ARC, BLOG, Kindle, NetGalley, Revell

Looking for Leroy by Melody Carlson

About the Book

Title: Looking for Leroy

Author: Melody Carlson

Publisher: Revell

Released: March 2022

It’s official: Brynna Phillips is done with men. They only break your heart. But just when she makes this declaration, her friend Jan convinces Brynna to join her on a camping vacation in Sonoma Wine Country. As they wind their way toward their destination, spanking-new mini camper in tow, Brynna recalls her teenage camp romance with a boy named Leroy. How can it have been nearly 30 years ago? All she remembers is that Leroy was a genuinely good guy and that his family owned a vineyard–in Sonoma. She doesn’t even remember his last name. Jan insists they look for him, and the search begins.

Beyond the slim chance they’d ever be able to find him are questions that have haunted Brynna for decades, including What is the point of digging up the past? and Can Leroy ever forgive me for losing touch?

Bestselling author Melody Carlson invites you on a trip to rediscover the carefree days of youth and, just maybe, to get a second chance at love.

My Impressions

If you’re looking for an easy-flowing, contemporary romance novel with a middle-age pair, Looking for Leroy by Melody Carlson deserves a read. The tone of this story made me smile and laugh.

Brynna is a divorced, elementary school teacher whose vice-principal invites her along on a summer camping trip out west. It is a trip that has the potential to change her life.

Leroy Sorrentino is the widowed vintner of a small California vineyard. Preparing to celebrate the historical longevity of the vineyard, two of his three grown daughters attempt to market and make Sorrentino’s profitable.

I liked the premise of the storyline and the predictable but realistic conflicts Carlson presents for her characters to overcome.

“Had he settled? Both in life and in marriage? He sometimes wondered.” This is a very sad, possibly tragic, thought for a person to have to ponder after it seems to late to make changes.

I also wondered if LeRoy were my friend, what advice I would give him about his love life. Each of his daughters certainly has an opinion! Some characters didn’t grow as much or as fast as I wanted them to. Honestly, people in real life are like that, though. We people don’t always grow as quickly and steadily forward as we should.

Sophie is my favorite character. She seems warm, accepting, able to see the best in others, and willing to forgive. Plus, she’s a hard worker!

I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads and NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Training dogs was much easier than training daughters.”

“Wisdom, understanding, knowledge. More than ever, she longed for those elusive qualities—because she felt foolish, confused, and just plain stupid.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! Sweet Romance with Middle-Age Couple

About the Author

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including Romantic Time’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at

http://www.melodycarlson.com/

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, Love Inspired Suspense, Purchase

Death Valley Double Cross by Dana Mentink Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Death Valley Double Cross

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspirational Suspense

Release date: February 22, 2022

DV#3 Death Valley Doublecross cover

A killer seeking revenge

will stop at nothing to get it…

Pilar Jefferson is shocked to learn that her supposedly deceased father is alive and has been in prison—and now his ruthless former partner is after her. Fleeing on her wedding day was the best way to protect her loved ones. But now with her mother held for ransom and her ex-fiancé, Austin Duke, stumbling back into her life, can she keep everyone safe—and escape an assassin?

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

Desert Justice

Book 1: Framed in Death Valley
Book 2: Missing in the Desert
Book 3: Death Valley Double Cross
Book 4: Death Valley Hideout

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“Sorry is what you say when you break somebody’s coffee cup or lose your temper. Doesn’t seem like enough for betraying someone and humiliating them in front of everyone they love.”

Austin Duke, delivering a senior rescue pet, is suddenly thrown together with his ex-fiancé Pilar Jefferson. Together, they race to protect Pilar and unravel the mystery surrounding her family.

Dana Mentink skillfully brings the dry, hot Death Valley to life with her evocative word pictures. In this third Death Valley novel, Death Valley Double Cross, one can almost see the delicate desert blooms, feel the heat, and be exhausted by jaunts into the rocky cliffs. Any dog lovers need to beware: these four critters of Austin’s will steal your heart, just as they do Pilar’s. And the emotional wringer Mentink will put one through as we see Pilar’s reasoning for her actions, then Austin’s reasoning. Plus, the emotions of running for one’s life. Those who have tight-knit families or wish for one will love the extended Duke clan and their protectiveness for one of their own. I loved the spiritual journey of discovery that we see in both Pilar and Austin as the novel progresses. And, like the great writer she is, Mentink throws in some twists and curves that keep you guessing and readjusting your theories as you go. Bravo!!

