Realms of Light Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Realms of Light

Author: Sandra Fernandez Rhoads

Genre: Christian YA Contemporary Fantasy

Release date: April 13, 2021

From the Ashes, Spring Will Rise

On the run from the brutal Sage and his army of Legions and Cormorants, seventeen-year-old Cera Marlowe knows the only place strong enough to protect her is the Alliance Council Estate.

Cera’s introduction to the Estate is far from welcoming. As a Blight, her dueling powers of light and darkness make her a half-breed threat to the Alliance’s sacred powers. Cera’s ability to decipher hidden messages in classical artwork buys her shelter temporarily, but the clock is ticking as she’s faced with a daunting choice that could cost her everything.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

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Sandra Fernandez Rhoads is the author of Mortal Sight. She is a Cuban-Colombian living in Dallas, Texas with her husband and four children. She has a deep love for the artist community, and is an active part of Art House Dallas and the Fort Worth Writer’s group. She holds an M.A. in English with a focus on John Milton and has an insatiable love for coffee, laughter, and adventure. And dinosaurs.

More from Sandra

What if there was an unseen war affecting our everyday world, but only a few could see the battle? And what if the secrets to this other realm and winning the war were embedded in classical art and literature?

These questions led me to the ideas that formed the Colliding Line duology, and final installment in the series, Realms of Light—the story about a select group of emerging artists called the Awakened that are given unique powers to help combat the forces of evil.

The protagonist, a young girl named Cera Marlowe, quickly took the lead in the first draft of the story. On a quest for her identity, she steps into her destiny by joining a community of unlikely warriors who would need to overcome great odds, learn to work together, and battle their past in order to defeat the enemy.

The story took more than five years to write and the first draft was over 180k words. The use of classical art emerged slowly over that time. But the verses from John Milton’s Paradise Lost fit seamlessly from the start, paralleling the fight for truth, identity, and war in our fallen world.

At its core, the story is about embracing the past to help shape our future. My hope is that readers see classical art and literature in a new way, and find their own creativity as a much-needed gift to the world.

My Review

Review coming soon!

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, April 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 29

Texas Book-aholic, April 30

Inklings and notions, May 1

Woven by Words, May 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 2

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 3

Genesis 5020, May 3

For the Love of Literature, May 4

For Him and My Family, May 5

Wishful Endings, May 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 7

Through the Fire Blogs, May 7

deb’s Book Review, May 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 9

Blogging With Carol, May 10

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 10

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 11

April Hayman, Author, May 11

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 12

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sandra is giving away the grand prize package of $40 Christianbook.com gift card, custom Bookmark, custom signed bookplate, custom Realms of Light notebook, and library book pattern book / tablet sleeve!!

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/10b5d/realms-of-light-celebration-tour-giveaway

Hope Between the Pages Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Hope Between the Pages

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: April, 2021

Uncover the Story Behind a One-Hundred-Year-Old Love Letter

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint of the man’s identity in her great-great-grandmother’s letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

More from Pepper

Books are a uniquely portable magic – Stephen King

Appalachia is known for having a high illiteracy rate. A place of beautiful scenery and rugged landscapes, the people of the mountains developed stories through oral storytelling much more than “book learning”. As a young girl growing up in this world, I loved hearing my granny share tales from up to five generations ago, filling in the narrative gaps between a birth date and a death date on a tombstone – giving flesh and breath to the stone-etched names.

It’s no surprise then, with a heart cultivated from rich oral stories, I fell in love with reading. Books became that “portable magic” that took me places my little Appalachian community couldn’t provide. I fell in love with the Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew. Wept through the end of Bridge to Terabithia and Old Yeller. Traveled to the plains with Sarah Plain and Tall and fell in love with horses with The Black Stallion. But when I was in seventh grade, I read my very first “British” novel, The Secret Garden. In that one introduction, my world expanded into mysterious English manor houses and British classics. Before long, I’d consumed Jane Eyre, Austen’s classics, some Dickens, Dracula, Frankenstein…and the list goes on! And then…I found Tolkien and Lewis – and the ‘real’ world swelled into OTHER worlds.

I’m grateful for true stories of book-loving pioneers traveling into the world of Appalachia to provide books and literacy training to “my people”, because I know some of those books made their way to my tiny elementary school library…and not only brought me the chance to discover stories, but to write them too!

Isn’t it amazing how books can do that?

In Hope Between the Pages, I wanted to bring the same awe and discovery I felt as a child (and continue to feel as an adult reader) to the story of two people whose words had seemed small. Stories stretched their worlds, but the stories also gave them wonderful imaginations and positive perspectives. It’s still amazing to me that ink-and-paper words can make such a lasting impact on hearts and minds. They can lead us to dream, teach us new things, encourage our hearts, help us to think outside the box, swell our imaginations, broaden our horizons, and encourage our hope.

Books are not a replacement for real adventures and relationships, but they certainly provide a beautiful “door” into other lives and worlds that we may never have a chance to experience in real life. Sadie, my historical heroine, and Clara, my contemporary heroine, both have kept close to home but traveled greatly through books…and BOTH are given the opportunity to reach beyond the bindings to discover real-life adventures. I’d like to think that their love for stories helped them have the courage to step away from the page and into their own tales even more prepared than they would have been without stories.

