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

A Promise Engraved by Liz Tolsma Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: A Promise Engraved

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction/Romance

Release date: May, 2022

9781636092492 (3)

Can Promises Made in Times of Struggle Endure 200 Years?

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Young, spirited Josie Wilkins life is about to take a turn when faced with political turmoil and forbidden love in San Antonio of 1836. John Gilbert has won her heart, despite being a Protestant preacher who is forbidden to practice his faith in Texas. Will either of them survive an epic battle for liberty to create a legacy of love?

Nearly 200 years later, Kayleigh Hernandez takes breaks from her demanding job as a refugee coordinator working with Mexican migrants to attend flea markets where she has found a uniquely engraved ring. Enlisting the help of appraiser Brandon Shuman, they piece together a love story long forgotten. But will dangers linked to Kayleigh’s work end her own hopes for leaving a legacy built on hope, faith, and love?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Kudos to Liz Tolsma for crafting such an unputdownable dual-time novel. I was hooked from the first page and hated that I was unable to finish the novel in one sitting. Have Kleenex handy and maybe something to squeeze when the tension gets high. You’re going to need both, a lot!!

A cat’s-eye ring connects Josie Wilkins, a young spy for those Americans who fought Santa Anna at the Alamo in 1836, and Kayleigh Hewland, a young Hispanic American who is haunted by vague memories of her birth parents.

Come read this novel for the intrigue, for the romance, for the danger. Get lost in the gripping emotions, the fascinating history, and the faith that kindles and slowly builds into solid flame.

Tolsma creates characters that are readily relatable. Others you will despise with a passion, just as their actions dictate. A few, like Bright Star and Running Deer, need to have stories of their own. I wanted to know them better.

I enjoyed the way that Tolsma set off the ending of each time period. Each period would wind up at a climax with a cliffhanger, before preceding to the next segment to rebuild the angst and anticipation.

Themes are having faith in God and others, and believing God brings good out of bad. We are reminded that while searching for biological parents fills a need, God also provides through adoptive parents, not to be taken for granted. Plus, we are urged to realize that many innocent, young children are caught up in our country’s border wars.

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.

Notable Quotables:

“Let your head rule the day, not your heart.”

“…we have no guarantees in this life and that we must entrust the ones we have into the Lord’s hands.”

“Time to sit back and let God.”

“Never let them hear you, never let them see you, never let them smell you.”

“Appealing to a man’s stomach was always a good choice to bring any argument to an end.”

“Faith. It meant taking that giant step and putting herself in someone else’s hands.”

“Don’t miss out on the future because of what you lost in the past.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Mesmerizing Dual-Timeline Melding Alamo and Adoption

About the Author

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at http://www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

More from Liz

The Story of Susannah Dickinson, Alamo Survivor

When asked how many died at the Alamo, many would answer that everyone did. While it’s true that all fighting on the side of Texas independence perished, there were survivors, all women and children and one slave. The only white woman (the rest were of Mexican descent) was Susannah Dickinson, along with her daughter Angelina. Susannah had followed her husband, Almaron, to Mexican Texas in 1831. They had married two years before when Susannah was just fifteen. She never learned to read or write.

She and the other women hid in the sacristy of the church, one of the surviving buildings in the mission and what we now think of as the Alamo. Her husband died, but Mexican General Santa Anna found them and spared their lives, sending them to Sam Houston with $2 each and a blanket.

She married again the following year but divorced him almost immediately on the grounds of cruelty. She married a third time the following year and was married for five years until her husband died of alcoholism. A fourth marriage occurred in 1847, but she divorced again in 1857, this time allegedly because she was having an affair. That same year, she married for a fifth time. This marriage lasted until her death in 1883.

The ring in A Promise Engraved is based on a cat’s eye ring supposedly given to Angelina by William Travis before the battle. Angelina was Susannah’s only child. She married and had three children, but that marriage ended in divorce. She gave the ring to a man she’d become involved with in New Orleans. She married again and had one more child but died in 1869 from a uterine hemorrhage.

