Author Archives: litteraegaudium

About litteraegaudium

As a bibliophile, my passion for books coalesces with a love of writing, and writing book reviews allows me to share literature with the world.

Lethal Intent Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Lethal Intent

Author: Cara Putman

Genre: Romantic Suspense

If they expected silence, they hired the wrong woman.

Caroline Bragg’s life has never been better. She and Brandon Lancaster are taking their relationship to the next level, and she has a new dream job as legal counsel for Praecursoria—a research lab that is making waves with its cutting-edge genetic therapies. The company’s leukemia treatments even promise to save desperately sick kids—kids like eleven-year-old Bethany, a critically ill foster child at Brandon’s foster home.

When Caroline’s enthusiastic boss wants to enroll Bethany in experimental trials prematurely, Caroline objects, putting her at odds with her colleagues. They claim the only goal at Praecursoria is to save lives. But does someone have another agenda?

Brandon faces his own crisis. As laws governing foster homes shift, he’s on the brink of losing the group home he’s worked so hard to build. When Caroline learns he’s a Praecursoria investor, it becomes legally impossible to confide in him. Will the secrets she keeps become a wedge that separates them forever? And can she save Bethany from the very treatments designed to heal her?

This latest romantic legal thriller by bestseller Cara Putman shines a light on the shadowy world of scientific secrets and corporate vendettas—and the ethical dilemmas that plague the place where science and commerce meet.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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As a preteen Cara Putman watched lawyers change legislative opinions at an important legislative hearing in Nebraska. At that time, she wondered if she became an attorney if people would give her words the same weight. An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska Lincoln, George Mason University School of Law and Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, Cara has turned her passion for words into award-winning stories that capture readers. Her legal experience makes its way into her stories where strong women confront real challenges.

An award-winning author of more than 30 books, Cara writes legal thrillers, WWII romances, and romantic suspense because she believes that no matter what happens hope is there, waiting for us to reach for it.

When she’s not writing, Cara is an over-educated attorney who lectures in law and communications at the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University and homeschools her children. She and her family live in Indiana, the land of seasons. You can read chapters for most of her books and connect with Cara at her website: http://caraputman.com.

More from Cara

Each novel has a unique genesis story. The spark that launches it into a journey of 90,000 words. For Lethal Intent, that journey began with a friend’s journey of childhood leukemia with her oldest. From watching their family wind through years of treatment including cutting edge therapy trials. Then it developed with the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack and the thought what would someone be willing to do if they believed they’d found the next strain of immortal cells. The lead characters made appearances in other books, but now would have their opportunity to step to center stage. The story morphed and changed, dictated by the vagaries of the law and changes.

Each story has a spark. For Caroline it was a brainstorming session with my writing buddies Rachel Hauck, Colleen Coble, and Denise Hunter. That was when her backstory developed, all the things that happened to her to form her into the adult she is on the pages. One who cares deeply about others but who is fundamentally scared, longing for a place she can relax and take a deep breath.

Each story has a spark. For Brandon, it was brainstorming with another writing friend Tricia Goyer that lead to a creative job for a hero that wasn’t the typical law enforcement. His role with the group foster home was set and the backstory filled in quickly. What would it be like to be separated from and lose a brother in the foster care system? Would that generate this need to keep sibling groups together? And then the law changes and the fabric of your professional identity and something so much deeper is threatened.

Each story has a spark. The pharmaceutical start-up where ethics collides with the desire to save children. The push to do whatever it takes overshadowing the guardrails of the law. If they expected silence, they hired the wrong woman. But does Caroline really have the strength to battle and does she need to?

Lethal Intent grew from each of these sparks and many more to develop into a story I can’t wait for you to read. In the process I learned immense amounts about CAR-T cell therapies and foster care law. Most of all, I hope you’ll fall into the pages and be engrossed in a story you can’t bring yourself to put down until the final page.

My Review

Review pending due to unexpected circumstances

My rating:

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 21

lakesidelivingsite, January 21

Texas Book-aholic, January 21

Through the Fire Blogs, January 22

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 22

A Novel Pursuit, January 22

CarpeDiem, January 23

Betti Mace, January 23

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 23

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

Blogging With Carol, January 24

HookMeInABook, January 24

For the Love of Literature, January 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 25

Fiction Book Lover, January 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

For Him and My Family, January 26

EmpowerMoms, January 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 26

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

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, January 27

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 27

By The Book, January 28

Older & Smarter?, January 28

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

Inklings and notions, January 29

Simple Harvest Reads, January 29

Blossoms and Blessings, January 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 30

Splashes of Joy, January 30

Pause for Tales, January 30

Spoken from the Heart, January 31

Just Your Average reviews, January 31

deb’s Book Review, January 31

Hallie Reads, February 1

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, February 1

Genesis 5020, February 1

To Everything There Is A Season, February 2

Hebrews 12 Endurance, February 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 3

Southern Gal Loves to Read, February 3

Daysong Reflections, February 3

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away the grand prize package of a “Just one more chapter” pillow cover, a copy of the book, an Erin Condren journal, and a hand-stamped bracelet!!

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/10627/lethal-intent-celebration-tour-giveaway

Cold Case Pursuit Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Cold Case Pursuit

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Romantic Suspense

A cold case solved by the K-9 unit…

but the past is not so easily escaped.

Decades after her parents’ murders, Penelope McGregor’s grateful the killer’s finally been identified—until he comes after her. Now Detective Tyler Walker and his K-9 partner, Dusty, must protect Penelope and catch the culprit…while making sure his little girl stays out of the crosshairs. But can the single father outplay a killer whose endgame will leave no one safe?

