Thursday, February 2, 2023

SOLID AS STEELE by Susan Sleeman, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas #NewRelease

Whenever I pick up one of Susan Sleeman’s books, I know I’m going to get an action-packed, suspense-filled, nail-biting read. That’s exactly what I got with Solid as Steele, starring another of the Steele Guardians girls, MacKenzie Steele. When MacKenzie starts out her vacation by finding a body on her porch, she’s in for a wild ride. He’s still alive but can’t remember who he is or why he’s there, so she goes to work to help him solve the mystery. Engaging, realistic main characters and a great cast of supporting characters populate this story. I enjoyed catching up with many characters from earlier books by this author as they appeared in this one.

With plenty of action, suspense, danger, inspiration, and a good dose of romance, this is a great addition to the Steele Guardians series. Susan Sleeman is one of my favorite romantic suspense authors. I always learn new things about criminal investigation techniques and technology when I read her books.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
4.5 stars 
Backcover Blurb:

He lost his memory…
Mackenzie Steele has been instrumental in keeping Steele Guardians afloat, working long hours for months. Nearing burnout, her family encourages her to take a vacation, and she reluctantly agrees. She needs solitude and quiet, and a vacation rental home in the Oregon desert is just the ticket. But she’s no sooner unpacked her bags when a man lands on her doorstep. A man who can’t remember his identity or why he’s there. All they know is that the name Owen seems familiar to him.

But will finding it bring a killer to her doorstep.
Mackenzie shouldn’t trust this man, but something about his earnestness draws her to him, and she agrees to help him determine his identity. When her rental home is bombarded with bullets, she knows she’s accepted a task that could turn deadly, and she should walk away. But by this time, her deepening connection with the stranger keeps her firmly rooted at his side, and she can only pray that she won’t regret her potentially life-altering decision.

Edge of Your Seat Books, February 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

YESTERDAY'S TIDES by Roseanna M. White, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

Roseanna M. White has penned yet another fascinating historical fiction tale in her book Yesterday’s Tides. This dual timeline story is set mainly on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, during WWI and WWII and is populated with many intriguing characters. With obvious deep historical research, White made these perilous times come alive for me and gave me a desire to visit this location. I enjoyed meeting Louisa and Remington, Evie and Sterling, and all the various people in their lives. The two intertwining stories were well-written and kept me turning the pages. I will admit to a little bit of confusion during the first part of the book when there were so many different characters to keep straight and two different timelines, however, I soon sorted it out and thoroughly enjoyed the tale.

Brimming with adventure, intrigue, history, romance, and inspiration, this is a riveting story that historical fiction lovers will find enjoyable. It was such fun to meet up again with characters from some of White’s previous books which she was able to work into this story. I highly recommend her books to those who enjoy clean, wholesome, and beautifully written historical fiction.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own. 4.5 stars


BackCover Blurb:

In two world wars, intelligence and counterintelligence, prejudice, and self-sacrifice collide across two generations

In 1942, Evie Farrow is used to life on Ocracoke Island, where every day is the same--until the German U-boats haunting their waters begin to wreak havoc. And when special agent Sterling Bertrand is washed ashore at Evie's inn, her life is turned upside down. While Sterling's injuries keep him inn-bound for weeks, making him even more anxious about the SS officer he's tracking, he becomes increasingly intrigued by Evie, who seems to be hiding secrets of her own.

Decades earlier, in 1914, Englishman Remington Culbreth arrives at the Ocracoke Inn for the summer, never expecting to fall in love with Louisa Adair, the innkeeper's daughter. But when war breaks out in Europe, their relationship is put in jeopardy and may not survive what lies ahead for them.

As the ripples from the Great War rock Evie and Sterling's lives in World War II, it seems yesterday's tides may sweep them all into danger again today.

Bethany House Publishing, January, 2023
Available in digital ebook, hardcover, and audiobook:



IN SPOTLIGHT AND SHADOW by Rachel Scott McDaniel, Reviewed by Kim and Paula #ReleaseDay

I LOVED In Spotlight and Shadow! Rachel McDaniel is an incredible story teller. I was literally hooked from the first page all the way to the very last word! Normally, in a dual time novel, I prefer one story over the other, but in this case, I loved them both equally.

Can I just say that Rachel McDaniel knows how to write heroes?! Sterling and Pierson were both totally swoon worthy! It would be impossible to choose whom I liked better. I also really loved Elise and Sophie too! I've read so many snarky, unlikable female characters lately, so it was such a joy to read about ones who are kind, smart, and likable. I loved both of these stories, the relationships in them, and how they beautifully connected at the end.

This story has it all: romance, laugh out loud moments, mystery, some tense moments, and great characters. I seriously didn't want this book to end. It's definitely one of my top reads of 2022! Don't miss this story - or any other story penned by Ms. McDaniel!!! They are all excellent and not to be missed.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is light. All the stars!!

Split time story from a favorite author.

From Speakeasy Prohibition to a modern 50s themed birthday party, this story has charm and wit.

