Thursday, July 25, 2024

THE WISE GUY AND THE STAR by Shannon McNear, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #ReleaseDay

The Wise Guy and the Star: a Love's Pure Light Christmas novella

This novella is just the thing to get you ready for Christmas. It takes place on a train bound from Charleston, S. Carolina to St. Louis in December 1919.

The Wise Guys are the three Wise brothers named after the three wisemen: Goldwin, Franklin and Mervin (Nat). The Star is Estella Shepherd, daughter of a minister.

The author spun an engaging tale full of beautiful scenery where Aunt Lila and Stella get to know the Wise brothers on a long train journey. It was fun to see the parallel of the three wisemen traveling from the East. The brothers, who survived the Great War, were somewhat disillusioned in their faith and needed to renew their trust in God. I liked the tie-in of them singing “We Three Kings” and of Nat carving the three wisemen out of wood.
An appealing story to read any time of the year.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are mine alone.*5 stars and a strong faith thread

BackCover Blurb:
Can a chance encounter be the connection they have always needed?

Charleston, South Carolina, to Kansas City, Missouri, 1919

After the end of the Great War, pastor’s daughter Stella Shepherd accompanies her aunt on a business trip by train and meets convalescing war veteran Nat Wise and his two older brothers. The three men are whimsically named after the gifts of the biblical wise men and dubbed “the Wise guys” by their cousins. They claim to be down-and-out soldiers recently returned from the front, but they’re surrounded by mystery.

Stella secretly carries the family Nativity to comfort her while away from family during Christmas. Nat quietly spends his spare time carving a set of wooden wise men to honor his own deceased mother. To him, Stella is the perfect church girl—darling, but unattainable because he’s done too much for God to forgive him.

Stella longs to help Nat find renewed faith in God, but could he be the answer to the wanderings of her own heart?

Shenandoah Dawn; 2nd edition (July 25, 2024) 

Wednesday, July 24, 2024

LOVE OVERBOARD by Shannon Sue Dunlap, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Yes. Emily Windsor is a kind of angel. I admit it. But did you have to send such an exasperating one?"

The four "Shippers" have one main goal while living out their days on the luxurious MS Buckingham; their romantic machinations have turned the large vessel into their own version of the "love boat". On this particular adventure the meddling retirees have two new prospects in their sights; cruise director Jonathan King and hostess Lacey Anderson. It seems there is a shared history between them . . . all the better . . . they already know each other. Observation seems to indicate that Jon is the more pliable of the two, and Lacey?  . . . well, she's going to take a little more work. Time to talk strategy.

Love might be in the air, but never underestimate the damage that secrets and subterfuge can cause!

Can you really spend your dotage years on a cruise ship? . . . if so, where can I sign up? Seriously, what a creative setting for this romantic comedy with undercurrents of serious conversations and a "boatload" of silly antics. I particularly loved the blend of generations which made the wisdom earned from experience flow seamlessly into the plotting.

"There's one lesson I learned the hard way. Bitterness locks you up inside, but forgiveness sets you free. I hope you learn that truth quicker than I did."

See what I mean?
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.
3.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
A snort-laughing, cruise ship romance takes readers into topsy-turvy waters

When a group of four quirky friends retire on a neverending round of cruises, their attire consists of more than floral shirts and gaudy skirts. Armed with walkie-talkies and battle plans, these relationship experts--who've dubbed themselves the "Shippers"--target hostess Lacey Anderson and director Jonathan King in their romantic schemes. But the young couple refuses to cooperate. They've been on the "love boat" together before, and it went down in flames.

Boss matchmaker Emily Windsor has orchestrated multiple romantic successes, and these two upstarts certainly won't get the best of her. The chemistry between Lacey and Jonathan is obvious, but the couple rebuffs every outlandish plot and "coincidental" meeting, forcing the matchmakers to chart a new course to true love--all while inadvertently thwarting drug smugglers threatening to ruin their floating home on the ocean.

This laugh-out-loud rom-com features loveable characters, over-the-top situations reminiscent of 1950s sitcoms, and a dash of mystery. The toe-curling romance will push the reader overboard and all in with Shannon Dunlap's new series. 

