Thursday, November 21, 2019

THE PRINTED LETTER BOOKSHOP by Katherine Reay, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney



"It felt sad, as if the shop itself had just realized that what lay ahead could never be better than what lay behind."

Or could it? It certainly seems out of the realm of possibility. When Madeline Cullen's world is upended by a crushing disappointment in one career, she is subsequently thrust down a vocational path that she never wanted; how could the death of an aunt whom she would have loved to deem beloved, seem so painfully ironic?

The Printed Letter Bookshop is an iconic landmark and gathering space in the small
Winsome community; its two remaining employees suddenly heartbroken and downtrodden about the certain possibility that the shop will be sold after the death of its owner. Their own lives have become like pages in the books that surround them, constantly turning, hoping for a happy ending. They could never have imagined that their real life stories would end up being the best chapters of all.

Synergy comes to mind as an appropriate descriptive of this quite lovely and thought provoking story; three women whom most would incorrectly assume had nothing in common, managing to forge friendships around the things they did have in common; life's messy details.

"You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me." 

*I purchased this book with no obligation to review, nor provide a positive review.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Tale of the Tiny Discarded Tree

Draper's Acres, Winter of 2007
In October 1999 when we moved to our farm, we planted an 18" spruce tree where it would stand as a beacon to show the corner where the lawn ends and the gravel driveway branches off. This is needed to aid snow clearing so we don't ruin our lawn every winter. It was the perfect spot for the imperfect little tree. The tree is special to us as we had rescued it in 1994 from a large tree farm operation that threw out several hundred seedlings because they'd grown too large for the automatic tree planting equipment. We rescued 10 of the trees, deep down from a pile that had been left lying with their roots exposed to the sun for several hours. We planted them at home on our acreage, hoping they'd survive. The next year we retired from our military careers and left CFB Cold Lake, Alberta for the balmy climate of Saskatchewan. Along with our kids and belongings, we took our houseplants and six containers of sorry-looking seedlings which we transplanted into the garden of our new home. (The seedlings, not the kids.) We lived in town for five years. The seedlings were alive, but didn't thrive. Then came the move to the farm where we picked the healthiest seedling for the honored corner spot.

By 2010 the small spruce was still too small for Christmas lights. Although it wasn't actively growing, it was still green and healthy looking.

Draper's Acres, May 2010

Then during the summer of 2011, we noticed new growth at the ends of each little branch and it didn't look lopsided if you looked at it from the right angle.

Draper's Acres, Dec 2011

In 2013 the tree grew upwards and outwards, filling out yet still with its signature branch jutting out.  The gardener in me figures the roots had stretched out and down and the tree decided to put its efforts into growing topside. But my heart likes the thought that the little discarded tree finally realized it was home and would never be uprooted again.

Draper's Acres, Nov 2013

The tree was 20 years old in 2014 and continued its growth spurt--so much that when Nelson (and the boys who are hidden) went to string the lights, they had a tough time reaching the top branches. And oh, that tree shone through the darkness, a wonderful sight to behold during those long winter nights.

Draper's Acres, Dec 2014

It's hard to tell how tall the 2015 spruce tree is in this next photo, so that's when I decided I'd need to include the power line above it in all future shots.

Draper's Acres, Dec 2015

By 2017 the once-discarded spruce was over 14 feet tall as shown by the height of Nelson and JJ, the space between them and above them. To string the lights, JJ used two of those picker-upper things so it looked like he had extended lobster claws, but they did the trick of reaching the top of the tree. (For comparison, check out the 2010 photo to see the progress in the past 7 years!)

Draper's Acres, Nov 2017

Throughout the years we've lived on the farm, the tree has been the gathering place for family photos. It's a visual reference to the growth of the kids as well as the tree. Like this 2017 photo when all four kids were home for Christmas and after they went home, we were left with a beautiful memory of the event.

Draper's Acres, Christmas 2017


Draper's Acres, Nov 2018

The guys have gotten inventive over the years and last week when they went to string the lights, Nelson taped one of the picker-uppers to the end of a long handle. JJ held the lights up and they both circled the tree, winding the lights around as they went.

Draper's Acres, Nov 2019

A few hours after this year's tree was strung with lights, the moon tried to peek out and add to the light show. .

Draper's Acres, Nov 2019

So there you have the tale of the tiny discarded spruce tree. I only have one worry now...because of where we planted it, we may have to shave a bit off the top side if it reaches the power line. It's my fault--something I should have considered, but never imagined 20 years ago on that late October day when we moved to Draper's Acres to raise our family.

What started out as a tiny discarded tree provides us with immeasurable blessings throughout the year.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anita Mae Draper lives on the Canadian prairies where she uses her experience and love of history to enhance her stories of yesteryear's romance with realism and faith. Readers can enrich their story experience with visual references by checking Anita's Pinterest boards. All links available on her website at www.anitamaedraper.com


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

SERVING UP LOVE Collection (multiple authors), Reviewed by Trixi, Paula and Winnie!



