Bethany House, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, NetGalley

His Delightful Lady Delia by Grace Hitchcock Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: His Delightful Lady Delia

Author: Grace Hitchcock

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: November 1, 2022

Kit Quincy never misses opening night, but when his sister begs him to help get her husband out of an Italian opera star’s arms, Kit accidentally confronts the younger Lady Vittoria instead. When he meets the stunning young diva again, he attempts to make amends, but then finds himself pulled into a society matron’s plot to win the great opera war. To draw attention to Delia Vittoria as the Academy’s new soprano star, Kit is convinced to act as both Delia’s patron and the enigmatic phantom who once haunted the Academy years ago. But when a second phantom appears, more than Delia’s rising career is threatened.

Behind the curtain, she must put on the performance of a lifetime . . . while love and risk take center stage.

Delia Vittoria’s mother has lost her voice at last. After five years of being her diva mother’s understudy, it is time for Delia to assume her place as the lead soprano onstage behind the Academy of Music’s faded velvet curtain. And she is all that stands between the Academy and its greatest threat–the nouveaux riches’ lavish new Metropolitan Opera House.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Grace Hitchcock (www.gracehitchcock.com) is the award-winning author of multiple historical novels and novellas. She holds a master’s degree in creative writing and a bachelor of arts in English with a minor in history. Grace lives in the New Orleans area with her husband, Dakota, and their sons and daughter.

More from Grace

I’m pretty certain every author started as an avid reader who dreamed of how they would change an ending or change who the heroine ended up with if they could write the book instead. (Anyone else think Theodore Laurence should have married Jo March?) It’s that ever-beautiful question of “what if” that has haunted some of my favorite stories and often drives my own stories to spark to life.

I first discovered The Phantom of the Opera as a child and fell in love with the beauty of the Broadway musical, a love that continued into my adulthood. So, when I was researching ideas for Book Three in the American Royalty series and I stumbled upon the great opera-house wars between the new money’s opera house and the Academy’s elite opera house, the “what if” sequence began and I knew I had to write my version of a phantom-of-the-opera story. Then when I researched the Italian opera company, I grew even more excited, as I’m from a large Italian family. And when I say large, I mean it’s not uncommon for our smallest gatherings to be only forty people, and when the whole krewe is together, we need a large facility to house us all. I’ve also visited New York and Italy and felt I could add some authenticity to the Italian characters in my novel, which brings me to the leading lady—a delightful opera singer named Delia Vittoria, who takes a beloved hero from Book One in My Dear Miss Dupré, Kit Quincy, by surprise.

I knew from Kit’s character that if he’d met the woman he was meant to wed, nothing would have stopped him in his pursuit, so I knew I had to introduce a new heroine instead of a lady introduced in Book One. It is rather daring to bring in a new lead in the third book of a series without some form of introduction in prior novels, but I felt Kit’s character warranted it. Kit is by far the “oldest” hero I have written about to date, and to my delight, he captured my heart with his genuine soul and fierce devotion toward the woman he loves. Because of his age and personal experience, I felt that Kit could be a wonderful example of true, godly love to a woman who has seen almost nothing but poor imitations. I hope that you will enjoy their journey toward love and my nod to The Phantom of the Opera! Happy reading, friends!

My Impressions

“We are stronger than their secrets.”

Truly delightful, this novel by Grace Hitchcock delivers! History, duplicity, intrigue, love in many forms, and double standards all come together to create an unforgettable tale of a talented young singer searching for identity and a father’s love. His Delightful Lady Delia captured my attention and kept me glued to the pages until the last word. While this book is third in the series, it stands alone well. It did whet my appetite to read the other two!

One thing that stands out to me is the double standard that surrounds the opera houses. The very rich love to go and be seen, be known as patrons, yet the singers themselves are looked upon with disdain by the common person. Their morality is questioned and they are often isolated from society. No wonder Delia is searching for love and belonging.

The other thing that resonates with me is how imperfect and selfish “love” can be. Madre is both in competition with her daughter and supporting her daughter’s professional growth. Madre is protective of Delia, yet still ego-centric. She gives real meaning to the phrase “prima donna.”

I loved the mystery of the Phantom. I was partially correct in guessing the culprit, but also totally off. I never saw that character in that role before he is revealed! How satisfying. Great twist at the end. I am also grateful for the historical notes at the end, that separate fact from fiction. I closed the book with a very satisfied sigh.

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

Notable Quotables:

“A man can love two women at the same time”…“Not well, nor in the manner they deserve—with respect.”

“Kit was slowly chipping away at her safely hidden emotions that she only trotted out for the stage. When had pretense become reality?”

“This time she would not bow to someone because they thought themselves superior simply because they had money. She was precious in God’s eyes, and even if her father had abandoned her, she still had her character…”

“Just remember, Delia, your worth does not hang on the dithering praises of society. Keep your trust in Jesus and He will never leave you. He will cover you with the shadow of His fatherly wing and protect you. As a believer, you are a child of God and will forever know to whom you belong—not to a mother with scandal dripping from her name, not to society, not to that wayward father of yours, but to God alone.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent! I loved this historical mystery!!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 19

Melissa’s Bookshelf, November 19

Texas Book-aholic, November 20

Inklings and notions, November 21

The Book Club Network, November 21

deb’s Book Review, November 22

For Him and My Family, November 22

Girls in white dresses, November 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 23

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 24 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 25

Holly’s Book Corner, November 25

Remembrancy, November 26

Connie’s History Classroom, November 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 27

Book Looks by Lisa, November 28

Cover Lover Book Review, November 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 30

Blogging With Carol, December 1

Back Porch Reads, December 1

Splashes of Joy, December 2

Through the Fire Blogs, December 3

Labor Not in Vain, December 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Grace is giving away the grand prize package of a $30 e-gift card to Baker Book House and a paperback copy of all three books in the American Royalty series: My Dear Miss Dupré, Her Darling Mr. Day, and His Delightful Lady Delia!!

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/22ec4/his-delightful-lady-delia-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, Purchase

Keeping Christmas II by Havig, Bouldin, Beatty, Siennes, Wardwell, and Simmons; Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Keeping Christmas Volume II

Authors: Chautona Havig, Tabitha Bouldin, Susan K. Beatty, Jennifer Sienes, Melissa Wardwell, and Stacy T. Simmons.

Genre: Christian Christmas Romance

Release date: October 18, 2022

In castles far and near, long ago and yesterday, find happily-ever-afters wrapped in love and tied with Christmas joy.

Escape to Greenaway (by Chautona Havig): She just wanted to escape another holly, jolly family holiday. Because snowbound in a castle B&B with one of Santa’s elves (or as good as) is so much better. With the help of the castle’s owner, Tonya plays matchmaker in a bid to get that Christmas-loving girl out of her hair.

The King’s Promise (by Tabitha Bouldin): In a world of airships and kings, a prince makes a promise that tears him away from his love. An ordinary baker’s daughter finds herself caught in the middle of a game where the winner earns the queen’s crown. They both want what they can’t have as they struggle toward a seemingly impossible happily ever after.

