BLOG, Favorite, Revell

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

About the Book

Title: The Edge of Belonging

Author: Amanda Cox

Publisher: Revell

Released: September 2020

Genre: Christian Dual-Time, Contemporary

When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee an estate sale, she soon discovers that her grandmother left behind more than trinkets and photo frames–she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy’s adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.

Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he’s ever loved.

In this dual-time story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth–both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others–takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go. 

My Impressions

The Edge of Belonging is such a spellbinding, dual-time novel from Amanda Cox. I foresee Edge of Belonging winning an award for debut novels. For myself, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page. Heart-rending themes such as foster homes, homelessness, human trafficking, depression, and PTSD are dealt with from both the sufferer’s and a loving helper’s POV. The raw loneliness hurt, and need that several of the characters experience is portrayed so poignantly. It seems each character in the earlier story (Harvey, Pearl, Thom, and Miriam) feels they are on the edge of belonging to some degree.

In the later story, Ivy is the focal point who feels like she doesn’t quite belong, but her best friend Reese has often struggled with those same sentiments. I was thrilled to see how the book’s title applied to so many. I also loved seeing the hope and mercy that certain characters, especially Pearl and Reese, generously dole out to others. Again, so many of Ms. Cox’s characters show significant growth by the end of the story.
While it is easy to see early on where the stories will connect, there remains the fascination of just how Ms. Cox is going to work it all out.


I usually like to pick a favorite character, but they were all faves. I love Reese for his steadiness and undying care. Harvey, for the way he supersedes his own fears to love another. And Pearl, for her radar to find and genuinely love lost souls.
Get your own copy of this must-read debut!
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Revell Reads via NetGalley. All opinions are my own and no positive review was required.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

Amanda Cox is a blogger and a curriculum developer for a national nonprofit youth leadership organization, but her first love is communicating through story. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible and theology and a master’s degree in professional counseling. Her studies and her interactions with hurting families over a decade have allowed her to create multidimensional characters that connect emotionally with readers.

Connect with Amanda on her website at https://amandacoxwrites.com

or on Twitter @amandacoxwrites

BLOG, Purchase

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/ 

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley

The Black Midnight, #7 True Colors by Kathleen Y’Barbo

About the Book

Book: The Black Midnight

Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Release Date: August, 2020

Two Series of Murders Seem Mysteriously Connected

Book 7 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Three years before Jack the Ripper began his murderous spree on the streets of London, women were dying in their beds as The Midnight Assassin terrorized the citizens of Austin, Texas. Now, with suspicion falling on Her Majesty’s family and Scotland Yard at a loss as to who the Ripper might be, Queen Victoria summons her great-granddaughter, Alice Anne von Wettin, a former Pinkerton agent who worked the unsolved Austin case, and orders her to discreetly form a team to look into the London matter.

The prospect of a second chance to work with Annie just might entice Isaiah Joplin out of his comfortable life as an Austin lawyer. If his theories are right, they’ll find the The Midnight Assassin and, by default, the Ripper. If they’re wrong, he and Annie are in a bigger mess than the one the feisty female left behind when she departed Austin under cover of darkness three years ago.

Can the unlikely pair find the truth of who is behind the murders before they are drawn into the killer’s deadly game? From Texas to London, the story navigates the fine line between truth and fiction as Annie and Isaiah ultimately find the hunters have become the hunted.

Click here to get your copy!


My Impressions

As I started the Black Midnight, #7, True Colors, by Kathleen Y’Barbo, I was shaking in my boots. What kind of grisly murder story was I in for this time? The True Colors series has been very interesting, as different authors take turns spinning factual historical crimes into a fascinating, but often gruesome story. The inclusion of a romantic thread often collides against the seriousness of the crimes.
Y’Barbo has taken on the story of “The Servant Girl Killer“ which occurred in Austin,Texas in 1884-1888 added it to the story of Jack the Ripper in England, starting in 1888.
I was glued to the pages as Annie, a distant royal, and a Pinkerton, tried to keep her sleuthing job hidden from her Granny, the Queen. Ike, also a Pinkerton, is obviously in love with Annie, but can the two locate the killer in Austin while falling in love?


