Monthly Archives: January 2022

High-Wire Heartbreak Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: High-Wire Heartbreak

Author: Anna Schmidt

Genre: Christian/Romance/History

Release date: January 1, 2022

In 1936–A party at the Ringling mansion Ca d’Zan in Sarasota, Florida, leads to a robbery–and possibly death.

A successful historical mystery writer, Chloe Whitfield comes to Ca’ d’Zan to research her next novel. Chloe’s fascination with the circus is rooted in family stories of her great-grandmother Lucinda Conroy, who reportedly was a trapeze artist of some renown. She’s heard hints of scandal—and perhaps larceny, but no details.

Chloe’s grandmother—rumored to be Lucinda’s only offspring—was raised in an orphanage and never knew her mother. Intrigued as she is, Chloe has no intent of writing about Lucinda until she sees a poster featuring Lucinda as the star performer for a 70th birthday gala for John Ringling in May of 1936. From there the trail goes cold.

Who was Lucinda and what happened to her?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Anna Schmidt is the author of over twenty works of fiction. Among her many honors, Anna is the recipient of Romantic Times’ Reviewer’s Choice Award and a finalist for the RITA award for romantic fiction. She enjoys gardening and collecting seashells at her winter home in Florida.

More from Anna

It’s hard to split time living between Wisconsin and Sarasota Florida and NOT get caught up in the circus world! The Ringlings are icons in Sarasota where a LOT of things are named for them! But the five circus brothers got their start right here in Wisconsin. So, when the opportunity to create a story for DOORS TO THE PAST came my way, it was pretty much a no-brainer that I would go with John and Mable Ringling’s incredible home, Ca ‘d Zan as the setting. Then somehow, I stumbled on this picture:

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and I knew she was my character of Lucinda, the trapeze artist whose story would drive my novel. I hope you fall in love with her—and Chloe—as I did, and most of all I hope you’ll be in touch to let me know what you thought at http://booksbyanna.com.

HAPPY READING and all best wishes, Anna

My Review

For a writer, she was suddenly bereft of words to say how much she liked that idea—liked the whole idea of a rest-of-my-life kind of love.

There is a reason that I love a good series like Doors to the Past. Once I begin a series, I feel a need to read it in its entirety, even if the books are stand-alones, as is the case here. Otherwise, I would never have picked up High-Wire Heartbreak because if I’m being honest, nothing about the circus has ever interested me. Thus I was admittedly a bit dubious, especially given that Anna Schmidt is also an author whose work I haven’t previously read. However, I am impressed by this tale of romance, heartbreak, and the echoes of history.

Told in the alternating third-person viewpoints of Lucy in 1936 and Chloe in 2022, High-Wire Heartbreak by Anna Schmidt gives readers a fictional glimpse into the Ringling Circus and its star trapeze artist, Lucinda Conroy, contrasted with a present-day bestselling historical mystery author, Chloe Whitfield. The stories intersect at Ca’ d’Zan in Sarasota, Florida, where Chloe is working on her next novel and exploring her grandmother’s connection to Lucinda. As the storylines dovetail, the scandal that overhangs the past becomes increasingly intriguing to Chloe. With the advent of genealogy sites and resources that have become available in recent years, ancestry, in my opinion, provides a fascinating basis not only for reference but also for connecting with relatives from around the world.

A novel with elements that will appeal to readers of various genres, High-Wire Heartbreak speaks to those who admire resiliency and the strength to trust God despite scandal, rejection, and self-doubt. Despite not caring for her character much at first, overall I found Tilda to be a surprise, a testament to what using one’s own God-given skills and talents can accomplish. This story highlights the need for us to encourage and care about others, whether they are our friends or not. Schmidt’s description of Chloe at one pivotal point in the plot demonstrates this: “Chloe’s heart went out to her, and she decided she would do her best to make sure Tilda was a success on her own terms for a change.” Sometimes that is all a person needs to shift their attitude or behavior, and even to even to solve a decades-old mystery!

