Sunday, November 28, 2021

THE PARIS DRESSMAKER by Kristy Cambron, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"For the lives lost, the lives lived, the lives yet to come . . . may we never forget."

"Her options were run and die, or stop, risk, and pray"; albeit, the dressmaker was in a fight for her life. How had it come to this? From circling through-out Paris' renowned world of couture to being forced to disguise everything about herself, Lila de Laurent desperately hoists herself into the back of a delivery truck; bleeding, disoriented, and shocked beyond measure to hear a voice from the dead.

Sandrine Paquet's life had become a prison void of walls or bars. Persuaded by a German captain to assist in cataloging priceless pieces of Jewish art, her paltry employment opportunity did allow her to contribute towards her family's survival, but it came with a price; terrible misunderstanding by neighbors and friends, along with unwanted attention from the arrogant captain; however, Sandrine did what was expected, until she was given the opportunity to do more.

The French Resistance movement is a fascinating study in and of itself. Brought vividly back to life through the lives of these particular characters, "The Paris Dressmaker" designs a stunning display of bravery and courage, highlighting the role many women played in supporting the fight for life, liberty and justice for all.

The author sums it up best by concluding, "If this - or any other story - has moved you to use your life for Jesus Christ, to build up the body of believers in the Church, to speak life and grace and truth over the brethren in a way that unburdens the journey of even one soul on this earth . . . love wins the battle". 

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

BackCover Blurb:
Based on true accounts of how Parisiennes resisted the Nazi occupation in World War II—from fashion houses to the city streets—comes a story of two courageous women who risked everything to fight an evil they couldn’t abide.

Paris, 1939. Maison Chanel has closed, thrusting haute couture dressmaker Lila de Laurent out of the world of high fashion as Nazi soldiers invade the streets and the City of Lights slips into darkness. Lila’s life is now a series of rations, brutal restrictions, and carefully controlled propaganda while Paris is cut off from the rest of the world. Yet in hidden corners of the city, the faithful pledge to resist. Lila is drawn to La Resistance and is soon using her skills as a dressmaker to infiltrate the Nazi elite. She takes their measurements and designs masterpieces, all while collecting secrets in the glamorous Hôtel Ritz—the heart of the Nazis’ Parisian headquarters. But when dashing René Touliard suddenly reenters her world, Lila finds her heart tangled between determination to help save his Jewish family and bolstering the fight for liberation.

Paris, 1943. Sandrine Paquet’s job is to catalog the priceless works of art bound for the Führer’s Berlin, masterpieces stolen from prominent Jewish families. But behind closed doors, she secretly forages for information from the underground resistance. Beneath her compliant façade lies a woman bent on uncovering the fate of her missing husband . . . but at what cost? As Hitler’s regime crumbles, Sandrine is drawn in deeper when she uncrates an exquisite blush Chanel gown concealing a cryptic message that may reveal the fate of a dressmaker who vanished from within the fashion elite.

Told across the span of the Nazi occupation, The Paris Dressmaker highlights the brave women who used everything in their power to resist darkness and restore light to their world.

Thomas Nelson Publishing, February, 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding, and audiobook:

 

THE LOST DUTCHMAN'S SECRET by Rebekah Jones, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

Rumplestiltskin told 1920s style.

“To continue to dwell over and over on what you should or should not have done will change nothing. To continue to wallow in guilt seems to suggest that Christ’s blood is not enough.” “It is enough.” “Then let it be enough.”

What I liked about this retelling was the strong faith thread and how Dorothy was sheltered but had a living faith. Artie was also a Christian and tried his best to be a good son, brother and friend, being resourceful and caring for others. Dorothy trusted God but reluctantly trusted people. We see her grow spiritually and make friends through an unusual request. Her father was not likable, passing on his debt for Dorothy to repay, essentially abdicating his responsibility as a protecting father. It got bogged down a bit when Dorothy walked back and forth to Apache Junction and the Superstition Mountains.

A take away from this story was that searching for gold and the Lost Dutchman mine was all consuming for some and led to destruction. But those who had pure motives succeeded and did not crave wealth.

I am enjoying these fairytale retellings set in the 1920s.
*I received a complimentary ebook from Celebrate Lit. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*4 stars and a solid faith thread 

BackCover Blurb:
There’s a deadly secret in them thar hills—and gold, or so they say.

Deeply in debt to a wealthy local, Charles Sinclair, Dorothy Hodges’ father finally promises she’ll pay and in gold, no less. If only Dorothy could take to take the promises he spins out of thin air and turn them into that gold, all would be well.

With the help of a strange, rumpled man, Dorothy does manage to bring payment to one of Sinclair’s sons only to discover it won’t pay off the debt. Will the next payment be enough? The next?

When Charles Sinclair ends up dead, Dorothy is the obvious prime suspect, but Sinclair’s son isn’t so certain. Together they work to clear her name and find the real murderer of the Superstitions, but will they find the answers buried in those hills?Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. The Lost Dutchman’s Secret offers a retelling of “Rumplestilskin” that requires more digging than a miner searching for The Lost Dutchman Mine.