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 a national bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Poisoned Pen Press, and Harvest House. Besides writing, she busies herself puttering around her Northern California backyard. 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. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

I love book covers with adorable children on them, don’t you? There’s something so angelic about those wee folks on the covers. I have two bear cubs myself, young adults now, and I love them devotedly. Tell you what though. Sometimes, just occasionally mind you, they were a wee bit naughty. Don’t tell anyone, but one reason I enjoyed writing Cold Case Pursuit so much is that hero Tyler is the single dad of a little girl named Rain who is….er…a handful. Sure, she’s adorable, but she’s prone to disobedience and the occasional tendency to flush things down the toilet. So in addition to the edge of your seat pursuit of a murderous clown killer, there are the shenanigans of a precocious preschooler, a highly trained yet distractible police K-9, and a romance that doesn’t exactly run smoothly. Fun to write? You betcha! I hope you enjoy coming along with me on this True Blue adventure!

My Review

Review pending due to unexpected circumstances

My rating:

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 19

KarenSueHadley, January 19

Bigreadersite, January 19

Through the Fire Blogs, January 20

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

Remembrancy, January 21

Genesis 5020, January 21

By The Book, January 21

For the Love of Literature, January 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 22

CarpeDiem, January 22

Texas Book-aholic, January 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 23

Blogging With Carol, January 23

Inklings and notions, January 24

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

Batya’s Bits, January 24

Betti Mace, January 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 25

Labor Not in Vain, January 25

Hebrews 12 Endurance, January 26

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 26

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

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 27

Lighthouse-Academy, January 27

Older & Smarter?, January 27

Artistic Nobody, January 28 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Splashes of Joy, January 28

Mary Hake, January 28

For Him and My Family, January 29

Simple Harvest Reads, January 29 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, January 29

deb’s Book Review, January 30

Hallie Reads, January 30

To Everything There Is A Season, January 30

She Lives To Read, January 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 1

Daysong Reflections, February 1

Bizwings Blog, February 1

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a Mentink giveaway bundle, including a $50 Amazon gift card and a tote bag!!

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/105ab/cold-case-pursuit-celebration-tour-giveaway

In His Presence Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: In His Presence

Author: Dr. E.W. Kenyon

Genre: RELIGION / Christian Living/Prayer

Release Date: December 11, 2020

Here, at last, is a real solution to the prayer problem!

In His Presence by E. W. Kenyon is not about who others were and what they did in prayer, but about who we are and what we can do in prayer. It lifts the curtain to the Holy of Holies and reveals our ability to enter in and stand before the presence of God.

In this book, you will discover that God’s ability is available to every one of His children. You will be challenged to climb the heights and sound the depths of tremendous spiritual realities, including the authority of the name of Jesus and how to use it.

In His Presence has been a challenge and blessing to countless multitudes all over the world. It removes the mist surrounding the prayer life, leading us out of spiritual mysticism into the true light of life.

This is your invitation to open the door…enter…and stand in the Father’s presence!

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Dr. E. W. Kenyon (1867–1948) was born in Saratoga County, New York. At age nineteen, he preached his first sermon. He pastored several churches in New England and founded the Bethel Bible Institute in Spencer, Massachusetts. (The school later became the Providence Bible Institute when it was relocated to Providence, Rhode Island.) Kenyon served as an evangelist for over twenty years. In 1931, he became a pioneer in Christian radio on the Pacific Coast with his show Kenyon’s Church of the Air, where he earned the moniker “The Faith Builder.” He also began the New Covenant Baptist Church in Seattle. In addition to his pastoral and radio ministries, Kenyon wrote extensively. Among his books are The Blood Covenant, In His Presence, Jesus the Healer, New Creation Realities, and Two Kinds of Righteousness.

More from Whitaker House

In His Presence by EW Kenyon is not written about what others were and did, but about what we are and can do! It is a lifting of the curtain and a revealing of the holy of holies and our ability to enter it and stand in the presence of the Father. In His Presence is a discovery of the fact that God’s ability is available to every child of God. This is your invitation to open the door…enter…and stand in His presence, in the presence of the Father!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 7

Texas Book-aholic, January 8

Inklings and notions, January 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 10 (Spotlight)

deb’s Book Review, January 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 12

Artistic Nobody, January 13 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For the Love of Literature, January 14 (Spotlight)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, January 15

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

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 18

Vicky Sluiter, January 19 (Spotlight)

Mary Hake, January 19

For Him and My Family, January 20

Giveaway

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To celebrate their tour, Whitaker House is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks 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/10533/in-his-presence-celebration-tour-giveaway

Nomad Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Nomad

Author: RJ Anderson

Genre: Christian YA, Fairytale, Fantasy

Cast into exile, she must return to free her people.

Banished from her underground home by Betony, the queen of the Cornish piskeys, young Ivy sets out to forge a new life for herself in the world above. But a deadly threat lingers in the mine, and Ivy cannot bear to see her people suffer while Betony refuses to believe. Somehow she must convince the queen to let them go.

Her mission only becomes more complicated when Ivy starts to dream of the ancient battles between her ancestors and the spriggan folk. Who is the strange boy in her visions? Could her glimpses of his past help Ivy find a new home for her fellow piskeys?

To find the answers, Ivy must outfly vicious predators, outwit cunning enemies, and overcome her own greatest fears. And when evil threatens the people Ivy loves best, it will take all her courage, faith, and determination to save them.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Born in Uganda to missionary parents, R. J. (Rebecca Joan) Anderson is a women’s Bible teacher, a wife and mother of three, and a bestselling fantasy author for older children and teens. Her debut novel Knife has sold more than 120,000 copies worldwide, while her other books have been shortlisted for the Nebula Award, the Christy Award, and the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Science Fiction. Rebecca lives with her family in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.

More from R.J. Anderson

Fear of change. Fear of an unknown future. Fear of failure, loss or regret. What fears keep you from doing what you know you should do, or being the person you ought to be?

