Tuesday, March 31, 2020

#GIVEAWAY BEFORE I CALLED YOU MINE by Nicole Deese, Reviewed by Nicole and Kim #RELEASE DAY

(and see Nicole's #Giveaway below!
A brand new paperback of Before I Called You Mine!)
Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese takes readers on the difficult and rewarding journey to international adoption complete with the pain, heartbreak, and joy that adoptive parents often experience. The author’s own background of adopting her daughter internationally adds authenticity to the story.

Lauren Bailey, a single first grade teacher, has felt a calling toward international adoption for many years. She is finally matched with a young child from China just as she meets the man that she might be destined to spend her life with. However due to Chinese adoption laws, a couple must be married for two years before adopting. With the complications in her life, how can Lauren make the difficult decision to choose between the two?

As a teacher myself, I could completely relate to the parts of storyline taking place in the school, the day-to-day activities, and the personalities of the teachers. Nicole Deese described the school environment and the nuances of the various teachers perfectly.

Along with the developing romantic relationship in Before I Called You Mine, the novel focuses on Lauren’s desire to adopt and her strained relationship with her family who are not supportive of her decision. Readers who have experienced adoption in their families will find this novel extremely poignant and authentic. If you are looking for a book with a light romantic thread that focuses on real-life decisions that are often messy and difficult, then this is the book for you.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.


I loved this story!!! Seriously, I really loved everything about it, the characters, the wonderful storyline, the writing style, the secondary characters - everything!! I did not want this story to end. Nicole Deese is now my newest auto-buy author!

While I really liked both Lauren and Joshua, Joshua was my absolute favorite character from Before I Called You Mine. I loved his sense of humor and his heart! He was so caring and patient and giving. He was just what Lauren needed at just the right time.

I also really enjoyed the storyline. It was so different and so interesting. I didn’t want to put this story down and hated to see it end. I cannot wait to see what Nicole Deese brings us next!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Back Cover Blurb:
Lauren Bailey may be a romantic at heart, but after a decade of matchmaking schemes gone wrong, there's only one match she's committed to now--the one that will make her a mother. Lauren is a dedicated first grade teacher in Idaho, and her love for children has led her to the path of international adoption. To satisfy her adoption agency's requirements, she gladly agreed to remain single for the foreseeable future; however, just as her long wait comes to an end, Lauren is blindsided by a complication she never saw coming: Joshua Avery.

Joshua may be a substitute teacher by day, but Lauren finds his passion for creating educational technology as fascinating as his antics in the classroom. Though she does her best to downplay the undeniable connection between them, his relentless pursuit of her heart puts her commitment to stay unattached to the test and causes her once-firm conviction to waver.

With an impossible decision looming, Lauren might very well find herself choosing between the two deepest desires of her heart . . . even if saying yes to one means letting go of the other.

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:

Buy Before I Called You Mine at Amazon
Buy Before I Called You Mine at Christianbook.com

Author Bio:
Nicole Deese's (www.nicoledeese.com) eight humorous, heartfelt, and hope-filled novels include the 2017 Carol Award-winning A Season to Love. Her 2018 release, A New Shade of Summer, was a finalist in the RITA Awards, Carol Awards, and INSPY Awards. Both of these books are from her bestselling Love in Lenox series. When she's not working on her next contemporary romance, she can usually be found reading one by a window overlooking the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She lives in small-town Idaho with her happily-ever-after hubby, two rambunctious sons, and princess daughter with the heart of a warrior.

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Monday, March 30, 2020

SILENT SHADOWS by Natalie Walters, Reviewed by Nicole Cook

It hasn’t been easy, but if I keep my focus on God’s goodness, it reminds me that no matter how difficult the journey, God’s plans will lead me to where I need to be – I just have to trust him.”
In the perfect ending to her Harbored Secrets series, author Natalie Walters weaves a tale of unpredictable suspense and a delightful romance that will keep readers highly invested in the storyline until the very last page. Despite the recent crime wave in the small town of Walton, Georgia, readers will wish that they could be a part of this close-knit community that protects its own and welcomes strangers as friends.

In Silent Shadows, Pecca Gallegos finds refuge in Walton, Georgia with her young son after trying to escape her past. While working as a nurse, sparks begin to fly between Pecca and her patient, Captain Colton Crawford. When Pecca suddenly finds herself in extreme danger, can Colton and Pecca discover who is after her before it is too late?