Celebrate Lit Publishing, November, 2021

Saturday, November 27, 2021

LOVE ON THE RANGE by Mary Connealy, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

Mary Connealy has wrapped up her Brothers in Arms series with an exciting conclusion. This time it was brother Wyatt who woos Molly Garner. We finally get answers to what was going on with Oliver Hawkins at his ranch and family secrets and connections become clear. With humor, Ms Connealy showcases the women and their various skills from cooking to shooting. The theme of the story is how to honor God while trying to honor dishonorable parents. As always, faith drives the brothers and their wives and Godly principles are shown throughout the story. The family connections in this series were a bit hard to understand at the beginning but that added to the suspense and was interesting to unravel.

What started out as wary, surprise kinfolk ended up as a tight knit family living out their faith in harmony.

If you like cowboy adventures, be sure and read Brothers in Arms.
*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.*4 stars and a solid faith thread

See Winnie's Review

BackCover Blurb:
Falling for someone who doesn't want to get married is soon be the least of his concerns.

While his brothers and their new wives search for who shot him, Wyatt Hunt is temporarily bedridden and completely miserable. Somehow Molly Garner's limited skills have made her the most qualified in their circle to care for Wyatt. But by the time he's healed, she's fed up with him and the whole ungrateful family. For even worse than his grumpiness were the few unguarded moments when he pulled at her heartstrings, and she has been long determined to never repeat her mother's mistakes.

When alternate plans of finding her own independent life fall through, Molly volunteers to work for the Pinkertons and help investigate nearby ranch owner Oliver Hawkins. She signs on to be his housekeeper, hoping to find clues to prove his nefarious, and possibly murderous, past. Wyatt refuses to let her risk it alone and offers to act as Hawkins's new foreman.

But when another Pinkerton agent gets shot, they realize Hawkins isn't the only danger. The Hunt brothers will have to band together to face all the troubles of life and love that suddenly surround them.

Bethany House Publishing, October 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Love on the Range at Amazon
Buy Love on the Range at Christianbook.com
Buy Love on the Range at Baker Book House

Friday, November 26, 2021

THE INN ON HANGING HILL by Christy Barritt, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"What was going on in this town? Why did it seem like everyone had a secret . . . "

Maybe, just maybe . . . because they did?

It began fifteen years earlier for Lindsey Waters. On one fateful night, an innocent act of disobedience turned into a nightmare for Lindsey and her friend Benjamin Newsom. Apparently the small community surrounding her family's ocean-side inn had never forgotten the traumatic event, while Lindsey had never been able to fully remember. And now she was back. Clearly someone didn't appreciate her return to the dilapidated Hidden Shores Inn, for the note had read, "Get out while you can". Thank goodness for Benjamin, he was back as well.

Working together on the inn's renovation brought back memories for both of them; but until, and unless, the old place gave up its secrets, a total restoration might remain just out of reach, for . . . "it seemed like they had stepped into the middle of a real life thriller movie" . . . the question became . . . could they step out?

What an interesting story . . . lots of questions, very few answers, and more than one suspect. One of my very favorite books by this author and there have been many! 

*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.

BackCover Blurb:
Lindsey Waters never wanted to return to the seaside inn where she grew up. Too many traumatic memories haunt the place, both from her childhood and from days gone by. But with guilt relentlessly chasing her after a tragic choice, she’s desperate for a fresh start.

Mysterious incidents begin plaguing the inn—dangerous incidents—that make it clear someone wants to scare Lindsey away. But why? Does it have anything to do with the two weeks missing from her memory when she was abducted at age twelve?

Childhood friend Benjamin Newsom seems like an answer to prayer when he shows up to work as a handyman. But something is different about him, something Lindsey can’t put her finger on. She’s certain Benjamin harbors secrets.

As peril continues to close in, Lindsey must decide if she wants to face her past or run. She doesn’t know whom she can trust, and whatever choices she makes will determine if she lives or if she becomes part of the inn’s tragic legacy.

River Heights Publishing, September 2021

Thursday, November 25, 2021

HAVE YOURSELF A CHRISTIANSEN CHRISTMAS by Susan May Warren, Reviewed by Nicole Cook #ReleaseDay

"Hope is the one thing that we have to give when the world is at its darkest."

Author Susan May Warren has created a truly wonderful Christmas gift for her longtime readers! Have Yourself a Christiansen Christmas brings back the entire Christiansen family in a heartwarming return to Deep Haven. So many emotions throughout this story...from sadness to pure joy as the Christiansen family realizes all of their "ordinary moments that add up to an extraordinary life." This novella is such a beautiful tale of God's love for us and the perfect book for this holiday season.

At the end of the novella, the preview for Susan May Warren's upcoming January 2022 release Sunrise, book one in the Sky King Ranch series, has me so excited for what she has in store for readers next...

"Wake up ladies, the Kingston brothers are back in town."


*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.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Please…come home for Christmas…

It's Christmas in the winter wonderland town of Deep Haven, and the Christiansen kids are all heading home for the holidays. But no one feels very merry.
-Grace is worried about her husband's life-changing illness…
-Eden is facing devastating news…
-Casper is in over his head (of course!)…
-Amelia is dodging a walk down the aisle…
-Owen…well, Owen just nearly died, again…
-But it's Darek who has news that just might destroy the family legacy.
The trip home for all is filled with secrets, memories and old dreams. But when they discover the real reason they've been asked home for the holidays, it will shake their world. It'll take a disaster for them to discover that home is the place for answers, hope and most of all…miracles.

This year, spend Christmas with your favorite small town family.

