Tag Archives: mystery

A Giant Murder Review and GIVEAWAY!

About the Book

Book: A Giant Murder

Author: Marji Laine

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: August 3, 2021

Would you like a shot of… death with that, sir?

Josephine Jacobs was just doing her job, serving at an exclusive party, so why is she now being accused of shooting TG Taggert?

At a party full of suspects in the murder of Taggert, Josie served the food giant everything but an eternally “parting shot.” Who really killed TG Taggert? His wife? His son, Jack? What about Harper Davis? Rumor has it, she was having an affair with him—motive for her or Taggert’s wife! The list of those who seemed to hate him keeps growing, including a chemist and a chef!

With her long-time friend, Office Porter O’Brien, Josie sets out to find out who really killed “the giant,” and clear her name.

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. A Giant Murder offers a retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” with enough clues and suspects to keep you looking over your shoulder. We’d recommend Kevlar… but it hasn’t been invented yet!

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

Marji Laine is a graduated home-schooling mom of four with two college students staying in the nest for a little longer. She and her hubby of 34 years also share their North Texas home with a rescue pup named Rosie. When Marji isn’t editing or publishing the books for her authors at Write Integrity Press, she indulges in penning her own mystery, suspense, and romance novels. She loves acting in musical comedy, has directed many stage productions, leads a high school Bible study and sings in her church choir. She prefers mountains to beaches, dogs to cats, NASCAR to football, Magnolia pie, white roses, green, and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. You can find her at her website: MarjiLaine.com

More from Marji

I so enjoyed researching the history of downtown Dallas as I crafted my story, A GIANT MURDER. The house that I chose for Josie and her mom is actually still there on Haskell Avenue. The photo with the wrought iron is about twenty years old, but the house was built circa 1914. The photo with the wooden fence is from last year, after a big remodel. This house was also the setting of another of my books. It and the field that used to be next to it was an after-school child care center in AIN’T MISBEHAVING.

Thinking about what life might have been like in this house in the twenties, I can’t
help but think about my grandparents. They were teenagers at the time of my story – 1926 – and while my grandfather grew up in, what was then, a little farming town called Paris, Texas, my grandmother grew up in Oak Cliff, just across the bridge over the Trinity River from this house in downtown Dallas.

Makes the research that I did on this era even that much more special. Having come through COVID, I realize that my great-grandparents had to nurture their preteens and teenagers through the Spanish Flu that devastated whole communities. The more things change, the more they stay the same?

All of this reminiscing sent me to an old recipe book that had been a wedding present for me from my mom almost thirty-five years ago. In the dessert section near the back, I found a precious recipe for Date Candy that had come by way of my great-grandmother, Carrie Ethel Leatherwood Morin. I never met her, but I do remember hearing from my mom that she was a woman of faith, and I have a poem she wrote late in life, about growing up in the country.

I would say this is a 1920s recipe, but who could tell? She was a middle-aged mom at that point, so it’s a good bet.

Date Candy

1 box – light brown sugar

4 T – corn syrup

½ pt – whipping cream

1 cup – dates

1 cup – pecans

1 t – vanilla

Mix sugar, syrup, and cream. Cook until almost a hard ball. Just before removing from pan, put in dates and stir until they melt. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Beat until almost hard – then add pecans. Wet a cup towel. Pour mixture onto cup towel and roll into a roll. Let it cool – firm – then slice.

Let me know if you decide to make my great-grandmother’s candy. I’d love to find out how it turned out!

My Review

My review will be appearing in the September issue of #BecauseFiction magazine, and when it does, I will post the direct link to it here. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and get a copy of A Giant Murder!

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 17

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 18

For the Love of Literature, September 18

Inklings and notions, September 19

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 19 (Author Interview)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 20

For Him and My Family, September 20

deb’s Book Review, September 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 22

A Reader’s Brain, September 23

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 23

Connie’s History Classroom, September 24

Simple Harvest Reads, September 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 25

Mary Hake, September 25

Rebecca Tews, September 26

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 27

Connect in Fiction, September 28

Bigreadersite, September 28

Through the fire blogs, September 29

Blogging With Carol, September 30

Back Porch Reads, September 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Marji 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/119f5/a-giant-murder-celebration-tour-giveaway

Promises Broken, Promises Kept: A Book Review of Lynette Eason’s “Hostile Intent”

Bestselling Christian fiction author Lynette Eason brings her Danger Never Sleeps tetralogy to an electrifying finale with Hostile Intent. As with the previous three books in this series, this one can be read as a standalone, although there is strong character overlap and therefore spoilers; having previously read only the first book so far myself, I still encourage everyone to read all of them for the pleasure of the plot intricacies and the obvious research that has gone into them. Even as someone who typically shies away from contemporary military stories, I could not put this book down, and it definitely increased my heart rate a time or two!

From the first page, Hostile Intent ratchets up the suspense and lays the foundation for an intense romantic thriller. A caveat is necessary for those who are profoundly disturbed by the murder of children, as well as violence and torture because they are integral to the plot, but Eason handles these sensitive issues with grace and leaves out graphic details. As such, while this may not be a light read, it does take on the all-too-real brutality and antagonism that fuels so many in modern society, offering some insight into how this type of behavior comes about and where it can lead when left unchecked: “Just two more families and his mission would be complete, his promise kept. His grandmother was wrong. Vengeance didn’t belong to God. It belonged to him. And it tasted sweet.” However, teaching someone to hate another person or group of people for any transgression, perceived or real, will never lead to a positive outcome for anyone.

Amidst this backdrop of reprisal, Ava Jackson, who recently left the Navy to care for her dying mother, finds herself somehow involved in a case of several murdered families, of which hers might be next. Working with FBI Special Agent Caden Denning to put the puzzle pieces together before time runs out, the duo uncover secrets that someone went to great lengths to conceal—and keep that way. Just as revenge can be a powerful motivator, so too the desire to protect the ones you love, even at the cost of personal sacrifice. After all, Jesus Himself showed us that sometimes the most unpleasant situations can lead to the most blessed destinations. As Caden remarks, “It’s funny how life can throw you a curve ball when you least expect it—or how God can change your perspective.