Y’Barbo did a tremendous amount of research and it was so neat that she shared so much of it with us in fiction form, including a certain room in the Palace, crime scenes, and the many varied rumors about the possible perpetrators of the murders. I found my reading speed increasing as the story wound up, my heart beating way too fast.

There are author notes at the end that separate fact from fiction and allow the reader to be doubly educated. For those who enjoy mysteries and crime thrillers with a touch of romance, The Black Midnight is a good choice. But be loyal and have your other society member’s backs!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

KathleenYbarbo

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than sixty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad.

More from Kathleen Y’Barbo

I am a tenth generation Texan, but London has held a place in my heart for over ten years. You see, I have a son who has lived there for more than a decade. Thanks to him and his family of three—my granddaughter was born there on New Year’s Eve 2019—the city will always be special to me. There is absolutely nothing like walking those streets with a thousand years of history close enough to touch.

It was on a walk with my son through this great city that the stories of nineteenth century London came alive. With fog shrouding the rooftops of buildings that were hundreds of years old and our footsteps echoing on the cobblestones, I could imagine a time when lack of electricity and CCTV would make this place less than charming on a dark night. What reminded me of my favorite childhood movie, Mary Poppins, quickly became more reminiscent of Jack the Ripper. And then a story was born.

Only I just had half the story.

The other half came to me several years later when I stumbled across an article in Texas Monthly magazine about a serial killer who rampaged through Austin, Texas in 1884 and 1885 and was never caught. Some surmised this madman, called “The Midnight Assassin” by some, might have been Jack the Ripper honing his skills before he crossed the Atlantic to begin his famous crime spree in Great Britain.

But Austin? Ironically, my other two sons lived in Austin. So while part of my heart was in London, two more parts of that same heart resided in the Texas capital. I thought I knew Austin inside out. Between one of my sons getting not one but two degrees from the University of Texas (this Aggie grad is still proud of him in spite of what I jokingly call his burnt orange rebellion) and my other son living there and managing a restaurant at the time (and who just graduated from Texas A&M Galveston last month!), I had spent many years in the city. And yet I had never heard of the Midnight Assassin.

Research turned up a tale that sounds so close to fiction I had to write about it. Discovering the theory that the Austin killer might also be the Ripper just added to my interest—neither had been caught. And I like to write about Pinkerton detectives.

From there the story unfolded. If you’ve read any of my historical romances, you know that I love incorporating actual history into my stories. As you’ll see when you read The Black Midnight, this book is no exception. While I will continue writing the historical romances I love to bring to you, I will confess that writing this book has me itching to research another one like it.

What’s next in my foray into true crime novels? Maybe Houston. You see, I have a daughter who lives there…

In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy reading The Black Midnight as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 27

Genesis 5020, August 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 27

Inklings and notions, August 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 28

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 28

Older & Smarter?, August 29

Texas Book-aholic, August 29

Artistic Nobody, August 29 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For the Love of Literature, August 30

Connie’s History Classroom, August 30

For Him and My Family, August 31

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 31

Betti Mace, September 1

Robin’s Nest, September 1

Bigreadersite, September 1

deb’s Book Review, September 2

Splashes of Joy, September 2

Just Your Average reviews, September 2

Rebecca Tews, September 3

Just the Write Escape, September 3

Emily Yager, September 3

Christian Bookaholic, September 4

reviewingbooksplusmore, September 4

KarenSueHadley, September 4

Remembrancy, September 5

Through the Fire Blogs, September 5

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 6

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 6

Blogging With Carol, September 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 7

Life of Literature, September 7

Mary Hake, September 7

Godly Book Reviews, September 8

Back Porch Reads, September 8

Daysong Reflections, September 8

Pause for Tales, September 9

Blossoms and Blessings, September 9

Hallie Reads, September 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen 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/ffb7/the-black-midnight-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

No Small Caper, #1 A Tiny House Mystery, by Cynthia Hickey Plus Giveaway

img_4397

About the Book 

Book: No Small Caper45452718._SX318_

Author: Cynthia Hickey

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release Date: May 3, 2019

 

“No one does a final suspense scene like Cynthia Hickey!” – Stewart Writing Services

A rash of burglaries?

