Tag Archives: suspense

Buried Cold Case Secrets Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Buried Cold Case Secrets

Author: Sami A. Abrams

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: December 28, 2021

Recovering her missing memories…

Could be the key to solving a murder…

Searching for her best friend’s remains could help forensic anthropologist Melanie Hutton regain her memories of when they were both kidnapped—unless the killer gets to Melanie first. For her safety, Melanie must rely on Detective Jason Cooper, who still blames her for his sister’s death. Can Jason set the past aside to solve the cold-case murder…and shield Melanie from the same fate?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Two-time Genesis winner Sami A. Abrams and her husband live in Northern California, but she’ll always be a Kansas girl at heart. She enjoys visiting her two grown children and spoiling their sweet fur babies. Most evenings, if Sami’s not watching sports, you’ll find her engrossed in a romantic suspense novel. She thinks a crime plus a little romance is the recipe for a great story.

More from Sami

What writer doesn’t grow up reading every chance they get? That would be me.

Until my thirties, I hated to read. Then someone told me about Terri Blackstock, and I decided to give her books a try. I was hooked. I guess there’s something to finding the right genre. Romantic Suspense is it for me. Of course, that makes sense. I love CSI, NCIS, and Criminal Minds. Over the years, I have expanded my taste, but there’s just something about suspense that keeps me coming back.

A little over five years ago, I decided to start checking off some of the items on my bucket list. I learned how to rock climb and got my scuba certification, among other things. When I got to the item, writing a novel, I sat down and pounded it out. Check the box; I was done. Wrong. God had other plans and placed some amazing people in my life.

One of those plans was attending MurderCon, a conference for writers where they learn from experts about, you guessed it…murder. Actually, it’s about police procedures, crime scene analysis…the list goes on and on. One of the workshops I attended was with a forensic anthropologist, and the idea for Melanie Hutton and Buried Cold Case Secrets was born.

I loved writing Melanie’s story. She’s a fighter and refuses to let anything stand in her way, including the man, Jason Cooper, who blames her for her best friend’s death. Jason holds on to the past and his hatred toward Melanie, but he soon learns that if he puts aside his assumptions and listens, he’ll discover the truth about the day his sister died. Letting go of his anger and blame is tough for Jason, but when he does, he finds the life he’s always wanted.

I hope you enjoy reading Melanie and Jason’s story as much as I did writing it.

I’d love to hear from you. Please visit my website at samiaabrams.com and sign up for my newsletter.

My Review

Forensic anthropology, and forensics in general, has fascinated me for two decades. It may not be as glamorous as Hollywood would have us believe (it rarely, if ever, is), but using remains to piece together the story of a person’s death and aspects of their life in order to provide some closure seems like a unique calling. I wanted to read this book based on the title and cover alone! One major benefit of the Love Inspired Suspense series is the tacit understanding that the stories will be clean, providing the mysterious and thrilling elements without the profanity and immorality. As this particular story attests, the series does not shy away from the uncomfortable realities of life, but instead presents them through a Christian lens.

A contemporary union of suspense and romance, Buried Cold Case Secrets by debut novelist Sami Abrams offers both to readers from the very first chapter. The pacing is quite intense, with no breaks in the action, and as a result, I had a difficult time putting this one down! Despite the heroine Melanie Hutton’s profession, no foreknowledge of forensic anthropology is necessary; Abrams smoothly works the science into the plot without pulling readers out of the story. Furthermore, Melanie’s plight evokes sympathy for the feelings of rejection she has endured: “Stuck in a town that pitied her, working with a man who hated her, and in pain because someone tried to hurt her—what a mess. Why had God brought her back here? No matter the reason, she trusted Him, but it didn’t mean that it wasn’t hard.” All of us have felt similarly at one time or another, regardless of our backgrounds, and as Abrams demonstrates, God goes with us through it all, promising to never leave or forsake us.

Being a former kidnapping victim and survivor, Melanie has an ongoing conflict between her past and her present that stands in the way of her hope for the future. Buried Cold Case Secrets explores the long-term effects of trauma, a topic that is sadly ever more relevant in today’s secularized society. Detective Jason Cooper, whose sister was Melanie’s best friend and who was kidnapped with her but with a worse outcome, harbors unforgiveness toward Melanie for what happened that day, especially because Melanie claims to have no memory of the details. Abrams uses dissociative amnesia and PTSD to inform the story as Melanie again finds her life in danger. Melanie is forced to acknowledge that “Someone had painted a target on her back, and she was clinging to reality by a thread,” highlighting the psychological impact of unresolved trauma compounded by new attacks. On a lighter note and because she was my favorite minor character, everyone needs a Miss Judith Evans in their lives to boost them into gear and get the wheels turning toward the Lord and His plan!

Sami Abrams has written a solid debut with Buried Cold Case Secrets. The story is intriguing and the rhythm unremitting. I did find Jason annoying in that he continued to make the same mistakes with regard to his approach to situations, to the point that it seemed a bit overdone. Some of the elements could have been more subtle, in my opinion, including the identity of the perpetrator, but I still think that this is a very well-done debut and am truly looking forward to reading more inspirational suspense from this author! Fans of Investigation Discovery, the popular TV series Bones, or the romantic suspense genre will doubtless enjoy this book.

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, January 8

The Avid Reader, January 8

Bigreadersite, January 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 9

Bizwings Blog, January 9

Texas Book-aholic, January 10

The Sacred Line, January 10

Inklings and notions, January 11

Labor Not in Vain, January 11

Betti Mace, January 11

For Him and My Family, January 12

For the Love of Literature, January 12

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 13 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, January 13

Lights in a Dark World, January 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 14

Elly Gilbert, January 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 15

Mary Hake, January 15

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 16

Kayem Reads, January 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 17 (Spotlight)

Through the Fire Blogs, January 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, January 18

Britt Reads Fiction, January 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 19

Blogging With Carol, January 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 20

Simple Harvest Reads, January 20 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, January 21

Pause for Tales, January 21

Blossoms and Blessings, January 21

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sami is giving away the grand prize package of a book, a coffee mug, a notebook, a 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/17198/buried-cold-case-secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway

Elinor Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Elinor

Author: Shannon McNear

Genre: Christian/Historical/Romance

Release date: December 1, 2021

A Journey Full of Hope…
Escape into a riveting story based on the mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

Author Shannon McNear portrays history with vivid authenticity.

In 1587, Elinor White Dare sailed from England heavy with her first child but full of hopes. Her father, a renowned artist and experienced traveler, has convinced her and her bricklayer husband Ananias to make the journey to the New World. Land, they are promised, more goodly and beautiful than they can ever imagine. But nothing goes as planned from landing at the wrong location, to facing starvation, to the endless wait for help to arrive. And, beyond her comprehension, Elinor finds herself utterly alone. . . .
The colony at Roanoke disappeared into the shadows of history. But, what if one survived to leave a lasting legacy?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When she’s not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies. Connect with her at www.shannonmcnear.com, or on Facebook and Goodreads.