TRIXI'S REVIEW:
In this novella collection, we meet four women from different walks of life who become Harvey House girls. This is a time in history that is especially fascinating to me because it's a turning point for women to pursue a career other than marriage and motherhood. I love the true story of how Fred Harvey opened up Harvey Houses all around the country, therefore providing opportunities for these women to find independence and sustain themselves financially. When I had a chance to read and review this book, I couldn't respond fast enough! Plus, these are written by four powerhouse historical fiction authors and knew I would enjoy each story.

In “A Flood of Love” by Tracie Perterson we meet Gretchen Gottsacker and Dirk Martinez. They have a past history together as he left on the eve of proposing to her ten years prior when something went awry and changed both of their lives. I love second chance love stories and how God gave them both a chance to make amends, forgive, move past the pain and start over again. Dirk's daughter Katiann is such a sweet addition to the story! Her prayer for a mama was fulfilled in the most special way.

In “More Than a Pretty Face” by Karen Witemeyer we meet Rosalind Kemp and Caleb Durrington. I love the overall lesson Rosalind learns that her past doesn't define her and God willingly gives second chances. Caleb was the perfect hero for her and showed her gentle love and acceptance of who she is.

In “Intrigue a la Mode” by Regina Jennings we meet Willow Kentworth and Graham Buchanan. This one was fun because Jennings threw in a bit of a mystery thread to the mix along with the romance between these two!

Finally in “A Grand Adventure” by Jen Turano we meet Myrtle Schermerhorn and Jack Daggett. I love the fact that this was set in the Grand Canyon area of Arizona—a place I hope to visit one day, I've heard it's a spectacular sight! At first Jack is the strong silent type, admiring Myrtle from afar until his younger brother Walter breaks the ice. Though Jack often blunders the romantic pursuit, he's still quite charming! They both hide secrets from one another that almost ruin it, but God works out all the kinks at the end. I also loved the double romance in this one!

These were charming short love stories still packed plenty with faith, second chances, and penned by four of the best authors I could recommend to any reader! You will even find a bit of wit and humor in the most unexpected places to make you smile.
*I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House on behalf of the authors and was under no obligation to write a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *


PAULA'S REVIEW:
Serving up Love a Four-in-one Harvey House Brides Collection has stories by four of my favorite historical romantic comedy authors.

A FLOOD OF LOVE by Tracie Peterson. Ms. Peterson always delights with her settings and characters. This story Is set in San Marcial, New Mexico and is based on a real flood that happened in 1929. Gretchen and Dirk end up back in San Marcial ten years after parting. Dirk now has a precocious 9 year old daughter, Katiann, who is hard on nannies and is praying for a mama. Full of colorful characters of the Old West, this story is exciting and fun-filled and shows trust in God.

MORE THAN A PRETTY FACE by Karen Witemeyer. Fans of Ms. Witemeyer’s More Than Words Can Say will be glad to read about Abby’s sister, Rosalind Kemp, and her time as a Harvey Girl in Gainesviile, Texas. She is content in her position until her past comes back to haunt her and threatens her new romance with Caleb Durrington, a young lawyer. Ms. Witemeyer’s signature wit melds with her always interesting story. Then she wraps it up with panache in an ending full of forgiveness.

INTRIGUE A LA MODE by Regina Jennings. A mystery keeps getting more mysterious when a new busboy isn’t who he seems to be. Willow Kentworth knows something is unusual when she has to collect empty liquor bottles from the street every morning. It is puzzling since Emporia, Kansas is a dry town in 1898. Family and romance are important to Willow but so is loyalty to Harvey House. Ms. Jennings brings unique characters and an intriguing plot to this novella.

GRAND ENCOUNTERS by Jen Turano- Grand Canyon, Arizona, 1908. Lots of fun in this story about a society darling who becomes a Harvey Girl after being jilted. Ms. Turano has given us more madcap characters sure to tickle your funny bone, her concluding scenes are the best!

These trips back in time with the Harvey Girls make for enjoyable reading by some of my favorite authors of Romantic Christian Fiction.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of one of the authors. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*


WINNIE'S REVIEW:
Serving Up Love is a delightful collection of novellas by some of my favorite authors. I’ve read books by all of these authors before and loved them, so I was quite sure I’d enjoy these stories. I wasn’t disappointed. Although the stories were short, they were full of action, history, romance, with a dash of inspiration. The characters were colorful and endearing, and I was fascinated by the historical tidbits I picked up about the Harvey House Girls and the part they played in the history of the United States. I’d heard of the Harvey Houses before, but wasn’t very familiar with them, the people they employed, or the services they offered to train travelers.

