Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, NetGalley, New-to-Me Author

Love’s Fortress by Jennifer Uhlarik Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Love’s Fortress

Author: Jennifer Uhlarik

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical fiction / Romance

Release date: March, 2022

9781636091815 (2)

A Love Story from the Past Brings Closure to Dani’s Fractured Family

Walk through Doors to the Past via a series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

When Dani Sango’s art forger father passes away, Dani inherits his home. Among his effects is a book of Native American drawings, which leads her to seek the help of museum curator Brad Osgood to decipher the ledger art. Why would her father have this book? Is it just another forgery?

Brad Osgood’s four-year-old niece, Brynn, needs a safe home, and Brad longs to provide it. The last thing he needs is more drama, especially from a forger’s daughter. But when the two meet “accidentally” at St. Augustine’s 350-year-old Spanish fort, Castillo de San Marcos, he can’t refuse the intriguing woman.

Broken Bow is among seventy-three Plains Indians transported to Florida in 1875 for incarceration at ancient Fort Marion. Sally Jo Harris and Luke Worthing dream of serving God on a foreign mission field, but when the Indians arrive in St. Augustine, God changes their plans. Then when friendship develops between Sally Jo and Broken Bow and false accusations fly, it could cost them their lives.

Can Dani discover how Broken Bow and Sally Jo’s story ends and how it impacted her father’s life?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

I enjoyed Jennifer Uhlarik’s contribution to the Doors to the Past series by Barbour. Each book is a stand-alone novel that presents as an intriguing dual-timeline. Love’s Fortress connects the present day Florida to St. Augustine, FL, in the 1870s.

Matty is my favorite character in the present-day scenarios. He is so big, tough, and scary looking, but he has a heart of gold. He loves Jesus and he loves those around him. He sees people without any discrimination. “Everyone’s welcome in God’s kingdom, darlin’. Doesn’t matter what you wear or how you fix your hair. It’s what’s in here.” He is loyal to a fault and can be surprisingly gentle.

Broken Bow is my favorite character in the historical sections. I love how Uhlarik shows the Native American’s probable way of thinking in keeping with their tribal customs. While there are some clashes between the Native Americans and the white peoples, Uhlarik tries to present the good and bad of both sides, never saying one is better than the other. My heart wanted to cry at the injustices that Broken Bow and others like him endured simply because he was not white.

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

Uhlarik includes historical notes and fact vs. fiction at the end, always a welcome addition to any book that draws a historical picture for us.

Notable Quotables:

“Oh, sweet heavenly Father, thank You! You do have a plan!”

“Me? I’m just a mixed-up little girl in a grown-up girl’s body.”

“We may never see the. . .impact we make when we follow God’s leading.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I Learned a Lot About the Time of Native American Incarceration at St. Augustine.

About the Author

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a preteen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a BA in writing, she has won five writing competitions and was a finalist in two others. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenage son, and four fur children.

More from Jennifer

Florida has been my home since I was ten, and I’ve visited the city of St. Augustine several times in my many years here. There, I stumbled across the fact that the Castillo de San Marcos, the town’s 350-year-old Spanish fort, was home to several groups of Native Americans in the 1800s. Ever since learning this fact, I’ve considered writing a story about the three-year period from 1875-1878 when seventy-three Plains Indians from various tribes called the fort (known then as Fort Marion) their home. However, since I’m mainly a western and western romance author, all of my story settings to date have been west of the Mississippi—not in Florida. So this interesting historical factoid remained dormant in my imagination for years, waiting for the right opportunity.

That opportunity came last year when I was asked to submit an idea for Barbour’s dual-timeline Doors to the Past series. These stories must be set in or around a major landmark, the plot must focus on a newsworthy event, and there must be a bit of a mystery that connects the historical timeline to the contemporary plot. Obviously, as the oldest masonry fort in the United States, Castillo de San Marcos is an important and interesting landmark. Originally built by the Spanish, it later became a British possession, reverted again to the Spanish, and eventually became part of the United States’ holdings. With such a long and varied history, I’m sure you can see why this unique structure would make an interesting landmark around which to base a story.

The newsworthy event the plot focuses on is the incarceration of those seventy-three Plains Indians, deemed some of the “worst of the worst” offenders in the Indians Wars of the West. Can you imagine the buzz such an event would create? Once the Indians fell into their routine inside the fort, they were given quite a bit of freedom to interact with the locals and tourists. People came from far and wide to see these men and their historic surroundings along the banks of the Matanzas River. With a simple day pass from the fort’s commander, outsiders could enter, walk among and talk with the prisoners, see the historic fort, and even watch cultural events like dances, powwows, mock buffalo hunts, and archery displays. The Native men could also leave the fort and venture into town to shop or sell handmade goods, from bows and arrows to hand-crafted items made from locally-sourced seashells and plants, to their original “ledger art.”

It’s the ledger art that comprises the mysterious puzzle piece connecting the historical timeline of Love’s Fortress to the present day. When Dani Sango learns her long-estranged father has died, she inherits his rundown St. Augustine house. Inside, she discovers a book of Native American art depicting events from one Indian’s daily life. But because her father was a convicted art forger, Dani questions why he would have the strange and rudimentary artwork. She suspects it was his latest scam, so she enlists the help of Brad Osgood, curator of a western art museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, to help her discover where the art originated and how her father came to possess it. In the process, the pair digs deep into the history of the St. Augustine fort and its former residents.

I found it fascinating to research this brief period in the Castillo’s long history, and I hope you’ll enjoy the story that came from my efforts.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 26

Remembrancy, March 26

The Christian Fiction Girl, March 27

Texas Book-aholic, March 27

Inklings and notions, March 28

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 28

Bigreadersite, March 29

For Him and My Family, March 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 30

Betti Mace, March 30

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 31

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 31

deb’s Book Review, April 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 1

Older & Smarter?, April 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 3

Life of Literature, April 3

Genesis 5020, April 4

For the Love of Literature, April 4

Connie’s History Classroom, April 5

Blossoms and Blessings, April 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 6 (Spotlight)

Splashes of Joy, April 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 7

Through the Fire Blogs, April 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 8

Pause for Tales, April 9

Labor Not in Vain, April 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and 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/1c10d/love-s-fortress-celebration-tour-giveaway

ARC, BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, LPC, New-to-Me Author

A Strike to the Heart by Danielle Grandinetti

About the Book

Title: A Strike to the Heart

Series: Strike to the Heart

(Prequel Novella: To Stand in the Breach

Christmas Novella: As Silent as the Night)

Author: Danielle Grandinetti

Publisher: Iron Stream Media

Genre: Historical Christian Romantic Suspense, Mystery

Releases: April 12, 2022 (I reviewed an ARC copy.)