In Nomad, the second book of the Flight and Flame trilogy, my heroine Ivy is forced to make a new life for herself after being exiled by Betony, her people’s proud and stubborn queen. Though all Ivy ever wanted was to help her people, Betony refuses to believe that the piskeys of the Delve are in danger — because to do so would mean not only questioning her own beliefs and prejudices, it would force her people to change their entire way of life.

But though Ivy is brave enough to stand up for the truth and even adapt to the strange new world she’s thrust into, she has her own fears to overcome in the course of this story. Fear of vulnerability, of unworthiness, and of making mistakes hold Ivy back as she struggles to find a way to save her friends and family. She’s only one young woman, with few allies and very little power. How can she make a difference?

Just as Moses begged God not to send him to confront Pharaoh and free the Israelites because he didn’t think he was eloquent or impressive enough, Ivy finds it hard to believe her fellow piskeys will ever listen to or believe her. The hard lesson she has to learn is that courage doesn’t come from being tough and self-confident, it comes from caring about something bigger than yourself. Not until the people she loves most are in danger does Ivy cast off her fears and take the bold steps needed to save them — but by then it may be too late.

It’s easy to get trapped by our own uncertainties and insecurities, and let fear rule our actions. Only when we take our eyes off our own frailty and act out of faith in God and love for others can we become all we were meant and made to be… and the longer we delay, the more others may suffer for it. Can we pray together for strength to start doing what’s right in our homes, our neighbourhoods and our churches, no matter how unqualified we feel to do it?

Nomad is the second step of Ivy’s journey to save her fellow piskeys and find her true calling. If you’ve enjoyed Swift and this novel, you can look forward to the final book Torch in February 2021!

— R.J. Anderson

My Review

All my life I’ve been a nomad, or a fugitive, or both. It’s time to stop hiding, and face up to what I’ve done.” He took her hands in his. “You taught me that.

An imaginative, outstanding sequel to Swift (see my review HERE), R.J. Anderson’s The Flight and Flame Trilogy continues with Nomad. Because it picks up where book one leaves off, this series does need to be read in order for maximum enjoyment. This story, too, is very well suited for both adults and young adults, containing enough adventure and societal relations for an older audience while also harkening to the angst of those just entering adulthood. While its predecessor did not involve a romantic thread, Nomad does, and while I will be the first to admit that I am not much of a romance fan, I have to commend Anderson for carrying it out so well in this story. She crafts it into the heart of the tale without it becoming the main focus or a distraction, which takes finesse.

The few issues that I had with Swift were resolved with Nomad, and in fact make sense in retrospect. Most of the characters in the first book were unattractively self-centered, albeit not necessarily maliciously so, and as a result sympathizing with them felt like a bit of a chore and I felt little to no connection with any of them. However, this is the beauty of trilogies: not only observing but walking alongside the characters as they grow and transform—in this case, sometimes literally! “All this time, Ivy had been obsessed with what she wanted. But she hadn’t gained the wings she longed for until she stopped fretting about how much they meant to her, and started thinking about what they could mean to someone else.

The characters are my favorite part of this series; the fantasy element adds to their already high level of unpredictability, and I love being surprised throughout the narrative. New connections come to light, with their own set of consequences, as Ivy makes it her mission to somehow save the Delve from the deadly hazard that the current Joan, her aunt Betony, dismisses. Despite her status as an exile, Ivy determines to save her people or die trying. Strange dreams about the piskeys and spriggans of yore puzzle her as she works to create a plan and learns more about herself in the process. With themes such as sacrificial love, forgiveness, and mercy, the Christian aspect of this series is subtle but recognizable. And mercifully, there is not a cliffhanger at the end of this story—enough to leave readers anticipating the rest of the journey, but no lack of resolution to the plot of this segment.

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 ♥♥♥♥♥

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, R.J. is giving away the grand prize package of a three bookmarks, two blank-inside notecards with envelopes featuring artwork by Kirk DouPonce and Rory Kurtz, a postcard with character art by Nicole Deal, a sample of custom book-related tea, and a copy of SWIFT or NOMAD!!

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/10534/nomad-celebration-tour-giveaway

Justified Means Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Justified Means

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Suspense

Release date: January 7, 2013

How could she not be terrified?

When Erika Polowski is abducted from her bed and held captive without explanation, she has one goal. Get away before they kill her.

Keith Auger’s job as an agent is to keep Erika safe—even if it means keeping her locked in an abandoned cabin in the middle of nowhere. At gunpoint.

What should be a routine “involuntary extraction” goes south when someone finds out where they’re hiding. Add to that a coworker with a chip on her shoulder and too many unexplained “accidents,” and it all adds up to one unlikely, terrifying explanation.

There’s a mole in The Agency.

He’s promised to protect her, but can Erika trust a man whose job it is to hold people against their wills? Does his deep faith make it any better or just a whole lot creepier.

And just who wants Erika dead anyway?

The Agency Files: They’ll do whatever it takes to keep their clients safe. Period.

Grab this first book in the series today.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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

More from Chautona

Isn’t That Idea a Bit Crazy and Farfetched?

Black ops teams. They’re the stuff of TV shows and movies. I have no doubt such things exist—military groups that have to exist and work outside the normal scheme of things to give those who answer to the public plausible deniability or some such thing.

Then one of those “what if?” questions hit me. They’re an occupational hazard, those “what if?” questions. They appear out of nowhere and start crazy thoughts in your head. Ones like, “What if a private company existed to do things that couldn’t be tied to the government in any way—no money exchanged?”

What if sometimes a protection company had to work outside the law in order to do the job they needed to do? What if that meant they might just have to abduct someone to save his or her life?

