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Potiphar’s Wife by Mesu Andrews

About the Book

Title: Potiphar’s Wife

Author: Mesu Andrews

Publisher: Waterbrook-Multnomah

Released: May 24, 2022

One of the Bible’s most notorious women longs for a love she cannot have in this captivating novel from the award-winning author of Isaiah’s Legacy.

“Mesu Andrews yet again proves her mastery of weaving a rich and powerful biblical story!”—Roseanna M. White, author of A Portrait of Loyalty

Before she is Potiphar’s wife, Zuleika is the daughter of a king and the wife of a prince. She rules the isle of Crete alongside her mother in the absence of their seafaring husbands. But when tragedy nearly destroys Crete, Zuleika must sacrifice her future to save the Minoan people she loves.

Zuleika’s father believes his robust trade with Egypt will ensure Pharaoh’s obligation to marry his daughter, including a bride price hefty enough to save Crete. But Pharaoh refuses and gives her instead to Potiphar, the captain of his bodyguards: a crusty bachelor twice her age, who would rather have a new horse than a Minoan wife.

Abandoned by her father, rejected by Pharaoh, and humiliated by Potiphar’s indifference, Zuleika yearns for the homeland she adores. In the political hotbed of Egypt’s foreign dynasty, her obsession to return to Crete spirals into deception. When she betrays Joseph—her Hebrew servant with the face and body of the gods—she discovers only one love is worth risking everything.

My Impressions

How on earth can anyone make an even semi-palatable character out of one of the most infamous women of the Bible?! Potiphar’s Wife by Mesu Andrews will open your eyes to possible reasons why this much-maligned lady acts as she does. Your attitude may be more sympathetic as you consider this well-researched historical novelty that is careful to agree with any actual Biblical truth we are provided of her and her times. Well-done, Ms. Andrews!!

This novel is unique in that it employs first-person and third-person POV’s. Only a very skillful writer can successfully carry this off, and Andrews soars with this style.

What a wonderful chance to glimpse the inner workings of an Egyptian courtroom. I loved the intrigue and the fine line between friendships and servants. Also, the relationship between friends that changes when one of them becomes Pharaoh, a god, yet obviously with human foibles.

Cultural differences are such a huge part of this breathtaking story. I kept saying, “Why doesn’t this character do this or that?” But Andrews opens my eyes to how training and environment make a huge difference in the way a person views and responds to a situation.

And the multiple love relationships within this novel are compelling. Some friend for friend, some husband for wife, some familial, some lovers. Ah… so well-depicted, yet clean enough to not feel shame for reading.

Since I have a penchant for picking favorite supporting characters, I will give two. Pushpa, Potiphar’s surrogate mother, and Ahira, who is Zuleika’s personal maid. Both are so wise, gentle, and care so much for others.

Oh, one other thing I loved that I must mention. Thank you for showing Joseph to be human, not perfect as we sometimes are either taught or caught!

I loved that the maps, glossary, and character list were all at the front!! I was also pleased with such well-organized author’s notes at the end. These were the best or at least most useful reader’s helps in a book I’ve yet read!

————————————————————————

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of the book. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

————————————————————————

A slave doesn’t always wear chains, nor does a master possess all power.

“No one should know everything about anything.”

“I can’t tend the wounds inside you, dear one, but they will heal. I promise. They may leave scars—ugly ones. But you can choose how those scars affect your future. Will you use the ugliest memories as the focal point, weaving every future event tightly around it with its repetitive themes? Or will you weave your scars into a larger tapestry with more variegated experiences that can comfort or instruct others?”- Pushpa

Don’t assign the sins of men to a faithful God. Elohim will never betray you, and He can protect you in ways I never could. Trust Him, Ahira.”- Joseph

“What if I don’t like your god’s plan?” She squeezed my hand. “Then we trust Him together for a future we don’t understand and perhaps see His goodness when we recount our past.”-Ahira

but let mercy and forgiveness become the ruins on which a stronger house is built.”