She’s fiercely independent. He’s determined to protect her.

Wisconsin, 1933—When a routine mission becomes an ambush that kills his team, Craft Agency sniper Miles Wright determines to find the persons responsible and protect the woman he rescued. But the fierce independence that led Lily Moore to leave her family’s dairy business for the solitary life of a dog trainer and the isolation of her farm don’t make that easy. Neither does his unwanted attraction to her. Meanwhile, escalating incidents confirm that she’s far from safe.

Lily fears letting the surprisingly gentle retired marine into her life almost as much as she fears whoever is threatening her. As Wisconsin farmers edge toward another milk strike, one that will surely turn violent, it becomes clear that the plot against Lily may be part of a much larger conspiracy. When the search for her abductor leads close to home, she must decide whether to trust her family or the man who saved her life.

Get your book at one of these links below!!

https://www.amazon.com/Strike-Heart-Danielle-Grandinetti/dp/1645263525

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-strike-to-the-heart-danielle-grandinetti/1139873924?ean=9781645263524

https://www.christianbook.com/a-strike-to-the-heart/9781645263524/pd/263521

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781645263524

https://shoplpc.com/a-strike-to-the-heart/

My Impressions

“He might be an ex-soldier, a sniper trained to kill, but he prayed daily that kindness would be the trait people would identify most when they interacted with him.”

I love how Danielle Grandinetti marries Miles’s sniper’s skills to that of a tender heart! Strong, shrewd, and swoon-worthy, Miles is willing to sacrifice everything for those he loves. A totally relatable romantic suspense hero. Then, Grandinetti’s heroine, Lily, is a similar juxtaposition of traits. Fiercely independent, Lily is a compassionate, dog trainer who needs protection. She can push the ones she cares about to great heights. Now Grandinetti really had my attention, and I was swiping pages as fast as I could to reach the conclusion of A Strike to the Heart. While this was my first Grandinetti novel, it won’t be my last.

Faith is a constant thread throughout this novel. Lily seeks God out daily. Miles isn’t quite as comfortable with God due to past events, but one hopes and prays he will find his way totally back to God. Perhaps… ”second chances were meant for redemption.”

Miles needs redemption in more ways than one. He fails his team, it seems. Will he fail to protect Lily, who is becoming very important to him? Will he fail his boss? Lily’s family, who doesn’t care much for him?

Which begs the next question. In this fast-paced action novel, who is trustworthy? Who is treacherous? Relationships are tested. The milk strikes of 1933 were dangerous, yet Lily’s family is embroiled in the midst of it all. What, if anything, does Lily’s kidnapping have to do with the strikes?

So many questions!! So many possibilities! I suspected some answers, but Grandinetti successfully includes a lot of twists and turns until more than Miles and Lily were unsure.

I love to highlight a notable secondary character. Gio is so awesome. He has Miles’s back, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The special way Gio prays for Lily is just amazing and it teaches Miles how to pray effectively for a loved one at the same time. Maybe Gio will get his own book soon.

So many Notable Quotables…

“Whom should he fear more … the men who would kill them or the woman who tested the fortifications of his heart?”

“…the simple change of clothes caused him to go from intense protector to confident friend.”

“She would have hope for both of them until there was no hope left to be had.”

I received this book from the author. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! These Two Characters Stole My Heart!!

About the Author

Danielle Grandinetti is a book blogger at DaniellesWritingSpot.com, focusing on Christian historical romance, romantic suspense, and sweet romance.

Her historical romantic suspense (published by Heritage Beacon Fiction) releases in April 2022.

A Chicagoland native, Danielle lives along Lake Michigan’s Wisconsin shoreline with her husband and their two young sons. She loves quiet mornings served with the perfect cup of tea.

More from Danielle

Because I had a lot of questions for Danielle about her book, she was gracious enough to respond and give us readers a peek into what goes on in the mind of a writer…Thank you, Danielle!!

Q: What inspired you to write about the milk strikes of 1933 in Wisconsin?

A few years ago, Wisconsin farmers were in a position where they had to dump their cow’s milk because it was more expensive to transport than dump. That made me curious as to whether it had happened before. Not only had it, but in 1933, farmers organized three strikes in order to prompt a raise in milk prices. 

Q: I love that you made Miles a trained sniper who prays people see him as a loving, caring person. Probably one reason I love this book so much. What gave you the idea to make him have two very different sides to his personality?

Snipers seem to have this distant, cold persona, but as I dug into Miles’ past, I realized his skill and his personality were at odds, creating an internal conflict for him. I had him wrestle through holding life and death in his hands as he held the rifle and doing so because of his desire to protect those he cared about.

Q: I love that you made Lily a dog trainer. (My daughter and I have taken our puppies through basic obedience, and years ago our daughters took our dogs through rigorous 4-H training for the local fair. It’s a lot of hard work!! How did you research Lily’s professional dog training?

I’ve also always loved dog training and have studied it myself for years. What made the historical aspect even more fun to include was because of the history of dog obedience training. In October of 1933, two women in New York became the first individuals to organize Dog Obedience Trials. As a nod to them, I made Lily a dog trainer.

Q: Do you rely on a team of writing buddies to help you when you hit writer’s block?

I do have several writing friends who help me with all aspects of my writing career. Two names stand out: My critique partner, Ann Elizabeth Fryer, who also writes Historical Romance, sees my rough drafts before my editor does and she helps me through plot holes and brainstorming ideas. My writing friend Beth Pugh, who writes Contemporary Romance, signed with my publishing house at the same time as I did, so I’m grateful to have been through the process together.

Q: Do you include snippets of yourself in your characters?

I think every author does to some extent. As for the characters in A Strike to the Heart, Lily’s dog training and Gio’s Italian heritage are two aspects of myself I included.

Q: Can you tell us about your next book? Is there a story coming for Gio? You have made him so charismatic, I certainly hope so!!

Yes!! Gio gets a story! I love Gio, too, and was so excited to give him a story, at Christmas no less. As Silent as the Night releases in September.

He can procure anything, except his heart’s deepest wish. She might hold the key, if she’s not discovered first.

Chicago, 1933―Lucia Critelli will do anything for her ailing grandfather, including stand in a breadline to have enough food to make him a St. Nicholas Day meal. When she catches the eye of a goon who threatens her grandfather, she discovers the end of Prohibition doesn’t mean the end of the mafia’s criminal activity.

