Tag Archives: christian fiction

The Heart of the Mountains Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Heart of the Mountains

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance

Release date: July 1, 2022

Can their hearts overcome the darkness of the mountains?

To escape a forced marriage, Cora Taylor travels from England to the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of her brother, who is working as a teacher in a mission school. She hopes to find a place where her nursing skills and independent ideas will be accepted and appreciated, but nothing prepares her for the wild mixture of isolation, community, brokenness, and hope within these mountains…or in the person of Jeb McAdams.

Returning from the devastation of World War 1 emotionally damaged, Jeb McAdams struggles against the rampant mountain alcoholism to soothe his nightmares. It’s easy to hide within the mountains, or it was, before Cora Taylor arrived. Now, she seems to show up at every turn, bringing her modern ideas, curiosity, and beautiful eyes with her.

Bound by their shared war history, the pair develop an unlikely friendship, which unexpectedly hints to something more. But when Cora’s desire to help the women of the mountains crosses an unspoken line, will Jeb be able to protect this feisty flatlander from the wrath of the mountain men or will he end up losing much more than his heart?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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

You can learn more about Pepper at her website http://www.pepperdbasham.com or connect with her on FB, IG, or Twitter.

More from Pepper

It’s so interesting how one idea can influence an entire series, or…how one person’s story can.

The idea for The Heart of the Mountains started in Laurel’s Dream with a hint of a family history story about a girl named Kizzie. (Someday, I hope to bring Kizzie’s story to the pages of a book). From there, the idea began to grow out of a love for my Appalachian culture into a series of books which highlighted (and fictionalized) stories from my family history.

The main story in The Heart of the Mountains is about Jeb and Cora, two different people with similar servant hearts, but the secondary story that touched me so much was the one based on my great grandfather’s life. I write about it in the Author’s Note at the end of the novel, so I won’t go into detail about it. However, what I loved getting to do is bring the truth of God’s redemption in my great grandfather’s life…to life again.

I never knew “Papa Rat”. I only knew the stories handed down to me by my granny and my mama, but in writing this story, I feel as though I had a tiny opportunity to “meet” him in these pages. He was a gruff mountain man with a broken past which led him to make a whole lot of broken choices, but his story is incredibly encouraging, because it points to the God of broken people. My great grandpa wasn’t left in his brokenness, but, after years of running away from God, he would later recount that God pursued him. The beauty of Sam McAdams’ journey in The Heart of the Mountains is only a little glimpse into what I imagine my great grandpa’s redemption story looked like.

Because my great grandpa was forever changed when Jesus saved him (as any of us should be).

I think that’s what my granny and her siblings (and even “Papa Rat” himself) would want most -that his story would point to Jesus. I hope that’s what you see when you read about Sam McAdams in The Heart of the Mountains.

Have you ever read a book based on family history? One of my favorites is Catherine Marshall’s Christy.

My Review

Pepper Basham is one of those rare authors whose work I pick up without question, knowing that it will end up being one of the best books I’ll read that year. What makes it more remarkable is that I mostly steer away from romance-driven novels, yet here I sit after finishing The Heart of the Mountains, thinking that if another author had attempted this story, I likely would have found it overdone, but as it is, I feel a sense of fulfillment. It occurred to me that while some of the circumstances in the story seemed almost too providential or too sweet at times, there is a reason that our hearts ultimately long for these outcomes, and a reason to include them in Christian fiction. Just as the stories of some characters will reflect the fallen, broken nature of humanity, some may also point to the love Christ has for each of us. After all, happily-ever-after IS real for born-again followers of Jesus!

With its 1919 Appalachian Blue Ridge Mountains setting, The Heart of the Mountains is primarily a romance, complete with the inherent challenges, dangers, and customs therein. Cora Taylor arrives in Maple Springs after fleeing her family’s upper-class home in England to avoid being forced into an unwanted marriage, following the earlier path of her brother, who teaches at a local mission school. In spite of her experience on the war front over the past year, she still finds herself overwhelmed by how primitive her new surroundings are, and determined to prove herself, she considers that “Surely, she couldn’t just entrust everything to God. She’d had to fight so hard to make her place in a world where people thought she was too young to manage the devastation of nursing in war and too ‘female’ to do anything but end up as the wife of a rich man.” Even today, the struggle lives on, whether it’s based on gender bias or any other form of preconception. It is so much easier to try to take matters into our own hands than it is to trust the One who is truly in control. However, as the longsuffering Caroline McAdams wisely tells Cora, “But prayin’ is where we admit we ain’t the lords of our own lives, nor of any lives, to be true. And, as I study on it, God uses prayin’ to change my heart into what He’s wantin’ it to be in sun or rain, ‘cause I’m trustin’ His love and His plan.” This profound statement speaks to the place where our will and God’s will come into alignment, which is when mountains are moved and miracles happen.

There are a myriad of life lessons contained within The Heart of the Mountains, all gently stemming from the truth of Scripture. As Cora observes and experiences more of the mountain life, she begins to realize the beauty and goodness amidst the hardship. Having less doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is worse off. Cora herself admits to local resident Jeb McAdams: “But I’ve felt more alive and more myself in the middle of the hardest days, than I ever felt in the easiest. There was purpose and this…this joy in making a difference, in offering even the smallest hope to those who were hurting or heartbroken. I don’t think I would have seen it before in my gilded world, but I do now. And I don’t wish to go back to what I was before.” Likewise, as is the case with life today, most of those in bad situations do not want to stay there and did not land there intentionally. Acting with kindness and love will always accomplish more, and as we live out the gospel, we will find more ways to share it with those who need it the most.

While a sequel to Laurel’s Dream, which offers more backstory on the secondary characters, The Heart of the Mountains can be read as a standalone. It is such an inspirational, uplifting story that will touch every reader regardless of background. On a personal note, I love that Basham included a dulcimer in one of the scenes; my mom, who passed away last year, played the mountain dulcimer, and it’s rare to find it in a novel. Speaking of loss, Cora’s statement to Jeb resonated with me as well: “We trust that God’s love for us and the people we’ve lost is even bigger than ours for them. And so, whatever He’s chosen for their lives is a much better plan than one we can imagine.” Our relationship with the Lord is based on trust and our eternal hope in Him, and as with her other novels, Pepper Basham perfectly exemplifies this with The Heart of the Mountains.

