Thursday, February 28, 2019

TAKEN IN TEXAS by Susan Sleeman, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

When I pick up a Susan Sleeman book, I know I’m in for a gripping, intriguing read. Taken in Texas starts out strong with a missing woman, a feisty and courageous heroine, and a strong-willed, take-charge hero who just happens to still have feelings for said heroine. I enjoyed the interaction between Kendall McKade and Cord Goodwin as they tried to dance around and control their lingering feelings for each other.

Sleeman’s strong background in law enforcement research shines through this story as her knowledge gives the tale authenticity. The creative twists and turns in the book add a dimension of surprise and intrigue. Themes of forgiveness of self and others, importance of family, and trust in God are woven seamlessly throughout.

Although this is the last book in the McKade Law series, it can easily be read as a standalone story. It was an added bonus for me to see characters from the other books show up in this one. All in all, it’s a great conclusion to the McKade series. I would recommend this to those who enjoy clean Christian romantic suspense.

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

ALSO... See Trixi's and Susan's Review of Taken in Texas

BackCover Blurb:
A cowboy protector from her past…
A McKade Law novel

Working her first case as deputy sheriff with her ex-boyfriend, Detective Cord Goodwin, Kendall McKade is determined to track the kidnappers—even if it makes her a target. Desperate to find the abducted victim, his aunt, Cord must keep Kendall safe…while also caring for his recently orphaned nephew. Teaming up threatens to rekindle Cord and Kendall’s relationship, but first they must solve a life-threatening mystery.

Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Taken in Texas at Amazon
Buy Taken in Texas at

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

BOOK NERDS AND BOYFRIENDS by Sarah Monzon, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

If you enjoy reading light, humor infused romance with subtle, stirring life messages, this collection of delightful novellas is exactly what the "doctor of love" would order!

"You read all these great stories about heroes and heroines who do all sorts of things while you're safely tucked inside your apartment. You live vicariously through them, but that's not living, Em."

Ahem . . . . . . maybe Tate is on to something, Emory Blake does delve into the pages of a book whenever and wherever time allows. So why all of a sudden is her best friend Tate Woodby calling her out, daring her to put her pages down and begin a series of real-adventures with him?
"Bookishly Ever After"

When Ashleigh Darmody's little sister pleads with her to make a good impression on Claire's hope-to-be high profile religious figure in-laws, the son of a good friend comes to her rescue. Landon Novak seems to have a vague agenda of his own, but he also seems like a really nice man . . . for a fake husband.

Can Ashleigh and Landon pull off a charade that has potential disaster written all over it, or can Ashleigh "pick up her pen and write (her) own happily ever after"?
"Literarily For Keeps"

"You can't write what you don't know, so go become an expert on love."

What? . . . . Novelist Harper Jones thinks of herself as impeccable when it comes to her research, but her editor has just given her an absurd assignment. If she wants to land another three book contract, her romance needs more zip . . . . . like she actually knows what she's writing about.

Ironically, that last person she would ever want to kiss has re-entered her life at the worse possible time. Police officer Kyo Tanaka has just arrested her for driving around town with a body in her trunk . . . of course it was just a friend doing her own novel-ish research, but who's listening to that story? Placed on parole, with none other than Mr. zip-tie himself as her overseeing officer, Harper is about to learn that there's more story than she ever realized in a "happily-ever-after".
"Novelly Upon a Time" 

A light, fun, inspiring collection of romantic novellas with creative twists and turns!

*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to review.

BackCover Blurb:
A collection of three bookish novellas
Bookishly Ever After

It all started with a bet and a book.Emory Blake is the ultimate bibliophile. She’d take curling up with a good novel over a night on the town any day of the week. But then best friend Tate Woodby accuses her of living between the pages of her paperbacks instead of the real world, and makes a bet that will force her to experience the adventures of her fictional friends…instead of just reading about them. With her face no longer buried in books, Emory must confront the pain of the past. But is it also her perfect opportunity to discover the hunky hero who could be the happily-ever-after of her own story?