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

Notable Quotables:

“How much of my life is an out-and-out lie?”

Noise and fear were related.

“No one understood the cost of her decision to run away…especially not Austin.”

The notion was tantalizing, that forgiveness could be handed out so graciously, like letting go of a heavy weight by simply relaxing your grip.

“No point in considering the ‘could haves.’ That’s one thing I’ve learned through all this physical therapy after I got shot. Work with what you have at the moment instead of what might have been.”

Humility would bring him grace.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent! Thoroughly, Emotionally Satisfying!!

About the Author

Dana Mentink is a USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author as well as a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, and a Holt Medallion winner. She is the Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over fifty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Poisoned Pen Press. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

I remember standing on the edge of the lookout and gazing into the wonder that is Artist’s Palette in Death Valley. Artist’s Drive, which takes you to this breathtaking view, rises above Badwater Basin (the lowest spot in North America) and then meanders along twisting canyons and hills until it brings you to this popular tourist stop. The premier view is a place called Artist’s palette. It’s a sprawling pocket of color, hues of rose, ochre, green and gold tucked in the rippling landscape and teased to life by the desert sun. Isn’t that just like God? To lead us to surprises and wonders that await us in a sometimes hostile world? Every day we spent in Death Valley held a surprise, from the rocks that move mysteriously across the sands to the towering twists and turns of 20 Mule Team Canyon. There are only two things to do with a wonderous place like that…enjoy the divine bounty, and write a novel set there so others can come along!

I hope you will enjoy this third installment in the Desert Justice series. The first is Beckett’s story and then we had quiet cowboy Levi’s adventure. Now it’s brash pilot Austin’s turn. Will he get his happy ending after being dumped at the altar and wrecking his shoulder in an accident? Turn those pages and come with me to Death Valley to find out!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 29

Daysong Reflections, March 30

Texas Book-aholic, March 30

Lighthouse academy, March 31

Inklings and notions, March 31

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 1

Betti Mace, April 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 2

Pause for Tales, April 2

For Him and My Family, April 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, April 3 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, April 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 6

Life, Love, Writing, April 6

Bigreadersite, April 7

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

Bizwings Blog, April 8

For the Love of Literature, April 8

Blogging With Carol, April 9

HookMeInABook, April 9

Simple Harvest Reads, April 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Paula’s Persuasion, April 10

Blossoms and Blessings, April 11

Sodbuster Living, April 11

Labor Not in Vain, April 12

Through the fire blogs, April 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize package of the first three books in the series (Paperback for U.S. Only) and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1c112/death-valley-double-cross-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, Kregel, NetGalley, New Author, PB, Purchase, Read with Audra

Counterfeit Love by Crystal Caudill Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Title: Counterfeit Love

Author: Crystal Caudill

Series: #1 Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age

Publisher: Kregel

Released: March 2022

Can this undercover agent save the woman he loves–or is her heart as counterfeit as the money he’s been sent to track down?

After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa Plane owes it to him to save the family name–and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors’ threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn’t all Grandfather was hiding. And the secrets he kept have now trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home–and the truth.

After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiance is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career–but that’s better than failing her twice in one lifetime.

They must form a partnership, tentative though it is. But there’s no question they’re both still keeping secrets–and that lack of trust, along with the dangerous criminals out for their blood, threatens their hearts, their faith, and their very survival.

To read an excerpt of Counterfeit Love click here.

My Impressions

Ah, a deliciously, satisfying debut novel of the Gilded Age from Crystal Caudill. A couple, Theresa Payne and Broderick Cosgrove, once engaged, must determine if they can trust each other and if there is any hope for a rekindled romance. Will they be able to work together to uncover the true counterfeiters in Cincinnati?

Caudill emphasizes themes of trust, forgiveness, and family as she provides plenty of emotion, action, and truth. “Even if… “ is a big question that Theresa grapples with mightily. The novel is well-paced, balancing all the threads together- romance, history, suspense, and life lessons- delightfully.

Broderick is the long-absent love; tall, charming, and witty. But, he is shrouded in mystery. His methods are a little suspect. His results, well, not quick enough for the boss. Is he a man of faith and integrity or one who would play Theresa and his partners for fools?

Theresa is wonderfully headstrong, intensely loyal, and also very intelligent. Is she intelligent enough to figure out her grandfather’s secrets? Loyalty is a great quality if one places it in the right person. Can Theresa discern who to trust with her secrets? Theresa tends to be quick to forgive and allow most people second chances. I loved this about her, but sure rooted for her trust not to be abused!