What kind of job had she been hired to do?

CJ Turley is excited to begin her new life as overseer of Heavenly Acres, a tiny house community in the Ozark mountains. As she’s handed the keys to her new house, by a woman who seems far too eager to leave the job to someone else, CJ is told the community is experiencing a rash of burglaries and she should visit the nearby Park Ranger for help.

Can CJ and her new friends stop a thieving murderer before they lose something far more precious than jewels? Their life!

From first day, to spending time with handsome ranger, Eric Drake, to a cast of quirky characters who are all suspect in CJ’s mind, you’re bound for a fun, hilarious, romp in this first book of a new small town, cozy mystery series by best-selling and award-winning author.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

“It’s your job now to keep these crazies in line, Miss Turley.” Opening with this engaging first line from No Small Caper, #1 A Tiny House Mystery, Cynthia Hickey has my attention. I loved meeting Heavenly Acres’ new overseer, CJ. Young, energetic, and enthusiastic, she is unafraid of anything or anyone.

i stared at her and she stared right back both knowing the other was as fake as a glass diamond.
As CJ meets the people in the tiny home park, she attracts followers, besides her dog, Caper. There’s Mags, a crusty older lady that won’t be set on the shelf, a gorgeous hunk of a ranger, Eric, and Amanda, a nurse and possible alternate love interest for Eric. What a great concoction these four make. I am very excited to see that there are more books already published in the series. No waiting for sequels.

untitled design
I was a little confused by the number of men in the story that I couldn’t keep straight. Perhaps there could have been fewer minor characters to keep tabs on?
The ending was very satisfying. Huzzah! What I took exception to, was, murder was not the main problem being solved, as in typical cozy. Maybe this was Ms. Hickey’s way of changing the cozy formula up a bit. Definitely a fun, clean read with more sequels available immediately for the asking.
I received a complimentary 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

4 Stars- Excellent – I Would Recommend

About the Author

 

img_4399

Multi-published and Amazon and ECPA Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey has sold close to a million copies of her works since 2013. She has taught a Continuing Education class at the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers conference, several small ACFW chapters and RWA chapters, and small writer retreats. She and her husband run the small press, Winged Publications, which includes some of the CBA’s best well-known authors. She lives in Arizona and Arkansas, becoming a snowbird, with her husband and one dog. She has ten grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”.

 

More from Cynthia

I’ve always been fascinated by tiny houses and love writing cozy mysteries. What’s better than a cozy mystery series in a tiny house community? Not an inch of space wasted. You’ve got to be creative with your storage. Even hiding things in the floor which occurs when CJ Turley takes over as manager of Heavenly Acres. The pup she inherited when her grandmother died has a nose for diamonds. Who’d guess there were so many places in a tiny house to stash things?

 

I don’t live in a tiny house, but my husband and I downsized from a 2100 sq. ft home to a 1,000 sq. ft. home. Guess which one we prefer? The smaller one 😊 We always know where things are, it’s easier to keep clean, and no stairs to go up and down when we forget something. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t live in anything less than 400 sq. ft. if I lived alone, but it was fun to write about those who do.

 

I’ve watched so many tiny house shows, I’m pretty sure I could design one with everything I’d need. We even told our son that if he moved where we live, we’d build him one in the backyard! He wasn’t amused.

 

On a serious note, just kidding. While my cozy series have humor, they also have murder and mayhem with quirky characters and a dash of romance. I like my readers to chuckle as the characters strive to take down the culprit without too much danger to themselves.

 

Happy reading!

