Tuesday, September 27, 2022

FALL OUT by Carrie Stuart Parks, Reviewed and PARTNERS IN CRIME TOUR hosted by Paula Shreckhise


by Carrie Stuart Parks

September 12 - October 7, 2022 Virtual Book Tour


Fallout by Carrie Stuart Parks

Her carefully crafted life is about to be demolished.

After a difficult childhood, Samantha Williams craves simplicity: jigsaw puzzles, lectures at the library, and the students she adores in her role as an elementary art teacher in the dusty farming community of LaCrosse, Washington.

But when an SUV crashes into the school where she teaches, her entire world is upended. She manages to keep all of the children safe, but her car isn’t so lucky. Oddly, her purse—containing her driver’s license, credit cards, and other identification—is missing from the wreckage.

After authorities discover that the driver in the school accident was shot seconds before the crash, Samantha quickly becomes entangled in increasingly strange events that have her looking over her shoulder.

Samantha has long tried to forget the tragedy of her past, but the twisting maze she discovers between the murdered driver, a deadly secret government project, and an abandoned town can't be ignored. Those involved are determined to keep these secrets buried, and they’ll use any means necessary to stop Samantha’s search for truth.

Praise for Fallout:

"An intriguing story based on events around a part of Washington. Tight timeline with tons of action. Twists and turns that will keep readers engaged and guessing. I enjoyed this book and recommend it to those who want a whisper of romance included with the mystery."

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: September 13th 2022
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 0785239855 (ISBN13: 9780785239857)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:


Hanford, Washington
November 23, 1988

The November wind blew across the almost-barren plain, attempting to leach any warmth from the man’s black wool coat. He pulled the woolen balaclava higher on his nose and wished he’d worn goggles. The wind raised icy tears that blurred his vision.

Snow clung to the scant protection offered by basalt outcroppings and meager shrubs.

The moon provided weedy light, enough to avoid the sagebrush and tumbleweeds, but not enough to reveal the ground squirrels’ burrows. He’d fallen twice.

He paused for a moment to check his compass. He figured he’d covered about six of the eight miles. There was little chance he’d be detected. He’d approached the area by boat on the Columbia River, which flowed down the eastern side of the remote facility in South Central Washington State. Though the site was massive—570 square miles—the roads were heavily patrolled. After all, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation was the largest producer of postwar nuclear weapons.

Hanford’s creation of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, had provided the turning point in World War II. Afterward, the plant morphed into a Cold War arsenal against the Soviet Union until the last nuclear reactor finally shut down just a year ago.

He’d chosen the date carefully—Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. All the staff and workers would have left early in preparation for the holidays. Only a minimal number of employees would be working, and they’d not be inclined to venture into the frigid night.

Though he’d been on the Hanford Site since he’d left the river, his goal was the Hanford Tank Farms. The tanks held 53 million gallons of the highest-level radioactive waste found in the United States. He would be targeting the SY Tank Farm, three double-shelled waste storage units built between 1974 and 1976, located at the 200 West site. The tanks at this location were each capable of holding 1.16 million gallons of nuclear waste.

He shifted the backpack slightly. The bomb, made with C-4, was safe enough from his jostling cross-country run. It took a detonator to set off the explosion, which he’d rig once the materials were in place.

The tanks themselves were built of one-foot-thick reinforced steel and concrete and had been buried under eight feet of dirt, but the hydrogen from the slurry had built up in these particular tanks to dangerous levels. He didn’t need to reach the tanks themselves, only disable the exhaust vent and the temperature thermocouple assembly. He knew no maintenance work was going on around the tanks that might create a spark or heat, so chance of discovery was extremely slim.

He paused for a moment to catch his breath. He’d paddled down the treacherous icy river, then jogged for miles, but his fury fueled his drive. In February of 1986, the Department of Energy had released nineteen thousand pages of documents describing the declassified history of the Hanford operations. Hints of a darker truth were written between the lines, and more evidence came out in the batch of documents released the following year. Everyone else would have missed it, but he’d been able to piece the sequence of events together.

They’d grown rich while he’d been discarded like so much trash.

Now was his time to get even.

He’d use the threat of the bomb to force the acknowledgment of their role and his own innocence. Anything less than the possibility of a Chernobyl-size disaster would lead to a governmental cover up.

A massive press conference. Facts and figures. Undeniable evidence.

In the meantime, he’d personally take care of those directly responsible.

He increased his pace. Soon now.

He knew this part of the facility well.

He found the location he’d identified before, knelt beside the various ports, detectors, and vents, and swiftly assembled the parts according to the bomb-maker’s directions. All that was left was the trigger mechanism. He’d placed it in a secure box inside his backpack.

The box was gone.

He ran his hands over the backpack again. Then again. Then a third time. It was gone. Did I forget to pack it? No. It was here in this backpack when he’d left home.

He broke out in a clammy sweat and rocked back on his heels. How could this have happened? Where had it dropped out? Could it be back in the boat? Somewhere on the ground between here and the river’s edge? Separated from him when he fell?

Calm down. He had a backup. Even if he didn’t find the trigger, all it would take is a reasonable-sized explosion on the surface to start the process.