The authors did a great job of making the collection feel cohesive, yet unique. I’d recommend it to those who enjoy historical fiction novellas. I’m looking forward to more books from these excellent authors.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House. All opinions are my own.


BackCover Blurb:
Bestselling novelist Tracie Peterson joins Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano in this collection of four novellas, each featuring a Harvey Girl heroine. From Kansas to Texas, the Grand Canyon to New Mexico, the stories cross the country with tales of sweet romance and entertaining 
history.

Available in digital ebook, paperback and hardcover:
Buy Serving Up Love at Amazon
Buy Serving Up Love at Christianbook.com

Sunday, November 17, 2019

A DISTANCE TOO GRAND by Regina Scott, Reviewed by Paula and Winnie

PAULA'S REVIEW:
A Distance Too Grand is the first in the new American Wonder Collection by Regina Scott.

Regina Scott captures the stark beauty of the Grand Canyon with her eloquent prose. The story takes you back in time to 1871 when expeditions were trying to find a way West through the Canyon. The perilous trip was so interesting as were the descriptions of early photography. The small band of explorers met several obstacles which were presented in an authentic way.

Captain Ben Coleridge is leading the group into unknown territory to take samples and chart the territory for a possible road and crossing point. Meg Pero is along to photograph the beauty and grandeur of the iconic landscape. She is fulfilling her deceased father’s contract with the Army to document the trip.

Meg and Ben have a shared history from their time at West Point, where her father took portraits of the cadets. It is now five years later and they have both changed. Meg is a feisty woman, determined to make her mark as a photographer in her own right. She is no shrinking violet debutante. Yet she seeks to please society’s matrons. Ben counsels her: “There’s only One who matters, Meg. And He forgives our mistakes freely. All we have to do is do our best. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.”

This book is adventurous and compelling. It is more than pretty scenery. It is a solidly written historical story with romance and some mystery.

I give this book 5 stars.
*A copy of this book was provided by Revell Publishers through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

WINNIE'S REVIEW:
The striking cover and the setting drew my interest in this historical fiction novel by Regina Scott. The Grand Canyon is truly awe-inspiring, and Scott captured the beauty, vastness, and danger of it well. The characters are well-drawn and engaging. I enjoyed Meg’s spunk and independence and Ben’s leadership and protectiveness of his team. Dot and Hank were favorites of mine, and their obvious love for each other was evident throughout the story.

I learned much about the photography process in 1871, the flora and fauna of the Grand Canyon area, and Army life during that time. The history aspect was interesting, and Scott’s descriptions painted a beautiful picture of the area. There were a few parts where I felt the story dragged a bit, and parts where I felt it could have benefitted from deeper plot points, but on the whole it was a satisfying read. 3.5 stars rounded to 4
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Revell through Interviews and Reviews. All opinions are my own.


BackCover Blurb:
Meg Pero has been assisting her photographer father since she was big enough to carry his equipment, so when he dies she is determined to take over his profession--starting with fulfilling the contract he signed to serve on an Army survey of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1871. What she doesn't realize is that the leader of the expedition is none other than the man she once refused to marry.

Captain Ben Coleridge would like nothing more than to leave without the woman who broke his heart, but he refuses to wait even one more day to get started. This survey is a screen for another, more personal mission, one he cannot share with any member of his team.

As dangers arise from all sides, including within the survey party, Meg and Ben must work together to stay alive, fulfill their duties, and, just maybe, rekindle a love that neither had completely left behind.


Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy A Distance Too Grand at Amazon
Buy A Distance Too Grand at Christianbook.com
 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

YOU BELONG WITH ME by Tari Faris, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

Set in the town of Heritage, Michigan, Tari Faris’s debut novel is a delightful portrayal of life in a small town which is struggling to survive. The characters are delightful, realistic, and colorful, and they wormed their way right into my heart. Luke and Hannah are the main characters, and although I sometimes wanted to slap some sense into them, they grew on me. Thomas and Janie’s story also took center stage at times and added some spice to the story. With a stellar cast of supporting characters, which is most of the people in the town, I quickly became invested in their lives.
Faris is a talented author with a charming writing style. Combining romance with humor and with touches of inspiration, faith, and hope, this story should appeal to readers who enjoy contemporary small-town romance. I’m looking forward to more stories about the people of Heritage.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Revell Publishing/LibraryThing. All opinions are my own.


See reviews from Nicole and Kim


BackCover Blurb:
Realtor Hannah Thornton has many talents. Unfortunately, selling houses in the town where her family name is practically poison isn't one of them. When a business tycoon determines to raze historic homes in the small town of Heritage, Michigan, and replace them with a strip mall, Hannah resolves to stop him. She sets about helping Heritage win a restoration grant that will put the town back on the map--and hopefully finally repay the financial debt Hannah's mother caused the town. But at first no one supports her efforts--not even her best friend, Luke.

