Saturday, May 28, 2022

ALL THAT IT TAKES by Nicole Deese, Reviewed by Trixi Oberembt

This needs 100 stars, seriously! The depth of emotion, the practical and thought-provoking faith thread and the absolute assurance that YOU matter to God. . . no matter your messy, failed, no good past. He loves YOU simply because you exist.

And the romance? Oh my . . . Again, exquisite and deeply emotional, it rocked me to the core! I appreciate characters who talk through tough things and not cover them up or gloss them over. They face problems head on, no matter how hard they are or how much they want to bury them. Both Miles and Val are complex humans with complex feelings, but yet I connected to them. They felt like "my" tribe and truly showed what it's like to be the hands and feet of Christ to hurting and broken people. Their love story took time and trust and was sweetly satisfying. Val's son Tucker made me laugh with all his ten year old boy antics, attitudes and big personality.

The whole story touched me. I cried a few ugly tears, but was left with a huge smile on my face at the ending page. Nicole Deese is an author I've come to love because of her unique and engaging writer's voice. She speaks life into a story and gives it a heartbeat. Go ahead; give All That It Takes a read! My hope (and I'm sure the author's, too), is you'll walk away changed and look at people in a different light. Everyone has a story to tell, no matter how painful the past was. God makes something beautiful out of the ashes of our lives!



BackCover Blurb:
When the ever-cautious Val Locklier moves cross-country with her son for a secure job, everything she'd planned unravels within the first week. After Val reluctantly agrees to rent an apartment from her best friend's brother, an unexpected chance at an elite filmmakers' mentorship ignites fresh hope for a dream career. But as Val's community begins to expand, so do her insecurities, especially those heightened by her growing attraction to a certain friendly landlord.

Pastor Miles McKenzie returns home from a short-term mission trip to discover that not only does he have an intriguing new tenant living upstairs, he's also been reassigned to a local ministry on life support. Disillusioned and restless, he distracts himself by throwing his energy into a host of new projects--not the least of which is pursuing Val--without stopping to consider the future.

As Val struggles to stop hiding behind the camera and Miles wrestles with shattered expectations, they'll find that authentic love and sacrifice must go hand in hand.

Bethany House Publishing, April 5, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy ALL THAT IT TAKES at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House

Friday, May 27, 2022

THE SOULS OF LOST LAKE by Jaime Jo Wright, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"There was a lake hidden miles into the forest. Surrounded by oak and aspen . . . Few knew of this lake, but that day the search party stumbled on it. Lost in the wilderness, they found its shoreline, and set away in the woods they discovered its horror."

Tales told around the campfire. . . meant to scare children and entertain adults. However, the story of Ava Coons was the kind of yarn that kept repeating itself, or at least that is what the people near Deer Lake Bible Camp in the Northwoods of Wisconsin were beginning to think. Another little girl. Missing without a trace. Was it possible, or even conceivable, that the ghost of Ava Coons had come to haunt them again?

Ava Coons was a pathetic little figure; stumbling out of the woods dragging a bloody lumberman's ax that would have been impossibly heavy for her spindly arms to wield, and yet her family had been brutally murdered (if the blood on the scene was any indication) while Ava continued to insist that she had no recollection of the event. Convenient or tragic . . . no one could decide. Years went by. And then there were more . . .

Arwen Blythe has lived on Deer Lake Bible Camp property for years. Even though she is frequently surrounded by people, Wren often grapples with feelings of lostness and isolation, she has a difficult time bonding with anyone. When a tourist's daughter named Jasmine disappears, Wren randomly dreams about the shores of Lost Lake and begins to convince herself that she too has seen the wandering ghost of Ava Coons . . . but what possible connection could she have to one so young, and to another who is simply a subject of local lore?

Two young women; decades apart, routinely misunderstood, with strong feeling of displacement; longing for belonging. They may have more in common than anyone ever expected. Will the road to discovery will not be easy for either of them? No, it will not.

"Some things couldn't be captured but through the experience of pain. It was a wicked but essential way to understand the depths of perfection, the depths of God . . ."

"We're all lost in our own ways. Some of us just hide when we shouldn't. We hide in our grief, in our minds, in our pain . . . in the woods . . . or in a story, like Ava Coons."

Excellent book! 

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

BackCover Blurb:
To save the innocent, they must face an insidious evil.

Wren Blythe has long enjoyed living in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, helping her father with ministry at a youth camp. But when a little girl in the area goes missing, an all-out search ensues, reviving the decades-old campfire story of Ava Coons, the murderess who is believed to still roam the forest. Joining the search, Wren stumbles upon the Coonses' cabin ruins and a sinister mystery she is determined to unearth.

