Tuesday, October 31, 2023

SPOON TO BE DEAD by Dana Mentink, Reviewed by Kim #ReleaseDay

I have really enjoyed each and every story in the Shake Shop series! The characters are likable, the mysteries have kept me guessing until they very end, and the romance that has bloomed between Trinidad and Quinn throughout this series is so sweet!

Trinidad is a wonderful character that is easy to like and root for. I love her sleuthing ways and how bold she can be when trying to solve a mystery. Her and Quinn are perfect for each other and I’ve loved watching their romance develop over the series. Trinidad’s employees, twin brothers Carlos and Diego, always add a great touch of humor to the story. In fact, there are so many great secondary characters in this series that I could talk about, but instead, I’ll just say each and every character adds so much to these stories.

Spoon to be Dead is the third title in this series. While it can easily be read as a standalone, I so enjoyed reading the entire series. You really come to know and love the characters. I highly recommend each and every story and I can’t wait for the next cozy mystery from Dana Mentink! 5 stars!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. This is a clean read.


BackCover Blurb:
A murder for the holidays is about to shake things up!

Trinidad Jones is starting the festive season with sugary confections and a heaping scoop of worry as her shake shop enters its first Oregon winter. With snow abound and tourists trickling through, she'll do anything to keep her milkshake dreams afloat, even if it means catering a holiday steamboat party for some new arrivals in town.

But when her good-for-nothing ex crashes through her shop's door claiming he's being charged with murder, things go sideways. With clues piling up like whipped cream on a sundae and motives abound, Trinidad and her fellow ex-wives must solve this murder before she's finally thrown for a scoop.

The third book in the
Shake Shop Mysteries following Trinidad Jones who makes sweet confections and solves sticky situations in her small town! 

Poisoned Pen Press, October, 2023
Available in digital ebook and paperback 

Monday, October 30, 2023

PINT OF NO RETURN and A SPRINKLE IN TIME by Dana Mentink, Reviewed by Kim Ann



I don’t read many cozy mysteries, but when I saw Dana Mentink was writing a cozy mystery series, I knew I had to read them. I love Ms. Mentink’s stories, her writing style, and her great characters! Pint of No Return is a fun read that kept me guessing till the end! There were so many characters that it could’ve been! I also loved getting to know everyone in the town, especially Trinidad and Noodles.

Trinidad is such a likable character that you can’t help but root for her. Her dog, Noodles, added such a fun and heartwarming touch to the story. I also really liked Quinn and his developing relationship with Trinidad. It felt natural and believable.

I really enjoyed Pint of No Return, which is the first in the Shake Shop cozy mystery series set in the small town of Upper Sprocket, Oregon. I’m looking forward to book 2, A Sprinkle in Time, to see what mystery Trinidad solves next!
*I purchased this book. All opinions are my own. 5 stars. This is a clean read


The first in new dessert cozy mystery series! A murder in town is bound to shake things up...

After her divorce from her thrice-married embezzler husband, Trinidad Jones is finally ready for a fresh start. So when she's left one of ex's businesses in Upper Sprocket, Oregon, she decides to pack up her dog, cash in her settlement, and open her dream business: the Shimmy and Shake Shop, introducing the world to her monster milkshakes. And even with a couple sticky situations underway, namely that the other two ex-wives also call Sprocket home, Trinidad's life seems to be churning along smoothly.

That is, until she discovers her neighbor, the Popcorn King, head down in his giant popcorn kettle. When one of Trinidad's fellow ex-wives is accused of the murder and Upper Sprocket descends into mayhem, it's going to take a supersized scoop of courage to flush out the killer.


Next Up...


I am really enjoying this series by Dana Mentink! I have always loved her romantic suspense books, but honestly, I’m enjoying these cozy mysteries just as much! These characters have been so fun to get to know!

I really like Trinidad and her sleuthing ways! She is so easy to root for and her dog Noodles adds so much fun to the story. Trinidad and Quinn’s relationship is progressing nicely. I hope they make things permanent in the next story! The mystery kept me guessing and accusing the whole time. I was kinda right and lots of wrong!

A Sprinkle in Time by Dana Mentink is the second book of the Shake Shop series. While it can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading Pint of no Return first. You really get to know Trinidad, Noodles, and Quinn, as well as others, who live in Upper Sprocket which has really added to my enjoyment of this series. I cannot wait to start Spoon to be Dead!
*I purchased this book. All opinions are my own. This is a clean read. 5 stars!


The second book in the Shake Shop Mysteries—a new murder in town has Trinidad Jones thrown for a scoop!

It's Alpenfest in Upper Sprocket! Yodelers are congregating in the square, tourists flocking to the town, and Trinidad Jones is scooping up some fall flavors at her Shimmy and Shake Shop.

The cherry on the sundae is her upcoming feature in The Scoop magazine. She's determined to serve up the perfect interview, but it won't be easy, thanks in part to her meddling Cuban grandfather Papa Luis who has decided to make Sprocket his home for the foreseeable future. Papa Luis has set himself up as a taxi driver in his classic 1951 Buick.

But things take a turn when Papa Luis tells her he's found a corpse in his trunk. Upon closer investigation, they realize the body has disappeared. With the assistance of Juliette and Bonnie (her sisterhood of exes) and the way too handsome nut farmer Quinn Logan, Trinidad must solve the mystery of the disappearing corpse, before her father is up to his neck in a murderous mess.


Join us again for Kim's review of Spoon to be Dead!