November 25, 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and hardcover:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 85 novels with more than 1 million books sold, including the Global Search and Rescue and the Montana Rescue series, as well as Sunrise. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers' Choice Awards, Susan makes her home in Minnesota. Find her online at www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook @SusanMayWarrenFiction, and on Twitter @SusanMayWarren.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

CHRISTMAS AT THE INN by Ashley Clark, Reviewed by Kim


Christmas at the Inn by Ashley Clark is the perfect novella to get you in the mood for Christmas! It’s charming, sweet, funny and full of southern charm! It also has great main characters that have you rooting for them from the start.

This is a fake relationship story that quickly turns into more. I loved returning to Fairhope and Millie’s Inn, but If you haven’t read this series, this reads well as a standalone.

If you’re looking for a quick sweet read that’ll get in you the mood for Christmas, this is it!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. 

BackCover Blurb:

Fairhope, Alabama. 1952.

Take a trip to Millie's Boardinghouse this Christmas...

When Walter and Violet fake a relationship for the sake of their families, they find themselves in a surprising situation under the mistletoe thanks to Millie, the inn's owner.

But just as sparks begin to fly and Walter prepares to confess his feelings, he gets news from his family that will have both he and Violet reevaluating what they really want this Christmas... and for their future.

Fans of The Dress Shop on King Street will enjoy this sweet, historical romance set during Millie's first Christmas as a mother.

Story Time Press, October, 2021

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

YOU AND ME By Becky Wade, Reviewed by Nicole Cook #ReleaseDay #Giveaway


What a sweet heartwarming Christmas novella! Fans of Becky Wade's will love this Christmas tale with cameos of favorite characters from her Misty River Romance series. I have been waiting for Luke's story ever since book one of the series, and with his brief appearance in this novella, the anticipation continues to grow!

The storyline was perfectly paced, and readers will be rooting for Connor and Shay to have their happy ending. Beautiful spiritual messages are incorporated throughout the novella, including a live nativity that several of the characters participated in. You and Me will definitely get readers in the Christmas spirit and is recommended for fans of contemporary romance!
*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.

GIVEAWAY!!!
Nicole ordered a signed copy before realizing she would receive one from the author. She is generously offering a signed paperback to one of our readers (48 US States). PLEASE COMMENT on the blog and leave your email address (safely ! Example  debra (at) internet dot com) and we will do a random drawing  on December 6th. IN YOUR COMMENT, tell us if you'd like to see a "crush" from your youth... face to face... or from afar.  Or tell us the name of a friend you might loan this signed paperback to... and will she give it back? :)
 
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Easy-going, artistic Connor Bryant fell hard for his friend Shay Seaver when they were both in the seventh grade. Now, sixteen years later, he's returned to Misty River. She's finally between boyfriends. And his crush on her hasn't wavered. Now's his chance.

He tells Shay that he's found someone he wants to date and is in need of a makeover when it comes to his appearance and dating strategies. He asks if she'll serve as his consultant -- in hopes that he'll learn how he can become her ideal man. What he doesn't tell her? That she's the one he wants to date.

Sporty stationery shop owner Shay immediately agrees to Connor's request because he's one of the best guys she knows. However, she quickly realizes she's in over her head. She's pledged to help him win the affection of another woman -- even though she dearly wants to claim his heart.

It's Christmas in the mountain town of Misty River! This sweet contemporary romance novella, penned by Christy-winning author Becky Wade, can be read alone or paired with the other books in the series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Becky Wade (www.beckywade.com) is the 2018 Christy Award Book of the Year winner for True to You. She is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and moved to Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her children. When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. Her humorous, heart-pounding contemporary romance novels have won three Christy Awards, the Carol Award, the INSPY Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award for Romance. Becky lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and three children.

Monday, November 22, 2021

HEART IN THE HIGHLANDS by Heidi Kimball, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney


"I plight thee my troth."

If only every promise could be kept, every vow honored and every union proven steadfast, for while love is essentially brave and courageous, it is rarely perfect, nor was it truly meant to be. Tragically, Lady Katherine found herself and her future pledged to a man who, in spite of his intentions, and amorous affection, had broken her trust. Hopes and dreams had wilted within the shadows of loneliness as her extended grief over her husband's desertion, coupled with the loss of her beloved grandfather, followed Katie into every space of the picturesque cottage she had inherited. "Of one thing she was certain: she was utterly and completely alone."

Then along came Callum. Again. Her lawful husband. Lord Rowand. The future Duke of Edinbane. "What more could the man want?", than he had already taken, and that she had innocently given.

"Love is brave. And bold. And provides no guarantees. . . When you learn to love someone in all their imperfections, only then will your heart truly be full."

Filled to the brim with raw, powerful emotions, the kind that send waves crashing along the shoreline sounding nature's mighty crescendo, Callum and Katie's journey back to wholeness is a beautiful thing to behold. Reminiscent of a sunset after the rain, its aftermath reflects the sanctity of marriage in all of its glory, as God created it to be. But reader beware; the journey is rocky, the stumbles numerous, and cold, dark corners resist being cleaned, notwithstanding a piece of artistry that holds fast to the safety of anonymity. . . nonetheless, "Heart in the Highlands" is one of the most romantic books that you will ever read!

*4.5 stars. I bought this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.

SEE KIM'S REVIEW!

