Tuesday, June 27, 2023

APPOINTMENT IN BATH by Mimi Matthews, Reviewed by Kim #ReleaseDay


Appointment in Bath by Mimi Matthews is the 4th story in the Somerset Stories series. While this could be read as a standalone, I would highly recommend reading the entire series because all of the stories are not only great, but it will add so much more depth to this story.

Appointment in Bath is everything I’ve come to expect from a Mimi Matthews story. The forbidden romance between Ivo and Meg was very sweet. I liked how they became friends first. Both characters were very likable which made me root for them from the start. There were times that they were both a bit immature, but that makes sense considering their ages, Meg is only 18 and Ivo is 23. Without giving away anything, I liked how Ms. Matthews wrote Meg’s father in this story.

I’m looking forward to the next story in this series. If you’re looking for a well written sweet, clean romance, this is the story for you!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. This is a clean read, but there is a small amount of mild language.

BackCover Blurb:
A chance meeting between the sheltered daughter and the forward-thinking son of rival Victorian families sparks a forbidden romance in USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews’s fourth book in her acclaimed Somerset Stories series.

Shy and stammering Meg Burton-Smythe has spent the whole of her life living on the fringes of local society. She’s more comfortable with her daydreams than she is with people. But when a dashing, golden-haired hero rides to her rescue one morning, she dares to hope that her dreams might finally come true. There’s only one problem: her handsome rescuer is the son of her father’s sworn enemy.

Ivo Beresford doesn’t believe in clinging to the past. Freshly returned from a lengthy grand tour, he’s looking to the future, eager to spearhead the building of a new railway extension in Somersetshire. But an unexpected encounter with Meg Burton-Smythe, the isolated only daughter of his parents’ oldest foe, sets the past and the future colliding.

Resolved to put ancient grudges to rest—at least where innocent young ladies are concerned—Ivo encourages lonely Meg to embark on a secret friendship. 
After all, what harm can a friendship do? It isn’t as though there’s any danger of the two of them falling in love…

Perfectly Proper Press, June 27, 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:


THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS by Cindy Sproles, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #ReleaseDay


Steeped in the culture of the Appalachian Mountains in the early 1900s, this story is a gem. It centers around Minerva Jenkins, who made a promise to her husband on his deathbed. A promise she keeps for almost 40 years until Del, a reporter, comes asking questions.

The vivid descriptions put you squarely in the story: “I saw the sunset. Streaks of orange and red. Fury yellows. The clouds blended in as though an angel dipped his fingers in them and gingerly stirred, making whips of purple and deep alabaster.”

Minerva, at 94, is lonely, set in her ways and feisty as all get out. Her mountain sayings were a hoot. I could not help but admire her and her story of a lifetime of wondering if she was good enough. She questions her promise and how long she must keep it, because, after all, her word is valuable.

Del brings questions and dredges up old hurts. But Del also brings with him a caring spirit. “Blood does not make a relationship. Kindness, caring, love make a family. You don’t have to be blood to be a perfect fit.”

Do not miss this immersive tale of Minerva, who lived on Godly principles, with humor and sacrifice and still had much to learn even in her advanced years.

*A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Revell through Interviews and Reviews and Library Thing. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5++ stars and a strong faith thread

BackCover Blurb:
When Minerva Jane Jenkins was just 14 years old, she married a man who moved her to the mountains. He carried with him a small box, which he told her was filled with gold. And when he died 50 years later, he made her promise to keep his secret. She is to tell no one about the box or the treasure it contains.

Now 94, Minerva is nearing the end of what has sometimes been a lonely life. But she's kept that secret. Even so, rumors of hidden gold have a way of spreading, and Minerva is visited by a reporter, Del Rankin, who wants to know more of her story. His friend who joins him only wants to find the location of the gold. Neither of them knows quite who they're up against when it comes to the old woman on the mountain.

As an unlikely friendship develops, Minerva is tempted to reveal her secret to Del. After all, how long is one bound by a promise? But the truth of what's really buried in the box may be hidden even from her.

Revell Publishing, June 27,2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:


Monday, June 26, 2023

CODE NAME EDELWEISS by Stephanie Landsem, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"If not me, who? If not now, when?" "To do nothing, to remain silent, was to let evil win."

Words perfectly capable of speaking for themselves, (wouldn't you agree?) accurately portraying the depth of courage and determination that the characters in this novel must exhibit as their author deftly slips them onto the stage of historical events; in and out, barely leaving a trace.

"Are you there, God? Do you really care for me? If so, why did you give me so much, just to take it away?"

Liesl Weiss has lost much; her husband having mysteriously disappeared, her job at MGM Studios getting swallowed up in budget cuts, and her relationship with a beloved friend seeming all but lost. Struggling to support her two young children Liesl happens upon a job that is like none other; "What I am looking for - what I desperately need, Mrs. Weiss - is a spy". Thus Liesl is tasked with infiltrating the seemingly innocuous Friends of New Germany organization; while unbeknownst to her, Jewish lawyer Leon Lewis, has placed another agent directly in her path. Neither of them know about the other . . . just yet.

Subterfuge abounds in this riveting explosion of careful detail! Let little known Hollywood history come back to life between the pages of "Code Name Edelweiss"!