Today there are many descendants of Susannah Dickinson. If you visit the Susannah Dickinson house in Austin, you’ll see a quilt that is signed by many of her living descendants.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 28

Bigreadersite, May 28

The Write Escape, May 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 29

Christina’s Corner, May 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 29

lakesidelivingsite, May 30

Texas Book-aholic, May 30

Rebecca Tews, May 30

Inklings and notions, May 31

Blogging With Carol, May 31

Splashes of Joy, May 31

Betti Mace, June 1

Southern Gal Loves to Read, June 1

Genesis 5020, June 2

Daysong Reflections, June 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 2

Remembrancy, June 3

Books, Books, and More Books, June 3

For Him and My Family, June 3

Older & Smarter?, June 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 5

deb’s Book Review, June 5

Mary Hake, June 5

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 6

Blossoms and Blessings, June 6

Connie’s History Classroom, June 7

Life of Literature, June 7

Back Porch Reads , June 7

Bizwings Blog, June 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 8

For the Love of Literature, June 8

Through the Fire blogs, June 9

Pause for Tales, June 9

Labor Not in Vain, June 9

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, June 10

Melissa’s Bookshelf, June 10

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, June 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and 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/1e37a/a-promise-engraved-celebration-tour-giveaway

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, NetGalley, New-to-Me Author

Love’s Fortress by Jennifer Uhlarik Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Love’s Fortress

Author: Jennifer Uhlarik

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical fiction / Romance

Release date: March, 2022

9781636091815 (2)

A Love Story from the Past Brings Closure to Dani’s Fractured Family

Walk through Doors to the Past via a series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

When Dani Sango’s art forger father passes away, Dani inherits his home. Among his effects is a book of Native American drawings, which leads her to seek the help of museum curator Brad Osgood to decipher the ledger art. Why would her father have this book? Is it just another forgery?

Brad Osgood’s four-year-old niece, Brynn, needs a safe home, and Brad longs to provide it. The last thing he needs is more drama, especially from a forger’s daughter. But when the two meet “accidentally” at St. Augustine’s 350-year-old Spanish fort, Castillo de San Marcos, he can’t refuse the intriguing woman.

Broken Bow is among seventy-three Plains Indians transported to Florida in 1875 for incarceration at ancient Fort Marion. Sally Jo Harris and Luke Worthing dream of serving God on a foreign mission field, but when the Indians arrive in St. Augustine, God changes their plans. Then when friendship develops between Sally Jo and Broken Bow and false accusations fly, it could cost them their lives.

Can Dani discover how Broken Bow and Sally Jo’s story ends and how it impacted her father’s life?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

I enjoyed Jennifer Uhlarik’s contribution to the Doors to the Past series by Barbour. Each book is a stand-alone novel that presents as an intriguing dual-timeline. Love’s Fortress connects the present day Florida to St. Augustine, FL, in the 1870s.

Matty is my favorite character in the present-day scenarios. He is so big, tough, and scary looking, but he has a heart of gold. He loves Jesus and he loves those around him. He sees people without any discrimination. “Everyone’s welcome in God’s kingdom, darlin’. Doesn’t matter what you wear or how you fix your hair. It’s what’s in here.” He is loyal to a fault and can be surprisingly gentle.

Broken Bow is my favorite character in the historical sections. I love how Uhlarik shows the Native American’s probable way of thinking in keeping with their tribal customs. While there are some clashes between the Native Americans and the white peoples, Uhlarik tries to present the good and bad of both sides, never saying one is better than the other. My heart wanted to cry at the injustices that Broken Bow and others like him endured simply because he was not white.

I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and no positive review was required.

Uhlarik includes historical notes and fact vs. fiction at the end, always a welcome addition to any book that draws a historical picture for us.

Notable Quotables:

“Oh, sweet heavenly Father, thank You! You do have a plan!”

“Me? I’m just a mixed-up little girl in a grown-up girl’s body.”

“We may never see the. . .impact we make when we follow God’s leading.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I Learned a Lot About the Time of Native American Incarceration at St. Augustine.

About the Author

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a preteen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a BA in writing, she has won five writing competitions and was a finalist in two others. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenage son, and four fur children.

