Thursday, October 31, 2019

DEAD SILENCE by Susan Sleeman, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

I can always trust Susan Sleeman to deliver action-packed, heart-pounding romantic suspense with lots of twists and turns, and Dead Silence is no exception. The second book in the Truth Seekers series is packed with memorable characters and unforgettable detail.

Obvious research goes into Sleeman’s books, and she enlightens the readers on different occupations and crime-related details while unfolding the story layer by layer. Kelsey, a forensic pathologist, and Devon, an undercover DEA agent, both have baggage from the past, but I enjoyed seeing their relationship grow and trust begin to blossom and take hold. I loved the way they were able to work together with each other and their friends to solve problems.

Tender messages of trust, forgiveness, and helping others give this story added depth and dimension. The author is talented at weaving the messages through the book without detracting from the storyline.

“When a crisis comes along, don’t make quick judgments. Focus on God instead of the crisis. His ways are higher and wiser than our ways. If we believe that, then we have to trust that He’s in control and it’ll all work out for our good.”

It was fun to see characters from the first Truth Seekers book and Sleeman’s previous Cold Harbor series pop in and make appearances in this book. I’m looking forward to the rest of this series.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Back Cover Blurb:

A child she'll do anything to keep.
After Kelsey Moore's husband dies, she wants only one thing. To adopt her husband's son who she has come to call her own. But as she begins the process that her husband had dragged his feet on, she learns a secret so shocking she begins to question everything she knows except for the love she feels for her son. The child is not her husband's biological child, her former husband never had legal custody of the boy, and no one knows where he got the child. Fearing she might lose her son, Kelsey must find his birth mother and convince her to give up her parental rights.

A danger she's never known.
But when Kelsey starts asking questions, she runs into a brick wall named DEA Agent Devon Dunbar. Devon has been investigating an adoption/human trafficking ring with drug connections for the last six months, and he's not about to let Kelsey interfere in his investigation. But even if Devon brings out feelings she never thought she'd experience again, and he asks her to trust him, Kelsey can't even give him the benefit of the doubt. Not with the way her husband had lied to her and not even when her own life is on the line. If she doesn't succeed, she could lose the one thing that means everything to her  -  her five-year-old son.

Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Dead Silence at Amazon


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

CHRISTMAS AT WHITEFRIARS by Elizabeth Camden, Reviewed by Nicole and Paula

“The rest of her life awaited, and she had no idea what it would look like but had faith that it would be good.”

With captivating characters and a beautifully written story, award winning author Elizabeth Camden delights readers in her newest historical fiction novella, Christmas at Whitefriars. This Christmas novella features the heroine Mary Beckwith, who is the sister to Colin Beckwith from Elizabeth Camden’s Empire State series. Readers will enjoy the cameo appearances of several beloved characters from the Empire State series as they visit Mary at Whitefriars castle in England, but it is not essential to the storyline of Christmas at Whitefriars to have read the Empire Series first. After reading Christmas at Whitefriars, readers who want to discover more about Mary’s in-laws will also enjoy the earlier books in the series.
Christmas at Whitefriars begins in Yorkshire, England in 1912 as Mary Beckwith has been overseeing renovations to the Whitefriars castle, which has been in her family for generations. With the financial contributions of American businessman Everett Wooten, Whitefriars has received funds for needed repairs over the years. However, when Everett finally visits the castle, he is shocked at the condition and insists that changes need to be made immediately, much to Mary’s dismay.

Elizabeth Camden creates realistic characters who deal with issues that many readers can relate to such as panic attacks, anxiety, and struggles with social interactions. From the desire to be brave and overcome her lifelong fears, Mary becomes stronger as she ultimately takes the courageous steps to achieve her dreams. As Mary and Everett experience the delicious taste and flavor of freshly baked gingerbread in Christmas at Whitefriars, readers will be inspired to bake their own gingerbread for the holiday season or even just as a treat to indulge in while reading this novella! Christmas at Whitefriars is highly recommended for fans of historical fiction with light romance and readers who enjoyed Elizabeth Camden’s Empire State series.
*I received a complimentary copy of this novella from the author/publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine. 

