Tag Archives: romantic suspense

Lethal Intent Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Lethal Intent

Author: Cara Putman

Genre: Romantic Suspense

If they expected silence, they hired the wrong woman.

Caroline Bragg’s life has never been better. She and Brandon Lancaster are taking their relationship to the next level, and she has a new dream job as legal counsel for Praecursoria—a research lab that is making waves with its cutting-edge genetic therapies. The company’s leukemia treatments even promise to save desperately sick kids—kids like eleven-year-old Bethany, a critically ill foster child at Brandon’s foster home.

When Caroline’s enthusiastic boss wants to enroll Bethany in experimental trials prematurely, Caroline objects, putting her at odds with her colleagues. They claim the only goal at Praecursoria is to save lives. But does someone have another agenda?

Brandon faces his own crisis. As laws governing foster homes shift, he’s on the brink of losing the group home he’s worked so hard to build. When Caroline learns he’s a Praecursoria investor, it becomes legally impossible to confide in him. Will the secrets she keeps become a wedge that separates them forever? And can she save Bethany from the very treatments designed to heal her?

This latest romantic legal thriller by bestseller Cara Putman shines a light on the shadowy world of scientific secrets and corporate vendettas—and the ethical dilemmas that plague the place where science and commerce meet.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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As a preteen Cara Putman watched lawyers change legislative opinions at an important legislative hearing in Nebraska. At that time, she wondered if she became an attorney if people would give her words the same weight. An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska Lincoln, George Mason University School of Law and Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, Cara has turned her passion for words into award-winning stories that capture readers. Her legal experience makes its way into her stories where strong women confront real challenges.

An award-winning author of more than 30 books, Cara writes legal thrillers, WWII romances, and romantic suspense because she believes that no matter what happens hope is there, waiting for us to reach for it.

When she’s not writing, Cara is an over-educated attorney who lectures in law and communications at the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University and homeschools her children. She and her family live in Indiana, the land of seasons. You can read chapters for most of her books and connect with Cara at her website: http://caraputman.com.

More from Cara

Each novel has a unique genesis story. The spark that launches it into a journey of 90,000 words. For Lethal Intent, that journey began with a friend’s journey of childhood leukemia with her oldest. From watching their family wind through years of treatment including cutting edge therapy trials. Then it developed with the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack and the thought what would someone be willing to do if they believed they’d found the next strain of immortal cells. The lead characters made appearances in other books, but now would have their opportunity to step to center stage. The story morphed and changed, dictated by the vagaries of the law and changes.

Each story has a spark. For Caroline it was a brainstorming session with my writing buddies Rachel Hauck, Colleen Coble, and Denise Hunter. That was when her backstory developed, all the things that happened to her to form her into the adult she is on the pages. One who cares deeply about others but who is fundamentally scared, longing for a place she can relax and take a deep breath.

Each story has a spark. For Brandon, it was brainstorming with another writing friend Tricia Goyer that lead to a creative job for a hero that wasn’t the typical law enforcement. His role with the group foster home was set and the backstory filled in quickly. What would it be like to be separated from and lose a brother in the foster care system? Would that generate this need to keep sibling groups together? And then the law changes and the fabric of your professional identity and something so much deeper is threatened.

Each story has a spark. The pharmaceutical start-up where ethics collides with the desire to save children. The push to do whatever it takes overshadowing the guardrails of the law. If they expected silence, they hired the wrong woman. But does Caroline really have the strength to battle and does she need to?

Lethal Intent grew from each of these sparks and many more to develop into a story I can’t wait for you to read. In the process I learned immense amounts about CAR-T cell therapies and foster care law. Most of all, I hope you’ll fall into the pages and be engrossed in a story you can’t bring yourself to put down until the final page.

My Review

Review pending due to unexpected circumstances

My rating:

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 21

lakesidelivingsite, January 21

Texas Book-aholic, January 21

Through the Fire Blogs, January 22

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 22

A Novel Pursuit, January 22

CarpeDiem, January 23

Betti Mace, January 23

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 23

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 24

Blogging With Carol, January 24

HookMeInABook, January 24

For the Love of Literature, January 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 25

Fiction Book Lover, January 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

For Him and My Family, January 26

EmpowerMoms, January 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 26

Artistic Nobody, January 27 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, January 27

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 27

By The Book, January 28

Older & Smarter?, January 28

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

Inklings and notions, January 29

Simple Harvest Reads, January 29

Blossoms and Blessings, January 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 30

Splashes of Joy, January 30

Pause for Tales, January 30

Spoken from the Heart, January 31

Just Your Average reviews, January 31

deb’s Book Review, January 31

Hallie Reads, February 1

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, February 1

Genesis 5020, February 1

To Everything There Is A Season, February 2

Hebrews 12 Endurance, February 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 3

Southern Gal Loves to Read, February 3

Daysong Reflections, February 3

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away the grand prize package of a “Just one more chapter” pillow cover, a copy of the book, an Erin Condren journal, and a hand-stamped bracelet!!