A Castle for Christmas (by Susan K. Beatty): Sadie Foster abhors wealth. Will Randolph, on the other hand, works for the uber-wealthy owner of an over-the-top castle on the California coast–Sadie’s father. When Christopher Foster leaves the castle to her, Sadie doesn’t want anything to do with it or his money. But what if Sadie and Will use the castle and her inheritance for the good of others—together?

An Irish Christmas Heart (by Jennifer Sienes): Will she choose love or an arranged marriage? In the midst of post-famine unrest, Eleanor Blake, daughter of an English nobleman, is thrown into a maelstrom of emotions. How will she escape the duty for which she was born and the confines of the ill-fated Menlo Castle of Galway, Ireland to find her true love?

Christmas at Curwood’s Castle (by Melissa Wardwell): A Christmas party at Curwood Castle should have been Angel Davis’ Cinderella moment. Especially when her dear friend Jimmy arrives. Instead, one obstacle after another threatens to break any chance at a happily-ever-after.

Christmas in the Cotswolds (by Stacy T. Simmons): She’s a paleontologist and ardent Jane Austen fan. He’s enmeshed in the exactitude of mathematics, can they find common ground? Do opposites attract, will the romantic castle, and dashing duke be the undoing of Victoria’s plans?

Grab a mug of something hot and delicious and curl up somewhere comfy. Your literary chariots await to take you on a journey from an early twentieth-century castle in the San Gabriel Mountains of California all the way across the pond to the beautiful Cotswolds of England. These six novellas, all set in castles real and fictional, celebrate the heart and joy of Christmas in this second volume of castle Christmas novellas.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Authors

USA Today Bestselling author of Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education, but discovered life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance and writing—and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies including several in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.

Tabitha Bouldin is a student at Southern New Hampshire University, where she is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s in Creative Writing. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she works with critique groups and provides endorsements for other authors. Tabitha’s genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart. Tabitha spent ten years working as a Medical Assistant before God opened the door which allowed her to become a stay-at-home-homeschooling-mom and author.

Melissa Wardwell resides in Owosso, Michigan with her husband and three teen-aged children.She doesn’t mind alternating between the world of writing and the reality of being a mother, but she would rather sit with a good book or a good friend and a cup of coffee. When she isn’t penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books for her blog, Back Porch Reads. To see more from Melissa Wardwell, visit www.melissawardwell.com

Who says you can’t begin a new career after middle age? Certainly not Susan K. Beatty. She is passionate about writing about finding courage through faith and grit, particularly through the trials of breast cancer and other life trials. Her daughter is a metastatic breast cancer “thriver” and has been an inspiration for her writing. Susan’s first novel, Faces of Courage, debuted May 2021, as part of the Faces of Courage series, including several novelettes. She is also the author of An Introduction to Home Education (AKA California Homeschool Manual). Susan is a professional writer/journalist and is active in the writer community. She is proof you can begin a fiction writing career at any age.

Stacy T. Simmons writes uplifting fiction that delights the reader’s romantic sensibilities. Thirty-four years of marital bliss is a great contributor. She is a mom of two grown children, and she and her family have a menagerie of pets she likes to call “Noah’s Ark.” You can find her working on her next manuscript with a piece of dark chocolate and a cup of coffee nearby. Connect with Stacy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Fueled by Faith and Caffeine.

More from Tabitha

Castles near and far. Over time and across worlds both real and fictional. When it came time to write for Keeping Christmas, the world opened up to offer each of us a jewel for our stories. While I chose to base my castle off of a real castle in Romania, others chose a different route. Yet we all came together with a singular mission to write stories about Christmas and to bring the joy of Christ into each and every book. Keeping Christmas is about more than overseeing a holiday. It is looking back through the years of Christmases far and wide, from our real world through fantasy lands some of us dreamed up, and keeping the spirit of the season alive.

Come and keep Christmas with us as we journey across land and sea, through the skies on an airship, and deep into the contemporary halls and towering turrets. Here you’ll meet characters to fall in love with and read stories that span the ages, from a scribe in King Herod’s castle to a paleontologist in the Cotswolds.

My Impressions

Wow! Please don’t ask me which of the six novellas in Keeping Christmas II by Celebrate Lit authors is my fave. I may tell you, “all of them!”

I love Chautona Havig’s story, Escape to Greenaway, because Havig had me laughing within minutes of starting the novella. Snarky, unlikable characters transform into caring friends when trapped in a castle during a snowstorm.

From there, I entered a totally different world, Tabitha Bouldin’s historical steampunk tale, The King’s Promise. Yet, it was so much fun to read about a forbidden match, and a competition to find the new queen of the realm. I love the direction Bouldin takes the novella.

Susan K Beatty’s contribution, A Castle for Christmas, is enjoyable as we see two people of opposite thinking start to work together for a common goal. I appreciated the emphasis on prayers by the two main characters. They both took their problems and worries to God, as we should.

An Irish Christmas Heart by Jennifer Siennes shows the historical conflict between the English and the Irish. Mrs. Doyle wins my vote for best supporting character of the book. She is a spiritual mentor, wise, loving, and able to get involved in others’ lives without being a busybody.

In Melissa Wardwell’s story, Christmas at Curwood’s Castle, a party at a local castle is the backdrop for the reunion of two lifelong friends. This one had a few unexpected twists and played out differently than I had imagined.

One of the most romantic was penned by the late Stacy T Simmons. A paleontologist falls for a Duke she meets while on holiday in the Cotswolds. I loved seeing Victoria able to mix business and pleasure, and do her job well. The dreaminess evoked by this couple make the novella a fave.

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Just a great, feel-good, faith-filled Christmas read!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 16

Through the Lens of Scripture, November 17

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 18

By the Book, November 18

Inklings and notions, November 19

deb’s Book Review, November 20

Blogging With Carol, November 20

Texas Book-aholic, November 21

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 22

For Him and My Family, November 22

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 23

Older & Smarter?, November 24

Mary Hake, November 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 25

She Lives To Read, November 26

Holly’s Book Corner, November 26

Simple Harvest Reads, November 27 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Splashes of Joy, November 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 28

Writing From the Heart Land, November 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 29

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the Celebrate Lit Authors are 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/22acd/keeping-christmas-volume-two-by-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, Wild Heart Books

A Not So Convenient Marriage by Sandra Merville Hart Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: A Not So Convenient Marriage

Author: Sandra Merville Hart

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release date: November 8, 2022

A spinster teacher…a grieving widower…a marriage of convenience and a second chance with the man she’s always loved.

When Samuel Walker proposes a marriage of convenience to Rose Hatfield so soon after the death of his wife, she knows he doesn’t love her. She’s loved him since their school days. Those long-suppressed feelings spring to life as she marries him. She must sell her childhood home, quit her teaching job, and move to a new city.