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

Bizwings Blog, July 28

Rachael’s Inkwell, July 28

Bigreadersite, July 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 29

Texas Book-aholic, July 29

Inklings and notions, July 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 30

Boondock Ramblings, July 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 31

Reading With Emily, July 31

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

lakesidelivingsite, August 1

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, August 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 1

Daysong Reflections, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 2

Live. Love. Read., August 2

Betti Mace, August 3

Book Looks by Lisa, August 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 3

Remembrancy, August 4

For Him and My Family, August 4

Blossoms and Blessings, August 4

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 5

By the Book, August 5

Wishful Endings, August 5

For the Love of Literature, August 6

Books, Books and More Books, August 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 6

Connie’s History Classroom, August 7

SodbusterLiving, August 7

Splashes of Joy, August 7

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 8

Back Porch Reads, August 9

Through the Fire Blogs, August 9

Pause for Tales, August 9

Labor Not in Vain, August 10

Miriam Jacob, August 10

To Everything There Is A Season, August 10

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e- gift card and a paperback 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/20389/the-heart-of-the-mountains-celebration-tour-giveaway

Vanished Without a Trace Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Vanished Without a Trace

Author: Sarah Hamaker

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: June 28, 2022

A missing person case. A new clue. And a fight for survival.

After nine years searching for his missing sister, attorney Henderson Parker uncovers a clue that leads him to Twin Oaks, Virginia—and podcaster Elle Updike investigating the case. Partnering with the journalist is the last thing Henderson wants, until mysterious thugs make multiple attacks on both their lives. Now they’ll have to trust each other…before the suspected kidnappers make them disappear for good.

Click HERE to get you copy!

About the Author

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Sarah Hamaker loves writing books “where the hero and heroine fall in love while running for their lives.” She’s written romantic suspense novels and nonfiction books, as well as stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul volumes. As a writers coach, her heart is encouraging writers. She’s a member of ACFW; ACFW Virginia Chapter; and Faith, Hope and Love, as well as the president of Capital Christian Writers Fellowship. Her podcast, “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” can be found wherever you listen to podcasts. Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband, four teenagers, a preschool foster child and three cats. Visit her online at sarahhamakerfiction.com.

More from Sarah

As a podcaster myself, I’ve listened to many true crime podcasts, such as “Up and Vanished” and “Accused,” so when I was thinking about the plot for Vanished Without a Trace, I decided to have my heroine be a true crime podcaster investigating cold missing persons cases. I also am fascinated by unsolved mysteries, probably because I love history, and have a strong sense of justice—I want those who commit crimes to be caught. Of course, as a Christian, I do rest in the assurance of God as the ultimate and only truly righteous Judge, but I do find myself rooting for cold cases to be solved and criminals brought to justice. Thus the book combines my two of my interests—cold cases and true crime.

Personally, I can’t imagine anything more difficult than to have a loved one go missing and never be found or heard from again. The uncertainty of their fate must weigh very heavily on the family members left behind. I wanted to capture some of that with Henderson’s strong desire to find his missing sister, Helena, and reunite her with their mother. He’s seen how much Helena’s absence has taken a toll on their mother’s health and mental well-being, and when he has a chance to chase down the first real lead in years, he jumps at it.

Elle’s motives are no less personal than Henderson’s—her own heart aches for these grieving families. Having distant parents, she wants to help families heal by discovering what happened to a loved one if possible. But Henderson doesn’t trust her motives and the two clash more often than not over her podcast.

I hope you enjoy seeing how Elle and Henderson learn to work together to find Helena…and perhaps, their own happy ending.

My Review

There’s something about disappearances that is both intriguing and chill-inducing. As a mystery reader, I tend to gravitate toward those which involve disappearances because they are often more challenging and can offer any number of outcomes. That, combined with the fact that I had not previously read anything by Sarah Hamaker, compelled me to read Vanished Without a Trace. I went into the book blindly, solely viewing the title and cover and only reading the summary on the back cover after finishing the story, and I would personally recommend this to future readers, especially those who don’t wish to know any plot points ahead of time. The novel is enjoyable either way, and this is a personal preference, so it does not affect my rating; it’s simply a suggestion based on my experience.

A diverse cast of characters and a savvy use of modern technology make Vanished Without a Trace an interesting romantic suspense tale, complete with a bit of humor peppered in to lighten the tension. As is characteristic of the Love-Inspired Suspense series, there is relentless action rivaling that of a TV movie, with the same high stakes, to boot. The nearly decade-old vanishing of Henderson Parker’s sister, Helena, has set him on a quest to find her, following any and every lead until he winds up in Twin Oaks, Virginia. Podcaster and journalist Elle Updike is similarly pursuing the cold case for her show, and when dangerous threats are manifested, Henderson realizes he has to join forces with Elle, despite his dislike of journalists. Elle brings important investigative techniques she has learned from her prior experiences and from online research, underscoring the ubiquity of such resources. I appreciated her character and how she contributed to the story, but it didn’t seem to me that she or Henderson grew much as characters throughout the course of the novel, as their approaches did not change, which I admittedly found frustrating at times. Henderson’s stubbornness was, however, counterbalanced by loyalty and compassion.

Vanished Without a Trace also focuses on relationships and the impact of trauma. Several of the characters have had poor relationship experiences in the past, and Hamaker demonstrates how the lingering effects impact the present. This is particularly notable with Henderson, as “His guilt over failing to find Helena had eaten away at his ability to have a relationship with anyone, leaving him with a hollow hole where his heart had been.” I do wish that the faith element would have been more prominent; the faith theme naturally coalesces with the plot, and I would love to see it further emphasized. The challenges which the characters encounter are relevant to those facing society today, and the ultimate solution is the same as well: trusting the Lord with our concerns and seeking Him above all else.

