An Ivy Hill Christmas Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: An Ivy Hill Christmas

Author: Julie Klassen

Genre: Christmas Historical Romance

Release Date: September, 2020

Richard Brockwell, the younger son of Ivy Hill’s most prominent family, hasn’t been home for Christmas in years. He prefers to live in the London townhouse, far away from Brockwell Court, the old family secret that haunts him, and the shadows of his past mistakes. But then his mother threatens to stop funding his carefree life–unless he comes home for Christmas. Out of options, he sets out for Ivy Hill, planning to be back on a coach bound for London and his unencumbered bachelor life as soon as the festivities are over.

But Christmas in the country presents many surprises, including encounters with an orphaned apprentice, the first love he disappointed years ago, and Arabella Awdry, a young lady who is far more appealing than he recalled–and determined to have nothing to do with him.

Will Christmastime in Ivy Hill, with its village charm, kissing boughs, and joyous songs, change his heart . . . and hers as well?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Julie Klassen loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for 16 years and now writes full-time. Her novels have sold over 1 million copies, and three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and a Christian Retailing’s Best Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and ACFW’s Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

More from Julie

My fascination with England began as a girl when I read The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre, and watched A Christmas Carol. I have now been to Great Britain several times, and my affection for the place has only grown. I love the country villages with their stone buildings and thatched roofs, the narrow, winding roads (though not driving on them), the ancient churches, friendly people, plummy accents, and history. Writing fifteen novels set there has been a real pleasure.

An Ivy Hill Christmas includes all the elements of an idyllic Olde English yuletide: A charming village setting, snowfall, mistletoe, caroling, gifts for less fortunate neighbors, and festive gatherings of friends and family. I thoroughly enjoyed researching 19th century Christmas traditions and weaving them into this novella.

In the story, a confirmed bachelor is determined to remain aloof from the celebrations going on around him—and from his mother’s matchmaking schemes. But divine hope, friendship, and unexpected romance change his heart…and his mind. I love a transformation story; don’t you?

If you’ve read the TALES FROM IVY HILL series, you will enjoy returning to the village and spending time with favorite characters. But rest assured, the novella is a standalone, meaning you can enjoy it whether or not you’ve read the other books, as these reviews attest:

“[A] standalone novella that not only beautifully captures the kindness, hope, love, and faith of Christmas but also skillfully evokes the period holiday atmosphere of Regency England.” —Booklist

“This feel-good tale of love and redemption will delight Klassen’s fans and new readers alike.” Publishers Weekly

And if you like the novella, I think you will like the other books as well. An Ivy Hill Christmas would also make a lovely gift for a reading friend.

Finally, if you want to add a British flair to your own modern-day celebrations, buy (or make) mince tarts or Christmas pudding, place Christmas “crackers” (pull-apart gift tubes) on your table and wear the included paper crowns. Refer to Father Christmas instead of Santa; and instead of “Merry,” wish everyone a hearty, “Happy Christmas.”

Happy Christmas!

My Review

Not only is this the first book I’ve read in the Tales from Ivy Hill series, it also appears to be the first novel I’ve read by Julie Klassen, although I have definite plans to read more of her work in the near future. It should be noted that this book can be read as a standalone, with no difficulty in understanding the plot or identifying the characters, since Klassen tactfully introduces them. In many cases, Regency stories are usually a turn-off for me, particularly if they are romances, and I am numbered among the seemingly rare few who is not a great fan of Jane Austen’s books. They are just not, personally, my cup of tea. However, I did love this novella!

With the perfect blend of social concern and spiritual well-being, An Ivy Hill Christmas makes a wonderful book for a snowy afternoon. On the frontispiece, there is a black-and-white map of Ivy Hill to give readers a mental image of where some of the story’s main locations are in relationship to one another. But as the village remains close-knit, the residents of Brockwell Court do not. Most notably, Richard Brockwell is nearly 30 years old and lives as a rakish bachelor in London, enjoying himself and fitting into an archetype of a young Ebenezer Scrooge who thinks of no one but himself. “Richard was, he knew, a selfish creature. A person could not change his nature, his very heart, could he? He thought not.” Coerced into returning to Brockwell Court for the Christmas holidays, he vows to remain firm against his mother’s desire for him to marry and settle down into a respectable life. Until the Christmas guests arrive, and Arabella Awdry steps through the door.

This is a character-driven novel, and it is the secondary characters whom I find to be the most entertaining and insightful. Wally, the little terrier, stole my heart immediately, particularly with how Richard dresses him up each day. Pickering, Richard’s steward, has a dry sort of humor that I find surprising and at times hilarious. Richard’s brother and sister-in-law manage Brockwell Court compassionately and efficiently, a task Richard has no desire to become responsible for as the second son. However, the more he sees acts of kindness performed toward the less fortunate in conjunction with the fate of a childhood friend, the more he begins to look beyond himself to see the world of need that exists. He is struck by the thought “That the heavenly Father would willingly send His Son into a harsh, fallen, and dangerous world? Astounding.” From that launching point, he finds the motivation and inspiration to confront and seek to rectify injustice, surprising himself along the way and prodding us, too, into action. No gift of kindness is too small when it comes from a heart reflecting the Savior’s love.