If it took the rest of his miserable life, he’d carry out his plan. They wouldn’t get away with it. Not this time.


September 2015

Bam! Bam! An engine roared, growing louder, closer.

I glanced up from the shading technique I was demonstrating for my elementary-school art class.

A black Suburban was barreling across the parking lot directly at my classroom.

“Run!” I screamed.

The children didn’t hesitate, bolting for the door. I shoved the last boy outside toward the gym just as the Suburban smashed into the side of the building and plowed into the room. The portable classroom moved with a screech. Desks, chairs, books, glass, and chunks of the wall and ceiling exploded in a cacophony of sound and movement. Metal fragments, shattered glass, and hunks of wood pelted me. I found myself outside next to the gym doors, not knowing how I got there. I curled up and covered my head, praying nothing would crash down on me.

Hissssssssss. The stench of an overheated engine and hot rubber made me gag.

The crushed front of the Suburban had shoved the classroom into a covered storage shed before punching through the opposite wall. Fluids hissed and dripped from under the smashed hood, right beside me. The shed had collapsed onto the SUV.

I was shaking so hard I didn’t think I could get my legs to work. The children.

Don’t worry about the children. Someone will help them. Someone will help me. I just needed to stay put. I’m safe here.

But they wouldn’t respond to someone calling to them. I taught them to be cautious.

If I move, the roof will come down on me. I’ll be crushed. Stay put and be safe. Someone will come for me.

But my students are frightened. I need to help them. Heavenly Father, help me.

I placed my hands on the ground. White powder drifted down on my head. Carefully I crawled away from the SUV.

The beam shifted, sliding sideways.

My crawl became a scramble.

The beam shrieked as it slid across the metal desk holding it up.

I plunged, then rolled away.

The roof of the shed slammed against the ground, sending up more dust and powder.

Leaning against the school, I waited until I could catch my breath. The glass in the door to the gym beside me had shattered. I couldn’t see anything of the driver. I slipped through the frame, wincing at the stabs of pain from the hurtled projectiles.

Ahead of me was a second door leading to the front of the school. A quick glance into the gym showed it empty. I was pretty sure the children had raced through both sets of doors, scattered, and found safety. I’d trained my class of first-through-third graders on what to do in case of an emergency or active shooter. The school board had rolled their eyes at me, assuring me that this was covered in the student handbook and that school shootings wouldn’t happen in a sleepy farming community like LaCrosse, Washington, population 330.

I’d finally convinced them. They allowed the drills and the self-defense class I offered on Tuesday evenings.

Fortunately, my art class was an after-school event, and the rest of the school was essentially empty. We met in a portable building because some of the classrooms were under repair for water damage.

I staggered outside. Mr. Parsons, the school maintenance man, rushed over to me.

“Samantha? Sam? Miss Williams? Are you all right? You’re bleeding. What happened?”

“Help me find the children first.”

“They’re fine. They ran as you taught them.” We looked around the manicured lawns in front of the school buildings.

“Olly olly oxen free!” I called out, voice shaking. I cleared my throat and tried again. “Olly olly oxen free!”

Slowly my class emerged from their hiding places. I counted them as they appeared. Please, Lord . . . Five, six, seven, eight . . . nine. All present and accounted for. My stomach tightened on what could have happened, would have happened, if even one of them had paused to ask, Why run?

“Aren’t you supposed to just say ‘all clear’?” Mr. Parsons asked.

“I know the handbook says that, but anyone could access the emergency plans and use them against the children.”

Several of the children had tear streaks running down their faces, but as soon as they caught sight of me, they started to giggle.

“Miss Williams, you’re all white!”

“You have stuff all over you!”

“You should see yourself!”

I looked down. I was indeed covered in a white powder, probably from the recently installed smashed Sheetrock and insulation. “Oh my. It looks like I’ve turned into the magical snowman.”

“Nooo!” The giggles grew louder. “It’s not winter!”

I bent forward to be on eye level with most of them. “Maybe I’ve become Belle, the white Great Pyrenees from Belle and Sebastien?

“That’s a dog.” The giggles became high-pitched laughter.

I grinned at them. “How about Casper, the friendly ghost?”

The kids were now laughing so hard they couldn’t answer for a moment. Finally Bethany gasped out, “You’re not dead.”

Thank You, Lord. I straightened. “Well then, if I’m not a snowman, dog, or ghost, I must be Miss Williams, and you know what that means.” As they eagerly lined up, I said, “‘I am not afraid of storms . . .’”

“‘For I am learning how to sail my ship,’” the children finished.

Leave it to children’s books. As they approached me, each one gave me a sign as to what type of interaction they wanted. Hands out to the side, a hug. Hand held up in the air, a high five. Closed hand, a fist bump. Right hand sideways, a handshake.

They all wanted hugs.

So did I.

Bethany was the last in line. I tried not to hug her the longest. Teachers aren’t supposed to have favorites.

The school buildings rested on a hill facing the town park. The wail of sirens and stream of cars and trucks announced the arrival of help and parents. I moved my small huddle of children around to the front toward the parking lot so their folks could find them. The parents, once reunited with their son or daughter, peppered me with questions.

“What happened?”

“Was anyone hurt?”

