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Decoy Valentine by Shannon Kent

About the Book

Title: Decoy Valentine

Author: Shannon Kent

Publisher: Kindle Edition

Released: January 2021

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense, Mystery

FROM FAKE RELATIONSHIP TO TRUE LOVE

A broken engagement drives Susanna Kelly back to her hometown of Sweetheart, Texas and the arms of its quirky, lovable citizens. But her peaceful return to her roots is shattered when heart-shaped notes with sinister messages start appearing. The support of Daniel Sheppard, Asian American bestselling author and her childhood friend, gives her a much needed ally amidst the turmoil. He offers to play the role of her boyfriend to discourage the stalker, but Susanna resists. Pretending to be a couple? And with Daniel of all people? Who would buy it?

The note writer’s mind games force her to reconsider. Susanna accepts Daniel’s crazy plan, but her heart acts up whenever she’s near her decoy valentine. Comfortable, uncomplicated Daniel has turned into a full-grown man who makes her senses spin. As she tries to sort out her feelings, the make-believe romance has the opposite effect intended. Harmless notes turn into life-threatening accidents, and Daniel and Susanna must find out who’s behind the chaos before they can decide if their temporary relationship is a heaven-sent gift meant to last forever. 

My Impressions

Susannah Kelly is having a bad day. Or a bad three weeks, at least. Plus an unwanted suitor who can’t take a hint. How should she protect herself from the all-too familiar paper heart notes sent by a stalker, plus the wannabe boyfriend? Daniel Sheppard, Susannah’s best friend who has become a best-selling author in his three years away from Sweetheart, Texas, thinks he has the solution. Just be his valentine.

“It will never work,” she said. “No one will believe it. They’ll know we’re faking.” “We’re not faking.” Daniel met her on the porch, stuck his hands in his jacket pockets, and leaned against the railing. “You didn’t want to lie. Remember? We’re an honest-to-goodness couple.”

Author Shannon Kent sets Decoy Valentine in a small Texas town, preparing for their annual Candy Hearts Festival. The trope of (best) friends to couple is combined with a sprinkle of mystery, suspense, and humor. The little town seems chock-full of quirky characters that by turns are very fun to know or very irritating. I would enjoy seeing more of the Ladies’ Auxiliary, including Lannette and Elise. While this was not a chiller, there were certainly some scary vibes going on, and Kent does a great job portraying realistic, flawed, lovable and unlovable characters. Now that Daniel and Susannah have their act together, I hope we see another lovelorn couple from this town.

Fave Quotes:

The Bible says I have to forgive you, but I don’t have to hug you.

Daniel was determined to go through with this crazy charade. She squeezed her eyes shut and prayed under her breath. “Please, God. Don’t strike us both with lightning.”

She was so tired of being the strong one. Why couldn’t someone else save the day for a change?

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author. I was under no obligation to leave a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

When Shannon Kent earned an M.A. in Journalism, she never imagined her first published work of fiction would be inspired by TV shows from a faraway land. She loves the wacky, romantic world of Korean dramas and likes to share her opinions with fellow fans under the pen name Dramarookie at the Dramas with a Side of Kimchi blog.

ARC, Barbour, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, PB, Purchase

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep

About the Book

Title: The Thief of Blackfriars Lane

Author: Michelle Griep

Publisher: Barbour

Released: January 1, 2021

Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Mystery

There’s Often a Fine Line Between a Criminal and a Saint
 
Constable Jackson Forge intends to make the world safer, or at least the streets of Victorian London. But that’s Kit Turner’s domain, a swindler who runs a crew that acquires money the old-fashioned way—conning the rich to give to the poor. When a local cab driver goes missing, Jackson is tasked with finding the man, and the only way to do that is by enlisting Kit’s help. If Jackson doesn’t find the cabby, he’ll be fired. If Kit doesn’t help Jackson, he’ll arrest her for thievery. Yet neither of them realize those are the least of their problems.

