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Barking up the Wrong Tree by Janice Thompson Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Author: Janice Thompson

Genre:Christian Fiction / Mystery / Romance

Release date: January 1, 2023

Inquisitive, detail-oriented, Veterinarian Kristin Keller prides herself on winning over any dog. But has this self-proclaimed dog whisperer finally met her match in a Sheltie named Remington who has just won the Texas state agility course competition? The champion pooch is acting out of sorts—almost as if he is not the same dog. Has he, by chance, been switched out with another dog just before the next big competition? Kristin and the other Lone Star employees will do anything to help the Atkinson family figure out this mystery surrounding their beloved Remington.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Janice Thompson, who lives in the Houston area, writes romantic comedies, cozy mysteries, nonfiction devotionals, and musical comedies for the stage. She is the mother of four daughters and nine feisty grandchildren. When she’s not writing books or taking care of foster dogs you’ll find her in the kitchen, baking up specialty cakes and cookies.

More from Janice

Barking up the Tree is book three in the Gone to the Dog series. Kathleen Y’Barbo and I are writing six books, in total, and we’re very excited about this series. I happen to be in the dog rescue business. I’ve worked with multiple Houston-based dog rescues over the past five years and have been blessed to care for over fifty dogs in nearly every shape, size, and breed. I am always interested in dog-themed stories.

As a Texan I wanted to place this series in my neck of the woods. Kathleen and I settled on Brenham, Texas, a town not far from where we both live. It’s the home of Blue Bell ice cream (yum!) a favorite here in the Lone Star state. We created a large fictional cast of characters and placed them in a town we know and love.

Along with writing books I’m also a baker and run a baking blog (www.outoftheboxbaking.com). With that in mind I would love to share a recipe from the book. Enjoy!

Nanny’s Coconut Pecan Cake (aka Italian Cream Cake)

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 1 white cake mix
  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut (flakes)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding (powder)

FOR THE FILLING/TOPPING:

  • Toasted coconut
  • Toasted chopped pecans

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 1 cup (two sticks) salted butter (softened)
  • 1 block cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 rectangle Crisco (can omit if you prefer traditional cream cheese frosting)
  • 1 bag (7-8 cups) powdered sugar
  • Clear vanilla extract

Instructions

MAKING THE CAKE:

  • Combine all ingredients except nuts and coconut. Mix well.
  • Work in the nuts and coconut.
  • Grease and flour three 9” pans.
  • Divide batter between the three pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (approximately) until cake springs back to the touch.

MAKING THE ICING:

  • Bring ingredients to room temperature.
  • Mix butter and cream cheese until soft and creamy.
  • Add Crisco and continue to beat until incorporated. (You can leave out the Crisco if you prefer traditional cream cheese frosting.)
  • Add extract and then lower the speed of your mixer to add powdered sugar (more or less to desired consistency).

FILLING AND ICING THE CAKE

  • Level all three cakes.
  • Put one cake on your cake board and add a layer of cream cheese frosting.
  • Pipe a ring around the edge of the cake and add some toasted pecans and coconut.
  • Continue to stack and fill.
  • Turn the top cake upside down, so that it’s bottom up.
  • Ice the cake with a crumb coat and chill.
  • Once chilled, ice liberally with frosting.
  • Add chopped (toasted) pecans and coconut to the sides and top then pipe trim or rosettes to add further décor.

My Impressions

“Dogs weren’t the only ones who responded to love. People did too.”

In this third installment in the Gone to the Dogs Mysteries, Janice Thompson has accomplished exactly what she set out to do. Barking Up the Wrong Tree had me thoroughly engrossed in the mystery, loving the focus on the rescue dogs and the Lone Star Vet Clinic gang. I loved how Thompson highlighted her knowledge of dog shows, agility competitions, and the love between dogs and their devoted owners.

I was a bit surprised to find Dr. Kristin Keller to be the first person narrator. Somehow, I expected the series to continue to revolve mostly around Trina and Mari. We do get to see them, and quirky Grandma Peach figures into the equation as a side character.

Kristin’s family is having trouble releasing her to be her own person and allowing her to leave the family. Kristin is having trouble appreciating her family. How often we don’t appreciate our flawed, but more than adequate (actually blessed) backgrounds until someone close points out how much we’re taking for granted. Kristin also learns from Tyler and others how to truly give of herself to others.

We eventually see more of Mari and gain a deeper appreciation of this young vet tech. A real encourager and team player, Mari goes out of her way to help others. Hopefully, as the series progresses, she will come to understand that she can’t save every dog or person. Nor is that her responsibility.

Great twists are a tool Thompson wields well, and I found myself talking back to the book on more than one occasion.

I belly-laughed often. Barking Up the Wrong Tree is great medicine for a troubled soul! A few times I wondered if situations resolved themselves too simply, but then, this is a cozy (and zany) world!

I would highly recommend this book, read in order of its publication. Each book in the series builds on the next.

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! I absolutely loved the emphasis on a rescue dog effort and the vet clinic!! Few cozies really get into the dog business as much as this one and yet remain clean!!

Blog Posts

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 26

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 26

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 27

Remembrancy, January 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 28

For Him and My Family, January 28

Texas Book-aholic, January 29

deb’s Book Review, January 30

Mary Hake, January 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 31

Cover Lover Book Review, February 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 1

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 3

Pause for Tales, February 4

The Book Club Network, February 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 5

Blogging With Carol, February 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 7

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, February 7

Labor Not in Vain, February 8

Divine Perspective, February 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Janice is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/23cc8/barking-up-the-wrong-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

Twice Sold Tales by Chautona Havig Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Twice Sold Tales

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian / Romantic Women’s Fiction

Release date: November 2, 2022

If only owning a bookstore didn’t mean dealing with people.

No one was more surprised than Harper Brevig when Great Aunt Lorene (not “Lori,” thank-you-very-much) died and left her least favorite niece her bookstore–including a prime piece of real estate in downtown Red Wing, Minnesota.

