Tag Archives: historical fiction

The Gold Digger Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Gold Digger

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian/Historical/Suspense

Release Date: December, 2020

Men Are Disappearing in LaPorte, Indiana

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

Fiction Based on Strange, But True, History

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

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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

More from Liz

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the book!

Liz

My Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Connie’s History Classroom, December 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 17

Genesis 5020, December 17

Pause for Tales, December 17

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

Sodbuster Living, December 18

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 18

Older & Smarter?, December 19

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 19

Blossoms and Blessings, December 19

The Write Escape, December 19

For the Love of Literature, December 20

deb’s Book Review, December 20

Blogging With Carol, December 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 21

lakesidelivingsite, December 21

Betti Mace, December 21

Inklings and notions, December 21

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 22

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 22

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 23

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 23

CarpeDiem, December 23

Hallie Reads, December 23

Remembrancy, December 24

Christian Bookaholic, December 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 24

Writing from the Heart Land, December 25

Splashes of Joy, December 25

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

Through the Fire Blogs, December 26

Rebecca Tews, December 26

For Him and My Family, December 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 27

Bigreadersite, December 27

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 27

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 28

Mary Hake, December 28

Texas Book-aholic, December 29

Godly Book Reviews, December 29

Daysong Reflections, December 29

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, December 30

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, December 30

Daysong Reflections, December 30

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/104fc/the-gold-digger-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Voice Within the Flame Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: A Voice within the Flame

Author: Henry O. Arnold

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Release Date: December 1, 2020

A son of the vow…a voice for a nation

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

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

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

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

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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

More from Henry

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

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

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

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

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

My Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

For the Love of Literature, December 16

Through the Fire Blogs, December 17

Mary Hake, December 17

Texas Book-aholic, December 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 19

Inklings and notions, December 20

For Him and My Family, December 21

deb’s Book Review, December 22

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 23

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

Our Whiskey Lullaby, December 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 25

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

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 28

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

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, Henry is giving away the grand prize package of a signed copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/10500/a-voice-within-the-flame-celebration-tour-giveaway

An Ivy Hill Christmas Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: An Ivy Hill Christmas

Author: Julie Klassen

Genre: Christmas Historical Romance

Release Date: September, 2020

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

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

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

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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

More from Julie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Christmas!

My Review

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

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

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

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

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Through the Lens of Scripture, November 30

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 30

Christian Bookaholic, November 30

Andrea Christenson, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, December 1

KarenSueHadley, December 1

Robin’s Nest, December 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 1

Blessed & Bookish, December 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 2

Mia Reads, December 2

Wishful Endings, December 3

lakesidelivingsite, December 3

Through the Fire Blogs, December 3

For Him and My Family, December 3

Just Your Average reviews, December 3

She Lives To Read, December 4

Remembrancy, December 4

deb’s Book Review, December 4

Writing from the Heart Land, December 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 5

Quiet Workings, December 5

Blogging With Carol, December 5

Spoken from the Heart, December 5

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 6

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 6

Connect in Fiction, December 6

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

Worthy2Read, December 7

Genesis 5020, December 7

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 7

Inklings and notions, December 7

Life of Literature, December 7

For the Love of Literature, December 8

Connie’s History Classroom, December 8

Batya’s Bits, December 8

Labor Not in Vain, December 8

Hallie Reads, December 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 9

Older & Smarter?, December 9

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, December 9

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 9

Betti Mace, December 9

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

Faery Tales Are Real, December 10

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, December 10

Mary Hake, December 10

Daysong Reflections, December 11

Bigreadersite, December 11

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 11

Splashes of Joy, December 11

Vicky Sluiter, December 12

To Everything There Is A Season, December 12

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

Blossoms and Blessings, December 12

The Write Escape, December 12

A Baker’s Perspective, December 13

Bizwings Blog, December 13

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

Pause for Tales, December 13

Giveaway

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

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

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

What You Said to Me Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: What You Said to Me

Author: Olivia Newport

Genre: Christian Fiction

Release Date: November 2020

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

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

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

Click HERE to get your copy! 