Saturday, October 28, 2023

MARSHALING HER HEART by Mary Connealy, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

Mary Connealy’s books are always entertaining and fun, and Marshaling Her Heart is no exception. Although it is the concluding book in her Wyoming Sunrise series, it can easily be read alone. However, characters from the previous two books make appearances in this one, which is one reason you might want to read them in order. I enjoyed seeing what the other characters had been up to.

This story stars rancher Becky Pruitt and former U.S. Marshal Nate Paxton who is now working as Becky’s foreman. When a group of Marshals ask to use Becky’s ranch as a base while they hunt the Deadeye bandits who have been terrorizing the area, she reluctantly agrees. I loved seeing the relationship between Becky and Nate grow and change as they spent time together in pursuit of the bandits.

Connealy’s signature wit and humor shine once again in this engaging tale. With lots of action, suspense, adventure, and a good dose of romance, this book is sure to delight those who enjoy historical romantic fiction.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House. All opinions are my own. 4.5 stars 


See Reviews by Paula and Rebecca

BackCover Blurb:

Marshaling Her Heart (Wyoming Sunrise Book #3): Book 3 (A Historical Western Romance Series with Powerful Female Characters)
Will their lives and romance survive the trouble coming their way?

Becky Pruitt has always prided herself on knowing everything that's happening on her successful ranch, so an unexpected admission from her foreman, Nate Paxton, comes as quite a surprise. With the notorious Deadeye Gang on the loose, Nate--a former U.S. Marshal--believes Becky's ranch is the best spot for a group of Marshals to use as a base to hunt them down.

The timing couldn't be more crucial for the town of Pine Valley, and Becky feels obligated to help. But after escaping the grasp of her harsh father, she's never liked giving up control, of her life or her ranch. If there's anyone she can trust with her ranch, and her heart, it might be Nate. But the outlaws won't go away quietly, and as danger draws ever nearer, Becky and Nate are faced with impossible choices that will test their growing bond. 

Bethany House Publishing, October 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy MARSHALING HER HEART at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House


Friday, October 27, 2023

CROSSROADS by C.C. Warrens, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #ReleaseDay

Christian Suspense (A Holly Novel Book 5)
Fabulous story of Holly and her friends. Holly and Jordan go looking for Cassie whom Holly hasn’t seen in many years. But they find themselves in a situation that is dangerous and impossible to escape.

Ms.Warrens writes superbly, with unforgettable characters and a plot that is so intriguing you cannot stop turning pages. I do not know how she does it but humor creeps in even when circumstances are dire. The relationships between Holly, Marx, and Jordan are well developed and believable. There were some very tense moments when I wondered how Jordan and Holly were going to get out of their predicament. Warning: some trigger situations about abused women but Ms. Warrens brings hope through it all and shows the great faith of the main characters as opposed to a cult and false teaching.

This story resonates truth and will stay with you a long time.
*I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from 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:

I'LL FIND YOU WHEN IT'S SAFE.Those were the last words Holly whispered to her six year old foster sister before the little girl fled into the trees and disappeared from existence.

Fifteen years later, Cassandra Ward is still missing.

Holly is haunted by the possibility that she sent her foster sister running from one monster and into the clutches of another. How else could a child vanish without a trace?

Determined to find her, Holly sifts through her own dark memories for clues, revisits her past, and chases a lead across the country with Jordan by her side. But the search for Cassie takes a dangerous turn when an altercation in the mountains leaves them stranded, cut off from the outside world, and running for their lives.

Lovers of books by Lynette Eason, Terri Blackstock, and Natalie Walters will enjoy this latest thrilling installment of
The Holly Novels, and might even stay up all night reading.

Available in digital ebook or paperback. BUY CROSSROADS  at Amazon

Recommended Reading Order:

Criss Cross (A Holly Novel)
Winter Memorial
Cross Fire (A Holly Novel)
Crossed Off (A Holly Novel)
Injustice for All (Seeking Justice)
Holly Jolly Christmas (Seeking Justice)
Imperfect Justice (Seeking Justice)
Cross the Line (A Holly Novel)
Crossroads (A Holly Novel)

Thursday, October 26, 2023

WE THREE KINGS: A Romance Christmas Collection by Crystal Caudill, Cara Putman, and Angela Ruth Strong Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

We Three Kings is a charming collection of Christmas novellas by three different authors. They are set in three different time periods and feature three generations of the Weise family. I enjoyed seeing the way each author approached their story.

Star of Wonder by Crystal Caudill is set in New York in 1884 and features Aldrich Weise and his family’s luxurious steamer ship business. As they set sail toward Europe with members of his family and Celestia Isaacs’s family, they run into criminal activity as well as a dilemma in the relationship between Aldrich and Celestia.

Beauty Bright by Cara Putman is set after World War II and features Lt. Charles Weise and Captain Lillian Thorsen as they work together to return stolen artwork to its owners. This novella has a lot of interesting historical detail, and I enjoyed learning more about this time period.

Perfect Light by Angela Ruth Strong has a contemporary setting with Brendon Wise and Lacey Foster working together on a Christmas lights festival. While it has a lot of humor in it, it’s also a story of forgiveness, faith, and the true meaning of Christmas.
I would recommend this book to those who enjoy Christmas novella collections. The stories are charming and satisfying.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.


