Sunday, October 31, 2021

TROUBLE BREWING by Heather Day Gilbert, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Staying at an inn so we could do our own private investigation felt a little like Nancy Drew, but it seemed worth a shot."

Macy Hatfield's friend Della Goddard suspected that one of her clients had not died of natural causes, she just couldn't prove it. Talking Macy into a getaway weekend at the Baxter Manor allowed the two amateur sleuths to keep an eye on the dead woman's son and daughter at the very place where Della suspected there was a valuable family heirloom hidden in plain sight. What they didn't expect to find was another corpse. It seemed that their "Spooks and Screams Halloween Package" turned out to be just a little too creepy for comfort.

Anyone and everyone is a suspect, so cozy up, there's "trouble brewing"! Another wonderful addition to the Barks and Beans Cafe series. * I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review

BackCover Blurb:
BOOK FIVE in the bestselling BARKS & BEANS CAFE cozy mystery series!!

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java...and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

Convinced that the elderly lady in her care didn't die of natural causes, Macy's friend Della determines to look into the broken relationships surrounding the woman. She books a Halloween-themed getaway at a local inn and talks Macy into coming along with her to spy on her prime suspect.

As they join a ghost tour of the candlelit town, Macy and Della feel their guide is a little too fanatical as he shares his spooky tales. He tells the story of the Greenbrier ghost, a newlywed who supposedly came back from the grave to tell her family that her husband murdered her.

When a disturbing apparition makes its presence known, guests at the inn become apprehensive...and for good reason, because soon after, a young bride turns up dead. Although everything points to a copycat killer replicating the historical Greenbrier murder, Macy has her doubts. She's discovered that the inn harbors secrets of its own, and when she pokes into one darkened corner too many, she might not stand a ghost of a chance.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown...with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series in order:
Book 1: No Filter
Book 2: Iced Over
Book 3: Fair Trade
Book 4: Spilled Milk
Book 5: Trouble Brewing
Book 6: Cold Drip

Woodhaven Press, October, 2021

NIGHT PREY by Susan Sleeman, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas


“A plane that never left the tarmac couldn’t crash. But it would never soar, either. He wanted to soar.”

Night Prey is the newest book by one of my favorite romantic suspense authors, Susan Sleeman. Her books are the perfect blend of suspense, intrigue, romance, and inspiration, and I love learning new tidbits about law enforcement and security. With meticulous research and interesting explanation of criminal investigation procedures, Sleeman’s books are always a fount of knowledge. The characters are well-drawn and colorful. Malone Rice and Ian Blair are the main characters in this book, and I connected with them early on and enjoyed seeing their relationship grow as they tackled the mystery involved. The many twists and turns in the story kept me engrossed and guessing.
Night Prey is the culmination of Sleeman’s six-book Nighthawk Security series, but it also sets up the beginning of her next series, Steele Guardians. These books are easily read alone but are so enjoyable read in succession. Many of the characters carry over through the books of the series, and even into the next one. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy well-written romantic suspense.

* 4.5 stars. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

BackCover Blurb:
She lived for upholding the law…
Defense attorney, Malone Rice, doesn’t want to go to her fifteen year class reunion. Attending means running into her former high school flame, now Portland police detective, Ian Blair. But when the committee decides to honor her for her pro-bono work with homeless teens, she knows it would be churlish not to attend. She will have to go and make the best of it.

But now the law won’t save her.
As expected, Ian attends the reunion, but what Malone doesn’t expect—could never expect—is that Ian would find her standing over their classmate’s dead body. Or that she would still have feelings for the once bad-boy of their high school. Ian’s struggling too, between arresting Malone for murder and his age-old attraction to her. He walks a tightrope, until evidence surfaces that the real killer’s still out there, and Malone becomes his prey. Can Ian overcome his feelings to focus and uncover the truth before the killer strikes again and Malone ends up dead?