BackCover Blurb:
An arranged marriage was never what Callum Darrington, future Duke of Edinbane, imagined for himself. But with the well-being of his uncle’s family hanging in the balance, Callum strikes a bargain with his father and reluctantly agrees to tie himself to a stranger. The reality of the lovely Lady Katherine is more than he could have hoped for, and their wedding heralds a bright new future for the couple—until Callum discovers his father deliberately deceived him. Callum lashes out, setting in motion heartbreak not even he could have foreseen.

Four years later, Callum is ready to piece together the marriage he so carelessly destroyed. But their years apart have hardened Kate: she is not the naive and trusting young woman she once was, and she has no intention of allowing Callum a foothold in her life or her heart. Despite her coldness, Callum works to regain her trust and rebuild their marriage, not realizing Kate harbors a secret that could change everything—and this time, there is much more at stake than just her heart.
 
Covenant Communications,  August, 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback and audiobook:


Sunday, November 21, 2021

DEADLY TARGET by Elizabeth Goddard, #BlogTour #Giveaway Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise


Deadly Target

by Elizabeth Goddard

November 1-30, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard

Criminal psychologist Erin Larson’s dreams of a successful career come to a screeching halt when she nearly loses her own life in a boating accident on Puget Sound and then learns that her mother tried to commit suicide. She leaves her job as a criminal psychologist to care for her mother in Montana. At least she is able to produce her podcast, which focuses on solving missing persons cold cases.

Nathan Campbell’s father was investigating such a case when he was shot, and now Nathan needs to enlist Erin’s help to solve the case. She’s good at what she does. The only problem? She’s his ex.

As the two dig deeper, it becomes clear that they, too, are being targeted–and that the answers to their questions are buried deep within the past Erin struggles to explain and longs to forget.

The race is on for the truth in this gripping and complex tale of suspense, intrigue, and murder from USA Today bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Published by: Revell
Publication Date: November 2nd 2021
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 0800737997 (ISBN13: 9780800737993)
Series: Rocky Mountain Courage #2 || This is a Stand-Alone Novel
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | ChristianBook.com | IndieBound.Org

Read an excerpt:

1

Puget Sound

For a few hours every Saturday morning, Erin Larson could forget that evil existed.

And usually, only on the water.

She dipped the double-bladed paddle into the sea, then again on the other side—left, right, left, right, left, right—alternating strokes in a fluid motion to propel her kayak across the blue depths. Her friend Carissa Edwards paddled close behind.

Left, right. Left, right. Left, right.

On the water she was close to nature and far from the chaos and noise of the city even though she and Carissa paddled along the shoreline and could see the cityscape in the distance. The quiet calmed her mind and heart. The rhythmic paddling mesmerized her. The exertion exhilarated her. Cleansed her of the stress and anxiety acquired after a week of forced labor.

Okay, that wasn’t fair. Her suffering certainly wasn’t physical in nature.

Water. Mountains. Sky. She took in the sights and once again . . . forgot.

Beautiful snowcapped Mount Baker—the Great White Watcher—loomed large in the distance to the east.

Left, right. Left, right. Left, right.

The slosh of paddles along with the small waves lapping against her boat soothed her and were the only sounds except for seagulls laughing above her—ha, ha, ha.

To the west, the impressive Olympic Mountains begged for attention. Erin couldn’t wait for Mom to join her out here, when she finally convinced her to move.

A salty ocean breeze wafted over her as peace and beauty surrounded her.

She couldn’t ask for more.

She shouldn’t ask for more.

But God . . . I need answers.

Carissa caught up with Erin and paddled next to her kayak. “Thanks for coming with me today. I needed this.”

“The exercise or the scenery?” Erin had just broken a sweat despite the early morning cool.

“How about a little of both. And the company makes all the difference, I’m not going to lie.”

“Yeah,” Erin answered with reluctance. She and Carissa had an understanding between them. On their kayaking excursions, peace and quiet were supposed to reign.

“By the way, I listened to your podcast last night,” Carissa said.

Maybe she’d forgotten their unspoken pact.

“Oh?”

Erin wanted to know Carissa’s thoughts, but at the same time, she didn’t want to hear the criticism. Nor would she trust any praise.

“Why keep it anonymous?”

“It could get complicated.”

Carissa’s laugh echoed across the water. “In my case, I’d probably want the dean of the college and my students to know. But then again, I wouldn’t be talking about crime or missing people. I’d be talking about history. So, what took you so long to tell me?”

Erin lifted a shoulder, opting for silence. Maybe it would be contagious.

Now she wished she hadn’t told Carissa, but letting her friend in on her secret was a step toward opening up. She kept too much hidden inside. Erin had never been good at letting others in. Although as a psychologist, she was all about learning what made people tick on the inside.

Erin breathed in the fresh air, listened to the mesmerizing ripple of the water, felt the warm sun against her cheeks, and chased away thoughts of crime and work.

“Cold cases. Do they ever get solved?” Carissa asked.

Left, right. Left, right. Left, right.

“Some do.” Few.

“Why do you do it?”

“I need a hobby, I guess.” Erin couldn’t begin to explain the complex events that drove her to talk about missing person cold cases in hopes that answers could still be found.

“I’ve been thinking.” Carissa’s kayak inched ahead.

Erin remained silent.

“We do this every Saturday,” Carissa continued.

Left, right. Left, right. Left, right.

“It’s been a lifesaver,” Erin said. “Thanks for inviting me along.”

After a week working for the State of Washington, the endless hours spent researching and writing reports for forensic evaluations, she needed the break. The job wasn’t what she had dreamed about when she’d become a criminal psychologist. Still, she hoped it was a means to an end. In the meantime, she’d started the cold case crime podcast.