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

Through the Lens of Scripture, November 30

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 30

Christian Bookaholic, November 30

Andrea Christenson, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, December 1

KarenSueHadley, December 1

Robin’s Nest, December 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 1

Blessed & Bookish, December 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 2

Mia Reads, December 2

Wishful Endings, December 3

lakesidelivingsite, December 3

Through the Fire Blogs, December 3

For Him and My Family, December 3

Just Your Average reviews, December 3

She Lives To Read, December 4

Remembrancy, December 4

deb’s Book Review, December 4

Writing from the Heart Land, December 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 5

Quiet Workings, December 5

Blogging With Carol, December 5

Spoken from the Heart, December 5

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 6

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 6

Connect in Fiction, December 6

Artistic Nobody, December 6 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Worthy2Read, December 7

Genesis 5020, December 7

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 7

Inklings and notions, December 7

Life of Literature, December 7

For the Love of Literature, December 8

Connie’s History Classroom, December 8

Batya’s Bits, December 8

Labor Not in Vain, December 8

Hallie Reads, December 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 9

Older & Smarter?, December 9

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, December 9

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 9

Betti Mace, December 9

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 10

Faery Tales Are Real, December 10

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, December 10

Mary Hake, December 10

Daysong Reflections, December 11

Bigreadersite, December 11

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 11

Splashes of Joy, December 11

Vicky Sluiter, December 12

To Everything There Is A Season, December 12

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 12

Blossoms and Blessings, December 12

The Write Escape, December 12

A Baker’s Perspective, December 13

Bizwings Blog, December 13

Simple Harvest Reads, December 13 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, December 13

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Julie is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of An Ivy Hill Christmas and the other three books in the Ivy Hill series, plus the winner’s choice of Bingley’s Tea!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/103f5/an-ivy-hill-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Thrill of Facing the Impossible: A Book Review of Davis Bunn’s “Burden of Proof”

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Perhaps not overtly so, but Burden of Proof by Davis Bunn is an apropos book for 2020, right down to the title. This year I have read several works within the speculative fiction genre, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed them because I am much more of a historical fiction devotee. In a sense, however, Davis Bunn’s novel also falls within the dual-timeline category, and it is a legal thriller too. Such a formidable combination of genres promises a high yield and begs the question of whether or not they all blend well and complement each other.

Speaking generally, Burden of Proof falls in the middle of the spectrum as far as my personal ratings are concerned. There are parts of the story that I enjoyed, but also loose ends and some questions that I would have liked to have seen answered. I also have concerns about the implication that Adrian’s life is worth more than Ethan’s, taken from the opening chapters of the story; a life-limiting disease resulting in a poor prognosis, combined with the fact that the individual has no living relatives, leads to a decision that could change the future and the past. I will refrain from elaborating so as to avoid spoilers, but this realization of human worth greatly discomfited me. Along with this, there is no mention of Christianity in the book; given that it is marketed as Christian, I believe that it should be held to that standard, and while the story is clean, the focus is given to weaving the present with the outspoken past rather than in spiritual growth.

Time travel forms the crucial event in this story. Despite being so over-done as a theme, Bunn gives it a unique twist here, fictionally broadening its potential use. This brings in the Butterfly Effect, as found in any time travel scenario, as well as the Grandfather Paradox and, as one of the characters explains, the theory of quantum entanglement. Due in part to all of the unknowns, the bonds of family and friends become especially important. As what was thought to be an isolated incident grows into a full-blown conspiracy theory, Ethan and his brother Adrian fund themselves caught up in “the thrill of facing the impossible” for what may be the last time.

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

My rating: 3 stars ♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

Insights on the Book of Daniel Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Insights on the Book of Daniel

Author: Dr. Alan B. Stringfellow

Genre: RELIGION / Biblical Studies/Old Testament/Prophet

Release Date: December 1, 2020

For more than four decades, Alan Stringfellow’s Bible studies have brought greater insight into God’s Word to thousands of believers. Now, the author of Through the Bible in One Year and Great Characters of the Bible leads readers on a 12-lesson, verse-by-verse study of the book of Daniel. Stringfellow’s in-depth teaching will bring clarity and understanding to one of the most misunderstood books in Scripture. With this study, readers will learn…

  • How to identify the major themes
  • How to memorize key verses
  • How to recognize God’s central message
  • An overview of various interpretations of the book’s imagery
  • The role Daniel’s prophesies play in the entire biblical story

By embarking on this journey, believers will discover the influence that Daniel had on the life and literature of the Jewish people throughout the biblical period and all the way to the writers of the New Testament, including Jesus Christ Himself, who often quoted from it. But nowhere is that influence seen as thoroughly as in the writings of the apostle John and parallels that exist with the book of Revelation. As in John’s prophetic work, the book of Daniel describes in beautiful and marvelous language the glorious coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Like John, Daniel was sure and certain about the final triumph of the kingdom of God.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Dr. Alan B. Stringfellow (1922-1993), a Bible teacher and minister of the gospel for more than four decades, specialized in Christian education. Long concerned with the struggle most people have in understanding the Bible, he set out to write a study course that would bring believers more knowledge and a greater appreciation of God’s Word. He wrote Through the Bible in One Year, Great Truths of the Bible, and Great Characters in the Bible for laymen, to be taught by laymen. His latest studies include Insights on the Book of Revelation and Insights on the Book of Isaiah. Dr. Stringfellow trained at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, after which he served at Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth; First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach, Florida; First Baptist Church of Fresno, California; and First Baptist Church of Van Nuys, California.

More about Dr. Alan

  • Through the Bible in One Year has sold more than 30,000 copies
  • Stringfellow’s solid Bible-based theology crosses all denominational and theological lines
  • Book of Daniel and its prophetic tone of the coming of the Messiah and the ultimate triumph of the kingdom of God sparks great interest in believers
  • Completes a trio of studies along with Insights on the Book of Revelation and Insights on the Book of Isaiah
  • Can be utilized for individual or group study

My Review

A detailed exegesis, Insights on the Book of Daniel by the late Dr. Alan Stringfellow delves into the apocalyptic nature of Daniel and how it compares to and is irrevocably linked with the book of Revelation. There are a plethora of details, both historic and Biblical, to glean from this text, which I would advise prefacing with a complete reading of both Daniel and Revelation in the Bible itself. Doing so will provide the familiarity, whether new or refreshed, necessary to fully engage in this study and allow the reader to critically analyze Dr. Stringfellow’s interpretation. While I do not agree with all of his points or conclusions, I did learn new information about the history of the ancient world and about some of the connections between Scripture verses.