More from Jennifer

Florida has been my home since I was ten, and I’ve visited the city of St. Augustine several times in my many years here. There, I stumbled across the fact that the Castillo de San Marcos, the town’s 350-year-old Spanish fort, was home to several groups of Native Americans in the 1800s. Ever since learning this fact, I’ve considered writing a story about the three-year period from 1875-1878 when seventy-three Plains Indians from various tribes called the fort (known then as Fort Marion) their home. However, since I’m mainly a western and western romance author, all of my story settings to date have been west of the Mississippi—not in Florida. So this interesting historical factoid remained dormant in my imagination for years, waiting for the right opportunity.

That opportunity came last year when I was asked to submit an idea for Barbour’s dual-timeline Doors to the Past series. These stories must be set in or around a major landmark, the plot must focus on a newsworthy event, and there must be a bit of a mystery that connects the historical timeline to the contemporary plot. Obviously, as the oldest masonry fort in the United States, Castillo de San Marcos is an important and interesting landmark. Originally built by the Spanish, it later became a British possession, reverted again to the Spanish, and eventually became part of the United States’ holdings. With such a long and varied history, I’m sure you can see why this unique structure would make an interesting landmark around which to base a story.

The newsworthy event the plot focuses on is the incarceration of those seventy-three Plains Indians, deemed some of the “worst of the worst” offenders in the Indians Wars of the West. Can you imagine the buzz such an event would create? Once the Indians fell into their routine inside the fort, they were given quite a bit of freedom to interact with the locals and tourists. People came from far and wide to see these men and their historic surroundings along the banks of the Matanzas River. With a simple day pass from the fort’s commander, outsiders could enter, walk among and talk with the prisoners, see the historic fort, and even watch cultural events like dances, powwows, mock buffalo hunts, and archery displays. The Native men could also leave the fort and venture into town to shop or sell handmade goods, from bows and arrows to hand-crafted items made from locally-sourced seashells and plants, to their original “ledger art.”

It’s the ledger art that comprises the mysterious puzzle piece connecting the historical timeline of Love’s Fortress to the present day. When Dani Sango learns her long-estranged father has died, she inherits his rundown St. Augustine house. Inside, she discovers a book of Native American art depicting events from one Indian’s daily life. But because her father was a convicted art forger, Dani questions why he would have the strange and rudimentary artwork. She suspects it was his latest scam, so she enlists the help of Brad Osgood, curator of a western art museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, to help her discover where the art originated and how her father came to possess it. In the process, the pair digs deep into the history of the St. Augustine fort and its former residents.

I found it fascinating to research this brief period in the Castillo’s long history, and I hope you’ll enjoy the story that came from my efforts.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 26

Remembrancy, March 26

The Christian Fiction Girl, March 27

Texas Book-aholic, March 27

Inklings and notions, March 28

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 28

Bigreadersite, March 29

For Him and My Family, March 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 30

Betti Mace, March 30

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 31

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 31

deb’s Book Review, April 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 1

Older & Smarter?, April 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 3

Life of Literature, April 3

Genesis 5020, April 4

For the Love of Literature, April 4

Connie’s History Classroom, April 5

Blossoms and Blessings, April 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 6 (Spotlight)

Splashes of Joy, April 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 7

Through the Fire Blogs, April 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 8

Pause for Tales, April 9

Labor Not in Vain, April 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and 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/1c10d/love-s-fortress-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle

Arms of Freedom by Kathleen Neely Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Arms of Freedom

Author: Kathleen Neely

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release date: October 6, 2021

Arms of Freedom--front cover--Final-04.30.21

With each page of the age-old journals, Annie discovers all that unites her with a woman who once lived in her farmhouse. One lived with wealth and one with poverty, but both knew captivity. Both longed to be free.

Miriam yearns to escape her life as a super model. She drops the pseudonym and uses the name she gave up years ago—Annie Gentry. Then she alters her appearance and moves to rural South Carolina to care for her grandmother. Can she live a simple life without recognition? Can she hide a net worth valued in the millions? Love is nowhere in her plans until she meets a man who wants nothing more than Annie Gentry and the simple life he lives.

