Monday, August 31, 2020

THE HAUNTING AT BONAVENTURE CIRCUS by Jaime Jo Wright, Reviewed by Nicole, Trixi, and Rebecca #GIVEAWAY

#Giveaway #ReleaseDay Sept 1

Award-winning author Jaime Jo Wright creates another fascinating dual timeline novel with an abandoned train depot, a serial killer, and a thrilling circus storyline. The past and present storylines in The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus collide as the mystery and suspense increase with Jaime Jo Wright’s trademark “creepiness.” Although the beginning of The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus moves at a slower pace, the two equally compelling storylines will capture the readers’ interest throughout the novel. Enjoy your journey to Bonaventure Circus!

Throughout the novel, Jaime Jo Wright emphasizes that we are born with a purpose, and we are seen and loved by God. Her faith elements are always beautifully integrated into her storylines despite the darkness and mystery throughout the novel. For readers who want something different than the typical romantic suspense novels available, Jaime Jo Wright is the author you are looking for.
*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.

An old circus that holds tight to its secrets, a cold case murder and disappearance, two women separated by time, and a haunting tale to keep you awake at night The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus is all that and more!

Jaime Jo Wright's evocative writing style will keep you entranced in the story. She paints pictures in your mind like no other and plunks you in the middle of the pages as if you've stepped through fiction into reality. At least she does this for me every time I read her books! The Bonaventure Circus, at it's very heart, was a lucrative and thriving business in 1928. But it was also full of scandal, secrets, and the need to hide something sinister below the surface. Pippa Ripley, a young woman well associated with feeling that she doesn't belong anywhere craves the need to be a part of something, to belong to someone. Thus the reason she attaches herself to the “Watchman”, a mysterious and elusive man skirting the edges of circus life. Fantasizing that he truly cares for her and watches over her safety, she sneaks around trying to find out who he really is. Only to find something much more than she hoped for and a truth she wasn't ready to face.

In present day, Chandler Faulk only wants to restore the old depot and circus grounds. It's her passion as a real estate project manager working for her uncle. Single mom by day and a woman wrought with fears by night, her only goal is to protect her son and raise him single-handedly. Then she stumbles on a mystery that spans time and could threaten her whole mission for moving to the town of Bluff River, Wisconsin.

Wright brings two seemingly unrelated stories and the lives of two unrelated women together thread by thread, line by line, and clue by clue, slowly building to a stunning conclusion. She sucker-punched me at the ending and left me speechless when the mystery was solved and the pieces fell into place. I don't think anyone would see this coming, how Wright seamlessly weaves the tale of Bonaventure Circus into a beautiful tapestry. My final takeaway—at the very core of this story is the human need to be seen, the desire to be loved, and for someone to truly see you as important just because you exist. Both Pippa and Chandler are two women trying to find their place in the world. They learn at the end they already belong to the One who loves them, cares for them, and has always been cradled in His hands. The spiritual truths in this were deeply moving and lodged in my soul. Wright has a way to speak truth to ones' heart through fictional characters that become real in the readers mind. I've always appreciated her writers voice and the way she connects to her readers.

“Remember, what to us seems like God's biggest errors, to Him they are His largest promises.”

“It was a peaceful thing. The knowing. The knowing that she had never truly been unseen. Maybe it was worth pursuing faith. For in the pursuing, one must come out of hiding and run towards grace. Because it was only grace that would ever truly save.”~Pippa
*I received a complimentary ARC of this book and was under no obligation to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *

"He was her Watchman. But more than that, she belonged to him."

Pippa Ripley has craved a sense of belonging her entire life. Given every advantage and opportunity as the daughter of a wealthy circus owner, she has also been forced to sacrifice the freedom to be seen for who she really is. When odd correspondences from an unknown watcher begin to escalate, Pippa valiantly strives to locate the person standing guard over the secrets of her past. Could a bruised and battered baby elephant become the catalyst for prodding Pippa's painful heritage out of the darkness and into the light? . . . . . or were her ministrations going to prove that just like the elephants, she might be treasured but not loved; for "love sacrificed, whereas a treasure was hoarded".

