Tuesday, July 30, 2019

THE HEART OF A KING by Jill Eileen Smith, Reviewed by Nicole Cook #INTERVIEW


Nicole: I am delighted to have author Jill Eileen Smith join us today at Inkwell Inspirations to discuss her latest biblical fiction novel, The Heart of a King, which was chosen as the July book club selection for the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Facebook Group. Jill Eileen Smith recently led a live Facebook chat in the Avid Readers Group to discuss her book with the members of the group.

Jill, thank you so much for joining us today!


Jill: Thank you for inviting me, Nicole!

Nicole: You have written many biblical novels and one non-fiction book about women from the Old Testament. Do you have a favorite woman from the Old Testament or favorite book of the Bible?

Jill: Not really. Each woman in Scripture is unique in her own way and I enjoy getting to know their stories—as far as Scripture will allow. I also enjoy imagining the how and why things happened the way they did. I may be wrong in my imaginings, but each woman teaches me something along the way. As for books of the Bible—again, not really. I don’t have a favorite verse either because it keeps changing depending on my life’s circumstances.

free from pixabay
Nicole: The Heart of a King, is a fascinating look into the life of King Solomon, his incredible wisdom granted by God, his numerous foreign wives and many indulgences, which ultimately led to his downfall. What message or inspiration do you hope that people will get from reading The Heart of a King?

Jill: First of all, thank you for reading it. I’m glad you enjoyed the book!

I hope people will learn what I’m still learning and that is this: We love God because He first loved us. But once we begin to love Him, we must guard our hearts lest we end up loving the blessings or gifts He grants to us more than we do Him. In other words, we need to love the Giver more than the gift. Solomon didn’t appear to do that and it cost him dearly.


Nicole: How do you decide which individuals from the Bible you are going to write about? Is it a personal decision or does your publisher play a role in choosing the topics of your upcoming novels?

Jill: It’s a combination of both. I might propose an idea and they’ll say, “let’s do it”. At other times, my ideas are met with hesitance or they don’t see a way the book will fit my audience so they turn it down. But sometimes, we revisit an idea and it gets accepted. For instance, I proposed Joseph’s story to them some time ago, but it wasn’t the right time. After The Heart of a King was in process, we proposed it again and the time was right. With that contract, however, they want two more novels about biblical woman who are “TBD” – to be determined. When we get to that point, we might have some back and forth discussion if what I’d like to do doesn’t sound good to the committee. It’s complicated because the publisher has to believe that the book will sell well before they can agree to it. All the work that goes into just one book isn’t cost effective if my readers would not find it worth reading.

Dome of the Rock, free download from Pixabay
Nicole: The Heart of a King takes readers back to ancient Israel and brings Scripture to life in a powerful way that allows readers to better understand and experience the words of God. What type of research do you complete prior to writing your biblical novels to make them as authentic and realistic as possible?

Jill: Research starts with Scripture. If I know the story, I might read a commentary or two before I reread the scriptural section, but to know the characters and the setting and the people and what was happening at the time, Scripture is an absolute must for research. I’ve been known to study genealogies, though I know a lot of us like to skip those unusual names! But they can be key to figuring out parts of the story—depending on the story.

I also study life and times books and sometimes I will study the secular history that is happening at the same time—IF that history is known to us. Often it is not. But we can glean from archeology, studying pagan belief systems that the Israelites would have come up against or had influencing them. Maps and geography, what kinds of furniture, tools, food, drink, etc., are all important to know. I might try out a recipe as I did for my next book, just to see what their food tasted like. Much of my research in cumulative, in that, I’ve studied so much of it in the past, that I don’t always have to put as much time into research, depending on the character. For instance, I knew King David’s life pretty well before I wrote The Heart of a King, so I knew the background of Solomon’s life. My main research about the women in the book came from studying Solomon’s writings.


Nicole: I love being a member of the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Facebook group, organizing the book club, and participating in so many wonderful discussions within the group.

As a reader, I get to share my love of Christian fiction with the other members in the group, and I have discovered so many new-to-me authors who have become must-read authors.

From an author’s perspective, what do you like best about participating in the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Facebook Group, and what has been your favorite part of having The Heart of a King as the book club selection this month?


Jill: I must admit I am new to the group, so I’m still getting to know how things work. My assistant, Amanda Geaney introduced me to you all, and I’m grateful for the chance to interact with new readers and to see how excited they are to read Christian authors whose work they love. Word of mouth recommendations coming from people who love God and love to read books that honor Him is a great way to find good stories.

I was truly honored to have
The Heart of a King chosen for the book club selection for July 2019. The interview was fun, but I wish I could have seen the readers face to face. I don’t know of a platform that offers that with a group. But I still enjoyed meeting readers and thank you, Nicole for facilitating the chat and all of it! I hope to become more involved once this year of too many deadlines is over!