Literarily For Keeps

She only has to pretend to be married for five days. What's the worst that could happen? Literature professor Ashleigh Darmody never imagined her life would turn into a classic trope, but that's exactly what happens when her sister Claire calls with a bizarre request--quickly find a fake husband. Backstory is a powerful thing, and Ashleigh's has plenty of shadows, but is her past so shady that it requires an elaborate scheme to ensure Claire's prospective father-in-law, renowned TV evangelist Ken Abrams, will give her his blessing to marry his son?Already divorced from a man who turned out to be other than he claimed, Ashleigh now has to pretend to be blissfully married to a stranger for the next five days. But when the lines of fiction and reality blur with each tick of the clock, could a temporary deal turn into something for keeps?

Novelly Upon A Time

Harper Jones prides herself on the impeccable research she does for her novels, so when early reviews come pouring in claiming her romance reeks of inauthenticity, her editor suggests pulling her nose out of books and getting some real-life smooching experience. But her plans to do just that are thwarted by her arch nemesis from high school who's recently returned to town. Suddenly she's left with an impossible decision--kiss her worst enemy or kiss her three-book contract goodbye.

Available in digital ebook or paperback:
Purchase Book Nerds and Boyfriends at Amazon

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

FLIGHTS OF FANCY by Jen Turano, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

Whenever I’m in the mood for a rollicking good historical romance with lots of comedy and wit, I turn to one of my favorite authors, Jen Turano. She knows how to create delightful scenarios that are guaranteed to tickle my funny bone and keep me giggling and chuckling. Situations that should sound preposterous somehow fit Turano’s madcap heroines perfectly, and I’m not at all surprised at the crazy things they do. With a definite knack for choosing the perfect names for her characters and plopping them down in the middle of deliciously funny adventures, Turano is a brilliant story teller. 

Flights of Fancy was another great book—this time featuring Isadora Delafield and Ian MacKenzie, both fabulous characters who are endearing, lovable, and vividly-drawn. A charming cast of secondary characters, which include Buttercup the cow and a hen named Elmer, along with 4 adorable carrot-top children, wound their way into my heart. The witty banter and delightful escapades kept me turning pages.

The underlying messages that wealth and social standing don’t guarantee happiness and success in life, and that obstacles can make us stronger and better people added a spiritual message that deepened the story for me. I loved this quote, “. . . God occasionally throws obstacles our way so that we’re forced to grow into the people He wants us to be. You are far stronger than you think. I imagine, even with must seem like insurmountable mountains placed in your path, you’ll soon discover strengths you never knew you had.”

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

BackCover Blurb:

Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she's always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.

Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he's unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.

Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora's secret threaten those they love, they'll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Flights of Fancy at Amazon
Buy Flights of Fancy at

Monday, February 25, 2019

TRINITY by Ronie Kendig, Reviewed by Kim

Ronie Kendig is AMAZING!! Seriously amazing! Her books leave me literally holding my breath and turning the pages as fast as I can. And let me tell you, there’s a part in this story that if you are claustrophobic and scared of the dark (not saying I am or anything 😉) well, let’s just say you might repeatedly tell Heath to not go there...and then, because he doesn’t listen very well, poor poor Darci, she’s left - okay can’t go there -spoilers! But - so good! 
Anyway, Ronie creates the best characters, (whom she can be kinda mean to, I mean there’s this part at the end where I’m literally crying! Ack!!) and she creates the best storylines! 
Ronie also has a knack for leaving you hanging. She gets you to a seriously critical point and then ends the chapter! I mean you just can’t stop! When reading her books, I have to make sure I have a nice block of reading time set aside. Trust me, you don’t want to be reading this story while you are stopped at, say, a traffic light or anything like that because those behind you might get irritated when you don’t immediately go when the light turns green- in my defense, it’s a really long stop light and it was a critical part of the story! But, I digress! Obviously, I loved this story and highly recommend it. On to Talon!! 

*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to review or provide a positive review.

