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Passages of Hope by Terri J Haynes Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Passages of Hope

Author: Terri J. Haynes

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance

Release date: November, 2022

Discover the Story Behind a Secret Passageway 

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

Gracie Kingston begins renovations on the Philadelphia house inherited from her grandmother and finds a secret room. It is connected to a house nearby, the home of William Still, the man known as the father of the Underground Railroad. As she researches, she discovers a mystery in her house’s ownership. In 1855, Olivia Kingston helps a mother and her young child by hiding them in a secret room in her home. As she helps, she learns that there may be an impostor conductor in their community. As Gracie’s and Olivia’s stories intertwine, they learn the meaning of sacrifice and love.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Terri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband). She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As she grew, her love for writing grew as she tried her hand at poetry, articles, speeches and fiction. She is storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers in the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.
Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include: Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Urbanfaith.com, Vista Devotional, and Publisher’s Weekly.
Terri holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology, a Master’s degree in Theological Studies and a certificate in creative writing and graphic design, meeting the minimal requirements of being a geek. She and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.
Website: http://www.terrijhaynes.com
Blog: http://www.inotherwords.terrijhaynes.com

More from Terri

Family, Underground Railroad, two strong Black women, and knitting in one book? Yes.

In addition to being an author, I am a knitter, crocheter, indie yarn dyer, business owner, unofficial historian, wife, mother, and sister. At first glance, all those things seem too different to combine in one book. But they weave together so perfectly.

As an author, I explore my world with curiosity. I find many subjects interesting and it shows in this book. It’s not often that an author can combine such a range of topics in one novel. I’m so glad I got to do it for this one.

Life is a tapestry of many colors knit together and my goal was to show that. That family and history, grieving and crafting, struggle and triumph, are all entwined threads. Their vibrancy can be combined to create a beautiful project, the pain and joy both add hue and color to life. This is what I hope you find in this book.

My Impressions

“…she was a strong Black woman in a long line of strong Black women.”

“With a little time and patience, any mistake can be fixed.”

Each Doors to the Past dual timeline novels has been incredible, and Passages of Hope by Terri J Haynes will be seared into my memory for a long time.

The suspense of the 1860s story line is palpable and almost unbearable as Olivia Kingston works as a stationmaster on the Underground RailRoad. Who can be trusted and who is the enemy? Olivia’s tendency to try to handle problems on her own creates some real dangers.

I loved the two romances. While the one is more traditional, the other shows a marriage needing mended. I am glad that Haynes allows the reader to see both loves developing and deepening.

Speaking of love, Gracie McNeil is convinced she is a loser and will need a special realization of how much she is loved, if she is to overcome her negative, self-fulfilling thoughts. “Her childhood knitting teacher had told her that she took to knitting like she was born with needles and yarn in her hands. The compliment stung. She had not been born with yarn and needles. She had been born with trouble.” What an intrinsic self-doubt that only God can help an individual overcome!

Haynes populates both stories with wonderful characters. Douglas stands out, as do Clarence, Ms. Lila, and Ada. But the person who is most intriguing to me, is one we never actually meet, Gran.

All these novels stand alone, so if you haven’t read any, Passages of Hope is an excellent place to start. I can’t recommend it enough!

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

Notable Quotable:

“‘God’s business—’ ‘—ain’t your business,’” “But Gran kept telling me that. That God has His own ways of doing things that we may not understand.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! A novel of tremendous hurt and inhumanity with Hope peeking through!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 29

lakesidelivingsite, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, November 30

Cover Lover Book Review, December 1

Inklings and notions, December 1

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 2 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, December 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 3

For the Love of Literature, December 4

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 4

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 5

Connie’s History Classroom, December 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 6

Holly’s Book Corner, December 6

Blossoms and Blessings, December 7

Mary Hake, December 7

Remembrancy, December 8

For Him and My Family, December 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 9

Lis Loves Reading, December 9

Through the fire blogs, December 10

Spoken from the Heart, December 10

Pause for Tales, December 11

Labor Not in Vain, December 11

Betti Mace, December 12

Marriage, Motherhood, & Homeschool, December 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Terri 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/22cd0/passages-of-hope-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Purchase

The Bookshop of Secrets by Mollie Rushmeyer Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Bookshop of Secrects

Author: Mollie Rushmeyer

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction (Christian)

Release date: October 25, 2022

A collection of lost books holds the clues to her family’s legacy…and her future.

Hope Sparrow has mastered the art of outrunning her tragic past, learning never to stay anywhere too long and never to allow anyone control over her life again. Coming to Wanishin Falls in search of her family’s history already feels too risky. But somewhere in the towering stacks of this dusty old bookshop are the books that hold Hope’s last ties to her late mother—and to a rumored family treasure that could help her start over.

Only, the bookshop is in shambles, and the elderly owner is in the beginning stages of dementia and can’t remember where the books lie. To find the last links to the loved ones she’s lost, Hope must stay and accept help from the townsfolk to locate the treasured volumes. Each secret she uncovers brings her closer to understanding where she came from. But the longer she stays in the quaint town, the more people find their way into the cracks in her heart. And letting them in may be the greatest risk of all…

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Mollie writes contemporary fiction with a heart for history. What does this mean exactly? She loves to write inspirational fiction in contemporary settings with fascinating historical elements, people, objects, and stories woven throughout.

A modern girl herself– She wouldn’t want to go a day without modern plumbing and central air! But she’s always felt a special connection to the past. The legacies and lives left behind are like gifts waiting to be unwrapped, and she’s excited to share this blend of history and contemporary living with readers.

A born and bred Midwestern gal, Mollie Rushmeyer, makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband and two spunky, beautiful daughters. She is not only a bibliophile (the dustier the better, in her opinion), she’s a true anglophile at heart. Tea and coffee fuel her travels, by Google maps at least, and her passion for the written word.

More from Mollie

Since childhood, opening up a book unlocked a whole new world for me. Of possibilities and adventure, and made me care for people and places that didn’t exist. Like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia, books transported me. It was like magic.

As I began dreaming up The Bookshop of Secrets in its early stages, I knew I wanted to create a character who loved books and was in awe of their transformative and transportive power as much as I am. Thus, Hope Sparrow, a human trafficking survivor and ultimate book lover, was born. I also wanted to honor my grandpa, who planted the seed—love of the written word—in my heart from the time I was very young. And so, Ulysses, the owner of Dusty Jackets Bookshop in the story, is based on my sweet grandpa who has since passed away. But I know he’d love this homage to all things literary.

In the middle of writing this book, in 2018, I had a stroke. As with most medical emergencies, it was quite unexpected. I had a hole in my heart (that has been repaired, thankfully). Afterward, I didn’t know if I’d ever write again and I was more terrified of that than not being able to fully move my left arm again. My brain had to make new connections and it was so difficult, still is some days, to be creative. To find the right words.

But God. In the way that only He can, He brought this forgotten story, this project’s finish line that seemed to be at the summit of an insurmountable mountain within reach. I thought I had something to prove to myself. I begged God not to forget my dream to write. Like He could. But in the end, I just had to trust like my character Hope. Trust that He is good even when life hurts and is uncertain.