What are some of your favorite books you read as a child? Did any of them influence you to become a more avid reader?

My Review

Historical fiction is my go-to genre, and in the interest of total honesty, romance and contemporaries are probably my least favorite most of the time. What can I say, I have never been normal! Split-time novels, therefore, are on the fence for me, and I have only dipped my toes into this genre, which makes me all the more glad for the opportunity to read Barbour’s Doors to the Past series. I was wholly unprepared for this book, though; it blew me out of the water and is by far the best I’ve read so far this year. Prior to this, I read the author’s contribution to the True Colors series, The Red Ribbon, and found it to be my favorite installment to date, so I now know without a doubt that I need to look into her other works, as well.

Stories held power and everyone told one, whether the characters within the story knew it or not.

There is so much to love about Pepper Basham’s Hope Between the Pages, from the complex characters to the swoon-worthy romance to the delightful appreciation for literature. Rarely have I felt so connected to the characters, and never in a dual-timeline story. In fact, some of the more tragic circumstances hit so close to home that I had to set it aside at times. I am glad that Clara Blackwell’s contemporary story is told alongside her ancestor Sadie Blackwell’s from 1915, because it provides a fascinating study of how our past impacts our present in ways that we may not realize. As much as I admire Sadie, I see more of myself in Clara, and it reminds me of Oliver Camden’s advice to his sister, Victoria: “It’s not often that you find kindred spirits, so when you do, you make certain to keep them if you can.” Indeed, this concept plays into the lives of all of the main characters. I love that Clara is a vintage type with a fondness for books and security, and that this does not make her a hopeless case: “Was there a place for mysteries, adventure, and even romance in her life? Could she release her hold on her fear long enough to try and find out? She drew in a deep breath and for the first time in a long time prayed that she’d be hopeful enough to search for everyday magic, and brave enough to step into her own story.

Part of what makes this novel so enigmatic is the fact that the primary plot threads are relatively predictable, yet Hope Between the Pages still reads like suspense, and Basham is truly gifted in writing lyrical prose. The stories of both Sadie and Clara, separated by a century, dovetail perfectly, exploring similar tales of solitude, heartache, tragedy, romance, and even fairy tales because the Christian life is a mixture of all of these, but fulfilled to perfection. “No fairy tale in all the world painted love as beautifully as this. No novel touched my heart with such an odd combination of visceral weightiness and sheer joy. Only in the pages of scripture had I found anything so beautiful, showcasing what it meant to be so loved for exactly who I was,” Sadie marvels, and 100 years later, Clara echoes this sentiment. While this is not the immediate meaning of the title, which is disclosed at the end of the book, this is what it symbolized to me. The hope of being loved and accepted just as one is, whether lowborn or high, in vogue or quirky, and the steadfast promise that the Lord is the One who will always love us unconditionally, a promise and hope found between the pages of the book that never goes out of style, the Holy Bible.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, April 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 24

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 24

Worthy2Read, April 24

Texas Book-aholic, April 25

Reviewingbooksplusmore, April 25

Christian Bookaholic, April 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 25

She Lives To Read, April 26

Books and Everyday Life, April 26

For the Love of Literature, April 26

For Him and My Family, April 26

Wishful Endings, April 27

Bigreadersite, April 27

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 27

deb’s Book Review, April 27

Inklings and notions, April 28

Connect in Fiction, April 28

Writing from the Heart Land, April 28

Blogging With Carol, April 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 29

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 29

Life of Literature, April 29

Pick a good book, April 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 30

Betti Mace, April 30

Kathleen’s Blog, April 30

lakesidelivingsite, May 1

Connie’s History Classroom, May 1

Fiction Book Lover, May 1

Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 1

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 2

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 2

Godly Book Reviews, May 2

Mary Hake, May 2

Older & Smarter?, May 3

Genesis 5020, May 3

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 4

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads , May 4

Blossoms and Blessings, May 4

sodbusterLiving, May 4

Splashes of Joy, May 5

Where Faith and Books Meet , May 5

Simple Harvest Reads, May 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Through the Fire Blogs, May 5

Pause for Tales, May 6

To Everything There Is A Season, May 6

Remembrancy, May 6

Lights in a Dark World, May 6

Live.Love.Read., May 7

Karen Sue Hadley, May 7

Amanda Tero, blog, May 7

The Write Escape, May 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Pepper 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/10b27/hope-between-the-pages-celebration-tour-giveaway

Hearts on Fire: A Book Review of Amanda Cabot’s “Dreams Rekindled”

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As much as I enjoyed Out of the Embers, I have to say that I loved Dreams Rekindled even more. There will be one more book in this trilogy, and I presume that it will also have a fire-inspired title. Symbolic of so many things, in this case I personally think that the connotation evokes a sense of renewal and the presence of the Holy Spirit. While the books could be read as standalones, the stories have much more depth when read in their proper order; the backgrounds of the characters and of Mesquite Springs itself all contribute to the series as a whole, and seeing how they connect enhances the impact.