For fans of split-time stories, Christian historical fiction, the circus and especially the trapeze, genealogy, and of course romance, High-Wire Heartbreak blends all of these elements beautifully. Schmidt brings together a surprising and unexpected plot resolution in which both the historical and the contemporary plotlines merge to form a lovely grand finale.

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

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 25

Remembrancy, January 25

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 25 (Author Interview)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 26

For the Love of Literature, January 26

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 26

Genesis 5020, January 27

Texas Book-aholic, January 27

Inklings and notions, January 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 28

Rachael’s Inkwell, January 28

Austen’s Angle: Jane Austen’s Influence in Modern America, January 29

For Him and My Family, January 29

Rebecca Tews, January 29

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 30

deb’s Book Review, January 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 31

Wishful Endings, January 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 31

Bizwings Blog, February 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 1

Book Butterfly in Dreamland, February 1

Older & Smarter?, February 2

Connie’s History Classroom, February 2

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 3 (Spotlight)

Bigreadersite, February 3

Blogging with Carol, February 3

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, February 4

Life of Literature, February 4

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 5

Joannabair, February 5

Blossoms and Blessings, February 6

Pause for Tales, February 6

Labor Not in Vain, February 6

Splashes of Joy, February 7

Through the Fire Blogs, February 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Anna is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and paper 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/186c0/high-wire-heartbreak-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Kidron Valley Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Kidron Valley

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Young Adult and Mid-Grade Readers

Release date: November 11, 2021

For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle.
As evil heightens all over the world, Jackson, his best friend Al, and his girlfriend Aria learn to live in their new world, fighting off those who would kill, steal, and destroy family and neighbors in Red River County. The story is one of survival under the guidance of Uncle Roy and his brother and God’s Words of Knowledge and angel unaware. No one discounts the Great Pyrenees Boggs’ part either. Though Jackson still holds fast to his agnostic beliefs, God keeps making it harder for him to deny His existence and the sacrifice of His Son. Will he finally believe?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Award-winning author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and her best-selling stories—over sixty published—delight Christian readers around the world. The prolific writer also enjoys singing the new songs the Lord gives her; you may listen at YouTube. Sharing four children and nineteen grandsugars (three greats), Caryl and Ron, her high-school-sweetheart-husband of fifty-three years, live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas. The McAdoos wait expectantly for God to open the next door.

More from Caryl

Back in the day (2012), after my agent Mary Sue McAdoo Seymour had my first historical romance VOW UNBROKEN under contract with Simon and Schuster, but before its publication, she received a request for a mid-grade dystopian and asked if we—my husband and cowriter—wanted to write one.

We kicked it around and came up with an idea for THE KING’S HIGHWAY. Her client rejected the idea of an end times story for so young an age, but the ZonderKidz editor I pitched to at ACFW loved it! She updated me later it was going to committee.

Next thing I knew, doctors diagnosed her with a terrible disease, and she left the company before it was approved. Time marched on until I decided to publish it myself after we went Indie in 2015. By then it would be the Days of Dread Trilogy: THE KING’S HIGHWAY, THE SIXTH TRUMPET, and THE KIDRON VALLEY!

Those who read book one loved it! New to Indie publishing, I bit off almost more than I could chew that first year—eleven new titles! Between getting all those to market and writing sequels to my historical romance family saga, I never got around to write books two and three!

Fast forward to 2021. It appears the dominoes are falling; signs of the Apocalypse are coming more frequently, so we decided to get to THE SIXTH TRUMPET which debuted in June, followed with the release of THE KIDRON VALLEY in November!

I never planned to include all the Bible’s graphic descriptions of the Battle of Armageddon—it is mentioned, but I downplayed but it. While some soft-pedal the tribulation, I believe many of His children will live through it. I hope to bolster my young readers’ faith to be able to trust God for their protection and provision.