 BackCover Blurb:

In this Christmas collection, Weise men still seek Jesus--and love

Best-selling romance authors Caudill, Putman, and Strong follow three generations of the Weise family in this third collection of Christmas novellas from Kregel that will prove just as popular as the previous award-winning volumes.

"Star of Wonder" by Crystal Caudill

The Christmas-themed maiden voyage of his family's grand steamer ship was supposed to be Aldrich Weise's chance both to instill investor confidence and to romance Celestia Isaacs. Instead, he must foil a criminal and leave his lady love behind forever.

"Beauty Bright" by Cara Putman

Lieutenant Charles Weise served as a Monuments Man after World War II and now works to restore stolen art to rightful owners. Captain Lillian Thorsen pairs up with him not only to return treasures but also to fix the war-torn lives around them.

"Perfect Light" by Angela Ruth Strong

Essential oils mogul Brendon Wise is drawn to Lacey Foster, the event planner for his huge Christmas lights festival. But when he inadvertently makes a spectacle of her on television, Lacey wants nothing to do with him. Will a chance to give gifts to those in need at Christmas be the key to discovering common ground--and maybe love? 

Kregel Publications, September, 2023
Available in digital ebook and paperback



Wednesday, October 25, 2023

CODES OF COURAGE by A. L. Sowards, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

(Falcon Point Historical, #1)

Codes of Courage by A. L. Sowards captures perfectly why historical fiction is my favorite genre. I get to learn about little-known slices of history while enjoying a riveting story. With obvious impeccable historical research, richly painted settings, and characters that come alive on the page, this tale kept me engrossed to the end. There were a few twists and turns that surprised me and had my emotions all over the place.

The story is told from various points of view. Karl Lang, Millie Stevens, and Rolf Denhart are all pulled into WWII, and their lives are irreparably changed because of it. It was interesting to have the different POVs, as they added much to the tale. Poignant and heart-breaking, yet also tender and healing, it’s a perfect read for historical fiction lovers. Although it can be read as a standalone book, more about Karl Lang’s story is told in Heirs of Falcon Point. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

BackCover Blurb:
"A beautiful and poignant love story that brings to life the heartaches and the triumphs of those who helped break enemy codes during WWII." - Goodreads review

1940: Austrian refugee Karl Lang has lost everything—his country, his home, and his family. All that is left to him is a burning ambition to see the Nazis defeated. Desperate for work and a way to help the war effort, he finds the one place that will take a refugee like him: a supply steamer traversing a deadly path past enemy U-boats.

Since their first meeting, Millie Stevens has felt an undeniable connection to Karl. As the war rages, she shares his determination to oppose the Nazis and finds work at the British codebreaking center at Bletchley Park. There she uses all her intellect and determination to break German codes and read U-boat transmissions—or risk losing the man she loves.

Rolf Denhart will do anything to defend the Fatherland, including long patrols in a cramped U-boat. But rumors from Germany leave him uneasy, forcing a choice between loyalty to his homeland, the safety of his family, and his peace of conscience.

In the midst of war, three lives are woven together to create an epic tapestry of love and loss, joy and pain, sacrifice and courage.

Covenant Communications, October, 2023
Available in digital ebook and paperback at Amazon




THE LIES WE BELIEVE by Lisa Harris, Reviewed by Kim


I have read several Lisa Harris books, but The Lies We Believe is definitely my favorite of hers! It is excellent! This is a story that I did not want to put down and one that had me trying to figure out exactly what was true and what was not and who was bad and who was not. I am so glad I buddy read this one so I could discuss every detail with someone!

There’s actually not a lot of things I can talk about in this review without going into spoiler territory, so I will just say that this story is very intense and will keep you guessing until the very last page. There are so many twists and turns and things happen that have you questioning everybody. I really liked both main characters and can’t wait to see where the next book takes them. While the faith thread was light, it was a good one and one we all need to remember - but God, those two words can always give us hope no matter our situation. 

I highly recommend this compelling thriller and cannot wait for the next story in this series. The epilogue was just perfect as a set up for the next story and literally made my jaw drop! It has me chomping at the bit for The Secrets We Keep!! Please write faster, Ms. Harris!

•I read this on KU. All opinions are my own. 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 


Tuesday, October 24, 2023

SNOWBOUND ESCAPE by Dana Mentink, Reviewed by Kim Ann #ReleaseDay

I've been a Dana Mentink fan for a long time now. In fact, she is the author that made me start reading LIS stories again. I know when I read her stories I’m going to find a great plot with a lot of action, pops of humor, great characters, and a good faith message.

This story started with a heart pounding scene that had me holding my breath and wondering how in the world our main character was going to get out of the situation she was in! This is an “on the run” story, which is one of my favorite tropes. I liked both Tanner and Mara and how their relationship developed so naturally. Sometimes in these intense situations, the relationship seems implausible, but this one was spot on! Somehow, even though I was reading this story while the temps were 100+ outside, I was literally cold! That’s how immersed I felt in this story and how realistic Dana Mentink made it all feel. While the faith thread was light, it was perfect for this story and I loved the following quote:

“Tanner would never understand why she had to die, but he was coming to terms with the mystery of a God who both loved and said no.”

Bottom line? Go buy this book! I loved Tanner and Mara’s story from start to finish! There is literally nothing I would change about it!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith thread was light. 5 stars! 

BackCover Blurb:
To rescue a witness…

this K-9 team must face a killer and a storm.