BackCover Blurb:
 A year ago in Afghanistan, Green Beret Heath Daniel’s career was destroyed. Along with his faith. Now he and his military war dog, Trinity train other dogs and their handlers through the A Breed Apart organization. The job works. But his passion is to be back in the field. The medical discharge says it can’t happen due to the traumatic brain injury that forced Heath to the sidelines.

Until. . .

Military intelligence officer Darci Kintz is captured and the geological survey team she’s covertly embedded with is slaughtered while secretly tracking the Taliban. It’s clear only one dog can handle the extreme conditions to save her. Trinity. Only one man can handle Trinity. And time is running out on the greatest—and most dangerous—mission of their lives.

Available in digital ebook, paperback and hardcover:
Buy Trinity at Amazon
Buy Trinity at

Sunday, February 24, 2019

A DESPERATE HOPE by Elizabeth Camden, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Hope is a powerful motivator, and love brings out the best in those who recognize its unique ability to override desperation." 

"Sometimes there are more important things in life than timetables or profit margins, and those things are called dreams."
According to Eloise Drake's recollection, Alex Duval had been nothing more than a teen-age dreamer, whose "pie-in-the-sky" perspective on life had driven her overprotective guardian to banish her broken heart to a remote convent in Arizona.

That was then. This was now. The grown up version of Alex, currently the mayor of Duval Springs, still has the power to sway her opinion with just the hint of a smile, but Eloise has arrived as an accountant for the state of New York; and the job that she has been assigned to do has nothing in common with juvenile dreams and everything to do with calculating the worth of town structures on the brink of destruction. Everything in the idyllic mountain town is scheduled to be demolished in order to make room for the state's new water reservoir.

Until . . . Alex begins to dream again. Is it true? "It is in tackling the new and the scary that we become who we are meant to be." Hope is a powerful motivator, and love brings out the best in those who recognize its unique ability to override desperation.

Enjoy this conclusion to the author's wildly popular "An Empire State" series. 

*I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated are entirely my own.

BackCover Blurb:

Eloise Drake's prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she's finally put behind her--or so she thinks. A mathematical genius, she's now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York. But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartbreak.

Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town--but he needs Eloise's help to succeed.

Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he'd lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them before it's too late.

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy A Desperate Hope on Amazon
Buy A Desperate Hope on

Saturday, February 23, 2019

HER LAST CHANCE COWBOY by Tina Radcliffe, Reviewed by Trixi, Kim and Winnie

Trixi's Review:
This is seriously the most tender, precious, heart-felt, and warm Big Heart Ranch book yet! Tina Radcliffe has been teasing us with Tripp Walker since the get-go and I was anxiously waiting to meet this cowboy of few words who has a way with horses.

They say quiet waters run deep and it's true when it comes to Tripp! There's much more than meets the eye with him. Hannah Vincent and her precarious five year old daughter Clementine are about to be challenged with trying to figure out the mystery behind the man. Hannah soon finds out that he has his heart locked up tighter than a jail cell. He's mistrusting when it comes to her with good reason, he's protective of the Maxwell clan and see's her as a threat with her claims of family ties. However, little Clemmie has the tough cowboy wrapped around her pinkie, calling him “Mr. Cowboy”. Now what rough and tumble man could resist that? Not Tripp in the least! Reluctantly giving Hannah a chance to prove herself, he finds himself working alongside her. As the old foreman Dutch says “you two are as much fun as being caught in a thunderstorm in your long johns!”. Sparks fly, Radcliff witticisms fly off the page and had me laughing at the least bit of provocation! 

“I'm here to apologize. Let me do that before my brain figures out what I'm doing and run the other direction.” ~Tripp (pg 211)

Yep, this was a fun read. I always fall for the strong silent type and it was a pleasure to dig deep under that tough cowboy exterior to discover what makes Tripp tick. His past is certainly full of hurt that he tries too hard to hide, but once Hannah and Clemmie chip away that tough skin they become buried deep in his heart. I think the lesson they both learn is that home truly is where you hang your hat, no matter the town or place or people you call your family. As long as love reigns, that's where you belong!