Christmas at Whitefriars by Elizabeth Camden is about a crumbling Castle in Yorkshire, England in 1912.

Elizabeth Camden is a favorite author writing in my favorite genre.

This was an enjoyable trip back into the first part of the 20th Century when Americans wanted to invest in English culture.

Mary Beckwith has stayed in England to oversee the family estate while her brother, Colin from Ms. Camden’s Empire State series, has married a girl from America. Christmas brings the siblings and a few in-laws together for the holidays as well as a meeting with a partner and rich businessman, Everett Wooten. Soon there are clashes over terms of a contract that is keeping Whitefriars afloat.

With her signature details of historic places and apt plotting of an interesting story, Ms. Camden captured me from the first. The renovation of a cavernous and drafty old castle was just my cup of tea. Mary’s emotions and struggles came through as very realistic. This story nicely compliments the Empire State series.
*I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
Back Cover Blurb:
Mary Beckwith lives in a magnificent English castle during the twilight years of the gilded age. With the help of an American millionaire, she has succeeded in renovating her beloved Whitefriars castle into a splendid estate just in time for Christmas.

From across the ocean, millionaire Everett Wooten has spent a fortune propping up Whitefriars to add modern conveniences and rebuild crumbling old walls. Even though he’s never met Mary, they have enjoyed a lively business correspondence over the nine years they have been working toward a renovation. Now he has finally come to see Mary and the castle in person, but nothing is as he was led to believe.

Mary and Everett try to find a way forward, but red-blooded American entrepreneurship doesn’t always mingle with blue-blooded English tradition. Can a Manhattan business tycoon and an English lady come to an accord, or will their joint venture in Whitefriars result in heartbreak for them both?

Available in digital (we will post the link as soon as we have it!)

Author Bio:
Elizabeth Camden ( is best known for her historical novels set in Gilded-Age America, featuring clever heroines and richly layered storylines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award, and she lives in Florida with her husband, who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

FAKING GRACE by Tamera Leigh, Reviewed by Kim

As I listened to each story in this series, I kept thinking there was no way the next story could be as good as the previous one. Happily, I was totally wrong. This entire series is wonderful and well worth your time! Each story is full of humor, character growth and depth.
When Grace and Jack meet for the first time, it is hilarious. Both of these characters are wonderful and very easy to like. I loved how their relationship grew throughout the story. And, I especially loved how there wasn’t a quick easy answer for them at a critical point in their relationship, which made it seem very realistic.

Tamara Leigh does a great job showing that Christians are not perfect people. We sin and have problems just like everyone else, but we are blessed to have God’s grace and His mercy! This story might also challenge you a bit on the depth of your relationship with God. Are you a cultural Christian who just wears the label “Christian” or do you have a real relationship with Christ?

If you have not read or listened to this story, I highly highly recommend it, as well as the rest of the series. They are all stand-alone reads. 


Maizy Grace Stewart dreams of a career as an investigative journalist, but her last job ended in disaster when her compassion cost her employer a juicy headline. A part-time gig at a Nashville newspaper might be her big break.

A second job at Steeple Side Christian Resources could help pay the bills, but they only hire committed Christians. Maizy is sure she can fake it with her Five-Step Program to Authentic Christian Faith. If only Jack Prentiss, Steeple Side’s managing editor and British hottie, wasn’t determined to prove her a fraud.

When Maizy’s newspaper boss pressures her to expose any skeletons in Steeple Side’s closet, she must decide whether to deliver the dirt and secure her career or lean on her newfound faith, change the direction of her life, and pray that her colleagues—and Jack—will show her grace.

Available in digital ebook, paperback and audiobook:
Buy Faking Grace at Amazon


Monday, October 28, 2019

YOURS TRULY THOMAS by Rachel Fordham, Reviewed by Nicole Cook and Winnie Thomas

“What if Thomas’s life is altered all because his letter came to me and not to Clara?”

In Rachel Fordham's latest novel, Yours Truly, Thomas, she charms her readers with a beautiful story of redemption, second chances, and discovering God’s grace and purpose for our lives.