“Was that a drunk driver?”

“Are you okay?”

As I stumbled through various versions of “I don’t know,” a deputy from the Whitman County Sheriff’s Department strolled over. He had to be at least six foot three inches tall, with silver hair, thick black eyebrows, and dark brown eyes that looked like they’d ferret out the facts of any case. He smelled of cigarettes. His name tag said R. Adams. “Ma’am. Looks like you were in the building when the accident happened.”

“Yes. Is the driver—”

“Come with me.” He had a slight New York accent. We walked to the gym, then around to the back side where the accident happened. I had to trot to keep up with him.

“Do you know if the driver is okay?”

His long stride covered a lot of ground. “We don’t know yet.”

The raised gravel parking area near the gym was filling with the LaCrosse ambulance, volunteer fire department, and sheriff’s department vehicles. People were rushing around like ants in a disturbed mound. The Suburban was completely buried under the collapsed roof, and a large group of men and women were working to clear the debris.

Deputy Adams led me to the ambulance where an EMT waited. “Are you hurt?”

“I don’t think—”

“You have a cut on your head.” The EMT had me sit while he checked me over.

Deputy Adams kept an eye on the rescue efforts as he pulled out a small notebook. “You got all the children out safely?”

I winced as the EMT removed a sliver of glass from my hairline. “By the grace of God, yes. They’re all on their way home.”

He nodded and gave me a slight smile, softening his face. “Absolutely. How many people were in the SUV?”

“I don’t know.” I told him about what sounded like gunfire and the sound of an engine and getting the children clear of the room. I left out my cowering in the debris.

“Gunfire? Are you sure?”

“It could have been backfire.”

He looked around, then motioned for an officer to come over. They spoke for a few moments before the man left.

I glanced over at the gathered first responders, parents, and neighbors. What if—

“When did you first see the SUV?” Deputy Adams asked.

I pointed. “He, or whoever was driving, must have come up either First or Hill Avenue, crossed this lot, then shot straight into the building.”

A farmer drove up on a John Deere tractor and began lifting larger chunks of rubble with the bucket.

After the deputy took my name, address, and phone number, he handed me a business card. “I’ll be contacting you soon for your statement. You might want to head home as soon as possible. We want to clear the area.” He strolled away.

More people had arrived and pitched in to free the SUV and its occupants. A truck with a Miller Construction sign on the side parked next to us. Men in hard hats, work boots, and lime-green safety vests got out and set to work.

A pregnant woman in her thirties with long, dark hair pulled into a french braid drifted over and hovered nearby. When the EMT finished putting a bandage on my head and moved away, she approached me. “Hi. I’m Mary Thompson. I overheard you talking to that deputy. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”

“I guess. You’re a reporter?”

“No. Copywriter for a medical company in Spokane.” She rolled her eyes. “Boooooring. You’re Samantha Williams?”

I nodded.

“Well, Samantha—”

“Call me Sam.”

She grinned. “Sam then. You saved all those children. You’re so brave. I would have been scared out of my mind.”

Warmth burned up my neck and across my cheeks. “I . . . ah . . . so . . . um . . . what brought you to LaCrosse from Spokane?” I stood. “That’s 86.9 miles from here.”

“I was already here.”

An officer started herding the onlookers away from the crash. “Move on, folks. Nothing for you to do here.”

“Come on,” Mary grabbed my elbow and pulled me into the shade under a tree.

My brain was buzzing from the adrenaline and all the activity. “I’m sorry. I’m a little—”

“I bet you are. I guess I should start at the beginning. I’m following the story about the body they found last week. And the one they just found.” She waved her hand at the construction workers.

“Bodies?” I knew I was out of touch with the news. I didn’t own a television, computer, or phone. “What bodies? Wait . . . I’m not sure I want to know.” My legs started to buckle.

“Let me help you.” Mary grabbed my arm and helped me sit on a patch of grass. She sat next to me. “Can I get you something or—”

“No, I’ll be fine. Just a little woozy.”

“Take your time.”

Most of the onlookers had now moved around to the front of the school. With nothing to see, they started wandering back to their homes or cars.

She cleared her throat. “So do you want to talk about what just happened or—”

“No. You go ahead. You said there was a body . . . or was it two? Here at the school?”

“No, of course not. I followed someone to here and . . .” She paused at my expression. “I’m not weird or a stalker.” She twisted her lips. “As you can see, I’m pregnant. The baby’s father, my husband, Mike, disappeared two months ago. I reported it to the police but they’re not doing anything. I mean, he could be dead!”

I blinked at her. “Why would you think that?”

“Mike had—I guess you’d call it a wild streak. He had . . . questionable friends. Some issues with drugs in the past, stuff like that.” She absently rubbed her stomach. “I thought the baby would . . . redirect him.” She looked at me. “He’s a good man, just impulsive. And he’d never leave me. Not now. Not without telling me . . . something.”

I took a deep breath. The shaking threatened to start again. “So you thought one of the bodies—”

“Could be Mike.” She swiped a hand across her eyes. “That deputy.” She pointed to Deputy Adams. “I was told he was the investigator on the case. I’ve been following him around trying to get him to talk to me, but he says it’s an active case and won’t talk about it. I followed him here to the school earlier—he has kids here that he was picking up—and was giving it one last go around.”

