Tuesday, August 29, 2023

HE SHOULD HAVE TOLD THE BEES by Amanda Cox, Reviewed by Paula and Rebecca #ReleaseDay


Exceptional story about the effects of a hurting mom on her two daughters. The author captures the lack of emotional stability of the three women and how each is working through their anxieties.
As a beekeeper, Beckett sees parallels to her own life in the actions of her bees and their apiary. Callie still feels responsible for her mother and wants to see her heal. I liked the scenes with her therapist and how she helped Callie work through her turmoil. A bright spot was Fern, a child visiting on a neighboring farm to Beckett. She is also hurting but imagines herself as an alien encountering Earth and Earthlings. Quite an intelligent and imaginative girl who helps Beck with the bees and they both benefit from the friendship.
With a light romance for both ladies, the men, while very different, are mature, sensitive and a stabilizing influence in their lives. Luke points out to Callie: “Beauty comes from the light. Dust does not change itself. The light does that.” You can make a spiritual application from that.
“It is possible for treasured things to come out of the brokenness. Even if it does not happen the way any of us would have wanted. Even if it comes through loss.” The emotional and spiritual struggles come across in a realistic way. It was satisfying to see the progress in the lives of the characters. Ms Cox is an accomplished author and I have enjoyed each of her books.
* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell 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.


"If anything ever happens to me, tell the bees . . . They need to know or they'll die too."

Apparently there were things that Beckett Walsh's father should have told her, as well. Upon his death her simple, solitary life was completely upended by a name on her father's will that meant nothing to her, and yet had the ability to take away everything Beckett held dear. Could she survive apart from Walsh Farm? . . . she couldn't.

Miles away another young woman's life was equally disrupted after seeing her name appear on that document. Overwhelmed with expanding her own business while trying to navigate a life-changing decision, Callie Peterson is standing in the middle of a road she never knew existed. Could an inheritance be the answer to all of her problems . . . or just the first of many questions?

Casting a wide net of appeal, this story immediately prompts a desire to share it with someone else. Its probing, plodding, unpretentious manner of carefully and tenderly pulling back layers may very well re-expose some pretty raw experiences (dysfunctional families can leave very deep scars), while providing a solid reminder that providence resides in a Person, whose ways are always higher than our own.
*I received a copy of this book from Baker Publishing through Interviews and Reviews. I also purchased a copy. The opinions stated above are entirely my own. 

BackCover Blurb:
Uncovering long-held family secrets may sting at first--but the result can be sweeter than honey

Beekeeper Beckett Walsh is living her dream, working alongside her father in their apiary, until his untimely death sends her world into a tailspin. She suddenly finds she must deal with a new part owner of the family business--one who is looking to sell the property. Beck cannot fathom why her father would put her into the position to lose everything they built together.

When Callie Peterson is named in the trust of a man she's never heard of, she's not sure what to do. Her fledgling business has just taken wing and her mother has reentered her life asking for help getting into rehab for her lifelong substance abuse issues, making Callie's financial situation rather . . . precarious. She's sure she has no right to someone else's farm, but the money from the sale could solve her problems and give her the stability she's always craved.

As these two women navigate their present conundrum, they will discover a complex and entangled past full of secrets--and the potential for a brighter future for both of them.

Revell Publishing, August 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.
Buy HE SHOULD HAVE TOLD THE BEES at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House


Tuesday, August 22, 2023

CONVINCING THE COWGIRL by Jody Hedlund, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #ReleaseDay

Fun and romance in the old West.

One of my favorite tropes is a marriage of convenience but this one has a little twist of a mistaken bride. Also, Evangeline, the four-year-old daughter of the hero is a ray of sunshine who gets into lots of mischief. I love that Patience is a creative soul who crafts and paints to bring joy into an otherwise desolate western ranch. Patience is trying to shed her rigid Quaker upbringing while still wanting to please God. The hero, Spencer, needs to convince Patience that he really wants her to be his wife and he may need a little convincing himself. Spencer is a worthy man who is hardworking and loves his daughter but sometimes cannot control her. There is an added element of intrigue when a long lost cousin arrives. Miss Hedlund spices up the romance of these two married people with just the right touch.

This may be my favorite the Colorado Cowgirls. We will see after the next book!
*I received a complimentary ebook copy from the author. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 stars and an underlying faith thread

BackCover Blurb:
When unexpected visitors arrive at the Courtney Boardinghouse and claim the place belongs to them, Patience Courtney finds herself homeless and penniless. Having failed at so many things already in life, Patience is determined to find a way to survive and thrive.

When wealthy rancher, Spencer Wolcott, proposes a marriage of convenience, Patience accepts the arrangement. In exchange for a new home, she agrees to become the mother to Spencer’s precocious little girl so that he can manage his prosperous ranch.

As Patience falls in love with her new family, she learns Spencer has no intention of giving his heart away to any woman. With growing threats to the ranch, Spencer must decide what is truly important and whether he’ll allow himself to love again before it’s too late.

