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

About the Book

Title: Miss Fanshawe’s Fortune54593789._SY475_

Series: #2 The Brides of Mayfair

Author: Linore Rose Burkhard

Publisher: Lilliput Press

Genre: Christian Regency Romance

Released: August 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

My Review

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

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

Linore Rose Burkard

Linore Rose Burkard


Website


Twitter

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

Dual Power of Convenience: #1 Independence Islands by Chautona Havig with Giveaway

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About the Book

Book:  Dual Power of Convenience

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre:  Christian Contemporary Romance

Release Date: July 28, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

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

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

Dual Power of Convenience 2

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

 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

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

 

More from Chautona

Did I Really Agree to Write a Romance Series?

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

I mean, beach reads.  Romance.  Duh.

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

Why?

Isn’t it obvious?

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

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

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

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

The wheels began churning.

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

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

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

I was yawning before the thought finished forming.

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

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

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

And it was.

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

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

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

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

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

My guy became the world’s newest billionaire.

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

*insert hands rubbing together in fiendish delight*

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

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

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

It was almost too easy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And yes, it probably was my idea.

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

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, August 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 5

Inklings and notions, August 6

lakesidelivingsite, August 6

deb’s Book Review, August 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 7

Rebekah Jones, Author, August 7

For Him and My Family, August 7

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

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

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 9

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 9

21st Century Keeper at Home, August 9

She Lives To Read, August 10

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

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 11

Adventures of a Traverlers wife, August 11

Emily Yager, August 12

Stories By Gina, August 12

CarpeDiem, August 12

cultivating us, August 13

Connect in Fiction, August 13

Livin’ Lit, August 13

Read Review Rejoice, August 14

Quiet Workings, August 14

Blossoms and Blessings, August 14

Just Your Average reviews, August 15

Rebekah Reads, August 15

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 15

Lis Loves Reading, August 16

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, August 16

Splashes of Joy, August 16

Pause for Tales, August 17

Captive Dreams Window, August 17

Spoken from the Heart, August 17

Lots of Helpers, August 18

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

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/ff14/dual-power-of-convenience-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, YA

Dust, #1 Heirs of Neverland, by Kara Swanson and Giveaway

Dust-FB-Banner-768x284

About the Book

Title: Dust

Authors: Kara Swanson

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Release Date: July 21, 2020

The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale Claire Kenton Swanson-Dust-195x300believes the world is too dark for magic to be real—since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London…and a boy who shouldn’t exist. Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins. The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan—and herself.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

“When did this fairy tale become a nightmare?” So moans Claire Kenton as she re-examines the old Peter Pan book, the only clue she has to her missing brother, Connor.
Reasons NOT to read DUST by Kara Swanson:
1. You don’t want to know about the 2020 YA inspirational book that has everybody abuzz. This book is a shoo-in for awards.
2. You don’t like books changed up. You’ll stick with the tried-and-true, don’t mess with perfection, please. Only as Kara Swanson so ably points out in her retelling of the Peter Pan tale, Neverland actually ISN’T perfect.
3. You don’t like dark retellings. Ah, but if there weren’t darkness, you wouldn’t see the light. The pixies are best seen at twilight or dawn. Also, darkness and shadows are an unfortunate part of life. But, “You were created for more than to bear the weight of your shadows—but you have to choose to no longer let them define you.
You have to choose to let the light shine through the shattered pieces.”

Dust 1


4. You don’t see any need for Pan to grow up. Who-wee, in Dust, we see the real results of Pan’s refusal to think beyond childish imaginations. All of Neverland is out of whack.
5. You don’t think your YA could learn any helpful lessons from Dust. I’ve found as a parent, your child only listens so much. But find someone else promoting the same thinking through a fun avenue like an action-packed, slightly dark book, and they’ll absorb lessons almost by osmosis.
6. Too much darkness in this tale. Not true. It is dark, but choices are made, like Claire’s. ”And most of all, for me, for the girl who believed she was broken but who couldn’t see the beauty shining inside. For the person the creator of the stars made me to be. ’I choose light.’ ”