In 1930, Ava Coons has spent the last several years carrying the mantle of mystery since the day she emerged from the woods as a thirteen-year-old girl, spattered with blood, dragging a logger's ax. She has accepted she will never remember what happened to her family, whose bodies were never found, and that the people of Tempter's Creek will always blame her for their violent deaths. And after a member of the town is murdered, and another goes missing, rumors spread that Ava's secret is perhaps more malicious than previously imagined.

Two women, separated by time, must confront a wickedness that not only challenges who they are but also threatens their lives, and the lives of those they love.

Bethany House Publishing, April, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy THE SOULS OF LOST LAKE at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House


Thursday, May 26, 2022

THE RIBBON By Cara Grandle, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

This is the second in the series Sisters of the Porcelain Doll but can be read as a stand alone.

Four friends make a pact to stay in touch as they get married and go their ways. Heather places a ribbon inside a doll as her part of the vow. Heather, after the death of her mother and a quick marriage to Riley, sets out for Oregon by wagon in 1847.

This book shows the many hardships of early settlers and how faith sustained them. It showcases how friends care and support each other. There are two worthy heroes, each lending strength to Heather as she struggles with all life has to send her. My favorite part was the lumber camp and how the rough woodsmen protected Heather and Liza, the camp cooks. The author pens a dastardly villain, the kind you hope gets his "just desserts".

If you are looking for a historical romance with danger along with the fun, look no farther.
*I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*4 stars and a clear faith thread 

BackCover Blurb:
Life rips away hope and sweeps her along…until she finds a future worth fighting for.

On the day her mother passes away, Heather Keeton weds a neighbor who promises to provide for her. They journey along the Oregon Trail, but tragedy strikes again. Widowed, alone, and far from home in Oregon Territory, Heather needs work. But where? She determines to use her cooking and baking skills at a logging camp to earn enough to remain independent and, eventually, reach her Porcelain Doll sister, Rebecca.

Land surveyor Zeke Bradley misses being part of a family. A surprise inheritance might open the way for him to settle down and begin a courtship, but he tries to come to the aid of an injured man only to be accused of murder. One wrong move, and he could unjustly swing by his neck from a rope. He flees and hides in a logging camp, waiting for his name to be cleared.

Nothing comes easy at Camp 13 Logging Company, where the work is hard and hazardous. Heather hopes to move on soon, and Zeke longs to be free from his worries. Can these two survivors learn to trust each other before their pasts destroy their future?

Ashberry Lane Publishing, May  2022
Available in digital ebook and paperback:


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

A HEALER'S PROMISE by Misty M. Beller, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"This man is not a danger to us. If we shed innocent blood, that evil will be marked to our account. He must be set free."

Carved deep into the Canadian Rockies, the mountain village of Laurent is heavily guarded and highly suspicious of strangers. When British spy Levi Masters stumbles into their midst while following American intelligence, he begins to regret what his occupation has turned into. Now his very life hangs in the balance, for the village council will soon decide his fate and Levi's only ally seems to be Laurent's lovely young healer, Audrey Moreau.

Audrey Moreau is convinced that deep down Levi Masters is a good man. One with regrets? Certainly. But not one with ill intent towards her beloved Laurent community. Acting on a whim, Audrey whisks Levi out of the village, not trusting the village leaders to spare his life. What happens afterwards is going to test every ability they each possess to survive. Has Audrey just made the worst mistake of her young lifetime, or is God still capable of working all things to His good.

"I'm praying Audrey. The Lord has a plan in this, though I don't know what it is. He'll carry us through."
With each step further into this unique cave community, the author utilizes her creative imagination to remind readers how extraordinary God's ordinary plans can turn out to be. Aubrey and Levi's faith journeys may have had vastly different beginnings, but both are tested in order to be strengthened. Be sure to cozy up with your favorite blanket while you read . . . it's cold in those caves!
*I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own. 3.5stars
BackCover Blurb:
She was called to be a healer, but her skills--and heart--have never been so challenged.

Levi Masters's time as a British spy hasn't ended, though his country's war with America has. After overhearing a scout reveal a discovery that could give America the upper hand in future conflicts, Levi is sent on one last mission. While trekking through the Canadian Rockies in pursuit of his former enemy, he is taken captive by warriors from a hidden mountain village.

Village healer Audrey Moreau is more curious than afraid of the outsider, and she's drawn to his commitment to honesty even at his own expense. Despite her arguments for his release, the council remains at an impasse. Compelled to help him escape, she sneaks him out of the village. But when Levi faces a life-threatening injury and the fierce mountain winter closes in, Levi and Audrey are forced to discover just how far they'll go to ensure the safety of the other and the love growing between them.
Bethany House Publishing, May 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy A HEALER'S PROMISE at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

WRITTEN ON THE WIND by Elizabeth Camden, Reviewed by Nicole Cook (Blackstone Legacy #2)

Elizabeth Camden takes readers on a fascinating journey to New York and Russia in 1900 with her latest novel, Written on the Wind. This novel can easily be read as a stand alone. Be prepared to be mesmerized by the rich historical details of Gilded Age America and Russia before the fall of the Czar.