In the Days of Dread stories, I used dreams and visions to put my hero and some of his friends in that final battle without predicting any specific time—only Father knows the day and the hour! I believe, as Jackson discovers, there will be places of refuge where those who follow God ban together for mutual protection and benefit.

it’s so pleased me that many grandparents love these books as well. One read it twice, back-to-back because she loved it so much and didn’t want it to end! Though rampant evil throws the world into chaos, I believe His Chosen will walk in power and peace, spreading His Good News to the lost until the end!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 12

Texas Book-aholic, January 13

Inklings and notions, January 14

deb’s Book Review, January 15

For Him and My Family, January 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 17

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 18 (Spotlight)

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, January 18

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 19

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 20

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, January 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 22

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, January 23 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, January 23

Cats in the Cradle Blog, January 24

For the Love of Literature, January 25 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Caryl 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/17c55/the-kidron-valley-celebration-tour-giveaway

Now That I Know You Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Now That I Know You

Author: Olivia Newport

Genre: Split-Time Contemporary/Historical

Release date: Fall, 2021

Cate Butler is the distant cousin genealogist Jillian was so certain she wanted to find—and the only connection she has to her deceased mother’s Parisi family tree. So why does she wish Cate would stop pestering her? And why can’t Jillian find a paper trail proving Cate is who she says she is?

Cate wants something for her own career that Jillian can’t give, but she also holds the key to family history Jillian can’t bring herself to walk away from. Nolan, Jillian’s father, steps in when Cate’s chronic career chaos requires legal rescue. Drew, the man who holds Jillian’s heart, has a surprising past with Cate. The truths Jillian, Cate, and Drew find while untangling these knotted threads tie them back together in remarkable ways none of them ever would have imagined.

Now That I Know You is Book 5 in the Tree of Life series, exploring and celebrating unforgettable family stories in Canyon Mines, the mountain town that invites you back again and again.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Olivia Newport’s novels blend the truth of how our pasts carry us into where we find ourselves now. Curiosity about history seems to creep into everything she does. Her books include Amish, historical, and contemporary stories that span the centuries from before the Revolutionary War right up to the present moment.

She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of Pikes Peak. Visit www.olivianewport.com.

More from Olivia

I’ve wanted to write Now That I Know You for nearly 20 years—at least the historical story part of this split-time novel.

When my son was a freshman in high school, he joined the mock trial team, and my husband and I entered the league of parents who watched versions of the same competition over and over. The state bar association selects a case and provides every team with the same documents to study as the basis of preparing both prosecution and defense. Team members play roles of attorneys and witnesses.

That first year, the case was trying a particular individual in connection with his role in events that culminated in the 1914 “Ludlow Massacre,” which is featured in Now That I Know You. My son played a witness for the prosecution. My proudest moment was when one of the scoring judges—who are actual court judges—singled him out for his skill in recognizing and dodging the opposing counsel’s interrogation strategy. Somebody hold me in my chair, because you really are not supposed to jump and cheer at mock trial!

Since I heard the case several times, the history wormed its way into my heart and mind. The injustice and tragedy of the story weighed heavy, but so did the legacy of the events and their eventual impact on history that affects us even today. People often ask where book ideas come from. Sometimes they germinate inside me for a long time before the moment is ripe to put them on the page in the lives of characters who have grown around them. This is one of those stories.

—Olivia Newport

My Review

Review coming soon!

My rating:

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 10

Bigreadersite, January 10

lakesidelivingsite, January 11

Daysong Reflections, January 11

All-of-kind Mom, January 11

The Write Escape, January 12

Lots of Helpers, January 12

The Sacred Line, January 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 13

Betti Mace, January 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 14

Texas Book-aholic, January 15

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 16

Splashes of Joy, January 16

deb’s Book Review, January 17

Through the Fire Blogs, January 17

Sodbuster Living, January 18

For Him and My Family, January 18

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 19

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 19

For the Love of Literature, January 20

The Book Club Network, January 20

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 21 (Spotlight)

Blogging With Carol, January 21

Mary Hake, January 21

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, January 22

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 22

Inklings and notions, January 23

Connect in Fiction, January 23

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away the grand prize package of a signed set of all 5 books in the Tree of Life series!!