Retired Marine Scout Giosue “Gio” Vella can find anything, especially if it helps a fellow Italian immigrant, so he has no doubt he can locate his neighbor’s granddaughter, who has gone missing from a local church. Keeping her safe is another matter. Especially when he chooses to hide out with his Marine buddy in Eagle, Wisconsin, the site of a barely-held truce among striking dairy farmers.

Will Christmas bring the miracle they all need or will Gio discover there are some things even he can’t find, particularly when he stumbles upon the most elusive gift of all: love?

Q: Lastly, you are writing at least a three-book series. Is it necessary to read the books in order, or would we just feel more connected to the characters if we do?

Readers do not need to read the three books in order. A Strike to the Heart is the main book in the series and the only full-length novel. To get a little back story and a running start into the conflict, I recommend reading To Stand in the Breach, the prequel novella featuring Lily’s brother and her best friend. Gio’s Christmas novella, As Silent as the Night, serves as a Christmas wrap-up that will hopefully have everyone getting a happily ever after.

Wow, I for one am ready for Gio’s story—yesterday!! Thank you for your time with us, Danielle!!

ARC, Bethany House, BLOG, Kindle, NetGalley

Drawn by the Current by Jocelyn Green Review

About the Book

Title: Drawn by the Current

Series: #3, Saga of the Windy City

Author: Jocelyn Green

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: February 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction

Lives depend on the truth she uncovers.
She can’t give up her search.

A birthday excursion turns deadly when the SS Eastlandcapsizes with Olive Pierce and her best friend on board. Hundreds perish during the accident, and it’s only when Olive herself barely escapes that she discovers her friend is among the victims.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Olive returns to her work at a Chicago insurance agency and is immersed in the countless investigations related to the accident. But with so many missing, there are few open-and-shut cases, and she tries to balance her grief with the hard work of finding the truth.

While someone sabotages her progress, Olive accepts the help of newspaper photographer Erik Magnussen. As they unravel secrets, the truths they discover impact those closest to Olive. How long will the disaster haunt her–and how can she help the others find the peace they deserve?

My Impressions

Your value comes from a much deeper place than who your employer is. You were made in the image of God, and who you are is bigger than what you do.”

Jocelyn Green is an amazing author who accurately relates historical events while conveying solid truth in an unforgettable novel. Drawn by the Current is the third and final book of The Windy City Saga which tells the story of one Chicago family from the Chicago fire through the sinking of the SS Eastland.

While Green gives enough background for Drawn by the Current to stand alone, the book is so much richer with the memories of the previous novels. I enjoyed seeing old friends Sylvie, Kristof, and Meg again. The personalities of those three have matured and wrap the reader in the comfort of older, wise, and loved confidantes.

Olive fights many of the battles of a modern woman, yet fits within her era. She is a nurturer at heart, finding meaning in life as she helps others. She works at a life insurance company, and wishes to advance, but her boss feels women cannot use their brains. Olive deals with domestic abuse, PTSD, and loyalty. She desperately searches for the truth while concealing secrets of her own. I wholly identified with Olive when she at last learns a great lesson about herself and how God sees her.

Erik is charming through and through. I loved how he takes so much time out of his life to help Olive with her searches. He is so brave to protect Olive. Yet, he doesn’t protect her heart.

A historical novel of great depth, plumbing what it means to survive physically, emotionally, and spiritually. For the keeper shelf.

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

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Forgotten Tragedy Remembered, Great Truths Buried in Novel

About the Author

Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage. The honors her books have received include the Christy Award in historical fiction, and gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more. Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville. Visit her at jocelyngreen.com.

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Purchase

Slashed Canvas by Liz Tolsma Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Slashed Canvas

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale

Release date: February 1, 2022

7-Slashed-Canvas-663x1024

Held prisoner by all she’s lost, Katarina’s about to lose all she has.

Grand Duchess Katarina Volstova barely escaped the Russian revolution, arriving in Paris just before the birth of her twin daughters. With her heart still captive in her homeland, she haunts the Louvre each day, spending hours gazing at one painting, lost in her pain.

Not the man he once was, Timothy Smythe never returned home to England after the Great War. Instead, he hides himself away doing maintenance in the Louvre and watching the beautiful woman whose pain seems riveted on one painting.

When Katarina returns home to find her daughters and their nanny missing, the loss opens her eyes to all she has to lose now.

Frantic to find her girls, her distress causes Timothy to offer his assistance. Together they put together clues to a puzzle they must complete before the kidnapper ensures Katarina and her daughters are never reunited.

Slashed Canvas offers a retelling of The Lost Princess that mingles self-centered grief, spoiled little girls, and proof that nothing will stop a mother from saving her children.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Slashed Canvas by Liz Tolsma is a fairytale retelling of a tale that I am frankly, unfamiliar with. But very timely, since it involves Russian refugees, fleeing the Bolshevik revolution, who are in exile, and desiring to go return to the homeland.

The character development of Princess Katerina Volstova is a joy to see, as she evolves from a totally self-absorbed, vain, woe-is-me-persona. Only the presence of God, whose name is often called upon for help, and that of a good friend, perhaps “God with skin on” can help. We meet two very dissimilar people, who discover that they can help each other if they can put aside society’s expectations and view each other through the Father’s eyes.

However, Tolsma has twists up her sleeve. Several, that she tosses out like red steaks to a chasing dog, making it difficult to ferret out the evil from the good. I wasn’t sure of the true culprit until almost the last page.

A romance, a happily-ever-after, a tragedy, a fairytale, an inspiration. Like swirls of a paintbrush on a canvas, the elements are so well plotted that they combine to create a picture that I will be musing in my mind for some time to come.

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

Magnificent!! A Fairytale, HEA, Tragedy All in One

About the Author

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at http://www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

More from Liz

How Slashed Canvas Came to Be

It was the last evening of the SoCal Christian Writer’s Conference three years ago. A group of us decided that frozen yogurt sounded good, so we walked the few blocks from the university where the conference was being held to the local fro-yo shop.

On the way back, I was walking alongside fellow author Chautona Havig. We were chatting about various projects we had underway, and she mentioned that she and Sandy Barela from Celebrate Lit had come up with an idea for a boxed set. This involved taking a fairy-tale and turning it into a 1920s mystery. Would I be interested?

You don’t have to ask me twice if I’d like to be in a set with Chautona that’s put out by Sandy. Before I knew what was happening, I was agreeing to it. Then we got talking about what fairy tales I might use. As soon as she said The Lost Princess, an idea sparked in my brain. It really was that instant. 1920s. Princess. Russia. Exile.