While Theresa and Broderick are relatable and sure to earn the reader’s loyalty, other characters kept hopping the good guy/bad guy fence for me. What I thought of characters like Isaacs, Lydia, Abraham, Mrs. Hawking, Grandfather and others was variable. This fluidity made the story very suspenseful and I couldn’t put it down!

With thoughtful questions at the end, this would be a good book for a book club discussion.

I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher through I Read with Audra. (I also bought a copy for my keeper shelf.) No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Nathaniel wronged you, but God convicted him, and he’s a different man now.”

“It’s so nice to be together again. Isn’t it?” Theresa squeezed their arms…”“About as nice as an outhouse in summer.” …”Then I suppose it’s a good thing I have plumbing.”

“Feelings change, and they can lie, but God’s presence is constant and true. Whether we feel Him or not.”

Love, not blood, makes a family.

Family. The word stuck in her throat like a lozenge, melting to soothe an ache she’d long accepted as permanent. Her blood relatives were gone, but the love flanking either side of her pulsed with life and healing. They may not always see eye to eye, but they cared. More than that, they wanted her.

God answered Theresa’s prayers this time, but that didn’t mean He would in the future. Could she trust Him with what little she had left? But trust didn’t mean she’d get what she wanted. So what did it mean?

“…no matter what happens or what you think you’ve lost, you cannot lose God….

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! This is a Satisfying Debut Novel of the Gilded Age, and I’m looking forward to the next two in the series!!

About the Author

Crystal Caudill is the author of “dangerously good historical romance,” with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW.

She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Caudill can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio.

Learn more at crystalcaudill.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.

Giveaway

Enter to Win a copy of Crystal Caudill’s book at the Rafflecopter site below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8b3c91bb31/

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

Finding a Memory by Chautona Havig Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Finding a Memory

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: January 25, 2022

Sparrow-HAVIG-Finding-a-Memory-663x1024

He loved her then. Will she love him now?

When Mallory Barrows finds an old diary in a box of books, the story she finds within sends her on the hunt for the owner–and maybe more.

Theirs is a story ripped from a country song. A wedding, a former love presumed dead, her new love stepping aside. And over forty years later, their story is one few remember.

With Mallory determined to find the people in the pages of that diary, one couple is offered the second chance of a lifetime.

This “second-chance / seasoned 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!

About the Author

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

I was a weird child. While my friends were listening to… whatever 80s kids listened to, the enormous console in my bedroom played The Brothers Four, The Kingston Trio, Roger Miller, Billy Vaughn, Patsy Cline, and Patti Paige.  One minute I was a “Rovin’ Gambler” and the next I was “Chug-a-lugging.”  Hmmm… In hindsight, one could say I listened to some dubious music. Drinking, gambling… Oh, that reminds me of another one. The Sons of the Pioneers.  “Cigarettes, Whiskey, and Wild, Wild Women. (Hint: they’ll drive you crazy. They’ll drive you insane.  The song says so).

But there were other songs—beautiful ones.  “Greenfields.” “Little Green Apples.” “You Belong to Me.”  And of course… “Go on with the Wedding.”

If you’ve never heard it, you should listen. HERE.

That one used to tear me apart.  I never could decide which man she should have chosen.  I’m a sucker for the underdog—for a hero.  So, I always said Fred.  And I meant it. Right up to the moment I thought about Jim being away, fighting, finally making it home to his girl only to see her marry someone else.  How horrible is that?

Well, one of the tropes I chose for my books in the Independence Islands was going to be a “second chance romance.” I also wanted a “seasoned romance,” so this song came to mind. And then I had my story.  It’s not the one my twelve-year-old self would have wanted.  Truthfully, it’s not the story I wanted to write today, but it’s the right one. It’s probably my favorite of all of the ones I’ve done in this series.  I hope you’ll love Frank and Patti as much as I do.

All that’s left now is for me to write one more story—the one that has been forming through each book. It’s time for Mallory and Benjamin to both learn and write their story’s end (which of course, is only a beginning).

My Impressions

Chautona Havig has gotten me loving contemporary romance (not my fave genre), loving a song too old for me to like, and one I don’t even know! Oh, wait! I do remember looking it up and listening to it. The things a great author can do to you against your will!!