My Impressions

Love historicals of the Victorian era? Love a Christian message seamlessly woven into the narrative? Michelle Griep has such a “silver pen” (compare to a “silver tongue” that our heroine Kit Turner has), that I could easily follow her into the underbelly of London. Not many authors could describe the shenanigans of Constable Jackson Forge and his enemy-turned-conspirator Kit the way Griep does. Griep tucks historical fact, English geography, and mystery, romance, and suspense into one mesmerizing, achingly beautiful story. The Thief of Blackfriars Lane grips you and refuses to be expunged from your mind much like the horrible smells of the sewer refuse to leave our unlikely hero’s clothes. For those who love surprises, there are plenty of twists and turns. There are also some very thought-provoking questions raised. Why does God allow failure and tragedy, instead of rescuing us from them? Kit doesn’t understand, and Jack helps console her:

“Yet it is often in tragedy where we find our life’s purpose, and that purpose is to love God and man.”

Are right and wrong clear-cut and absolute? Jack thinks they are. Can Kit teach him to think differently?

“…most of life dwells in the murky grey between right and wrong. Misfortunes will come and go, but through it all, our main duty is to keep loving God and keep loving man.”

Can you judge a book by its cover? If we’re referring to people, Griep proves that to judge based on the apparent cover is faulty at best, dangerous at worst. If we are referring to a book, I judge any of Michelle Griep’s books by one criterion: if her name is on it, it bears the mark of excellence. You would do well to buy it.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author and publisher. I also bought a copy, because a Griep is too good not to share. I am voluntarily leaving my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!!

(I have yet to find anything by Michelle Griep that I haven’t loved!)

About the Author

I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I chose the latter. Way cheaper. I’ve been writing since I discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write…except for that graffiti phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Snuffed Out, #2 The Wilkester Mysteries by Barbara Cornthwaite

About the Book

Book: Snuffed Out

Author: Barbara Cornthwaite

Genre: Christian cozy mystery

Release Date: July 24, 2020

2- Snuffed Out-sm

Picnics can be murder… scenes.

What was supposed to be a romantic picnic at “their spot” turns criminal when Katrina and Todd stumble—almost literally—over a body.

What’s the college chef doing under a bush up in the mountains? Other than being dead, that is.

Who killed him? Why?

All clues point to people who Katrina is certain didn’t do it. Especially the one who ends up dead himself.

Uh, oh.

Thanks to a slow-burning romantic relationship that can’t seem to get past chapter one, and a determination to save her friend from false arrest, Katrina joins Todd again as they riddle out bizarre clues, weed through unlikely suspects, and learn to communicate on a more personal level.

What do you get when you combine literary humor, sweet romance, and a practical helping of faith? A cozy mystery that’ll keep you guessing. Barbara Cornthwaite’s second Wilkester Mystery has everything you want for a cozy read.

Snag Snuffed Out today.

Click here to get your copy!


My Impressions

Welcome back to the sleepy college town of Wilkester, where murder and mayhem lurk beneath the calm exterior. Cafeteria manager Travis Melford has been killed right during the Regency conference held at the college. Adjunct English professor Katrina Peters comes to the rescue of her friend, Dr. Susan Langton, accused of the murder.
Snuffed Out, #2 The Wilkester Mysteries by Barbara Cornthwaite, is a fun cozy mystery plus.
The plus stands for a strong faith emphasis with a clear gospel message. It also represents the fact that fostering is a side subject well-explored and truthfully presented. You will feel deeply for Kim and Ed and Becky, all foster parents, as well as the children they seek to nurture.


For me, a good cozy has romance. Snuffed Out does and it’s enlightening to see Katrina and detective Todd Mason’s relationship move so slowly and discover the maddening unknowns about that by the novel’s end.
Occasional humor had me bursting out in laughter at various points. I am more than ready for my next visit to Wilkester.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. I voluntarily left this review, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

”…But time is moving so slowly. Like a turtle walking through tar.”

”…your problem is that you’re trying to face situations right now that God isn’t asking you to face.”

My Rating

Magnificent!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About the Author

Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.

Teaser for Snuffed Out

Todd closed the folder with the Franklin case paperwork in it and laid it on top of the stack of folders waiting to be filed. He almost reached for the Delaney case notes again but resisted the impulse. There was no new information in there, and he’d gone over everything a dozen times in the last few days. He had promised Katrina he wouldn’t give up, but without any new leads to pursue, there wasn’t much he could do.