Making a go of the place shouldn’t be too hard. With her library science degree, she should be set. Then again, the website describing library degrees had said it would teach her excellent communication skills. It had not. Could she get a partial refund?

Still, owning the building should mean crazy-low overhead to offset her less than optimal “book-side” manner.  Ahem. So when yet another huge bill arrives, and she starts getting twitchy about the low bank balance, Harper does the only thing she can think of.

Enter Milton Coleridge. He’d been excited about the possibilities of the store last year, but Harper had sent him packing before he could talk to her about them.  Now he has a chance to make a difference. But she’s right. She’s bleeding money, and it doesn’t make sense!

Milton’s job is to figure out what’s going on, plug the financial leak, and maybe… do a little matchmaking. That dad with the adorable little boy would be good for her… and she’d be good for him. Probably.

Twice Sold Tales: the first full-length novel in the Bookstrings series releasing with The Mosaic Collection

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

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

More from Chautona

“What kind of research does a contemporary book need? I mean, she’s a bookstore owner in a town you’ve been to several times. What’s there to research?”

I can’t be the only author to get questions like this. And I certainly can’t be the only one who has to fight the urge to laugh. Folks, authors research everything. In Twice Sold Tales, I think I looked up almost as much as I did in my Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries!

Because here’s the deal. What I didn’t know about Red Wing, Minnesota wouldn’t have hurt the story most of the time. Who cares that Bev’s Café has amazing creamy cucumbers? It doesn’t technically matter. Well, except to my character who hates veggies but will eat those. They make her feel virtuous. And you get to know about it.

But… what you discover about a place or a time or an occupation or whatever can totally change the course of your story. Case in point? I went to a website about River City Days because my niece suggested it might be a good thing for Noah to do with his son. That led me to the Farmer’s Markets and to other things. How I got to the first Ghost Walk in Red Wing taking place this year? I don’t even know. What I do know is that the moment I read about it, I knew Harper had to go. And if she did, and if Milton were the instigator, Noah had to go. #BecauseMatchmaker.

And this is where it got really cool. To make the walk as authentic as I could, I read everything I could find about it. And I discovered something super cool. Like… blow you out of the water cool.

Red Wing, Minnesota sits near the shore of Lake Pepin. Little House on the Prairie lovers will remember this as the lake that Laura Ingalls crossed in the wagon as they left the Big Woods of Wisconsin (you know, right across the river/lake from Red Wing???) Well… Lake Pepin has a monster—the Nessie of the Mississippi. Yes, you read that right… a monster! I went looking and guess what? The “monster” has a name. Pepie! Needless to say, Pepie became a an important part of my story. Because how could he not?

And… I happened to find a stuffed Pepie at Treats & Treasures in Lake City, just south of Red Wing, so I ordered a couple for giveaways—including the one with this blog tour. Happy reading, and what do you think? Shouldn’t someone write Pepie’s story?

My Impressions

“While our book friends feed our minds, the Lord uses His people to feed our hearts and souls. Don’t let any of your person starve.”

Ugh, Chautona Havig got me this time! In Twice Told Tales, I saw places in my life I need to improve. I identified way too easily with Harper Brevig, the main character. Harper is a booktrovert. “Harper, most people are interesting and even more multi-layered than the best-crafted character. Some you just have to get a little further into the pages of their stories before they show it.” It is way easier to read than to make friends! (Not that reading is wrong, but see the quote at the beginning of my review!) But the snark! (Chautona’s characters always have plenty of snark, but that makes them so fun!!) I love her collection of bookish T-shirts, and if you’re a book lover, you will, too. Harper has good qualities, too. She deeply loves those she takes into her small circle. Compassion and caring are part of her nature.

Milton is fun as he comes in and match-makes along with urging bookstore growth and changes. Anybody who has such a unique pet as a parrotlet has got to be worth getting to know. I hope one of these stories will eventually be his.

My heart goes out to Noah Lampe. He is so focused on being the perfect parent that he can’t see that he is enough for his newly discovered son, Bennie. Then he makes some discoveries about God as our Father.

If you love children at all, you will fall for Bennie hook, line, and sinker. The instability of his former life has branded him, and he needs both Noah and Harper to build into his life. The question is, can Harper be counted on?

Havig loves literature of all kinds. Since the story takes place in a bookstore, there are plugs for every from the classics to contemporary Christian novels. This book is almost a novel suggestion resource in and of itself !

“Harper, most people are interesting and even more multi-layered than the best-crafted character. Some you just have to get a little further into the pages of their stories before they show it.”

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent! You haven’t read until you’ve read a Havig book!!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 21

Vicky Sluiter, January 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 22

Mary Hake, January 22

Texas Book-aholic, January 23

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, January 23

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, January 24

deb’s Book Review, January 24

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 25

Lots of Helpers, January 25

Cover Lover Book Review, January 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 26

Splashes of Joy, January 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 27

She Lives To Read, January 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 29

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 30

For Him and My Family, January 30

Divine Perspective, January 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 31

Aryn the Libraryan, February 1

Books I’ve Read, February 1

Blogging With Carol, February 2

Back Porch Reads, February 2

Pause for Tales, February 3

Spoken from the Heart, February 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback of the book, a stuffed “Pepie” and a few other bookish goodies!!

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/23bc5/twice-sold-tales-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

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

About the Book

Book: Dog Days of Summer

Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo

Genre: Christian/Mystery/Romance Fiction

Release date: October, 2022

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

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

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

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

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

More from Kathleen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Impressions

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! I am really enjoying this series!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 28

Texas Book-aholic, October 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 29

Blogging With Carol, October 29

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

deb’s Book Review, October 30

Inklings and notions, October 31

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 1

Lily’s Book Reviews, November 1

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 3

Remembrancy, November 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 4

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 6

Boondock Ramblings, November 6

Labor Not in Vain, November 7

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, November 7

Pause for Tales, November 8

Mary Hake, November 8

For Him and My Family, November 9

Divine Perspective, November 9

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, November 10

The Book Club Network, November 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a print copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/2244a/dog-days-of-summer-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

As Silent as the Night by Danielle Grandinetti Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: As Silent as the Night

Author: Danielle Grandinetti

Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense

Release date: September 13, 2022

He can procure anything, except his heart’s deepest wish. She might hold the key, if she’s not discovered first.