Kregel Publishing, May 2024

Tuesday, July 23, 2024

TOWARD THE DAWN by Mary Connealy, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

It’s always such fun to read one of Mary Connealy’s books. History, action, romance, suspense, and a bit of inspiration all combine with Connealy’s signature wit and humor to make each tale an exciting adventure. With creative, engaging characters and an intriguing plot, Toward the Dawn is another entertaining story that kept me turning pages.

Kat Wadsworth and Sebastian Jones star in this second book in the series about a ragtag group of settlers that joined a wagon train headed west. After being isolated in a hidden canyon for months with some of the settlers, Kat and Seb want to head back to civilization, so they enter into a marriage of convenience and also into a lot of danger and trouble. I enjoyed the banter and the relationship that grew between the two as they tried to stay alive.

This book is part of a series, and while you could possibly read this one on its own, it would be best to read them in order so you get the full backstory. There is a thread of suspense that continues through the series. I’m looking forward to reading the concluding tale in the series.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House. All opinions are my own.


BackCover Blurb:
Despite trials that threaten their path forward, hope dawns for a future filled with love.

Kat Wadsworth and Sebastian Jones never imagined their lives would entwine so closely. Forced to flee on a wagon train from a vengeful uncle and an unknown gunman, they live in a hidden canyon with the family that rescued them. But as the days turn into months, they each have separate reasons for wanting to move back to society, and the best way to the independence they desperately crave might be through a marriage of convenience.

However, settling into their homestead in Cheyenne, Wyoming, reveals a different reality for Kat. Her new husband becomes consumed by his inventions, leaving her feeling lonely and isolated. And just when they think they've left the danger behind, a mysterious attacker lurks in the shadows, threatening the new life they've built. Together, they must confront the perils from their pasts to forge a future with hope and the prospect of love.

Bethany House Publishing, June, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:


Friday, July 19, 2024

HIDDEN IN THE NIGHT by Elizabeth Goddard, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

(Missing in Alaska Book #3): 
(Murder Investigation and Missing Person in 
Romantic Suspense Thriller Set in Picturesque Alaska)

"Prickles crawled up her back. Something wasn't right here, but even so . . . "

Something definitely wasn't right. Credible information about a young woman in possession of a valuable manuscript had led Ivy Elliott to a remote Alaska cabin, only when she stepped through the door, a series of events unfolded that even Ivy with her past history as an F. B. I. agent could not have foreseen. Fulfilling a father's wish had turned terribly dangerous, not only for Ivy, but for those whom she brought in to assist.

Irony of all ironies. Alaska State Trooper Nolan Long had been on the cusp of a Florida vacation when the "one who got away" showed back up in Alaska, obviously in need of his assistance. . . again. Ivy Elliott was in over her head, they all were in over their heads, and the ever changing Alaskan weather was proving to be as much of a challenge as the killer they sought.

Such an interesting plot, in spite of being confusing in places due to its ever-moving and seemingly missing pieces. Ivy and Logan continually dance around their obvious but unspoken attraction, merging upon circumstances that quickly diverge, only to re-emerge . . . so, very twisty. But also very encouraging, as the words of the psalmist prove to be life and breath for Ivy, "I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord . . . "(Psalm 121).

Enjoy this significant addition to the "Missing in Alaska" series.
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
At the behest of her ailing mother, former FBI special agent turned rare-book collector Ivy Elliott arrives in Alaska to secure an unpublished Jack London manuscript kept secreted away for decades. But when she arrives, she learns the manuscript is gone--taken by the granddaughter of the woman who possessed it. Ivy sets off in pursuit, not just to save the manuscript but to save the vulnerable girl, who was previously trafficked and has no idea what she's getting herself into.

Joining forces with Alaska State Trooper Nolan Long, Ivy must battle a blizzard, sabotage, and the worst of an Alaskan winter as the search goes on. But every answer they find only raises more questions--and the danger to their lives and to the missing girl may only be the tip of the iceberg.

Don't miss this breathtaking race for truth set amid the glorious--and deadly--Glacier Bay from USA Today bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard.

Revel Publishing, June, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding, and audiobook:

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