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

Cooking Up a Mystery by Gail Pallotta

About the Book

Book:  Cooking Up A Mystery

Author: Gail Pallotta

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release date: April 24, 2020

CookingUpAMystery website large size

Laney Eskridge worked to put her husband through dental school. Then he left with another woman. She’s on edge from the emotional scars and her parents’ deaths. Then she hears unexplained noises in her new tea house, and her anxiety is tripled. Add a budding romance with Eric—a guy with a fear of commitment—and it’s all too much to handle. She cuts ties with Eric and plunges into making her business pay off.

When Eric discovers that Laney’s in danger, he vows to protect her. But can he make a lasting promise? Will she trust him? . . .and when they overhear a threat that could cause national turmoil, will anyone believe them? There’s more brewing than herbal tea in Cooking up a Mystery.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions


“He’d wrapped her in shame and disgust and tied it as tight around her as if he’d bound her to a chair. No matter how much she tried, she couldn’t untie the knots.” Laney Eskridge, the protagonist in Gail Pallotta’s Cooking Up a Mystery, is hurting from the mistreatment in her first marriage and has no time for romance as she starts her dream restaurant. When she meets recuperating college professor Eric, will she rebuff his offers of friendship and possibly more because of her past?
The novel starts off a little slowly for my liking. The action picks up about mid-book with more mystery in the restaurant itself, some of it revolving around an unseemly simple painting.
Eric sounds like a winner, yet he can’t figure out why he scares Laney off sometimes. I read this thinking, “Slow down, pal, she’s giving off signals that say not to move too fast!!” So his puzzlement eludes me.



I love a good secondary character, and George is a wonderful one! He isn’t part of the romance, but he does want to help the romance along. He will do anything within his power to help Laney and gives extra of his time and thought to help her. He is just sweet and loveable. Nominated for best secondary character.
I like that Laney spends a good deal of her time actually at her restaurant, and we see her interactions there. I always think that it is important the main character truly works the job she supposedly holds. Kudos to Pallotta here.
Overall a great read.
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. I am voluntarily leaving my thoughts, which are solely my own. 

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great!

About the Author

Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A 2013 Grace Awards finalist, she’s a Reader’s Favorite 2017 Book Award winner and a TopShelf 2020 Book Awards Finalist. She’s published six books, poems, short stories and several hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums.

More from Gail

In Cooking up a Mystery running a business with no background or formal training in accounting or management overwhelms Laney, the heroine. George, her assistant, tells her she has him and God, who knows her needs. Then he adds, “You … have your mom’s wonderful recipes and you whip them up like a pro.”

I chose the food industry for Laney, a woman entrepreneur succeeding against the odds, because I have lots of cooking experience. I learned the skill at age ten. The reason, according to my father—I’d know how when I got married. I didn’t marry until I was thirty. By then, I’d received lots of instruction, so I knew how to prepare some pretty good dinners. My husband said, “You could start a restaurant.” I wanted to do other things instead, such as write, but I started one in this book.

Mt first woman entrepreneur appears in Hair Calamities and Hot Cash, a romantic comedy about a hairstylist. It’s set in Eve’s Clips, a salon in Triville, a fictitious town in the North Carolina Mountains where Laney opens Laney’s Delectable Delights.

A section in the back of Cooking up a Mystery, Laney’s Chefs in the Making, features over two dozen recipes. Only Laney’s Pineapple Rice is mine. The rest are from a book, Heavenly Delights, authored by my friend, Pam Nichols Griffin, as a fundraiser for Mission Love Seeds, a charity that helps children throughout the world and responds locally after disasters to demonstrate God’s love.

Laney’s Pineapple Rice

Ingredients:

Rice (can be instant, but not boil-in-the-bag)

Cooking oil or spray

One small onion (chopped thin)

Five cloves garlic (or minced gloves equaling five cloves)

One tablespoon fresh grated ginger

One cup fresh pineapple

Small amount of pineapple juice

One teaspoon sugar

One lime

Cook rice according to directions on the box, but substitute a couple of tablespoons to 1/4 cup pineapple juice (depending on taste) for part of the water.