*I purchased this book and was not obligated to provide a positive review. 4.5 stars


BackCover Blurb:
“What I am looking for—what I desperately need, Mrs. Weiss—is a spy.”

Adolf Hitler is still a distant rumble on the horizon, but a Jewish spymaster and his courageous spies uncover a storm of Nazi terror in their own backyard.

In the summer of 1933, a man named Adolf Hitler is the new and powerful anti-Semitic chancellor of Germany. But in Los Angeles, no-nonsense secretary Liesl Weiss has concerns much closer to home. The Great Depression is tightening its grip and Liesl is the sole supporter of two children, an opinionated mother, and a troubled brother.

Leon Lewis is a Jewish lawyer who has watched Adolf Hitler’s rise to power—and the increase in anti-Semitism in America—with growing alarm. He believes Nazi agents are working to seize control of Hollywood, the greatest propaganda machine the world has ever known. The trouble is, authorities scoff at his dire warnings.

When Liesl loses her job at MGM, her only choice is to work with Leon Lewis and the mysterious Agent Thirteen to spy on her friends and neighbors in her German American community. What Leon Lewis and his spies find is more chilling—and more dangerous—than any of them suspected.

Code Name Edelweiss is based on a true story, unknown until recent years: How a lone Jewish lawyer and a handful of amateur spies discovered and foiled Adolf Hitler’s plan to take over Hollywood.

Tyndale House Publishing, March7, 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:





Friday, June 23, 2023

EXPIRED HOPE by Lisa Phillips and Megan Besing, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney


"She lifted her chin. 'Tomorrow your crew is going to teach me how to be a firefighter'."

Excuse me. What? Fire Chief Macon James thought that he heard Natalie Atkinson say that she was going to shadow his crew through their training drills. The stubborn woman . . . and he couldn't do a thing to stop her, her professional evaluation of his team's relational health was crucial for his job security. If only there didn't seem to be some sort of invisible tether between them, or was he just imagining the connection, (he had saved her life, there was that) because a therapist was the last person he should be attracted to.

When a series of adverse events continue to befall Natalie, Macon is afraid that her independent streak will ultimately put her life in danger. She doesn't have to face hardship on her own, but wait . . . isn't that what he has been trying to do?

"God's the perfect one . . . You're not responsible for the things people do . . just what you do in response . . . God is trustworthy . . . Let Him have the brokenness . . . He's the only true Healer. No therapist can do what He can."

As Natalie and Macon struggle to lay down the guilt that they have been carrying on their backs for so long, feeling like they are never enough, readers will be caught up in their story . . . Last Chance County has survived its name for a reason . . . hope . . . that never expires.

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

BackCover Blurb:
Fire. Family. Faith.
A fire chief, a woman in danger, a forbidden love…can it survive the flames of revenge?

She's running to a fresh start...

Veteran and therapist Natalie Atkinson just wants to help heroes survive their past. But when she's rescued from a fire...and falls for the one person she's supposed to help...she could destroy both their futures.

It's his last chance to get it right...

Fire Chief Macon James is the right man for the job--he just has to prove it to the counselor who is signing off on his team. What he doesn't expect is to fall for her.

But danger is stalking her and someone is going to get hurt.

So, he'll have to protect her, without crossing any lines. And she'll have to make sure that she doesn't get him killed.

A romantic suspense with a heroic but wounded fire chief, a woman on the run, secrets, a forbidden love, and a plot that will keep you guessing.

The second breathtaking book in the Last Chance Fire and Rescue series!

Last Chance Fire and Rescue

Book 1: Expired Return
Book 2: Expired Hope
Book 3: Expired Promise (coming soon)
Book 4: Expired Vows (coming soon) 

Sunrise Publishing, April, 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

EDGE OF STEELE by Susan Sleeman, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Ryleigh's future was going up in smoke. Literally. Right before her eyes."

Her first account after joining her family's business, the Steele Guardians, and Ryleigh Steele was already afraid that Shadow Lake Logging wouldn't need their services after all; the mill had nearly burned to the ground following an explosion. Was the bomb the handiwork of the radical Sovereign Earth environmentalist group, or was something more nefarious at play, because a man was dead; collateral damage or cold-blooded murder, it was too soon to tell. What Ryleigh did know was that she never expected to see Finn Durham striding across the parking lot. Two years prior, he had literally walked out of her life, and now he was apparently going to walk back in.

Working cautiously together with local law enforcement to solve the case, Ryleigh and Finn are reminded of what they left behind. The tables have turned, but the obstacles are still very much the same.

This story twisted and turned so often that readers may become a bit frustrated . . . except that in the final moments, loose ends tie together . . . including a reunion that was not ill-fated but perfectly timed. "You know God wouldn't have put him in your life again unless He wanted you to follow your feelings this time . . . " Yes, Ryleigh believed that she did know. The real question was, did Flynn?

The closing chapter on an enjoyable series, with a hint of what's to come! 