Natalie Walters continues to create wonderful heroes that her readers will fall in love with, which makes it difficult to pick a favorite hero from this series. Deputy Charlie Lynch, Deputy (now Agent) Ryan Frost, and Captain Colton Crawford…you cannot go wrong with any of these three extraordinary heroes.

Natalie Walters addresses Colton’s feelings of inadequacy and his struggle to find purpose in his life, due to his movement disorder, in a realistic and authentic manner. She shares the message of God’s faithfulness and goodness, and his never-ending grace.

Even though this is the conclusion of the Harbored Secrets trilogy, I would love to read a novella about Pecca’s sister Claudia someday. Her backstory and profession would definitely make for a wonderful romantic suspense novella.

Silent Shadows is highly recommended for fans of romantic suspense, and readers who enjoy novels by authors such as Lynette Eason, Lynn H. Blackburn, Dani Pettrey, Irene Hannon, and Rachel Dylan.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.

“Isn’t that the best part of grace? It doesn’t have to be earned.”

Back Cover Blurb:
They're running from their pasts into an unknown future.
But first, they'll have to survive the present.

Nurse Pecca Gallegos moved to the tiny town of Walton, Georgia, to protect her son and escape the dangerous lifestyle that once defined her. When a series of strange circumstances evolves into threats, Pecca finds herself confiding in an unlikely ally--her stubborn patient.

Army veteran Colton Crawford is desperate to recover from the disorder that is ruining his life, and his instincts are on high alert when threats against his nurse and her son force him to take action. But Colton's involvement only ramps up the danger when he uncovers a family secret revealing that whoever is after Pecca is closer--and more deadly--than they realized.

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

Available in digital ebook, paperback, and hardcover:
Buy Silent Shadows at Amazon
Buy Silent Shadows at Christianbook.com
Release Date March 31

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

Sunday, March 29, 2020

THE BRIGHTEST OF DREAMS by Susan Anne Mason, Reviewed by Trixi Oberembt.

With her stellar writing voice and depth of research, Susan Anne Mason brings us another story highlighting a little known event in history called the British Home Children. Children who were supposed orphans sent over to Canada, oftentimes without the parents knowledge, to become indentured servants. Most of them to farm work and subjected to cruel conditions meted out by the farmers. Quinten Aspinall learns his three younger siblings were sent to Canada after their mom could no longer care for them and goes in a desperate search to reunite them. With the promise from his employer for his own tenement farm upon his successful return of Mr. Holloway's niece Julia, he sets off on a journey that proves to be challenging.

Mason brings this story to life in more ways than one for me. She is one of my top favorite historical writers because of the amount of research she puts into her books and creating characters that come alive. I can relate to the plight of Quinten and his strong desire to have his family safe under one roof and his motivation for a place to call his own; thus providing for the needs of those he loves. What sets out as an almost selfish reason becomes much more as things change for him. One of those reasons being Julia Holloway, his employers’ niece. He comes to care very much for her and wants to protect her upon learning a secret she has been carrying for far too long. He envisions a happy home with her by his side as his loving wife. Without spoiling it for other readers, Julia's life changes in an instant and her desire for a family of her own shatters with unexpected news. She faces it head on and with her faith intact, but at the same time, holds herself back from Quinten's affection thinking she does not deserve the gift of his love. I really love how the author uses other people in their lives to help guide them through tough times and gives them Godly wisdom. This story has so much depth to it, emotionally and plot wise. I found myself tuning out the world around me to plunge myself into the world of Quinten and Julia.

I always get so excited when I see a new book coming out from Susan Anne Mason because her writers’ voice draws the reader in completely! For me, she's one of those authors that I will automatically pick up a book to read just because it was written by her. This is for fans of historical fiction, who enjoy well researched novels based on real events but enough literary license to bring those people or events to life in a new way. Like living history through the pages of a book! She also weaves strong scriptural truths in her stories, which I appreciate. I can't say enough good about “The Brightest of Dreams” or Mason as a writer! Her books are always a must reads for me.

Be sure to read her authors note at the end where she talks more about the British Home Children, I found it added an extra layer to the story!
*I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House on the authors behalf but was not obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions expressed here are my own. *

See Paula's Review!

BackCover Blurb:
Quinten Aspinall is determined to fulfill a promise he made to his deceased father to keep his family together. To do so, he must travel to Canada to find his younger siblings, who were sent there as indentured workers while Quinn was away at war. He is also solicited by his employer to look for the man's niece who ran off with a Canadian soldier. If Quinn can bring Julia back, he will receive his own tenant farm, enabling him to provide a home for his ailing mother and siblings.