“Did you find out anything?”

“No. Not yet.” She reached into her purse and pulled out a leather-bound notebook. “I keep track of everything.” She flipped it open and fanned the pages, displaying a mass of tightly written notes. “I won’t give up until I know for sure.”


Excerpt from Fallout by Carrie Stuart Parks. Copyright 2022 by Carrie Stuart Parks. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.



"I have a personal jigsaw to assemble."

Samantha Williams has what she perceives to be a boring life. She teaches art at an elementary school and does nothing more exciting in her spare time than jigsaw puzzles.

When an SUV plows into her classroom, her life gets very much more complicated. Maybe those puzzle solving skills can be put to good use in the unusual cases of old skeletons being found near her school.

This was a very interesting story but it was sometimes hard to put together the pieces of the mystery. I enjoyed the technical aspects of putting a face on a skull. The characters were relatable and layered. Part of the puzzle was to know if things were coincidental. The author kept me guessing til the end.

After the accident with the SUV, having her ID stolen and someone flooding her apartment, Samantha wonders if someone is orchestrating her life. She does not know who to trust.

"The truth always finds its way to the surface."
Will secrets always stay secret?

Samantha prays for guidance and tries to convey to others that she has a peace from God in spite of her circumstances. 

This was an exciting, complicated story that teaches lessons in trust as well as philanthropy.

How long does the fallout from a secret government project last and how many lives does it impact? Find out in this many faceted, suspenseful drama.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through Partners In Crime Tours. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 Stars and a Medium Faith thread


Author Bio:

Carrie Stuart Parks

Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy, multiple Carol, and Inspy Award–winning author. She was a 2019 finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence in mainstream mystery/suspense and has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law-enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.

Catch Up With Carrie Stuart Parks:
BookBub - @CarrieStuartParks
Instagram - @carriestuarparks
Facebook - @CarrieStuartParksAuthor



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Sunday, September 25, 2022

WORTHY OF LEGEND by Roseanna M. White, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

With plenty of suspense and adventure, Roseanna M. White concludes her Secrets of the Isles series with the story of Lady Emily and Bram, Earl of Telford. Filled with daring deeds and imagination, and populated with colorful, engaging characters and a few villains, this story continues the tale set in the Scilly Islands off the coast of Cornwall in 1906. With White’s wit and humor thrown in, this makes for a lively and entertaining story.

“And he had no need to worry about Lady Abbie and Lady Millicent. They were more Sheridan’s mothers than sisters, and they could intimidate the lichen off a stone if they glared at it enough.”

It was fun to have the stars of the previous books of the series continue in this one. Although this could possibly be read alone, I would strongly suggest the books in the series be read in order, as I feel you need the backstory from the others to really understand what is going on.
I always enjoy this author’s inspirational messages which are integrated seamlessly into the story. They add an additional layer and are uplifting to the reader.

“Choose mercy. Always choose mercy.”

This book has something for everyone—suspense, action, adventure, inspiration, and a strong dose of romance and gallantry. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy historical romance.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishing. All opinions are my own.
BackCover Blurb:

After a summer of successful pirate-treasure hunting, Lady Emily Scofield and her friends must hide the unprecedented discoveries they've made, thanks to the betrayal of her own family. Horrified by her brother, who will stop at nothing to prove himself to their greedy father, Emily is forced to take a stand against her family--even if it means being cut off entirely.

Bram Sinclair, Earl of Telford, is fascinated with tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table--an interest he's kept mostly hidden for the last decade. But when a diary is unearthed on the islands that could lead to a secret artifact, Bram is the only one able to piece the legends together.

As Bram and Emily seek out the whereabouts of the hidden artifact, they must dodge her family and a team of archaeologists. In a race against time, it is up to them to decide what makes a hero worthy of legend. Is it fighting valiantly to claim the treasure . . . or sacrificing everything in the name of selfless love?
Bethany House Publishing, September 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, or hardcover
Buy WORTHY OF  LEGEND at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House





Saturday, September 24, 2022

THE BRIDE OF BLACKFRIARS LANE by Michelle Griep, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas


Kit Turner and Jackson Forge are at it again in The Bride of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep. With a setting in London in 1885, this sequel of The Thief of Blackfriars Lane has the loving couple at odds with each other when Kit fails to show up for their wedding. Griep’s skill at writing witty banter and imaginative scenes shines throughout the book. Colorful characters and crazy adventures abound to keep the reader amused and captivated.

“Kit Turner could talk a bandy-legged pirate into donning a white robe and joining a cathedral choir, such was her silver tongue—just one of the many reasons he admired the fiery woman.”

“But anyone can change, Jackson. By God’s grace, who we are today is not who we will become.”

With plenty of action, adventure, suspense, romance, and a dash of inspiration, this tale kept me turning the pages and rooting for Kit and Jackson.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Barbour Publishing. All opinions are my own.
4.5 stars 


BackCover Blurb:
The Continuing Adventure of Jackson and Kit!