Luke Johnson may have grown up in Heritage, but as a foster kid he never truly felt as if he belonged. Now he has a chance to score a job as assistant fire chief and earn his place in the town. But when the interview process and Hannah's restoration project start unearthing things from his past, Luke must decide if belonging is worth the pain of being honest about who he is--and who he was.


Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy You Belong With Me at Amazon
Buy You Belong With Me at Christianbook.com

 

Friday, November 15, 2019

A NEW SHADE OF SUMMER by Nicole Deese, Reviewed by Kim

This is my favorite Nicole Deese story to date! I was really hoping she would give Davis his own story after what happened in the previous book, A Season to Love. I’m so glad she did because Davis got the happy ever after ending he deserves.
Callie has to be one of my all-time favorite female heroines. (And a little birdie -Nicole Deese 😀- told me she is modeled after a real person!) She is so bright and sunny and she brings out the best in everyone. You just can’t help being happy whenever she’s on the page. She also has a more complex side that developed throughout the story. And, she is so perfect for Davis and his son.

This story is told in two points of view, Callie’s and Davis’s, which I really liked because you get to see how each character is truly feeling. I also loved the small town setting and am hoping we get to go back for Shep’s story next!
*I purchased this book.


BackCover Blurb:
As an artist, Callie Quinn relies on inspiration to guide her wandering soul. This summer she accepts a short-term muralist job in her sister’s charming town to spend some much-needed time with her family. After meeting her nephew’s friend, Brandon, she’s eager to draw out his untapped artistic talents—however, it’s the boy’s straitlaced single father who could use a little color in his life.

Davis Carter may be the town’s favorite animal whisperer, but his experience is limited when it comes to understanding his preteen’s rebellious behavior. Desperate for a breakthrough, he follows the lead of a free spirit who claims to know the way into his son’s closed-off world. Soon, Davis isn’t the only one caught up in the hope of a new beginning.

Just as Callie considers trading her unattached existence for a life rich with promise and permanence, an unexpected visit from the past threatens to send her packing once again. Davis and Callie must learn to surrender their fears so they can find a love that will outlast the summer.

Available in digital ebook, paperback and audiobook:
Buy A New Shade of Summer on Amazon
Buy A New Shade of Summer at Christianbook.com

Thursday, November 14, 2019

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR NATALIE WALTERS by Reviewer Paula Shreckhise plus #Giveaway!


Paula
Paula: I am thrilled to welcome Natalie Walters to Inkwell Inspirations. After reading Living Lies, I kind of stalked Natalie and begged to be on her street team for Deadly Deceit. I am an instant fan.
Let’s get to know Natalie a little better! Natalie, when did you first know you wanted to be an author?

Natalie


Natalie: This is an interesting question because I think what I knew first was that I wanted to write stories. I love reading stories so I found an online mentorship program that helped me learn the fundamentals of story-telling and that was in 2010. From that point, I just kept learning and began attending conferences. I kind of went into the process thinking, “Hey, I want to write stories but I don’t know a single thing about the publishing process so if it happens—it happens. I’ll just keep writing stories.”

Paula: Your books are in a series. Did you know what each book was going to be about before you wrote the first one? Or did you figure that out as you were writing book 1?

Natalie: When I sent in the proposal for my first book, Living Lies, I had a very rough idea what I thought the next two books were going to be in the series but both books evolved into completely different stories. Once I started writing Living Lies, the characters in my proposal for book 2 were gone. I had to write a storyline for Ryan. I didn’t realize until the brainstorming process who his heroine was going to be or what the storyline was going to be and even that changed several times in the early drafts. I did have the characters and bits of the plot figured out for book three, Silent Shadows, while I was writing Deadly Deceit so that pushed me to finish because I was really excited to begin that story.

Paula: Interesting! Which of your characters do you identify with the most?

Natalie: Hmm, I get asked this question and I’m stumped. I think there’s a bit of me in all of my characters so to choose one that I identify with most is hard. I’ve felt abandonment and rejection like Vivian. I’m a little bit goofy and spunky like Ryan and Pecca—and yes, I’ll dance for tacos and cookies! Lane reveals struggles and pains our family dealt with personally. I’m a lot like Charlie in his need of approval but believing his purpose doesn’t fit the mold set out for him.

Paula: Great answer! How do you balance your writing with your other responsibilities?

Natalie: Ooh, this is a great question and if you asked my family you’d probably get a different answer 😀. The honest truth: some days better than others.

I’ve found that I really need to schedule my writing time and as best as I can adhere to the schedule if I want to have balance in my life. Writing is great but I don’t want to be stuck on the computer or in my office and miss moments with my kids—especially because they’re all adults now and I’ll soon be an empty-nester *and now I’m bawling*

 

If I can schedule a few hours of writing and let my family know that these hours are not just me playing with characters in my head but actual work then it shows them my writing is important to me and that when I’m finished I’m all theirs.
 