Readers will always learn interesting and unknown tidbits about history with Elizabeth Camden's novels, and this novel is no different. She has been one of my longtime favorite historical authors, and she continues to write novels with well-developed characters and riveting storylines.

Written on the Wind is recommended for fans of inspirational historical fiction.
*I received a complimentary copy of this novel and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.

SEE REVIEWS By Rebecca, Winnie, and Paula

BackCover Blurb:
He carries a dangerous secret, but can he survive long enough to expose it?

Count Dimitri Sokolov has been charged with overseeing construction of the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway, but during this work, he witnesses an appalling crime, the truth of which threatens the Russian monarchy. In an effort to silence him, the czar has stripped Dimitri of his title, his lands, and his freedom . . . but Dimitri has one asset the czar knows nothing about: his deep and abiding friendship with Natalia Blackstone.

Natalia is the lead analyst for her father's New York banking empire and manages their investment in the Trans-Siberian Railway. Her bond with Dimitri has flourished despite the miles between them, but when Dimitri goes unexpectedly missing, she sets the wheels in motion to find him. Once they join forces, they embark on a dangerous quest in which one wrong move could destroy them both.

From the steppes of Russia to the corridors of power in Washington, Dimitri and Natalia will fight against all odds to save the railroad while exposing the truth. Can their newfound love survive the ordeal?

Bethany House Publishing, May 3, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.
Buy WRITTEN ON THE WIND at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House

Monday, May 23, 2022

DRIVING FORCE by Lynette Eason and Kate Angelo (Elite Guardians #1), Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"So you're telling me a chemical weapon will be unleashed on the United States, and the only thing standing in the way is that dog?"

"That's exactly what I am saying." O-kay . . . that wasn't exactly what Elite Guardian bodyguard Christina Sherman was expecting to hear from her new client . . . actually the intel had came from the mouth of his human partner, for Christina's new client was a highly trained military working dog; a national asset to be exact. And former Special Forces Air Commando Grey Parker was dead serious about the high level of protection that he envisioned for Boss, but after several up-close and personal encounters with flying bullets, Christina was convinced Grey needed the same. What neither of them saw coming was . . . each other.

What an impressive dive into the world of romantic suspense! This story had everything a reader could ask for; flawed characters, an high stakes plot, a smart, intuitive Belgian Malinois, and a criminal whose twisted motives created a serial killer. The book is also a deserving tribute to the many wounded warriors who continue their service to our country from behind closed doors of security clearances and experimental rehabilitation. In addition, it felt wonderful to spend time with the Elite Guardians once again!

"Lord, our help comes from You, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.
3.5 stars


BackCover Blurb:
He’s the last client she wants to protect…

Elite Guardians bodyguard/former sniper CHRISTINA SHERMAN has protected uncooperative clients before—but this time, well her client is bossy, headstrong and occasionally eats off the floor. Yes, he’s a highly trained military working dog, but certainly her skills could be put to better use, right?

Not according to former Special Forces Air Commando GREY PARKER. He needs her help to protect his dog while he undergoes an experimental surgery that could restore his ability to walk. He just needs someone to keep his canine partner safe. Most of all, Grey wants back on his feet so he can track down a deranged scientist known as The Scavenger who unleashed a nerve agent that left Grey sidelined in a wheelchair.

When an attempt is made on Grey’s life, and dead bodies begin piling up—with evidence the same toxin is responsible—suddenly Christina is tasked with keeping both dog and soldier alive…and with them, the secrets that could stop a terrorist attack.

But this time, even Christina might be in over her head.

Dive into the exciting ignition to the Elite Guardians Collection.
Book 1: Driving Force
Book 2: Impending Strike
Book 3: Defending Honor

Sunrise Publishing, March 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:
Buy DRIVING FORCE at Amazon or Christianbook .com


Sunday, May 22, 2022

THE SWEET LIFE by Suzanne Woods Fisher, Reviewed by Paula and Winnie

*You can’t buy happiness. But you can buy ice cream and that is pretty much the same thing.*

*Ice cream is cheaper than therapy *

*Ice cream never asks silly questions. Ice cream understands.*

Even the lead-ins to the chapters gave me an appetite for ice cream!

Reading this novel is like enjoying a nice big bowl of your favorite flavor!