Real estate developer Chandler Faulk sees the restoration of the grand old circus grounds in Bluff River, Wisconsin as a way to prove herself; to prove that she is not only capable of being a single mother, but proficient enough to handle a large construction project with skill and determination. However, "No one told (her) before she'd recommended the purchase that the abandoned train depot her uncle had invested in was likely the site of an old murder".

"Life was not unlike the wisp of fog that curled around the base of a grave marker" . . . begins the author, creating an enticing aura of uncertainty about things to come. Unlike the eerie call of a siren within the wind, this story bravely beckons its readers to proceed toward danger rather than away from it, ultimately revealing that "what to us seems like God's biggest errors, to Him they are His largest promises".

Once again, Jaime Jo Wright has proven herself to be one of the most brilliant story plotters among authors of romantic suspense. Don't discount the methodical beginning, it only serves to heighten the anticipation of a stunning ending.
*I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.


Welcome to Bonaventure Circus, where misfits go to hide.

In 1928, the Bonaventure Circus has become a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby and is no longer content to leave the reason for that rejection unquestioned. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the "Watchman," she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa's search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Decades later, an old circus train depot's future hangs in the balance--it will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its fate rests on Realtor Chandler Faulk's shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot's history, she's also balancing a newly diagnosed disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.

Bethany House Publishing, Sept. 2020

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus at Amazon
Buy The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus at

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Jaime Jo Wright ( is the author of five novels, including Christy Award winner The House on Foster Hill and Carol Award winner The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her cat named Foo; her husband, Cap'n Hook; and their littles, Peter Pan and CoCo. To learn more, visit

Sunday, August 30, 2020

A DAZZLE OF DIAMONDS by Liz Johnson, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas and Paula Shreckhise

I’ve read many books by Liz Johnson, and they never fail to capture my attention and my imagination. A Dazzle of Diamonds definitely captured my attention with the first paragraph. “Penelope Jean Hunter loved every wedding she’d ever been to. Except her own.” Then it proceeded to capture my imagination with its best friends to more trope. Penelope and Tucker have been best friends for years, and they are both so endearing and charming. They are not without their quirks and flaws, but they are such fun together. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing their relationship develop and change through their adventures.

Liz Johnson writes such deliciously delightful stories filled with wit and charm. The characters and settings come alive on the pages, and I can easily envision them in my mind. This series has been such fun. The books can be read as standalones, but I’ve enjoyed seeing some of the characters from previous books pop up. If you enjoy clean contemporary stories laced with adventure, romance, and a dash of suspense, you won’t be disappointed.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the author and Revell. All opinions are my own.

Penelope Jean Hunter likes to make lists to check off. Well, I do too and this story checks all my boxes:

Favorite trope: childhood friends to more...Check.

Witty words...Check.

Quote: He had been sleeping about as well as a cat in a washing machine.

Strong but flawed heroine, PJ ...Check

Best friend, loyal hero, Tucker...Check.

Quote: He was so tender yet strong. Protective yet empowering. He would do anything for her.

Swoony kisses...Check. Almost a whole page for one kiss!

Dual timeline with a diary from the Civil War... Check.

Age old treasure to find, complete with a spooky tunnel... Check.

Quirky, lovable and wise Aunt Shirley...Check.

Quote: The adventure is in the unknown. God has amazing things in store for you, but if you knew what they were, you would miss out on the anticipation of discovering them.

Biblical lessons...Check.

Quote: Ask God to show you His plan. It will be better than any plan you could make.

This story was so much fun. PJ and Tucker are the cutest couple. It is a great ending to the Georgia Coast Romance series. It can be read as a stand alone. I have been waiting to read this since I read the other two books.

Ms. Johnson sparkles in A Dazzle of Diamonds. I cannot wait to see what her next series is about.
*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.*
I give this 5 stars. It has a medium faith thread but solid.

