Wednesday, January 19, 2022

THE GIRL THAT COULD BREATHE UNDERWATER by Erin Bartels, Reviewed by Paula and Rebecca

PAULA'S REVIEW
After reading the author notes, I was prepared for some trigger situations. It seemed like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and I had a lot of trepidation while reading most of the book. This story seems to be a catharsis for the author. Putting that aside, it was very well written with some beautiful descriptive passages: “As I brushed through the tall grass and wildflowers, a flood of familiar smells--wet sand and crushed mint and something sweet I have never been able to identify--washed over me in gentle lapping waves of memory.”

This was a thought provoking book: “Truth has a way of working itself into any story, whether the writer means it or not.” It also was a great glimpse into the writing process of the main character, Kendra, an author who had a best seller and is trying to write book #2. There was a mysterious aspect in that Kendra was trying to find out who had written her a letter signed A Very Disappointed Reader. Several mysteries unfold as we get to know the characters.

My favorite characters were Ike, an old WWII veteran who told many stories and dispensed wisdom, and Andreas, who was translating Kendra’s book into German. Andreas provided a stabilizing influence on Kendra in her search for truth. Kendra had to find answers to many questions in order to re-establish relationships and define who she really was and move forward. In the end it was a tender love story and a tale of healing.

I would consider this to be a moderately clean read with some possible triggers for those who are sensitive to such. It was not written from a clear Christian perspective.

*A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Revell through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

4 stars and a moderately clean read

REBECCA'S REVIEW
"Once there was a girl who could breathe under water . . . "

The words to an unfinished story. Much like the life of the one who wrote them.

Novelist Kendra Brennan's first and only manuscript to date was a best seller, so naturally her fans (and publisher, and editor) were clamoring for more. At least most of her fans; one person's anonymous letter sends Kendra scrambling back to where it all began, her grandfather's cabin on the shores of Hidden Lake . . . hoping for respite, for inspiration, and quite possibly for closure.

"Your book . . . is the work of a selfish opportunist who was all too ready to monetize the suffering of others. Did you ever consider . . . "

Maybe she hadn't considered, for you see, the book characterized truth for the ones who knew . . . perhaps Kendra had been just a bit too realistic, one of her fictional counterparts had recognized their role and wasn't happy about it . . . nor should they be . . . right? Her memories surrounding summers on the lake with her grandfather and friends got a little fuzzy when she overthought them. Those experiences were the best and the worst of her life, which is why she stopped going in the first place. Now she's back. Her grandfather is no longer living and Kendra is . . . living with a deadline looming for her second novel and writer's block sitting squarely in her brain. Would confrontation erase those ugly words from her head?

What an interesting story . . . about life, about friendships, about convoluted relations, about brokenness, about forgiveness, about love. . . the right kind, the honest kind, the forever kind. Everyone suffers when there are secrets. And every secret holder needs someone who will believe their story.
*I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

BackCover Blurb:
The best fiction simply tells the truth.
But the truth is never simple.


When novelist Kendra Brennan moves into her grandfather's old cabin on Hidden Lake, she has a problem and a plan. The problem? An inflammatory letter from A Very Disappointed Reader. The plan? To confront Tyler, her childhood best friend's brother--and the man who inspired the antagonist in her first book. If she can prove that she told the truth about what happened during those long-ago summers, perhaps she can put the letter's claims to rest and meet the swiftly approaching deadline for her next book.

But what she discovers as she delves into the murky past is not what she expected. While facing Tyler isn't easy, facing the consequences of her failed friendship with his sister, Cami, may be the hardest thing she's ever had to do.

Plumb the depths of the human heart with this emotional exploration of how a friendship dies, how we can face the unforgivable, and how even those who have been hurt can learn to love with abandon.

Revell Publishing, January, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy THE GIRL THAT COULD BREATHE UNDERWATER at Amazon, Christianbook.com, and Baker Book House 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

#ReleaseDay TO DISGUISE THE TRUTH #Interview with Author Jen Turano by Paula Shreckhise

It's Release Day for TO DISGUISE THE TRUTH but we're first celebrating the delightful JEN TURANO with this interview by Paula Shreckhise!


PAULA: What is the funniest thing you remember from your childhood?



 
 

JEN: Oh, there are so many stories I could tell, but the one that immediately sprang to mind was when I was in elementary school and hauled out this old boat from the garage and decided it would be a great idea to patch up the holes and take it down to this little neighborhood pond for a sail. It was made out of that hard plastic and had been used as a little kiddie pool for years, until the plastic cracked and it leaked too much. Well, armed with this black glue stuff and some tape, I, along with my friend, Jamie, went to work patching it up. We then dragged it to the pond, set it in the water and…it was floating. We thought we were good to go. In we went, but when we got to the middle of the pond, Jamie shifted around, trying to get comfortable, and her feet suddenly shot through the bottom of the boa, leaving a gaping hole in it. Needless to say, we began sinking. We also began laughing and it’s amazing to me to this day that we somehow managed to make it almost to shore, at which point we were forced to abandon the boat and slog our way to the bank as fast as we could because this particular pond was home to more than a few snapping turtles. And while we thought it was hilarious, our parents weren’t exactly amused.