Sometimes God’s favor is simply a spark that keeps hope alive in utter darkness.

Trust His presence in the dark, but never stop hoping for light.

“Honesty is telling the truth. Transparency is telling the whole truth. Some are honest but become deceitful in the things they choose to hide.”— Pharaoh Khyan

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

5 stars because 6 are not allowed. One of the most powerful Biblical fiction novels you’ll read in 2022!!

About the Author

Mesu Andrews

Mesu grew up with a variegated Christian heritage. With grandparents from the Pilgrim Holiness, Nazarene, and Wesleyan Churches, her dad was a Quaker and mom charismatic. As you might imagine, God was a central figure in most family discussions, but theology was a battlefield and Scripture the weapon. As a rebellious teenager, Mesu rejected God and His Word, but discovered Jesus as a life-transforming Savior through the changed life of an old friend.The desire for God’s Word exploded with her new commitment, but devotional time was scarce due to the demands of a young wife and mother. So Mesu scoured the only two theology books available–children’s Bible stories and her Bible. The stories she read to her daughters at night pointed her to the Bible passages she studied all day. She became an avid student of God’s Word, searching historical and cultural settings as well as ancient texts and original languages. Mesu and her husband Roy have raised those two daughters and now enjoy a tribe of grandkids, who get to hear those same Bible stories. Mesu’s love for God’s Word has never waned. She now writes biblical novels, rich with spiritual insight learned through fascinating discoveries in deep historical research.Her first novel, Love Amid the Ashes (Revell)–the story of Job and the women who loved him–won the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year in the Debut Author Category. Her subsequent novels have released with high praise, shedding light on some of the shadowy women of Scripture. Love’s Sacred Song (Revell, 2012) tells the story of the beloved shepherdess in King Solomon’s Song of Solomon. Love in a Broken Vessel (Revell, 2013) tells the story of Hosea and Gomer and is the final stand-alone novel in the Treasures of His Love Series. Her fourth novel, In the Shadow of Jezebel (Revell, 2014) tells the fascinating story of Queen Athaliah and the courageous Princess Jehosheba. The Treasures of the Nile series (Waterbrook/Multnomah, 2015-16) included The Pharaoh’s Daughter and Miriam and spanned Moses’ life from birth to the Exodus. Her 2017 release, Isaiah’s Daughter (Waterbrook/Multnomah), begins the Prophets and Kings series and explores the life and ministry of the prophet Isaiah and the tumultuous days of Judah under kings Ahaz and Hezekiah. But its focus is on the woman Hephzibah–a fascinating character in Jewish legends. OF FIRE AND LIONS, Book #2 in Prophets and Kings (WaterBrook/Multnomah), released in 2019 and tells the familiar childhood stories of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the technicolor detail of grown-up research and awareness of Babylon’s splendor. 2020 holds #3 in the P&K series and the conclusion to Hephzibah’s story, ISAIAH’S LEGACY, when Andrews introduces King Manasseh to her readers and describes the most wicked king of Judah’s stunning prodigal story. In 2022, readers will meet POTIPHAR’S WIFE, who pursued and falsely accused Joseph, one of Scripture’s greatest heroes. Joseph will, however, save all of Egypt and realize God’s greater plan, IN FEAST OR FAMINE, that releases in 2023.Mesu and her husband live in the Appalachian Mountains. She loves Jesus, coffee, her dog, and time with her grandkids–not necessarily in that order.