“Do you know what the opposite of fear is?”

“Bravery? Peace?” Dare she say her namesake, hope?

“The true counterpart of fear is faith. It takes faith to walk into the future, the unknown, with confidence. Secure in the love of the One who created you and those around you outweighs any hardship, real or imagined, that lies on the path ahead.”

I hope following Hope’s journey of healing and love in The Bookshop of Secrets truly blesses you.

My Impressions

“It’s in our broken places God plants seeds of hope. He will grow something beautiful from ashes.”

Hope Sparrow, fleeing her unspeakably abusive past, lands in Wanishing Falls, MN, at an old mom-and-pop bookstore. Desperate to find books with clues to her past, Hope agrees to stay and help run the store while she searches for her antique books. She doesn’t count on falling in love with the town, the couple that operates the store, nor their handsome, troubled grandson.

I loved seeing the healing that wise, older people can bring as they seek to live out the love of Jesus. Dee and Mags are two wonderful secondary characters I would like to have known.

I loved that Ronan and Kat are so willing to keep on offering friendship even when Hope seems to reject it repeatedly. While that is the Christian way, how many of us would give a person multiple chances in real life?

Hope has difficulty seeing herself as the kind, gentle, caring soul that she is. Instead, she sees herself through lies from her past. She needs to learn that

“the past doesn’t tell us who we are, only where we’ve been.”

The road to faith is rocky for Hope and Ronan. Can they put aside their individual pasts and others’ opinions to trust that God’s love supersedes anything that may have happened to them? Can they truly believe this for good? This whole idea of giving a problem over to God and realizing He’s got it, I can relax, really hit home for me last night, as I struggled with worry and fear. I have to choose to continue in His love.

The one thing that I think readers should know, is there may be trigger subjects. One, which wasn’t the main issue, rang true with me, and made it difficult to read those passages as I lived them with the character.

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! A trigger made some of it difficult to read, but the faith lesson was timely, and I enjoyed the story.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 27

lakesidelivingsite, October 27

Inklings and notions, October 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 28

Simple Harvest Reads, October 28 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

An Author’s Take, October 29

The Write Escape, October 29

deb’s Book Review, October 29

Texas Book-aholic, October 30

Rebecca Tews, October 30

Blogging With Carol, October 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 31

Inspired by fiction, October 31

Life of Literature, October 31

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 1

Cover Lover Book Review, November 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 2

Losing the Busyness, November 2

For Him and My Family, November 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 3

Holly’s Book Corner, November 3

Mary Hake, November 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 4 (Author Interview)

Paula’s Pad of Suspense and Detection, November 4

Blossoms and Blessings, November 4

Sylvan Musings, November 5

Lily’s Book Reviews, November 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 5

A Reader’s Brain, November 6

Book Looks by Lisa, November 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 7

Truth and Grace Homeachool Academy, November 7

Story Craft, November 7

Through the fire blogs, November 8

Pause for Tales, November 8

Labor Not in Vain, November 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 9

To Everything There Is A Season, November 9

Lights in a Dark World, November 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Mollie is giving away the grand prize package of a eBook or signed paperback copy (paperback U.S. Only) of The Bookshop of Secrets 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/226c7/the-bookshop-of-secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Enclave Publishers, Kindle, New-to-Me Author, Purchase

The Wonderland Trials by Sara Ella Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Wonderland Trials

Author: Sara Ella

Genre: YA Dystopian Fantasy / Alice in Wonderland retelling

Release date: July 12, 2022

Solve the clues. Face your fears. Survive the Trials. 

All Alice Liddell wants is to escape her Normal life in Oxford and find the parents who abandoned her ten years ago. But she gets more than she bargained for when her older sister Charlotte is arrested for having the infamous Wonder Gene—the key to unlocking the curious Wonderland Reality.

Soon, Alice receives a rather cryptic invitation to play for Team Heart in this year’s annual—and often deadly—Wonderland Trials. Now she has less than twenty-four hours to find her way into Wonderland where nothing is impossible . . . or what it seems.

The stakes are raised when she discovers players go missing during the Trials each year. Will she and her team solve the clues and find the missing players? Or will betrayal and distrust win, leaving Alice alone in a world of her own? Follow the White Rabbit into this topsy-turvy fantasy where players become prey, a sip of the wrong tea might as well be poison, and a queen’s ways do not always lead one where they ought to go.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Nothing is impossible.”

“Wonderland is for Wonders. Outsiders don’t belong.”

Hmmm…This is definitely a YA novel in terms of the mental processing going on, the quick changing of allegiances, the uncertainty of knowing one’s own mind. Seems to me that Sara Ella captured the thought processes of a young adult very well in her retelling of Alice in Wonderland as she pens The Wonderland Trials.

I am going to go out on a limb and say this is an allegorical novel, reminding me loosely of the allegory of C S Lewis’s Narnia. I loved that part. If you love chess, you will certainly want to read this novel. Also, if you love the nonsense of Alice in Wonderland (which I always struggled with), you will love this remade tale. Sara Ella does a fantastic job of incorporating many of the characters and sayings of the original work and making some of them very endearing to a nonpreferred reader of the Lewis Carroll novel like myself. I found an affinity to Chess, Alice, and Dinah that I did not expect out of this novel that contained more nonsense than I thought I could handle. It worked together enough to make a believer out of me by the end of the book! For that reason, while this read is not my chosen cup of tea, it certainly is a great antidote for the skeptic like myself, and I am accordingly giving it 5 stars!

One caveat-reader beware- this book builds in intensity to a near frenzy (how fitting!), then ends in a cliff-hanger. That is something I always want to know before starting a book, and I do not consider that a spoiler!!

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

Notable Quotables:

“We’ve let fear rule us-divide us -for so long-we’ve forgotten we’re all part of the same team.”

“Sometimes family isn’t the one you’re born with. It’s the one you find. Or the ones who find you.”

About the Author

Once upon a time, Sara Ella dreamed she would marry a prince and live in a castle. Now she spends her days homeschooling her three Jedi in training, braving the Arizona summers, and reminding her superhero husband that it’s almost Christmas (even if it’s only January). When she’s not writing, Sara might be found behind her camera lens or planning her next adventure in the great wide somewhere. She is a Hufflepuff who finds joy in the simplicity of sipping a lavender white mocha and singing Disney tunes in the car. Sara is the author of the Unblemished trilogy and Coral, a reimagining of The Little Mermaid that focuses on mental health. Her latest journey into the world of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland feels like coming full circle after her time spent chasing the White Rabbit around Walt Disney World. Sara loves fairy tales and Jesus, and she still believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away.” Connect with her online at SaraElla.com or find her on Instagram at @saraellawrites.

More from Sara

Welcome to Wonderland!

When I started this journey down the rabbit hole, I had no idea where it would lead me. From switching publishers to signing a book contract during a pandemic, this writing journey has certainly been an adventure for the books!