Chicago, 1933―Lucia Critelli will do anything for her ailing grandfather, including stand in a breadline to have enough food to make him a St. Nicholas Day meal. When she catches the eye of a goon who threatens her grandfather, she discovers the end of Prohibition doesn’t mean the end of the mafia’s criminal activity.

Retired Marine Scout Giosue “Gio” Vella can find anything, especially if it helps a fellow Italian immigrant, so he has no doubt he can locate his neighbor’s granddaughter, who has gone missing from a local church. Keeping her safe is another matter. Especially when he chooses to hide out with his Marine buddy in Eagle, Wisconsin, the site of a barely-held truce among striking dairy farmers.

Will Christmas bring the miracle they all need or will Gio discover there are some things even he can’t find, particularly when he stumbles upon the most elusive gift of all: love.

As Silent as the Night is the Christmas novella to To Stand in the Breach and A Strike to the Heart.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions


“I find things, Mamma.” But can Gio find what’s really in his heart and reveal it before the opportunity has passed?

Danielle Grandinetti starts out her third novella, As Silent as the Night, in The Strike to the Heart series, with a bang. She wastes no time in setting the stage for the romantic interest and the suspense. Without gore, we are introduced to the post-prohibition world of some of the kingpins of Chicago mobs and their machinations. And, as usual, Grandinetti creates characters you absolutely love because of their big hearts.

Enter Gio, whose story I have been eagerly awaiting. An Italian immigrant, he learns to compromise successfully with both sides of mob gangs in Chicago, so he can feed and care for his fellow immigrants. Gio has a heart of gold, plus he is street-wise, but he has one problem. He can’t allow himself to get close to the one person, Lucia, he is really coming to care for.

Lucia finds herself in danger from the mob. While Gio offers to keep her safe, he can’t protect her heart. Gio’s inability to share his heart and past lead to trust and safety issues for Lucia.

Grandinetti brings in some issues that are as true today as they were then. “…being an American-born Italian left her feeling as if she belonged in neither world, Italian nor American.” This is still true today for anyone who is recognized as part one heritage, and part another. Even in these “tolerant days”, both groups refuse to admit acceptance of someone less than their ideal of perfection. How terribly sad and isolating!!

With the sprinkling of Italian words, culture, close, warm family ties, humor at some pretty tense points, and old friends from the first two books, you will be mesmerized by this Christmas romantic suspense.

While this can be read as a stand-alone, I highly recommend reading the books in order:
1) To Stand in the Breach
2)A Strike to the Heart
3)As Silent as the Night

I am a launch team member for this book. I received a copy from the author and Celebrate Lit, and bought my own ebook plus paperback. All opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Danielle Grandinetti has quickly become my fave historical romantic suspense author! Realistic, Flawed heroes and heroines who love God, want to follow him, and are the kind I would want to introduce my own kids to.

About the Author

Danielle Grandinetti is author of A Strike to the Heart and To Stand in the Breach. She is also a book blogger at DaniellesWritingSpot.com. Her short stories have appeared in several publications and her writing has won the University of Northwestern Distinguished Faith in Writing Award. Originally from the Chicagoland area, she now lives along Lake Michigan’s Wisconsin shoreline with her husband and their two young sons. Danielle especially loves quiet mornings served with the perfect cup of tea.

More from Danielle

I have this memory, from when I was a little girl, of Christmas at my grandma’s house. The table was expanded to hold a dozen people. The little Christmas tree stood on a table before the window, the Nativity beneath it. A gingerbread house sat on the radio cabinet, which played my grandpa’s old Christmas records.

In the kitchen, my Italian grandma, now a widow, had on a ruffled apron as she cooked the Christmas meal. She had short, graying black hair, perfectly curled, and large, round glasses. And, was still taller than me, though she was under 5 foot in height.

Through the haze of childhood memory, I can’t recall everything she cooked that Christmas, I just know it filled the table to overflowing. I can guess who celebrated with us, but I know the large table was completely surrounded by people I loved. And, I’m sure I received gifts, but that’s not what I remember from that day.

What fills my memory is the feeling of family and the love my grandma showed us, through food. My full belly. My contentment. The wonder of the holidays. All through the eyes of my young self.

In As Silent as the Night, I attempt to capture some of this nostalgia, lace it with suspense, and wrap it in romance. I show about some of the traditional holidays celebrated by my characters, from St. Nicholas Day to Christmas Eve. And, while Gio can find anything, love eludes him. However, Lucia may hold the key, but he must first save her.

Silent as the Night concludes my Strike to the Heart series, which began with prequel novella To Stand in the Breach. As sad as it is to say goodbye to the farmers of Eagle, Wisconsin, I have loved sharing the stories of Katy and Joey, Lily and Miles, and Gio and Lucia with you. I hope you’ll enjoy this last installment and I look forward to sharing more stories from other places with you.

Buon Natale.

Merry Christmas.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 13

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 14 (Author Interview)

The Sacred Line, September 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 15

Inklings and notions, September 16

For Him and My Family, September 17

deb’s Book Review, September 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 19

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 20

Inkwell Inspirations, September 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 21

Connie’s History Classroom, September 22

Betti Mace, September 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 24

Holly’s Book Corner, September 24

Labor Not in Vain, September 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 26

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Danielle is giving away the grand prize package of a Bag of Books Bundle, which includes a signed copy of each book: To Stand in the Breach, A Strike to the Heart, and As Silent as the Night, plus a Donkey Tote to carry the books!! (https://www.etsy.com/listing/1130961309/donkey-canvas-tote-bag-heavy-duty)

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/2159f/as-silent-as-the-night-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Purchase

Legends of the Donut Shop by Terry Overton Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Legends of the Donut Shop

Author: Terry Overton

Genre: Fiction/Middle Grade YA

Release date: March 19, 2022

At seventeen years of age, Wes Williams is injured in a head-on collision and nearly loses his life. Wes does not know if he will live or die. In a mysterious near-death experience, he travels back in time to his earlier years and the time he spent with his grandfather and his old buddies at the Donut Shop. The humorous gang of old veterans, and one retired sheriff, retell their stories once again. This time, Wes understands the meaning of each story.