Edge of Your Seat Books, October, 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook

Saturday, October 30, 2021

THE HEART OF A COWBOY by Jody Hedlund, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas and Paula Shreckhise

Jody Hedlund’s books are always a treat to read. She’s a master at making historical fiction come alive. The Heart of a Cowboy is the second book in her Colorado Cowboys series, but it can easily stand alone. Flynn McQuaid is a stellar hero—courageous, responsible, and trustworthy. Linnea Newberry is an intelligent scientist who often leaps before she looks, therefore getting into many dangerous situations. I enjoyed seeing their relationship change and grow throughout the tale, as Flynn hires on as Linnea’s bodyguard.

Hedlund portrays realistically the challenges and dangers of traveling in the old West while it was still being settled. I enjoyed learning about the flora and fauna found along the trail. I also liked the snippet at the end of the book previewing Brody’s story. It sounds like we’re in for another fantastic McQuaid tale!
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House. All opinions are my own.
In book two of Colorado Cowboys, we see Flynn McQuaid driving a herd of cattle for his brother from Independence, Missouri to a ranch in Fairplay, Colorado. Along the way he comes on a group of scientists who are cataloging plants for the Smithsonian. Among them are botanists Linnea, a young widow, and her grandfather, Dr. Howell. After rescuing Linnea, Flynn agrees to act as a bodyguard and the two groups join for the rest of the journey. Flynn: “ When he agreed to guard her, he never bargained on having to guard his heart.” As much as they try to keep things businesslike, Flynn and Linnea are drawn to each other. Linnea loves plants. They point her to a God of creation, a God who cares for her. “Whenever she considered God’s exquisite design of something so small as a blade of grass or the petal of a flower, she was always able to put her life in better perspective.”

Lots of realism, adventure and danger on the Sante Fe Trail. A realism that included fighting an attraction, dealing with fears and ultimately relying on God for their care. They learned a lesson on reconciliation and forgiveness.

Ms. Hedlund proves to be a very versatile author. I am looking forward to the third book and Brody’s story.
*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. * 5 stars and an underlying faith thread 

BackCover Blurb:
When he agreed to guard her, he never bargained on having to guard his heart.

Brilliant scientist Linnea Newberry is on the adventure of a lifetime, traveling the Santa Fe Trail with her grandfather, Dr. Howell, on a botanical expedition to Colorado Territory. She longs to be valued for her contributions and not seen as a helpless liability. But at every calamity she faces, her grandfather threatens to send her home.

After watching his ma suffer and die in childbirth, Flynn McQuaid has sworn off women and marriage forever. Headed west to start a new life, he has his hands full not only taking care of his younger siblings but also delivering cattle to his older brother. He doesn't need more complications.

When Flynn rescues Linnea from drowning during a river crossing, Dr. Howell promptly hires Flynn--unbeknownst to Linnea--to act as her bodyguard for the rest of the trip. As Flynn fights against the many dangers of the trail, he soon finds himself in the greatest danger of all--falling for a woman he's determined not to love.

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

Friday, October 29, 2021

THE GLASS COTTAGE by Alyssa Schwarz, Reviewed by Trixi, Nicole, and Paula

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. ~Proverbs 16:9”

An old antique shop in desperate need of restoration and a journal make up this story of a hundred-year old mystery that historian Abigail Prescott simply can't resist trying to solve. With the help of her childhood friend Benjamin Greene, these two embark on a journey of discovery, intrigue, a little suspense, and learning that perhaps God really does have their future firmly in His hands!

I've often day-dreamed of buying an old run down house to restore and finding a diary or old letters behind a wall and wondering about the people who wrote them and the kind of life they lived. I think I would have a lot of fun trying to solve that mystery! This is what The Glass Cottage is about, solving a hundred-year old mystery of who Iris is in the journal Abigail finds. Giving voice to a mysterious person is what drives her to discover all she can and I so admired her passion and motivation! Watching a long-term friendship develop into something more with Ben was of particular delight to me. They have so much history between them that it sparked a surprising romance and great teamwork as they worked side by side.

