Tag Archives: contemporary

His Brother’s Atonement Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: His Brother’s Atonement

Author: Amy Walsh

Genre: Contemporary romance – western

Release date: April 26, 2022

Shane Phillips had given up hope of ever meeting the nephew born to the woman his brother assaulted. After checks he sent to Aubrey Anders were returned, Shane decided the most he could ever do was pray for the Anders family. When Shane discovers that he and Aubrey work for the same graphic arts company, he must find a way to assure her he means no harm before both Wyoming branches meet for a conference.

Aubrey thinks she has worked through most of her trauma with the help of her psychologist and loving community. However, meeting Shane Phillips seems to have unleashed suppressed anxiety and insecurity. But as their paths continue to intersect, Aubrey begins to wonder if Shane could be part of God’s plan for her despite their painful connection.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Amy Walsh is a 5th-grade teacher who loves teaching children about what she loves to do herself: reading and writing. She enjoys outdoor activities, especially hiking and camping. Amy also appreciates opportunities to share her faith through singing, teaching, and writing for her church family. Amy and her husband, Patrick, have three children: Bree, Spencer, Liz, and a son-in-law, Kyle. Amy and her family love to spend time together celebrating special occasions, listening to great music, swimming and kayaking, and having occasional ping pong tournaments.

More from Amy

Thank you for helping me spread the word about my first Whispers in Wyoming novel! I am thrilled to be part of this gospel and heritage-themed series! If you haven’t read any of the novels yet, you are in for a treat! There are thirty-three novels ahead of His Brother’s Atonement – and they are all STANDALONES, so they can be read in any order!

Meet Aubrey, Shane, and Jayson

Aubrey is a young mother and graphic designer from Engelmann, Wyoming. Her terrible experience during college has caused her to keep to herself. Aubrey has no close friends and has never dated. But her parents are supportive, her son keeps her happy and busy, and she loves her job. Aubrey believes she is doing pretty well emotionally until the brother of the man who assaulted her turns up in town.

Shane suffered quite a bit when his brother was tried and imprisoned for assaulting Aubrey. People actually turned their backs on his family, and Shane’s fiancé ended their engagement. Even worse was watching how it affected his parents. After Shane’s brother died in a freak prison accident, their mother spent several days in the ICU. For years, Shane has yearned to do something to help Aubrey and her son, wanting to atone for his brother’s terrible action. But Shane gave up hope of ever meeting his nephew years ago.

Jayson is Aubrey’s six-year-old son. He is obsessed with cowboys, horses, and the wild west. Art runs in Jayson’s genes from both sides of his family, so it is not surprising that he loves drawing and helping his grandpa with woodworking. Jayson never seemed to notice that he doesn’t have a dad, but when he finds out that his father died, he is so heartbroken that Aubrey promises to let him meet his uncle. So much for her thinking that she would never have to see Shane again!

The Creation of His Brother’s Atonement

I never really know when or how a story idea will enter my head. I can drive by a house that catches my eye, and the next thing I know, I am imagining the characters that live there and writing their story in my imagination. Sometimes watching the interactions of people prompts a story. Other times my ideas come from research.

For His Brother’s Atonement, there were a bunch of factors that came into creating Aubrey and Shane’s story as far as the setting. I had just been to a writing conference where one of the speakers said that many readers still love contemporary westerns. Adding to that, I had been following the multi-author group Whispers in Wyoming and other authors who wrote westerns, and I had been enjoying their posts. Additionally, one of my teacher friends has spent portions of her summers out west and I love to hear her talk about landscapes and small communities. A camping trip to Yellowstone and other western parks has been high on my bucket list for several years.

As for the situation that Aubrey is in, how she became a single mother and how she now deals with anxiety, her story just came to me while I was brainstorming. Her and her son’s personalities developed in my mind as if they were real people. I have wondered what it must be like to have a family member who is a criminal, the conflicting emotions it must bring: to still love that person; to be ashamed for what that person has done; to yearn to find a way to help the victim. So I am sure those thoughts helped me create Shane’s struggles.

I wrote most of Aubrey and Shane’s story while I was spending nights with my grandmother in hospice. Grammy was often sleeping while lovely hymn instrumentals were playing, and I felt as though I was in a sacred space. I think some of my own inner struggles with trusting God’s sovereignty, with remembering that God does work out everything for our good, may have become part of the novel. And in the last chapter when Aubrey prays during the Thanksgiving dinner, you can see some of my own angst about life changing and my own feelings of grief being resolved.