Those of course led to the granddaddy of all questions. What if that someone didn’t appreciate being saved?

The Agency was born and with it their motto: Whatever it takes.

That’s what they’ll do to keep their clients safe. Only the wealthy can afford their services. Some of the poorest of the poor receive them. But it always boils down to one primary goal. Protect their clients at all costs.

Even if the client doesn’t want protection.

Is the idea a bit crazy and far-fetched? Yeah… probably. But I wouldn’t be surprised to discover there are similar agencies out there, and if there are, I hope they save lives with the sort of compassion my guys have.

My Review

You’re here. You’re here for your own good. I’m here to protect you. That’s all you need to know.

Suspense has always been one of the genres that I most enjoy reading, fueled by the first Nancy Drew mystery I picked up in elementary school. After years as an avid reader, it is very difficult for me to find a mystery or thriller that is genuinely different and that I don’t figure out within the first few chapters at most. Not that this inhibits me from reading them, but it does detract a bit from the entertainment factor. However, once in a while I hit literary gold and find a book that offers a new perspective and an intriguing challenge. As such, Justified Means by Chautona Havig is one of the most unusual suspense novels that I’ve ever read—and I love it!

From the eye-opening first chapter, this book is one that keeps readers guessing and also intrigued by the novelty of the plot. I can easily envision it as a movie, and it would qualify as action and adventure, drama, mystery, and a whisper of romance in addition to suspense. The story itself is divided into two clear sections in my mind, and this marks the book’s halfway point. Had I not known better, I would have assumed that the narrative was drawing to a close, and I did want it to be over so that a happily-ever-after could happen, but the second half brought more twists. I will say, however, that this story does end, which is always an important factor for me, regardless of genre. In fact, the denouement occurs fairly quickly, but not to such an extent that it seems trivialized.

Havig touches on several current trending topics throughout the pages of Justified Means, some in an unconventional way. The plot itself is a kidnapping story, but one that is quickly turned on its head. The idea of a vigilante protection agency is not new, but this approach demonstrates one way in which such an organization might exist and operate. The fact that this is a Christian fiction book makes it all the better because it raises the bar for success higher, and Havig executes this element of the novel thoughtfully and gently, with an empathetic eye toward those who have not been raised in the faith or who are coming to it later in life. Keith is a good role model, but thankfully not to the extent of being impossibly perfect and flawless. I love the author’s description of him: “Rejection of Jesus wounded him, but derision of his faith hardly registered. Christianity wasn’t about him.” As with any good novel, he learns about himself throughout the course of the story, just as Erika’s attitude shifts. She even reminds him, in a dire moment and with a quotation that provides an accurate summation of the Christian faith, that “You have someone, Keith. You’ve got your god. You have to believe he’s watching out for you, or why would you even believe in him? If you need someone to back you up, look there.

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

For the Love of Literature, January 5

Inklings and notions, January 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 6

Texas Book-aholic, January 7

Artistic Nobody, January 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Amanda Tero, Blog, January 8

deb’s Book Review, January 9

For Him and My Family, January 9

Through the Fire Blogs, January 10

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 11

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 12

Lots of Helpers, January 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 14

Spoken from the Heart, January 15

Blogging With Carol, January 15

Pause for Tales, January 16

Adventures Of a Travelers Wife, January 17

A Novel Pursuit, January 17

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 18 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, January 18

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback 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/10708/justified-means-celebration-tour-giveaway

Mayday: A Book Review of Lisa Harris’s “The Escape”

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Lisa Harris is an author whose name I’m familiar with, but whose work I had not yet read until now. This seemed like an opportune time, with the release of her new US Marshals series, and as far as I’m concerned, there is never a bad time to read a romantic suspense novel. Although it took me a week to read because of the holidays, The Escape is a very fast-paced novel, with no breaks in the action from start to finish. Several times I thought that the plot was about to be resolved, only to have another twist thrown in, and while this technique might become wearying in certain cases, Harris capably pulls it off without resorting to implausible scenarios. This story definitely engenders respect for the US Marshals Service and the extent of the work that they perform!

As one would expect, this story revolves around two US Marshals, Jonas Quinn and Madison James, and their pursuit of a fugitive who goes on the lam after their prisoner-transport plane crashes in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. Damon Barrick, a felon convicted of murder, wastes no time in making his getaway and initiating a treacherous cat-and-mouse game across the West, somehow managing to stay one step ahead of the law. Although this story is fictional, it does make me wonder how often circumstances like these do play out behind the scenes, while we as ordinary citizens remain unaware or only see the end result, such as the trial or conviction. Jonas’s thoughts early on in the narrative indicate this: “Truth was, there was never anything routine when dealing with felons. He of all people knew that.” Consequently, as with other law enforcement and also military careers, trauma is part and parcel of the job. Jonas and Madison have different trauma backgrounds, and I think that this is part of what makes them a good team. The question is whether their shared experience during this case will be beneficial or detrimental to them as partners moving forward, which is something that readers must wait to find out because The Escape ends with a lead-in to the second book in the series.

Ordinarily, I am not a fan of open-ended conclusions, but I am willing to accept it with The Escape because the main plot is resolved (as far as I know!) and due to references within the narrative, this lingering part of the storyline will be ongoing and will eventually also be resolved. This does mean, however, that this series is clearly intended to be read chronologically and not as standalones. With a constant surge of adrenaline fueling the storyline, this is a very cinematic book, and honestly my only complaint is that I personally felt that the plot resolution scene itself was rather brief and anticlimactic. I do, however, wholeheartedly recommend The Escape to readers who enjoy thriller-dominant romantic suspense that will keep you engrossed from the first page to the last and have you clamoring for the sequel.