After months tracking a colleague falsely accused of a double homicide, officer Tanner Ford and his K-9 partner finally locate crime tech Mara Gilmore—but the real murderer is closing in. Now they must run into a frozen wilderness to survive. Evading the killer is the only way for Mara to clear her name. But will the harsh winter conditions cover their tracks…or bury them forever?

Love Inspired, October 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperbacks, and audiobook

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.
Pacific Northwest K-9 Unit
Book 1: Shielding the Baby by Laura Scott
Book 2: Scent of Truth by Valerie Hansen
Book 3: Explosive Trail by Terri Reed
Book 4: Olympic Mountain Pursuit by Jodie Bailey
Book 5: Threat Detection by Sharon Dunn
Book 6: Cold Case Revenge by Jessica R. Patch
Book 7: Undercover Operation by Maggie K. Black
Book 8: Snowbound Escape by Dana Mentink

CRIME SCENE CONSPIRACY by Jessica Patch, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #ReleaseDay

 (Texas Crime Scene Cleaners Book 1)

What a pulse-pounding start to a new series that features a family business that specializes in crime scene cleanup.

Stone Spencer heads the Spencer Aftermath Recover Team and as a former Texas Ranger, he interacts with other law enforcement officials. At a crime scene, he re-connects with Texas Ranger Emily O’Connell who is in the Public Integrity Unit. She reluctantly pairs up with Stone when the findings of several recent deaths raise questions and they all have ties to a high profile person. When bombs, car accidents and other threats happen, they know they are on the right track. Now to find the killer and keep their loved ones safe before he silences them.

A fast-paced page turner with main characters who have a solid faith. And even though Emily has trust issues, she warms up to Stone and his tight knit family and romance blossoms. The supporting players make this a well rounded plot. I was kept guessing about who was behind the whole thing.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the rest of the Spencer family.
*I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the author. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*4 stars and a solid faith thread.

BackCover Blurb:

Too many mysterious deaths.

Not enough clues.

A string of staged deaths forces Texas Ranger Emily O’Connell on a covert mission to investigate a governor’s connection to the deceased women. She doesn’t trust anyone—including crime scene cleaner Stone Spencer. But when Emily’s questioning makes her the serial killer’s next target, she must turn to ex-ranger Stone for help. With threats at every turn, outrunning a merciless villain could be the last thing they do.
Love Inspired Suspense, October, 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and mass-market paperback.
Buy CRIME SCENE CONSPIRACY at Amazon and Christianbook .com

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.
Texas Crime Scene Cleaners
Book 1: Crime Scene Conspiracy

Monday, October 23, 2023

THE LEGACY OF LONGDALE MANOR by Carrie Turansky, Reviewed by Trixi Oberembt

Time is fleeting, the days fade fast. Treasure faith and family, only they will last. ~Charlotte

This was my first book by Carrie Turansky and I'm left asking myself “why did I wait so long to discover this exceptional author”? I do have other books of hers on my bookshelf so it's not like I have any excuse to not have picked them up. That being said, I discovered I really enjoy dual-timeline stories so I was excited to review this for Bethany House when the opportunity came! I was most eager to explore the legacy of Longdale Manor and history it held within its walls. I'm delighted to say, my heart was left satisfied at the end.

As with dual-timelines, there are two stories to get lost in...one is set in 1912 and the other is set in 2012. I've never heard of England's Lake District and I was thrilled to travel along with the characters in this beautiful city. I could picture each detail in my mind as Turansky described them. I'm also a hopeless romantic, so watching the two love stories play out was delightful. This story isn't without its struggles and both Charlotte and Gwen have their share of them. From a secret held close to the heart, to a need to prove that oneself is good enough played out in the pages with plenty of emotion. My heart went out to both of these women who dealt with life's worst thrown at them. God plays a central part in all of it as each character learns how to navigate both their faith and relationships. Forgiveness is a strong theme as both women grapple with how to overcome some very real hurts. And then of course, we get to know Ian and David and what role they play as romance develops and as they conquer their own conflicts of the heart.

All in all, this was an absolute pleasure to read! My emotions and heart were invested in each of the characters and my faith grew along with them. I also grew fond of David's grandmother Lilly and Charlotte's mom Rose. They played a central role in teaching valuable lessons and sharing their own faith as they walked through life. 

This quote from Turansky at the end of the book sums it all up for me:  The themes of fatherhood, forgiveness, and holding on to your faith through painful times are important to me, and I hope they shine through in this story. ~Author's Note
*I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House and was not obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions expressed here are my own. *

See Reviews by Rebecca, Winnie, and Paula

BackCover Blurb:

Two women--a century apart--embark on a journey to healing, faith, forgiveness, and romance.

In 2012, art historian Gwen Morris travels to England's Lake District to appraise the paintings and antiques of an old family friend, hoping to prove herself to her prestigious grandfather. While at Longdale Manor, she meets David Bradford--the owner's handsome grandson--who is desperate to save the crumbling estate by turning it into a luxury hotel. When Gwen stumbles upon a one-hundred-year-old journal and an intricately carved shepherd's staff similar to one in a photo of her parents, she's left searching for answers.

In 1912, after her father's death, Charlotte Harper uncovers a painful family secret she can only confess to her journal. She and her family travel to the Lake District to stay on a sheep farm, hoping eventually to find a home with Charlotte's grandfather at Longdale Manor, but old wounds and bitter regrets make it a difficult challenge. As Charlotte grows closer to shepherd Ian Storey and rebuilds her shattered faith, she must decide whether she will ever trust in love again.