His Brother’s Atonement is a fundraiser!

As I was researching for this novel, I read too many firsthand accounts of women who had been assaulted and the devastating effects of the violence in their lives. According to rainn.org, every 68 seconds another American is assaulted, and one out of every six American women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. According to multiples sources, there are at least 30,000 rape-related pregnancies in the U.S. each year. Sexual violence is a significant problem in the U.S., and in other countries around the globe, it is even more rampant.

As I was delving into Aubrey’s thoughts and pondering how her assault had affected her and her family, I decided that I needed to do more to help women and children who have been victimized. As a first step, ten percent of the profits from the sales of His Brother’s Atonement will be donated to Heaven’s Family. To find out more about this organization, follow this link: https://www.heavensfamily.org/ministries/victims-of-sexual-violence/

Here is the recipe for Nana Ander’s Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pie. Bloggers can copy and paste or just share the link.

https://walshmountainpublishing.com/2022/03/26/nana-anders-chocolate-chip-oatmeal-pie/

Shane and Aubrey’s Anti-Meet-Cute

Aubrey and Shane don’t get to have a “meet-cute”, you know that sweet moment when a couple-to-be meet for the first time? In fact, when Aubrey sees Shane across Engelmann Park, she almost has a panic attack thinking that he is the man who assaulted her.

In the next book about Engelmann Wyoming, Portrait of Redemption, Cody will help Shane set up a “meet-cute” redo. I think it is so adorable that Shane wants to do that for Aubrey!

Two special characters mentioned in His Brother’s Atonement are from another of my novels, Elsie Whitmore. Elsie meets famous actor Graham Thurston for the first time when he tracks her down at her school, determined that she will audition for a movie he is producing. A somewhat spoiled star, he is annoyed that she hasn’t taken calls from his talent agency, so he is cold and judgy during their first meeting. In return, she thinks it is ridiculous for Graham to assume that she would consider giving up teaching just because he liked one of her YouTube videos. They also do not have a cute first meeting!

Here is my meet-cute! I worked part time at a Sears in a mall while I was going to college. My husband, Pat, was a loss prevention agent there. A coworker who had a crush on Pat asked me to draw a Christmas card for her to give to him. In the PS, she told Pat that I was the one that illustrated the card. That led to Pat investigating who I was, and soon he was regularly stopping by my register at Sears to make small talk. He would have silly excuses to stop by, like having me help him put a baby outfit on a stuffed animal to purchase for his nephew. It could have become very awkward if my co-worker hadn’t developed a crush on someone else in the meantime!

During the launch party for His Brother’s Atonement, some of the readers shared the stories of their first meeting with their husbands. Some were adorable, and some were so awkward. Have you shared your “meet-cutes” with your children and grandchildren? Surprisingly it is something we forget to talk about, but it is part of their heritage!

Author Interview

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I think I have some unique favorite places to write:

One of the best writing opportunities is when my husband is playing one of his role playing XBox games in bed and I am snuggling next to him. If he were watching a show, it would be too distracting, but his games are boring enough (to me) and the background noise is repetitive enough for me to stay in my own characters’ heads. This is a great writing situation because it provides no-guilt writing time of togetherness!

Another of my favorite places to write is on the trampoline in the backyard. I pull it under our giant spruces so it is partially in the shade. When I am writing, I stay on the shady side. When I need to stretch and get some sun, I roll over to the other side. When I need exercise, I put my laptop down on the chair next to the trampoline and I can run and jump and listen to some music. And the entire time I am outside, I can listen to birds singing and feel like I haven’t wasted the day indoors.

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

I adore the Victorian Era. To be honest, I am a bit drawn to strange and morbid things, and the Victorians were also drawn to the strange and morbid. Some of their beliefs and traditions are so bizarre!
I also love studying contrasts and unearthing hypocrisies. Perhaps Charles Dickens said it best, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Charles Dickens is an example of these extremes himself. This same Victorian author whose writing instilled a global compassion for the impoverished treated the woman he had pledged to love until death terribly. The story of the Dickens Marriage is heartbreaking.