Borrowed from Jill's website; photo from her trip to Israel!
Nicole: Can you share any information about your 2020 release, Star of Persia: Esther’s Story? Esther’s story is one of my favorites from the Bible, so I can’t wait to read it!

Jill: Star of Persia is a little different than most books on Esther that I’ve read in the past. I attempted to mix the historical writings of Herodotus and others with regard to Xerxes’ character and the character of his wives with the Scriptural story. It was tough to do because Esther and Vashti are not mentioned outside of Scripture. Xerxes is said to have married Amestris and some scholars speculate as to whether Vashti or Esther could have been Amestris. But the character of Amestris does not fit the character of either Vashti or Esther as they are given in the Bible, so I added her in as another wife. Kings did have multiple wives, so it wasn’t a stretch to think that possible. I truly hope the story gives readers a unique perspective of Esther’s story, but doesn’t detract in any way from the truth of the Bible.

Nicole: Jill, thank you again for joining us today! This has been a pleasure to chat with you!

Jill: Again, thank you for having me. It has been my pleasure as well.

 

NICOLE'S REVIEW:

Award-winning author Jill Eileen Smith’s latest biblical fiction novel, The Heart of a King, is a fascinating look into the life of King Solomon, his incredible wisdom granted by God, his numerous foreign wives and many indulgences, which ultimately led to his downfall. Jill Eileen Smith is a master at bringing Scripture to life and realistically filling in the details which encourages readers to dig deeper into the Bible and discover more about the word of God.

Portions of this book were previously published as e-books by this author (The Desert Princess, The Shepherdess, Daughter of the Nile, and The Queen of Sheba), so readers will thoroughly enjoy how all of these stories come together to tell a more complete narrative of King Solomon’s life. This novel focuses on four important loves in King Solomon’s life, while also exploring the relationships Solomon had with his parents, King David and Bathsheba, one of his half-brothers, Adonijah, and most importantly, his relationship with God. Readers will learn about his first wife (and mother of his heir) Naamah, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of an Egyptian pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba.

King Solomon was a highly charming, wise ruler of Israel, whose seven hundred wives, hundreds of concubines and extravagant life of excess was in contrast to the teachings and obedience that God asked of him. Jill Eileen Smith’s eloquent writing style thoroughly captivates readers and keeps them invested in the novel until the very last page. The Heart of a King is highly recommended for readers of biblical and historical fiction. Readers will be eagerly awaiting Jill Eileen Smith’s March 2020 release, Star of Persia: Esther’s Story.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.

Back Cover Blurb:
King Solomon was wealthy and wise beyond measure. He could--and did--have anything he wanted, including many women from many lands. But for all his wisdom, did he or the women in his life ever find what they searched for all of their lives?

In this engrossing novel, you'll find yourself whisked away to ancient Israel, where you'll meet Solomon and four of the women he loved: Naamah the desert princess, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of a pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba. As you experience the world of Solomon through his eyes and the eyes of these women, you'll ask yourself the ultimate question: Did Solomon's wisdom ultimately benefit him and those he loved . . . or did it betray them? 


Available in digital ebook, paperback, audiobook and hardcover:
Buy The Heart of a King at Amazon
Buy The Heart of a King at Christianbook.com
 

Author Bio:
Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling and award-winning author of the biblical fiction series The Wives of King David, Wives of the Patriarchs, and Daughters of the Promised Land, as well as the nonfiction book When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams. Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan. Learn more at www.jilleileensmith.com.

Author links:
https://www.jilleileensmith.com/
https://www.facebook.com/jilleileensmith/
https://www.instagram.com/jilleileensmith/


The Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Facebook Group is a wonderful discussion group for book enthusiasts to talk about what Christian fiction books they are reading. Participation in the group is the perfect way to discover many new Christian fiction authors and books. Members can also choose to participate in the book club within the group. The group is comprised of numerous Christian fiction authors and readers and is very well moderated. Any readers or authors interested in joining the group can click on the following link and answer a few questions to be added. The questions are easy and are meant to keep out spammers. https://www.facebook.com/groups/AvidChristFicReaders/

The August book club selection for the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Facebook Group is Living Lies by Natalie Walters.

Monday, July 29, 2019

UNDERESTIMATING MISS CECELIA by Carolyn Miller, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

Carolyn Miller is one of my favorite authors of the Regency Period. She writes strong characters and endearing heroines who get into unusual circumstances. Her grasp of the language and settings of the era are delightful and reminiscent of Jane Austen. The cover is just stunning and fits perfectly.
As a daughter of Aynsley, we met sister Caroline in the first of this series. It is now Cecelia’s turn to find a suitable match. Cecelia Hatherleigh is not the usual miss interested in only gossip and the latest fashion. Recently having come to Christ, she has a heart for the common folk who are trying their best to survive. When she learns of an injustice, she sets about to effect change through anonymous editorials. As far as a potential mate is concerned, she has had her heart set on neighbor, Ned Amherst, since she was very young. Her parents find him unsuitable due to a disagreeable incident in the past. But he, too has become a Christian and is learning law under his uncle in London. Can he see Cecy as a woman of noble pursuits rather than just a little sister. Can they work together to make a difference in society?