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/10627/lethal-intent-celebration-tour-giveaway

Cold Case Pursuit Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Cold Case Pursuit

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Romantic Suspense

A cold case solved by the K-9 unit…

but the past is not so easily escaped.

Decades after her parents’ murders, Penelope McGregor’s grateful the killer’s finally been identified—until he comes after her. Now Detective Tyler Walker and his K-9 partner, Dusty, must protect Penelope and catch the culprit…while making sure his little girl stays out of the crosshairs. But can the single father outplay a killer whose endgame will leave no one safe?

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 bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Poisoned Pen Press, and Harvest House. Besides writing, she busies herself puttering around her Northern California backyard. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

I love book covers with adorable children on them, don’t you? There’s something so angelic about those wee folks on the covers. I have two bear cubs myself, young adults now, and I love them devotedly. Tell you what though. Sometimes, just occasionally mind you, they were a wee bit naughty. Don’t tell anyone, but one reason I enjoyed writing Cold Case Pursuit so much is that hero Tyler is the single dad of a little girl named Rain who is….er…a handful. Sure, she’s adorable, but she’s prone to disobedience and the occasional tendency to flush things down the toilet. So in addition to the edge of your seat pursuit of a murderous clown killer, there are the shenanigans of a precocious preschooler, a highly trained yet distractible police K-9, and a romance that doesn’t exactly run smoothly. Fun to write? You betcha! I hope you enjoy coming along with me on this True Blue adventure!

My Review

Review pending due to unexpected circumstances

My rating:

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 19

KarenSueHadley, January 19

Bigreadersite, January 19

Through the Fire Blogs, January 20

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 20

Remembrancy, January 21

Genesis 5020, January 21

By The Book, January 21

For the Love of Literature, January 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 22

CarpeDiem, January 22

Texas Book-aholic, January 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 23

Blogging With Carol, January 23

Inklings and notions, January 24

Fiction Book Lover, January 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Batya’s Bits, January 24

Betti Mace, January 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 25

Labor Not in Vain, January 25

Hebrews 12 Endurance, January 26

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 27

Lighthouse-Academy, January 27

Older & Smarter?, January 27

Artistic Nobody, January 28 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Splashes of Joy, January 28

Mary Hake, January 28

For Him and My Family, January 29

Simple Harvest Reads, January 29 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, January 29

deb’s Book Review, January 30

Hallie Reads, January 30

To Everything There Is A Season, January 30

She Lives To Read, January 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 1

Daysong Reflections, February 1

Bizwings Blog, February 1

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a Mentink giveaway bundle, including a $50 Amazon gift card and a tote bag!!

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/105ab/cold-case-pursuit-celebration-tour-giveaway

Mayday: A Book Review of Lisa Harris’s “The Escape”

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Lisa Harris is an author whose name I’m familiar with, but whose work I had not yet read until now. This seemed like an opportune time, with the release of her new US Marshals series, and as far as I’m concerned, there is never a bad time to read a romantic suspense novel. Although it took me a week to read because of the holidays, The Escape is a very fast-paced novel, with no breaks in the action from start to finish. Several times I thought that the plot was about to be resolved, only to have another twist thrown in, and while this technique might become wearying in certain cases, Harris capably pulls it off without resorting to implausible scenarios. This story definitely engenders respect for the US Marshals Service and the extent of the work that they perform!

As one would expect, this story revolves around two US Marshals, Jonas Quinn and Madison James, and their pursuit of a fugitive who goes on the lam after their prisoner-transport plane crashes in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. Damon Barrick, a felon convicted of murder, wastes no time in making his getaway and initiating a treacherous cat-and-mouse game across the West, somehow managing to stay one step ahead of the law. Although this story is fictional, it does make me wonder how often circumstances like these do play out behind the scenes, while we as ordinary citizens remain unaware or only see the end result, such as the trial or conviction. Jonas’s thoughts early on in the narrative indicate this: “Truth was, there was never anything routine when dealing with felons. He of all people knew that.” Consequently, as with other law enforcement and also military careers, trauma is part and parcel of the job. Jonas and Madison have different trauma backgrounds, and I think that this is part of what makes them a good team. The question is whether their shared experience during this case will be beneficial or detrimental to them as partners moving forward, which is something that readers must wait to find out because The Escape ends with a lead-in to the second book in the series.

Ordinarily, I am not a fan of open-ended conclusions, but I am willing to accept it with The Escape because the main plot is resolved (as far as I know!) and due to references within the narrative, this lingering part of the storyline will be ongoing and will eventually also be resolved. This does mean, however, that this series is clearly intended to be read chronologically and not as standalones. With a constant surge of adrenaline fueling the storyline, this is a very cinematic book, and honestly my only complaint is that I personally felt that the plot resolution scene itself was rather brief and anticlimactic. I do, however, wholeheartedly recommend The Escape to readers who enjoy thriller-dominant romantic suspense that will keep you engrossed from the first page to the last and have you clamoring for the sequel.