Potiphar's Wife: A Novel (The Egyptian Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition
Of Fire and Lions: A Novel Kindle Edition
Isaiah's Legacy: A Novel of Prophets and Kings Kindle Edition
Isaiah's Daughter: A Novel of Prophets and Kings Kindle Edition
Love's Sacred Song (Treasures of His Love Book #2): A Novel Kindle Edition
Miriam: A Treasures of the Nile Novel Kindle Edition
The Pharaoh's Daughter: A Treasures of the Nile Novel Kindle Edition
Love Amid the Ashes (Treasures of His Love Book #1): A Novel Kindle Edition
Love in a Broken Vessel (Treasures of His Love Book #3): A Novel Kindle Edition
In the Shadow of Jezebel (Treasures of His Love Book #4): A Novel Kindle Edition
By the Waters of Babylon: A Captive’s Song – Psalm 137 (The Psalm Series Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Madness in Wonderland by Tabitha Bouldin Review

About the Book

Title: Madness in Wonderland

Series: #1 Beyond Wonderland

Author: Tabitha Bouldin

Publisher: Celebrate Lit

Released: March 2022

Wonderland is in trouble. 

Under the rule of the Red Queen, Wonderland is under constant threat. In fear for her throne, children are taken into the queen’s army and only the strongest survive.

Alice is nothing but a pirate, but with the help of Hatter, they hatch a plan to sneak into the Red Queen’s palace to free Hatter’s sister. After all, Alice has always wanted to fly an airship.

Dr. Frank N. Stein has created an army of automatons to serve their queen. Of particular note: a prototype soldier. Part man. Part machine. The best of both worlds.

Doc’s monster is a threat to everything they know, but Alice sees something in the man that begs she look beyond what he’s done and search out the heart of the beast for the better of the realm.

He’s their only hope of survival, but how can a monster learn to love when all he’s known is hate?

My Impressions

“I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,”- Alice in Alice in Wonderland

Wow, was I in awe of Tabitha Bouldin’s steampunk retelling of Alice in Wonderland by the time I finished! I started the novel with trepidation. I didn’t remember the original making a lot of sense, and I wondered what I was in for with Bouldin’s Madness in Wonderland. Madness is a gem!!

Why do I love this book? For the first time in my life, the pieces of Alice in Wonderland fit together like a puzzle. Bouldin clearly delineates narrator/subject by rotating chapters. Alpha, Alice, and Hatter are all featured. Bouldin allows characters to retain much of the personality that Carroll gave them, but adds depth and emotion to each. It was easy to follow the great action, which is plentiful and compelling. Apropos quotes from the original Alice in Wonderland are worked in so beautifully to the new story. There are a few nods to Star Wars, the sci-fi scenery is easy to imagine, and faith plays a major, natural role. God is referred to as the Master. Each character must decide what he will do once confronted with knowledge of the Master.

Themes include the existence of a Master who created their world and loves individuals. Judgment, hope, and forgiveness follow close behind.

Those who love the original Alice in Wonderland, fairytale retellings, sci-fi, or Kara Swanson’s author voice will love this novel. I am excited that it is the first in its series!

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

Notable Quotables:

“Family means different things to different people.

“Everyone needs a name. Names have power. They tell us who we are, where we’ve come from. -Alice

“If the Maker can forgive one like me, He can forgive anyone.” -Cook

“Soldiers don’t have the lux’ry of a clean soul. Took a long time for me to accept my past and let Someone help with the pain.”Cook (Chess)

“You believe you don’t deserve forgiveness, so you condemn others to the same fate.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Reminds me of Kara Swanson’s Dust and Shadow!!

About the Author

Tabitha Bouldin has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has been writing since 2015. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, you’ll find her curled up with a book. Tabitha’s genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart.

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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

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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/

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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, Favorite, Kindle

Arms of Freedom by Kathleen Neely Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Arms of Freedom

Author: Kathleen Neely

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release date: October 6, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Rating

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

About the Author

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

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

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

More from Kathleen

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, March 3

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 4

The Avid Reader, March 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 5

Inklings and notions, March 6

For Him and My Family, March 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 8

Miriam Jacob, March 8

deb’s Book Review, March 9

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 10

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

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 12

Bizwings Blog, March 13

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 14 (Spotlight)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 14

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 16

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1b4bd/arms-of-freedom-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Love Inspired Suspense, New Author, New-to-Me Author

Buried Cold Case Secrets by Sami A Abrams Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Buried Cold Case Secrets

Author: Sami A. Abrams

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: December 28, 2021

cover

Recovering her missing memories…

Could be the key to solving a murder…

Searching for her best friend’s remains could help forensic anthropologist Melanie Hutton regain her memories of when they were both kidnapped—unless the killer gets to Melanie first. For her safety, Melanie must rely on Detective Jason Cooper, who still blames her for his sister’s death. Can Jason set the past aside to solve the cold-case murder…and shield Melanie from the same fate?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“He wasn’t her attacker. He was worse. Her best friend’s brother, Jason Cooper, stood before her. The man who hated her guts.”