Ms. Miller captures the times eloquently and weaves historical events into her stellar story.

This was an enjoyable step back in time. I can’t wait to see what is in store for Verity, sister number three.

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

BackCover Blurb:

Shy, sweet Cecilia Hatherleigh has always been in love with Edward Amherst, the boy next door. Yet he’s never seen her as anything but the quiet girl in the background as he flirts with the other vivacious women of the ton.

When a near tragedy brings Edward’s attention to his family duties, this prodigal son decides he needs to settle down with a proper wife. Cecilia hopes to convince him to choose her—but God may want her to forget the wayward nobleman and put her future in His hands alone.

These two try to find their way toward happiness, but prejudice, political riots, and the changing face of England’s societal structures begin to block them at every turn. Can their struggles turn to triumph—or will their paths permanently diverge?
Available in digital ebook, paperback:

Sunday, July 28, 2019

THE NUMBER OF LOVE By Roseanna M. White, Reviewed by Kim

One of my favorite historical series is Shadows over England by Roseanna M. White. I have been wanting to read Margot’s story since we were introduced to her in A Song Unheard, book 2 of that series - which you do not have to read first. This book is the first of her new series called The Codebreakers.
I knew Margot would make such a unique character because she thinks a little bit differently than most people. She thinks in numbers. She looks at everything like a mathematical equation. I really loved her character because she was so different. And Drake was just perfect for her. I loved their banter which started the moment they met! I loved how Drake used the way Margot thinks to court her! It was so sweet.

I also loved this quote because it’s so true and it’s so easy to neglect your daily conversations with God for life’s daily routines, “Do not neglect your prayers, Drake. Neglect your chores, neglect your ablutions, neglect your mother, but never neglect your prayers. They are what root you to the Lord.”

The history in this story is done very well. I love how Roseanna uses real history in her plot elements. She writes in a way that I felt like I could picture everything that was happening. I also thought the secondary characters really added to the story- including the bad ones!

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


See other Inkwell Author Reviews:
Karen and Paula
Winnie and Rebecca

Back Cover Blurb:
Three years into the Great War, England's greatest asset is their intelligence network--field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren't enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won't give up. He's smitten quickly by the intelligent Margot, but how can he convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life's answers lie in the heart?

Amid biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.


Available in digital ebook, paperback, audiobook and hardcover:
Buy The Number of Love at Amazon
Buy The Number of Love at Christianbook.com

Saturday, July 27, 2019

JUST ONE KISS by Courtney Walsh, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

“You don’t have to let the past write your future.”

I've come to expect a fantastic story when I pick up a Courtney Walsh book, and Just One Kiss is definitely fantastic! It’s also poignant, heart-wrenching, touching, and absolutely beautiful! Walsh has tackled some hard subjects in this book, and she does it with great sensitivity. She is also a master at creating realistic, broken, but endearing characters. Single mother Carly Collins had her heart broken when Josh Dixon walked away from her and their son Jaden many years ago. Now Josh is back in their lives and he’s hoping for a second chance with them, although secrets from his past are still haunting him.

“He just wanted a second chance—to prove to her he could be the man she needed.”

I loved Josh’s determination and drive to overcome his heart-breaking childhood and make a success of himself. His undying love for Carly was so touching and beautiful, and my admiration for him kept growing throughout the story. The banter and repartee between Carly and Josh were enjoyable, while the angst and hurt from the past added a poignant note. Threads of redemption, forgiveness, hope, and grace are woven into the story and add depth and dimension to make this an unforgettable reading experience. I would recommend this to those who enjoy contemporary romance that is heart-touching and memorable.


*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Back Cover Blurb:
He broke her heart. Now, he’s back, and he’s determined to show her what they had isn’t over. . . and he can prove it with just one kiss.

Single mother Carly Collins likes predictability. However, when her son Jaden’s health is threatened, her neatly controlled world is tossed into a tailspin. Nothing is certain anymore, especially her feelings for Josh Dixon, Jaden’s father, her first love and the man responsible for shattering her heart sixteen years ago.

When Josh Dixon walked out of Harbor Pointe, he left behind his only shot at a real family. Now a successful tech mogul, the town rebel has found a cause—ensure his son’s recovery and prove to Carly and Jaden that he’s not the same guy he was back then.

Carly and Josh are forced to wade through messy emotions and questions that have gone unanswered for years, which would be easier if not for the pesky feelings, every bit as strong and impossible to ignore as they ever were.

Will forgiveness win, giving Carly and Josh a second chance at love . . . or will the past prove too much to overcome?