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


BackCover Blurb:
With enemies surrounding her…
Ryleigh Steele gives in to mounting pressure from her siblings and cousins and leaves her job as a law enforcement officer to join the Steele Guardians. She’s just getting her feet wet when a lumber company begins receiving threats, and the owner contracts with Ryleigh for the Steele Guardians to protect their workers. But the threats quickly escalate under her watch, and a bomb is detonated at one of the sites, killing one of the workers.

Can she find the killer and save her company’s reputation and her life?
Ryleigh takes the man’s death personally and commits to finding the killer. Trouble is, the owner has hired a security manager without Ryleigh’s knowledge, and the manager isn’t about to let anyone cut him out of this investigation. Ryleigh gets ready to do battle with him, but when she meets the handsome head of security, former Navy SEAL, Finn Durham, she can barely find the words to speak much less fight. She and Finn had once dated, a tumultuous month, that ended badly. Doesn’t matter. She can’t let their past or her residual feelings for him distract her in the hunt for the killer. If she’s not careful, the killer will find her first. 

Edge of Your Seat Books, May 1, 2023


Tuesday, June 20, 2023

THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION by Mary Connealy, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #ReleaseDay

Wyoming Sunrise Book #2

This series has all the heart of a Jeanette Oke novel but with lots of spunk and wit that are the trademark of Ms. Connealy.

Nell is an independent widow who makes chaps but would rather make pretty dresses. Brand is a widower with three daughters who are used to wearing britches and are tired of nothing feminine in their wardrobes. When the notorious Dead Eye Gang threatens, it seems the logical solution is a marriage of convenience.

This story is the perfect blend of a budding romance or two, suspense and danger and the town of Pine Valley pulling together to help each other thwart the outlaws. Add in the suffragette movement, loyal dogs and friends and a solid faith thread and you have a very enjoyable story.

This is the second in the series and while it can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend that you read Forged in Love in order to meet the other folks that reside in Pine Valley and to see what trouble the Dead Eye Gang made that has the residents of the quiet town so on edge.
*I received a complimentary copy of this 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 solid faith thread

BackCover Blurb:
Can they risk giving in to the attraction between them while their lives are on the line?

If widowed seamstress Nell Armstrong has to make one more pair of boring chaps for the cowboys in her tiny Wyoming town, she might just quit the business altogether! So meeting Brand Nolte, a widower struggling to raise three girls on his own, seems like her dream come true. Brand has no idea how to dress the girls properly, and Nell finally has a chance to create beautiful outfits while also teaching the girls to sew.

But Nell is much more than a seamstress, and the investigative skills and knowledge she picked up alongside her late lawman husband soon become critical when a wounded stagecoach-robbery survivor is brought to town. As danger closes in from all sides, Nell and Brand must discover who has a target trained on them before it's too late. 

Bethany House Publishing, June 20, 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:

Monday, June 19, 2023

Jerusha Agen's HIDDEN DANGER and COVERT DANGER. Reviewed by Rebecca Maney


"Never get in . . . If you get in, you're dead."

Her training told her to avoid getting into the vehicle, her heart wouldn't allow innocent bystanders to be hurt. Which would it be?

A narcotics detection handler for the Phoenix K-9 Security and Detection Agency, Cora Isaksson's introduction to DEA Special Agent Kent Thomson had been under a certain measure of duress; she had gotten into that car. Fortunately the agent had keen observation skills and followed behind the blonde who was being hustled into his target's vehicle with her dog. To his utter astonishment, when he arrived at their destination, she was handling two dangerous criminals . . . with kind words?

Cora and Kent both want to fight the narcotics war for personal reasons; Cora over guilt that she had allowed her younger brother's life to be dismantled by his drug addiction, while Kent was seeking justice for the vicious destruction of his family. Their perspectives though . . . quite opposite. Cora chose compassion while Kent rarely showed mercy . . . yet both were about to undergo a change, for it seemed that there was a "hidden danger" in assuming that strength never allowed for weakness.

"He became weak for us so that He could do the most courageous thing ever. In choosing weakness, He was being stronger than we could ever dream of."

When reflecting back on this story and its numerous characters (plus their talented canines), it is Cora who stands out, her physical beauty eclipsed by an inner desire to share her faith with whomever and however she is given the opportunity. Does Kent take notice on both accounts? Absolutely!
*I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars 

" . . . and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

"You know there's right from wrong, you know there's real truth. If there wasn't, how would you know what to fight for?"

Her life was relatively safe if she lived in the shadows, even her name was a designed as a safeguard; the life that ex-CIA agent Amalia Perez had re-built for herself was dependent on remaining obscure, keeping her head down, simply doing her job as a Phoenix K-9 Security agent, distancing herself from emotional attachment . . . ensuring that no one had cause to remember Sofia. That is, until one of her clients stood to blow her cover wide open . . . Michael.

Michael Barratt could not believe that those cold, calculating eyes belonged to his best friend, or at least she had been. . . . . a number of years ago. He didn't know this woman, or what she was truly capable of, but she obviously had skills; lethal skills that she was quick to use while protecting him from an assassin bent on eliminating his testimony in a case he had blown wide open as an investigative journalist. What in the world had happened to Sofia?