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






Saturday, October 21, 2023

LADIES OF THE LAKE by Cathy Gohlke, Reviewed by Rebecca

"Friendship is a most precious and delicate thing - a rare gift that must be handled with integrity and care, nurtured throughout a lifetime if it is to flourish. Believe me when I say that I know the value and the loss of such a gift."

If, "We - Susannah Eudora Calhoun, Ruth Mason Hennessey, Dorothy Marie Belding, and Adelaide Rose MacNeill, hereafter known as the Ladies of the Lake, do solemnly swear this day . . . that we shall stick by one another through thick and thin . . . " could have known what that oath of friendship would entail, would they have made it? Those words meant the most to the one who had the most to lose, causing deep despair to the point of painful anonymity.

What a compelling read! War changed everything for those four idealistic young women of Lakeside Ladies Academy; secrets were kept, lies were told, hearts were broken, dreams were reduced to ashes. Yet God's providence reigned supreme. Gently echoing the life of Joseph of old, what might have been intended as a means of harm was miraculously transformed into a conduit of restoration.
Putting aside my lack of deference for "mean girl" tropes, the author's story-weaving expertise produced a magnificent story. Confession is always good for the soul.
*I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.
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:



Friday, October 20, 2023

CHRISTMAS FOREVERMORE Anthology, Reviewed by Trixi Oberembt

A Family Christmas by Sally Britton:
Cryril Grant spends Christmas time with his family after years abroad but doesn't feel he fits in. Jane Allen, a ladies companion to his grandmother, shows him kindness and eases him into the holiday fun with all his cousins. Her gentle ways soon lead his heart to fall in love with her. It seems this Christmas had a magic all its own!

Christmas Forevermore
by Sarah M. Eden:

Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol re-imagining story that was every bit as delightful as the original! Against her wishes, the local matchmaker sets Minna Schofield up to meet three gentlemen in hopes for a wedding by Christmas day. Minna is just as determined to thwart her efforts! Loved the twists and turns and the references to the movie/book were cleverly sprinkled throughout. It was also a friends-to-more romance which I absolutely love! If you are like me and enjoy watching Charles Dickens movie every year, you'll be delighted with Sarah Eden's contribution to this wonderful collection.

Christmas at Cranfield by Ashtyn Newbold:

Siblings William and Hannah Somerton are invited to spend Christmastide with their childhood friend Samuel in his newly inherited estate. Both Hannah & Samuel carry a secret adoration for each other and hope this holiday season will spark a romance between them. However, circumstances conspire to keep them apart; will their someday love story ever come to pass? I loved this friends-to-more troupe by a favorite author of mine! Newbold pens heartfelt stories that tug at your emotions and this was no exception. What a perfectly lovely novella!

A Thrill of Hope by Karen Thornell

A snowstorm forces Isabel Reid and Robert Collingham to spend Christmastide at her aunt’s estate. They haven’t seen each other since childhood & it wasn’t with fond memories either. Sparks fly between the two but most certainly not the romantic kind! Will their close proximity bring more strife or perhaps a possibility for love? I didn’t care for this one as much because I had a hard time liking Isabel’s character. I felt she was much too abrasive, abrupt, aggravating and childish at times. I didn’t see enough redemptive qualities for my taste, even in the end. All in all, I did enjoy getting to know her aunt & Robert, and all the Regency Christmas traditions play out in the pages.

Each one of these stories brought Christmas to life in all of its festive traditions of old and through the eyes of the characters. If you’re looking for your next holiday read, might I suggest picking up Christmas Forevermore to enjoy?
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Covenant Communications through Interviews & Reviews and Netgalley. *

BackCover Blurb:
"To those looking for a sweet Christmas read, look no further!"

"If you like sweet and satisfying happily ever afters and a little bit of Christmas magic, don't miss this charming collection."

This holiday season, fall in love with a brand-new collection of swoon-worthy novellas from four of your favorite historical romance authors. From meddling matchmakers to fortuitous fiascos, the holidays have never been more magical!

A Family Christmas” by Sally Britton: After years abroad, Cyril Grant worries about relating to his highborn relatives at the family’s holiday celebration. But an unexpected connection with a member of the household staff opens his heart—in more ways than one.

Christmas Forevermore” by Sarah M. Eden: In this reimagining of the beloved Charles Dickens tale A Christmas Carol, spinster Minna Schofield is inadvertently ensnared by a local matchmaker whose meddling launches Minna on a journey of self-reflection that could lead her to unexpected love.

Christmas at Cranfield” by Ashtyn Newbold: Though childhood friends Hannah and Samuel secretly adore one another, fate conspires to keep them apart. But after years of shared holidays and missed opportunities, this Christmas brings the hope that their stars will align.

A Thrill of Hope” by Karen Thornell: After a devastating loss, Christmas holds little appeal for Isabel Reid. But when a snowstorm traps her in the company of a surprising traveling companion, the perpetual winter of Isabel’s heart may just begin to thaw.

Covenant Communications, October 3, 2023

Thursday, October 19, 2023

RAINBOW'S END (Encore Edition) by Irene Hannon, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"There was order in this place. And peace . . . It felt good here. And right. Like this was where he'd been heading all along. . . "

Instead of aimlessly wandering around . . . Keith Michaels fortuitously followed the store owner's directions to the only bed currently available on Orcas Island, in the middle of a storm, on a holiday weekend; tucked away within a small cottage located on a property dubbed "Rainbow's End". The young widow who met him at the door was properly guarded, barely showing her face to a stranger, but kindly albeit reluctantly offering hospitality nonetheless.