Now, this doesn’t mean it always happens perfectly because: Life. But I try and I’m thankful my kids don’t mind breakfast for dinner!
 



Paula: What is one thing that you have learned as a military wife?

Natalie: Wow. Just one thing?? Adaptability. To the way of life, the long absences, inconsistent schedules, ALL the moves, and unpredictability of what comes next. But, in the same breath, I’d also add adapting to the lifelong friendships who become family, the life experiences cultivated in every move, depth of gratitude that blossoms in third world countries, and the immense amount of honor to be able to support my husband and his colleagues as they boldly serve our country. This life is not easy but it’s special and God has sustained us throughout.

Paula: So well said. Were you brought up in a Christian family?

Natalie: Yes. My earliest memories and some of my fondest belong with me in Sunday school, GA’s, Psalty musicals, Wednesday night youth groups, Disciple Now weekends, and living Nativity scenes. 😀

Paula: Do you choose a 'word for the year'?

Natalie: I have done this in the past and then began to realize that God takes these word choices seriously and I had better be prepared for the refining! LOL

Paula: Do you choose a Bible verse or a theme as you write each book?

Natalie: I didn’t realize I was going to have a Bible verse theme for this series but as I began writing Lane’s story in Living Lies the words from Isaiah 43:1-3 felt so appropriate given the struggles the characters had to face and overcome.

“But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;”

Paula: Those are strong promises, aren't they? Do you have a favorite charity or cause?
 

Natalie: One of my favorite charities is the Gary Sinise Foundation. This charity supports our military and their families in so many ways from building adapted smart homes for wounded heroes to providing community events for the children of fallen military heroes. The military and our veterans will always hold a special place in my heart and I was really excited to donate a portion of the proceeds from my Harbored Secrets Series to support the foundation supporting them.

Paula: Thank you for some very interesting answers. As a former Navy wife, I especially like that you chose to donate to the Gary Sinise Foundation. He certainly has a heart for service families!

Thank your husband and his buddies for their service.

I am looking forward to Silent Shadows, book three in the Harbored Secrets series. 


SEE PAULA'S, NICOLE'S and KIM'S REVIEWS OF DEADLY DECEIT

Natalie has graciously offered a print copy of Deadly Deceit to one person who comments. We will draw a winner one week from now (ends November 21 midnight EST). To participate, please comment that you'd like to be in the drawing, and be sure we have a way to contact you by adding your email address safely or by confirming you are a follower of our Inkwell Inspirations facebook page or FB friends with Paula or Debra!
If you're not already, we suggest you follow Natalie by signing up for her newsletters!

DEADLY DECEIT by Natalie Walters, Reviewed by Kim, Paula and Nicole!

Deadly Deceit by Natalie Walters is the second book in the Harbored Secrets series. Stop by later for Paula's super interview with Natalie!
KIM'S REVIEW:
I don’t even know where to start with this review. How about the bottom line first? Go. Buy. This. Book. I loved it! I was sucked in from page one and I did not want this story to end! I loved everything about it! There’s humor - the scene involving a “monster” had me laughing out loud - great banter, great characters, a murder mystery that totally kept me guessing, a wonderful romance, and some fun references to super heroes- namely Captain America.

I absolutely loved Vivian and Ryan! Their banter added so much fun to the story. Their relationship progressed so naturally and felt so real. The action was perfectly paced and believable. The secondary characters really added to the story and I can’t wait to read Pecca’s story next! This book is excellent from the cover till the very last page! With this story, Natalie Walters has become one of my favorite romantic suspense authors -right up there with Lynn Blackburn and Lynette Eason!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book.

NICOLE'S REVIEW:
It takes is a whisper to ignite a flame.”

With heart-pounding suspense and intense action, author Natalie Walters is sure to delight readers in Deadly Deceit, the second installment of her Harbored Secrets series. After the death of her boss, journalist Vivian DeMarco’s determination to find justice places her in close contact with Deputy Ryan Frost. Soon many people’s lives and reputations are in danger as The Watcher searches for his next victim, leaving behind a trail of destruction in his wake.

This is an incredible story of family, forgiveness, redemption, and love. Readers will fall in love with the handsome Deputy Ryan Frost, who has taken on the role of protector for his mother and sister and now bears a resemblance to a muscular version of Prince Harry. Since readers were last acquainted with Deputy Frost in Living Lies (book #1 in the series), he has spent the last nine months training in Quantico with the Advanced Tactical Response Task Force. When reading Living Lies, the secondary characters of Ryan and Vivian did not deeply capture my interest. However, in Deadly Deceit, I absolutely love Ryan’s and Vivian’s character transformations and their intense chemistry. Natalie Walters definitely knocks it out of the ballpark with this novel.