Most fascinating to me, and something that I never grow tired of learning about, is how Scripture is supernaturally interweaved, proving its divine authorship by God despite being written by multiple human men over the course of centuries. Stringfellow makes this very apparent in his comparison between the books of Daniel and Revelation. In regard to Daniel, the vision of the end times given to him in chapter twelve is sealed up, to be unsealed in Revelation. Both Daniel and John receive similar visions while in exile that reveal what will come to be during the end times, and both are “beloved” by the Lord.

In Stringfellow’s view, the times of the Gentiles refers to a period beginning with God’s appointment of Nebuchadnezzar, a Gentile, in place of the Israelite kings and ending when Israel becomes “the head of the nations” once again, while the fullness of the Gentiles, he claims, will occur when those Gentiles whom the Holy Spirit has called out will be gathered with the rest of the church in the Rapture. He remarks that Daniel was a unique prophet because rather than declaring the Word of God, he was to “record what was revealed to him through visions.” I also find the comparison of the similarities between Daniel and the lion’s den and Jesus’s resurrection very interesting, especially as they are both well-known events but not necessarily considered side-by-side.

Some of Stringfellow’s interpretation becomes clearly recognizable as an issue that has grown increasingly prevalent now: “To weld the power together in a common faith is the finest way to make them one, however diversified they may be otherwise.” He goes on to explain the system of Babylonialism, a way of living and ruling that eradicates God and seeks an (albeit impossible) paradise without Him. If that is not an apt description of society and the world today, I don’t know what is!

With an outline format, meaning plenty of lists and sub-lists, Insights on the Book of Daniel is an informative, enlightening read for those interested in apocalyptic literature of the Bible, or for anyone seeking a different perspective to provoke thought or discussion. Because this book is set up to be a Bible study, the end of each chapter contains a section for contemplation: “How Much Do You Remember?” questions; “Your Assignment for Next Week”; and “Lesson Notes” with blank lines ready to be filled. Because these can be difficult to work with on a tablet or computer, I personally would recommend the paperback should you choose to purchase it; as of the time of this writing, the price for both the Kindle and paperback formats are nearly the same.

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, December 4

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 5

Mary Hake, December 5

For the Love of Literature, December 6

Texas Book-aholic, December 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 8

For Him and My Family, December 9

Simple Harvest Reads, December 10 (Spotlight)

deb’s Book Review, December 10

Artistic Nobody, December 11 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 12

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 13

Godly Book Reviews, December 14

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 15

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 16

Inklings and notions, December 17

Captive Dreams Window, December 17

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/10456/insights-on-the-book-of-daniel-celebration-tour-giveaway

What You Said to Me Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: What You Said to Me

Author: Olivia Newport

Genre: Christian Fiction

Release Date: November 2020

Book 4 in the Tree of Life Series: A Father-Daughter Genealogy Team Link Faith Journeys on Family Trees

When 15-year-old Tisha Crowder gets caught shoplifting, attorney Nolan Duffy tries to protect her from consequences that could rattle her already troubled life. His daughter, Jillian, feels like she’s the one being punished instead—by having Tisha assigned to work with her on a backlog of genealogy files. Tisha doesn’t seem interested in taking the job seriously, and Jillian’s patience wears thin. Besides, everyone in Canyon Mines knows the Crowder family has experienced generations of brokenness. Then a sliver of hope turns up in long-ago words in plain sight, challenging shrouded assumptions about Tisha’s family. Now Jillian is the one who can walk with Tisha back to 1893 and uncover where everything went wrong in the first place—and save her from the past.

What You Said to Me is the fourth book in the Tree of Life series by Olivia Newport. You’ll want to return to the lovely Colorado mountain town of Canyon Mines again and again to explore and celebrate unforgettable family stories that will inspire you to connect with your own family histories and unique faith journeys.

Click HERE to get your copy! 

About the Author

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Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of Pikes Peak.

More from Olivia

Careful Words

“You didn’t just say that.” Or, “I can’t believe you said that.”

Have you ever said that in retort to someone whose comment offended or wounded? I know I have. But what cuts me even more deeply is when I say to myself, “I can’t believe I just said that.”

The words of a parent at wit’s end, a spouse harboring hurt, a friend saddened by misunderstanding, an employee feeling undercut—they have all been my words. And they came out too fast to swallow back before they did their damage.

I hope I have also had the words of a parent who set aside busyness to listen, a spouse offering loving encouragement, a friend checking in with someone going through a tough patch, a coworker curious to see how I could help rather than compete. Those are the kinds of words I’ve never regretted, never had to repent of, never had to do rebuild from.

I certainly didn’t write What You Said to Me because I think I get it right all the time or even most of the time. Far from it! In our culture of rushing and achieving and—let’s face it, sometimes just getting through the demands of the day—sometimes our words are the last thing we are careful with. Yet they have the longest lasting consequence in our relationships and families—sometimes for generations. The dual-timeline story traces how words that injure became a pattern in one family line until one girl finally fought back to find healing for her future.

My challenge for myself, and all who read What You Said to Me, is to be the person who speaks healing words of hope so that “I can’t believe you said that” becomes “Thank you for saying that.”

If you have a particularly poignant experience of how another’s words impacted you, I’d love to hear from you.

Olivia Newport

My Review

Reluctant as I am to say goodbye to the quirky, heartfelt world that Olivia Newport has created, her Tree of Life series is one that I will remember and cherish. I would highly recommend reading the books in order because although the plots are different in each, the character trajectories form an ongoing narrative that is otherwise disrupted. The small town of Canyon Mines seems reminiscent of Stars Hollow (of Gilmore Girls fame), and I so enjoy spending time there amongst the shopkeepers and other townspeople. It is the perfect blend of modern with an old-fashioned touch, matching the dual-timeline that each book features.