More from Shannon

Why did I write this story? Well, God shoved the opportunity under my nose, and I didn’t want to be guilty of taking the easy way out, by saying no. 😊

Really, while the concept was fascinating, the execution was daunting, and sometimes terrifying. The Elizabethan Era—before the King James Bible and even before Shakespeare was popular! As a student of the Revolutionary War and surrounding times, I felt very much out of my depth.

Though the research sucked me in, it was also daunting. Sifting through various interpretations of the primary accounts and their own speculations on why they felt things must have gone a certain way. Trying to “find” my story amongst all the theories and opinions. Above all, getting to know my characters and letting them come alive in my own imagination.

And come alive, they did—in full color, with a vividness I did not expect. I hope I was able to translate even a portion of what I envisioned to the page, so that you also can see them!

My Review

Even though I went into this book with high expectations based on the author’s previous works, Shannon McNear still exceeded my highest hopes with Elinor. From the moment that I first saw the subtitle denoting this as “Daughters of the Lost Colony 1587,” I knew that I had to read it. Something about that seemingly ill-fated Roanoke Colony fascinates me and never fails to draw me in. How exciting to have a Christian author approach the subject!

First, I would like to give kudos to McNear for undertaking what is currently such a contentious topic in the U.S., that of early American history and race relations. I encourage readers to peruse the author’s historical note following the story’s conclusion, as she addresses several potential concerns relating to culture, fact vs. fiction, and the resources that she employed in writing Elinor.  This novel is incredibly timely, and it does not seek to merely gloss over the painful events of white colonization of the New World. Instead, through ultimately focusing on three primary characters, John White, Elinor Dare, and Sees Far, this story explores how their collective journeys dovetail, and the implications thereof. The experience between the Native tribes and the previous explorers, for instance, establishes a precedent that impacts the colonists. Because of the inhumane overreaction and breach of trust of a group of prior English explorers, not all of the Native people welcome the white settlers, and in the words of Sees Far, “It was his people’s way—war and vengeance and the taking of captives. They did their best to exact justice but then were duty bound to accept what Montóac handed them. Whatever that looked like.” While reading and thinking about the wrong actions of both the English and the Natives, the many verses of the Bible that refer to the folly of doing what is right in our own eyes came to mind.

Divided into parts, the first three deal with the colonists’ ad hoc arrival, settlement, and subsequent dilemma at Roanoke, resulting in John White’s return to England for aid, while the last two sections comprise the fate of the colonists, as interpreted by McNear. While clean, Elinor does not romanticize the hardscrabble life of the New World. After a harrowing ocean voyage, Elinor voices to her husband Ananias the desire of the colonists: “I simply wish a place to call home.” Minister Nicholas Johnson shares some of the most memorable lines in the book, notably as Manteo receives his baptism into the Christian faith, reminding the congregants that surrendering entirely to Jesus is their calling: “Our place here in the New World means nothing if we do not both believe and live out that lordship. Our community will be for naught if we are not, first and foremost, a community of God, under God, believing what He has told us in His Word.” As is indicated by history, the colony of Roanoke likely faced serious challenges to their faith as they struggled to survive in the midst of trials.

Two Native tribes feature prominently in Elinor, the friendly Croatoan and the vengeance-seeking Secotan. Elinor finds herself amongst the latter, particularly Sees Far, and this is the most telling segment of the novel. I love that Elinor’s memorization of Scripture and ability to recall it and draw upon it is shown to be vital to her survival. McNear avoids idealizing the hostility between the two people groups, instead demonstrating how faith in Christ provides a stronghold and a refuge during dire circumstances. It is this expression of faith that confounds those who are not Christians and serves as a witness to the unbelieving. Even so, it is the power of God working within us to accomplish this, “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). Humility is essential, as Elinor realizes while contemplating Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf and the fact that He can use any situation and any person to draw someone to Himself, “Because surely the people of this country were, indeed, as dear to God as any of the English. How arrogant they were to think they alone had obtained His favor.” The same is true today. Moreover, another section of Nicholas Johnson’s sermon resonates strongly today and seems a fitting summary of the key message of Elinor, and of how we should all approach one another, because truly there is only one race, the human race:

Her Majesty the Queen may have had her own purpose for placing us here, as much for the glory of England as the glory of Christ, but we have our private purpose, that we demonstrate faith and love through our own conversation, in truth and simplicity. Let us not become divided over things that have no eternal weight. We have the freedom here to choose what to eat, where to go, and how to live. Let us not abuse that, but let us also walk in love toward each other.

An apt fictional exploration of the famous lost colony of Roanoke, Shannon McNear’s Elinor is a well-researched novel abounding in faith, hope, and ultimately love. It would be a wonderful choice for a book club discussion! Conveniently placed after the end of the story, in addition to the aforementioned historical note, is a bibliography, cast of characters, list of regions and people groups, definition of historical terms, and a glossary of Carolina Algonquian words.

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, January 4

The Christian Fiction Girl, January 4

Joanna Bair, January 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 5

Rebecca Tews, January 5

For the Love of Literature, January 6

Remembrancy, January 6

Texas Book-aholic, January 7

Betti Mace, January 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 8

Inklings and notions, January 8

For Him and My Family, January 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 9

deb’s Book Review, January 10

Labor Not in Vain, January 10

Blogging With Carol, January 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 11

Connect in Fiction, January 11

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 12

To Everything There Is A Season, January 12

Mary Hake, January 12

Bizwings Blog, January 13

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 13

Connie’s History Classroom, January 14

Splashes of Joy, January 14

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 15 (Spotlight)

Sodbuster Living, January 15

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, January 16

Through the Fire Blogs, January 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 17

Pause for Tales, January 17

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Shannon 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/15d5e/elinor-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Lost Dutchman’s Secret Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Lost Dutchman’s Secret

Author: Rebekah Jones

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: November 2, 2021

There’s a deadly secret in them thar hills—and gold, or so they say.

Deeply in debt to a wealthy local, Charles Sinclair, Dorothy Hodges’ father finally promises she’ll pay and in gold, no less. If only Dorothy could take to take the promises he spins out of thin air and turn them into that gold, all would be well.

With the help of a strange, rumpled man, Dorothy does manage to bring payment to one of Sinclair’s sons only to discover it won’t pay off the debt. Will the next payment be enough? The next?

When Charles Sinclair ends up dead, Dorothy is the obvious prime suspect, but Sinclair’s son isn’t so certain. Together they work to clear her name and find the real murderer of the Superstitions, but will they find the answers buried in those hills?