Detective Jackson Forge can hardly wait to marry the street-sly swindler who’s turned his life upside down. Kit Turner is equally excited to wed the handsome detective, and what better way to show her love than providing him with a gift any man of the law would love? She determines to bring to justice the men who years ago maimed his brother—despite Jackson’s warning to leave the past in the past. As she digs into the mystery of what happened, she unwittingly tumbles into her own history and endangers her future happiness with Jackson.

Barbour Publishing, September, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:
Buy THE BRIDE OF BLACKFRIAR'S LANE at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House 


Friday, September 23, 2022

A GEM OF TRUTH by Kimberley Woodhouse, Reviewed by Paula and Winnie

With a setting in the Grand Canyon in 1907, A Gem of Truth continues the Secrets of the Canyon series by talented author Kimberley Woodhouse. It was fun to return to El Tovar Hotel and the Harvey Girls who worked there. I’ve enjoyed learning more about this slice of history.

Woodhouse has created a cast of colorful, engaging characters and placed them in a beautiful, historic setting. This tale stars Julia Schultz as a story-telling Harvey Girl and Christopher Miller as a jeweler who is invited to show and sell his wares at the Hopi House near the hotel. Julia’s stories have caught up to her, and she is striving to be more truthful and develop some friendships with the other girls. Christopher needs to earn enough money to buy the shop he’s been renting.

When Julia finds part of a legendary treasure, things begin to get exciting, but dangerous. Adventure, twists and turns, inspiration, and a dash of romance all combine to make this an entertaining addition to the series. It can be read as a stand alone book, but many of the characters from the first book appear in this one.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers through Interviews and Reviews. All opinions are my own.

Harvey girl Julia hides the shame of her past behind the outrageous but entertaining stories she tells, all to gain the self-esteem she lacks. Christopher is a jeweler who is commissioned to take his craft to El Tovar, the shining star of the Harvey House chain.

This story is filled with secrets and a treasure hunt, villains as well as upstanding characters. We get to see more of the Grand Canyon and the Hopi artists from the first book, as well as meet the new Harvey Girl, Julia and Chris who has his own set of problems when the landlord of his rented jewelry shop decides to sell.

Spiritual struggles play out with mentor and head waitress, Ruth, trying to reach Julia for the Lord. And even though Chris, a believer, is showing interest in Julia, he does not know if he can trust her.

It was interesting to see how the author created a legend of lost treasure and weave it into the story that caused the characters to examine their faith. A theme that resonated was that God pursues us and loves us. My favorite verses: Romans 8: 38 & 39, were used to draw Julia to Christ.

I liked the descriptions of the jewels and jewelry making because I dabble in making jewelry. The whole story was intriguing and kept me turning pages. I cannot wait to see what happens to Ruth and who her suitor will be.
*A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Bethany House through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

5 stars and a solid faith thread

BackCover Blurb:
Escaping her shattered past is much more difficult than she imagined.

Julia Schultz has a reputation for being a storyteller, or as others see it, a liar. But with her dark and painful past, stories are all that have kept her company throughout her life. Longing for a fresh start and a second chance to earn real trust, Julia takes a job as a Harvey Girl at the El Tovar Hotel, where she's challenged to be her true self.

Learning the trade of a master jeweler is hard work, but Christopher Miller takes pride in running his family's small shop and earning the respect of the people around him. But when he discovers that he has six weeks to buy his building from his landlord before it is sold, he must find a way to save his grandfather's legacy.

United by the discovery of a legendary treasure, Chris and Julia find hope in each other. But when Julia's past catches up with her, doubt creeps into Chris's heart. Can he really trust her and her stories?

Bethany House, September 20, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, or audiobook:



Thursday, September 22, 2022

NIGHT FALL by Susan Sleeman, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Night fall. The beginning of the end of every day."

When it came to apprehending bad guys, darkness could be an ally and Aiden Byrd of Nighthawk Security desperately needed to catch the person responsible for stalking, threatening, and sending inappropriate gifts to Olympic skier Harper Young. It was his start-up company's first significant security detail; his brothers were depending on him and the governor was depending on him . . . to protect her daughter. The question now being, could Aiden depend on himself? He had never expected a strong jolt of attraction to be a major factor, and if his instincts were correct, the "zing" element was mutual.

Thank goodness they survived "that" particular conversation . . . Aiden and Harper agreed to put their personal feelings aside, for neither were in a position to build a relationship and both needed to be focused on keeping Harper safe. What they didn't anticipate was God's timing.

Great plotting! More than a sufficient number of switchbacks while carefully navigating a maze of romantic roadblocks.

*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars


BackCover Blurb:

She faces dangerous situations all the time…

Olympic downhill skier, Harper Young, knows what it’s like to look danger in the face. After all, she does it every time she races down a ski slope. She’s fine with that danger and even excels under the pressure, winning Olympic gold. And as a governor’s daughter, she’s familiar with receiving threats from the general public. But when a stalker turns his sights on Harper, she possesses zero skills to protect herself.

But she has no idea what lurks in the shadows.