PAULA: What made you choose the Historical genre to write in?

JEN: In the publishing industry, there’s a saying that a writer should write what they know. I have always been a reader of historical romances, and after experimenting with a lot of other genres when I first started writing, I finally realized my sweet spot was historical after I penned a Regency romance. And while that novel attracted attention from agents, no one actually wanted to sign me because I still had a few craft problems, so I started writing another one. About a chapter in, though, I got distracted because I’d begun reading this nonfiction book about the Vanderbilts. That’s when I became enamored with The Gilded Age, ditched the Regency I was writing, and after doing a lot of research on my newfound favorite historical era, wrote the novel that became “A Change of Fortune.” I’ve been writing Gilded Age romps ever since. 
 
PAULA: Do you base your characters on people you know?
 
JEN: I have to admit that quite a few of my characters are inspired by people I know. I like to take their quirks and magnify them to make my characters more amusing, which is why I never tell my friends I’ve written a character based on them because you never know if they’re going to find what I’ve done with them amusing or not.
 
PAULA: Do you people watch to get ideas for your stories?

JEN: Absolutely. People are fascinating to observe, and I’ve really honed the skill of eavesdropping over the years. I find that slipping on dark glasses makes eavesdropping easier because the victims of my eavesdropping are never quite certain I’m watching and listening in on their conversations.

PAULA: Are you a plotter or a pantster?


JEN: I’m more of a hybrid author. I’m turn in a brief synopsis to my editing team before I begin a new series, and when I say brief, I mean it’s lucky if what I hand them is as long as a back-jacket-cover copy. I then plot out five chapters at a time because if I plot more than that, it’s a waste of time. Once I get into writing a new story, my characters take on a life of their own, and plot twists I never considered spring to mind. It’s never a good idea for me to ignore those new ideas because my writing will come to a rapid standstill until I agree to take the story where my characters want me to go. I do, however, always know the opening line of a new book, as well as know exactly how it’s going to end. It’s all that pesky stuff in between that gives me trouble.
PAULA: Does your husband read your books?

JEN: My husband has read exactly one of my books, and that was only because a male friend of mine reads all of my books and Al was feeling a tad guilty. However, romance really isn’t his thing, and then after he read my book, he wanted to discuss it with me, but I could tell his heart wasn’t really in it, which I found highly amusing, so I have since banned him from reading any of my books. It just makes life easier.

PAULA: Do you read your books after publication?


JEN: I do not. As soon as I turn in what are known as design pages to my editor – the last step I have to take in the publishing process – I never read the book again. I mean, by that time, I’ve read it at least twenty-five times if not more, what with all the edits I do, and there’s really nothing fun about reading a book when you know all the plot twists. I also tend to forget my characters not long after I say goodbye to them, which makes it tricky to talk about the book once it releases because I’m always writing two books beyond a release book.

PAULA: What author’s books take up the most shelf space on your bookshelves?

JEN: Hahahaha – this is one of those questions that I never answer because I have so many author friends that I wouldn’t want to hurt any of their feelings by singling out one of them.

PAULA: What is your favorite Bible verse?

JEN: Isaiah 30:21 – Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying “This is the way, walk in it.”
 
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR 
VISITING WITH US TODAY, JEN!

MARRYING MR. WRONG by Melissa Jagears, Reviewed by Trixi Oberembt #ReleaseDay

If two people were completely ill-suited to each other, it was Tim O'Connor and Gwen McGill! Tim is a hard working ranch hand just trying to provide for his mom and siblings; Gwen is a rich socialite. They both fight against prejudices and unfair judgments in a town full of gossips. Plus, their social classes set them far apart from each other. I had fun reading how Jagears was going to get these two together!

I love the character growth in both of them and how they find the strengths to rise above what others think of them. Especially people who judge them by what their no-good fathers did. It's a hard won happily-ever-after kind of story of faith and love. Throw in a little danger to push these two together and you got a great story to keep you turning pages until the perfect ending. I was left with a smile on my face!
*I received a complimentary copy from the author and was under no obligation to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *

BackCover Blurb: 

Can a man who’s completely wrong for her help her find Mr. Right?

Gwendolyn McGill wants to be loved and accepted for who she is, but that’s hard to do in a small town where everyone judges her by the scandal her father caused. Unfortunately, the man she hoped would sweep her away from all the wagging tongues is no longer interested in marrying her. Unable to leave town, she’s determined to prove she’s more than just a pretty face who knows how to bat her eyelashes.