“Hannah had been wrong; love did heal all things.” (pg. 218)

*I received a complimentary copy from the author and was under no obligation to leave a favorable review. *

Kim's Review: 
“My teacher says you have to be silent sometimes so you can hear God.”

This is one of my favorite quotes from this story because it’s something I have been trying to do lately- stop talking so much and start listening more to God.

I love Tina Radcliffe’s books! They are full of heart, humor, and faith -exactly as her tagline says. In this series, Tina creates the perfect small town setting! I seriously want to move to Big Heart Ranch and go to the Holiday Roundup, summer rodeo, and participate in the chili contest!

I love humor in my books and Tina does it perfectly! Tripp, at Hannah’s Doctor’s appointment, had me laughing out loud! I liked Tripp from the beginning of the series and was hoping we would get his story. He’s quiet, has a soft spot for kids and animals, he’s very likable, and deep down, he is a romantic! At the end of the story, he brought something to Hannah that had me sighing out loud. I really enjoyed catching up with all of the characters from the first 3 books too - especially Dutch and all his hilarious quips!

Her Last Chance Cowboy is the final story of the Big Heart Ranch series. I am truly sad to see it end, but I am looking forward to whatever Tina writes next!

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Winnie's Review:

How can you not fall in love with a quiet, handsome, hard-working, cowboy with a tender heart for animals and kids? Especially when his name is Tripp Walker, and he’s a hero in Tina Radcliffe’s Big Heart Ranch series. Plus, he cooks—not just any old thing, but prize-winning chili, cakes, and other yummy goodness! I must admit I was kind of swooning a bit. Well, I was actually swooning just looking at the cover, even before I started the book!

Though I’m kind of sad to see this series come to an end, it was such a treat to read Tripp and Hannah’s story. Radcliffe is a master at creating endearing, lovable characters that come alive on the page, and these two are some of my favorites. Hannah’s daughter Clementine is adorable and such a sweet addition to the story. I’ve loved the amazing cast of secondary characters in this series, and it’s been fun seeing characters from earlier books in the series pop up in this one.

I loved the subtle messages of forgiveness, acceptance, grace, and importance of family—both by blood and by choice—scattered through the book. The writing was clear, concise, and easy to read. I would recommend this book and series to those who enjoy clean, wholesome stories with heart. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.
BackCover Blurb:
She came seeking family…
Will she find love at
Big Heart Ranch?

When pregnant single mother Hannah Vincent shows up professing to be the half sister of the Maxwells of Big Heart Ranch, horse trainer Tripp Walker is wary. Wounded before, he doesn’t trust easily. If only Hannah and her feisty five-year-old daughter weren’t so impossible to resist. Now, despite his doubts, joining this little family is quickly becoming the cautious cowboy’s greatest wish.

Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Her Last Chance Cowboy at Amazon
Buy Her Last Chance Cowboy at

Friday, February 22, 2019

A RETURN OF DEVOTION by Kristi Ann Hunter, Reviewed by Paula and Winnie

Book Two in the Haven Manor series by Kristi Ann Hunter!

Paula's Review:
It's best to read the first book in the series: A Defense of Honor, as this novel builds on it.

Kristi Hunter delves deep into the emotions of Daphne Blakemoor. Daphne is currently the housekeeper at Haven Manor, a remote estate in England. Due to an incident long in her past, Daphne has spent her time out of society and secretly helping the less fortunate.

William Oswald, the new Marquis of Chemsford, has come to inspect one of his many estates. What he finds is a puzzle. Daphne is shocked to find that William is the new owner of Haven Manor. Will this new information throw obstacles in her path and dredge up things best forgotten? But William is not your typical aristocrat. He shuns most society but still takes his responsibilities seriously. Will William and Daphne work at cross purposes or eventually work together?

Ms.Hunter does a masterful job of showing how a bad situation can be turned to good. She imparts the atmosphere of the country manor. We see Haven Manor through new eyes as William comes to oversee one of the properties he has recently acquired.