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/193c0/now-that-i-know-you-celebration-tour-giveaway

God the Father, Jesus the Big Brother, Holy Spirit the Best Friend Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: God the Father, Jesus the Big Brother, Holy Spirit the Best Friend

Author: Sunshine Rodgers

Genre: Christian Nonfiction

Release date: February 25, 2015

Ever confused about the Trinity? Are there three Gods or One? And how is the Trinity important to my life? Take a deep look inside this book for the answers. There is so much more to your life when you allow God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to be inseparable parts of your existence. With your Heavenly Father, Big Brother and Best Friend by your side, you can reach the impossible and do the unthinkable. Learn about Heaven’s family and the Divine resources offered to you to succeed in life. Learn from the real testimonies from people who have been touched by this glorious revelation. Take one step closer to the three greatest loves of your life and have an experience of your own with this great Fellowship.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Sunshine Rodgers is an International Best-Selling Author on Amazon and she has attended 31 book signings and 4 Book Tours. Her books have landed on 21 different Amazon Best Seller lists in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada including #1 in the U.K. for Bible Study and #2 in the U.S. for Bible Commentaries. She has been promoted in various newspapers, newsletters and magazines and she has been a guest on podcasts and radio. Check out all 10 of Sunshine’s books and feel the love and passion for life on her pages! Sunshine is married to her best friend, Travis and they live in sunny Florida. SunshineRodgers.com

Excerpt from the Book

I pray Colossians 1:911 over you as the reader. I pray that you will not cease to make your requests known to God, and that you may be filled with the deep and clear knowledge of God’s will operating in spiritual wisdom. I pray that you will have comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God, and that you will be able to understand and discern spiritual things during the day and during your life (vs. 9). I pray that you will live and conduct yourself in a way that pleases the Lord, and that you will desire to make Him smile in everything that you do. I pray that you will bear much fruit walking with God and continue to do good works as well as growing and increasing in your knowledge (vs. 10). I pray that you will be invigorated and strengthened with His power to bring out His glory in your life. I pray that when life gets too tough, you will always choose to get closer to God, and exercise endurance and patience with joy. Know that throughout it all, you are surrounded by your Father, your Big Brother and your Best Friend every step of the way. excerpt from page 202203 (Book: God the Father, Jesus the Big Brother, Holy Spirit the Best Friend)

Author Interview

1. Which author has most influenced your own writing?

One of my favorite authors is C.S. Lewis and I would say, he has most definitely influenced my writing! I love how speculative and outright he is with his faith. I would dare say that I enjoy Lewis’ Nonfiction and Christian Adult Fiction over his Children’s books. I never grew up reading The Chronicles of Narnia series, finishing those books in my later years.

My PG-13 Christian Dark Fiction novel, After You: A Demon is Always Lurking Nearby is a modern-day twist on Lewis’ classic The Screwtape Letters.

C.S. Lewis likes to create Jesus Christ and God as fantastical characters in his stories. In his book, The Great Divorce, the story is set in Heaven and is a perfect introspection on the majesty of Paradise and the heart of Christ.

I like to also set my books in Heaven and I also write speculative fiction pieces such as:  This is My Heaven, The Creation Project and The Roland Sisters and the Spirit Program.  I also make Jesus Christ, God and the Holy Spirit into main characters, primarily in my Christian Fiction pieces.

2. Describe your books in five words.

I’ve written 10 Books:

Christian Nonfiction:

God the Father, Jesus the Big Brother, Holy Spirit the Best Friend: Closeness with the Holy Trinity

 

Christian Children’s Books:

Last Night, When I Prayed: Prayer Works and Demons Flee

Helpers: A Rescue Mission: Angels in School help Students

Christian Fiction:

This is My Heaven: God is with you. Always.