“How about we switch it up? Go hiking. Mountain trails and lush forests all around us.”

“This is close. We don’t have to drive far. Plus, I really love the water.” And have an aversion to dense forests. Carissa didn’t need to know that, as a psychologist, Erin was a walking oxymoron.

“I thought you might enjoy a change.”

“No, I’m good with this.” Erin’s shoulders and biceps started burning. She was relieved they would soon turn around and head back.

“I hope you’ll think about it. I’d love for you to join me next weekend. I’m hiking in Mount Baker National Forest, and I’m inviting you to join the group.”

“What? You’re ditching me to go hiking?”

“Um . . . Is it just me, or is that boat heading directly for us?” Panic edged Carissa’s voice.

Erin glanced over her shoulder in the direction of Carissa’s wide-eyed stare. A thirty-foot cruiser sped toward them. She and Carissa had strayed a bit from the shoreline. Regardless, that boat shouldn’t be approaching them in this area or at that speed.

“Hurry.” Erin quickened her pace. “We can get out of its path.”

“We won’t make it.” Carissa stopped and raised her paddle, waving to get the boater’s attention. “Hey, watch where you’re going! Kayakers on the water!”

Arms straining, Erin paddled faster and propelled the kayak forward. Her friend hadn’t kept up. “Carissa, let’s go! Just angle out of the path.”

Carissa renewed her efforts and joined Erin. Together they paddled toward the shoreline that had seemed so much closer moments before.

Carissa screamed. Heart pounding, Erin glanced over her shoulder. The boat had changed course and was once again headed straight for them.

Fear stole her breath. “Jump! Get out of the boat and dive!”

It was all she could think to do.

“Now, now, now!” She sucked in a breath and leaned forward to flip the kayak until she was upside down in the water for a wet exit. Holding her breath, she found the grab loop and peeled off the skirt. Then she gripped the sides and pushed the kayak away from her body as she slid out. Instead of heading for the surface, she kicked and dove deeper. She was grateful she was wearing a manually inflatable life vest over her wetsuit or it would drag her back to the surface, which was normally a good thing.

But today that could get her killed.

She pushed deeper, deeper, deeper . . . away from the surface.

We’re going to make it.

Erin twisted around to glance upward. The water was murky and visibility was only about ten feet, but she could still see her friend struggling to get free of her kayak. Terror stabbed through her. Erin swam back to Carissa to help her, even as the boat raced toward the kayaks and was almost on them.

Her eyes wide, Carissa pushed forward, freeing herself.

The hull of the speeding boat sped right over the top of the kayaks, breaking Carissa’s in half—the stern of her broken kayak propelled toward Carissa. Her head jerked forward.

All the bubbles of air burst from her lungs, then her form floated—unmoving. Unconscious? Or was she lifeless?

Her pulse thundering in her ears, Erin swam toward Carissa, grabbed her, and inflated their life vests. They rose quickly to the surface. Erin broke the water and gasped for breath as she held Carissa. The water remained disturbed from the speeding boat’s wake and crashed over them.

Erin confirmed what she already feared. Carissa wasn’t breathing. Adrenaline surged through her. She had to keep moving. Holding on to Carissa, Erin started swimming them back to shore.

She spotted the errant boat making a big circle.

Coming back? Had someone lost control? She had to make it to shore to give Carissa CPR. And maybe even to save them both.

Stay calm. Panic wouldn’t help either of them. The water was cold, but not so cold that she needed to worry about hypothermia. At least not yet. The whir of a boat from her left drew her attention, kicking up her already rapid heartbeat. As she took in the slowly approaching trawler—a far different boat from the speeding cruiser—relief eased the tension in her shoulders. Three men and a couple of women waved.

A silver-haired man in a Seahawks cap shouted, “Do you need help?”

“Yes! Hurry!”

The boat edged slowly toward her, and she swam to meet it. The men reached down and pulled Carissa up into the boat.

Erin used the ladder on the side. “She needs CPR. She’s not breathing!”

When she hopped onto the deck, she saw that one of the men had started administering CPR.

A redheaded woman wrapped a blanket around Erin. “Oh, honey, are you okay?”

Hot tears burned down her cold, wet cheeks. “No . . . no, I’m not okay.” She dropped to her knees next to her friend.

Carissa coughed up water and rolled onto her side. When she’d finished expelling seawater, she sat up and looked around.

Erin hugged her and spoke against her short, wet hair. “I thought you were done for.”

Carissa held on to Erin tightly, then released her to cough more. Erin took in the group standing around them, their watchful eyes filled with concern.

“I’m Vince. And this is my wife, Jessie.” The man with the Seahawks cap gestured to the redhead, then made introductions. John, his son, and Terry, John’s friend, and Mavis, John’s girlfriend. A family affair.

“I’m Erin, and this is Carissa.”

Jessie placed a blanket around Carissa. “Why don’t you have a seat? I’ll get you something warm to drink.”

“Thank you.” Erin sat with Carissa on the cushioned bench and took in her friend. She looked shell-shocked, and why shouldn’t she? Was she going to be okay?

Carissa closed her eyes. Was she in pain or thinking back to what happened? Jessie had disappeared below deck to grab warm drinks. Mavis, Terry, and John were trying to recover the kayaks and bring them onto the trawler.