The journey begins in 1883 at the dead letter office in Washington D.C. as Penny Ercanbeck sorts letters and tries to locate their recipients before the letters are disposed of. She finds several letters written by Thomas to his beloved Clara that are filled with pain and regret. Penny’s quest to deliver the letters to Clara takes some unexpected twists and turns. Suddenly Penny finds herself on a train headed to the town of Azure Springs in search of Thomas. Penny is immediately welcomed to the town by some familiar faces from Rachel Fordham’s debut novel, The Hope of Azure Springs. Readers will love the cameo appearances from many of their favorite residents of Azure Springs, including Em and Caleb Reynolds, Margaret, Abraham, and Eliza.

Rachel Fordham authentically weaves the faith aspects into the storyline, while incorporating the sweet romance developing between Penny and Thomas and the essential role that God has in their lives. Readers will wish they could live in Azure Springs and be friends with Penny, Em, Margaret, and the rest of the charming cast of characters. There is something for everyone in this novel…. romance, danger, faith, and rich historical details.

The beautiful letters penned in Yours Truly, Thomas will find a place in the hearts of the readers everywhere. Letter writing has become almost a lost art in the 21st century with email, social media, and smartphones easily accessible for instant communication. Handwritten letters from previous generations contain treasured memories of the past, and Rachel Fordham gives readers an opportunity to experience some of those memories firsthand through Thomas and Penny’s correspondence. Readers who enjoyed Rachel Fordham’s debut novel will not want to miss this delightful return to Azure Springs.

Yours Truly, Thomas is highly recommended for readers of historical fiction, especially those who enjoy books by authors such as Jody Hedlund and Carrie Turansky.

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


From the dead letter office in Washington, D.C. to the plains of Azure Springs, Iowa, Rachel Fordham’s book Yours Truly, Thomas took me on a romantic adventure to remember. The settings are unusual and interesting, and I felt an urge to travel to Azure Springs and meet the people there. The main characters, Penny and Thomas, both have hurts and problems in their past to overcome, but they are engaging and well-drawn. The stellar cast of supporting characters adds flavor and color to the story. I especially liked Margaret with her managing, but loveable, ways.

Fordham’s writing is descriptive, clear, and concise, and her idea of letting the letters tell part of the story was brilliant. Themes of redemption, faith, and forgiveness of self and others run through the tale and give it depth and an added dimension. With adventure, romance, a bit of suspense, and a whole lot of heart, this book is one to savor and enjoy.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Thanks to Nicole for providing some Additional Quotes:
“I think I fell in love with someone else’s love story."

“He’d tell me it is my job to do all I can in this life to make each day better. He’d tell me to get in and change what I can. And what I cannot, he’d tell me to hand over to God.”

“Your very presence makes me believe I can be more than what I was before. I am not sure what led you to Azure Springs. But I believe God was in it. He must have been. There is no other way something so beautiful could be born of so much pain.”
Click here for NICOLE'S INTERVIEW with RACHEL AND enter her GIVEAWAY for a paperback copy of both BOTH YOURS TRULY THOMAS and HOPE OF AZURE SPRINGS

BackCover 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. Still she dreams of something more--a bit of intrigue, a taste of romance, or at least a touch less loneliness. When a letter from a brokenhearted man to his one true love falls into her hands, Penny seizes this chance to do something heroic. It becomes her mission to place this lost letter into the hands of its intended recipient.

Thomas left his former life with no intention of ending up in Azure Springs, Iowa. He certainly didn't expect a happy ending after what he had done. All he wanted to do was run and never look back. In a moment of desperation, he began to write, never really expecting a reply.

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

Sunday, October 27, 2019

INTERVIEW with Rachel Fordham by Nicole Cook #Giveaway

Author Rachel Fordham!
Nicole: I am delighted to have author Rachel Fordham join us today at Inkwell Inspirations to discuss her latest historical novel, Yours Truly, Thomas, which was chosen as the October book club selection for the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Facebook Group. Rachel Fordham recently led a live Facebook chat in the Avid Readers Group to discuss her book with the members of the group. Rachel, thank you so much for joining us today!

