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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

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

A Heart’s Forever Home by Lena Nelson Dooley Review and Giveaway

About the Book

A single lawyer whose clients think he needs a wife.

A woman who needs a forever home…or a forever family…or a forever love.

Although Traesa Killdare is a grown woman now, the discovery that her adoption wasn’t finalized sends her reeling. Especially when her beloved grandmother dies and the only siblings she’s ever known exile her from the family property without a penny to her name.

Wilson Pollard works hard for the best interest of his law clients, even those who think a marriage would make him more “suitable” in his career. And when the beloved granddaughter of a recently deceased client comes to him for help, he knows he must do whatever necessary to make her situation better.

As each of their circumstances worsen, a marriage of convenience seems the only answer for both. Traesa can’t help but fall for her new husband—the man who’s given her both his home and his name. But what will it take for Wilson to realize he loves her? Will a not-so-natural disaster open his eyes and heart?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Adoption can be a tricky road for a child to work through. Much baggage can come with the adoptee, especially if she is old enough to remember life before the event. A Heart’s Forever Home, #3 Love’s Road Home, by Lena Nelson Dooley deals with the adoption issues of a young woman. Theresa Hilliard (Traesa Kildare) has traveled to Texas on an orphan train and has been adopted. Traesa is disowned when her beloved Abuela and guardian dies. Frightened, the former rich girl turns to the family’s young lawyer, Wilson Pollard, for help. A marriage of convenience ensues, but will it keep Traesa safe or endanger her heart?

This is a quick read perfect for a cold, rainy day. A Heart’s Forever Home can be read as a stand-alone novel, though part of a series. I enjoyed getting acquainted with Wilson and Traesa. While I found their situations realistic, as well as their responses, I didn’t feel they were totally three-dimensional. I did appreciate that Wilson knew where to turn when the marriage hit obstacles, as this genre requires. I love how teachable both Wilson and Traesa are. Wilson in his character, and Traesa in humility learning jobs that would have formerly been below her. Yet the marriage benefits so much from these malleable spirits!

Family. How important that sense of belonging and love is. Dooley illustrates this well with Traesa’s character.

A large part of the book centers around a particular danger that is only partially cleared up. While real life is messy like that, I wanted the characters to admit that they either accepted an assumption or would always be looking over their shoulders.

Dooley brings to light a controversial idea that the wife needs to obey her husband. While I feel like this is Biblical, not all agree, nor want to adhere to this idea. Dooley does a great job of showing how both husband and wife need to respect the opinions of the other, for the marriage to work.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are mine.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great! Fun Read for a Rainy Day!

About the Author

Lena Nelson Dooley has been an author for 36 years. Her 51st book released in June 2020. Raised in Arkansas, she married a Texan 56 years ago. They have lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex for decades. She is an active member of ACFW and one of the founding members the DFW local chapter. She’s often been a speaker for other writers’ groups and conferences, both as a keynote speaker and a workshop teacher. Her fans love reading her books filled with characters who grip your heart.

More from Lena

I’ve been a lover of history for decades. In college and graduate school, all my elective courses were history. Of course, I chose the countries and eras I wanted to learn about. When I began writing novels, my first one was a contemporary story. After that at least 75% or more of my novels have been historical, all the way from 1805 through the early 20th century.

One of the hallmarks of my historical novels is the authenticity I write into the stories. Because of the amount of research I’ve done over the years, I’m kind of an expert in 19th century history. My characters and their stories are completely fictional, but the other things in the book are mostly true. I search until I find what I need to know or until I reach a complete dead end.

The history of the orphan trains has interested me since I first learned about them. One of them ended in Fort Worth where a pastor and his wife helped find the last orphans a home. A few didn’t get a home, so they took them in. In the 20th century that became an orphanage, then a home for unwed mothers.

A Heart’s Forever Home has three settings—Fort Worth, Texas; Waco, Texas; and New York City. It’s a Marriage of Convenience story and much more. This is another type of story I like to read and I like to write. Finding a different reason for the necessity of the marriage is interesting.