BackCover Blurb:
Penelope Hunter loves her job as the events manager at one of Savannah's premier historic venues--until her ex-fiancé walks into her office with his new bride-to-be. To make matters worse, a scheming social matriarch is intent on seeing Penelope fired, especially if she insists on being seen with Tucker Westbrook.

Since returning from serving two tours in the Middle East, Tucker has built a thriving security company. His work is nearly as stabilizing as his friendship with Penelope, who has been by his side since childhood. But when the lone candidate for county sheriff goads him, Tucker loses his cool and ends up on the ballot--and on the receiving end of a smear campaign claiming the Westbrooks were traitors to the South.

To clear his name, Tucker and Penelope must join forces to find the truth behind a 150-year-old lost treasure. But the more time they spend together, the closer she comes to losing her job--and falling helplessly in love.

Revell Publishing, August 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and hardcover:
Buy A Dazzle of Diamonds at Amazon
Buy A Dazzle of Diamonds at

Saturday, August 29, 2020

TOMORROW'S SHINING DREAM by Naomi Rawlings, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

Naomi Rawlings knows how to deliver a charming western historical romance complete with lots of suspense and adventure. The main characters are realistic and endearing, and the stellar cast of secondary characters adds to the enjoyment of the tale. Charlotte Westin is a lovable heroine who is quite independent but lacks some of the social graces she thinks she needs to win a husband. Sheriff Daniel Harding has loved Charlotte for years but thinks he’s not good enough for her. When she asks him for flirting lessons, he reluctantly agrees to help her.
Themes of forgiveness of self and others, the importance of love in a relationship, and the worth of each person, give the story added depth and dimension. Tomorrow's Shining Dream is the second book in Rawlings’ Texas Promise series, but it can be read alone. There are appearances of characters from the first book and a few loose ends that I feel will probably be tied up in the next book. I’m looking forward to another adventure from this author soon.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions are my own.

BackCover Blurb:
She needs to learn how to flirt. He needs to forget she exists. Then she asks him for help finding a husband… What could possibly go wrong?

Charlotte Westin has always been more comfortable in a saddle than a ballroom. That wouldn’t be a problem, except her father owns the largest ranch in Texas—and he insists she marry a wealthy city-slicker worthy of a cattle baron’s daughter. There might be someone out there who’d love her for who she is instead of her money, but she’s been fooled by a sweet talker before, and her family is still suffering because of it.

With an old friend-turned-enemy returning to town and cattle rustlers running roughshod over the county, Sheriff Daniel Harding knows the last thing he should be thinking about is a woman… especially the one woman he’ll never be able to marry. Then Charlotte Westin asks for his help, and Daniel can’t refuse. Until he finds out exactly what she wants…

When Charlotte comes to Daniel with a plan to find herself a husband, Daniel is forced to face his feelings for her—as well as some past mistakes of his own. But as the rustlers grow more dangerous, Charlotte’s father takes drastic steps to engage her to a man she doesn’t love. And Charlotte and Daniel soon find themselves caught between the burdens from their pasts and others’ expectations. Will they let their past choices ruin their dreams? Or will Charlotte and Daniel embrace God’s forgiveness and forge a happy future for themselves?

Cedar Lake Press, April 2020
Available in digital ebook and papeback:
Buy Tomorrow's Shining Dream at Amazon

Friday, August 28, 2020

DON'T KEEP SILENT by Elizabeth Goddard, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

With a setting in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Wyoming, a cast of emotionally layered, engaging main characters, and a bigger cast of characters of questionable integrity, Elizabeth Goddard has penned a fantastic finale to her series.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting Liam McKade’s story after reading the first two books of this series about his brothers. Life with the McKade brothers is never dull, and Liam is no exception. His past history with investigative reporter Rae Burke lead to a near disaster, and he has no desire to get involved with her again, but when she shows up seeking his help, he can’t turn her down. Rae is courageous, compassionate, but a little headstrong and impulsive, and Liam has his hands full trying to help her find her missing sister-in-law while also trying to keep Rae and himself alive.