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

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

Rocky Mountain Revenge Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Rocky Mountain Revenge

Author: Rhonda Starnes

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Release Date: July, 2020

To survive her deadly homecoming, she’ll need to trust a man from her past…

Temporarily home to help at her family’s vet clinic, Grace Porter has no intentions of staying—but someone’s determined she won’t live long enough to leave. With both Grace and her sister in the crosshairs, her ex-boyfriend, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, must protect them. But can the single dad lawman uncover the truth about why a killer’s out for vengeance before time runs out?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Rhonda Starnes is a middle school language arts teacher who has dreamed of being a published author since she was in seventh grade. She lives in North Alabama with her husband, who she lovingly refers to as Mountain Man. They enjoy traveling and spending time with their children and grandchildren. Rhonda writes romantic suspense with rugged heroes and feisty heroines.

More from Rhonda

Probably the number one question any author receives is “How did you come up with the idea for the story?”

When the Love Inspired editors announced, in February 2019, they were hosting The Great Love Inspired Author Search, I knew I had to enter. After all I’d spent the last six years targeting the Harlequin Love Inspired lines. This would be my fourth time entering one of their pitch contests, my third pitching to Love Inspired Suspense. The only problem was I didn’t have anything new to enter. They’d already seen all of my manuscripts.

I follow the Love Inspired editors on social media, so I had read several posts on themes and settings they’d like to see. One editor had even mentioned Colorado as a setting she’d like to see in a book. This started my wheels turning because my husband and I lived in Colorado for a few months when we were first married. We loved our time there and have often talked about going back one day. I started researching parts of the state that we didn’t get to visit when we lived there, and then I created the fictional small town of Blackberry Falls.

I’d had an idea in the back of my head for while about a story that involved a heroine who wasn’t in law enforcement but who witnessed a crime while on video chat. That’s how I came up with Grace Porter, a veterinarian who had run away from her small-town roots. And what’s a homecoming story without a reunion romance? Enter, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, the man Grace had left behind. Once I had the opening scene, main character, and setting in place, everything else just kind of evolved from there.

My Review

Considering that I read this at Christmastime, the first thing that comes to mind is the song “My Favorite Things.” Rural small-town life, dogs, horses, suspense: yes, “these are a few of my favorite things”! I love that this book combines all of these elements to tell a story about how the past shapes the present and how, through God’s love and His purpose for our lives, He can redeem our past and bring to fruition the promise to “work all things together for the good of those who love Him.” In a world that so often seems incomprehensible, what a blessed assurance to realize this fact!

Rhonda Starnes makes her debut as a novelist with Rocky Mountain Revenge, which is part of the Love Inspired Suspense series. The first chapter is one of the most spine-chilling that I have read in this series, yet without resorting to the macabre, which is one of the many reasons that I enjoy and respect inspirational fiction of this caliber. Because this particular story also involves animals, especially dogs and horses, I also greatly appreciate that no animals meet their demise during the present, unfolding action of the narrative, although for those who may be sensitive, there is an allusion to the prior death of an animal. However, Starnes does a fantastic job of conveying necessary plot points while refraining from any graphic detail. For those like me who can’t stand for harm to come to an animal, this is essential.

To a certain extent, the books in this and similar series are formulaic, giving readers a mostly apparent idea of which characters will become a couple, how the major parts of the plot will likely play out, and at least part of the motive. This is where the author’s writing skill takes effect, and for an initiate especially, Starnes develops her story enough to add in twists that propel the plot forward. More than once, I admit that I thought the mystery was about to be solved and wondered what the rest of the book would be about! Despite guessing some of the plotline, I did not figure out all of the connections, nor did I ever become at all disinterested while reading. The faith aspect is more about showing than telling, as one of the characters slowly comes back to the Lord after a tragedy, and the theme of redemption and of the Lord making all things new finds fulfillment in more ways than one. There is a saying that “You can’t go home again.” However, that does not hold true when it comes to our place of belonging in the arms of the Savior, Who always stands ready to welcome us home to Him, and that is one homecoming that we don’t want to miss!

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, December 9

Through the Fire Blogs, December 10

Genesis 5020, December 10

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 11

Simple Harvest Reads, December 11 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For the Love of Literature, December 12

Lighthouse Academy, December 13

Connie’s History Classroom, December 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 14

Reviewingbooksplusmore, December 14

Inklings and notions, December 15

Betti Mace, December 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 16

deb’s Book Review, December 16

Texas Book-aholic, December 17

lakesidelivingsite, December 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 18

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 18

For Him and My Family, December 19

Pause for Tales , December 19

Artistic Nobody, December 20 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

SusanLovesBooks, December 20

Splashes of Joy, December 21

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 22

Daysong Reflections, December 22

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rhonda is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Rocky Mountain Revenge!!