After You: A Demon is Always Lurking Nearby: Jesus wins over your demons

The Creation Project: Creation Story from God’s perspective

The Ring Does Not Fit:  Return back to First Love

The Roland Sisters and The Spirit Program: Divine Healing from Mental Health

Inspirational Adult Fiction:

The Characters Within: Theme Park craziness inspires Author

Andrew’s First Act: Andrew’s attempt at Stand-up Comedy

3. What is your favorite book?

My all-time favorite book is Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. I absolutely love this author; I own nearly all of his books!

Wild at Heart really speaks to me because Eldredge inspires the reader to live life from a place of passion and pursuit. He tells stories of daring feats and exotic places. Eldredge shares the Gospel message in a new light as our faith is:  A Battle to fight, an Adventure to live and a Beauty to rescue.

4. Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

I prefer traditional books. I usually read about 2-3 books at a time. I love to fold the corner of the pages and highlight and underline the text. I have about 3 bookshelves full of books and I need to make room for more! I can spend hours at a bookstore!

I usually read Christian Nonfiction books and my favorite authors are: John Eldredge, C.S. Lewis, Joyce Meyer, Max Lucado and T.D. Jakes.

You can follow me on Goodreads ( https://bit.ly/3pf7liq ) as I am constantly writing book reviews and updating my reading lists.

5. If you could live inside a book, which one would it be?

Growing up, my favorite book series was Animorphs by K.A. Applegate. I absolutely loved reading about the alien invasion by the Yeerks and this ragtag team sent to stop them by using their supernatural morphing abilities.

Did you know that Nickelodeon had a TV show “Animorphs”? I was all excited to watch that!

I would LOVE to be an Animorph, fighting alongside Jake and Rachel. I would stay in Cassie’s farm and laugh at the mall with Marco. My animal of choice (as each character does prefer one) would be a parrot because I could fly and grab things with my talons.

I could help save the world with this unique group of heroes.

6. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Turn off your inner critic. Don’t let the process scare you. Take it one page at a time. Write what you are passionate about. And stay calm.

My first book took 4 years before it became an International Best Seller on Amazon. Being a successful Author will take time but the journey is worth it. Be your own cheerleader. Celebrate the milestones in your Author career. And learn to love what you do; the passion will fly off the pages! And whatever you do…KEEP WRITING!!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 15

For the Love of Literature, January 16 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 16

Texas Book-aholic, January 17

Inklings and notions, January 18

For Him and My Family, January 19

deb’s Book Review, January 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 21

Through the Fire Blogs, January 22 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 22

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 23

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 24 (Spotlight)

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, January 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 26

Cats in the Cradle Blog , January 27

Mary Hake, January 28

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sunshine is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Visa 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/17c5a/god-the-father-jesus-the-big-brother-holy-spirit-the-best-friend-celebration-tour-giveaway

Buried Cold Case Secrets Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Buried Cold Case Secrets

Author: Sami A. Abrams

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: December 28, 2021

Recovering her missing memories…

Could be the key to solving a murder…

Searching for her best friend’s remains could help forensic anthropologist Melanie Hutton regain her memories of when they were both kidnapped—unless the killer gets to Melanie first. For her safety, Melanie must rely on Detective Jason Cooper, who still blames her for his sister’s death. Can Jason set the past aside to solve the cold-case murder…and shield Melanie from the same fate?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Two-time Genesis winner Sami A. Abrams and her husband live in Northern California, but she’ll always be a Kansas girl at heart. She enjoys visiting her two grown children and spoiling their sweet fur babies. Most evenings, if Sami’s not watching sports, you’ll find her engrossed in a romantic suspense novel. She thinks a crime plus a little romance is the recipe for a great story.

More from Sami

What writer doesn’t grow up reading every chance they get? That would be me.