I liked meeting Marnie and her daughter Dawn as each is navigating life’s troubles. They have lost their dad/husband, Philip. In addition, Marnie has just recovered from breast cancer and Dawn is reeling from a broken engagement weeks before the wedding. Although total opposites in temperament, they join forces to realize a dream that Philip had of opening an ice cream shop.

As a lover of all things historical, I relished the process they had go through to preserve their building, while updating it enough to make it a viable business. Add in interesting facts about making ice cream and the sometimes quirky inhabitants of the town and you have a great story. Not that ice cream fixes everything, but Marnie and Dawn grew in their faith and realized a purpose in their lives as they took on the task of their new venture.

I am glad there will be more books about Main Street Creamery in Cape Cod.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Revell Reads review program. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 stars and an solid faith thread

“Maybe it would help if you left a few things to God to take care of.”

With a gorgeous yummy cover, a setting in Cape Cod, and a story built around an ice cream shop, The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher will leave you craving your favorite ice cream and planning a trip to Cape Cod. The characters are colorful and engaging, and I enjoyed meeting Dawn Dixon and her mother Marnie—two total opposites in the way they approach life. Dawn overplans everything and her mother makes decisions on a whim, which causes problems when they travel to Cape Cod after Dawn’s wedding is cancelled. When Marnie impulsively buys a run-down ice cream shop, their plans change drastically. The supporting characters in this tale are such fun to meet, and I loved the small-town atmosphere.

If you enjoy sweet, clean and wholesome contemporary romance, you’ll like this book. It’s easy to read and entertaining.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Revell through LibraryThing. All opinions are my own. 

BackCover Blurb:
Dawn Dixon can hardly believe she's on a groomless honeymoon on beautiful Cape Cod . . . with her mother. Sure, Marnie Dixon is good company, but Dawn was supposed to be here with Kevin, the love of her life (or so she thought).

Marnie Dixon needs some time away from the absolute realness of life as much as her jilted daughter does, and she's not about to let her only child suffer alone--even if Marnie herself had been doing precisely that for the past month.

Given the circumstances, maybe it was inevitable that Marnie would do something as rash as buy a run-down ice-cream shop in the town's tightly regulated historic district. After all, everything's better with ice cream.

Her exasperated daughter knows that she's the one who will have to clean up this mess. Even when her mother's impulsive real estate purchase brings Kevin back into her life, Dawn doesn't get her hopes up. Everyone knows that broken romances stay broken . . . don't they?

Welcome to a summer of sweet surprises on Cape Cod--a place where dreams just might come true.
Revell Publishing, May, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy THE SWEET LIFE at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House

Saturday, May 21, 2022

HUNTED by Lisa Harris, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney (Fallout Series #2)

"Fear and anxiety had come knocking, twisting their tentacles around her heart until she felt as if she couldn't breathe. . . Like she was hanging on the edge of a cliff with no safety net below."

Little did she know, it was going to get worse.

Ava Solomon, like everyone else in the small Texas town of Shadow Ridge was trapped within a time warp; no electricity meant no communication with the outside world, and it had been like that for months. Unfortunately criminals weren't deterred by disasters, and sure enough . . . they went on the move. Law enforcement officers like Levi McQuaid found themselves working with rudimentary tools at best, and malfunctioning equipment at worst.

The sort of danger skirting the edges of Shadow Ridge was about to get very personal for Ava. . . and equally frustrating for Levi; their friendship of many years was cautiously heading in a new direction . . . if they could only survive the "hunt".

"The antidote to fear is trust."
*I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
He promised to protect her.
But what happens when the hunter becomes the prey?

Welcome to Shadow Ridge, where LONGMIRE meets JERICHO.

From USA Today Best-selling author Lisa Harris comes an epic series where the survival of Shadow Ridge depends on learning how to fight crime all over again.

In today’s world, law enforcement agencies across the country rely on forensic tools, DNA testing, and crime labs. But what if that technology was suddenly no longer available? No one in the small, west Texas town of Shadow Ridge knows what took down the power grid, or when it’s going to be back up, but everyone knows exactly where they were the moment it went down. And now, with no electricity, no internet, and no modern technology, the men and women responsible for keeping the town safe are going to have to learn how to fight crime all over again.

Deputized by his father in the isolated town of Shadow Ridge, Levi McQuaid is caught up in a missing persons case that has the potential to destroy everything he holds dear. Levi McQuaid searches for the sister of an old friend, Ava Solomon, but the situation takes a deadly turn when the search leads them on a dangerous trek across the west Texas desert. The devastating truth proves much worse than they’d imagined. And now that they know the truth. . .getting out alive might be impossible.