I’d found an event that occurred north of Waco in 1896. It was so bizarre I wanted to include it in a book. It was a perfect fit for this story and became an important catalyst in the story.

I’m what’s called in the industry a seat-of-the-pants author, more or less. I do have the complete outline of the story in my head. When I sit down to write, I know where I’m going, but I don’t have every single scene plotted out as some authors do. And I pray… a lot. During the time I’m writing a book, God drops ideas into my thought processes. Not just while I’m writing, but other times, too. That’s the exciting thing about writing. This keeps it fresh for me.

When you’ve finished reading this story, I hope you’ll let me know what you think of it. I really like getting reader feedback.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 12

Maureen’s Musings, October 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 13

The Book Chic Blog, October 13

Texas Book-aholic, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 14

Bizwings Blog, October 15

Reviewingbooksplusmore, October 15

By the Book, October 16

Kathleen’s Book Review, October 16

lakesidelivingsite, October 17

For Him and My Family, October 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 19

Inklings and notions, October 19

Vicky Sluiter, October 20

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, October 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 22

Joanna Bair, October 22

Bigreadersite, October 23

Mary Hake, October 23

Connie’s History Classroom, October 24

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 24

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 25

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/11fe3/a-heart-s-forever-home-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Purchase

Missing in the Desert, #2 Desert Justice, by Dana Mentink

About the Book

Book:  Missing in the Desert

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspy suspense

Release date: July 27, 2021

Five years ago, her sister disappeared…
Now someone is coming for her.

Who would believe that Mara Castillo’s sister—missing and presumed dead—suddenly sent a one-word text? Now Mara wants answers, even if it means stepping into a killer’s sights with her brother’s best friend, rancher Levi Duke, as her only protection. But with someone who has everything to lose after her, uncovering a long-buried secret could save her life…or claim it.

Click here to get your copy!

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 a national and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over forty 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

Hello, readers! Boy am I excited! Since the virus-that-not-shall-be-named is being brought under control, I am cautiously venturing out again and our first vacation spot will be a return to Death Valley. Papa Bear and I love the amazing diversity of Death Valley, from the salt flats, to the sand dunes, mountains, and everything in between. Writing this book allowed me to relive the incredible topography, as well as let my mind run loose imagining a cold case that warms up to fiery levels in this ferocious climate. Part of this story revolves around “Camp Town Days” which was inspired by the Encampment Days, an event held in November by a volunteer group called the Death Valley 49ers that aims to capture the pioneer spirit with their wagon rides, parade, poetry readings, a vendor show, and historical talks. I hope you can feel the desert wind in your face and hear the distant howl of the coyote as you dive into the second book in the Death Valley Justice series.

My Impressions

“You are a good man, and you wouldn’t manipulate Seth. I can see why he’d want to jump in to the Rocking Horse. It’s…a special place…But special isn’t going to pay the bills.” Just why has Mara Castillo agreed to help Levi with the struggling Rocking Horse Ranch at the edge of Death Valley? Both she and her parents resent her brother Seth’s financial involvement in the ranch, and their animosity only seems to increase. Indeed, “Horses were so much easier to read than people…” thinks Levi Duke as he puzzles this out.
I love seeing the family loyalties as both the Castillos and the Dukes are fiercely protective of their own, to the point of rudeness(unfortunately) and judging either Levi’s or Mara’s motives. I love seeing them being forced to work together, despite misgivings, and some grow beyond their distrust and cruelty.


I have to admit, Dana Mentink’s Missing in the Desert achieved favorite status for me. Perhaps the western desert locale affected that. Definitely the large part horses played helped. The importance of sibling close relationships probably also influenced that status. Twists and turns affected my choice. Mentink’s inclusion of a young child also probably swayed me. If any of these factors, plus faith, forgiveness, gentleness, loyalty, and romantic suspense call to your reading spirit, pick up Dana Mentink’s Missing in the Desert, #2, Desert Justice, today. (While part of a series, and you will recognize friends from the first book, it is not necessary to read book one first.)