 

 

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 7

21st Century Keeper at Home, August 7

Sara Jane Jacobs, August 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 9

Genesis 5020, August 10

deb’s Book Review, August 10

She Lives To Read, August 11

Artistic Nobody, August 12 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 13

Blogging With Carol , August 13

Texas Book-aholic, August 14

Inklings and notions, August 15

For Him and My Family, August 16

Mary Hake, August 16

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 17

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 18

CarpeDiem, August 19

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cynthia is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 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/ff4f/no-small-caper-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes

53141215._SX318_SY475_

About the Book

Title: Set the Stars Alight

Author: Amanda Dykes

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: June 2020

Genre: Christian fiction, Timeslip

Lucy Clairmont’s family treasured the magic of the past, and her childhood fascination with stories of the high seas led her to become a marine archaeologist. But when tragedy strikes, it’s Dashel, an American forensic astronomer, and his knowledge of the stars that may help her unearth the truth behind the puzzle she’s discovered in her family home.

Two hundred years earlier, the seeds of love are sown between a boy and a girl who spend their days playing in a secret sea cave, while the privileged young son of the estate looks on, wishing to join. As the children grow and war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, a story of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption unfolds, held secret by the passage of time.

As Lucy and Dash journey to a mysterious old estate on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers–and the healing–they so desperately seek.

 

My Review

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes is a book that I had to get my hands on. I hope you will want to, also. This is a realistic story, yet stirred into it are the timeless allure of magical inklings, coupled with family ties swelling and shrinking. Love slowly takes root and blossoms, yet is carefully guarded until the right time. And the wondrous fact is, that this is actually true of both subplots of this amazing novel, which comprise this split-time tale.
One portion of our adventure concerns Lucy, born to a clockmaker in London in recent times. Lucy’s warm, welcoming family time is built around tales spun by her enigmatic father and amended by her jovial mother. Dash, a young misfit, American boy, is welcomed into their familial atmosphere. Suddenly, life flips and flops, and Lucy finds herself alone and floundering with only her marine interest to keep her afloat.
The second saga is a melodrama about a young son of a military hero in the war against Napoleon. Frederick tries hard to make his father proud, but loyalty and fate interfere.

Set the Stars Alight 1
Split-time stories depend upon the author’s fantastic ability to draw two separate, believable strands, at first totally disparate paths, then cause them to become parallel roads, then bring those parallel roads into an obvious intersection where the highways then become one. I had trouble suspending disbelief at some points. I wanted more communication in others. Some issues dragged on too long between people because of a fear of communication that I didn’t find realistic.
So, I thought this was a great book, but it stopped short of the terrific level of Ms. Dykes’s debut novel. Still a very worthy read. Get ahold of Set the Stars Alight and judge for yourself.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.
Notable Quotables:

“When things seem dark…that’s when you fight for the light.”

“The God of the stars . . . He is coming, and coming, and coming after you. Always. The heart of a father who will never forget his daughter.”

“But it started with smaller things, which bigger things built on again and again until the big betrayal no longer felt like a plunge to him. It was a small—almost natural—next step.”

“‘Impossible?’…The word had been gifted to them all their lives as a challenge. A lens to see wonder where others saw walls.”

 

My Rating

4 Stars- Great, Almost Terrific!

 

About the Author

517ufoFnplL._US230_Amanda Dykes is the author of Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale, the critically-acclaimed bicycle story that invited readers together to fund bicycles for missionaries in Asia. A former English teacher, she has a soft spot for classic literature and happy endings. She is a drinker of tea, a dweller of Truth, and a spinner of hope-filled tales, grateful for the grace of a God who loves extravagantly.

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Green Dress: #6 True Colors by Liz Tolsma with Giveaway

The-Green-Dress-FB-Banner

About the Book

Book:  The Green Dress

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense9781643524757-197x300

Release Date: June 2020

 

Death Seems to Follow Harriet’s New Friend

Book 6 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

When Harriet Peters came to Boston in 1882, the Robinson family took her in like one of their own, and Harriet became closer to Lizzie Robinson than her own siblings. Now, four years later, Lizzie is deathly sick, failing quickly just like several others in her family have done over the past few years. How can so many in one family die from the same mysterious illness? Harriet doesn’t have answers, but she is determined to help the family, bringing in a new-to-the-neighborhood doctor, Michael Wheaton.
As Harriet and Michael close in on the answer, putting their own lives at risk, can the cause be found before anyone else dies?