"'So you hide out here.' Her brow wrinkled. 'I'm not hiding.'"

Perhaps she was. Jill Whelan had the feeling that nothing in her carefully orchestrated isolated life was ever going to be the same again, begging the question, did she even want it to be?

"I stopped asking why . . . I had to learn to accept without understanding. Once I did that, once I let go of the anger, God was waiting to welcome me back."
Though short in pages, this story is rich in depth, delivering a sermon or two or three about everything that truly matters. Plus, it's a really sweet romance.

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

BackCover Blurb:
Can a reclusive artist
help a man who’s lost and adrift
find his way home?

Broken, empty, and alone after a cross-country search for answers, Keith Michaels takes refuge with reclusive artist Jill Whelan after a sudden squall strands him on Orcas Island. But while she offers him a place to wait out the storm, she wants nothing more to do with the stranger who’s in-vaded her turf. Yet Keith finds unexpected solace on her isolated property, and his one-night stay turns into an extended visit after he agrees to take on a project that is near and dear to her heart.

When a little boy in need enters their world, Jill and Keith join forces to help him. And along the way, might they also reconnect with life—and find healing, hope, and love at Rainbow’s End?

In this RITA award finalist novel, bestselling author Irene Hannon pens an unforgettable story that tugs at the heartstrings and demonstrates the power of love to transform lives.

August 2023:

Available in digital ebook and paperback at Amazon


Wednesday, October 18, 2023

THE LOST BOYS OF BARLOWE THEATER by Jaime Jo Wright, Reviewed and Hosted by Paula Shreckhise #PartnersInCrimeTour #Giveaway

The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater

by Jaime Jo Wright

October 9 - 20, 2023 Virtual Book Tour


The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater by Jaime Jo Wright

It promises beauty but steals life instead. Will the ghosts of Barlowe Theater entomb them all?

Barlowe Theater stole the life of Greta Mercy's eldest brother during its construction. Now in 1915, the completed theater appears every bit as deadly. When Greta's younger brother goes missing after breaking into the building, Greta engages the assistance of a local police officer to help her unveil the already ghostly secrets of the theater. But when help comes from an unlikely source, Greta decides that to save her family she must uncover the evil that haunts the theater and put its threat to rest.

Decades later, Kit Boyd's best friend vanishes during a ghost walk at the Barlowe Theater, and old stories of mysterious disappearances and ghoulish happenings are revived. Then television ghost-hunting host and skeptic Evan Fisher joins Kit in the quest to identify the truth behind the theater's history. Kit reluctantly agrees to work with him in hopes of finding her missing friend. As the theater's curse unravels Kit's life, she is determined to put an end to the evil that has marked the theater and their hometown for the last century.

Praise for The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater:

"Jaime Jo Wright takes readers on a journey that leaves them with a renewed sense of hope... Read this story. You won't be sorry."
~ Lynette Eason, bestselling, award-winning author of the Extreme Measures series

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Christian, Historical
Published by: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: October 2023
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 9780764241444
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop.org | Goodreads | ChristianBook | Baker Book House


Creepy but good! What seems to be a ghost makes for a fascinating story. So much to intrigue the reader: missing boys, a woman in white, a spooky poorhouse, and legends of tunnels. What was real and what was myth started the search into the Barlowe Theater. Kit Boyd and her friends get way more than they bargained for. The 1915 timeline was very interesting, showing the struggle of Greta and her brothers after losing both parents and their livelihood and the disparity between the classes. The modern timeline focused on Kit and her feeling of abandonment as an infant even though she had a loving, stable relationship with her adoptive parents.

I liked that Kit and Evan were vocal about their faith and the dangers of delving into the supernatural.

The story was creative and suspenseful and I had no doubt that the author would weave it all into a satisfying conclusion. With a realistic cast of characters that stayed true to their convictions, this book is one not to be missed.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through PICT tours. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 stars and a solid faith thread

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Greta Mercy


Sometimes death came quietly. A phantom swooping in and siphoning the last remnant of a soul from one’s body, leaving behind a shell of a person who once was and would never be again. Other times, death decided that dramatics coupled with terror were its preferred method of delivery. Tonight, that was the chosen form death took.

Screams echoed throughout the theater’s golden, embellished auditorium and drifted upward to the domed, hand-­painted ceiling, where Putti flew as angelic, childlike spirits over the mass of onlookers.

A shoulder rammed into Greta’s arm as a husky man, far too large for the narrow seats, pushed his way past her toward the center aisle.

“Let me pass!” he barked. Urgency spurred him forward. “I’m a doctor, let me pass!”

The vaudeville lights on either side of the stage boasted letters a through g, with the g lit and distinct over the other letters.

“I’m letter g!” The doctor shouted while those in front of him jostled to the side or hurried ahead to move out of his way. Doctors were assigned specific letters from the vaudeville lights, and if they were lit, a doctor was needed—­either at home, on call, or in the vicinity.

The vicinity was here. It was now.

Onlookers continued to gasp and protest. Women in beautiful silks and satins hurried to the back to find respite in the upstairs ladies’ room. Men in evening wear catapulted over seats and to the floor on the far left of the auditorium.