Julia Holloway's decision to come to Toronto has been met with disaster. When her uncle's employee rescues her from a bad situation, she fears she can never repay Quinn's kindness. So when he asks her to help find his sister, she agrees. Soon after, however, Julia receives some devastating news that changes everything.

Torn between reuniting his family and protecting Julia, will Quinn have to sacrifice his chance at happiness to finally keep his promise?

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

Saturday, March 28, 2020

THE TRAITOR'S PAWN by Lisa Harris, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

Aubrey Grayson is a good cop. She is shocked to find evidence that her estranged father could be a traitor and she is unwittingly involved. While duck hunting with former Senator, Grant McKenna, they come under fire. He is shot and she is kidnapped. Lots of intrigue as FBI agent and long time best friend of Aubrey, Jack Shannon, tries to put the pieces together. 

The action rarely lets up.

Bree and Jack share a solid faith. Even though they have questions about how things are playing out with her father, they know God is in charge.

Bree: “I cannot put my ultimate hope in people or circumstances. I can only put it in God, because he is always faithful.”

Jack: “My father always told me that God is about the long game. That he is more interested in who you become, even if the actual process is difficult. I am not saying God doesn’t care about the little things, but he’s more interested in my reaching the finish line.”

Not only do Bree and Jack share faith, they have a long friendship behind them. And even though it has been interrupted for a while, they might take it to another level.
Come along for a unique story of suspense, faith and some self-searching.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

BackCover Blurb:
When FBI agent Jack Shannon arrives in Corpus Christi, Texas, he is focused on one thing: find the man who has been selling encrypted government secrets to the Chinese through online birding chat rooms. But when a senator is shot during a hunting trip and the woman he was with is abducted, Jack agrees to join the search--especially when he discovers that the kidnapping victim is Aubrey Grayson, a woman he was once in love with.

As the search continues, it becomes clear the senator may not have been the intended victim--and Aubrey may be connected to the other case Jack is supposed to be working on. Can Jack untangle the knots before it's too late? And when he learns the truth, will it be too painful to get past?

Join the hunt for the truth--and a traitor--in this tension-laden story of secrets, betrayal, and second chances.

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:  Release Date March 31
Buy The Traitor's Pawn at Amazon
Buy The Traitor's Pawn at Christianbook.com

Thursday, March 26, 2020

UNDER MOONLIT SKIES by Cynthia Roemer, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

Book three of the Prairie Skies series takes us back to the Illinois Prairie. It’s like coming home. I am from Illinois, so it was enjoyable to go back to my roots.

This was realistic foray into an almost wilderness, where life was a tough existence but also rewarding.

Esther has come back to Miller Creek because her sister, Charlotte, is having a baby. Esther has spent a few years with her mother in Cincinnati but feels like she has come home.

An old friend of Chad Avery, from book two, rides in and is an answer to prayer. Chad and Charlotte hire Stewart to help around the farm. Will things spark with Stew and Esther before Esther must return to the city?

An enjoyable story with a few surprises but lessons learned along the way. God gets a hold of hearts and uses the characters in surprising ways.

This was a fantastic wrap up of the Prairie Skies series. Be sure to read each book for a great story. I give this book 5 stars.
*A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the author through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

BackCover Blurb:
Her life was planned out ~ until he rode in ~

Illinois prairie ~ 1859

After four long years away, Esther Stanton returns to the prairie to care for her sister Charlotte’s family following the birth of her second child. The month-long stay seems much too short as Esther becomes acquainted with her brother-in-law’s new ranch hand, Stewart Brant. When obligations compel her to return to Cincinnati and to the man her overbearing mother intends her to wed, she loses hope of ever knowing true happiness.

Still reeling from a hurtful relationship, Stew is reluctant to open his heart to Esther. But when he faces a life-threatening injury with Esther tending him, their bond deepens. Heartbroken when she leaves, he sets out after her and inadvertently stumbles across an illegal slave-trade operation, the knowledge of which puts him, as well as Esther and her family, in jeopardy.

Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Under Moonlit Skies at Amazon

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

THE BLUE CLOAK by Shannon McNear, Reviewed by Rebecca and Paula

"And I'll be praying for you, every day". . . . . . . . . . ."Who was he to this girl, that she should care? But he'd likely need every one of those prayers."