Until my thirties, I hated to read. Then someone told me about Terri Blackstock, and I decided to give her books a try. I was hooked. I guess there’s something to finding the right genre. Romantic Suspense is it for me. Of course, that makes sense. I love CSI, NCIS, and Criminal Minds. Over the years, I have expanded my taste, but there’s just something about suspense that keeps me coming back.

A little over five years ago, I decided to start checking off some of the items on my bucket list. I learned how to rock climb and got my scuba certification, among other things. When I got to the item, writing a novel, I sat down and pounded it out. Check the box; I was done. Wrong. God had other plans and placed some amazing people in my life.

One of those plans was attending MurderCon, a conference for writers where they learn from experts about, you guessed it…murder. Actually, it’s about police procedures, crime scene analysis…the list goes on and on. One of the workshops I attended was with a forensic anthropologist, and the idea for Melanie Hutton and Buried Cold Case Secrets was born.

I loved writing Melanie’s story. She’s a fighter and refuses to let anything stand in her way, including the man, Jason Cooper, who blames her for her best friend’s death. Jason holds on to the past and his hatred toward Melanie, but he soon learns that if he puts aside his assumptions and listens, he’ll discover the truth about the day his sister died. Letting go of his anger and blame is tough for Jason, but when he does, he finds the life he’s always wanted.

I hope you enjoy reading Melanie and Jason’s story as much as I did writing it.

I’d love to hear from you. Please visit my website at samiaabrams.com and sign up for my newsletter.

My Review

Forensic anthropology, and forensics in general, has fascinated me for two decades. It may not be as glamorous as Hollywood would have us believe (it rarely, if ever, is), but using remains to piece together the story of a person’s death and aspects of their life in order to provide some closure seems like a unique calling. I wanted to read this book based on the title and cover alone! One major benefit of the Love Inspired Suspense series is the tacit understanding that the stories will be clean, providing the mysterious and thrilling elements without the profanity and immorality. As this particular story attests, the series does not shy away from the uncomfortable realities of life, but instead presents them through a Christian lens.

A contemporary union of suspense and romance, Buried Cold Case Secrets by debut novelist Sami Abrams offers both to readers from the very first chapter. The pacing is quite intense, with no breaks in the action, and as a result, I had a difficult time putting this one down! Despite the heroine Melanie Hutton’s profession, no foreknowledge of forensic anthropology is necessary; Abrams smoothly works the science into the plot without pulling readers out of the story. Furthermore, Melanie’s plight evokes sympathy for the feelings of rejection she has endured: “Stuck in a town that pitied her, working with a man who hated her, and in pain because someone tried to hurt her—what a mess. Why had God brought her back here? No matter the reason, she trusted Him, but it didn’t mean that it wasn’t hard.” All of us have felt similarly at one time or another, regardless of our backgrounds, and as Abrams demonstrates, God goes with us through it all, promising to never leave or forsake us.

Being a former kidnapping victim and survivor, Melanie has an ongoing conflict between her past and her present that stands in the way of her hope for the future. Buried Cold Case Secrets explores the long-term effects of trauma, a topic that is sadly ever more relevant in today’s secularized society. Detective Jason Cooper, whose sister was Melanie’s best friend and who was kidnapped with her but with a worse outcome, harbors unforgiveness toward Melanie for what happened that day, especially because Melanie claims to have no memory of the details. Abrams uses dissociative amnesia and PTSD to inform the story as Melanie again finds her life in danger. Melanie is forced to acknowledge that “Someone had painted a target on her back, and she was clinging to reality by a thread,” highlighting the psychological impact of unresolved trauma compounded by new attacks. On a lighter note and because she was my favorite minor character, everyone needs a Miss Judith Evans in their lives to boost them into gear and get the wheels turning toward the Lord and His plan!

Sami Abrams has written a solid debut with Buried Cold Case Secrets. The story is intriguing and the rhythm unremitting. I did find Jason annoying in that he continued to make the same mistakes with regard to his approach to situations, to the point that it seemed a bit overdone. Some of the elements could have been more subtle, in my opinion, including the identity of the perpetrator, but I still think that this is a very well-done debut and am truly looking forward to reading more inspirational suspense from this author! Fans of Investigation Discovery, the popular TV series Bones, or the romantic suspense genre will doubtless enjoy this book.