Former Navy SEAL and ATF Agent, Aiden Byrd of Nighthawk Security is well versed in protection skills and knows the dangers she faces. Problem is, there’s an instant attraction between Aiden and Harper, and as Aiden and the Nighthawk team contract to protect her, he has to fight to remain professional. When the stalker grows bolder and tries to end Harper’s life, Aiden’s only hope in keeping her safe is to deny his feelings. Something that borders on impossible.
Edge of Your Seat Books, November 2020 
Available in digital ebook, paperback, or audiobook:


HARVEST MOON by Denise Hunter, Reviewed by Kim Ann

Harvest Moon is the third story in the Riverbend series. This story focuses on Laurel and Gavin, who are divorced, but end up having to work closely together when an unexpected tragedy leaves them as guardians to their best friends’ young daughter. I try to never give away spoilers in my reviews, but I don’t think I can write a decent review that explains why I struggled with this story and why my rating is so low without the addition of spoilers. The bottom line is that this story was not the story for me. It was too heavy and depressing and the end was not enough to lift that feeling. I also think this couple would not stay married if they were real. If inclined, please read on for my reasons why, but know there are many spoilers ahead. 

I’ve read both Riverbend Gap and Mulberry Hollow, so I was looking forward to Gavin’s story. I was curious as to why Laurel and Gavin divorced after their young son died and how their eventual reunion would play out.

From the beginning of this story, I struggled with liking Laurel. Even when she was reminiscing about how she and Gavin fell in love in high school, I struggled to like her. I actually wondered why Gavin was even attracted to her prickly personality. As the story progressed so did my dislike for her. She was all about herself. She broke up with Gavin in college because she assumed he was going to break up with her so she did it to get it over with. Later on in the story, we learn that she gave up on their marriage because she was sure Gavin was going to leave her, so she left first. So in essence, she learned nothing from their first break up!

Gavin was the one who gave up everything for Laurel and when he finally proposed after 9 years of dating, he waited because of her not himself, well, after reading her reaction, it was everything I could do to not close the book and be done. I kept reading thinking things would lighten up and that Laurel would be nicer to Gavin, but honestly, in my opinion, that never happened. So when they professed their love for each other at the end of the story, I just didn’t buy it. I didn’t buy that she loved him and as for Gavin loving her, I couldn’t figure out why. In the end, I really struggled with so many aspects of this story. Harvest Moon was just not the story for me. 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is minimal. 2 stars because of Gavin.

BackCover Blurb:
She thought he was arrogant. He thought her walls would never come down. Then they fell in love.

Forever walking the line between passion and conflict, Laurel and Gavin’s relationship ended in divorce after years of miscommunication and unmet expectations. Now pursuing their own separate lives and careers, the two are content . . . though not completely happy.

When their best friends, Mike and Mallory, are killed in a plane crash, Laurel and Gavin are stunned to learn they’ve been named guardians of their friends’ young daughter, Emma. Putting their differences aside, the estranged couple search for a suitable guardian as they care for Emma and manage Mike and Mallory’s apple orchard.

Soon tempers flare—as does the passion they both remember so well. And Laurel and Gavin find themselves working through their past—their mistakes, their miscommunications, and ultimately the tragedy that ended their marriage.

Will the seeds of love, still growing inside them, thrive and flourish? Or will grief and regret strangle the feelings before they can fully blossom?

Thomas Nelson, September, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding, and audiobook:



Wednesday, September 21, 2022

DECEPTION (Natchez Trace Series #4) by Patricia Bradley, Reviewed by Rebecca and Nicole


"I know we only met today, I gave you a warning ticket for speeding, but . . . I hope you'll let me be the person who stands in the gap for you like when we were kids.".

Madison Thorn desperately needs someone to stand in the gap on her behalf while life appears to be spiraling out of control, but she just isn't sure that the tall handsome park ranger, Clayton Bradshaw, is the right person for the job. It's so hard for her to trust anyone, especially men, they have deceived her before. But now? The one man she has loved and depended on and trusted above all others? His life hangs in the balance. And what's even more unnerving . . . someone who looks just like her was brutally attacked on the same evening. Madison had dared to think that her violent crime days were over.

This story! It has more twists and turns than a gigantic pretzel. Back and forth, and up and down, and all around . . . fascinating in places and infuriating in others . . . how much can one person possibly endure? But endure she does, and what Madison gains is worth far more than what she loses.
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars 


In the final novel of her Natchez Trace Park Rangers series, Patricia Bradley creates an action-filled romantic suspense tale that will keep readers highly invested in the storyline until the very end. Even though I enjoyed the entire series, Deception is my favorite novel in the series with its compelling characters and unpredictable storyline. All four books in the series can easily stand alone without having read the rest of the series.

Law enforcement park rangers Madison Thorn and Clayton Bradshaw find themselves working together while Madison is back in Natchez for a case. Several suspicious occurrences make Madison realize she is in danger. Are the events related to her work or is Madison in extreme danger from another source? Readers won't want to miss the thrilling conclusion to the Natchez Trace Park Rangers series.
*I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.

Revell Publishing, August 2, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:



Tuesday, September 20, 2022

AS SILENT AS THE NIGHT by Danielle Grandinetti, Reviewed by Paula #CelebrateLitTour #Giveaway


A Christmas Novella set in Chicago and Wisconsin sees us visiting Miles and Lily, Joey and Katy from Ms. Grandinetti’s previous books. This time we meet Gio and Lucia in Chicago. Gio has a generous heart and is delivering food to people suffering in the time just after prohibition has been repealed. Lucia is in danger, so Gio spirits her away to Wisconsin where she meets his friends.

