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Once upon a Christmas: Contemporary Retellings of Timeless Tales

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This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the links, I may be compensated.

About the Book

Title: Once upon a Christmas: Contemporary Retellings of Timeless Tales

Authors: Andrea Boyd, Toni Shiloh, Mikal Dawn, Angela Ruth Strong, Jaycee Weaver

Released: October, 2019

Embrace the magic of the Christmas season with these contemporary twists on timeless tales.

Upon a Dream — A rare sleeping disorder keeps Talia from performing, but when Philip recognizes her gift, he’ll do whatever it takes to see her onstage.

Claim My Heart — Li Na and Colin Wen face off in a Mulan-esque courtroom battle where the real win might be losing their hearts.

A Snow White Christmas — Sheltered heiress Amala White flees her conniving stepmother’s plans and finds refuge with a handsome orchard owner and his seven quirky uncles.

Christmas Ella — Reality TV meets Cinderella story when a location director is swept off her feet by a rising star.

A Splash of Love — Las Vegas glitz meets Land of Enchantment culture in A Splash of Love, a modern twist on the Little Mermaid.

Get your copy here.

My Review

This is a delightful collection of five retold, re-imagined fairy tales, especially for the holiday season. I was familiar with one author, but I am now also on the lookout for the other authors’ works. Here are my quick thoughts on each:

Upon a Dream by Andrea Boyd
This anchor story for the collection sets Sleeping Beauty in a theater with a unique twist for modern-day. I enjoyed the unfolding of this retold fairy tale, with its updates for today’s world.

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Claim My Heart by Mikal Dawn
Would you believe I have never watched Mulan? As a result, I had no “original” with which to compare this. This was my least favorite, but it was because of the character’s integrity.

A Snow White by Toni Shiloh
I liked the way Marcus asked God for wisdom even about the relationship. The “seven uncles” was a neat idea, especially the way that the relationships occurred.

Once upon a Christmas 2

Christmas Ella by Angela Ruth Strong
Strong always surprises me with her ingenuity, creativity, and humor in unexpected places. I have never met a story of Strong’s I haven’t loved.

A Splash of Love by Jaycee Weaver
As full of deceit and treachery as the original tale, this one was more painful. You’ll have to read it to see why I say that.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the authors. This in no way affected my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars – Hit My Reading Sweet Spot!

About the Authors

Each of Andrea Boyd‘s series represents a different genre but all fall into the category of romance. All offer an element of her own brand of humor. And all are a tribute to God. 14689507
Besides writing, she loves spending time with her family, quilting, going to car shows, and driving around in her 1968 Barracuda convertible.
Andrea lives with her husband, Tommy, and at least a couple of cats in York County, SC.
You can visit her website @ http://www.andreaboyd11.com

 

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.13656663

 

Mikal Dawn is an inspirational romance author, wedding enthusiast and proud military wife. By day she works for an international sports ministry, and by night she mutters to imaginary friends, performs sketchy Google searches, and procrastinates (like any good writer!). When she isn’t writing about faith, fun, and forever, she is obsessively scouring Pinterest (with coffee in hand, of course!) for wedding ideas for her characters. 16465702

Born and raised just outside of Vancouver, Canada, Mikal has lived throughout the southern and Midwest United States, currently residing in Oklahoma (and hoping it’s their last move!) with her husband, two of her three kids, and one ferocious feline.

4746114Angela Ruth Strong sold her first story to a national magazine while still in high school and went on to study journalism at the University of Oregon. Her debut novel LOVE FINDS YOU IN SUN VALLEY, IDAHO released in 2010 to a four-star review from Romantic Times. Angela loves connecting with fans and mentoring aspiring authors, which led her to start IDAhope Writers. She currently lives in Boise with her husband and three kids.