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

Aha! This was a crime I could solve, I thought. Each book in this True Colors series is an
historical American crime fictionalized to reach and even educate a wider audience than
the bare, macabre facts in a dusty tome. So, I was game. Liz Tolsma is creator of this fact-
turned-fiction tale aptly named The Green Dress.
Ready, Set, Go. The cast of characters was listed at the front. The year is 1886, and we first
meet Harriet Peters as she hurries to the sickbed of her best friend, Lizzie Robinson.
Much consternation abounds, as Lizzie’s symptoms exactly match those of other family
members who suddenly fell ill and died. Doctors are mystified by the repeated identical
deaths occurring solely in the Robinson household until a fresh-faced doctor is called in.
This was certainly another incredible crime. It wasn’t caught, largely because people
refused to even consider all possibilities, though those evidences were staring them in
the face.
“Outward appearances don’t always reflect a person’s character.”
The Green Dress 1
If only… Harriet had taken Lizzie’s words to heart, “No debt in friendship.” You can be
sure I heard those words and may or may not have screeched them aloud…more than
once.
Liz Tolsma does a great job with the story’s pacing. From the first sentence to the last, I
was captivated. I really did figure out some of the crime, but the whole timbre of the
novel was such that I had to stay up late to finish it in one sitting. No putting this one
down.
I enjoyed the romance development between Harriet and Michael Wheaton. I especially
liked seeing Michael grow in confidence and follow up on his hunches. Speaking of
hunches, Harriet ignores some of hers in the novel. I disagree with the author’s view
about where those hunches came from. As a Christian, God could certainly make sure
Harriet heard an audible voice.
Because death was a common occurrence in this story, the question of assurance of
salvation is addressed.
The Green Dress 2
Ending notes in a tale like this are essential, and the author shows both her great
research and care with this superior project.
The whole scenario sounds like something out of our time, not the 1880’s. Alas, for me,
Tolsma has the final word or twist. Good for her. The clues were all laid, I just didn’t put
those pieces together. Well done, Ms. Tolsma. This could have been a great Twilight Zone
episode.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through
Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hit My Spooky Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

 

Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native  Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with LizTolsma-200x300her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.

 

 

More from Liz

We’ve all been there—started a letter or an email or even a list, didn’t like what we had, crossed it out or hit the delete button, and tried again. Now imagine that happening when you’re writing a novel.

 

That’s what occurred with The Green Dress. Finding the perfect place to start a novel can be tricky, but when you’re trying to balance fact with fiction, it’s even harder. I needed the fictional heroine, Harriet Peters, to have a good reason to come into contact with and become close to the factual Robinson family. And I needed for the hero, Michael Wheaton, to meet Harriet early on. So I dove into the story. Five chapters later, the hero and heroine hadn’t yet met. The book wasn’t working.

 

I scrapped those chapters and started at a different point. At first, it seemed to be going better. I was happy. Until I got to the fifth chapter, when I realized again that the book wasn’t working. Frankly, it was boring. So those ended up in the virtual trash bin. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking on my deadline. I was desperate to find the right starting point, at a place with high tension. Finally, I had an “aha” moment, and the story flowed from there. That’s how the first five chapters (and the rest of The Green Dress) came to be.

 

—Liz Tolsma

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, June 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 26

deb’s Book Review, June 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 26

A Reader’s Brain, June 27

Rebecca Tews, June 27

For Him and My Family, June 27

Texas Book-aholic, June 28

Back Porch Reads, June 28

Inklings and notions, June 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 29

Genesis 5020, June 29

Emily Yager, June 29

Christian Bookaholic, June 30

Robin’s Nest, June 30

To Everything There is A Season, June 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 30

Blogging With Carol, July 1

Bigreadersite, July 1

Read Review Rejoice, July 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 2