Based on a true event of a mob boss who is at odds with Al Capone, this is a thrilling story that shows some of the culture of 1933.

Lucia has led a somewhat sheltered life but now needs to flee from mobsters. She is a very devout girl and knows God will keep her safe. Gio balances on a thin line between his law enforcement family and the mobsters that rule Chicago. He only wants to serve hurting people. When he helps Lucia, feelings start to grow for both of them.

This was a sweet romance with some danger to keep it interesting.
* I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 stars medium faith thread

About the Book

Book: As Silent as the Night

Author: Danielle Grandinetti

Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense

Release date: September 13, 2022

He can procure anything, except his heart’s deepest wish. She might hold the key, if she’s not discovered first.

Chicago, 1933―Lucia Critelli will do anything for her ailing grandfather, including stand in a breadline to have enough food to make him a St. Nicholas Day meal. When she catches the eye of a goon who threatens her grandfather, she discovers the end of Prohibition doesn’t mean the end of the mafia’s criminal activity.

Retired Marine Scout Giosue “Gio” Vella can find anything, especially if it helps a fellow Italian immigrant, so he has no doubt he can locate his neighbor’s granddaughter, who has gone missing from a local church. Keeping her safe is another matter. Especially when he chooses to hide out with his Marine buddy in Eagle, Wisconsin, the site of a barely-held truce among striking dairy farmers.

Will Christmas bring the miracle they all need or will Gio discover there are some things even he can’t find, particularly when he stumbles upon the most elusive gift of all: love.

As Silent as the Night is the Christmas novella to To Stand in the Breach and A Strike to the Heart.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author


Danielle Grandinetti is author of A Strike to the Heart and To Stand in the Breach. She is also a book blogger at DaniellesWritingSpot.com. Her short stories have appeared in several publications and her writing has won the University of Northwestern Distinguished Faith in Writing Award. Originally from the Chicagoland area, she now lives along Lake Michigan’s Wisconsin shoreline with her husband and their two young sons. Danielle especially loves quiet mornings served with the perfect cup of tea.

More from Danielle

I have this memory, from when I was a little girl, of Christmas at my grandma’s house. The table was expanded to hold a dozen people. The little Christmas tree stood on a table before the window, the Nativity beneath it. A gingerbread house sat on the radio cabinet, which played my grandpa’s old Christmas records.

In the kitchen, my Italian grandma, now a widow, had on a ruffled apron as she cooked the Christmas meal. She had short, graying black hair, perfectly curled, and large, round glasses. And, was still taller than me, though she was under 5 foot in height.

Through the haze of childhood memory, I can’t recall everything she cooked that Christmas, I just know it filled the table to overflowing. I can guess who celebrated with us, but I know the large table was completely surrounded by people I loved. And, I’m sure I received gifts, but that’s not what I remember from that day.

What fills my memory is the feeling of family and the love my grandma showed us, through food. My full belly. My contentment. The wonder of the holidays. All through the eyes of my young self.

In As Silent as the Night, I attempt to capture some of this nostalgia, lace it with suspense, and wrap it in romance. I show about some of the traditional holidays celebrated by my characters, from St. Nicholas Day to Christmas Eve. And, while Gio can find anything, love eludes him. However, Lucia may hold the key, but he must first save her.

Silent as the Night concludes my Strike to the Heart series, which began with prequel novella To Stand in the Breach. As sad as it is to say goodbye to the farmers of Eagle, Wisconsin, I have loved sharing the stories of Katy and Joey, Lily and Miles, and Gio and Lucia with you. I hope you’ll enjoy this last installment and I look forward to sharing more stories from other places with you.

Buon Natale.

Merry Christmas.


To celebrate her tour, Danielle is giving away the grand prize package of a Bag of Books Bundle, which includes a signed copy of each book: To Stand in the Breach, A Strike to the Heart, and As Silent as the Night, plus a Donkey Tote to carry the books!! (https://www.etsy.com/listing/1130961309/donkey-canvas-tote-bag-heavy-duty)

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 13

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 14 (Author Interview)

The Sacred Line, September 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 15

Inklings and notions, September 16

For Him and My Family, September 17

deb’s Book Review, September 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 19

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 20

Inkwell Inspirations, September 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 21

Connie’s History Classroom, September 22

Betti Mace, September 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 24

Holly’s Book Corner, September 24

Labor Not in Vain, September 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 26



Monday, September 19, 2022

SONGS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN by Amanda Wen, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Can someone tell me please . . . what's happened to Ephraim?"

A desperate plea from a lovely woman whose mind is routinely losing and confusing vital information from her past. Her granddaughter feels completely helpless, who exactly is Ephraim? It's certainly not her grandfather.

Helping solve the mystery of Ephraim is not food blogger and photographer Lauren Anderson's only new project, she also has to figure out what to do about Carter Anderson. The chances of them literally running into each other were . . .  well, it was bound to happen sooner or later . . . after all, he was back in Wichita. "How many times had she dreamed of this moment? But all those empty promises, those pretty but meaningless words, had left deep wounds."