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A Nevada native and New Mexico transplant, Jaycee Weaver is also a wife and mother of 3. She enjoys reading, writing, singing, photography, & all things kitchen and crafty. She considers herself a recovering perfectionist and is grateful for the grace of God that covers a multitude of eclectic hot messiness.
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The Express Bride, #9 Daughters of the Mayflower by Kimberley Woodhouse

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About the Book

Title: The Express Bride

Series: The Daughters of the Mayflower

Author: Kimberley Woodhouse

Publisher: Barbour

Released: July 2019

The Wilderness Is a Great Place to Hide

Jacqueline Rivers manages a Pony Express station in 1860 Utah territory after her father’s death. There are daily stresses placed on her in this unconventional role—and now a government official is asking her to sniff out counterfeiters. When Elijah Johnson passes through on the stage while on an exhausting quest to find his boss’s heir, he doesn’t want to leave the beguiling station manager. In fact, he may never leave when caught in the crossfire of the territory’s criminal activities. Jackie can’t decide if Elijah is friend or foe. Can she remain strong when secrets of the past and present are finally unearthed?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse.

More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:
The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)
The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1836 Texas (February 2019)
The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1849 San Francisco (April 2019)
The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1860 Utah (July 2019)
The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1863 Tennessee (December 2019)
The Blizzard Bride by Susanne Dietze – set 1888 Nebraska (February 2020)
The Chisholm Trail Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – (April 2020)

My Review

The Express Bride, # 9 Daughters of the Mayflower by Kimberley Woodhouse, is yet another slice of life in American history and women’s roles in it. This era, lasting only a year and a half, was nevertheless a very important part of our country’s history.

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Woodhouse incorporates an engrossing story of a millionaire seeking a long- lost family with that of a female express station operator. The story flows smoothly, employing romance, faith, and mystery as it serves a memorable history lesson on this time long past. I especially loved the mystery thread.
Well- done, Ms. Woodhouse!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinion for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

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Kimberley Woodhouse is the best-selling author of more than twenty books who loves the JOY of story. A lover of history and research, she often gets sucked into the past and then her husband has to lure her out with chocolate. She’s spoken to more than 800,000 people at more than 2,000 venues and has taught the craft of writing around the country. Married to the love of her life for twenty-five plus years, she makes her home in Montana. You can connect with Kimberley at: www.kimberleywoodhouse.com www.facebook.com/KimberleyWoodhouseAu…

BLOG, NetGalley, Revell

One Final Breath, #3 Dive Team Investigations by Lynn H. Blackburn

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About the Book

Title: One Final Breath

Series: Dive Team Investigations

Author: Lynn H. Blackburn

Publisher: Revell

Released: September 2019

Investigator Gabe Chavez and Dive Team Captain Anissa Bell have a complicated history. But when Anissa’s fractured past collides with Gabe’s investigation of a shooting, they must work together to catch the murderer before someone else dies.

Lynn Blackburn has returned for the last hurrah for her Dive Team series, #3, One Final Breath. Gabe Chavez and Anissa Bell rise to the foreground on this novel, falling for each other while trying to escape painful pasts.
The rest of the team is back, fleshing out the character list and bringing love, amusement, and memories from former books. Which leads me to relate that this novel is quite capable of being a standalone; it’s just sweeter when the reader can identify with the backstory presented.

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The friendship and camaraderie of the dive team and their significant others really impressed me. Between the locale, the season, and the warm atmosphere the friends create, life was almost idyllic…
Until it wasn’t. Then life was frantic, uncertain, vomiting past terrifying experiences up in front of those who most needed to remain calm and collected.
Paisley Wilson is an interesting character to watch. The reader won’t know what to make of Gabe’s arch-nemesis who is suddenly very much a part of this case.

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If the romance, intrigue, and suspense aren’t enough motivation, Mr. Cook returns and is a great reason to read this book. Everyone needs a Mr. Cook in their lives! He prays his way through adversity and sees much more than is actually visible.
Get this book and dive deep into some great suspense.
I received this book from the author through Revell and NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior- Hit my reading sweet spot!