Greta was frozen in place, her seat having flipped up against its back so she could move. But her eyes were fixed with horror on the scene unfolding. They lifted to one of the box seats above the floor, where men, including the doctor, were congregating en masse. The gilded box was a flurry of activity. A man embraced a woman, who fought and clawed at his hold. Her screams had many onlookers staring at her, including the performer in her violet gown and befeathered hair. Moments before, her vocals had swirled around them all in a cadence of beauty and refined music. Now, her mouth was open, her face pale, her entire pose aghast. She had captured an enthralled audience, all whose gazes toward the stage had kept them from seeing what Greta had seen. Greta, who shouldn’t have been here to begin with. She didn’t belong with the pomp and circumstance, the heady scent of perfume and cologne, which made her mind thick and her eyes wander. They’d wandered to the box seat, and she’d witnessed what no one else had. The white hands stretching, reaching over the side,
dangling . . .

“It was a child!” The horrified cry slipped for the third time from Greta’s lips. She could hear herself screaming and was unable to stop. Her screams had ripped through the performance as the child in a white nightdress plummeted into the shadows of the floor’s obscure corner.

The woman in the box seat had been pulled from view, its red velvet curtain shut swiftly.

“It was a baby!” Greta rasped out as horror strangled her.

“Greta. It’s all right.” The reassuring voice of her friend, Eleanor Boyd, as well as the comforting grip on Greta’s arm finally stilled her.

Greta focused again on her friend—­her wealthy friend who should not be her friend at all.

Eleanor’s blue eyes were round with fear that must mirror Greta’s own. Her blond curls swept upward and were twisted with pearls. Her dress was a baby-­blue silk. Any other moment, Greta would have soaked in the awe that tonight she, Greta Boyd, who could barely keep her family fed and clothed, was sitting among the elite, pretending to be one of them. But now? It hardly mattered. The borrowed corset that tucked in her waistline, the aged but wearable pink dress she had borrowed from Eleanor, and even the gloves she wore on her dry, cracked hands—­none of them mattered now.

“What happened? What did you see?” Eleanor clutched at Greta’s arm.

Greta couldn’t reply. The sheer magnitude of the moment, the honor of being in the audience of the Barlowe Theater had been overwhelming . . . until she’d seen it. The baby launched over the side of the box seat. Like a cherub from the mural above, it had taken flight before it disappeared.

Greta’s knees gave out, and she fell to where her seat should have been had it not folded in on itself. Her hip struck the polished wood arm.

“Greta!” Eleanor reached for her.

Greta felt Eleanor’s brother on her other side, grabbing for her waist to give her support. But it was too late. She had collapsed to the narrow walkway between the seats. Her knees hit the carpeted floor.

Was she the only person who had seen death’s swift visitation tonight? The only one who had witnessed its evil intent as it ripped the babe forcefully from its mother’s arms?

It wouldn’t survive. It could not. The fall was too far, too great.

Death had decided to match the theater’s reputation for drama and awe. Greta couldn’t tear her gaze from where she’d seen the small form disappear on its way to its resting place on the floor of the Barlowe Theater.

The babe had slipped. No, it had been tossed. Its mother’s screams still echoed from the hallway beyond the curtain. Those in the crowd cried “Accident,” “Traumatic mishap,” and other such things. But Greta knew differently. She had known before she came tonight, and she should have stayed away.

Barlowe Theater was not a place that brought joy and entertainment, as was its supposed purpose. No, it had already taken lives in the construction of it, tortured the ones who dared stand in its way, and now it was hunting those innocents who had happened into the shadows of its deadly interior. The theater was cursed.

Kit Boyd


Death stuck with a place. Once the blood had seeped into the carpet, the flooring, the walls, it stayed there, long after the stains were removed. They were the testament to lives robbed of their rightful journey through time. Cut short. Obliterated. B

Barlowe Theater was not a place that brought joy and entertainment, as was its supposed purpose. No, it had already taken lives in the construction of it, tortured the ones who dared stand in its way, and now it was hunting those innocents who had happened into the shadows of its deadly interior. The theater was cursed.

Kit Boyd

ludgeoned into nonexistence. Smothered by the grave, burrowed into by the worms—


Fingers snapped in front of Kit Boyd’s face, and she startled out of her staring into the dark, narrow stairwell that led beneath the stage of the Barlowe Theater.

“Get with it, bruh.” The fingers snapped again. Kit looked up at the taller man beside her. He was overweight and smelled like pizza, but he had a nice face. His name was Tom, they’d told her, the crew from the TV show Psychic and the Skeptic.

“Sorry.” Kit offered him a wince. She’d paused on the first concrete step while her best friend, Madison, the psychic medium, Heather Grant, and the skeptic investigator, Evan Fischer, disappeared into the bowels of the theater. Tom the cameraman was held back by her hesitation. She gave him a warning look, though the theater’s darkness in the midnight atmosphere probably hid most of her expression. “You do know people died here . . . have disappeared here.”

“That’s the point.” Tom waved her forward, the camera on his shoulder blinking a red light. “But I need to catch them on film if I can, and you’re in my way.”

Fabulous. She was on camera. That would probably make the show too. Kit Boyd, the quirky sidekick to Madison Farrington, the historical activist, the beauty, the granddaughter of the town’s ambitious CEO of all things expansion, modern, and money-­making.

“Hello?” There was definite irritation in Tom’s voice.