Two of my novels so far take place in the later part of the Victorian Era, both in the 1880s: A Misplaced Beauty and A Dark Lustre.

Describe your book in five words.

God redeeming a hopeless situation

What are your hobbies?

I love so many things. Sometimes I only have time to dabble due to my work and writing schedule, but I would love to have the hours in each day extended so I could focus on these more! Some of my favorite things to do are: reading, singing, racquet sports, hiking, arts and crafts, fancy teas, antiquing/ thrifting, card games/murder mystery games. I also love to “research” via traveling adventures!

Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

I have so many wonderful people in my life that inspire me and hold me to a higher standard of diligence, discernment, and compassion.

One special person who I would hope to emulate is my Grandpa Cooley. He laughed all the time and he enjoyed the simple things of life. He would laugh until he cried reading Dr. Seuss books to his grandkids, no matter how many times he had already read them. He enjoyed sitting on his porch watching birds, and he delighted in visiting with people.

Grandpa had such a giving spirit and he was so consistent in noticing the needs of others and being willing to sacrifice for others. His pockets were deep in supporting missionaries, those in the community who were struggling, and taking care of his own family. He gave of his time so willingly. Some Sundays, he did multiple rounds of picking up people who needed rides to church. Since he lived in the country, those multiple rounds might have meant a couple hours of driving before the service started.

He never said an unkind word about others and his love for others was truly unconditional even though he had very high standards for himself as far as his convictions.

Grandpa was an avid reader. He would read every book that I borrowed from the library, borrowed, or purchased no matter the genre. We read everything from Georgette Heyer to Trixie Beldon to Louis L’Amour to Frank Peretti. And I will never forget his wild laughter while reading Patrick McManus and Gilbert Morris’s Barney Buck series.

Grandpa Whitmore, from Elsie Whitmore: A Star of Oak Hills, is a character very much like my Grandpa Cooley. He even tells a story about his siblings and a box of “donuts” that my grandfather told about his own brothers.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 24

deb’s Book Review, September 25

Inklings and notions, September 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 29

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

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 1

A Baker’s Perspective, October 2 (Author Interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, October 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For the Love of Literature, October 4 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 6 (Author Interview)

Holly’s Book Corner, October 6

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Amy is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 gift card along with His Brother’s Atonement, a Rocky Mountains Shirt and a Rocky Mountains wooden bookmark!!

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/21a6a/his-brother-s-atonement-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tethered Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Tethered

Author: Eleanor Bertin

Genre: Christian Contemporary

Release date: July, 2020

Perfectionistic librarian Jacqui Penn is ripped up by the roots when she’s dumped by her longtime boyfriend. She is drawn two thousand miles west across Canada to the last place she ever thought could offer stability—the old homestead where her father grew up.

Renovating the derelict house soon becomes a personal battle as it stubbornly resists her efforts. While Jacqui struggles to renew the home, she spends time with the family Pops bitterly resented. Her hunger for roots grows stronger as she fights to discover the long-buried reasons her father fled the house as a beleaguered teen. But will she ever find the belonging she craves?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Eleanor Bertin loves books, people, and the sweeping skies of the Canadian Prairies where she was raised.

She studied Communications in college and returned to writing after raising and home-educating a family of seven children. The author of Lifelines, Unbound, Tethered, and the memoir, Pall of Silence about her late son, Paul, she lives in central Alberta with her husband and youngest son where, much like Jacqui, they are coaxing to life a century home.

More from Eleanor

Long before Jacqui came to be, I had the title Tethered, drawn from the first book in the Ties that Bind series, Lifelines. I was taken by the rope imagery that played so well into biblical themes of God drawing people to Himself. The second book, Unbound, deals with the way cables of guilt and fear can keep us in bondage to legalism.

But ropes have positive uses too. Tethered explores how ties of family and home provide the roots and grounding we all crave. Through each of the books, we see Anna, a widow of deep trust in God. She may seem insignificant, but her influence is powerful. Through her Jacqui, who’s been raised by Anna’s bitter brother, finds the foundation on which her family history is built, and makes it her own.

One of my favourite scenes in Tethered is where Anna teaches Jacqui to bake pie. It’s a piece lifted from my own life. My mother, now 94, was renowned for her pies, which she often gave to the bereaved or struggling. Like Anna, she generously taught her techniques and tips to the women of our family who carry on the tradition.