I think I fell in love with everything about this story; the small-town feel, the characters that made this up, going along with Abigail and Ben as they hunted out more clues and even Iris as I got to know her through the journal she penned. The author really brought this story to life in all the little details that made me want to turn the pages. The ending was surprising and just tied the whole story together so perfectly in my mind. I also appreciated the faith thread Alyssa included and how it played out in Abigail and Ben's life. They both overcame some fears they had held on to for far too long and it also helped remind me of some truths in my own life.

If you love discovering debut authors and reading a book to get lost in, consider picking up a copy of The Glass Cottage for yourself. I don't think you will be disappointed!
*I received a complimentary copy from the author and was not obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions expressed here are my own. *

“It was time to trust Him with it all, not just with the blessings, but with the heartbreak as well.”

With being so busy in my everyday life, I’m often hesitant to read books by debut authors since I don’t know if their writing style is my cup of tea. However, after reading the blurb of The Glass Cottage, it sounded exactly like something I would enjoy…a dual timeline novel focusing on the mystery behind a journal discovered from the 1800s along with a romantic thread of former childhood friends in the contemporary storyline. I am so glad I took a chance on a debut author because now I have another author to add to my must-read list.

A swoony hero, fun banter, and of course the romance…everything I look for in my inspirational fiction. The spiritual messages throughout the book were exactly what I needed and were so beautifully incorporated into the storyline. And the best part is…this is the first book in a series! I can’t wait to read more of the Prescott family adventures.

The Glass Cottage is highly recommended for readers of dual timeline novels, contemporary romance, and historical fiction. If you’ve read any books by Amanda Cox, I think this book has a similar writing style that readers will appreciate.
*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. I enjoyed The Glass Cottage so much that I also purchased a paperback copy for my keeper shelf.


This debut, dual time story captured my interest from the first page as Iris is running for her life in a snowy landscape. The author uses a diary from 1883 that is found in an attic of an old antique store to connect the two time periods. Abigail Prescott and her Aunt Josie are fixing up a Victorian house to re-open an antique shop. Abby finds an old journal and she cannot help but wonder who the owner was. Ben Greene, a childhood friend, is helping paint and repair the shop. As they re-connect, Abby and Ben find more than childhood memories to build a relationship on. In their search for answers to the owner of the journal, Abby realizes that she has no control over the past and little over the future. Only God can lead her. “We know the One who holds everything together. You can trust Him to hold you together, too.”

So many interesting things to learn about the Colorado mountains and early mining. Some spiritual parallels are shown about how gems are made through heat and pressure under the surface of the earth.. “As God refines us through the fire of our afflictions, He is turning us into something new, something that can reflect His brilliance like a diamond reflects the sun.”
*I received a complimentary ebook from the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.* Four stars and a solid faith thread.

BackCover Blurb: 

A Prescott Family Romance, Book #1
Could a nineteenth-century diary be the answer to Abigail’s prayers?

Iris wanted nothing more than to live her own adventure. But on the tails of the Colorado gold rush, a certain discovery could upend her world before it’s even begun.

Over a hundred years later, Abigail Prescott returns to the sleepy mountain town she once called home to help her great Aunt Josie restore the old antique shop, The Glass Cottage. Looking for peace and God’s direction for her life, the last thing she expected to encounter was a ghost from her past—Benjamin Greene—her childhood best friend. The boy who got away. Is this just a coincidence, or could it be the start of something greater?

Together, Ben and Abigail work to fix up the shop and stumble upon an old journal. With more questions than answers, Abigail embarks on a journey of self-discovery to track down the mysterious Iris, but the truth is not always what it seems.
In this tale of friendship, love lost, and love found, Abigail must decide for herself: Is every story worth saving, and if so, at what cost? 

Available in digital ebook and paperback:

Read our interview with Alyssa!