About the Author

Lynn H. Blackburn is the author of Beneath the SurfaceIn Too Deep, Hidden Legacy, and Covert Justice. Winner of the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense, and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel, Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially 17521786those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina, with her true love, Brian, and their three children.

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite

Forever, Lately: A Regency Time-Travel Romance by Linore Rose Burkhard

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About the Book

Book: Forever, Lately  47933390._SY475_

Author: Linore Rose Burkard

Genre: Time-Travel Romance

Release Date: October 2019

 Maine, present day
Author Claire Channing needs to write a bestselling book to salvage a failing career. She moves to her grandmother’s rustic cottage, but without the deed, the clock is ticking on how long she can stay. She thinks she’s writing St. John’s story until an old prayer shawl with embroidered lovebirds transports her to his Regency world! She falls in love with him–a man she thought she created. But a jealous Miss Andrews would rather see Julian dead than in another woman’s arms!
Claire and St. John must beat the clock to prevent a deadly tragedy, but can love endure past the limits of time?
Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Can a twenty-first-century author and a Regency gent find common ground, let alone find themselves in the same time period for any length of time? Join them in their race against time to save their lives and love.
What a perfect story of time-travel. This novel, Forever, Lately, by Lenore Rose Burkhard, was much more than just a Regency/modern romance. It morphed into a suspense, became a mystery, and involved more twists and turns than one might have imagined possible. The serpentine path of the plot moved the narrative from “simple” to “complex” and “compelling.”

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I loved the main characters, Julian St. John and Claire Channing, and her grandmother. So charming! I strongly disliked a main character, but I did like how well the supporting characters came together to enhance the tale. This is a great Regency time travel that I recommend.
I received this complimentary book from the author via Celebrate Lit. This is no way affected my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior — Hit my reading sweet spot!!

About the Author

Linore Rose Burkard wrote a trilogy of genuine regency romances for the Christian Linore_Smaller-276x300market before there were any regencies for the Christian market. Published with Harvest House, her books opened the genre for the CBA. She also writes YA Suspense/Apocalyptic fiction as L.R. Burkard. Married with five children, Linore home-schools her youngest daughter, teaches workshops for writers, and is the Vice President of the Dayton Christian Scribes.  Her latest  PULSE EFFEX SERIES, takes readers into a “chilling possible future for America, while affirming the power of faith in the darkest of times.”

More from Linore

I wanted to write a Regency time travel for years. When I saw the movie “Kate and Leopold” I thought, Oh no! Someone used my idea! But I needn’t have worried. Leopold (Hugh Jackman) was a Victorian gentleman, not a Regencian. Secondly, though I enjoyed the flick, I kept thinking it missed many opportunities for humor. (Having written a screenplay since then, I now realize why it missed so many: tight scripts just don’t have room for all the scenes that could be fun.) When I wrote my story, however, I was able to include a lot of the humor scenes that had been floating around in my head for eons. It’s one of the reasons the book is a lot of fun to read—particularly when the Regency hero appears in the present.

On a side note, I started this book and then dropped it—for years—mostly because I wanted to write it as Christian romance like my other Regencies. But I kept running into roadblocks. And Christian publishers weren’t interested. Finally I realized I had to let God out of MY box and write the story he was giving me, not the one I thought he should give me. After that, it came together remarkably easily and quickly. And, I think, in a very fun way. I might even do a sequel.

Blog Stops

A Reader’s Brain, September 19

Betti Mace, September 20

Worthy2Read, September 20

Reading Is My SuperPower, September 21

Reflections From My Bookshelves, September 21

For Him and My Family, September 22

Through the Fire Blogs, September 23

Godly Book Reviews, September 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 26

Texas Book-aholic, September 27

janicesbookreviews, September 28

Inklings and notions, September 29

Remembrancy, September 30

Sara Jane Jacobs – Blog, September 30

 Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 1

The Avid Reader, October 2

Mia Reads, October 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linore is giving away the grand prize of a $25 gift card to Bed, Bath, and Beyond!!