Rachel: Thank you for having me! I love that you put the Avid Readers Book Club together. It’s so fun.

Nicole: Ever since reading your first novel, The Hope of Azure Springs, I had been eagerly anticipating the release of Yours Truly, Thomas. I loved the cameo appearances by some of the beloved residents of Azure Springs in Yours Truly, Thomas. How was the writing process for Yours Truly, Thomas compared to when you wrote The Hope of Azure Springs, and did you have any challenges in writing your second novel?
Rachel: I am not very good at keeping notes so anything specific from the world of Azure Springs required me to go and do research from my own first book. Someday I’ll become a better note taker, but when I wrote The Hope of Azure Springs, I had no idea if I would get published and no idea there would be another book set in the same town.

This new book required a great deal more revising than my first. Originally Penny’s mom is the sweetest lady ever and she’s dying. She basically tells Penny to go find a new life now that she’s not taking care of her any longer. My editor thought this opening was too sad, so I had to rewrite her motivation and give her a dog to talk to since she was unable to communicate openly with her mom. I ended up loving Honey so it worked out, but that kind of change has a trickle effect that makes for a lot of work. That’s just one example of the many changes this book went through to become the book you read. Other big differences and challenges include my life circumstances at the times these two books were written. With The Hope of Azure Springs, my son was sick during the writing of it, and so the whole experience was emotional and that emotion came through in the book. For Yours Truly, Thomas, I was BUSY with kids and a foster daughter and had to write in small doses.

Nicole: Yours Truly, Thomas is a beautiful story of redemption, second chances, and finding love. What message or inspiration do you hope that people will get from reading Yours Truly, Thomas?

Rachel: There are always messages that sneak in that I don’t expect or even see myself until I get to the end, but the messages I intended to have come through include –

That love doesn’t always look one way. Sometimes love is roses and moonlit strolls and sometimes it’s sharing struggles and crying on each other’s shoulder. I tried to portray this through Dinah’s story and of course Penny and Thomas’s love story.

I also wanted to show that pain isn’t always the enemy. The hard struggles we face can be teaching, refining things. Thomas is a better man at the end of the book than at the beginning and pain was a huge catalyst for his growth. This is something I’ve seen so many times in my own life. We don’t have to love the trial, but we can love the biproducts.

I also hope readers get lost in it and just enjoy the ride.

Nicole: I love being a member of the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Facebook group 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 Yours Truly, Thomas as the book club selection this month?

Rachel: For me, it’s all about connections! I love chatting with like-minded people about books, characters, trends, etc. That’s been my favorite thing about being a published author. This work of my heart brings people into my life that I would have never met otherwise. I LOVE it. With the Live events, we get to connect in real time, which is even more fun.

I’m not going to lie. It’s encouraging to hear from readers and makes me anxious to write more. It’s fun!


Nicole: You had two very special guests, Laura Frantz and Kate Breslin, join us during the live book club chat, and it’s always fun to have the opportunity to chat with a variety of authors. Since Laura Frantz and Kate Breslin live near you and write in the same genre, do the three of you ever meet up to discuss plotlines or brainstorm ideas together?

Rachel: Laura is not here full time, and she’s had a lot of family commitments with aging parents that have kept her busy, but we’ve gone to lunch and talk about getting together more often. Kate and I cross paths from time to time and whenever we do, we have a blast. We really need to make it a regular thing.
Nicole: Can you share any information about your future releases and/or your current work in progress?

Rachel: My 2020 release, A Life Once Dreamed, is actually the book I wrote after writing The Hope of Azure Springs. They aren’t coming out in the same order I wrote them in. This book has a new setting and cast, but I believe it has the same “heart.” A schoolteacher in the Dakotas has a secret that she’s kept locked inside but when the new doctor arrives in town, he threatens to unlock and unravel it all.

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

Rachel: Absolutely! I love what you are doing for authors and grateful for your enthusiasm.

Nicole is generously providing a brand new paperback copy of BOTH Yours Truly, Thomas and The Hope of Azure Springs. Participate below!