Chill rice

Coat a heavy bottom skillet with oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, pineapple and sugar and stir. Add cold rice, break up, squirt with the juice of one lime and stir until heated and blended.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 9

Blogging With Carol, April 9

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 10

She Lives To Read, April 11

Texas Book-aholic, April 11

Inklings and notions, April 12

Genesis 5020, April 12

For Him and My Family, April 13

deb’s Book Review, April 14

Worthy2Read, April 14

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 16

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 17

Godly Book Reviews, April 17

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 18

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, April 19

CarpeDiem, April 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 20

April Hayman, Author, April 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 21

Simple Harvest Reads, April 21 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 22

Labor Not in Vain, April 22

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Gail is giving away  the grand prize of a $40 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/10a4e/cooking-up-a-mystery-celebration-tour-giveaway

Celebrate Lit Tour, Purchase

The Elusive Miss Ellison, #1 Regency Brides: A Call to Grace, by Carolyn Miller with Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Elusive Miss Ellison

Author: Carolyn Miller

Genre: Historical, Regency Fiction

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Pride, Presumption, and forgiveness…

Hampton Hall’s new owner has the villagers of St. Hampton Heath all aflutter—all except Lavinia Ellison. The reverend’s daughter cares for those who are poor and sick, and the seventh Earl of Hawkesbury definitely does not meet that criteria. His refusal to take his responsibilities seriously, or even darken the door of the church, leave her convinced he is as arrogant and reckless as his brother—his brother who stole the most important person in Lavinia’s world.Nicholas Stamford is shadowed by guilt: his own, his brother’s, the legacy of war. A perfunctory visit to this dreary part of Gloucestershire wasn’t supposed to engage his heart, or his mind. Challenged by Miss Ellison’s fascinating blend of Bluestocking opinions, hoydenish behavior, and angelic singing voice, he finds the impossible becoming possible—he begins to care. But Lavinia’s aloof manner, society’s opposition and his ancestral obligations prove most frustrating, until scandal forces them to get along.Can Lavinia and Nicholas look beyond painful pasts and present prejudice to see their future? And what happens when Lavinia learns a family secret that alters everything she’s ever known?

Click here to get your copy!


My Impressions

Looking for a clean, Regency romance with Christian values? The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller is a good choice. This was my second time reading the novel, and I daresay, I enjoyed it just as much the second time around.
Lavinia Ellison is a poor reverend’s daughter who lives with her father and aunt in Gloucester, England in 1813. There is much ado when the newest Earl of Hawkesbury Hall returns to his country estate. Lavinia holds Hawkesbury guilty of many sins, and she is the one young lady unaffected by Nicholas’s wealth and prestige. Somehow, this makes her very interesting to the earl.
I liked the quick wit that we see in Lavinia and Hawkesbury. Sometimes I wanted to shake them into talking to each other more honestly. Miller seems to make the point that pride and prejudice can be a two-way street. Lavinia is certainly quite surprised to discover this shortcoming in herself, while she holds many faults against Nicholas.
“How often do we hold sins against others, whether they be petty, imagined slights, or even grave miscarriages of justice, while allowing our own weaknesses to slip through our fingers of blame?”


Miller’s prose holds dry humor that often caused me to grin, even as I wondered how long Lavinia and the earl could treat each other so poorly. An unexpected twist totally changes the story in a way I had totally forgotten and didn’t see coming.
“A handsome appearance counted for naught unless matched by good character and actions.” So opines our heroine, yet the amount of change required of Nicholas was tremendous. I often forgot this as I got impatient with the earl’s indecisiveness and inability to choose one straight course of action.


Quite a few tidbits of wisdom are included in the novel, many of them spiritual. One that rang especially true:
“All things are forgivable when we realize how much we’ve been forgiven.”
The Elusive Miss Ellison is definitely a recommended read.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. I am voluntarily leaving this review. All opinions are my own. 

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great!