Let me begin by saying that this was quite an impressive thriller! From beginning to end, readers literally, breathlessly, feel the pace; moving from safe house to safe house with Amalia, Michael, and other members of the Phoenix team, anticipating (and often finding) danger around every corner. Equally as compelling is the visceral desire for reconciliation between Michael and Amalia; will the paralyzing pain around Amalia's heart soften with the salve of truth or must she carry burdens to the end of her days? And Michael? He has some missteps of his own to absolve . . . things are never as easy as they seem.

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


HIDDEN DANGER BackCover Blurb:
The greatest threat to this K-9 team is the one they don't see coming.

Cora Isaksson’s guilt has shadowed her life ever since drugs ensnared her brother and he disappeared. When Bradley suddenly returns, Cora and her narcotics detection K-9 are thrust into a battle against the drug cartel that wants him back.

DEA Special Agent Kent Thomson has his own personal reasons for bringing justice to the cartel. Cora and her drug-sniffing K-9 will only get in his way. Or are they assets that will enable him to right the wrongs of the past?

When the cartel targets Cora, she and Kent join forces with her teammates at the Phoenix K-9 Security and Detection Agency to end the cartel before it ends her. They’re prepared for danger, but when more lives than their own hang in the balance, can they trust God for the rescue that’s out of their reach?

Hidden Danger continues the thrilling story of the elite Phoenix K-9 Security and Protection Agency that began with prequel Rising Danger. (Each book can stand alone or be read as series installments.)

BackCover Blurb:
A K-9 protection team. An assassin. Only one can survive.

An assassin is on the loose in the Twin Cities, aiming to kill FBI witnesses the Phoenix K-9 Security and Detection Agency is hired to protect. Rogue CIA agent Amalia Pérez and her protection K-9 must get the edge on this deadly opponent before he kills her childhood best friend—the only man who knows her true identity.

Investigative journalist Michael Barrett can’t believe his eyes when the woman he’s spent years searching for walks back into his life. But he soon fears the woman he loved is lost forever beneath the secrets Amalia wears like armor.

As the assassin closes in, Amalia will risk anything to keep Michael safe—anything except believing in the God he trusts. When the layers of deception become as dangerous as bullets, can Amalia and Michael uncover the truth in time to stop the assassin from completing his lethal mission?

Covert Danger continues the thrilling story of the elite Phoenix K-9 Security and Detection Agency that began with Hidden Danger (Guardians Unleashed, #1). (Each book can stand alone or be read as series installments.)

BUY ANY OF THE GUARDIANS RELEASED SERIES AT AMAZON in digital ebook, paperback, or hardcover


Saturday, June 17, 2023

THE OTHER SIDE by Mandi Blake, Reviewed by Kim #ReleaseDay

Wow! The Other Side is hands down my favorite story by Mandi Blake! There’s something for everyone in this novel, second chance romance, humor, suspense, some very unexpected twists and turns, and some nail biting moments. I enjoyed every second of it!

Thea and Brett’s families hate each other. When I say hate, I mean really, really hate each other, so after Thea comes back home to see her sick mom, things ramp up quickly - and not in a good way! I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I was totally sucked into this story from the first chapter and I could not wait to see how things worked out for Thea and Brett! The faith thread was woven seamlessly throughout and felt natural. This is just a great story!

The Other Side by Mandi Blake is the 5th book in the Wolf Creek Ranch series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. After the epilogue, there is a teaser that has me ready for the next story in this series! I am also hoping we get a story for Gage and Hadley too!

*I received a complementary copy of the story. All opinions are my own. Five stars!

BackCover Blurb:

They fell in love before their families hated each other. Will their love be enough to mend fences?

Thea Howard skipped town five years ago after a tragic accident. She left behind the man she loved along with the grief and anger that consumed their lives.

Brett Patton never expected to see Thea again. When he finds her injured on a snowy night, he sees his second chance with the one who got away.

Despite the years, distance, and obstacles between them, Brett helps her hide at the ranch where he works, but his attempts to convince her that things could work out between them this time come to a screeching halt when she disappears.

Brett won’t stop until he finds the woman he never stopped loving. Can he find her in time to get their second chance? Or will their feuding families once again rip them apart?

The Other Side is a gripping second chance romance and the fifth book in the Wolf Creek Ranch series. 

Friday, June 16, 2023

MAN OF SHADOW AND MIST by Michelle Griep, Reviewed by Trixi and Rebecca

"She watched his tall form until shadows and mist swallowed him whole, leaving her entirely unsettled."

Rescued from a dreadful tumble off her bicycle by a tall, dark enigmatic stranger trumped the fear brought about by the blinding fog that had precipitated the mishap. "Pardon me, but clearly the shock of the fall has bewitched you," . . . said the voice from within. Rosa Edwards didn't know what to make of such unexpected kindness from such a figure, but what she did know was that she best be getting home with her stack of books, and a memory; perhaps even a bit of mystery. Little did she know; she had just met Sir James Morgan.

Returning to England, to Morgrave Manor, to his bed-ridden mother, was the last thing that James desired to do. Nevertheless, Lady Dorina was dying, and James felt duty-bound to try and save her; reading every book, researching every medical journal, talking to every doctor, mixing every concoction . . . to no avail. After all, he suffered from the same malady, a rare skin disease that had morphed into madness for his mother. The last thing he needed in his life was a librarian on two wheels, no matter how stubborn the lovely Rose Edwards turned out to be.