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. The Lost Dutchman’s Secret offers a retelling of “Rumplestilskin” that requires more digging than a miner searching for The Lost Dutchman Mine.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Rebekah Jones is first and foremost a follower of the Living God. She started writing as a little girl, seeking to glorify her King with her books and stories.
Rebekah is an old soul in a young body (she’s not 12 —honest!) While her exact age is classified, her interests are not. Among them are reading a variety of books, singing, playing, and composing music, studying all manner of subjects, nannying an adventurous group of youngsters, and, of course, writing her books, poems, articles, and short stories. She writes a wide range of books from gentle children’s adventures to family sagas to murder mysteries.

More from Rebekah

“They say that no one had ever seen gold ore like it before, neither have they ever since. Except in the possession of Jacob Waltz. His mine had ore of higher value and higher potency than any other mine found in Arizona…”

What if the Miller’s daughter from the tale of Rumpelstiltskin didn’t have to spin gold, but pay it? And because of an enormous debt – that she had no way of knowing the value? And her father wasn’t a miller, but an old miner with a penchant for carving animals while living in the Arizona desert? And what if, for her pains, she found herself mixed up in a murder?

And what if, somehow intermixed with this poor young woman and her troubles, came the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Goldmine?

If you don’t know about the legend of that lost mine, you should. Or I think that you should. It’s a real legend as old as the 1860’s. Except, it wasn’t lost when Jacob Waltz went bragging about it. That came later.

The mountains that house the legend are magnificent. When a friend of mine came to visit me, she and I went to explore the area around the Superstition Mountains, as well as a part of the mountains themselves. Standing in a forest of cacti and brush, the jagged rocks and sharp peaks towered above my head, while a critter skittered unseen. Beautiful isn’t quite a strong enough word to describe it. As we hiked up the mountain, making our way through a myriad of desert plant life, rocks of so many shapes and sizes, and tiny critters, I could picture Dorothy, the miner’s daughter.

The modern structures and buildings in sight, faded in my mind’s eye, and I could imagine the young woman partway up the mountain in 1929, wearing her old, faded dress, and staring out across the valley. We plotted out where her father’s shack would have stood, and I made note of a perfect crevice of rock where she might have sat to think or read. I rather found myself wishing I could live out there myself, even if living in a shack in the heat of the Arizona summer doesn’t wholly appeal to me.

When I finally got in front of my manuscript again, I could see Dorothy’s world so clearly, I can only hope I managed to capture it in the book itself. I doubt if I could have captured the beauty of those mountains in words, the sight of them as they changed colors in the sunset, or the glowing starry sky above them after dark.

As for the Lost Dutchman’s Goldmine, I would be lying if I said I didn’t entertain fantasies about exploring the mountains to discover it, but we certainly did not go that far into the mountains. Besides, it was June in the Arizona desert. One does not blindly venture into the mountains on such an errand in such a time of year, unless one has a death wish. It’s rather fun to imagine though. Perhaps one day, I can go on a search – though I confess, I doubt it.

As for the book, I won’t say whether that lost goldmine is discovered or not. I’ll leave that for a reader to discover for themselves.

My Review

Review coming soon!

My rating:

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 17

An Author’s Take, December 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 18

Texas Book-aholic, December 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 20

Genesis 5020, December 20

Inklings and notions, December 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 21

For Him and My Family, December 22

For the Love of Literature, December 22

deb’s Book Review, December 23

Simple Harvest Reads, December 23 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Blogging With Carol, December 24

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 25 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 26

Vicarious Living, December 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 27

Connect in Fiction, December 27

Connie’s History Classroom, December 28

Mary Hake, December 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 29

Back Porch Reads, December 29

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 30

Through the Fire blogs, December 30

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rebekah is giving away the grand prize package of $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/14f1b/the-lost-dutchman-s-secret-celebration-tour-giveaway

Lost in Darkness Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Lost in Darkness

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: FICTION/ Christian/Romance

Release date: November 1, 2021

England, 1815

Amelia Balfour has one dream. . .to tour Egypt as a travel writer. But when her wish is finally within reach, her father dies, and her malformed brother Colin depends upon her to arrange for a revolutionary surgery. Amelia returns home, hoping he’ll recover before the ship sails for Cairo.
Former Navy surgeon Graham Lambert is sick—of travelling, loneliness, and especially the injustice of the world. Leaving behind the military, he partners with a renowned surgeon, the man who promises new life to Amelia’s brother.
But just as the operation begins, Graham suspects the surgeon is a fraud. After a botched procedure, Colin goes mad and escapes, terrorizing their neighbor, author Mary Godwin—planting the seed for her greatest creation, Frankenstein.
Can Amelia and Graham stop Colin before he destroys everyone in his path and find the tender soul still trapped inside…or will they be too late?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan.

More from Michelle

Are You a Monster Too?

“Look at that! The fattest girl in the class is the first one to get in line for a cupcake.”

Those words, spoken to me in junior high by a clueless boy, are forever seared into my memory. Just because I wasn’t a willowy stick-figure who didn’t match up to magazine covers, I was singled out. Made to feel ashamed. Made to feel like a monster.

Have you ever felt that way?

Chances are you have. We are all poked and prodded at some point in our lives…which brings up a few questions. How do you deal with the sometimes ugly perceptions with which others view you? How do you stop trying to prove your worth to others, when in their eyes you are somehow worthless? Why does God allow such hurtful things to happen anyway?

These are the questions I attempt to tackle in my new release, Lost in Darkness. And surprisingly enough, those are the very same issues contemplated in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Now hold on. Don’t go rolling your eyeballs quite yet—which is the usual response whenever Frankenstein is mentioned.

Most people’s conception of this great piece of literature has been forever ruined by Hollywood’s green creature. You know the one, the giant with bolts sticking out of his neck and a stiff-legged walk. So not true. The essence of Shelley’s “horror” story is instead about a creature who struggles with heartfelt needs that can only be met by his creator. In this story, Shelley respectfully handles the subject of what we owe our creator and what our creator’s responsibility is toward us as the created…the very same questions we all struggle with.

As does Colin Balfour, a man with a heart of gold and a face that causes children to scream. In Lost in Darkness, he hopes to undergo a life-changing surgery that will end his self-imposed isolation. But what really happens is a life change for his sister Amelia and the surgeon who tries to prevent it all from happening. For indeed, even if there be monsters, there is none so fierce as that which resides in man’s own heart.

My Review

Review to come! In the meantime, anything Michelle Griep writes is always a must-read, so be sure to enter the giveaway and/or order a copy for yourself or a friend for Christmas!