About the Author

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

More from Olivia

Careful Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Olivia Newport

My Review

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

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

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

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

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

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, November 21

deb’s Book Review, November 21

Remembrancy, November 22

Connect in Fiction, November 22

lakesidelivingsite, November 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 23

Splashes of Joy, November 24

Robin’s Nest, November 24

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 24

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 25

Mamma Loves Books, November 25

Pause for Tales, November 25

Godly Book Reviews, November 26

Lis Loves Reading, November 26

Hallie Reads, November 26

Older & Smarter?, November 27

Texas Book-aholic, November 27

Inklings and notions, November 28

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 28

The Write Escape, November 28

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

Blogging With Carol, November 29

Mary Hake, November 29

For Him and My Family, November 30

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

Betti Mace, December 1

Worthy2Read, December 1

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 1

Lots of Helpers, December 2

Bigreadersite, December 2

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 2

Amanda Tero, blog, December 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 3

For the Love of Literature, December 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 4

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/103f1/what-you-said-to-me-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

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

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

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

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

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

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

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

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

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

Divide and Conquer: A Book Review of Bryan Litfin’s “The Conqueror”

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From the moment I saw this book, I knew I wanted to read it, and not only because the cover is beautiful and very well done. Despite being an avid historical fiction devotee, I have read precious few books about the early Roman Empire. In all honesty, it was not a time period that drew my interest until I took Latin in college; my immediate love of the language planted a seed of interest in the ancient culture that dominated the landscape of the early Christian church. Not often do I have the opportunity to review a book based on this era, after the Diocletian persecutions. As Bryan Litfin remarks in his Historical Note section at the beginning of the book, The Conqueror is not a biblical novel, but rather a historical one, which sets the scene for the entire story.

Perhaps because it is intended to be primarily historical, The Conqueror leaves me feeling conflicted and struggling to tease out my thoughts. Amazon does not list it among Christian fiction, but because it is published by Revell, that is what I would expect, and the book summary lends credence to this. My issue is that it reads like a secular novel, with too much focus on “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). Flavia is a devoted Christian, yet she seems unable to truly defend her faith and answer Rex’s questions; granted, she is a teenager, but given her privileged upbringing and the amount of time she spends engaged in helping the church, this seems implausible. Similarly, I would have liked to see more dynamic characters. Here, evil is evil and it seems like a missed opportunity at times to test the characters’ ability to change in more deliberate ways. I do, however, appreciate how Flavia and Rex’s stories converge, leading to more integrations as the story progresses.

Covering somewhat less than four years, from October 309 A.D to May 313, The Conqueror is an epic novel of the fight between the authorities of the day and between polytheism and Christianity. I think that it is safe to say that politics haven’t changed much over the years. Power grabbing, scandals, affairs, assassinations. Let’s just hope that we never see a return of the amphitheaters! As for the Roman army, I find the thorough training of the speculators such as Rex and his best friend Geta both interesting and disturbing, because they are taught to kill without compunction if necessary. I understand this concept in a war environment, but it can be taken to excess in less dire situations. I will say, though, that Litfin excels at keeping the plot moving with plenty of action, adventure, and drama. I enjoyed learning about the catholic (universal) church at this time in history, and about the Empire’s journey toward Christianity. In the opening indices, Litfin includes a list of the major characters in his story who were actual historical figures, a Gazetteer of Ancient and Modern Place Names, and a glossary of terms, all of which enrich and inform the reading experience.

My overall impressions are that if you enjoy historical fiction set in the ancient world and are not disturbed by violence or sensuality, you may enjoy this book.

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

My rating: 3 stars ♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

The Red Ribbon Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Red Ribbon

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian historical/suspense

Release Date: October, 2020

An Appalachian Feud Blows Up in 1912

Book 8 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

In Carroll County, a corn shucking is the social event of the season, until a mischievous kiss leads to one of the biggest tragedies in Virginia history. Ava Burcham isn’t your typical Blue Ridge Mountain girl. She has a bad habit of courtin’ trouble, and her curiosity has opened a rift in the middle of a feud between politicians and would-be outlaws, the Allen family. Ava’s tenacious desire to find a story worth reporting may land her and her best friend, Jeremiah Sutphin, into more trouble than either of them planned. The end result? The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre of 1912.