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

Reflecting Gold Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Reflecting Gold

Author: Cynthia L. Simmons

Genre: Mystery

Release date: June 2021

Peter and Mary Beth Chandler kept their Confederate bank on the gold standard. However, a Confederate officer asked for a loan. He insisted he should be able to repay in Confederate bank notes not backed by gold. If they refuse, he will label them traitors. Should the Chandlers change their loan requirements and risk losing the bank? The entire town questioned their loyalty, especially when the officer turned up dead. Will the Chandlers be court martialed or lose the bank? While facing an impossible situation, they seek God’s guidance and learn to reflect his love.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Cynthia L Simmons is the mother of five grown children, imperfect and down-to-earth, she uses her experience to model grace for all and speaks from the heart of a spiritual mom. Fond of times past, she writes both fiction and nonfiction while combining history and scripture to minister to moms of all ages. However, she has a special place in her heart for young moms and homeschool moms. While she loves writing—books, articles, devotions, and notes—Cynthia also enjoys traveling around the nation speaking to homeschool events, bookstores, libraries, and churches. Plus, conducts writing workshops, and leads retreats. She’s a huge fan of sugar, tea, orchids, purple, re-enactments, friends, and ballroom dancing with her husband. https://clsimmons.com

More from Cynthia

The same year my first book came out, my husband came down with encephalitis. In simple terms, his brain was infected. He’d been sick for several days with a mild headache and temperature, and our doctor thought he had the flu. One morning I watched him slide into the floor as a grand mal seizure ravaged his body. I remember thinking this couldn’t be happening. I’m a nurse, and I was reviewing his medical history in my mind. Seizures didn’t fit with anything on either side of his family, and I wanted to deny what I saw. Needless to say, our life changed dramatically for several years as we walked through dark times. My husband spent 11 days in intermediate intensive care and came home on IV medications. For several weeks he had partial seizures the doctors couldn’t control. However, I learned so much during that time, and I’ve shared lessons from that time. In Reflecting Gold, I demonstrate how we can reflect the beauty of God even in the middle of heartbreak.

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

I have always loved words and hated numbers. At about ten or eleven, I tried to write a novel, but my brother laughed at me. Embarrassed, I stopped and planned never to write again. Years later, I homeschooled my five children and taught them to write. As I taught grammar, I explained how everything I taught was really a tool for writing. Once my kids started to leave home, I started writing and using those tools I’d been teaching.

Which author has most influenced your own writing?

I can’t brag on just one. Cec Murphy got me started with his classes and critique groups. Jennifer Slattery and I worked together for a year or so, and I learned a lot from her. Fay Lamb taught at a writing conference I hosted here in Atlanta, and she influenced me a lot. Sandra Byrd coached me as I wrote my first novel. She gave me confidence that I could write for publication. I still use her techniques.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Both. I tend to structure the entire book before I start. However, once I get started, things happen I didn’t expect. Sometimes a new idea occurs to me, and I like it better than what I intended. On some occasions, I get bored with what I planned and go off in a different direction.

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

I love the Victorian period. I grow orchids, which men discovered in that era, and I adore the hooped skirts and fancy dresses. If you peeked into my closet, you’d see several dresses from that period that I wear to events. I often pose for photos with fans or their children.

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

I have used all three. Traditional books are wonderful. I enjoy holding a book in my hand and turning pages. However, your house can only hold so many. So, if I interview an author for my podcast, I usually ask for an ebook or pdf. I also enjoy listening to my kindle when I clean house.

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, September 9 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 9

Texas Book-aholic, September 10

Inklings and notions, September 11

For Him and My Family, September 12

deb’s Book Review, September 13

For the Love of Literature, September 14 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 17

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 18

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 20

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 21 (Author Interview)

Vicarious Living, September 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 22

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Cynthia is giving away the grand prize package of a $30 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/11818/reflecting-gold-celebration-tour-giveaway

Lethal Cover-Up Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Lethal Cover-Up

Author: Darlene L. Turner

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: July 27, 2021

Some secrets are dangerous…

But uncovering the truth could be deadly.

Border patrol officer Madison Steele knows her sister Leah’s fatal car crash was no accident. Someone’s willing to kill to cover up a pharmaceutical company’s deadly crime of distributing tainted drugs. Now they are after Madison to tie off loose ends. But with her high school sweetheart, Canadian police constable Tucker Reed, at her side, can Madison expose the company’s deadly plan before she becomes the next victim?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Darlene L. Turner is an award-winning author and lives with her husband, Jeff in Ontario, Canada. Her love of suspense began when she read her first Nancy Drew book. She’s turned that passion into her writing and believes readers will be captured by her plots, inspired by her strong characters, and moved by her inspirational message. You can connect with Darlene at www.darlenelturner.com where there’s suspense beyond borders.

More from Darlene

The Hidden Staircase, The Secret of the Old Clock, The Sign of the Twisted Candles—these were just some of my favorite Nancy Drew books. I couldn’t get enough of them growing up! My family often saw me with my nose stuck in one of Nancy’s many tales. When I was finished with those, I’d sneak my brother’s Hardy Boy books and devour them too. This is where my love of writing and of a good mystery/suspense began.

Creating stories in the romantic suspense genre was a natural journey for me. I had always wanted to be a policewoman after watching Charlie’s Angels (they even kicked butt while wearing high heels…what could be better than that?!), Cagney and Lacey, Police woman, Murder She Wrote, etc. My love for all-things-mystery carried into my adult life. Who doesn’t love Sydney Bristow and Kate Beckett?