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Added to my fave lists!!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 28

Simply Susan, July 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 28

Remembrancy, July 29

Inklings and notions, July 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 30

For the Love of Literature, July 30

deb’s Book Review, July 31

Through the Fire Blogs, July 31

She Lives To Read, August 1

Batya’s Bits, August 1

For Him and My Family, August 1

Pause for Tales, August 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 2

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 3

Genesis 5020, August 3

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 4

Bigreadersite, August 4

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 5

Blossoms and Blessings, August 5

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 6

Reviewingbooksplusmore, August 6

Older & Smarter?, August 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 7

Labor Not in Vain , August 7

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, August 8 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, August 8

Life, Love, Writing, August 8

Simple Harvest Reads, August 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Betti Mace, August 9

Daysong Reflections, August 10

Splashes of Joy , August 10

Blogging With Carol, August 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed 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/110df/missing-in-the-desert-celebration-tour-giveaway
BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, New-to-Me Author, Purchase

The Secret of the 14th Room, #1 The Granton House by Rebecca Hemlock

About the Book

Book:  The Secret of the 14th Room

Author: Rebecca Hemlock

Publisher: Bluecap Publishing

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: March 16th

Memories can be a killer.

When Levi Corbin returns to Granton, Tennessee after the death of his beloved grandmother, it sets off a chain of events he’d rather have avoided. Claiming his inheritance should have been a piece of cake, but a cousin appears, threatening to steal it all.

Even worse (and better, too), he’s falling for the girl he just met and now must team up with her to try to stop his cousin. Their quest for his inheritance uncovers secrets frozen in time—and one might just be the answer to save his grandmother’s home.

Things go from worse to completely out of hand when a freak fire threatens it all. Add to that a nosy old woman and a battered runaway, and Levi can’t help but wonder what is going on!

As circumstances rekindle his faith and new love spurs him onward, Levi races against time and odds to save Grandma’s house from certain destruction, but the result might just mean saving himself as well.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

I had never read anything by Rebecca Hemlock before, but I had barely started Secret of the 14th Room when I knew I’d discovered a treasure.
From the first scene of Dorothy Corbin’s death to the epilogue, I was glued to the page, not willing to miss a single word. Why you ask? For starters, Hemlock has penned a cozy that takes place in small-town Tennessee, rife with a history dating to the Civil War. The author depicts the town so well I felt like I was the one walking the streets. For genealogy buffs, there are many ancestry references. For those who understand the value of family, the wonderful relationships between Levi Corbin and his grandmother are highlighted, as well as Abigail’s close relationship with her parents. For lovers of old houses and architecture? You’ll love this old town. Nefarious evildoers? Check. Faith? Smoothly integrated into the story. Action and twists abound. The best part is, there is a sequel coming! I. Can’t. Wait!


I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. I am voluntarily leaving my thoughts, which are solely my own.

My Rating

Magnificent!! I absolutely adored this one!!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About the Author

Rebecca lives in Eastern Kentucky with her husband and children. She absolutely loves mysteries. Rebecca has been writing stories for many years and enjoys reading, painting and spending time with her family. Her favorite times to write are early in the morning when the sun is coming up and at sunset. She has worked as a freelance journalist for 4 years and is a member of Sisters in Crime and American Christian Fiction Writers. Rebecca has earned a degree in English and an Appalachian Studies certificate in Creative Writing.

More from Rebecca

Looking for new ideas is my favorite part of writing because it comes with talking to interesting people and exploring antique shops all over the country.

This book not only captures my love for American history and riveting romantic suspense, but it also captures how old wounds of the heart can be healed.

Levi Corbin in The Secret of the 14th Room learns this the hard way after carrying his broken heart for most of his adult life. He has to discover the real meaning of family and family pride. Levi must face the past so that he can move on to a brighter future.