Combining romance and suspense with the happenings of small-town Mesquite Springs, Texas in the 1850s, Amanda Cabot tells the story of two people on a mission to take a new direction in life—one that sets them straight in each other’s path. Sister to Wyatt from the first book in the trilogy, Dorothy Clark dreams of a career as a writer, fueled by the recent publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Brandon Holloway seeks a quiet town to start over and establish his newspaper after an editorial brings devastation. However, “A newspaper is more than entertainment or simply reporting what happened. When an editor sees important issues, it’s his responsibility to bring them to everyone’s attention,” according to Dorothy. Truly, no matter what our past and present struggles, the Lord can use them for good in ways that we would never have thought possible, and usually there is a part of the resolution that speaks directly to us as a special nudge from God.

Dreams Rekindled raises issues that are mirrored in our current society. One of these is the feeling of guilt over perceived culpability in an unexpected situation over which someone had no control, as is the case with Brandon. Most of us have experienced this to some degree at one time or another, blaming ourselves for something beyond our control and thereby carrying a heavy burden that was never meant for our shoulders. Sowing division also plays a large role in the story as well as in today’s world. Then, as now, pitting citizens against one another is a sure way to tear a community apart and ultimately destroy it. Dreams Rekindled illustrates how this is so often done through nefarious means, planting lies and turning people against one another. As the apostle Paul exhorts in 2 Corinthians 13:11: “Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

One of the prominent themes in the novel is forgiveness. Forgiveness of self and forgiveness of others. Compassion and empathy go a long way toward healing wounds, especially when we seek to understand someone else’s point of view and perspective. Our own might not change, and while the other person may be in the wrong, some understanding can encourage better conduct and communication in the future. That is, after all, part of our mission as Christians: to be encouragers and to communicate well with the Lord and as witnesses for our faith. As Dorothy thinks to herself, “What an amazing answer to prayer.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

The Silver Shadow Epic Book Launch

About the Book

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Book: The Silver Shadow

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release date: May 2021

A Shadowy Figure Is Intent on Harming Denver’s Women

Book 11 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Denver of 1900 is still a dangerous place to be following the silver crash of 1893. And of out of the dark comes a shadow intent on harming women. Ambitious young Denver newspaper reporter Polly Blythe is searching for the big story that’s going to launch her career. On Friday evening, August 24, 1900, she gets her break when two women are cracked over the head within a two-minute walk of each other. But policeman Edwin Timmer thwarts Polly’s ideas of a serial criminal. . .until the shadowy figure strikes again. Will the reporter and the policeman team up to find the culprit before he strikes too close for comfort?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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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 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.

Book Excerpt

Edwin adjusted his wire-rimmed glasses and glanced over his scribbled reports. He’d taken them in such haste, he had a difficult time reading them. “They were both struck over the head. And”—he scanned the page—“this is strange. Neither of them was robbed or

violated.”

“That’s very different.” O’Fallon snatched the notebook from Edwin. “What do you make of it?”

“Not much. A pretty typical day in Denver. I just hope both women are going to be okay.” Edwin gestured for the paper, and Ralph returned it. “I’ll go interview Mrs. Lillian Bell first. What is this world coming to when someone attacks a widow? Hopefully I’ll get the chance to speak to the other one at some point.”

“Looks like a late night.”

Edwin excavated his coffee cup from where it was buried under an avalanche of papers and took a swig of the almost-cold brew. Yes, it was going to be a long night.

As he settled into his chair to review his notes before questioning the victim, he caught a uniformed officer leading a slender, doe-eyed woman through the station. Her dark blue skirt swished across the floor as she followed him. Was this one of the victims? If so, she didn’t

bear any signs of being mugged. No cuts, no bruises. In fact, her skin was flawless.

As she approached, she straightened the fedora on her head, the paper tucked in the band labeling her as a member of the press. Fabulous.

Just what he needed.

When the officer stopped at Edwin’s desk, he scraped his chair back and stood. “What can I help you with?”

Missed Past Excerpts? Go Here

Courage in the Mountain Wilderness Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Courage in the Mountain Wilderness

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: April 6, 2021

Keeping her son safe on this epic journey may be harder than she imagined.

Caleb Jackson is on a journey. And not just the mission he and his friends have embarked on to fetch the Nez Perce chief’s runaway daughter. Maybe someday, he could also find God’s plan for his life. He’d once thought being a small town minister was the Lord’s will for him, but he’d proved a failure at living under the scrutiny of his congregation. Yet the chief’s niece and her feisty toddler accompanying them on this expedition make him feel like he might be able to make a difference yet.

Otskai is eager to take on a challenge. She’s lived under the shelter of other’s choices her entire life, especially when she was betrothed to one of the village braves at the tender age of eight. Now with her husband dead, she’s finally found the freedom she always craved—even with a two-year-old to raise. She’s built her camas root harvest into a thriving trade to provide all she and her son need and more, yet she can’t seem to keep her active child safe. When she agrees to accompany her new friends on a trip to bring back her wayward cousin, she knows she’ll have her hands full managing her boy.

The journey turns out nothing like Otskai expects, and for the first time in her life, she’s thankful to have others around to help. Especially Caleb, whose gentle attentions captivate her son and occupy him for hours at a time. But as the danger escalates and her worst fears come to light, she must find the courage to choose between freedom and a love more liberating than she imagined possible.