Marriage of convenience
Single father
Grieving widower
Homeless/penniless bride
Precocious child
Opposites attract

Book #3 in the Colorado Cowgirls Series 

Northern Lights Press, August, 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:


A BEAUTIFUL DISGUISE by Roseanna M. White, Reviewed by Rebecca, Paula, and Winnie #ReleaseDay


This entertaining story set in Edwardian England centers around Lady Marigold and her brother Yates and their newly formed Imposters Incorporated who are secretive private investigators. Much happens when they discover they are on the same case as a War Office Intelligence officer, Sir Merritt Livingstone. Very interesting because this is the beginning of MI 5, bringing several agencies under one umbrella.

I love spy stories and this one is very intricate and also fun because Marigold and Yates perform acrobatic feats in their endeavors. And they have a pet Lion!

Fascinating plot, a rewarding ending, and well-drawn characters with a solid faith thread make this a must read. As always the author has researched wonderfully. I cannot wait for the rest of the series.
*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


"Sometimes when I look back on our childhood - our charmed, picturesque, ridiculous childhood - I can't believe we have come to this. Spying on our neighbors. The people who should have been our friends, our peers. But then other times, I look at all this, and I wonder where else it possibly could have led."

Appearances, it was all about keeping up appearances. Lady Marigold Fairfax's ability to both stand out and blend into her environment was a major asset; everyone saw her, and no one saw her . . . underneath all the patterns, baubles, hats, gloves, feathers . . . parading as a clever costume concealing her true intentions . . . watching, waiting, listening . . . she was an "imposter" of the most elegant sort.

Following the death of their father, Marigold and her brother Yates took what they did have (not money, but an odd menagerie of animals, actors, and abilities) and turned it into an occupation . . . an elite, anonymous investigation agency. When hired by Sir Merritt Livingstone to aid in a national security matter, the siblings become troubled by the fact that their subjects are among their closest childhood acquaintances. And speaking of close . . . Marigold never factored in how to keep her heart from adhering to a certain noble, who had an uncanny ability to see beneath the "beautiful disguise" . . . "Lionfeathers!".

"It made something shift as he watched her. The lion, the contented smile on her face, the hair-a-tumble, the fact that she was rolling around in the grass in her beaded and bedecked dress - he'd had the wrong of her . . . He'd thought her concerned with nothing but fashion . . . He'd been mistaken. He could admit that."

Honestly, I have never read anything quite like it . . . the quirky atmospheric elements make the story all that more endearing! For sure, I'm ready for more! . . . and possibly sport a secret desire to join their little operation! 

*I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 4.5 stars


A Beautiful Disguise starts off a new series called The Imposters by talented author Roseanna M. White. I was intrigued by the premise of two siblings starting a private investigating business called The Imposters when they were left destitute after their father’s death. Lady Marigold Fairfax and her brother Yates use their skills as circus performers to spy anonymously on the elite of London. Things get precarious when they’re hired to investigate the father of a friend. Marigold is spunky, competent, and daring, while Sir Merritt Livingstone makes a dashing, courageous hero. I enjoyed the interaction between the two as they got to know each other better.

Set in 1909 England, this book is well-researched and entertaining. I found it a little slow to get into at first, however, because of all the different characters that were introduced. As the tale progressed, I was able to follow it better and become more engaged in it. With a good mix of intrigue, mystery, and romance, this story should appeal to those who enjoy clean Christian historical fiction.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishing. All opinions are my own. 

BackCover Blurb:

In Edwardian London, not all that glitters is gold as a lady and an intelligence officer's secret mission take them from the city's dazzling ballrooms to its covert intelligence offices.

Sir Merritt Livingstone has spent a decade serving the monarch in the field, but when pneumonia lands him behind a desk in the War Office Intelligence Division just as they're creating a new secret intelligence branch, he's intent on showing his worth. He suspects an aristocrat of leaking information to Germany as tensions mount between the two countries, but he needs someone to help him prove it, so he turns to The Imposters, Ltd. No one knows who they are, but their results are beyond compare.

Left with an estate on the brink of bankruptcy after their father's death, Lady Marigold Fairfax and her brother open a private investigation firm for the elite to spy on the elite. Dubbed The Imposters, Ltd., their anonymous group soon becomes the go-to for the crème of society who want answers delivered surreptitiously. But the many secrets Marigold learns about her peers pale in comparison to her shock when she and her brother are hired to investigate her best friend's father as a potential traitor.

Lady Marigold is determined to discover the truth for her friend's sake, and she's more determined still to keep her heart from getting involved with this enigmatic new client . . . who can't possibly be as noble as he seems.

Bethany House Publishers, August 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:


THE COWBOY BARGAIN by Tina Radcliffe, Reviewed by Kim #ReleaseDay

I always know I’m in for a treat when I read a Tina Radcliffe story. She writes the absolute best cowboys with wonderful big families that always live in the best small towns. I can always count on nice pops of humor, a lot of heart, and an uplifting message.