Filled with heart-stopping suspense, intrigue, a dash of romance, and lots of action, Don't Keep Silent kept me guessing through all the twists and turns. Although it’s the last in her Uncommon Justice series, it can be read as a stand alone book. I enjoyed the short appearances of a few former characters from the first two stories of the series.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
See Trixi's Review!
See Nicole's Review!
See Paula's Review!

BackCover Blurb:

Justice comes easy for these two. But forgiveness? That's another matter altogether.

Investigative reporter Rae Burke will do anything to find her missing sister-in-law, even if it means facing Liam McKade, a man who almost lost his life saving hers. A former DEA agent, Liam thought he could find peace at his Wyoming ranch, but he doesn't feel at home anywhere anymore. When the reporter who blew his cover on an important investigation inserts herself back into his life, he's less than thrilled. But Rae's keen investigative skills have led her down the right path--and directly into the dragon's mouth--leaving Liam no choice but to protect her.

As the danger increases, the past they both tried to flee catches up to them, along with the feelings they once had for each other . . .

Revell Publishing, June 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook: 

Buy Don't Keep Silent at Amazon
Buy Don't Keep Silent at

Thursday, August 27, 2020

REMEMBERING THE COWBOY by Mandi Blake, Reviewed by Kim

Remembering the Cowboy is my first Mandi Blake story. It will not be my last! This story is full of romance, forgiveness, and a bit of intrigue. I loved the writing style and the introduction of the characters that start to set us up for the remaining stories in this series. I can’t wait to find out which Harding brother (or cousin?) is next!
Camille and Noah were high school sweethearts until something went mysteriously wrong. Camille is on her way back home to find out exactly what happened between her and Noah. On her way, she is in a car wreck which makes her have some memory loss.

You could literally feel Noah’s love for Camille while reading this story! I loved how even though Camille has some memory loss, she connected with and knew there was something special between her and Noah the “first” time they met. I really enjoyed how their romance developed as Camille slowly regains her memory.

I loved the theme of forgiveness in this story, while I did feel like it happened a bit fast, I love the message! I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in this series as well as Mandi Blake’s backlist!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. The faith element is light. 

BackCover Blurb:
They have unfinished business. She just can’t remember what it is.
Camille Vanderbilt is headed back home to Wyoming with one goal: find her old best friend and give him a piece of her mind for ghosting her six years ago. She won’t let anyone stand in her way… until a deer runs into the road and causes her to wreck and forget almost everything. 

Noah Harding lives a simple life as a firefighter and rancher until Camille crashes back into his life. When a call at the fire station sends him to save his old best friend’s life, he thinks he might get a second chance until her influential stepdad gives a reminder that his old threats still stand. 

When Camille runs into Noah in town, she knows he’s important to her, but her memories are still fuzzy. 

Noah is hesitant to get close to her when it means having to sacrifice everything to be with her. 

She thinks it’s a new beginning, but he knows it shouldn’t have ever ended. 

When the threats are carried out, who will be left hurting at Blackwater Ranch?

Remembering the Cowboy is the first book in the Christian Blackwater Ranch series.

Available in digital ebook and  paperback:
Buy Remembering the Cowboy at Amazon


Tuesday, August 25, 2020

AS EASY AS CHERRY PIE by Bell Renshaw, Reviewed by Kim

Bell Renshaw’s stories always remind me of a Hallmark movie! They are always sweet romances that take place in perfect small towns! I enjoyed going back to Justin Harbor!
Maggie owns a bakery that needs to be expanded and Fletcher is the guy for the job. While mishaps abound, Fletcher and Maggie try to figure out if they are meant to be together. I liked both Fletcher and Maggie as they both have a heart to help those in need. Sometimes  Fletcher’s reactions did seem a bit immature. I also had an issue with part of a thread in this story that, to me, seemed unrealistic. I wasn’t sure what message I was supposed to take away from it, so it kind of took me out of the story a bit.

If you are in the mood for a sweet Hallmark type romance, I’d suggest any of Bell Renshaw’s stories!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. The faith thread is light.

BackCover Blurb:
Maggie Petten has perfected the perfect pie—at least that’s what everyone who tastes her confections says. After years of hard work and thousands of pounds of sugar and flour, she’s presented with an opportunity to see her business grow. One that might just be too much for her tiny shop to handle.

