Tuesday, May 26, 2020

FLIGHT RISK by Cara Putman, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Even in the absence of peace, she had a choice. Trust God or take control."
Savannah Daniel's already demanding schedule is thrown into overdrive following the publication of a newspaper article citing her ex-husband's patterns of over-seas travel as proof of his involvement in a high stakes trafficking scheme, causing her young niece (Dustin's daughter) to crumble. Shortly after the expose's release, two of her law clients fall under suspicion by the F. B. I. following a Washington, D. C. plane crash; ironically, Savannah's ex-husband and one of his associates were passengers on that very plane. Contributing even more stress is the fact that the journalist who broke the original story, Jett Glover, is pushing Savannah for more details about Dustin's supposed business partners. It's a train wreck of circumstances, just waiting to happen. And it does.

"Flight Risk" has some amazing story threads; what initially appear as totally disconnected scenarios, eventually merge together rather brilliantly. Even though the multiple demands on Savannah's time are mentally exhausting, and the cautious relationship that she forms with Jett doesn't really have the space it needs to flourish, the author ends really, really well . . . for she proves that the truth is worth Jett's tireless efforts and that Savannah's heart can risk taking flight a second time. 

*3.5 stars. I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to review or provide a positive review.

Monday, May 25, 2020

THIS WANDERING HEART by Janine Rosche, Reviewed by Winnie

With a setting in one of my heart places, a storyline that grabbed my interest, and well-drawn realistic characters, Janine Rosche definitely piqued my interest in her debut novel, This Wandering Heart. I found myself wanting to wander with Keira/Kat Wanderfull and see all the beauties of the world.

“Kat Wanderfull was a great woman. Brave enough to walk straight into a dark cavern. Hopeful enough to set her eyes on the mountaintops. Yet, gentle enough to glide through a field of wildflowers without harming them.”

Keira and Robbie each have past hurts and regrets but now have another chance at love. Witty and fun humor, heartwarming moments, and faith elements of forgiveness, reconciliation, and hope are seamlessly woven together to make this a delightful and charming tale of second chances. A colorful supporting cast adds depth and the promise of continuing stories of the Madison River area. I’ll be looking forward to more of them in the future. 4.5 stars

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

See reviews from Nicole and Kim 

 Back Cover Blurb:
In the first entry in the Madison River Romance series, Keira Knudsen gets the traveling opportunity of a lifetime, but when she reunites with her first love, Robbie, she learns that even a wandering heart needs a home....

No one in the quaint town of West Yellowstone, Montana knows that unassuming geography teacher Keira Knudsen moonlights as sensational travel blogger Kat Wanderfull. No one, that is, except for her first love, Robbie Matthews, who has just discovered the woman he is falling for online is the same one that broke his heart five years ago.

But Robbie has another problem: the mother of his daughter, Anabelle, has resurfaced after a three-year absence determined to rip Anabelle away from him. Robbie needs a steady paycheck for a chance at custody, and now, on the eve of a grand adventure that could give Keira a chance to flee her old, troubled life once and for all, she is in need of assistance.

With so much broken trust between them, Keira and Robbie must keep an arms-length away to make this partnership work. But the more time they spend together, exploring majestic places and sharing new experiences, the closer they get--until their secrets and dreams threaten to cost them everything.
Berkley Publishing, May 2020

Available in digital ebook, mass market paperback, and audiobook:
Buy This Wandering Heart at Amazon

Sunday, May 24, 2020

MASQUERADE AT MIDDLECREST ABBEY by Abigail Wilson, Reviewed by Kim and Paula

Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey is my first Abigail Wilson read, but it won’t be my last! This story is so good! I really enjoyed everything about it.

I loved this storyline! I mean a marriage of convenience story with a charming hero? I’m in! I really liked both Adrian and Elizabeth and how their relationship grew! The mystery was excellent and kept me guessing until the very end and I was totally surprised at how it all played out. I also loved the feel of this story. It had a wonderful regency/gothic feel to it.

I can’t wait to read Abigail Wilson’s backlist and am looking forward to whatever she writes next!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book.

In Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey, Abigail Wilson takes us back to the region of her first two books. This one is set in 1815 in Southeast England. The cover is just beautiful with a pretty heroine in period dress and an imposing residence. The story, too, has a gothic feel to it.