This might come as a surprise to both Chautona and Sandy, but I really didn’t know the story of The Lost Princess. Not at all. When I was working up the idea, I had to read the story and figure out how to make my idea mesh with the fairy tale. Thankfully, the story did work well with what I intended to do with Slashed Canvas.

And that title? Well, that was quite difficult. At the time, my niece was staying with us and interning for me. One night, we sat and ran through idea after idea until we came up with “Something” Canvas. I wanted a strong adjective and we offered and rejected many until we came up with Slashed Canvas. I hadn’t written a word of the book, but I managed to work a slashed canvas into the story.

And what about the painting in Slashed Canvas? I knew I wanted it to be by a Russian artist and hang in the Louvre, but there weren’t (and aren’t) many paintings like that in the Louvre. Russia has been loath to allow any of its art to leave the country. So what was I going to do? I really was going crazy.

Then I spoke on the phone to Kristy Cambron. Not only is she a fabulous author, but she also has a degree in art history. It was her idea to make up my own painting. That way, I could make it work however I needed it to for the story. What a relief. I did just that, and the story flowed from there.

And the clues to the mystery? Those were my dad’s ideas. I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil anything!

So that’s how Slashed Canvas came to be. It was the work of so many different people. Authors, much as we hide behind our computers, never work in a vacuum. Very often, there are many fingers in the pie to make the finished product.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 7

Texas Book-aholic, March 8

For the Love of Literature, March 8

Inklings and notions, March 9

Christian Bookaholic, March 9

For Him and My Family, March 10

Elly Gilbert, March 10

deb’s Book Review, March 11

By the Book, March 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 12

Blossoms and Blessings, March 12

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 13

Paula’s Persuasion, March 13

Connie’s History Classroom, March 14

Genesis 5020, March 14

Babbling Becky L’ s Book Impressions, March 15

Older & Smarter?, March 15

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 16 (Spotlight)

Blogging With Carol, March 16

Simple Harvest Reads, March 16 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 17

Maureen’s Musings, March 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 18

Connect in Fiction, March 18

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 19 (Author Interview)

Back Porch Reads, March 19

Mary Hake, March 19

Through the Fire Blogs, March 20

The Book Club Network, March 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and 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/1b4c3/slashed-canvas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Audible, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle

Flipping Hearts by Chautona Havig, Narrated by Christa DelSorbo Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Flipping Hearts

Author: Chautona Havig

Narrator: Christa DelSorbo

Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction

Flipping Hearts Audio

When a hurricane rips through Hooper Island, a tidal wave of TV crews follows and upsets the locals.

Brooks Crawforth agreed to volunteer crews helping to clean up and repair things on the island, not a whole home and garden series on the total renovation of several houses and a bit of cleanup on the side. He’s furious, and the show host is spitting nails at the person who blew it in the first place.

His and his father’s jobs are in jeopardy, the islanders are about to kill him, and that crazy show host blames him for her assistant’s last-minute, “you’ve-got-to-sign-this-now-or-we-can’t-come” contract.

One more thing. Did she have to be so cute?

He’s got even more trouble, though. Islanders are starting to blame Mallory Barrows for the invasion. Not only that, there are rumors of dismantling the association and allowing tourism on the islands. How’s he supposed to fix this mess?

They can’t stand each other, but if they can manage to flip off the enemy switch and flip on some cooperation, maybe their hearts’ll get flipped, too.

This “enemies to romance” novel introduces the next island in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

First off, I have to say, I am really beginning to appreciate all the awesomeness that Chautona Havig packs into almost any of her novels. Flipping Hearts is no exception. This novel is chock-full of Havig’s witticisms, humor, and quick and “modernized” Biblical references (ex: “God might as well have boomed out an audible “No!” from the heavens and physically opened the mouth of a random palm tree in a Balaam moment.”) Also, Havig has a knack for explaining Biblical concepts without being preachy, boring, or unnatural to the conversation. So I loved Flipping Hearts!

I started out listening to the audio version, provided by Celebrate Lit. The narrator, Christa DelSorbo, has a pleasing voice that varies according to character, accent, or action. All was good until my personal mental blocks came into play. After four chapters, I had to switch to the written version of the novel which I purchased myself. This is not a knock against DelSorbo. I just couldn’t concentrate on the book as I listened, but was distracted easily and missed many important facts of the story in those chapters. Also, I prefer to draw my own mental pictures of characters, and I had trouble with the “voice” of Brooks. To me, it sounded like an older man, not a young, eligible bachelor. I decided I could read visually and retain much more than I could by continuing to listen. Please, if you are not a strict visual learner as I obviously am, give this audiobook a try. I am certain many will adore the work DelSorbo has done.

I must say, I am not a big contemporary romance fan. But written by Havig, this story about two different island couples was irresistible to me! I certainly followed the red herrings provided and had the wrong perpetrator fingered most of the book. I felt the conflicts were very believable, not the kind where you say, “They just need to talk!”

Such a great contemporary romance. Don’t miss it, whether on audible or in writing!

Lots of Notable Quotables.

“real allure comes from deep within. It can’t be faked like eyelash thickness or color. It comes out because of who you are.”

“…when you say people are basically good and understanding at their core, you are saying that they don’t need Jesus, then. God says people’s hearts are wicked and sick.”

“So maybe it’s like how God made humans in His image? So, we’re like Him in that way. We can do good stuff because a good God made us, but that doesn’t excuse the bad stuff we think and do?”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About the Author

Using story to connect readers with the Master Storyteller.

media-headshot-sm-240x300

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours, and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

About the Narrator

Speaking Life into Story

Queen of the one-eyebrow quirk, Christa DelSorbo auditioned for the role of Tarzan’s mom and has the photos to prove she ended up as the only cast member in a literal cast. These days, they keep her stuck in a box with a ball on a stick and only feed her when she reads another chapter of another fabulous book. She loves every minute. Or so they tell her. *eyebrow slowly raises *

More from Christa

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 26

Texas Book-aholic, January 27

For Him and My Family, January 28

Inklings and notions, January 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 30

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 1

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 2 (Spotlight)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 3

The Sacred Line, February 3

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 4

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, February 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 6

deb’s Book Review, February 7 (Spotlight)

The Author Reads, February 7

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, February 8

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, Chautona and Christa are giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book in winner’s choice of format!!

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/193c2/flipping-hearts-audiobook-celebration-tour-giveaway

Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, NetGalley

Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Lessman

About the Book

Title: Shadows of Swanford Abbey

Author: Julie Klassen

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: December 2021

Genre: Historical Romance, Regency

Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen in this atmospheric Regency tale brimming with mystery, intrigue, and romance.