As with every story I write, life handed me a few trials along the way with this one. I didn’t know how it would end until a few weeks before deadline. With that time crunch came an epiphany that altered a good portion of the plot—an idea that had me scrambling to rewrite entire scenes right up until the final hours before I turned the story in to my editor. It was difficult, but the book is better for it—I am better for it.

It could be said that an author shapes the story, but I personally believe it’s equally true that the story shapes the author. Every book I have written has changed me in some way. With The Wonderland Trials, I can pinpoint three takeaways that helped me grow in ways I never expected.

I learned to not take life so seriously.

We all have to do the adulting thing. We have bills to pay and homes to clean and deadlines to meet. But in the midst of all that chaos and craziness is a time to laugh. To play. To make a mess on the living room floor building Legos with my toddler or take a walk to the park.

I found myself often rushing through time with friends because I had to write or work or check more boxes off my task list. But feeling stressed and cutting friend and family time short didn’t accomplish anything. It didn’t get my book written faster. I’m not saying to put things off that need to be done—it’s important to be responsible. I am saying I learned that I have to balance work and play, and most importantly, I need to be present for those in my life.

It’s not only okay to sit back and relax now and again, it’s necessary. I need to let go of the constant to-do list and invest my time in things that bring me joy. That way, when it’s time to sit down and pound the keys, I’m filled and inspired, rather than tired and anxious.

I learned to see the beauty in found family.

They say you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. I disagree. As a girl who was raised by a stepdad who has loved me unconditionally as his own from the time I was two, I think there is something truly special about family that you find and make your own.

There have been times I’ve felt jealous of my friends who still have their biological parents around. I lost my mom in 2012 and my birth dad in 2020. I have maybe a handful of blood relatives left. I love them to bits, and I’m so grateful for them! But my family extends beyond the boundaries of blood. When I really think about it, I have family coming out of my ears and then some.

I have besties who became my soul sisters and women who stepped in as moms and grandmas. I have big brothers who would protect me with their lives and nieces and nephews I get to spoil on holidays and birthdays. As Alice says in The Wonderland Trials, “​​Sometimes family isn’t the one you’re born with. It’s the one you find. Or the ones who find you.”

I learned to believe in the impossible.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m the pessimist in my family. I try to see every worst-case scenario when making a decision. I ask all the what-ifs in the book. I’m like MJ in the Spider-Man movies— “If you expect disappointment, then you can never really get disappointed.”

My husband, on the other hand, has the faith of a child. When I’m lacking in faith, he’s there to remind me of all God can do. And God almost always surprises me with how He goes about doing those things. In a world with drive-thrus, mobile bank deposits, food deliveries, and every other form of instant service we can think of, the call to be patient and wait on the Lord is often forgotten.

I want answers now. I want my family member to be healed now. I want the baby we’ve been waiting over a year to adopt now. God can do the impossible, right? So why doesn’t He hurry up and do it already?

Because God is not a vending machine. And just because He chooses not to perform the miracle I want when and how I want it, that doesn’t mean he isn’t working. In fact, it’s the waiting period when God tends to do His best work on me.

More often than not, I am the impossible one, the impossible heart that needs changing. The stubborn clay that needs molding. The cracked tea cup that needs to be fixed and filled with rivers of gold. What I see as impossible to fix or change, God sees as an opportunity to help me grow. So I’ll keep believing in the impossible. After all, God took me, an impossibly helpless sinner, and made me into something new.

Thank you for taking time to read my thoughts and for giving this little book a chance. Happy reading, Wonders! The impossible awaits!

Sincerely,

Sara Ella

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 30

Rachael’s Inkwell, July 30

A Reader’s Brain, July 31

For Him and My Family, July 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 1

Texas Book-aholic, August 2

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 3

Inklings and notions, August 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 4

deb’s Book Review, August 5

Live. Love. Read., August 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 7

Mary Hake, August 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 8

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

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 10

Melissa’s Bookshelf, August 10

Wishful Endings, August 11

Blogging With Carol, August 12

Rebecca Tews, August 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sara is giving away the grand prize package of a signed Limited Edition Hardcover of The Wonderland Trials, $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, and $15 Starbucks 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/2038e/the-wonderland-trials-celebration-tour-giveaway

Bethany House, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, NetGalley

In Honor’s Defense by Karen Witemeyer Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: In Honor’s Defense

Author: Karen Witemeyer

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: June 7, 2022

Luke Davenport has been fighting all his life–for respect, for country, and for those unable to fight for themselves. But now that his Horsemen brothers are domesticated, he’s left alone to battle the wildness within. When an opportunity arises to take a job on his own, tracking down a group of rustlers, he jumps at the chance.

Damaris Baxter has mastered the art of invisibility. Plain and quiet, she hides in books and needlework, content to be overlooked. Until her brother dies suddenly, leaving her custody of her nephew. She moves to Texas to care for Nathaniel, determined to create the family for herself that she never thought she’d have and to give him the family he desperately needs.

When Nate finds himself knee-deep in trouble, Luke’s attempt to protect him leaves Damaris feeling indebted to the Horseman. But suspicions grow regarding the mysterious death of Damaris’s brother. And the more questions they ask, the more danger appears, threatening the family Luke may be unable to live without.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Horsemen stand together.”

In Honor’s Defense, #3 Hanger’s Horsemen, by Karen Witemeyer is the story of the fourth and final Horseman. I enjoyed the first but didn’t get a chance to read the second. This book can be read as a standalone, but you will appreciate the relationships and characters so much more, if you read the other two first.

I enjoyed the easy reading style, coupled with the romance, historical western setting, and suspense all wrapped up into one unputdownable package. Witemeyer uses humor to help drive her thoughts home and make her characters relatable and memorable. “She’d persevere, even if the thought of asserting herself among strangers delighted her as much as the prospect of being dragged behind a horse. By her hair. Through a bed of cacti.” How fun this book is!

Prayers, verses, and thoughts on spiritual matters as relates to a character’s development are smoothly woven into the story. I love the verses Witemeyer chooses to include in the story and how very apropos each one is to the situation. And how appropriate the book about “the Preach” would contain numerous Scripture references!

Damaris Baxter and Luke Davenport are two people who are polar opposites, yet life and God throw them together. Damaris has always been overlooked, but Luke’s attention and example help her develop from a wallflower into a formidable force, “Texas Damaris.” I love that kind of influence!

Luke first meets Damaris and her nephew, Nate, when he agrees to locate missing cattle for a neighboring rancher. Luke is attracted to the little struggling family who possesses a sense of home he never had. Can Luke and Damaris work together to rescue not only the ranch, but her nephew’s wayward heart? And what of their own lonely hearts?

Those who like historical fiction, a bit of a mystery, and westerns, will want to read this novel. Also, those interested in troubled youth, and the difference mercy and love can make in lives will find this book a treasure.

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

Notable Quotables:

“To be chosen for herself—it was the secret desire of her heart. To be important to someone. More than a glorified servant who fetched and carried and entertained at her aunt’s whim. To be wanted truly for herself. Seen instead of invisible. Valued instead of tolerated.”

“A good boss knew his men, but no man knew another completely. Everyone had secrets.”