My rating:

Blog Stops

Life of Literature, November 29

Genesis 5020, November 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 29

The Write Escape, November 30

Betti Mace, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, November 30

Remembrancy, December 1

Inklings and notions, December 1

Blossoms and Blessings, December 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 2

Daysong Reflections, December 2

For Him and My Family, December 2

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 3

Bigreadersite, December 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 4

For the Love of Literature, December 4

SodbusterLiving, December 4

deb’s Book Review, December 5

Splashes of Joy, December 5

Back Porch Reads, December 5

Connie’s History Classroom, December 6

Simple Harvest Reads, December 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 6

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 7

Through the fire blogs, December 7

Where Faith and Books Meet, December 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 8

Pause for Tales, December 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 9

Labor Not in Vain, December 9

To Everything There Is A Season, December 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 10

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, December 10

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, December 10

Truth and Grace HomeschoolAcademy, December 11

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 11 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 11

Rachael’s Inkwell, December 12

Blogging With Carol, December 12

Connect in Fiction, December 12

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Michelle 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/13cfd/lost-in-darkness-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Nutcracker’s Suite Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Nutcracker’s Suite

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Christmas Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: November 26, 2021

“Time to dance, sugarplum.”

A painter at the Meyer’s Toys factory, Clarice Stahl, knows something is
strange about the way so many men come and go through Mr. Meyer’s
office, especially one in particular.

Then murder strikes a little too close to home and uncorks a barrel of
secrets.

When mob king, Mario Topo’s, enforcer goes missing the race is on to
prove he’s behind the murder. Police and mobsters alike are after Milo
Natale, and he who finds Milo first might determine the enforcer’s fate.

A race through the city, a new friend… or more… a new life in the
offing. Milo and Clarice must find who killed Topo’s man and why before
the police arrest him for murder or Topo’s men bump him and Clarice off,
too.

This next book in the Ever After Mysteries combines “The Nutcracker
Suite” with a murder mystery set in the heart of 1920s Rockland.

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

Here Are Several Fun Facts & a Secret about The Nutcracker’s Suite

You’d think that while writing a book based on the fairy tale of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, I’d have heard “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” in my head as I wrote. Well, I guess for a brief moment I did, because at some point, someone actually says that. “Dance, sugar plum!”

But Tchaikovsky isn’t who played in my head as I wrote. Over and over, word after word, my fingers did their bourres and glissades across my keyboard to one, rather unexpected song. “Ballerina” (I prefer the version sung by Buddy Clark. You can listen HERE.)

However, there are so many elements of the original ballet’s story in mine. I thought I’d share a few of them.

Let’s talk about the cast of characters.

Clarice Stahl is our “leading lady.” It’s kind of obvious where I got her name since the original character was Clara Stahlbaum.

Clarice works for Mr. Dieter Meyer, the owner of Meyer’s Toys. He gives her the job of painting nutcrackers. So, it’s not too difficult to see the connection to Uncle Drosselmeyer who gives Clara the nutcracker, no?

All of 1925 Rockland is in the clutches of mob king, Mario Topo. For those not fluent in Italian, can you guess what “topo” is in that language? Remember… he’s the mob “king.” 😉

But I think my favorite name of all is Emiliano (I call him Milo) Natale (Christmas in Italian… just sayin’) who is known as “the nutcracker.” He’s an enforcer for Mr. Topo, and that means he squeezes people until they crack and do what Topo wants. Let’s hope he repents!

Yes, I had a boatload of fun coming up with this stuff! How’d you guess?

I have a secret to confess about this book. I’m writing this post when I’m only about a quarter of the way done. I went to get the synopsis for this tour and went, “oops!” You see, I forgot that I’d planned to make Milo going missing a big part of the plot.

Guess who has to flex? I’d better get back to it. They need to figure out who killed our victim… and why. And before Clarice is next!

My Review

My review will be in the December issue of #BecauseFiction magazine. I will post a link to it here when it becomes available.

My rating:

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 26

Blogging With Carol, November 26

Texas Book-aholic, November 27

For the Love of Literature, November 28

By the Book, November 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 29

Inklings and notions, November 29

For Him and My Family, November 30

Rachael’s Inkwell, November 30

deb’s Book Review, December 1

Bizwings Blog, December 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 2

Genesis 5020, December 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 3

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

Connie’s History Classroom, December 4

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 4

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 5

Connect in Fiction, December 5

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 6

Mary Hake, December 6

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, December 7

Through the fire blogs, December 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 8

Lots of Helpers, December 8

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 9 (Author Interview)

Back Porch Reads, December 9

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away to three winners one Prize box each including a paperback of The Nutcracker’s Suite, themed goodies, and a $10 Amazon Gift Card in each!!

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/13cfb/the-nutcracker-s-suite-celebration-tour-giveaway

Murder at the Empire Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Murder at the Empire

Author: Cathe Swanson

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: October 5, 2021

Gayle Wells is a killer organist, but does a killer have her in his sights?

They call him the Emperor. John Starek fills his theater with fine artwork and treasures. He’s particularly pleased to have one of the country’s first female organists – and he thinks Gayle Wells is the bee’s knees.

Despite pressure from her social crusader mother, Gayle isn’t interested in changing the world. She just wants a car of her own – and a career playing the organ at the Empire movie palace would be especially ducky.

Then the Empire’s treasures start disappearing and employees start dying. Are a few pieces of art really enough motive for the string of murders? Will Gayle be next?

Murder at the Empire brings the Nightingale into an elegant movie palace in the roaring 20’s – but the real excitement is all off-screen.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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After 40 years of wandering (but always in lovely places and not in a desert), Cathe Swanson has recently returned to her childhood home and family in Minnesota. In the summer, she and her husband enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and being outdoors, gardening, hiking, birdwatching, and kayaking. The long winters are perfect for writing books, playing games, reading, and indoor hobbies. Cathe’s been a quilter and teacher of quiltmaking for over 25 years and enjoys just about any kind of creative work, especially those involving fiber or paper.

Everything inspires new books! A lifelong love of quilting, Cathe’s Swedish heritage and an interest in genealogy led to The Glory Quilts series, and The Hope Again series is inspired by her life in the Midwest and experiences with the elderly, the military, and inner-city ministry. As a child of the sixties, she’s having fun writing about hippies and the Jesus People movement in the Serenity Hill series.

Cathe writes books with creative plots and engaging characters of all ages, to glorify God and entertain and bless readers. Her heartwarming stories will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again.

More from Cathe

The 1920’s is a fascinating era. Women had recently won the right to vote, and America adopted the Volstead Act – Prohibition – which led to the growth of underground clubs and organized crime. Women were forging new paths in social reform, politics, science, medicine and every other career. America became more urbanized, building suburbs and developing a large middle-class population. The affordable automobile changed the entire culture! It was a time of innovation and rapidly expanding technology. Synthetic fabrics, convenience foods, electric appliances and other inventions made daily life easier. People had more free time, money and access to a variety of entertainments than ever before.