When Miss Rebecca Lane returns to her home village after a few years away, her brother begs for a favor: go to nearby Swanford Abbey and deliver his manuscript to an author staying there who could help him get published. Feeling responsible for her brother’s desperate state, she reluctantly agrees.

The medieval monastery turned grand hotel is rumored to be haunted. Once there, Rebecca begins noticing strange things, including a figure in a hooded black gown gliding silently through the abbey’s cloisters. For all its renovations and veneer of luxury, the ancient foundations seem to echo with whispers of the past–including her own. For there she encounters Sir Frederick–magistrate, widower, and former neighbor–who long ago broke her heart.

When the famous author is found murdered in the abbey, Sir Frederick begins questioning staff and guests and quickly discovers that several people held grudges against the man, including Miss Lane and her brother. Haunted by a painful betrayal in his past, Sir Frederick searches for answers but is torn between his growing feelings for Rebecca and his pursuit of the truth. For Miss Lane is clearly hiding something. . . .

My Impressions

“For the first time in years, the rusty hinges of his shuttered heart gave an experimental creak.”
Julie Lessman entices the reader into the world of the Jane Austen era with beautifully crafted sentences like this. Lessman’s latest offering, The Shadows of Swanford Abbey, is wonderfully stuffed with mystery, Regency-era (even a bit of Gothic) romance, and faith.

It is March of 1820 in Worcestershire, England.
Rebecca Lane returns home to care for her foundering brother. His problems are deeper than Rebecca realized, and she must board at a nearby hotel, where a famous writer is in residence.

A former family friend who is also their landlord, Frederick Wilford, is staying at this hotel. Wilford’s manor renovations, started by his deceased wife, were never completed. Before his marriage, young Rebecca carried a torch for Frederick. Can she hide the embarrassment of that attraction now?

So many different characters to puzzle out, whether Rebecca’s brother, John, Miss Selina Newport or Lady Fitzhoward, to name a few of the supporting cast. What fun it is when there are several well-thought-out and presented mysteries to try to work through before all is revealed.

Rebecca is greatly loyal, but that lands her in a heap of trouble. “She just wanted her brother back as he had once been, but she feared that John was gone forever.” She wants to help John, but how far will she go in the name of brotherly love? What will that do to the attraction that is finally blossoming between her and her erstwhile unrequited love? One thing she does realize is this:
“Family . . . once gone, there’s no replacing them.”

A ghost. Secrets of the former convent. Relationships are hidden, some for nefarious reasons, some discarded in the shadows of the past. What will come to light at the end?

Lovers of Regency Romance, who also want faith and mystery will devour this Lessman novel, as will historical buffs. Definitely discovering I have not read enough of Julie Klassen’s expertly crafted Regency tales! Hand me another, please!!

I received a copy of this book from the author and Bethany House via NetGalley. No positive review was required. All opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Expertly Crafted Gothic Regency!! One of my faves for 2021!

About the Author

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her books, The Silent GovernessThe Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also won the Midwest Book Award, the Minnesota Book Award, and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award, and been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and ACFW’s Carol Awards. She blogs at http://www.inspiredbylifeandfiction.com.
Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, Purchase

The Nutcracker’s Suite by Chautona Havig Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Nutcracker’s Suite

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Christmas Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: November 26, 2021

Nutcracker

“Time to dance, sugarplum.”

A painter at the Meyer’s Toys factory, Clarice Stahl, knows something is
strange about the way so many men come and go through Mr. Meyer’s
office, especially one in particular.

Then murder strikes a little too close to home and uncorks a barrel of
secrets.

When mob king, Mario Topo’s, enforcer goes missing the race is on to
prove he’s behind the murder. Police and mobsters alike are after Milo
Natale and he who finds Milo first might determine the enforcer’s fate.

A race through the city, a new friend… or more… a new life in the
offing. Milo and Clarice must find who killed Topo’s man and why before
the police arrest him for murder or Topo’s men bump him and Clarice off,
too.

This next book in the Ever After Mysteries combines “The Nutcracker
Suite” with a murder mystery set in the heart of 1920s Rockland.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Totally Terrific!! Chautona Havig can write any genre she undertakes. In The Nutcracker’s Suite, though, she outdoes herself in presenting a suspenseful mystery mashing together a retelling of the Nutcracker, a 1920s Prohibition mob mix-up, and a romance with faith interspersed. I was glued to my seat until I finished, at turns laughing out loud and terrified. I get the distinct impression the author is having a blast with the creation of this story! As a result, the reader has a rollicking good time.
I’ve read several Havig novels, and The Nutcracker’s Suite just vaulted to the top and into my list of Top Ten CF Novels of 2021!! The mystery kept me guessing and I never did quite figure it out!! Well-done!! I must admit, I loved Havig’s use of sarcasm, especially as it relates to Clarice’s thoughts. I hope there will be a book for Lily in the future.

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

Notable Quotables:

“His ability to think dashed out and into the street where he was certain, it would be run over by a police car.”

“The lies are piling up faster than finished nutcrackers.”

“Did she just lie with the truth?”

“Not married, but I’ll remember that if I ever find a nice girl.” He didn’t say, “like you,” but Milo heard it and wanted to tie the man’s throat in a knot for it.”

“Keep her safe. If you aren’t a man of faith, become one and then pray until you can’t think anymore, but keep her safe.” It was a fool’s promise, but Milo made it. “I will.”

“…feelings always demanded an audience, even at the expense of truth.”

“Topo. It means mouse. I’m the attic mouse.”

“Every word the man spoke sat on a paragraph of threats.”

“People dying have a way of interfering with one’s shopping.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! A Rollicking Good Time IF You Survive Suspense

About the Author

Author of the bestselling Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours, and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

Here Are Several Fun Facts & a Secret about The Nutcracker’s Suite

You’d think that while writing a book based on the fairy tale of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, I’d have heard “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” in my head as I wrote. Well, I guess for a brief moment I did, because at some point, someone actually says that. “Dance, sugar plum!”

But Tchaikovsky isn’t who played in my head as I wrote. Over and over, word after word, my fingers did their bourres and glissades across my keyboard to one, rather unexpected song. “Ballerina” (I prefer the version sung by Buddy Clark. You can listen HERE.)

However, there are so many elements of the original ballet’s story in mine. I thought I’d share a few of them.

Let’s talk about the cast of characters.

Clarice Stahl is our “leading lady.” It’s kind of obvious where I got her name since the original character was Clara Stahlbaum.