“Strange that she should feel more valued and cherished in the middle of an armed standoff than in the middle of her family.”

“The longer the anger lives in you, the more it erodes your soul and destroys your relationships. If you’re not careful, one day it’ll hollow you out and leave you with nothing.”

“sugarcoating danger only left a person ill-equipped to respond when it came calling.”

“Unfortunately, the law isn’t always about what is true. It’s about what you can get a judge and jury to believe is true.”

“Contentment isn’t chained to a certain set of circumstances, Luke. It’s portable. You can take it with you wherever you go.”

“…it’s that there are always more options than you see at first glance. You just might have to get a little creative in where you look for them.”

“It don’t matter how dark things look or how big your opponent is. If you believe you can win, you’re already halfway to victory.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! A great conclusion to the Horsemen Series!!

About the Author

For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Voted #1 Readers’ Favorite Christian Romance Author in 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, Karen is a multiple award-winning author and a firm believer in the power of happy endings. She is an avid cross-stitcher, tea drinker, and gospel hymn singer who makes her home in Abilene, TX with her heroic husband who vanquishes laundry dragons and dirty dish villains whenever she’s on deadline.

More from Karen

Meet Luke and Damaris

As the Hanger’s Horsemen series comes to a close, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Luke Davenport and Damaris Baxter. If you haven’t read the other books in this series, don’t worry. This one stands on its own just fine.

Luke

Luke Davenport is a former cavalry officer who is part of an elite squad of men known as Hanger’s Horsemen. Haunted by the horrors of war, this group of Texas legends has spent the last few years fighting for justice on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves. Luke is Matthew Hanger’s right-hand man, but when Matt retires the Horsemen in favor of a more settled life with his new wife, Luke is left feeling adrift. So when a solo job comes his way to track down rustled cattle, he jumps at the opportunity.

Known for his strength, his size, and his skill with his fists, I modeled Luke after a pair of football players, Howie Long and JJ Watt. He’s a man of action with a bit of wildness inside, yet his ability to memorize Scripture earned him the nickname Preach. He’s a godly man with scars, seeking to find his place as his Horsemen brothers move on to new phases of life.

 Damaris 

Damaris Baxter has been invisible her entire life. Plain of face and quiet of manner, she it’s the epitome of unremarkable. While she dares heroic feats and grand adventures between the covers of her favorite books, life outside the pages consists of little more than needlework and dull conversation with her great aunt. Until her brother dies under suspicious circumstances and she travels to Texas to care for her nephew. Determined that the “Texas Damaris” will be bolder and braver than her former self, she sets out to win the heart of a grieving boy and ends up mixed up in a dangerous murder plot with a handsome cowboy who actually sees her.

When creating Damaris’s character, I gave her two of my favorite hobbies—reading and cross-stitching. She shares other similarities with me as well. She’s a quiet person who dislikes making waves, but when family needs her, there’s nothing she won’t do to help. Her questionable baking skills might also have found some inspiration in my personal experience. Just ask my husband about my famous transparent chocolate chip cookies. 

Opposites Attract?

I love to explore what brings people together, and while it’s a common idea that opposites attract, I’ve always believed that there must be some core commonalities beneath the differences to bind a couple together for a lifetime. So, while Luke and Damaris seem to be stark opposites—he an adventure-seeking soldier used to solving problems with guns and fists; she a quiet, proper lady used to escaping problems with books and needlework—they actually have several core commonalities. They both crave belonging and family, they both value God’s Word, and they both have a strong, protective instinct toward those they care about. This core common ground is what serves as the foundation for their relationship.

Now that you’ve been introduced to Luke and Damaris, I hope you’ll join them on the adventure that leads them to love.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 27

Book Looks by Lisa, June 27

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 27

Bliss, Books & Jewels, June 28

Daysong Reflections, June 28

For Him and My Family, June 29

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 29

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 30

Pause for Tales, June 30

lakesidelivingsite, June 30

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, July 1

Sylvan Musings, July 1

deb’s Book Review, July 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 2

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, July 2

Babbling BeckyL’s Book Impressions, July 3

Bizwings Blog, July 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 4 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, July 4

Inklings and notions, July 5

Simple Harvest Reads, July 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Connie’s History Classroom, July 6

SodbusterLiving, July 6

Texas Book-aholic, July 7

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 7

Through the Fire Blogs, July 7

Splashes of Joy, July 8

Melissa’s Bookshelf, July 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away a Hanger’s Horsemen prize bundle consisting of autographed copies of all three books in the series, a custom mug, and Horsemen swag!! (U.S. Only)

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/1f45c/in-honor-s-defense-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

Death Valley Double Cross by Dana Mentink Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Death Valley Double Cross

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspirational Suspense

Release date: February 22, 2022

DV#3 Death Valley Doublecross cover

A killer seeking revenge

will stop at nothing to get it…

Pilar Jefferson is shocked to learn that her supposedly deceased father is alive and has been in prison—and now his ruthless former partner is after her. Fleeing on her wedding day was the best way to protect her loved ones. But now with her mother held for ransom and her ex-fiancé, Austin Duke, stumbling back into her life, can she keep everyone safe—and escape an assassin?

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

Desert Justice

Book 1: Framed in Death Valley
Book 2: Missing in the Desert
Book 3: Death Valley Double Cross
Book 4: Death Valley Hideout

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Sorry is what you say when you break somebody’s coffee cup or lose your temper. Doesn’t seem like enough for betraying someone and humiliating them in front of everyone they love.”

Austin Duke, delivering a senior rescue pet, is suddenly thrown together with his ex-fiancé Pilar Jefferson. Together, they race to protect Pilar and unravel the mystery surrounding her family.

Dana Mentink skillfully brings the dry, hot Death Valley to life with her evocative word pictures. In this third Death Valley novel, Death Valley Double Cross, one can almost see the delicate desert blooms, feel the heat, and be exhausted by jaunts into the rocky cliffs. Any dog lovers need to beware: these four critters of Austin’s will steal your heart, just as they do Pilar’s. And the emotional wringer Mentink will put one through as we see Pilar’s reasoning for her actions, then Austin’s reasoning. Plus, the emotions of running for one’s life. Those who have tight-knit families or wish for one will love the extended Duke clan and their protectiveness for one of their own. I loved the spiritual journey of discovery that we see in both Pilar and Austin as the novel progresses. And, like the great writer she is, Mentink throws in some twists and curves that keep you guessing and readjusting your theories as you go. Bravo!!

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

Notable Quotables:

“How much of my life is an out-and-out lie?”

Noise and fear were related.

“No one understood the cost of her decision to run away…especially not Austin.”

The notion was tantalizing, that forgiveness could be handed out so graciously, like letting go of a heavy weight by simply relaxing your grip.

“No point in considering the ‘could haves.’ That’s one thing I’ve learned through all this physical therapy after I got shot. Work with what you have at the moment instead of what might have been.”

Humility would bring him grace.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent! Thoroughly, Emotionally Satisfying!!