Marrying Rose is harder than Samuel expected, especially with the shadow of his deceased wife everywhere in his life. And he has two young children to consider. Peter and Emma need a mother’s love, but they also need to hold close the memories of their real mother as they grieve her loss.

Life as Samuel’s wife is nothing like Rose hoped, and even the townspeople, who loved his first wife, make Rose feel like an outsider. The work of the farm draws the two of them closer, giving hope that they might one day become a happy family. Until the dream shatters, and the life Rose craves tumbles down around them. Only God can put these pieces back together, but the outcome may not look anything like she planned.

Click here to get your copy!

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

There are some stories that must be told. A Not So Convenient Marriage is one of them for me.

I don’t know what it is about this story, but once I began writing it over a dozen years ago, the characters wouldn’t leave me alone.

I wrote the first draft of this book a few years before my first book—another book, A Stranger on My Land—released, so I was still learning about the writing journey. I’m certain that my first draft of A Not So Convenient Marriage wasn’t ready for publication because it was rejected.

But the characters in my imagination wouldn’t allow me to let this one go. I edited and reedited, using skills I learned at writing conferences. Then I tried again with another editor. Another rejection.

Discouraged, I worked on other writing projects and met with a little success. When my first Civil War romance published, I decided to follow my heart and continue writing about that turbulent time period.

This book was set aside.

Still, every morning I woke up thinking about the characters in A Not So Convenient Marriage. In my mind, I’d rewrite a scene from the book as I lay, trying to sleep, in the middle of the night. Or the story would haunt me before falling asleep at night, keeping me awake an hour or two.

This happened almost daily for years.

Finally, I pulled up the manuscript again. It had been written in my early days so it required a lot of modification. I asked my agent to begin showing my updated proposal for the book. She was happy to do this because she always believed in this book. In fact, she decided to represent me after reading for proposal for it.

By the way, the story was still keeping me awake as I waited to sign a book contract.

Last year, I was thrilled when Misty Beller, Wild Heart Books, offered me a contract for a three-book series for this novel. Not only that, she also gave me a three-book contract for my “Spies of the Civil War” series, that published this year. (I invite you to read the whole “Spies of the Civil War” series beginning with Book 1 Avenue of Betrayal, Book 2 Boulevard of Confusionand Book 3 Byway to Danger.)

Misty told me that she cried when reading my manuscript for A Not So Convenient Marriage—the first time that had ever happened for a submission. That touched my heart.

I’m happy to say that scenes from the book no longer keep me awake at night…for now the story will be told.

My Impressions

“Which was worse, marrying a man who didn’t love her or growing old alone?”

I easily connected with Rose Hatfield, spinster teacher, whose desire to comfort a former classmate over his wife’s death leads to a marriage of convenience. A Not So Convenient Marriage is such a fitting title for this book that dragged my emotions back and forth with Rose’s and Samuel’s relational ebb and flow. Sometimes their feelings shifted so fast, I felt dizzy! Sandra Merville Hart truly presents a hard situation made worse by busybodies, untimely occurrences, and an inability to communicate well.

I loved Charlie. Definitely my fave secondary character! Charlie has weathered a lot of life, and has gleaned much wisdom. Yet, he doesn’t spout it out freely, but offers it gently when needed. Fortunately, he is a little stronger with Samuel, who needs a strong motion to the posterior region!

Rose slowly learns to turn from resentment over her own hurt to prayers for the hurt of others, (whose hurt she actually understands.) Perspective and prayer makes all the difference in our own attitudes, but I like that as we see with Rose, it is a decision that must be repeated many times before it becomes easier.

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! I love this book for the heart-wrenching story, but my takeaway truth clenches it for me: A lot of life and circumstances aren’t fair, but being willing to see them from a different perspective can make a huge difference in my attitude!!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, November 1

For Him and My Family, November 1

lakesidelivingsite, November 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 3

Holly’s Book Corner, November 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 4

deb’s Book Review, November 5

Blossoms and Blessings, November 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 6

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 7

Inklings and notions, November 7

Connie’s History Classroom, November 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 9

Through the Fire Blogs, November 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 10

Pause for Tales, November 11

To Every BOOK There is a Season, November 11

Bizwings Blog, November 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 13

Mary Hake, November 13

Vicky Sluiter, November 14

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/2244d/a-not-so-convenient-marriage-celebration-tour-giveaway

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, NetGalley, Purchase

The Dog Days of Summer by Kathleen Y’Barbo Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Dog Days of Summer

Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo

Genre: Christian/Mystery/Romance Fiction

Release date: October, 2022

Trina Potter, Nashville country music star, buys a ranch near her hometown in Brenham, Texas, to help her niece open a rescue facility for dogs. Her presence in town stirs up some old high school rivalries—and romance. Finding property to buy is a challenge, convincing her mother to move there with her is daunting, and navigating a string of strange accidents is perplexing. Sometimes Trina feels like she’s purchased her own three ring circus instead of a beautiful piece of land. But her first priority will be figuring out who wants Second Chance Ranch shut down before they even have the grand opening.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and bestselling author of more than one hundred books with over two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she is a member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, Texas A&M Association of Former Students and the Texas A&M Women Former Students (Aggie Women), Texas Historical Society, Novelists Inc., and American Christian Fiction Writers. She would also be a member of the Daughters of the American Republic, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and a few others if she would just remember to fill out the paperwork that Great Aunt Mary Beth has sent her more than once.

When she’s not spinning modern day tales about her wacky Southern relatives, Kathleen inserts an ancestor or two into her historical and mystery novels as well. Recent book releases include bestselling The Pirate Bride set in 1700s New Orleans and Galveston, its sequel The Alamo Bride set in 1836 Texas, which feature a few well-placed folks from history and a family tale of adventure on the high seas and on the coast of Texas. She also writes (mostly) relative-free cozy mystery novels for Guideposts Books.

Kathleen and her hero in combat boots husband have their own surprise love story that unfolded on social media a few years back. They make their home just north of Houston, Texas and are the parents and in-laws of a blended family of Texans, Okies, and one very adorable Londoner.

More from Kathleen

Do you love dogs…or cats…or both…? I’m firmly in the “both” category. Since childhood I’ve always lived in homes that had at least one or the other, usually several of each. With every dog or cat comes at least one good story. One of my favorites is the tale of Bandit, the inspiration for the cover of my cozy mystery DOG DAYS OF SUMMER.

Once upon a time there was a black and white dog named Bandit. He was an English Springer Spaniel by birth but was completely convinced he was human. Bandit loved his people—three growing boys and a baby girl—even more than he loved popcorn and playing keep away (his version of catch). After many years, Bandit’s people grew up and he grew old. Toward the end of his very long and pampered life, he was plagued by the unwanted and yet much appreciated friendship of an ornery orange striped cat named Baby and a snooty pedigreed feline named Fifi.