Clarice works for Mr. Dieter Meyer, the owner of Meyer’s Toys. He gives her the job of painting nutcrackers. So, it’s not too difficult to see the connection to Uncle Drosselmeyer who gives Clara the nutcracker, no?

All of 1925 Rockland is in the clutches of mob king, Mario Topo. For those not fluent in Italian, can you guess what “topo” is in that language? Remember… he’s the mob “king.” 😉

But I think my favorite name of all is Emiliano (I call him Milo) Natale (Christmas in Italian… just sayin’) who is known as “the nutcracker.” He’s an enforcer for Mr. Topo, and that means he squeezes people until they crack and do what Topo wants. Let’s hope he repents!

Yes, I had a boatload of fun coming up with this stuff! How’d you guess?

I have a secret to confess about this book. I’m writing this post when I’m only about a quarter of the way done. I went to get the synopsis for this tour and went, “oops!” You see, I forgot that I’d planned to make Milo going missing a big part of the plot.

Guess who has to flex? I’d better get back to it. They need to figure out who killed our victim… and why. And before Clarice is next!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 26

Blogging With Carol, November 26

Texas Book-aholic, November 27

For the Love of Literature, November 28

By the Book, November 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 29

Inklings and notions, November 29

For Him and My Family, November 30

Rachael’s Inkwell, November 30

deb’s Book Review, December 1

Bizwings Blog, December 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 2

Genesis 5020, December 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 3

Simple Harvest Reads, December 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Connie’s History Classroom, December 4

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 4

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 5

Connect in Fiction, December 5

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 6

Mary Hake, December 6

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, December 7

Through the fire blogs, December 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 8

Lots of Helpers, December 8

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 9 (Author Interview)

Back Porch Reads, December 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away to three winners one Prize box each including a paperback of The Nutcracker’s Suite, themed goodies, and a $10 Amazon Gift Card in each!!

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/13cfb/the-nutcracker-s-suite-celebration-tour-giveaway

ARC, BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, Kregel, NetGalley, Read with Audra

The Debutante’s Code by Erica Vetsch Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Title: The Debutante’s Code

Series: #1 Thorndike and Swann Regency Mysteries

Author: Erica Vetsch

Publisher: Kregel Books

Released: December 7, 2021

Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series
 
Newly returned from finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is ready to debut in London society. Due to her years away, she hasn’t spent much time with her parents and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love. But when they disappear, she discovers she never really knew them at all. They’ve been living double lives as government spies–and they’re only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family’s legacy.
 
Now Lady Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spies. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors–not to mention the nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner, who suspects her of a daring theft.
 
Can Lady Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents’ last mission?
 
Best-selling author Erica Vetsch is back with a rollicking, exciting new series destined to be a hit with Regency readers who enjoy a touch of mystery in their love stories. Fans of Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, and Anne Perry will love the wit, action, and romance.
 
Click here to read an excerpt.

My Impressions

Wow! This is only the second book I’ve read by Erica Vetsch, but The Debutante’s Code just pushed Vetsch into my must-watch authors.

An adventurous and resourceful debutante, fresh from finishing school, Juliette’s biggest desire is to return home to get reacquainted with the parents she has missed for seven long years. Unfortunately, upon entering society, she finds herself in the care of a drunken uncle and an overbearing dowager duchess. When Lady Juliette makes a surprise discovery about her parents, can she reconcile the faith they taught her with what she now knows to be true?

Daniel Swann of Bow Street, a young police constable, has humble beginnings that his superior never tires of reminding him about. Yet, when he meets Juliette Thorndike following a robbery at a wealthy residence, he is intrigued.

I fell in love with both of these characters. Juliette is kind, intelligent, and so brave, and willing to learn all she can about her new calling.
I felt her pain and confusion in my own soul over her parents’ absence. Daniel Swann… well, for starters, Swann is very close to the word Swoon. Perhaps there is a connection! Poor Daniel!! He has parental issues, too. Plus, his job is in jeopardy because of unfair bias. The closer Daniel gets to Juliette, the more he realizes she is not who she seems.

Unfortunately for the reader, this book ends without a solid conclusion. We must wait for book two to see what develops in many ways. I will be first in line!

The epilogue and author’s notes are essential parts of this book. There are links to more information on certain items of interest.

I received a copy of this book from the author through I Read with Audra via NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all thoughts are solely my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnifcent! Vetsch Becoming a New Fave Author!!

About the Author

Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.
 
Vetsch is the author of many novellas and novels, including the popular Serendipity & Secrets Regency series and the new Thorndike & Swann Regency Mystery series
 
Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.
 
Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor)Instagram (@EricaVetsch) and Pinterest (Erica Vetsch).

More from Erica

Do you have a fiction lover on your holiday shopping list? Look no further for a gift suggestion! Just in time for the gift-giving season, award-winning author Erica Vetsch is kicking off her new Thorndike & Swann Regency mystery series with the release of The Debutante’s Code (Kregel Publications). This new series combining a historical setting, romance, and mystery has been described as Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes. With that combination, where can you go wrong?

Q: Introduce us to the new Thorndike & Swann Regency Mystery series which has been described as Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes.

This story has been a long time in the making! It has to be almost ten years ago that I first thought up the story idea, and originally, it was set in Gilded Age New York. But when I began writing stories set in Regency England, I realized the original tale could easily be adapted to the Regency Era.

Our heroine longs to be reunited with her parents and have her debut season in London, but her plans go awry when her parents do not meet her at the docks and are, in fact, missing. She discovers that she comes from a long line of spies for the Crown, and she has a choice, either to finish what her parents started, or turn her back on her heritage and become the socialite she assumed she would be all along. Her mind is made up when murder is afoot.

Our hero is a Bow Street Runner, one of London’s earliest policemen, and he’s on the hunt for a stolen painting…then other valuables from the same shipment of rare items disappear one by one, and an art dealer is found murdered in his gallery. Each clue leads our hero closer and closer to the thief and killer, but he’s disconcerted to find that his chief suspect has become the debutante he finds so attractive.

Q: Tell us more about your leading lady, Juliette Thorndike.

Juliette is fresh from finishing school in Switzerland, where she has been for several years. Because of Britain’s ongoing war with France, her parents determined a cloistered school in Switzerland was a safe place for her to remain, especially while they were doing daring deeds for the monarch. Juliette is an accomplished toxophilite, avid reader, puzzle solver, and good dancer. 

Most of all, Juliette yearns for her family to be reunited. She was a child when she was sent to Switzerland, and she longs to know her parents as an adult. They have been in frequent communication via letters, but it isn’t the same as being together in person. When she discovers that her parents have kept such a dire secret from her all these years, she wonders if she’s ever known them at all.