Finding a Memory by Chautona Havig first appealed to me because it was clear it featured older characters in a second-chance relationship. Part of the Independence Islands series, I enjoyed the book more because I was familiar with the other main couple who have been mentioned in past books.

Much of the book is presented as a mystery, as Mallory Barrows, owner of The Book Barrow, reads an old diary she finds. If you like The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, you will enjoy this novel. As the diary progresses, Mallory gets very emotionally involved in the lives of the people described. I couldn’t help myself. I was just as emotionally involved, but also in the lives of Mallory and her slow-moving boyfriend, Benjamin.

Ms. Havig always finds a way and the perfect time to insert truth. One time when the diarist was at her lowest, she writes, “This is what I learned. * God knows everything. * I don’t know everything. * I can trust God. * I have to seek Him first. * People will fail me. * God never will. * My job is to love God and others. * I must teach my child about God. * Jesus is my rock. Not …”
Another favorite quote, so appropriate for what the character was going through: “The Lord had other plans that I don’t understand, but I do trust Him.”

One last (but these are not all) reason why I love this novel and all of Ms. Havig’s books- her sense of humor and ability to turn a phrase that never fails to make me smile. Which she does often! My fave example here? “That machine makes enough noise to make mummies in sarcophaguses plead for earplugs.”

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

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! I Liked This Against My Will!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 26

Blossoms and Blessings, February 26

Texas Book-aholic, February 27

She Lives to Read, February 28

An Author’s Take, February 28

Inklings and notions, March 1

CarpeDiem, March 1

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 2

Lots of Helpers, March 2

For Him and My Family, March 3

Blogging With Carol, March 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 4

deb’s Book Review, March 5

Simple Harvest Reads, March 5 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 7

Splashes of Joy, March 7

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 8

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 9 (Spotlight)

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 9

lakesidelivingsite, March 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona 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/1b05c/finding-a-memory-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, Revell

Mending Fences, #1 The Deacon’s Family by Suzanne Woods Fisher

40392250

ABOUT THE BOOK:

SERIES: The Deacon’s Family

PUBLISHER, DATE: Revell, February 2019

GENRE: Amish Romance

Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.

Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him.

Amos and Fern Lapp allow Luke to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, Luke must make a sincere apology to each person he’s hurt–a four-page, single-spaced list. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused.

Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused . . . that isn’t so simple. It’s gut-wrenching.

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm. Luke’s clumsy efforts to befriend Izzy only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge.

Bestselling and award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher returns to her beloved Stoney Ridge for this brand-new series featuring some of her readers’ favorite characters.

 

MY REVIEW:

Suzanne Woods Fisher has become an author whose books I snatch up as soon as they are available. She is such a wordsmith that one’s whole being is drawn into the worlds she creates. In Mending Fences, Fisher combines a couple different series as Luke Schrock returns home to Amish Stoney Ridge after his third stint in rehab.
This is a novel of second chances; caring for the unlovable; longing for what one doesn’t have, while perhaps missing what is offered one; discovering that one’s foolish actions can have both negative and positive consequences. And the laughter!! Fisher knows how to present serious truths in a hilarious setting.
I felt my heart sympathize with quiet Izzy who is learning to be plain. I wanted to like bad boy Luke who is trying to reform, but still carries a bit of an attitude. I especially liked the characterizations of Amos, Fran, and Bishop David Stoltzfus. Each is more than they initially appear. David is unlike many of the bishops one reads about, very caring, respected, thoughtful, and wise.
Since it is forbidden to quote the whole book, here are a few quotes I liked:
“Like I said, forgiveness, that comes naturally for us. It’s trust that’s hard to restore. Trust is a fragile thing. There’s no such thing as a little violation of trust, especially if you are the one who was betrayed.”
“He was a pity party of one.”
and,
“at any given moment, your life is going to be determined by your view of you, or God’s view of you.”

I can’t wait for the next installment, book two of The Deacon’s Family.

This book can be read without benefit of the other series, as enough backstory is revealed. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a positive review.

 

 

MY RATING: 

golden-star-e15383548489823golden-star-e15383548489823golden-star-e15383548489823golden-star-e15383548489823golden-star-e15383548489823

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

suzanne-woods-fisherSuzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling, award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books, host of the radio-show-turned-blog Amish Wisdom, a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine.

Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, who was raised Plain. A theme in her books (her life!) is that you don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate the principles of simple living.

Suzanne lives in California with her family and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To her way of thinking, you just can’t life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth.

Suzanne can be found online at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com