Everyone loved Bandit…except the territorial squirrel who lived in a tree in our back yard in Southeast Texas. From the moment Bandit joined the family, the furry fellow was determined to rid himself and his back yard of the trespassing canine. The squirrel’s favorite tactic was to tease Bandit until the dog chased him up a tree. Once treed, the crafty critter would run around the trunk just out of Bandit’s reach. Once the squirrel tired of this, it would retreat to a limb. There, the battle of the backyard beasts would commence again but with the squirrel lobbing pinecones and the dog trying to catch them.

While every good story has a beginning, middle and end, unfortunately at the end of this one there was no winner in the dog vs. squirrel wars. A job transfer led us to Houston where squirrels were in abundance in our new neighborhood but none of them were nearly as much fun as the one Bandit left behind. The last time I spoke with the owners of our old house, they told the funniest story: they loved their new home, but there was this squirrel in the back yard that kept throwing pinecones at everyone.

In DOG DAYS OF SUMMER, I tell the story of another Texas back yard. This one is located in Brenham, Texas, and it is about to become a very special place for some very special dogs named Patsy and Cline. Have I mentioned these dogs belong to a country singer named Trina who has a mother named Mama Peach who happens to own a cat named Hector that dislikes almost everyone and can open doors? Then there’s the problem of the next door neighbor and his penchant to forget to close the lid on his grill when he’s cooking? Did I mention that Patsy and Cline enjoy nothing more than whatever they happen to find on an unguarded grill? While the two furry scoundrels are rounding up trouble next door, there is even more trouble happening at the building site for Second Chance Ranch Dog Rescue on the other side of the property. Apparently not everyone is happy about the new neighbors. The mystery is who that person might be. While you’ve got to read DOG DAYS OF SUMMER to find out, I can give you one hint: it’s not the squirrel!

I’ve told you mine; now tell me your favorite dog or cat story. I can’t wait to read them.

Do you love dogs…or cats…or both…? I’m firmly in the “both” category. Since childhood I’ve always lived in homes that had at least one or the other, usually several of each. With every dog or cat comes at least one good story. One of my favorites is the tale of Bandit, the inspiration for the cover of my cozy mystery DOG DAYS OF SUMMER.

Once upon a time there was a black and white dog named Bandit. He was an English Springer Spaniel by birth but was completely convinced he was human. Bandit loved his people—three growing boys and a baby girl—even more than he loved popcorn and playing keep away (his version of catch). After many years, Bandit’s people grew up and he grew old. Toward the end of his very long and pampered life, he was plagued by the unwanted and yet much appreciated friendship of an ornery orange striped cat named Baby and a snooty pedigreed feline named Fifi.

Everyone loved Bandit…except the territorial squirrel who lived in a tree in our back yard in Southeast Texas. From the moment Bandit joined the family, the furry fellow was determined to rid himself and his back yard of the trespassing canine. The squirrel’s favorite tactic was to tease Bandit until the dog chased him up a tree. Once treed, the crafty critter would run around the trunk just out of Bandit’s reach. Once the squirrel tired of this, it would retreat to a limb. There, the battle of the backyard beasts would commence again but with the squirrel lobbing pinecones and the dog trying to catch them.

While every good story has a beginning, middle and end, unfortunately at the end of this one there was no winner in the dog vs. squirrel wars. A job transfer led us to Houston where squirrels were in abundance in our new neighborhood but none of them were nearly as much fun as the one Bandit left behind. The last time I spoke with the owners of our old house, they told the funniest story: they loved their new home, but there was this squirrel in the back yard that kept throwing pinecones at everyone.

In DOG DAYS OF SUMMER, I tell the story of another Texas back yard. This one is located in Brenham, Texas, and it is about to become a very special place for some very special dogs named Patsy and Cline. Have I mentioned these dogs belong to a country singer named Trina who has a mother named Mama Peach who happens to own a cat named Hector that dislikes almost everyone and can open doors? Then there’s the problem of the next door neighbor and his penchant to forget to close the lid on his grill when he’s cooking? Did I mention that Patsy and Cline enjoy nothing more than whatever they happen to find on an unguarded grill? While the two furry scoundrels are rounding up trouble next door, there is even more trouble happening at the building site for Second Chance Ranch Dog Rescue on the other side of the property. Apparently not everyone is happy about the new neighbors. The mystery is who that person might be. While you’ve got to read DOG DAYS OF SUMMER to find out, I can give you one hint: it’s not the squirrel!

I’ve told you mine; now tell me your favorite dog or cat story. I can’t wait to read them.

My Impressions

I am already looking forward to the next book in this series. This is a fun cozy dog rescue series. In the Dog Days of Summer by Kathleen Y’Barbo, we find ourselves back in small town Brenham, Texas. Mari Evans, vet tech and pet rescuer, shares the spotlight with her famous aunt Trina, who must decide which of her two worlds to live in. If, in fact, she and Mari can stay alive.

I liked the fact that there are really two heroines in this novel, one older than the other. I find that refreshing. I appreciated the choices that Trina has to make and the difficulty those decisions could cause.

I loved Wyatt Chastain. He is a patient man, the voice of reason, has a good people sense, possesses a sharp wit, and seems rather laid back. He has learned how to deal with life’s difficult circumstances calmly.

Mama Peach. What can I say? She, along with her cat, Hector, add humor, warmth, and eccentricity to the novel. You’ll want to keep reading just to discover what those two are up to next!

Y’Barbo throws out several red herrings until I was unsure who the perpetrator is. She produces a satisfying conclusion with a few twists I didn’t see coming. Next book in the series, please!

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! I am really enjoying this series!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 28

Texas Book-aholic, October 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 29

Blogging With Carol, October 29

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, October 30 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, October 30

Inklings and notions, October 31

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 1

Lily’s Book Reviews, November 1

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 3

Remembrancy, November 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 4

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 6

Boondock Ramblings, November 6

Labor Not in Vain, November 7

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, November 7

Pause for Tales, November 8

Mary Hake, November 8

For Him and My Family, November 9

Divine Perspective, November 9

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, November 10

The Book Club Network, November 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a print 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/2244a/dog-days-of-summer-celebration-tour-giveaway

ARC, BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, Purchase

The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels

About the Book

Title: The Sugarplum Ladies

Author: Carrie Fancett Pagels

Publisher: Hearts Overcoming Press

Released: October 2022

Genre: Inspirational Christmas Romance

1867 Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and Detroit, Michigan


When Canadian barrister Percy Gladstone finds his aristocratic British family unexpectedly descending upon him for Christmas, he turns to American social reformer Eugenie Mott and her fledgling catering crew, The Sugarplum Ladies, for help. Little does Percy, AKA Lord Kent, realize that this Christmas may start entirely new traditions. And little does Miss Eugenie Mott, to her chagrin, realize that the British idea of Christmastide extends through Epiphany! This Christmas is one to remember.

About the Author

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., writes stories about overcoming with God’s help (including a Romantic Times Top Pick inspirational novel). She has 25 published fiction books. Carrie is an ECPA-bestselling award-winning author. She won the Maggie Award for Excellence medallion. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination. She’s the mother of two and married to the love of her life.