This is a second chance romance which is one of my favorite tropes because it never feels like insta love, which is not my favorite. Sam and Olivia were once engaged, but Olivia left him before the wedding and now she’s back in town to stay. I have to admit I was wondering just how Ms. Radcliffe was going to make me like Olivia after she had dumped Sam so unexpectedly. While I will say I wanted her to grovel a little bit more than she did, I loved their story! I loved how they so seamlessly fell back in love and how Sam forgave her. I just love this family and can’t wait for the next book in this series.

The Cowboy Bargain by Tina Radcliffe is book 2 in the Lazy M Ranch series but it can easily be read as a standalone.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is light. 5 stars!

BackCover Blurb:
A little competition…

Brings a change of heart.

Sam Morgan never thought he’d see his ex-fiancée again after she skipped town days before their wedding. He certainly didn’t expect to find her opening a restaurant on his property—in the building he’d intended to sell his crafts from. This time Olivia’s sticking around, forcing Sam to strike a deal: work together and see whose products sell best. Could their business venture lead to a surprising reunion?

From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.

Lazy M Ranch

Book 1: The Baby Inheritance
Book 2: The Cowboy Bargain
Book 3: The Cowboy's Secret Past 

Love Inspired, August 2023
Available in digital ebook and paperback
Buy THE COWBOY BARGAIN at Amazon, or Christianbook .com


Sunday, August 20, 2023

UNINTENDED WITNESS by D. L. Wood, Reviewed by Kim


When I get asked who my favorite suspense authors are, I immediately think of D. L. Wood. While I have not read all of her books yet, the ones I have read have been very “on the edge of your seat” suspenseful and impossible to figure out, which I absolutely love! While Unintended Witness was impossible to figure out, trust me, I threw about every crazy scenario out there and I was wrong each and every time, I would call it more of a legal thriller.

The very day that Chloe hits town to try and reconnect with her father and two half siblings, strange things start happening. When her father is mysteriously injured, Chloe decides to stay and help. There’s a lot of mystery, family drama, and questionable people in this story! I was totally surprised as all the threads came together and the mysteries were revealed. I would say that you should read this series in order because Unintended Witness gave away some spoilers for book 1, Unintended Target, and that’s where you will first meet and get to know Chloe and Jack who are also in book 3, Unintended Detour.

I’m really looking forward to reading Unintended Detour, especially after reading the teaser in the back of this story!

*I purchased this story. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is light. 4 stars. 

BackCover Blurb:

Chloe's only plan was to confront the father who abandoned her twenty-five years ago. But a killer had other ideas.

Several months after her near-death experiences in Miami, Chloe McConnaughey finally works up the nerve to meet her estranged father—the criminal attorney she hasn't seen since her eighth birthday. Leaving Atlanta and boyfriend Jack behind, she arrives in her father's charming southern town only to quickly learn that he's still keeping secrets—secrets that cut her to the core. Unable to face the mounting tide of lies, Chloe resolves to head back home.

Then a murderer strikes and changes everything.

When the police investigation entangles her father and a second tragedy hits too close, Chloe partners with her father's handsome, charismatic law associate, who may have more than murder on his mind, to uncover the truth. And when Jack arrives on the scene with surprises of his own, it only complicates things further.

As a killer moves closer and Chloe digs deeper, will she find answers before the mystery destroys the only family she has left and forces a wedge between Chloe and the man who loves her that is impossible to overcome?

This edge-of-your-seat, award-winning second book in the Unintended Series will keep your mind spinning late into the night with twists you don't see coming.

If you like can't-put-it-down intrigue and compelling heroines and heroes you find yourself rooting for, you'll love USA TODAY bestselling author D.L. Wood's thrilling suspense laced with romance and faith.
Unintended Witness is the 2019 ILLUMINATION BOOK AWARDS GOLD MEDAL WINNER FOR CHRISTIAN FICTION and an Amazon Christian Mystery and Suspense bestseller.
(Book # 2, but can be read as a stand-alone novel.)
Silverglass Press, October, 2018
Available in digital ebook, paperback, or audiobook


Thursday, August 17, 2023

THE LIES WE BELIEVE by Lisa Harris, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"The water's freezing as I dive into the inky blackness . . . I let out a scream as I search for Sadie, but underneath the water the sound is muffled. No one can hear me, and there's no one to help."

A reoccurring nightmare. "My therapist . . . says that my nightmares are all part of the grieving process. She actually calls them grief dreams." Dreams, nightmares, grief; Riley Bishop could add nearly constant fear into the mix of what life had become . . . and dare she include "confusion"? Little things were not adding up; was Riley simply overwhelmed and exhausted or had her husband's murder triggered something entirely different . . . the dreaded mental incompetence.