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, July 25

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, July 25

Bizwings Blog, July 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 27

Through the Fire Blogs, July 27

Betti Mace, July 28

For the Love of Literature, July 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 29

Pause for Tales, July 29

Texas Book-aholic, July 30

Inklings and notions, July 31

Genesis 5020, August 1

Bigreadersite, August 1

For Him and My Family, August 2

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 3

Livin’ Lit, August 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 4

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 5

Paula’s Persuasion, August 5

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

Blogging With Carol, August 7

Mary Hake, August 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sarah is giving away the grand prize package of a Vanished Without a Trace branded tote bag, Vanished Without a Trace pin, a print copy of the book, plus a $75 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/1ffe1/vanished-without-a-trace-celebration-tour-giveaway

Finding Harmony Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Finding Harmony

Authors: Alyssa Roat and Hope Bolinger

Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance

Release date: July 5, 2022

Can two people-pleasing musicians win the grand prize, or will they be forced to give up music for good?

Newly hired worship leader Elijah Peterson can’t seem to catch a break with his church’s congregation. With conflicting demands from congregants, he struggles to find a way to make everyone happy, especially Don, a man who’s rumored to have driven out the last worship leader.

Music teacher Olivia “Liv” Wilson says yes to everything—piano lessons, church volunteering, extra shifts—all while struggling to help pay her dad’s medical bills. As jobs fall through, she’s hit with even worse news—with bills piling up, they could lose her childhood home.

When their meddling roommates force Elijah and Liv into a cooking class together, the two come up with a plan. They’ll enter an indie songwriting competition—with a cash prize that could be enough to save Liv’s house. And maybe if Elijah can win, his musical family and congregation will finally take him seriously.

But winning the competition might mean losing themselves in the process. Can they find a way to strike harmony between writing songs they love and songs the audience wants to hear?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Authors

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Hope Bolinger and Alyssa Roat are the authors of nearly twenty books both independently and co-authored. They have worked in a wide variety of roles within the publishing industry as agents, editors, writers, journalists, and publicists. When not writing, Hope is a theater nerd who loves to hike, and Alyssa is a history nerd and game enthusiast. Both are proud cat moms. You can learn more about them on social media @hopekbolinger and @alyssawrote.

More from Alyssa

In college, Hope and I (Alyssa) didn’t know the word “no.” After all, our professors, advisors, and chapel speakers all told us, “Say yes to every opportunity. Volunteer for everything. If you don’t do it now, it will be too late. Your career will fail. You won’t please God. Etc. Etc.”

So we followed that advice, and we well-nigh burned ourselves out. Faced with a litany of health issues caused by overworking, we realized after college that maybe we had taken things too far. So we began to work on unlearning this mindset.

To this day, we have to call each other and ask, “Is it okay if I turn down this unpaid opportunity? If I don’t have time for this volunteer work? Will people be mad at me?”

We channeled a lot of this people-pleasing into Finding Harmony. As we recovered from overworking ourselves, our characters Elijah and Liv learned that they didn’t need to do everything. As we fell back in love with writing for the sake of the art, not for the A+, our characters discovered how to remain true to their music.

We hope you enjoy reading Finding Harmony as much as we enjoyed writing it—and we encourage you to follow God’s call on your life, regardless of expectations.

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

I started dictating stories to my parents long before I knew how to write. By kindergarten, I started filling notebooks with my scrawling, near-illegible writing. I don’t know when exactly I decided I wanted to be a writer, but I chose publishing as a career in late high school when I decided on Taylor University’s professional writing degree for college.

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

I have a full-time job in marketing, and I also manage a speculative fiction imprint, so writing gets squeezed in after work, during lunch breaks, on the weekends…there isn’t much of a schedule, just frantic typing whenever I can.

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

In Finding Harmony, I relate most to our female lead, Liv. Liv has a hard time saying no and tries to do everything for everyone, but she’s running on fumes. She just doesn’t want to let anyone down. As she and Elijah work to overcome their people-pleasing tendencies, I think Hope and I saw ourselves in the story, as we learn to have realistic expectations of ourselves and learn how to set boundaries in life.

Do you ever hide things in your stories for readers to find?

All the time! We like to plant little Easter egg references to our previous books in new books, whether mentioning characters in passing or making a joke for readers of previous titles to notice. Sometimes we unobtrusively stick our friends in as background characters and wait for the text message of, “Wait, is this character me??” And sometimes we mention the names of books we like within the book, for example the romances our librarian character enjoys.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read a lot and write a lot! Nothing will prepare you better for writing than reading lots of books in your genre, especially books that have released within the last five years. And besides, it’s a lot of fun!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 20

Spoken from the Heart, July 21 (Author Interview)

The Sacred Line, July 21

Texas Book-aholic, July 22

Inklings and notions, July 23

For Him and My Family, July 24

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

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, July 25

deb’s Book Review, July 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 28

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 30

Splashes of Joy, July 31 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 1

Blogging With Carol, August 2

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Hope and Alyssa are giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and Picture Imperfect and Finding Harmony, in preferred format (paperback U.S. only)!!

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/1f7f6/finding-harmony-celebration-tour-giveaway

Oddball Ornaments Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Oddball Ornaments

Author: Terry Overton

Genre: Middle Grade Christmas Story

Release date: November 16, 2021

The ornaments in the attic are excited. It’s almost Turkey Day, and they know when they start smelling turkey, they’re going to be pulled down out of the attic and hung on a tree for the humans to enjoy. After all, Box Day is all about admiring the ornaments, isn’t it? But when Grandma joins them for Turkey Day instead of Box Day and brings a bunch of new ornaments with her, the Oddball Ornaments know something isn’t right. Determined to find out the source of Grandma’s sadness and what Box Day is really about, Nutcracker sets out on a quest to climb to the top of the tree to ask Angel about the true meaning of Christmas and discovers the truth is much more wonderful than they could ever have imagined.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Terry Overton is a retired university professor of educational and school psychology. She has an Ed.D. in Special Education and a Ph.D. in Psychology. Her professional experience includes teaching public school, teaching at the university level, and being a college dean. She has two children and six grandchildren. Her writing and publication experiences include textbook and journal articles in the fields of special education and school psychology. She seeks to answer God’s call to share the good news and grow the church by writing Christian books and devotionals. Her book Both Sides of the Border is a Firebird Book Award winner in the categories of Cross-Genre, Socio-Political Fiction, and Women’s Fiction. Both Sides of the Border also won the American Writing Awards in the Multicultural Fiction category, Social Change category, and a finalist for the Women’s Fiction category. Her book, America of We the People was awarded the Firebird Book Award for Socio-Political and Political categories. She and her husband live in the southern tip of Texas where they enjoy semi-tropical weather and spending time with their friends and family.