Author Bio:
Rachel Fordham is the author of The Hope of Azure Springs. She started writing when her children began begging her for stories at night. She'd pull a book from the shelf, but they'd insist she make one up. Finally, she paired her love of good stories with her love of writing and hasn't stopped since. She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.

Author links:

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. 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.


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Saturday, October 26, 2019

HOPE'S HIGHEST MOUNTAIN by Misty M. Beller, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

Hope’s Highest Mountain is the first in the series Hearts of Montana.
This is the first full length novel I have read by this author. I read a novella about a year ago. 

Ms. Beller puts the reader in the story with her realistic scenes of mountain wilderness and winter hardships. You can almost feel the cold seeping in. The quest to get a life-saving vaccine to a remote mountain mining town turns treacherous.

A spiritually hurting former doctor, Micah Bradley, comes upon a badly injured Ingrid Chastain. Together they forge ahead on their mission. Micah is struck by Ingrid’s strength and resilience. Ingrid tells him: “Relying on God fills me with an inner strength much greater than I could possess on my own.” Can she help heal the inner turmoil of this broken man?

This story is wonderfully picturesque and full of God’s majestic beauty of the mountains. There is hope portrayed in the struggle to battle the elements and fulfill a promise.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

Back Cover Blurb:
Ingrid Chastain readily agreed to accompany her father to deliver vaccines to a mining town in the Montana Territory. She never could have anticipated a terrible accident would leave her alone and badly injured in the wilderness. When rescue comes in the form of a mysterious mountain man who tends her injuries, she's hesitant to put her trust in this quiet man who seems to have his own wounds.

Micah Bradley left his work as a doctor after unintentionally bringing home the smallpox disease that killed his wife and daughter. But his self-imposed solitude in the wilds of Montana is broken when he finds Ingrid in desperate need of medical attention, and he's forced to face his regret and call on his doctoring skills once again.

Micah can't help but admire Ingrid's tenacious determination despite the severity of her injuries, until he learns the crate she brought contains smallpox vaccines to help quell a nearby outbreak. With Ingrid dead set on trekking through the mountains to deliver the medicine--with or without his help--he has no choice but to accompany her. As they set off through the treacherous, snow-covered Rocky Mountains against all odds, the journey ahead will change their lives more than they could have known.  

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Hope's Highest Mountain at Amazon
Buy Hope's Highest Mountain at

Friday, October 25, 2019

MEET BOOK BLOGGER BECKY DEMPSEY of Blossoms and Blessings! #Interview

Deb here, welcoming our next Book Blogger guest. Becky Dempsey is one of the first reviewers I contacted many years ago before my first release! While many of us know her as a reviewer, she has news on another front, too!

So tell me Becky, how long have you been reviewing and how did you decide on the theme for your blog? 

Becky: I had seen someone post at the end of a review something about getting the book through a reviewer program and I thought “you can do that?”. I looked into it and joined the reviewer group for 2 different publishing houses. I then sort of forgot about the books with life with 4 small children. I finally posted my first book review in January 2013.
When I started my blog in 2007, I was 3 months pregnant with my 3rd child. I thought about what I’d be blogging about and at the time it was most likely to be about my garden and my kids, so “Blossoms and Blessings” came into being. Lately, I’ve mostly just been posting book reviews and not so much what is going on with our lives.

Deb: What’s the best part of being a reviewer? 

Becky: The best part of being a reviewer is getting to read so many great books and telling people about them.

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

Becky: There are some times when I overbook myself (lol, that is sort of a fitting pun!) and I get a little stressed about not being able to post my reviews on time. Also, sometimes I see books I’d like to read, but I’ve got books I need to review and so I don’t have the time to read the other books.
Deb: What was the last book you read that you couldn’t put down? 

Becky: I have read quite a few books that were hard to put down recently, but I read “Darcy By Any Other Name” by Laura Hile in a day and a half and it has 648 pages. I thought for sure it would take me most of a week to read.

Deb: I'm definitely intrigued by its 'body swap' premise! What keeps you busy or entertained (beyond reading and reviewing!)? 