The fourth and final book in this delightful series, What You Said to Me, takes a bit of a different track than the previous three. The mystery is intentionally not really a secret, and is apparent early on; in most cases, this would ruin the book for me and cause me to lose interest, but Newport creates enough conflict in the present day to ensure an intriguing tale. Prior to this, I was relatively unaware of the 1893 recession and the collapse of the silver mining industry, and reading about how devastating this was for the people of just one town in Colorado alone is heartrending. Even though the Brandt family is fictional, the historical backdrop is not, and considering what our country has been through in 2020, it is easier to empathize with them.

Contemporary issues intersect with those of the past century in the form of an angry, lost teenager named Tisha Crowder. Beneath her bad attitude and lack of motivation lies the root of a generations-old bitterness, one that can be eradicated only by love and healing. Her story is a keen reminder to look beyond what we can see and to acknowledge that everyone is struggling with something, that bad attitudes and bad behavior have a reason that needs to be explored with patience, love, and understanding regardless of age. When we make way for God to move in us and through us, miracles happen!

Throughout the Tree of Life series, my favorite character has been Nolan. I relate more to Jillian’s character, from her introversion to her fascination with genealogy and history, but I love her dad’s ability to assess a situation and recognize what people need in order to come to reconciliation, and to then act as mediator. While Nolan is obviously human and therefore not perfect, he serves as a subtle yet powerful reminder that Christ is our true mediator, dying for our sins and bringing us back into a right relationship with God if we accept this priceless gift. Our attitude matters, and our words matter. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Choose life.

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

Through the Fire Blogs, November 21

deb’s Book Review, November 21

Remembrancy, November 22

Connect in Fiction, November 22

lakesidelivingsite, November 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 23

Splashes of Joy, November 24

Robin’s Nest, November 24

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 24

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 25

Mamma Loves Books, November 25

Pause for Tales, November 25

Godly Book Reviews, November 26

Lis Loves Reading, November 26

Hallie Reads, November 26

Older & Smarter?, November 27

Texas Book-aholic, November 27

Inklings and notions, November 28

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 28

The Write Escape, November 28

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

Blogging With Carol, November 29

Mary Hake, November 29

For Him and My Family, November 30

Artistic Nobody, November 30 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Betti Mace, December 1

Worthy2Read, December 1

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 1

Lots of Helpers, December 2

Bigreadersite, December 2

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 2

Amanda Tero, blog, December 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 3

For the Love of Literature, December 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 4

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Olivia 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/103f1/what-you-said-to-me-celebration-tour-giveaway

Snuffed Out Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Snuffed Out

Author: Barbara Cornthwaite

Genre: Christian cozy mystery

Release Date: July 24, 2020

Picnics can be murder… scenes.

What was supposed to be a romantic picnic at “their spot” turns criminal when Katrina and Todd stumble—almost literally—over a body.

What’s the college chef doing under a bush up in the mountains? Other than being dead, that is.

Who killed him? Why?

All clues point to people who Katrina is certain didn’t do it. Especially the one who ends up dead himself.

Uh, oh.

Thanks to a slow-burning romantic relationship that can’t seem to get past chapter one, and a determination to save her friend from false arrest, Katrina joins Todd again as they riddle out bizarre clues, weed through unlikely suspects, and learn to communicate on a more personal level.

What do you get when you combine literary humor, sweet romance, and a practical helping of faith? A cozy mystery that’ll keep you guessing. Barbara Cornthwaite’s second Wilkester Mystery has everything you want for a cozy read.

Snag Snuffed Out today.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.

Teaser for Snuffed Out

Todd closed the folder with the Franklin case paperwork in it and laid it on top of the stack of folders waiting to be filed. He almost reached for the Delaney case notes again but resisted the impulse. There was no new information in there, and he’d gone over everything a dozen times in the last few days. He had promised Katrina he wouldn’t give up, but without any new leads to pursue, there wasn’t much he could do.

He shook his head, impatient with himself. He’d been doing so well at putting her out of his mind—hadn’t thought of her all day until this moment. Now he’d probably be struggling for the rest of the day.

John Ortega poked his head into Todd’s office.

“Hey, we just got a call from the librarian at Wilkester College about the theft of a manuscript. The chief said either one of us could go, but I thought you might like to take it.”

“Why?”

“Oh, come on,” said John. “You think I’m blind and deaf?”

“It’s no use. Nothing’s going to happen between Dr. Peters and me.”

John leaned up against the door frame and grinned at him. “’Dr. Peters,’ huh? She was ‘Katrina’ for weeks.”

“Well, that was before. Now that I know a relationship isn’t possible, I need to keep my distance.”

“She turned you down?”

“I didn’t ask, but trust me, I know what I’m talking about.”

“Hmm,” John said. “You don’t usually give up on things so easily. Well, do you mind handling this anyway? I’ve got that other robbery case to deal with, and I’m supposed to be interviewing that guy from Tacoma in a couple hours.” Todd hesitated and John added, “She’s an adjunct professor, right? She’s probably not even on campus now, and she certainly won’t be in the library.”

“Oh, okay.” Todd sighed. He pushed back his chair and stood up.

“’Attaboy. Thanks for taking the call.” John turned to go and then looked back. “It will get easier, you know.”

“I know.” As long as I don’t see her again.

My Review

The Wilkester Mysteries is a series that I hope will continue and result in many volumes. As far as cozy mysteries go, I am rather picky and often find them too fluffy or dull, which is why I lean more toward the suspense genre. However, Barbara Cornthwaite has managed to create a cozy series that has light danger and thrills without inducing nightmares or putting readers to sleep. There is a near-perfect blend of mystery, romance, literature, and faith that both entertains and educates, along with some wry humor for good measure.