Charlotte lived in the same farmhouse in the tumultuous 1860’s. The Civil War was over, but for a bi-racial girl, freedom remained elusive. She coveted a life where she wouldn’t bring shame to her family. A life where she could make a difference. As she experiences hope, will it be wrested from her?

The journals stop abruptly with a climactic event, leaving Annie to search for information. What happened to Charlotte? Did her life make a difference?  Did she ever find freedom?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“But no one found me precious. One mother gave me away. The other used me for her purposes.” So laments Annie Gentry as she considers her past. Arms of Freedom by Kathleen Neely ties together Annie’s story and that of Charlotte, who lived in the same house 150 years before.

I really appreciated the forward. It warned of hard-to-read material and explained why author thought it important to highlight such a difficult time in our country’s past.

Even though Annie is a famous person hiding out incognito in small-town South Carolina, I found the story plausible and mesmerizing. The historical part presented by Charlotte’s diary helped me see how awful life could be for a non-white in the Reconstructionist South. How I cheered for both ladies, but especially for Charlotte, who learns how to stand strong. I love how the author finally connects the two separate stories with beautifully intertwining threads.

We get to meet some very pivotal secondary characters. Reverend Platt, Mrs. Pearson, Aunt Imani; plus Lillian, Darlene, and Seth. They all greatly influence either Charlotte or Annie regarding love, forgiveness, family, and belonging.

Part of the fun of reading a book like this was its setting. The author uses Greenville, South Carolina, as one nearby town, and I was thrilled to see references to the Liberty Bridge, the statue of Joel Poinsett, and “the Mice on Main.” I was also thrilled to find out what small town Hickory Falls is based on. Fun!

I discovered this last fact because of sections at the end of the book. There is a “where fact meets fiction” section and a reader’s guide with discussion questions.

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

My Rating

Heartbreaking portrayal of two women, centuries apart, searching for love and belonging.

About the Author

Kathleen Neely is a retired elementary principal, and enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading.

She is the author of The Street Singer, Beauty for Ashes, The Least of These, Arms of Freedom, and In Search of True North. Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her short story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her novel, The Least of These, was awarded first place in the 2015 Fresh Voices contest through Almost an Author. She has numerous devotions published through Christian Devotions.

Kathleen continues to speak to students about writing and publication processes. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

More from Kathleen

I’d like to introduce myself and then share a little bit about my book, Arms of Freedom. I am a retired educator having taught preschool, fourth grade, and then moving into administration as an elementary principal. When I retired, I pursued my desire to write. My first novel, The Least of These, won first place in a contest titled Fresh Voices. That honor renewed my confidence, and since then, I’ve written five novels. Arms of Freedom is my first timeslip (dual timeline) novel.

Arms of Freedom was birthed during a time of racial tension in our nation; a time when social injustice and protests were forefront in the news. Many publishers safely avoided manuscripts with any mention of racial issues—perhaps a wise decision from a business perspective.

However, failure to look at our past denies us the opportunity to learn from history. Our fear of offending can push major historical offenses into a dark closet. I chose to illuminate those offenses by launching this book. Following the Civil War, the period of twelve years known as Reconstruction was perhaps the most brutal period of racial terrorism. The contents may be hard to read. I confess that I often wrote through tears.

In the end, I hope your takeaway is this: Regardless of race and ethnicity, all people are created in the image of God, a one-of-a-kind miracle, loved by Him, and created for a purpose. We are called to unity, to be perfectly one (John 17:23). May we join together in raising our arms of freedom to the Savior who released us from the captivity of sin.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. — John 8:36 NIV

I hope you enjoy Annie’s story as the life of this contemporary character intersects with Charlotte’s story from 150 years earlier. Both experience a coming-of-age change as they seek to escape from what holds them captive.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, March 3

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 4

The Avid Reader, March 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 5

Inklings and notions, March 6

For Him and My Family, March 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 8

Miriam Jacob, March 8

deb’s Book Review, March 9

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 11

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 12

Bizwings Blog, March 13

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 14 (Spotlight)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 14

Simple Harvest Reads, March 15 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 16

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen 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/1b4bd/arms-of-freedom-celebration-tour-giveaway

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, New-to-Me Author

High-Wire Heartbreak by Anna Schmidt

About the Book

Book: High-Wire Heartbreak

Author: Anna Schmidt

Genre: Christian/Romance/History

Release date: January 1, 2022

In 1936–A party at the Ringling mansion Ca d’Zan in Sarasota, Florida, leads to a robbery–and possibly death.