This is a book of second chances, life lessons, and forgiveness. Wes’s life is changed forever, and he begins a new chapter in his life.

This book was written for a group of actual Donut Shop friends who gathered weekly with my dad. I often went with him to hear the stories these people told. The men were all veterans. At the suggestion of one particular veteran, I wrote the book so that younger people, middle school age, YA, etc., could experience what these groups of guys are like and to appreciate U.S. history.

My dad had seen the cover of the book and a summary of what I was writing. He and my mom both died of Covid ten days before the book was published. He never got to read it. I was able to pass it out to the men from the local donut shop at Mom and Dad’s funeral on March 30th. I hope to pass these stories on, just like Dad wanted.

Legends of the Donut Shop earned 5 Star Reviews from Reader Views and Readers’ Favorites.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

How does a person remember something? Generally, because we attach great emotion to the event. The greater the emotion, the stronger the memory. So, Terry Overton has penned an emotional book, placing 17-year-old Wes Williams in a fight for his life, having flashbacks of important lessons learned with his grandfather and the grandfather’s contemporaries in a local donut shop. This is a book I will remember because of Wes’s emotional and physical struggles. But as I do, the life lessons presented by Grandpa will come alongside. While written for middle schoolers and YA, I believe anyone who enjoys history, values family, or values the spiritual lessons that Overton promotes, will enjoy this novel.

Along the way, I fell in love with the relationship that Grandpa and his friends have so purposely built into Wes. What a great way to show someone the way to live. Spending time, being such an example that others can’t help but want to emulate you!

Since the novel is experienced in the first person with Wes, I was quite eager to read on to find out whether he would live, regain his full abilities, or remain extremely frustrated by his circumstances.

I rather think the title is double-entendre. I love that!

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! The strong emotions evoked will surely help you remember the important life lessons! Good book for all ages, while written especially for YA.

About the Author

Terry Overton is a retired university professor of educational and school psychology. She has an Ed.D. in Special Education and a Ph.D. in Psychology. Her professional experience includes teaching public school, teaching at the university level, and being a college dean. She has two children and six grandchildren. Her writing and publication experiences include textbook and journal articles in the fields of special education and school psychology. She seeks to answer God’s call to share the good news and grow the church by writing Christian books and devotionals. Her book Both Sides of the Border is a Firebird Book Award, Bookfest Winner, America Writing Award, and International Book Award Finalist, for categories of Cross-Genre, Socio-Political Fiction, and Women’s Fiction. Her book, America of We the People was awarded the Firebird Book Award for Socio-Political and Political categories. She and her husband live in the southern tip of Texas where they enjoy semi-tropical weather and spending time with their friends and family.

More from Terry

This book was written for a group of actual Donut Shop friends who gathered weekly with my dad. I often went with him to hear the stories these people told. The men were all veterans. At the suggestion of one particular veteran, I wrote the book so that younger people, middle school age, YA, etc., could experience what these groups of guys are like and to appreciate U.S. history.

My dad had seen the cover of the book and a summary of what I was writing. He and my mom both died of Covid ten days before the book was published. He never got to read it. I was able to pass it out to the men from the local donut shop at Mom and Dad’s funeral on March 30th. I hope to pass these stories on, just like Dad wanted.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 26

Lights in a Dark World, August 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 27

Texas Book-aholic, August 28

Inklings and notions, August 29

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 30

For Him and My Family, August 31

Bigreadersite, September 1

Blossoms and Blessings, September 2 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 4

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 6

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 7

Simple Harvest Reads, September 8 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 26

Lights in a Dark World, August 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 27

Texas Book-aholic, August 28

Inklings and notions, August 29

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 30

For Him and My Family, August 31

Bigreadersite, September 1

Blossoms and Blessings, September 2 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 4

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 6

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 7

Simple Harvest Reads, September 8 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Terry is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/210c9/legends-of-the-donut-shop-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, Kregel, PB, Purchase, Read with Audra

Midnight’s Budding Morrow by Carolyn Miller Review and Giveaway

Part of the I Read with Audra Tour

About the Book

Can real love grow between a wallflower and an unrepentant rogue?

Sarah Drayton is eager to spend time with her best friend at her crumbling Northumberland castle estate. Matrimony is the last thing on her mind and the last thing she expects to be faced with on a holiday. Yet she finds herself being inveigled into a marriage of convenience with her friend’s rakish brother.

When James Langley returns to his family’s estate, he can’t be bothered to pay attention to his responsibilities as the heir. War is raging and he wants only distraction, not serious tethers. But his roguish ways have backed him into a corner, and he has little choice but to obey his father’s stunning decree: marry before returning to war, or else. Suddenly he finds himself wedded to a clever and capable woman he does not love.

Sarah craves love and a place to belong, neither of which James offered before returning to the battlefront. Now everyone around her thinks she married above her station, and they have no intention of rewarding her for such impertinence. It isn’t until her husband returns from war seemingly changed that she begins to hope they may find real happiness. But can she trust that this rake has truly reformed?

When tragedy strikes, this pair must learn to trust God and his plans. Will they be destroyed . . . or will they discover that even in the darkest depths of night, the morning still holds hope?

Click here to read an excerpt.

About the Series

While most stories set in Regency England focus on the rich, the young, and the beautiful, award-winning author Carolyn Miller decided she wanted to give readers something different for a change. Her new Regency Wallflowers series follows the commoners, away from the hustle and bustle of 1810s London, out in the Lake District of England. She tells the stories of women who are slightly older and have few prospects for marriage, women who might be considered “wallflowers.”