My Impressions

“I love the idea of helping others help themselves.”

The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels is a delightful, light historical Christmas novella. The gorgeous holiday cover itself will be enough to draw you in.

Eugenie Mott, an 1867 Detroit resident, is resisting her father’s schemes to marry her off to a much older man. She prefers her work helping Civil War widows gain skills as waitresses so they can acquire needed jobs.

After meeting Canadian lawyer Percy Gladstone, Eugenie is drawn into his company. When Percy’s parents arrive from England while Percy has sent his servants on Christmas break, can the ladies that Eugenie has been training rise to meet the need?

I loved the heart both Eugenie and Percy have for helping others. Eugenie realizes that just giving money to a cause isn’t enough. She is a social reformer on a small scale, taking area widows, some of whom have turned to questionable ways to earn money, and giving them help for a lifetime by teaching them marketable skills.

In so many ways, the giving spirits of both Percy and Eugenie caused them to reach out to those around them and better lives. “This was what Christmas was truly all about. Loving others as Christ would love us.”

I found the notes about names, factual events, and recipes at the end very interesting!!

I was gifted a copy of the book by the author, plus bought my own copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! I really enjoy Ms. Pagels’ stories that blend faith and history.

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, NetGalley, Purchase

Mary by Shannon McNear Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Mary

Author: Shannon McNear

Genre: Historical/Christian/Romance Fiction

Release date: October, 2022

Worlds Collide Along the Shores of the Outer Banks

Immerse yourself in the “what if” questions related to the Lost Colony of Roanoke. What if an English boy and a native girl met in the wilderness? The push-and-pull between two very different worlds begins as one seeks simple friendship and the other struggles to trust. And can it—dare they—allow it to be more?

Sparks fly between Mushaniq, free-spirited daughter of Manteo, and Georgie Howe, whose father was brutally murdered by undiscovered native warriors before they’d been on Roanoac Island a full week. As Georgie struggles to make sense of his life and to accept that not all they call “savage” are guilty of his father’s death, Mushaniq grapples with her own questions about who Manteo has become. As tentative friendship becomes more, forged in the fire of calamity and attack upon their community, both must decide whether the One True God is indeed who He claims to be and whether He is worthy of their trust.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When she’s not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies. Connect with her at http://www.shannonmcnear.com, or on Facebook and Goodreads.

More from Shannon

Why did I write Mary? The series started as an idea suggested by my editor and soon became something of an obsession. This installment was inspired partly by the Legend of the Coharie, a fragment of the very murky history surrounding the Roanoke Colony and the Lumbee people of North Carolina. According to this legend, George Howe, the son of the colonist by same name who was brutally murdered a few days after their landing on Roanoke Island, married a daughter of Manteo, the Native man who traveled twice to England, later led a group of the colonists inland for refuge and eventually became an ancestor of the Lumbees. Then, as my Lost Colony research expanded, my interest in the nuances of two cultures meeting and blending grew into a desire to pay tribute to what might have been the first (and possibly only) example of European and Native peoples living together in peace. Imagine if this had been the defining moment of our country’s founding?

As usually happens, fictional characters (even those based on historical figures) sooner or later run away with the story—and that’s the part I find most exciting! I hope you, the readers, also enjoy this tale of Mushaniq (squirrel in Carolina Algonquian) and Georgie, which serves as both a parallel story and sequel to Elinor.

My Impressions

“We can walk in holiness and yet do it in such a way that is loving and gracious!”

Mary by Shannon McNear is an emotional and spiritual coming of age story of two young people from different cultures. McNear strives to show both the good and the ugly of both the English and the Native American cultures. Manteo is the dominant physical thread that holds these two tenuous cultures together. What an unusual man he is! Can Elinor and Sees Far help Manteo guide the fledgling love of Georgie and Mushaniq, as well as guide the racially diverse colony to unity?

McNear’s research is impeccable. I learned a lot of history. But hopefully, mostly, I learned to give grace for those of different from me, so that unity can prevail whenever possible. “The sacraments and doctrines are clear enough! That is not our trouble here. It is that we wish to administer the letter of the law and not be mindful of the spirit thereof.” Would the Roanoke Colony as portrayed in Mary be dissolved from within by disagreement and insistence upon each culture’s mores?

While a sequel to “Elinor, ” Mary by Shannon McNear has quite enough backstory one can read this as a stand-alone.

Different personal rivalries helped drive the action, creating tension and suspense. The outcome of all of them surprised me.

One last note: due to the subject matter, I would recommend this book for mature readers.

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Rating for history, compelling story, fair presentation of both cultures, and message our own world could use today.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 26

Remembrancy, October 27

Inkwell Inspirations, October 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 28

Texas Book-aholic, October 29

Hallie Reads, October 29

Inklings and notions, October 30

For Him and My Family, October 30

deb’s Book Review, October 31

To Everything There Is A Season, October 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 1

Holly’s Book Corner, November 1

Betti Mace, November 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 2

Connie’s History Classroom, November 3

Mary Hake, November 3

Bizwings Blog, November 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 5

A Reader’s Brain, November 6

Sylvan Musings, November 6

Through the Fire Blogs, November 7

Pause for Tales, November 8

Spoken from the Heart, November 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Shannon is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-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/22447/mary-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, Purchase

Keeping Christmas Vol. I by Celebrate Lit Authors Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Keeping Christmas Volume 1

Authors: Cathe Swanson, Chautona Havig, Olivia Talbott, Kathleen J. Robison, Denise L. Barela, Marguerite Martin Gray, and Naomi Craig.

Genre: Christian Christmas Romance

Release date: October 4, 2022

In castles far and near, long ago and yesterday, find happily-ever-afters wrapped in love and tied with Christmas joy.

The Lights of Castlebourne (by Cathe Swanson and Chautona Havig): He bowled her over at first sight–his dog, that is. Sydney just wanted a chance to do the landscape design at Castlebourne. She never dreamed the owner’s electrician would light up her heart at Christmas.

The Girl From Dalarna (by Olivia Talbott):She’s the most beautiful woman in Sweden, but she doesn’t want to be. A simple life among milk cows is all she desires. Will a scandal upend her plans and ruin her chances for love?

The Cross at Morioka Castle (by Kathleen J. Robison): In the ancient land of shoji screens and tatami mats, Ariko finds the stone ruins of Morioka Castle, and the mysterious cross that holds the secret of a Christian faith extending far deeper than Ariko ever imagined.

The Ghost of Christmas… (by Denise L. Barela):Abbigayl needs to get away for Christmas this year. No family, no questions about why she’s still single, no suggestion about being set up with someone’s friend. What will happen when Neuschwanstein Castle’s past converges with Abbigayl’s future?

Crystal Clear (by Marguerite Martin Gray):Rosalind’s muddied past and foggy future crystalize in Château Chenonceau, a refuge from gossip and more. Watch as the château and Christmas work their magic and break the bonds of propriety, and rejoice as Rosalind experiences the crystal-clear hints of peace, joy, and hope all around her.