About the Author

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss Winthrop, Miss Serena’s Secret, The Making of Mrs. Hale, A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, Underestimating Miss Cecilia, and Misleading Miss Verity, all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc Her contemporary novels include Restoring Fairhaven and Regaining Mercy, as part of the Independence Islands series.

More from Carolyn

Mr. Darcy has a lot to answer for, doesn’t he?

I’ve long been a fan of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, and my first historical romance, The Elusive Miss Ellison, was so fun to write as I worked to weave the social commentary of Jane Austen with the wit and romantic dash of Heyer, an unwavering Christian thread, and a dash of Aussie perspective.

I’ve been very fortunate to visit many of the settings used in my Regency Brides series (of series), including the Cotswolds, Brighton, Bath, London, Derbyshire and the gorgeous Scottish castle featured on the cover of Misleading Miss Verity, and have loved seeing readers respond so positively to these stories of hope, redemption, family and love.

I love to share images of my trips and what I envisage concerning these stories at my website (www.carolynmillerauthor.com) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/CarolynMillerAuthor) and hope readers will enjoy being swept up into an age of ladies and true gentlemen, when the code of honor was paramount, and Mr. Darcy showed that first impressions can never be fully trusted, and that there is always something deeper to the story.

Happy reading, friends!

Carolyn 🙂

Blog Stops

Connie’s History Classroom, October 28

Losing the Busyness, October 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 29

Emily Yager, October 29

Worthy2Read, October 30

Artistic Nobody, October 30 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 31

Mary Hake, October 31

Splashes of Joy, November 1

deb’s Book Review, November 1

Texas Book-aholic, November 2

Inklings and notions, November 3

Vicky Sluiter, November 3

For Him and My Family, November 4

Heidi and Books, November 4

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 5

Bigreadersite, November 5

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 6

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 7

Mia Reads, November 7

She Lives To Read, November 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 8

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

Godly Book Reviews, November 9

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, November 10

Captive Dreams Window, November 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carolyn is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon prize and a paperback copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/102ad/the-elusive-miss-ellison-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Purchase

The Fault in Firelight, #2 Hometown Holiday Heartstrings by Emily Dana Botrous

About the Book

Title: The Fault in Firelight

Series: #2 Hometown Holiday Heroes

Author: Emily Dana Botrous

Publisher: Emily Dana Botrous

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

Released: September, 2020

He knows the pain of betrayal. She has a past that could ruin her future. What can heal their brokenness?

Tony Coniglio loves being single again and the freedom that comes with it. But when he’s pressured to ask out the next available woman, he agrees, just to get his family off his back—even though she’s the town’s all-too-serious cop.

Officer Stacy Kallisto is by the book. Maybe it’s because she once broke the rules and has regretted it ever since. When trouble around town leaves Stacy searching for the culprit, she keeps running into Tony, the one man who wants to know more about her than she wants to share.

As sparks fly and secrets are revealed, Stacy wonders if there’s room in her heart for a man so different from herself—and for the God she wrote off long ago.

My Impressions

Having earlier read The Trouble with Tulips, I jumped at the chance to read Emily Dana Botrous’s next book, The Fault in Firelight. After losing a brotherly bet, divorced Tony Coniglio is told he has a week to ask out the next single woman who walks through the door. Unfortunately, that lady is policewoman Stacy Kallisto, who promptly refuses Tony. Now that her storage unit has been vandalized, he’ll have to contact her again.
“Relationships required trust. Trust and secrets made for a poor mix, and she’d sacrificed too much to let the truth out for a man.” Stacy is a superior police officer, and next in line for the police chief’s role, but her private life is a mess. Torn by regrets, insecurities, and bitterness, she has built a wall around her heart.


Tony is a deeply caring and fun guy who finds himself surprised at his attraction to Officer Kallisto. Working with her to find out who burglarized her storage unit, he falls harder and harder, only to have Stacy hold him at arm’s distance.
I enjoyed this novel. It contains elements of a contemporary romance, mixed with romantic suspense, mixed with a bit of a psychological study. ( Why do people do what they do? How and why does that affect the character so deeply? ) And most importantly, can Stacy and Tony break the repeated cycles and shackles that bind them and find the love they yearn for?