Then . . .  her daughter Sadie disappears without a trace and U. S. Marshal Tucker Shaw is assigned the case, thinking it might segue into a much larger human trafficking ring that he is investigating. It's clear that Riley Bishop needs his help, but is she as innocent as she seems?

"False information. Distorted memories. Lies." The truth is out there somewhere.
Perfectly paced and plotted! It was very difficult, if not impossible, to do anything but continue turning the pages of this first in a series that I will absolutely continue reading.
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 4.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
Riley Bishop is a single mother, working at home as a graphic designer to provide for her two children, Sadie and Oliver. But something is very wrong. Riley starts forgetting things—like appointments, where she put her keys, and where she parked her car. And then she thinks she sees her deceased ex-husband while out shopping. But as Riley begins to question her own sanity, her twelve-year-old Sadie goes missing. Soon Riley finds it harder and harder to know what is truth and what are lies as she is forced to question her own reality while she searches for her daughter.

Apprehending fugitives as a part of the SOG team gives Tucker Shaw the purpose and drive he needs to fight the demons from his past. When he’s called out on a mission to track down a group of endangered young girls, he has no idea how drastically his life is about to change. It’s a frantic hunt as the situation quickly spirals out of control with a final twist that has Tucker questioning everything he knows to be true.

Independently Published. June, 2023, available in digital ebook, paperback, or hardcover 



Wednesday, August 16, 2023

HEARTS OF GOLD by Grace Hitchcock, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #NewRelease


What a fun trio of stories from the late 1880s!

The Bridal Shop
I loved visiting Charleston and King Street where Alice has her shop. She is a strong woman who has overcome much. Giles is also hard working and would rather play tennis but chooses to honor his obligations. This was a sweet romance with obstacles of disapproving relatives and a few pasts to hide or overcome. I like the lyrical prose and descriptions of the bridal shop, playing tennis and life on the river.

Miss Beaumont’s Companion
Sweet romance with a Cyrano vibe. A masquerade ball and a companion to a rich spoiled girl. But the tables turn and the upright lawyer does the right thing instead of what his politically minded father wants. Great story.

The Becoming of Miss Blanche
A Harvey Girl story with breathtaking setting of the Montezuma resort in Las Vegas. I like the way the author weaves real historical events into the story. A patient and caring but brave hero, a determined heroine, both with a solid faith are well developed characters. The contrast between good and evil is well written.

Ms. Hitchcock is a reliable and relatable author in my favorite historical genre.
*I received a complimentary ecopy from the author. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 stars and an underlying faith thread 


BackCover Blurb:

The Bridal Shop

Alice Turner, the owner of one of Charleston’s finest bridal shops, is determined never to be dependent on a man for anything after the disgrace of her father’s prison time. When her best friend requests Alice to be her maid of honor, she reluctantly sets aside her feelings on marriage and dons a stylish bridesmaid’s gown, never intending to catch the eye of the handsome groomsman. Will he be able to convince Alice to open her heart again?

Miss Beaumont’s Companion

When Italian lady’s companion Aria St. Angelo is coerced into posing as her political employer’s absent daughter for the evening at the Louisiana Governor’s masquerade ball, she wasn’t planning on falling for Byron Roderick—the most eligible bachelor in the capitol. But, when he pays call at the Beaumont’s home, Aria is quickly shuffled into the shadows once more, forced to watch him fall in love with another woman.

The Becoming of Miss Blanche

Content to remain a Harvey Girl forever, fiery Tacy Blanche has worked in nearly every Harvey House down the Santa Fe line. But, when she accepts the position of second waitress at the new Montezuma resort, Tacy isn’t expecting her former fiancé’s brother to return to her life—

Pinkerton Jasper Caffery had long abandoned hope of ever finding Tacy again, but while on holiday in New Mexico, Jasper collides with the woman who had never noticed him before. He decides to take his chances and attempt to woo her. However, when Tacy’s past catches up with her, more than Jasper’s heart is at stake.

Valmont House Publishing, August 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and hardcover 

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

BRILLIANT (The Praetorienne Series #2) by Lisa Karon Richardson #ReleaseDay

We're excited to share today's release of


BackCover Blurb
A recent graduate of England’s most exclusive—and unusual—boarding school, Lady Portia Blythe has been accepted into the Praetorienne—though not without reservations from those who head the queen’s all-female secret guard. Determined to prove herself as part of Queen Victoria’s protection detail on a diplomatic mission to Constantinople, Portia stumbles into a secret arms auction. She discovers Jack Harding working a case, and he joins her in uncovering the purveyors of this devastating weaponry as well as a sinister plot to assassinate the queen and start a war.