Deadly Deceit is highly recommended for fans of romantic suspense, and readers who enjoy novels by authors such as Lynette Eason, Lynn H. Blackburn, and Irene Hannon. After reading the sneak peek of Silent Shadows, the conclusion to the Harbored Secrets series, which is included at the end of this novel, I can’t wait to read book #3 of this series. March 2020 can’t come soon enough!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.

PAULA'S REVIEW:
After reading her debut novel, Living Lies, I have thoroughly jumped on the Natalie Walters bandwagon. Ms. Walters crafts believable characters, puts them in jeopardy and helps them resolve the mysteries, all within the kind of home town I really want to visit.

Vivian DeMarco is a journalist who is trying to recover from a job loss. She lands in Walton, Georgia at a small newspaper headed by Harold Kennedy who explains the purpose of The Gazette: “God gave us the gift to bring light out of darkness... As a reporter, I have two choices. I can report on the darkness in the world or I can write the news in a way that restores hope.”

The catchphrase for the book is: “Where everyone knows your name- but no one knows your secret.” But The Watcher is targeting some whose secrets must stay hidden at any cost.

Vivian undertakes an engrossing journey to uncover The Watcher and get the story. This story has become personal. Because of the closeness of the people in the town, she has many to help her, including deputy Ryan Frost. The story is not limited to the deceitful mystery of The Watcher, there are light moments, too. I loved the banter between Ryan and Vivian, especially references to Marvel heroes and Star Wars. Neighbor and friend Pecca is a great sarcastic foil for Vivian to interact with. It was lovely to get to know the owner and workers in the Way Station Cafe.

Bring on book number three please!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher on behalf of the author. I was under no obligation to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*


Back Cover Blurb:
Welcome back to Walton, Georgia, where everyone knows your name--but no one knows your secret.

Independent and tenacious journalist Vivian DeMarco is back in Walton, Georgia, for one reason--to do her job and get out. When her boss suddenly dies under suspicious circumstances, Vivian's only hope for finding the truth--and the next big story--is small-town law enforcement's lanky poster boy, Deputy Ryan Frost. But the deeper they dig, the more twisted the truth becomes. False leads, incriminating emails, and someone called the Watcher force Vivian to fight for answers--and her life
.


Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Deadly Deceit at Amazon
Buy Deadly Deceit at Christianbook.com


Author Bio:
Natalie Walters is the author of Living Lies and Deadly Deceit. A military wife of 22 years, she currently resides in Hawaii with her soldier husband and their three kids. She writes full-time and has been published in Proverbs 31 magazine and has blogged for Guideposts online. In addition to balancing life as a military spouse, mom, and writer, she loves connecting on social media, sharing her love of books, cooking, and traveling. Natalie comes from a long line of military and law enforcement veterans and is passionate about supporting them through volunteer work, races, and writing stories that affirm no one is defined by their past. Learn more at www.nataliewalterswriter.com.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

AIMING FOR LOVE by Mary Connealy, Reviewed by Paula and Kim


PAULA'S REVIEW:
Aiming For Love is the first in a new series by Mary Connealy, Brides of Hope Mountain.

I have been a big fan of Mary Connealy ever since I read her Lassoed in Texas series. She always infuses laughter in her awesome western romances. This book was a real treat.

Imagine three young ladies living in an isolated mountain cabin for ten years. With no outside contact or influence since their grandparents died, Jo, Ursula and Ilsa Nordegren have some strange notions about how the rest of the world operates. They do have The Good Book, however, and they rely on its wisdom. The author gives us a real glimpse into what the girls face with their fears, misconceptions and mistrust of people. They are self-sufficient and as content as they know how to be.... until their lives are turned upside down by a family in need.

Dave Warden’s Pa has been shot by someone who wants to take over his ranch. Jo and Ilsa agree to help them. Ms. Connealy shows compassion and patience through these characters. There is an element of intrigue as they try to figure out how to get the ranch back and foil the bad guys. But not all is resolved in this book. There are three sisters so the next books will move the story along as well as finding possible mates for the girls, after all this is a romance series!

A touch of the author’s humor just fits: After making do with ingredients for meals, Jo tastes Dave’s Ma’s flapjacks. “Her eyes went wide as she chewed. ‘what is this?’, Ma’s food had taken Jo prisoner.”

Fans of Mary Connealy’s other books will be pleased by this new offering.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

KIM'S REVIEW:
Aiming for Love is the first story in Mary Connealy’s new series. Jo and her two sisters have been raised in a very remote mountainous area and basically know nothing about the outside world. They have been taught to be totally self sufficient, but they’ve also been taught to fear the world and those in it. This concept is interesting and I am looking forward to seeing how each sister deals with civilization coming to them!