Dust 2


7. Dust ends on a cliffhanger. I can’t help you there. But author Kara Swanson has SHADOW coming out next! Don’t miss either of these!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. This in no way affects my opinions which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent her childhood running Kara-Swason-_-Floral-Headshot-1000-300x300barefoot through the lush jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the fantasy genre. The award-winning author of The Girl Who Could See, Kara is passionate about crafting stories of light shattering darkness, connecting with readers, and becoming best friends with a mermaid—though not necessarily in that order. Kara chats about coffee, fairy tales and bookish things online (@karaswansonauthor) and at karaswanson.com

 

 

More from Kara

I wrote Dust not just for those who grew up loving the original Peter Pan story — but especially for the children who were left behind. Those of us who never escaped through a window to a magical world, whose childhoods oftentimes felt a little shadowed.

Dust follows Peter Pan when he is cast out of Neverland, grounded in London. For the first time, this Peter has to start thinking about someone other than himself—and become a beacon to remind any Lost ones that there is still magic to be found.

Dust also follows a young woman named Claire who can create pixie dust, but is desperately afraid of herself because when her fears and insecurities leak out, her dust starts to burn. Claire has seen too many shadows to believe in fairytales anymore and is doing everything she can just to lock away the strange dust dripping from her fingertips. But when she meets Peter, he challenges everything she thought she knew.

I wrote Claire for those of us who may feel too weighted to even remember what it feels like to have hope lift your soul. Who can look at ourselves and all we see are our own shadows and shortcomings.

Throughout the course of the novel, Peter has to teach Claire how to see the spark of light inside herself that is far brighter than the darkness. As he helps this girl learn how to fly, Peter rediscovers what it is that truly makes him Peter Pan: the unquenchable childlike belief that there are weightless thoughts in all of us that can lift us out of the shadows.

This story is a love letter to anyone who has ever needed that reminder. We have value simply because we exist. We do not have to be weighed down by our shadows. There is still light that can lift our hearts if we have faith, trust…and a dash of the impossible.

 

Blog Stops

Andrea Christenson, July 31

Rebecca Tews, July 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 1

Texas Book-aholic, August 1

For the Love of Literature, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 2

Emily Yager, August 2

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 3

Blessed & Bookish, August 3

Through the Fire Blogs, August 4

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 4

Worthy2Read, August 5

Losing the Busyness, August 5

Adventures of A Travelers Wife, August 5

Remembrancy, August 6

Wishful Endings, August 6

Inklings and notions, August 7

April Hayman, Author, August 7

For Him and My Family, August 8

Musings of A Sassy Bookish Mama, August 8

Inside the Wong Mind, August 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 9

Nancy E Wood, August 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 10

Mia Reads, August 10

Simple Harvest Reads, August 11 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Faery Tales Are Real, August 11

Artistic Nobody, August 12

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 12

Pause for Tales, August 12

Just the Write Escape, August 13

Blossoms and Blessings, August 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kara is giving away the grand prize package of a Dust-themed bundle that includes a signed hardcover, bookmarks, character cards, Peter + Claire art print, and an exclusive Dust pin!!

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/fe3a/dust-celebration-tour

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

Dead End, #3 Kaely Quinn Profiler, by Nancy Mehl

About the Book

51044063._SX318_SY475_

Title: Dead End

Series: #3 Kaely Quinn Profiler

Author: Nancy Mehl

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: March 2020

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

When a body is discovered in a field in Iowa, the police uncover fourteen additional corpses ranging from 20 years old to recent. The remains point to a serial killer with an MO the authorities have seen before–Ed Oliphant, a man who has been in prison for over 20 years . . . and is Special Agent Kaely Quinn’s father. After several failed interview attempts to discover if Ed has been training someone to be a copycat killer, the police turn to Kaely in St. Louis.

Kaely promised herself she would never step foot in her hometown or set eyes on her father again. She’s always refused to confront her past, but if she wants to prevent any more deaths, she must come face-to-face with the man she’s hated for years.
As more bodies are discovered, Kaely races against time and her own personal turmoil to uncover the killer. Will this most personal case yet cost Kaely her identity and perhaps even her life?