With trouble at every turn, Portia draws on her training, marvelous gadgets, and her courage. Though troubled by self-doubt, she protects the royal entourage, leads their flight across Europe, and thwarts assignation attempts. She must trust in allies—former and new—and her prayers for God’s help to escape the threats, prevent full-blown war, and safely escort the queen home for her coronation.
Lisa's series is from White Spark Publishing - Clean fiction for young (and all) adults. The Praetorienne series is especially popular for fans of steampunk while still considered Christian Fiction

Lisa Karon Richardson's Amazon Page

Influenced by books like THE SECRET GARDEN and THE LITTLE PRINCESS, Lisa Karon Richardson's early stories were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. Now, even though she’s (mostly) grown-up she still loves a healthy dash of adventure in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She’s been a missionary to the Seychelles and enjoys traveling to far flung places.

VOICE OF THE ANCIENT (The King's Men #1) by Connilyn Cossette, Reviewed by Rebecca and Kim, #ReleaseDay

"The anointed one shall abide by the counsel of the Most High, The voice of the Ancient One to light his every step."

Avidan, draped in the foolishness of his emerging manhood, side-stepped the directives of his father and followed his cousins into the throes of war against the Ammonites, having been summoned by the newly anointed King Saul to defend their neighbors. Unfortunately in the process Avidan put his much younger cousin in harm's way. Doing his best to hide Shalem until the battle was over, he left him in a shallow cave close to the battleground, only to return and discover that the lad had disappeared.

Keziah learns on the eve of her wedding that her powerful clan chief father has betrothed her to a vicious man who would undoubtedly use her and then toss her aside, presumably as a reward to one of his men. Taking a great risk, an unlikely source gives aid to Keziah so that she can flee on horseback in full disguise. Following an altercation along the way, she is found along the outskirts of a marketplace by none other than Avidan, who is searching for his cousin. The two form a partnership of sorts, Keziah maintaining her ruse the best that she can and Avidan who sees straight through it, vowing to protect her as she makes the dangerous flight back to her mother's family.

Steeped in Old Testament history, this coming of age story is rich in content, illuminating what could be a confusing convergence of holy and pagan into bold, fascinating perspective through Avidan's brilliant storytelling and Keziah's open heart. Their journey is not an easy one, but the One Who Sees and the One Who Hears never leaves them to fight the battles without or the battles within, on their own.

"If Yahweh heard the cries of Hagar the Egyptian, Rahab the Canannite, and Eliora the Philistine, then surely he would hear me - a descendent of Mosheh himself - wouldn't he?"

*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.

Connilyn Cossette never disappoints! Her Biblical fiction is so well written. You can tell the time and research she puts into her books. This makes it so easy to become fully immersed in her stories. I feel like I can easily picture her characters and the places she takes me. Speaking of her characters, they always worm their way into my heart. The Voice of the Ancient, book 1 of The King’s Men series, was no different.

I loved Avi and Keziah’s story! So many unpredictable things happened that I hard a hard time catching my breath! I enjoyed every second of it! The character growth for both Avi and Keziah was so well done and their relationship was just perfect!

The childhood bond between Avi, Shay, Gavi, and Zevi - the next stories in this series- is definitely tested in this story as they start to find their own ways. I can’t wait for the rest of the stories to see what happens to them and their relationships with each other.

I highly recommend this story and any other story by Connilyn Cossette. Her Biblical fiction is the best!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is very prominent throughout. 5 stars!

BackCover Blurb:
As the eldest son of a Levite and a Philistine, Avidan is torn between his duty to his family legacy and the desire for something more. After an enemy attack strikes close to home, he takes the opportunity to fight with his cousins for the newly crowned King Saul. But when one of the cousins goes missing during the battle, Avidan refuses to leave him behind.

Keziah is the daughter of one of the most powerful clan chiefs in the territory of Manasseh. On the brink of a forced marriage to a loathsome man decades older than her, she has no choice but to run, hoping to find sanctuary with her mother's family.

United during their journeys and battling to survive the dangers that surround them, Avidan and Keziah make a pact to travel together. As challenges pile up, they must not only rely on each other to stay alive but also learn to trust the true and eternal King of Israel to guide their every step. 

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


LETTERS FROM MY SISTER by Valerie Fraser Luesse, Reviewed by Paula and Rebecca #ReleaseDay

A stunning story that takes place in Alabama in the early 1900s. The author tells s compelling story of a close knit, hardworking family who are God-fearing and live out their Christian Faith. Dialogue steeped in Southern Charm brought a smile to my face and the poignant tale brought tears to my eyes.

It was a story of the South being pulled from the bigotry of the past into a form of equality of the future. Difficult to say the least. Christian values were used to explain and temper strange happenings such as seeing visions.

This was an absorbing story of sisters Emmy and Callie and their loves Knox and Solomon. True Southern ladies wooed by true gentlemen. Solomon was a favorite character. His steadfastness, work ethic and humor shone through.

With not a typical happy ending, this story was filled with mystery, intrigue and a few sad points that showed life’s ebb and flow. I am always in awe when my favorite scripture, Romans 8:38 & 39 are shared by the main character. That was a welcome bonus and encouragement.

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

"Hepsy would say this was one of those nights 'when you got to do like Paul in the Bible- drop your anchors and pray for daylight'."