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 Gold Digger Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Gold Digger

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian/Historical/Suspense

Release Date: December, 2020

Men Are Disappearing in LaPorte, Indiana

Book 9 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Fiction Based on Strange, But True, History

In 1907, shy but loyal Ingrid Storset travels from Norway to support her grieving sister, Belle Gunness, who owns a farm in LaPorte, Indiana. Well-to-do widow Belle, who has lost two husbands and several children, provides Ingrid with enough money to start a small business. But Ingrid is confused by the string of men Belle claims to be interviewing for her next husband. When Nils Lindherud comes to town looking for his missing brother, who said he was going to marry Belle, Ingrid has a sinking feeling her sister is up to no good.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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

More from Liz

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This story was so much fun to write, and the research was so interesting. It has to rank up there with one of my favorite books to write. That’s what makes my job the best around.

There are a great number of characters in The Gold Digger who are historical. Many of the places I mention are also historical. I had the pleasure of spending a day in LaPorte, Indiana, to research the book and take some pictures they had in the museum there. Research is one of my favorite aspects to writing. I could have spent much, much longer losing myself in the museum and in the archives. Good thing my cousin, who I was staying with, called me to let me know that it was getting dark and she had dinner ready, otherwise who knows how long I would have been there. Probably until they kicked me out!

One thing that the people of LaPorte would want you to know is that they really are nice people and that their town is a nice town. Lots of good people have been born there or have lived there over the years, including Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, William Mayo, who founded Mayo Clinic, and William Scholl, who found Dr. Scholl’s. They kept emphasizing to me while I was there what a great place LaPorte is. Judging by their friendliness and helpfulness, I would have to agree.

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To help you better visualize the characters and setting, here are some photographs of the real people and places that appear in The Gold Digger.

Enjoy the book!

Liz

My Review

They were taking a risk. They both wanted answers, but different ones. No matter what happened, one of them would be disappointed. More than that. Likely devastated.

An interest in forensics has led me to a variety of TV programs and books over the years, because while the crimes themselves were heinous and reprehensible, solving them intrigued me. Considering the lack of both sophisticated equipment and knowledge about DNA until recent years, it seems quite impressive that earlier investigators were able to solve as many cases as they did. The drawback of reading material of this nature is its darkness, which can be nightmare-inducing at times, and this is why I love Barbour’s True Colors (Historical Stories of American Crime) series so much. Able to be read in any order and written by a variety of authors, each story focuses on a major criminal event that occurred in America sometime between the late eighteenth through the early twentieth century. Best of all, these books are not only clean, leaving out the graphic details, but also inspirational, with a faith message in each.

Each True Colors book proves to be fascinating, and The Gold Digger by Liz Tolsma is no exception. Even though I was already familiar with the story of Belle Gunness, I was a bit hazy on some aspects of the case, so I still very much enjoyed reading this story. With a story such as this, it is easy to recognize the draw of sinful activities that may and perhaps even do start as one-time events that escalate. The enemy knows that it is more difficult to grow and to mature in our faith walk when we’re isolated, and most of the attacks that happen in this story are perpetrated at night when the victim is alone. Nevertheless, this is when prayers need to become all the louder and more confident, knowing that the God who promises never to leave or forsake us is the same God who created us and who has numbered every hair on our heads.

Echoing the sentiment of Jesus’ parable of the rich fool as found in Luke 12, The Gold Digger exposes the raw and evil root of greed and how it negatively affects relationships. To people living in the early twentieth century, without the means of immediate communication with others regarding business and especially personal matters, family was essential. So, it seems, was keeping secrets. Ingrid Storset, Belle Gunness’ fictional sister, ruminates on the thought that “When you didn’t have family, you didn’t have anything.” As an immigrant to America, her only relative and friend is her sister, Belle; Ingrid has great difficulty in speaking with others and lives under Belle’s shadow. When the threats begin, however, Ingrid starts to wonder whom she should trust, especially as “a stranger in a strange land.” This is the current status of all of us who belong to the Lord as we await His return.

Tolsma employs chilling, clever foreshadowing throughout the narrative. It often has a double meaning, and for those who do not know the story beforehand, it is definitely worth a re-read so as to pick up on all of the delightful literary clues scattered throughout the work, pointing toward what will happen.

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

Connie’s History Classroom, December 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 17

Genesis 5020, December 17

Pause for Tales, December 17

Artistic Nobody, December 18 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Sodbuster Living, December 18

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 18

Older & Smarter?, December 19

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 19

Blossoms and Blessings, December 19

The Write Escape, December 19

For the Love of Literature, December 20

deb’s Book Review, December 20

Blogging With Carol, December 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 21

lakesidelivingsite, December 21

Betti Mace, December 21

Inklings and notions, December 21

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 22

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 22

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 23

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 23

CarpeDiem, December 23

Hallie Reads, December 23

Remembrancy, December 24

Christian Bookaholic, December 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 24

Writing from the Heart Land, December 25

Splashes of Joy, December 25

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 25

Through the Fire Blogs, December 26

Rebecca Tews, December 26

For Him and My Family, December 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 27

Bigreadersite, December 27

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 27

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 28

Mary Hake, December 28

Texas Book-aholic, December 29

Godly Book Reviews, December 29

Daysong Reflections, December 29

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, December 30

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, December 30

Daysong Reflections, December 30

Giveaway

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

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/104fc/the-gold-digger-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Voice Within the Flame Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: A Voice within the Flame

Author: Henry O. Arnold

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Release Date: December 1, 2020

A son of the vow…a voice for a nation

For many long years, Hannah prayed for a son; a son finally granted to her only when she promised him back to God. Samuel, son of the vow, grows up in the Tabernacle, his childhood spent in the company of priests and Levites, in service to a God who was always silent. Samuel watches in dismay as the sons of the High Priest flaunt their wicked behavior, yet he knows that Yahweh will eventually have a reckoning. It is not until he hears a Voice call to him from within the flames of the altar that he realizes he has a part to play in this drama.