 

My Review

If you like intense romantic suspense, with the emphasis on suspense, this Kaely Quinn,
Profiler series by Nancy Mehl may be the one for you. I just finished the third and final
book, Dead End. Personally, Mehl has taken me to the end of my ability to endure with
her Kaely character. Kaely is very focused on her work and will let nothing get in the
way of her catching the worst criminals. Even if her methods are unorthodox.
Unfortunately, her pride threatens her relationships with God and her special coworker,
Noah.
Dead End NM1
Noah and Kaely travel to Iowa to interview Kaely’s father, an infamous serial killer, in
hopes of stopping a new serial killer. While Kaely may be the only hope to get the
Raggedy Man to talk, will she self-destruct before the mission is accomplished?
Noah grows by leaps and bounds in this novel, but I almost want to tell Noah he’s headed
down a dead-end path.
Never did I see the ending coming.
I appreciated that Mehl shows
equal parts evil and good in this fictional crime-chiller story. Mehl shows that man’s
depravity comes from the pit itself. Only God can combat that kind of horrendous
opposition, and we must be fully equipped. As such, there is a lot of Scripture included in
this book.
Dead End NM2
Who will Kaely rely on- herself, her unusual friend, God, and or Noah?
Noah knows God doesn’t always rescue His people. Grab this book and grab your closest
huggable as you read super-speed to discover whether Kaely can survive.
Samson
(My closest huggable, Samson.)
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through
NetGalley, plus I bought a copy. This in no way influenced my opinions, which are solely
my own.

My Rating

5 Stars-    Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

630286Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband, Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. First published in 2001, she has now authored nine books, including an omnibus mystery collection, Cozy in Kansas, which contains three of her previously published Ivy Towers mysteries. Book three in the series, For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Mystery Book of the Year award. Nancy’s main writing interests lie in mystery although her new Harmony Series leans more toward the romantic suspense genre. Nancy runs a HUD program for the city of Wichita and is president of a volunteer organization, Wichita Homebound Outreach. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Kansas Authors Club.

Connect with Nancy at via her

Website

 

Twitter

 

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

About the Book

52527969._SY475_

Author: Heather Day Gilbert

Series: Barks and Beans Cafe

Publisher: Woodhaven Press

Released: July 2020

Genre: Clean Cozy Mystery

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

My Review

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

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

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

 

My Rating

5 Stars – Hit My Reading Sweet Spot!

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

 

About the Author

7232683HEATHER DAY GILBERT, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Publisher’s Weekly gave Heather’s Viking historical Forest Child a starred review, saying it is “an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership.”

Find Heather on Pinterest (heatherdgilbert), Instagram (@heatherdaygilbert), Twitter (@heatherdgilbert), and Facebook (heatherdaygilbert). You can find all her books at heatherdaygilbert.com.

BLOG, Favorite

In High Cotton by Ane Mulligan

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About the Book

Title: In High Cotton

Author: Ane Mullligan

Publisher: Heritage Beacon Press

Released: August 3, 2020

While the rest of the world has been roaring through the 1920s, times are hardscrabble in rural South Georgia. Widow Maggie Parker is barely surviving while raising her young son alone. Then as banks begin to fail, her father-in-law threatens to take her son and sell off her livelihood—the grocery store her husband left her. Can five Southern women band together, using their wisdom and wiles to stop him and survive the Great Depression?

My Review

This title puzzled me from the get-go. What could Ane Mulligan mean by “In High Cotton”? I quickly discovered that this is the story of single mother, Maggie Parker, and her seven-year-old son who live in the small Georgia town of Rivers End in 1929. (Points to Ane Mulligan for the town map at the front of the book.) I was relieved to see Ms. Mulligan capture my attention almost against my will, since the Depression is not one of my favorite historical eras.
But present it well, she did. The small town has some big-hearted people, like Sadie and Mama Faylene and Wade, and even little Barry. It also has some small-hearted people, who can’t see beyond the color of one’s skin, one’s gender, or their own ambition. Mulligan balances out the town’s population with enough of these that Maggie must constantly watch her back and her store.

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But this is a novel to be loved for so many things. Maggie’s story is one of most unique and compelling voices I’ve read in 2020!! I loved how Maggie keeps reaching out to help people, because they have needs apparent in front of her, even as her store is struggling. As Sadie would say, “Southern women may seem as delicate as flowers, but we’ve got iron in our veins.” The metal (mettle) of these ladies is truly glorious to behold, whether it is Maggie or Sadie challenging Cal;
the transformation of a surprising character; or Mama Faylene quietly standing up to the worst of the lot.