Taking second chances to an entirely new level, this story deep dives into the reasons that two couples, decades apart, lost their first chance to begin with. Not afraid to approach hard topics, the author gracefully and tenderly speaks the truth with love, treating broken hearts and aged minds with the care they deserve, allowing Lauren and Carter to discover on their own that God's grace is stronger and more reliable than any effort they can muster on their own. The "songs that could have been" still play a tune of love. . . after all this time . . . especially after all this time.

Wonderful book!
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.
 BackCover Blurb:

Two couples in love. Two sets of impossible circumstances. One powerful God of grace.

After a devastating tailspin in her late teens, Lauren Anderson’s life is finally back on track. Then a chance meeting with Carter Douglas, her first love and the man who broke her heart, threatens to throw her well-balanced world out of control.

Now a TV meteorologist, Carter is determined to make amends with Lauren. After all, she still owns his heart. But his old demons are forcing him toward the same decision he faced in the past. Is he courageous enough to make a different choice this time around?

When Lauren’s elderly grandmother, Rosie, begins having nightmares about a man named Ephraim--a name her family has never heard before—a fascinating and forbidden past love comes to light. As Lauren and Carter work to uncover the untold stories of Rosie’s past in 1950s Wichita, they embark on a journey of forgiveness and second chances that will change their lives—and Rosie’s—forever. Along the way they’ll learn that God wastes nothing, his timing is perfect, and nothing is beyond his grace and redemption.


Kregel Publications, June, 2022
Available in digital ebook,  paperback, hardcover, or audiobook
Buy SONGS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House


Sunday, September 18, 2022

WORTHY OF LEGEND by Roseanna M. White, Reviewed by Paula and Rebecca

I cannot say enough good things about this story. In this last of the series, the friends continue on their quest for pirate treasure.

Ms. White delves deep into the lives of the people she portrays, whether to show their stellar qualities or reveal the scoundrel within. I love the way she crafts her characters, giving them layers and a spiritual journey. Bram is kind, gracious and insightful: "Mercy is not for those who deserve it-it is for those who don’t.” “How did mercy and justice meet? With pain and sacrifice. And beauty beyond anything he had ever seen.” “if I am unwilling to extend mercy, then... perhaps I blind my own eyes to seeing where God extends it to me too.” Emily is cowed by her brother and father but manages to learn how to stand up for herself. And she sees God providing for her.

Danger is ever present as the group of friends uncover a fascinating twist in their endeavor to find Mucknell’s pirate stash. Another legend of epic proportions makes its way known.

Ms. White has put together a grand tale that ticks all the boxes. If you are looking for a history lesson or a great romance or two, enjoy following Bram, Emily and their friends as they search for answers to a haunting legend or two and find themselves and their purpose in the process.

I am sorry to say goodbye to this series. It makes me want to visit the Scilly Islands and search for treasure!
*I received a complimentary copy of the book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

5 stars + and a strong faith thread

"Live the legacy . . . Walk worthy of His calling. Go forth boldly - and live."

At one time, the Earl of Teleford, "Bram Sinclair", might have politely scoffed at those words, but not anymore. He "wanted his legacy to be championing those who needed it, righting a few wrongs, charging boldly to slay whatever dragons awaited him". After all, he had become a secret admirer of King Arthur and his brave knights all those years ago . . . actually he still was, if the truth were known, which it wasn't yet . . .but soon would be.

And his "damsel in distress"? None other that the lovely ginger topped Lady Emily Scofield, whose own legacy of kindness was being trampled by her vile brother; Nigel's thirst for treasure-hunting had turned into a deadly obsession. When Bram and Emily charade a romantic bond in order to protect Emily from her powerful father's schemes, their feelings unexpectedly entwine, for who knew that the crabby day-time Bram could actually transform into a companion most tender, as evidenced by these words of worth; "You, Lady Emily Scofield, are an absolute delight, and no one in his or her right mind could possibly do anything other than crave your company".

Readers will love being privy to this amazing circle of Scilly Isles friendships, divinely connected and more precious than silver or gold. Keeping in mind . . . there are real treasures that require quite the daring adventures . . . the kind that legends are made of. 

*I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own. 4.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:

After a summer of successful pirate-treasure hunting, Lady Emily Scofield and her friends must hide the unprecedented discoveries they've made, thanks to the betrayal of her own family. Horrified by her brother, who will stop at nothing to prove himself to their greedy father, Emily is forced to take a stand against her family--even if it means being cut off entirely.

Bram Sinclair, Earl of Telford, is fascinated with tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table--an interest he's kept mostly hidden for the last decade. But when a diary is unearthed on the islands that could lead to a secret artifact, Bram is the only one able to piece the legends together.

As Bram and Emily seek out the whereabouts of the hidden artifact, they must dodge her family and a team of archaeologists. In a race against time, it is up to them to decide what makes a hero worthy of legend. Is it fighting valiantly to claim the treasure . . . or sacrificing everything in the name of selfless love?

Bethany House Publishing, September 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, or hardcover
Buy WORTHY OF  LEGEND at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House




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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.