More from Terry

Oddball Ornaments: The Story of Christmas was written one late fall while I looked at my own Christmas tree. I wondered, “If the ornaments could talk, what would they say? Would they even know why they were hung on the tree?” And that was how the book began. I played Christmas music and imagined a cast of characters like toys in Toy Story but ornaments and humans. It was such fun to write. I ran a few things by my regional experts (grand Angels) and they approved. It always means so much more when family are involved in my writing projects.

Not long after the book was out, the sequel was completed, and it will be released late summer 2022. “Oddball Ornaments: The Story of Forgiveness.”

I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it!

My Review

A short but sweet children’s chapter book, Terry Overton’s Oddball Ornaments: The Story of Christmas retells the Christmas story from the perspective of a small group of ornaments. Though not the first tale told about anthropomorphic objects during the holiday season, this one stands out for its succinct life lessons and for the unique incorporation of the reason for Christmas. I love Overton’s choice of “oddball” ornaments, which they themselves define as “unique, unmatched, or special ornaments, unlike any other.” In an era when bullying is far too common, demonstrating that being oneself—who God created each of us to be—is a blessing and should be embraced rather than seen as something to be embarrassed about or ashamed of, is crucial. Likewise, the theme of working together and reaching out to others both to give and receive help is essential.

Among the ornaments, Nutcracker serves largely as a main character due to his role in the story, leading the quest for answers when new ornaments arrive for decorating the tree and Grandma seems sad. The ornaments decide that Nutcracker should ask Angel, who is at the top of the tree, about the true meaning of Christmas. Overton manages to explain this concisely through Angel, revealing the egocentric view that we all have until we come to know the Gospel: “This was news to Nutcracker. His whole world was being turned upside down. He thought he knew everything. He thought he understood all about the decorating, the singing, the staring at the tree, and the boxes and all of the stuff in the boxes.” Angel tells Nutcracker that in order to truly understand and find the answers to the ornaments’ questions, he has to visit the place at the bottom of the tree, advising, “I have faith in you. I know that you can. But you must decide that you want to find out, and you must decide to climb down to see.” This hearkens back to Matthew 7:7-8: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Furthermore, this underscores the fact that Jesus must be personally experienced. The way in which Overton inserts Scriptural truths into the narrative naturally via inference is very fitting for a young audience and leaves room for adults to explain these connections if they are reading the book to or with children.

My only criticisms of this story are really nitpicks on my part, and I’ll mention them briefly, but they do not lessen my overall enjoyment of this book. Because angels are not women, I did have a few qualms about Angel and her role, but obviously due to the nature of the story, her character is understandable. Also, there is mention of a Bible ornament that the characters should read, but it seems that they don’t, as Nutcracker continues to get the answers from Angel. Again, I very much enjoyed this story, and I do recommend Oddball Ornaments: The Story of Christmas.

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

Texas Book-aholic, July 2

Inklings and notions, July 3

Lights in the Dark World, July 4

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 5

Girls in White Dresses, July 6

Older & Smarter?, July 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 8

For Him and My Family, July 9

deb’s Book Review, July 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 11

Mary Hake, July 11

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, July 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 13

For the Love of Literature, July 12

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 14

Blogging With Carol, July 15

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Terry is giving away the grand prize package 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/1f7f2/oddball-ornaments-celebration-tour-giveaway

Undercover Assignment Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Undercover Assignment

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Suspense

Release date: June 28, 2022

This K-9 will stop at nothing to keep a child safe.

When a little boy is threatened, Officer Daniella Vargas and K-9 partner, Zara, are assigned to pose as his nanny to uncover the culprit’s identity. Suspecting one of the guests in his inn, widower Sam Kavanaugh’s only option is to begrudgingly trust Daniella and Zara to help. But can they solve the case and its mysterious connection to Sam’s late wife before it’s too late?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Dana Mentink is a USA TODAY and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author. She’s written more than forty mystery and suspense novels for Love Inspired Suspense, Harvest House, and Poisoned Pen Press. She is honored to have received two ACFW Carol Awards, a Holt Medallion Award, and a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. Please visit her on the web at www.danamentink.com to sign up for her newsletter, or find her on Twitter, Facebook and Bookbub.

More from Dana

What a joy to participate in a series with seven other talented authors! A continuity series is a set of books, each written by a different author, and each with its own suspense plot along with an overarching series plot and characters. It’s a very complicated project to complete, but the fantastic part is chatting, collaborating, and sometimes commiserating with other writers. What a rare treat, since most of our work is done alone in dark rooms with computer screens and bottomless cups of coffee! This series was especially fun to write because of the whole wilderness lodge setting which is my favorite type of story. Picture it! Ancient cliff dwellings, a freak electrical storm, twenty-four hours with no power and a killer on the loose! That’s my kind of suspense novel. I hope you will enjoy this multi author series as much as we enjoyed creating it!

My Review

Human predators were good at surviving and thriving too, she thought, sometimes hiding in plain sight.

Aside from the fact that I love Dana Mentink’s writing, the first thing that attracted me to this book was its focus on dogs. As strange as it may sound, that also made me nervous because I can’t bear to read stories in which any harm comes to the dog, even if it’s a work of fiction. Thus I both applaud and cringe when I come across a new book—or better yet, a series—that spotlights working dogs. This is the first book in the Rocky Mountain K-9 Unit series that I have read, the fourth book in the series, and it can easily be a standalone. Furthermore, for any readers who share my concerns, I’m very happy to report that the canine comes through unscathed. Admittedly, this is just about the most important part for me! While I’m familiar with service dogs, I am less well acquainted with police canines, and Undercover Assignment offers a glimpse into the life of a K-9 officer and her four-legged partner.