From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and adventure so intense, lives will never be the same.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and children now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

More from Misty

Mom Guilt—it’s real, no matter what your race or tribe.

One of the things I love about writing the Call of the Rockies series is the cast of characters that covers almost more races than I can count on all my fingers! From Spaniards, to Frenchman, to Southern Americans, to Blackfoot, to Nez Perce, to Salish, to Shoshone. And let’s not talk about the various sectors within some of the tribes (Peigan Blackfoot, Blood Blackfoot, Pikunin of the Nez Perce…oops, we weren’t going to talk about those!).

But what I love the most about so many people groups represented is learning how much we really are alike, down deep in our cores! Sure, some are introverts, some are extroverts. Some like to swim, some hate to swim. Some like to cook, some like to play with the kids (okay, maybe most like to play with the kids!).

Yet there are common threads that connect us all. As I was writing Courage in the Mountain Wilderness, I discovered a new thread that I have in common with Otskai, the Nez Perce hero of the story.

Mom guilt.

Yep. Our situations are a little different—I’m married with four kiddos, and she’s widowed with one very energetic two-year-old son. But we both struggle with that same push and pull. That same set of conflicting longings. When I’m with my kiddos, sometimes I just desperately want time alone. Time to actually get things done. But then at night when they snuggle close at bedtime, wrapping their sweet arms around my neck and not just saying, but showing, how much they love me, I can’t imagine how I could ever want to do anything but spend time with these sweet little ones God has trusted me with.

Thus, the guilt.

Maybe Otskai and I are the only ones who’ve ever experienced that particular strain of Mom Guilt. But I’ll bet there are other ways you can relate—both to these very real fictional characters who may or may not be the same race as you. And also to the very real real-life characters you meet every day.

The great news is that God loves each and every one of us, Mom Guilt and all.

My Review

Misty Beller never fails to deliver an adventurous, romantic historical novel that takes readers on an uplifting journey through the mountains. One of the aspects of these stories that I most appreciate is the fact that they are not sensationalized; I personally prefer a more realistic approach, with some danger and excitement written in but not belabored. My experience with Beller’s writing so far has been thoroughly satisfying: a gratifying mixture of both the serenity of nature and its inherent peril.

Courage in the Mountain Wilderness, book four in the “Call of the Rockies” series, weaves together the stories of former minister Caleb Jackson and Nez Perce widow Otskai, who has her hands full keeping her spirited two-year-old son, River Boy, out of trouble. Reading this series in order is not required, but I do recommend it for a more enriching experience; the main characters are part of a diverse group that travels together to accomplish missions, which in this case is bringing home the Nez Perce chief’s strong-willed daughter, Otskai’s cousin. I enjoy how they work together and take care of each other despite their ethnic differences. As Caleb thinks to himself when considering Otskai, “How hard it must be to travel with people who always spoke a foreign tongue.” The effort that they make to effectively communicate and learn each other’s language points to mutual respect and how people of different backgrounds can come together. This is a lesson that never becomes outdated!

Furthermore, the element of faith that Beller infuses into Courage in the Mountain Wilderness stems from recognizing and acknowledging different backgrounds. It is a gentle reminder to keep our testimony simple and to make sure that we are speaking in the hearer’s language. This doesn’t always just refer to someone’s mother tongue, but also to their level of knowledge about Christianity. People who are unfamiliar with the Bible and with church may well be intimidated if we use religious terms rather than speaking less formally. Otskai finds herself drawn to God through her struggles after Adam, another member of the group, talks to her: “He put is so simply, laid out a picture that called to her in its simplicity. In the image Adam painted, she wouldn’t have to find her own way in life. She worked so hard. And she accomplished much, yet it never seemed enough. There was always more. Always something she failed at, like protecting her son. Could God forgive those failures, put those bad things behind her? Could he show her a better way? She wasn’t sure she could stand putting her life under the control of another man who would be scrutinizing her every move. Expecting perfection. Was that what God would require?

Overcoming trauma also plays a large role in this heartwarming story. Due to being orphaned at a young age, Otskai has fears that are put to the test along the mountain trek. She also fears failure as a mother and as an overall tribe member as she strives to keep her energetic son safe while doing daily chores. Likewise, Caleb is determined to minister to those in need on an individual level. As situations arise, both have to examine their own hearts to decide what freedom means to them, and to find their Courage in the Mountain Wilderness.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, April 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 6

Blossoms and Blessings, April 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 7

reviewingbooksplusmore, April 7

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 8

cats in the cradle blog, April 8

Betti Mace, April 9

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 9

For the Love of Literature, April 10

deb’s Book Review, April 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 11

Jeanette’s Thoughts, April 11

Texas Book-aholic, April 12

Maidens for Modesty, April 12

Inklings and notions, April 13

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 13

Older & Smarter?, April 14

Blessed & Bookish, April 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 15

Splashes of Joy, April 15

Wishful Endings, April 16

Mary Hake, April 16

For Him and My Family, April 16

She Lives To Read, April 17

Connie’s History Classroom, April 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 18

Adventures Of A Travelers Wife, April 19

Simple Harvest Reads, April 19 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away the grand prize of 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/10a1f/courage-in-the-mountain-wilderness-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Unique Perspective on Moses’ Story: A Book Review of Jill Eileen Smith’s “Miriam’s Song”

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As she watched the fire of God move and breathe like a spirit ablaze, somehow she knew. He cared for her. She might never see His face, but she had felt His touch. And that was enough.