Q: Juliette has a somewhat fantasized view of who her parents are, yet she really hasn’t spent that much time around them. What happens to make her realize she’s never really known them at all?

They’ve hidden so many things from her—from her heritage to their activities and hidden rooms in their house. She has created an image in her mind of what life will be like once they are reunited, but now she wonders if any of it is even possible, much less probable. 

She’s always felt secure in her parents’ love, but if they can lie about something so big, what else have they lied about?

Q: Why does Juliette not only feel abandon by her parents, but abandoned by God?

We often form our views of a Heavenly Father from our experience with our earthly parents, for good or for ill. Juliette has not been ill-treated by her parents, or at least she didn’t think she had, but if they could abandon her on the eve of her coming out in society (in what should be the most important year of her life), can she trust anything about them?

Their priorities clearly don’t line up with hers. They put their work ahead of their daughter. Is that fair? Is that right?

They’ve taught her that God is with her, that He will never abandon her, but can she trust what they have taught her when they can lie so easily?

Q: How have Juliette’s parents been preparing her to be a part of the “family business” even though they haven’t been a physical presence in her life? A person wearing a green dress

Description automatically generated with low confidenceA variety of ways, starting with protecting her from the truth when she was very small. They also took great care in the school they chose for her to attend. She’s conversant in French and some Italian as well as English, has been taught the skills required of a young lady in the British aristocracy, such as dancing, deportment, music, and art. 

But she’s also learned a great deal of history, logic, and rhetoric in her curriculum, as well as archery. All skills that will aid her if she chooses to follow in her parents’ footsteps as a spy for the Crown.

And her father added another twist. He wrote to her often, but always in code. A different code each time, growing more complex as she grew and became more adept at deciphering his codes. 

Juliette comes to realize that her parents have been preparing her for her future role, but she doesn’t realize how quickly her skills will be tested.

Q: A Regency novel is not a Regency novel without a swoon-worthy hero. Just who is Daniel Swann?

Ah, Daniel. He’s had very little say in his life up to now, being the illegitimate son of a household servant. He’s done every chore that can be found on a country estate, from being the boot boy in charge of cleaning and polishing all the shoes, to helping the groundskeepers and gardeners with the weeding and planting, to working in the stables and riding the master’s horses out to exercise. In his own way, he’s been training for his future, too.

Through more outside influence, he was removed from his mother’s care, sent to boarding school, and then to Oxford with the understanding that his guardianship would end at his 25th birthday, which is fast approaching. Then he will be in command of his life for the first time…but he wonders if he’s up to the task.

Q: Daniel has a bit of a mysterious past himself—one that even eludes him even though he’s a detective. How has his past directed his career choice?

Daniel has no idea who his mysterious patron is, and he is forbidden from searching out his identity. He’s given other rules he must follow, including cutting off all ties with his mother. He was a bewildered, homesick child, wrenched from his home and shipped off to boarding school, and he believes his mother was only too glad to be rid of him, otherwise why would she agree to such a terrible thing? 

Daniel studied art and history at Oxford, unsure of what he would do for a career, but when a Bow Street officer shows up to investigate a murder in the Oxford Canal, Daniel is hooked on detective work. With the help of his hidden patron, he secures a job at Bow Street, against the wishes of his new superior officer, who is always looking for a reason to dismiss Daniel. 

With his past so shrouded in mystery, his current situation tenuous, and his future racing toward him at his 25th birthday when his patronage will cease, Daniel focuses on being the best detective he can be and hopes things will all work out.

Q: What kind of research was required to write a mystery set in the early 1800s? What are some of the methods detectives of the day would have to depend on?

There was quite a bit of research involved in this one, from police procedures to art history. Much studying of maps and the hierarchy of society, the lives of British spies, and fitting it all into the current political and social situations of the times. I had fun deciding upon the various items that would go missing, from statues to jewelry to artwork, and deciding upon different ways each piece could be acquired.

As to the police methods of the day, the Bow Street detectives didn’t have our current levels of forensic science to help identify culprits. They relied upon eyewitness testimony, circumstantial evidence, catching someone red-handed, and by following the paperwork/money trail. Some things have not changed. The main motives for lawbreaking still fall into three categories: money, power, and sex. Who has it, who wants it, who wants to deny someone else from acquiring it? And in Regency times, the detectives were still looking for motive, means, and opportunity. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Debutante’s Code is my first true mystery, and it’s all wrapped into a heist story, so layering those different threads together was a new adventure for me.

Q: Fans fell in love with the characters from your Serendipity & Secrets series. Is there any chance we might see some familiar faces make a cameo in your new series?

I am delighted that the Thorndike & Swann mysteries take place in what I like to call the “Haverly Universe” first created in the Serendipity & Secrets series. In The Debutante’s Code, several characters from the S&S series reappear, including the Duke of Haverly, Marcus, his duchess, Charlotte, and the Dowager Duchess of Haverly, who is a personal favorite of mine.

Though there is a host of new characters in The Debutante’s Code, as the series unfolds, more of the S&S cast will come into the stories. 

Q: Can you give us a tease of what to expect in the remainder of the Thorndike & Swann series?

The next book, Millstone of Doubt, begins with a bang! Literally! A grist mill on the Thames explodes, but when the rubble and dust are cleared, a man is found dead, not from the explosion, but from a gunshot! Was the mill blown up to cover the murder? Who would want the mill owner dead? Daniel and Juliette put their heads together to sort out the crime, while Juliette juggles her new career as a spy and a debutante, and Daniel uncovers many of the secrets he needs to piece together the puzzle of his past.
Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor) and Instagram (@EricaVetsch).

Giveaway

https://www.ericavetsch.com/giveaway.html

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, NetGalley

Behind Love’s Wall by Carrie Fancett Pagels Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Behind Love’s Wall

Author: Carrie Fancett Pagels

Genre: FICTION/ Christian/Romance

Release date: November 1, 2021

9781636090696 (2)

Two successful women, a hundred-and-twenty-years apart, build walls to protect their hearts. Modern-day Willa, a successful interior decorator, is chosen to consult for the Grand Hotel’s possible redesign. She discovers a journal detailing the struggles of a young woman, Lily—which reveals dark secrets. The renowned singer wasn’t who she pretended to be. As Willa reaches out to Lily’s descendant, a charismatic and prominent landscape artist, she lets down her guard. Should she share the journal with him, or once again erect a wall as she struggles to redesign both the Grand and her life?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Behind Love’s Wall, the latest addition to the Doors to the Past series by Barbour, is a great dual timeline novel. Penned by Carrie Fancett Pagels, herself originally a “Yooper,” this romantic mystery is set on the magical Mackinac Island. Having a passing familiarity with the area, I enjoyed Ms. Pagels’s description of the Island, its landmarks, and the Grand Hotel itself.
I had a little trouble with the dual timeline at first. This is unusual for me, as I generally read many dual-timelines without feeling lost. Eventually, I closed the book with a well-satisfied feeling that all things worked out, and there were some great twists and surprises that truly made the novel delightful. Bravo for a stunning conclusion!!
The author’s notes were of great interest to me. They elaborate so well on the author’s research and separate fact from fiction, which I love.