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: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 8

The Avid Reader, January 8

Bigreadersite, January 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 9

Bizwings Blog, January 9

Texas Book-aholic, January 10

The Sacred Line, January 10

Inklings and notions, January 11

Labor Not in Vain, January 11

Betti Mace, January 11

For Him and My Family, January 12

For the Love of Literature, January 12

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 13 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, January 13

Lights in a Dark World, January 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 14

Elly Gilbert, January 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 15

Mary Hake, January 15

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 16

Kayem Reads, January 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 17 (Spotlight)

Through the Fire Blogs, January 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, January 18

Britt Reads Fiction, January 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 19

Blogging With Carol, January 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 20

Simple Harvest Reads, January 20 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, January 21

Pause for Tales, January 21

Blossoms and Blessings, January 21

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sami is giving away the grand prize package of a book, a coffee mug, a notebook, a pen!!

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/17198/buried-cold-case-secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway

Elinor Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Elinor

Author: Shannon McNear

Genre: Christian/Historical/Romance

Release date: December 1, 2021

A Journey Full of Hope…
Escape into a riveting story based on the mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

Author Shannon McNear portrays history with vivid authenticity.

In 1587, Elinor White Dare sailed from England heavy with her first child but full of hopes. Her father, a renowned artist and experienced traveler, has convinced her and her bricklayer husband Ananias to make the journey to the New World. Land, they are promised, more goodly and beautiful than they can ever imagine. But nothing goes as planned from landing at the wrong location, to facing starvation, to the endless wait for help to arrive. And, beyond her comprehension, Elinor finds herself utterly alone. . . .
The colony at Roanoke disappeared into the shadows of history. But, what if one survived to leave a lasting legacy?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When she’s not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies. Connect with her at www.shannonmcnear.com, or on Facebook and Goodreads.

More from Shannon

Why did I write this story? Well, God shoved the opportunity under my nose, and I didn’t want to be guilty of taking the easy way out, by saying no. 😊

Really, while the concept was fascinating, the execution was daunting, and sometimes terrifying. The Elizabethan Era—before the King James Bible and even before Shakespeare was popular! As a student of the Revolutionary War and surrounding times, I felt very much out of my depth.

Though the research sucked me in, it was also daunting. Sifting through various interpretations of the primary accounts and their own speculations on why they felt things must have gone a certain way. Trying to “find” my story amongst all the theories and opinions. Above all, getting to know my characters and letting them come alive in my own imagination.

And come alive, they did—in full color, with a vividness I did not expect. I hope I was able to translate even a portion of what I envisioned to the page, so that you also can see them!

My Review

Even though I went into this book with high expectations based on the author’s previous works, Shannon McNear still exceeded my highest hopes with Elinor. From the moment that I first saw the subtitle denoting this as “Daughters of the Lost Colony 1587,” I knew that I had to read it. Something about that seemingly ill-fated Roanoke Colony fascinates me and never fails to draw me in. How exciting to have a Christian author approach the subject!

First, I would like to give kudos to McNear for undertaking what is currently such a contentious topic in the U.S., that of early American history and race relations. I encourage readers to peruse the author’s historical note following the story’s conclusion, as she addresses several potential concerns relating to culture, fact vs. fiction, and the resources that she employed in writing Elinor.  This novel is incredibly timely, and it does not seek to merely gloss over the painful events of white colonization of the New World. Instead, through ultimately focusing on three primary characters, John White, Elinor Dare, and Sees Far, this story explores how their collective journeys dovetail, and the implications thereof. The experience between the Native tribes and the previous explorers, for instance, establishes a precedent that impacts the colonists. Because of the inhumane overreaction and breach of trust of a group of prior English explorers, not all of the Native people welcome the white settlers, and in the words of Sees Far, “It was his people’s way—war and vengeance and the taking of captives. They did their best to exact justice but then were duty bound to accept what Montóac handed them. Whatever that looked like.” While reading and thinking about the wrong actions of both the English and the Natives, the many verses of the Bible that refer to the folly of doing what is right in our own eyes came to mind.