Benjamin Langford covets the prayers of a young way station owner's daughter as he departs on a journey to avenge the murder of his cousin; joining a posse determined to bring the notorious Harpe brothers to trial, he fears the outcome will never be able to erase the regret that he feels over letting Thomas travel on ahead of him. Ironically, the lovely Miss Taylor is not only acquainted with one of Ben's university friends, but she also witnessed the wedding of her best friend to none other than Wiley Harpe; never imagining the darkness now known to be embedded in that man's soul.

As Ben traverses the wilds of Tennessee and Kentucky, his path overlaps that of the notorious criminals over and over again. The trail of destruction they leave in their wake is nauseating in its cruelty, and Ben's promise to Rachel Taylor that he would look after her beloved friend requires more of him than either thought possible. Will it ever end? And will the sweet connection between Ben and Rachel ever have the chance to flourish under such a heavy cloak of sadness and perdition; only time will tell.

Concentrating on the heroic rather than the heinous, the author deftly tells the tale of two historic serial killers, whose sadistic hearts and souls sent them, along with the women they virtually held hostage, on a homicidal rampage that can scarcely be described by mere words on a page. Surrounding the horrible recounts with the light of God's providence, presence, and protection, "The Blue Cloak" serves as a testament to those whose bravery and courage prevailed upon them to search for weeks upon end in order for justice to prevail. It's a story more than worth reading.

*I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to review.

Kudos to Shannon McNear for tackling a difficult subject of serial killers in 1797 America. This is part of the series True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime by Barbour Publishing. I give this more than 5 stars!

The research into these events was extensive and thorough. Ms. McNear has done justice to the rein of terror committed by the Harpes along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She balances it nicely with the romance of Rachel Taylor, daughter of a Way Station owner and Ben Langford, cousin of one of the victims of the dastardly duo.

This was a very hard subject to read about but Ms. McNear has done a superb job of giving us the facts but tempering them so as to be understandable. She gives her characters a faith to sustain them through troubling times. The story tells us that evil has been around for a long time and sometimes it affects the godly.

In the character of Sally, who is caught in an impossible situation, the author shows us how a woman in an abusive relationship thinks and acts and is virtually caught in a snare.

To think that most of these characters are real people who endured and perpetrated these things is mind boggling. To her credit, Shannon McNear has brought this story to life, the horrific and the everyday life of frontier America.

I appreciate Shannon McNear’s writing more and more with every book of hers that I read. She is a consummate storyteller. She says in the afterward that she bathed this novel in prayer and it shows.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishers on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

See Deb's chat with Author Shannon McNear!

BackCover Blurb:
Fiction Based on Strange, But True, History

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through unique stories of historical romantic suspense. Collect them all and be inspired by the hope that always finds its way even in the darkest of times.

Based on real events beginning in 1797 — Rachel Taylor lives a rather mundane existence at the way station her family runs along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She attends her friend’s wedding only to watch it dissolve in horror has the groom, Wiley Harpe, and his cousin become murderers on the run, who drag their families along. Declaring a “war on all humanity,” the Harpes won’t be stopped, and Ben Langford is on their trail to see if his own cousin was one of their latest victims. How many will die before peace can return to the frontier?

Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:
Buy The Blue Cloak at Amazon
Buy The Blue Cloak at Christianbook.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


Deb here and, after readig THE BLUE CLOAK, I'm pleased to share some questions I had for Author Shannon McNear. I have a special fondness for this wonderful author because I can honestly say she's just an extraordinary person too!
So many questions came up for me while listening to this story on audio. But so many were answered in the heartfelt message Shannon shared at the end of a book no one could ever call 'a light read'. Here's what I came up with:
Deb: Do you ever estimate the amount of time you put in to research for a book? Of course knowledge gained over the years counts but hard to figure into this question! Given the amount of details from a time when records were sketchy, where does THE BLUE CLOAK fall into that?

SHANNON: It's VERY hard for me to estimate how much time I'll need for research. I had back-to-back deadlines on both this one and The Rebel Bride, and was working very fast. On Rebel Bride, I had only four months between actual contract and deadline, and then it was just four more months to my deadline on Blue Cloak. I did use small breaks while working on Rebel Bride to surf for possible sources on Blue Cloak, so I'd be ready to go once the first was turned in. The subject matter was difficult on both, and I hated feeling rushed, but I determined to dig in and devour as much as I could. I basically read and read (and make notes) until I feel the story come alive enough for me to begin writing. That part took most of a month for Blue Cloak. (I'm looking at my word count log, and I only made it to about 4500 words by the end of April, but then it took off from there.) Even then, research is constant as I'm fact-checking and digging deeper into certain aspects of the story. I would have LOVED to travel to Danville and Stanford and find out if those court records still exist!