For those who have bemoaned the seeming dearth of witty literary fiction focused on historical literature (or at least the knowledge thereof), this series needs to go to the top of your to-read list! Snuffed Out is book two, and in my opinion it is necessary to read book one, Brought to Book, first (read my review HERE). The characters remain consistent and although the crimes differ, the storyline itself continues, and in this case there is not enough backstory in the sequel to sufficiently understand who each person is and what is happening. Katrina narrates both stories in the first person, drawing readers directly into the mysteries and her personal life. My favorite character in the first book, I have to admit that I found Katrina annoying at times in this one, particularly when she begins comparing herself to Todd’s ex-wife. This does demonstrate her humanity, though, and her selflessness is evidenced by how she always takes care of those in need. She still quotes famous classic literature, with a fondness for the work of Jane Austen, applying it to life in unique ways.

Spiritual truths gently permeate the narrative, explaining the Gospel to characters—and readers—in brilliantly simple terms. Todd’s analysis of sin particularly stood out to me and is more relevant than ever during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic: “Sin is dark. All sin is dark. Not just the violent and heart-breaking crimes. That stuff is what evil looks like with the mask off. Sins that don’t seem so bad—losing your temper, telling a white lie, gossiping—is the same dark evil, just with a mask on. But all of it is bad enough to separate us from God. All of it is why Jesus had to die on the cross.” Often enough, we are faced with overwhelming situations that make us feel as if we, like Katrina, are “a turtle walking through tar”, but thankfully, if we walk with the Lord, He gives us the strength and the courage to continue on as Paul exhorts us in Philippians 3:13. In Snuffed Out, fostering is again a significant theme, which is so important in and of itself as well as for the lessons it can teach. Consoling a new foster mom, Katrina tells her: “But just because something turns out to be difficult—or more difficult—than you thought it would be doesn’t mean you don’t deserve help or sympathy.” The same applies to our trials, too, and we have a Savior ready and waiting for us to call on Him!

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, November 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 28

Texas Book-aholic, November 29

Nancy E Wood, November 29

The Avid Reader, November 30

Genesis 5020, November 30

For the Love of Literature, November 30

Sodbusterliving, December 1

Artistic Nobody, December 1 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 2

deb’s Book Review, December 2

Remembrancy, December 3

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 3

Splashes of Joy, December 3

Inklings and notions, December 4

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 4

For Him and My Family, December 5

Blogging With Carol, December 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 6

Emily Yager, December 6

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

Lis Loves Reading, December 7

Labor Not in Vain, December 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 8

Mary Hake, December 8

She Lives to Read, December 9

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 10

Godly Book Reviews, December 10

SusanLovesBooks, December 10

Daysong Reflections, December 11

Bizwings Blog, December 11

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Barbara 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/103f2/snuffed-out-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Gene Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Gene

Author: Timothy Browne

Genre: Medical Thriller

Release Date: July 12, 2020

We are the dwelling place of God—it is woven into our very DNA. Do we change the core of who we are by manipulating our genes? Is gene-therapy a miraculous cure or a slippery slope into eugenics?

Following their marriage, Dr. Nicklaus Hart and Maggie Russell enjoy the splendor and passion of a honeymoon in Hawaii. They learn that their union has brought new life, but the overflowing joy of Maggie’s pregnancy and their romantic getaway is interrupted by the shocking news of a genetic disorder discovered in Maggie’s family lineage. The devastating possibility that both Maggie and the baby carry the mutated gene for the horrific Huntington’s disease, shakes their faith.

Faced with this dreadful diagnosis, Nick and Maggie seek peace as they wrestle with the heartbreaking discovery of a genetic disease versus the knowledge that God is good—He has made their baby in His image and knit him together in Maggie’s womb. Like the millions of people around the world affected with genetic disorders, Nick and Maggie look for answers. With the belief that people are the dwelling place of God, and He is woven into the DNA, what should they do when that DNA has been corrupted?

Nick and Maggie travel to Poland, where the top geneticist, Emmanuelle Christianson, has founded and operates BioGenics whose mission statement is: Advancing the Human Genome. They understand that medical advances always cost something, but they face impossible decisions. They are unaware that the sinister side of genetic research has slithered in from the horrors of Nazi death camps into this modern-day technology. Their journey reveals more than the fight for knowledge, it uncovers a simmering evil left over from World War II. One that puts their lives in danger.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Timothy Browne, MD draws from life and work experience when writing. For many years, he has worked as an orthopaedic surgeon and medical missionary for Operation Blessing, Mercy Ships, and Hope Force International. His work has taken him to Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Brazil, Ukraine, Borneo, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, North Korea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Haiti and Sierra Leone. He now resides in Western Montana with his wife, Julie, who along with their three sons, served with him.

More from Timothy

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Christian Fiction that will get your heart pounding!

After finishing, The Gene, the fourth book in the Dr. Nicklaus Hart Series, I have been able to look back at this body of work. The heart of my prose remains the same: to entertain and educate—fueled with imagination, inspired by history, and grounded in truth. I explored the mystery of North Korea and the threat of bioterrorism in Maya Hope, the complexities of the middle East and the history of Mesopotamia in The Tree of Life, the controversies of Big Pharma and our health in The Rusted Scalpel, and now examine the history of eugenics and the pitfalls of gene-therapy in The Gene.

Writing The Gene has taken significant research: exploration of Poland, investigation of the Nazi doctors and their horrendous medical experiments, the history of eugenics around the world, and of course, the science of genetics. The work has been satisfying, edifying, and many times, heartbreaking.