For years, Timothy O’Conner has loved Gwen from a distance, knowing someone like her would never be attracted to a lowly ranch hand with a blemished face like him. When Gwen unexpectedly shows up at the ranch, asking him to help her learn how to attract a man of quality, Tim’s feelings become even harder to suppress.

When danger pushes them together, they discover there’s more to each other than either of them imagined. Though God is no respecter of persons, is the desire of their hearts strong enough to defy society’s expectations?

Marrying Mr. Wrong is the fourth book in the Frontier Vows Series by award-winning Christian romance author Melissa Jagears. If you like to read about unexpected characters falling in love, you’ll enjoy this tender love story that has the perfect mix of romance and adventure.
 
Utmost Publishing, January 2022
Available in digital ebook and paperback  
Buy Marrying Mr. Wrong at Amazon

Monday, January 17, 2022

THE DEBUTANTE'S CODE by Erica Vetsch, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

*Thorndike and Swann Mysteries

"Disappointment was only a short step away from resentment, she found. For years she had made excuses . . . How did she honor her parents as God intended when their decisions thwarted the desires of her heart?"

Returning home after years away at finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is met at the docks with disappointment; rather than the count and countess meeting her for a joyous reunion, her Uncle Betrand is there instead; short on excuses and anxious to be on with his business. With her debut into London society less than twenty-four hours away, Juliette cannot understand why her parents have assigned the dowager Haverly to chaperone her through the presentation. As it turns out, the entire debut proves to be most unusual, most unusual indeed, for who would imagine concluding a glorious evening being witness to a most unusual crime?

When Bow Street runner Daniel Thorndike is called out to investigate the details surrounding a stolen painting, he invites himself into a lavish party scene, the guests being some of London's most recognizable elite who exhibit predictable displeasure about being questioned by the police. Upon further study, his attention cannot help but hover around the lovely Lady Thorndike, whose intelligence spills over into her every expression. Subsequently, when the one crime broadens into several, Daniel is forced to turn his focus back to the lady and her uncle, unknowingly becoming caught up in something far bigger than whether or not he can sustain his own career.

What a rare find! A conventional mystery wrapped tightly within the embellishments of a fine Regency historical. It's clever, it's interesting, and it's incredibly enjoyable, for following the clues sends readers toward the same dead ends as the characters, who themselves are not even sure whom to trust. Needless to say, the author also smoothly incorporates the topics of abandonment, honesty, integrity, faith, doubt, and even love, for who hasn't uttered this sort of prayer; "God what should I do? Where can I turn?".

Readers will be clamoring for more of "Thorndike and Swann"! 
*I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.

SEE PAULA'S REVIEW

BackCover Blurb:
Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series

Newly returned from finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is ready to debut in London society. Due to her years away, she hasn't spent much time with her parents, and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love. But when they disappear, she discovers she never really knew them at all. They've been living double lives as government spies--and they're only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family's legacy.

Now Lady Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spy craft. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors--not to mention nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner Daniel Swann, who suspects her of a daring theft.

Can Lady Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents' last mission? Or will it lead her to a terrible end?

Best-selling author Erica Vetsch is back with a rollicking, exciting new series destined to be a hit with Regency readers who enjoy a touch of mystery in their love stories. Fans of Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, and Anne Perry will love the wit, action, and romance. 

Kregel Publishing, Dec, 2021
Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy The Debutante's Code at Amazon, Christianbook.com, and Baker Book House

 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

SUNRISE by Susan May Warren, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

“Forgiveness isn’t for the person you’re forgiving. . . It’s for yourself. It’s what you do to be set free.”

I’m always excited to begin a new series by Susan May Warren, and the first book in her Sky King Ranch series is fantastic. Set in the wilds of Alaska, and starring Dodge Kingston, one of a set of triplets, this book drew me in from the first page and kept me holding on for dear life amidst all the action.

When Dodge returns to Alaska after ten years away, he doesn’t count on seeing his old girlfriend, Echo Yazzie again. And he isn’t happy that he still has feelings for her. Dodge is a wonderful hero—courageous, daring, and compassionate, but he and Echo both have baggage from their pasts to work through.

“Stop telling God what you want, and let him work his will in you. You might find answers.”

With lots of action, adventure, suspense, a dash of romance, and themes of forgiveness, second chances, and letting God prevail in your life, Sunrise has something for everyone. I’m looking forward to Ranger’s and Colt’s stories and more Alaskan adventures.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Revell through Interviews and Reviews. All opinions are my own.
4.5 stars 

SEE REVIEWS BY NICOLE, KIM, and REBECCA

BackCover Blurb:
Coming home was never the plan

After a terrible family fight, pilot Dodge Kingston left home to join the Air Force. A decade later, he's headed back to the destiny that awaits him as heir to Sky King Ranch. But that's not all that's waiting for him at home.