The themes of repentance and forgiveness shine through. Daphne and William are truly seeking God’s wisdom. William is a hero to be envied. He is kind, thoughtful and slow to anger. It is nice to see how Daphne slowly blossoms in her spiritual growth. I was pleased by the depth of character of Daphne, William and Jess and Benedict. Those familiar with the first book will be glad to see Jess and the children return. Additional characters bring levity and conflict to the story.

If you enjoy Regency stories, give this series a try.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

Winnie's Review:

I’ve been looking forward to reading A Return of Devotion by Kristi Ann Hunter since I finished the first book in the Haven Manor series, A Defense of Honor. I simply adore the author’s sense of humor and wit which she infuses into her stories. The setting in Regency England, the cast of memorable, vividly-drawn characters, and the creative, complex plot of this book drew me right in. Daphne and William’s story reminded me of a comedy of errors. William was plopped down into the situation at Haven Manor and was oblivious of what was going on. Daphne was trying to protect her identity and her position in the house. The stellar cast of secondary characters add to the chaos and confusion.

Although this can be read as a stand-alone book, it is best to get the back story in A Defense of Honor first. There is also a novella A Search for Refuge which is a prequel to the series. As usual, Hunter’s wit and humor shine in this book. There were a couple of places where I felt the story dragged a bit, but then the author would pick up the pace again. The only bad thing about reading a Kristi Ann Hunter book is that I’m so sad when it ends and I have to wait a while until the next one comes out! I’m looking forward to Jess’s story.

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

Back Cover Blurb:
Daphne Blakemoor was perfectly happy living in her own secluded world for twelve years. She had everything she needed--loved ones, a true home, and time to indulge her imagination. But when ownership of the estate where she works as a housekeeper passes on, and the new marquis has an undeniable connection to her past, everything she's come to rely upon is threatened.

William, Marquis of Chemsford's main goal in life is to be the exact opposite of his father. Starting a new life in the peace and quiet of the country sounds perfect until his housekeeper turns his life upside down.

They've spent their lives hiding from the past. Can they find the courage to face their deepest wounds and, perhaps, find a new path for the future together?

Available in paperback, digital ebook, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy A Return of Devotion at Amazon
Buy A Return of Devotion at

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Her Hope Discovered, by Cynthia Herron, A JUST READS tour, hosted by Karen Klepsteen

her hope discovered blog tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Her Hope Discovered by Cynthia Herron, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


HerHopeDiscovered Title: Her Hope Discovered
Series: Welcome to Ruby #1
Author: Cynthia Herron
Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 31, 2018

Is the sure thing worth risking for the possibility of maybe?

Charla Winthrop, a savvy business woman seeking a permanent lifestyle change in small-town Ruby, learns that things aren’t always what they appear when she takes up residence in a house steeped in charm and a hint of mystery.
Rumor has it that Sam Packard the town carpenter is her go-to guy for home remodeling, but can Charla convince him to help her—with no strings attached, of course?

Alone far too long, Sam’s prayed that God would send him a wife and a mother for his daughters. However, the new Ruby resident is hardly what he imagined. A new place to call “home,” the possibility of what might be, and the answer to someone’s prayers unite this unlikely pair with the help of the town’s residents.

Nestled in the Ozarks’ hills and hollows is Ruby, Missouri, a quaint, cozy town where “neighbor” is merely another word for “friend.” Ruby will charm and delight as will her quirky, lovable characters who will steal your heart, but hand it right back—with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Savor your new friends’ sorrows and successes in the community where offbeat is perfect and mishaps and mayhem never tasted so good.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository


CH-7888 copy
Cynthia writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains. A hopeless romantic at heart, she enjoys penning stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances. Her Hope Discovered, her début novel and the first in a three-book series, released December 2018 with Mountain Brook Ink.

“Cindy” has a degree in psychology and a background in social work. She is a member of ACFW, ACFW MozArks, and RWA.

She is a 2017 ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2016 ACFW Genesis (Double) Finalist, and a 2015 ACFW First Impressions Winner. Her short story Words from the Heart appears in The Story Anthology (Karen Kingsbury/Family Fiction) via Salem Publications, 2014. Her work is represented by Sarah Freese at WordServe Literary.