Prequel: The Last Day
Book 1: Survival
Book 2: Hunted
Book 3: Frequency
Book 4: Deception
Book 5: Shattered
Book 6: Aftermath

Lisa Harris, Published February, 2022
Available in digital ebook and paperback:


Friday, May 20, 2022

AMISH FRIENDS FOUR SEASONS COOKBOOK by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

Great book!

I love the format of this cookbook. It is spiral bound and has a lot of colorful pictures of the recipes. It is organized by seasons both by what is available by seasons and what tastes good by seasons.

Other great features are scripture passages sprinkled throughout and cooking and household tips.

The recipes are often short with readily available ingredients. There is a wide variety of recipes from breakfast through dessert.

“Any housewife, no matter how large her family, can always get some time alone by doing the dishes.” Martha Miller, Decatur, IN

There is something for everyone!

This is definitely a book that I will use frequently.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishers. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 stars and a strong faith thread

BackCover Blurb:
Fresh Recipes for Each Season of the Year. Do you strive to eat what local, fresh, and in season? Then this is the cookbook for you. Organized by the winter, spring, summer, and fall seasons, there are a bounty of recipes for various ways to use up seasonal fruits and vegetables. Sprinkled with tips for growing and harvesting, too, the well-organized book boasts contributions from Amish and Mennonites from across the United States who are fans of author of Amish fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter. Encased in a lay-flat binding and presented in full color, it is a must-have cookbook for anyone who gardens, participates in a CSA, or enjoys farmers

Sprial bound book from Barbour Publishing, April 2022
Buy AMISH FRIENDS FOUR SEASONS COOKBOOK at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House

Thursday, May 19, 2022

FATAL CODE by Natalie Walters, Reviewed by Kim

Fatal Code is the second story in the SNAP Agency series by Natalie Walters. I was so excited to hear that Kekoa was getting his own story because I have loved him since the second he appeared on the page!

Kekoa’s story was everything I had hoped it would be. I loved delving into his past and the message of forgiveness and letting go of things we are not meant to carry that came out of it. This story has pops of humor that kept me laughing, a slow build realistic romance (Elinor is perfect for Kekoa!), great team dynamics, and perfect pacing leading up to an action filled end.

I really love this team and their camaraderie, which just gets better with each story. And, after reading Fatal Code, I am seriously needing Garcia and Lyla’s story! I cannot wait.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is light. 


BackCover Blurb:
In 1964, a group of scientists called the Los Alamos Five came close to finishing a nuclear energy project for the United States government when they were abruptly disbanded. Now the granddaughter of one of those five scientists, aerospace engineer Elinor Mitchell, discovers that she has highly sensitive information on the project in her possession--and a target on her back.

SNAP agent and former Navy cryptologist Kekoa Young is tasked with monitoring Elinor. This is both convenient since she's his neighbor in Washington, DC, and decidedly inconvenient because . . . well, he kind of likes her.

As Elinor follows the clues her grandfather left behind to a top-secret nuclear project, Kekoa has no choice but to step in. When Elinor learns he has been spying on her, she's crushed. But with danger closing in on all sides, she'll have to trust him to ensure her discoveries stay out of enemy hands.

Natalie Walters sucks you into the global race for space domination in this perfectly paced second installment of her SNAP Agency romantic suspense series.

Revell Publishing, May 3, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

WHEN THE MEADOW BLOOMS by Ann H. Gabhart, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

From the beautiful cover to the last page when the characters sing the Doxology, When the Meadow Blooms is a grand story that encompasses many emotions.
Hardship and sorrow seem to follow Rose and her daughters, Calla and Sienna as Rose battles TB and the girls endure time in an orphanage. The past haunts Dirk Meadows when he cannot get over the grief of losing family members and his first, young love. In addition, he was badly burned in a barn fire. But when Rose, the girls and Dirk meet again, healing and hope slowly take over. God comforts Rose through the words of Romans 8. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor power, nor thing present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God.” This is one of my very favorite verses and I am glad Ms. Gabhart chose it to illustrate the faith that Rose clung to.
I like that the meadow on the farm played a part in the book. It was a favorite place for young Sienna, who loved nature and animals. It was something she looked forward to when she was waiting in the orphanage. It personified hope and new birth. A family Bible, likewise, was instrumental in bringing lost souls home.
Reading a book by Ann Gabhart is like sitting with an old and trusted friend and sharing comforting words of faith.

* 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.*5 stars and a strong faith thread 

BackCover Blurb:
If any place on God's earth was designed to help one heal, it is Meadowland. Surely here, at her brother-in-law's Kentucky farm, Rose and her daughters can recover from the events of the recent past--the loss of her husband during the 1918 influenza epidemic, her struggle with tuberculosis that required a stay at a sanatorium, and her girls' experience in an orphanage during her illness. At Meadowland, hope blooms as their past troubles become rich soil in which their faith can grow.