A small town romance about first love second chances and how our most beautiful life might look nothing like we planned. 


*Currently Available in digital ebook:
Buy Just One Kiss at Amazon

Friday, July 26, 2019

MEET BOOK BLOGGER ASHLEY SAPP of The Rustic Reading Gal


Deb here, with our latest Book Blogger Guest, Ashley, aka, The Rustic Reading Gal!
 

Welcome Ashley! Tell me how long have you been reviewing and how did you decide on the theme for your blog?
 

Ashley: I started my blog in April 2017. I'd been reviewing books regularly for about a year before that and posting them on Amazon and Goodreads. My mom had been telling me for awhile that I should start my own blog. I'm a naturally shy person and don't like to put myself out there, so the thought of starting a blog was daunting. To be honest, it scared me. But one day, I woke up and thought, “Well... why not? What will I lose if I just try?” And I've loved it! It's been one of the most rewarding experiences.

Deb: I'm so glad you took that step AND that you're enjoying it. That's so important! 

What’s the best part of being a reviewer?
 

Ashley: “Meeting” lots of different authors and other bloggers. Without my blog, I probably wouldn't have had the chance to meet them. I've met some wonderful people and been introduced to lots of books I might've never known about.

Deb: I agree. I think I stay on top of 'what's out there', but our Inkwell reviewers are always reminding me of great reads that I missed.

My bottlefed baby- Her name is Evie and she's just the sweetest thing ever.

Deb: What’s the most difficult part of the ‘the job’?
 

Ashley: Writing a review for a book I didn't enjoy. I feel so bad when that happens. I always try to be as nice as possible because I know the author has worked so hard on it. But I also know that I have to be truthful and I don't want to deceive readers.

Deb: Absolutely. I am always in awe of the efforts reviewers (awesome, thoughtful reviewers!) put into writing that review when it might not be 100% 'glowing'. Readers won't trust you if that's all you do, and I think Authors know that. No one loves them all!


Jack, my Yorkie-Poo

Deb: What was the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?

Ashley: Storm Rising by Ronie Kendig. Just when I think she can't top her last book, she goes and outdoes herself with this one. There's nonstop action, twists and turns, intriguing characters. There was hardly enough time for me to catch my breath. So good!

Deb:  She's a master at that! (runs out to put on TBR pile) What keeps you busy or entertained (beyond reading and reviewing!)?
Ashley: I enjoy spending time with my family, dogs, and goats. I love playing board games and video games. I've also been binge-watching Boy Meets World on Hulu. That was my favorite show growing up and watching it again has just reignited my love for it. Such a good show!
 


Deb: Somehow... I completely missed that show somewhere between parenting and working, but I appreciate the nod to it. Maybe I'll just find it one of these days!
A barn from our trip to Wyoming six years ago-- this is at the Wyoming Territorial Prison.
Deb: What is your fictional favorite…setting? Place and time? Genre’? 

Ashley: Goodness, there's so many! It's hard to narrow it down to just one! But I'd have to say my favorite historical time period is WWII. I've always been interested in learning as much as I can about that time. I've read some wonderful, impeccably researched, WWII fiction that's taught me so much. I do enjoy a good fantasy, though, too, especially with steampunk elements. Those are so much fun! I read pretty much every genre, so I go through different phases where my favorite one changes. Right now, it's mystery/suspense or fantasy. Ask me in a couple of months and it'll probably be different, lol. :D
 

Deb: Yes, well it's not a fair question after all! :) If you had a rainy afternoon alone to watch a movie, what would it be? And what meal would you have delivered if that afternoon included a quiet evening as well?
 

Ashley: Umm... would it be weird to say any movie featuring Henry Cavill? I don't watch many movies nowadays, but I'm always sure to catch anything with him in it. ;) For food, I'd want a couple orders of steak tacos from Chipotle and some of their chips and red salsa. So yummy!


Deb: Photos of Henry Cavill have been known to show up on this blog. No worries. 
If you could wiggle your nose and be in a new career, what would it be? 

Ashley: I've always said if I was better at math, I would've been an architect. For as long as I can remember, I've loved architecture. There's times when I'll sit at my computer for hours looking at those floor plan websites, getting ideas and dreaming up the perfect house.
 

Deb: That's super! I always loved sketching out house plans too and looking at interiors. What fun! And yes, ugh, the math part. Something that must be exact in architecture because it's downright CRITICAL TO HUMAN SAFETY!

What piece of advice would you offer new reviewers-

Ashley: I'd say, do it because you love it. It's really easy to get overwhelmed, so don't push yourself too hard. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to be the best. And most importantly, have fun with it.