The Weary World Rejoices (by Naomi Craig):Behind the elaborate furnishings of Herod the Great’s palace, conspiracy and distrust run rampant. Mysterious visitors from the east challenge everything Amal thinks he knows as palace scribe. Will his quest to uncover the Truth free him from the ornate shackles of palace life, or will he be the next victim of King Herod’s maniacal jealousy?

Grab a mug of something hot and delicious and curl up somewhere comfy. Your literary chariots await to take you on a journey from an early twentieth-century castle overlooking the Mississippi all the way back to the Holy Land at the time of Jesus’ birth. These six novellas, all set in castles real and fictional, celebrate the heart and joy of Christmas.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Authors

USA Today Bestselling author of Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

Cathe Swanson writes books with creative plots and engaging characters of all ages, to glorify God and entertain and bless readers. Her heartwarming stories will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again.

Olivia Talbott grew up in Montana, but currently lives in Kentucky with her husband and two daughters, a few sheep and a border collie. She loves words, traveling, pickles and having deep conversations about how Jesus changes everything. Visit her at oliviatalbott.com.

Kathleen J. Robison is an Okinawan-American, born in Okinawa, and raised in California, Florida, Mississippi, and Singapore. Her travels and her family are the sources of her inspiration for her books. Kathleen and her Pastor husband have eight adult children. Seven are married, blessing them with eighteen grandchildren and counting. Her ethnically diverse background extends to her family of currently thirty-five personalities which provide many opportunities to share God’s amazing love amidst the challenges of real life.

Denise L. Barela is a twenty-something-year-old writer with a passion for fiction, her faith, and just being creative in general. When she’s not working away at her desk, you might find her reading a good book or following Alice down the rabbit hole…

Marguerite Gray enjoys the study of history, especially when combined with fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches French and Spanish and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and a MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. She has two grown children and currently lives with her husband in north Louisiana. She writes historical fiction.

Author of Biblical fiction, avid reader, pastor’s wife, Naomi Craig loves reading the Bible and imagining how things were at the time. When she’s not serving in various areas at church, trying to stay on top of mountains of dishes or convincing her rescue dog, Freeway, to be cute on command for Instagram reels, you’ll most likely find her enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee. Naomi co-hosts #BehindTheStory with Naomi and Lisa, an author interview show on YouTube and your podcast platform of choice.

More from Denise

Hello everyone!

I’m excited to share this set of stories with you! All the authors have worked hard to bring you some Christmas joy and magic. We’ve each picked a castle to center our stories around. I mean, Christmas and castles go well together, don’t you think? You’ll get to explore different castles in different time periods while also getting to know all the characters in each story. That’s a lot of new friends to make!

For my story, I jumped on the chance to write about a castle that inspired the castle that always brought me joy growing up (if I’m being honest, it still brings me joy). I’ve always been a huge Disney nerd, and Princess Aurora has always been my favorite Disney princess. Growing up, I was blessed to be able to visit Disneyland for most of my life, and Sleeping Beauty’s castle was my favorite thing (I was so sad when they closed the walk-through part for several years). Even without the attraction part of it, I loved walking into the park and seeing it stand at the end of Main Street. I actually teared up seeing it for the first time after Covid.

What does all this have to do with my castle story? Well, in 1869, King Ludwig II of Bavaria began construction on Neuschwanstein Castle. This castle served as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Let me tell you, if you thought Disneyland’s castle was beautiful, it’s got nothing on Neuschwanstein. If I were to pick a castle to live in, it’d be this one.

Setting aside the Disney connection, I was even more intrigued when I learned more about the king who commissioned it. The king was not very popular towards the end of his reign, and the day after he was sent to Berg Castle, he and a doctor were found dead in Lake Starnberg. The weird part? They ruled it a drowning, but there was no water in their lungs and clear signs of foul play.

Oh, but that’s not the only interesting fact this castle houses. This castle became a hiding place for some of the art the Nazi’s stole during World War II. Part of me wonders if any pieces are still hidden there. The Monuments Men group actually cataloged art found there, and it’s been preserved. Here’s a fun article from The Met all about it!

I hope you enjoyed learning about the castle that inspired my story!

My Impressions

Not sure what to read for Christmas? May I suggest Keeping Christmas, Vol I, is a good place to start? You’ll get castles, dogs, soba, laughter, tears, intrigue, and faith all in one book!

Chautona Havig’s name drew me in. Anything she writes is truly fun, attention-grabbing, and truth-filled. In The Lights of Castleberry, Havig and Cathe Swanson team up to produce a young landscaper who tries to convince a modern castle owner to let her beautify the grounds. Sydney and Philip fall in love, but miscommunication and Sydney’s failure to stand up for herself threaten their happiness. Meanwhile, Sydney’s cousin Arielle pushes Mark into sharing more than his curmudgeon spirit is willing. This is a story to come, hopefully!

Another of the novellas that intrigued me was The Cross at Morioko Castle by Kathleen J Robison. Set in Japan and containing several Japanese words, I didn’t connect with the characters at first, but kept reading. Soon, I found myself ensnared in the saga of a young Japanese Christian girl, whose rich great-grandmother wants to make amends before dying. Can Ariko stay true to the faith and follow Obaachan’s demands? What about the mysterious Kai? Is he all he claims to be? I loved the legend, the samurai, and even the business dealings. And God’s placement of people at just the right time and place!

The last novella that I want to highlight closes the book, and how fitting! You may think you’ve heard the Christmas story a million times, but until you see it through Amal’s eyes, you are missing something! My heart rejoiced along with Amal’s by the conclusion of this novella. The Weary World Rejoices by Naomi Craig is Biblical fiction that will make you shiver, review Scripture, cry, cheer, evaluate how you treat Scripture (all while being an unputdownable story)!

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

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! I have found at least one story I want to read multiple times before Christmas, plus several new-to-me authors to add to my staggering TBR!!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 20

Through the Lens of Scripture, October 20

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 21

Texas Book-aholic, October 22

For Him and My Family, October 22

deb’s Book Review, October 23

Inklings and notions, October 24

Holly’s Book Corner, October 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 25

Lots of Helpers, October 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 27

By the Book, October 28

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 28

She Lives To Read, October 29

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 30

Mary Hake, October 30

Blogging With Carol, October 31

Simple Harvest Reads, November 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Literature Approved, November 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 2

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the Celebrate Lit Authors are 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/2224d/keeping-christmas-volume-one-by-celebration-tour-giveaway

ARC, Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, NetGalley, PB, Purchase

The Premonition at Withers Farm by Jaime Jo Wright

About the Book

Title: The Premonition of Withers Farm

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Dual Timeline

Released: October 2022

The voices of the past cannot stay silent forever.

In 1910 Michigan, Perliett Van Hilton is a self-proclaimed rural healer, leaving the local doctor convinced she practices quackery. It doesn’t help that her mother is a spiritualist who regularly offers her services to connect the living with their dearly departed. But when Perliett is targeted by a superstitious killer, she must rely on both the local doctor and an intriguing newcomer for assistance.