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 a Holt Medallion winner. She is the Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over fifty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance 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

I remember standing on the edge of the lookout and gazing into the wonder that is Artist’s Palette in Death Valley. Artist’s Drive, which takes you to this breathtaking view, rises above Badwater Basin (the lowest spot in North America) and then meanders along twisting canyons and hills until it brings you to this popular tourist stop. The premier view is a place called Artist’s palette. It’s a sprawling pocket of color, hues of rose, ochre, green and gold tucked in the rippling landscape and teased to life by the desert sun. Isn’t that just like God? To lead us to surprises and wonders that await us in a sometimes hostile world? Every day we spent in Death Valley held a surprise, from the rocks that move mysteriously across the sands to the towering twists and turns of 20 Mule Team Canyon. There are only two things to do with a wonderous place like that…enjoy the divine bounty, and write a novel set there so others can come along!

I hope you will enjoy this third installment in the Desert Justice series. The first is Beckett’s story and then we had quiet cowboy Levi’s adventure. Now it’s brash pilot Austin’s turn. Will he get his happy ending after being dumped at the altar and wrecking his shoulder in an accident? Turn those pages and come with me to Death Valley to find out!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 29

Daysong Reflections, March 30

Texas Book-aholic, March 30

Lighthouse academy, March 31

Inklings and notions, March 31

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 1

Betti Mace, April 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 2

Pause for Tales, April 2

For Him and My Family, April 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, April 3 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, April 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 6

Life, Love, Writing, April 6

Bigreadersite, April 7

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

Bizwings Blog, April 8

For the Love of Literature, April 8

Blogging With Carol, April 9

HookMeInABook, April 9

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

Paula’s Persuasion, April 10

Blossoms and Blessings, April 11

Sodbuster Living, April 11

Labor Not in Vain, April 12

Through the fire blogs, April 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize package of the first three books in the series (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/1c112/death-valley-double-cross-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, Kregel, NetGalley, New Author, PB, Purchase, Read with Audra

Counterfeit Love by Crystal Caudill Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Title: Counterfeit Love

Author: Crystal Caudill

Series: #1 Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age

Publisher: Kregel

Released: March 2022

Can this undercover agent save the woman he loves–or is her heart as counterfeit as the money he’s been sent to track down?

After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa Plane owes it to him to save the family name–and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors’ threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn’t all Grandfather was hiding. And the secrets he kept have now trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home–and the truth.

After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiance is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career–but that’s better than failing her twice in one lifetime.

They must form a partnership, tentative though it is. But there’s no question they’re both still keeping secrets–and that lack of trust, along with the dangerous criminals out for their blood, threatens their hearts, their faith, and their very survival.

To read an excerpt of Counterfeit Love click here.

My Impressions

Ah, a deliciously, satisfying debut novel of the Gilded Age from Crystal Caudill. A couple, Theresa Payne and Broderick Cosgrove, once engaged, must determine if they can trust each other and if there is any hope for a rekindled romance. Will they be able to work together to uncover the true counterfeiters in Cincinnati?

Caudill emphasizes themes of trust, forgiveness, and family as she provides plenty of emotion, action, and truth. “Even if… “ is a big question that Theresa grapples with mightily. The novel is well-paced, balancing all the threads together- romance, history, suspense, and life lessons- delightfully.

Broderick is the long-absent love; tall, charming, and witty. But, he is shrouded in mystery. His methods are a little suspect. His results, well, not quick enough for the boss. Is he a man of faith and integrity or one who would play Theresa and his partners for fools?

Theresa is wonderfully headstrong, intensely loyal, and also very intelligent. Is she intelligent enough to figure out her grandfather’s secrets? Loyalty is a great quality if one places it in the right person. Can Theresa discern who to trust with her secrets? Theresa tends to be quick to forgive and allow most people second chances. I loved this about her, but sure rooted for her trust not to be abused!

While Theresa and Broderick are relatable and sure to earn the reader’s loyalty, other characters kept hopping the good guy/bad guy fence for me. What I thought of characters like Isaacs, Lydia, Abraham, Mrs. Hawking, Grandfather and others was variable. This fluidity made the story very suspenseful and I couldn’t put it down!

With thoughtful questions at the end, this would be a good book for a book club discussion.

I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher through I Read with Audra. (I also bought a copy for my keeper shelf.) No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Nathaniel wronged you, but God convicted him, and he’s a different man now.”

“It’s so nice to be together again. Isn’t it?” Theresa squeezed their arms…”“About as nice as an outhouse in summer.” …”Then I suppose it’s a good thing I have plumbing.”

“Feelings change, and they can lie, but God’s presence is constant and true. Whether we feel Him or not.”

Love, not blood, makes a family.

Family. The word stuck in her throat like a lozenge, melting to soothe an ache she’d long accepted as permanent. Her blood relatives were gone, but the love flanking either side of her pulsed with life and healing. They may not always see eye to eye, but they cared. More than that, they wanted her.

God answered Theresa’s prayers this time, but that didn’t mean He would in the future. Could she trust Him with what little she had left? But trust didn’t mean she’d get what she wanted. So what did it mean?

“…no matter what happens or what you think you’ve lost, you cannot lose God….

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! This is a Satisfying Debut Novel of the Gilded Age, and I’m looking forward to the next two in the series!!

About the Author

Crystal Caudill is the author of “dangerously good historical romance,” with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW.

She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Caudill can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio.

Learn more at crystalcaudill.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.

Giveaway

Enter to Win a copy of Crystal Caudill’s book at the Rafflecopter site below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8b3c91bb31/

ARC, BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, LPC, New-to-Me Author

A Strike to the Heart by Danielle Grandinetti

About the Book

Title: A Strike to the Heart

Series: Strike to the Heart

(Prequel Novella: To Stand in the Breach

Christmas Novella: As Silent as the Night)

Author: Danielle Grandinetti

Publisher: Iron Stream Media

Genre: Historical Christian Romantic Suspense, Mystery

Releases: April 12, 2022 (I reviewed an ARC copy.)

She’s fiercely independent. He’s determined to protect her.

Wisconsin, 1933—When a routine mission becomes an ambush that kills his team, Craft Agency sniper Miles Wright determines to find the persons responsible and protect the woman he rescued. But the fierce independence that led Lily Moore to leave her family’s dairy business for the solitary life of a dog trainer and the isolation of her farm don’t make that easy. Neither does his unwanted attraction to her. Meanwhile, escalating incidents confirm that she’s far from safe.

Lily fears letting the surprisingly gentle retired marine into her life almost as much as she fears whoever is threatening her. As Wisconsin farmers edge toward another milk strike, one that will surely turn violent, it becomes clear that the plot against Lily may be part of a much larger conspiracy. When the search for her abductor leads close to home, she must decide whether to trust her family or the man who saved her life.

Get your book at one of these links below!!

https://www.amazon.com/Strike-Heart-Danielle-Grandinetti/dp/1645263525

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-strike-to-the-heart-danielle-grandinetti/1139873924?ean=9781645263524

https://www.christianbook.com/a-strike-to-the-heart/9781645263524/pd/263521

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781645263524

https://shoplpc.com/a-strike-to-the-heart/

My Impressions

“He might be an ex-soldier, a sniper trained to kill, but he prayed daily that kindness would be the trait people would identify most when they interacted with him.”