This young man hears another voice from a maiden who captures his heart, and he begins to dream of a future beyond the confines of the Tabernacle. But when Israel’s enemies threaten to destroy his world, it appears as though everything Samuel ever held dear may come tumbling down around him.

Not even a great prophet, whose words never fall to the ground, can keep Israel from crying out for a king. The Lord calls upon Samuel to guide the nation and her new king through the years of turmoil they must face.

In this tale of triumph and scorn, deepest love and burning rivalries, the new epoch is given a voice…and it is a Song of Prophets and Kings.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Henry O. Arnold has co-authored a work of fiction, Hometown Favorite, with Bill Barton, and nonfiction, KABUL24, with Ben Pearson. He also co-wrote and produced with Steve Taylor (director) and Ben Pearson the film The Second Chance starring Michael W. Smith, the screenplay for the authorized film documentary on evangelist Billy Graham, God’s Ambassador, and the documentary film KABUL24, based on the book which is the story of western and Afghani hostages held captive by the Taliban for 105 days. He lives on a farm in Tennessee with his lovely wife Kay. They have two beautiful daughters married to two handsome men with three above-average grandchildren. For more information please visit: www.henryoarnold.com

More from Henry

So many people have asked me why I became a writer. I usually respond with a one-word answer: unemployment. I know, not very inspirational or romantic, but it was a reality-based choice. I had (and still am) been a professional actor for about ten years. Received a lot of diplomas affirming my professional choice and gotten a lot of gigs that convinced me that I was employable. Then I hit a dry-spell. The theatre company I had helped to found went belly-up. I also had recently gotten married. So I was feeling the mixture of joy and dejection at the same time. It was then that I chose to begin writing a series of one-man shows on biblical characters. I was able to combine my passion for the theatre and my love of Scripture in one artistic form.

After the golden age of theatre in the Greek and Roman times, the theatre went dark, very dark as in Dark Ages, and for centuries it was thus. But it was the church that brought the theatre back to life by staging passion plays on biblical subjects. Since most people could not read at the time, it was a great way to tell the folks some Bible stories. It was my desire to do the same thing with my one-man shows. The third of my one-man plays was on the character of King David. I wrote it while shooting a film. For an actor in a film there is a lot of “hurry up and wait.” So I used my “wait” time to write. Within a year I was showcasing the play to some select audiences before I begin to get some regular jobs out of this show and the two others I had previously written.

Then I decided to write what I thought would be a trilogy of the first three kings of Israel. These would be full-length plays for a multiple cast. The first installment was entitled “The Mighty Have Fallen,” and the focus was on King Saul. My father was the head of the theatre department at a university, and he was kind enough to produce and direct the show with his students. It was a success, and after an extensive rewrite, I sent a copy to Academy Award winner, F. Murray Abraham, thinking he would be the perfect King Saul. He wrote a terse and unambiguous response, “Not my cup of tea, but thanks.”

I knew then that my artistic dream might be more of an uphill climb than I had anticipated, and I settled into scheduling the one-man shows around all the other theatre and film work I was doing. But the dream of writing an historical fiction series on the first three kings and the first three major prophets of Israel never left me. I called the series, A Song of Prophets and Kings, and it simmered on the back-burner until about five years ago when I sat down in earnest and began to write a first draft of what has now become A Voice Within the Flame. It was totally liberating to write this first volume in the form of a novel. I did not have to worry about budgets or too many characters or too many big scenes. I could just tell a story.

It took a long to find the right home for this story, but I am excited to welcome into the literary landscape my dream of presenting the first installment of my historical fiction series to all readers who love the drama found in these great biblical stories.

My Review

Luke 10:24 “For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

As I’ve mentioned before, Biblical fiction is generally a hit-or-miss genre, particularly when the main subject is an actual Biblical figure or event as opposed to a fictional character interacting with or living alongside people from the Bible, and even more so if the focus is on the Old Testament. Remaining true to the inerrant Word of God while creating a narrative of what life was like—the minutiae—before, during, and after the details that we read in the Bible requires research, prayer, and inspiration. It is not an easy task, and there are some readers who shy away from this category for various understandable reasons. As a result, it can be difficult to find books that explore the ancient Biblical world without superimposing modernity onto it in the form of customs, ideas, and interpretations. Some of the best authors in the genre include Tessa Afshar, Mesu Andrews, Connilyn Cossette, Brennan McPherson, and now, Henry Arnold.

A previously-unknown-to-me author, Henry Arnold has just released A Voice Within the Flame, book one of The Song of Prophets and Kings series. From the beautiful front cover that harkens back to Moses’ encounter with Yahweh in the burning bush and subtly alludes to the Mosaic Law still in place during this time period to the narrative itself, this book draws readers in immediately. I will admit that I had some apprehension at first, wondering if it would be boring or would diverge too much from the Biblical account. However, I can honestly say that once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop! I did occasionally cross-reference a few things with the Bible, but more for the purpose of refreshing my memory or learning more than for fact-checking. What I found most intriguing about this book is the background of Samuel; as with any extra-Biblical text, it is not necessarily exactly how each event happened or how each person felt, but I think that Arnold does well in using the Bible to inform his story and give readers a reasonable idea of the life of Samuel.