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. She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains where her family have lived for generations. She’s the mom of five kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus, and proud AlleyCat over at the award winning Writer’s Alley blog. Her debut historical romance novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in April 2015, and the second in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance debuted in April 2016.

More from Pepper

Feuds, Moonshine, and Family Loyalties by Pepper Basham

My upcoming release for Barbour’s True Colors series is really close to my heart…and pretty close to my house.

The Red Ribbon, my first foray into a historical suspense novel, takes place in the county where I grew up. Carroll County, Virginia, is a county on the border of Virginia and North Carolina, not too far from Mt. Airy (Mayberry). Nestled in the foothills and mountains of the Blue Ridge, it is a part of the Appalachian Mountains, and with that comes similar histories as other backwoods Appalachian communities: feuds, moonshine, and family loyalties.

One thing I love most about my Appalachian upbringing is the intense closeness of family – and when I say ‘family’ I mean, of course, my mom, dad, and brother, but also my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents…the whole “gang”, as my granny used to say.

The closeness of family, and the protection of the family name, is a big deal in Appalachia. There’s a lot of pride in the way your ‘name’ is thought of throughout the community, so when someone insults your name, there’s a good chance the repercussions aren’t going to be pleasant. Especially back in the early 1900s, when The Red Ribbon takes place. In fact, insulting someone by “stealing a kiss” is one of the events that leads to The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre/Tragedy.

A long-time feud between the Allen family and the “Courthouse Clan” came to a head inside the Hillsville Courthouse in March 1912 and this event resulted in the largest shootout within a courthouse in Virginia history. The story followed with a nationwide manhunt and made national news until the sinking of the Titanic the following month.

Growing up in Carroll County, I knew a few things about this story. Rumors and whispers, really. Most folks didn’t talk about it because it still caused a stir among those who were descendants (because another thing about Appalachia is that families tend to stay on or around family land for generations). People still took “sides”. So, when I decided to write this book, I knew I was stepping into precarious territory. Not that anyone would start up a shootout nowadays because of a book, but because people still have some deep feelings about how their ancestors are portrayed in history, and since many of my family members still live in Carroll County, I wanted to tread carefully into the events of “The Allen Tragedy”.

What I discovered was a story that still held a whole lot of mystery even one hundred years later. Bullet holes still mark the courthouse steps from that fateful day, rumors still circulate about who was to blame, and no one knows who fired the first gunshot that began the tragic shooting.

I’m not a “scary” book writer or reader, but I love a good adventure, so this book takes the reader on an adventure into Appalachia to my neck of the woods, and follows the journey of Ava Burcham and Jeremiah Sutphin as they live among the illegal moonshiners, dirty cops, and mountain gunslingers of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

(To learn more about the true events of the Courthouse Tragedy, you can read about it here: https://roanoke.com/news/virginia/the-courthouse-tragedy-gunfight-in-hillsville-in-1912/article_45d0d7f3-6e1f-57c4-83be-fceb3d98dafd.html)

Have you ever read a book set in Appalachia? If so, what was the title and what did you learn about the Appalachian culture? Have you ever visited the Blue Ridge Mountains?

Let’s chat mountain people, mountain ways, and mountain books 😊

My Review

Of the eight True Colors books published by Barbour thus far, this latest one by Pepper Basham is my favorite. The Red Ribbon is based on the 1912 Hillsville Courthouse Massacre in Carroll County, Virginia, an event unknown to me before reading this book. Nothing says historic Appalachia like a feud, and this story illustrates how deeply grudges run through generations and how it takes only one small spark to set them ablaze: “A terrible foreboding rife with long-held anger and blind rage breathed out from the crowd, with fingers from the past twisting half truths and hard hearts.” As a resident of northern Appalachia myself, I have always loved the rural and the rustic, preferring the backwoods over the city any day. Therefore, I was fairly certain that I was going to enjoy this book, and having no foreknowledge of the crime was an added bonus in the suspense department!

With skilled authenticity, Basham interlaces the historical record with fictional characters to create a tragic and inspirational tale complete with wholesome romance. As much as I love language, usually thick dialect distracts and even outright bothers me because it slows my pace and causes me to have to translate, but in this case it didn’t. None of the dialogue is at all difficult to figure out, and much of it reflects what I’ve grown up hearing, which lends it a comfortable familiarity. In this way and so many others, I feel a special connection with this book. I can easily connect with Ava Burcham and her fondness for writing, and with Jeremiah Sutphin’s bond with his dog, Wolf. The strength of family ties, whether biological or chosen, continues to be a mainstay for many in the Appalachian and other rural regions today.