Unfortunately, not everyone in Whitby was as understanding of what they didn't understand as Rosa. It soon became apparent that nefarious intentions sought to breach their unlikely acquaintance while spreading vicious rumors surrounding James' return. Rosa couldn't understand their cruelty, and pleaded with the Lord above to intervene on his behalf, but was gently reminded that, "It is a mystery why some live life seemingly untouched by troubles while others can barely lift their head beneath the weight o' their sorrows. Not everything can be explained . . . else we would be like God . . . ".

Ultimately, it was going to be the "good-bye Rosa" that would break her heart in two. Surely God still worked miracles?!

This author has a marvelous ability to capture the attention of her readers, making them feel as if they have tip-toed into the story alongside her characters, feeling every angst, celebrating every triumph . . . and the result? A wonderful book!

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

The world seems full of good men—even if there are monsters in it ~quote from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”

I devoured Michelle’s book “Lost in Darkness” and knew I had to get my hands on this one! I’ve read many, if not most, of her books and this was a very different feel from her usual writing. Rest assured, that is said in a very complimentary way! Atmospheric in its depth, a bit shivery at times and definitely immerses the reader as manifested in the late nights I stayed up to read “just one more chapter”. You cannot go wrong with anything this author writes!

Is James Morgan indeed a vampire or is the town just bent on believing in superstition? And what of Rosa Edwards, can she prove there is no such thing before the town goes mad trying to rid itself of such evil? All these questions (and more) are masterfully answered as the reader delves into this satisfying Gothic tale. The nod to Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula” with quotes before each chapter was clever in its design. Michelle’s ability to weave historical facts with fiction is beyond brilliant and it shows in this story as well as in “Lost in Darkness”. I loved every minute of it!

* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. *

BackCover Blurb:

England, 1890

Vampires are alive and well in North Yorkshire, leastwise in the minds of the uneducated. Librarian Rosa Edwards intends to drive a stake through the heart of such superstitions. But gossip flies when the mysterious Sir James Morgan returns to his shadowy manor. The townsfolk say he is cursed.

James hates everything about England. The weather. The rumours. The scorn. Yet he must stay. His mother is dying of a disease for which he’s desperately trying to find a cure—an illness that will eventually take his own life.

When Rosa sets out to prove the dark gossip about James is wrong, she discovers more questions than answers. How can she accept what she can’t explain—especially the strong allure of the enigmatic man? James must battle a town steeped in fear as well as the unsettling attraction he feels for the no-nonsense librarian.

Can love prevail in a town filled with fear and doubt? 

Barbour Fiction, June 1, 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:

Thursday, June 15, 2023

FAIREST OF HEART by Karen Witemeyer, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas


Fairest of Heart is the first book in Karen Witemeyer’s new series, Texas Ever After. It’s a fun and entertaining take on the Snow White story, complete with seven loveable and doting old cowboys and a handsome hero. Texas Ranger Titus Kingsley doesn’t want to get involved with women, especially beautiful ones, but when he crosses paths with lovely Penelope Snow, he can’t help but want to help her. Although the circumstances are suspicious, the more he gets to know Penelope, the more intrigued he is. Of course, any Snow White story needs to have an evil villainess, and Penelope’s former employer fills the role perfectly.

Witemeyer has created some wonderful characters for this story. Though the plot is a little predictable due to it being a retelling of a familiar fairy tale, there are enough twists and turns to keep it entertaining and fresh. I enjoyed it very much and am looking forward to the other books in the series. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy Christian historical fiction.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own. 4.5 stars 

BackCover  Blurb:

Once upon a time in Texas . . .

Beauty has been nothing but a curse to Penelope Snow. When she becomes a personal maid for a famous actress whose troupe is leaving Chicago to tour the West, she hides her figure beneath shapeless dresses and keeps her head down. But she still manages to attract the wrong attention, leaving her prospects in tatters--and her jealous mistress plotting her demise.

After his brother lost his life over a woman, Texas Ranger Titus Kingsley has learned to expect the worst from women and is rarely disappointed. So when a young lady found in suspicious circumstances takes up residence with the seven old drovers living at his grandfather's ranch, Titus is determined to keep a close eye on her.

With a promotion hanging in the balance, Titus is assigned to investigate a robbery case tied to Penelope's acting troupe, and all evidence points to Penelope's guilt. But Titus might just be convinced that the fairest woman of all has a heart as pure as her last name . . . if only he can prove it.
Bethany House Publishing, June 6, 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and  audiobook: 



Wednesday, June 14, 2023

BENEATH A PEACEFUL MOON by Debby Lee, Reviewed by Trixi Oberembt

This was another great installment to the Heroines of WW2 series Barbour puts out. I've read a fair number of them and have enjoyed the historical details in each one. This one covers Navajo code talkers, Native Americans who were trained to convey coded messages on the front lines. A fascinating piece of history I'd love to know more about! Debby Lee brings that time to life in Beneath a Peaceful Moon.