Fletcher Knight can’t say no to those in need. When his father died, he found himself not only in charge of the family’s contracting business but also his younger brother. Certain he was prepared for the challenge, Fletcher learns the hard way that his kindness might be his weakness. After a few financial hits, the family business and his life are close to ruin, but once again, he finds it impossible to resist Maggie Petten.

Maggie isn’t in a position to be picky, but is she ready to work with Fletcher? After all, he was her worst (and best) first date experience a year ago, but his silence since then speaks volumes. Can she risk a few weeks of discomfort working with the man who might still own a slice of her heart if it gets her closer to her dream? Or is it safer to let the dream go?

When the project begins, discomfort is only the beginning. Things turn from awkward to disastrous leaving Maggie and Fletcher questioning their working relationship and more. As they work to overcome the difficulties and setbacks life and business throws at them, they begin to realize their differences make them a great team and together their success may cross from professional to personal.

Journey back to the small, coastal town of Justin Harbor, Oregon and let the warm, salty air surround you as this couple trips and stumbles into love.

August 2020
Available in digital ebook at Amazon

Sunday, August 23, 2020

SET THE STARS ALIGHT by Amanda Dykes, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"I can't shake the feeling that we've somehow found ourselves right smack in the middle of one of his tales. But instead of hearing it, we're living it."

Lucy Claremont's beloved father was a story teller extraordinaire. Mesmerizing his young daughter and her best friend Dashel Greene with fireside compendiums, Lucy and Dash often wondered where the truth disappeared and the fairy tale began. Eventually Dash left London to follow his dreams and Lucy became stuck in hers, until in the midst of crippling grief hope reappears and an age-old mystery grabs hold of her heart. It seems that the old watch maker knew how to "set the stars alight", after all.

What a luscious story! Impossible to describe, yet quite impossible to ignore. Words sing off every page, while harmonizing with characters who are so beautifully painted into their settings that readers will instinctively gape at their loveliness. The height and depth of this story's implications are immeasurable, for "God is the pursuer of your heart, Lucy, . . . . In every sunset, in every snatch of birdsong. In everything that stirs deep into you and makes you hungry for bigger, eternal things. . . . . He is there, filling your soul, giving you breath."

This author has the unique ability to take what is seen, and gently fashion it into an imprint of what is unseen, in order to leave a lasting impression on the hearts of her readers in a deeply personal way. It will be nearly impossible to gaze into the heavens, without recalling this story. This is one of the most beautifully written stories that I have ever read. Sure to be a top-tenner!
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 

See Paula and Winnie's Review

BackCover Blurb:
Lucy Clairmont's family treasured the magic of the past, and her childhood fascination with stories of the high seas led her to become a marine archaeologist. But when tragedy strikes, it's Dashel, an American forensic astronomer, and his knowledge of the stars that may help her unearth the truth behind the puzzle she's discovered in her family home.

Two hundred years earlier, the seeds of love are sown between a boy and a girl who spend their days playing in a secret sea cave, while the privileged young son of the estate looks on, wishing to join. As the children grow and war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, a story of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption unfolds, held secret by the passage of time.

As Lucy and Dash journey to a mysterious old estate on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers--and the healing--they so desperately seek.

Bethany House Publishers June 2020

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Set the Stars Alight at Amazon
Buy Set the Stars Alight at

Saturday, August 22, 2020

LEAVING CAROLINA by Tamara Leigh, Reviewed by Kim

I haven’t read a Tamara Leigh novel that I haven’t loved! I don’t have a ton of auto-buy authors, but she is definitely one of them! And if you like audiobooks, hers are the best! Her narrator is amazing! She adds so much character personality to the story!
My favorite things about Ms. Leigh’s stories are her humor and her character development. This story is filled with laugh out loud moments, yet it also has a much deeper side to it too. Piper’s story is all about forgiving others and admitting past wrongs. Axel was the perfect match for Piper as she let go of her past and formed new relationships.