I enjoy creating strong female characters in a law enforcement role. Madison Steele fits the bill head on as she works to bring down a ruthless pharmaceutical company. While she has nerves of steel, I also wanted to make her vulnerable. In the beginning Madison loses her long-lost sister in a heart-wrenching crash. One she knows was not an accident. This thrusts her into a deadly pursuit of the perpetrators with her estranged high school sweetheart, Tucker Reed, by her side.

I wrote this book during the tough year our world faced living in the unknown. Madison and Tucker are stuck in their own fears but eventually find hope. Hope in the unknown and hope in knowing God is in control and with us—no matter the circumstances. We just need to know where to look.

I hope you enjoy reading Madison and Tucker’s story as much as I loved crafting it. I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me through my website www.darlenelturner.com and also sign up for Darlene’s Diary newsletter to receive exclusive subscriber giveaways.

My Review

Review to come.

My rating:

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 18

Lighthouse-Academy, August 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 19

Genesis 5020, August 19

Simply Susan, August 19

Texas Book-aholic, August 20

Bizwings Blog, August 20

She Lives To Read, August 21

HookMeInABook, August 21

Inklings and notions, August 22

Reviewingbooksplusmore, August 22

Mary Hake, August 22

Betti Mace, August 23

Daysong Reflections, August 23

For the Love of Literature, August 24

deb’s Book Review, August 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 26

Pause for Tales, August 26

Blogging With Carol, August 26

For Him and My Family, August 27

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

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

Batya’s Bits, August 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 29

Kayem Reads, August 29

Little Homeschool on the Prairie , August 30

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 30, August 30

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, August 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 31

Labor Not in Vain, August 31

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Darlene is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of Lethal Cover-Up!!

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/1141b/lethal-cover-up-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Last Gasp Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Last Gasp

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: July 6, 2021

At the pinnacle of his Hollywood career, Garrison Prince’s reign ends tonight.

As plain old Gary Prinz, he can pursue his Bible education, buy a bungalow in Pasadena, acquire a few chickens, and marry the girl of his dreams. He just never imagined trading the silver screen for a pulpit would wreak such havoc.

A cigarillo girl, Lucinda Ashton spends her days with her boyfriend, Gary, and her evenings selling candy and “gaspers” to the Hollywood elite at the Taj Mahal Theater.

However, when gunshots ring out just as intermission begins, Lucinda finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a brouhaha that leaves three dead, and no one has a clue why.

All the police know is that the evidence points to Lucinda as the killer and Gary as the intended target.

Four new friends, one young orphan, and a potluck of clues that don’t seem to fit anywhere leave the police baffled, Lucinda in fear for her freedom, and Gary ready to trade in his acting shoes for gumshoes if it’ll save his “Cinda.”

The first book in the Ever After Mysteries combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries, The Last Gasp. This Cinderella retelling blends a murder with enough crime and story clues to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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

More from Chautona

What Beautiful, Unexpected Parallel Did I Find Writing this Mystery?

I bought it at Pic-n-Save when I was eleven—an 8.5×11 paperback book of traditional fairy tales. I learned another side of the age-old stories that you don’t see from Disney. Rapunzel? Yeah. That was the story about the queen who was craving rampion (a salad vegetable) so much that she promised to give up her child for it. Rampion—Rapunzel. It’s a thing.

It’s also where I learned Cinderella’s name as “Aschenputtel.” Look, those Brothers Grimm were… well, they were German and that should explain everything. “Puttel” just sings of German, doesn’t it? That tale was also a bit gruesome. The one sister cut off her big toe to make the shoe fit because her mother said, “You won’t have to walk anywhere if you’re a queen. Who needs it!” So the idiotic girl did. Same for the other sister and her heel. Seriously, didn’t she learn from her older sister?

Oh, and it’s the one where mother and stepsisters get their eyes picked out by birds. It reminded me of Proverbs 30:17. “The eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.”

Talk about bringing Scripture to life for kids there. *Gulp*

True confession, our kids used to sing that verse to the tune of “All Hail the Pow’r of Jesus’ Name.” You should have heard the lusty voices of our children in our Grand Marquis station wagon (may the wonderful beast rest in peace) singing, “The ravens shall pick out his eyes and eeee-agles eeee-eeaat the saaaammmme!”

I digress.

Cinderella—I mean, Aschenputtel—really wasn’t my favorite story, though. I liked other stories from other books. Like the Ten Brothers—a Chinese folk tale. You know. Fairy tale.

Know which fairy tale I liked even less than Cinderella?

The Little Mermaid. Seriously, I didn’t like the original (Sorry Mr. Andersen… I just didn’t), and I can’t stand Disney’s. But when we first began planning the Ever After Mysteries, I knew which one I wanted to do. The Little Mermaid had everything going for it. Houdini and a water tank. Can’t you just see it? It would have been great. But a friend asked who was writing about the “cigarillo girl” (as I mention in THIS post), and well… the rest is history. Or at least, it’s set back in history.

But there’s one truth I discovered as I wrote this mystery.

Mystery… that’s a good word for this truth, actually. Cinderella is a beautiful picture of Jesus as our prince. We can be His bride and put on the shoe He has fashioned only to fit us, or we can try to snatch it up and make it suit our wills and hold our overgrown egos (work with me here). He takes us out of our ragged, dirty lives and brings us home… to Him. To His Father.

Is there anything more beautiful? I don’t think so.

In The Last Gasp, Gary knows Cinda long before she knows him—truly knows him. He loves her just as she is. Is it a perfect retelling of the beauty of Christ’s love for his church? Not hardly. It wasn’t intended to demonstrate that relationship at all. But there are tiny nuances that do. And that’s pretty cool.

My Review

As a child, I was never really enamored with princesses and fairy tales the way that other girls were. Romance just isn’t my cup of tea. Unless, of course, the subject is Belle: secluded castle, grand library with a sliding book ladder…but I digress. With the exception of wearing a rather glitzy Cinderella dress for my first piano recital in second grade (a harbinger, perhaps, since I quit a few years later), I have been staunchly in the pioneer, historical-fiction camp. I do, however, love mysteries, and that is what caught my eye with Celebrate Lit’s new series, “Ever After Mysteries.” Intrigued by the amalgamation of fairy tale adaption, historical fiction, and mystery, I had to check it out.