Because the main characters are fictional, The Red Ribbon has an intriguing sense of unpredictability. Up until the final chapter or two, how the ending will play out is largely a mystery, which makes me appreciate it all the more. Basham explores the dynamics of mountain life, including tragedy and trauma and how they shape the characters in both the past and the present. The subject of faith comes up mostly with regard to Ava, for whom “God had always seemed so far away, so distant, from the shadows waving a sinister hand over the works of the world. She’d asked Him into her heart as a little girl, but with so much brokenness in her past, could she really trust Him with her future?” A struggle with which we all contend sometimes, trusting God comes more naturally when we go through difficult circumstances and, with each one, see how He provides for us and cares for us.

Epigraphs for each chapter consist of Appalachian aphorisms from either Granny Burcham or Granddaddy Sutphin; they set the scene for the chapter and impart mountain wisdom. A cast of characters appears at the front of the book, which can be very helpful but which does have some spoilers for the story’s outcome (particularly for those with no prior knowledge of this historical event), so read it with caution! Given how reactive some of the characters are, it is easy to draw parallels between the early twentieth century and the present. As Ava realizes, though, we all have a choice: “She could focus on the losses and pain, allowing those dark thoughts to color the filter of every other scene in her life, or she could choose thankfulness, gratitude, and the belief that God touched it all with hope—held it all—and never took His attention away from her.” Which will you choose?

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

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 29

Fiction Aficionado, October 29

deb’s Book Review, October 29

Blossoms and Blessings, October 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 30

Texas Book-aholic, October 30

Blogging With Carol, October 30

Inklings and notions, October 31

Emily Yager, October 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, October 31

Hallie Reads, October 31

For Him and My Family, November 1

reviewingbooksplusmore, November 1

Christian Bookaholic, November 1

Betti Mace, November 2

Genesis 5020, November 2

For the Love of Literature, November 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess , November 2

Rebecca Tews, November 3

Robin’s Nest, November 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 3

Connect in Fiction, November 4

Older & Smarter?, November 4

To Everything There Is A Season, November 4

Artistic Nobody, November 4 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 5

By The Book, November 5

Remembrancy, November 5

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 6

Britt Reads Fiction, November 6

Life of Literature, November 6

Connie’s History Classroom, November 7

Splashes of Joy, November 7

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 7

A Reader’s Brain, November 8

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 8

Through the Fire Blogs, November 8

Godly Book Reviews, November 8

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, November 9

Bigreadersite, November 9

Where Faith and books Meet, November 9

Books I’ve Read, November 10

Just the Write Escape, November 10

Adventures of a Travelers Life, November 10

Amanda Tero, blog, November 11

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 11

Pause for Tales, November 11

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1032d/the-red-ribbon-celebration-tour-giveaway

Light in the Mountain Sky Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Author

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Book: Light in the Mountain Sky

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: September 29 , 2020

This epic journey may seal her fate forever.

Determined to prove her worth, Meksem fiercely fought to earn her place among the warriors in her Nez Perce camp. When her half-sister is captured by an enemy tribe, she refuses to trust the rescue to anyone else. But her new friends insist on joining her mission, and she battles between relief and frustration at their presence. Especially the white man who peers at her as if he can see through the face of the warrior she struggles so hard to maintain.

Spaniard Adam Vargas thrives on adventure wherever his travels take him. He’s fallen in love with this Rocky Mountain wilderness, as well as the spotted horses the Nez Perce tribe raise. His fascination with this Indian maiden-turned-warrior catches him off guard though, including the way she seems to be fighting for more than her sister’s safe return.

The journey proves more perilous than any of the group expects, and the secret Meksem hides becomes impossible to conceal. If they live through this mission, the life they knew will never be the same again.

From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and intense adventure.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and children now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

More from Misty

Early Nez Perce Business Women

As I’ve been researching for my current Call of the Rockies series, I’ve had the pleasure of diving deep into the culture of the Nez Perce tribe. I found it interesting that one of the primary food sources of The People (as they called themselves) was camas roots.