My Review

Absorbing, tragic, terrifying, and prescient, Timothy Browne’s The Gene may appear intimidating in size and depth, but once embarked upon, this journey moves at lightning speed. It is book 4 in the author’s Dr. Nicklaus Hart series, but I read it as a standalone and did not have any trouble following along; there is enough backstory provided to understand who the characters are. The opening chapters switch between the two main storylines, which converge as the plot progresses, and the prologue hints at what is to come with a disturbing scene from Auschwitz near the end of WWII.

Readers first meet Dr. Emmanuelle Christianson, CEO of the Poland BioGenics facility that researches cutting-edge genetic techniques and trials. A staunch atheist, Emmanuelle has been personally impacted by genetic mutations, and her work is directed, at least in part, by the institution’s wealthy benefactor. In America, Dr. Nicklaus Hart and his wife, Maggie, return early from their honeymoon after the devastating news that Maggie’s mother and brother have a fatal genetic disorder—and so does she. As they seek to trust God, they go to the only place in the world that might be able to provide medical intervention: BioGenics. However, their faith is tested as they learn more about the origin of the research being done and face unbearable decisions. How far is too far?

The Gene exposes so many medical and moral issues that we are currently facing and which will, I suspect, only increase with time. With the completion of the Human Genome Project in the last decade and the major advancements in both testing and treatments that continue to emerge, morality often becomes a gray area. Having studied the Holocaust fairly extensively during college, I am familiar with the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele and the medical atrocities he committed in the name of research. Whether medical knowledge gleaned from the Nazis’ efforts should be used is a major question and source of controversy. There is also a very fine line between eugenics, manipulating the human genome, and overstepping into God’s territory. Is it biblically ok to cut out defective genes? Where do we draw the line? As someone with multiple chronic health conditions, I can empathize with wanting everything to be cured and corrected, but if we manipulate our DNA, we are not relying on our Creator to care for us, nor are we becoming the men and women He created us to be.

In addition to being a thought-provoking thriller, this novel is unique in its execution. The fact that the author is himself a surgeon and can write medical thrillers that are mostly easy to read is a rare find in and of itself. Someone with little or no medical knowledge may feel a bit overwhelmed with the terminology, but it is clearly a medical thriller, after all, and the author takes time to explain within the text by disguising the information as dialogue. I enjoyed the chapter titles, which is something I almost never see any more in adult fiction. However, there are a couple of issues that I have. I was dismayed to find cursing in the narrative; granted, it is attributable to the secular characters, but in my opinion there are other ways to convey this without having to put down actual profanities. Likewise, the scenes of intimacy bothered me; I purposely choose Christian literature to avoid those kinds of things. I would add a trigger warning for content about rape, abortion, infidelity, euthanasia, and manipulating DNA. These do play crucial roles in the plot and are hot-button issues, so I understand why they have been included.

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, November 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 15

Texas Book-aholic, November 16

Genesis 5020, November 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 17

Betti Mace, November 18

deb’s Book Review, November 18

Inklings and notions, November 19

For Him and My Family, November 20

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 20

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 21

Rebecca Tews, November 22

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 23

For the Love of Literature, November 24

amandainpa, November 25

Artistic Nobody, November 25 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Emily Yager, November 26

Blogging With Carol, November 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 27

Pause for Tales, November 27

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, Timothy 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/1039f/the-gene-celebration-tour-giveaway

God Will Make You Whole: A Book Review of Jan Drexler’s “Softly Blows the Bugle”

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Amish fiction is a somewhat newer subgenre of Christian fiction for me, one that I’ve been reading for only a few years. Growing up about an hour and a half from Ohio Amish Country and visiting there often, I had some familiarity with the culture, and reading well-researched novels has offered additional insight. I do, however, find Amish historical fiction to be just as fascinating. This series is the first that I’ve ever read about the Amish during the Civil War era, and this third book especially sheds light on the unique impacts on their communities.

In Jan Drexler’s Softly Blows the Bugle, book three of The Amish of Weaver’s Creek, the Civil War has recently ended, and Jonas Weaver returns home. With him is Aaron Zook, a former Confederate soldier who lost his leg in battle and his faith when his mother died years earlier. Two generations removed from his Amish heritage, he is determined to head west to escape all that he’s lost; likewise, Jonas’s sister, Elizabeth Kaufman, struggles under the burden of her own tainted past. When a stranger arrives in town, he may hold the key to helping them both move on.

While this book can be read as a standalone, I would encourage readers to go through the series in order for the most fulfilling experience and to meet all of the main characters in depth. Each story makes more of an emotional impact if readers understand the background. The Weaver’s Creek community, by and large, serves as an example of what the body of Christ is meant to be: welcoming and loving, without compromising its convictions. The kinship is so heartwarming; despite his previous sympathies and being an Englischer, Aaron finds loving care and acceptance, which in turn allows for healing of more than just his physical body. In a similar manner, the Amish response to slavery and segregation plays out through interactions with the former slave named Dulcey. Another interesting aspect of this story is the disagreement between the Weaver’s Creek traditionalists and the more liberal Amish from other districts. In so many ways, these kinds of situations and issues reflect what we are dealing with today, reminding us that everyone has hardships and struggles, and that we are not as different from each other as we may seem.

Redemption and second chances are themes heavily interwoven into Softly Blows the Bugle. Drexler takes her characters through the emotions and doubts of the journey to forgiveness and to surrendering to God, and one of the beautiful facets of it is how God can use other people to draw the hurting to Himself. As Aaron begins to realize, “Grandpop had always told him that the Amish were high and mighty, bragging about their special place in God’s eyes, but Elizabeth didn’t seem to be like that at all. Her whisper…maybe he wasn’t meant to hear it…but her whisper betrayed a brokenness as deep as his own.” With brokenness comes pain and messy situations; sensitive readers may want to be forewarned that there are a few brief scenes of violence and brief discussions about past trauma. In my opinion, they are not graphic and do fit in with the time period and plot. There is one scene that stretched credulity for me, but it didn’t detract from the story overall. I think that Casper Zook says it best: “No man is whole when he is by himself. All of us are broken on the inside until we find our place with God—broken, sore, and weary. Your brokenness is visible, but the solution is the same as it is for any other man. God will make you whole.