"Callie would be praying that prayer." Her comfortable, predictable life had just taken a more dramatic turn; trouble had been unleashed in the form of a man with unbridled passions and a noticeable lack of conscience. Fortunately, Callie and her sister Emmy had managed to rescue a young woman from his clutches, but it wasn't the first time and it surely wouldn't be the last. In fact, what happened on Bullock property one fateful evening would leave one sister with a severe injury and the other with secrets best left untold.

Separated due to less than ideal circumstances, it would require letters between the two to eventually reveal the truth of the matter.

A lovely example of Southern fiction exploring the sweet coming of age relationship between two sisters with totally different personalities and inclinations, yet sharing the same fierce love for everyone they considered family.
*I received a copy of this book from Baker Publishing through Interviews and Reviews. The opinions stated are entirely my own. 3.5 stars

BackCover Blurb
Two Sisters. One Single Event. A Family Changed Forever.

At the turn of the twentieth century, sisters Emmy and Callie Bullock are living a privileged life as the only daughters of a wealthy Alabama cotton farmer when their well-ordered household gets turned upside down by the arrival of Lily McGee. Arrestingly beautiful, Lily quickly--and innocently--draws the wrong kind of attention. Meanwhile, Callie meets a man who offers her the freedom to abandon social constraints and discover her truest self.

After Lily has a baby, Callie witnesses something she was never meant to see--or did she? Her memory is a haze, just an image in her mind of Emmy standing on a darkened riverbank and cradling Lily's missing baby girl. Only when the sisters are separated does the truth slowly come to light through their letters--including a revelation that will shape the rest of Callie's life.

Bestselling author Valerie Fraser Luesse weaves a complex and suspenseful tale dripping with intrigue, romance, and Southern charm.

Revell Publishing, August 15, 2023

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy LETTERS FROM MY SISTER at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House

Sunday, August 13, 2023

A MOUNTAIN TOO STEEP by Robin Patchen, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Camilla Wright was acquainted with late-night phone calls. The first had ripped her world apart. The second might well destroy her."

"Some people look at the mountain and think, I cannot do it . . . .They sit at the bottom and ask God to change the mountain. He is a God who moves mountains, but more often, I believe that He wants us to climb."

"She didn't want goat's feet. She didn't want to scale mountains. She wanted a lush valley with tall grass and a pretty, meandering stream . . . Was that too much to ask?"

An horrific car accident has just landed Camilla Wright's teen-age son and his cousin in the hospital with serious injuries, in fact her son Jeremy is currently fighting for his life. Booking the quickest flight available from Oklahoma to Utah where the boys had been skiing, Camilla doesn't think that she can possibly survive another loss. The murder of her husband four years prior had left a hole in her heart that on some days seemed to grow larger, deeper and more painful.

As the rather strange details of the accident become clearer, Camilla's angst over her family's safety expands; was it possible that the same men responsible for Daniel's death have come back to complete some unfinished business? The F. B. I. certainly seem to think so.
Rare and riveting . . . what a fabulous story! I was glued to the page (Gorilla Glue glued!!!) from start to finish with its rapid pace, emotional spins, (think white-water rafting!), how-did-you-survive- characters, and wait-a-minute plot twists . . . topping off with a very clever segue into a brand new series! 
*I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review  
BackCover Blurb:
A car accident that might not be an accident at all. A murderer bent on revenge. And a woman desperate to keep her family together.

She’s already lost her soul mate. She’ll do anything to protect her children.

For the sake of her kids, Camilla Wright managed to survive after her husband's murder. When she’s awakened in the night with the news that her teenage son and nephew have been in a horrific car accident, she rushes to the hospital in a haze of shock and panic.

The boys were supposed to be skiing in the mountains east of Salt Lake City. What were they doing so far west? More alarming, the wreck might not have been an accident at all.

While Jeremy fights for his life, Camilla is running out of time to discover who lured her son and her nephew into the desert. With each new clue, the terrifying truth becomes clearer.

Her husband’s killers are closing in…

A Mountain Too Steep is a Coventry Saga Novel.
Glimmer in the Darkness
Tides of Duplicity
Betrayal of Genius
Traces of Virtue
Touch of Innocence
Inheritance of Secrets
Lineage of Corruption
Wreathed in Disgrace
Courage in the Shadows
Vengeance in the Mist
A Mountain Too Steep
July 2023

Saturday, August 12, 2023

SUMMER IN THE SPOTLIGHT by Liz Johnson, Reviewed by Rebecca and Paula

"You're never going to say anything that anyone wants to hear."

A rather harsh declaration, wouldn't you say? . . . especially from a father to his son; life-changing in fact for a much younger version of Levi Ross, who barely speaks to anyone even as an adult. All that silence transformed into conversation (albeit pretty simple) one stormy night following an onslaught of hurricane force winds hitting Prince Edward Island, damaging the regional high school where Levi oversaw the facilities and essentially leveling the community's beloved Victoria Playhouse. And that mattered because . . . ?