If you’ve never read a Tamara Leigh novel, I highly recommend anything by her! I love her medievals and medieval is probably my least favorite time period! Her writing is stellar! *I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. The faith thread is light. 

Back Cover Blurb:
Piper Wick left her hometown of Pickwick, North Carolina twelve years ago, shook the dust off her feet, ditched her drawl and her family name, and made a new life for herself as a high- powered public relations consultant in Los Angeles. She’s even engaged to be engaged to the picture-perfect U.S. Congressman Grant Spangler.

Now all of Piper’s hard-won happiness is threatened by a reclusive uncle’s bout of conscience. In the wake of a health scare, Uncle Obadiah Pickwick has decided to change his will, leaving money to make amends for four generations’ worth of family misdeeds. But that will reveal all the Pickwicks’ secrets, including Piper’s.

Though Piper arrives in Pickwick primed for battle, she is unprepared for Uncle Obe’s rugged, blue-eyed gardener. So just who is Axel Smith? Why does he think making amends is about more than just making restitution? And why, oh why, can’t she stay on task? With God’s help, Piper is about to discover that although good PR might smooth things over, only the truth will set her free.

August 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:
Buy Leaving Carolina at Amazon


Friday, August 21, 2020

THE SHOPKEEPER'S WIDOW by Izzy James, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #ReleaseAug20

This story takes place in 1774, Norfolk, Virginia, a volatile time in our National history. Delany Flint is a former indentured servant who is now a widow and owner of extensive properties. She is fearful that the English will destroy or seize her shop and house. Delany departs for her other holdings in a more remote place. But trouble follows her. She is adamantly anti-slavery, having allowed her indentured servants to purchase their freedom for a nominal sum and giving them land.

Field Archer is a landowner, who is heir to a vast plantation. He is a patriot who will stand up for the Colony. He is torn about the question of slavery. It is a crime to free slaves. He cannot fathom the logistics of such an act, although he agrees with the principle that no one should own another human being. Delany and Field have known each other since childhood. But new circumstances threaten their connection.

This was a very interesting glimpse into Colonial times. Delany is shown to be independent but still needs protection. Field wants to provide that protection. He is loyal and in his own way fights for the cause of liberty. Ms. James has a way with words that puts you in the story. She writes her villains with a nastiness that has you rooting for the hero and heroine. She shows the age old quest for power but also shows the value of independence and true freedom. Faith is clearly portrayed and the Christian World View is depicted. A takeaway is: when you surrender to Christ, you find your worth in Him.

If you like stories set in Colonial America, I highly recommend this book. I have found a new historical Christian Fiction author! I look forward to reading more from Ms. James.
*I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.* I give this book 5 stars. A strong faith thread. 

BackCover Blurb:
Delany Fleet, a widowed former indentured servant living in the colonial port of Norfolk, Virginia, dreams of having an estate of her own where she will never have to compromise her freedom.

When the only man she ever loved shows up with a load of smuggled firearms, Delany is forced to leave her home and her livelihood to protect her family and property from Lord Dunmore's raids and the conniving plots of a man who claims to be her friend.

Now, with her destiny forever altered, Delany must find a new way to happiness. Can reconnecting with her husband's family and a former love be the path that God has for her?

WhiteRose Publishing, August 2020
Available in digital ebook at Amazon

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Ane Mulligan Visits! IN HIGH COTTON Reviews by Paula and Trixi

When people learn I’m an author, they want to know what kind of books I write. My brand is Southern-fried fiction. In all my books, no matter what era they’re set in, you’ll find an ensemble cast of strong women, facing life’s issues together.

I grew up wanting sisters. I only had a brother; both of us were adopted. While we had an idyllic childhood, I longed for sisters. I gathered girl friends around me in place of nonexistent sisters. That continued into adulthood, and those friendships influenced my writing. Of course, little did I know what God had in store for me. The story of my discovery of my birth sisters is here on my website.

In High Cotton is the first in my Georgia Magnolias series. It’s probably my favorite of all the books I’ve written. I love this story of a young widow, raising her small son during the Depression. I also grew to love the other characters, who took on life as Maggie gathered them around her.