In the present day, Molly Wasziak’s life has not gone the way she dreamed. Facing depression after several miscarriages, Molly is adapting to her husband’s purchase of a peculiar old farm. A search for a family tree pulls Molly deep into a century-old murder case and a web of deception, all made more mysterious by the disturbing shadows and sounds inside the farmhouse.

Perliett fights for her life, and Molly seeks renewed purpose for hers as she uncovers the records of the dead. Will their voices be heard, or will time forever silence their truths?

My Impressions

“The mind of a killer is a journey into chaos.”

What makes a Jaime Jo Wright novel, esp The Premonition at Withers Farm, such a great read? For those who like “spooky,””eerie,” and a murder mystery, there is plenty of that vibe going on in both parts of this split-time novel. For any that have dealt with depression caused by life’s circumstances, Wright deals compassionately with this as we see Molly in the present day, struggling to survive another day. For those who like to see the power of a good friendship, I loved the support that Sidney provides to Molly.

Some will say that séances and evil have no place in a Christian novel. My answer would be, see how Jaime Jo Wright deals with them from a Christian perspective. She doesn’t wham the reader with absolutes early on, but slowly, non judgmentally leads to her Biblical conclusions. A very satisfying tale from all threads involved!

Highly recommended!

I received a copy of the book from the publisher and NetGalley. I also bought my own copy for my keeper shelf. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“There will always be agony in the living. But it is in the agony that we discover our roots, and so often what we thought we needed wasn’t really what we need at all. It’s who we needed.”

“faith wasn’t something you achieved, it was something you fostered.”

“Moving on doesn’t mean forgetting.” She dropped her hand, wiping a cobweb onto her shorts. “It means living with their memory until God reunites us. It means finding a resolution to their death so you can keep on living.”

“Funny how when a person took a step back from all the expectations they had on themselves, that grace stepped forward and picked up the pieces that made no sense.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Eerie, Chilling, Hopeful Dual Timeline with Surprising Connections!

About the Author

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

PS. Jaime Jo Wright has just been nominated for and, as of this writing, is a finalist for another Christy award for her novel, On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor!

ARC, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, NetGalley, PB, Purchase, Revell

Anything but Plain by Suzanne Woods Fisher Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Anything But Plain

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Amish fiction

Release date: October 4, 2022

It’s not easy being the bishop’s daughter, especially for Lydie Stoltzfus. She’s not like other Amish girls, as much as she wishes she were. The only thing she does well is disappoint others. Leaving her family and church seems unbearable, but staying might be worse.

Knowing Lydie is “between” jobs, the local doctor asks her to fill in at the front desk for a few months. To Lydie, this is a boon. It gives her time to figure out how she’s going to say goodbye to her neighbor, Nathan Yoder–the main reason she needs to leave Stoney Ridge. Nathan claims he’s in love with her, but she knows she’s not good enough for him. If in doubt, Nathan’s father reminds her frequently.

As Dok spends time with Lydie, she recognizes symptoms of an uncommon disorder among the Amish. She offers treatment for Lydie. But will it be enough to make her stay? Or has help come too late?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Stoney Ridge and especially Bishop David Stoltzfus’s home is my favorite setting that Suzanne Woods Fisher has penned. While Anything but Plain could be read as a stand-alone, it is sweeter if you have read the preceding books.

Everyone loves Lydie, but having the Bishop’s youngest daughter work for them is another matter. As Edith says, ”Everyone says you’re an accident waiting to happen.” (How can some people be so cruel to others?)

Mammi, David’s widowed mother, comes for a visit. Before long, she informs Lydie, “‘You’re the reason I’m here.’ Mammi smiled. ‘You’re going to be my special project. We are going to fix you.’” Oh, the angst in that household , and not just for Lydie, as Mammi settles in! I love how Fisher weaves that one event into so many subplots.

I was slightly dismayed to find in this book that David himself is not perfect. He has always been such a humble, wise, and godly bishop. To find he has faults was indeed sad. May it be a reminder to all of us that we cannot put church leaders on pedestals. The only one we worship and adore is God. He alone is perfect.

I loved Nathan. He is humble, kind, knowledgeable about his organic farming, and eloquent as well. He is very forgiving, more than most.

One plot twist did throw me for a loop. I did not feel the reader had been properly prepared or armed with enough understanding to receive that twist as plausible.

Still, this is probably my fave Fisher novel so far for the unusual subject matter, (ADHD among the Amish) and the way Fisher deals with it.

I received a copy of the book through Celebrate Lit, and also NetGalley, plus I bought a copy to give away. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Act first and think later. Lydie’s life in a nutshell.”

“He needed to seek things to be grateful for, something Birdy was always reminding him of. Search for them like a lost coin, she would say, because his mind didn’t naturally go to gratitude.”

“The Lord God did not make a mistake when he made you. Everything about you was ordained from the beginning. You have to start believing that.”

“She had a knack for solving problems, for seeing things he couldn’t see.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Fisher’s Best Yet!!

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a Christy finalist, a Carol Award winner, a two-time ECPA Book of the Year finalist, and the Publishers Weekly, ECPA, CBA, bestselling author of more than thirty books. Her genres include contemporary and historical romances, Amish romance, and women’s fiction. She and her husband live in a small town in California, where everyone knows everyone else, knows what they are doing and why. Most folks act a little nervous around Suzanne because they usually wind up in one of her novels. She has four grown children and enough grandchildren to keep her young. Visit Suzanne at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

More from Suzanne

Easily Distracted? 8 Strategies to Help Stay Focused 

Anything but Plain is a story about a young Amish woman with undiagnosed ADHD. Lydie Stoltzfus feels like a square peg in a round hole. She just doesn’t fit in and, to make matters worse, she’s the bishop’s daughter. At this point, the only path forward she can see is to leave Stoney Ridge. Leave her church, her friends, her family, her neighbor Nathan Yoder. It’s better to leave, Lydie decides, than to keep disappointing everyone she cares about. I won’t say anymore so that I don’t spoil the story for you.

ADHD is not a common diagnosis among the Amish and many might assume it’s not a real thing. Of course, they’re mistaken. ADHD is a real thing. While I don’t have ADHD, I do have many friends and family members who have been diagnosed. It’s challenging! And something we should all take seriously. Here’s why:

Evidence is mounting that a growing dependence on digital devices could be giving all of us some ADHD-like symptoms. Have you wondered if distractibility is becoming a problem for you? Or has a spouse or child or friend remarked on how often you pick up your phone to check a text message or scroll Instagram? You might remain physically present but your mind has wandered away. For me, the answer is, regrettably, yes.

There’s a recurring phrase in Anything but Plain that comes from an old-fashioned farming term: Walking the beans. Literally, it means weeding by hand. Figuratively, it means paying attention to our priorities. To pull the weeds before they take root.