One of the aspects of Biblical fiction that I love the most is the humanity that it brings to the people of the Bible. For seasoned Christians especially, we can become so familiar with the stories of the Word that we rarely pause to think about how these people felt in the situations they faced or in day-to-day living. A Voice Within the Flame offers a possible account of how the events unfolded. Named Samuel, meaning “God has heard”, the miracle-baby changes the lives of not only his own family forever, but Israel itself. As heart-wrenching as it is to read about Hannah giving Samuel back to God around age 4 to learn and to serve in the Tabernacle, it is even more heart-warming to view it all from the perspective of history and to see (at least in part) that God was and always will be in control. As Hannah marvels at Samuel’s birth, “There had been no guarantee of this blessing, only the hope, and now they touched with their hands this visible, human soul of Yahweh’s favor.”  Eli, the High Priest who teaches Samuel, also recognizes something special about him. “This was their son, eleven years in the making, Yahweh’s gift to them…a gift the Almighty would reclaim.

As with so much of the Bible, a great deal of it is being fulfilled before our eyes, and the same can be said in Samuel’s case. The High Priest Eli teaches his students, Samuel among them, the foreshadowing of persecution and trials ahead. He warns them about the Benjamites, referencing the story of the Levite and his concubines from Judges 19-21 and proclaiming that “slaughter begets slaughter.” In a prescient lesson regarding this serious issue, he remarks that “To serve the people of Israel, you must know the people of Israel. Know our dark hearts and corrupted minds. Know that we are broken and fearful. Know that the longer Yahweh is kept at a distance the more craven we become.” How sadly yet starkly true this is for us today, as we near the end of 2020! Later in Samuel’s story, he follows in Eli’s footsteps to some degree, as his sons also rebel against Yahweh. Samuel, however, is upright, the last of the judges and a man who listened to and followed God, establishing the monarchy of Israel by anointing Saul, a Benjamite. That did not work out well for Saul, in the end, and eventually the shepherd boy David becomes king, in the patrilineage of Jesus Himself.

An epic story of the necessity of putting God first, A Voice Within the Flame separates the main sections of Samuel’s story into four parts and proves that God is always working behind the scenes and always in control, despite outward appearances.

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

For the Love of Literature, December 16

Through the Fire Blogs, December 17

Mary Hake, December 17

Texas Book-aholic, December 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 19

Inklings and notions, December 20

For Him and My Family, December 21

deb’s Book Review, December 22

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 23

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, December 24 (Author Interview)

Our Whiskey Lullaby, December 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 25

Artistic Nobody, December 26 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 28

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 29

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, Henry is giving away the grand prize package of a signed copy of the book and 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/10500/a-voice-within-the-flame-celebration-tour-giveaway

Fear No Evil Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Fear No Evil

Author: Allen Brokken

Genre: Christian Middle Grade Fantasy

Release Date: December 5, 2020

Across the land of Zoura, people and creatures alike continue to fall prey to the persuasion of darkness. The seeds of evil pollute not only those outside the Light, but those within it. Pitting neighbor against neighbor. Brother against brother. The Dark One gains ground in his pursuit to shroud the heathlands in eternal darkness. Zoura’s only hope lies with three children.

Twelve-year-old Lauren and her younger brothers, Aiden and Ethan, are determined to reignite the Tower of Light in Blooming Glen. But an attack by dark forces separates them, driving them into a valley of darkness. Without each other or their Knight Protector, the three siblings must navigate the wilderness while fending off creatures tainted by evil. They fight not just for Zoura, but for their own survival.

Will the darkness overtake Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan? Or will they prove their faith is stronger and that they fear no evil?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Allen Brokken is a teacher at heart, a husband and father most of all. He’s a joyful writer by the abundant grace of God. He began writing the Towers of Light series for his own children to help him illustrate the deep truths of the Bible in an engaging and age appropriate way. He’s dedicated 15 years of his life to volunteer roles in children’s ministry and youth development. Now that his own children are off to college he’s sharing his life experiences on social media @towersoflight, @twodadsandajoke, and through his blog https://www.lightofmine.net

More from Allen

The stakes have been raised in the 3rd book of the Towers of Light Series, Fear No Evil. The children have been separated from one another in the darkness shrouded, Muddy River valley. Evil prowls around them at every turn. Do they have the faith to fear no evil?

My favorite part about writing this book was a conversation I had with the real Ethan. I had a tight editorial deadline to meet and I decided to go on a writing retreat to finish the book. While I was trying to leave home, my youngest the real life Ethan kept asking me questions and delaying my departure. Finally, I said, “You know the last time I wrote there was a ferocious bear about to eat Ethan. If I don’t sit down and start writing soon, he’s going to be a bear food.” Ethan’s reply was, “Yah you better go write now!” You’ll have to pick up Fear no Evil to see if I got back to the story in time.

My Review

Book three of Allen Brokken’s Towers of Light series offers a divergence from the first two in several ways, intensifying the danger and adventure while still serving to encourage and inspire young readers. This series needs to be read chronologically because it tells one complete story sectioned into five books. Fear No Evil picks up where the second book, Still Small Voice (see my review HERE), leaves off, and although there are enough reminders crafted into the opening chapters to refresh readers’ memories, the narrative as a whole will not be as enjoyable or as appreciated without the entire story arc.

There could not be a more apropos title for this book releasing at the end of 2020 than Fear No Evil. The target audience is children and middle-grade, but they are just as suitable for adults, with timeless lessons that we never outgrow and often need to be reminded of now and again. This story marks the mid-point of the series, and it proves to be the most challenging for the characters so far, with the poison of darkness spreading and the three siblings separated for the first time. Lauren, 12; Aiden, 9; and Ethan, 5 each end up on their own after an attack by the darkness that is overtaking Zoura. Struggling to maintain their faith in the midst of persecution, each sibling prays and recalls the twenty-third Psalm throughout their ordeal while also working with creatures they come upon. Due to their separation from one another, each chapter focuses on only one of the children, often ending with a bit of a cliffhanger to be resolved in a few more chapters, heightening the suspense.