This may be the first book by Jill Eileen Smith that I’ve read, but it most certainly won’t be the last! Biblical fiction is difficult enough as a genre when using fictional characters who serve as onlookers to major historical events, but taking on the formidable task of writing about some of the main Biblical figures is something else altogether. As Smith herself mentions in her note to readers at the end of this book, there is not much information about Miriam in the Bible, and extracting her character means working through that of her brothers Aaron and especially Moses. In doing so, Miriam emerges as a woman who has been called by God to serve, alongside her brothers, in leading His chosen people out of Egyptian slavery.

So many aspects of this familiar Old Testament story struck me anew as I read Miriam’s Song, not the least of which is a fresh appreciation for the men and women who paved the way for the eventual coming of Jesus. To think that at the time of Moses and the Exodus, the people had not heard from God in four hundred and thirty years! Jochebed refers to her son, the infant Moses, as their “tikvah,” or hope, and years later Miriam’s husband Jephunneh tells Miriam to “Pray God will do something, because if He does not, there is no hope.” Those whom God raised up throughout the Old Testament prove that every person has a propensity for sin, thereby making Christ’s coming and sacrifice necessary to enable God to live among us.

As I read, Smith’s perspective of this time in Biblical history revealed connections that I hadn’t necessarily made before. I can see parallels between the Exodus and the coming Tribulation, as well as between some of the Egyptians joining the Hebrews in fleeing Egypt and, later, the Gentiles joining God’s chosen people for salvation through Jesus. Similarly, I don’t think that I had ever really honed in on the fact that the ten plagues which God released on Egypt also afflicted those Hebrews who had followed sinful Egyptian practices, or that each plague was clearly aimed at defeating a specific Egyptian god. As Miriam attests, “She had never considered that God would judge His own people as well as their oppressors. But sin was sin, and she knew deep within her that no sin went unnoticed by their God.” Miriam learns that they are the ones holding themselves back from the Promised Land, and instead of becoming frustrated and angry with God and with Moses, she recognizes that “If only the people would realize that to obey was freedom. To rebel only brought heartache and loss.” Some things never change!

Related in five parts with third-person narration, Miriam’s Song by Jill Eileen Smith delves into the largely-unknown life of Moses’ older sister, Miriam. While fictional, it remains true to the Biblical account in regard to historical events, taking artistic liberty to explore the possible perspective and life of Miriam, prophetess of God and leader of women during the Exodus and afterward. Time lapses in the narrative can be a bit abrupt but are understandable and handled well, with a succinct explanation of the intervening years. I highly recommend this Biblical fiction novel to fans of the genre and to anyone interested in the Exodus and the life of the Hebrews during that time.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

Wait for Me Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Wait for Me

Author: Marguerite Martin Gray

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: February 9, 2021

A town besieged by the enemy with just one Sovereign order: wait.

Charles Town, South Carolina, 1780

With the inevitable occupation of Charles Town by the British pounding at the gates, Louis Lestarjette braces for possible imprisonment or worse. How can he provide for his growing family with the evil chains of the enemy binding his source of existence? The scenarios of imprisonment and starvation force him to realize he has no control over the outcome of the stronghold of the British. All that remains is a sense of survival at almost any cost.

Elizabeth Lestarjette faces looming confinement with both a drive to protect her children and a desire to do her part to undermine the enemy. They must thwart the British plans to imprison more men, but how? Who can they trust?

Just how long will Elizabeth’s confidence in justice withstand the constant battering of war and circumstance?
Discover the destiny of the Lestarjette family in the final book of the Revolutionary Faith Series as they hope and wait upon deliverance from a world under siege.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Marguerite enjoys the study of history, especially when combined with fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches French and Spanish and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and a MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. She has two grown children and currently lives with her husband in north Louisiana. She writes historical fiction.

More from Marguerite

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Thank you for stopping by the Wait for Me tour. I’m so excited about the release of this novel, the finale of the Revolutionary Faith series,

I have always been fascinated with the ordinary—the simple acts from day to day. When an historical event is added, I surround my fascination with questions. What did they wear or eat? Why did they marry? Did they have children? Where did they shop? What is incredible or surprising to me about the historical event or activity was at one time ordinary to the characters whether in fiction or nonfiction.

The ordinary that I like to encounter and write in historical fiction includes how the characters dressed. I even had the dress pictured here made for me just in case I want to present in costume!

Also, I like to explore the food my characters ate. I found a wonderful recipe for a beefsteak pie in an American Girl cookbook. I’ve made it several times. Yummy!

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The ordinary activities such as going to church or to the market or mercantile make the characters real. Their lives have depth in their interaction with society. My simple faith in God’s provisions and promises flow into the lives of my characters. What makes the story exciting is the historical element linked with the dramatic background of war.