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/eb9d/forever-lately-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

 

Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite

Hashtag Rogue (Agency Files #5) by Chautona Havig

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 About the Book 

Book: Hashtag Rogue

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Fiction / Contemporary / Suspense

Release Date: August 20, 2019

Something is terribly wrong in The Agency. Again.    48055616._SY475_

Flynne Dortmann: computer specialist extraordinaire. The right arm of every agent in The Agency. And totally untrained for agent duty.

So when no one takes a threat seriously, Flynne does the only thing she can think of.

With money she has no authorization to use, a gun she’s never fired in her hip pocket, and more zip-ties than any agent should be allowed to carry, Flynne takes on protective detail for an unwilling client. #Rogue.

Mark Cho hasn’t had a chance to get used to being Marco Mendina—head of the Eastern US Agency. Not only that, every sign points to someone knowing he isn’t who he appears to be. His agency is in trouble.  His agents may be in danger, and with an office girl gone rogue, deciding what problem to tackle first is a problem in itself.

Not to mention, he misses his office assistant with her emoji-speak, killer tech skills, and sharp instincts.

 

Click here to grab your copy!

My Review 

Hashtag Rogue, by Chautona Havig, is a very unique Christian Romantic Suspense novel. When her secret agent boss doesn’t act to protect a coworker, valley girl/teen slang slinger Flynne Dortmann acts solo. What a wild ride this is! At times I was confused, which I believe could have been avoided by reading previous books in the series. On the other hand, it is a good author who can weave a crooked trail to land a believable ending. Sometimes a narrative simply needs time to play out, when it all makes sense. I would say this book can stand alone on that premise.

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Two things I do know. One is that I will be hunting down the rest of The Agency series.
The second? Chautona Havig can allow real subject matter( violence, swearing, gangs, human trafficking) in her books while still being very uplifting. Not only does Havig talk seamlessly about faith, but her real sound bites on swearing are hilarious. «  A sailor’s dictionary of unsavory words flew at him… » and
« …until Mark had exhausted his supply of swearing— both foreign and domestic. » I doubled over from these descriptions as Havig creatively expressed her characters’ blue language.
#Gobuythisbooknow
#Ilovedit
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit and the author. This did not affect my opinions, which are my own.

My Rating

5 Stars = Superior Reading

About the Author  

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look  Chautona-240x300startlingly 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.

 

Read an Excerpt

Erika ordered her eyes to open. They declined the offer. Once more, and with as much of a mental drill sergeant tone as she could muster, she demanded the possibility of sight.

Neither eyelid gave so much as a twitch.

Resigned, she then tried to ascertain the reason for said incorporation by the lids of her eyes. Her brain, too, had gone AWOL. White noise replaced rational thought, grit, replaced natural eye moisture, and if the sensation coming from her tongue could be trusted, she’d transformed into a cottonmouth.

Except that I can’t slither. I know I can’t.

That, Erika decided, was improvement. It just had to be rational thought. Oh, God please.

A question arose. Do I pray? The moment she asked, Erika nodded—inwardly, anyway. I do. Not sure since when… maybe that’ll come next.

Clarity formed when a voice broke through what might or might not have been consciousness. “Oh, thank whatever you’re supposed to thank—don’t want to be, like, totes offensive if I’m not supposed to say, ‘God,’ but I was afraid you had flat-lined.”

“Flynne?”

“Yay! She lives!”

Why do I feel like that’s supposed to be “He lives?”

“So, can you sit up if I help you?”

Bile churned in Erika’s gut. Her eyes felt like they bugged, but she wasn’t even confident she could see anymore. Then Flynne’s purple, green, and blue hair came into view. She glared, wrestling her mouth into contortions and fighting back the urge to vomit. “Please!”

It came out more like, “Mmmweeeeeffff”

“Can’t understand you.” Flynne’s eyes narrowed.

Perspiration formed on Erika’s forehead, neck, and in every other uncomfortable place. Cold, clammy perspiration.