Brokken excels at combining fantasy and childlike faith in a credible manner. The animals and beings he brings to life on the page are similar enough to reality and are described well enough that they are easy to envision, yet sufficiently diverse to stoke the imagination. Readers get a glimpse of how God’s creation was intended to work before sin entered the world, with prey and predator together and even helping one another. Likewise, the effects of darkness (sin) taint everything in its wake. However, the light dispels darkness, and in Fear No Evil especially, the children give compelling witness to their faith: through words, but also through actions and admitting when they are wrong. They each demonstrate their dependence on God through trials, embodying the words of David in Psalm 27:1: “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

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

Inklings and notions, December 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 7

Texas Book-aholic, December 8

Beauty in the Binding, December 9 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, December 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 10

For Him and My Family, December 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 12

Spoken from the Heart, December 13 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 13

For the Love of Literature, December 14

Artistic Nobody, December 15 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 16

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

Vicky Sluiter, December 18

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, Allen 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/1045b/fear-no-evil-celebration-tour-giveaway

Rocky Mountain Revenge Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Rocky Mountain Revenge

Author: Rhonda Starnes

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Release Date: July, 2020

To survive her deadly homecoming, she’ll need to trust a man from her past…

Temporarily home to help at her family’s vet clinic, Grace Porter has no intentions of staying—but someone’s determined she won’t live long enough to leave. With both Grace and her sister in the crosshairs, her ex-boyfriend, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, must protect them. But can the single dad lawman uncover the truth about why a killer’s out for vengeance before time runs out?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Rhonda Starnes is a middle school language arts teacher who has dreamed of being a published author since she was in seventh grade. She lives in North Alabama with her husband, who she lovingly refers to as Mountain Man. They enjoy traveling and spending time with their children and grandchildren. Rhonda writes romantic suspense with rugged heroes and feisty heroines.

More from Rhonda

Probably the number one question any author receives is “How did you come up with the idea for the story?”

When the Love Inspired editors announced, in February 2019, they were hosting The Great Love Inspired Author Search, I knew I had to enter. After all I’d spent the last six years targeting the Harlequin Love Inspired lines. This would be my fourth time entering one of their pitch contests, my third pitching to Love Inspired Suspense. The only problem was I didn’t have anything new to enter. They’d already seen all of my manuscripts.

I follow the Love Inspired editors on social media, so I had read several posts on themes and settings they’d like to see. One editor had even mentioned Colorado as a setting she’d like to see in a book. This started my wheels turning because my husband and I lived in Colorado for a few months when we were first married. We loved our time there and have often talked about going back one day. I started researching parts of the state that we didn’t get to visit when we lived there, and then I created the fictional small town of Blackberry Falls.

I’d had an idea in the back of my head for while about a story that involved a heroine who wasn’t in law enforcement but who witnessed a crime while on video chat. That’s how I came up with Grace Porter, a veterinarian who had run away from her small-town roots. And what’s a homecoming story without a reunion romance? Enter, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, the man Grace had left behind. Once I had the opening scene, main character, and setting in place, everything else just kind of evolved from there.

My Review

Considering that I read this at Christmastime, the first thing that comes to mind is the song “My Favorite Things.” Rural small-town life, dogs, horses, suspense: yes, “these are a few of my favorite things”! I love that this book combines all of these elements to tell a story about how the past shapes the present and how, through God’s love and His purpose for our lives, He can redeem our past and bring to fruition the promise to “work all things together for the good of those who love Him.” In a world that so often seems incomprehensible, what a blessed assurance to realize this fact!

Rhonda Starnes makes her debut as a novelist with Rocky Mountain Revenge, which is part of the Love Inspired Suspense series. The first chapter is one of the most spine-chilling that I have read in this series, yet without resorting to the macabre, which is one of the many reasons that I enjoy and respect inspirational fiction of this caliber. Because this particular story also involves animals, especially dogs and horses, I also greatly appreciate that no animals meet their demise during the present, unfolding action of the narrative, although for those who may be sensitive, there is an allusion to the prior death of an animal. However, Starnes does a fantastic job of conveying necessary plot points while refraining from any graphic detail. For those like me who can’t stand for harm to come to an animal, this is essential.

To a certain extent, the books in this and similar series are formulaic, giving readers a mostly apparent idea of which characters will become a couple, how the major parts of the plot will likely play out, and at least part of the motive. This is where the author’s writing skill takes effect, and for an initiate especially, Starnes develops her story enough to add in twists that propel the plot forward. More than once, I admit that I thought the mystery was about to be solved and wondered what the rest of the book would be about! Despite guessing some of the plotline, I did not figure out all of the connections, nor did I ever become at all disinterested while reading. The faith aspect is more about showing than telling, as one of the characters slowly comes back to the Lord after a tragedy, and the theme of redemption and of the Lord making all things new finds fulfillment in more ways than one. There is a saying that “You can’t go home again.” However, that does not hold true when it comes to our place of belonging in the arms of the Savior, Who always stands ready to welcome us home to Him, and that is one homecoming that we don’t want to miss!

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

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 9

Through the Fire Blogs, December 10

Genesis 5020, December 10

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 11

Simple Harvest Reads, December 11 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For the Love of Literature, December 12

Lighthouse Academy, December 13

Connie’s History Classroom, December 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 14

Reviewingbooksplusmore, December 14

Inklings and notions, December 15

Betti Mace, December 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 16

deb’s Book Review, December 16

Texas Book-aholic, December 17

lakesidelivingsite, December 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 18

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 18

For Him and My Family, December 19

Pause for Tales , December 19

Artistic Nobody, December 20 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

SusanLovesBooks, December 20

Splashes of Joy, December 21

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 22

Daysong Reflections, December 22

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rhonda is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Rocky Mountain Revenge!!

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/104a4/rocky-mountain-revenge-celebration-tour-giveaway