A seemingly eclectic mix of characters greet the reader within the pages of this suspenseful yet heartwarming tale. Officer Daniella Vargas finds herself at the remote Cliffside Lodge in New Mexico with her K-9 partner, Zara, posing as a nanny in order to investigate strange goings-on there while keeping owner Sam Kavanaugh’s young son, Oliver, safe. What Daniella thinks is a humiliating waste of her time soon proves to be a true mystery with real dangers, and it’s somehow connected with Sam’s late wife. In spite of their different personalities, he and Daniella share a similar predicament: they have each erected nearly impenetrable walls around themselves to protect their hearts. Strength and perseverance can become handicaps when we close off our hearts and don’t rely on God for our daily needs or allow Him to be our strength. This is just as important during our grief as it is during our joy, and it always involves stepping outside of our comfort zones, even when it doesn’t make sense, as Daniella observes: “From what she knew of Sam, he’d fight and scrap to make the best of what God had given him, just like she had.” Often, the biggest blessings come after determining to endure. What we lose might just pave the way for a blessing that we never expected, and sometimes it takes the loyalty and devotion of a dog to help us realize that.

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

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 15

Inklings and notions, June 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 16

EmpowerMoms, June 16

Vicky Sluiter, June 17

For Him and My Family, June 17

An Author’s Take, June 18

Blogging With Carol, June 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 19

Betti Mace, June 20

Texas Book-aholic, June 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 21

Blossoms and Blessings, June 21

She Lives To Read, June 22

Through the Fire Blogs, June 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 23

Labor Not in Vain, June 24

deb’s Book Review, June 25

Pause for Tales, June 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 26

For the Love of Literature, June 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 27

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, June 27

Genesis 5020, June 28

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

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize package of a $75 Amazon gift card and a signed book!!

(If the winner is outside the U.S., then he or she will receive an eBook.)

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/1eff2/undercover-assignment-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Putting Green Whisperer Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Putting Green Whisperer

Author: Zoe McCarthy

Genre: Christian fiction

Release date: 2018

Suddenly unemployed, Allie Masterson returns home to Cary, North Carolina where she caddies for her father on the PGA Seniors Tour. There, she encounters a man who possesses an alluring gift of reading the contours of the green. Fascinated with his uncanny ability, Allie is excited to meet the Green Whisperer—until she discovers that the easygoing caddy is actually Shoo Leonard, the boy who teased her relentlessly when they were kids. Despite Allie’s reservations, she agrees to use her sport science degree to become his trainer when Shoo sustains a hand injury—and then she falls for him. Shoo Leonard is grateful to Allie for her singular determination to get him ready for the PGA tour, but he isn’t ready for anything more. Still raw from a broken engagement and focused on his career, he’s content to be her fist-pumping buddy until the chemistry is undeniable. What seems like a happily-ever-after on the horizon takes a turn when Allie decides she’s become a distraction to Shoo’s career. Is it time for her to step away or can The Putting Green Whisperer find the right words to make her stay?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Zoe M. McCarthy, a full-time writer and speaker, was pegged an expressive analytic in a personality test. Isn’t that an oxymoron? But it’s true. Zoe couldn’t survive without expressing her creative imaginings. Yet this retired actuary and introvert receives her energy from being alone in her home office overlooking the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains.

More from Zoe

The Putting Green Whisperer came about when my sister and I sat under a shade tree near a green at the PGA Senior’s Tour golf tournament. As we watched senior pro golfers and their caddies come through to putt, two young caddies standing just of the green with their backs toward us caught my eye. They talked quietly while their pros prepared to putt. He was tall and she was petite with her long blonde pony tailing protruding from the back of her pink ball cap. I day-dreamed how a romance might begin between the two caddies. I turned to my sister and pointed at the couple. “My next book will be about those two caddies.” My reviews of the book tell me readers who don’t care for golf enjoyed the romance and readers that love golf said I got the golf right.

Author Interview

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

A personality test I took through my company pegged me as an expressive analytic. I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but it fits me. I couldn’t survive without expressing my thoughts and creative imaginings. Yet, I’m an analytical and introverted retired, actuary* who receives my energy from being alone in my home office, spewing words into my laptop. The good news in being an expressive and analytical introvert is I can easily write both types of characters.

*Actuaries perform all the mathematical analysis for insurance companies, pricing products and estimating reserves to pay claims.

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

I start my day reading the Bible and taking my prayer walk in which I pray for others on my lists. Then I work on developing the lesson for the weekly community women’s Bible study I teach. After that, it’s a scramble among many writing-related commitments—developing and presenting writing workshops online and in person, writing and posting to my newsletter and blog, promoting through social media, and snatching time to write. Then in the evenings while my husband and I watch a show, I knit or crochet shawls for the prayer shawl ministry. After we’ve gone to bed, I prop my laptop on my knees and quietly write from ten to midnight with no distractions. I choose not to work on Sundays. My husband is my business partner and helps me manage my schedule. He performs promotions, creates memes, designs book covers, and formats my indie books on Amazon. But my best writing schedules have occurred when I’ve taken sabbaticals. I enjoyed a full-month, summer sabbatical at our lake cabin. I worked nonstop on one book in the mornings and on another book in the afternoons.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a hybrid. I find doing high level plotting before I start writing, such as sketching out the stages of the Hero’s Journey, has advantages. I have a good idea what research is needed and can get started on it. I can brainstorm ideas for foreshadowing events that I already know will happen later in the story. Before I launch into my story, I understand much about my protagonists and some secondary characters—their personalities, temperaments, outlooks, and quirks. I don’t waste time plotting the nitty-gritty details that I might not use when I enter panster mode. In this mode, I give myself the freedom to write the scenes as ideas come to mind, but I stay within the high-level stages I’ve plotted in the Hero’s Journey.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse, or is there a particular Bible story that really resonates with you?