Becky: I pretty much stay busy. My oldest daughter had marching band practice every Monday evening, but they just had their last football game, so I won’t have to do that anymore until next fall. My first and third children are in band and my second and fourth children are in orchestra, so we have concerts for each of them two or three times a year. My youngest son’s running club at his elementary has started up and is every Tuesday after school. Wednesday, my oldest has writing club after school and then there is church in the evening. I also go to a “knitting” group Wednesday mornings. Which brings up the knitting, crocheting, tatting, sewing, and etc that I do that keeps me busy. I like to design my own patterns and have a Facebook page for my creations called Blossoms and Blessings Designs. (a play off my blog name) I also do proofreading for a couple of small publishers and a few indie authors. I’m also writing a novel of my own. Somewhere in there, I also need to clean and wash and cook.

Deb: Wow! Phew...That's a lot to keep track of, which is good practice for being an author too. Because there's rarely a time when you have both the time and the motivation. It's a matter of MAKING time!

What is your fiction favorite…setting? Place and time? Genre’? 

Becky: I am pretty eclectic in what I read as long as it is Christian (and some clean). I read Amish, historical romance (of all time frames), contemporary romance, cozy mystery, suspense, plus young adult. I’ve even read some fantasy.

Deb: 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? I’m paying with my virtual bank account! 

Becky: There are several movies I’ve watched multiple times. It might be a toss up between While You Were Sleeping, Leap Year, Enchanted, or Sleepless in Seattle. I’d like to order a Pizza Hut meat lovers pizza with stuffed crust.
Deb: Those are perfect movies to watch repeatedly. I just watched Leap Year a couple of weeks ago--it's like comfort food for the brain! And the stuffed crust pizza... sigh
If you could wiggle your nose and be in your dream career, what would it be? Or are you already living it? 

Becky: Growing up, I always wanted to be a “Kindergarten teacher (during the day) and a mom (full time)”. I taught Kindergarten when I graduated from college and after spending 3 months in Brazil teaching English to Preschool through Kindergarten aged kids, but then was “downsized” right before I found out I was pregnant with my first child. So I’ve done, or am doing, what I always wanted to do. Now, I’ve added being a writer.
Deb: That's wonderful! Yay! Best wishes for your future success!

If you could text with anyone (alive or dead), who would it be? 

Becky: I think my grandfathers, or my father-in-law (who died before we got married). I’d love to hear some of their stories of being in WWII.

Deb: We don't often ask those questions when we are young, and miss out on the option later, don't we?

What piece of advice would you offer authors who are just starting out? 

Becky: Connect with other writers, either online or in person. Go to conferences and learn all you can. Keep writing.

Deb: Same for new reviewers-- 

Becky: Be honest, but kind. Tell something you liked, not just what you didn’t like. Don’t give spoilers.

Deb: Thanks so much for being my guest, Becky! It was fun to learn more about you!

For more ways to hang out with Becky, visit:
Her blog:

The blog's Facebook page:
Blossoms and Blessings Designs Facebook page:

Author page:

Thursday, October 24, 2019

THE SEAMSTRESS by Allison Pittman, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"God of heaven, see me now . . . . "

France is on the brink of a revolution, while two orphaned cousins are rescued by a man of faith and unprecedented generosity. As Renee and Laurette grow into lovely young women, their paths seem destined to either flourish in the idyllic village of Mouton Blanc, where sheep produce fine wool and the air is crisp and clean; or to diverge into a place where dreams are made, only to be forever lost in the middle of a nation's nightmare.

Renee's natural talents as a seamtress provide her with a life-changing opportunity, while Laurette's lust for significance lead her down the path of a prodigal. One man loves them both, the one who has provided them with food and shelter for much of their young lives; a mentor guardian of sorts, with wisdom far beyond his years; Emile Gangon. As the years go by, Gangon's steady influence and unconditional love provide a haven of memories for one woman and a home to return to for another . . . "grant me dreams to sleep in peace".

The beautiful word flow in this story is nearly impossible to describe; it carries a story that is deep, but not heavy, sweeping alongside characters who might think that they are forgettable, but they're not
*I bought this book and was under no obligation to review it, nor provide a positive review.