Unfortunately it fell a bit short for me. The book didn't go into a lot of detail about code talkers. It skimmed the surface of what these brave men faced each day and how they preformed their jobs. I don't want every gory detail, of course, but a bit more depth would have made this more enjoyable. I don't read a lot of WW2 novels, but I still find the history to be intriguing and oftentimes learn things I didn't know before. The other thing, I felt this was more focused on the romance between John and Mary instead of the history of this time period.

All in all, it was a great story to get lost in. I liked it for the romance brewing between John and Mary, the camaraderie between officers, what it might have felt like in war time for both soldiers and civilians alike and for a good faith thread. John Painted Horse reminded Mary that no matter where they were shipped off to, God is always there just as the moon shines above the earth—steady and reliable. A great reminder for us all!

* I received a complimentary copy from the author and was not obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *

BackCover Blurb:
Mary’s Language Skills Could Help End the War in the Pacific
Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.

Mary Wishram, an orphaned Yakima tribal member, aches for her brother who suffers in a POW camp in the Philippine Islands and her Japanese friends who languish in a relocation center. Determined to end the war by any means necessary, she employs her language skills to become a spy. Leaving Camp Pendleton for the South Pacific, she faces escalating threats of peril to help bring her loved ones home.

John Painted Horse, a proud Navajo, struggles with the loss of his father who died in WWI for a country that didn’t consider him a United States citizen. Though his home state doesn’t offer him the right to vote, he joins the Code Talker program at Camp Pendleton. Thrust into mounting danger in the South Pacific, he hopes to bring long overdue recognition and honor to his people, no matter the cost.

Will these two wounded souls find healing from their past traumas and a deeper relationship with God, before it’s too late? Or will they lose their chance at love, and everything they hold dear? 

 Barbour Publishing, June 1, 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

A DEADLY WILDERNESS by Kelly Irvin, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #PartnersInCrimeTour #giveaway

A Deadly Wilderness by Kelly Irvin Banner

A Deadly Wilderness

by Kelly Irvin

May 22 - June 16, 2023 Virtual Book Tour


A Deadly Wilderness by Kelly Irvin

A frantic anonymous crisis center hot-line call propels counselor Susana Martinez-Acosta smack into the center of a murder investigation and a homicide detective’s arms. Exactly where she doesn’t want to be. Following the tragic death of her husband, she’s struggled to build a safe haven for herself and her son. That new world doesn’t include hit men and persistent detectives with dangerous jobs.

An idyllic wilderness hike turns deadly when homicide detective Ray Johnson tumbles into a ravine and lands on a corpse later identified as the son of a prominent citizen. Ray works to solve the political hot potato murder before city leaders bumps him from the case. His determination to find the man’s killer leads him from the wealthiest enclaves in San Antonio to the city’s dark underbelly, all the while trying to win the woman he loves.

A Deadly Wilderness is a romantic suspense novel that will take the reader along on a tumultuous journey as the consuming need for material wealth drives a deadly wedge among family members who haven’t learned when enough really is enough.

The journey ends where it began—in a deadly wilderness. Not everyone will survive the trip.

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Ally Press
Publication Date: May 2023
Number of Pages: 250
ISBN: 978-1-953290-24-3
Book Links: Amazon

Read an excerpt:

A panicked voice penetrated the pain. “Mr. Ray! Mr. Ray!”

Small hands patted Ray’s face. He opened his eyes to a soft, blue sky dotted with tufts of popcorn clouds. Benny’s dirty face filled his vision. He sucked in air and immediately regretted it. The rank odor of decaying flesh made his eyes water and bile burn in the back of his throat.

“What the—” He tried to rise. Pain dug a trench from one ear to the other. He sank back. “What is it?”

Benny leaned in close. Ray heard his agitated breathing and smelled his little boy sweat. The dirt and leaves on his clothes told Ray he’d come down the side of the ravine in a slip-and-slide fashion. “Marco fell on a—a body. You gotta get up. He’s dead. It stinks. It stinks bad!”

“Whoa! Easy, Benny, easy.” Ray grabbed his hand. “Are you hurt?”

“No! We gotta get out of here!” Thin features contorted with fear, Benny tugged from Ray’s grasp and darted toward Marco, who knelt a few feet away, his back to Ray. “Come on, let’s just go!”

“Marco, are you hurt?” Ray struggled to get up. A sharp pain in his ankle, coupled with the fierce pounding in his head, made the ground rise and fall. He sank back again. “Marco? Are you okay?”

Marco swiveled around. Tears streaked his face, but Ray saw no blood. His amber eyes wide, his gaze swung back-and-forth from the ground to Ray. He’d lost his cap; leaves clung to his shorts and T-shirt. “I landed on him. I touched him. Somebody cut his finger off!”

Marco’s voice cracked. He pointed. Ray followed the line of his trembling fingers. Three outstretched fingers pointed back, a bloody stub where the fourth should have been. The hand Ray had seen before he passed out belonged to a body, spread-eagle and half-covered by brush.

The man hadn’t been dead long—his features were recognizable—but birds and other animals had begun their work of tearing soft flesh from bone as San Antonio’s early summer heat baked the body. “Move away.” Ray schooled his voice to stay cool and calm. He hated that Benny and Marco had seen this—they’d both had enough tragedy in their lives. First things first: he wanted them away from the scene, then he’d shift from off-duty friend to on-duty police officer once they were calm. “Come over here so I can take a look at you.”