Contemporary romance author Alyssa Schwarz is a graduate of the Colorado School of Mines with a Master's in Geology & Geological Engineering. She also works as a professional watercolor artist along the Colorado Front Range and is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Alyssa's debut novel, The Glass Cottage, is set in the Colorado mountains, and is scheduled to release later this year. You can find her online at


A Chat with Debut Author of THE GLASS COTTAGE - Meet Alyssa Schwarz

We've had the pleasure of reviewing THE GLASS COTTAGE and wanted to know more about its author!

Contemporary romance author Alyssa Schwarz is a graduate of the Colorado School of Mines with a Master's in Geology & Geological Engineering. She also works as a professional watercolor artist along the Colorado Front Range and is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Alyssa's debut novel, The Glass Cottage, is set in the Colorado mountains, and you can find her online at

Deb asks:
  The Glass Cottage is time-slip or 'dual time line'. As a debut author, was it the first story you'd written and polished for publication, or did you begin writing contemporary romances before the time slip genre became so popular?


Alyssa: The Glass Cottage is the first story I've ever written or published. I actually just started writing a little over a year ago, and I have fallen in love with it. I love the dual timeline genre, and I thought it would be so much fun to try writing something similar.

Deb: That's quite an accomplishment, Alyssa. And I know our reviewers really enjoyed your story!

Did you take any travels to research the setting of your story?

Alyssa: The story of the Glass Cottage takes place in a small mountain town in Colorado called Buena Vista. The place really exists, as do most of the other locations in the book. I've grown up visiting Buena Vista all my life so it felt natural to set my first story there.

Deb: It makes all the difference in the world to have walked where your characters walk!

Your website is beautiful and full of content. Do you enjoy the technical and promotional side of being an author?

Alyssa: Thank you! That means a lot to hear you say that. Aside from writing, I'm also an artist, so I had a lot of fun designing the website. Aside from that, I'm not a very big fan of the promotional side of writing, but it's a necessary thing if you want to get your stories out into the world. I've learned a lot from other authors and friends in the Christian writing community, and their support has made the journey so much easier and more enjoyable.

Deb: I wonder just how many (or how few) authors enjoy that side of it. Creating is always enjoyable but there's a lot of time involved in promotion.

Is The Glass Cottage the beginning of a series?

Alyssa: Yes! The Glass Cottage is book #1 in A Prescott Family Romance. Each book will center around a different cousin as they explore what it means to follow God's direction in their lives. Book #2 will hopefully be released later in 2022, but I plan to release a Valentine's Day themed novella (book #0.5) sometime in January 2022. 🙂

Deb: I've enjoyed learning more about you and your writing and we expect great things from the rest of the series! Thanks for being ourguest!


Follow Alyssa on FacebookPinterest, and you'll love her posts on Instagram!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

TACOS FOR TWO by Betsy St.Amant, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

One Food Truck owner who can’t cook, trying to salvage her legacy.
One wealthy guy trying to go against the grain of his family business.
Equals a recipe for disaster!

In a cute romantic mess up reminiscent of You’ve Got Mail, this modern take makes you long for a Happily Ever After.

Rory Perez feels the pressure of caring for her sweet mentally challenged cousin and living out her family legacy. Jude Worthington is under the shadow of his family law firm but would rather be cooking tacos. Rory signs up for a secret chat dating site as Color Me Turquoise and Jude does as well as Strongman 99. They begin messaging and hit it off. Trouble comes when they enter a food truck contest and do not realize their connection to the chat room. They are both putting all their tacos in one basket but will they realize that winning isn’t everything?

It was a complex, layered story with lots of fun banter. Just the thing for a great pick me up. A clean read and a rom-com in the classic style.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Reads program. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
4 stars and a clean read, very faint faith thread. 

BackCover Blurb:
Rory Perez, a food truck owner who can't cook, is struggling to keep the business she inherited from her aunt out of the red--and an upcoming contest during Modest's annual food truck festival seems the best way to do it. The prize money could finally give her a solid financial footing and keep her cousin with special needs paid up at her beloved assisted living home. Then maybe Rory will have enough time to meet the man she's been talking to via an anonymous online dating site.