Echo Yazzie is a true Alaskan woman--a homesteader, dogsledder, and research guide for the DNR. After her childhood best friend and former flame, Dodge, fled Denali, she settled into life on the Alaskan range. She's made her peace with being left behind--by her mother and by Dodge. And she's strong enough to live without them.

When one of Echo's fellow researchers goes missing, Echo sets out to find her, despite a blizzard, a rogue grizzly haunting the woods, and the biting cold. What she doesn't know is that there are more than just the regular dangers of the Alaskan forests stalking her . . .

As Dodge sets out to find Echo, he can't ignore the feelings he still has for her. But will he be able to find her in time? And if he does, is there still room for him in her heart?

Revell Books, January, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy SUNRISE at Amazon, Christianbook.com, or Baker Book House

Friday, January 14, 2022

MAGGIE'S STRENGTH by Pegg Thomas, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

*Forts of Refuge, Book #2

"If Maggie was going to survive, she'd have to do it on her own. Again."

Having been kidnapped as a young child during an Indian raid, the thoughts of escape have barely crossed Maggie Kerr's mind; it was too dangerous, but after being promised as a bride to a cruel Huron warrior, Maggie senses a sliver of opportunity and takes it. She's both terrified and hopeful that she can reach Fort Detroit and claim refuge as a British citizen. There is only one thing standing in her way, a river; swift, deep and wide.

Baptiste Geroux is caught between war and peace; as a slightly lame French farmer, he routinely gives the neighboring Indians food from his fields in exchange for allowing him to remain on land they could, at any moment, consider their own. With a British fort just across the river, he also trades with the British while remaining neutral within the area's strained relations. But the day he encounters a lovely young woman along his shore, deep down in his heart Baptiste knows that his life will never be the same.

What a wondrous story! Not only did I learn a wealth of information about the history of this area, whose inhabitants suffered greatly under the complexity of relationships between the French, Indians, and British, but the author managed to navigate the details in a way that I could easily understand . . .  however, the historical backdrop tactfully faded into the background as the sweetest of love stories took center stage. The absolute sweetest! It's a book that I anticipate reading over and over again. 
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 4 stars

BackCover Blurb:
Maggie Kerr is a survivor. Taken captive at age eleven during the battle at Fort McCord, she's learned to adapt and to trust no one. Promised in marriage to a Huron warrior she fears, Maggie risks everything in a run for her freedom.

Content to ignore the rising animosity between the British and the Ottawa villagers he calls his friends, Baptiste Geroux plants his fields, limping behind his oxen and waiting for his brother to return from the west. Until the day a woman in danger arrives on his farm.

When more tribes join Pontiac in an all-out war, Maggie and Baptiste take refuge at Fort Detroit. He’s distrusted for being French. She’s scorned for being raised by the Hurons. Together they forge a fragile bond—until Maggie's past threatens their chance at happiness.

Spinner of Yarns Publishing, October 2021
Available in digital ebook and paperback:

Thursday, January 13, 2022

THE BREAKUP PROJECT by Carolyn Miller, Reviewed by Kim


The Breakup Project by Carolyn Miller has everything I like in a contemporary romance! It merged one of my favorite tropes, friends to more, with a sports theme, our hero is a Nation Hockey League player, which I love! It is also the first of a 6 book series where all the hero’s play in the NHL and even better, all of the books come out this year!


I really liked both of the main characters in this story. Mike is so kind and has a heart of gold. I liked him immediately and my heart broke for him a couple of times during the story. Bree, while I really liked her, made some decisions that sort of frustrated me at times, but, for the most part I understood where she was coming from and everything worked out in the end.


I think my favorite part of this story was the faith thread. It was prominent and I loved how Ms. Miller wove it naturally into the story, especially the sermons.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is prominent.


SEE DEB'S INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR CAROLYN MILLER!

 

BackCover Blurb:

New Year. New Resolution. New Romance?
What happens when the best-laid plans break a friendship?

As the twin sister of hockey’s hottest forward, romance-loving Bree Karlsson is used to being ignored, leading to a New Year’s resolution to not date any athlete in her attempt to find Mr. Right. But what happens when the man who might prove to be her personal Mr. Darcy is her brother’s hockey-playing best friend?

Mike Vaughan might be happy playing in Boston, but he’d be even happier if Bree could one day see him as more than a good friend. He agrees to help Bree with a special project in the hope she’ll finally see him as something more. But when a misunderstanding ends in a Valentine’s Day disaster, Bree realizes that her breakup project may have broken her friendship with Mike in two. Can she ever redeem her mistake?

This friends-to-more romance has plenty of heart, humor, and swoon-worthy kisses in this first book of the Original Six, a sweet, slightly sporty Christian contemporary romance series.