Back Cover Blurb:
A beautifully crafted story breathes life into the cameo character from the classic novel
A Tale of Two Cities.

France, 1788
It is the best of times . . .

On a tranquil farm nestled in the French countryside, two orphaned cousins—Renée and Laurette—have been raised under the caring guardianship of young Émile Gagnon, the last of a once-prosperous family. No longer starving girls, Laurette and Renée now spend days tending Gagnon's sheep, and nights in their cozy loft, whispering secrets and dreams in this time of waning innocence and peace.

It is the worst of times . . .

Paris groans with a restlessness that can no longer be contained within its city streets. Hunger and hatred fuel her people. Violence seeps into the ornate halls of Versailles. Even Gagnon’s table in the quiet village of Mouton Blanc bears witness to the rumbles of rebellion, where Marcel Moreau embodies its voice and heart.

It is the story that has never been told.

In one night, the best and worst of fate collide. A chance encounter with a fashionable woman will bring Renée’s sewing skills to light and secure a place in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. An act of reckless passion will throw Laurette into the arms of the increasingly militant Marcel. And Gagnon, steadfast in his faith in God and country, can only watch as those he loves march straight into the heart of the revolution.

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy The Seamstress at Amazon
Buy The Seamstress at

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

ONE FINAL BREATH by Lynn Blackburn, Reviewed by Kim

One Final Breath by Lynn Blackburn is the third story in the Dive Team Investigations trilogy. Each story can be read as a standalone, but if you read them all, you will get so much more out of this series. 

The team dynamics are my favorite parts of the stories. The relationships between the team members continue to grow throughout the series. I love their camaraderie and how they are always there for each other. I’m so glad we finally got Gabe’s story! I have been waiting for it ever since I read book one.

I was worried about Gabe and Anissa teaming up together, but I think Anissa ended up being just what Gabe needed. We got a lot of her backstory, which was helpful in piecing together who she is now. I wished we would’ve gotten a little more of Gabe’s backstory though. I thought the pacing was well done, and the mystery was not at all what I was thinking or expecting! I highly recommend this series for those who love romantic suspense and am looking forward to Lynn’s next series!
*I bought this book and was under no obligation to review nor provide a positive review. 

See our other reviews by Nicole and Paula

Back Cover Blurb:
When investigator Gabriel Chavez had his cover blown by an aggressive reporter, the silver lining was being able to rejoin the dive team. The downside? Dive team captain Anissa Bell--a woman who both fascinates and frustrates him.

Anissa grew up as a missionary kid on the Micronesian island of Yap and always planned to return after college. But she remained stateside, determined to solve the case that haunts her--the murder of her best friend and the disappearance of a three-year-old child.

When Anissa's fractured past collides with Gabe's investigation into the tragic shooting death of a teenage boy in Lake Porter, they'll have to put their complicated history with each other aside in order to uncover the identity of a killer. What they'll discover is that revenge has no statute of limitations.

Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn closes out her nail-biting Dive Team Investigations series with a story that will have you wondering how long you can hold your breath.

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy One Final Breath at Amazon
Buy One Final Breath at

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

THE WEDDING DRESS CHRISTMAS by Rachel Hauck, Reviewed by Nicole Cook #RELEASE DAY

“Everything she needed, everyone she loved, was right here in Hearts Bend. And The Wedding Shop was her favorite place in town. Especially at Christmas.”
Author Rachel Hauck pens a delightful return to Hearts Bend, Tennessee in The Wedding Dress Christmas. The vintage wedding dress from 1912 is timeless and elegant and fits the bride perfectly no matter her size. This novella is the perfect addition to Rachel Hauck’s Wedding Collection series.

JoJo Castle is working in The Wedding Shop in Hearts Bend, when country superstar Buck Mathews returns home for the holidays, and feelings from the past resurface for these two former high school friends. True love and a vintage wedding dress make this a Hearts Bend Christmas to remember.

Rachel Hauck’s ability to seamlessly incorporate the faith elements into the storyline and create wonderfully flawed characters make her books favorites among readers of inspirational fiction. The Wedding Dress Christmas is highly recommended for readers of contemporary romance, and those who enjoy the rich history of a timeless heirloom passed on through the years. I can’t wait for Rachel Hauck’s next release.