Jude Strong is tired of being a puppet at his manipulative father's law firm, and the food truck festival seems like the perfect opportunity to dive into his passion for cooking and finally call his life his own. But if he loses the contest, he's back at the law firm for good. Failure is not an option.

Complications arise when Rory's chef gets mono and she realizes she has to cook after all. Then Jude discovers that his stiffest competition is the same woman he's been falling for online the past month.

Will these unlikely chefs sacrifice it all for the sake of love? Or will there only ever be tacos for one?

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

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

HEIRS OF FALCON POINT Collection, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

Heirs of Falcon Point by Traci Hunter Abramson, Sian Ann Bessey, Paige Edwards, and A.L. Sowards

Four fantastic authors collaborated on this absorbing tale set in Austria during WWII and contemporary times. I’m sure it took a lot of cooperation and planning, because the different parts of the story and the characters were seamlessly merged. 

With historical elements, suspense, action, a dash of romance, and inspiration, this tale will appeal to many readers. It’s well-paced, full of twists and turns, and populated by colorful, realistic, well-drawn characters. The Lang family and their descendants are exemplary in their love of history and family, and their story is absorbing and poignant.

“But sometimes courage wasn’t about fighting. Sometimes courage was about letting go of what was most wanted for oneself and, instead, fulfilling one’s duty.”
I’ve read other books by some of these authors and enjoyed them very much. I’m eager to read more of their works.
*4.5 stars I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Covenant Communications. All opinions are my own.

BackCover Blurb:
In the early days of World War II, the Lang family lost everything. Eighty years later, it’s time to take it back.

The Nazis have taken control of Austria, and wealthy widower Leopold Lang faces a difficult decision: join the ranks of the foreign power that has taken over his homeland or flee with his children to safety. Leopold makes his choice—but too late. His family is ripped apart, never to be reunited. But decades later, fate brings together the descendants of this broken dynasty in the place where it all began—Falcon Point.

Anna, Cole, and Tess have never met, each relying on fractured pieces of information to understand their Austrian heritage. But when unforeseen opportunities draw these Lang cousins to Falcon Point, they soon discover they are not alone in their quest to claim the coveted property and the fabled treasure hidden within. Unfortunately, another claimant, one with a much darker heritage, is determined to eliminate the Lang family once and for all.

Covenant Communications, October, 2021
Available in digital ebook and paperback:


A BIRD'S EYE VIEW by Shaen Layle and Nancy Mehl, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

Another cozy mystery for the Classen sisters to solve

This time Mary, Martha and Elizabeth are taking a balloon ride when Martha sees someone being kidnapped. The only clue they have, if it is a clue, is a charm from a bracelet. The girls put on their sleuthing caps but gradually run out of options. Even with the help of Officer John and teacher Alex, the information is not enough to go on. The sisters do not let that stop them and continue to help people along the way as they weed out suspects.

A very enjoyable story from picturesque Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. A great addition to the series. I am always glad to see what the sisters are up to.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the authors. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*4 stars and a solid faith thread.

BackCover Blurb:
Birds Eye View is the 18th book in the Mysteries of Lancaster County mystery fiction series.

What better way to enjoy the scenic splendor of Lancaster County than from the sky? When Martha and her sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, attend the annual Lancaster County Hot Air Balloon Festival, they’re excited about getting a bird’s-eye view of Bird-in-Hand. But as their balloon drifts across the idyllic landscape, Martha is shocked to witness what looks like a kidnapping taking place in a parking lot below. When the Classen sisters finally make it to the spot of the abduction, all they find is a small charm from a Girl Scout summer camp held years ago. Could this be a clue to the identity of their missing woman? When no one files a missing person report, the sisters have no choice but to take matters into their own hands. Will they find the woman—and discover the reason she was kidnapped—or has the sisters’ penchant for mystery made them see a crime where none exists?