Elizabeth Cantrell and her infant son, Isaac, are in a carriage accident on their way to Dover. As a result, she meets Adrian, Lord Torrington, and is thrust into a marriage of convenience, not to mention danger and intrigue. While out on a stealthy mission, she describes the night: “Far above, the stars were tucked neatly behind the thick blanket of clouds, yet the lonely white light of the moon wound its way through the insidious darkness.” Very gothic indeed.

This was a refreshingly unique story with many mysterious goings on and several secrets to keep or reveal. Masquerading may be too much for Elizabeth and Adrian because “ trust is personal and dangerous and terrifying.”and Elizabeth says: “ but that is the funny thing about truth-it set me free.”

I have enjoyed all these books set in the same area and like that we see recurring characters. The theme of spying runs through them all. In Masquerade, we glimpse a bit of the background of repentance that Adrian and Elizabeth have gone through. This is a wonderful book to add to my keeper shelf.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.* 

BackCover Blurb:
In this new Regency romance, a young unwed mother must protect her heart from the charms of her convenient new husband, Lord Torrington. She is not, however, prepared to protect her life.

When the widowed Lord Torrington agreed to spy for the crown, he never planned to impersonate a highwayman, let alone rob the wrong carriage. Stranded on the road with an unconscious young woman, he is forced to propose marriage to protect his identity and her reputation, as well as his dangerous mission.

Trapped not only by her duty to her country but also by her limited options as an unwed mother, Miss Elizabeth Cantrell and her infant son are whisked away to Middlecrest Abbey by none other than the elder brother of her son’s absent father. There she is met by Torrington’s beautiful grown daughters, a vicious murder, and an urgent hunt for the missing intelligence that could turn the war with France. Meanwhile she must convince everyone that her marriage is a genuine love match if her new husband has any hope of uncovering the enemy.

Determined to keep her son’s true identity a secret, Elizabeth will need to remain one step ahead of her fragile heart, her uncertain future, and the relentless fiend bent on her new family’s ruin.

Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding and audiobook:
Buy Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey at Amazon
Buy Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey at Christianbook.com

Saturday, May 23, 2020

STARFISH PIER by Irene Hannon, Reviewed by Kim

I really enjoy Irene Hannon’s romantic suspense novels, but for some reason, I’ve never read her contemporary stories. Well, I can say after reading Starfish Pier, I will definitely be going back and reading the first books in this series.
This story is definitely geared towards being a heavier read because there are some really hard topics, but somehow, Ms. Hannon kept this story from being too heavy and too depressing.

I liked that there were several story lines in this book and how they all connected with one another. I really liked the main characters, Steven and Holly. Holly was such a caring and thoughtful person. Through her small acts of kindness, she shows how you can have a positive impact on a person’s life. I liked how she did not let her physical struggles stop her from accomplishing her goals. And, wow, Steven’s past, at least part of it, was a total shocker and I felt so bad for him, but absolutely loved how he had changed! I also really enjoyed Pete’s story and how his new friends impacted his life in such a meaningful way.

I also loved the faith element of forgiveness that ran throughout the story and the feeling of community and neighbors helping neighbors.

My only issue with this story is that I felt like things all tied up too neatly at the end, but honestly, I’m good with that! I look forward to diving into the rest of this series!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. 

I would say that the faith element is (3) strong. 

BackCover Blurb:
A year ago, ex-Delta Force operator Steven Roark left the rigors of combat behind to run fishing charters in Hope Harbor, decompress, and talk some sense into his kid brother. Business is good--but making peace with his past is more challenging than he expected.

First-grade teacher Holly Miller leads a quiet, low-profile existence--until she's recruited to advocate for a cause that's dear to her heart. When she solicits Steven's assistance, sparks fly--especially after they find themselves on opposite sides of an issue that disrupts their placid seaside community.

As these two seemingly incompatible souls search for common ground, might they discover a deeper connection--and find that love can banish darkness and light the way to a future filled with promise?

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites you back to Hope Harbor--where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

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

ANGEL WITH STEEL WINGS by Anne Greene, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

If you’ve ever wondered what women pilots did during WWII, this novel gives you a great picture of the role of the Women Air Force Service Pilot (WASP) program. A story with interesting details about planes and the ladies who flew them wrapped around a sweet romance between Mandy McCabe and Major Harvey Applegate.
The author transports us back to 1943 with just the right setting, complete with period songs and lingo. Mandy is a girl trying to overcome her humble beginnings and Harve, a widower with a handicapped son, is just trying to survive the war. There is an attraction there- but this is war time. Mandy muses... "She couldn’t get involved in her mission. Unfortunately, he was a dreamboat. And she had never met a man so full of heart and guts. As the old saying went, he was a man who knew how to die standing up." And Harve can’t commit to Mandy when he might not come back from Europe.