Gaze still on the body, Marco stumbled to Ray, one arm dangling awkwardly at his side. Ray grabbed his thin frame in a hug. “Look at me, Marco. Does your arm hurt?”

Marco buried his head in Ray’s chest. Ray felt a shudder rip through him. “Where does it hurt?”

“My wrist.” Marco held out his swollen arm.

“Can you bend it?”

Marco’s sharp intake of breath answered that question.

“You have to watch where you’re going on these trails.” Ray kept his tone soft. Marco had enough problems without this.

“I was thinking.” Marco’s tone mixed anger and shame. “About stuff.”

“Yeah, about Mr. Ray and your mom.” Benny piped up. Thin face pinched, he’d squatted next to Ray.

“Huh-uh! I was not.” Marco gave Benny a look that said hush up. Benny ducked his head, showing his foster cousin his usual deference.

“Don’t worry about it. We’re gonna be fine.” Ray understood Marco’s preoccupation. Susana was never far from Ray’s mind, either—not since the day the previous year when he’d helped his former partner move his sister from Corpus Christi to San Antonio. “Just give me a minute.”

He touched the back of his head where pain pounded like a jackhammer. His fingers came back bloody. His stomach rocked and ears buzzed. He considered his options. With his ankle injured, it seemed unlikely he could hike out. And there was the body to consider.

If his cell phone had survived, and he could get a signal, he’d call Samuel, his boss and Susana’s brother. It wouldn’t be a pleasant conversation. Samuel was almost as protective of his nephew as Susana was of her son. “We’ll have to wait for your Uncle Samuel to get the medical examiner and the evidence guys out here, and then we’ll get you to the ER so they can fix up that arm.”

“No!” Marco stopped, his lips pressed together. His skin had turned sickly gray. “Don’t call Tío Samuel. He’ll worry. I could hike back to the trailhead and get somebody. Benny can stay here and take care of you.”

“No.” Benny looked offended. “You fell down. I’ll hike. You stay here.”

Red spots flamed on Marco’s pale cheeks. “I’m the oldest—”

“Just hang on, guys, no one’s hiking anywhere alone.” The scene was already contaminated. The medical examiner’s investigator and the evidence techs wouldn’t be happy. He needed to move the boys as far back as possible. “Go sit by that tree over there. Benny, why don’t you look around, see if you can find our caps? And my sunglasses. Who knows where they ended up.”

Marco stumbled over to the Ashe juniper on the edge of the strip where they’d landed. Benny, hands on his hips in an unconscious imitation of an angry adult, started up the incline in search of Ray’s San Antonio Police Department cap.

After glancing back to make sure they weren’t looking, Ray let his head drop, jaw clenched, and tried to stand. Sweat beaded on his forehead. Giving up, he sucked in a breath through his mouth to avoid the smell and scooted close enough to get a good look at the body.

Blue shirt, jeans, hiking boots. Dried red stains cascaded down the front of the shirt and jeans. Blood. Too much blood for a simple tumble down a hill. The ring finger on the left hand was missing. Theft of a ring or a trophy? A breeze ruffled the man’s sleeve. Ray had the sudden sensation the corpse might raise its injured hand in a macabre wave.

No. This guy would never move again. Ray slid off his backpack and rummaged for his cell phone. It had survived intact, and he had a signal.

Samuel sounded preoccupied. “What’s up? I thought you were hiking with the boys.”

“I am—was.” Ray explained the situation. “The guy’s missing a finger and he’s covered with blood. It wasn’t an accident.”

“We’ll get paramedics up there for you and Marco.” Always the problem-solver, Samuel’s voice bounced around as if he were already moving. “Salvador is next on the rotation—I’ll bring him with me.”

“I can handle the investigation. Just send out Deborah.” Deborah Smith would love telling her colleagues that her new partner had walked off a cliff.

“You’re on vacation—and you’re injured.”

The vacation hadn’t been Ray’s idea. Samuel had insisted. “So? As soon as the paramedics get me fixed up, I want the case. I’m bored with this vacation thing.”

“We’ll talk when I get there.” When Samuel used his boss voice, there was no sense arguing. “I’m on the way. I’ll call Susana after I assess the situation.”

“I should call her—” Ray could already hear that conversation in his head.

“She’s at the hotline center. She won’t answer her personal phone on shift.” Samuel’s voice held a hint of pity. “Besides, I’m her older brother. She’ll just snap at me. You, she’ll chew up and spit out.”

Ray dropped his cell phone into the backpack and stared at the body. He’d tumbled head over heels several hundred yards, injured his ankle, and blacked out in order to find this guy. No matter what Samuel said, that made it his job to find out how the man had ended up at the bottom of a cliff. Dead and missing a finger.


Excerpt from A Deadly Wilderness by Kelly Irvin. Copyright 2023 by Kelly Irvin. Reproduced with permission from Kelly Irvin. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Kelly Irvin

Kelly Irvin is the author of more than 30 Amish romance and romantic suspense novels. She has penned eight critically acclaimed romantic suspense novels, including Trust Me, which debuted in 2022. Publisher’s Weekly said of the novel: “(In this) whirlwind romantic thriller . . . Irvin follows the characters through twists and turns, writing through the lens of faith and broken faith, while illuminating a bridge across shattered relationships to second chances.” Her latest novel is A Deadly Wilderness, released May 23, 2023, from Ally Press.