He shook his head, impatient with himself. He’d been doing so well at putting her out of his mind—hadn’t thought of her all day until this moment. Now he’d probably be struggling for the rest of the day.

John Ortega poked his head into Todd’s office.

“Hey, we just got a call from the librarian at Wilkester College about the theft of a manuscript. The chief said either one of us could go, but I thought you might like to take it.”

“Why?”

“Oh, come on,” said John. “You think I’m blind and deaf?”

“It’s no use. Nothing’s going to happen between Dr. Peters and me.”

John leaned up against the door frame and grinned at him. “’Dr. Peters,’ huh? She was ‘Katrina’ for weeks.”

“Well, that was before. Now that I know a relationship isn’t possible, I need to keep my distance.”

“She turned you down?”

“I didn’t ask, but trust me, I know what I’m talking about.”

“Hmm,” John said. “You don’t usually give up on things so easily. Well, do you mind handling this anyway? I’ve got that other robbery case to deal with, and I’m supposed to be interviewing that guy from Tacoma in a couple hours.” Todd hesitated and John added, “She’s an adjunct professor, right? She’s probably not even on campus now, and she certainly won’t be in the library.”

“Oh, okay.” Todd sighed. He pushed back his chair and stood up.

“’Attaboy. Thanks for taking the call.” John turned to go and then looked back. “It will get easier, you know.”

“I know.” As long as I don’t see her again.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 28

Texas Book-aholic, November 29

Nancy E Wood, November 29

The Avid Reader, November 30

Genesis 5020, November 30

For the Love of Literature, November 30

Sodbusterliving, December 1

Artistic Nobody, December 1 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 2

deb’s Book Review, December 2

Remembrancy, December 3

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 3

Splashes of Joy, December 3

Inklings and notions, December 4

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 4

For Him and My Family, December 5

Blogging With Carol, December 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 6

Emily Yager, December 6

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

Lis Loves Reading, December 7

Labor Not in Vain, December 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 8

Mary Hake, December 8

She Lives to Read, December 9

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 10

Godly Book Reviews, December 10

SusanLovesBooks, December 10

Daysong Reflections, December 11

Bizwings Blog, December 11

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Barbara is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback 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/103f2/snuffed-out-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Purchase

Mountain of Peril, #1 Faith in the Parks, by J. Carol Nemeth, Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Mountain of Peril

Author: J. Carol Nemeth

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

Release Date: January 25, 2018

Mountain of Peril

When Molly Walker graduated from college, she was thrilled to be hired on as a ranger at Deep Creek Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She arrived ready to begin her career and to enjoy all the aspects of her new job, but the one thing she hadn’t counted on was the local poachers and their illegal shenanigans. Molly and fellow ranger Jake Stuart try to put a stop to the escalating poaching problem while protecting the animals. In the meantime, Molly finds the handsome ranger, who is also a local, is a great partner to have on her side. She also finds she’s losing her heart to him when she’d planned to stay focused on her career. Can she give her heart and have a career? She and Jake find themselves in a battle against a group of men with a hidden agenda far more sinister than poaching. Can they be stopped before Molly’s life is snuffed out?

Molly and Jake are in a battle against a group of men with a hidden agenda far more sinister than poaching. Can they be stopped before Molly’s life is snuffed out?

Click here to get your copy!


My Impressions

“The Smokies, in particular, hold a mystical appeal, like they’ve held secrets and tales for centuries just waiting for folks to discover. They have…personality.” This personality of the Smokies is very well brought to life in Mountain of Peril by J Carol Nemeth. It was a book I really looked forward to reading. Having visited there, I am very interested to read about descriptions of the natural beauty and wildlife, and Nemeth did not disappoint. Bear, wild boar, and elk all make appearances, and Nemeth shares a lot of pertinent information about poaching and trapping. The novel was very informational while being easy to read in and a fun story.

I enjoyed the occasional snarky humor that made me smile.
I enjoyed Jake and Molly’s story, especially Molly as a new ranger. I certainly could identify with her need to put her career ahead of her romance, since this is her first job.