A rose from the rose tree outside my window




Thursday, July 25, 2019

BELINDA BLAKE AND THE SNAKE IN THE GRASS by Heather Day Gilbert. Reviewed by Rebecca Maney


"There was a body lying in my flowerbed."
Thinking that she has scored the deal of a lifetime, locating a lovely carriage house to rent in upscale Greenwich, Connecticut, pet-sitter Belinda Blake is horrified to discover the body of a young woman carefully deposited behind the hedges of her minuscule section of the finely landscaped yard. It turns out that the the victim was a friend of her landlord's son; Margo Fenton had been at the Carrington home as a guest of Stone Carrington,V on the evening of her demise. And now the charming Stone Carrington has commandeered Belinda's help to find out exactly what may have happened to his friend.

It turns out that there are a lot of suspects and no clues. Or was it that there were a lot of clues and no suspects? Either way, Belinda has just agreed to do some amateur sleuthing in addition to caring for a rather intimidating ball python; since that's actually her bill-paying job.

Once again Heather Day Gilbert has crafted a slightly quirky, but immensely lovable character; expect a lot of readers to be clamoring for the next episode of Belinda Blake.

*I received a digital copy of this book on NetGalley, but also purchased a print copy to review. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

Back Cover Blurb:
When exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake moves into a carriage house in tony Greenwich, Connecticut, she’s hoping to find some new clients. Instead she discovers a corpse in the garden—and a knack for solving murders . . .

Pet-sitter Belinda Blake doesn’t rattle easily, but move-in day has been eventful, to say the least. The python in her care tried to slither to freedom—just as she met Stone Carrington V, her landlords’ disarmingly handsome son. With the constrictor back in its cage, she heads out to the garden, only to discover a designer shoe poking out of the boxwood hedge—attached to a woman’s dead body.

The victim, Margo Fenton, was a Carrington family friend, and no one in their circle seems above suspicion. Between client trips to Manhattan and visits to her family in upstate New York, Belinda begins to put the pieces together. But though she’s falling for Stone’s numerous charms, Belinda wonders if she’s cozying up to a killer. And soon, daily contact with a deadly reptile might be the least dangerous part of her life . . . 


Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass at Amazon

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

COLD AIM by Janice Cantore, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney with #GIVEAWAY

"It's not weak to admit the truth to the one you love."
Rogue Hollow Police Chief Tess O'Rourke is a woman who never backs down, especially when it comes to protecting her constituents. Following an horrific area forest fire, she has barely had time to lift evacuation orders when the F. B. I. pays her a surprise visit; they have a young witness whom they can't even guarantee that the Federal Marshalls can protect; the stakes are so high and the corruption is so deep. Can they bring her to O'Rourke's town?

When Tess chooses principle over protection, she risks making the biggest mistake of her career; will her decision dismantle a ruthless international trafficking organization or will her actions severely compromise the safety of her citizens? Tess's growing faith in God stands to be challenged, and her growing attachment to Pastor Oliver Macpherson, severely tested.

Such an outstanding story! 


*I purchased the book and was under no obligation to review, nor provide a positive review.
 
Back Cover Blurb:
Police Chief Tess O’Rourke’s small town is still reeling from a devastating fire when the FBI asks for help: Could she shelter a witness in a high-profile human trafficking case? Initially reluctant to put the townspeople of Rogue’s Hollow at risk, Tess is swayed after she sees Pastor Oliver Macpherson’s genuine conviction to rescue those in need, a trait in him she’s coming to love more each day.

Tess’s fledgling faith is tested when crews of workmen from out of town come in to assist with the fire cleanup and she worries that one of these strangers might shine a light on things best kept hidden. Neither she nor Oliver knows that Rogue’s Hollow is already home to a suspect from a twenty-five-year-old murder case . . . and someone is taking cold aim at those Tess is sworn to protect. 


 AND A GIVEAWAY!
Rebecca Maney is generously providing a giveaway paperback of COLD AIM to one of you who grace us with a follow or comment!
 

See Nicole's Review too!


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COLD AIM by Janice Cantore, Reviewed by Nicole Cook, with #Giveaway

Janice Cantore’s third novel in her Line of Duty series, Cold Aim, provides a fascinating view of law enforcement and crime in the 21st century. The author’s experience as a 22-year veteran of the Long Beach Police Department in California gives readers an authentic and realistic glimpse into the dangers that law enforcement face as they risk their lives daily to protect the citizens of this country. Cold Aim can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel since the author provides insight into events that occurred in the small town of Rogue’s Hollow and Police Chief Tess O’Rourke’s history prior to this novel. Readers may enjoy reading the entire series to get a better understanding of Tess O’Rourke’s background and previous occurrences in Rouge’s Hollow, but it is not essential for understanding the storyline in Cold Aim.
Police Chief Tess O’Rourke’s journey continues in Cold Aim as she assists the FBI in hiding a witness in a human trafficking case, despite a huge safety risk to her small town. With all the evil she has seen during her career in law enforcement, Tess’s faith continues to waiver, but her close friend and confidant, local pastor Oliver, believes in the power of prayer and the ability for people to change after accepting the grace of God. In this action-packed novel, Janice Cantore immediately captures the attention of the readers and keeps them highly invested in the storyline until the very last page. Cold Aim is recommended for readers who enjoy realistic suspense novels filled with inspiration, hope, and light on the romance.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.
 