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

How Do I Love Thee: A Book Review of Joanna Davidson Politano’s “The Love Note”

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I’ll be honest. I almost didn’t request this title. The vintage cover drew me in, though, and a fleeting glimpse at the synopsis made it sound promising, so even though I’m not much of a romance reader, I decided to give it a chance. Oh my word. I am fairly certain that this is going to be my favorite new release of 2020, and most likely the best fictional romance (historical or otherwise) that I’ve read to date. Very rarely, if ever, do I use the word “swoon-worthy,” but I have to say, this book fits that description perfectly, while also being tempestuous and haunting.

The Love Note is the first of Joanna Politano’s novels that I’ve read, despite her previous works being on my to-read list, and I now find myself wondering why I waited so long! From the first chapter, I was engaged in the story, and unlike so many others, this is one that does not lag at any point. Politano seamlessly blends an assortment of genres that keeps readers on their toes: romance, mystery, history, spirituality. As the final third of the story unfolds, the twists are so beautifully executed for maximum impact, right through the final chapter. Willa Duvall herself proclaims early on: “I had been right all along—the letter I’d found in that desk was a piece of something much larger, a story more epic than mere romance.” Nothing is clear-cut until the ending, and I love that! What’s more, Politano meaningfully brings all of the storylines together into one glorious whole.

With echoes of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, The Love Note reads like a classic. Politano’s writing style reflects that of the nineteenth century but is free of antiquated words or phrases, thereby making this an easy-to-read book. That is not to say, however, that no hard issues arise within the story. On the contrary, for all of the romance, there is also a fair share of tragedy, as Willa notes immediately: “but I couldn’t shake the tenor of underlying romance lurking in the shadows of this house. It was there, pulsing and sweeping through like a ghost, even if everyone attempted to stifle and deny it.” Through characters such as Celeste, Willa, and Aunt Maisie (a personal favorite), the importance of using one’s voice for encouraging others and the significance of women’s rights is subtly explored. Pithy epigraphs called “A scientist’s observations on love” open each chapter, and a shifting narrative voice allows for the exploration of multiple points of view. The majority of the narrative is comprised of Willa’s story as told by the character herself in the first person, and occasionally another character with whom her story intersects provides a third-person account of something happening to them. Even as readers privileged with this omniscience, though, the surprises are astounding.

As with any Christian-based novel, the best attribute is transformation, and The Love Note achieves this remarkably well. Remarkably because the characters change their hearts and attitudes in spite of their fear and in spite of the leap of faith needed to do so. Willa realizes this in her own quest, remarking, “What makes the past so intriguing, anyway? Perhaps because understanding those stories that so enchant us, those ghostly echoes of long-ago mistakes and passions, means untangling the present and changing the future.” May we glean wisdom from the past as we all strive toward the bright future that awaits us as believers in Christ.

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

Saving Mount Rushmore Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Saving Mount Rushmore

Author: Andrea Jo Rodgers

Genre: Middle grade fiction

Release Date: April 15, 2018

When John Jenkins’ parents ship him off to stay with his aunt, he’s certain it will be the worst summer ever—until he learns he’s been accepted into a top-secret school. St. Michael’s Academy is home to gifted students with extraordinary talents. Although John has no idea why he’s there, he’s assigned to Team Liberty, who assist authorities with solving low-level crimes. Their first mission: stop a trio of mischief-making teens from vandalizing Mount Rushmore. John battles feelings of inferiority as he and Team Liberty compete against Devlin Black and his cronies to track down clues and solve puzzles at Mount Rushmore. Along the way, John makes several key contributions, and his self-confidence grows. When he discovers he was admitted to the school due to a clerical error, he’s mortified. Now, he’s strictly an “observer” until the mission’s end. But when his teammates run into trouble, John must summon up the courage to save Mount Rushmore, and he learns an invaluable lesson: every person has special God-given gifts—including him.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Andrea Jo Rodgers is the author of award-winning Christian middle grade fiction as well as inspirational adult nonfiction novels. She holds a clinical doctorate in physical therapy and specializes in women’s health, orthopedics, and lymphedema. She has served her community as a volunteer emergency medical technician for over thirty years, responding to more than 8,200 first aid and fire calls. She lives on the east coast with her husband, two children, and their two rescue dogs, a Shih Tzu and a Dachshund.

More from Andrea

Can John embrace his God-given gifts in time to save Mount Rushmore?

Have you ever admired the extraordinary talent of another person? Perhaps you enjoyed listening to someone belt out a spellbinding rendition of your favorite song at church or a concert. Or, maybe you have dreamed that you’d gain the same athletic prowess of a professional sports player.

The amazing gifts of others can take many forms. These gifts may be linked with intelligence, such as an aptitude for math and engineering. They may reflect the beauty of the arts through singing, dancing, or painting. Certain individuals may dazzle the people around them with incredible athletic talents, from gold-medal Olympians to professional baseball, football, and basketball players.

Most people consider extraordinary talents to be God-given gifts. They allow people to stand out and shine among others. However, do each of us need a breathtaking talent to be considered special?

In Saving Mount Rushmore, John Jenkins, an awkward thirteen-year-old teenager, is unexpectedly chosen to attend Saint Michael the Archangel Academy. The top-secret school’s mission is to protect our nation by assisting authorities in solving crimes. Since the academy is for students with extraordinary abilities, John is puzzled as to why he’s been accepted. After all, he’s an average teen without any notable gifts.