So much happened in this brief, exciting decade between the end of WWI and the Great Depression! It’s always interested me, so I was flattered and thrilled when Celebrate Lit Publishing invited me to participate in The Ever After Mysteries, a collection of 1920’s mysteries inspired by fairy tales. I’m a great fan of mysteries from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, and I read at least a thousand fairy tales as a child.

To be honest… I set about it backward. I knew I wanted to write about a young woman playing the Mighty Wurlitzer organ to accompany silent films at a glamorous movie palace, so I Iooked for a fairy tale to match it!

I chose The Nightingale, an old Chinese story about an Emperor with a beautiful palace. Everything in it was exquisite and fragile, and people came from all over the world to admire his palace. He loved to show it off and even tied little bells to the prettiest blossoms in the garden, to make sure no one missed them. When the emperor heard rumors about a bird that sang more beautifully than anything else, he sought it out and brought it home to live in the palace, where it could sing to entertain him and his guests.

At that point, the fairy tale and my story diverge. In the fairy tale, the nightingale lives in the palace singing for the court until the Emperor of Japan presents the Emperor of China with a bejeweled mechanical bird – so much prettier than the plain brown nightingale. The Chinese emperor abandons the real bird and enjoys the mechanical one until it breaks. He falls into a deep depression and is only restored to health by the return of the real nightingale.

None of that happens in Murder at the Empire, but there’s lot of other fun, jazzy excitement as the John Starek – the “Emperor” – fills his magnificent movie palace with fine artwork and beautiful things – including Chicago’s first female theater organist, Gayle Wells. He thinks she’s the bee’s knees, but she’s a pretty independent girl, busy working and saving money to buy her own car.

And then things start falling apart… with murder at the Empire. I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it!

My Review

Review coming soon!

My rating:

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 17

Blossoms and Blessings, November 17

Texas Book-aholic, November 18

Blogging With Carol, November 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 19

deb’s Book Review, November 20

Sodbusterliving, November 20

Inklings and notions, November 21

For Him and My Family, November 22

Simple Harvest Reads, November 22 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 23

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 24

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 25 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, November 25

Connie’s History Classroom, November 26

Genesis 5020, November 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 27

Connect in Fiction, November 27

Back Porch Reads, November 28

Through the fire blogs, November 28

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 29

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Cathe 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/133b9/murder-at-the-empire-celebration-tour

Behind Love’s Wall Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Behind Love’s Wall

Author: Carrie Fancett Pagels

Genre: FICTION/ Christian/Romance

Release date: November 1, 2021

Two successful women, a hundred-and-twenty-years apart, build walls to protect their hearts. Modern-day Willa, a successful interior decorator, is chosen to consult for the Grand Hotel’s possible redesign. She discovers a journal detailing the struggles of a young woman, Lily—which reveals dark secrets. The renowned singer wasn’t who she pretended to be. As Willa reaches out to Lily’s descendant, a charismatic and prominent landscape artist, she lets down her guard. Should she share the journal with him, or once again erect a wall as she struggles to redesign both the Grand and her life?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of over a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper” in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.

More from Carrie

Why I Wrote This Novel

I got a chance to write another novel set on Mackinac Island!!!

I’m the author of over twenty published stories. I have many books, both novel and novella length, set at the Straits of Mackinac including Maggie Award winner and Romantic Times Top Pick My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island. In the summer, I go up to the area and I’m blessed to sign books at the Island Bookstore—sometimes hundreds of books which is such an amazing thing I can’t tell you! Now that MHBoMI is out of print, Barbour has been helping by doing limited print runs for while I am up there.

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island was originally part of a full series that I pitched but it didn’t get picked up for all three stories. MHBoMI got picked up as part of the My Heart Belongs series that Barbour put out a few years ago. The second book in my original Brides of Mackinac series was heroine Sadie’s story, which was published as a novella “His Anchor” in First Love Forever collection. So I had two of my book babies delivered out into the world and Lily’s story sat there for a while.

In the Covid summer of 2020, I arrived in my home state of Michigan and over dinner with a close friend I learned that the folks at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island were having legal trouble with their previous long-time designed Carlton Varney suing them. I’d been disappointed that the Mussers, who’d owned the Grand for generations, had sold the hotel but this new development really bugged me. While I was in the Upper Peninsula, I finished an Indy book, Dogwood Plantation, which only figures since I often write my Michigan stories while I am in Virginia and vice versa! I knew the only other book I wanted to work on was to complete my Brides of Mackinac trilogy (not exactly since they aren’t all in one series!) with Lily’s story. I also had a manuscript about 70% done that was my very first contemporary Women’s Fiction novel. When my agent encouraged me to submit a Mackinac Island story set at the Grand Hotel to Barbour’s Doors to the Past series, I knew immediately that the only story for historical I wanted to write was Lily’s. That meant that I needed, for this dual-timeline series, a contemporary story. That wasn’t just a chance sharing at dinner—I believe the info about the lawsuit was meant to be passed on to me one of those God-incidences. My modern-day heroine then became an established resort designer who had a trunkful of issues just like Lily did.

Was I ever glad that I had finally written my first contemporary Women’s Fiction (Butterfly Cottage) because that skill set came in very handy in writing the modern-day 2020 story of Willa in Behind Love’s Wall! This was the most difficult novel to write that I have done so far as I write in character and going back and forth between the 1895 and 2020 timelines could be draining. I tried to write each character and setting on separate days but that couldn’t always be managed.

I pray that this story will touch readers’ hearts. I pray that someone, like the young waitress I meant on Mackinac Island who had been spiritually moved by My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island (she read her grandmother’s copy after her grandma passed away!), will read this book and feel that connection to our Maker. That’s what Christian Fiction is all about!

My Review

Review coming soon!

My rating:

Blog Stops

Life of Literature, November 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 18

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 19

Cats in the Cradle Blog, November 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 19

Inklings and notions, November 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 20

For Him and My Family, November 21

Mary Hake, November 21

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 22

Texas Book-aholic, November 22

For the Love of Literature, November 22

deb’s Book Review, November 23

Betti Mace, November 23

Genesis 5020, November 23

Older & Smarter?, November 24

Remembrancy, November 24

Blossoms and Blessings, November 25

Stephanie’s life of determination, November 25

Connect in Fiction, November 25

Rebecca Tews, November 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 26

Through the fire blogs, November 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 27

Pause for Tales, November 27

Bigreadersite, November 28

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 28

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 28

Connie’s History Classroom, November 29

Bizwings Blog, November 29

Labor Not in Vain, November 29

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 30

To Everything There Is A Season, November 30

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 1

Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen, December 1

Where Faith and Books Meet, December 1

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Carrie 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/137e9/behind-love-s-wall-celebration-tour-giveaway

Yukon Justice Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Yukon Justice

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: October 26, 2021

Sabotage on a family ranch…

Newfoundland Ella and her Alaska State Trooper partner is on the case.