Thank you for continuing the journey with Wait for Me, rooted in the ordinary from two centuries ago.

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

What a great question, that takes me way back to when I was in fifth grade. I devoured every book I could get ahold of that had to do with mystery (Nancy Drew), horses (Black Stallion Series), Anne of Green Gables, and anything about King Arthur. I started writing children’s books that I kept in a journal. Later, I majored in Journalism thinking that would satisfy my writing urge. It didn’t. If wasn’t until my children were in high school that I took the time to put my thoughts and plots from a notebook into action. In two years I wrote six rough draft novels. Now, whether I get published or not, I write two novels a year.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I choose four to five hours a day for a month. During this time frame, I can write 60,000 words that I consider a nice rough draft. I then spend a few more weeks to complete an additional 30,000 words. Once the initial words are written, I take another month of two to three hours a day to edit, rewrite, edit, and rewrite until the novel is ready for new eyes and critiques.

Which one of your characters speaks most to your heart? Why?

This is going to sound strange but my hero Louis Lestarjette, 1770 Charles Town, S.C. resonates with me more than any other. It’s a little bizarre because he is a guy. Why didn’t I choose Elizabeth or Jeannette? His story is full of excitement and conflict and questions. How would it have been for a Frenchman to loose his title, land, direction, and faith and end up in the New World? He has the adventurous spirit that I lack. Could I have done it? I want to think I would cross the ocean to a new life, but I don’t think I have it in me. But he does, and he succeeds where I probably wouldn’t. In a way, I’m living my alter personality through him. Also, I love anything French—the language, the culture, the food, the people.

Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspirations through the many years have been my parents. They gave me the awesome opportunity to travel and explore the world at a young age. Daddy is an architect and student of history. He lives, writes, and loves the historic aspect of people’s lives, buildings, churches, cemeteries, and art. My mom stands by his side and supports his endeavors. My sisters and I lived in England with them where we received a life-changing education and experience. We traveled all over Europe, studied French, art, and people.  I “blame” them for my constant desire to travel. It really is a big deal for I’m constantly planning the next trip!

Yet, I cannot forget my husband as my biggest encourager. I would not have written one novel without his sweet, honest words of support and encouragement.

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

This is such an important question. Two years ago I would say hands down—traditional books. I love the feel, the smell, the sound of the pages, the bookmark—absolutely everything about a print book. But, I also see the value of ebooks. I have a full library of books on my ipad. I like the availability of having a book for the road, the plane, etc., not forgetting the economical aspect. My bookshelves breathed easier because of ebooks. Audiobooks are a lifesaver when I on the interstate. For three years I drove 50 minutes twice a day to and from work. I “read” so many books and found some awesome authors. My answer? I’ll always lean toward traditional books but have huge libraries of ebooks and audiobooks.

Blog Stops

Connie’s History Classroom, March 26

Artistic Nobody, March 27 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 28

For the Love of Literature, March 29 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 29

deb’s Book Review, March 30

She Lives To Read, March 31

Betti Mace, March 31

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 1

Splashes of Joy, April 2 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 3

Texas Book-aholic, April 4

Inklings and notions, April 5

For Him and My Family, April 6

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, April 7 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 8

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Marguerite is giving away the grand prize package of a print copy of all five books in the series and a box of Charleston Plantation Tea!!

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/109d4/wait-for-me-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Purple Nightgown Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book

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Book: The Purple Nightgown

Author: A.D. Lawrence

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Release date: March, 2021

Marvel at true but forgotten history when patients check into Linda Hazzard’s Washington state spa in 1912 and soon become victim of her twisted greed.
Book 10 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Heiress Stella Burke is plagued by insincere suitors and nonstop headaches. Exhausting all other medical aides for her migraines, Stella reads Fasting for the Cure of Disease by Linda Hazzard and determines to go to the spa the author runs. Stella’s chauffer and long-time friend, Henry Clayton, is reluctant to leave her at the spa. Something doesn’t feel right to him, still Stella submits herself into Linda Hazzard’s care. Stella soon learns the spa has a dark side and Linda a mean streak. But when Stella has had enough, all ways to leave are suddenly blocked. Will Stella become a walking skeleton like many of the other patients or succumb to a worse fate?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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A.D. Lawrence makes her home in Northeastern Nebraska. She has been passionate about writing and true crime for years, and her two obsessions melded into the goal of authorship. She is an active member of the ACFW, writes a true crime blog, won the 2019 Crown Award and was a 2019 First Impressions finalist.

More from A.D. Lawrence

Times have changed. And like so many things, health retreats have experienced their own metamorphosis. Sure, they’ve always catered to people with both spare money and time, but aside from similar clientele, the face of the health spa is nothing like its early 20th century sister.

If you could afford a getaway to a modern-day health spa like The Golden Door, you’d be treated to the luxury of rest. Yoga on the beach. Deep tissue massages. A much-needed break from technology and life’s constant pressures. Mental well-being is valued almost as highly as physical health, and the two are thought to be connected. After days or weeks of pampering, you would return home relaxed, recharged, and ready to dip back into the hustle of the real world.