As exciting events unfold, you will learn some history and cheer on Mandy and Harve as they navigate a perilous time.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

BackCover Blurb:
At a time when most people in American have never flown in an airplane, spunky Mandy McCabe test-pilots repaired war planes as part of the Women Air Force Service Pilots. If the Army Air Corp shuts down the WASP program, she must return to life in her hard-scrabble home and face her past.

Army Air Corp Major Harvey Applegate lost his WASP wife test-piloting planes and doesn’t want any more women killed on his watch. He fights to close the WASP program. Women aren’t designed to fight wars. Men fight to protect women freedom, and the American way of life.

This World War II romance shows Steel Magnolias meeting Band of Brothers. Can Mandy escape from her past? Can a man burdened with memories of death agree to added danger for the new woman in his life? Will their new love survive the test of opposing desires and the pain and separation of war?


Elk Lake Publishing
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:
Buy Angel with Steel Wings at Amazon

Friday, May 22, 2020

HADLEY BECKETT'S NEXT DISH by Bethany Turner, Reviewed by Paula, Trixi, and Winnie

When it comes to romantic comedy, hilarity, and honest-to-goodness characters whose personalities leap off the page, Bethany Turner just has that natural knack. It's as if she always gets into my head and writes exactly how I would think or how I would say something or feel about something at any particular moment. It's why I adore her writing so much because it's totally relatable to me.

Now on to Max Cavanagh and Hadley Beckett; these two are totally opposite in personality which plays out on the pages. After a very public temper tantrum by Max when Hadley wins the Fiercest Chef contest on TV, life takes a very different role for them both. A very sincere apology months later from Max brings these two together working on the prestigious cooking show Renowned. And that, my dear reader friends, is where the fun begins! Snarky remarks, under-the-breath comments and a slow budding friendship blossoms between them. It's quite funny to watch these two in the kitchen, both on and off the cameras view. 

I'm still not quite sure how I feel about Max, he's frustratingly lovable one moment and totally strangle-able the next! But I guess for me, that was his appeal and what made his redemption so real and genuine. Because really, can't we all be that way sometimes? Hadley was just a gem! She’s all southern hospitality and big-hearted warmth rolled up into one. Her personality really charmed me and won me over, definitely the kind of character I could see myself becoming friends with. I don't know how she put up with Max and other characters in the story so easily with grace and a smile on her face. That's just part of her charm, what makes her the kind of person she is and the kind of character I think other readers will love.

I also enjoyed the many references to Food Network shows I have watched, which in turn made the whole story so fantastic. I knew most of the shows and the people who starred on them so I easily “got” what Bethany Turner was referring to and how it played so perfectly into the story. No worries if the reader has no idea what the author is talking about, I think her wit will still make you chuckle and go along for the ride. Because really, Turner does completely charm you with her snarky humor and totally redeemable characters. At least, that's my opinion on the subject anyway (insert a wink emoji here).

I really believe if you love rom-com with a deeper message of redemption and two total opposite people falling in love in spite of themselves, you will adore this story. It charms you in a way that's uniquely Bethany Turner style. There's nobody like her in my opinion that can write like this, she stands out on her own.
Note: While this is published by Revell, a Christian fiction publisher, it has a very lightly sprinkled faith message. Not the usual level I expected from them or the author, quite disappointing to me.
*I received a complimentary copy from Revell publishing and was not obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *

I am fond of Bethany Turner and her off-beat humor especially in her new release Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish. The cover is artfully done and captures the story very well. First blue is my favorite color. The two spotlights hint at the two celebrities, Hadley and Max. The heart apostrophe tells us there is a romance in store. The crossed rolling pin and knife says there is conflict within the pages and the whisk could mean stirring the pot or blending a smoothie.

Readers are in for a treat worthy of any pastry chef or prime grade steak.

Downhome Hadley and sophisticated Max each have their own program on The Culinary Channel and then face off on a competition show. Join them for an unexpected but delicious resolution to what could be a kitchen disaster.