Back Cover Blurb:
Police Chief Tess O’Rourke’s small town is still reeling from a devastating fire when the FBI asks for help: Could she shelter a witness in a high-profile human trafficking case? Initially reluctant to put the townspeople of Rogue’s Hollow at risk, Tess is swayed after she sees Pastor Oliver Macpherson’s genuine conviction to rescue those in need, a trait in him she’s coming to love more each day.

Tess’s fledgling faith is tested when crews of workmen from out of town come in to assist with the fire cleanup and she worries that one of these strangers might shine a light on things best kept hidden. Neither she nor Oliver knows that Rogue’s Hollow is already home to a suspect from a twenty-five-year-old murder case . . . and someone is taking cold aim at those Tess is sworn to protect.

 
Author Bio:
A former Long Beach, California, police officer of twenty-two years, Janice Cantore worked a variety of assignments, including patrol, administration, juvenile investigations, and training. She's always enjoyed writing and published two short articles on faith at work for Cop and Christ and Today's Christian Woman before tackling novels. She now lives in a small town in southern Oregon, where she enjoys exploring the forests, rivers, and lakes with her Labrador retrievers, Abbie and Tilly.

Janice writes suspense novels designed to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired. Crisis Shot is the first title in her latest series. Janice also authored the Cold Case Justice series—Drawing Fire, Burning Proof, and Catching Heat—the Pacific Coast Justice series—Accused, Abducted, and Avenged—and the Brinna Caruso novels, Critical Pursuit and Visible Threat.

Visit Janice's website at www.janicecantore.com and connect with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JaniceCantore.

AND A GIVEAWAY!
Rebecca Maney is generously providing a giveaway paperback of COLD AIM to one of you who grace us with a follow or comment!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

JUST ONE KISS by Courtney Walsh, Reviewed by Nicole Cook. #RELEASE DAY


“I would do anything for you, Carly Collins. And that’ll be true until the day I die.”

“From the very second he had asked her out, Carly knew she would never love anyone the way she loved him.”


New York Times Bestselling Author Courtney Walsh’s latest contemporary romance novel, Just One Kiss, thoroughly captivates her readers with a heartwarming and emotional story that demonstrates the power of true love and redemption through faith and forgiveness.

Josh Dixon has been in love with Carly Collins ever since they were young. The horrors of his childhood continue to haunt him as an adult, and Josh walks out on his chance for a real family with Carly and their infant son. Sixteen years later, Josh returns to Harbor Pointe when his son is hospitalized, and he is determined to win Carly back. Walsh weaves together a powerful story of romance, humor, and second chances as their son’s recovery brings Josh and Carly together and Josh attempts to overcome the painful memories of his childhood.

Readers will find themselves laughing out loud at the banter between Josh and Carly and wiping away tears as they discover the pain that Josh endured growing up and the life-changing secret that his parents have kept from him all these years. Courtney Walsh is a master of contemporary romance, and readers will be rooting for Josh Dixon to finally get his girl back. Courtney Walsh is one of my favorite must-read authors, and I think that Just One Kiss is her best novel yet! This novel will definitely be one of my top reads for 2019.

With his short dark hair, charismatic personality, and his tortured past, Josh is the perfect hero for readers to fall in love with. His never-ending love and devotion to Carly will have readers swooning and begging Carly to give Josh a second chance. Courtney Walsh was able to make me laugh out loud and also brought me to tears in this novel, so be ready with a box of tissues!

Trust me...this is one contemporary romance novel that you want to be sure to read!

Just One Kiss is highly recommended for fans of contemporary romance and for readers who enjoy novels by authors such as Denise Hunter, Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, and Susan May Warren. For readers who have never read a novel by Courtney Walsh, this is the perfect opportunity! You will not be disappointed!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.
“Easy, laid back and sexy as all get out. That pretty much summed up Josh Dixon. And none of those things were what she should be thinking about right now. Untrustworthy, unreliable and unfaithful. That’s what she should be thinking.”

“He’d forgotten how much he liked her. She wasn’t like other women. She was smart and funny and a little bit sarcastic. She pushed his buttons and she made him want to be better. A deep sense of longing pulsed through his body. He just wanted a second chance—to prove to her he could be the man she needed. God, that’s all I’m asking for.”

Back Cover Blurb:
He broke her heart. Now, he’s back, and he’s determined to show her what they had isn’t over. . . and he can prove it with just one kiss.

Single mother Carly Collins likes predictability. However, when her son Jaden’s health is threatened, her neatly controlled world is tossed into a tailspin. Nothing is certain anymore, especially her feelings for Josh Dixon, Jaden’s father, her first love and the man responsible for shattering her heart sixteen years ago.