I love how Danielle Grandinetti marries Miles’s sniper’s skills to that of a tender heart! Strong, shrewd, and swoon-worthy, Miles is willing to sacrifice everything for those he loves. A totally relatable romantic suspense hero. Then, Grandinetti’s heroine, Lily, is a similar juxtaposition of traits. Fiercely independent, Lily is a compassionate, dog trainer who needs protection. She can push the ones she cares about to great heights. Now Grandinetti really had my attention, and I was swiping pages as fast as I could to reach the conclusion of A Strike to the Heart. While this was my first Grandinetti novel, it won’t be my last.

Faith is a constant thread throughout this novel. Lily seeks God out daily. Miles isn’t quite as comfortable with God due to past events, but one hopes and prays he will find his way totally back to God. Perhaps… ”second chances were meant for redemption.”

Miles needs redemption in more ways than one. He fails his team, it seems. Will he fail to protect Lily, who is becoming very important to him? Will he fail his boss? Lily’s family, who doesn’t care much for him?

Which begs the next question. In this fast-paced action novel, who is trustworthy? Who is treacherous? Relationships are tested. The milk strikes of 1933 were dangerous, yet Lily’s family is embroiled in the midst of it all. What, if anything, does Lily’s kidnapping have to do with the strikes?

So many questions!! So many possibilities! I suspected some answers, but Grandinetti successfully includes a lot of twists and turns until more than Miles and Lily were unsure.

I love to highlight a notable secondary character. Gio is so awesome. He has Miles’s back, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The special way Gio prays for Lily is just amazing and it teaches Miles how to pray effectively for a loved one at the same time. Maybe Gio will get his own book soon.

So many Notable Quotables…

“Whom should he fear more … the men who would kill them or the woman who tested the fortifications of his heart?”

“…the simple change of clothes caused him to go from intense protector to confident friend.”

“She would have hope for both of them until there was no hope left to be had.”

I received this book from the author. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! These Two Characters Stole My Heart!!

About the Author

Danielle Grandinetti is a book blogger at DaniellesWritingSpot.com, focusing on Christian historical romance, romantic suspense, and sweet romance.

Her historical romantic suspense (published by Heritage Beacon Fiction) releases in April 2022.

A Chicagoland native, Danielle lives along Lake Michigan’s Wisconsin shoreline with her husband and their two young sons. She loves quiet mornings served with the perfect cup of tea.

More from Danielle

Because I had a lot of questions for Danielle about her book, she was gracious enough to respond and give us readers a peek into what goes on in the mind of a writer…Thank you, Danielle!!

Q: What inspired you to write about the milk strikes of 1933 in Wisconsin?

A few years ago, Wisconsin farmers were in a position where they had to dump their cow’s milk because it was more expensive to transport than dump. That made me curious as to whether it had happened before. Not only had it, but in 1933, farmers organized three strikes in order to prompt a raise in milk prices. 

Q: I love that you made Miles a trained sniper who prays people see him as a loving, caring person. Probably one reason I love this book so much. What gave you the idea to make him have two very different sides to his personality?

Snipers seem to have this distant, cold persona, but as I dug into Miles’ past, I realized his skill and his personality were at odds, creating an internal conflict for him. I had him wrestle through holding life and death in his hands as he held the rifle and doing so because of his desire to protect those he cared about.

Q: I love that you made Lily a dog trainer. (My daughter and I have taken our puppies through basic obedience, and years ago our daughters took our dogs through rigorous 4-H training for the local fair. It’s a lot of hard work!! How did you research Lily’s professional dog training?

I’ve also always loved dog training and have studied it myself for years. What made the historical aspect even more fun to include was because of the history of dog obedience training. In October of 1933, two women in New York became the first individuals to organize Dog Obedience Trials. As a nod to them, I made Lily a dog trainer.

Q: Do you rely on a team of writing buddies to help you when you hit writer’s block?

I do have several writing friends who help me with all aspects of my writing career. Two names stand out: My critique partner, Ann Elizabeth Fryer, who also writes Historical Romance, sees my rough drafts before my editor does and she helps me through plot holes and brainstorming ideas. My writing friend Beth Pugh, who writes Contemporary Romance, signed with my publishing house at the same time as I did, so I’m grateful to have been through the process together.

Q: Do you include snippets of yourself in your characters?

I think every author does to some extent. As for the characters in A Strike to the Heart, Lily’s dog training and Gio’s Italian heritage are two aspects of myself I included.

Q: Can you tell us about your next book? Is there a story coming for Gio? You have made him so charismatic, I certainly hope so!!

Yes!! Gio gets a story! I love Gio, too, and was so excited to give him a story, at Christmas no less. As Silent as the Night releases in September.

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?

Q: Lastly, you are writing at least a three-book series. Is it necessary to read the books in order, or would we just feel more connected to the characters if we do?

Readers do not need to read the three books in order. A Strike to the Heart is the main book in the series and the only full-length novel. To get a little back story and a running start into the conflict, I recommend reading To Stand in the Breach, the prequel novella featuring Lily’s brother and her best friend. Gio’s Christmas novella, As Silent as the Night, serves as a Christmas wrap-up that will hopefully have everyone getting a happily ever after.

Wow, I for one am ready for Gio’s story—yesterday!! Thank you for your time with us, Danielle!!

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

When Dignity Came to Harlan by Rebecca Duvall Scott Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: When Dignity Came to Harlan

Author: Rebecca Duvall Scott

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release date: January 17, 2021

I made up my mind right then and there that I would just have to wade into this move like wading into a pond or lake I’d never seen before – slow and steady, feeling around for my footing and trying to avoid the sharp edges at the bottom that you never see coming.

***

News of what really happened to me – to us – spread through town like wildfire. It caught from one dry gossip tree to another and burned them to the ground with shame.

***

“Y’can do this, child – show ’em why I call y’Dignity,” my old friend winked at me.                

Skillfully written and sure to draw you in to its pages, When Dignity Came to Harlan is set in the early 1900s and follows twelve-year-old Anna Beth Atwood as she leaves Missouri with her family dreaming of a better life in the coal-rich mountains of Harlan County, Kentucky. Anna Beth’s parents lose everything on the trip, however, and upon asking strangers to take their girls in until they get on their feet, Anna Beth and her baby sister are dropped into the home of Jack and Grace Grainger – who have plenty of problems of their own. Anna Beth suffers several hardships during her time in Harlan, and if it wasn’t for her humble and wise old friend who peddles his wisdom along with his wares, all would be lost.

Based on a true family history, this is a story of heartbreak and hope, challenges and perseverance, good and evil, justice and merciful redemption. It exemplifies the human experience in all its many facets and shows what it means to have real grit.