Dirk Meadows may have opened his home to his late brother's widow and her girls, but he keeps his heart tightly closed. The roots of his pain run deep, and the evidence of it is written across his face. Badly scarred by a fire and abandoned by the woman he loved, Dirk fiercely guards his heart from being hurt again. But it may be that his visitors will bring light back into his world and unlock the secret to true healing.

Bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart explores the tender places within the human heart in this character-driven story of trusting God to turn our burdens into something beautiful.
Revell Publishing, May 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and paperback:
Buy WHEN THE MEADOW BLOOMS at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

THE CATCH by Lisa Harris, Reviewed by Kim and Rebecca

I have really enjoyed each book in the US Marshals series by Lisa Harris. While each story is complete on its own, the relationship between Jonas and Madison develops throughout the series and there’s one mystery thread that also plays a part in each story and wraps up in The Catch.

I enjoyed all the twists and turns in this story! There was one twist I totally didn’t see coming. It was so surprising and suspenseful. While there isn’t much romance in this series, I did enjoy Jonas and Madison’s relationship and how it developed throughout each story.

The Catch is the third and final book in the US Marshal series. Even though there is the mystery thread that starts in book one and is solved in this story, I think that you could easily read read The Catch as a standalone as Ms. Harris does a good job of summarizing what has happened up to this point. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the next story Lisa Harris writes!
*I purchased and received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is light.

"Four months ago Madison had been shot in her own home. He'd found her lying on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood . . . But the most puzzling part of her injuries had the been the partial amnesia. . . she still didn't know who had pulled that trigger."

Now U. S. Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are tasked with finding the killer of another woman shot in her own home; a local judge's wife . . . except when confronted with video evidence of who had been in his home, Judge Saylor insists that his young mistress could never have pulled the trigger. But case gets even more curious; not only has Becca Lambert gone on the run, but the woman tasked with baby-sitting her newborn son is missing . . . along with the infant.

Being thrown into a new case wasn't exactly how Madison and Jonas had expected to be re-united after Jonas' lengthy absence. They had missed each other during the weeks Jonas underwent rigorous training for a Special Operations Group, and yet Madison was still struggling with the same underlying circumstances; until she solved her husband's murder, she wasn't willing to put someone else that she loved (yes, loved) in the cross-hairs of a killer . . . and Madison knew without a shadow of doubt that she was being watched.

"I'm learning there is a point where I have to simply let go and let God take over . . . I'm tired of living as if I died that day as well."

Nearly entirely plot driven, this series conclusion oozes with multiple layers and endless amounts of surprising connections . . . giving the reader, as well as the characters . . . plenty of reasons to "catch up" to the truth.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
3.5 stars


BackCover Blurb:
After a harrowing attempt on a judge's life at the courthouse, Deputy US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are tasked with finding a missing woman and an endangered child in connection to the murder of the judge's wife. What seems like a fairly straightforward case becomes hopelessly tangled when the marshals discover that the woman they are searching for is not who they think she is.

Madison and Jonas are forced into a race to find the woman and the child before the men who want her dead discover her location. And in a final showdown that could cost her everything, Madison will come face-to-face with the person who murdered her husband.

USA Today bestselling author Lisa Harris concludes her thrilling
US Marshals series with this breathless tale of secrets kept, lies exposed, and ultimately, justice prevailing.
Revell Publishing, April, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:

Monday, May 16, 2022

AN UNFAMILIAR DUKE by Sian Ann Bessey, Reviewed by Winnie and Paula #ReleaseDay

Sian Ann Bessey has quickly become one of my favorite authors for historical romance. Not only is her writing beautifully crafted and impeccably researched, but her settings are richly painted, and she is a master at creating multi-layered, colorful, and engaging characters.

I adored getting to know the characters in this book. Rosalind Ainsworth is a plucky young lady who is committed to an arranged marriage with Sebastian Lumley, Duke of Kelbrook, a person she has despised since she met him when she was eleven years old. Sebastian is a somewhat distractible hero who enjoys helping others with their inventions but gets so involved in his work that he forgets about time. I enjoyed the interaction between these two characters as they got to know one another. When Sebastian’s secretive work becomes dangerous, can they work together to protect it and themselves?

An Unfamiliar Duke is Book 4 in Bessey’s Georgian Gentlemen series, and it is packed with adventure, atmosphere, and intrigue, with a big dash of romance. Although it is part of a series, it is a stand alone book. I’m looking forward to more books from this talented author.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Covenant Communications through Interviews and Reviews. All opinions are my own.