Midnight’s Budding Morrow is the second book in the Regency Wallflowers series. The first book in the series is Dusk’s Darkest Shores.

My Impressions

“God is a Redeemer, One who turns the weak into the brave, who can use the broken ones to save.”

I cannot love Midnight’s Budding Morrow by Carolyn Miller enough. A Regency Romance, Midnight’s Budding Morrow explores themes of drunkenness; depression; plus, searching for acceptance and deep, forever love. Miller also presents the flip side. Redemption and forgiveness are centerpieces of this amazing novel I couldn’t read fast enough.

Unfortunately, the inferiority that plagues Sarah Drayton may be far too easy for many readers to identify with. James Langley’s behavior is also easy to imagine. Miller has done a great job of producing realistic, imperfect, and relatable characters, whose growth will depend upon whether their faith can rise to meet the challenges.

I loved the way that we see the maturation of both characters, as they grow into the roles they have been called to fulfill. Yet, both are imperfect, which drives the novel, along with the machinations of shrewd and conniving tertiary characters.

I could not read this book fast enough, yet I wanted to savor every word, every scene. And I ugly-cried. Books rarely make me cry. These people of Miller’s-for they are no longer merely characters on a page- will live on with me for some time. This novel hit every sweet spot in my requirements for memorable, top-of-its-category Regency Romance. Problems are impossibly deep, God’s Grace is deeper.

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I received a copy of the book from the I Read with Audra tour. I also bought my own copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

———————————————————————-

Notable Quotables:

“Nothing mattered. No one would remark on her absence. She was nothing. Nobody. Of no value. Of no importance. She was a failure. A failure as a wife. A failure as a mother. She had failed to be accepted.”

“God didn’t see her. He didn’t care. He hadn’t cared before, so why would He pay attention now?”

“Broken, but being healed by God.”

“It is most wonderful to see how God can restore the brokenhearted, and free those who have been bound to their pasts.”

“When we’re in the depths of midnight’s pain and darkness, we cannot see that God is still working goodness for tomorrow.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! This Regency Romance Catapulted to the top of my Top Ten Reads in 2022!!

About the Author

AuthorCarolyn Miller is an inspirational romance author who lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children.

A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English literature and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. She enjoys music, films, gardens, art, travel, and food.

Miller’s novels have won a number of RWA and ACFW contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers.

Learn more about Carolyn at www.carolynmillerauthor.com, or find her on Facebook (Carolyn Miller Author), Instagram (@CarolynMillerAuthor), and Twitter (@CarolynMAuthor).

Giveaway

Click the link below to enter the giveaway of Carolyn’s book, Midnight’s Budding Morrow!!

https://www.audrajennings.com/2022/05/win-copy-of-midnights-budding-morrow.html

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, NetGalley, Revell

The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Sweet Life

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release date: May 3, 2022

The Sweet Life Cover

Jilted by her fiancé, Dawn Dixon escapes to beautiful Cape Cod on a groomless honeymoon–with her mother. But she didn’t expect her mom to risk everything, on a whim, to move there permanently or buy a rundown ice cream shop in need of repair. In order to make their new life work, they’ll also need her ex’s help.

Click here to get your copy!



My Impressions

“Never invest with your heart, only with your stomach.”

If you’re not looking for the nearest made-from-scratch ice creamery after you finish The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher, you may not be completely human. The extensive details about ice cream making are fascinating and show Fisher’s great research/familiarity with the cold dessert. For me, this was the strongest and best part of the book.

I truly enjoyed seeing how this mother-daughter duo interacted with each other. I couldn’t decide whether I identified with Dawn or Marnie more. Each had qualities that were relatable, so I flipped back and forth, which really made me enjoy that aspect of the book.

I was a fan of the novel by its end, which is superb. However, it took me a good one-third of the book to truly care about Marnie, Dawn, Kevin, and others the way I wanted to. I felt that we were told, rather than shown, much about the characters in the first part.

Lincoln is such an endearing, encouraging person to have as a friend! If only there were more such selfless people in the world. His view on cancer is upbeat, and he holds out the light of Hope and faith to others traveling that scary path.

Great discussion questions at the end would make a book discussion group easy to lead. I am prepared for a field trip to Cape Cod, Chatham in particular!!

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

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Notable Quotables:

“Love does not have an expiration date.”

“I’m not going to let you hemorrhage Dad’s life insurance policy on a melting ice cream cone.”

“Cancer is a wonderful teacher. If you let it, it’ll teach you lessons you never dreamed you needed to learn.”

“The most important thing Dawn expected from her ice cream was consistency—because she couldn’t expect it from the rest of her life.”

“God wants to hear those honest prayers. No filter. From the gut…”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! Guess what kind of shop I’m stopping at, on my next vacation!! I’ll be picturing Dawn and Marnie behind the counter!!

About the Author

With over 1.5 million copies sold, Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of over 30 books, ranging from novels to children’s books to non-fiction. She is a Christy Award finalist, a winner of Carol and Selah awards, and a two-time finalist for ECPA Book of the Year. She writes stories that take you to places you’ve never visited—one with characters that seem like old friends. But most of all, her books give you something to think about long after you’ve finished reading it. Suzanne lives with her very big family in northern California.

More from Suzanne

The Sweet Life is a story about a mom and a daughter who, both in need of a little respite from life’s bumps and bruises, start an ice cream shop on Cape Cod…thinking it will be easy. After all, who doesn’t love ice cream?

Well, sure. That’s true. Everybody loves ice cream. But ice cream can be tricky. This I can say with authority. My husband is a serioushobby ice cream maker. He even attended Penn State’s Ice Cream School. While Steve was working on his vanilla recipe, he experimented fifty-nine times before he was finally satisfied. 59 times! Other flavors, like chocolate, can mask mistakes. Not vanilla. Too pure.

