Saturday, September 26, 2020

MOUNTAIN LAUREL by Lori Benton, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton

"I wanted what I wanted, thought I knew what was best, and found a way to make it happen."

Ian Cameron's return to Mountain Laurel causes quite a stir. . . .among his kin, among those his kin own, but ultimately within the deepest recesses of his weary soul. Had he run away again, or had he found home; it seemed a mighty peculiar combination of both, especially after he discovers the one for whom his heart must have been longing for all along; Seona.

Seona's green eyes and fair skin taunted the truth of her heritage behind a curtain of secrecy that most slaves were unwilling to discuss. There was something else that Seona was good at hiding. Since her youngest of days, Seona had cautiously developed her artistic talents, carefully sketching in obscure places when no one else was around. Then along comes the one who had unknowingly been her first subject, recognizing her talent and growing to cherish it, along with her. When Seona's relationship with Ian evolves into something they dare not ignore, the repercussions drive Ian along a path that covers too many trails.

"Mountain Laurel" is not a story, it's a journey; one fraught with the sort of danger and complication that result from one man owning another, where forbidden loves hope for futures that were never meant to be theirs. Then again, are "our failures ever an insurmountable barrier to grace"? Never. "The Father's been waitin' for ye to come home. Spirit's calling. The Son blazed the trail. All ye need to do is walk it". . . . . . welcome into a "new kindred".

Prepare to be spellbound; though you may reluctantly close its cover, this epic tale will beg to remain within your heart and mind for days, even months, to come.
*I purchased this story and had no obligations to provide a positive review. 
Back Cover Blurb:
North Carolina, 1793
Ian Cameron, a Boston cabinetmaker turned frontier trapper, has come to Mountain Laurel hoping to remake himself yet again—into his planter uncle’s heir. No matter how uneasily the role of slave owner rests upon his shoulders. Then he meets Seona—beautiful, artistic, and enslaved to his kin.

Seona has a secret: she’s been drawing for years, ever since that day she picked up a broken slate to sketch a portrait. When Ian catches her at it, he offers her opportunity to let her talent flourish, still secretly, in his cabinetmaking shop. Taking a frightening leap of faith, Seona puts her trust in Ian. A trust that leads to a deeper, more complicated bond.

As fascination with Seona turns to love, Ian can no longer be the man others have wished him to be. Though his own heart might prove just as untrustworthy a guide, he cannot simply walk away from those his kin enslaves. With more lives than his and Seona’s in the balance, the path Ian chooses now will set the course for generations of Camerons to come.

A story of choice and consequence, of bondage and freedom, of faith and family.
Tyndale House Publishing, September 2020
Available in digital, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:

Friday, September 25, 2020

MINUTES TO DIE by Susan Sleeman, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

Nonstop action, heart-stopping suspense, a dash of romance, and a well-integrated thread of inspiration and faith give this book all the elements of a fantastic romantic suspense read. Susan Sleeman is a master at creating realistic, flawed, but engaging characters and then throwing them into life-and-death situations to see if they can figure out how to come out the other side alive, while catching the bad guys. FBI Agent Kiley Dawson and ICE Agent Evan Bowers are characters with a shared past that didn’t turn out well. When thrown together to help solve the case, they have to learn to trust and work with each other. I enjoyed seeing their relationship evolve as the story progressed.

As always, Sleeman’s careful research shines in this book as she inconspicuously educates the reader in crime detection and solving, scene processing, and the various organizations, skills, and technology used to catch the criminals while simultaneously unfolding a riveting tale. This is one of the reasons why she has become one of my favorite, must-read suspense authors. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book in this series.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the author and publisher. All opinions are my own.

 See Trixi and Paula's Reviews!

 BackCover Blurb:
It's the intel every agent fears--terrorists have been smuggled into the country, intent on unleashing the most deadly attack since 9/11. With the threat imminent, FBI Agent Kiley Dawson and ICE Agent Evan Bowers are charged with taking down this terrorist cell. The only problem is Kiley blames Evan for the death of her former partner, and she can barely be in a room with him. But with millions of lives on the line, she has no choice.