Life of Literature, July 2

Connie’s History Classroom, July 2

Betti Mace, July 3

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 3

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 3

Stories By Gina, July 3

For the Love of Literature, July 4

Remembrancy, July 4

Reviewingbooksplusmore, July 4

Godly Book Reviews, July 5

Splashes of Joy, July 5

Vicky Sluiter, July 5

Older & Smarter?, July 6

Through the Fire Blogs, July 6

Daysong Reflections, July 6

amandainpa, July 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 7

Pause for Tales , July 7

Just the Write Escape, July 7

Hallie Reads, July 8

Where Faith and Books Meet, July 8

Blossoms and Blessings, July 8

Spoken from the Heart, July 9

With a Joyful Noise, July 9

Artistic Nobody, July 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/fcd8/the-green-dress-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Favorite

A Latte Difficulty, #3 The CafFunated Mysteries by Angela Ruth Strong

51628966._SY475_

About the Book

Title: A Latte Difficulty

Series: #3 The CafFunated Mysteries

Author: Angela Ruth Strong

Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink

Released: April 2020

Can two baristas track down a gunman after the espresso shot heard ‘round the world?

When Marissa witnesses an attempted murder during the 4th of July parade, it starts a battle for her independence. She is forced to hide out in a safehouse, leaving her co-owner, Tandy, to run their coffee shop, track down the criminal, and, worse, plan Marissa’s wedding. Thankfully Tandy has help, but can she really trust the P.I. in a bow tie, her new deaf barista who acts more like a bartender, or a wedding planner who’s keeping secrets?

The threat on Marissa’s future goes from bad to worse when her bridal gown is covered in blood. Though her fiancé, Connor, agrees to give up his identity to join her in the Witness Protection Program, Marissa refuses to wave the white flag. Instead, she enlists Tandy to help her fight for truth, justice, and the Americano way.

 

My Review

The third book in the CafFUNated Mysteries, A Latté Difficulty, by Angela Ruth Strong, is a cozy winner. It is time for an extended celebration of the Fourth of July in the small town of Grace Springs. If you have read the first two novels in the series, you will welcome back old friends Marissa and Tandy, owners of the Caffeine Conundrum, and their boyfriends, Connor and Greg. While Marissa is in the throes of planning her perfect wedding, their frenemy, Randon, is attacked in their shop and his computer stolen. 
We see a bit more of sweet Billie and her rich, but rough-around-the-edges businessman boyfriend whose company becomes embroiled in ransomware, possibly involving Randon. Will the new deaf ex-barista Zam be a help or a hindrance as our foursome rush to save Randon’s life and keep themselves safe from the unknown assailant(s)? 
Zam is such a fun and amazing character to add to this cozy mix. With his mad juggling skills and lip-reading abilities, Marissa and Tandy are lucky to have him on their side… unless he’s not… 

A Latte Difficulty 1


Finally… it’s taken me three books to really like Goth Tandy. But do I ever admire her quick wit in this book and ability to get herself and Marissa out of trouble on more than one occasion because of it! 
Kudos to Strong for the cross-mention of crime scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire, by Christy Barritt. Scenes like that ramp up the reading fun. 
Fun, suspense, and faith. All of these factors into this cozy. The suspense is great, but Strong makes sure to place comic relief at just the right points. The other important factor in her books is faith. The main thought here is that the fear of the Lord if understood properly, will set you free from the fear of man. Wow! 

A Latte Difficulty 2

A Latté Difficulty had twists enough that the reader may have trouble, like I did, figuring out who to trust and who to suspect, yet I was still surprised. Well done, Mrs. Strong!! 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. This in no way affects my opinions, for which I am solely responsible. 

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hit My Reading Sweet Spot and leaves me begging for more CafFunation!

About the Author

4746114Angela sold her first story to a national magazine while still in high school and went on to study journalism at the University of Oregon. Her debut novel LOVE FINDS YOU IN SUN VALLEY, IDAHO released in 2010 to a four-star review from Romantic Times. Angela loves connecting with fans and mentoring aspiring authors, which led her to start IDAhope Writers. She currently lives in Boise with her husband and three kids.

 

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock

43363467

About the Book

Title: The Gray Chamber

Series: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crimes

Author: Grace Hitchcock

Publisher: Barbour

Released: January 2020

Step into True Colors — a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

Will Edyth prove her sanity before it is too late?