Here’s a few other things you probably didn’t know about ice cream:

The very first mention of a frozen dessert dates back to Persia in 550 BC, though it might have been sorbet-like. It’s said that Emperor Nero had ice brought down from the Apennine Mountains to produce a sorbet of honey and wine. And then there are those who insist that ice cream came out of China, and were introduced to Italy with the help of Marco Polo. Regardless of its origins, a love of ice cream has been around for a very, very long time.

Quaker colonists introduced ice cream to early America, having brought their recipes with them from England. Some argue that the French brought ice cream to America. Regardless, during the colonial era, ice cream was sold in shops in New York.

George Washington loved ice cream. So much so that he even brought ice cream making equipment to Mount Vernon! There are many accounts of “ice creem” (as it was then called) served during his administration.

First Lady Dolley Madison, wife of U.S. President James Madison, served ice cream at her husband’s Inaugural Ball in 1813. Common colonial flavors were soft fruits, like peaches or strawberries, added to a vanilla custard. Dolley had a curious favorite flavor: oyster. (Ugh.)

In September of 1846, a Philadelphia house wife named Nancy Johnson filed patent #3254 for a simple hand cranked ice cream churn. Prior to this point, ice cream belonged to the wealthy. Her hand cranked ice cream churn made it affordable for everyone. Nancy Johnson’s design is still used today.

During the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, an ice cream vendor ran out of cardboard dishes. The vendor next door offered to make cones by rolling up his waffles. Voila! The birth of the ice cream cone.

The majority of American ice cream companies have been in business for more than 50 years. Many of them are still owned by single families.

For the last 128 years, Penn State University has held Ice Cream School for professionals and serious hobbyists during January (for obvious reasons). All the greats have attended: Baskin & Robbins, Ben & Jerry, Dreyer’s, Nestle’s, Blue Bell Creamery, Dairy Queen, and…my husband.

The most popular flavor in the world? Vanilla. Of course.

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads, May 26

Inside the Wong Mind, May 26

The Avid Reader, May 27

lakesidelivingsite, May 27

Vicky Sluiter, May 27

Remembrancy, May 28

Southern Gal Loves to Read, May 28

Splashes of Joy, May 28

Texas Book-aholic, May 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 29

Miriam Jacob, May 29

Daysong Reflections, May 30

Inklings and notions, May 30

For Him and My Family, May 31

The Book Club Network, May 31

Blogging With Carol, May 31

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 1

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 2

deb’s Book Review, June 2

Artistic Nobody, June 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 3

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 4

Blossoms and Blessings, June 4

Mary Hake, June 4

Christina’s Corner, June 5

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 6

Book Looks by Lisa, June 6

Simple Harvest Reads, June 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, June 7

Spoken from the Heart, June 7

She Lives To Read, June 8

Bigreadersite, June 8

Labor Not in Vain, June 8

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1e36c/the-sweet-life-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, Purchase

Bride of the Rockies by Angela Breidenbach Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Bride of the Rockies

Author: Angela Breidenbach

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: January 1, 2022

Bride of the Rockies Option 2.2.1 FRONT

For botanist, Bettina Gilbert, mining is an offense against God’s green earth. With the shortage of women in Montana, Luke travels to Chicago to manage the Montana mining exhibition hoping to also find a wife. Only that pretty botanist keeps disrupting his mining presentations … and his chances of meeting the right woman! A city girl who despises his way of life would be the worst choice for a miner’s wife, wouldn’t she?

Uplifting, wholesome romance set in the Gilded Age during Chicago’s World Fair. Written by bestselling author and professional genealogist, Angela Breidenbach. Accurate to history while entertaining, inspiring, with a lovely ambiance of hope.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“She couldn’t focus on the future if she lived in the pain of her past.”

Each Queen of the Rockies novel gets better and better. After this fifth installment, Bride of the Rockies, Angela Breidenbach has set the bar very high for herself.

First, she managed to put important historical notes in the introduction. My appetite for what was to come was greatly whetted.

Secondly, Breidenbach uses a setting far away from Montana to impart Montana history. What a unique idea! I love it!

Thirdly, I loved Bettina Gilbert’s first impression of the alabaster buildings set up for the 1893 World’s Fair. “From the distance, the shape made by the harbor buildings seemed more like Bettina pictured the Lord’s giant throne room, regal and triumphant, calling believers into His presence.”

What about the main characters, you ask? Luke Edwards is absolutely charming. I love Bettina’s passionate heart to help others with her talents provided by God and her family. Will these two find enough common ground to form more than a friendship?

Ok, Lydia and Jennie win hands-down for best-supporting characters, helping to make this a truly great and humorous story!! Their calculated and outlandish matchmaking knows no bounds. And their scientific feedback just might border on relationship advice! Bride of the Rockies actually has some good marriage relationship advice, but it is also hilarious!

After some unexpected twists, I found myself closing the book with a hearty laugh and satisfied smile. If you are a fan of Christian historical romance, humor, or the 1893 World’s Fair, this may be a great fit for you!

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

————————————————————————

Notable Quotables:

“Not everyone in Montana is a cowboy, Miss Gilbert.”

“He didn’t fear marriage. But he sure feared being in the wrong marriage. Slow it down and get the right wife, his father had said. Get to know her first.”

“It’s like good relationships, if you sow on fertile ground and pull the weeds of misunderstanding regularly then your tender crop has a chance.”

“She couldn’t focus on the future if she lived in the pain of her past.”

“She might not have drowned in the lake but his eyes drew her like a bottomless well.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Another Hilarious Heaping Helping of Montana History

About the Author

Angela Breidenbach is a professional genealogist, media personality, conference speaker, bestselling author of eighteen books, and screenwriter. Angela lives in Montana with her hubby and Muse, a trained fe-lion, who shakes hands, rolls over, and jumps through a hoop. Surprisingly, Angela can also. Catch her show and podcast, Genealogy Publishing Coach!

More from Angela

Rabbit trails. The paths that draw a writer away from her planned research. That’s what happened when I started researching Queen of the Rockies. I hopped down a rabbit trail that took me into an entirely different story. Here I was writing about the beginning of Montana as a state, the real people, and the unusual stories of the Gilded Age. Then a thread of the Chicago World’s Fair kept popping up like little bunnies in the middle of the field that darted here and there.