With a clever turn of phrase, Ms. McDaniel has us invested in both time periods. I loved both Sophie and Elsie and kept turning pages to see how each timeline turned out. The connection started out in the theater Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, formerly Lowe’s Penn Theatre in the 1920s. Both girls reconnect with men from their past: Sophie with Sterling who is now a private detective and Elsie who counted famous Pierson as her best childhood friend.

Some favorite quotes:

Elsie “did not express her feelings well. It was best to keep her emotions locked inside, with several layers of protective wrap around them. But Pierson seemed like the guy who enjoyed snapping the bubbles.”

“They had already had more almost-kiss moments than the entire archive of Hallmark movies.”

“The man was fluent in the language of touch, and I quickly caught the translation.”

With lines like these, the swoon factor is definitely there!

Lots of layers with suspense, romance, hilarious scenes and an enduring faith thread. This is my kind of Dual-time story.
*I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from the author. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
5 stars and a strong faith thread.

BackCover Blurb:
A Gem of a Mystery Takes Center Stage

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

Elise Malvern has a habit of letting people down. Her former boyfriend who hoped she’d be his bride. Her grandfather who hoped she’d take over the family’s auction company. But mostly she’s disappointed herself. What’s the point of pursuing her passion as a violinist, if she is too scared to audition for a seat in the Pittsburgh Symphony? Her internship at the elegant Heinz Hall places her in the wings of the stage, but never on it. By accident, she discovers an old stage prop. Her instincts tell her there’s more to the paste necklace than meets the eye. Whether a good idea or not, she accepts help from a childhood friend, who happens to be country music megastar—Peirson Brooks. Peirson and Elise share a history; one she doesn’t care to repeat. The more involved they become in the mystery, the more things get tangled, including her heart.

A century earlier…
Sophie Walters longs for center stage, her name on the marquee, and all that jazz, but climbing her way into an acting career is more difficult than she imagined. Having spoiled all her chances in Hollywood, she returns to Pittsburgh, accepting an insignificant role in a popular production. She watches her dreams pass by from behind the curtain at the illustrious Loew’s Penn Theatre. She finally gets the coveted spotlight, but not for her talent. No, her surge to fame is all one terrible mistake. Somehow, she’s suspected to be a notorious jewel thief known around Pittsburgh as The Mirage. The man she pleads for help is none other than the man she jilted at the altar five years before, Sterling Monroe. 
Barbour Publishing, 
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audio:

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

WHAT I WOULD TELL YOU by Liz Tolsma, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise


“Fear is more than an emotion. It is the captivity of your soul to the unknown.” Mathilda Nissim

What I Would Tell You is a story of discovery encompassing two time periods. In 2019, Tessa seeks to find her Jewish roots as she travels by herself to Thessaloniki, Greece, to uncover secrets no one has told her. Mathilda, in 1941, discovers how she can overcome the harsh occupation by the Germans by not giving up. She pens a diary to record her thoughts as she struggles daily and set down all the things she wants to tell her infant daughter. This diary is what Tessa reads in her quest for answers to her ancestry.

Tessa and Mathilda both hold on to the grace of God in their stressful circumstances. “We do not find our identity in the blood that flows through our veins but in Christ.” Both learn what it means for a mother to sacrifice for her daughter.

This is a moving story of faith and hope. Lately there have been several stories dealing with the treatment of Jews during WWII. I commend these authors for keeping this part of history from being forgotten or covered up.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Review Crew. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*4 stars and a Strong faith thread. 

BackCover Blurb:
Determined to resist the invading Nazis, a Greek Jewish woman's greatest dream has become her worst nightmare, and now she faces an impossible choice whose consequences echo across the generations.

1941—The pounding of Nazi boots on the streets of Salonika, Greece, reverberates in Mathilda Nissim’s ears, shaking her large community of Sephardic Jews to its core and altering her life forever. If only her people would rise up and resist their captors. At great risk to herself and those around her, she uses the small newspaper she publishes to call them to action, all to no avail. Her husband encourages her to trust God to watch over them, but God has once again deserted His people. Amid the chaos, Mathilda discovers she’s expecting a longed-for child. Still, nothing stops the occupiers’ noose from tightening around their necks, and she may have to resort to desperate measures to ensure her daughter’s survival.

2019—College student Tessa Payton and her cousin take a popular DNA heritage test only to discover they don’t share any common ancestors. In fact, the test reveals Tessa is a Greek Sephardic Jew. This revelation threatens her tenuous faith. Always the overlooked child in her family, she empties her savings account and jets off on a journey to Greece to discover where she belongs and which God demands her allegiance. The enchanting curator at the Jewish museum guides her as she navigates life in Thessaloniki, helps with her genealogical research, and loans her a fascinating journal written by a Jewish woman during WWII. Tessa’s search, however, may open old wounds and uncover long-hidden secrets that could fracture her family forever and leave her with more questions than when she started.

Based in part on true accounts of Jews in Salonika, Greece, What I Would Tell You traces two women’s journeys, delving into what faith looks like and where it leads us as they navigate difficult circumstances and impossible choices that have ripple effects across the years. 

Barbour Publishing, January, 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook

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