If you enjoy contemporary romance and romantic suspense with tidbits of faith to guide you, this is a book for you. Plus there are more coming. Marcy’s story is up soon. I’ll be here.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great!

About the Author

Emily Dana Botrous lives in San Diego, California with her husband and their four children. She lived in 10 states before she settled on the West Coast where she plans to stay for awhile. She started writing short stories at age 10 and studied English in college. The only thing she enjoys more than writing is motherhood. While there are a lot of things that matter to Emily, nothing is more important to her than Jesus Christ. It is her goal to point anyone who reads her writing toward Him. When Emily isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, long walks, music, and playing with her kids. “A New Shade of Paint” is her first book.

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

The Amish Menorah by the Men of Amish Fiction with Giveaway

About the Book

thumbnail_TheAmishMenorahandOtherStories_Medium

Book:  The Amish Menorah

Author: The Men of Amish Fiction

Genre: Amish Fiction

Release Date: May 13, 2020

Come sit and enjoy!

Six short stories by the men of Amish fiction to entertain and educate you. You’ll journey with an Amish man and the Jewish woman whose life he saves, agonize with an Amish girl in love with an Englische man, fret with two sisters both in love with the same man, pray with the family whose child is injured in a fall, work with the Amish sheriff in a western town, and laugh at the girl forced to be Amish for the summer.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

If I mention Amish fiction, how many authors could you list? I could easily list four or five, then stretch it maybe to ten with a little thought. And they would all be women. So, The Amish Menorah and Other Stories “by the men of Amish fiction,” caught my attention. This compilation of novellas is a potluck of tastes of writers Patrick Craig,
Willard Carpenter, Jerry Eicher, Thomas Nye, Murray Pura, and Amos Wyse. Each man told a very different tale and got a different reaction from me. Patrick Craig’s Amish Menorah was full of suspense and romance between Gerd and Emily. Joshua was my favorite character. I was disappointed when the ending skipped several years of hardship to complete the story happily.
While necessary for the length of the narrative, the tale felt unbalanced, action-wise.
I had a hard time getting into the second offering, A Cloudy Day, by Willard Carpenter.
It is written in the first-person plural present tense. I found this extremely distracting. The author did a good job of showing the very real problems an Englischer army recruit and his Amish intended go through, but I wanted a less abrupt ending and much more resolution than we got.
I enjoyed The Silo by Thomas Nye.
All through the telling, the reader has a sense of foreboding. What is going to happen? The events are largely seen through the eyes of the eldest brother, Harvey, 15, of a large Amish family. I was surprised exactly what happens and felt the story had a good, solid ending.


Lone Star by Murray Pura is unusual. This short story tells of a crime-ridden Kansas town that solved its problem with a pacifist Amish sheriff, Saul Miller. As outlandish as the idea was, I thought the author explained well how it could have happened. At times the narrative starts to sound a little like a textbook. I wanted the characters to have a little more life. But then, Pura has already pulled off a coup in getting the concept to fly, and the end was a good finishing touch.


My favorite of the group was Amish for the Summer by Amos Wyse. When a drunk, spoiled, rich girl DeeDee causes trouble for an Amish family, she can go to jail or stay with the family for the summer. A very fulfilling story as DeeDee matures and grows up.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the authors and publisher from Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required. All opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great!

About the Authors

To know Wil, one would probably not think of him as an author. He is a husband, a father, a Christian, a veteran, a business owner, and a servant. He has led a life of bold and diverse experiences that immediately capture one’s attention.  Wil has an unexpected artistic and creative side—something that might be considered uncommon, given his life’s works. Wil’s greatest inner strength is his expression and creativity. His life’s works give a credit to his writing that few other fiction authors possess. This generates a vivid degree of realism above and beyond other works of fiction.

PCraigPhoto300dpi

Amazon bestselling author Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful music career to become a pastor in 1986. In 2007 he retired to concentrate on writing and publishing fiction books. In 2013, Harvest House Publishers published his first Amish series, Apple Creek Dreams.  Patrick and his wife, Judy, live in Idaho. They have two daughters and Five grandchildren. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency.