Kelsey Ahern has just learned that her position as the high school drama teacher was blown away with the storm. Equally as heartbreaking was the news that the island's local playhouse was going to close its doors due to lack of capital for a complete rebuild. Hatching a plan to raise the necessary funds, Kelsey teams with the man who was her literal "shelter from the storm" (that's another story, but you can read it for yourself) and discovers that there's far more to Levi Ross than his loss for words.

Levi and Kelsey were exceptionally easy to love, however the details of their story begged a bit more scripting so to speak. Sweet cozy scenes and fabulous one-liner reminders that "love isn't love because it's earned. Love is love because it's a choice" . . . and . . . "you can do hard things for someone you love . . ." earned my applause, but like most of us, I didn't want this "summer in the spotlight" to end.
* I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I also purchased a copy. The opinions stated above are entirely my own. 3.5 stars

I loved returning to Prince Edward Island and the ongoing saga of the Ross family. In this book, we discover the romance between Levi Ross and Kelsey Ahern. Levi is a unique hero. He does not speak much but gets his jobs done and gets his message across. In this story, we find out why he is so reluctant to speak. Kelsey is a high school drama teacher and she has grand dreams when a bad storm damages the Victoria Theater. She plans to produce a benefit play to pay for repairs so the theater can re open,. It is vital to the local economy of the small town. The program is not without difficulties but lots of people pitch in, especially Levi.

The plot was interesting and the characters relatable. The hero is the strong, silent type and the heroine is very determined. Kelsey has a heart for the community. The faith thread is slight but solid and comes out in the actions of the characters.

This can be read as a stand-alone but reading the whole series in order will enrich your reading experience.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Revell Reads review program. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.* 5 stars and a slight but solid faith thread. 

BackCover Blurb:
A hurricane may have destroyed her livelihood on Prince Edward Island, but she's determined to save her community

Kelsey Ahern has performed at the Victoria Playhouse on Prince Edward Island every summer since she was seven. But when a hurricane destroys the building, it's not just her memories that are in jeopardy. Her future as a teacher and drama coach are too. She teams up with Levi Ross, the facilities director at the high school, to produce a benefit show to raise money to rebuild the theater. He has a reputation for being able to fix anything, and Kelsey is sure there's more to the quiet man than meets the eye.

For his part, Levi has admired Kelsey for years, but he can't seem to find the words to tell her. When a popular weatherman arrives in town to cover the aftermath of the hurricane and takes an interest in Kelsey and her show, Levi realizes that the time has come to speak up--or lose the heart of the woman he longs for.

Join New York Times bestselling author Liz Johnson for a season of rebuilding, restoration, and romance with this final book in the Prince Edward Island Shores series.

Revell Publishing, August, 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook



Friday, August 11, 2023

IN THE SHADOW OF THE RIVER by Ann H. Gabhart, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Give us our daily bread. And make Mama better so she can eat it with me. And forgive me for shooting that man. "

A five year old child's simple heartfelt prayer; her mother had been brutally stabbed and Jacci Reed had done the only thing in her power to protect them both. Mother and daughter now safely aboard The Kingston Floating Showboat, the secrets that had sent them there on that harrowing night flowed as swiftly as the currents beneath them . . . "in the shadow of the river".

Years passed; sharing life with her showboat family had proven good for Jacci, unconventional perhaps, but satisfying nonetheless. The traumatic memory of that fateful night had all but faded until . . . the boat hosts a powerful senator and a lovely member of his entourage. Jacci learns that "everything isn't always black or white. Much gray settles into our world like a muddy stream flowing into the green of the river. Mixtures of right and wrong." Once again, her life appears to be in danger.

"Sometimes it seems praying is all a person can do."

A lovely story! Boasting an easy word flow, cleverly crafted characters within their setting, nicely navigated plot twists, and alas! . . . the shy blush of romance, this book carries its readers along the shore line of a young woman's life who needs to know beyond her many doubts that "family" are those loved her, even before she was born. 


BackCover Blurb:

If all the world's a stage, Jacci will play her part.

She only hopes her story does not turn out to be a tragedy.

In 1881, Jacci Reed is only five years old when a man attempts to kidnap her from the steamboat her mother, Irena, works on. Badly wounded during the confrontation, Irena takes Jacci aboard the Kingston Floating Palace, a showboat tied up beside them. There, Jacci's actor grandfather tends to her mother, and Jacci gets a first taste of the life she will come to lead.

Fifteen years later, Jacci is an actress aboard that same showboat and largely contented with her adopted family of actors, singers, and dancers. Especially Gabe, who has always supported her, and the gruff grandfather she has come to know and love. Jacci's mother has been gone for years, but the memory of the altercation that ultimately took her life--and the cryptic things Jacci has overheard about her past--is always there, lurking in the back of her mind.