When her estranged uncle attempts to sabotage her family’s reindeer ranch, K-9 team assistant Katie Kapowski heads home to help save it—and becomes his target. With their rocky past, Alaska State Trooper Brayden Ford and his furry partner are the last team Katie wants assigned to protect her. But with the ranch under siege, they must work together…or risk falling victim to a killer.

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 the Publisher’s Weekly and Amazon bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, 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

Up on the housetop, click, click, click, down through the chimney with good St. Nick. Does anyone know that line from the famous Christmas song? I’ve been singing it for years but only recently did I learn that the clicking is a real reindeer phenomenon. Those reindeer ankle joints make a clicking sound so they can find the rest of their herd if they are separated in a blizzard. It’s just one of the many things I learned about reindeer while researching to write Yukon Justice. In the novel, Katy has to take over running her aunt’s reindeer ranch and protect it from threats by a dangerous intruder. I had the pleasure of “Zoom” interviewing the owner of the Running Reindeer Ranch in Fairbanks, Alaska! Jane helped me learn all kinds of interesting things about reindeer. How much do you know about these critters? Take my quick three question trivia quiz to test your knowledge!

  1. What’s the difference between caribou and reindeer? They are the same animal but caribou are the wild variety and the domesticated version are called reindeer.
  2. Do males or females grow antlers? Both! Reindeer are a type of deer and the only species where the female grows antlers as well as the males.
  3. How come kids put out carrots for Santa’s reindeer? Good question! Carrots are not, in fact, part of a natural healthy reindeer diet. The animals don’t even have front teeth! A much better treat would be willow or birch leaves, or their favorite food…lichen, which they find by scraping the snow away from the ground with their hooves.

So how did you do? If you want to know more about these amazing creatures, snag yourself a copy of Yukon Justice!

My Review

Once again Dana Mentink writes a pulse-pounding romantic suspense, this one perfect for chilly weather. Set on a fairly remote reindeer ranch near Palmer, Alaska, Yukon Justice has me rethinking the loveliness of such Alaskan solitude. It’s a state that I would love to visit precisely for its natural beauty and seclusion, and the fact that it’s not part of the contiguous United States only adds to its mysterious allure. Although obviously not true of the entire state, when I think of Alaska, the first thing that comes to mind is off-grid living, which speaks to the pioneering, simplicity-seeking part of me. There are, however, drawbacks to such a lifestyle, or to just living in an isolated location. Such as a murderous relative, for example. And you thought your family didn’t get along!

On leave from her hard-earned job as assistant to the Alaska K-9 Unit Colonel and the group of state troopers with their canines, Katie Kapowski is working to help save her Aunt Addie’s reindeer ranch from her Uncle Terrence’s resentful sabotage. Believing himself to be the rightful owner, Terrence will stop at nothing, including coldblooded murder, to claim what he thinks is his. To Katie’s dismay, State Trooper Brayden Ford is the co-worker assigned to the case, a challenge given their less-than-congenial past encounters. Nevertheless, as the situation at the ranch escalates, Katie and Brayden, along with his Newfoundland, Ella, take on the challenges as a team. During one moment early in their partnership, they connect over the Scripture verse of Romans 8:31, and Brayden reflects that this is “A God thing, as his mom used to say. Too bad he didn’t let more of those God things out of his mouth. Might be less room for his foot.” Such amusing contemplations imbue the story with comedic relief throughout.

Yukon Justice delivers an inspirational tale of perseverance and overcoming through the ordeals of the characters. Ella, trained in underwater search-and-rescue, plays a more secondary role to Katie, Addie, Brayden, and Terrence, in my opinion, and although I would have liked to have seen her used a bit more, she still adds entertainment and her own proficiency to the storyline. Mentink develops and matures her characters as the plot unfolds and they must face their weaknesses, which includes releasing control and asking for help. I love the maxim that Brayden learned from his mom and passes on to Katie, one derived from Romans 8:31: “Eyes up, not down.” As Katie experiences, “There was danger and stress and uncertainty, all mixed up with a mega portion of fear, but with Brayden’s hand holding hers, she felt a strong surge of hope, and another smile broke across her face.” Trusting that God will ultimately work everything out is rarely easy in the midst of the storm, but it is necessary if we want our anchor to be secure.

Complete with suspense, life lessons, romance, a goofy Newfie, and yes, reindeer, Yukon Justice hits all the sweet spots for lovers of the genre and newcomers alike. “Sure as eggs in April!

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, November 6

lakesidelivingsite, November 6

Texas Book-aholic, November 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 7

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 7

Gina Holder, November 7 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, November 8

Daysong Reflections, November 8

Genesis 5020, November 8

For Him and My Family, November 9

Lighthouse-Academy, November 9

Bigreadersite, November 9

For the Love of Literature, November 10

Remembrancy, November 10

Betti Mace, November 10

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 11

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, November 11

deb’s Book Review, November 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 12

Blogging With Carol, November 13

To Everything There Is A Season, November 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 13

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

Simple Harvest Reads, November 14 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 15

Vicarious Living, November 15

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 15

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 16

Blossoms and Blessings, November 16

Bizwings Blog, November 16

She Lives To Read, November 17

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 17

Splashes of Joy, November 18

Through the Fire blogs, November 18

Kayem Reads, November 18

Labor Not in Vain, November 19

Pause for Tales, November 19

Raining Butterfly Kisses, November 19

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and an eBook copy of the book OR signed copy of the book (U.S. Only)!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/12f8a/yukon-justice-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Picture of Hope Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: A Picture of Hope

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release date: October, 2021

A Photojournalist Risks Her Life to Save Children

Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this new series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.

Journalist Nellie Wilkerson has spent the bulk of the war in London, photographing pilots taking off and landing—and she’s bored. She jumps at the chance to go to France, where the Allied forces recently landed. She enlists Jean-Paul Breslau of the French underground to take her to the frontlines. On the journey, they come upon an orphanage where nuns shelter children with disabilities. Can they help save them before the Nazis come to liquidate it?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

More from Liz

Why Another WWII Novel Set in France

You may well read the back cover of my latest release, A Picture of Hope, and wonder why on earth we need another WWII novel set in France. After all, Kristy Cambron just had one. Melanie Dobson and Sarah Sundin will be coming out with theirs in 2022. So why did I feel the need to write my novel with the same setting?

First of all, I’m a Francophile. I love all things French. It started when I took French in high school. Everyone else was learning Spanish, but I wasn’t into being part of the crowd. There were only a few of us in the class, and it was great fun. We had a wonderful teacher. Being able to pull out some of that French, refine it a bit, and use it in the book was a blast. But I also love French food (who doesn’t?) and everything else.

