Tag Archives: split time

Undercurrent of Secrets Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Undercurrent of Secrets

Author: Rachel Scott McDaniel

Genre: Christian Romance

Release date: September 2021

Two women, a century apart, are bound by a haunting secret aboard a legendary steamboat.

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

As wedding coordinator for the 100-year-old steamboat The Belle of Louisville, Devyn Asbury takes pride in seeing others’ dreams come true, even though her engagement had sunk like a diamond ring to the bottom of the Ohio River. When the Belle becomes a finalist in the Timeless Wedding Venue contest, Devyn endeavors to secure the prestigious title with hopes to reclaim some of her professional dreams. What she hadn’t planned on was Chase Jones showing up with a mysterious photo from the 1920s.

A century earlier, Hattie Louis is as untamable as the rivers that raised her. As the adopted daughter of a steamboat captain, her duties range from the entertainment to cook. When strange incidents occur aboard the boat, Hattie’s determined to discover the truth. Even if that means getting under First Mate Jack Marshall’s handsome skin.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. Rachel can be found online at www.RachelScottMcDaniel.com and on all social media platforms. Her work is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency. Rachel resides in Ohio with her husband and two children.

More from Rachel

A Century on the River

In 1914, America hadn’t joined WWI yet. Airplanes, or flying machines as they were called, were still a phenomenon. Radios weren’t a thing. Hawaii and Alaska weren’t part of the United States. The world as a whole looked different than the one we walk today. But one thing remains true as it had 100 years ago—The Belle of Louisville graced the waters. In fact, the century-old steamboat is like a floating time capsule.

zFirst named the Idlewild, this boat was built in Pittsburgh, PA and was launched in October 1914. It began its days as a packet boat, hauling freight and ferrying passengers. During the ‘Roaring 20s’ there wasn’t much documentation for her travels. But it’s believed the Idlewild spent the decade tramping—a steamboat term for going up and down the river, stopping at various towns and taking passengers for excursions. Which worked perfectly for Undercurrent of Secrets.

The boat was then sold to New Orleans where it continued to ferry passengers. In 1931, The Idlewild spent a season in Louisville running trips to Rose Island and Fontaine Ferry amusement parks. It then spent the next several years coursing the waterways from Canada to New Orleans, living upon the Mississippi and Ohio river systems until WWII. The second world war brought a lot of action to the Idlewild which was then outfitted with special equipment to push oil barges along the river. She also served as a floating USO nightclub for troops stationed at military bases along the Mississippi River.

In 1947, she was sold and renamed the Avalon. For the next two decades the legendary lady spent her days along the rivers, hosting excursions, bringing adventure to the hearts of many Americans. But all those years and miles eventually caught up to her and she fell in disrepair. In 1962, she was put up for auction in Cincinnati where she was purchased by Jefferson County Judge Executive Marlow Cook for $34,000. She then received her third name, The Belle of Louisville.

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The restoration of the boat was supervised by marine architect Alan L. Bates (later Captain Bates). Capt. Bates’ books, Str. Belle of Louisville, and Moonlight at 8:30, were a huge help to me while researching the history of the boat and the crews who worked on her. The reno crew worked tirelessly rebuilding the Belle and on April 30th, she tested the waters again by racing against the Delta Queen in the first Great Steamboat Race. The Belle has been wharfed in Louisville ever since. This century-old steamboat has stood the test of time, surviving decades, sinkings, storms, weathering all the trials with grit and grace. If you ever find yourself in Louisville, you could book a cruise on the Belle and experience history.

My Review

Barbour Publishing’s Doors to the Past series just keeps getting better and better! Each standalone, dual-timeline story is penned by a different author and features a combination of romance, mystery, and faith. Barbour stands out to me for its excellent series these last few years, including but certainly not limited to Brides of the Mayflower and True Colors. Something that I truly appreciate is when I read a book that I otherwise may not have and love it so much that I know it will be one of my favorites for the year. Undercurrent of Secrets fits the bill, and the literary finesse that Rachel Scott McDaniel demonstrated in her debut, Above the Fold, becomes even more prominent in this fourth Doors to the Past book.

As the two storylines in Undercurrent of Secrets emerge, a delightful cast of characters surfaces. In the present, Devyn Asbury serves as wedding coordinator for The Belle of Louisville, trying to blend into the background after a disastrous end to her engagement, while her 1926 counterpart, Hattie Louis, lives an unconventional life on the river as the adopted daughter of an elderly steamboat captain. Both young women find the course of their lives altered by unexpected revelations and unforeseen romance that has enduring reverberations. Mystery creeps into Devyn’s already-full schedule through the appearance of Chase Jones and an enigmatic photograph from a century ago, while new first mate Jack Marshall’s arrival interrupts the steady flow of Hattie’s routine. The turbulence is reflected in Jack’s words, “I’m just wondering if your voice is the sound of an angel guiding me along, or a siren drawing me in to my demise.