Purchase through Guideposts

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

THE PRODIGAL'S HOLIDAY HOPE by Jill Kemerer, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas #ReleaseDay

The Prodigal’s Holiday Hope begins Jill Kemerer’s new series, Wyoming Ranchers, and what a beautiful story of redemption and hope it is. Set in Wyoming and populated with realistically-flawed, endearing, and well-drawn characters, this story captured my attention from the first and kept it throughout. 

Sawyer Roth is a fantastic hero with a past reputation he’s striving to put behind him. Tess Malone is trying to make a new life for herself and her young son after a messy marriage and divorce. 

I love stories of redemption and overcoming past mistakes, and Kemerer has written a charming one. I’m looking forward to more Wyoming Ranchers in the future.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

BackCover Blurb:
He’s learned from his mistakes…

But can he prove he’s changed?

When Sawyer Roth is hired to work on his childhood ranch, he knows he has a damaged reputation to repair. Tess Malone, the new ranch owner’s daughter, is the hardest to win over. But as Christmas approaches, Tess and her toddler son find a way into Sawyer’s heart. He lost everything the last time he put his trust in love. Can he risk it all again?
From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.
Wyoming Ranchers
Book 1: The Prodigal's Holiday Hope
Book 2: A Cowboy to Rely On

Harlequin Love Inspired, October, 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and mass-market paperback:


THE PHYSICIAN'S HELPER by Rose Fresquez, Reviewed by Nicole Cook #ReleaseDay

Ever since I discovered Rose Fresquez’s books, I have enjoyed her sweet interracial romances and always look forward to her upcoming releases, but she really steps up her game in The Physician’s Helper. With engaging characters and a fun storyline of former childhood friends reconnecting, The Physician’s Helper is definitely my favorite novel of hers.

If you are new to Rose Fresquez’s books, you can definitely jump right in with this novel. The Physician’s Helper, book three in The Caregivers series, can be easily read as a standalone, but fans of the series will enjoy some cameo appearances from characters they met earlier in the series.

The spiritual thread was weaved perfectly into the storyline with the hero Lucas’s recently discovered faith and the heroine Brit wanting to learn more about God herself. I especially liked how the hero and heroine are forty and almost forty years old, now that I’m getting older myself (even though I hate to admit that I will turn forty next year)! Lucas and Brit are highly relatable characters and refreshing to read, when many other characters in Christian fiction are often in their twenties. Fans of kissing scenes will enjoy the romantic moments between Lucas and Brit.

The Physician’s Helper is recommended for readers of inspirational 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.  Faith content: Moderate

He was in love with his best friend but she got engaged to his brother.

Just when Lucas Matthews was about to reveal his secret feelings for his best friend Britt, his brother beat him to the punch and proposed to her— forcing Lucas to take desperate measures.

Lucas rocked Brittney Young’s world when he challenged the status of their friendship. Sealing his confession with a melting kiss left no room for confusion, but by the time Britt got over her doubts, Lucas had left town. Not only had she lost a best friend, she ended her engagement. The only thing she didn’t lose was her job as Lucas’ Grandma’s caregiver.

With each passing day, Britt realized that her own feelings for Lucas went beyond friendship.

Seven years later, when Britt’s ex- fiancé's wedding brings Lucas back into town, she’s not prepared for the way her blood sizzles in his company.

Could this be a second chance to renew their friendship and find something more? Can Lucas risk giving his heart again to the woman who crushed it?

Books in the series
1. The Doctor's Nanny
2. The Entrepreneur's Nurse
3.The Physician's Helper
4. The CEO's Companion
5. The Soldier's Trainer
6. The Investor's Wife

Rose Fresquez is a stay-at-home mom, with a husband and four kids. In her free time, she likes to spend time outdoors with the family, sing gospel music and plotting her next writing project.

Rose’s writing projects include both Christian non-fiction and Christian fiction.