On Blackwell Island, New York, a hospital was built to keep its patients from ever leaving.

With her late father’s fortune under her uncle’s care until her twenty-fifth birthday in the year 1887, Edyth Foster does not feel pressured to marry or to bow to society’s demands. She freely indulges in eccentric hobbies like fencing and riding her velocipede in her cycling costume about the city for all to see. Finding a loophole in the will, though, her uncle whisks Edyth off to the women’s lunatic asylum just weeks before her birthday. Do any of Edyth’s friends care that she disappeared?

At the asylum, she meets another inmate, who upon discovering Edyth’s plight, confesses that she is Nellie Bly, an undercover journalist for The World. Will either woman find a way to leave the terrifying island and reclaim her true self?

 

My Review

Grace Hitchcock’s The Gray Chamber would probably win my “Sleeper of the Year” award. (And, yes, I know it’s only January.) I thought this book would be fun and interesting. I did not bargain for a love in danger of being lost nor a trip to Blackwell’s Island, infamous in its time for housing “insane” women. This series of historical American crimes gives a fictional façade to journalist Nellie Bly’s visit to the island. 

Gray Chamber 1


At first, we are immersed in an enjoyable turn-of-the-century account of Edyth and fencing master Raoul Banebridge. Edyth is dying to have her best friend Raoul “Bane” notice her as a woman, but her eccentricities seem to block his view. When finally, he begins to see Edyth for the woman she is, her eccentricities have enabled other shocking developments. 
This book is the stuff my nightmares are made of. It made perfect sense, and I could visualize it all happening. The evil mankind can perpetrate on another, made in the image of the same God!! My only hope as I read with elevated blood pressure and eyes scurrying over the pages was for a happy ending. Certainly, a chiller. However, as I think more about it, I can think of the Great Shepherd going after that one lost sheep, as well. The ultimate love that conquers hate. 

Gray Chamber 2


Having read Hitchcock’s previous novel in this collection, The White City, I was pleased to meet Jude Law again. I always like it when novelists include fun tie-ins like this to their other works. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way influences my opinions, which are my own. 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

Grace Hitchcock is the author of The White City and The Gray Chamber from Barbour 16145482Publishing. She has written multiple novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.

 

 

 

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Love’s Allegiance #4 Wartime Brides by Linda Shenton Matchett

Loves-Allegiance-FB-Banner

About the Book

Book: Love’s Allegiance

Author: Linda Shenton Matchett

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: August 15, 2019

Loves-Allegiance-ebook-jpg-cover-198x300With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.

Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.

Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?

Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Set in Pennsylvania in 1943, this war romance introduces Rochelle Addams and Irwin Terrell. Linda Shenton Matchett has written Love’s Allegiance with two goals in mind, maybe three. First, Matchett provides a modern-day retelling of Isaac and Rebekkah. Secondly, we get a glimpse inside mental hospitals at the time, and thirdly, we are shown the poor treatment of Conscientious Objectors during World War II.

Love's Allegiance 1.png
We need more people who think like Irwin working with our mentally ill and special needs people. He realized the value of a person and gave that person the dignity of having space to prove himself.
The romance seemed to be written in a minor key. I kept hoping the “song” would hit some major key phrases, but they didn’t stand out. I wanted to be shown more than told. I really did appreciate the education I received about Co’s role in WWII. I didn’t realize things were quite so difficult once they volunteered.

Love's Allegiance 2.png
I think there are many who might really enjoy this book. You may want to check this book out. Points to Matchett for the reader’s guide with questions and the historical notes at the end.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author via Celebrate Lit. This in no way influenced my opinion, which is solely my own.

My Rating

4 Stars- Excellent- I Would Recommend This Book.

About the Author

Linda-Matchett-Head-Shot-200x300Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.

 

More from Linda

Love’s Allegiance is the fourth book in the Wartime Brides series that retells biblical stories by setting them during World War II. Each story was challenging to write in some way, and this novella was no different.