A successful historical mystery writer, Chloe Whitfield comes to Ca’ d’Zan to research her next novel. Chloe’s fascination with the circus is rooted in family stories of her great-grandmother Lucinda Conroy, who reportedly was a trapeze artist of some renown. She’s heard hints of scandal—and perhaps larceny, but no details.

Chloe’s grandmother—rumored to be Lucinda’s only offspring—was raised in an orphanage and never knew her mother. Intrigued as she is, Chloe has no intent of writing about Lucinda until she sees a poster featuring Lucinda as the star performer for a 70th birthday gala for John Ringling in May of 1936. From there the trail goes cold.

Who was Lucinda and what happened to her?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions


These novels in Barbour’s The Doors to the Past series just keep getting better and better. I found High-Wire Heartbreak by Anna Schmidt to be a new favorite.

First off, I love stories that are split-time, and Schmidt does a masterful job at weaving the mystery in and out of the two storylines and finally tying them back together with an unexpected twist.

I also love stories set in a particular historical location. Schmidt so well describes Ca d’Zan in its heyday that I can’t help adding it to my bucket list of places to visit.

I can’t express how much I cared about the characters and their struggles and triumphs. Reading about Lucy early on tore my emotions up. How I wanted her to make different choices! And Chloe. While I could see where her heart was headed, I wasn’t sure how her assistant, Tilda, would affect the outcome of Chloe’s personal and professional life. What kind of wild card is Tilda in the scheme of this split-time puzzle?

And I found it to be especially heart-wrenching at times as different characters were either maligned or were desperate for love or approval that didn’t seem likely.
I did wish there were more references to how faith played an integral part in the main characters’ lives. Mostly we see a few very short prayers from Chloe.

After reading this novel by Anna Schmidt, I eagerly look forward to the next Doors to the Past story. Can it possibly top this one? And as this is my first Schmidt novel, I’m off to add other of her books to my to-be-read pile!

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

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! Drawn into These Characters’ Lives Immediately!

About the Author

Anna Schmidt is the author of over twenty works of fiction. Among her many honors, Anna is the recipient of Romantic Times’ Reviewer’s Choice Award and a finalist for the RITA award for romantic fiction. She enjoys gardening and collecting seashells at her winter home in Florida.

More from Anna

It’s hard to split time living between Wisconsin and Sarasota Florida and NOT get caught up in the circus world! The Ringlings are icons in Sarasota where a LOT of things are named for them! But the five circus brothers got their start right here in Wisconsin. So, when the opportunity to create a story for DOORS TO THE PAST came my way, it was pretty much a no-brainer that I would go with John and Mable Ringling’s incredible home, Ca ‘d Zan as the setting. Then somehow, I stumbled on this picture:

and I knew she was my character of Lucinda, the trapeze artist whose story would drive my novel. I hope you fall in love with her—and Chloe—as I did, and most of all I hope you’ll be in touch to let me know what you thought at http://booksbyanna.com.

HAPPY READING and all best wishes, Anna

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 25

Remembrancy, January 25

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 25 (Author Interview)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 26

For the Love of Literature, January 26

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 26

Genesis 5020, January 27

Texas Book-aholic, January 27

Inklings and notions, January 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 28

Rachael’s Inkwell, January 28

Austen’s Angle: Jane Austen’s Influence in Modern America, January 29

For Him and My Family, January 29

Rebecca Tews, January 29

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 30

deb’s Book Review, January 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 31

Wishful Endings, January 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 31

Bizwings Blog, February 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 1

Book Butterfly in Dreamland, February 1

Older & Smarter?, February 2

Connie’s History Classroom, February 2

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 3 (Spotlight)