EicherCropped

Jerry Eicher was born to Amish parents, and raised in an Amish settlement in Honduras, Central America. The family returned stateside in the late seventies, when Jerry was sixteen. He spent his youth with a beloved Amish youth group in Belle Center, Ohio, and was married in 1983 to Tina Schmucker, whose parents had moved to the community from Nappanee, Indiana. Jerry and Tina left the Amish to join the Mennonites after the birth of their second son. He wrote his first work in the early twenties, a fictionalized version of his childhood in Central America. His second title was an Amish love story— Sarah. Since then Jerry has published over thirty fiction titles and sold nearly a million books.

Thomas & Karma

Thomas Nye writes novels about Amish life, with a touch of romance, and a foundation of faith in Christ. He and his wife, Shari, live on her family farm where they raised five children. They have seven grandchildren and a team of draft horses. Thomas walks a mail route for the US Postal Service. It keeps him close to nature and a affords many quiet hours in which to dream up novels. “Over three decades of friendships with Amish neighbors has revealed a simple wisdom that inspires my writing.” To find out more about Thomas Nye and his books, visit: amishhorses.blogspot.com

Murray_Pura_400

Murray Pura has over twenty-four novels to his credit and, in addition, has published dozens of short stories, novellas,,and poems along with numerous books of non-fiction. He has worked with Baker, Barbour, Zondervan, Harvest House, MillerWords, HarperCollins, Harlequin, Harper One and Elk Lake Publishing. His fiction has won or been short listed for a number of literary prizes. Pura has lived in the UK, the Middle East, the USA and Canada. He now makes his home in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta.

wyse

Amos Wyse was born in the Midwest. Spending a great deal of his youth around good, hard-working farmers, those who lived near them and worked with them. When writing, he keeps those people and the life lessons they taught close by.

More from The Men of Amish

The Amish Menorah and Other Stories was born out of a happy meeting between Patrick E. Craig and Thomas Nye at an Amish writers and readers event put on by Connie Spradling Lynch in Shipshewana, Indiana in 2019. Most of these readers did not know that there were several men who wrote Amish fiction. So Patrick and Tom decided to do something about that. After the conference, invitations went out to Murray Pura, Willard Carpenter, Jerry Eicher and Amos Wyse. Deb Haggerty at Elk Lake Publishers signed on and The Amish Menorah came to be.

Patrick E. Craig

As always, the six of us male authors of Amish fiction, have the goal of writing interesting and inspiring stories about Amish life. Collectively, our purpose in putting together The Amish Menorah, was to offer a sampling of Amish novellas written by men. There are only a few of us guys and dozens of women writing Amish novels. This book is an opportunity for readers of Amish fiction to sample six of our writing styles in one setting.

The Biblical description of a Menorah is a seven-flame lampstand. We like to think of our six stories in the Amish Menorah as six flames, each shining a unique light on Amish life. Our prayer is that you, our readers, will become that seventh flame as you join us by reading The Amish Menorah.

Thomas Nye

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, October 5

CarpeDiem, October 5

Inklings and notions, October 6

Batya’s Bits, October 6

Connie’s History Classroom, October 7

Lighthouse Academy Blog, October 7 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

She Lives To Read, October 8

Maureen’s Musings, October 8

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 9

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 9

Older & Smarter?, October 10

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 10

Artistic Nobody, October 11 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Mary Hake, October 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 12

SusanLovesBooks, October 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 13

Captive Dreams Window, October 13

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 14

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

For Him and My Family, October 15

lakesidelivingsite, October 15

deb’s Book Review, October 16

Bigreadersite, October 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 17

Blossoms and Blessings, October 17

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 18

Vicky Sluiter, October 18

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, The Men of Amish Fiction are giving away the grand prize package of copy of The Amish Menorah and Other Stories, a copy of Samson and Amish Delilah (by Thomas Nye), and an Amish coloring book designed for Amish children and sold in Amish stores!!

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/101d9/the-amish-menorah-celebration-tour-giveaway