Besides writing, Cindy enjoys spending time with family and friends. She has a fondness for gingerbread men, miniature teapots, and all things apple. She also adores a great cup of coffee and she never met a sticky note she didn’t like.

Cindy loves to connect with friends at her online home. She also hangs out on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

For love, fun, and encouragement ~

Her Hope Discovered giveaway


(1) winner will win a $25 Amazon gift card from the author (US only)

Here's Karen's Review!
When Charla Winthrop decides to make a drastic change in her life, she moves halfway across the country to small town Missouri and immediately meets Sam Packard, single father and local carpenter. From there, their relationship progresses quickly, and they envision a picture-perfect future together. As all good love stories go, there arises complications that threaten their newfound joy. While I won’t spoil the surprise, I must say that I applaud Cynthia Herron for addressing a hot topic for some families. However, I feel like the story is sometimes repetitive and a little hard to believe even for someone with a Christian background. There are also many instances where the obvious is stated, and I prefer a story that shows me the characters’ feelings and motives instead of spelling it out. Still, with its cozy Ozark small town setting and scenes that take place during the holidays, this book reminds me of the TV holiday movies that we all love!

I received a copy of this book from JustRead Tours and am under no obligation to provide a positive review. All opinions are my own. 

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight February 18, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm February 25, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Word Choices from Sad to Melancholy

Words fascinate me. I first became aware of word choices as something to be treasured in their own right when I stumbled upon the word melancholy while looking for a synonym for sad. We were living in Thunder Bay, Ontario, at the time and I vividly remember sitting in my Grade 5 classroom in the second-last seat, farthest row from the wall of windows. The assignment of the day eludes me, but the moment I mouthed the word melancholy, I liked the way it made my lips and tongue move together like waves rolling and lapping on the shore.

I believe part of the reason the experience stayed with me is due to the presentation of the words. Sad is a short word. You're sad that something has happened. You grieve first, and then suck it up and carry on because there is hope that things will improve.

On the other hand, the word melancholy is longer. It's longer to say, longer to read, longer to write. If you're into cursive writing, melancholy is a beautiful word. It's an intimate word that wraps you in pseudo-comfort that you can't bear to share. Yet its meaning is like a tactile, black cloud that weighs down your shoulders while filling you with the gloom of hopelessness. 

A synonym is gloom, a word that I personally place somewhere between sad and melancholy, and not merely because of the number of letters it contains. Gloom reminds me of a sleek boat with an even keel that's beautiful to watch. If only it could break free from the tractor beams of the dark, dense cloud above it. 

Gloom reminds me of the time I was playing Scrabble and challenged my opponent when he put down gloam, a word I'd never seen before. We checked The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary Third Edition, which we were using at the time and yes, gloam was a good word meaning twilight. 

According to Collier's Dictionary of the English language 1924 Edition, gloam means, "to begin to grow dark, like twilight; exhibit sullennesss or gloom." 
Since I consider gloom to be dark already, I'm placing gloam between sad and gloom on my word list for synonyms of sad, and then adding melancholy at the bottom.

Words evolve over time and I see my spell check has a red line under gloam. I've checked and it seems that current dictionaries consider it an obsolete word. Does that mean I shouldn't use it? Sometimes when I can't find the word I want to describe something I make one up and then watch it get deleted by a critique partner or editor. But then I hear of new words that come into use because they are coined (neologism). And that's a topic I'll leave for another day.

Since I'm a writer and NOT a health care professional, I need to stress that the opinions presented in this blogpost are my own interpretation of the words sad, gloam, gloom, and melancholy. They do not reflect degrees of mental illness, but are used here for descriptive writing purposes only.  

For another of my favorite words, you might want to check out my post Hear the Rustle.