Here’s where Mom’s tips make all the difference. We don’t freeze whole pies. Instead, we freeze pie crusts already rolled out to size, layered between parchment paper, or better still, the plastic liners from cereal packaging cut to size. (Mom was “green” long before it was fashionable.) Making a batch of skins ahead of time saves space in the freezer compared to fully assembled pies, yields a fresher result when baked, and saves so much time. Whenever you want a pie, pull out a couple of the prepared crusts. While they quickly thaw, prepare your pie filling, assemble, and bake! Even our menfolk have been able to proudly say they baked a pie themselves.

Here is the recipe we use:

Pie Skins

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

In mixer, mix dry ingredients together. Then, a half cup at a time, cut in (with wire whips):

1 lb. lard (vegetable shortening will not give the desired flakiness)

Cut into flour mixture until crumbled to the size of peas. Do not overmix!

In a 2-cup measuring cup, beat:

2 eggs until frothy

Add: 2 Tablespoons vinegar

Add enough cold water to the liquid to make 1 cup. Then add to flour/lard mixture.

Using dough hooks, mix gently just until dough forms and will hold together. Again, do not overmix.

Divide dough into six or seven balls.

On each floured piece of cereal box plastic, roll out pastry from the center outward to just over 1/8-inch thickness. Keep flouring the rolling pin to prevent sticking.

Cut the crust to size of pie plate with ½ inch extra all around. Re-roll the scraps into the next ball of dough.

Freeze skins in a plastic pie keeper or even in a zippered plastic bag on a flat surface.

Bake pie on bottom rack of oven, 450F for 15 minutes, then 375F until golden brown (another 10-15 minutes). No pale, anemic pies for us!

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

My older sister praised a brief story I wrote when I was eight. She was impressed with the line, “Mother’s voice trailed away.” Rank plagiarism! However, throughout school, I did well in English and various teachers encouraged me to continue writing though I was set on other careers like pediatrician, real estate tycoon, and fashion designer. Ha! By high school graduation, reality struck, and I recognized my natural bent – which definitely was not medicine! I went on to study Communications in college.

After spending a year and a half as a reporter for a farm weekly newspaper, I settled into a long, rewarding vocation as a wife, and homeschooling mother of seven children. But the nest has a way of emptying, despite filling it so full.  At fifty, I wondered what to do with my newfound time and freedom. Out of the bucket list I compiled, “write a book” seemed the least expensive and most possible. My first novel took four years to write and another two to publish, but the best advice I ever received was to keep at it faithfully, even if only a few words a day, and walk through every door of opportunity that presents itself.

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

My first novel, Lifelines, centers on a character named Anna Fawcett, a 60-something widow with an adult son, Jesse, who has Down syndrome. Patterned after my own 94-year-old mom, she reappears in each of the Ties That Bind novels (Unbound, and Tethered). Like Mom, Anna is a selfless mentor, a devoted mother, sister, and friend, and a sort of Christ-figure in her sacrificial, faithful love of her Lord. When I grow up, I want to be just like her. My mother would laugh to know I’ve written a Christmas anthology short story in which she receives a marriage proposal and accepts.

And of course, her son Jesse is special to me, too. My youngest son, Timothy, 25, has Down syndrome and still lives with my husband and me. Only after I had written the trilogy did it occur to me that each of the novels features an individual with special needs: Jesse in Lifelines, Carol, a severely brain-injured woman in Unbound, and Lewis, a teenage boy with autism in Tethered. Having a disabled son myself has opened my eyes to a whole world of interesting and God-beloved people who deserve notice, both them and the caregivers who devote themselves to them.

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

What an interesting question! I haven’t consciously hidden things in my stories, but a funny thing has happened with readers’ responses to my books. I’ve been asked for sequels about some of the most minor characters – even a dog! I suspect this is because in real life, I love people and in writing, I abhor flat characters. After all, even the hair stylist, caterer, or banker has an essential inner life uniquely their own. So, when I mention them in my books, I give enough quirky detail to reflect their value and humanity. Which backfires on me as a writer, because readers seem to want more of what I had no intention of giving. Sigh.

What are your hobbies?