“I’m going! I’m going.” Kit hurried down the steps. She’d taken them many times before. Anyone who was native to Kipper’s Grove, Wisconsin, had grown up in the Barlowe Theater at one point or another. Dancers had tapped and glided across its stage in recitals, high school glee clubs with dreams of Broadway had warbled off-­key through its hall, and the local theater guild had put on such plays as Arsenic and Old Lace and The Music Man. Kit hadn’t been in any of those. Instead, she was the one backstage handing bottles of water to the performers, smiling and cracking jokes to encourage the stage-­frozen little six-­year-­old dressed in a yellow tutu with glitter on her cheeks.

“Oh, c’mon!” Tom hissed, his irritation past the point of being hidden. How he’d gotten behind her anyway was a faux pas for filming. He was supposed to stick close to the stars of the show, Heather and Evan. And boy, did those two get along famously—­not.

“Whew!” Kit wheezed under her breath, not caring if Tom heard. “I’d try to avoid those two if you could.”

“Yeah, well, I have a job to do.” Tom squeezed past Kit as she hugged the cement-­block wall at the bottom of the stairs to let him through. He elbowed her arm and didn’t bother to apologize. He probably felt as if she owed him that luxury. The luxury of being annoyed.

Okay, fine. She did.

If she was being honest, Kit wasn’t a fan of the Barlowe Theater past dark. Which was the cliché of all theaters built just after the turn of the century. It was dark. Haunted. The place was like a tomb. Crank up some vaudeville music and the place became a literal haunted house of horrors for Halloween. And Kit hated Halloween. The darkness, the Gothic look and feel, Halloween was for morbid people who thought Edgar Allan Poe was romantic in his mystery and lore instead of macabre and bleak. Hadn’t he died questionably? She’d heard a podcast once that claimed the poet might have been murdered, contrary to the popular belief that his death had been the result of some fatal malady undiagnosed.

Kit shook her head to clear her thoughts. Mom said cobwebs couldn’t possibly gather in her head because she had too many ideas. Mom was right. Kit would never be accused of having an underactive imagination.

A finger jabbed into the back of her shoulder.

“Stop it!” Kit spun to glare at the offender.

No one was there.

Her skin began crawling. “Gahhhhhh!” She waved her hands wildly at the unseen ghost finger. Probably her imagination, but whatever. She had let Madison sucker her into a ghost hunt for the popular ghost-­hunting television show. This was her penance? Getting poked by an elusive spirit?

“Sorry, God.” Kit mumbled an apology to the Almighty, who was probably rolling His eyes at their attempts to mess with the spirit world. But this was Madison. She believed anything was possible. Kit had been raised to believe that this type of anything was probably demonic. There had to be a middle ground. Hadn’t there?

Kit hurried around the corner, stubbing her toe on a bolt that rose half an inch up from the floor. Dampness and time had warped the theater’s floor, making it uneven. She leaned against the wall, rubbing her bare toe. Flip-­flops on a ghost hunt. Bad idea.

She looked around—­well, as best as she could. The basement was dark, as were the dressing rooms to her right, sized like prison cells. The short hall to her left leading directly below the stage was also dark.

“Hello, darkness,” Kit crooned quietly, craning her neck to peer ahead. “Hello?” she tried again, this time louder.

No answer.

“Seriously, someone?” Kit was beginning to share Tom the cameraman’s annoyance now. Two argumentative television stars, her best friend, and a cameraman didn’t just vanish within minutes. The basement wasn’t that huge.

But it was Barlowe Theater.

Tom?” Kit hissed, daring a few steps into the dank blackness. “Madison?”

Again, no one answered. The only light was a flickering bulb that had to be a wattage short of worth having at all. It buzzed too. Of course it did. If this stunt was for show
dramatics . . .

“Madison!” Kit shouted. In the ten years since they’d graduated high school, she had followed this woman around. She was owed some loyalty in return. “If this is for ratings, it’s unkind of you!” Kit yelled. Her words echoed back at her.


Light slammed into her face, blinding Kit. She raised her hands as the flashlight’s beam collided with her eyes.

“They’re gone!” It was Tom.

Kit could see the whites of his eyes just beyond the flashlight he swung around wildly.

“What do you mean?” Kit tried to take captive Tom’s arm as he flooded the hallway with the light, then a dressing room, then the ceiling. His camera wasn’t on his shoulder.

He wasn’t filming.

Kit’s throat tightened. Okay, that wasn’t a good sign. “Where’s Madison?”

Tom swung the light back in Kit’s face. “Where’s Evan? Where’s Heather? Where’s my team?” His voice shook with undisguised concern, turning fast into panic. “How big is this place?”

“Not that big.” Kit pushed past him. Concerned now. This had gone too far. Madison and her harebrained schemes to keep her own grandfather from ruining the historic downtown. Make it famous, she said. Put it on TV, she said. Make viewers defend Kipper’s Grove, she said. “Madison!” Kit shouted, anxiousness seeping into her voice. “Stop this! It’s not funny!”

Tom’s light bounced on the floor in front of them as Kit spun around and marched back toward him. She shoved past his husky chest and down the short passage to the door leading under the stage. Her fingers curled around the doorknob, its old mechanics making it wobbly beneath her grip.

Kit jerked it open.

She fell back with a shriek, colliding with Tom, who had come way too close behind her.

Heather, the medium from the show, stood stock-­still facing them. Her eyes were wide and unfocused, her skin white in the flashlight’s glow.

“She’s gone.” Heather’s monotone voice filtered through the passage.

Kit words were stolen from her as her stomach dropped.

“Who’s gone?” