Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

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

About the Book

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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

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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.

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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.

An Appalachian Summer 2

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.
The Green Dress 2
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.

A Reckless Love 2
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

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

The Runaway Bride, #2 The Bride Ships by Jody Hedlund

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About the Book

Title: The Runaway Bride

Series: #2 The Bride Ships

Author: Jody Hedlund

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: March 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Haunted by mistakes in her past, will she ever again trust her heart to another?

Wealthy Arabella Lawrence flees to British Columbia on a bride ship, still bearing the scars of past mistakes. One of the few single women in the boomtown, she immediately attracts suitors, but she is determined not to find herself trapped again by making a poor choice.

Vying for her hand are two very different men. Lieutenant Richard Drummond is a gentleman in the Navy, held in high esteem. Peter Kelly is the town’s baker who has worked hard to build a thriving business. He and Drummond not only compete for Arabella’s affections, but also clash over their views of how the natives should be treated in the midst of a smallpox outbreak.

As Arabella begins to overcome her fears, she discovers someone in dire need—a starving girl left behind by her tribe. Intent on helping the child, Arabella leans on Peter’s advice and guidance. Will she have the wisdom to make the right decision, or will seeking what’s right cost both her and Peter everything?

 

My Review

Jody Hedlund won me over in The Runaway Bride, #2 The Bride Ships, with her hero. He
is Pete Kelly, a baker who is well-liked and charismatic. He also has a keen eye out for
injustice done to his fellow-man and is quick to get involved. He is kind, has compassion
even on his enemies, and is really trying to live for God. Which brings up his biggest
question for God: if he’s living according to God’s plan, why is his life so tough? Pete has
to decide if living life God’s way is worthwhile if it doesn’t always result in a life of ease
or happiness.
Runaway Bride #1
Arabella is one very confused lady. She certainly seems to have a severe case of
indecision. She brought to mind that verse in James about a double-minded person that
is “blown and tossed by the wind.” (James‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬) Just when I thought, “Now she’ll come
to her senses and understand which direction to go,” she would falter and backpedal
faster than a carriage whose horses are spooked. Thank goodness for Hedlund’s author’s
notes. Hedlund assures us she’s aware we 21st-century readers might have difficulty
understanding a 19th-century English woman’s hesitation to step outside of societal
norms. By the novel’s end, Arabella develops a very strong spine and I wondered if I
would be that courageous.
Runaway Bride #2
This is a nonlinear story, so we are fed a bit of the present story, then a memory bite of
the past. Eventually, the dichotomous storyline is completed after much danger, soul-
searching, and exciting adventures with a few clean romantic kisses, plus a nice ending
twist.
Perhaps the players I most admired stayed in the background. Mercy taught Arabella so
much by her example. Mrs. Moresby and Hayward were ladies I really wanted to meet
and enjoy knowing.
One other note. Hedlund’s historical research is impeccable and a reader can learn a
great deal about Victoria in the 1860s.
Notable Quotables:

“He’ll give you courage like no other can.”

”I always figured if God thinks the condition of a person’s heart matters more, then I should, too.”

”She’d been satisfied with eating crumbs in her relationships when there were feasts that awaited if she just had enough courage to partake.”

”…when we stand up against injustice, we’ll likely suffer for doing the right thing.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Bethany House through NetGalley. This in no way influences my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars– Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

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Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Find Jody at her website, http://jodyhedlund.com/
or on Twitter as JodyHedlund.
BLOG, Favorite, PB, Revell

What Momma Left Behind by Cindy K Sproles

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About the Book

Title: What Momma Left Behind

Author: Cindy K Sproles

Publisher: Revell

Released: June 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Worie Dressar is seventeen years old when influenza and dysentery ravage her Appalachian Mountain community in 1898, leaving behind a growing number of orphaned children with no way to care for themselves. Worie’s mother has been secretly feeding a number of these little ones on Sourwood Mountain. But when she dies suddenly, Worie is left to figure out why and how she was caring for them.

Plagued with two good-for-nothing brothers–one greedy and the other a drunkard–Worie fights to save her home and the orphaned children now in her begrudging care. Along the way, she will discover the beauty of unconditional love and the power of forgiveness as she cares for all of Momma’s children.

Storyteller and popular speaker Cindy K. Sproles pens a tender novel full of sacrifice, heartache, and courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

 

My Review

I want this over with. I want things back to the way they was. We didn’t ask for this mess.
And every minute that passes just pours more manure on top of us.” No, this is not
someone present-day talking about the Corona virus. This is 17-year-old Worie Dressar,
who in 1877 has watched both the flu and typhoid decimate her part of Appalachia. Now,
Worie’s mother is gone, and Worie’s faith is put to a fearsome test as 1877 proves to be
the hardest year of her young life.
Why should you pick up this book, what Momma Left Behind, by Cindy K Sproles? First,
it’s amazing to think sometimes that there was another time and place as arduous as this
year (2020) has seemed. There can be something comforting to see someone go through
something- a pandemic and separation from society, no less, and realize it’s possible to
come out alive and more mature on the other side. Oh, but the process!
Then there’s that quaintness about the speech patterns of the mountain people that pulls
you into the story faster than you can say “moonshine.” One example:
“Anger crawled up from the deepest part of me, hurt seeped outta my heart, and fear eat
at me like a hungry buzzard. Momma had left me in more ways than one.”
This novel is very reminiscent of Christy by Catherine Marshall. There’s even a young,
interested preacher. Pastor Jess is such a good complement to Worie. He has such a great
soothing way with people when Worie tends to fly off the handle.
What Momma Left Behind 1
I loved all, no, most, of the secondary characters. But all were well-drawn, even Calvin,
Justice, and deceased Momma.
Ely is a voice to be reckoned with. One part comfort, one part Scripture, one part reproof,
one part encouragement.
The children. They were my undoing.
I never knew what to expect around the bend, be it literal or figurative.
Sproles deftly diffuses more than one molasses-like sticky situation with humor and I
found myself laughing out loud. Sometimes the tears came. But then, I’d think how
strong the mountain women were.
As Momma would say, “Take a day to mourn your lot, then shovel it over your shoulder
and move ahead.”
What Momma Left Behind 2
The values of family, hope, and forgiveness shine above judgment and false self-
perception. You may move beyond this novel, but a piece of Sourwood Mountain will
forever rest in your soul.
Notable Quotables:

“I’d heard folks talk about lightnin striking twice in one place. I reckon it had done struck me twice and then some.”

“Them mountains, they’s like the hills and valleys in our souls. We can’t have one without the other, but we can figure the best way to
climb.”

“I thought trust was something you could find, but I’m seein it ain’t found- it’s gived.”

“…truth ain’t promised to be easy, but it is promised to always be right.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell. 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

Cindy Sproles is an author and speaker. She has cofounded ChristianDevotions.us and serves as managing editor for SonRise Books and Straight Street Books, imprints of 214Fl3syn+L._CR0,0,160,160_UX160Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas/Iron Stream Media. Cindy teaches at Christian Writers Conferences and ladies retreats and ladies conferences across the country. Her devotions are heartfelt and honest. Edgy and inviting. Cindy serves as the executive editor of ChristianDevotions.us, a writing mentor, and life-coach.She shares mentoring with best-selling author, Yvonne Lehman at Write Right. Author of four non-fiction books, Cindy’s Fiction debut novel, Mercy’s Rain(Kregel Publishing), was book of the year and her second novel, Liar’s Winter won numerous awards. Cindy’s 3rd Appalachian Novel, Revell Publishing, What Momma Left Behind, releases June 2,2020 She is a contributing author to CBN.com and InspireaFire.com and serves as the director of the Asheville Christian Writers Conference. Visit her at http://www.cindysproles.com or contact her at cindyksproles@gmail.com

Cindy is available for speaking events by contacting her at cindyksproles@gmail.com.

 

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, YA

Victoria Grace, the Jerkface by SE Clancy with Giveaway

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About the Book

Book:  Victoria Grace: The Jerkface

Author: S.E. Clancy

Genre:  Young Adult Contemporary

Release Date: June 15, 2020

 

51480082Ever since Tori Weston and MamaBear were abandoned by her dad, finances have been tighter than a new pair of skinny jeans. As if keeping her grades up for scholarships and working every spare moment weren’t enough, Tori gets suckered into visiting a retirement home and paired with ancient resident Marigold Williams. After learning she’s the only one to visit Marigold in decades, Tori becomes a regular at Willow Springs. Besides, someone has to help with her history homework.

Corbin Dallas barges into Tori’s life with a prosthetic leg and a dimple, working his way into her hectic schedule. Though she tries to deny it, there’s something beyond his Texan drawl that gets Tori hoping she’s more than his sidekick. Together, they race to find Marigold’s missing family before she fades away. Tori ditches her soul-sucking job, along with her dreams of having a paint-peeled clunker to call her own, in order to help her friend one last time.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

A multi-generational story that will appeal to both young adults and adults as it pulls on your heartstrings and leaves you a bit undone. My emotions are so raw as I finish this novel of an unlikely friendship between an awkward seventeen-year-old and a ninety-six-year-old lady. SE Clancy has a clear winner in Victoria Grace, the Jerkface.
“My delicate stick of dynamite.” This is how a friend of Victoria Grace (or Tori, as she’s known to everybody but Marigold), describes our socially awkward and misfit book nerd heroine. Tori has no father present in the home, a mom (“MamaBear”) who is a cop, and a bike for transportation. She wants out of Redding, where they have recently moved…NOW.
In reluctant response to a youth group challenge, Tori ends up at Willow Springs Retirement Home where she meets and slowly befriends prim and proper Marigold.
I love the paradox that is Tori. Unpopular, she is a friend to Madison, who seems like she should be on the inside track. She’s part of the self-joined group of Grammar Police. “Fingernails down a chalkboard. No matter how many times I teased or corrected her, Madison’s text messages looked like an illiterate goat typed them, one hoof at a time.” Oh, do I love Tori!  And her sarcasm is cute and ever-present, as is her quick wit. Who else would call a bus a “rolling metal zoo”?

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Marigold, of Willow Springs, is sweet, feisty, secretive, and regal, all at once. I love the way Tori and Marigold develop a symbiotic relationship and become stronger as two than they are as individuals.
Ah, Corbin. Not quite perfect, but close. In the right spot at the right time, he grows on you. He complements Tori well.

Victoria Grace, the Jerkface 2
This book somehow conjures up the same feelings as A Walk to Remember. So be warned and ready. Open the book prepared for laughs, memories, love, and tears. Don’t forget the Kleenex.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher via Celebrate Lit. This in no way influenced my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

5 Stars– Superior- Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

 

SE-Clancy-260-214x300

S.E. Clancy (aka Sarah) is a bit of a sci-fi nerd, geek, and self-proclaimed dork. There isn’t much she won’t try at least once…unless it involves mayonnaise, because that stuff is just gross. You can learn more about her at seclancy.com.

 

More from S.E.

Victoria Grace the Jerkface started as a short story after I’d listened to my favorite song by Nat King Cole: The Christmas Song. I’d overheard a teenager say, “I don’t even know what a chestnut is.” I typed that into a note on my phone because it struck a chord. Within days, a photographer named Tom Hussey issued a series called “Reflections” that featured elderly people gazing into mirrors and seeing their younger selves. That same night, one of my children asked for a project to earn school credits. Like flint to tinder, the idea of this teenager who didn’t know what a chestnut was having to visit an older person left in a care home began to grow.

To add in a bit of my mom and myself to the story, I had my main character Tori (Victoria Grace) love her mom’s meatloaf. It’s a recipe that my mom used from her grandma, an amazing woman we called Grandma Ted.

Ted’s Meatloaf

  • 1 pound thawed ground beef or turkey
  • 1 packet of dry onion soup mix
  • 1 – 2 heels of bread torn into dime-sized pieces (1 for turkey, 2 for beef)
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a single bowl. Works best if you use your hands, but mix really well if you use a spoon to incorporate all of the ingredients.

Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray. Do not use parchment paper—no one wants a soggy bottom. Plop the entire mixture into the pan and place into the middle of the oven. Cook for an hour.

This recipe doubles easily, just change the cooking time to 1 ½ – 1 ¾ hours and check the internal temp with a thermostat.

 

Blog Stops

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 15

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 16

Books, Life, and Christ, June 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 18

Texas Book-aholic, June 19

Inklings and notions, June 20

Robin’s Nest, June 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 21

Nancy E Wood , June 21

For Him and My Family, June 22

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 23

deb’s Book Review, June 24

Batya’s Bits, June 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 26

CarpeDiem, June 26

Pause for Tales, June 27

Artistic Nobody, June 28 (Guest Review from Kelsey Barela)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, S.E. is giving away the grand prize package of signed book, origami bookmark, marigold seeds, & $10 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/fc81/victoria-grace-the-jerkface-celebration-tour-giveaway