If a hobby is something that’s enjoyable and costs, rather than earns us money, I could certainly say writing. But although I find it so satisfying, it’s also hard work at times. The things that most often distract me from writing are home décor (you’ll find references to it sprinkled throughout my books), flower gardening, and sewing (especially quilts). If the Lord gives me time, I also have a hankering to try oil painting, learning Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, and taking up the cello again. There should probably be something on this list pertaining to physical fitness, but you asked about hobbies, not personal tortures.

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

I have always felt subpar in Christian circles because I could never pinpoint a favourite Bible verse or story. The reason must be that whatever book or passage I’m studying or memorizing at any given time is my favourite. Scripture is so rich and deep that it wows me no matter where I dig into it. So currently, my “favourite” is the book of Romans which is taking me forevah to memorize. I began in mid-April, 2021, and I’m still not quite half through, yet every day it speaks to my heart.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 21

deb’s Book Review, September 22

Inklings and notions, September 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 26

lakesidelivingsite, September 27

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

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 30

Guild Master, October 1 (Author Interview)

Rebecca Tews, October 1

For Him and My Family, October 2

For the Love of Literature, October 3 (Author Interview)

Holly’s Book Corner, October 3

Pause for Tales, October 4

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Eleanor is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 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/21aad/tethered-celebration-tour-giveaway

Twin Murder Mix-Up Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Twin Murder Mix-Up

Author: Sami A. Abrams

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: August 23, 2022

A case of mistaken identity…

has lethal results

After capturing a murder on her camera, photographer Amy Baker becomes the next target—but her identical twin is killed instead. Now on the run with her sister’s newborn, Amy has only one person to turn to—Detective Keith Young, her childhood crush. But when they discover Keith is the baby’s father, can he regain Amy’s trust to keep them safe…before the killer strikes again?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Sami A. Abrams lives in Northern California, but she’ll always be a Kansas girl at heart. She loves to travel and watch sports. However, most evenings, you’ll find her engrossed in a romantic suspense novel. She thinks a crime plus a little romance is the recipe for a great story.

More from Sami

#Authorproblems That’s what the excitement around Keith Young was…a problem—Kinda. Lol!

When I started to hear request for his story, I panicked. Authors don’t want to disappoint their readers. And being new to the published scene…Well, you get the picture. 😊

After the release of Buried Cold Case Secrets, many readers told me they wanted Keith’s story. In fact, the overwhelming response puzzled me. What had I done to create such a buzz about Jason’s partner? And of course, I had to ask why?

The general answer I received…Keith’s a nice guy and the perfect partner.

I have to admit, I got a little nervous since I had already written his story. And I worried if I’d done his character justice?

However, after writing Buried Cold Case Secrets, I knew Keith had to have his own story. He’s such a great guy and needed his happily ever after. So, I dove in and asked, what would happen if he made a huge mistake? Not just a physical one, but a heart one.

By the time I finished, I loved seeing Keith and Amy move past their poor choices and hurt to find acceptance and love. The perfect ending to Keith’s struggles.

All that to say, I hope you love Keith and Amy’s story as much as I do. #TeamKeith

My Review

Amy Baker maneuvered through the afternoon traffic, whispering a prayer for the millionth time that the person for her sister’s death hadn’t discovered his mistake: he’d killed the wrong twin.

There is something about twins, particularly identical twins, that has always fascinated me and has sometimes made me wish that I was one. As Sami Abrams demonstrates in Twin Murder Mix-Up, however, there are obviously a few disadvantages, too! Most cases of mistaken identity end up being of little consequence, but in this case, the stakes are much higher when Amy Baker inadvertently photographs a murder in progress. Like Amy, readers find themselves thrust into the middle of an intense cat-and-mouse game with no answers and everything to lose. Detective Keith Young, her childhood best friend who dropped out of her life a year ago, is the only person she can reach out to, but wounds run deep and add to the challenges.

Featuring one of the characters from Buried Cold Case Secrets, Twin Murder Mix-Up can easily be read as a standalone. Abrams focuses more on the characters and their relationships than on the suspense element per se, highlighting how a person’s actions and communication (or lack thereof) have direct consequences. As much as the main characters frustrated me at times, I realized that it is important for Christian fiction to portray realistic characters that have flaws and have made mistakes. These are the types of characters that people can relate to the most, and even more importantly, they are the types of characters that might speak to nonbelievers. Amy and Keith do grow throughout the story as they encounter situations that test their faith and their perspectives, and Abrams explores the nearly-ubiquitous problems of lacking self-confidence and being unable to forgive oneself. When we come to the end of ourselves, we realize that God has been in control all along, and that when we accept Him as Savior and Lord, all things do work together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).