A CROSS-COUNTRY CHRISTMAS by Courtney Walsh, Reviewed by Nicole Cook #ReleaseDay

With the perfect blend of romance and light-hearted Christmas fun, New York Times bestselling author Courtney Walsh’s latest novel, A Cross-Country Christmas should be at the top of everyone's holiday reading list.

Imagine being on a cross-country road trip home for Christmas with your older brother's best friend who you had a crush on since you were little and it didn't turn out the way you hoped. Now many years later, you're stuck in a car with him for a week-long trip...

With his handsome good looks, charming personality, and the difficult past that he is trying to overcome, hero Will Sinclair gives Tucker Jacobs (Things Left Unsaid) and Josh Dixon (Just One Kiss) some pretty tough competition in the category of my all-time favorite heroes of Courtney Walsh's.

Along with the laugh out loud moments and fun banter in this novel is the reminder of the importance of grace and second chances. Courtney Walsh nails it with the wonderfully well-written characters of Will and Lauren, who seem so real and relatable to readers.

A Cross-Country Christmas is highly recommended for fans of contemporary romance and for readers who enjoy novels by authors such as Denise Hunter, Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, Tari Faris, and Susan May Warren. I will definitely be reading A Cross-Country Christmas again this holiday season.

*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. Light faith elements

Lauren Richmond isn’t a fan of Christmas.

Which is why she rarely makes the trip home to the Midwest for the holidays. After all, she has plenty to keep her busy—namely, her duties as a set decorator on a TV sitcom.

But this December, Lauren‘s brother and his wife are expecting a baby, so her brother arranges a ride home for her with his good friend, Will.

Unfortunately for Lauren, she’s been trying to forget college baseball coach and childhood crush Will Sinclair for more than ten years.

Now, thanks to her fear of flying, she’s stuck in a car with him from California to Illinois.

She’s circumspect and organized. He’s flirty and spontaneous.

She’s convinced that people don’t change. He’s trying to prove to her (and himself) that he has.

On this cross-country road trip, they’ll both discover that history doesn’t exactly repeat itself. . . but like any good Christmas carol, it does have a second verse. 
Sweet Haven Press, October, 2021

Courtney Walsh is a novelist, theatre director, and playwright. She writes small town romance and women's fiction while juggling the performing arts studio and youth theatre she owns and runs with her husband. Her debut, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists. Her novel, Just Let Go, won the Carol Award in 2019 and Just One Kiss was a 2020 Christy Award Finalist.

A creative at heart, Courtney has also written two craft books and several full-length musicals. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three children and a sometimes naughty Bernedoodle named Luna.
Visit her online at

Monday, October 25, 2021

YUKON JUSTICE by Dana Mentink, Reviewed by Kim #ReleaseDay

I love Dana Mentink’s romantic suspense stories! She immediately draws you into the story and what is happening in the character’s lives. Yukon Justice is part of a continuity series. While I have not read any of the other stories, I never felt lost and am now interested in the mystery that runs throughout the rest of the stories in this series.

It’s not often that you know who the bad guy is right from the start of a story, but this really worked for me! I liked how it just became a matter of how to catch the him, not who he was or why he was doing what he was doing.

I immediately loved Brayden for his protectiveness, and his perfectly timed sense of humor, which lightened up some seriously tense situations. I also love how Ms. Mentink made Brayden’s dog Ella her own character and such an integral part of this story. Brayden and Ella were definitely my favorite characters!

If you’ve never read Dana Mentink, I highly recommend any of her stories. She always incorporates humor, a good mystery, great characters, and wonderful canines in her stories!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is light. 

BackCover Blurb:

Sabotage on a family ranch…
this K-9’s on the case.

When her estranged uncle attempts to sabotage her family’s reindeer ranch, K-9 team assistant Katie Kapowski heads home to help save it—and becomes his target. With their rocky past, Alaska State Trooper Brayden Ford and his furry partner are the last team Katie wants assigned to protect her. But with the ranch under siege, they must work together…or risk falling victim to a killer.