Melanie Hutton returns to the small town she left years ago, following the horrendous kidnapping of her best friend and herself. She vows to find justice for her murdered friend but doesn’t count on having to work with her best friend’s brother.
Sami Abrams brings us a fast-paced romantic suspense adventure in Buried Cold Case Secrets. I liked the trope of childhood best friend’s brother to more. Jason seemed a bit insensitive until I really understood all the baggage he was juggling for years. Then his unreliable actions make a lot of sense. Amazing how easy it is for us humans to judge each other when we don’t know somebody else’s full story. It seems the whole book was about that, yet I just realized I may have been doing that throughout the book!

I found Melanie to be incredibly brave. Just returning to her hometown is hard enough, but in her efforts to discover the truth, she eventually makes some choices that cause her some very painful results.

The hidden gem of this book? (That invaluable secondary character?) That would have to be a tie between Mrs. Evans and Keith, Jason’s partner. What a sweet, wonderful, wise, and older lady. And Keith always has Jason’s back!

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

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Great Debut Novel!

About the Author

Two-time Genesis winner Sami A. Abrams and her husband live in Northern California, but she’ll always be a Kansas girl at heart. She enjoys visiting her two grown children and spoiling their sweet fur babies. Most evenings, if Sami’s not watching sports, you’ll find her engrossed in a romantic suspense novel. She thinks a crime plus a little romance is the recipe for a great story.

More from Sami

What writer doesn’t grow up reading every chance they get? That would be me.

Until my thirties, I hated to read. Then someone told me about Terri Blackstock, and I decided to give her books a try. I was hooked. I guess there’s something to finding the right genre. Romantic Suspense is it for me. Of course, that makes sense. I love CSI, NCIS, and Criminal Minds. Over the years, I have expanded my taste, but there’s just something about suspense that keeps me coming back.

A little over five years ago, I decided to start checking off some of the items on my bucket list. I learned how to rock climb and got my scuba certification, among other things. When I got to the item, writing a novel, I sat down and pounded it out. Check the box; I was done. Wrong. God had other plans and placed some amazing people in my life.

One of those plans was attending MurderCon, a conference for writers where they learn from experts about, you guessed it…murder. Actually, it’s about police procedures, crime scene analysis…the list goes on and on. One of the workshops I attended was with a forensic anthropologist, and the idea for Melanie Hutton and Buried Cold Case Secrets was born.

I loved writing Melanie’s story. She’s a fighter and refuses to let anything stand in her way, including the man, Jason Cooper, who blames her for her best friend’s death. Jason holds on to the past and his hatred toward Melanie, but he soon learns that if he puts aside his assumptions and listens, he’ll discover the truth about the day his sister died. Letting go of his anger and blame is tough for Jason, but when he does, he finds the life he’s always wanted.

I hope you enjoy reading Melanie and Jason’s story as much as I did writing it.

I’d love to hear from you. Please visit my website at samiaabrams.com and sign up for my newsletter.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 8

The Avid Reader, January 8

Bigreadersite, January 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 9

Bizwings Blog, January 9

Texas Book-aholic, January 10

The Sacred Line, January 10

Inklings and notions, January 11

Labor Not in Vain, January 11

Betti Mace, January 11

For Him and My Family, January 12

For the Love of Literature, January 12

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 13 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, January 13

Lights in a Dark World, January 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 14

Elly Gilbert, January 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 15

Mary Hake, January 15

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 16

Kayem Reads, January 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 17 (Spotlight)

Through the Fire Blogs, January 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, January 18

Britt Reads Fiction, January 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 19

Blogging With Carol, January 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 20

Simple Harvest Reads, January 20 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, January 21

Pause for Tales, January 21

Blossoms and Blessings, January 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sami is giving away the grand prize package of a book, a coffee mug, a notebook, a pen!!