Bigreadersite, February 3

Blogging with Carol, February 3

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, February 4

Life of Literature, February 4

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 5

Joannabair, February 5

Blossoms and Blessings, February 6

Pause for Tales, February 6

Labor Not in Vain, February 6

Splashes of Joy, February 7

Through the Fire Blogs, February 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Anna is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and paper 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/186c0/high-wire-heartbreak-celebration-tour-giveaway

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, NetGalley

Behind Love’s Wall by Carrie Fancett Pagels Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Behind Love’s Wall

Author: Carrie Fancett Pagels

Genre: FICTION/ Christian/Romance

Release date: November 1, 2021

9781636090696 (2)

Two successful women, a hundred-and-twenty-years apart, build walls to protect their hearts. Modern-day Willa, a successful interior decorator, is chosen to consult for the Grand Hotel’s possible redesign. She discovers a journal detailing the struggles of a young woman, Lily—which reveals dark secrets. The renowned singer wasn’t who she pretended to be. As Willa reaches out to Lily’s descendant, a charismatic and prominent landscape artist, she lets down her guard. Should she share the journal with him, or once again erect a wall as she struggles to redesign both the Grand and her life?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Behind Love’s Wall, the latest addition to the Doors to the Past series by Barbour, is a great dual timeline novel. Penned by Carrie Fancett Pagels, herself originally a “Yooper,” this romantic mystery is set on the magical Mackinac Island. Having a passing familiarity with the area, I enjoyed Ms. Pagels’s description of the Island, its landmarks, and the Grand Hotel itself.
I had a little trouble with the dual timeline at first. This is unusual for me, as I generally read many dual-timelines without feeling lost. Eventually, I closed the book with a well-satisfied feeling that all things worked out, and there were some great twists and surprises that truly made the novel delightful. Bravo for a stunning conclusion!!
The author’s notes were of great interest to me. They elaborate so well on the author’s research and separate fact from fiction, which I love.


Be prepared for the unexpected! Many of the main characters surprised me, like Michael. I really empathized with him as he struggled. I especially connected with Lilly, the heroine of the early timeline. How many times do we humans worry about a malady running through bloodlines or obsess over some parental issue we are sure we will inherit? Faith is a gentle aspect, bringing in hope and release from self-made prisons.
Recommended!

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

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great! Busy Dual Timeline, Mackinac Island Hides Family Secrets

About the Author

ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of over a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper” in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at http://www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.

More from Carrie

Why I Wrote This Novel

I got a chance to write another novel set on Mackinac Island!!!

I’m the author of over twenty published stories. I have many books, both novel and novella length, set at the Straits of Mackinac including Maggie Award winner and Romantic Times Top Pick My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island. In the summer, I go up to the area and I’m blessed to sign books at the Island Bookstore—sometimes hundreds of books which is such an amazing thing I can’t tell you! Now that MHBoMI is out of print, Barbour has been helping by doing limited print runs for while I am up there.

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island was originally part of a full series that I pitched but it didn’t get picked up for all three stories. MHBoMI got picked up as part of the My Heart Belongs series that Barbour put out a few years ago. The second book in my original Brides of Mackinac series was heroine Sadie’s story, which was published as a novella “His Anchor” in First Love Forever collection.  So I had two of my book babies delivered out into the world and Lily’s story sat there for a while.

In the Covid summer of 2020, I arrived in my home state of Michigan and over dinner with a close friend I learned that the folks at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island were having legal trouble with their previous long-time designed Carlton Varney suing them. I’d been disappointed that the Mussers, who’d owned the Grand for generations, had sold the hotel but this new development really bugged me.  While I was in the Upper Peninsula, I finished an Indy book, Dogwood Plantation, which only figures since I often write my Michigan stories while I am in Virginia and vice versa! I knew the only other book I wanted to work on was to complete my Brides of Mackinac trilogy (not exactly since they aren’t all in one series!) with Lily’s story. I also had a manuscript about 70% done that was my very first contemporary Women’s Fiction novel. When my agent encouraged me to submit a Mackinac Island story set at the Grand Hotel to Barbour’s Doors to the Past series, I knew immediately that the only story for historical I wanted to write was Lily’s. That meant that I needed, for this dual-timeline series, a contemporary story. That wasn’t just a chance sharing at dinner—I believe the info about the lawsuit was meant to be passed on to me one of those God-incidences. My modern-day heroine then became an established resort designer who had a trunkful of issues just like Lily did.