Connect with Carolyn at:   website | facebook | pinterest | twitter | instagram

 

BUY THE BREAKUP PROJECT at AMAZON 

 


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

A STRANGER'S GAME by Colleen Coble, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #ReleaseDay #Giveaway Partners in Crime Blog Tour

A Stranger's Game

by Colleen Coble

January 3-14, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

A Stranger's Game by Colleen Coble

This gripping new novel from USA TODAY bestselling romantic suspense author Colleen Coble will leave you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.

A wealthy hotel heiress.

Even though Torie Bergstrom hasn’t been back to Georgia since she was ten, she’s happy to arrange a job for her best friend at one of the family properties on Jekyll Island.

A suspicious death.

But when Torie learns that her best friend has drowned, she knows it is more than a tragic accident: Lisbeth was terrified of water and wouldn’t have gone swimming by choice.

A fight for the truth.

Torie goes to the hotel under an alias, desperate to find answers. When she meets Joe Abbott and his daughter rescuing baby turtles, she finds a tentative ally.

The more Torie and Joe dig, the more elusive the truth seems. One thing is clear: someone will risk anything—even more murder—to keep their secrets buried.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: January 4th 2022
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0785228578 (ISBN13: 9780785228578)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

C H A P T E R 1

Victoria Bergstrom almost forgot to breathe at the beauty of Georgia’s Jekyll Island. Standing at the railing, she watched the sunset gild the undulating tidal grass with gold and orange and continue to paint its spectacular hues on sand and sea as the boat made its way along the Intracoastal Waterway to the wharf. The Golden Isles was an apt name this time of day especially. Her gaze landed on the hotel, and her chest compressed.

Then again, maybe dread stole her oxygen instead.

The garrulous captain gestured toward The Wharf restaurant, perched at the end of the wooden walkway. “There she is. It’s a much prettier approach this direction instead of coming over the bridge. I still can’t believe those people blocked the bridge.”

Torie had planned to drive, but protesters advocating for the abolishment of the Federal Reserve had filled every inch of the bridge over the causeway to the island, and she hadn’t wanted to be stuck in traffic for hours. She shook her head. Did the protesters really believe marching would accomplish their goal? And besides, the Fed helped to protect against bank runs and depressions. It seemed insane to protest about it.

The boat docked, and she grabbed her carry-on bag to disembark. The rest of her luggage would be delivered tomorrow once she knew where she was staying. “Thanks for the ride, Captain.”

He tipped his hat. “You’re welcome, Miss Torie.”

Her heels clattered on the wooden planks past the restaurant and a storefront for boating excursions, and onto the sidewalk onshore. Time slipped past in a shimmering haze as she crossed Riverview Drive, avoiding the ever-constant bikers, and approached the Jekyll Island Club Resort hotel.

It had been eighteen years since she’d run and played along this water. Eighteen years since she’d smelled the river and listened to a bull alligator roar at Horton Pond. Eighteen years since she’d seen stiletto-tipped palmetto groves and moss-draped oak trees. The narrator on a passing tram droned on about the history of this place she’d once loved so much.

There it was.

The hotel that lived both in her dreams and her nightmares.

The tower in the left corner rose above the four-story structure, and the large wraparound porch beckoned visitors with thoughts of sweet tea and laughter with friends. She paused to tuck her white blouse into her navy skirt before she mounted the steps to the outdoor receptionist box guarding the doorway inside. It was unmanned at the moment, so she stepped into the hotel lobby. The scents of sandalwood and pine took her back to her childhood in an instant, and she swallowed past the constriction in her throat.

Audentes fortuna juvat. “Fortune favors the bold,” the Roman poet Virgil had said, and though being here brought out all her insecurities, Torie had to find her courage.

Little had changed through the years other than fresh paint and attentive maintenance. The ornate Victorian moldings gleamed with a gentle glow of wax, and the wood floors were as beautiful as ever. She had never wanted to step foot in this lobby again, yet here she was.

Torie raised her head with a confidence she didn’t feel and approached the resort’s front desk. “Torie Berg. I’m your new IT specialist.”

The alias flowed smoothly off her lips. She’d used it on her last assignment, and it was close enough to her real name to feel natural.

“Welcome to Jekyll Island Club Resort,” the young woman said.

The blonde looked to be about Torie’s age of twenty-eight and wore an engagement ring. Her open, friendly expression was perfect for the check-in desk.

“Marianne,” a familiar voice said behind Torie.

Torie froze and didn’t turn. While she didn’t think the older woman would recognize her, she couldn’t take the chance. The click of high heels went past her to the left, and she caught a glimpse of Genevieve Hallston’s lavender blouse, her signature color.

“Come to my office please,” Genevieve said to the housekeeper she’d hailed.

The stricken look on the middle-aged woman’s face said it all. Genevieve was on a tear about something, and it took all of Torie’s resolve not to intervene. She’d been sliced by the older woman’s razor-sharp tongue enough to know it wouldn’t be a pleasant conversation.

But she had to remember her mission. If anyone recognized her, her cover would be blown and all of her plans would be in ruins.