Of course, then there's the issue of things surfacing so late in the game that I have trouble figuring out how and where to work them in ...

Deb: Absolutely! Things surface when the book is nearly done and that's what I like about adding an "author's note"!
What writing projects did you dive in to after THE BLUE CLOAK and did you feel you needed to write something lighter? And did you have that option?

SHANNON: Honestly? I was so exhausted, I just wanted a break!! My next, almost immediate, next project was a novella titled The Wise Guy and the Star, part of Love's Pure Light, a Christmas romance collection to release this September. It's a generational thing centered around a Nativity, and my story is set in 1919. It felt strange, and almost wrong, to be writing so light right on the heels of Blue Cloak, and despite not really "feeling" the story, initial feedback has been good, so ... I'm hopeful it's worthwhile. (I'll be honest, though, my co-authors are so amazing, I think all their stories are wonderful! I have the honor of sharing space with Deborah Raney, Susanne Dietze, and Janine Roche on this one.)

Deb: Another Barbour novella I am anticipating!
On the same topic of how writing tends to exhaust emotionally, what story of yours, novel or novella, was the most joy to write and why?

SHANNON: Oh, that's a hard one. They all held unexpected joy and discovery in the writing ... but I'd have to say, The Highwayman holds a special place in my heart as being "the silliest idea I ever proposed" but then just such plain fun to write.

Deb: Thanks so much for the chance to chat, Shannon, and your prompt and off-the-cuff answers. We wish you the best in all your upcoming projects and some much needed peaceful downtime too!

Coming tomorrow, Rebecca and Paula share their reviews of this much-talked-about story!

Shannon provided me with an ARC and I bought the audiobook as well. I was completely immersed in this story! While it covers a very dark period of history, I didn't feel it overwhelmed the experience. In fact, I was so very impressed with how Shannon McNear was able to balance all aspects of this story. Not only is she an incredible author, but she had a way of keeping hope and 'light' in every chapter!

Interested in more? See THE BLUE CLOAK at Amazon

Monday, March 23, 2020

WHERE THE STARS MEET THE SEA by Heidi Kimball, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

From the stunning cover to the setting in Regency England and the captivating, colorful, well-drawn characters, this book drew me in and wouldn’t let go. Heidi Kimball has penned a creative, beautifully written tale that tugged at my heartstrings and kept me turning pages. Juliet Graham is a determined, engaging young woman who can’t wait until she turns 21 so she and her younger brother Harry can escape her oppressive, uncaring aunt’s guardianship. The Duke of Halstead has become a forbidding recluse since his leg was severely damaged in a riding accident two years before. When Juliet and Halstead meet, sparks fly, although not the loverly kind. Juliet tends to speak her mind, which intrigues and sometimes infuriates Halstead. I enjoyed seeing their relationship grow and change.

Full of intrigue, suspense, controlling and annoying relatives, and a good dose of romance, this story is sure to delight those who enjoy historical fiction set in Regency times. I’m looking forward to reading more of Kimball’s stories. 4.5 stars
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Covenant Communications. All opinions are my own.

BackCover Blurb:
Juliet Graham fervently counts the days until her twenty-first birthday, when she can claim the inheritance that will grant her the freedom she has always craved and the guardianship of her younger brother. Until then, she is trapped under her aunt Agnes’s domineering will. When forced to accompany the family to a house party at Shaldorn Castle, Juliet’s only objective is to keep to herself. That is, until a chance encounter with a boorish stranger stirs up an unexpected whirlwind of emotions in her. Thrown off-balance, Juliet does the unthinkable: loses her temper and insults the man—who turns out to be her unwilling host, the Duke of Halstead. Fully expecting to be sent away, Juliet is surprised when the brusque and callous duke instead takes an interest in her.

Drawn to the duke in unguarded moments, Juliet finds herself more and more intrigued by the man who shuns Society’s rules as completely as she does, and over the next few weeks, their unlikely friendship deepens into a connection neither expected.

But even as Juliet comes to recognize her true feelings, her scheming aunt issues an ultimatum that threatens the future she was just beginning to hope for. Juliet must choose: either break the promise she made to herself years ago, or lose the man who has captured her heart and soul.

Available in digital ebook, paperback and Audiobook:
Buy Where the Stars Meet the Sea at Amazon

Saturday, March 21, 2020

A RELUCTANT BRIDE by Jody Hedlund, Reviewed by Kim

A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund is the first story in The Bride Ships series. I loved this story! It had everything I look for in a historical romance. The storyline was interesting and original, the main characters were wonderfully written, and the romance was perfect! I was so wrapped up in these character’s lives that I did not want this story to end.