Vince remained standing, his arms crossed as if he were a sentinel sent to protect them. And at this moment, Erin needed that reassurance.

“If you hadn’t come when you did,” she said, “I don’t know what would have happened. I can’t thank you enough.” She searched the waters around them. “Is that boat . . . Is it gone?”

“What boat?” Mavis approached and glanced at Vince.

“You didn’t see that?” Erin got to her feet and pulled Carissa with her. She searched the waters. “A boat came right for us. Ran over our kayaks and almost killed us. They must have lost control. Maybe they were drunk or something.”

“I saw a boat heading west,” Vince said, “but I didn’t connect that to seeing you in the water swimming to shore. Kayaks and canoes are hard to spot sometimes. I’m sorry that happened. But I’ll contact the Seattle Police Harbor Patrol and let them know. In the meantime, is there somewhere we can take you?”

“Back to the marina at Port of Edmonds. We could talk to the police there and tell them what happened,” Erin said.

Vince eyed Carissa. “I’ll let SPHP know we’re on the way and to meet us there. Should we get you to the hospital?”

Erin shared a look with her friend. “She sustained a hit to the head. Maybe an ambulance could be waiting for us when we get to the harbor.”

Carissa nodded but said nothing. Erin ached inside. She’d almost lost Carissa. She was grateful that her friend had survived. They had both survived.

Erin replayed the events in her mind. Had the boat deliberately veered toward them or had she imagined it? These boaters who’d helped them had simply been out enjoying the day when they spotted Erin and Carissa in the water, their kayaks floating, Carissa’s in two pieces.

I can’t believe this happened.

The water had been her place of peace and tranquility.

But no more.

Erin pulled her ringing cell from the plastic bag tucked in a pocket on her suit. She didn’t recognize the number, but it was a Montana prefix. Her heart jackhammered as she answered, “Erin.”

“Dr. Larson . . . Erin.” The familiar male voice hesitated. “This is Detective Nathan Campbell.”

Dread crawled up her spine. Nathan would never call her without a good reason. “Nathan . . . what’s going on?”

“It’s . . . your mom. She’s okay. But she tried to commit suicide. I’m so sorry.”

A few heartbeats passed before she could answer. “Wha . . . What?”

Nathan apologized again and repeated the words.

The air rushed from Erin. She couldn’t breathe and stood. She headed for the rail and hung her head over the water, gasping for breath.

“Erin! Erin, are you there?” Nathan’s concerned voice shouted over the cell loud enough she could hear him despite the boat’s rumbling engine and rushing water.

Carissa joined her at the rail. “Erin, what’s happened?”

The darkness closed in on her all over again, but this was different from before. Why hadn’t she seen the warning signs? She had to fix this.

Squeezing her eyes shut, she lifted the cell to her ear again. “I need details.”

Nathan relayed that her mother was in the hospital and in stable condition.

Ending the call, she stared at the cell. Mom was in trouble. The fact that the awful news had come from the man she’d left behind compounded the pain in her chest. This, after she and Carissa had barely survived a boating accident.

Evil wouldn’t let her forget that it existed, even for a few hours.

***

Excerpt from Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard. Copyright 2021 by Elizabeth Goddard. Reproduced with permission from Baker Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

 
PAULA'S REVIEW:
After reading Present Danger, the first in the series Rocky Mountain Courage, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book.

“Evil wouldn’t let her forget that it existed, even for a day.”

As a criminal psychologist, Erin Larson thought she knew about the criminal mind. But what she doesn’t know about her past suddenly catches up to her when multiple attempts on her life occur. Helping former boyfriend, Detective Nathan Campbell, with a cold case he is working on gets very personal. His detective father has been shot and Nathan needs to find out why.

I liked the way Erin and Nathan always relied on God to protect them and offered instant prayers when they felt danger encroaching.

With fast paced action, this is a thrilling story that has many threads that finally came together in an exciting conclusion. You need to put your thinking caps on for this one! It is like watching a Bruce Willis or Duane Johnson dangerous adventure movie. Lots of action and an evil back story with a great romance.

I have enjoyed reading Elizabeth Goddard’s books for several years and I can recommend them for readers of Christian Fiction who like their suspense books filled with action.
*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.* 4 stars and a solid faith thread.

 

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Goddard

Elizabeth Goddard is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels, including Present Danger and the Uncommon Justice series. Her books have sold over one million copies. She is a Carol Award winner and a Daphne du Maurier Award finalist. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, traveling to find inspiration for her next book, and serving with her husband in ministry.

For more information about Elizabeth Goddard, visit her website at:
www.ElizabethGoddard.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @ElizabethGoddard
Instagram - @elizabethgoddardauthor
Twitter - @bethgoddard
Facebook - @ElizabethGoddardAuthor

 

Tour Participants:

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GIVEAWAY:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Elizabeth Goddard and Revell. There will be ONE (1) winner for this tour. The winner will receive ONE (1) physical copy of both Present Danger & Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard. This giveaway is open only to residents in the US or Canada. The giveaway runs November 1 through December 5, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Saturday, November 20, 2021

AUTUMN BY THE SEA by Melissa Tagg, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney


"I'll sum this up as succinctly as I can. I work for a woman named Margaret Muir. . .  And I think you might be her granddaughter."