Take the journey with us and see how, with the unseen hand of God, one girl changed the heart and soul of an entire town.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Rebecca Duvall Scott is an award-winning author with titles holding #1 bestseller within her publishing companies long after release. Her first work was self-help memoir, Sensational Kids, Sensational Families: Hope for Sensory Processing Differences, which she wrote in the years following her son’s sensory processing disorder diagnosis and their family’s successful treatment plan. While her special-needs advocacy helping parents, teachers, and professionals better understand individuals with SPD has a large part of her heart, her roots have always been in historical fiction. Her long-awaited Christian historical fiction novel, When Dignity Came to Harlan, was based on her great-grandmother’s childhood, and Teaching Dignity continues the tender and heroic story. She looks forward to writing more in both the Dignity and Sensational Kids series.

In addition to writing, Rebecca enjoys family, church, educating her children at home, painting, and directing a local homeschool cooperative organization where she works hard to accommodate all special needs.

More from Rebecca

From the time I was a little girl, my grandmother would gather me around her kitchen table – usually with homemade peach pies – and tell me stories of our forebears. I found the experiences of those who came before me to be both tragic and joyful, but most of all I found them worthy of being told and never forgotten. When I was 16, I started taking notes on everything my grandmother could remember about her mother (one of the humblest and most heroic of my ancestors) and as a senior in college, I turned in the first 70 pages of the manuscript based on her childhood, When Dignity Came to Harlan. I’ll never forget how on graduation day, my creative writing teacher shook my hand and said, “Rebecca, please finish the story.” It took years to finish my debut novel… I think because I had to grow up and develop a deep enough emotional well to do it justice… but finish the story I did. Little did I know, however, this bestselling and award-winning book, the one I was always meant to write, would be the starter of a new, yet powerfully old-fashioned, Christian historical fiction series!

My Impressions

Twelve year-old Anna Beth Atwood narrates When Dignity Came to Harlan by Rebecca Duvall Scott. This is a fictionalized account of Scott’s own great-grandmother’s coming-of-age.

Gritty and straightforward, this was an emotionally difficult story to read. I would have liked to have had better warning ahead of time of some of the subject matter. The first-person narration is well-done, with excellent attention to local color and accent.

Ben and Laura Atwood move their young family of four girls from Missouri to the coal mining town of Harlan, Kentucky. Out of both work and money, they farm the girls out to their new neighbors in exchange for the girls’ room and board. And so Anna Beth’s story slowly builds in emotional intensity. I was spellbound while I was terrified for Annabeth and Grace.

While life is difficult for Anna Beth, she determines to make the most of the life she’s been handed. She is extremely brave beyond her years. I was so happy when she was able to make a few friends who sustained her through very tough times.

Anna Beth realizes she needs the faith in God that she saw in her parents and now sees in Grace. True belief in God is equated with a wonderful emotional experience.

Scott includes comprehension questions at the end (I wish she would have called them discussion questions: I felt like a jr. higher answering questions about a passage read at school). A fact vs. fiction chart is also included which is very interesting.

Notable Quotables:

Who would I become if I forgot my roots?

Secrets have a life of their own; they scratch from the inside, clawing their way to the light.

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great!! Anna Beth is Bravery Personified!!

Blog Stops

deb’s Book Review, February 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 13

Inklings and notions, February 14

Texas Book-aholic, February 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 16

For Him and My Family, February 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 18

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 19 (Spotlight)

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, February 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 21

Connie’s History Classroom, February 22

Lots of Helpers, February 23

Elly Gilbert, February 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 25

Giveaway

One winner will receive the grand prize package of signed copies of When Dignity Came to Harlan and Teaching Dignity, a handmade ornament, and popular early 1900s candy!

Click below to enter the giveaway!

https://promosimple.com/ps/1a45d/when-dignity-comes-to-harlan-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

Lost in Darkness by Michelle Griep Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Lost in Darkness

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: FICTION/ Christian/Romance

Release date: November 1, 2021

9781636090658

England, 1815

Amelia Balfour has one dream. . .to tour Egypt as a travel writer. But when her wish is finally within reach, her father dies, and her malformed brother Colin depends upon her to arrange for a revolutionary surgery. Amelia returns home, hoping he’ll recover before the ship sails for Cairo.
Former Navy surgeon Graham Lambert is sick—of travelling, loneliness, and especially the injustice of the world. Leaving behind the military, he partners with a renowned surgeon, the man who promises new life to Amelia’s brother.
But just as the operation begins, Graham suspects the surgeon is a fraud. After a botched procedure, Colin goes mad and escapes, terrorizing their neighbor, author Mary Godwin—planting the seed for her greatest creation, Frankenstein.
Can Amelia and Graham stop Colin before he destroys everyone in his path and find the tender soul still trapped inside…or will they be too late?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“I have learned never to be quick to judge, for not all are as they appear at first meeting.”

Nobody writes Regency romance quite as eloquently as Michelle Griep. And now Michelle Griep adds Gothic to her expertly crafted subgenres as well. We start Lost in Darkness, #1 Of Monsters and Men, in 1815 London. There we discover Amelia Balfour, a travel journalist, hoping to leave for her dream trip to Egypt. Instead, she unexpectedly finds herself caring for her brother, Colin, whose physical deformities cause him to be a recluse from society. Few make the effort to see past the outer man to discover the gentle soul inside.
Will the two doctors who claim they can help Colin, be able to do such an incredible surgery as to make Colin’s form and visage passable to society? Or will there be unexpected problems on this quest for healing?

Griep is an Anglophile with a great love for the historical literature of the period. Rather than retell Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Griep imagines a scenario that would inspire Shelley’s masterpiece. And what an intriguing and suspenseful novel Griep pens! I love all the philosophical questions Griep raises while keeping the reader enthralled with the romantic, gothic atmosphere. How far can a doctor experiment on humans before he has crossed an ethical line? When has one stopped trying to help, and started trying to gain power and prestige at a deep cost to others? “If one could mend the mind, one could bend the mind…” At what cost does one desire success? Many characters must wrestle with this issue.

I loved seeing Graham Lambert progressively develop a spine. Will he actually continue to exert the new muscle he has developed, or shrink back when push comes to shove?

I enjoyed the inclusion of a certain waif. I am a sucker for children in stories, and this one doesn’t fit the mold waifs are usually relegated to.

One more note: I love when slightly dark or suspenseful books have some comic relief. Griep includes this with notes of humor from the maid, off-setting the seriousness and tragedy being presented. Bravo!!

Hard to pick just a few Notable Quotables!

“If houses had souls, this one was clearly bound for Hades.”

“Do not live your lives looking over your shoulder, wondering what others think of your behaviour. It is God you will answer to one day, not society.”

“…the most holy band of society is friendship.”

“There was no cure for fear or despair, leastwise not in his bag of tools.”

“Trust must ultimately rest on God, not in folklore, which is flimsy at best and malignant at worst.”

“Yet I find it is not justice so much as mercy that makes all things right.”

“Family, no matter the size of it, is precious. Never leave a loved one behind.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! An Awesome Gothic Regency, Full of Truth Amid the Shadows

About the Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan.

More from Michelle

Are You a Monster Too?

“Look at that! The fattest girl in the class is the first one to get in line for a cupcake.”