A new-to-me author that I am glad I found. This time period, Georgian England, is a bit different than my usual read, but none the less it was very enjoyable.

Childhood neighbors, Sebastian and Rosalind, are betrothed by their fathers. After ten years, they meet again just weeks before the appointed wedding. What they remember from their youth changes with the reality they are confronted with.

They wed and then get to know each other. Sebastian is not the typical Duke. He takes his responsibilities seriously. He is more interested in inventions and keeping his workshop locked than being seen in society. While somewhat of a recluse, he is very concerned with his staff and his tenants. Rosalind is not the society diva that her husband suspects but is warmhearted and likewise concerned with all classes of people.

The author brings her characters to life with the flavor of the era. She adds a dash of suspense and danger and wraps it up in a blossoming romance between a married couple!

I would classify this as a clean read.
*I won this book from the author in a Facebook contest. All opinions are my own.*
Four stars

BackCover Blurb:
At eleven years of age, Rosalind Ainsworth was convinced that Sebastian Lumley, the future Duke of Kelbrook, was the most odious young man she’d ever met. And ten years later, after having had no contact with the nobleman in the intervening time, her opinion of him has not changed. Unfortunately, neither has the marriage contract their fathers signed soon after her birth.

As Rosalind’s twenty-first birthday and the appointed wedding day approaches, Sebastian makes a rare appearance in London. His first meeting with Rosalind since childhood goes less than perfectly, but Sebastian has a compelling reason for honoring their marriage contract—a reason outlined in a document kept behind his workshop’s locked door.

After a quick wedding, the new couple relocates to Finley Park, where their acquaintanceship slowly blossoms into affection. But when Sebastian’s secretive work threatens their fledgling relationship and Rosalind’s life is placed in jeopardy, Sebastian finds himself forced to choose between the man he has pledged to help and the woman he has come to love. 

Covenant Communications, May 16, 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:

Thursday, May 12, 2022

COUNTERFEIT LOVE By Crystal Caudill, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"When death haunts you, the nightmares become real, and you feel there is no escape, God is with you. . . Don't abandon hope. Even if our lives aren't like we planned."

Not like we planned? . . . the understatement of Theresa Planer's young life. Who would choose tripping through a graveyard in the dead of night only to meet up with some despicable characters, on the off chance such a rendezvous could grant her a better life? Even the heavy ring on her finger was a symbol of second choices, her first choice having abandoned her, much like God Himself had seemed to do after her near-death experience. But that was then, and this was now . . . and now was not turning out to be much better.

Undercover Secret Service Agent Broderick Cosgrove had finally managed to infiltrate a dangerous Cincinnati counterfeiting ring. When the woman he had once planned to marry, six years prior, turns up at a reconnaissance mission gone bad, Broderick is almost certain that her grandfather is involved, but the confounding woman appears to be up to her pretty neck in the business as well, but . . . "had the woman he loved become one of the criminals he hunted?".

What a stunner of a debut! With its questionable characters and frustrating heroes, one must trust no one and everyone at the same time. Much of the action is spent running in circles leaving Theresa at the mercy of those who want to help her; granting her no option but to help herself . . . right back into the trouble she was in, in the first place. And the romance . . . heaven help us; it's obvious that years apart hasn't dulled the attraction between these two.

Yet, it's the faith elements that steady this story from beginning to end. For, "ye shall not need to fight in this battle; set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you." - 2 Chronicles 20:17
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 4.5 stars


BackCover Blurb:

Can this undercover agent save the woman he loves--or is her heart as counterfeit as the money he's been sent to track down?

After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa Plane owes it to him to save the family name--and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors' threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn't all Grandfather was hiding. And the secrets he kept have now trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home--and the truth.

After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiancée is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career--but that's better than failing her twice in one lifetime.

They must form a partnership, tentative though it is. But there's no question they're both still keeping secrets--and that lack of trust, along with the dangerous criminals out for their blood, threatens their hearts, their faith, and their very survival.

Combining rich history, danger, suspense, and romance, Crystal Caudill's debut novel launches this new historical series with a bang. Fans of Elizabeth Camden, Michelle Griep, and Joanna Davidson Politano will be thrilled to find another author to follow!
Kregel Publishing, March 15, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook
Buy COUNTERFEIT LOVE at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

TO TAME A COWBOY by Jody Hedlund, Reviewed by Paula and Winnie #NewRelease

“Wounds might shape us, but they can’t determine who we are”

“He’d sensed God’s redemption at work inside little by little, taking his scars and hurts.”