In 1911, during the time of The Purple Nightgown, the medical community took a diametrically different approach to health. Weight equaled health. The prevailing assumption was that any ailments were directly connected to weight. Thus, ‘fat camps’ grew in popularity. Men and women checked into sanatoriums where the aides put them through grueling exercise regimes and provided them with just enough food to sustain life. No coddling. Not many of us would subject ourselves to the treatments early health spas required.

In this era of already extreme health measures, Linda Hazzard made her mark in Washington State. Obsessed with fasting, she ran her patients through an unfathomable course of ‘diet and exercise’ that proved the undoing of many. She did give massages though, which you’ll learn more about when you read The Purple Nightgown.

Although it’s fun to long for a simpler time while reading historical books and watching shows like Little House on the Prairie, there are some modern ways of thinking and advances in human comfort I’d rather not give up. One of those is the vastly superior spa experience we have today. Somehow, a facial with soothing background music sounds much more appealing than running mile after mile every day with nothing to look forward to but a glass of orange juice or a bowl of canned tomato broth.

Hot stone massage anyone?

My Review

A.D. Lawrence is a girl after my own heart with her passionate interest in true crime, and I am so glad that her debut novel is part of Barbour’s True Colors series. From the time that I first heard about the series, I knew that I would read every book; it can be difficult, if not downright impossible, to find a Christian approach to this genre, which mollifies the otherwise horrifying details and adds hope. Even though the stories are fictional, their basis stems from historical American crimes, some perhaps more disturbing than others. In my opinion, The Purple Nightgown fits into the “more disturbing” category, although Lawrence handles it very well, balancing the story with a beautiful romance and life lessons.

Surprisingly, I was not familiar with this particular crime story prior to reading The Purple Nightgown. I will be completely honest and admit that if this was not part of the series, which can be read in any order since they each cover a different crime, I may not have picked it up. As someone with a history of negative medical encounters, this was a difficult story to read at times, but that testifies to how incredibly well Lawrence has translated the experiences of the characters to the reader. I felt a connection to Stella Burke, who suffers from nearly daily debilitating migraines, because I have had long periods of uncontrolled chronic migraine throughout my life, and I empathized with her desperation to be well and to make a difference. Her close friend and chauffeur, Henry Clayton, is my favorite character for his steadfast loyalty and devotion. Certain scenes are so beautifully evocative that I had tears in my eyes.

As for the Institute of Natural Therapeutics run by Linda Hazzard, it at first seems to stretch credulity to consider that people voluntarily submitted themselves to strict fasting regimens and tortuous treatments in order to achieve the promised perfect health. However, in some respects, not much has changed today, as people still search for the latest diet plan or take incalculable risks for the potential of improvement. Gaslighting, as we now call it, also continues to be a problem, contributing to an already burdened system. Perhaps the most shocking element is that Hazzard’s book, Fasting for the Cure of Disease, is available on Amazon in various formats, and the Kindle version is only $0.99! I definitely cannot recommend it.

Despite how full of premonitions the first half to two-thirds of The Purple Nightgown is, the last fifty or so pages proves to be nothing short of harrowing. The edge-of-your-seat suspense bears down as the forces of God and the enemy collide and Stella finds herself forced to “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today…The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:13,14). Stella is portrayed realistically, with the flaws of her wealthy upbringing as an only child, as is Henry, her opposite in status but a champion when it comes to helping others. Stella finally comes to the realization that “Though she’d chased her own pursuits, God hadn’t changed—His love hadn’t changed. He’d waited for her at the very spot she’d wandered away and welcomed her back with open arms as the father of the prodigal had his errant son.” The use of the color purple and the nightgown is inspired and significant throughout the story.

Recommended for those who enjoy true crime and who don’t mind some details thereof; while lacking anything graphic, there is necessary context within the story that may be disturbing to sensitive readers. The nickname of Linda Hazzard’s institute was Starvation Heights, after all.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 23

lakesidelivingsite, March 23

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, March 23

For Him and My Family, March 24

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 24

Godly Book Reviews, March 24

Through the Fire Blogs, March 25

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 25

For the Love of Literature, March 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 26

Mary Hake, March 26

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 27

deb’s Book Review, March 27

Pause for Tales, March 28

Remembrancy, March 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 28

Connie’s History Classroom, March 29

Genesis 5020, March 29

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, March 29

Babbling Becky L’sBook Impressions, March 30

Texas Book-aholic, March 30

Inklings and notions, March 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 31 (Author Interview)

Cathe Swanson, March 31

Older & Smarter?, April 1

Betti Mace, April 1

Rebecca Tews, April 1

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 2

Vicky Sluiter, April 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 3

Amanda Tero, blog, April 3

Blossoms and Blessings, April 3

Christian Bookaholic, April 4

Blogging With Carol, April 4

Spoken from the Heart, April 4

Splashes of Joy, April 5

Artistic Nobody, April 5 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Southern Gal Loves to Read, April 5

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, A.D. 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/1098d/the-purple-nightgown-celebration-tour-giveaway

Providence Epic Book Launch

About the Book

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Book: Providence

Author: Jennifer Sienes

Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction

Release date: April 13, 2021

How can she forgive a man she isn’t sure she ever knew?