“Do you promise not to scream if I take this off?” She tapped the tape.

Erika just nodded with vehemence that nearly lost her what breakfast she’d eaten.

Again, Flynne’s eyes grew even narrower than the first time. “Okay…” Eyes wide, the girl ripped off her high-top converse and pulled a sock from her foot. “So help me, if you scream, I’m stuffing this in your mouth—supes gross.” She wriggled it for effect—just in case Erika didn’t catch the utter disgustingness of it.

Once more, Erika nodded and pleaded. You’re so going to regret threatening me with that.

If Satan wanted to recruit torturers to relieve demons, Flynne would have been perfect for the job. She worked the tiniest corner of the duct tape free. Erika choked and grimaced. She jerked her head hard to the right. Flynne stared. Once more, she jerked it.

“You want me to rip it off? That’ll hurt!”

But the moment Flynne said “rip,” Erika began bobbing her head fast enough to ensure she drowned in vomit within seconds. Flynne had mad ripping skills, however. In less than three seconds, the tape jerked free—and so did the contents of Erika’s stomach.

All over Flynne’s bare foot and Converse shoes. The moment she stopped heaving, Erika glared up at the girl and moaned, “That’s payback for this.”

The battle of the glares began. Flynne broke the silence that followed first. “If you weren’t Keith’s girlfriend and religious, I’d swear at you. Consider yourself cussed out.” Before Erika could choose between the half-dozen scathing remarks fighting for preeminence, Flynne froze. “Wait. You called me, like, every name in the book. I thought you religious people couldn’t do that!”

The churning began again. “I did?” If she could have gagged, she would have. If she could have puked she might have. “Do I want to know what I said?”

Without hesitation, Flynne rattled off every inappropriate word Erika had spent the last few months working to eradicate from her vocabulary. “Then you got all sesquipedalian on me.”

“Sesquatch-what?”

Flynne turned a little green herself as the stench of partially digested breakfast assaulted her olfactory system. “Sesquipedalian.” At Erika’s doubtful look, Flynne went into action. She removed her other shoe, disappeared outside, returned with clean feet and ready to do business. “For your information it’s a big word that means, ‘a big word.’”

“No offense, Flynne, but you aren’t exactly known for your erudition.”

The girl gave a fine imitation of a puppy cocking its head—a blue, green, and purple-haired puppy. “That’s not one of the word-of-the-day words I’ve had. C’mon… let’s get you cleaned up and inside.”

She peeked her head outside, scanned the area, and looked back at Erika. “No one’s in the neighborhood that I can tell, but you’d be smart not to go all screamo on me or anything that would call the cops.”

“And why’s that?”

Flynne tried to be surreptitious, but Erika caught her eying a white Camry on the other side of the garage before answering, “Because I can get you out of here before they arrive, and you don’t want to be awake when I’m driving fast.”

Something deep in her gut—something other than the renewed churning that hinted she might lose what was left of the contents of her stomach—hinted that Flynne might not be exaggerating. But I’m not going to let her know that. It’d serve her right if I puked all over that car. What’d she do with hers, anyway?

After throwing a dark look at her, Flynne stalked from the garage and returned a few minutes later with a roll of duct tape slid over her arm like a grunge bracelet gone wrong. “You’re already in hot water with the Big Guy for your potty mouth, so don’t add lies. Stuff it or stick it?”

“If you tape my mouth and I vomit, you’ll be responsible for my death. Just sayin’.”

“Then don’t make noise.” Flynne glared at her. “I’m just trying to help here. Just sayin’.

Didn’t know you had that much grit. The woozy, stomach-revolting-on-every-side feeling returned in time for Erika to make a decision. “I’m not going to scream. I don’t want to puke in a cop car, either. But if you don’t get me inside where I can be comfortably horizontal with a bowl by my side, I’m going to puke all over you and enjoy every second of it.” Her stomach rumbled. Mostly.