One of the takeaway lessons of this book is to “walk the beans” of technology’s role in my life. So…I’ve been working on a few strategies. When I practice, I see a difference. Life is calmer. More manageable.

So…I wanted to pass these tips along to you. (If you have little children, these might not work for you. Not when your little ones are awake, anyway.) Hopefully, you’ll find them to be useful, and maybe spark some strategies of your own.

  • Make a plan. I start the day with an index card and write down the day’s priorities. And I check off tasks as I finish them!
  • Go off-line. Create an environment that helps you stay focused. Turn your cell phone to silent. If working on the computer, close your email app. Put yourself in distraction-free mode until you’re accomplished what you need to do
  • Finish one task before moving on to the next. Even little tasks.
  • Distractibility is at its peak during transitions. Build in margin. For example, arrive a few minutes early instead of rushing in a few minutes late.
  • When distractions are high, make tasks smaller and break down your large projects into smaller tasks to help you concentrate and give you a sense of accomplishment and progress.
  • When I’m facing a big task, I’ll break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • Set a deadline for a task. Beat the clock! Use a timer.
  • Rewards! When I beat the clock, I’ll take a break from computer work and pop up to the garden, text a friend, walk the dog. Something that feels good.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 7

She Lives To Read, October 8

The Write Escape, October 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 9

Vicky Sluiter, October 9

lakesidelivingsite, October 10

Texas Book-aholic, October 10

Lighthouse-Academy, October 11

Simple Harvest Reads, October 11 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 12

Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 12

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 13

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14

Blogging With Carol, October 14

Elly Gilbert, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 15

For Him and My Family, October 15

Holly’s Book Corner, October 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 16

Splashes of Joy, October 16

Empowermoms, October 17

SusanLovesBooks, October 17

Mary Hake, October 17

Bigreadersite, October 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 18

Blossoms and Blessings, October 18

Cats in the Cradle Blog, October 19

Pause for Tales, October 19

Spoken from the Heart, October 19

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 20

Cover Lover Book Review, October 20

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/21e05/anything-but-plain-celebration-tour-giveaway

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, NetGalley

Escape to Amsterdam by Lauralie Bliss Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Escape from Amsterdam

Author: Lauralee Bliss

Genre: Christian Fiction/ Historical / Romance / Intrigue

Release date: September 1, 2022

A University Student Smuggles Children Out of Amsterdam

Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.

Helen Smit believed she was called by God to become a teacher. Little does she know that her care for kids will take a drastic turn for survival when the Germans occupy Amsterdam and Jewish children and parents begin to be deported. Now all she can think of is helping all the kids escape before it’s too late.

Erik Misman’s newfound love for Helen is tested when he joins a plot to help move Jewish children to a safe place in the countryside. If danger can foster a closer bond with Helen and save the lives of the little ones, he will do it all. But a German patrol that stumbles upon the farm where they are hiding with three children and a soldier who takes an unexpected interest in Helen, could well destroy their plans for safety and love.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“The Germans had done more than just invade Poland. They were invading everyday lives and relationships, bringing fear and uncertainty.” This novel, the seventh of the Heroines of WWII, and written by Loralee Bliss, was difficult for me to read. In Escape to Amsterdam, Bliss writes with an easy-to-read style, but the fear and uncertainty mentioned above are so real that I could hardly bear the emotional pain.

We see Helen Smit, a teacher, and Erik Minger, a grocery store worker, take on the challenge of their lives as they ponder what it means to follow the advice of a new friend, Mr. Visser. “We must care for each other as God would have it. There is no greater calling on earth.”

How will this affect their lives? Occupied Holland comes to life with its stifling oppression, great deprivation, and horrible injustices.

So why am I recommending this novel? “ Those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it.” This novel made me feel like there are many parallels to our world today. We have to choose if we will stand up and support what is right, or if we will be silent and slowly let evil overcome.

Another overarching theme: we are stronger working together, and we need to help everyone. Bliss presents the strong Christian message of trusting God when the worst is happening.

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

Notable Quotables:

“Jesus was also tested and that He sympathized with struggle. He was looking down at them—especially those caught in a deep pit either of their own making or by others, and praying over them in love.”

“One can’t live in peace under tyranny.”

“Live life one day at a time, filled with the unexpected—both the easy and the difficult.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! WWII Novel for Our Times

About the Author

Lauralee Bliss is a published author of many romance novels and novellas, both historical and contemporary. Lauralee’s prayer is that readers will come away with both an entertaining story and a lesson that speaks to the heart and soul. When not writing, Lauralee can often be found on the trails where the author has logged over 10,000 miles of hiking. She makes her home in the Blue Ridge mountains with her family. Visit Lauraleebliss.com for more information about the author and her adventures.

More from Lauralee Bliss

Oh, the simple beauty of the Netherlands. Windmills. Tulips. Dutch wooden clogs. Beautiful Delftware and delicious speculaas cookies. Quaint villages nestled beside the waters. And here I am, an American that was able to visit this beautiful country on the heels of my husband winning a contest through his work. We had planned to immerse ourselves in Dutch culture, see the sites, and yes, visit places like the Secret Annex of Anne Frank and the town where Corrie ten Boom and The Hiding Place existed. Little did I realize though that this unique trip would become a journey into the heart of a hurting country in World War II. During our time there, we visited the Jewish Quarter in the center of Amsterdam and learned the details of Nazi occupation for many years that eventually caused two-thirds of the Dutch Jewish population to be exterminated. Walking in the place where a theater once stood and Jewish people gathered there to be deported was indescribable. Seeing the Jewish stars embedded in the pavement and noting the name of a man or woman killed at Auschwitz, was heart-wrenching. But through these horrendous details came the strength of courage and heroism. Across the street from the theater, Jewish children were rescued because of the efforts of those who gave everything to see them go into hiding. Thus the book, “Escape from Amsterdam” was born. It honors those that aided and hid Jewish children from the Nazis to avoid deportation. I am grateful for the opportunity to write this story of two common Dutch people, a college student and a grocery store clerk, called to a dangerous mission to save the innocent when the odds were the greatest. It is a timely book that magnifies the strength of courage in adversity and allows us to become better people because of it. I hope you enjoy this journey and as you do, remember those who came before us and allow their acts of courage to encourage you to persevere, no matter what.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 29

The Write Escape, September 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 30

Inklings and notions, September 30

deb’s Book Review, October 1

Holly’s Book Corner, October 1

Texas Book-aholic, October 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 3

Mary Hake, October 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 4

Through the Fire Blogs, October 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 5

Cover Lover Book Review, October 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 6

Labor Not in Vain, October 6

Connie’s History Classroom, October 7

Betti Mace, October 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 8

Remembrancy, October 8

For Him and My Family, October 9

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, October 9

lakesidelivingsite, October 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 10

Splashes of Joy, October 11

Lights in a Dark World, October 11

Blossoms and Blessings, October 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lauralee is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-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/2224b/escape-from-amsterdam-celebration-tour-giveaway