Chautona Havig kicks off the Ever After Mysteries with The Last Gasp, a 1920s adaptation of Cinderella. I know little about this time period, particularly in regard to theater and film, which made it fun to read about. The main character, Lucinda “Cinda” Ashton, works as a cigarillo girl, selling candy and cigarettes at the Taj Mahal Theater, until a night of chaos and murder points to her as the prime suspect. Her boyfriend, Gary Prinz, a charming little orphan boy named Herbie, and a cast of others band together to figure out who is behind the curtain of this crime spree.

Humor adds just enough lightheartedness to bring a smile to readers without detracting from the mystery, and the literary nods that Havig includes amuse those who look for them. I noticed, for instance, an homage to Snoopy early on in the narrative. The names used in The Last Gasp are, of course, very apropos, and several other parallels between the famous story that most know and cherish pop up throughout the narrative. Because of the combination of romantic and alarming elements, The Last Gasp does seem like an admirable merging of the Disney and Brothers Grimm versions! For anyone with concerns, however, this adaptation is clean and does not contain graphic details beyond a few brief mentions of blood.

There were times when the story execution reminded me of the movie Clue due to the wit and comical nature of some of the scenes, but there is also a deep undercurrent of faith and love. My favorite scene is when Gary witnesses to a wondering Mrs. Cohen, explaining “As for my reward, I have it already—salvation. I know it isn’t the done thing to talk about in society, but you asked. Some men are eager to share how to receive the Lord’s gift. I wish to teach those who already have it how to live in a way that reflects their gratitude for it.” To me, this speaks to the ultimate message of The Last Gasp: jealousy never cultivates contentment, and no matter how much or how little anyone has here on earth, the greatest possession of all is a relationship not with Prince Charming, but with King Jesus.

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

Rebecca Tews, August 2

For Him and My Family, August 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 3

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

Lots of Helpers, August 4

Inklings and notions, August 4

deb’s Book Review, August 5

CarpeDiem, August 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 6

Connect in Fiction, August 6

Texas Book-aholic, August 7

Blogging With Carol, August 7

She Lives To Read, August 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 8

Connie’s History Classroom, August 9

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

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 10

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 10

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 11

The Meanderings of a Bookworm , August 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 12

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 12

Splashes of Joy, August 13

Mary Hake, August 13

For the Love of Literature, August 14

Back Porch Reads, August 14

Through the Fire Blogs, August 15

Mamma loves books, August 15

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of copy of the book 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/11420/the-last-gasp-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Scarlet Pen Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Scarlet Pen

Author: Jennifer Uhlarik

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Release date: July 2021

Engaged to a Monster

Book 12 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Enjoy a tale of true but forgotten history of a 19th century serial killer whose silver-tongued ways almost trap a young woman into a nightmarish marriage.

In 1876, Emma Draycott is charmed into a quick engagement with childhood friend Stephen Dee Richards after reconnecting with him at a church event in Mount Pleasant, Ohio. But within the week, Stephen leaves to “make his fame and fortune.” The heartbroken Emma gives him a special pen to write to her, and he does with tales of grand adventures. Secret Service agent Clay Timmons arrives in Mount Pleasant to track purchases made with fake currency. Every trail leads back to Stephen—and therefore, Emma. Can he convince the naive woman she is engaged to a charlatan who is being linked a string of deaths in Nebraska?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a preteen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a BA in writing, she has won five writing competitions and was a finalist in two others. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenage son, and four fur children.

More from Jennifer

Hello, Readers! For all who might never have read one of my stories or come across me, it’s great to meet you! I’m a wife, a mom, a (young!) grandma, and an author—among many other things. My author tagline is “Where Grit Meets Grace.” If you’re familiar with my writing at all, you’ll know that most of my stories at least touch on a bit of the difficult side of life. Death, abandonment, war, addiction, or who knows what else you might find. The Scarlet Pen is no different.

Given that this novel is the final installment in Barbour’s True Colors series, the story revolves around a true crime from history—in this case, the murders of serial killer Stephen Dee Richards—AKA the Nebraska Fiend. Anytime you’re dealing with someone so depraved as he, you’ll find plenty of “grit” to write about. But that’s only half of my tagline. Remember, it’s “Where Grit Meets Grace.

While I love a story that delves into difficult topics and, in some cases, pushes the characters right to the edge of what they can handle, I also love a truly redemptive story. When I was asked to write for this series, the ideas that drew me the most were the ones that had something redeeming in the actual history. There were plenty of interesting historical killers I could’ve chosen where I could have manufactured a positive, even happy ending through the fictional characters in the book. In the case of Stephen Dee Richards, there was no manufacturing needed. The “grace” part was already written. The end of Stephen’s story is precisely why I chose to write about him. I hope you’ll find it as though-provoking and compelling as I did. Happy reading!

My Review

Review coming soon!

My rating:

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, July 29

Genesis 5020, July 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 29

For Him and My Family, July 30

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 30 (Author Interview)

Christian Bookaholic, July 30

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 31

Inklings and notions, July 31

Britt Reads Fiction, July 31

Remembrancy, August 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 1

Betti Mace, August 2

Rebecca Tews, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 3

Blogging With Carol , August 3

Older & Smarter?, August 4

Connie’s History Classroom, August 4

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, August 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 5

Bigreadersite, August 5

Godly Book Reviews, August 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 6

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 6

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 7

Back Porch Reads, August 7

Mary Hake, August 7

Through the fire blogs, August 8

sodbuster living, August 8

Connect in Fiction, August 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 9

Texas Book-aholic, August 9

KarenSueHadley, August 9

Pause for Tales, August 10

For the Love of Literature, August 10

Blossoms and Blessings, August 10

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, August 11

Spoken from the Heart, August 11

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Scarlet Pen!!