That perked Flynne up for reasons Erika couldn’t fathom. She hooked her tape-free arm under Erika’s and said, “Then let’s go, Kokomo!”

That’s way too old-school—like fifty years old school. A vague memory poked through the cloud cover of her mind. “I think Keith gave me vitamins or drugs to combat after-effects. I think I need those.”

Not until Flynne had her tucked up on a couch in the family room, a bright red mixing bowl on the floor beside it and a glass of water on the coffee table, did Flynne bother to answer. “Sorry. I was freakazoiding when I left the Agency and just got what I thought I needed to get you safe. I’m not trained for this.”

“Then call Keith. He’ll come. He is trained, and he’ll take care of me.”

Even as she said it, Erika knew it was futile. Flynne had it in her head that this was necessary. So, she could wait. The Agency would take care of her job, her bills, and Flynne could learn that being an agent wasn’t a good career choice. Everything would be just fine for a few days—until Flynne got over herself.

The first epithet marched across the stage of her mind, stepped up to the mic and tapped it, ready to let loose. Erika groaned.

As if propelled by itself, the red bowl appeared at her lips. “I’m sorry! I don’t know what I’m doing. The stuff these guys have to do—totes amazeballs!”

“I was groaning at my language. Can you be quiet for a minute or two while I pray? It’s totes impossible to take repentance seriously when you’re puffy hearting your cray-cray amazeballs.”

“Coolio. Sure thing.”

I just lost fifty IQ points. I know it. Let’s start with prayers for rejuvenated little gray cells and move onto repentance after that. Okay, Lord?

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, September 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 18

As He Leads is Joy, September 19

April Hayman, Author, September 19

Emily Yager, September 20

CarpeDiem, September 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 21

Moments With Mercy, September 21

EmpowerMoms, September 22

Connect in Fiction , September 22

Texas Book-aholic, September 23

Betti Mace, September 23

For Him and My Family, September 24

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, September 24

Aryn The Libraryan ? , September 25

Hookmeinabook , September 25

janicesbookreviews, September 26

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, September 26

A Reader’s Brain, September 27

Bettie Rushlow, September 27

Inklings and notions , September 28

Adventures of a Traveler’s Wife, September 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 30

Blogging With Carol, September 30

Lots of Helpers, October 1

Mary Hake, October 1

Giveaway

BLOG, Favorite, Lyrical Underground, NetGalley

Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery #2 by Heather Day Gilbert

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About the Book

Title: Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Series: An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery

Publisher: Lyrical Underground

Released: October 2019

Exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake is nervous about her new job at the White Pine Wolf Preserve, but it turns out that the care and feeding of wild carnivores may be the least dangerous part of the gig . . .
 
Pet-sitter Belinda Blake is no stranger to dealing with wild animals, but she’s wary when the owner of the Greenwich, Connecticut, preserve asks her to help out with her “fluffy darlings.” Her caution seems justified on her very first day, when she discovers a tour guide—dead, bloodied, and surrounded by wolves in the enclosure.

Was it death by predator or something more sinister? The body count rises, but something’s not adding up. As she gets to know the rescued wolves and wolf-dog hybrids better, Belinda realizes that her human colleagues are not above suspicion. With help from her own “pack”—her pregnant sister, Red the chauffeur/bodyguard, and hunky farmer Jonas—Belinda is hot on the killer’s tail, but if she doesn’t find him soon, he’ll do more than muzzle her to keep the truth from escaping.

 

My Review

Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Heather Day Gilbert was one of the most satisfying cozies I have read. It just hit my reading sweet spot. The characters and story will stay with me as will the fear and trepidation. If I could, I would pick up book three, and start reading immediately. Thoughts?
First, while you can read this as a stand-alone, it will flow better if you read the books in order.