I liked that prayer is an integral part of the story. Salvation is clearly presented, but I would have liked to have seen it woven into the story in smaller, more natural bites.
I also enjoyed how the ending came together. I hope we get to read Cal and Pam’s story soon.
I received a complimentary copy of this 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

A native North Carolinian, J. Carol Nemeth has always loved reading and enjoyed making up stories since junior high school, most based in the places she has lived or traveled to. She worked in the National Park Service as a Park Aid and served in the US Army where she was stationed in Italy, traveling to over thirteen countries while there. She met the love of her life, Mark Nemeth, also an Army veteran, while stationed in Italy. After they married, they lived in various locations, including North Yorkshire, England. They now live in West Virginia, where, in their spare time, Carol and Mark enjoy RVing, sightseeing and are active in their church. They have a son, Matt, who serves active duty Army, a daughter, Jennifer, her husband Flint, who serves active duty Air Force, and three grandchildren, Martin, Ava and Gage. Their four-footed kid, Holly, a black Lab, loves traveling in their RV, and when they pack up to go, she’s waiting inside for them to head out.

More from J. Carol

I worked for the National Park Service at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park many moons ago before I met my husband. The setting for Mountain of Peril, Faith in the Parks Book 1 is in that park. I met a lot of interesting people and there was never dull moment. Something was always happening. I was either helping trap wild boar, riding horse back for back country patrol, or doing search and rescue for missing persons. I used several of my own experiences in the story, tweaking them a bit here or there to fit with the flow of the narrative. This book is near and dear to my heart just as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is. Working there was the best job I ever had, other than writing of course, and I loved it. I hope my love of the park flows through my characters and spills out for readers to experience and enjoy.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 4

Bizwings Blog, November 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 5

For Him and My Family, November 6

Blogging With Carol, November 6

Texas Book-aholic, November 7

For the Love of Literature, November 8

Artistic Nobody, November 8 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

deb’s Book Review, November 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 10

Betti Mace, November 11

Labor Not in Vain, November 11

Inklings and notions, November 12

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 13

Mary Hake, November 13

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

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 15

Pause for Tales, November 15

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 17

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, J. Carol is giving away the grand prize 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/10330/mountain-of-peril-celebration-tour-giveaway

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The Sleuth’s Surprise, #4 The Librarian Sleuth by Kimberly Rose Johnson

About the Book

Title: The Sleuth’s Surprise

Series: #4, The Librarian Sleuth

Author: Kimberly Rose Johnson

Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink

Released: Sept 2020

Mary Daley has been the sheriff of Tipton County for more than two decades, but someone wants her job. When it seems circumstances can’t get more complicated, a murder happens on her watch. Had she been the intended victim?

Deputy Chief Lyle Griffin only wants Mary to be happy, but when he asks her if she’d consider retiring, it sets off a string of events and emotions that muddy their friendship.

Nancy Daley-Malone can’t believe anyone would run for sheriff against her mom. She is onboard to help run the best campaign Tipton County has ever seen until the sheriff’s opponent is murdered and Nancy’s husband joins the race. On top of that, it appears someone is out to kill her mother as well.

Can Nancy, along with the sheriff’s department, find the murderer before it’s too late? Will Lyle and Mary be able to admit their feelings for one another or will the status quo remain?

My Impressions

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”
I first loved The Sleuth’s Surprise, #4 The Librarian Sleuth, because it is a Christian cozy. No bad words, no bad scenes, but a small town with a murder and an amateur sleuth.
While I vaguely remembered the librarian, Nancy, who tries to solve the mystery (I’d only read one other book in the series), it was obvious that this book could stand on its own merits. Yay.

The main character, Mary, is a mature woman, into her fifties. She is quite capable and respected in her job AND she has a romance waiting to happen IF she and a friend can get past the “friend” point. How often main characters are only in their twenties or thirties at best! Thank you, Ms. Johnson.


The competition that Kimberly Rose Johnson sets up for Nancy’s heart. How can Nancy ever decide whom to support between the two people she loves most.
Just for free, the main characters of the other book I read were also involved and their relationship grew, as well.
Lighter than my most recent read, The Sleuth’s Surprise was a timely, delicious surprise for a hungry bookworm.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

Award winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.


Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter via her website at: https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/ 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

Echoes Among the Stones by Jaime Jo Wright

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About the Book

Title: Echoes Among the Stones

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: December 2019

After Aggie Dunkirk’s career is unceremoniously ended by her own mistakes, she finds herself traveling to Wisconsin, where her grandmother, Mumsie, lives alone in her vintage, though very outdated, home. Aggie didn’t plan for how eccentric Mumsie has become, obsessing over an old, unsolved crime scene–even going so far as to re-create it in a dollhouse.

Mystery seems to follow Aggie when she finds work as a secretary helping to restore the flooded historical part of the town’s cemetery. Forced to work with a puzzling yet attractive archaeologist, she exhumes the past’s secrets and unwittingly uncovers a crime that some will go to any length to keep hidden–even if that means silencing Aggie.
In 1946, Imogene Grayson works in a beauty salon but has her sights set on Hollywood. But coming home to discover her younger sister’s body in the attic changes everything. Unfamiliar with the burgeoning world of forensic science and, as a woman, not particularly welcomed into the investigation, Imogene is nonetheless determined to stay involved. As her sister’s case grows cold, Imogene vows to find justice . . . no matter the cost.

My Review

“My mother told me that when the boys came home from the war, people thought the world would go back to the way it was before. But it didn’t. The war lived on in souls for years after, and people were just never really the same again.”
This quote by Jaime Jo Wright in Echoes Among the Stones so aptly captures the mood of Mill Creek, Wisconsin in July of 1946. Wright recreates the ominous heaviness that the war brings to America’s hearts. Some people, like the young men who survive, come home brooding or unable to find their way out of the horror now relegated to memory. Others are affected by the loss of family members or the great personality change in a family member who returns. Still others like Imogene and Hazel are also affected second-hand by the war brought to America.

Echoes Among the Stones 1
Jaime Jo Wright has penned yet another mystery novel with spooky, ominous undertones that beckon the tentative reader in. Echoes Among the Stones is a time-slip novel, marrying two distinctly different and at first seemingly unrelated plots, no pun originally intended. In the present day, Aggie loses her real estate job and returns to her selfish, demanding grandmother’s home, while working a cemetery job. Collin, the archaeologist who works with Aggie, frustrates her, intrigues her, and challenges her by turns.
There was enough eerie mystery, romance, and humor (“You have all the sense of an addlepated muskrat, ”) plus faith scattered throughout the book that this book is a big winner for me. Also, I loved the way the solution took me by surprise. Look for this book among my favorites in 2019.

Echoes Among the Stones 2.png
Quotes:
“Sometimes…you must step outside of your own strength and realize there’s a greater Strength waiting to hold you.”

“All I can say right now is that we sell God short when we look at the pain. Instead, we should focus on what He’s provided us to help us heal.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars- Hit My Reading Sweet Spot!

About the Author

Daphne du Maurier and Christy Award-Winning author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the 13916081hills of Wisconsin writing suspenseful, mysteries stained with history’s secrets. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimewrightbooks.com!

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley, Thomas Nelson

Midnight on the River Grey by Abigail Wilson with giveaway and excerpt

Midnight-on-the-river-grey-FB-banner

About the Book

Book: Midnight on the River Grey                          6c783407-6e8e-4344-99de-e6e3427005c1.jpg

Author: Abigail Wilson

Genre: Historical Romance/Mystery

Release date: July 2, 2019

Abigail Wilson returns to Regency England with another tale of murder, mystery, and romance.

After her elder brother’s mysterious death, Rebecca Hunter vows to expose the man she believes responsible-Mr. Lewis Browning-known by the locals as the Midnight Devil and by Rebecca as her new guardian. He alone was on the bridge that fateful night and openly admits striking her brother with his horse, but he claims he remembers little else.

Summoned to his reclusive country estate to await her London season, Rebecca plans her own secret investigation. Yet, Lewis Browning is not as she once imagined, and his motivation is horribly unclear. Recurrent nightmares and Rebecca’s restless feelings are further complicated by the shadow of her mother’s prior descent into madness and whether she too will follow the same heartbreaking path.