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/110e0/the-scarlet-pen-celebration-tour-giveaway

Missing in the Desert Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Missing in the Desert

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspy suspense

Release date: July 27, 2021

Five years ago, her sister disappeared…
Now someone is coming for her.

Who would believe that Mara Castillo’s sister—missing and presumed dead—suddenly sent a one-word text? Now Mara wants answers, even if it means stepping into a killer’s sights with her brother’s best friend, rancher Levi Duke, as her only protection. But with someone who has everything to lose after her, uncovering a long-buried secret could save her life…or claim it.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over forty 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

Hello, readers! Boy am I excited! Since the virus-that-not-shall-be-named is being brought under control, I am cautiously venturing out again and our first vacation spot will be a return to Death Valley. Papa Bear and I love the amazing diversity of Death Valley, from the salt flats, to the sand dunes, mountains, and everything in between. Writing this book allowed me to relive the incredible topography, as well as let my mind run loose imagining a cold case that warms up to fiery levels in this ferocious climate. Part of this story revolves around “Camp Town Days” which was inspired by the Encampment Days, an event held in November by a volunteer group called the Death Valley 49ers that aims to capture the pioneer spirit with their wagon rides, parade, poetry readings, a vendor show, and historical talks. I hope you can feel the desert wind in your face and hear the distant howl of the coyote as you dive into the second book in the Death Valley Justice series.

My Review

Was this real? Was she in the grip of a heinous nightmare?

The second Desert Justice story by Dana Mentink, Missing in the Desert, shoots out of the gate with a gripping first chapter that sets the pace for the rest of this Love-Inspired Suspense installation. While technically it could be a stand-alone, I recommend reading Framed in Death Valley first; I did not have a chance to do so, and I think that if I had, I would have had a richer understanding of the relationships between the characters. Nevertheless, this did not at all detract from my enjoyment of this novel.

Suspense relies, naturally, on action and plot, but carefully developing the characters and how they interact with one another is likewise imperative. Mentink introduces them here in a rapid-fire style and then proceeds to explore them throughout the narrative, an effective technique that underscores the power of first impressions and demonstrates that people are not always as they appear. Everyone has something in their past that they regret, and for some, the past becomes the present. Five years after her younger sister Corinne disappears and is presumed dead, Mara Castillo reluctantly steps in to help Levi Duke on his ranch, only to find herself in the crosshairs of a killer. Her name stood out to me immediately, and as Naomi called herself Mara in Ruth 1:20, the forename is fitting here, also; Mara Castillo is bitter and sad about her circumstances at the beginning of the story, but as she begins to see things differently, her heart changes.

As a dog and horse lover, this cover caught my eye before I knew anything about the story itself. I enjoy the inclusion of the ranch animals in the narrative, often offering a bit of comic relief during or after tense scenes. For instance, in an amusing twist, Banjo the dog goes from stalwart guard to unlikely mother. The animals also signify the importance of home as a place of belonging, refuge, and freedom to pursue dreams. Even when those dreams end up looking differently than expected, which is when faith must truly believe that the Lord will keep His promise to “make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).

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, July 28

Simply Susan, July 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 28

Remembrancy, July 29

Inklings and notions, July 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 30

For the Love of Literature, July 30

deb’s Book Review, July 31

Through the Fire Blogs, July 31

She Lives To Read, August 1

Batya’s Bits, August 1

For Him and My Family, August 1

Pause for Tales, August 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 2

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 3

Genesis 5020, August 3

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 4

Bigreadersite, August 4

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 5

Blossoms and Blessings, August 5

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 6

Reviewingbooksplusmore, August 6

Older & Smarter?, August 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 7

Labor Not in Vain , August 7

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, August 8 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, August 8

Life, Love, Writing, August 8

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

Betti Mace, August 9

Daysong Reflections, August 10

Splashes of Joy , August 10

Blogging With Carol, August 10

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed 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/110df/missing-in-the-desert-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Lady in Attendance Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: A Lady in Attendance

Author: Rachel Fordham

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: June 1, 2021

Will the Past Destroy Her Future?

Ada, Mi.—Rachel Fordham’s historical novels have received high praise for their warm and engaging story lines filled with romance, adventure, and happy endings. In A Lady in Attendance, Fordham beautifully blends these same great features in a novel about overcoming obstacles in the past to make room for a better future.

After spending the last five years in a New York state reformatory, Hazel is desperate to begin life anew, but she knows that a tarnished name could ruin her chances. She accepts a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts’ lady in attendance but does so under an alias so she can hide her shameful past.

Dr. Watts has come to enjoy the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, but he senses her sadness and wonders if there is more to her story than she’s shared with him. As their friendship deepens, Hazel must grapple with her desire to trust him.

Can Dr. Watts and Hazel’s friends help expunge her record? And can Hazel possibly find hope and love along the way?

Click HERE to get your copy! 

About the Author

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Rachel Fordham is the author of The Hope of Azure Springs, Yours Truly, Thomas, and A Life Once Dreamed. Fans expect stories with heart, and she delivers, diving deep into the human experience and tugging at reader emotions. She loves connecting with people, traveling to new places, and daydreaming about future projects that will have sigh-worthy endings and memorable characters. She is a busy mom, raising both biological and foster children (a cause she feels passionate about). She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.