Sadie Moreland, half Yamasee Indian, who became a mentor to Maggie. Duchess Alden, Maggie’s sister, who arrived in Rivers End without any skills other than being a good hostess.

Then there’s sweet Pinkie Yates. Maggie’s little boy found her and beaten and battered. He told his mama he’s like the Good Samaritan in the Bible, and they had to take her home. Maggie’s mother-in-law, Faylene, is a tower of strength.

I’ve had a lot of fun researching and writing this series. One of my favorite aspects of this was the Depression era recipes. Southerners used peanuts as a staple protein in their family meals, and I tried a few out on my family. I share several recipes in the book, and I thought y’all might enjoy seeing one of them.

Macaroni Papoose

1 package macaroni, broken in ¼-inch lengths

1/3 c milk

grated cheese

small amount horseradish

thin slices raw smoked ham

Cook macaroni until tender, spread slices of ham with macaroni, horseradish and cheese.

Roll slices and skewer or tie together. Place in shallow baking dish with milk.

Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) for 35 minutes. Serve hot with dish of crushed pineapple to sprinkle over each “papoose” as desired.

If you’d like to read the first chapter of In High Cotton, go to and scroll to the DOWNLOADS

Ane Mulligan has been a voracious reader ever since her mom instilled within her a love of reading at age three, escaping into worlds otherwise unknown. But when Ane saw PETER PAN on stage, she was struck with a fever from which she never recovered—stage fever. She submerged herself in drama through high school and college. One day, her two loves collided, and a bestselling, award-winning novelist emerged. She lives in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler. Find Ane on her website, Amazon Author page, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and The Write Conversation. 

In High Cotton
Southern women may look as delicate as flowers, but there’s iron in their veins.


While the rest of the world has been roaring through the 1920s, times are hardscrabble in rural South Georgia. Widow Maggie Parker is barely surviving while raising her young son alone. Then as banks begin to fail, her father-in-law threatens to take her son and sell off her livelihood—the grocery store her husband left her. Can five Southern women band together, using their wisdom and wiles to stop him and survive the Great Depression?

Available online at Amazon, LPCBooks, Target, and in bookstores.

Mulligan pens a story full of southern charm with a cast of characters in a cute Georgia town you won't easily forget. Makes me want to sit down with the lot of them for a glass of sweet tea. — New York Times Bestselling Author, Rachel Hauck

“What was the last book that kept you up until the wee hours of the morning? Last time I looked at the clock it was almost 2am and I was reading Ane Mulligan's "In High Cotton" which comes out Aug 3, 2020! I had to force myself to put a bookmark in my Kindle.” Mimi Noble on Avid Readers of Christian Fiction

Delightful story of a band of women in a small Georgia town and how they cope during the depression.

Maggie Parker: “As I look around this table, I’m proud of my family. We may be ahead of our time, but I cannot help but think this is what heaven will be like. All colors of people sitting together in fellowship, sharing a meal”

The thing that struck me and can be applied to any situation is that these women relied on God in good times and bad. It is sweet when Maggie writes stories from the Bible for her son, Barry. He, in turn, learns the lesson of the Good Samaritan and jumps in to apply it readily. No matter what happens to thwart Maggie and her family, or what doubts creep in, she sees God provide. And each woman is just the one to add their expertise to the makeshift family, drawing on gifts and strengths that adversity brings out in them.

I absolutely loved going back to this time period to experience the joys and sorrows and hearing the quaint sayings of the era.
*I received a complimentary ecopy of book from the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

“In all the ways that matter—love, family, and friends—we are indeed blessed and surely in high cotton.”

This is a charming small town story set in South Georgia during the depression era, just before the year turned to 1930. It tells of Maggie Parker and her young son Barry just trying to survive alone and keep the grocery store her late husband left her. Times are hard, money is scarce but there's no lack of love when it comes to her son and doing what needs to be done to take care of him. Then when she takes in her sister Duchess and a young woman named Pinkie, things get really interesting from there! We also meet Sadie who plays a huge role in the story. I love the camaraderie between them, how they stick close to one another, helping where they can and supporting each other in any way they know how.