Granton, Tennessee, is a town I hope you fall in love with, just as I did when I created it. There are so many delightful characters, some with a dark secret or two. This story has been brewing for a while, and I am glad that I finally have the opportunity to share it with you.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 21

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 22

Genesis 5020, April 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 23

A Novel Pursuit, April 23

Texas Book-aholic, April 24

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, April 24 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, April 25

Blogging With Carol, April 25

Betti Mace, April 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 26

For Him and My Family, April 27

Godly Book Reviews, April 27

deb’s Book Review, April 28

CarpeDiem, April 28

Older & Smarter?, April 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 29

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

Simple Harvest Reads, April 30 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 1

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 1

KarenSueHadley, May 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 3

Mary Hake, May 3

Through the Fire Blogs, May 4

Adventures Of A Travelers Wife, May 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rebecca is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
https://promosimple.com/ps/10b6a/the-secret-of-the-14th-room-celebration-tour-giveaway

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley, PB, Purchase

Shadows of the White City, #2 The Windy City Saga by Jocelyn Green

About the Book

Title: Shadows of the White City

Series: #2, The Windy City Saga

Author: Jocelyn Green

Publisher: Bethany House

The one thing Sylvie Townsend wants most is what she feared she was destined never to have–a family of her own. But taking in Polish immigrant Rose Dabrowski to raise and love quells those fears–until seventeen-year-old Rose goes missing at the World’s Fair, and Sylvie’s world unravels.

Brushed off by the authorities, Sylvie turns to her boarder, Kristof Bartok, for help. He is Rose’s violin instructor and the concertmaster for the Columbian Exposition Orchestra, and his language skills are vital to helping Sylvie navigate the immigrant communities where their search leads.

From the glittering architecture of the fair to the dark houses of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods, they’re taken on a search that points to Rose’s long-lost family. Is Sylvie willing to let the girl go? And as Kristof and Sylvie grow closer, can she reconcile her craving for control with her yearning to belong? 

My Impressions

I’ve never been to a World’s Fair, but after reading Jocelyn Green’s Shadows of the White City, I felt like I had. Ms. Green vividly describes the setting so well. I can almost see the massive buildings, feel the pressing of the huge crowds, hear the violin and orchestra music and smell the food aromas of the many countries represented on the Midway. Green tells us the Museum of Science and Industry is one of the original 1893 World’s Fair buildings, so I can only imagine what the whole fair settlement must have been like, teeming with crowds.
Into this surreal setting Green inserts Sylvie Townsend, single, middle-aged Mimi to 17-year-old Rose. While Rose is longing to spread her wings and is searching for her biological family, Sylvie is holding on to her daughter tightly enough to suffocate her. As Sylvie struggles to sort out her relationship with Rose, she leans heavily on her neighbor, concertmaster Kristof. Kristof, in turn, struggles with his talented but slothful brother. We also see Meg, Sylvie’s sister, who is more prominent in the first book.
Sylvie has a lot of re-evaluating of her life attitudes to do. Will she emerge bitter at God, Jozefa, and Rose, or will she be better? Kristof is a bit of a stuffed shirt, albeit with a tender heart. He makes a journey of self-discovery as he helps Sylvie and tries to deal with Gregor. He is a romantic, fluid character to cheer on he begins to view life through different eyes.


Green’s poetic description of the orchestra music is entrancing. She obviously understands music well. Her research is impeccable, shown in her incredibly detailed descriptions.
Twists are subtle. In several places, I felt like I knew what would happen, but a bit of a change causes the story to flow differently than expected.
This book can stand on its own, but you will get so much more out of it if you read book one first.

Notable Quotables:

“It wasn’t Father’s timepiece I wanted. It was his time.”

“…you can stop striving to earn a place you’ve already been given. You’re already a beloved child of God. You can’t perform your way into or out of His family.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. All opinions are my own, unsolicited.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage.

The honors her books have received include the Christy Award in historical fiction, and gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more.

Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville.

Visit her at jocelyngreen.com.