Be prepared for the unexpected! Many of the main characters surprised me, like Michael. I really empathized with him as he struggled. I especially connected with Lilly, the heroine of the early timeline. How many times do we humans worry about a malady running through bloodlines or obsess over some parental issue we are sure we will inherit? Faith is a gentle aspect, bringing in hope and release from self-made prisons.
Recommended!

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

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great! Busy Dual Timeline, Mackinac Island Hides Family Secrets

About the Author

ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of over a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper” in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at http://www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.

More from Carrie

Why I Wrote This Novel

I got a chance to write another novel set on Mackinac Island!!!

I’m the author of over twenty published stories. I have many books, both novel and novella length, set at the Straits of Mackinac including Maggie Award winner and Romantic Times Top Pick My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island. In the summer, I go up to the area and I’m blessed to sign books at the Island Bookstore—sometimes hundreds of books which is such an amazing thing I can’t tell you! Now that MHBoMI is out of print, Barbour has been helping by doing limited print runs for while I am up there.

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island was originally part of a full series that I pitched but it didn’t get picked up for all three stories. MHBoMI got picked up as part of the My Heart Belongs series that Barbour put out a few years ago. The second book in my original Brides of Mackinac series was heroine Sadie’s story, which was published as a novella “His Anchor” in First Love Forever collection.  So I had two of my book babies delivered out into the world and Lily’s story sat there for a while.

In the Covid summer of 2020, I arrived in my home state of Michigan and over dinner with a close friend I learned that the folks at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island were having legal trouble with their previous long-time designed Carlton Varney suing them. I’d been disappointed that the Mussers, who’d owned the Grand for generations, had sold the hotel but this new development really bugged me.  While I was in the Upper Peninsula, I finished an Indy book, Dogwood Plantation, which only figures since I often write my Michigan stories while I am in Virginia and vice versa! I knew the only other book I wanted to work on was to complete my Brides of Mackinac trilogy (not exactly since they aren’t all in one series!) with Lily’s story. I also had a manuscript about 70% done that was my very first contemporary Women’s Fiction novel. When my agent encouraged me to submit a Mackinac Island story set at the Grand Hotel to Barbour’s Doors to the Past series, I knew immediately that the only story for historical I wanted to write was Lily’s. That meant that I needed, for this dual-timeline series, a contemporary story. That wasn’t just a chance sharing at dinner—I believe the info about the lawsuit was meant to be passed on to me one of those God-incidences. My modern-day heroine then became an established resort designer who had a trunkful of issues just like Lily did.

Was I ever glad that I had finally written my first contemporary Women’s Fiction (Butterfly Cottage) because that skill set came in very handy in writing the modern-day 2020 story of Willa in Behind Love’s Wall! This was the most difficult novel to write that I have done so far as I write in character and going back and forth between the 1895 and 2020 timelines could be draining. I tried to write each character and setting on separate days but that couldn’t always be managed.

I pray that this story will touch readers’ hearts. I pray that someone, like the young waitress I meant on Mackinac Island who had been spiritually moved by My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island (she read her grandmother’s copy after her grandma passed away!), will read this book and feel that connection to our Maker. That’s what Christian Fiction is all about!

Blog Stops

Life of Literature, November 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 18

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 19

Cats in the Cradle Blog, November 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 19

Inklings and notions, November 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 20

For Him and My Family, November 21

Mary Hake, November 21

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 22

Texas Book-aholic, November 22

For the Love of Literature, November 22

deb’s Book Review, November 23

Betti Mace, November 23

Genesis 5020, November 23

Older & Smarter?, November 24

Remembrancy, November 24

Blossoms and Blessings, November 25

Stephanie’s life of determination, November 25

Connect in Fiction, November 25

Rebecca Tews, November 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 26

Through the fire blogs, November 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 27

Pause for Tales, November 27

Bigreadersite, November 28

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 28

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 28

Connie’s History Classroom, November 29

Bizwings Blog, November 29

Labor Not in Vain, November 29

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 30

To Everything There Is A Season, November 30

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 1

Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen, December 1

Where Faith and Books Meet, December 1

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/137e9/behind-love-s-wall-celebration-tour-giveaway


BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, Pre-purchased through author.

Goodness and Mercy by Debbie Viguie

About the Book

Title: Goodness and Mercy

Series: #18 Psalm 23 Mysteries

Author: Debbie Viguie

Publisher: Big Pink Bow

Released: November 2021(note: available at debbieviguie.com or soon on Amazon)

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

In the 18th installment of the Psalm 23 mysteries series, Cindy and Jeremiah find themselves in over their heads when a trip to New Orleans goes terribly wrong.

My Review

So, this series, the Psalm 23 Mysteries by Debbie Viguié, is my abs fave of all time!! Murder, a Jewish rabbi and a Christian secretary (how will THAT come together?!), characters that I swear I know like friends suddenly shocking me. Each book revolves around a holiday. This is book #18 in the series, and it is ESSENTIAL to read the books in order. Viguié refers to so many characters and events from past novels, you feel like someone handed you a spoonful of your fave dessert each time that happens. Somehow, Viguié manages to turn everything you thought you knew about your beloved characters on their heads, and you trust NOBODY in this book!! YIKES!! Yet, this book contains a crucial, wonderful scene we Psalm 23 fans have been waiting for, like forever!! Biting my nails, howling with laughter, angrily growling at the author for her treatment of fave characters!! Absolutely highly recommended!! Not for the faint of heart!!

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My All-Time Fave Series!! Best Book of Series Yet!!

About the Author

Debbie Viguié is the New York Times Bestselling author of more than three dozen novels including the Wicked series co-authored with Nancy Holder. In addition to her epic dark fantasy work, Debbie also writes thrillers including The Psalm 23 Mysteries, the Kiss trilogy, and the Witch Hunt trilogy. Debbie also plays a recurring character in the audio drama, Doctor Geek’s Laboratory. When Debbie isn’t busy writing or acting she enjoys spending time with her husband, Scott, visiting theme parks.