It was a fascinating look at small town life, with small town charm and even touches on prejudices of the historical time. Women were still looked down on, but I love the grit and steel Maggie showed. She didn't cow to her Father-in-law or other men when they came against her. I also loved how Duchess, Pinkie, and Sadie band together when times get tough, each woman lending their own skills and knowledge to the mix. They relied on each other and turned towards the Lord when things got to be too much. I really enjoyed seeing how faith played out in their lives!

“Southern women stick together. Got to lend each other some iron now and then.”

“Sadie's always says, “Southern women may seem delicate as flowers, but we've got iron in our veins.””

I loved this look back in history and how Mulligan portrayed the Depression era. I wouldn't have wanted to live through it, but it gave me a better appreciation for those who did. My grandma was one who did and I understand her so much better. There's also “Maggie's Household Hints” at the back of the book; all sorts of old-fashioned cleaning remedies that I might just try myself! This is just such a great book that I felt immersed in the story. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it!
*I received a complimentary copy from the author and wasn't obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

THE PRICE OF DREAMS by Toni Shiloh, Reviewed by Nicole Cook #ReleaseDay Aug18

"Striving for perfection, for the dream of ballet had left me without anyone to share my accomplishments with. Sure, I had my family and friends, but no one who was just mine. It was hard to see what the price of my dream truly was."

The Price of Dreams is the third book in Toni Shiloh’s new Christian Chick Lit series, Faith & Fortune. Although this book could be read as a standalone, it is recommended that the Faith & Fortune series be read in order, starting with The Trouble With Love, since the characters and storylines continue throughout the series.

 In The Price of Dreams, principal ballerina Octavia Ricci’s devastating injury may have ended her ballet career. With the help of physical therapist Dr. Noah Wright, Tavia is determined not to let her injury sideline her forever as sparks begin to fly between the two.

The Price of Dreams deals with topics that continue to remain relevant in today’s society, such as the struggles of interracial relationships and the acceptance of those relationships or lack thereof from family and society as a whole. Tavia’s experiences growing up with an African American mother and a white Italian father showed her the difficulties of interracial relationships at a very young age. Through the characters’ struggles, Toni Shiloh beautifully incorporated faith elements in to the storyline.

The friendly banter between Noah and Tavia was so entertaining to read, and I loved the bits of humor throughout the book. Toni Shiloh’s characters are so well developed and seem real to me. I wish I could be friends with Holiday, Tori, and Octavia and be a fourth roommate in their townhouse. Although I loved all of Toni Shiloh’s books, this series is definitely my favorite of hers!

The Price of Dreams is highly recommended for readers of inspirational fiction. If you haven’t read this series yet, you need to add it to your TBR list right away!

“It’s one of the reasons I love being a Christian – the chance to drop all labels and just be a child of God.”

*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.

The faith element rating for this book is a 3 (strong faith content).

Ballet has always been my life, but one terrible moment may have destroyed everything I’ve worked so hard for—especially my title of Octavia Ricci, principal ballerina. I thought for sure my physical therapist, Dr. Noah Wright, could help me obtain my dream once more, but he wants more than I’m prepared to give.

I’ve seen firsthand the trials of interracial relationships. I’m a product of one myself and promised I’d never put my hopefully-someday kids through that drama. Everyone keeps telling me to let go of other people’s expectations, but I’m just not sure I can. Besides, if my dreams of returning to ballet are futile, what hope is there in seeking unconditional love?

The Price of Dreams is the third and final book in the Christian Chick Lit series: Faith & Fortune. 

Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy The Price of Dreams at Amazon

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and multi-published Christian contemporary romance author. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. Her novel, Grace Restored, was a 2019 Holt Medallion finalist and Risking Love is a 2020 Selah Award finalist.

A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and of the Virginia Chapter, Toni seeks to help readers find authors. She loves connecting with readers and authors alike via social media. You can learn more about her writing at

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