More from Rachel

Ten behind the scenes extras from A Lady in Attendance:

  1. This book takes place in Amherst and Buffalo New York, places I lived for four years. Buffalo has had some rough years but if you ever visit the area you will see gorgeous old buildings, beautiful parks and cemeteries and understand why it was once a booming and prosperous city (and why I love it still). Gilbert and Hazel both grew up in the area (though, they did not know each other until the story begins). Two of my children were born in Buffalo and though they aren’t being raised there, I tell them stories.
  2. Hazel spent five years in a New York State reformatory. Reformatories were basically the first juvenile delinquent facilities (the ages of who could be sentenced there was different from today). Reformatories were a new idea. There were still a lot of people who believed in “bad blood” and that a criminal could never be anything but a criminal. There were some heroes who fought hard to convince the public, that people could change. Because of this book’s storyline, I could not go too deeply into this subject, but it is fascinating!
  3. Gilbert Watts is this book’s leading man. I gave up on being able to use the name Gilbert on one of my own kids and instead gave it to a character. I adore the name Gilbert and everything about this character, hope you do too!
  4. There is a joke at the end of the book about a graveyard (don’t worry, it’s not scary) and it’s a nod to my mom who used to use this joke on us every time we passed a cemetery. I really love sneaking in things into my stories that will make my kids, family and friends smile when they read it. I often think of my books as love letters from me to others and the best kind of love letters are personal.
  5. My husband is a dentist and as a result, we tend to notice dentist in media. They are often portrayed as villains or comic relief. I decided it would be my goal to write a romantic dentist that would change the image in readers minds.
  6. Gilbert tells Hazel that being a dentist is really being an artist. When my husband was first trying to decide on a career path, he shadowed a dentist. He didn’t really think it would be for him, but he was open to exploring options. He came home and told me that the cool thing about dentistry was that you were essentially making art that was functional, every day. Little sculptures that helped people eat and smile better. Gilbert from the book is very different from my husband, but it was fun sneaking in little pieces of him in there.
  7. One of my favorite scenes from this book take place at a corn husking. There is a tradition that says, if a red ear of corn is found, the finder gets a kiss. Sigh, I love that scene!
  8. Without always meaning to, my books end up having messages woven into them. I believe one of the messages in A Lady in Attendance is forgiveness. In this case, it’s forgiving of one’s self. I believe this message is one that we all need at some point in our lives (or many points!).
  9. My books are coming out in a different order than they were written in. I actually wrote this book before Yours Truly, Thomas and after A Life Once Dreamed. This story has been waiting a long time to be in print! During that time, it has been reshaped in little ways. It gained a prologue and lost an epilogue, it was tamed down in places and intensified in others, but the heart of it has always been the same!
  10. One last piece of A Lady in Attendance trivia—several of my books have had their titles changed. It’s part of the writing process. The books get a working title and later a title that the rest of the world knows it by. The Hope of Azure Springs was originally just Azure Springs. Yours Truly, Thomas was originally Dear, Azure Springs. A Life Once Dreamed was originally The Belle of Penance. A Lady in Attendance began as A Lady in Attendance and stayed A Lady in Attendance. Not only is this title fitting because dental assistants were knowns by this or as an attending lady, but also because Hazel wrestles with her worth. In a society that believes a mistake made once can leave a mark forever, it takes the right eyes and open heart to realize that there truly is a lady in attendance.

My Review

Her sentence might always mar her record, but was there a way to escape the fear, to live free and honestly?

Set primarily in Amherst, New York in 1898, A Lady in Attendance is the latest standalone novel by Rachel Fordham. I would say that it’s my favorite, but to my embarrassment, it’s the only one that I’ve had a chance to read so far, although her other three novels are on my to-read list, and I can definitely say that I’ve been missing out! A woman with a past, a mystery, a sweet romance or two…this story is both unique and familiar, and it is one that you will not want to put down until the last page is turned.

To begin with, the subject matter itself is intriguing. A Lady in Attendance being a foreign term to me, I learned something new right from the start; in 1885, ladies in attendance began to be employed in order for women to see dentists unaccompanied without the risk of tarnishing their reputations. Hazel Bradshaw, using the pseudonym McDowell due to her former criminal status, takes the only job she can find, as a lady in attendance to dentist Gilbert Watts, who quickly became my favorite character. His shy innocence and goodness endeared him to me, and I love how Fordham connects dentistry with art, which is an entirely new concept to me. Gilbert tells Hazel that “Every day I get to build dentures and bridges. Tiny sculptures that may never be appreciated, but I know they make life better and easier for the receiver…I consider myself quite blessed to use my hands to make such important art.” Finding such purpose in our work is an important aspect of using our skills to glorify God.

As the past continues to haunt Hazel, Fordham skillfully constructs a narrative that demonstrates the power of faith and forgiveness while establishing the truth that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Spending five years in a reformatory “had taught [Hazel] to persevere, to keep going when she wanted to quit, and above all else, to find solace in prayer.” Now, with the possibility of having an opportunity to set the record straight, Hazel realizes that hope may yet have a fighting chance. As Gilbert reminds her, “I told you once that I was a Christian man who believed it my duty to help. I even offered to help you if you were ever in need, and I see no reason to take that offer back. Either I am a man of my word or I am a fraud. I don’t believe any verse of Scripture says to help only those who are perfect when none of us are.” Forgiveness may not be as clear-cut, particularly when facing the past means confronting those who have been hurt the most and perhaps even some who set into motion the events of two long-ago fateful nights with echoing repercussions.

For anyone who enjoys a heartfelt redemption story, proving that “No one is unredeemable,” and for those who believe in the power of love and second chances, Rachel Fordham’s A Lady in Attendance is a match made in heaven!  

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

Girls in White Dresses, June 30

The Sacred Line, June 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 30

lakesidelivingsite, July 1

Inklings and notions, July 1

For Him and My Family, July 2

Reflections From My Bookshelves, July 2

Mary Hake, July 2

deb’s Book Review, July 3

Remembrancy, July 3

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 4

Reviewingbooksplusmore, July 4

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 5

Breny and Books, July 5

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, July 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 6

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, July 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 7

The Christian Fiction Girl, July 7

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 8

Simple Harvest Reads, July 8 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 8

Older & Smarter?, July 9

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 9

Connie’s History Classroom, July 10

For the Love of Literature, July 10

Pause for Tales, July 10

Splashes of Joy, July 11

Life of Literature, July 11

Daysong Reflections, July 12

Bliss, Books & Jewels, July 12

Labor Not in Vain, July 12

Through the fire blogs, July 13

Texas Book-aholic, July 13

Blossoms and Blessings, July 13

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of A Lady in Attendance as well as A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham, a signed bookplate, book swag, and a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble!!