Max learns a lesson in humility and sees that he can change, showcasing Hadley as forgiving and supportive.

As in her other two hooks, Ms. Turner brings in humorous banter and references to iconic films and TV programs. I love how Hadley handles her temper, not by counting to ten, but reciting kitchen terms alphabetically: “Filet knife, Grapefruit knife, Herb knife, Ice pick.” And the cooking related chapter headings was a master stroke.

Of the other characters, Meemaw, is a force to be reckoned with, having once been a manager for the likes of Dolly Parton.

This was an all around triumph in the Rom Com genre. 5 Michelin stars for this one!
This is a clean read with a hint of Christian content. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Reads blogger program. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
Bethany Turner is one of my go-to authors for contemporary romantic comedy. Her sense of humor and fun shines in her writing and always tickles my funny bone. This story starts out with a totally unlikeable, annoying, and maddening version of Max Cavanaugh and a sweet, charming, endearing Hadley Beckett who, unfortunately, bears the brunt of Max’s bad temper tantrum. While I was prepared to dislike Max, I was surprised by his resolve to change, and eventually I admired his determination. The witty banter and snarky, humorous comments between the two made for an entertaining read. Turner’s signature pop culture references add an amusing element to the story.

I enjoyed the epigraphs at the start of each chapter which gave a hint, using cooking terms, as to what was ahead: Chill overnight, Bring to boil over high heat.

Although this is categorized under Christian Fiction, it has only a light faith element to it. It’s definitely a clean, wholesome book which has a thread of redemption and forgiveness. I’m already looking forward to Turner’s next book, and this one has a reserved spot on my keeper shelf.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Revell publishing. All opinions are my own.

 Back Cover Blurb:
Get ready for a heaping helping of humor, romance, and second chances

Celebrity chef Maxwell Cavanagh is known for many things: his multiple Michelin stars, his top-rated Culinary Channel show, To the Max, and most of all his horrible temper. Hadley Beckett, host of the Culinary Channel's other top-rated show, At Home with Hadley, is beloved for her Southern charm and for making her viewers feel like family.

When Max experiences a very public temper tantrum and is sent packing, his only chance to get back on TV and in the public's good graces is to work alongside Hadley. As these polar-opposite celeb chefs begin to peel away the layers of public persona and reputation, they will not only discover the key ingredients for getting along but also learn the secret recipe for unexpected forgiveness . . . and maybe even love.

In the meantime, hide the knives.

Revell, May 2020

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Hadley Beckett's Next Dish at Amazon
Buy Hadley Beckett's Next Dish at Christianbook.com

Thursday, May 21, 2020

UNTRACEABLE EVIDENCE by Sharee Stover, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

Sharee Stover has another winner here with Untraceable Evidence.

Working with the ATF, scientist Ace Steel, has a prototype that he needs to perfect and protect. Randee Jareau, ATF agent, goes undercover at Prime Right Laboratories to help protect Ace and The Ghost.
Get ready for a roller coaster ride of twists and turns as Randee and Ace try to outsmart the bad guys and discover just who wants The Ghost.

I like this Love Inspired Suspense for the great action and subtle faith element and the budding romance. It was a quick read but covered all the excitement and intrigue of a unique government agency quandary, slick as a whistle.

I’ll be looking for more by this author.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

See Nicole's Review 

Back Cover Blurb:
Someone’s after a deadly weapon…
and only she can stop them.

It’s undercover ATF agent Randee Jareau’s job to make sure the government’s 3-D printed “ghost gun” doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. So when someone goes after scientist Ace Steele, she must protect him…before she loses the undetectable weapon and its creator. But with a mole inside Ace’s company and everyone a suspect, this assignment could become Randee’s last.

Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Untraceable Evidence at Amazon
(coming soon) Buy Untraceable Evidence at Christianbook.com

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

STANDOFF By Patricia Bradley, Reviewed by Nicole Cook

A fabulous start to Patricia Bradley’s new Natchez Trace Park Rangers series! Standoff has the perfect blend of romance and suspense, so fans of romantic suspense will thoroughly enjoy this latest novel by award-winning author Patricia Bradley.
In Standoff, park ranger Brooke Danvers is determined to find answers to her father’s suicide, which she is convinced was, in fact, murder. Luke Fereday is back in town with a mission to take down an extensive drug ring. As both cases appear to be linked, will Brooke and Luke become the killer’s next targets?