When Josh Dixon walked out of Harbor Pointe, he left behind his only shot at a real family. Now a successful tech mogul, the town rebel has found a cause—ensure his son’s recovery and prove to Carly and Jaden that he’s not the same guy he was back then.

Carly and Josh are forced to wade through messy emotions and questions that have gone unanswered for years, which would be easier if not for the pesky feelings, every bit as strong and impossible to ignore as they ever were.

Will forgiveness win, giving Carly and Josh a second chance at love . . . or will the past prove too much to overcome?

A small town romance about first love second chances and how our most beautiful life might look nothing like we planned. 


*Currently Available in digital ebook:
Buy Just One Kiss at Amazon


Author Bio:
Courtney Walsh is an author, artist, theatre director, and playwright. Just Let Go will be her eighth inspirational romance novel. Her debut, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. A creative at heart, Courtney has also written two craft books and several full-length musicals. She lives in Illinois where she and her husband own a performing arts studio and youth theatre. They have three children.

Connect with Courtney online at her website (courtneywalshwrites.com 

) or on any of these social media platforms:
Facebook.com/courtneywalshwrites
Instagram.com/courtneywalsh
Twitter.com/courtney_walsh


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Monday, July 22, 2019

YOURS TRULY, THOMAS by Rachel Fordham, Reviewed by Trixi Oberembt



“You don’t want to miss the love that’s perfect for you just because you’re too busy searching for a fairy tale.”

I’m fascinated with letter writing because it’s a skill that’s sadly lacking in today’s world, what with the instant communication of text or video chat, or FaceTime or any number of other things people use talk to each other. I find the old fashioned way of reading someone’s words on a page, ones they took time out of their day to sit and write, much more meaningful. So “Yours Truly, Thomas” was already a hit in my mind. Not only did the cover draw me in, but the beautifully penned words Fordham used to create a story kept me embedded in the pages. I also never knew the dead letter office existed. I can’t imagine so many letters without a proper place to send them to were destroyed! And neither can Penny, it seems, as an imagined love story she thinks needs reconciling leads her on an adventure in Azure Springs, Iowa.

I loved the character growth of Thomas and Penny in this second installment of Rachel Fordham’s. That was the biggest complaint I had of “The Hope of Azure Springs” and I’m glad the author reconciled that in this one. To me, it’s the most important aspect of any story, seeing how the characters stretch and adapt to changes. Penny started out quite na├»ve about the world having grown up in a rich and well-to-do family. Circumstances eventually lead her to run far away from all she knows in pursuit of something better. Thomas wishes to outrun the man he had become and seek the solace of Azure Springs when his wagon broke down outside of town. Seeking solitude, he soon finds himself sinking in despair and haunted by his own poor choices. Only Margaret—the boarding house owner—sees something good in both of them. With her wisdom and practical advice, perhaps God had a hand through her in healing these two hearts and making them better people because of it. They definitely learned life-changing lessons and came out stronger for it.

The lack of a stronger faith message was disappointing. Calling things “fate” or “providence” was a bit off-putting for me in a story labeled as Christian fiction. I absolutely believe God has a hand in orchestrating all things in our lives. I saw Penny and Thomas trying to solve things on their own quite a bit throughout the story and it really made me wince. I NEED to see struggling characters rely on the Lord when things get rough because it gives me hope in my own struggles! I am in no way perfect about doing this ALL the time myself, so I really want to see imperfect characters relying on a perfect God for everything. That is my only complaint with “Truly Yours, Thomas”. I’m sure my own personal taste and level of a faith thread is different than other readers, so don’t let my review sway you from reading this. I like to say, be your own judge of a book; what appeals to me may not appeal to you and vise versa!

I think it’s saying something on how good a book is when I sit down to read it and finish it that same day because I couldn’t put it down if I wanted to! “Truly Yours, Thomas” is an engaging and heartwarming accidental kind of love story where two people “meet” on a sheet of paper in the form of a letter, and it grows into something beautiful from there! I think you will fall in love right along with Thomas and Penny.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing and was under no obligation to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *


Back Cover Blurb:
For three years, Penny Ercanbeck has been opening other people's mail.

Dead ends are a reality for clerks at the dead letter office, and she dreams of something more--a bit of intrigue, perhaps a taste of romance. When she comes across a letter from a brokenhearted man to his one true love, it becomes her mission to place this lost letter into the hands of its intended recipient.

But when Penny's undertaking leads her to the intriguing man who touched her soul with his words, everything grows more complicated. She wants to find the rightful owner of the letter, and yet . . . she finds herself caring--perhaps too much--for the one who wrote it.