Secondly, I hadn’t written about France before. When I wrote this proposal at least five or six years ago, I didn’t know France would be so hot. God did, and the book came about in His perfect timing. I’d explored the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Philippines. Such a shame that I was leaving out France, so I set about to write a novel located in that country.

Thirdly, there was so much good material to pull from. The French resistance, while small, did good work and sacrificed a great deal to get Jews out of the country and into Switzerland or Spain. The books that Kristy, Melanie, Sarah, and I write are all so different. Only the setting is the same. And when I found out that the famous mime Marcel Marceau was part of the resistance, I couldn’t help but giving him a cameo. Be on the lookout!

Along the way, I discovered some truly heartrending incidents that took place in France. They also compelled me to write this book. I long for the world to remember what happened so that we will never forget. And so that the atrocities committed there will never be repeated.

Fourthly, this was originally the third book in a series. Don’t worry – it’s a stand-alone. Maybe someday I’ll get to publish the other two. The women in the series are all American journalists in Europe. One is a reporter, the other is a broadcaster, and so I decided to make Nellie, the heroine in A Picture of Hope, a photojournalist. And where better to take pictures than on Omaha Beach soon after D-day. How she gets there is based on a very interesting true story, so be sure to read to the end for that one.

There are so many stories about WWII to be told and so many countries that participated in the conflict in one way or the other. The ground is so rich that we aren’t plowing the same parcel. You’ll find all of these books to be very different from each other, each with its own message, its own voice, and its own plot.

The focus in my book is on children with Down syndrome. I have a background in special education, and my husband and I adopted a child from the Philippines with an intellectual disability, so I’ve always had a heart for people with special needs. My daughter brings us so much joy that I wanted to share a glimpse into what these remarkable people are truly capable of.

So that is why I wrote a WWII novel set in France. Make yourself a cup of café au lait, butter up a croissant, and enjoy A Picture of Hope!

My Review

For too long, too many had been silent. She had a chance to give voice to those who were helpless. She couldn’t allow it to pass.

Ever since doing a unit on Anne Frank in eighth grade, I have read about and studied the Holocaust. It’s difficult to describe why this horrific time in history speaks to me so much, except to say that the resiliency of those who endured and, in some cases, survived the horrors inflicted upon them inspires me to learn more and to make sure that their legacies are never forgotten. What seems so egregious and dangerous, sadly, is that as the remaining members of that generation pass away, the world appears ready to forego the painful lessons learned from the Nazi regime and travel down the same destructive path. This is why stories will always be important, to keep history alive alongside contemporary society, not to inhibit but to inform. A Picture of Hope by Liz Tolsma may be a work of fiction, but it’s based on the actions of real people and true events that occurred during the latter part of WWII.

What do you get when you take a female photojournalist, a French maquisard, and a war and mix them together? A riveting, heartbreaking, inspirational story that manages to be unique in a heavily-occupied genre. A Picture of Hope is truly distinctive to me for its focus on another group that Hitler was intent on eliminating: the disabled. I do not recall ever previously reading any stories or accounts that concentrated on the intellectually disabled—in this case, children with Down Syndrome. As photojournalist Nellie Wilkerson notes of Claire, “Every inch of dirt on the planet was stained with blood. With evil. Was there any good left anywhere? Perhaps only in the brown eyes of a Mongoloid girl.” (A note to sensitive readers: The author explains her careful and respectful choice to use the historically-accurate term Mongoloid in place of Down Syndrome at the very beginning of the book.) Having been friends, until he passed away, with an intellectually-disabled boy who was born one day before me, I can attest that these special individuals possess remarkable compassion and joy. Again, Nellie captures the essence of Claire: “From a disposable child to one who would inspire the entire world to care.

Many wonderful characters inhabit these pages. Nellie is eager to do all that she can for the Allies, and her reckless impatience leads her straight into trouble on more than one occasion. It also brings her to Jean-Paul Breslau, a maquisard of one of the rural guerrilla bands of French resistance fighters battling to wrest control of the country from Germany back into French hands. Jean-Paul’s training did not include how to deal with a rebellious, independent female, but a seminal figure in this story, Sister Maria-Theresa, assures him that “No matter what comes into our lives, God uses it in the best way for us. His ways and His plan are perfect. You will learn that in the coming days, though the lesson will be difficult.” Likewise, Nellie slowly begins coming to terms with the darkness of her childhood in America while simultaneously dealing with the challenges of her present, coming at last to the realization that “Perhaps there were those who were good in this world. Not good in and of themselves, but good because they reflected the light of Christ in the midst of this choking darkness.” As each of the characters moves forward through obstacles both personal and shared, what emerges is not only A Picture of Hope, but a testament of faith and a legacy of love.

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

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, October 28

Life of Literature, October 28

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 28

Genesis 5020, October 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 29

The Book Chic Blog, October 29

Blogging With Carol, October 29

Texas Book-aholic, October 30

Sodbuster Living, October 30

Spoken from the Heart, October 30

Elly Gilbert, October 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 31

Inklings and notions, October 31

Labor Not in Vain, October 31

CarpeDiem, October 31

Splashes of Joy, November 1

Reviewingbooksplusmore, November 1

Life, love, writing, November 1

For Him and My Family, November 1

deb’s Book Review, November 2

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 2

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, November 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 3

Betti Mace, November 3

Worthy2Read, November 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 3

Daysong Reflections, November 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 4

Vicky Sluiter, November 4

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 4

Older & Smarter?, November 5

By the Book, November 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 5

Connie’s History Classroom, November 6

For the Love of Literature, November 6

Bigreadersite, November 6

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 6

Rebecca Tews, November 7

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 7

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, November 7

She Lives To Read, November 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 8

Where Faith and Books Meet, November 8

Pause for Tales, November 9

Christian Bookaholic, November 9

Through the Fire Blogs, November 9

To Everything There Is A Season , November 9

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, November 10

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 10

Mary Hake, November 10

Giveaway

A_Picture_of_Hope_Giveaway[1]

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of A Picture of Hope!!

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/12b83/a-picture-of-hope-celebration-tour-giveaway

Rising Danger Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Rising Danger

Author: Jerusha Agen

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

Release date: May 25, 2021

It’s up to a K-9 handler and her canine partner to stop a bomber before it’s too late.