One aspect of split-time fiction that seems to characterize the genre, and one that speaks to me, is the theme of belonging to two different worlds, or feeling caught between two existences. A nostalgic identity crisis, of sorts. Whether this plays out as being drawn to the past in order to resolve something that happened there, or being either ahead of one’s time or old-fashioned, this premise lends itself to the heart of stories such as Undercurrent of Secrets. I love how McDaniel connects her characters, and how the contemporary characters unearth the mystery and intrigue surrounding those of the past, as a puzzle to solve rather than just having the answer handed to them, with faith leading the way. As Devyn proclaims, “Love is bold. It doesn’t cower, but expresses itself. Think of Jesus. What He did on the cross was bold. He gave His life without any guarantee that anyone would love Him back. It was daring and beautiful.” The intersection of the characters’ stories intertwines throughout the narrative, coalescing at the very end in a satisfying conclusion that brings together all of McDaniel’s skillfully dropped hints. Above all else, trusting God to guide us through every high and low, allowing Him to be the captain of our lives, is the most important message. For “God had a way of leading His children. It may not be the course Devyn had imagined, but as long as she stayed in the current of His love, she knew she could rely on Him in both the still and the troubled waters. He was faithful to steer her through it all.

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

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 25

Rachael’s Inkwell, September 25

Texas Book-aholic, September 26

Christian Bookaholic, September 26

Where Faith and Books Meet, September 27

Inklings and notions, September 27

Genesis 5020, September 27

For Him and My Family, September 28

Life of Literature, September 28

deb’s Book Review, September 29

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 29

Remembrancy, September 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 30

She Lives to Read, October 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 1

Older & Smarter?, October 1

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 2

Mary Hake, October 2

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 3

Simple Harvest Reads, October 3 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Bizwings Blog, October 3

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 4

For the Love of Literature, October 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 5

Through the fire blogs, October 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 6

Pause for Tales, October 6

Artistic Nobody, October 7 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Just Your Average reviews, October 7

Splashes of Joy, October 8

Labor Not in Vain, October 8

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rachel 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/11b61/undercurrent-of-secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway

What You Said to Me Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: What You Said to Me

Author: Olivia Newport

Genre: Christian Fiction

Release Date: November 2020

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

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

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

Click HERE to get your copy! 

About the Author

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

More from Olivia

Careful Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Olivia Newport

My Review

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

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

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

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

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

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, November 21

deb’s Book Review, November 21

Remembrancy, November 22

Connect in Fiction, November 22

lakesidelivingsite, November 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 23

Splashes of Joy, November 24

Robin’s Nest, November 24

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 24

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 25

Mamma Loves Books, November 25

Pause for Tales, November 25

Godly Book Reviews, November 26

Lis Loves Reading, November 26

Hallie Reads, November 26

Older & Smarter?, November 27

Texas Book-aholic, November 27

Inklings and notions, November 28

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 28

The Write Escape, November 28

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

Blogging With Carol, November 29

Mary Hake, November 29

For Him and My Family, November 30

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

Betti Mace, December 1

Worthy2Read, December 1

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 1

Lots of Helpers, December 2

Bigreadersite, December 2

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 2

Amanda Tero, blog, December 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 3

For the Love of Literature, December 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 4

Giveaway

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

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

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

A Longing Fulfilled is a Tree of Life: A Book Review of Amanda Cox’s “The Edge of Belonging”

If the story of my life could say one thing, I’d hope it would show the importance of venturing into the highways and the hedges to let invisible people know they’re seen and loved. To invite them in.

A breathtaking tour de force, Amanda Cox’s The Edge of Belonging tugs at the heartstrings and reminds readers that belonging goes beyond having a place to live to encompass the people who love us and, by so doing, help us to truly belong. Cox employs a split-time structure to tell Ivy and Harvey’s story, and what I love about this format is the short time lapse; the two main storylines take place in 1994 and the present day, creating a small generational gap that allows readers to follow the same characters from one period of time to another. For a debut novel, The Edge of Belonging hits the perfect notes, drawing all of the characters together in a symphony both heartwarming and bittersweet.

With this intricately nuanced cast of characters, Cox demonstrates her keen understanding of and insight into the human psyche. In the present: a broken 24-year-old young woman who does not know who she is anymore and wonders if she ever did. Twenty-four years prior: a homeless man with a sorrowful past who finally has solitude and routine until he finds a newborn baby. An older woman heartbroken from recent losses but with much love still to give. A couple aggrieved by their inability to have children. And the thread of hope and faith that binds them all together.

My favorite aspect of the characters is how they exemplify Jesus amidst their mistakes and brokenness and humanness. Pearl is a prime example of this, and she is my favorite character, despite my incorrect characterization of her when she is first introduced. As a result of this and of several scenarios in the narrative, I find The Edge of Belonging to be convicting. How often do we judge someone based on their behavior or appearance without making any effort to reach out to them or know them on a personal level? Pearl is one of the foremost characters who demonstrates openhearted compassion, which she sums up in a simple and beautiful way: “Nurturing is nurturing. It doesn’t take a blood relative. We’re all adopted into God’s family through Jesus. And I decided long ago that if it was good enough for God, it was good enough for me. So I set in my heart that I would love and mother anyone who crossed my path who needed that kind of love.

By far one of the best debut novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading, The Edge of Belonging gently speaks to many current issues, including PTSD, fostering and adoption, domestic violence, abuse, grief, and both platonic and romantic love. Most of all, it guides us toward the unconditional love of the One Who gave His life for us, and in Whose arms we will always find our place of belonging.

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