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Reminiscent of the movie, Steel Magnolias, you will want to have your tissues ready, but also keep an eye out for the wonderful humor, funny sayings and colloquialisms of the time. By the time you close the book, your heart may feel like you, too, are In High Cotton! Mine did.
Themes include finding true family, trusting God, and standing tall against evil, together. If only Ms. Mulligan’s map had shown how to get to River’s End.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.
 

 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

8061216I’ve been a voracious reader ever since my mother instilled within me her own love of reading at an early age. Together we would escape together into worlds otherwise unknown.

A new love entered my life when I saw Mary Martin in PETER PAN. Struck with a fever from which I never recovered, I submerged myself in drama through high school and college, but, alas, Broadway never found my phone number.

While a large, floppy straw hat is my favorite, I’ve worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), business manager, creative arts director and writer. My lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for my Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast).

I wrote and published my first script in 1996 and to date have over 4-dozen scripts in print, nine books, and numerous articles on various aspects of Christian drama and the craft of writing. In Jan of 2003, having quit my job with my husband’s encouragement, I began to write full time. I reside in Sugar Hill, Georgia with my artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler.

You can connect with Ane at

https://www.anemulligan.com

https://goodreads.com/anemulligan

 

 

BLOG, Favorite, PB, Revell

An Appalachian Summer by Ann H Gabhart

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About the Book

Title: An Appalachian Summer

Author: Ann H Gabhart

Publisher: Revell

Released:  June 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

In 1933, most people are focused on the Great Depression but all Piper Danson can think about is how to get out of being a debutante and marrying Braxton Crandall. In an act of defiance, Piper volunteers as a frontier nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains where adventure awaits.

My Review

*Sigh* After reading An Appalachian Summer, I wonder how a reader could not consider signing up to be a horse courier for Mrs. Breckenridge’s Nurse-Midwife Service. Sure, the year is 1933, and the locale of most of this unputdownable book is the hills and mountains of Kentucky. The adventure that Ann H Gabhart effortlessly spins rolls from one escapade to the next.
Of course, we might not all be as courageous as Piper Danson, who trades her debutante life for the wild unknown. Who needs to decide between two suitors when there are bigger mountains to climb… literally? What with snakes, men who might shoot before asking questions if a stranger is found on their land, odd jobs the girls have never before dreamed of attempting…life is never dull in these beautiful hills.

An Appalachian Summer 1
This is a journey of faith, friendship, love, and the soul. Faith that the mountain people have and readily share, as one lady on the train does to Piper:
“I’m guessing things has always been easy for you. That can make it harder to recognize what the Lord does for you. You can think maybe you’ve done it all yourself and don’t need him none. But you walk down some rocky trails with troubles on every side , and you’ll be wanting the Lord right there with you.”
Gabhart doesn’t belabor points, but inserts faith as a given for the mountain people.
Friendships. So many different kinds in this story. Some lead to respect. Some lead to good new friends. Some lead to love. *Sigh* It is just so much fun to follow the paths Gabhart winds, almost as twisty as the mountain paths themselves, before allowing her characters to settle their hearts.
There’s magic in those hills. Especially the ones inhabited by Mrs. Breckenridge, Piper, Suze, Dr. Jack, Billy, and on and on. This is a TV show waiting to be picked up.
Be able to say you read the book first.

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Notable Quotables:

“…the joy of the song can be in you whether it tickles the ears or not.”

“Sometimes a person had to forget the obstacles and jump into the moment.”

“I think we all have a calling. Sometimes we live up to it, and sometimes we don’t.”

“…every person should be allowed one idiotic dream in her lifetime.”

“You get up high on those hills and the Lord just seems nearer.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Revell Reads. I also bought an ecopy and a copy to bless a special friend with. All opinions are my own, and are freely given.

 

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot!

 

About the Author

311723Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She’s published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800’s, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009. Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960’s. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, will be followed by Small Town Girl. Visit Ann’s website http://annhgabhart.com or her two blogs, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com, and the Hollyhill Book of the Strange, www.hollyhillbookofthestrange.blogspot.com.Giveaways several times a year.