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/104a4/rocky-mountain-revenge-celebration-tour-giveaway

Mountain of Peril Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Mountain of Peril

Author: J. Carol Nemeth

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

Release Date: January 25, 2018

When Molly Walker graduated from college, she was thrilled to be hired on as a ranger at Deep Creek Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She arrived ready to begin her career and to enjoy all the aspects of her new job, but the one thing she hadn’t counted on was the local poachers and their illegal shenanigans. Molly and fellow ranger Jake Stuart try to put a stop to the escalating poaching problem while protecting the animals. In the meantime, Molly finds the handsome ranger, who is also a local, is a great partner to have on her side. She also finds she’s losing her heart to him when she’d planned to stay focused on her career. Can she give her heart and have a career? She and Jake find themselves in a battle against a group of men with a hidden agenda far more sinister than poaching. Can they be stopped before Molly’s life is snuffed out?

Molly and Jake are in a battle against a group of men with a hidden agenda far more sinister than poaching. Can they be stopped before Molly’s life is snuffed out?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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A native North Carolinian, J. Carol Nemeth has always loved reading and enjoyed making up stories since junior high school, most based in the places she has lived or traveled to. She worked in the National Park Service as a Park Aid and served in the US Army where she was stationed in Italy, traveling to over thirteen countries while there. She met the love of her life, Mark Nemeth, also an Army veteran, while stationed in Italy. After they married, they lived in various locations, including North Yorkshire, England. They now live in West Virginia, where, in their spare time, Carol and Mark enjoy RVing, sightseeing and are active in their church. They have a son, Matt, who serves active duty Army, a daughter, Jennifer, her husband Flint, who serves active duty Air Force, and three grandchildren, Martin, Ava and Gage. Their four-footed kid, Holly, a black Lab, loves traveling in their RV, and when they pack up to go, she’s waiting inside for them to head out.

More from J. Carol

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I worked for the National Park Service at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park many moons ago before I met my husband. The setting for Mountain of Peril, Faith in the Parks Book 1 is in that park. I met a lot of interesting people and there was never dull moment. Something was always happening. I was either helping trap wild boar, riding horse back for back country patrol, or doing search and rescue for missing persons. I used several of my own experiences in the story, tweaking them a bit here or there to fit with the flow of the narrative. This book is near and dear to my heart just as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is. Working there was the best job I ever had, other than writing of course, and I loved it. I hope my love of the park flows through my characters and spills out for readers to experience and enjoy.

My Review

One of my favorite vacation memories from growing up is staying at Lake Lure, North Carolina and visiting Chimney Rock State Park. I think that it is the only state park I’ve been to, but I would love to see the others, and revisit Chimney Rock, too, for that matter! I love the outdoors and rural areas, and although many people dream about the beach, my heart will always belong to the mountains and woods. As soon as I saw the title of this series, I didn’t hesitate to sign up to review it. That it was categorized as suspense was an added bonus.

Mountain of Peril is the first book in J. Carol Nemeth’s Faith in the Parks series. Taking readers alongside new ranger Molly Walker as she begins working at Deep Creek Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, Nemeth generates interest in America’s national parks system. I do feel that the beginning of the book is a bit slow after a startling, intriguing first chapter. The narrative settles into a quotidian rhythm, describing some of a park ranger’s duties, and I was surprised to learn their extent. Their job is anything but boring, for anyone who has an interest in trapping, law enforcement, search and rescue, horseback riding, public relations, and a plethora of other tasks. Add to that the challenges of inclement weather and sometimes working in solitude, and I felt an even deeper respect for these public servants.

Regarding the characters, I enjoyed them and their interactions, but I still don’t feel as though I connected with them very much. They seem almost superficial in some ways. As a romantic suspense novel, there is naturally a romantic love interest, and along with this a heroine who is determined to remain dedicated to her career. Nemeth demonstrates that God has a plan for our lives, and that He is working things out for our good and His glory, whether we can see it or not.

The editor in me did pick up on various errors within this book, most of which concern proper apostrophe usage. There are also a couple of discrepancies, including the number of children that Cal and Pam have, and a time disparity. None of this detracts from the reading experience, and I would recommend this book to those who enjoy stories about the great outdoors, sweet and clean romance, and/or romantic suspense.

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

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 4

Bizwings Blog, November 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 5

For Him and My Family, November 6

Blogging With Carol, November 6

Texas Book-aholic, November 7

For the Love of Literature, November 8

Artistic Nobody, November 8 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

deb’s Book Review, November 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 10

Betti Mace, November 11

Labor Not in Vain, November 11

Inklings and notions, November 12

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 13

Mary Hake, November 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 15

Pause for Tales, November 15

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 17

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, J. Carol is giving away the grand prize 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/10330/mountain-of-peril-celebration-tour-giveaway

Breaking Point: A Book Review of Irene Hannon’s “Point of Danger”

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Very apropos for today’s security challenges and tumultuous culture, Irene Hannon’s Point of Danger goes beyond classic romantic suspense with a multifaceted plot and a complex array of characters. This is the first of Hannon’s books that I’ve read, and I love starting fresh with the first novel of a new series. I will admit that I was unprepared for what unfolded within these pages, but that is part of the experience and why I almost always prefer going in blind, so to speak. At first, I did have difficulty with the panoply of characters, most of whom entered into the narrative without introduction for reasons that become clear as the story progresses. As someone who has a terrible memory when it comes to names, trying to keep everyone straight did slow down my reading and cause confusion for me during the first half, but I trust that this will not be everyone’s experience. Some of their identities are not divulged until the ending, and I think that Hannon made the correct choice in her portrayals because I certainly did not guess who the perpetrators were ahead of time!