The verse that has spoken to me for a long time is Isaiah 53:6. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (NIV) This Old Testament prophecy speaks several truths to me. I’m like a sheep who needs a shepherd to lead me onto the right and safe path. Like what happens with sheep, I’ve been lost, and Jesus, through His Spirit, literally came and got me. I don’t have to worry about being a sacrificial lamb, because Jesus took on that role as well as a shepherd role. He willingly bore on Himself my iniquities. Yay!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

When I was an aspiring writer, I tackled the platform-building suggestion to write a blog. My only passion to post about was my love for learning how to write and how to perform all the peripheral tasks publishers ask of authors. Mostly, I researched each writing, marketing, or blogging challenge I was currently undergoing. I passed along what I’d learned in my blog posts. After I’d written over three hundred posts, an editor and an agent, separately, suggested I use my blog posts to create a book on writing. I wanted my book to help writers who were starting a manuscript, already had a not-yet-published manuscript, or had self-published one that was receiving poor reviews. So, I included all I’d researched and used in improving my own writing into a comprehensive guide for aspiring writers. I believe in that book. So, new authors might find it helpful to search my blog posts for the problem they’re experiencing or to read Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days. Other books I recommend are: Hooked by Les Edgerton, Stein on Writing by Sol Stein, Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King, Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell, Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker, and The Emotional Wound Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 10

Texas Book-aholic, June 11

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 12 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, June 13

For Him and My Family, June 14

A Baker’s Perspective, June 15 (Author Interview)

Miriam Jacob, June 15

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

deb’s Book Review, June 17

For the Love of Literature, June 18 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 20

Blossoms and Blessings, June 21 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 22

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 23

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Zoe is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and one print 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/1eb78/the-putting-green-whisperer-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Promise Engraved Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: A Promise Engraved

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction/Romance

Release date: May, 2022

Can Promises Made in Times of Struggle Endure 200 Years?

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

Young, spirited Josie Wilkins life is about to take a turn when faced with political turmoil and forbidden love in San Antonio of 1836. John Gilbert has won her heart, despite being a Protestant preacher who is forbidden to practice his faith in Texas. Will either of them survive an epic battle for liberty to create a legacy of love?

Nearly 200 years later, Kayleigh Hernandez takes breaks from her demanding job as a refugee coordinator working with Mexican migrants to attend flea markets where she has found a uniquely engraved ring. Enlisting the help of appraiser Brandon Shuman, they piece together a love story long forgotten. But will dangers linked to Kayleigh’s work end her own hopes for leaving a legacy built on hope, faith, and love?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

More from Liz

The Story of Susannah Dickinson, Alamo Survivor

When asked how many died at the Alamo, many would answer that everyone did. While it’s true that all fighting on the side of Texas independence perished, there were survivors, all women and children and one slave. The only white woman (the rest were of Mexican descent) was Susannah Dickinson, along with her daughter Angelina. Susannah had followed her husband, Almaron, to Mexican Texas in 1831. They had married two years before when Susannah was just fifteen. She never learned to read or write.

She and the other women hid in the sacristy of the church, one of the surviving buildings in the mission and what we now think of as the Alamo. Her husband died, but Mexican General Santa Anna found them and spared their lives, sending them to Sam Houston with $2 each and a blanket.

She married again the following year but divorced him almost immediately on the grounds of cruelty. She married a third time the following year and was married for five years until her husband died of alcoholism. A fourth marriage occurred in 1847, but she divorced again in 1857, this time allegedly because she was having an affair. That same year, she married for a fifth time. This marriage lasted until her death in 1883.

The ring in A Promise Engraved is based on a cat’s eye ring supposedly given to Angelina by William Travis before the battle. Angelina was Susannah’s only child. She married and had three children, but that marriage ended in divorce. She gave the ring to a man she’d become involved with in New Orleans. She married again and had one more child but died in 1869 from a uterine hemorrhage.

Today there are many descendants of Susannah Dickinson. If you visit the Susannah Dickinson house in Austin, you’ll see a quilt that is signed by many of her living descendants.

My Review

Being largely unfamiliar with the Texas Revolution, I found this eighth standalone book in Barbour’s historic Doors to the Past series particularly intriguing. Liz Tolsma crafts A Promise Engraved, her first split-time novel, seamlessly, intertwining historic and contemporary events to demonstrate the truths of Scripture. The genealogical journey forming part of the present-day storyline is relevant to so many investigating their own ancestry amidst the range of tools available, and the issue of illegal immigration and refugees, especially as it applies to young children caught in the middle, is straight from the headlines. The historical segment of the narrative proves to be just as pertinent, dealing with issues such as assault, murder, and trauma. Exploring the echoes of history informs the present and guides the future. As Brandon tells Kayleigh, “There’s always an important story to learn at the end. Along the way, we might discover something about ourselves.

Beginning in 1835 but taking place mostly in 1836, the story of 18-year-old Josie Wilkins and Protestant pastor John Gilbert in San Antonio plays out during the determining battles of the Texas Revolution, and Tolsma offers insight into the motivations and strategies of those involved. Josie has a very unique position and a tragic past that isolates her in many ways, but John reminds her that “true joy is only found in the Lord” and urges her to “Give everything over to God. All your sins, all your hurts, all your trials and pains. He will heal and restore and bring you everlasting peace that surpasses all understanding. Place your trust and faith in Him. He will carry you through.” What might seem like trite platitudes becomes demonstrably true despite the horrors of war and loss, creating a legacy that connects to refugee coordinator Kayleigh Hewland nearly two centuries later. Kayleigh, her own past marred by tragedy, happens upon a special ring in a flea market and teams up with appraiser Brandon Mullins to discover how its history might shed light upon her own. From one survivor’s story to another, A Promise Engraved attests that, as Brandon assures Kayleigh, “With faith, you can endure anything, because there’s the hope that God is working out everything, even when you can’t see it.” And even when the good that God is working develops over centuries!