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, August 27

Bizwings Blog, August 27

The Avid Reader, August 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 28

Christina’s Corner, August 28

Genesis 5020, August 29

Texas Book-aholic, August 29

Inklings and notions, August 30

Through the Fire Blogs, August 30

EmpowerMoms, August 30

Betti Mace, August 31

deb’s Book Review, August 31

For Him and My Family, September 1

Pause for Tales, September 1

The Sacred Line, September 1

She Lives To Read, September 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 3

Britt Reads Fiction, September 3

For the Love of Literature, September 4

Lights in a Dark World, September 4

Paula’s Persuasion, September 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 5

Book Looks by Lisa, September 5

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

Vicarious Living , September 6

Mary Hake, September 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 7

Bigreadersite , September 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 8

Blogging With Carol, September 8

Simple Harvest Reads, September 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Labor Not in Vain, September 9

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sami is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon card and signed copy of Twin Murder Mix-Up (US only) or eBook for outside the US!!

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/210ca/twin-murder-mix-up-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

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

Courage Doesn’t Always “Rawr”: A Book Review of “Fearless” by Kristin Johnson

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But if you do worry, remember that being fearless doesn’t mean you’re never afraid. And if you can help someone else through their fears, you’ll be less likely to be afraid yourself.

Kristin Johnson’s Fearless struck a chord with me, and it was not a note of fear but of empathy and nostalgia. The story’s premise is that 11-year-old Jessie Nelson and her dad head to her grandpa’s house in southern Minnesota after her active-duty mom goes missing in action. Jessie becomes friends with two local boys, Oscar and Nicky, and when an adventure turns into the discovery of a puppy mill, Jessie tries to be fearless like her mom as she rescues one of the dogs and endeavors to keep it a secret. She reflects that “now I had chosen a war, too. I hoped the research I had done at the library would help with that. The dogs were prisoners of war. Dog POWs.” This is one of my favorite aspects of Jessie’s character; Johnson does an admirable job of demonstrating how Jessie connects the events happening in her own life to what her mother or other military members might be experiencing in Afghanistan. Not only that, but the range of honest emotions and the insightful thoughts that Jessie has, such as how another person or a dog is feeling in a certain situation, add depth to her character. I love that she journals in poems, which might encourage readers to explore writing or poetry, or both! Furthermore, the imagination and thought processes of early adolescence are relatable for middle-grade readers and nostalgic for older readers.

With all that is going on in the world today, Fearless addresses how unsettling and upsetting events can cause us to grow when we rise up to meet them and help others along the way. Johnson neatly juxtaposes this with elements from The Wizard of Oz, which was particularly poignant for me because my mom loved that movie. As may be expected with a story featuring military families, serious topics appear throughout the narrative. There is a military funeral for a townsperson, and one of the characters suffers from PTSD, which is important for people of all ages to be aware of at age-appropriate levels. The puppy mill that is central to the storyline is heartbreaking to read about, but Johnson writes it in such a way that she conveys the awfulness of the situation in as palatable a manner as possible. Fearless contains Christian elements, including faith, prayer, and God’s protection—although there is a mention of a same-sex couple—and all of the aforementioned potentially triggering aspects throughout the narrative are handled with care and sensitivity. Everyone faces daunting challenges at one point or another, and it seems that Jessie sums it up best when she tells her dad: “And I know you still hurt, and you’re probably scared, but you can’t not take risks because you’re afraid of getting hurt. You have to put yourself out there again. You have to be…fearless.

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

Get your copy HERE!

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

Death Valley Double Cross Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Death Valley Double Cross

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspirational Suspense

Release date: February 22, 2022

A killer seeking revenge

will stop at nothing to get it…

Pilar Jefferson is shocked to learn that her supposedly deceased father is alive and has been in prison—and now his ruthless former partner is after her. Fleeing on her wedding day was the best way to protect her loved ones. But now with her mother held for ransom and her ex-fiancé, Austin Duke, stumbling back into her life, can she keep everyone safe—and escape an assassin?