Melissa Bainbridge doesn’t have time to grieve. She has three kids to feed, bills stacked high enough to crush her, and guilt–oh so much guilt.

When her husband’s death is ruled a suicide, her financial stability and identity die with the man she now wonders if she ever knew. How could he choose to leave them like this? How could she have lived with him for 15 years and not known of his fragile mental health?

A journey of discovery reveals more questions than answers until Melissa finally faces her fears and tries to understand the mind of the man she thought she knew and never did.

The journey from despair to hope leads Melissa beyond grief and into the light of forgiveness in Providence.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education, but discovered life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance and writing–and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies–two in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.

Book Excerpt

Trevor wouldn’t come in through the front door.

Out of habit, I flip on the porch light and peer through the glass sidelight, hoping to see Trevor’s hangdog expression—his attempt to work me before I can even voice my anger. Instead, I’m slapped with the image of two police uniforms.

* * *

It seems appropriate that anemic flakes of snow drift from the steel-gray sky on just such a day. Placerville sits at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills and sees the occasional winter white, but it’s rare enough that when it makes an appearance, the kids run outside, their heads tilted back, mouths open to catch a flake or two on their tongues.

But not today.

We sit graveside in the cemetery. Graveside. The word bounces around in my mind as all else fades away but the soul deep pain of knowing Trevor lies in that casket. And even knowing that, anger at him has a visceral grip on my heart.

I didn’t sign up for this. We had a plan. We were a family. And now it’s like a chair missing a leg—it doesn’t work.

Pastor Kent’s voice drones on in the background.

Missed Past Excerpts? Go Here

Excerpt Onehttps://vickysluitercom.wordpress.com/book-tours/

Excerpt Twohttps://beckiebythebook.com/2021/03/27/book-launch-providence/

Excerpt Threehttps://janemouttet.wordpress.com/2021/03/27/book-launch-excerpt-

providence/

Excerpt Fourhttp://www.simpleharvestreads.com/posts/providence-book-excerpt/

Excerpt Fivehttps://abakersperspective.com/providence-by-jennifer-sienes/

Excerpt Sixhttps://litteraegaudium.wordpress.com/2021/03/25/providence-epic-book-

launch/

Excerpt Sevenhttps://www.susankbeatty.com/providence-by-jennifer-sienes/

Framed in Death Valley Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Framed in Death Valley

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspirational Suspense

Release date: March 1, 2021

Framed for a murder he didn’t commit, firefighter Beckett Duke gave up on everything—including his marriage to spirited Laney Holland. That is, until Laney’s life is threatened. Knowing the real killer is still at large, Beckett now has one purpose: protecting the woman he loves…and their unborn child. But sometimes an innocent man’s second chance comes with a deadly price.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is the Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over forty 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. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle.

More from Dana

What’s up in Death Valley?

As the desert vistas opened up in front of Papa Bear and me, I felt an amazing sense of peace. Mind you, we were visiting Death Valley in the fall. No braving the 130 plus summer temperatures for this couple! I simply cannot describe to you the wonder I felt, as a suburbanite from a bustling, noisy Northern California city. There is never a moment at home when I see only open horizon, when I hear nothing but quiet breezes. I was, quite simply, stunned.

I had done some research about places to visit as potential series settings, and Death Valley was at the top of the list. The websites did not disappoint. Artist’s Palette, the gorgeous peak painted in a rainbow of rock colors? Check! Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, glistening with salt and not so lifeless as one might think…check! How about my favorite moment…jouncing along the precarious trail through Titus Canyon? Check! Would all of these incomparable locations be suitable for a six book suspense series? Roger that!

It’s ironic that I felt so welcomed by such an inhospitable locale. Visiting is one thing, but it takes a certain rugged breed of individuals to live in such a hostile climate. What fodder for fiction! I simply could not wait to get home and start creating the Duke family. And you know what? When this pandemic is over, Death Valley is the first place I want to return…in the fall, of course! Do you have a place near and dear to your heart? What’s first on your travel list after the world opens up again?

My Review

Review pending due to unexpected circumstances

Blog Stops

Hebrews 12 Endurance, March 16

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 16

Among the Reads, March 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 17

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 17 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, March 18

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 18

Genesis 5020, March 18

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 19

Betti Mace, March 19

Lighthouse Academy, March 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 20

Bizwings Blog, March 20

Texas Book-aholic, March 21

Reviewingbooksplusmore, March 21

Inklings and notions, March 22

Remembrancy, March 22

Simple Harvest Reads, March 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

For Him and My Family, March 23

Blogging With Carol, March 23

Older & Smarter?, March 24

Fiction Book Lover, March 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

KarenSueHadley, March 24

She Lives To Read, March 25

deb’s Book Review, March 25

Through the Fire Blogs, March 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 27

Labor Not in Vain, March 27

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 28

Pause for Tales, March 28

Blossoms and Blessings, March 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 29

Daysong Reflections, March 29

Hallie Reads, March 29

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a $30 Amazon gift card, a set of six mini cactus candles, and a signed 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/1093d/framed-in-death-valley-celebration-tour-giveaway