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/17198/buried-cold-case-secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

The Lost Dutchman’s Secret by Rebekah Jones Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Lost Dutchman’s Secret

Author: Rebekah Jones

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: November 2, 2021

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There’s a deadly secret in them thar hills—and gold, or so they say.

Deeply in debt to a wealthy local, Charles Sinclair, Dorothy Hodges’ father finally promises she’ll pay and in gold, no less. If only Dorothy could take to take the promises he spins out of thin air and turn them into that gold, all would be well.

With the help of a strange, rumpled man, Dorothy does manage to bring payment to one of Sinclair’s sons only to discover it won’t pay off the debt. Will the next payment be enough?  The next?

When Charles Sinclair ends up dead, Dorothy is the obvious prime suspect, but Sinclair’s son isn’t so certain. Together they work to clear her name and find the real murderer of the Superstitions, but will they find the answers buried in those hills?

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. The Lost Dutchman’s Secret offers a retelling of “Rumplestilskin” that requires more digging than a miner searching for The Lost Dutchman Mine.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Dorothy took a deep breath. ‘Why should I trust you? I don’t know you.’ The man grinned one more time. ‘Because you know that you can’t trust Charles Sinclair. I’m your only other choice.’“

As others mention, the book starts a little slowly and it took me a while to be enticed deeply into its caverns and canyons. Once intrigued, I was eager to discover who was behind all the evil goings-on in the desert.

It was hard to imagine someone successfully pulling off the life that Charles Sinclair, a wealthy loan shark, does. His children have no idea of what he really does for a living.

I felt so badly for Dorothy. Her father is so selfish and uncaring. He even sets her up for trouble, with no desire or effort on his part to help her. Dorothy herself trusts God, often praying for help. She does have to be reminded, though, that a Christian confesses a wrong and asks forgiveness. Once that is done, we have to accept the forgiveness and move on. “To continue to dwell over and over on what you should or should not have done will change nothing. To continue to wallow in guilt seems to suggest that Christ’s blood is not enough.”

Little Hazel is adorable! I just wanted to squeeze her, and wish her brother Theo would love her as she desired.

The conclusion of the Lost Dutchman’s Secret by Rebekah Jones left me well-satisfied. Many threads come together to make it a complex mystery. The mystery is thoroughly enjoyable by this point, and I was sorry to leave our new friends behind.

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great! Slow Start, but Intriguing Mystery!

About the Author

Rebekah Jones is first and foremost a follower of the Living God. She started writing as a little girl, seeking to glorify her King with her books and stories.
Rebekah is an old soul in a young body (she’s not 12 —honest!) While her exact age is classified, her interests are not. Among them are reading a variety of books, singing, playing, and composing music, studying all manner of subjects, nannying an adventurous group of youngsters, and, of course, writing her books, poems, articles, and short stories. She writes a wide range of books from gentle children’s adventures to family sagas to murder mysteries.

More from Rebekah

“They say that no one had ever seen gold ore like it before, neither have they ever since. Except in the possession of Jacob Waltz. His mine had ore of higher value and higher potency than any other mine found in Arizona…”

What if the Miller’s daughter from the tale of Rumpelstiltskin didn’t have to spin gold, but pay it? And because of an enormous debt – that she had no way of knowing the value? And her father wasn’t a miller, but an old miner with a penchant for carving animals while living in the Arizona desert? And what if, for her pains, she found herself mixed up in a murder?

And what if, somehow intermixed with this poor young woman and her troubles, came the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Goldmine?

If you don’t know about the legend of that lost mine, you should. Or I think that you should. It’s a real legend as old as the 1860’s. Except, it wasn’t lost when Jacob Waltz went bragging about it. That came later.