Was I ever glad that I had finally written my first contemporary Women’s Fiction (Butterfly Cottage) because that skill set came in very handy in writing the modern-day 2020 story of Willa in Behind Love’s Wall! This was the most difficult novel to write that I have done so far as I write in character and going back and forth between the 1895 and 2020 timelines could be draining. I tried to write each character and setting on separate days but that couldn’t always be managed.

I pray that this story will touch readers’ hearts. I pray that someone, like the young waitress I meant on Mackinac Island who had been spiritually moved by My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island (she read her grandmother’s copy after her grandma passed away!), will read this book and feel that connection to our Maker. That’s what Christian Fiction is all about!

Blog Stops

Life of Literature, November 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 18

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 19

Cats in the Cradle Blog, November 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 19

Inklings and notions, November 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 20

For Him and My Family, November 21

Mary Hake, November 21

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 22

Texas Book-aholic, November 22

For the Love of Literature, November 22

deb’s Book Review, November 23

Betti Mace, November 23

Genesis 5020, November 23

Older & Smarter?, November 24

Remembrancy, November 24

Blossoms and Blessings, November 25

Stephanie’s life of determination, November 25

Connect in Fiction, November 25

Rebecca Tews, November 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 26

Through the fire blogs, November 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 27

Pause for Tales, November 27

Bigreadersite, November 28

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 28

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 28

Connie’s History Classroom, November 29

Bizwings Blog, November 29

Labor Not in Vain, November 29

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 30

To Everything There Is A Season, November 30

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 1

Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen, December 1

Where Faith and Books Meet, December 1

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carrie 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/137e9/behind-love-s-wall-celebration-tour-giveaway


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

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright, Review

About the Book

Title: On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: June 2021

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

1885.
Adria Fontaine has been sent to recover goods her father pirated on the Great Lakes during the war. But when she arrives at Foxglove Manor–a stone house on a cliff overlooking Lake Superior–Adria senses wickedness hovering over the property. The mistress of Foxglove is an eccentric and seemingly cruel old woman who has filled her house with dangerous secrets, ones that may cost Adria her life.

Present day.
Kailey Gibson is a new nurse’s aide at a senior home in a renovated old stone manor. Kidnapped as a child, she has nothing but locked-up memories of secrets and death, overshadowed by the chilling promise from her abductors that they would return. When the residents of Foxglove start sharing stories of whispers in the night, hidden treasure, and a love willing to kill, it becomes clear this home is far from a haven. She’ll have to risk it all to banish the past’s demons, including her own. 

About the Author

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

You can find Jaime at her website at http://www.jaimejowright.com

on Twitter @jaimejowright

or on GoodReads at
http://www.jaimejowright.com



My Impressions

“Foxglove Manor was alive. It had eyes in the walls and a soul in the floorboards.” Indeed, Foxglove Manor is an imposing, sinister house that sits on the cliffs at the edge of cold and howling Lake Superior. Jaime Jo Wright expertly evokes a very melancholy, ominous dual-timeline mystery in her latest, On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor.

In the post-Civil War story, Adria Fontaine is exiled to the manor as punishment for embarrassing her family. She can only get back in her father’s good graces by finding what he is searching for.

My heart went out to poor Adria, whose father and sister are incredibly cruel and self-centered. A large part of who she is, negatively, is caused by their abus
ive behavior towards her.

What an assorted, unusual cast of characters inhabit Foxglove when Adria arrives. I did not figure out this mystery, but I sure enjoyed how Ms. Wright drew her characters with such depth and intrigue. I loved how all the puzzle pieces came together at the end, quite differently than I would have deduced.

I did figure out a little bit more of the present-day part of the mystery, but it again was multi-faceted, so no wins there for me. Kudos to Wright for the way she stretches and twists her characters to conform to the shape of this compelling, spooky story! Yet it is all very plausible. More kudos.