Hannon excels at recognizing and incorporating contentious issues into Point of Danger without over-politicizing them. Given that I read this in the days before the 2020 presidential election, that’s saying something. Heroine Eve Reilly, host of her own radio talk show, does seem to me to be a bit over-idealized; although I admire her character, she is written without any true flaws, and that makes her less realistic to me as a reader. The police detective, Brent Lange, on the other hand, not only has demonstrable flaws but also is willing to acknowledge them. The secondary characters are well-drawn, and their motivations authentic. As the plot wrapped up, I found myself completely taken aback by where things went, and I consider that a success on the author’s part. I appreciate Hannon’s positive representation of the police in this story, as well as Eve’s conservative viewpoints, which are clear but still respectfully presented.

At its heart, Point of Danger offers readers a glimpse into love found at the intersection of hope and fear. Whether it can or will prevail depends on learning to trust and to not give in to fear. As one of the characters advises, “In the end, though, you have to let people do what they’re called to do and put the rest in God’s hands. Once you manage that, life is much less stressful.

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: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

Texas Holiday Hideout Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Texas Holiday Hideout

Author: Virginia Vaughan

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

Release Date: October 1, 2020

When her identity’s exposed,

hiding on a lawman’s family ranch is her last hope.

After her mother is killed, Melissa Morgan’s shocked to learn she’s spent her life in witness protection. Now it’s US marshal Miles Avery’s job to keep her and her little boy safe. And with a mole in his agency, the only way to evade the killer is to hide Melissa on Miles’s family ranch…and pretend she’s his wife for the holidays.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Virginia Vaughan is a multi-published author of inspirational romantic suspense. Blessed to come from a large, southern family, her fondest memories include listening to stories recounted by family and friends around the large dinner table. She was a lover of books even from a young age, devouring gothic romance novels and stories of romance, danger, and love. She soon started writing them herself. A former investigator for the State of Mississippi, Virginia utilizes her criminal justice background with her love of writing to transform words into powerful stories of romance and danger.

More from Virginia

What if one day you discovered you were in the Witness Protection Program and didn’t know it?

This is the premise for my October book, TEXAS HOLIDAY HIDEOUT, which releases this month. My heroine, Melissa Morgan, learns she and her mother entered the program when Melissa was a child. Her mother never told her and, when Melissa witnesses her mother being murdered, she becomes the assassin’s next target. US Marshal Miles Avery steps in to protect the single mom and her son from a killer, but a leak in WITSEC leaves him with little options except to take his witnesses to his family’s ranch…and pretend she’s his wife for the holidays.

So, in celebration of TEXAS HOLIDAY HIDEOUT releasing this month, here are 10 things about the Witness Protection Security Program (or WITSEC) I learned during my research for this book.

  1. The program is voluntary. No one can be forced to enter.
  2. You can leave the program at any time—although it is not recommended.
  3. No person in the program, who follows the rules, has ever been killed.
  4. People entering WITSEC sometimes keep their same first name and/or initials so that if they mess up and start to sign their name, they have time to correct.
  5. Since WITSEC is a federal program, many states have their own programs to protect witnesses of gang or street-level crimes.
  6. If you get married while in WITSEC, you must lie to your new spouse to protect your true identity in the event the relationship doesn’t last.
  7. Protected witnesses are mostly criminals. Only about 5% are innocents despite the popular trope in movies and fiction.
  8. Local law enforcement may or may not be notified when a protected witness is relocated to their jurisdiction.
  9. Divorced, non-custodial parents have had their children hidden from them and now must agree to allow their children to enter the program.
  10. WITSEC protected witnesses are expected to eventually become self-sufficient. They do not get to live off the government for the rest of their lives.

Did any of these facts about WITSEC surprise you? I’d love to hear which ones. I had a lot of fun researching WITSEC for TEXAS HOLIDAY HIDEOUT. I hope you enjoy Miles and Melissa’s story! Look out for the next book in the series—middle brother Navy SEAL Paul Avery’s story—coming in TEXAS TARGET STANDOFF in March of 2021.

My Review

Book two in Virginia Vaughan’s Cowboy Lawmen series, Texas Holiday Hideout can easily be read as a standalone, although readers will not want to miss spending more time with the Averys in Texas Twin Abuction, which tells Lawson and his wife’s story. While I would not want my family to be comprised primarily of law enforcement agents due to the inherent danger, I do love reading about the Averys and how they band together and protect each other. Because they each serve in a different capacity, they have a range of knowledge and resources at their disposal, although this changes somewhat for Miles Avery when he is the US marshal assigned to keep Melissa Morgan and her young son safe within the witness protection program (WITSEC). Unable to trust his own agency due to the interference of a mole, Miles takes his two charges home with him under the guise of having married Melissa. What could possibly go wrong?