I adored both Mercy and Joseph. Mercy is one of the most selfless characters I’ve read, and Joseph comes in at a close second! Even though they came from completely different worlds and had a lot to overcome, they were perfect for each other. I loved that their romance was not seamless, which made it more realistic and how they both grew throughout the story.

My favorite thing about this story is that so much of it was inspired from actual history. I cannot wait for the rest of the stories in this series. With this story, Jody Hedlund is now one of my auto buy authors.

See our reviews of book #2 The Runaway Bride

BackCover Blurb:
Living in London's poorest slum, Mercy Wilkins has little hope of a better life. When she's offered an opportunity to join a bride ship sailing to British Columbia, she agrees. After witnessing so much painful heartache and loss in the slums, the bride ship is her only prospect to escape a bleak future, not only for herself but, she hopes, someday for her sister.

Wealthy and titled Joseph Colville leaves home and takes to the sea in order to escape the pain of losing his family. As ship's surgeon, he's in charge of the passengers' welfare aboard the Tynemouth, including sixty brides-to-be. He has no immediate intention of settling down, but when Mercy becomes his assistant, the two must fight against a forbidden love.

With hundreds of single men congregating on the shore eager to claim a bride from the
Tynemouth, will Mercy and Joseph lose their chance at true love, or will they be able to overcome the obstacles that threaten to keep them apart?

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy A Reluctant Bride at Amazon
Buy A Reluctant Bride at Christianbook.com

Friday, March 20, 2020

THE RUNAWAY BRIDE by Jody Hedlund, Reviewed by Winnie, Paula and Kim

I can always count on Jody Hedlund for a beautifully written story filled with colorful, realistically flawed characters that come alive on the page. The Runaway Bride is no exception. Set in British Columbia in 1862, this tale is rich with the history of the British Bride Ships that carried women from Great Britain bound for marriage to the plentiful men living in Victoria. Arabella Lawrence finds herself with two very different suitors from contrasting walks of life. Lt. Drummond is a gentleman who is esteemed in society, while Peter Kelly is a baker who has built up a good business in the community. I absolutely adored Peter. His personality, confidence, and wit are so attractive and add much color to the story. I loved his compassion, courage, and the way he stood up for the underprivileged, and especially the native Americans. The relationship between Arabella and Peter was charming and fun and I enjoyed seeing it grow and develop.

Hedlund is a master at weaving uplifting messages into her stories. Themes of hope, optimism, courage, faith, and forgiveness are predominant in this tale and give it added dimension and depth. I’m always interested in the historical aspects of this author’s books, as it’s apparent that much research has gone into the writing of the stories. I would recommend this to those who enjoy historical romance. 4.5 stars
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers/NetGalley. All opinions are my own.


The Runaway Bride is book 2 in The Bride Ships series by Jody Hedlund. Although we were introduced to Arabella Lawrence in book 1, A Reluctant Bride, this story can be read as a stand-a-lone.

When we “met” Arabella in A Reluctant Bride, we did not know much about her. All we really knew was that she was on the bride ship for some reason and that she had some interesting scars. In this book, we not only learn about her past, we also get a wonderful love story. I loved Arabella’s growth throughout her story as it felt very realistic.

There are so many good characters in this book, including some great secondary characters. But my favorite character, by far, is Peter. He is arrogantly confident, but somehow loveable at the same time. I think it’s his heart and sense of humor that really drew me to his character. He is the perfect match for Arabella no matter how hard she fights it!

I am really liking this series! There is so much actual history that influences the storylines and the setting is not one I’ve read often. Once you start reading this story, you don’t want to stop.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

I so appreciate every book I have read by Jody Hedlund. She writes from impeccable research and infuses heart into her stories.

Arabella Lawrence has fled a bad match in England so she has to carefully consider the two men who become her suitors when she lands in Victoria, British Columbia. Will Lt. Drummond sway her with his position in society or will Baker Peter Kelly charm her with his caring heart?

Ms. Hedlund takes us on a journey to Vancouver Island in 1862 to a place where men abound and marriageable women are scarce. It was interesting to find out that England had lost a great amount of eligible men to emigration and war and therefore women were in abundance. The author also gives us insight into the way Canada handled interactions with the native population and the smallpox epidemic.