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, May 28

Bigreadersite, May 28

The Write Escape, May 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 29

Christina’s Corner, May 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 29

lakesidelivingsite, May 30

Texas Book-aholic, May 30

Rebecca Tews, May 30

Inklings and notions, May 31

Blogging With Carol, May 31

Splashes of Joy, May 31

Betti Mace, June 1

Southern Gal Loves to Read, June 1

Genesis 5020, June 2

Daysong Reflections, June 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 2

Remembrancy, June 3

Books, Books, and More Books, June 3

For Him and My Family, June 3

Older & Smarter?, June 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 5

deb’s Book Review, June 5

Mary Hake, June 5

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 6

Blossoms and Blessings, June 6

Connie’s History Classroom, June 7

Life of Literature, June 7

Back Porch Reads , June 7

Bizwings Blog, June 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 8

For the Love of Literature, June 8

Through the Fire blogs, June 9

Pause for Tales, June 9

Labor Not in Vain, June 9

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, June 10

Melissa’s Bookshelf, June 10

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, June 10

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and 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/1e37a/a-promise-engraved-celebration-tour-giveaway

Taming Julia Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Taming Julia

Author: Jodie Wolfe

Genre: Christian fiction

Release date: November 2011

In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery’s sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation’s ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy.

Jules Walker strides into Drew’s life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle–more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she’s not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Faith, Hope & Love Christian Writers, and COMPEL Training. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania.

More from Jodie

I love mail-order bride stories, so I wondered what would happen if a pastor advertised for a genteel woman and the opposite showed up instead. I thought I could further complicate things by having the couple marry by proxy before she even arrives. Just that scenario alone made for a fun story to write.

My heroine, Jules Walker moved to Kansas from Texas to be a mail-order bride, even though she didn’t know what that was at the time. For most of her adult life, she’s helped her brother track outlaws in Texas as part of his job as a deputy US Marshal.

As part of the story, she has to come to terms with a traumatic event in her past. I won’t share more so I don’t spoil it for you, but I needed somewhere in Texas for this incident to take place. Because my husband’s aunt and uncle live in Texas, they were a wealth of resources when it came to accurately describing the area. One place in particular is called the Narrows and it’s situated close to them, but it’s on private property.

A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to travel and visit them. We received special permission to go on the private ranch and see the Narrows. It’s an unexpected area with sharp limestone rocks, and a deep cavern carved out by the Blanco River. Most times, it’s a sleepy waterway, but when the area has a flash flood, water rushes through the cavern and often to the top. When this happens, you can hear the water gushing from far away.

I so enjoyed being able to see the area first-hand. There are places where the water is shallow and others that are extremely deep pools. It has such a distinct beauty. At some point I hope to use this setting in another book.

That’s a small snapshot into how Taming Julia came to life. I hope you’ll enjoy the story of two unlikely people who are thrown together.

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a little girl. I wrote a poem in second grade as a school writing assignment. Soon after I was writing little stories and stapling them together to make a ‘book’. I was hooked. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

Which author has most influenced your own writing?

That’s too hard to pinpoint. Although I can say that my love of historical fiction began as a child watching and reading Little House on the Prairie series.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Good question. I don’t know that it’s a quirk, but I try and finish my writing for the day by ending in the middle of a scene where things are still unresolved, so I have a place that’s easy to get back into writing the next day.

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

I don’t know that I have a standard schedule other than I try and write Monday through Friday during the day while my husband is working. I finish up before I know he’ll be heading home and take weekends off so we can spend time together unless I’m under a deadline.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I consider myself a plotster. 🙂 I often have a general idea of where the plot is going to head, but I allow my characters to lead. They often take me where I didn’t think they would go.

Do you have a favorite or special place to write?

Most times it’s at home, in my office. Although I’ve had some time this spring where I was helping out with the grandchildren which meant taking my computer with me and squeezing writing time in between naps.

Is there a particular literary period that you’re drawn to (Regency, Victorian, Romantic, Modernism, etc.)? Why?

For me, it’s the Victorian Era. I think it’s because of reading those Little House on the Prairie books.

Describe your book in five words.

Quirky, poignant, feisty character, faith-filled.

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

Definitely Jules from Taming Julia. She’s different than any other female character I’ve ever written. She’s naïve because she hasn’t been exposed to much in her life, but she has a heart for others.

Do you ever hide things in your stories for readers to find?

Not so much, although I do try to have a thread of mystery in each of them that I hope the reader doesn’t figure out right away. 🙂

What are your hobbies?

Reading, knitting, walking, and spending time with my husband.

Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

My husband. He’s my hero. He’s the one who is always encouraging me and my writing.

What is your favorite book?

I can’t pick just one. I do have some favorite authors – Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, and Kristi Ann Hunter.

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

Definitely traditional books. There’s nothing like the feel of the pages and the smell of a new book. 🙂

Do you have a favorite Bible verse, or is there a particular Bible story that really resonates with you?

It’s changed through the years. Right now, the one I keep going to is John 14:27 (NIV) which says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

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

There’s no way I can choose, sorry. 🙂

If you could meet one author, living or passed, who would it be?

Perhaps Laura Ingalls Wilder since her works impacted my life.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Trust God and His timing. He’ll bring about publication in His way and His timing.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, May 25 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 25

Texas Book-aholic, May 26

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

For Him and My Family, May 28

deb’s Book Review, May 29

For the Love of Literature, May 30 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, May 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 2

Connie’s History Classroom, June 3

Inklings and notions, June 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 5

Blossoms and Blessings, June 6 (Author Interview)

Vicarious Living, June 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jodie is giving away the grand prize of an audio CD of 12 historical novels and novellas. Stories of chivalry, adventure and romance!!