There are many new characters introduced at the beginning of the novel, which is typical in the first book of a new series, but readers will find themselves immersed in the storyline and trying to determine who the killer is. Patricia Bradley expertly sets up the storyline with numerous possible suspects to keep the readers guessing until the very end.

Standoff is highly recommended for fans of romantic suspense, and readers who enjoy books by authors such as Lynette Eason, Dani Pettrey, Irene Hannon, Lynn H. Blackburn, 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.

Using this ranking system, I categorize Standoff as a 2 (having a light faith message), which is perfect for readers who enjoy romantic suspense with light spiritual content integrated into the storyline.

See More Reviews:
Kim and Paula 

BackCover Blurb:
The Natchez Trace National Parkway stretches 444 miles from Nashville to Natchez, the oldest town on the Mississippi River. It's the perfect road for a relaxed pleasure drive. Unfortunately for park ranger Luke Fereday, lately it's being used to move drugs. Sent to Natchez to infiltrate the organization at the center of the drug ring, Luke arrives too late to a stakeout and discovers the body of his friend, park ranger John Danvers.

John's daughter Brooke is determined to investigate her father's murder, but things are more complicated than they first appear, and Brooke soon finds herself the target of a killer who will do anything to silence her. Luke will have his hands full keeping her safe. But who's going to keep him safe when he realizes he's falling--hard--for the daughter of the man he failed to save?

Award-winning author Patricia Bradley introduces you to a new series set in the sultry South that will have you wiping your brow and looking over your shoulder.

Revell, May 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Standoff at Amazon
Buy Standoff at Christianbook.com

Author Bio:

Patricia Bradley is the author of Justice Delayed, Justice Buried, Justice Betrayed, and Justice Delivered, as well as the Logan Point series. Bradley won an Inspirational Reader's Choice Award in Romantic Suspense, a Daphne du Maurier Award, and a Touched by Love Award, and she was a Carol Award finalist. She is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc., and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Bradley makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.

PROMISED LAND By Robert Whitlow, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure."
Hana Abboud Hasan and her new husband Daud love Jerusalem with all their heart, but for their own safety, their roots are deepening in the United States, where Hana can continue practicing law in Atlanta, Georgia and Daud can build his international consulting business. Daud's past involvement in the upper echelon of Israeli intelligence has put a price on his head and when a covert operation compromises his identity, the bounty rises yet again. How can he manage to keep his lovely wife and unborn child safe, without compromising their mutual dream of returning to the promised land?

Simply put, I love these characters. Perhaps I love the characters more than the story, for there were places in this book when the scenes paled in comparison to the players on the stage. Hana and Daud are extraordinary; their walk with the Spirit is powerful and the freedom they find in the future is everlasting.

"Never will I leave you nor forsake you; the Lord your God is your strength and shield; the name of the Lord is a strong tower; no weapon formed against you shall prosper . . . "

3.5 stars *I purchased a copy of this book and am under no obligation to provide a positive review.

BackCover Blurb:
Bestselling author Robert Whitlow explores the meaning of family and home—and how faith forms the identity of both—in this breathtaking sequel to Chosen People.

Despite their Israeli citizenship, Hana and Daud cannot safely return to their homeland because a dangerous terrorist ring is threatening Daud. Hana is perfectly fine remaining in the United States, working for a law firm in Atlanta, especially when she learns she’s pregnant. But Daud can’t shake the draw to return home to Israel, even if it makes him a walking target.

Hana is helping her boss plan a huge summit in Atlanta when Jakob Brodsky, her old friend and former co-litigator, asks for her help with a case. His client is attempting to recover ancient artifacts stolen from his Jewish great-grandfather at the end of World War II. Because the case crosses several national borders, he needs Hana’s knowledge and skill to get to the bottom of what happened to these precious artifacts.
Meanwhile, Daud is called in to help a US intelligence agency extract a Ukrainian doctor from a dangerous situation in Egypt. While overseas, he can’t resist the call of Jerusalem and thus sets off a series of events that puts thousands of people in danger, including his wife and unborn child.
With historical mysteries, religious intrigue, and political danger, Promised Land asks one momentous question: What if your calling puts you—and your family—in the crosshairs?

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

CAROLINA BREEZE by Denise Hunter, Reviewed by Nicole and KIm #ReleaseDay

“There were three women in the house, and they were all mad at him for different reasons. That took a special kind of talent.”