More from Jocelyn

(Provided courtesy of Jocelyn’s blog and Bethany House)

  1. Shadows of the White City takes place in Chicago during the World’s Fair of 1893. What is so special about this setting?
    The World’s Fair itself was spectacular. With my heroine, Sylvie Townsend, acting as a part-time tour guide, readers get an inside look into many aspects of the Fair. Part of what made it such an amazing place was that, in addition to six hundred acres of the world’s most
    impressive accomplishments and inventions, people from all over the world connected in one place. The Midway, especially, played host to cultures from across the globe, opening people’s eyes to other perspectives they’d never considered before. Now add to all of this the
    fact that, outside the dazzling fairgrounds, Chicago and the entire nation were in the midst of a financial depression. The juxtaposition of splendor and hardship is always a poignant one.
    1. What kind of research went into this book?
      So much. There is a ton of information available on the World’s Fair. Aside from reading every book and article that seemed relevant for my story (and then some), I toured Chicago with a guide who designed a tour based specifically on what I wanted to know and see before I started writing the novel. On the same trip, I spent time in the Chicago
      Historical Society’s archives and the Newberry Library, reading primary source material. A second trip to Chicago gave my daughter and me a chance to experience other aspects
      important to the novel, such as a concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a visit to the Art Institute, and a stop at the Palmer House hotel.
  2. In what ways do you relate to the character of Sylvie Townsend?
    Sylvie is a book-loving introvert who doesn’t like crowds but enjoys public speaking when the topic interests her. That’s me, completely. On a deeper level, I understand Sylvie’s tendency to keep a tight rein on her daughter, Rose. As a parent of a teenager, I identify with
    that struggle to find the right balance of letting my daughter make her own decisions and mistakes as part of growing up and wanting to protect her from them. As Sylvie finds out in the novel, that desire to protect can lead to both a grasping for control and the realization of
    how very little we do control. I relate to all of this.
  3. This is your second novel in The Windy City Saga series. We’ve gotten to know sisters Meg and Sylvie pretty well by now. Who will be the focus of the third book?
    Book 3 in the series will pick up with Meg’s adult daughter Olive in 1915, which is when the Eastland Disaster took place in the Chicago River. You’ll meet Olive as a child in Shadows of the White City, and she’ll be twenty-nine when we focus on her story. Each book in this
    series explores a seminal part of Chicago’s history and how the Townsend family overcomes in the face of change and trials.
  4. Are the novels in this series classified as mysteries?
    Readers will discover that these novels have an element of mystery to them, but they remain firmly in the historical fiction genre. The main priority of the story, as ever, is given to the developing characters and the history-in-the-making around them.
BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley, Thomas Nelson

The Socialite by J’nell Ciesielski with Giveaway

The-Socialite-FB-Banner

About the Book

 

Book:  The Socialite

Author: J’nell Ciesielski

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: April 14, 2020

Glamour, treachery, and espionage collide when an English socialite rushes to save her sister from the Nazis.

As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

An author friend recently asked for the most romantic line from a book we’d read recently. I couldn’t think of one. Now that I’ve read J’nell Ciesielski’s The Socialite, I have the answer. “Most women would have crumbled by now, but not you. And as long as I’m next to you, I’ll not let you.” (Swoon!)

The Socialite 1
“For good or bad, family has its way of leaving a mark on you no matter how far you roam.” If I could quote only one line that sums up much of the conflict in this novel, this would be it. Kathleen Whitford has traveled to Nazi occupied Paris to bring home her rebellious, wandering sister, Ellie. Unfortunately, Ellie is running from her controlling family into the arms of a German officer. Kat struggles with Ellie’s behavior, but then Kat begins to realize she herself is desperate to escape her family’s expectations of her. Also desperate to escape secrets is Scots barkeep Barrett Anderson, running from a past threatening to arise from a drunken alley to overtake him. Pawns in a game where the loser forfeits life and/or the war itself, all three are in dire need of escaping the Gestapo.
Ciesielski presents the occupied people, the German conquerors, and the those who mingle in between so well. I don’t read much WWII fiction, and now I remember why not. Ciesielski is not overly gruesome, but just the thought of the atrocities that the Jews or Allied sympathizers faced had my heart beating triple time in terror. Amidst all the double-speak and wondering if the trio could stay out of German concentration camps, I had to laugh when one character well-described consorting with the German hierarchy… “we climb up the social ladder of snakes.”