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/1e36a/taming-julia-celebration-tour-giveaway

Arena Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Arena

Author: Karen Hancock

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: April 16, 2022

A Journey She Did Not Choose Will Change Her Life Forever

Transported surreptitiously to a terrifying alien world, with limited resources and only a few cryptic words to guide her, Callie Hayes finds herself engulfed in a perilous battle for freedom – for her very life. After agreeing to participate in a routine psychology research experiment, she must unravel the mysteries shrouding her only route of escape or risk succumbing to the deadly deception of the Arena.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Karen Hancock has won Christy Awards for each of her first four novels—Arena and the first three books in the Legends of the Guardian-King series, The Light of Eidon, The Shadow Within, and Shadow over Kiriath. She graduated from the University of Arizona with bachelor’s degrees in biology and wildlife biology. Along with writing, she is a semi-professional watercolorist and has exhibited her work in a number of national juried shows. She and her family reside in Arizona.

More from Karen

Arena was not my first novel. The Light of Eidon was. In those days, however, Christian publishers were not interested in the fantasy genre because it had too much magic and wizards and such, despite the publication of the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. They were softening to science fiction, however, and thanks to Kathy Tyers, Randy Ingermanson, John Olson and others the door was opened in 2001 for what is called “speculative fiction.” Arena fit right in, and was published by Bethany House in 2002. It went on to win a Christy Award, which started the ball rolling for the Guardian King series. Three out of the four Guardian King books in that series also won Christy Awards, at which point I was the first speculative fiction author inducted into the Christy Award Hall of Fame in 2013.

I am thrilled to have Arena appear again in this 20th anniversary edition with a new cover and in limited-edition hardcover. Oasis Audio will also be producing the audiobook, for the first time, so it can be available for every type of reader.

Blog Stops

Inside the Wong Mind, April 30

For the Love of Literature, May 1 (Spotlight)

Rachael’s Inkwell, May 1

Beauty in the Binding, May 2 (Spotlight)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 2

Texas Book-aholic, May 3

Inklings and notions, May 4

For Him and My Family, May 5

deb’s Book Review, May 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 7

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 9

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 10

Blogging With Carol, May 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 12

Through the Fire Blogs, May 13

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Amazon gift card and signed copy of Arena!!

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/1d3bd/arena-celebraiton-tour-giveaway

Death Valley Hideout Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Death Valley Hideout

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Christian fiction

Release date: April 26, 2022

Running from a murderer

with only the desert as refuge…

Placed in WITSEC while his brother testifies against a terrifying criminal, Tony Ortega must guard his young niece and nephew from the hit man hunting for them. Death Valley local Willow Duke’s hideout might just be the difference between the little family’s life or death. When bullets start flying, can they thwart a killer long enough to survive and become a family for real?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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

More from Dana

Wooty woo! We’re back in Death Valley again! So excited about this fourth book in the series because Papa Bear and I have actually returned to this amazing place. (Our previous return trip was stalled for a while due to the virus that shall not be named!) People have asked me, “Why do you love Death Valley so much?” I can only respond that you just have to go there to understand. Is it the vastness of the place? The enormous topographical variety? Maybe it’s the profound quietness that permeates the national park and environs. Then again, it might be the panorama of nighttime stars. (Death Valley National Park is a certified International Dark Sky Park due to its limited light pollution.) Could it be the tenacity of people who live there and survive the one hundred twenty plus degree temperatures in the summer? And how about those animals? The Death Valley pupfish is a teeny little endangered fish that lives in precisely one spot on the globe (Death Valley) and only two places within that range, Salt Creek and Cottonball Marsh. Imagine that! So why set a six book series in Death Valley? Because there’s no more hostile and incredible place I can think of. I hope you will enjoy taking a fictional trip with me there too. Enjoy the adventure, reader friends!

My Review

The Duke family saga continues with Death Valley Hideout, book four in Dana Mentink’s Desert Justice series and part of the Love Inspired Suspense set. Even though I am not a fan of deserts, I have loved this series, and this book was my favorite story thus far. Likewise, Willow Duke stands out as my favorite character from amongst those featured in the books. Her tenacity in the face of life-threatening circumstances and her compassion despite past betrayal speak to the optimism that characterizes her. Tony Ortega is someone who was also easy to connect with because Mentink writes him realistically, as a man whose life has been upended and who is struggling to do the right thing in a situation with no good options. He’s in over his head, and I appreciate that Mentink portrayed his weaknesses. As Willow observes, “You’ve gotten through it one day at a time, alone…holding on to God’s provision. That is strength, Tony. That’s love.” Most of the time, when God calls us to a task, it is something that we can accomplish with His help alone, and Tony demonstrates that.

Death Valley Hideout delivers a perfect balance of suspense and romance. With an unrelenting pace and non-stop action, this book is a hard one to put down! The witness protection program (WITSEC) adds an extra layer of intrigue, while criminal cyberactivity highlights the reality of crime in the digital age. The story takes place outside the realms of a computer, however, and in the heat of the Death Valley landscape, where romance can blossom despite the sweltering temperatures. As with the previous books in the Desert Justice series, the family members all play a role in the story, and this close-knit clan is both humbling and inspiring in their dedication to the Lord and to one another, not to mention the comic relief that they add just when it’s needed. After all, the villain may seem to have the upper hand, “But the Maestro hadn’t counted on one thing…he’d never met the Duke family.” Discovering how this salt-of-the-earth family works together to accomplish daunting tasks by relying on each other and, most importantly, God, makes Death Valley Hideout and the entire Desert Justice series a wonderful reading experience.

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

Remembrancy, April 21

Texas Book-aholic, April 21

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 22

Bigreadersite, April 22

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 23

Life, Love, Writing, April 24

For Him and My Family, April 24

Betti Mace, April 25

Inklings and notions, April 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 26

EmpowerMoms, April 26

deb’s Book Review, April 27

Blogging With Carol, April 27

For the Love of Literature, April 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 28

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

Simple Harvest Reads, April 29 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 30

Vicarious Living, April 30

Bizwings Blog, May 1

Blossoms and Blessings, May 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 2

Paula’s Persuasion, May 2

Labor Not in Vain, May 3

Through the Fire Blogs, May 3

Pause for Tales, May 4

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, May 4

To Everything There Is A Season, May 4

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize package of the first four books in the series-Framed in Death Valley, Missing in the Desert, Death Valley Doublecross and Death Valley Hideout (Paperback for U.S. Only) and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1d0af/death-valley-hideout-celebration-tour-giveaway