Carolina Breeze, the second installment in Denise Hunter’s Bluebell Inn Romance series, takes readers to the beautiful and peaceful town of Bluebell, North Carolina. Denise Hunter has been one of my favorite contemporary romance authors for years, and she continues to amaze me with her incredible writing skills and her ability to create realistically flawed characters that her readers will fall in love with. Lake Season, the first book in the series, was an enjoyable read, but Carolina Breeze easily rises to the top of the list as one of my favorite Denise Hunter books.

Levi Bennett will capture the readers’ hearts with his handsome movie star good looks, his confidence and sense of humor, and his caring, honest personality. The stress he faces as he feels responsible for his younger adult sisters following the death of their parents while trying to run the financially struggling inn endears him to readers as they root for him to get his happy ending. Levi is now one of my favorite heroes of Denise Hunter’s, only second to my all-time favorite hero of hers, Wade Ryan in A Cowboy’s Touch.

In a story that is reminiscent to the movie Notting Hill, famous movie star Mia Emerson finds herself at the Bluebell Inn in North Carolina after a scandal forces her to flee the paparazzi in Hollywood and meets handsome “regular guy” Levi who is running the local inn. Sparks begin to fly between the two, but time will tell if their differences are too great to overcome.

Mia’s belief that she was unworthy of love and her realization that God loves her and would never abandon her authentically weaves the spiritual thread into the storyline. Carolina Breeze is very highly recommended for fans of contemporary romance, especially readers who have enjoyed books by authors such as Courtney Walsh and Becky Wade. 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you left your heart in North Carolina.”

I haven’t read a Denise Hunter novel since I read the Chapel Springs Romance Series - which is excellent by the way. And now, I am asking myself why I waited so long! I really enjoyed everything about this wonderful sweet romance! I loved the setting and the premise and I can’t wait to go back and read Molly and Adam’s story, Lake Season. I’m also looking forward to reading Autumn Skies, the third book in this trilogy which comes out in October.

I loved Levi! Like Mia said, he has a beautiful heart. After the death of their parents, Levi took over the role of parent to his two sisters and the pressure of getting the family inn up and running and profitable. Even though he may have made mistakes along the way, his heart was always in the right place. I loved Levi and Mia’s relationship. It progressed naturally and there were no silly misunderstandings or lack of communication. I thought they were perfect for each other! I also really liked the family dynamics between Levi, Grace and Holly. This is a perfect summer read! I highly recommend it!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. I’d say the faith element is light.

Back Cover Blurb:
A jilted bride. A struggling innkeeper. And a romantic mountain getaway that changes everything.

Rising Hollywood star Mia Emerson is looking for a safe place to land in the wake of a public breakup and scandal, and she finds it in the lake town of Bluebell, North Carolina—the location of her canceled honeymoon. She wants nothing more than to hide and wait for the tabloids to die down.

Soon after her arrival at the Bluebell Inn, Mia meets Levi Bennett, who runs the inn along with his two younger sisters. Drawn to one another from the start, Mia trusts Levi to keep her location from the press, and Levi confides in Mia about the financial state of the inn—a secret he’s been keeping from his sisters.

When Mia and Levi discover an old journal that hints at a rare diamond necklace hidden in the inn, they set off on a treasure hunt to find the long-lost heirloom. What they don’t expect to surface are feelings they thought were safely locked away. Mia and Levi must decide if falling in love again is too big a risk—or if it will uncover a treasure of its own instead.

This Bluebell Inn romance takes us to a quiet North Carolina retreat that holds more secrets than it shares.

Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:

Buy Carolina Breeze at Amazon
Buy Carolina Breeze at Christianbook.com

Author Bio:
Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including The Convenient Groom and A December Bride, which have been made into Hallmark movies. She has appeared on the The 700 club and won awards such as The Holt Medallion Award, The Carol Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books.

In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

When Denise isn't orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking good coffee, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband have raised three boys and are rapidly approaching an empty nest.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Rising Above Negativity, Bad Reviews, and Vexing Contest Feedback

“From my close observation of writers… they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.”
 ~ Isaac Asimov

Gentle Readers and Reviewers, this post is not for you. 

It's intended for the Gentle Author, published or pre-publsihed, who has had his or her heart stomped on in the form of a  negative review or contest feedback.