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Green Dress: #6 True Colors by Liz Tolsma with Giveaway

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About the Book

Book:  The Green Dress

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense9781643524757-197x300

Release Date: June 2020

 

Death Seems to Follow Harriet’s New Friend

Book 6 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

When Harriet Peters came to Boston in 1882, the Robinson family took her in like one of their own, and Harriet became closer to Lizzie Robinson than her own siblings. Now, four years later, Lizzie is deathly sick, failing quickly just like several others in her family have done over the past few years. How can so many in one family die from the same mysterious illness? Harriet doesn’t have answers, but she is determined to help the family, bringing in a new-to-the-neighborhood doctor, Michael Wheaton.
As Harriet and Michael close in on the answer, putting their own lives at risk, can the cause be found before anyone else dies?

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

Aha! This was a crime I could solve, I thought. Each book in this True Colors series is an
historical American crime fictionalized to reach and even educate a wider audience than
the bare, macabre facts in a dusty tome. So, I was game. Liz Tolsma is creator of this fact-
turned-fiction tale aptly named The Green Dress.
Ready, Set, Go. The cast of characters was listed at the front. The year is 1886, and we first
meet Harriet Peters as she hurries to the sickbed of her best friend, Lizzie Robinson.
Much consternation abounds, as Lizzie’s symptoms exactly match those of other family
members who suddenly fell ill and died. Doctors are mystified by the repeated identical
deaths occurring solely in the Robinson household until a fresh-faced doctor is called in.
This was certainly another incredible crime. It wasn’t caught, largely because people
refused to even consider all possibilities, though those evidences were staring them in
the face.
“Outward appearances don’t always reflect a person’s character.”
The Green Dress 1
If only… Harriet had taken Lizzie’s words to heart, “No debt in friendship.” You can be
sure I heard those words and may or may not have screeched them aloud…more than
once.
Liz Tolsma does a great job with the story’s pacing. From the first sentence to the last, I
was captivated. I really did figure out some of the crime, but the whole timbre of the
novel was such that I had to stay up late to finish it in one sitting. No putting this one
down.
I enjoyed the romance development between Harriet and Michael Wheaton. I especially
liked seeing Michael grow in confidence and follow up on his hunches. Speaking of
hunches, Harriet ignores some of hers in the novel. I disagree with the author’s view
about where those hunches came from. As a Christian, God could certainly make sure
Harriet heard an audible voice.
Because death was a common occurrence in this story, the question of assurance of
salvation is addressed.
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Ending notes in a tale like this are essential, and the author shows both her great
research and care with this superior project.
The whole scenario sounds like something out of our time, not the 1880’s. Alas, for me,
Tolsma has the final word or twist. Good for her. The clues were all laid, I just didn’t put
those pieces together. Well done, Ms. Tolsma. This could have been a great Twilight Zone
episode.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through
Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hit My Spooky Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

 

Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native  Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with LizTolsma-200x300her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.

 

 

More from Liz

We’ve all been there—started a letter or an email or even a list, didn’t like what we had, crossed it out or hit the delete button, and tried again. Now imagine that happening when you’re writing a novel.

 

That’s what occurred with The Green Dress. Finding the perfect place to start a novel can be tricky, but when you’re trying to balance fact with fiction, it’s even harder. I needed the fictional heroine, Harriet Peters, to have a good reason to come into contact with and become close to the factual Robinson family. And I needed for the hero, Michael Wheaton, to meet Harriet early on. So I dove into the story. Five chapters later, the hero and heroine hadn’t yet met. The book wasn’t working.

 

I scrapped those chapters and started at a different point. At first, it seemed to be going better. I was happy. Until I got to the fifth chapter, when I realized again that the book wasn’t working. Frankly, it was boring. So those ended up in the virtual trash bin. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking on my deadline. I was desperate to find the right starting point, at a place with high tension. Finally, I had an “aha” moment, and the story flowed from there. That’s how the first five chapters (and the rest of The Green Dress) came to be.