For some reason, I didn’t find this story quite as absorbing as the first book. I think that I was expecting there to be more about Christmas, given the title and official description, and the extent of the incidents occurring in the narrative became a bit numbing after a while. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy Texas Holiday Hideout, because I did. I learned quite a bit about WITSEC, including that the majority of people in it are criminals and that no one who has followed the rules has ever been killed. I love the Avery family and how compassionate and openhearted they are, and Silver Star Ranch is idyllic. Vaughan skillfully demonstrates the emotions and internal conflicts of her characters, particularly noting how lying is part of witness protection and the implications this can have. Subsequently, trust is also a substantial issue. This scenario provides a unique opportunity for interweaving the faith element, which ultimately points to God’s sovereignty and to the precious truth of Romans 8:28 when Melissa proclaims, “If I’ve learned anything through this entire ordeal, it’s that, even though I couldn’t see God’s plan, He was working for me all along.

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

Through the Fire Blogs, October 8

Genesis 5020, October 8

Hallie Reads, October 8

Artistic Nobody, October 8 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Through the Lens of Scripture, October 9

Texas Book-aholic, October 9

reviewingbooksplusmore, October 9

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 10

deb’s Book Review, October 10

The Cafe Scholar, October 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 11

KarenSueHadley, October 11

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 11

Older & Smarter?, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 12

Simple Harvest Reads, October 12 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

She Lives To Read, October 13

Hebrews 12 Endurance, October 13

For Him and My Family, October 13

Betti Mace, October 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 14

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 15

lakesidelivingsite, October 15

Lighthouse Academy, October 15

To Everything There Is A Season, October 15

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 16

Blogging With Carol, October 16

Book Love, October 16 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 17

Batya’s Bits, October 17

Emily Yager, October 18

Labor Not in Vain, October 18

HookMeInABook, October 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 19

Mary Hake, October 19

Daysong Reflections, October 19

For the Love of Literature, October 20

Bigreadersite, October 20

EmpowerMoms, October 20

Blossoms and Blessings, October 21

Splashes of Joy, October 21

Pause for Tales, October 21

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Virginia is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Texas Holiday Hideout!!

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/101f3/texas-holiday-hideout-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Black Midnight Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Black Midnight

Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Release Date: August 2020

Death Seems to Follow Harriet’s New Friend

Book 7 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Three years before Jack the Ripper began his murderous spree on the streets of London, women were dying in their beds as The Midnight Assassin terrorized the citizens of Austin, Texas. Now, with suspicion falling on Her Majesty’s family and Scotland Yard at a loss as to who the Ripper might be, Queen Victoria summons her great-granddaughter, Alice Anne von Wettin, a former Pinkerton agent who worked the unsolved Austin case, and orders her to discreetly form a team to look into the London matter.

The prospect of a second chance to work with Annie just might entice Isaiah Joplin out of his comfortable life as an Austin lawyer. If his theories are right, they’ll find the The Midnight Assassin and, by default, the Ripper. If they’re wrong, he and Annie are in a bigger mess than the one the feisty female left behind when she departed Austin under cover of darkness three years ago.

Can the unlikely pair find the truth of who is behind the murders before they are drawn into the killer’s deadly game? From Texas to London, the story navigates the fine line between truth and fiction as Annie and Isaiah ultimately find the hunters have become the hunted.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author


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Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than sixty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad.

More from Kathleen Y’Barbo

I am a tenth generation Texan, but London has held a place in my heart for over ten years. You see, I have a son who has lived there for more than a decade. Thanks to him and his family of three—my granddaughter was born there on New Year’s Eve 2019—the city will always be special to me. There is absolutely nothing like walking those streets with a thousand years of history close enough to touch.

It was on a walk with my son through this great city that the stories of nineteenth century London came alive. With fog shrouding the rooftops of buildings that were hundreds of years old and our footsteps echoing on the cobblestones, I could imagine a time when lack of electricity and CCTV would make this place less than charming on a dark night. What reminded me of my favorite childhood movie, Mary Poppins, quickly became more reminiscent of Jack the Ripper. And then a story was born.

Only I just had half the story.

The other half came to me several years later when I stumbled across an article in Texas Monthly magazine about a serial killer who rampaged through Austin, Texas in 1884 and 1885 and was never caught. Some surmised this madman, called “The Midnight Assassin” by some, might have been Jack the Ripper honing his skills before he crossed the Atlantic to begin his famous crime spree in Great Britain.