The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She has been writing nonfiction professionally for more than 30 years, including 10 years as a newspaper reporter. She retired in 2016 after working 22 years in public relations for the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department. She is a member of ACFW and Alamo City Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband make their home in South Texas. They are the parents of two children and the grandparents of four grandchildren. In her spare time, Kelly reads, writes poetry and short stories, and spends time with her grandchildren as often as possible.

Catch Up With Kelly Irvin:
BookBub - @KellyIrvin
Twitter - @Kelly_S_Irvin
Instagram - @Kelly_Irvin
Facebook - @Kelly.Irvin.Author

Get caught up in the thrilling lives of law enforcement in San Antonio, Texas.

The characters are the Martinez family who are all policemen and their spouses, girlfriends and work partners. This current case is a puzzling crime involving the Doyles who own multiple car dealerships. Joey Doyle is found dead by off duty cop, Ray Johnson while he was hiking in the wilderness. Danger is around every corner as more bodies pile up, Roy and partner Deborah try to figure out who could be targeting the dealership. There are more sinister things going on.

Lots of twists and turns, motives to ponder, unlikely coincidences and job rivalries, not to mention family and relationship drama. Some characters show that even though they are Christians, they are not perfect;they struggle. But they also show that their strength comes through prayer and trusting God no matter what the circumstances.

This story is complicated and interesting. It will keep you on your toes. 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book through PICT tours. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*4 stars and a strong faith thread.

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Friday, June 9, 2023

COUNTERFEIT FAITH by Crystal Caudill, Reviewed by Winnie and Rebecca

Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age

I’ve enjoyed reading this series by talented author Crystal Caudill. Set in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the Gilded Age, this tale features Gwendolyn Ellison as the matron of Final Chance House of Refuge for children deemed as juvenile delinquents. The aim was to reform the children and try to improve their chances of a productive life. When she suspects criminal activities occurring at Final Chance, she encounters Josiah Isaacs, who is a Secret Service operative involved in apprehending counterfeiters. As they work together to solve the mystery of who is involved in the crimes, their relationship grows.

With plenty of suspense, action, mystery, a dash of romance, and a heaping dose of faith, this story has something for everyone. If you enjoy historical romance with a strong faith thread, I would recommend this book and series. I enjoyed learning more about the Secret Service and how it evolved through the years. The historical notes in the back of the book were very interesting and informative and added to the tale.

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

"It's easy to counterfeit faith by putting ourselves as the decider of all things . . . "

With its witty dialogue, intriguing plot twists and out-of-this-world-great characters, this story is essentially about faith . . . the real kind, the putting-your-life -and-your-future in God's hands kind. The kind that exhibits patience, kindness, and self control in spite of fumbling, bumbling good intentions. The kind that hangs on and holds fast because of the Giver, not the receiver. Let's take a look at the key players, shall we?

Gwendolyn Ellison loves fiercely when it comes to the children under her supervision at the Final Chance House of Refuge. When her life, and the well being of those in her care is threatened by nefarious activities, she allows Secret Service operative Josiah Isaacs into her personal space; with his exuberant charm and flirtatious distractions it's a little difficult (but admittedly pleasurable) to determine his motives, for Josiah has quite the reputation with the ladies.

"Most knights require a kiss for their heroic acts. I only require a name."

Josiah Isaacs has been a widower for quite some time, but the beautiful, buttoned-up-tight matron captivates him in a way that makes him think that a second chance at love may be possible. The thing is, how much time will it take? Because the lady is not at all sure that Josiah's path is one that she wants to take; not now, maybe never. In the meantime, priority number one? Keeping Gwendolyn alive long enough to make her decision.

" . . . It might be time to surrender your plans and timelines to God's and see what He has planned instead."

Wonderful book! Wonderful series! Talented author!

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


BackCover Blurb:
She's losing her faith in mankind. He's lost his faith in God. Can working together restore them both?

As matron of Final Chance House of Refuge, Gwendolyn Ellison has dedicated her life to serving the children deemed delinquents by society. She'll protect them with everything she has. So when she suspects someone is using Final Chance for criminal deeds, she's determined to investigate and put a stop to it. But villains don't like to be crossed--and they're willing to kill to get their way.

Gwendolyn knows she can't quit fighting. More than her own life is on the line if counterfeiters go free. She must find someone she can trust to help her expose the criminals and protect the children under her care.

Charming and chivalrous Secret Service operative Josiah Isaacs has never been able to turn his back on a woman in trouble--and capturing counterfeiters is his job, after all. The danger he's truly worried about is his growing attraction to Gwendolyn when his heart wants to remain faithful to his deceased wife.

As both peril and interest grow, he begins to consider whether a second love may be possible--if they can live through this case. At the same time, he's put off by her faith in a God he no longer trusts. How can a future together even be possible when their beliefs are at odds?

Kregel Publishing, May 16th, 2023
Available in digital ebook and paperback at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House




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