The mountains that house the legend are magnificent. When a friend of mine came to visit me, she and I went to explore the area around the Superstition Mountains, as well as a part of the mountains themselves. Standing in a forest of cacti and brush, the jagged rocks and sharp peaks towered above my head, while a critter skittered unseen. Beautiful isn’t quite a strong enough word to describe it. As we hiked up the mountain, making our way through a myriad of desert plant life, rocks of so many shapes and sizes, and tiny critters, I could picture Dorothy, the miner’s daughter.

The modern structures and buildings in sight, faded in my mind’s eye, and I could imagine the young woman partway up the mountain in 1929, wearing her old, faded dress, and staring out across the valley. We plotted out where her father’s shack would have stood, and I made note of a perfect crevice of rock where she might have sat to think or read. I rather found myself wishing I could live out there myself, even if living in a shack in the heat of the Arizona summer doesn’t wholly appeal to me.

When I finally got in front of my manuscript again, I could see Dorothy’s world so clearly, I can only hope I managed to capture it in the book itself. I doubt if I could have captured the beauty of those mountains in words, the sight of them as they changed colors in the sunset, or the glowing starry sky above them after dark.

As for the Lost Dutchman’s Goldmine, I would be lying if I said I didn’t entertain fantasies about exploring the mountains to discover it, but we certainly did not go that far into the mountains. Besides, it was June in the Arizona desert. One does not blindly venture into the mountains on such an errand in such a time of year unless one has a death wish. It’s rather fun to imagine though. Perhaps one day, I can go on a search – though I confess, I doubt it.

As for the book, I won’t say whether that lost goldmine is discovered or not. I’ll leave that for a reader to discover for themselves.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 17

An Author’s Take, December 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 18

Texas Book-aholic, December 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 20

Genesis 5020, December 20

Inklings and notions, December 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 21

For Him and My Family, December 22

For the Love of Literature, December 22

deb’s Book Review, December 23

Simple Harvest Reads, December 23 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Blogging With Carol, December 24

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

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 26

Vicarious Living, December 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 27

Connect in Fiction, December 27

Connie’s History Classroom, December 28

Mary Hake, December 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 29

Back Porch Reads, December 29

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 30

Through the Fire blogs, December 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rebekah is giving away the grand prize package of $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/14f1b/the-lost-dutchman-s-secret-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, NetGalley, Revell

A Season on the Wind by Suzanne Woods Fisher Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: A Season on the Wind

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Amish Fiction

Release date: October 5, 2021

Fisher_SeasonOnWind_3D

Ben Zook had only two loves in his life: books and birds. In a stroke of good fortune, he’d stumbled onto a way to cobble together those two loves into a career, writing books about rare birds. He was as free as a bird–until a chase for a rare White-winged Tern takes him to the one place on earth he planned to never return: his Amish home in Stoney Ridge.

Desperate for photographs of the elusive tern, Ben hires a local field guide, Micah Weaver, and boards at Micah’s farm, planning to “bag the bird” and leave Stoney Ridge before anyone recognizes him. But he neglected to plan for Micah’s sister, Penny. One long-ago summer, Penny had introduced Ben to birding, even sharing with him a hidden eagle aerie. That eagle became his spark bird–the one that inspired his lifelong love.

Ben. He was Penny’s spark bird. That was when she knew true love. She’d always hoped Ben would come back to Stoney Ridge. Back to his Amish roots. Back to her. The only problem? Ben has absolutely no memory of Penny.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Wow! A fiction book with birding as its subject matter!! I am a fan!! Suzanne Woods Fisher pens a most engaging tale of Amish and Englischers hunting both birds and fulfillment in A Season on the Wind. I loved this book on so many levels.

First, it starts with descriptions of birds. It was so hard to not look up the birds’ pictures in my phone app as I went. Each chapter includes a page out of Micah’s bird diary about a different bird: its plumage, nesting and mating habits, and habitat.