And Jude. This quote shows all of Kailey’s love and respect for him, when many would disregard him. “But the questions drilled into her by kidnappers at the age of five had their answers embedded in the mind of Jude, the boy with autism. And now Jude was the man with autism, whom too many looked on as less than instead of what he was—a veritable genius.”
I love how Jaime Jo Wright shows what an incredible genius an autistic person can be, way more than the average person we tend to see as “normal!”

The two tales tie together well, with the one dependent on the other. Intrigue and suspense run high as shenanigans, manipulation, and abuse are slowly revealed. Romance and some humor plus faith round out this amazing tale and make it a must-read for those who love dual-timelines, mysteries, the Great Lakes, the Civil War, special needs people, etc.

More Notable Quotables:

“The truth that Foxglove Manor would twist its way into your soul until one day it owned you, and it called to you, and it didn’t cease hunting you until you returned.”

“I am losing my mind, and Raymond wants to take all the fun out of it.”

“…there’s a smartness in being a coward. A person stays alive when they run.”

“Stereotyping and ostracizing because of differences were the worst sorts of cruelty.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Eerie, Historic, & Amazing Dual Timeline Not to be Missed!!

Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

Piecing It All Together, #1 Plain Patterns, by Leslie Gould

About the Book

Title: Piecing It All Together 52536471

Series: #1 Plain Patterns

Author: Leslie Gould

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: August 2020

Genre: Amish Dual-Timeline

 

When Savannah Mast’s fiance dumps her a week before their wedding, she flees California for the safety of her Amish grandmother’s farm near Nappanee, Indiana. She’s not planning on staying long but becomes unexpectedly entangled in the search for a missing Amish girl. She can’t leave–especially not when her childhood friend Tommy Yoder is implicated as a suspect.

When Savannah accompanies her grandmother to Plain Patterns, a nearby quilt shop, the owner and local historian, Jane Berger, relates a tale about another woman’s disappearance back in the 1800s that has curious echoes to today.

Inspired by the story, Savannah does all she can to find the Amish girl and clear Tommy’s name. But when her former fiance shows up, begging her to return to California and marry him after all, she must choose between accepting the security of what he has to offer or continuing the complicated legacy of her family’s faith.

 

My Review

Piecing It All Together, #1 Plain Patterns, by Leslie Gould, is one novel I want to label purely “Wunderbar.” I was fortunate to catch a sample chapter somewhere on my phone and I was hooked. I immediately requested a copy from NetGalley. I must admit, I was a little uncertain. Some of Gould’s collaborations I have loved, while one particular series was not my style. But I am so glad I didn’t miss this one, and I will be first in line for book two, it is that enticing.

Piecing It All Together 1
Gould’s riveting novel is a dual-timeline, with two young women, either Amish or with
Amish ties, who are desperately seeking their place in life. Gould weaves so much
tension into each story, switching between the two effortlessly. I couldn’t stand to put the
book down and finished it in one day. So many emotions are pulled out of the reader’s
heart, as you journey life with both present-day Savannah and 1842’s Emma and begin to
see the greater picture come together.
So many takeaways for any reader. As we see overt and covert prejudice, we see what
the cost is to fight for true equality. Some people don’t give troublesome teenagers a
chance to grow and mature into upstanding adults. We see characters who, one step at a
time, rise far above anything they’d ever imagined. And we see incredible courage in the
face of insurmountable odds, only to be recognized after the fact. Faith and forgiveness
lived out to the fullest. I can’t rave enough about this book and its unforgettable
characters.

Piecing It All Together 2
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through
NetGalley. No positive review was required and the opinions are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

151399Leslie Gould is the #1 bestselling and Christy Award-winning author of thirty novels. She received her MFA from Portland State University and teaches writing at Warner Pacific University. Leslie enjoys traveling, hiking, and history. She and her husband, Peter, are the revolving-door parents of four children and two cats. Visit her at http://www.lesliegould.com/.

You can also connect with Leslie on Twitter.

Twitter