Reviewers have the right to say whatever they want, express their thoughts, warn future readers against reading such drivel or tell the world the story is wonderful, etc. I'm not disputing the necessity of authentic reviews, and I respect and appreciate the time and thought reviewers put into sharing their thoughts. 

As it's been said, reviews are not for authors.

But reviews do matter to authors, on a professional and personal level. For some of us, acceptance can turn into an idol (tipping my hat to Tim Keller, here). This may be why, for some of us, negativity sticks in our brains, and praise goes in one ear and out the other. 

Before I was published, I received varying types of contest feedback. Some helped me immensely, but a few comments sliced me to the core. One particular letter--handwritten, since this took place in the stone age before electronic entries--sent me outside to cry over my tomato plants so my kids wouldn't see me. (While it's always been important to me that my kids see that dreams take work to achieve, I didn't want their impressionable minds to freak out over my boo-hoo session.)

Reviews and feedback are part of the business, yes. We need to cultivate thicker skins, yes. But that doesn't mean we turn into rhinos. We will all have our moments.

But those moments should not define us.

“Frankly, anybody who's going to kill themselves because of a bad review has no business writing a novel in the first place.”
― Robert Galbraith (AKA JK Rowling)

Gentle Author, it is important to know a few things. Thicker skin, sure. But there's more. 
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Even thick skin gets owies sometimes! https://images.app.goo.gl/Bj74dnZ4Cg8GouSu8
The first is you are not alone. Look up your favorite authors on Amazon and Goodreads and you'll see the evidence. Famous, household names like JK Rowling, Steven King, JRR Tolkein, and a host of others have negative reviews under their names.

Negative reviews do not keep you from selling books. In fact, it can help. If an author has nothing but 5 star reviews, readers might suspect they are too good to be true, written by family and friends. A few negative reviews lend authenticity to your good reviews.

“It is advantageous to an author that his book should be attacked as well as praised. Fame is a shuttlecock. If it be struck at one end of the room, it will soon fall to the ground. To keep it up, it must be struck at both ends.”
― Samuel Johnson

Learn from contest feedback and reviews, if they're well-intended. This is a key distinction. Some negative reviews and feedback can be helpful for our growth as writers. We didn't connect the dots in the story or we've been using a word incorrectly? Our pace is slow, our mystery too easy to solve? Good to know for the future. 

But if criticism is not well-intended? If it's mean-spirited or cruel? You can fight (maybe not the wisest choice) or let it go.

“I pay no attention whatever to anybody's praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings.”
― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

On that note, it can help to twist your perception. I made a decision to view poor reviews with humor, if possible, and to look at the overall picture.

One review I received recently didn't like my story at all. She could barely finish it, she said. Ouch. But other people did finish, and I didn't even have to pay them. 

Focus on the positives, weigh the feedback, and make the choice how you'll handle the slings and arrows that indubitably come. Remember that you are or are working toward being a professional author, with professional being the key word, and God is our first Audience. We obey by doing our best and being teachable. 

His review of "well-done" is the one that ultimately obliterates the rest, good and bad.


Gentle Author, Reader, and Reviewer, how do you feel about negative reviews?


Susanne Dietze is the author of several romances. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.susannedietze.com

Sunday, May 17, 2020

HOSTAGE RESCUE by LISA HARRIS, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

While hiking with her brother, Aaron, Gwen Ryland is shoved off a cliff and Aaron is kidnapped by two assailants. Caden O’ Callaghan, also out hiking, hears Gwen scream and goes to investigate. From there things go downhill. Gwen has a sprained ankle and suddenly, they are being pursued.
The action rarely lets up and the circumstances get very frightening. All against a backstory that has Gwen and Caden on opposite sides of a wedding gone wrong. Many years ago, Caden and Cammie, best friend of Gwen, called it off just before the event.

Even as Gwen and Caden sort through their present difficulties and past differences, they both rely on God to make something good out of the situation they find themselves in. Can they stop fighting their attraction and make sense of the journey they are on?

With lots of tension and believable scenarios, Ms. Harris gives us another great story about one of the O’ Callaghan brothers. And we get to visit the scenic wilderness where their ranch is located.
*I received a complimentary e-copy from the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

BackCover Blurb:
Hunted by the men who abducted her brother…

Her life is in this cowboy’s hands.