Second, personalities and relationships are complex. Nothing is as simple as it seems it should be. Because the novel is written in a non-linear way, we slowly discover the motivations behind Ben’s attitude and life. We also slowly see what makes his cousin Natalie tick. I love the way Woods surprised me more than once with twists well-placed that make perfect sense, yet I hadn’t seen them coming.

Third, a return to some of the characters of Stoney Ridge. The more Amish stories I read, the more I love and respect David Stoltzfus, Bishop of Stoney Ridge. “He was a true Spirit-led leader. Just the right combination of depending on the word of God in Scripture, and the word of God in hearts.” Such wisdom and care for his flock. Then there’s Hank and Edith. This unlikely couple adds so much color and sometimes confusion to their community.

Fourth, I love that Fisher is careful to point out that while the Amish life seems peaceful, it has its share of troubles and heartaches. It’s not their lifestyle that is the panacea for troubles. As Boyd says, it’s about what’s on the inside, not the outer trappings. “Wherever God puts us, he wants us in relationship with him. That’s for everyone, wherever they are. Amish or Englisch or any other label.”

A beautifully complex novel, presenting pain, fear, romance, faith, and ultimately, forgiveness. I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit via Net Galley. I was not required to leave a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! A Sweet Amish Stoney Ridge Romance with Twists and Birds!! If you like birds at all, don’t miss this one!!

About the Author

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

More from Suzanne

Did You Know? 8 Facts about the Christmas Bird Count

1) The year 2021 marks the 122nd National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) which, ironically, wasn’t always about counting live birds.

2) In 1900, the first CBC was launched as an alternative to the traditional Christmas “side hunt.” This holiday tradition encouraged people to go out into the woods on Christmas Day, choose “sides” to team up with and then, in the words of Frank Chapman, “kill everything in fur or feathers that crossed their path – if they could.” The winner was the “side” with the largest pile of dead birds. (Ugh!)

3) Frank Chapman was a prominent ornithologist, conservationist, and writer/editor who published Bird Lore magazine. He led the charge to end to this senseless slaughter and invited his readers to begin a new holiday tradition of counting, rather than shooting, birds.

4) Twenty-seven people participated in 25 counts that first year (in 1900). They counted 90 species of birds.

5) The idea caught on. Big time.

6) During December and January of each year, thousands of Christmas Bird Counts take place across the U.S., Canada, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands. The purpose of the CBC is a scientific census—to assess the health of bird populations and help guide conservation action.

7) Each CBC has an established 15-mile diameter circular count area. On a pre-arranged date, registered teams go out (with an assigned volunteer observer) and count the number of birds of each species they can identify within their assigned area. Each count has a volunteer compiler who sums up all of the lists and inputs the total numbers for each species into Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count database.

8) The CBC is the longest-running citizen science project and wildlife survey in the world. In fact, the CBC is considered the gold standard in citizen science.

And you don’t have to be an experienced birdwatcher to participate in the CBC! Bird lovers of all skills are welcomed. Even me! I’m a very enthusiastic amateur.

To learn more about the Christmas Bird Count, or to find a survey near you, go to https://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count

To learn more about Suzanne and the story about the Christmas Bird Count featured in A Season on the Wind, go to http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 23

Lighthouse-Academy, October 23

She Lives To Read, October 24

lakesidelivingsite, October 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 24

Artistic Nobody, October 25 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

For Him and My Family, October 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 26

CarpeDiem, October 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 27

Inklings and notions, October 27

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 28

Blogging With Carol, October 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 29

Texas Book-aholic, October 29

deb’s Book Review, October 30

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

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 31

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 1

SusanLovesBooks, November 1

Mary Hake, November 1

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

Blossoms and Blessings, November 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 3

Splashes of Joy, November 3

Pause for Tales, November 3

By The Book, November 4

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 4

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, November 5

Spoken from the Heart, November 5

Vicky Sluiter, November 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/126b3/a-season-on-the-wind-celebration-tour-giveaway