If it wasn't for a bad call Evan made, Kiley's former partner would still be alive, and Evan has to live with that guilt for the rest of his life. When he starts falling for her, the agent's death seems an impossible obstacle--but it's also the last thing he needs to think about. As the terrorist plot targets Kiley's family, the two are pushed to the breaking point in a race to save countless lives.

Bethany House Publishers, August, 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
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Thursday, September 24, 2020

LAVENDER AND LACE by Tara Grace Ericson, reviewed by Kim #releasesSept28

This series just keeps getting better! In fact, this is my new favorite of the Bloom family stories. I love the movie You’ve Got Mail and Lavender and Lace is a great take on it! I also loved going back to the wonderful setting of the Bloom farm and catching up with the family!

I loved the humor and the banter between Lavender and Emmett. I also enjoyed their online relationship and their use of book quotes when they were chatting. The faith aspect in this story is about being confident in who we are in Christ instead of worrying about how we are perceived online. It is well done, timely, and needed for today’s culture.

This story was a joy to read from start to finish. If you’re looking for a light fun read that’s full of faith and family, this series is for you! I’m looking forward to reading the next Bloom sister story!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. The faith element is light.

BackCover Blurb:

In their online writer chatroom, they are getting serious.
In the real world; He thinks she’s shallow, and she thinks he’s out of touch.
When their worlds collide, will their hearts survive?

Lavender Bloom is a social marketing expert and influential fashion blogger. Always focused on the perfect image, she shows the world a flawless version of herself, except to her family and her nameless online best friend. Her broody new client certainly doesn’t understand her or why she prefers to hide behind her computer.

Reclusive author Emmett Drake spends his days writing his award-winning fantasy saga and his nights chatting online with the woman of his dreams. When he is forced to hire an image consultant to please his publisher, he despises everything the woman stands for, even if he sees hidden depths beneath her polished fa├žade.

Lavender is determined to help Emmett embrace the power of social media, convinced he has the platform to make a difference. Meanwhile, he is determined to uncover the woman hiding behind the carefully scripted marketing lingo. Their struggle to find authenticity in a world centered on likes, comments, and shares will challenge them both to embrace God’s purpose for their lives – together.

Return to Bloom’s Farm in Lavender and Lace and embrace the joy of family, faith, and true love in this nostalgic modern nod to the romantic classic, You’ve Got Mail.

Silver Fountain Press Sept 2020


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

A PORTRAIT OF LOYALTY by Roseanna M. White, Reviewed by Kim

I hate that this series is over! The Codebreakers is a 3 book series that is connected to the Shadows over England series. All of the stories, six in total, are really good and well worth reading.

I really liked both Lily and Zivon. I liked how their relationship slowly grew throughout this story and how Lily never doubted Zivon. Zivon was so loyal and had such a calm demeanor and I loved how he was willing to do whatever needed to protect Lily. I also really loved Lily’s relationship with her sister Ivy. It was one of my favorite relationships.

This story is so interesting and well written. While I must admit, I sobbed like a baby at one point, it left me completely satisfied at the end. I’m looking forward to whatever Roseanna White writes next!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith element is medium/light. 

BackCover Blurb:
Zivon Marin was one of Russia's top cryptographers until the October Revolution tore apart his world. Forced to flee to England after speaking out against Lenin, Zivon is driven by a growing anger and determined to offer his services to the Brits. But never far from his mind is his brother, whom Zivon fears died in the train crash that separated them.

Lily Blackwell sees the world best through the lens of a camera and possesses unsurpassed skill when it comes to retouching and re-creating photographs. With her father's connections in propaganda, she's recruited to the intelligence division, even though her mother would disapprove if she ever found out.

After Captain Blackwell invites Zivon to dinner one evening, a friendship blooms between him and Lily that soon takes over their hearts. But both have secrets they're unwilling to share, and neither is entirely sure they can trust the other. When Zivon's loyalties are called into question, proving him honest is about more than one couple's future dreams--it becomes a matter of ending the war

Bethany House Publishers, Sept. 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:



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