Gwen Ryland knows two things about the men pursuing her through the Rocky Mountains: they’re holding her brother hostage…and they won’t stop until they catch her, too. Now Gwen’s life depends on the man who once broke her friend’s heart—former army ranger Caden O’Callaghan. But can they figure out what the men want in time to save her brother…and Gwen?

Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Hostage Rescue at Amazon



Inkwell Inspirations is happy to be a spotlight stop on the 

A standalone novel in the Mayfield Family series with an unusual premise and an uplifting ending.

Lady Sabrina endured an abusive marriage, a miscarriage, and early widowhood to emerge as a smart, successful, confident woman who found a way to make her mark in a man's world. She has friends and purpose, but cannot hide from the emptiness she feels when the parties are over and the friends have gone home to families she will never have.

Harry Stillman may be charming and handsome, but he's a gambler and a rake who has made a mockery of his privileges. He turns to the mysterious Lord Damion for financial relief from his debts, but still ends up beaten nearly senseless by thugs and left in an alley.

When Lady Sabrina comes upon Harry after the attack, she remembers the kindness Harry once showed to her six years ago and brings him to her estate to heal. Though their relationship begins on rocky footing, it soon mellows into friendship, then trust. But Lady Sabrina needs to keep Harry at a distance, even if he is becoming the kind of man worthy of her heart. After all, she is keeping a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything she's so carefully built.

"Uplifting...Kilpack flips the typical Regency romance script, with the heroine rescuing the hero. Kilpack's strong, upright heroine who finds a way to claim her power in Regency society sets this love story apart. This magnetic tale will appeal to fans of emotional romance."—Publisher’s Weekly 
 “Kilpack takes traditional regency roles and challenges them. She shows how one person can make an impact in the world. I found the story and premise unique.”—Heather Gardner, Fire and Ice
“This is a story of redemption above all else…the ending was perfect.”— Lucinda Whitney, author of Rescuing the Prince

Josi S. Kilpack is the bestselling author of several Proper Romance and Proper Romance Historical series and a Cozy Culinary Mystery series. Her books, A Heart Revealed and Lord Fenton's Folly; were Publishers Weekly Best Romance Books of the Year. She and her husband, Lee, are the parents of four children.



May 04           My Jane Austen Book Club (Guest Blog)
May 04           Historical Fiction with Spirit (Review)
May 04           Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)
May 04           All About Romance (Guest Blog)
May 05           Timeless Novels (Review)
May 05           Literary Time Out (Review)
May 06           For Where Your Treasure Is (Review)
May 06           Courtney Reads Romance (Review)
May 07           Fire and Ice (Excerpt)
May 07           Gwendalyn's Books (Review)
May 08           History Lizzie (Review)
May 08           Wishful Endings (Review)
May 09           Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Spotlight)
May 09           Relz Reviewz (Character spotlight)
May 10           Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)
May 10           Delighted Reader (Excerpt)
May 11           Frolic Media (Guest Blog)
May 11           A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
May 11           Bringing Up Books (Review)
May 12           Lu Reviews Books (Review)
May 13           English Historical Fiction Authors (Guest Blog)
May 13           Adventure. Romance. Suspense (Review)
May 14           Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals (Interview)
May 14           So Little Time…So Much to Read (Spotlight)
May 15           Storybook Reviews (Excerpt)
May 16           The Book Diva’s Reads (Review)
May 16           The Fiction Aficionado (Review)
May 17           Inkwell Inspirations (Spotlight)
May 17           Half Agony, Half Hope (Review)
May 18           Romance Junkies (Guest Blog)
May 18           Christian Chick's Thoughts (Review)
May 18           The Lit Bitch (Review)
May 19           The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Interview)
May 19           Heidi Reads (Review)
May 19           Bookworm Lisa (Excerpt)
May 19           Laura's Reviews (Review)
May 19           Katie's Clean Book Collection (Review)
May 20           The Silver Petticoat Review (Excerpt)
May 20           Joy of Reading (Review)
May 20           Austenesque Reviews (Review)
May 21           The Calico Critic (Spotlight)
May 21           Getting Your Read On (Review)  
May 21           From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)
May 22           Wishful Endings (Interview)

  • Title: Rakes and Roses: A Mayfield Family Romance (Book 3)
  • Proper Romance series
  • Author: Josi S. Kilpack
  • Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Inspirational Fiction
  • Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing (May 5, 2020)


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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.