Even as midnight rides, strange injuries, and further murders lead back to Lewis, Rebecca can’t ignore the subtle turn of her heart. Has she developed feelings for the man she swore to see hanged? And moreover, can she trust him with her uncertain future?

 

Click here to grab your copy.

My Review

English moors beset by swirling mists and winds; wicked storms, dreary weather, and centuries-old decrepit buildings slowly decaying; combine to make a great Gothic tale, but not a place I would care to visit. Abigail Wilson, in Midnight on the River Grey, carefully employs dark words, effectively painting a very dreary, spooky mood in Regency England. 

Midnight on the River Grey one


What is the allure of a musty setting like this? It “must” be the reader’s desire to see if the unfortunate characters can find hope or color in their lives, against all the odds of the Dickens-like environment. Rebecca has an overriding fear that she must face head-on. Lewis Browning has a horrible reputation that causes townspeople to ostracize him completely. Under the darkness of this tale is a thin ray of light struggling to find greater purchase and freedom. As a reader, I raced through the pages hoping to free Rebecca from her invisible prison. Would she determine the cause of the turmoil in her new surroundings, or would she become the next victim? 

Who will not like Rebecca? She can’t seem to stay safe, but she is determined to prove her loved one innocent and make the guilty pay. Rebecca has spunk, inquisitiveness, and clear thinking in spades, although some might like her to think otherwise. 
I loved the slow unwrapping of the romance as if one were unwrapping a present covered in layers of newsprint. Lewis was kind enough to sympathize with Rebecca’s feelings. That goes a long ways towards winning her respect, as opposed to just defending her father. Lewis also proves himself to be thoughtful and generous in undeniable ways. By this point, I didn’t care if Lewis was good-looking or not. Actions transform the face and person. 

I wondered if maybe Rebecca had unfairly judged both her father and Lewis. My Bible reading just yesterday cautioned against judging. It seems we point fingers back at ourselves when we refuse to extend grace to others. 
Aunt Jo is very likable and seems to have a quiet caution and wisdom. She is an excellent foil for Rebecca. 
A quote. (I will post longer ones as memes.)

“Sometimes people do awful things when they feel justified.” 

Copy of Midnight on the River Grey three (1).png

 

I recommend this book, with a few caveats. While it is clean, there are, however, a few situations that would make it for mature readers. There was no mention of faith, which is disappointing when the book comes from a Christian publisher. 

Midnight on the River Grey two


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

My Rating

golden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-star

 

About the Author

Abigail-Wilson-1-200x300Abigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A Registered Nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the National Parks, attending her daughter’s gymnastic meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA’s Fab Five contest and in 2016, ACFW’s First Impressions contest as well as placing as a 2017 finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband and children. Connect with Abigail at www.acwilsonbooks.com; Instagram: acwilsonbooks; Facebook: ACWilsonbooks; Twitter: @acwilsonbooks.

 

An excerpt from Midnight on the River Grey

My heartbeat turned sluggish as an ache swelled in the back of my throat. This man—the

person responsible for my brother’s death—expected me to live with him? In his house? Madness.

“And if we refuse?”

“I’m afraid there is little choice in the matter at this point. The arrangements are already complete.”

Mr. Browning narrowed his blue eyes, scrutinizing me, no doubt, as the numbing shock of his declaration faded to resignation across my face. He sighed. “I do realize Greybourne Hall might hold unfortunate associations for you—”

 “Unfortunate?” My voice came out a bit louder than I’d expected. “Is that what you choose to call it?”

He gave a sideways glance at Aunt Jo then returned to me, a pained look hovering about his eyes. His voice, however, remained firm. “Forgive me if I startled you. I hadn’t expected such a violent reaction to what I assumed was the logical next step. Perhaps I should make myself a bit clearer.” He gave a curt sigh. “I only intend for you to stay at Greybourne Hall till someplace more suitable can be arranged. Unfortunately, there are few options at present.”

