February 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 17 (Spotlight)

Sodbuster Living, February 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, February 18

Austen’s Angle, February 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 19

Simple Harvest Reads, February 19 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Back Porch Reads, February 20

Through the Fire blogs, February 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Denise 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/19bc6/silencing-the-siren-celebration-tour-giveaway