***

Excerpt from A Stranger's Game by Colleen Coble. Copyright 2021 by Colleen Coble. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

SEE PAULA'S REVIEW BELOW!

Author Bio:

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean's Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.

Connect with Colleen online at:
colleencoble.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @ColleenCoble
Instagram - @colleencoble
Twitter - @colleencoble
Facebook - @colleencoblebooks

 

Enter below to WIN:

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 
PAULA'S REVIEW:

A long-time favorite author, Colleen Coble, pens another absorbing tale of mystery and danger. So many suspenseful layers and twists and turns to keep you on your toes.

Torie Bergstrom has lost her best friend, Lisbeth, and goes undercover to find the truth behind her death. She cannot believe that Lisbeth took her own life or drowned by accident as is surmised. But who is trying to cover it up? And who is playing mind games with Torie? While at the resort where Lisbeth died, she meets widower Joe Abbot and his daughter Hailey. Joe is security for the resort and has a super interesting business training Sea lions for the Navy. All things ramp up with threats coming from all directions. Does Torie’s investigation and Joe’s diving troubles have any connection?

Ms. Coble uses descriptions of the area to great advantage. I especially liked the baby turtles scurrying to the sea, the underwater reef diving and the interaction with the sea lion, Simon. The faith thread was natural and shows Joe quoting scripture with eight year old Hailey and using everyday observations to teach her spiritual things. “God uses all the bad things in our lives to make us more beautiful, too. Nothing is wasted-it all serves a purpose.”

Another winning suspenseful story.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishing through Partners In Crime Tours. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 stars. A faint faith thread.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

TWILIGHT AT MOORINGTON CROSS by Abigail Wilson, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #ReleaseDay

A will has left Amelia Pembroke with an impossible decision. She must marry a cad or a fop within the month. And they are both strangers! So many secrets at Moorington Cross. With the help of well-mannered Ewan Hawkins, solicitor of the late Mr. Cluett, Amelia sets out to find out more about her suitors.

Truth tangled among the lies. Hidden passageways, secrets concealed in unused rooms and a spooky look into a precursor of hypnotism.

Ms. Wilson’s prose is stunning: “A swallow sang from somewhere in the distance. Nature’s soothing hum. The sun shook free of a blanket of clouds lit the morning dew as it glinted across the flowers like tiny diamonds at our feet.”

With engaging, mysterious characters and a thoroughly tantalizing plot, Ms. Wilson continues to captivate me with her gothic tales. Some of the best writing of today about the obscure yesterday.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 stars and a faint faith thread

BackCover Blurb:
Amelia Pembroke is in a unique position in Regency England: She can obtain financial freedom. But in order to do so, she must marry one of two gentlemen. The trouble is, she might be falling in love with another man entirely.

1819, Kent, England—Everything changed the moment Amelia became heiress to Moorington Cross. A young widow and patient at Cluett’s Mesmeric Hospital, Amelia is stunned to learn that her doctor—and the only father figure she’s ever known—has altered his will naming her his primary beneficiary. Such an opportunity is beyond what any Regency-era woman could dare to dream—especially one with a sleeping disorder that finds her falling asleep at the most random of times.

There is, however, a perplexing condition attached to the will: she must wed one of two named men, wholly unknown to her. Doing so would provide her with a secure future. But how can she marry one of these men when her heart is intrigued by the charming solicitor, Mr. Hawkins?

Everything takes on a new sense of urgency—and danger—when Mr. Cluett is found dead in his bedchamber only hours after announcing his updated will. Now Amelia only has thirty days to decide which man she will marry. But she is just as determined to uncover the truth of her benefactor’s demise with the help of Mr. Hawkins. After all, this sudden turn of events couldn’t merely be a coincidence—could it?

From award-winning author Abigail Wilson,
Twilight at Moorington Cross is a mysterious Regency romance full of intrigue, mesmeric treatments, and abandoned corridors that proves love is the greatest testament of all.

Thomas Nelson, January 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding, and audiobook:
Buy Twilight at Moorington Cross at Amazon, Christianbook.com, and Baker Book House 

THE WINTER ROSE by Melanie Dobson, Reviewed by Nicole Cook #ReleaseDay

“Jesus had loved with His whole life. To His death. But death didn’t stop it. His love spread like dandelions, she thought, the seeds scattering across grassy plains and forgotten weeds and rocky terrain, the healing blossoms growing in the hardest places. Like the winter rose in the mountains.”

Award-winning author Melanie Dobson’s latest time-slip novel is one that readers will not want to miss. The Winter Rose focuses on the Quakers’ role of helping rescue Jewish children during World War II and how the children’s experiences would affect the rest of their lives. I always learn something new when reading Melanie Dobson’s books, and this one is no different. The rich historical details incorporated into the storyline and the agony and emotions these individuals experienced was so profound and heart wrenching. Both the historical and contemporary storylines captured my interest equally, and the way the two storylines came together at the conclusion was a surprise.

The Winter Rose is a story of hope and redemption during even the darkest of times. With all the struggles our society is currently facing during these difficult times, the message of “God’s redemption in our broken world” is both relevant and appropriate. The beautiful spiritual truths throughout Melanie Dobson’s books always draw me deeper into my faith. The Winter Rose is highly recommended for fans of World War II fiction and readers who enjoy time-slip and women’s fiction novels.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.


ABOUT THE BOOK:
In this gripping WWII time-slip novel from the author whose books have been called “propulsive” and a “must-read” (Publishers Weekly), Grace Tonquin is an American Quaker who works tirelessly in Vichy France to rescue Jewish children from the Nazis. After crossing the treacherous Pyrénées, Grace returns home to Oregon with a brother and sister whose parents were lost during the war. Though Grace and her husband love Élias and Marguerite as their own, echoes of Grace’s past and trauma from the Holocaust tear the Tonquin family apart.

More than fifty years after they disappear, Addie Hoult arrives at Tonquin Lake, hoping to find the Tonquin family. For Addie, the mystery is a matter of life and death for her beloved mentor Charlie, who is battling a genetic disease. Though Charlie refuses to discuss his ties to the elusive Tonquins, finding them is the only way to save his life and mend the wounds from his broken past.

Tyndale Publishing, January, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy THE WINTER ROSE at Amazon, Christianbook.com, and Baker Book House

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of more than twenty historical romance, suspense, and time-slip novels. Five of her novels have won Carol Awards; Catching the Wind and Memories of Glass were nominated for a Christy Award in the historical fiction category; and Catching the Wind won an Audie Award in the inspirational fiction category. The Black Cloister, her novel about a religious cult, won the Foreword magazine Religious Fiction Book of the Year.

Melanie is the previous corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family, owner of the publicity firm Dobson Media Group, and a former adjunct professor at George Fox University. When she isn't writing, Melanie enjoys teaching a variety of workshops.

Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with work, the Dobson family has settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to hike and camp in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and along the Pacific Coast. Melanie also enjoys exploring ghost towns and abandoned homes, helping care for kids in her community, and creating stories with her girls.

Visit Melanie online at www.melaniedobson.com.

Monday, January 10, 2022

CHOICES OF THE HEART by Sarah M. Eden, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas #NewRelease

“One can only endure so much rejection before one’s goal is to avoid it at nearly all costs.”

It was so enjoyable to once again visit Hope Springs, Wyoming in Sarah M. Eden’s new tale, Choices of the Heart. Although this is a novella, it reads like a longer story and packs a lot of punch. Eden is a master at creating realistic, layered, and engaging characters and plopping them in intriguing places and situations, then allowing them to grow and change for the better. Sophie Kingston, a Baltimore socialite who doesn’t fit in there, and Burke Jones, an orphan who longs to be a success in his doctoring, are the
stars of this book. 

When Sophie arrives in Hope Springs, she finds an entirely different
environment than she is used to. She also meets the doctor and a whole cast of other interesting and welcoming people. I enjoyed seeing Sophie and Burke’s relationship grow and evolve and their outlooks on life change.
“You need to make the decision that is best for you—not for me, not for your family, but for you.”
“. . . being happy with the person you are is more important than pretending to be the person other people think you ought to be.”

Filled with adventure, romance, and hope, this book is a joy to read and a wonderful addition to the Hope Springs series. It’s another reason that Sarah M. Eden is on my list of favorite historical fiction writers. 
*4.5 stars. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own
 

BackCover Blurb:
The paths of life that brought them together are destined to tear them apart.

Burke Jones began his life as a nameless orphan, dreaming of one day being a renowned doctor with a home and family to call his own. Sophie Kingston, daughter of an influential East Coast family, was destined to be an important and beloved part of Baltimore Society.

Life has not gone quite as either planned.

Now living in the home of a family friend, Sophie joins the lady on a journey to the tiny town of Hope Springs in Wyoming Territory. It is unlike any place she’s ever known. And the resident doctor is a mystery as well. Burke knows he isn’t the success he’d always imagined he would be, and seeing it through the eyes of this newly arrived Society lady only drives that home.

As Hope Springs begins to weave its magic, Sophie discovers more than she’d ever imagined, in both the town and its doctor. And Burke, who has always guarded his heart, begins to wonder if there might be more to life than he has previously imagined.

Their futures, however, do not lie along the same path or in the same destinations. Fate has once again proven unkind.

Can Hope Springs work yet another miracle?

From the USA Today bestselling author of the
Longing for Home series, CHOICES OF THE HEART is set in the beloved world of Hope Springs.