Ice enveloped my heart. I had no wish to travel to, let alone live at that dreadful house, not even for a single night. In his letters, Jacob had described the rambling structure as a gray pile of stones fit for vampires, or worse. I could only image Mr. Browning, this dark-headed devil before me, at home in such a place.

Blog Stops

Fiction Aficionado, July 11

All-of-a-kind Mom, July 11

The Power of Words, July 11

Emily Yager, July 12

Blogging With Carol , July 12

Stories By Gina, July 12

Just the Write Escape, July 13

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, July 13

Simple Harvest Reads, July 14 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

For Him and My Family, July 14

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 15

Wishful Endings, July 15

Godly Book Reviews, July 15

Texas Book-aholic, July 16

Retrospective Spines, July 16

Seasons of Opportunities, July 17

For the Love of Literature, July 17

Mary Hake, July 17

Genesis 5020, July 18

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, July 18

Bigreadersite, July 18

Blessed & Bookish, July 19

Through the Fire Blogs, July 19

Blossoms and Blessings, July 19

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 20

Remembrancy, July 20

Inspiration Clothesline, July 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 21

Pause for Tales, July 21

A Reader’s Brain, July 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 22

Inklings and notions, July 22

Hallie Reads, July 23

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 23

janicesbookreviews, July 23

A Baker’s Perspective, July 24

Ashley’s Bookshelf, July 24

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Abigail is giving away a grand prize of a copy of her 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/e5a8/midnight-on-the-river-grey-towers-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

Sweet on You, #3 Bradford Sisters Romance by Becky Wade

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

AUTHOR: Becky Wade

TITLE: Sweet on You

SERIES: Bradford Sisters Romance

PUBLISHER: Bethany House

RELEASED: April, 2019

Britt and Zander have been best friends since they met thirteen years ago, but unbeknownst to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long. When Zander’s uncle dies of mysterious causes, he returns to Washington to investigate. As they work together to uncover his uncles tangled past, will the truth of what lies between them also come to light?

 

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MY REVIEW:

I have not been in a particular hurry to read Becky Wade’s romances, but if they’re all as good as Sweet on You, I have lied to myself. I need to hurry and read the first two in this series, although Sweet on You stands alone well.
Zander Ford has finally made a literary name for himself, only to be called home to deal with lies.
Lies like… he could get over loving Britt Bradford, his best friend… like the uncle who adopted him was everything he claimed to be…life could just go back to normal after his uncle’s funeral.
I loved the fact that this tale was more than just a fluffy romance. There was real substance to the problems that were keeping Zander and Britt apart. Plus, there was a great (for the reader) mystery involving the true identity of Zander’s uncle. Zander turns away from God because God doesn’t answer to Zander’s liking in Zander’s timing. This is so like us humans in general. I was brought up a little short as I wished Britt would stop being so self-sufficient that she held people at arm’s length. I realized I often try to make it on my own, not accepting others’ help. That doesn’t make us look strong, just stubborn. Ouch. But this is the best part of Christian fiction- seeing something of myself in a character that needs to be changed to produce a better person.
I found a few quotes to love.

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“Once, he’d been an orphan convinced he didn’t need saving. But then Carolyn and Frank had proved him wrong when they’d gone ahead and saved him anyway.”
“He reminds me of a Dickens orphan. Tragic and brooding and gorgeous.”
“So many lies. The revealing of them made Zander feel as though the foundation of this house might be torn in half at any second by an earthquake.”
”He was God’s son. A son full of mistakes. But a son, nonetheless.”
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinions, which are solely my own.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She’s been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in 5298259

Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky’s passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances with Avon Books, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her three kids, then recently returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. She felt led to move to the genre of contemporary Christian romance and couldn’t be more thrilled with it.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.

 

 

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The Sleuth’s Dilemma, #2 The Librarian Sleuth by Kimberly Rose Johnson

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: The Sleuth’s Dilemma, #2 The Librarian Sleuth

AUTHOR: Kimberly Rose Johnson

PUBLISHER, PUBLISHED: Mountain Brook Ink, February 2019

Anna loves her job as a high school English teacher until everything goes sideways. The one bright spot in her life is Titus Gains, the school counselor, who is there for her at every turn.