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

Part of the Alaska K-9 Unit Series

Love Inspired Suspense, October 2021
Available  in digital ebook and paperback:



A PICTURE OF HOPE By Liz Tolsma, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

Great, suspenseful WWII book!

It is just after the Normandy Invasion and journalist Nellie Wilkerson wants to be at the front of the action to bring the truth to the Americans back home. After sneaking her way into France, she finds herself behind enemy lines and witnessing much more than she bargained for. “What is more important is that I captured the entire story in one shot. And that was my intention. So that, without a single word, the world would know what Hitler is doing. And that there is hope in the midst of the evil of this world.” 

Teaming with resistance fighter Jean-Paul, they come upon Claire, a frightened, *Mongoloid child hiding from the dreaded Germans. They find refuge at a convent with three nuns. They learn much about their faith and hope from an elderly Sister, Maria-Theresa. “This suffering is meant to make our souls long for heaven. This world wearies us and weighs us down. Oh, but there is another world where we will never be weary and where we will never long for anything better.”

There is much danger as they all flee to Switzerland. Ms Tolsma showcases the real heroes and heroines of WWII as she tells the story of Nellie, Jean-Paul, Claire and their companions. The real people and real-life situations are woven seamlessly into the journey from oppression, as well as a journey of faith. What seems like hopelessness turns into a hope for the future.

Well done story opening yet another window into the events of WWII that we should never forget.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.* I give this 5 stars and a strong faith thread. 

Blog note: *Mongoloid is an historical term used in this time period for children with Down Syndrome or other developmental concerns. It was unfortunately also used for some people with Central Asian ancestry and is a term no longer in use but reflects the book's setting.  Liz Tolsma's heart for people with developmental disabilities is very personal and we appreciate her work to showcase this sad portrait of history.

BackCover Blurb:
A Photojournalist Risks Her Life to Save a Very Special Child

Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.

Journalist Nellie Wilkerson has spent the bulk of the war in London, photographing mothers standing in milk lines—and she’s bored. She jumps at the chance to go to France, where the Allied forces recently landed. There she enlists Jean-Paul Breslau of the French underground to take her to the frontlines. On the journey, they stumble upon a great tragedy, leaving a girl with special needs being orphaned.

Can Nellie and Jean-Paul see the child to a safe haven while being pursued by the Nazis, who are pressed by the advancing Allies and determined to destroy all they can before they flee? 

Barbour Publishing, October, 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding, and audiobook:


Sunday, October 24, 2021

MURDER AT THE EMPIRE (Ever After Mysteries Book 4) by Cathe Swanson, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

With a solid faith underpinning, the author gives us a cast of some likable and some shifty characters. Gayle has found a position as one of the first lady organists for silent movies at the grand Empire Theater in Chicago. This colorful tale is set amid the backdrop of prohibition and is a mystery of two, maybe three murders and a missing manager.

John, the owner of the theater, befriends Gayle and a romance blooms. The mystery is interesting and takes us back in time to speakeasies, thefts, and forbidden booze.

I am finding this series to be fresh and an easy way to be thoroughly entertained.
*I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from Celebrate Lit. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 stars and a solid faith thread.

BackCover Blurb:
Gayle Wells is a killer organist, but does a killer have her in his sights?

They call him the Emperor. John Starek fills his theater with fine artwork and treasures. He’s particularly pleased to have one of the country’s first female organists – and he thinks Gayle Wells is the bee’s knees.

Despite pressure from her social crusader mother, Gayle isn’t interested in changing the world. She just wants a car of her own – and a career playing the organ at the Empire movie palace would be especially ducky.

Then the Empire’s treasures start disappearing and employees start dying. Are a few pieces of art really enough motive for the string of murders? Will Gayle be next?

Murder at the Empire brings The Nightingale into an elegant movie palace in the roaring 20’s – but the real excitement is all off-screen.

Celebrate Lit Publishing, October, 2021

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