Other
Books in the Hope Springs Series:
Longing for Home
Longing for Home: Hope Springs
My Dearest Love
Love Remains
Long Journey Home
Valley of Dreams

Mirror Press, January 11, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:

 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

PROPOSING MISCHIEF by Regina Jennings, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

*The Joplin Chronicles, Book #2

"How dare you get married! What made you think you could do such a thing?"

And . . . that was exactly why Boone Bragg had married the freckled cave expedition-er; to escape the clutches of women like Justina Caine. He and Maise had made an air-tight agreement, even made it under the Promise Tree, that there would be no romance involved, just a straight up business deal . . . until death do them part. . . or at least until their cave filled with crystals opened up to the public.

Maise Kentworth had just made either the best, or the worst, decision of her life; she'd gotten married to the most eligible bachelor in all of Joplin, Missouri. One thing was certain, she had gained her freedom and saved her brother from prison, (maybe that was overstating things a bit, but for the time being it was the honest truth). Now, how to traverse around all the land mines sprinkled throughout polite society for you see, her reputation was already a bit tainted. Maise knew how to build fences and rope cows, but handling uppity females? Clueless. Or at least in ways that didn't get somebody hurt.

Maise and Boone's journey towards friendship and eventually romance is sprinkled with generous doses of hurt feelings and side-splitting humor, making the story quite entertaining, for even Boone admits early on that, "she was fire and light bound up in a freckled mess". He just didn't expect that "mess" to clean up into such a breathtaking beauty . . . (tell me, what man doesn't recognize his own wife?)

Enjoy this mischievous addition to "The Joplin Chronicles".
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars

SEE REVIEWS FROM WINNIE and PAULA!

BackCover Blurb:
Only one person can give her the freedom she seeks--but is it worth the risk?

Maisie Kentworth is being forced to stay on her parents' ranch. After a short-lived relationship with the wrong man, she's worried about inflaming things further between her former beau and her protective family. Left to rue her mistakes, she keeps busy exploring the idle mine at the edge of their property, where she discovers a great treasure.

Boone Bragg is also stuck. With his parents on vacation, the management of Bragg Mining falls on him, and one of his advisors wants him as a son-in-law. One wrong move, and Boone will end up either offending an associate or marrying a woman he can't endure.

While closing up a spent mine, Boone gets two surprises. One is a spitfire farm girl who's trespassing with a pickax, and the other is the amazing crystal cavern that she's discovered. Suddenly Boone sees a way to overhaul the family business. With part of the cavern on Kentworth land, Boone makes Maisie a proposal that he hopes will solve all of their problems. Instead it throws Joplin into chaos, and it will take all of Maisie's gumption to set things right. 

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

Saturday, January 8, 2022

STONE by Ronie Kendig, Reviewed by Kim

*THE METCALFES, Book One*

I have been looking forward to reading Stone from the moment I heard Ronie Kendig was going to write it. I mean more Metcalfe’s? Sign me up! I love Stone! I also enjoyed his story! Lol.

While Stone is primarily a romance, the character growth, humor, subject matter, and family and friend relationships make it so much more. I loved how Stone grew throughout this story. It felt real and believable and I loved every second of it. I also loved what he did towards the end of this story, to me, this action really showed that his heart had changed. There was also a wonderful surprise(s) at the end. I wasn’t expecting it at all and it really made this story perfect! I had a smile on my face the whole time!

While the subject matter in this story is sensitive, I am so glad that it is being brought to our attention through fiction. These things happen in real life and sadly, we sometimes like to pretend they don’t. I immediately wanted to donate to O.U.R. They are a wonderful organization that is doing amazing work.

I cannot wait for Brooke, Willow, and Range’s stories. Ronie Kendig is a master at writing stories that grab you from the first page, have you rooting for her characters while bringing to light real world truths, all while leaving you with a happy sigh when the story is done. All the stars!!!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. All opinions are my own. 

BackCover Blurb:
She cost him everything. Now, he’s forced to protect her.

Stone Metcalfe embodies the Metcalfe legacy—blue eyes, an unfair amount of good looks, and hardcore patriot-laced character. But a foolish lapse in judgment dismantles his name and career. Humiliated and furious, he retreats to his mountain lodge to hide from media hounds and eke out a new life. However, one phone call from an old Army buddy upends Stone’s best-laid plans.

Supermodel Brighton Buchanan had designers and men eating out of her hand until a terrible mistake trapped her in the soul-eating world of human trafficking. Years later, she is used by her captors to take down the best man she’s ever known. The man she loves. Hope lost, she’s unexpectedly freed—and thrown back into Stone’s life. Being forgiven is out of the question considering how much he hates her.

Believing danger and her trafficker are one wrong move away, Brighton will do anything to keep him from being ruined again—even if it means going back to that life. As everything is falling apart and threats mount against Brighton, Stone realizes forgiveness is the easy part. Protecting her—and his heart—is another story. 

TaskForce Press, January, 2022
Available in digital ebook and paperback: Buy Stone at Amazon

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We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

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