While brainstorming ways to twist Rebekkah’s and Isaacs’s love story, I happened to take a phone call from my younger brother who is a pastor. I mentioned my quandary that I wasn’t sure which aspect of the home front to address with their story, and he suggested the topic of conscientious objectors (COs).

After we hung up, I realized I knew very little about COs and that I wasn’t sure how I felt about them. Were they cowards, as many people assumed? Were they right? Wrong? Were their convictions biblically based?

I began my research by reading first-person account articles and watched oral history interviews with men who served in the Civilian Public Service, a government organization created to use COs who refused military service as medics and other non-combatant roles. More than 12,000 conscientious objectors chose not to take up arms during the war, and I knew I had to tell their side of the story.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 8

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 9

Batya’s Bits, November 9

Blossoms and Blessings, November 10

Betti Mace, November 11

Rebecca Tews, November 11

Genesis 5020, November 12

mpbooks, November 13

As He Leads is Joy, November 13

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess , November 14

Back Porch Reads, November 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 16

Texas Book-aholic, November 17

For Him and My Family, November 17

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 18

janicesbookreviews, November 19

Inspired by fiction, November 19

A Reader’s Brain, November 20

Inklings and notions , November 21

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away all four books in the Wartime Brides series and a $10 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/f029/love-s-allegiance-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, NetGalley, Revell

The Roll of the Drums, #2 The Amish of Weaver’s Creek by Jan Drexler

43984601here

(This site uses affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link, I may be compensated.)

About the Book

Title: The Roll of the Drums

Series: The Amish of Weaver’s Creek

Author: Jan Drexler

Publisher: Revell

Released: October 2019

Ruby Weaver’s curly red hair isn’t the only thing that sets her apart from her Amish community in 1863. Twenty-eight and single, Ruby doesn’t believe a woman needs to be married in order to be happy. Her ailing friend Lovinia Fischer, however, has other ideas and wants Ruby to promise to marry her husband after she dies. Never imagining she’d have to fulfill that vow, Ruby agrees. And she’s not the only one. Lovinia has extracted a similar promise from her husband, Gideon.

With both Ruby and Gideon reluctant to keep their promises, a compromise must be reached. Ruby will spend her days with Gideon’s family–helping to raise the children and keep the house–but her nights will be spent at her sister’s neighboring house. But this arrangement raises eyebrows in their conservative Amish community, and it soon becomes clear that Ruby must make a decision–marry Gideon or turn her back on her friend, the children she’s grown to love . . . and their father.

Get your copy here.

My Review

This series, The Amish of Weaver’s Creek, presents an unusual view of the Civil War. The first book, A Sound of Distant Thunder, saw Jonas off to war, taking the place of his (pacifist) drafted brother. Now, Jan Drexler provides us with the story of Ruby Weaver, Jonas’s sister. 
Poor Ruby is outspoken, red-haired, and brash. No wonder she is still single. When a new family moves into the area and settles, Ruby has no idea the effect that befriending them will have on her life. 

The Roll of the Drums 1.png

Who, as a reader, won’t fall in love with Ruby? She isn’t your typical beauty, she doesn’t fit the typical behavior norms, and she isn’t just “perfect.” But she is loyal, kind, and she loves children. 
Gideon was a puzzle to me. I liked his determined character, his hard work, and his loyalty to those around him. Gideon feels like he failed God, and God cannot forgive him or use him. But the more I think about it, the more I believe his understanding of right and wrong or what he should have done, was very skewed in real life. Just my opinion. You’ll have to read the book to see what I’m referring to, and even then, you may have a different opinion. 

The Roll of Drums 2.png


All in all, I really enjoyed this book. If you like Amish, romance, or the Civil War, this might be a book for you. I can’t wait for book three! 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Revell via NetGalley
. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own. 

My Rating

5 Stars- Superior – Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

6583749.jpgJan Drexler brings a unique understanding of Amish traditions and beliefs to her writing. Her ancestors were among the first Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and their experiences are the inspiration for her stories. Jan lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband of thirty-five years, where she enjoys hiking in the Hills and spending time with their expanding family.