Welcome to Brody McQuaid’s story. He is still haunted by nightmares of battle and Andersonville during the Civil War. Brody has a soft spot for animals and especially his young niece. Ms. Hedlund shows that a strong man, who is brought low by memories, can overcome with faith in God. She also shows how people are human and are tempted but that they do not have to give in to their desires. The author portrays a confused heroine who wants to please her parents but seeks to be a veterinarian. Savannah escapes from a loveless union and ends up on the ranch that the McQuaids own.

Danger in a snowstorm threatens, and other men appear to have ulterior motives. Ms. Hedlund crafts characters with grit, determination, faith and a love of family.

I am anxious to read the story of Ivy in the final book in the series.
*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 strong faith thread.

When I pick up a Jody Hedlund book, I know I’m going to be in for a great read. She is a master at creating colorful, multi-layered characters, putting them in interesting situations and settings that shape and mold them, and then bringing them out the other side changed and stronger. To Tame a Cowboy features broken and defeated Brody McQuaid, wounded and imprisoned in the Civil War, and now still suffering mentally and emotionally from his experience. When veterinarian Savannah Marshall decides she can’t marry the man her father has chosen for her, she escapes to the ranch where Brody is staying with his brother’s family.

“Wounds might shape us, but they can’t determine who we are.”

I enjoyed seeing the interaction between Brody and Savannah and the way their relationship changed. Brody’s tenderness with his niece and with horses was heart-warming and showed his inner compassion and kindness.

“. . . sometimes loving people meant letting them go through their difficulties instead of providing a way for them to escape.”

With lots of adventure, action, intrigue, romance, and a sprinkle of inspiration, this book is a fantastic addition to Hedlund’s Colorado Cowboys series and my favorite so far. I love a good redemption and healing story, and this one definitely qualifies. 4.5 stars 
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own.

BackCover Blurb:
They share a passion to heal what is broken, but it's their own hearts that need to be made whole.

Brody McQuaid is a broken man, and he knows it. While his body survived the war, his soul did not. Besides loving his little niece, his only sense of purpose comes from saving the wild horses that roam South Park. Ranchers in the area have taken to killing the horses, which are competing with their cattle to feed on the open grass.

Savannah Marshall is a veterinarian on her family's Colorado ranch. She longs to keep her father happy following the tragic death of her older brother, including marrying a man of his choosing. But days before her wedding, she gets cold feet and disappears to South Park. As she learns more about the destruction of the horses, she joins Brody in an attempt to save the wild creatures. But when Savannah's family and the resentments of the area cattlemen catch up with them both, Brody and Savannah will have to tame their fears if they've any hope to let love run free.

Bethany House Publishing, May 3, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy TO TAME A COWBOY at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

OUT OF THE BLUE by Susan Tuttle, Reviewed by Kim #ReleaseDay


I love Susan Tuttle’s writing and her stories always touch me in one way or another. All of her books are on my keeper shelf with Love You, Truly being a top favorite of mine. There’s a salvation scene in that story that I will never forget.

Out of the Blue is centered around Nate, who is renting a campground where he tries to help juvenile delinquents by bringing them there for the summer. Gwen, whose family owns the campground, has a major issue with this idea and immediately butts heads with Nate. I liked Nate and how he didn’t let things get him down. His heart for these children really won me over. Gwen, on the other hand, was a very hard character to like. She was not very nice at times and I felt like there wasn’t enough character growth for her. The faith thread in this story is well done and felt completely natural.

One of my biggest pet peeves in a story is an unlikable main character. Therefore, Gwen was the thing that really took me out of this story. That being said, I am sure others will really like this story.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is light.


BackCover Blurb:
 Falling in love again wasn’t on her checklist, but he’s about to pencil it in.Nate Reynolds’s ugly history has dogged him long enough. He has spent years reforming himself, but there has to be a purpose for all the pain in his youth. When he discovers the perfect campground for rehabbing juvenile delinquents, he sees his chance for redemption. Even if it means butting heads with the owner’s granddaughter, Gwen Doornbos, a woman who, for all her sharp edges, possesses a heart similar to his. The more time he spends with her, the more he envisions a future he once thought impossible.

Four years ago, Gwen Doornbos lost her husband at the hands of a troubled teen. Her dream of ministering to kids died with him, and she returned home to help her grandfather run their family summer camp until his retirement. That day has finally arrived, except her grandfather has other plans for Camp Hideaway, and they include the irritatingly handsome Nate, a do-gooder with more brawn than sense who insists on bringing the past right to her door.

When an accident requires Gwen to temporarily assist Nate, she discovers that the campers challenge her in ways she’s not ready to face. Yet if she can find the courage to stay, the darkness that has shrouded her for so long may lift to reveal a love arriving out of the blue.
Iron Stream Fiction, May 10, 2022
Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy OUT OF THE BLUE at Amazon

Share This Post

How Our Giveaways Work: The Official Rules

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.