 

—Liz Tolsma

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, June 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 26

deb’s Book Review, June 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 26

A Reader’s Brain, June 27

Rebecca Tews, June 27

For Him and My Family, June 27

Texas Book-aholic, June 28

Back Porch Reads, June 28

Inklings and notions, June 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 29

Genesis 5020, June 29

Emily Yager, June 29

Christian Bookaholic, June 30

Robin’s Nest, June 30

To Everything There is A Season, June 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 30

Blogging With Carol, July 1

Bigreadersite, July 1

Read Review Rejoice, July 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 2

Life of Literature, July 2

Connie’s History Classroom, July 2

Betti Mace, July 3

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 3

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 3

Stories By Gina, July 3

For the Love of Literature, July 4

Remembrancy, July 4

Reviewingbooksplusmore, July 4

Godly Book Reviews, July 5

Splashes of Joy, July 5

Vicky Sluiter, July 5

Older & Smarter?, July 6

Through the Fire Blogs, July 6

Daysong Reflections, July 6

amandainpa, July 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 7

Pause for Tales , July 7

Just the Write Escape, July 7

Hallie Reads, July 8

Where Faith and Books Meet, July 8

Blossoms and Blessings, July 8

Spoken from the Heart, July 9

With a Joyful Noise, July 9

Artistic Nobody, July 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize of a $25 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/fcd8/the-green-dress-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, PB, Revell

A Reckless Love, #3 The Daughtry House Series by Beth White

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About the Book

Title: A Reckless Love

Series: #3 The Daughtry House

Author: Beth White

Publisher: Revell

Released: June 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

On the trail of an elusive enemy, cynical, war-damaged lawman Zane Sager crosses paths once more with Aurora Daughtry, the vivacious Mississippi belle he once admired from a distance. As his defenses start to crumble, the criminal he’s been pursuing reminds him that that no one he loves is safe. Ever.

 

My Review

“Zane’s first thought when he came to was that the world was coming to an end.” With an explosive start like that, Beth White quickly lights a fire under the reader to delve into her last story of the Daughtry House series, A Reckless Love.
I was a little confused at first, because this sister’s chronicle backtracks a little from where the last book ended. But White has her reasons. By the way, this is one series that needs to be read in order.
The year is 1870, and slavery has been abolished. Many on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line struggle with racial equality. When Judge Teague, a beloved mentor of Deputy Marshall Sager, is attacked for ruling over a race-related trial, Sager vows to visit justice upon the guilty. Sager gets to know the Daughtry sisters as he works with Riggins, Selah’s husband, who is also a Pinkerton. Both men are working at ending organized racial intimidation and suppression in the South.

A Reckless Love 1
I find Aurora amazing in that she has a good business head at nineteen, but she is also high-handed, determined to orchestrate events as she sees fit. Every one else had better get in line behind her. She is a tough cookie but loves anyone with a good heart. She is brave and unconventional.
Sager is independent, also brave, and other than the judge, not one to be close to others. His appearance helps out his tenacious personality, but he is hiding a weakness. Plus, he failed at the protection gig once. He is afraid of failing again. If “there is no fear in love,” then there is no love in fear.
White, like Joelle, has a proclivity towards big words. I had to google quite a few definitions. I very much enjoyed getting to know all three of the Daughtry sisters in this series.

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Notable Quotables:

”Find a man who serves Christ first. Then his love for you will fall rightly.”

“Honey, we all get left behind at some time or another. Only one person is always there.”

“And when somebody gives you a hand out of the mud, you don’t spit on it just because it doesn’t land you exactly where you want to go.”

“…secrets were burdensome things.”

“…he packed more raw emotion into one eye than most people conveyed in two.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Revell Reads program. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

 5 Stars- Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

Beth White teaches music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. Her 7129454hobbies include playing flute and pennywhistle and painting, but her real passion is writing historical romance with a Southern drawl.

A native Mississippian, she is a pastor’s wife, mother of two, and grandmother of two–so far.

Also published as Elizabeth White, her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award.

You can get in touch with Beth on Twitter @bethsquill and her website can be found at http://www.bethwhite.net/.