Jo is a very likable character, as is Dave. I liked how her curiosity helped her overcome her fears and made her want to learn more about things she was taught to fear. Dave is just an all around nice guy. I really liked him and his entire family, especially Ma.

While I felt like the pace of the story and the writing style were both good, I thought some parts of the story were a bit unrealistic. I was also hoping that some of the threads would be tied up or moved further along, especially the sister’s confusion about the Bible.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book but was under no obligation to provide a review nor a positive review 


BackCover Blurb:
Josephine Nordegren is one of three sisters who grew up nearly wild in southwestern Colorado. She has the archery skills of Robin Hood and the curiosity of the Little Mermaid, fascinated by but locked away from the forbidden outside world--a world she's been raised to believe killed her parents. When David Warden, a rancher, brings in a herd much too close to the girls' secret home, her older sister especially is frightened, but Jo is too interested to stay away.

David's parents follow soon on his heels, escaping bandits at their ranch. David's father is wounded and needs shelter. Josephine and her sisters have the only cabin on the mountain. Do they risk stepping into the world to help those in need? Or do they remain separated but safe in the peaks of Hope Mountain?


Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Aiming for Love at Amazon
Buy Aiming for Love at Christianbook.com
 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

FALL BOOK GIVEAWAY #1 Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Amazing Inkwell Reviewer Rebecca Maney has generously offered a #giveaway of three brand new paperbacks this fall to thank our Inkwell Inspirations Readers!


Book #1 is
WHERE HOPE BEGINS




See Rebecca's Review!


BACK COVER BLURB:
Sometimes we’re allowed to glimpse the beauty within the brokenness . . .

Savannah Barrington has always found solace at her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, and it’s the place that she runs to when her husband of over twenty years leaves her. Though her world is shaken, and the future uncertain, she finds hope through an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, and a man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove to Savannah that she is worthy of love.

But soon Savannah is given a challenge she can’t run away from: Forgiving the unforgivable. Amidst the ancient gardens and musty bookstores of the small town she’s sought refuge in, she must reconcile with the grief that haunts her, the God pursuing her, and the wounds of the past that might be healed after all.

Where Hope Begins is the story of grace in the midst of brokenness, pointing us to the miracles that await when we look beyond our own expectations.


See Karen Klepsteen's Review 

Buy Where Hope Begins





TO ENTER OUR GIVEAWAY-
Comment on this post and let us know you'd like to be in the drawing. You must be sure we can contact you by email or through social media if you are the winner. 

Either leave your email address here (safely...such as email address (At) yahoo.com ) or be a follower on our Inkwell Inspirations Facebook page, 
https://www.facebook.com/InkwellInspirations/
This is for those of you who do not like to enter rafflecopter :)

Comment here on this post by December 8th, when we will choose one random winner with a contiguous United States mailing address.

WESTERN CHRISTMAS WISHES by Brenda Minton and Jill Kemerer, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

Western Christmas Wishes is a two-in-one book by authors Brenda Minton and Jill Kemerer. Both of the stories are charming Christmas novellas that are the perfect length for an evening’s reading session. I’ve read some of Jill Kemerer’s books and enjoyed them very much, but Brenda Minton is a new-to-me author.
His Christmas Family by Minton stars Laurel Adams and Cameron Hunt, both of whom have past baggage to deal with and neither of them looking for romance. Throw in a feisty grandmother, Gladys, who has taken in her great-niece, Rose, and it’s a recipe for chaos and love. The characters are realistic and engaging, the setting is delightful, and the story is wonderful.

A Merry Wyoming Christmas by Kemerer is a delicious tale set at a ranch in Wyoming at Christmas. When Leann Bowden and her daughter Sunni get stranded in the snow, Michael Carr comes to the rescue just in time. Both Leann and Michael have been hurt in the past, and their trust in others has been broken. Sunni is a delightful character who can easily soften the hardest heart. The messages of forgiveness, faith, and healing give this story extra depth and meaning.

I enjoyed both of these Christmas novellas and would recommend them to those who enjoy easily read Christmas stories.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.



BackCover Blurb:
Two tales of holiday homecoming.
Spend the holidays with family in these two Western novellas!


Home is where the heart is in
His Christmas Family when Laurel Adams comes home and discovers a foster kid and a seriously charming horse trainer living on her grandmother’s ranch. And in A Merry Wyoming Christmas, single mom Leann Bowden is starting over when she and her daughter are rescued from a snowstorm. Might the dashing cowboy be the Christmas gift they’re dreaming of?

Available in digital ebook, paperback and mass market paperback:
Buy Western Christmas Wishes at Amazon
Buy Western Christmas Wishes at Christianbook.com

Monday, November 11, 2019

THE BRIGHT UNKNOWN by Elizabeth Byler Younts, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle." St. Francis

Exquisite prose softens the blows of this most unusual story; the story of one young life among so many, brought forth into a world of darkness, yet bestowed with a determination to carry the light. Meet Brighton Friedrich, whose struggles to live a normal life took place within the walls of an asylum for the insane, and whose friends consisted of those whom the world had intentionally forgotten.

