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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

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.