 

 

 

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Hardback, Picture Book, Tommy Nelson

I AM by Diane Stortz, illustrated by Diane Le Feyer

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About the Book

Book:  I AM

Author: Diane Stortz

Genre:  Juvenile nonfiction, Bible stories

Release Date: 2016

Creator, Comforter, Healer, Friend. God’s names tell us who He is, what He is like, and IAM-40Reasons-247x300what He does. This beautiful book covers 40 of the Bible’s many names and descriptive titles for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, including Jehovah Jireh, The Lord My Shepherd, Immanuel, Rabbi, and I AM.
Through Bible stories, short devotions, and prayers, children discover the meaning of each name and how it relates to their lives. As they develop understanding of God’s character and His love for them, children will grow to know, love, and trust the great I AM more and more.
“Those who know your name put their trust in you.” –Psalm 9:10

 

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

This Children’s Bible story book made me squeal with delight when I opened the
package. I AM by Diane Stortz and illustrated by Diane Le Feyer is a perfect tool for the
grandparent, parent, or church worker who wants to teach their children about God.
Let’s start with the obvious, the visual presentation, because that is what your child will
see first. A hardback, with animated full-page pictures, (the cover is astounding!), the
illustrations are very appealing to the 4-8 year range the book is intended for.
As a Sunday School teacher for first graders, one thing our Children’s leader taught us is
that we want to focus not just on the Bible characters in the Bible story, but GOD’s
PROMINENT place in the Bible story. After all, isn’t that what the Bible is all about?
So while this book contains familiar stories, starting with ”Creation”, ”A Sad Day in the
Garden, ” ”Promises for Abraham,”; what is being emphasized through specially colored
shapes is God’s NAME and the characteristics of God (like ”Creator, ” ”God of Truth-El
Emeth, ” God All-Powerful, El-Shaddai, ” etc.
I AM
The Bible passage is listed, plus a relevant verse is written out, and there is a application
part, ”What Does it Mean?” Plus, there is included a ”learn more” Bible passage and a
hint of what is coming next. As I said before, I just love this book that gives 40 names for
God. It reveals His character to children, traveling through the Bible with stories, words,
and thoughts that will spark your youngster’s imagination and love for our awesome
God.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through
Celebrate Lit. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars – What a Perfect Tool!!

 

About the Author

Diane Stortz is a multi-published author who writes to make God’s wonders known to Diane_Stortz_400x400-1-300x300the next generation. Her children’s releases include the best-selling Say & Pray Bible and I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God, both from Tommy Nelson. Diane’s books for women, A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year and Encountering God’s Heart for You, both from Bethany House, encourage women to get to know God through His Word, the Bible. Diane and her husband have two married daughters and five grandchildren—all boys! Visit her at www.DianeStortz.com.

 

More from Diane

You can often guess someone’s age by considering their name. Diane, for example, was popular in the 1950s, so . . . that tells you something about me.

But God’s personal name? Well, it’s ageless. Just like Him.

When Moses met God at the burning bush and received the task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt, he wasn’t exactly thrilled at first. He peppered God with questions, including, “When I tell the people that I met you here and you gave me this assignment, they’re going to want to know your name. What should I tell them?”

The Israelites had just about forgotten who the God of their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was.

But God hadn’t forgotten them. Not at all. God told Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. . . . Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14).

I AM WHO I AM. I always have been. I will always be. I will never change.

Choosing a book title is rarely easy, and choosing a title for this book about the names of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit took a long time. I couldn’t be more grateful to the Tommy Nelson publishing team who developed and settled on the title I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God.

My prayer for every child who reads this book and every family that goes through the book together, and for myself: May we all grow mightily in our understanding of who God is and our relationship with Him! As Psalm 9:10 says, “Those who know your name put their trust in you.”

 

Blog Stops

For the Love of Literature, June 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 26

Texas Book-aholic, June 27

deb’s Book Review, June 27

Inklings and notions, June 28

Older & Smarter?, June 29

Splashes of Joy, June 29

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 30

Artistic Nobody, July 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cine)

Lighthouse Academy, July 1

For Him and My Family, July 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 3

A Reader’s Brain, July 4

amandainpa, July 5

Simple Harvest Reads, July 5 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 6

Spoken from the Heart, July 7

Lots of Helpers, July 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Diane is giving away  the grand prize package of signed copies of all three I AM books!!

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/fcd6/i-am-celebration-tour-giveaway