Anita Mae Draper is a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces who served twenty years on Air bases with her eyes on the skies. She uses her experience and love of history to pepper her stories of yesteryear's romance with hardship, faith, and joy. Anita Mae Draper's published stories appear in Barbour Publishing, WhiteFire Publishing, and Guideposts Books. Readers can enrich their story experience with visual references by checking out Anita's Pinterest boards. All links available on her website at

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

COLD PURSUIT by Susan Sleeman, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

In true Susan Sleeman fashion, Cold Pursuit (Cold Harbor series, book 6) grabbed my interest from the first page and kept me reading and guessing to the end. The twists and turns were as plentiful as the ones on the ski slopes of the story setting. Sleeman’s careful research, gripping plot, and vividly drawn characters made this an outstanding addition to her series about the Blackwell Tactical team. Although Alex Hamilton and Whitney Rochester were the main characters of this book, it was such fun to see the other members of the team show up as secondary characters.

Packed with adventure, intrigue, heart-pounding suspense, and romance—with some inspiration thrown in for good measure—this book has it all! I would recommend it to those who enjoy clean romantic suspense. It’s a great addition to the series. I’m definitely looking forward to the next Cold Harbor book. 4 ½ stars

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

BackCover Blurb:
She’s on the run…

When Whitney Rochester’s brother-in-law kills her sister, Whitney fears for the life of her niece and nephew. She can’t leave them in her murderous brother-in-law’s care so she goes on the run with the children to be sure they’re out of his reach. Or so she thinks until a killer shows up—weapon in hand—at the ski resort where she works and targets her.

But he’s in pursuit.

Former Recon Marine Alex Hamilton is working an undercover investigation at the resort when a crazed man wielding a gun takes out a guy in close proximity to Whitney. Despite not having the support of the Blackwell Tactical team, other than their forensic expert, Samantha Willis, Alex isn’t about to let the shooter harm Whitney or anyone else. When a blinding snowstorm triggers avalanches in the area, it’s too dangerous for the police to reach the secluded resort to stop the killer. Alex and Sam must protect everyone at the resort while they feverishly work to figure out if Whitney or the victim were the intended target. As Alex and Whitney grow close and the killer strikes again, Alex has to find and take down this madman, even if it means risking his own life.

Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Cold Pursuit at Amazon

Monday, February 18, 2019

Cover Reveal! Cameo Courtships

Susanne here, with Deb Marvin, Jennifer Uhlarik and Kathleen Y'Barbo. We are honored and delighted to have a 4-in-1 collection, Cameo Courtships, coming soon from Barbour Publishing--four interrelated stories about a special cameo and a special family.

And today, it brings us great pleasure to reveal the cover!

The new style of covers is really something: believe it or not, the front cover features a cut out. Open the cover and you get to see the full picture of the heroine wearing the heirloom cameo! Pretty neat, eh?

Curious to know more? Read on.

A Family Heirloom Inspires Romance...

In 1851, a special cameo is gifted by Queen Victoria to Letitia Newton, who though considered an old maid, meets the perfect gentleman minutes after donning it. Told by the Queen the cameo is to be shared, Letitia gifts the "Victoria Cameo" to a woman in her family, hoping adventure and romance will follow each of its subsequent wearers. 

1851 – Pittsburgh, PA
After receiving the Victoria Cameo, aspiring journalist Clara Newton works to expose a smuggler, but reporter Byron Breaux must break the story first or lose his job. Working together is out of the question until they learn secrets that threaten Clara’s father. . .and her heart.

TAMING PETRA by Jennifer Uhlarik
1875 – Colorado Territory
Trouser-wearing frontierswoman Petra Jayne Hollingsworth has no intention of donning the heirloom cameo, but when a crooked brothel owner steals the treasure, securing its return becomes Petra’s highest priority. Assisting her, Reverend Dustin Owens is appalled to learn the price of its ransom is that Petra must work in the brothel. He may save the woman’s virtue, but can he help Petra regain her cameo and rediscover her faith?

MEET ME AT THE FAIR by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Spring 1885 – New Orleans during the 1884 World’s Fair and Cotton Exposition
It takes a Pinkerton to find a Pinkerton, and Ethan Butler has been charged with finding Elizabeth Newton. Just when he locates her, the cameo he is to deliver is stolen. It appears his previous case has discovered his presence in New Orleans, but he can’t return to that case until the cameo is found. With Miss Newton as a reluctant partner in crime fighting, can Ethan Butler locate the cameo and its thieves without losing his heart?