We see Arabella start to break free from the stigma of her circumstances and look into the characters of her suitors. We also see how Pete relies on God and grows in his faith to overcome past temptations.

Ms. Hedlund tells a believable story and engages us in Arabella and Pete’s plight with a good dose of faith, a little humor and some very romantic scenes.

I enjoyed this book about an upperclass English woman seeking a new life in a new land.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

BackCover Blurb:
Wealthy Arabella Lawrence flees to British Columbia on a bride ship still wearing the scars of past mistakes. One of the few single women in the boomtown, she immediately has suitors, but she is determined not to find herself trapped again by a poor choice.

Vying for her hand are two very different men. Lieutenant Richard Drummond is a gentleman in the Navy and is held in high esteem. Peter Kelly is the town's baker and has worked hard to build a thriving business. He and Drummond not only compete for Arabella's affections, but clash over their views of how the natives should be treated in the midst of a smallpox outbreak.

As Arabella begins to overcome her fears, she discovers someone in dire need--a starving girl abandoned by her tribe. Intent on helping the girl, Arabella leans on Peter's advice and guidance. Will she have the wisdom to make the right decision or will seeking what's right cost both her and Peter everything?

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy The Runaway Bride at Amazon
Buy The Runaway Bride at Christianbook.com

Thursday, March 19, 2020

MORE THAN WE REMEMBER by Christina Suzann Nelson, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas and Trixi Oberembt

More Than We Remember is a moving, haunting, and heart-wrenching story of three women whose lives become intertwined and altered through the events of one fateful night. It’s the story of how many lives can be affected by mistakes and misjudgments of others. It’s not an easy book to read because of the subject matter, but Nelson has done an excellent job of weaving the different story lines together to make a cohesive and haunting tale. The result is a compelling, gripping story of family, community, friendship, and fragile relationships. It’s told from the points of view of several of the characters, which made it interesting, but it also made it a bit hard for me to follow sometimes. All in all, I felt like it was an enjoyable, touching read. I’m interested in reading more of Nelson’s stories in the future.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own.


“One night changes everything...can they rise from the wreck of the worst moments of their lives to become who they were meant to be?”

One fatal night intersects three families’ lives and has them questioning everything they thought they knew. Innocence hides behind suspicion, and guilt taints a once happy reality. Three women bond over tragedy and find hope in the deep places.

This is not a shallow or a quick read, it has a depth that can steal your breath away as events unfold. It deals with modern day problems that can touch a family without warning, and has the potential to tear them apart or bring them closer together. As Addison, Brianne and Emilia deal with the aftermath of an accident that kills one woman, it will shred everything and crumble the foundation of their safe life. I ached for them, for all the things they went through and all the things they were facing. These women and their families get under your skin in a very real way and make you want to reach through the pages of the book to comfort, hug and take away what hurts. Sometimes you have to go through the dark valleys in order for truth to prevail. Even in those dark times, hope shines bright if we but look for it. This brings to life the truth that we must cling to and rely completely on the Lord when hard trials come, when things seem to want to overwhelm us and crush us under its weight.

“We're too big for our britches when we take responsibility for things that are ultimately out of our control. If we trust God, we trust that He can work through even the most upside-down situation. You are not God." ~pg 290

“It's easy to see what we want to see, or even what we expect to see. It's much harder to stand back and see the truth."~ pg 322

This story will stick with you for a long time afterwards and make you ponder its deep truths. Quite a few resonated with me and that's why it became much more than fiction in my mind. It touched me profoundly in a way I won't soon forget. If you’re looking for a “fluffy” read, you won't find it here. If you're looking for one with a lot of depth and emotion, characters who you come to really care about, and an even more meaningful relationship with God, then look no further than “More Than We Remember”! This is easily one of my top reads for 2020 and highly recommended.
*I received a complimentary copy from the author and was under no obligation to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *



Back Cover Blurb:
One night changes everything. . . .

When Addison Kilbourn's husband is involved in a car accident that leaves a woman dead, her perfectly constructed life crumbles apart. With her husband's memory of that night gone and the revelation of a potentially life-altering secret, Addison has to reevaluate all she thought she knew.

Emilia Cruz is a deputy bearing a heavy burden far beyond the weight of her job. After a traumatic brain injury, her husband is no longer the man she married, and Emilia's determined to prevent others from facing the same hardship. When she's called to the scene of an accident pointing to everything she's fighting against, she's determined to see justice for those wronged.