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

Desert Justice

Book 1: Framed in Death Valley
Book 2: Missing in the Desert
Book 3: Death Valley Double Cross
Book 4: Death Valley Hideout

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 a Holt Medallion winner. She is the Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over fifty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Poisoned Pen Press. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

I remember standing on the edge of the lookout and gazing into the wonder that is Artist’s Palette in Death Valley. Artist’s Drive, which takes you to this breathtaking view, rises above Badwater Basin (the lowest spot in North America) and then meanders along twisting canyons and hills until it brings you to this popular tourist stop. The premier view is a place called Artist’s palette. It’s a sprawling pocket of color, hues of rose, ochre, green and gold tucked in the rippling landscape and teased to life by the desert sun. Isn’t that just like God? To lead us to surprises and wonders that await us in a sometimes hostile world? Every day we spent in Death Valley held a surprise, from the rocks that move mysteriously across the sands to the towering twists and turns of 20 Mule Team Canyon. There are only two things to do with a wonderous place like that…enjoy the divine bounty, and write a novel set there so others can come along!

I hope you will enjoy this third installment in the Desert Justice series. The first is Beckett’s story and then we had quiet cowboy Levi’s adventure. Now it’s brash pilot Austin’s turn. Will he get his happy ending after being dumped at the altar and wrecking his shoulder in an accident? Turn those pages and come with me to Death Valley to find out!

My Review

Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense always provides intriguing inspirational tales with plenty of romance and suspense, such as the Desert Justice series by Dana Mentink, of which Death Valley Double Cross is book three. Each of these stories can technically be standalones, but I would recommend reading them chronologically in order to follow the characters and avoid spoilers. The Duke clan never fails to be entertaining while simultaneously imparting life lessons discovered through their own experiences. To that end, Biblical principles gently undergird the narrative, demonstrating rather than merely telling.

Death Valley Double Cross certainly proves to be an apt title several times over as the storyline develops, which makes it all the more interesting. Surprises abound! The crux of the story, however, rests in the character interactions and true-to-life dysfunctional relationships that add tension while also opening the door for the potential of grace. Pilar Jefferson made an impossible decision six months ago, leaving her fiancée at the altar, and her personal life has imploded with revelations from the past, a past that now threatens her life. The jilted Austin Duke finds himself unwittingly drawn back into Pilar’s life, and they both slowly realize their own weaknesses. This is one of the book’s central messages: learning to recognize one’s own flaws and continually working with God to overcome them. As Austin acknowledges, “Humility was a hard lesson, but for some reason he knew he was a better man for trying to learn it.” Mentink reminds readers that pride includes trying to shoulder burdens on one’s own and not asking for help when it’s necessary. Of course, the first and best resource we have is the Lord!

That our God is a God of the unexpected becomes evident as the plot unfolds. Who would have guessed that redemption and new life could be found in Death Valley? It reminds me of the Easter story, of Jesus’ death and resurrection ushering in redemption and eternal life for those who truly commit their lives to Him. As Pilar realizes, “Commitment was more than love, it was trust and endurance and forbearance and humility and God’s grace.” It is not easy, but it is absolutely worth it!

For anyone who wonders how God can take something tragic and use it for our good and His glory, Death Valley Double Cross presents a beautiful fictional exploration of this topic. Also, dog enthusiasts will enjoy the four canines featured in the story, all of whom live to tell the tale (a must for dog lovers such as myself).

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, March 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 29

Daysong Reflections, March 30

Texas Book-aholic, March 30

Lighthouse academy, March 31

Inklings and notions, March 31

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 1

Betti Mace, April 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 2

Pause for Tales, April 2

For Him and My Family, April 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, April 3 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, April 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 6

Life, Love, Writing, April 6

Bigreadersite, April 7

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

Bizwings Blog, April 8

For the Love of Literature, April 8

Blogging With Carol, April 9

HookMeInABook, April 9

Simple Harvest Reads, April 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Paula’s Persuasion, April 10

Blossoms and Blessings, April 11

Sodbuster Living, April 11

Labor Not in Vain, April 12

Through the fire blogs, April 12

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize package of the first three books in the series (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/1c112/death-valley-double-cross-celebration-tour-giveaway