But Austin? Ironically, my other two sons lived in Austin. So while part of my heart was in London, two more parts of that same heart resided in the Texas capital. I thought I knew Austin inside out. Between one of my sons getting not one but two degrees from the University of Texas (this Aggie grad is still proud of him in spite of what I jokingly call his burnt orange rebellion) and my other son living there and managing a restaurant at the time (and who just graduated from Texas A&M Galveston last month!), I had spent many years in the city. And yet I had never heard of the Midnight Assassin.

Research turned up a tale that sounds so close to fiction I had to write about it. Discovering the theory that the Austin killer might also be the Ripper just added to my interest—neither had been caught. And I like to write about Pinkerton detectives.

From there the story unfolded. If you’ve read any of my historical romances, you know that I love incorporating actual history into my stories. As you’ll see when you read The Black Midnight, this book is no exception. While I will continue writing the historical romances I love to bring to you, I will confess that writing this book has me itching to research another one like it.

What’s next in my foray into true crime novels? Maybe Houston. You see, I have a daughter who lives there…

In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy reading The Black Midnight as much as I enjoyed writing it!

My Review

Reading another installment in Barbour’s True Colors series never fails to be an exciting experience. In recent years, I haven’t read much true crime, although the investigations and forensics have always interested me, so this series has rounded out my reading in a sense. What I appreciate most, though, is that it is Christian-based. While I do not recall any specific mention of God in this story, it is a clean read, which is quite an achievement given the subject matter. It’s refreshing to be able to read an (albeit fictionalized) account of historical crimes that includes enough detail to get the point across without devolving into vulgarity. The fact that this segment of the story is built around a personal connection between the fictional main characters ups the ante.

Because the focus of this series is American crime, almost 70% of Kathleen Y’Barbo’s The Black Midnight centers on the serial killer active in Austin, Texas from December 1884-December 1885 and known to history as the Midnight Assassin or the Servant Girl Annihilator. This part of the narrative is told as a flashback, flanked by an investigation into the infamous Whitechapel murders of 1888. Usually I am not fond of this technique, but Y’Barbo makes it work here. She drops enough hints in the beginning to raise interest in the backstory of Alice Anne (Annie) von Wettin and Isaiah Joplin, both former Pinkerton detectives. At the behest of Queen Victoria herself, they investigate the Jack the Ripper killings, taking the reader first back to their initial partnership in Texas. There is enough suspense to intrigue without delving into the realm of horror, at least in my opinion, and with such unique character backgrounds, Y’Barbo explores a range of possibilities regarding the crimes themselves.

Not being very familiar with the Midnight Assassin case, learning about the speculated connection between it and the Whitechapel murders captured my interest. Y’Barbo does a fine job of weaving together fact and fiction in a compelling narrative about two intelligent individuals with a complicated past, one which involves the British monarchy and a mysterious secret society. I will not give away whether or not a culprit is discovered, but I did enjoy reading the author’s notes at the end of the book, in which she discusses how and where she twisted the historical record for the purpose of the story. These are found in each book of this enthralling series, and I always greatly appreciate them. As long as the true identity of the perpetrators (or perpetrator) remains a real-life mystery, there will be plenty of material for series such as this one, just as there will always be a light of faith shining in the darkness.

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

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 27

Genesis 5020, August 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 27

Inklings and notions, August 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 28

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 28

Older & Smarter?, August 29

Texas Book-aholic, August 29

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

For the Love of Literature, August 30

Connie’s History Classroom, August 30

For Him and My Family, August 31

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 31

Betti Mace, September 1

Robin’s Nest, September 1

Bigreadersite, September 1

deb’s Book Review, September 2

Splashes of Joy, September 2

Just Your Average reviews, September 2

Rebecca Tews, September 3

Just the Write Escape, September 3

Emily Yager, September 3

Christian Bookaholic, September 4

reviewingbooksplusmore, September 4

KarenSueHadley, September 4

Remembrancy, September 5

Through the Fire Blogs, September 5

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 6

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 6

Blogging With Carol, September 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 7

Life of Literature, September 7

Mary Hake, September 7

Godly Book Reviews, September 8

Back Porch Reads, September 8

Daysong Reflections, September 8

Pause for Tales, September 9

Blossoms and Blessings, September 9

Hallie Reads, September 9

Giveaway


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To celebrate her tour, Kathleen 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/ffb7/the-black-midnight-celebration-tour-giveaway

Lady Airell’s Choice Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Lady Airell’s Choice

Author: Rachel Skatvold

Genre: Christian Medieval Romance

Release Date: January, 2019

Will one choice save her kingdom from destruction?

During a time of peace and prosperity, Princess Airell of Daireann is given the rare privilege of choosing her own suitor. As eligible rulers from all over Ardena vie for her hand, a betrothal to Prince Tristan of Órlaith seems to be the clear choice. Yet, in the midst of Lady Airell’s happiness, the winds of change are coming.

When an evil usurper from the north rises to power and his forces attack the southern kingdoms, peace in Ardena is shattered. With Daireann under siege, the princess must find the courage to protect her people. Will Lady Airell choose to sacrifice her own happiness in order to save her kingdom?