Brianne Demanno is hiding from reality. She once thrived as a counselor, but when tragedy struck a beloved client, she lost faith in herself and her purpose. When her neighbors, the Kilbourns, are thrown into crisis, Brianne's solitary life is disrupted and she finds herself needed in a way she hasn't been for too long.

As the lives of these women intersect, they can no longer dwell in the memory of who they've been. Can they rise from the wreck of the worst moments of their lives to become who they were meant to be?

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy More Than We Remember at Amazon
Buy More Than We Remember at Christianbook.com

Coming Soon! BORDER BREACH by Darlene L. Turner

When drugs are smuggled across the border

it’s their duty to stop the culprits…at any cost.

Forming a joint task force, Canada border officer Kaylin Poirier and police constable Hudson Steeves have one objective: take down a drug-smuggling ring trying to sell a new lethal product. But when the smugglers come after Kaylin and Hudson, this mission becomes more than just a job. Can they live long enough to solve the case?

Releasing April 1st! Nicole Cook will be here with a review on April 4th, so 'stay tuned'!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

GUEST POST Author Kathleen Maher and BACHELOR BUTTONS #giveaway

Hi, Debra. I’m delighted to be back at Inkwell. Thank you for having me!

I’m all a’twitter with the re-release of my historical romance Bachelor Buttons. It’s exciting to see a fresh cover on it and apply a few editorial tweaks and give a fun story new life. Since all the St. Patrick’s Day hoopla is over, instead of going on about the Irish side of the story, maybe I’ll just talk about the historical setting a bit.

What was New York City like in the 1860’s? We know many Irish emigrated through the city as they fled the Famine. But there were also many German, Jewish, and other European immigrants who settled there to layer over its Dutch foundations. Plus a large population of freedmen, whether escaped from slavery or born into freedom.

My story is set in Manhattan—an island bordered by The East River, Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean, which made this the mega trade and port town and global capital of trade and wealth that it is to this day. Those diverse cross currents of commerce, ethnicity, politics, socioeconomic strata, and nationality were now compounded by war.

The Civil War was not a popular war to many, as it entered its third year. Heavy casualties, inept leadership, the financial cost… all made for a smoldering powderkeg among those who started to resent Lincoln and his war. The Emancipation Proclamation had been issued at the beginning of 1863, which some said was a political maneuver to keep England from aiding the Confederacy. To some, it galvanized their cause. But to others, it only added fuel to the fire of resentment. Newly-made citizens, many Irish and other nationalities resented fighting a war to free people who might come and take their jobs from them.
Then the bomb dropped. The Battle of New York City, as some call it, exploded across Manhattan. It started when Lincoln ordered the draft. Democrat papers, critical of Lincoln to begin with, fanned the spark of ire into flame. Mobs of people, many of them Irish, protested the draft offices. The protests turned to riots, and looting, and fires, and lynching. Complete mayhem. Order was restored by troops sent up from Gettysburg, and the local police—many of them Irish, ironically.

Into this setting I have written a suspenseful historical romance novella. Here is the blurb:

Bachelor Buttons

The daughter of immigrants who fled the Irish Potato Famine, Rose Meehan longs for a better life than the tenements of New York City. Courted by two men--a young doctor who represents material security, and a poor violin instructor who has captured her heart--she must choose between the two. When Manhattan explodes in mob rule following Lincoln's unpopular draft, Rose’s decision could mean the difference between life and death.

Available on Amazon for only 99 cents: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0851WX4JC/

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Debra.

I am offering a giveaway to one of your readers of an e-copy of Bachelor Buttons. All they have to do to enter is share this post on social media. The more shares, the more entries. Just tell me in the comments where you shared to claim your entry(ies). And a way for me to reach you if random dot org selects your name. (email is great.)

Also, I am hostessing a huge Rafflecopter giveaway with another Christian historical author. Please take a moment to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes!

HURRY—rafflecopter ends tonight at midnight

Grand prize is $50 Amazon GC, second prize is a $25 Ammy GC, third prize is an Irish goodie basket.

Kathleen L. Maher’s Author bio:

"Where every underdog has his day."
Kathleen L. Maher’s first crush was Peter Rabbit, and she’s loved conflicted heroes ever since. She has two novellas in BARBOUR BOOKS' collections: Victorian Christmas Brides and Lessons on Love. Winner 2012 ACFW Genesis Award. Author of Sons of the Shenandoah Series: The Abolitionist's Daughter and The Chaplain's Daughter.
Kathleen and her husband live in an old farmhouse in upstate NY with their children and a small menagerie.

Find Kathy at:
Facebook Author page

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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.