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Secondly, this cozy was totally satisfying…from the first word to last. The mystery involved animals, it was believable, and it moved along at a good pace. I was both in awe of the wolves and terrified of them at the same time. There were several quirky characters, but this is the Greenwich area, non? Gilbert draws some characters in ways that will cause you to love them, others are written to be abhorred, but all are mysterious and possible schemers. Finding the killer before she/he finds Belinda eluded me.
Thirdly, we begin to see a pretty interesting love triangle develop. Where is book three?! Ah, Sigh!

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Fourthly, there were plenty of humorous lines to off-set the seriousness of the subject, keeping this fun novel well within the « cozy» parameters. Available Oct. 1st or you can pre-order.

I received an ARC complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. This did not affect my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars = Superb!

About the Author

HEATHER 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.” 7232683

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

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, NetGalley, Thomas Nelson

Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble

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About the Book

Book: Strands of Truth

Author: Colleen Coble

Genre: Suspense

Release Date: September 10, 2019

Harper Taylor is used to being alone—after all, she grew up in one foster42769231 home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.

So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future.

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

My Review

Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble brings a fresh setting for a romantic suspense adventure. Told in snippets of split-time fashion, this novel will have you kicking your heels and gasping for air as you learn about pen shell beds that Harper and Ridge collaborate on. With key themes of family or lack thereof, relationships and trust, many readers can find common ground with the protagonists.

Strands of Truth 1.png

Coble makes it easy to learn spiritual lessons, presenting truth plainly and succinctly, without slowing the action. The storylines are woven together beautifully, like the beautifully spun sea silk.

disappointment
There are some great twists and turns in this novel. Coble writes suspense so effectively I still feel the jangling of my emotions and a sense of loss, which will need some time to settle. If you love Christian romantic suspense blended with diving tales and mermaids, detailed via split-time; you will enjoy Colleen Coble’s Strands of Truth.
I was given a complimentary copy of this novel from the author and publisher via NetGalley. No positive review was required.

My Rating 

golden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-star

About the Author

colleen-coble-headshot-smallColleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s EdgeTwilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series. Connect with Colleen online at colleencoble.com; Instagram: colleencoble; Facebook: colleencoblebooks; Twitter: @colleencoble.

 

Read a Premium Excerpt

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

Strands of Harper Taylor’s childhood are resurfacing—but will the truth save her . . . or pull her under?

Harper Taylor is used to being alone— after all, she grew up in one foster home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.

So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future.

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

“Free-dive into a romantic suspense that will leave you breathless and craving for more.” –DiAnn Mills, bestselling author

“As always, Colleen Coble never disappoints. Strands of Truth is no exception. I was hooked from the first page. Trying to read this story slowly is impossible. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself flipping the pages in a hurry to find out what happens next! This one is for your keeper shelf.” –Lynette Eason, bestselling, award-winning author of the Blue Justice Series

“Colleen Coble’s latest book, Strands of Truth, grips you on page one with a heart-pounding opening and doesn’t let go until the last satisfying word. I love her skill in pulling the reader in with believable, likable characters, interesting locations, and a mystery just waiting to be untangled. Highly recommended.” –Carrie Stuart Parks, bestselling author of Formula of Deception

“Once again, Colleen Coble delivers an intriguing, suspenseful tale in Strands of Truth. The mystery and tension mount toward an explosive and satisfying finish. Well done.” –Creston Mapes, bestselling author

“Just when I think Colleen Coble’s stories can’t get any better, she proves me wrong. In Strands of Truth, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The characterization of Ridge and Harper and their relationship pulled me immediately into the story. Fast-paced, with so many unexpected twists and turns, I read this book in one sitting. Coble has pushed the bar higher than I’d imagined. This book is one not to be missed.” –Robin Caroll, best-selling author of the Darkwater Inn series

“It’s in her blood! Colleen Coble once again shows her suspense prowess with a thriller as intricate and beautiful as a strand of DNA. Strands of Truth dives into an unusual profession involving mollusks and shell beds that weaves a unique, silky thread throughout the story. So fascinating I couldn’t stop reading!” –Ronie Kendig, bestselling author of The Tox Files

 

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