Get swept up in an epic adventure while reading this Christian medieval romance filled with themes of faith, redemption and forgiveness.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Rachel Skatvold is a Christian author and stay-at-home mom from the Midwest. She enjoys writing inspirational romance and encouraging blogs. Rachel completed her first series, the Riley Family Legacy Novellas in 2014 and is now working on the Hart Ranch Series, set in the Montana wilderness and the Ladies of Ardena Series, set in medieval times. She is also a contributing author in the Whispers in Wyoming, Brides of Pelican Rapids and Independence Island Series. Other than writing, some of her hobbies include singing, reading and camping in the great outdoors with her husband and two young sons. You can find more information about Rachel and her books on her website: www.rachelskatvold.com.

More from Rachel

The Ladies of Ardena Series has been by far my favorite series to write because the stories are adventurous fast-paced tales with themes of faith, hope and redemption. While I am more well-known for my contemporary western and small-town romance series, I have always been interested in history and fascinated with the medieval time period. Although Ardena is a fictional land, it is inspired by Irish and Scottish culture, in honor of my ancestors. Each book is also inspired by one of my six nieces and is dedicated to them. For that reason, these stories have a special place in my heart.

Lady Airell’s Choice follows the eldest daughter in the Daireann royal family who has come of age. Since it is a time of peace in the land, her father allows Airell to choose her own suitor. She is excited to start a new chapter in her life, but her dreams for the future are shattered when a usurper from the north kills her father and wages war against Daireann. Princess Airell is forced to choose between her own happiness and the survival of her kingdom.

Lady Airell’s story is inspired by Psalms 23 1-3 NLT which says: “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” This verse is relevant during Airell’s time and in our lives today as well. We may not face the same perilous circumstances with evil kings and perilous voyages across the sea. Our battles are a little different these days, but God is still the same. He can help us through any trials and lead us down the correct path if we put our faith in Him.

Thank you for following this Celebration Tour for Lady Airell’s choice. To learn more about this book and the others in the series, please read the summary below and visit the series page on Amazon. Also, don’t’ forget to sign up for the giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Blessings.

My Review

“She would have to make sacrifices for her family and her kingdom. No more would she dream of having choices and being free. Serving her kingdom was her duty as Princess Airell of Daireann.”

An avid historical fiction fan, I nonetheless admit that the Middle Ages has never held much appeal for me, nor does royal life. That seems like a much too stifled and public existence for my taste, and I never had dreams of becoming a princess or a queen. Therefore it would seem odd that this book caught my attention, but between the cover and the author’s mention of basing the fictional setting on Ireland and Scotland, I was compelled to find out more, and I’m glad that I did.

Rachel Skatvold has created a charming yet ominous world in the country of Ardena, in which an idyllic life is suddenly destroyed and peril strikes the hitherto peaceful kingdom of Daireann. Lady Airell’s Choice opens with a drastic contrast between the prologue and the first chapter, which seems disconcerting at first but matches the characters’ emotional turmoil and also allows readers to vicariously experience the confusion that the characters themselves are facing. Written in the third-person, Lady Airell is the character with whom we become the most familiar, but we are also given insight into various other characters. Some do follow the stereotypes of good and evil, but there are enough complex characters to balance the scales. The effects of the influence that some people can have on others is clearly demonstrated and is a point that is particularly relevant today. There is romance, but these scenes are clean and do not dominate the book, which I always appreciate.

Lady Airell’s Choice is not a lighthearted, feel-good story, but there are moments of levity, and it is worth reading for its thematic values alone. There are battle scenes and mild descriptions of wounds and the like, but these can be skipped over by readers who find them disturbing. The story is full of treachery, heartbreak, and sacrifice, a stark reminder that “in this world you will have trouble”, but thanks to the Lord’s own sacrifice, we can add “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Vengeance and redemption both feature heavily in the story in unexpected ways, challenging readers to examine their own hearts and truly love others and to forgive offenses. As Peadar asks Airelle, “I believe anyone can find redemption. Don’t you?”

At the end of the book, there is a set of discussion questions, as well as family trees detailing Ardena’s royal lineages and a list of pronunciations and meanings. The latter, particularly, I think is invaluable. I would not otherwise know how to pronounce most of the people and place names, which always bothers me when it happens, and understanding what the names mean offers special insight into the story. Aside from grammatical errors, I think that this first book in the Ladies of Ardena series is an intriguing opening, and I look forward to further exploring the other women in the remaining three books of the series.

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

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, August 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 21

For the Love of Literature, August 22

Inklings and notions, August 23

Novels Corner, August 24

deb’s Book Review, August 24

For Him and My Family, August 25

Older & Smarter?, August 26

Connect in Fiction, August 27

Labor Not in Vain, August 27

Blossoms and Blessings, August 28

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 30

Pause for Tales, August 31

Emily Yager, September 1

Artistic Nobody, September 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/ffa1/lady-airell-s-choice-celebration-tour-giveaway