Someone’s planting explosives on dams in the Twin Cities, and Bristol Bachmann and her bomb sniffing dog must move quickly to find them before everything ends up underwater. That means relying on the dams’ supervisor—an ex-boyfriend Bristol never thought she’d see again. Hopefully Remington Jones has grown up from the rakish charmer she knew in her academy days. Because lives now depend entirely on them…

It’s an environmental terrorist who wants the dams gone, and his bid to set the waters free has lethal consequences. When he sees Bristol and her K-9 working to stop him, he sets his sights on them. Can they evade him in a lethal game of cat and mouse and protect their cities from devastating destruction before the clock runs out?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Jerusha Agen imagines danger around every corner, but knows God is there, too. So naturally, she writes suspense infused with the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ.

With a B.A. in English and a background in screenwriting, Jerusha is a speaker, writing instructor, and Fear Warrior who sounds the call to battle against fear in our everyday lives.

Jerusha loves to hang out with her big furry dogs and little furry cats. You’ll often find her sharing irresistibly adorable photos of them in her newsletter and on social media.

Get a free suspense story from Jerusha and find more of her thrilling, fear-fighting novels at www.JerushaAgen.com.

More from Jerusha

Hi, readers! For those of you who are familiar with my suspense novels, you know I love to interweave fast-paced suspense with powerful character journeys of redemption. I got to do just that in my romantic suspense novel, Rising Danger.

But what I especially loved about writing Rising Danger was the chance to feature a canine hero. Bristol Bachmann, the heroine of Rising Danger, partners with Toby, an explosives detection K-9, to stop a bomber from unleashing terror on the Twin Cities.

As a lifelong lover of dogs, I’ve always been fascinated by working K-9s like Toby. Getting to portray this black Labrador’s heroism in Rising Danger was so much fun.

I also feel that writing about Toby and the other K-9s in this tale who are part of the Phoenix K-9 Security and Detection Agency was a way to honor the heroic dogs I’ve had in my own life. No, I haven’t known any working K-9s, but I’ve shared my life with dogs who were heroic in different ways.

Take Lancelot, my first Leonberger. Lancelot was one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known. With his huge size, he was a true gentle giant. At an early age, he became terribly afraid of strangers and new places. I worked with skilled trainers to help him battle his fear, and he did have some improvement. But he would always struggle with meeting new people or visiting locations away from home.

Even so, he never stopped fighting against his fears. He continued to get better the more he fought. And while he battled his fears, he taught me how to battle mine.

Then, the worst battle of all commenced when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Doctors gave him only three to four months to live—a frightening and devastating death sentence for the dog of my heart.

But God had more to teach me through Lancelot. This courageous dog fought cancer as hard as he had fought his fears. He taught me how to find joy in every moment of life, even when there’s pain or sadness. He taught me how precious and powerful love can be. And God used him to give me unforgettable evidence of God’s loving providence and sovereignty at work.

Because God had a different plan for Lancelot. God gave me the gift of over 1,000 more days with my heroic dog.

Right up to the end of his days, Lancelot remained my hero. I’m so pleased to begin a series of books with prequel Rising Danger that feature K-9 heroes who, in different ways, remind me of the heroic dogs I’ve been privileged to love.

My Review

There is so much to love about this Love-Inspired book, Rising Danger by Jerusha Agen! To start with, the cover hooked me right away, with its mixture of formidable blues and greys, fog, and most of all, the dog. As soon as I see a canine, I have to check it out, and to put at ease any other readers like myself who always worry about the fate of dogs in the stories they read, I can safely say that they need have no fear of the dogs meeting their demise. This is one of my chief concerns in any story that contains animals, but dogs (and horses) have a special place in my heart. As a service dog handler, I am familiar to some extent with the everyday life of a working dog, and with scent training. Toby, in the story, is a black lab, and my dog is a yellow lab. While I have no experience with search and rescue or the detection of explosives, I love that Toby is trained to do both, and that Phoenix seeks out rescue dogs to train and use. Furthermore, I appreciate that Agen demonstrates how even highly-trained working dogs are still dogs and enjoy playing and relaxing, too.

Rising Danger provides a fantastic example of how valuable and expedient K-9 working dogs can be while also presenting a mystery and a potential second-chance romance. Agen opens the story with a bang, and the intensity never relents from that point forward. The focus is on environmental terrorism, an issue germane to the conservation-minded contemporary society, and dams in the Twin Cities. Bristol Bachmann, a new member of the close-knit Phoenix K-9 Security and Detection Agency, finds herself and her canine partner Toby working with a face from the past in the form of Remington Jones. Whereas Bristol is a perfectionist who leaves no room for mistakes or forgiveness after the tragedy she experienced sixteen years earlier during Hurricane Katrina, Remington has reformed from a partier to a man who offers his best to his job as security supervisor for the dams. Both continue to suffer from the events of their pasts, but whereas Rem has turned to the Lord, Bristol wants nothing to do with who she considers to be an uninterested or cruel God. Her grandmother Jessica and later her friend and co-worker Cora, along with Rem, try to draw her into a relationship with Jesus, but she resists. The Bible verse that especially encompasses the message of the narrative is Romans 8:28. As Rem illustrates by explaining Romans 8:28, “We can’t always see what He’s doing right away. Sometimes we won’t see it until we get to heaven. But He promises He’ll use even the worst things that happen for good. That’s why he allowed it. So something better can happen in the end.

Agen pursues the idea of giving worries and troubles over to God through a few of the core characters, demonstrating flaws we all have and Truth we all need. Bristol’s grandma is especially cogent and persistent in her faith, and she isn’t afraid to lovingly speak the words she knows Bristol needs to hear: “I’m saying if you don’t let go of trying to keep yourself safe and protected from everything, you will miss out on real joy. And love. God’s best gifts usually come as a surprise, often packed in problems and trials. They’re things we never could have planned ourselves, even if we had known we needed them.” As Bristol deals with the current situation and PTSD from her childhood experience, she and the others working on the case learn their own weaknesses and what it really means to trust not only each other but most importantly, God Himself.

Rising Danger is the prequel novel to author Jerusha Agen’s new Guardians Unleashed series, and fans of thrilling, lightning-fast books with faith, romance, and even K-9s, will find this a story and a series to follow.

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, October 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 20

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 21

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, October 21 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 22

CarpeDiem, October 22

Betti Mace, October 23

Daysong Reflections, October 23

lakesidereadingsite, October 24

Texas Book-aholic, October 24

Inside the Wong Mind, October 25

deb’s Book Review, October 25

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 26

Blogging With Carol, October 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 27

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

Inklings and notions, October 28

An Author’s Take, October 28

Through the fire blogs, October 29

For Him and My Family, October 29

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 30

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, October 31

Just Your Average reviews, October 31

Mary Hake, October 31

Pause for Tales, November 1

Spoken from the Heart, November 1

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, November 2

For the Love of Literature, November 2

Giveaway

Rising_Danger_Giveaway[1]

To celebrate her tour, Jerusha is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card, one signed copy of Rising Danger, and book swag!!

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/126b0/rising-danger-celebration-tour-giveaway