Well, those little rabbit trails captured my fascination. I couldn’t stop chasing them. I wanted to know more about why people who were busy carving out a new state would want to travel halfway across the country and live in Chicago for five months. Why would they care? What were their goals? Who were these unusual people? So, I did the smart thing. I started a new document to think about writing a later story.

The more I researched the first book in this series, Queen of the Rockies, the more I found tidbits of names that reappeared in newspapers. Then I followed a few of those names just to see what had become of them. I found a lot more than I expected. From the social pages in newspapers to club minute books to journals the stories of some really interesting women came to light. Their goals were much more than for one family or one town. These people found a cause bigger than themselves. They found a bond in forging a state that held respectability in the world’s eyes. These people were tired, and offended, of the constant slur — the Wild West. And they were going to change that erroneous misconception!

The rest of civilization didn’t understand how modern, elegant, and valuable Montana was in the 1890s. But the people of Montana were about to prove their infant state was the shining star on the American flag. She was no infant. This beautiful state, whose capitol was fully electric already, could hold her own among the elegant countries slated to be at that fair in 1893.

Come turn the pages of Bride of the Rockies and find out what these people, and especially the women, did to put Montana in the world headlines. See why they stunned with never before seen discoveries displayed in their pavilion during the Columbian Exposition. Can you imagine being given 10% of the budget while the men had 90%, in essence set up as the underdog, and blowing the world away with what you do with it?  Walking away with the win? Not just one win…seven!

Bride of the Rockies took me on a fabulous rabbit trail of research. I hope this story will be fun for you, too!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 18

An Author’s Take, May 19

Blogging With Carol, May 19

Betti Mace, May 20

Texas Book-aholic, May 21

Mary Hake, May 21

Inklings and notions, May 22

For Him and My Family, May 23

Pause for Tales, May 23

deb’s Book Review, May 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 25

Blossoms and Blessings, May 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 27

Spoken from the Heart, May 27

Bizwings Blog, May 28

Connie’s History Classroom, May 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Angela is giving away the grand prize of a pair of beautiful opal earrings set in fair trade sterling silver!!

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/1db54/bride-of-the-rockies-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Love Inspired Suspense, Purchase

Death Valley Hideout by Dana Mentink Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Death Valley Hideout

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Christian fiction

Release date: April 26, 2022

DV#4 cover, death valley hideout

Running from a murderer

with only the desert as refuge…

Placed in WITSEC while his brother testifies against a terrifying criminal, Tony Ortega must guard his young niece and nephew from the hit man hunting for them. Death Valley local Willow Duke’s hideout might just be the difference between the little family’s life or death. When bullets start flying, can they thwart a killer long enough to survive and become a family for real?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Dana Mentink once again gets the heart racing and turns up the heat in her Death Valley Hideout (#4 Desert Justice Book).

Willow Duke gets her story along with Tony Ortega. Problem is, Willow gets to know Tony and his children under false circumstances. Now they’re all in danger. Will Willow help Tony after this egregious deception, or will she walk away?

So many fun things about this book. A pairing of a quiet man with an impetuous woman. A four-year-old boy and an eighteen-month-old girl. That’ll get me every time! A down-home friend babysitting for her pal, committed first to the children. Mentink knows her desert setting, and displays a knowledge of helicopters and planes. Mentink provides rescuers who are wildcards. Ante up the suspense fast!! And last but not least, the Duke clan, all come together to help one of their own. “Well, Tony, you’re in for more help that you know what to do with. You request one Duke, you get them all.”

Not to be left out, the faith element. So important. I love the way Mentink shows the value of frequent prayer in the characters’ lives, allowing us to participate in their prayers. I got a very real sense of Tony’s and Willow’s dependence on God.

I read faster and faster, trying to outread speeding bullets, cars, and helicopters. And, of course, finger where the true danger lay. Well done, Ms. Mentink!

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

Notable Quotables:

“You messed up, Tony. You never should have let her into your life. You can’t afford to have friends. Period.”

“You were friends with a guy who knowingly made you a target without your permission. In my book that’s no kind of friend.”

“But the Maestro hadn’t counted on one thing…he’d never met the Duke family.”

“…the Bible said it was possible to do anything that God wanted done. But being a substitute parent? Him? It was a tall order for a guy who couldn’t even keep a houseplant alive.”

“Love is not dependent on behavior.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! More Desert, More Heat, More Dukes!!

About the Author

Dana Mentink is a USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author as well as a two-time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, and the recipient of a Holt Medallion. She’s written over fifty titles in the suspense, lighthearted romance and mystery genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming, and Poisoned Pen Press. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

Wooty woo! We’re back in Death Valley again! So excited about this fourth book in the series because Papa Bear and I have actually returned to this amazing place. (Our previous return trip was stalled for a while due to the virus that shall not be named!) People have asked me, “Why do you love Death Valley so much?” I can only respond that you just have to go there to understand. Is it the vastness of the place? The enormous topographical variety? Maybe it’s the profound quietness that permeates the national park and environs. Then again, it might be the panorama of nighttime stars. (Death Valley National Park is a certified International Dark Sky Park due to its limited light pollution.) Could it be the tenacity of people who live there and survive the one hundred twenty plus degree temperatures in the summer? And how about those animals? The Death Valley pupfish is a teeny little endangered fish that lives in precisely one spot on the globe (Death Valley) and only two places within that range, Salt Creek and Cottonball Marsh. Imagine that! So why set a six book series in Death Valley? Because there’s no more hostile and incredible place I can think of. I hope you will enjoy taking a fictional trip with me there too. Enjoy the adventure, reader friends!