Befriending a young boy growing up in similar circumstances, Brighton and Angel form an alliance of souls, often wondering if they have the courage to live in a brighter unknown. Theirs would be a journey filled with dreams, nightmares, fancies and fears . . . . . "but as long as I kept my eyes open there was always a sliver of light to follow".

It's so rare to read a story where each line forms its own verse of poetry, like a mountain brook babbling continually over the rocks and boulders that contain it; eventually leading it home.

*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to review it, nor provide a positive review.

BackCover Blurb:
This poignant and heartbreaking novel explores the power of resilience, the gift of friendship, and the divine beauty to be found in the big, bright world—if only we’re willing to look.

Pennsylvania, 1940s. The only life Brighton Friedrich has ever known is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of Riverside Home—the rural asylum where she was born. A nurse, Joann, has educated and raised Brighton, whose mother is a patient at the hospital. But Joann has also kept vital information from Brighton—secrets that if ever revealed would illuminate Brighton’s troubling past and the circumstances that confine her to Riverside. Brighton’s best friend is a boy she calls Angel, and as they grow up together and face the bleak future that awaits them, they determine to make a daring escape.

Nothing can prepare Brighton and Angel for life beyond Riverside’s walls. They have no legal identities, very little money, and only a few leads toward a safe place to land. As they struggle to survive in a world they’ve never seen before, they must rely on each other and the kindness of strangers—some of whom may prove more dangerous than the asylum they’ve fled.

Narrated in Elizabeth Byler Younts's gorgeous style,
The Bright Unknown is a sparkling search for answers, family, and a place to call home.

Available in digital book, paperback, library binding and audiobook:
Buy The Bright Unknown at Amazon
Buy The Bright Unknown at Christianbook.com
 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

ROYALLY YOURS Novella Collection Reviewed by Nicole Cook

Royally Yours takes readers on an enchanting journey to the small town of Tinsel, Vermont where celebrities, royalty, and other famous individuals from around the world are able to visit without the fear of paparazzi. This unique town also has the best Christmas celebrations and decorations that could rival any other town. Royally Yours shares four charming stories of family, faith, and discovering true love during the festive holiday season.
This collection of four novellas by Melissa Tagg, Betsy St. Amant, Liz Johnson, and Ashley Clark is sure to be a hit with readers, and any of the novellas from Royally Yours would make the perfect storyline for a Hallmark Christmas movie. Who doesn’t love fairytale romances, especially stories involving members from royal families? The four royals featured in Royally Yours have incredible prestige and power from their unique birthright, but they also have flaws and insecurities just like the rest of us.

The four novellas flow together seamlessly as if they were all written by the same author, and readers will enjoy seeing the beloved town of Tinsel featured in all of its Christmas glory in each of the novellas. Royally Yours is recommended for readers of contemporary romance, especially those who are fans of Rachel Hauck’s Royal Wedding series.

*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.

Back Cover Blurb:
Tinsel, Vermont is known for its no-paparazzi policy and Christmas decorations that are fit for a queen. This holiday season, join four royals on a stroll through town square as they each find their Christmas wishes for a happily-ever-after...tiaras optional.


Author Bios:

Melissa Tagg is the award-winning author of the popular Walker Family series, the Where Love Begins series and the Enchanted Christmas Collection. Her latest release, Now and Then and Always, kicks off a new series set in her beloved-by-readers fictional town of Maple Valley. Melissa is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total Iowa girl.

Melissa's books include a 2018 ACFW Carol Award Winner (One Enchanted Noel), an RT Book Reviews TOP PICK (All This Time) and a Publishers Weekly Spring Top Ten Pick (Like Never Before).

Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as workshops and women's retreats. When she's not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever (not that she's biased), bookworming, watching old movies, and spoiling her nieces and nephews. Melissa loves connecting with readers at www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook and Instagram.
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of more than fifteen romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her newly-wed-ish hubby, two total-opposite young daughters, an impressive stash of Pickle chips, and one furry Schnauzer-baby. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored to truth. When she's not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. She writes frequently for www.ibelieve.com, a devotional site for women. Look for her upcoming novel with Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in October 2020.
By day Liz Johnson works in marketing. She finds time to write late at night and is a Christy Award finalist and a two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist. Liz makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona where she enjoys theater, exploring local history, and doting on her nieces and nephews. She loves stories of true love with happy endings. Find out more about Liz at www.LizJohnsonBooks.com.
Ashley Clark writes romance with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses as an adjunct. She's an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns.

Available as digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Royally Yours at Amazon
-->

Share This Post

How Our Giveaways Work: The Official Rules

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

Pinterest