Divided into parts, the first three deal with the colonists’ ad hoc arrival, settlement, and subsequent dilemma at Roanoke, resulting in John White’s return to England for aid, while the last two sections comprise the fate of the colonists, as interpreted by McNear. While clean, Elinor does not romanticize the hardscrabble life of the New World. After a harrowing ocean voyage, Elinor voices to her husband Ananias the desire of the colonists: “I simply wish a place to call home.” Minister Nicholas Johnson shares some of the most memorable lines in the book, notably as Manteo receives his baptism into the Christian faith, reminding the congregants that surrendering entirely to Jesus is their calling: “Our place here in the New World means nothing if we do not both believe and live out that lordship. Our community will be for naught if we are not, first and foremost, a community of God, under God, believing what He has told us in His Word.” As is indicated by history, the colony of Roanoke likely faced serious challenges to their faith as they struggled to survive in the midst of trials.

Two Native tribes feature prominently in Elinor, the friendly Croatoan and the vengeance-seeking Secotan. Elinor finds herself amongst the latter, particularly Sees Far, and this is the most telling segment of the novel. I love that Elinor’s memorization of Scripture and ability to recall it and draw upon it is shown to be vital to her survival. McNear avoids idealizing the hostility between the two people groups, instead demonstrating how faith in Christ provides a stronghold and a refuge during dire circumstances. It is this expression of faith that confounds those who are not Christians and serves as a witness to the unbelieving. Even so, it is the power of God working within us to accomplish this, “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). Humility is essential, as Elinor realizes while contemplating Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf and the fact that He can use any situation and any person to draw someone to Himself, “Because surely the people of this country were, indeed, as dear to God as any of the English. How arrogant they were to think they alone had obtained His favor.” The same is true today. Moreover, another section of Nicholas Johnson’s sermon resonates strongly today and seems a fitting summary of the key message of Elinor, and of how we should all approach one another, because truly there is only one race, the human race:

Her Majesty the Queen may have had her own purpose for placing us here, as much for the glory of England as the glory of Christ, but we have our private purpose, that we demonstrate faith and love through our own conversation, in truth and simplicity. Let us not become divided over things that have no eternal weight. We have the freedom here to choose what to eat, where to go, and how to live. Let us not abuse that, but let us also walk in love toward each other.

An apt fictional exploration of the famous lost colony of Roanoke, Shannon McNear’s Elinor is a well-researched novel abounding in faith, hope, and ultimately love. It would be a wonderful choice for a book club discussion! Conveniently placed after the end of the story, in addition to the aforementioned historical note, is a bibliography, cast of characters, list of regions and people groups, definition of historical terms, and a glossary of Carolina Algonquian words.

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

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 4

The Christian Fiction Girl, January 4

Joanna Bair, January 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 5

Rebecca Tews, January 5

For the Love of Literature, January 6

Remembrancy, January 6

Texas Book-aholic, January 7

Betti Mace, January 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 8

Inklings and notions, January 8

For Him and My Family, January 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 9

deb’s Book Review, January 10

Labor Not in Vain, January 10

Blogging With Carol, January 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 11

Connect in Fiction, January 11

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 12

To Everything There Is A Season, January 12

Mary Hake, January 12

Bizwings Blog, January 13

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 13

Connie’s History Classroom, January 14

Splashes of Joy, January 14

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 15 (Spotlight)

Sodbuster Living, January 15

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, January 16

Through the Fire Blogs, January 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 17

Pause for Tales, January 17

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Shannon 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/15d5e/elinor-celebration-tour-giveaway