Blog Stops

Remembrancy, April 21

Texas Book-aholic, April 21

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 22

Bigreadersite, April 22

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 23

Life, Love, Writing, April 24

For Him and My Family, April 24

Betti Mace, April 25

Inklings and notions, April 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 26

EmpowerMoms, April 26

deb’s Book Review, April 27

Blogging With Carol, April 27

For the Love of Literature, April 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 28

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, April 29

Simple Harvest Reads, April 29 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 30

Vicarious Living, April 30

Bizwings Blog, May 1

Blossoms and Blessings, May 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 2

Paula’s Persuasion, May 2

Labor Not in Vain, May 3

Through the Fire Blogs, May 3

Pause for Tales, May 4

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, May 4

To Everything There Is A Season, May 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize package of the first four books in the series-Framed in Death Valley, Missing in the Desert, Death Valley Doublecross and Death Valley Hideout (Paperback for U.S. Only) and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1d0af/death-valley-hideout-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle

Spines and Leaves by Chautona Havig Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Spines & Leaves

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: FICTION / CHRISTIAN / WOMENS FICTION / ROMANCE

Release date: July 8, 2021

Spines-Leaves

 Books are the strings that tie hearts together. 

With a month to get from Orange County, California to Delaware for his next corporate challenge, Milton Coleridge decides to spend a week at Joshua Tree National Park.

He never expected to find a floundering bookstore in need of his particular business skills. Will his methods of saving companies from bankruptcy or takeover work on such a small scale? And can he convince two people to risk their hearts?

Step into the Spines & Leaves, Tamarisk, California’s oldest (and only ever) bookstore. Come in out of the harsh, desert sun and wind and peruse all the store has to offer. It might just be more than you think.

One man, one store, thousands of books.  What’ll it take to keep this bookstore from becoming a book ghost town… and what’ll it take for Milton to tie two heartstrings together?

Spine & Leaves is the introductory novella to the Bookstrings series.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Whew!! Spines and Leaves by Chautona Havig is a not-to-be missed, fun ride involving a barely surviving, desert bookstore. The town of Tamarisk has almost nothing going for it, with several defunct stores and a few residences in the middle of Joshua Tree National Forest. But, wait! There’s a bookstore! Only a reader would understand how strong that pull is to Milton Coleridge as he enters with his parrotlet. We meet Mercedes, the daughter of the owner, who is managing the store until her ill father can get back on his feet. We see Marcus Mendez, a police officer who hides his feelings for Mercedes as he strives to protect his heart. We begin to see the makings of a love triangle between Marcus, Mercedes, and Milton.

Chautona Havig plays this triangle up well. I wanted to choose one man over the other, but couldn’t. Just as I would choose “Team Marcus” or “Team Milton,” the other would pull ahead by some act or word.

If you’ve never read Havig’s work before, this book is a good place to start. Havig brings her signature style with literature allusions, a touch of romance, plenty of snark and wit, faith lessons, and surprising twists that will keep you reading till the last word.

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

Notable Quotables:

“‘Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?’”

“Just reminding myself that God’s goodness doesn’t disappear when things seem like they’re going all wrong.”

Mercedes’ heart sighed. I could have fallen for a guy like that… if stupid Marcus hadn’t been here first. Her head said she could choose to love whoever she wanted. Her heart stuck out its tongue and went, “Ptttthtt.” Heart won. Again.

Book people understand each other. There are special connections between bookworms that might exist between football fans or movie buffs, but I doubt it is the same.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Book Lover’s Paradise- both the Story and the Store!!

About the Author

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

More from Chautona

The more I think about it, the more I realize that the Bookstrings series is a process rather than an idea. Each time I saw an indie bookstore close, each time I went in one with no one else in there for the hour or two I browsed, and each time I heard book lovers lament the lack of a store in their town… Yeah. Those experiences slowly grew into a wish—one where I knew how to rescue those stores from extinction. So maybe that’s a bit melodramatic, but that’s how it felt.

Somewhere in the midst of all that, Milton appeared—a business genius who, along with his faithful parrotlet, Atticus (not Finch), travels the country saving corporations from takeover or bankruptcy.

Milton went through several iterations. Older, balding, mustache, and always wearing a golfer’s cap. Then I had him as a young hipster dude who got sick of the rat race on Wall Street and took off on his own, using what he’d learned. That just felt too cliché.

Instead, I have a forty-ish guy who wears chinos and oxford shirts with topsiders, shorter than most men, and with a nonchalant air about him. And charm. The quiet guy with serious business skills just oozes quiet charm.

After deciding on Milton, I had to choose where to put the stores. I’ve been watching out for towns for years—using trips different places as research times. Would I create places that felt like real towns or use actual small towns? Though drawn to real towns, I had an idea for where to end the series, and, doing that meant a fictional town. Would it be weird to have four or five books set in small towns across America followed by a final fictional one?

The solution came to me as I learned that the Mosaic authors were doing a summer collection in 2021. If I started with a novella and ended the series with both in a fictional town, at least that fictional bit wouldn’t be out of the blue!

So, the Bookstrings series has two novellas and five full-length novels. (I couldn’t resist a Christmas “noella” in the charming town of Noel, Missouri—the “Christmas City.”) We’ll be off to other small towns around the country—one in Red Wing, Minnesota, another in Berne, Indiana, and one somewhere between Kingsport, Tennessee and Traveler’s Rest, South Carolina. If I can find a place in New England, that’d be great, too. Or maybe down in Mississippi… I’d love to visit my sister down there.

The Bookstrings series books all have one very important thing in common (aside from Milton and Atticus, of course). They all illustrate that books truly are the strings that tie hearts together.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 26

Texas Book-aholic, April 26

Lots of Helpers, April 27

Mary Hake, April 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 28

By the Book, April 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 29

The Avid Reader, April 30

Vicky Sluiter, May 1

For Him and My Family, May 2

Miriam Jacob, May 2

Inklings and notions, May 3

Blogging With Carol, May 4

deb’s Book Review, May 4

She Lives To Read, May 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 6

Simple Harvest Reads, May 6 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 7

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 8

Pause for Tales, May 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1d0b3/spines-leaves-celebration-tour-giveaway