Really? Really. And so on that assumption of "might be", Sydney Rose travels from Chicago, Illinois to the tiny town of Muir Harbor, Maine purely out of curiosity and maybe just a wee bit of wanting a dream to come true, to know that she belongs, and to know that she actually has a family out there somewhere . "At least I did the right thing. Leaving you . . . at least I did that." Had that dying declaration been from someone who was not even her mother?

"Change is coming, Neil MacKean."

How could Maggie have known? When "another-maybe-granddaughter" arrives at Muir Farm, Neil and his two sisters can barely hide their skepticism under politeness; they've seen Maggie get her hopes up one too many times. Curiously, everything about the lovely redhead seems to fit, at least there's that. However, as Neil spends more time with the obviously displaced young woman, he begins to get the sense that maybe Sydney Rose has to come to Muir Harbor to fill in the lonely places of more hearts than just their beloved matriarch. They certainly got off to a rousing start. . . poorly functioning door knob, man in the shower, woman talking to herself . . .
This story has elements of everything that a reader could wish for in a story; beautiful setting, brushstrokes of intrigue, smoldering emotional connections . . . some loose ends that can barely wait until the series continues, and of course . . . that same powder room with the closed door!
* 3.5 stars. I purchased a copy of this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.

SEE WINNIE'S REVIEW

SEE NICOLE'S REVIEW

ABOUT THE BOOK:
A captivating new seaside romance brimming with mystery from USA Today bestselling, Christy Award-winning author Melissa Tagg

Abandoned as a toddler, Sydney Rose has spent years wondering who she really is, homesick for a life she's never lived. When a private investigator crashes into her world, she finds herself heading to a tiny seaside town in Maine to meet a woman named Maggie, who's searching for the granddaughter she lost decades ago.

If not for Maggie, Neil MacKean might still be back in Scotland, bereft and alone. Instead, he has a full life in Muir Harbor with an adopted family he loves and a blueberry farm to run. But the farm is struggling and strange occurrences have him concerned. Worse, Maggie's once again caught up in the past, convinced she's finally found her long-lost granddaughter.

Worried for Maggie, Neil is suspicious of the city girl who shows up at the farm. But there's something about Sydney that tugs on him, drawing out secrets he never meant to share. While Neil grapples with the future of the farm, Sydney wrestles with a past that's messier than ever. Together, they're pulled into a mystery complete with a centuries-old legend, unexpected danger . . . and a love as deep and wild as the sea. 

Larkspur Press, Sept 2020
Available in digital ebook and paperback:

 

Friday, November 19, 2021

CROSSHAIRS by Patricia Bradley, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

Ainsley Beaumont has arrived in her hometown of Natchez to work a case for the district Park Ranger. A teen has been murdered on the Trace. Then someone trains their sights on Ainsley. She and Ranger Linc Steele were very close years ago before Ainsley chose a singing career over staying in Natchez. Now with that career behind her, Ainsley has a job that she loves as a law enforcement Ranger. While Linc and she are working together on the case, things heat up and now Ainsley’s life is in danger. 

Lots of twists and turns and multiple suspects. The excitement does not let up. The book kept me turning pages trying to guess who the culprits were. The characters were interesting and well drawn. I liked the dynamics between Ainsley, her grandmother and great aunt. The missing 1870s diary was an interesting focal point. The message of reconciliation between Ainsley and her dad and counting on God during the tough times rang true. The re-connection with Linc was realistic and provided just the right romantic touch.

I have enjoyed the Natchez Trace series so far. I am so glad there will be a book four!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 stars and a solid faith thread 

SEE NICOLE'S REVIEW

ABOUT THE BOOK
When evil just won't quit, good must prevail

Investigative Services Branch ranger Ainsley Beaumont wishes the visit to her hometown of Natchez, Mississippi, was under better circumstances. When she arrived to investigate the murder of a pregnant teenager, she never imagined that she would become the killer's next target--or that she'd have to work alongside an old flame.

After he almost killed a child, former FBI sniper Lincoln Steele couldn't bring himself to fire a gun, which had deadly consequences for his best friend. Crushed beneath a load of guilt, Linc is working at Melrose Estate as an interpretive ranger. But as danger closes in on Ainsley during her murder investigation, Linc will have to find the courage to protect her.

The only question is, will it be too little, too late? 

Revell Publishing, November, 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:

 



Thursday, November 18, 2021

THE SECRET KEEPERS OF OLD DEPOT GROCERY by Amanda Cox, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

" . . . when I was little, I used to imagine that the creaking floors could talk. That they knew all the stories of the people who walked them . . . if I could just learn their secret language, those wood floors could tell me everything."

For generations the walls, floorboards, and shelves of the Old Depot Grocery held its secrets close to the heart; living, loving, losing . . . clearly too late for a resurrection . . or perhaps not? Sarah Ashby seemed to think so, returning home after her own loss, she hoped to revive the store of her childhood while discovering new meaning for her own life in the process. But some things never changed, and it soon became apparent that her mother and her grandmother were fiercely at odds over what to do with a store that was not only losing its luster, but most of its customers.

Years earlier, Glory Ann had not been given many choices for her future after confessing that she bore a child whose father who would never return home from Vietnam. Whisked away by her father, "Glory Ann Hawthorne became Mrs. Clarence Clearwater, all to cover up a secret she was not ashamed of". . . the simple ceremony taking place in the back room of the Old Depot Grocery.