Those words, spoken to me in junior high by a clueless boy, are forever seared into my memory. Just because I wasn’t a willowy stick-figure who didn’t match up to magazine covers, I was singled out. Made to feel ashamed. Made to feel like a monster.

Have you ever felt that way?

Chances are you have. We are all poked and prodded at some point in our lives…which brings up a few questions. How do you deal with the sometimes ugly perceptions with which others view you? How do you stop trying to prove your worth to others, when in their eyes you are somehow worthless? Why does God allow such hurtful things to happen anyway?

These are the questions I attempt to tackle in my new release, Lost in Darkness. And surprisingly enough, those are the very same issues contemplated in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Now hold on. Don’t go rolling your eyeballs quite yet—which is the usual response whenever Frankenstein is mentioned.

Most people’s conception of this great piece of literature has been forever ruined by Hollywood’s green creature. You know the one, the giant with bolts sticking out of his neck and a stiff-legged walk. So not true. The essence of Shelley’s “horror” story is instead about a creature who struggles with heartfelt needs that can only be met by his creator. In this story, Shelley respectfully handles the subject of what we owe our creator and what our creator’s responsibility is toward us as the created…the very same questions we all struggle with.

As does Colin Balfour, a man with a heart of gold and a face that causes children to scream. In Lost in Darkness, he hopes to undergo a life-changing surgery that will end his self-imposed isolation. But what really happens is a life change for his sister Amelia and the surgeon who tries to prevent it all from happening. For indeed, even if there be monsters, there is none so fierce as that which resides in man’s own heart.

Blog Stops

Life of Literature, November 29

Genesis 5020, November 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 29

The Write Escape, November 30

Betti Mace, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, November 30

Remembrancy, December 1

Inklings and notions, December 1

Blossoms and Blessings, December 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 2

Daysong Reflections, December 2

For Him and My Family, December 2

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 3

Bigreadersite, December 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 4

For the Love of Literature, December 4

SodbusterLiving, December 4

deb’s Book Review, December 5

Splashes of Joy, December 5

Back Porch Reads, December 5

Connie’s History Classroom, December 6

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

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 6

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 7

Through the fire blogs, December 7

Where Faith and Books Meet, December 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 8

Pause for Tales, December 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 9

Labor Not in Vain, December 9

To Everything There Is A Season, December 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 10

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, December 10

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, December 10

Truth and Grace HomeschoolAcademy, December 11

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 11 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 11

Rachael’s Inkwell, December 12

Blogging With Carol, December 12

Connect in Fiction, December 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Michelle 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/1

To celebrate her tour, Michelle 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/13cfd/lost-in-darkness-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Love Inspired Suspense, Purchase

Yukon Justice by Dana Mentink Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Yukon Justice

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: October 26, 2021

Yukon Justice (1)

Sabotage on a family ranch…

Newfoundland Ella and her Alaska State Trooper partner are on the case.

When her estranged uncle attempts to sabotage her family’s reindeer ranch, K-9 team assistant Katie Kapowski heads home to help save it—and becomes his target. With their rocky past, Alaska State Trooper Brayden Ford and his furry partner are the last team Katie wants assigned to protect her. But with the ranch under siege, they must work together…or risk falling victim to a killer.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“I’ll see you both dead first.”

Dana Mentink has done it again! She has penned another exciting Love Inspired Suspense novel, this one Yukon Justice, (# 7 Alaska Canine Unit) that kept me glued to my seat and flipping pages as quickly as possible.

How could I not like this book? I love Mentink’s suspense writing style. It’s heart-pounding, but not horror-genre material. It’s realistic, and I feel like her characters, Brayden, Katie, Addie, Quinn, and Charlie, are down-to-earth people that anyone might know.

Animals. If an author uses animals in her story well, I’m hooked. Brayden’s K-9 side-kick, Ella, a big Newfie, is so well described as to make me want to know her. I love that she is a smidge less than perfect. And the reindeer. Mentink has done her research, and I learned a lot. Plus the reindeer are rescue animals. Gruff Aunt Addie, who hardly has a kind word for anyone, will sacrifice everything to save her reindeer.

Oh, and Mentink includes a small, secondary romance. I love it because it’s the type I and some others are hoping to see more of in books.

Faith and great quotes. Another reason this novel is a winner.

“…nothing is over until God says it’s over.”

“Don’t worry had to be the most useless phrase in the English language. When had that sage advice ever made someone stop fretting?”

“God is for us, even when we’re losing, so keep your eyes up, not down.”

“God walks us through the struggles, and He’s promised us the win. Eyes up, not down.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! So Many Reasons to Like Yukon Justice!!

About the Author

Dana Mentink is a two-time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, and a Holt Medallion winner. She is the Publisher’s Weekly and Amazon bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, 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

Up on the housetop, click, click, click, down through the chimney with good St. Nick. Does anyone know that line from the famous Christmas song? I’ve been singing it for years but only recently did I learn that the clicking is a real reindeer phenomenon. Those reindeer ankle joints make a clicking sound so they can find the rest of their herd if they are separated in a blizzard. It’s just one of the many things I learned about reindeer while researching to write Yukon Justice. In the novel, Katy has to take over running her aunt’s reindeer ranch and protect it from threats by a dangerous intruder. I had the pleasure of “Zoom” interviewing the owner of the Running Reindeer Ranch in Fairbanks, Alaska! Jane helped me learn all kinds of interesting things about reindeer. How much do you know about these critters? Take my quick three-question trivia quiz to test your knowledge!

  1. What’s the difference between caribou and reindeer? They are the same animal but caribou are the wild variety and the domesticated version are called reindeer.
  1. Do males or females grow antlers? Both! Reindeer are a type of deer and the only species where the female grows antlers as well as the males.
  1. How come kids put out carrots for Santa’s reindeer? Good question! Carrots are not, in fact, part of a natural healthy reindeer diet. The animals don’t even have front teeth! A much better treat would be willow or birch leaves, or their favorite food…lichen, which they find by scraping the snow away from the ground with their hooves.

So how did you do? If you want to know more about these amazing creatures, snag yourself a copy of Yukon Justice!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 6

lakesidelivingsite, November 6

Texas Book-aholic, November 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 7

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 7

Gina Holder, November 7 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, November 8

Daysong Reflections, November 8

Genesis 5020, November 8

For Him and My Family, November 9

Lighthouse-Academy, November 9

Bigreadersite, November 9

For the Love of Literature, November 10

Remembrancy, November 10

Betti Mace, November 10

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 11

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, November 11

deb’s Book Review, November 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 12

Blogging With Carol, November 13

To Everything There Is A Season, November 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 14

Simple Harvest Reads, November 14 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 15

Vicarious Living, November 15

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 15

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 16

Blossoms and Blessings, November 16

Bizwings Blog, November 16

She Lives To Read, November 17

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 17

Splashes of Joy, November 18

Through the Fire blogs, November 18

Kayem Reads, November 18

Labor Not in Vain, November 19

Pause for Tales, November 19

Raining Butterfly Kisses, November 19

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and an eBook copy of the book OR a signed copy of the book (U.S. Only)!!

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/12f8a/yukon-justice-celebration-tour-giveaway