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/10e71/a-lady-in-attendance-celebration-tour-giveaway

Bridge of Gold Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Bridge of Gold

Author: Kimberley Woodhouse

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: June 2021

Repairs on the Golden Gate Bridge Uncover a Century-Old Murder

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

Underwater archaeologist Kayla Richardson is called to the Golden Gate Bridge where repairs to one of the towers uncovers two human remains from the late 1800s and the 1930s. The head of the bridge restoration is Steven Michaels, who dives with Kayla, and a friendship develops between them. But as the investigation heats up and gold is found that dates back to the gold rush, more complications come into play that threaten them both. Could clues leading to a Gold Rush era mystery that was first discovered during the building of the bridge still ignite an obsession worth killing for?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Kimberley Woodhouse is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than twenty fiction and nonfiction books. A popular speaker and teacher, she’s shared her theme of “Joy Through Trials” with more than half a million people across the country at more than 2,000 events. Kim and her incredible husband of twenty-five-plus years have two adult children. She’s passionate about music and Bible study and loves the gift of story.
You can connect with Kimberley at: www.kimberleywoodhouse.com and www.facebook.com/KimberleyWoodhouseAuthor

More from Kimberley

BRIDGE OF GOLD was a blast for me to write. Not only do I love writing dual-timeline stories, but the present-day hero and heroine are named after my daughter and her husband. Steven and Kayla in the book are fictitious, but there are a few things in the book that do mimic their real-life namesakes.

One of them is food.

My son-in-law Steven in real life is six-foot-four and active military. The man can eat. It’s amazing to me how many calories it takes just for him to survive! Then there’s my daughter, Kayla. She was an elite swimmer for many years along with her brother. I could never keep them fed when they were at the height of their swimming careers. In fact, I joked that all I did was cook and load the dishwasher during those years.

To celebrate the release of BRIDGE OF GOLD, I’m going to give out a recipe that I created almost thirty years ago. It went through many revisions the first few months as I perfected it and now you get a special treat because I do not give this recipe out. In fact, one of my dearest friends begged for it when our kids were little. I gave in but made her promise to close her eyes while she made it (LOL) and to never, ever give it to anyone else.

Enjoy! And thanks for joining us on the tour for BRIDGE OF GOLD. I hope you love it.

Kim’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies – recipe by Kimberley Woodhouse

2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. kosher salt

¾ cup melted/browned butter (this is important! Don’t skip this step)

2 Tb. Hot chocolate mix

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

1 – 12 ounce package mega morsels (I use Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips)

Directions: combine the first three dry ingredients and mix well. In a small saucepan on the stove, melt and brown the butter. Medium heat is recommended but you’ve got to watch it so it doesn’t burn. You want a beautiful caramel color. Set aside and allow to cool to around 100 degrees F before continuing. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Once the browned butter is cool, add the hot chocolate mix to it. Transfer to a stand mixer and blend the butter mixture with the sugar. Whip it until well combined and frothy about 2 mins. Gradually add eggs and flour mixture, beating on low just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, drop heaping TB scoops 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-14 minutes, watching carefully. Allow to cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks. Enjoy!

For other fun tidbits about BRIDGE OF GOLD make sure you check out my blog at – kimberleywoodhouse.com

My Review

Barbour has been knocking it out of the park lately with their historical series, including Doors to the Past. Each book is noteworthy in its own right, and unique due to the variety of authors. Because the uniting theme is historical monuments, each story provides a journey between the past and the present, combining fact and fiction amidst a backdrop of romance. This most recent addition, Bridge of Gold by Kimberley Woodhouse, proves to be the most suspenseful thus far, and I often found myself holding my breath in anticipation, which I did not expect but which thrilled me!

Never having visited anywhere west of the Mississippi, Bridge of Gold introduced me to life in San Francisco and to the Golden Gate Bridge. As a bona fide country girl with no interest in cities of any size, I honestly did not expect to enjoy this book nearly as much as I did, but I can say without hesitation that it is the most suspenseful novel that I’ve read in the first half of this year. Better yet, Woodhouse employs a creeping sense of dread rather than gruesome horror, evoking a psychological response that resonates with me more than would a visceral one. Although I did have the opportunity of riding in a submarine once, I have never been diving, and it is incredibly fascinating to read about the more primitive techniques utilized in the 1930s and to wonder how anyone survived in such tricky waters as those in the area of the Golden Gate Bridge!

Woodhouse deftly relates this dual-timeline narrative in the third-person, through the perspectives of six different characters. Yet not once did I find myself confused or wondering which character I was reading about, which is a genuine testimony to the author’s skill because I am terrible at remembering names and keeping track of storylines with multiple main characters. The two stories, one occurring in 1933 and one in the present day, synchronize beautifully and retain the plot resolutions to the end. The romance is sweet and tender, but to my delight, the mystery and suspense receive most of the spotlight. Foreshadowing plays heavily into the narrative from the opening chapter, and I could sense the turbulence coming as soon as Margo thought that “It was the perfect ending to a perfect day. The first day of the rest of their lives.” As events unfold for Luke and Margo in the midst of the Great Depression in 1933, Luke tells Margo, “Let us make a promise to one another at this moment that we will seek to keep God first, our marriage relationship next, then our children and family—all of those above the priority of job or money or anything else.” To which Margo agrees that “As long as they kept God first, the rest would fall into place.