LENDING MY HEART by Debra E. Marvin
1895 – Pittsburgh, PA
The arrival of a handsome Scottish administrator ruins Miss Bertie Hart’s dream to oversee the new Carnegie Library children’s department. Yet bristly Mr. Russell Smart’s working-class determination and his love of books make him the perfect partner to better the lives of Pittsburgh’s poor. She might just have to wear the family cameo she’s avoided for the last eleven months!

We hope you enjoy the cover--and the stories!

Available June 1 from Amazon and your favorite retailers.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

SONS OF BLACKBIRD MOUNTAIN by Joanna Bischoff, Reviewed by Kim

I will start first with an apology. I’m struggling to find the right words to convey how I’m feeling about this story. First, let me just say, this book is so beautifully written. Joanne tackles some really hard subjects, and yet, this story is also full of love, forgiveness, redemption, and hope.
Let’s start with Thor - Wow! When I first started reading, I was wondering how Joanne was going to write a deaf character who is an alcoholic. Well, I can tell you, she did it wonderfully! She is so talented! She doesn’t shy away from his alcoholism or his struggles with being deaf and how both affect his family. He is such a unique and special character - one not to be missed! 

Aven is Thor’s perfect match. I loved her kindness and her understanding when Thor was going through his struggles. Some of my favorite parts of the story are when she is teaching him to dance. So sweet! I didn’t want their story to end!

I am really looking forward to book 2, Daughters of Northern Shores, which comes out in March. I am seriously wondering just how Joanne is going to redeem a certain character.  Excellent! 

*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 

BackCover Blurb:
A Tale of Family, Brotherhood, and the Healing Power of Love
After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of nineteenth-century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred-acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?

A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.

Available in digital ebook, paperback, audiobook and hardcover:
Buy Sons of Blackbird Mountain at Amazon
Buy Sons of Blackbird Mountain at

Saturday, February 16, 2019

LOVE'S REDEMPTION by Andrea Boyd, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"You mighta turned your back on God but He didn't forget about you." 
"I've been such a fool" . . . . . . . could have been Izzy Tanner's epitaph. Tumbling down the bottomless tunnel of alcohol dependency, one night flings, and erratic behavior, Izzy is a mere breath away from hitting rock bottom. When a trip to the emergency room pushes her deep, dark secrets out of the shadows, her friend and restaurant employee Holden Armstrong comes to her aid. Taking one step at a time and obeying the Holy Spirit's constant nudging, Holden and their mutual friend Sheba, begin the long, tenuous journey of walking Izzy out of the darkness and into the marvelous light.

Will Izzy ever feel like she is truly forgiven? Just how redeeming can love become?

An authentic story of soul restoration.

*I received a copy of this book from author. The opinions stated are entirely my own.

BackCover Blurb:
Tragedy sent Holden Armstrong to the bottom of a liquor bottle. He spent a year there before coming to his senses and has been fighting the addiction since. But giving up alcohol is easier than forgiving the man who took his family away from him. And then there’s Izzy. She calls him every time she needs a designated driver. He’s happy to pick her up any time she needs a ride, but the alcohol causes her to cross the line every time. It’s obvious that she needs help, but he can’t be her solution. God is the only one who can fix Izzy Tanner, if only she’d let him.

Izzy Tanner does whatever she wants, says whatever she thinks, dates whomever she wishes. There is nothing wrong with her casual way of living—at least, that’s what she tries to convince herself and others. Only one man could tempt her into something more serious, but nothing will ever come of it. Holden Armstrong is too good for the likes of her. When a date goes terribly wrong, it changes everything. Unwanted memories from the past resurface, leaving her broken and ashamed. She begins to question her life and the choices she has made.

What will it take for Izzy to accept God’s calling?

Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Love's Redemption at

Share This Post

How Our Giveaways Work: The Official Rules

We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.