Titus’ boss complicates his ordered world when she tasks him with running a meeting that changes everything. How had he not noticed Anna earlier? Someone is out to destroy her, and he can’t let that happen.

As the head of the English department, part of Luke Harms’ job is to make sure everything runs smoothly. Things went haywire when Anna was put in charge of the big writing contest. Entries are missing, Anna appears to be in danger, and her job is on the line. Luke is investigating and wants to make things right for this woman he’s starting to care about.

Can a trio of school officials along with Nancy Daley, the town sleuth, stop the saboteur before it’s too late? And will Anna choose the right man, or lose them both?

 

MY REVIEW:

Teachers are notoriously overworked and I could certainly feel, as a former teacher and one who has many teacher friends, the huge weight of an additional, unwanted assignment. English teacher Anna Plum is saddled with running the high school writing contest as the former chair has refused to continue in that role. While Anna agrees to chair the contest, bad things begin to happen and she begins to wonder if it was a huge mistake.

The characters are well-drawn. I especially liked Anna as a former teacher. Her fears were very believable. The whole scenario of a single teacher with a few close friends who would go to bat for her was a home run for me. Nancy Daley, the librarian, is very loyal and would be a great friend to have. I enjoyed the tension between Nancy and her deputy sheriff boyfriend as they learn how to trust each other without necessarily giving up delicate information. I liked the romantic aspect as well as the mystery that kept me guessing. In short, I really loved it, even though I haven’t yet read book one. ( Which is now higher on my TBR pile.) If you are looking for a sweet, mysterious romance that includes asking for God’s guidance, buckle in and come along for the ride Kimberly Rose Johnson provides.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are expressly my own and no positive review was required.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award-winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child, Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul. 7082210

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter via her website at: https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/

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A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano

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About the Book:

Title: A Rumored Fortune

Paperback, 416 pages
Published July 31st,2018 by Fleming H. Revell Company (first published July 2018)

Tressa Harlowe’s father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first.

Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they’ll not soon forget.

MY REVIEW:

Powerful!! A Rumored Fortune, only the second book written by Joanna Davidson Politano, is on my list of top ten for 2018. More importantly, though, this novel will be in the running for top honors among book awards. This is my prediction for a novel of such high-caliber.

Tressa Harlowe’s odd vineyard-keeping father has disappeared from their mid-1800’s castle. Sadly, the search begins not so much for him, but for the treasure rumored to have been behind.

I should mention the narrative switches between first person, the rich heiress, Tressa; and third person, Donegan, the vinedresser in a class beneath her. Considering the societal differences so important at that time, this is extremely
clever of Politano.

This book grasped my attention from the start and held on, like the sea and mist that surround the castle and rarely loosen their clutches on it or its land.

Sadly, no matter what time period, people change very little. There are those who hear of someone else’s fortune and justify it should be theirs instead; schemers descend like vultures determined to get their share of the grand meal.

Obviously, Politano is an anglophobe and describes the area, life, and characters with a poetic prose that makes them “a wonder to behold.” She is a romantic in the linguistic sense of the word.

Fortunately, Politano is quite the romantic in the more common sense of the word. We see several possible romances, involving more than just the main characters. Which will thrive, and which will die, because there was no real connection?

Speaking of connections, Tressa has three main interests: her father, (and the vineyard because that was his obsession); relationships, and the fortune. Politano weaves them all together in an unforgettable story of agricultural lessons for life, including the spirit, romance, and intrigue that will leave you amazed at the experience you have just sojourned.

Hard to pick just a few quotes, but here are some faves:
“Strength comes to the branch through connection, and that’s what I’m offering.” How Tressa needs connections in more ways than one!

“It takes a harsh summer to yield abundance in the vineyards…When you feel you’re dying in the summer, all a branch needs to do is hang on.” So timely for anybody going through a rough patch!

“…isn’t the sort of man I would imagine knowing much Scripture.” ‘No, …he simply lives it out.’” We all need to live out our faith like that unnamed character!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. (I also bought my own copy.) This did not affect my opinions in any way, nor was I required to leave a positive review.

About the Author:

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Joanna Davidson Politano

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.