When someone on the showboat tries to kill Jacci, it's clear her questions demand answers. But secrets have a way of staying in the shadows . . . and the answers she craves will not come easily.

Revell Publishing, May 9, 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:



Thursday, August 10, 2023

LADIES OF THE LAKE by Cathy Gohlke, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

I’m a great fan of Cathy Gohlke’s writing. I enjoy the way she combines a compelling inspirational story with a background of interesting slices of history. Ladies of the Lake is a fantastic example of this. Set mainly in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Connecticut in dual timelines of the early 1900s and 1935, this book follows the lives of four friends from the Lakeside Ladies Academy as they transition to adulthood and life takes them in different directions. Amid heartache, WWI, the Halifax explosion of 1917, and secrets kept, can their friendship mend and endure?

“And how can I hope to be forgiven if I don’t forgive?”

With themes of friendship, forgiveness, love, and family, this riveting tale kept me intrigued and turning pages to find out what was going to happen. I was impressed with the way the author seamlessly pulled the dual timelines together so it wasn’t jarring to switch back and forth. The historical and faith elements were organically and skillfully woven in. Beautifully written and poignant, this story illustrated again why Cathy Gohlke is one of my favorite authors of historical fiction. I would recommend this to those who enjoy exceptional inspirational historical fiction.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Tyndale Publishing through NetGalley. I also won a copy in a contest. All opinions are my own.

BackCover Blurb:
After two young women’s deep bond is torn apart, what will it take to bring them together again? In
The Ladies of the Lake, the beloved author of Saving Amelie and Night Bird Calling returns with a transformative new historical novel about the wonder and complexities of friendship, love, and belonging.

When she is forced to leave her beloved Prince Edward Island to attend Lakeside Ladies Academy after the death of her parents, the last thing Adelaide Rose MacNeill expects to find is three kindred spirits. The “Ladies of the Lake,” as the four girls call themselves, quickly bond like sisters, vowing that wherever life takes them, they will always be there for each other. But that is before: Before love and jealousy come between Adelaide and Dorothy, the closest of the friends. Before the dawn of World War I upends their world and casts baseless suspicion onto the German American man they both love. Before a terrible explosion in Halifax Harbor rips the sisterhood irrevocably apart.

Seventeen years later, Rosaline Murray receives an unsuspecting telephone call from Dorothy, now headmistress of Lakeside, inviting her to attend the graduation of a new generation of girls, including Rosaline’s beloved daughter. With that call, Rosaline is drawn into a past she’d determined to put behind her. To memories of a man she once loved . . . of a sisterhood she abandoned . . . and of the day she stopped being Adelaide MacNeill.

Written by a four-time Christy award–winning author!
Ideal for book clubs—contains helpful discussion questions at the end!
Perfect for fans of L. M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, and Lauren Willig’s Band of Sisters.

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


Wednesday, August 9, 2023

ELINOR by Shannon McNear, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

Daughters of the Lost Colony #1

"If aught happened to you, Elinor, how could we ever face Ananias? Or God forbid, your father, once he returns?"

One of history's greatest mysteries.(*a nod to the History Channel) What happened to the colonists under the leadership of John White who once populated the island of Roanoke, off the coast of North Carolina, all those years ago? What they left behind . . . precious little, leaving most to wonder whether or not they left of their own volition to settle nearby once it became necessary. Drowning. Starvation. Disease. Peaceful dispersal. Or, taken captive by warring Native American factions? We'll never really know for sure, will we?
With calculated precision, the author utilizes bits and pieces of the historical record to flesh out her characters; aligning historical and fictional figures alongside one another, carefully penning a picture of those whose courage prompted them to exchange the familiar shores of England for foreign, uncharted territory in the New World. Understandably, this narrative leans heavily on documented accounts which may dampen readers' enthusiasm early on, however . . . when the story reaches the point where it becomes necessary to weave the threads of what might have happened into the lives of those whom we can only hope and pray survived, the adventure of the "what ifs" begin.

"Thus committing the relief of my discomfortable company the planters in Virginia, to the merciful help of the Almighty, whom I most humbly beseech to help and comfort them, according to His most holy will and their good desire . . ." - John White, 1593

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


BackCover Blurb:
A Journey Full of Hope...
Escape into a riveting story based on the mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

Author Shannon McNear portrays history with vivid authenticity.

In 1587, Elinor White Dare sailed from England heavy with her first child but full of hopes. Her father, a renowned artist and experienced traveler, has convinced her and her bricklayer husband Ananias to make the journey to the New World. Land, they are promised, more goodly and beautiful than they can ever imagine. But nothing goes as planned from landing at the wrong location, to facing starvation, to the endless wait for help to arrive. And, beyond her comprehension, Elinor finds herself utterly alone. . . .
The colony at Roanoke disappeared into the shadows of history. But, what if one survived to leave a lasting legacy?

Barbour Publishing, December 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:


Share This Post

How Our Giveaways Work: The Official Rules

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