*I received a complimentary copy of this novella from the author/publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.
“The man who’d set the world on fire with his velvet voice and rocking guitar was the same boy who’d set her heart ablaze all those years ago.”

Back Cover Blurb:
December comes to quaint Hearts Bend, Tennessee, with a blanket of white and the glitter of Christmas lights.

For JoJo Castle there is no place like home. Her onetime love of adventure ended when her life in the big city came crashing down. Now that she’s home, she never wants to leave again.

Country music sensation Buck Mathews has charmed the world with his smile and his music. However, news of his mother’s illness brought him home to Hearts Bend for the holiday season.

Working with her cousin Haley in The Wedding Shop, JoJo has no aspirations of love. But when her high school crush returns to town, her buried feelings surface.

Busy with his career, Buck hasn’t had time for family and friends, much less love. Seeing JoJo in The Wedding Shop reminds him there are things more important than his career.

But JoJo and Buck have opposing life goals, and there’s no middle ground. Can love, especially the kind that touches hearts at Christmas, overcome her fears and his quest for greatness?

With the help of a very special wedding dress, there just might be a Christmas miracle. 

Available in digital ebook at Amazon

Author Bio:
Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie.

Rachel has been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

At home, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically.

A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day.

She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

Monday, October 21, 2019

LESSONS ON LOVE Novella Collection #Interview with Author Susanne Dietze

Today, we're celebrating the October release of LESSONS ON LOVE, the latest Barbour Novella Collection! To do so, I'm chatting with our own Inky Author - Susanne Dietze.
Deb: What was the most interesting thing you learned while writing this story?

Susie: Since the hero, Kristofer, is Swedish, I enjoyed researching his history and traditions. Sweden endured a terrible famine in the late 1860s, and families like Kristofer's suffered when their crops failed and livestock died. I learned that families ate bread made of tree bark in order to fill their stomachs, which broke my heart. I'm well-fed, but if my children were hungry and hollow-cheeked, would I fully trust God, or would I falter in my faith? I explored this question through Kristofer, so in that way, I learned about myself, too!

Deb: And you did a lovely job of it!

If you woke up in your story setting, what would you most like about the time and setting?

Susie: As a fan of history and historical fiction, I've always admired many things about the era: the clothes, the civility and manners, and the way a community could pitch in to help each other. Right now, on a hectic autumn day, I'm drawn to the notion of spending a quiet evening with my heroine Mary's family. Gathered in the parlor by the fire, we would chat, read, knit--relax.

Deb: What would you least like?

Susie: Hmm...the weather! The story begins on a dark, wintry afternoon, and in such cases, I'd prefer to be curled up with a book, a blanket, and a mug of something hot--not out running errands, like Kristofer and Mary both were that day.

Also, while women were allowed to teach (like Laura Ingalls Wilder), theirs tended to be short term positions, and the vast majority of schoolteachers were men. If a woman was hired for a teaching job, she had to abide by strict rules of behavior. It was quite the double standard.

And as always, I would miss some of my favorite comforts: ibuprofen, hot showers, and Indian food. (Ok, just saying that, now I really want Indian food.) 

Deb: Absolutely agree. Plus decent dental services...

What story is coming next from you?

Susie: Next up is a novel called The Blizzard Bride, part of the Daughters of the Mayflower series from Barbour Publishing, coming in February of 2020. It takes place in Nebraska, 1888, centered around the historical storm now known as the Children's Blizzard. Like Mary in Love in Any Language, the heroine of The Blizzard Bride, Abby, is a schoolteacher. She faces backlash as a woman in her profession, loves her students fiercely, and the story is also set during the winter. The similarities between these two stories end there, however. Abby is involved in a secret mission for the federal government, and not everyone in her new Nebraska town is who they claim to be! 

Deb: Thanks so much for answering my questions, Susie. I really loved this story and this couple. You're a very popular author with Barbour and it's easy to see why. Lovely detailed, emotional stories with just the perfect touch of spirituality!


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