Maybe all these elusive complications needed a new perspective, God's perspective. . . Sarah's gentle confidante reminding her to ,"take the first step that feels right and see what happens next, . . . I think that's how God works in our lives a lot of times. He doesn't give us the whole picture. He gives us that one step". For if the truth ever needed to be told, it was among the "secret keepers of the Old Depot Grocery" . . . for it would undoubtedly set them free.

Wonderful book by an emerging masterful storyteller!
* I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.

SEE REVIEWS BY NICOLE, PAULA, and KIM 

SEE REVIEW BY WINNIE

BackCover Blurb:
Present Day. Sarah Ashby returns to her childhood home, determined to finally follow her dream of running the family business alongside her mother and grandmother. So when her mother, Rosemary, announces to her that Old Depot Grocery is closing, Sarah and her grandmother, Glory Ann, make a plan to save the store. But Rosemary has worked her entire life to make sure her daughter never follows in her footsteps. She has her reasons--but she'll certainly never reveal the real one.

1965. Glory Ann confesses to her family that she's pregnant with her deceased fiancé's baby. Pressured into a marriage of convenience with a shopkeeper to preserve her family's reputation, Glory Ann vows never to love again. But some promises are not as easily kept as she imagined.

This dual-time story from Amanda Cox deftly explores the complexity of the mother-daughter relationship, the way the secrets we keep shape our lives and the lives of others, and the healing power of telling the truth. 

Revell Publishing, September, 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery at Baker Book House

 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

AFTER SHE FALLS by Carmen Schober, Reviewed by Kim

After She Falls is Carmen Schober’s debut novel and what a debut it is! I got completely sucked into this story from the first page! I was totally invested in the characters and I needed to find out how their story would turn out.

After She Falls
has a storyline that is so different from the norm, our female main character is an MMA fighter, that is why I decided to give it a try. And while it is raw and gritty at times, there’s also a very realistic faith thread woven throughout and the redemption of both main characters was very realistic. There are also some great side characters that really added to the story. In fact, I’d love to read Boom’s book next!

I did have a couple of issues. First, it is written in present tense which is not my favorite. I think because I listened to about 75% of it on audiobook and read the rest, that it didn’t bother me as much. In fact, I highly recommend the audiobook. The narrator really gives personality to these characters. I also felt like the beginning of the story had some situations that were a little too much, and while it made sense for the redemption of the characters, I think it could’ve been toned down a little and still been effective.

I do highly recommend After She Falls and I will definitely be reading Carmen Schober’s next story. 4.5 stars! 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book. I also purchased the audiobook. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is medium. 

SEE NICOLE'S REVIEW! 

 ABOUT THE BOOK:
She's always had that fire in her. She just needs to find it again.

Strong-willed Adri Rivera nearly achieved her goal of being a professional mixed martial artist, but then she fell in love with a man who knocked all the fight out of her. When their abusive, tumultuous relationship finally comes to a head, Adri flees with their young daughter to her small hometown in the mountains of Pennsylvania. There, she must face the people she left behind and put her broken life back together again.

A hardened Max Lyons can't believe Adri is back in town after abruptly cutting him and everyone else off years ago. Despite the distance that grew between them, he feels compelled to help her regain her independence and offers her a job at his gym. But regaining each other's trust is another matter, made even more complicated by the lingering spark between them. As Adri dares to pursue her dream again, she trains for a big tournament with Max's help, but they'll both have to confront their own doubts in order to rise victorious

Bethany House Publishing, November 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:

 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

THE WISH BOOK CHRISTMAS by Lynn Austin, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise


This book was filled with my childhood memories. As a post war baby, I was two when this story takes place. I am very familiar with the Sears Wish Book, the TV shows and toys of the era. We even had a Buick Roadmaster in baby blue with a white top. And I had a Davy Crockett outfit instead of Roy Rogers.
 
“We each owe a debt that we can never repay. But God has reached down from heaven to pay it for us by giving us the gift of Jesus.”
 
Ms. Austin captured the excitement and childish joy of the two five year old boys, Harry and Bobby. It was fun to watch what they and their mothers were up to since meeting them in If I Were You. The author used the relationship of Eve and Audrey to show how people can forgive, change for the better and have a fresh start with new goals. I liked the way the mothers tried to get the boys to refocus the their wants into doing something special for someone in need. A lesson we could all learn. A highlight was the Christmas Play with all the shenanigans but a true message of Christ came through. A great book filled with the real spirit of Christmas. 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 stars and strong faith thread 

BackCover Blurb:
From the bestselling author of If I Were You comes a nostalgic and endearing holiday story that reminds us that sometimes the most meaningful gifts are the ones we least expect and don’t deserve.

Best friends Audrey Barrett and Eve Dawson are looking forward to celebrating Christmas in postwar America, thrilled at the prospect of starting new traditions with their five-year-old sons. But when the 1951 Sears Christmas Wish Book arrives and the boys start obsessing over every toy in it, Audrey and Eve realize they must first teach them the true significance of the holiday. They begin by helping Bobby and Harry plan gifts of encouragement and service for those in their community, starting by walking an elderly neighbor’s yellow Lab—since a dog topped the boys’ wish list for Santa. In the charming tale that follows, Audrey and Eve are surprised to find their own hearts healing from the tragedies of war and opening to the possibility of forgiveness and new love. 
 
Tyndale House Publishing, September, 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy The Wish Book Christmas at Amazon
Buy The Wish Book Christmas at Christianbook.com
Buy The Wish Book Christmas at Baker Book House
 

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