Available in digital ebook, paperback and hardcover:
Buy Yours Truly, Thomas at Amazon
Buy Yours Truly, Thomas at Christianbook.com

Sunday, July 21, 2019

CAMEO COURTSHIPS Collection, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney and Paula Shreckhise. #GIVEAWAY




REBECCA'S REVIEW:
"I was told that one never owns a cameo. One wears and enjoys it . . . . . .

Travel across generations, as four members of a distinctly diverse family, cautiously and sometimes reluctantly, accept guardianship of a treasured family heirloom meant to bestow love and adventure upon its wearer.

Pinned Above Her Heart - Clara Newton is reunited with a beloved childhood friend, only to be thrust into the throes of a dangerous crime investigation; one that could not only ruin her family's future, but her own as well. Can a lovely piece of jewelry have anything to with her change of fortune?

Taming Petra - Petra Jayne Breaux has intentionally hidden her true identity underneath shorn hair and a penchant for wearing trousers when an heirloom gift arrives, only to disappear into the bowels of a despicable local institution. Now, Petra must decide whether or not its retrieval is worth her reliance on the new town preacher, in order to get it back.

Meet Me at the Fair - It's a clash of the Pinkertons, as Ethan Butler and Elizabeth Newton play cat and mouse in New Orleans during the 1884 World's Fair and Cotton Exposition. At stake is a valuable piece of jewelry carefully stowed away in a hotel safe.

Lending My Heart - Roberta Hart is adamant about breaking with convention, shedding the cloak of upper class privilege; starting with a job as the director of the new Carnegie Library's children's department. There's only one obstacle; a handsome Scottish administrator and a marriage that's been arranged since she was eight years old. That actually makes two obstacles, doesn't it; how can a lovely cameo possibly change all of that?

" . . . .but one is its custodian, preserving and protecting it for those who come after. "

A delightful series of stories!

*I received a digital copy of this from from NetGalley in conjunction with Just Read Publicity Tours. I also purchased a print copy. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

PAULA'S REVIEW:
Cameo Courtships is a novella collection from Barbour Publishers by four talented authors.

“Four stories of women whose lives are touched by a legendary gift.”

These four stories are about a cameo that was gifted to Letitia by Queen Victoria to be passed down when the time was right.

“Pinned Above Her Heart”by Susanne Dietze takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1851
What a special gift that Aunt Letitia has given Clara Newton! A cameo that belonged to Queen Victoria! Is the legend true that Clara will meet her true love soon after wearing this beautiful brooch? Clara longs to write for a woman’s magazine. Her childhood friend Byron Breaux is a journalist caring for his three young siblings after their parent’s deaths. Can they both benefit from working together on an article that seeks to find out who is behind a theft of antiquities? Will their friendship turn into something long lasting?

Ms. Dietze spins a tale as mysterious and beautiful as the work of art that Clara’s father makes at his glassworks.

“Taming Petra” by Jennifer Uhlarik is set in Cambria Springs, Colorado Territory in 1875.
Buckskin Pete Hollingsworth, really Petra Jane Breaux, is in her element in the West. However, her parents back East are unaware of her cowgirl ways. She is a feminine powerhouse and encounters more trouble when her heirloom cameo is stolen and she has to deal with unscrupulous men. Pastor Owens claims he isn’t worthy of a woman but vows to help Pete recover the precious item. This was a fast moving story that showed how people’s perceptions change. Through all the dangers they learn to rely on God.

“Meet Me At The Fair” by Kathleen Y’Barbo had all the elements that draw me to a story. A World’s Fair in New Orleans in 1885 and Pinkerton Agents!
What happens when a Lady Pinkerton doesn’t use her assigned cover name so her fellow Pinkerton agent, whom she thinks she has never met, tries to connect with her? Let the fun begin! When the cameo goes missing , do their assignments converge? Ms. Y’Barbo concludes with ‘Bent History and Fun Facts in the notes.

“Lending My Heart” by Debra E. Marvin concludes the stories back in Pittsburgh in 1895.
If you love Scottish accents, you will be fond of Russell Smart. He is brought to Pittsburgh to oversee the Carnegie Library and choose an administrator. Roberta Hart is a volunteer in the Children’s department and hopes to secure the job. Ms. Marvin has brought interesting facts to this story. I had no idea that a Carnegie Library was much more than a library. It was a cultural center with a museum that included a dinosaur skeleton!

This was an exceptional story about how two people followed their hearts. Roberta cares about children and their access to good reading material. She is concerned about an arranged marriage that she nor the man involved have a desire for. Russell Smart is a well educated ward of a wealthy couple and is all business when it concerns the library. Coming from poverty, he soon finds a way to help the poor children he encounters.

This was a delightful book with a great storyline that seamlessly fit together.


BACK COVER BLURB:
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. 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.

PINNED ABOVE HER HEART by Susanne Dietze
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. As for a partner in life? Not even her Victoria Cameo can narrow the social chasm he and her father keep between them.


Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Cameo Courtships at Amazon
Buy Cameo Courtships at Christianbook.com

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