Indeed, the Bible verse that echoes throughout the generations of this story is 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Nearly 90 years later, underwater archaeologist Kayla Richardson and head of restoration Steven Michaels find themselves entangled in the same legend, brought to light during repairs to the Bridge’s south tower, and Kayla points out an issue that has become prominent today: the loss of our history. She tells Steven: “History has always been a love of mine. That’s what got me into the field in the first place. I know a lot of people are purely after making a buck. But to me, I think we need to save as much of our history as possible so that future generations can learn about it and from it.” There is so much more at stake than financial gain. In the words of Jesus, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16:26) Regardless of the time period, these words remain true. Our witness to others about the Lord is a treasure with benefits reaped both here and in eternity.

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, June 24

The Sacred Line, June 24

The Write Escape, June 24

lakesidelivingsite, June 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 25

HappyWhenReading, June 25

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 25

Through the Fire Blogs, June 25

Texas Book-aholic, June 26

Bigreadersite, June 26

Pause for Tales, June 26

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, June 26 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, June 27

Christian Bookaholic , June 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 27

For the Love of Literature, June 28

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, June 28

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 28

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 29

Bliss Books and Jewels, June 29

Lis Loves Reading, June 29

For Him and My Family, June 29

deb’s Book Review, June 30

Simple Harvest Reads, June 30 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Livin’ Lit, June 30

Remembrancy, June 30

Older & Smarter?, July 1

Lighthouse-Academy, July 1

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 1

Genesis 5020, July 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 2

Betti Mace, July 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 3

Inspiration Clothesline, July 3

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, July 3

Live.Love.Read., July 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 4

Mamma Loves Books, July 4

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 4

Mary Hake, July 4

Blossoms and Blessings, July 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 5

Blogging With Carol, July 5

Connie’s History Classroom, July 6

Life of Literature, July 6

A Baker’s Perspective, July 6

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 7

To Everything There Is A Season , July 7

KarenSueHadley, July 7

Splashes of Joy, July 7

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/10e03/bridge-of-gold-celebration-tour-giveaway

Written Off Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Written Off

Author: Barbara Cornthwaite

Genre: Christian Cozy Mystery

Release date: May 2021

“Break a leg?” They’ll be lucky if they don’t all break their necks!

After years of waiting, Katrina finally has her happily ever after. All is right with her world . . . until hate crimes begin happening in the charming college town of Wilkester. Even more disturbing is the fact that the perpetrator seems to be connected with the writing class Katrina teaches. How can she prevent her rosy visions of the future from turning into broken dreams?

Find out in this third book of the Wilkester Mysteries.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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

More from Barbara

What Kind of Lessons Could a Mystery Possibly Teach Me?

It’s been a couple decades since I taught a college English class, and writing the Wilkester Mysteries with Professor Katrina Peters as the main character brought back happy memories of teaching. Not enough to want to go back to it—homeschooling my own kids is much more rewarding—but enough that I had to stop myself from writing much longer lectures into the stories! These are my first contemporary novels, and it was nice to write a story without the hours and hours of historical research I usually have to do. But whatever time period stories are set in, people feel the same emotions and have to learn the same spiritual lessons.

Katrina loves literature and can’t help seeing her own life as a story. The only problem is that she keeps thinking she knows what the Author is doing, and she has definite ideas about what the plot should be. She is not unlike myself: over and over I’ve thought I knew what God was doing in my life. And if He was short on ideas, I had quite a few that He was free to use! But He has rarely been doing what I thought He was, and for some reason He never seems to use my ideas about what could happen in my story. Both Katrina and I need to learn the lesson that God’s wisdom is beyond ours, His storytelling is much deeper and richer than ours, and His plots are never predictable!

My Review

The third and concluding book of the Wilkester Mysteries, Written Off finds Katrina Peters preparing for her upcoming wedding to police detective Todd Mason. Because this trilogy follows the same character arc, it is best read in order, but the mystery plot in each stands independently. My favorite aspect of these stories is author Barbara Cornthwaite’s literary allusions; the witticisms that she employs stem from Katrina’s work as an adjunct English professor, the details of which are imparted in Brought to Book. I was an English major myself, so I get a particular glee from the quotations and references.

Given the subject matter of Written Off, this book is very germane to current events in the news. Hate crimes seemingly fueled by racism incite the otherwise quiet college town of Wilkester, and the flashpoint may be Katrina’s Writing Detective Fiction class. In an example of Cornthwaite’s clever humor, Katrina considers this and exclaims to herself, “I’d been unwittingly training a cohort of felons!” Of course, as with any mystery worth its red herrings, the solution is not so straightforward. Add in wedding planning and house hunting, and this is a fast-reading cozy that demonstrates a realistic approach to the challenges that everyone faces at some point, whether single or married.

As such, I recommend this trilogy to those who enjoy cozy literary mysteries combined with Christian romance and contemporary societal issues. I personally enjoyed the first two books the most; I prefer mystery over romance, and if I’m being completely honest, Katrina annoyed me a bit in the lead-up to the wedding. I definitely appreciate Cornthwaite’s insight into the nature of criminal activity, as evinced by Katrina’s friend Kim: “Trying to stop other people’s sin—how overwhelming. Although I don’t think they would call it sin. They would probably call it evil, which for some reason calls for destruction rather than repentance.” As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Ultimately the message of the Gospel comes down to this, too, as Jesus tells the Pharisees in Matthew 22: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself.

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 ♥♥♥♥

See my review of Brought to Book HERE and Snuffed Out HERE

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 1

April Hayman, Author, June 1

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 2

Losing the Busyness, June 2

Texas Book-aholic, June 3

CarpeDiem, June 3

Remembrancy, June 4

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, June 4

She Lives To Read, June 5

For Him and My Family, June 5

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, June 6

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 7

Inklings and notions, June 7

Labor Not in Vain, June 8

Genesis 5020, June 8

Aryn The Libraryan 📚, June 9

Blogging With Carol, June 9

For the Love of Literature, June 10

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 11

Joanne Markey, June 11

Through the Fire blogs, June 12

Mary Hake, June 12

deb’s Book Review, June 13

Daysong Reflections, June 13

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/10ca5/written-off-celebration-tour-giveaway