The Socialite 2
I loved some history tidbits. Like how rationing caused women to go from silk stockings to cotton stockings to staining their legs with tea. Ugh! Or how the German officers would require only German music be played. So, talented, wily artists would adapt well-known English tunes to mock their captors and cheer their countrymen.
I had to smile, even as I was very anxious whether the three would be found out.
Themes include betrayal, escaping family expectations, and overcoming pride.
One theme, Barrett repeatedly reminds Kat, is that everybody serves an important purpose in the machinery of espionage. No role is more glorious nor less crucial. So reminiscent of the body of Christ, where each has a job, and all are needed, whether they appear so or not.
What I may have wished for: an inclusion of God in the story, and a little less emphasis on lengthy details of kisses. Physical love is indeed powerful, but I like best when it is subtle and hinted at.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. This in no way influences my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

4 Stars- Excellent – I Would Recommend This Book

 

About the Author

With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski CiesielskiJ_Headshotweaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com.

 

More from J’Nell

I blame Pinterest. Too many hours are spent chasing rabbit holes of glorious pictures of fashion from eras gone by, Highlanders in kilts, WWI ambulances, and fairytale castles. One day I was browsing something super important (or possibly escaping from the actual work I was supposed to be doing, er, we’ll never know) and stumbled across a black and white picture of six beautiful girls. Who are these lovely ladies? I wondered. A quick search brought up the Mitford sisters. Six gorgeous daughters born into an aristocratic English family, each girl with a different passion: Diana the fascist, Jessica the communist, Unity the Hitler lover, Nancy the novelist, Deborah the duchess, and Pamela the poultry connoisseur. Whoa. You know dinner time around their family table was interesting. How could such different personalities belong in the same family? What would you do if your sister got moon-eyed over Hitler??

Bam. An idea was born.

In the beginning, my little rebel Ellie was going to be a full-fledged Nazi ideology lover, but she quickly informed me that it wasn’t so much the Nazis or their crazy ideas she loved, but one man in particular. One twisted Nazi who had fallen completely under her spell, and she under his. The ideas of love can often be more difficult to break as Kat finds out when she tries to rescue her naïve sister. Luckily, she has a hunky Sottish bartender to help her while providing a few romantic intentions of his own. With everyone hiding past hurts and true identities, how will they ever hope to find the love they each long for when war rages under the bright lights of Paris? Guess you’ll have to read to find out 😉

 

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 22

Emily Yager, May 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 22

Back Porch Reads, May 22

Inklings and notions, May 23

Breny and Books, May 23

Stories By Gina , May 23

For Him and My Family, May 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 24

Connect in Fiction, May 24

Simple Harvest Reads, May 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 25

Life, Love, Writing, May 25

Livin’ Lit, May 26

Robin’s Nest, May 26

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 26

For the Love of Literature, May 26

Betti Mace, May 27

Maureen’s Musings, May 27

Where Faith and Books Meet, May 27

Genesis 5020, May 28

Book of Ruth Ann, May 28

Remembrancy, May 28

Read Review Rejoice, May 29

Quiet Workings, May 29

Mia Reads, May 29

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 30

Rebecca Tews, May 30

deb’s Book Review, May 30

Older & Smarter?, May 31

Texas Book-aholic, May 31

Books I’ve Read, May 31

Batya’s Bits, June 1

Blossoms and Blessings, June 1

Splashes of Joy, June 1

Through the Fire Blogs, June 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 2

Moments, June 2

Pause for Tales, June 3

Andrea Carmen, June 3

Just Your Average reviews, June 3

To Everything There Is A Season, June 3

Fiction Aficionado, June 4

Lis Loves Reading, June 4

Hallie Reads, June 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a book and a book sleeve!!

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/fa09/the-socialite-celebration-tour-giveaway