While working with Team Liberty to save Mount Rushmore from Devlin Black and Team Mischief, John struggles to discover his special gifts. He’s mortified when he discovers that he’s been accepted to the academy due to a clerical error. He becomes strictly an “observer” until the mission’s end. But when his teammates run into trouble, John must summon up the courage to try to save Mount Rushmore. He learns that every person has special God-given gifts—including him.

I came up with the idea for Saving Mount Rushmore while in the airport, just before our plane departed for the famous landmark. I wrote feverishly the entire flight, and the first chapters were born. Saving Mount Rushmore is a middle grade novel which combines information about Mount Rushmore, adventure, and Christian values. My goal was to write an exciting, fun, educational book for middle grade readers that incorporates Christian values into the fabric of the story. John and his friends have an opportunity to save another national monument in the sequel, Saving the Statue of Liberty. I hope you celebrate our country’s heritage by joining John and Team Liberty in their adventures.

My Review

For God and Country.

Going into Saving Mount Rushmore, I had no idea what it was about aside from the obvious location and the fact that it was a middle-grade novel. While reading, I kept asking myself if I would have enjoyed it had I been the target age group, and I think that I would have due to the historical connection. The idea of going on secret spy missions provided plenty of fodder for the imagination when I was growing up, and reading this book made me feel, in some ways, like a kid again. Author Andrea Jo Rodgers does a nice job with the main cast of characters, starting with 13-year-old John Jenkins, who will be spending the summer at his great-aunt Martha’s Winding River Ranch. I felt the most kinship with Annabelle the bookworm, and also with the shyness of John himself.

This is a good book for illustrating how we can work together to achieve a common goal. St. Michael’s Archangel Academy is “a top-secret school that helps authorities fight crime” in the words of Aunt Martha, and each of the students has a special gift. Except for John, who does not know if he has a gift or what it might be. How the other kids in his assigned group, Team Liberty, respond with complete acceptance and support is heartwarming and encouraging in a society that far too often teems with bullies. Similarly, Shaniqua and her stressful home life evoke her fellow members’ empathy. So refreshing! To keep things from becoming too idealistic, there are villains, too, in the form of other kids who do their best to foil Team Liberty’s mission. As a bit of an aside, I would like to comment on the seemingly negligent adults, with the exception of Aunt Martha, because it does irk me. John’s parents are too busy to take time for him on a normal day, and they do not seem to prioritize their kids, while Mr. Jorgenson seems rather indifferent and callous.

One of the things that drew me to this book in the first place is that it is written from a Christian worldview, as evidenced in the series title. God is mentioned a few times throughout the book, and on one occasion John offers a prayer for a meal he shares with his aunt and the ranch foreman, but faith does not seem to be as integral a topic as I thought that it would. I had been hoping for more, but this is book one of the series, so maybe the second book contains more specifically Christian content.

If you’re looking for a realistic, true-to-life middle-grade story, this book isn’t it. But if you can suspend your disbelief and enjoy a tale that mixes an authentic American landmark with a dash of fantasy and the adventure of being a kid, then Saving Mount Rushmore is worth checking out.

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, November 18

For the Love of Literature, November 18

The Avid Reader, November 19

Texas Book-aholic, November 20

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 21

For Him and My Family, November 22

Mary Hake, November 22

Older & Smarter?, November 23

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 23

Inklings and notions, November 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 25

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 25

Vicky Sluiter, November 26

deb’s Book Review, November 27

Simple Harvest Reads, November 27 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 28

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

Captive Dreams Window, November 29

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 1

Blossoms and Blessings, December 1

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Andrea is giving away the grand prize package of a signed copy of Saving Mount Rushmore: Saint Michael the Archangel Academy, Mission 1 as well as 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/103a5/saving-mount-rushmore-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Home Where the Buffalo Roam: A Book Review of Regina Scott’s “Nothing Short of Wondrous”

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She laid her head against his chest, as if listening to the sound of his heart. And his heart, the heart he’d buried eight years ago in Oregon, beat harder. For her.

Wyoming is one state that I’ve always wanted to visit. In my mind I always picture it as a place of forested wilderness because my grandpap worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps there in the 1930s. Reading about Yellowstone National Park and the incredible terrain of the surrounding area somewhat surprised me. It isn’t a place that I would feel comfortable living in, at least not as it is in the novel, but I do think that it would make for an unforgettable visit, and I certainly enjoyed the time I spent there with the characters in this story.

Aptly named Nothing Short of Wondrous, this second book in Regina Scott’s American Wonders Collection, which can be read as a standalone, plunges readers into life at Yellowstone about 14 years after it has been recognized as a national park. Featuring a young, widowed proprietor named Kate Tremaine, Scott brings to light the challenges of maintaining the integrity and purity of the land and wildlife, particularly the bison, a task given to the U.S. Cavalry. Determined to protect her home and her son through her livelihood, Kate agrees to serve as a guide to the soldiers, including Lieutenant William Prescott, whose past haunts him. As they work together through several harrowing situations, they both begin to heal from the guilt that has caused each to shutter their heart.

As much as I admire and love the main characters, the story would not be as fun or as complete without the secondary cast. There is seven-year-old Danny, of course, and the selectively mute but courageous Caleb. My personal favorites are Mrs. Pettijohn and Miss Pringle, spirited sisters who encourage and add light humor to just about every situation. There are a few characters whose motives I questioned, and I will leave it to fellow readers to tease out their own theories about these.

Within the pages of this novel lies a message that resounds clearly in these chaotic days: that God alone is in control. No matter how much we plan and prepare, the unexpected is an inevitability. That is why we need to mature in our faith, spend time with God in His Word, and truly come to know Him, because when we do, we can rest assured that He knows the end from the beginning and that nothing will ever happen outside of His will. As Kate remarks, “I’m learning that God wants to hear from us. He wants to hear from you too.

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