But what really drew my notice was how the women would cultivate entire fields of camas root, store what they needed for their family through the winter, then use the extras for bartering. Some savvy women would become quite wealthy from their business dealings!

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The bulbs of the camas plant are full of calories and nutrients, and each fall, Nez Perce families would travel to their particular camas meadow (a section of land whose camas rights had probably been passed down from generation to generation within their family). Many of these meadows were located near present-day Weippe, Moscow or Grangeville, where the onion-shaped bulbs grew thickly.

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Women used pointed wooden tools to harvest the bulbs, and could often gather over 50 pounds a day, satisfying their full winter’s supply within just a few days.

Native American peoples who ate camas include the Nez Perce (Nimíipuu), Cree, Coast Salish, Kalapuya, and Blackfoot, and Yakama, among many others. Not all of these people groups harvested camas themselves. Instead, many relied on trade in order to procure it. Trade networks were established all the way from the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean, and a shrewd businesswoman who tended her camas meadows well could provide everything her family needed and more!

My Review

Once again, Misty Beller pens a heartwarming historical romance novel, Light in the Mountain Sky, book 3 in her Call of the Rockies series. While it can stand alone, I would highly recommend reading these books in order; doing so will provide background information about and connections between the characters. This third book takes place in 1831, in future Idaho territory, and it highlights the conflict and warring amongst the Native American tribes. In this story, some of the Blackfoot have stolen several women and a child, among them a young woman named Telipe, whose sister Meksem is determined to rescue her.

Often it seems difficult to believe that an author can write an entire story about a desolate wilderness trip and still make it interesting enough to keep the reader engaged, yet Beller always accomplishes this with aplomb. There are enough action scenes to increase a reader’s heart rate, but they are not overdone and seem plausible given the circumstances. Tesoro stole my heart from the start! Descriptions of the Rocky Mountains, through which the group in this story travel in their quest, demonstrate its natural beauty while also warning of its pitfalls. Given that the setting is during winter, these hazards with the weather will continue throughout the narrative, and I now have a deeper respect for those taught to read the land.

Unsurprisingly, the best part of Light in the Mountain Sky is the characters, who are familiar from the previous book in the series. Primarily focusing on Meksem, a Nez Perce and formerly Salish woman who will not rest until she brings back her sister, safe and sound, this novel is a fascinating character study. In an effort to insulate herself against the pain of relationships and lost loved ones, Meksem has trained herself to become a warrior and has disavowed romance, but she begins questioning that decision around Adam Vargas. I think that Adam is my favorite character, largely due to his special way with animals but also because he is very intuitive when it comes to Meksem. “But something more was missing. A purpose she’d been created for. Maybe, if she sought hard enough, she would finally find that missing piece.” They both experience a spiritual metanoia during their journey, and while this could be very cliched and melodramatic, Beller crafts it skillfully to be both meaningful and natural. “Hope slipped into her chest. She’d heard of the white man’s Bible but hadn’t realized the book contained directions from God Himself. This way she could learn about the One she’d committed her life to.” Just as with Meksem, God yearns for us to draw close to Him, and when we do, we truly experience our heart’s desire (Psalm 27:4).

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

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, October 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 13

Splashes of Joy, October 13

A Baker’s Perspective, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 14

Blessed & Bookish, October 15

Connect in Fiction, October 15

lakesidelivingsite, October 15

For the Love of Literature, October 16

Betti Mace, October 16

Texas Book-aholic, October 17

21st Century Keeper at Home, October 17

Inklings and notions, October 18

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 18

jeanette’s Thoughts, October 18

Older & Smarter?, October 19

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 19

For Him and My Family, October 20

Mary Hake, October 20

She Lives To Read, October 21

Writing from the Heart Land, October 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 22

Simple Harvest Reads, October 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Artistic Nobody, October 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Blossoms and Blessings, October 23

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 24

reviewingbooksplusmore, October 24

Bizwings Blog, October 24

Connie’s History Classroom, October 25

Book Love, October 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 26

Bigreadersite, October 26

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/101f7/light-in-the-mountain-sky-celebration-tour-giveaway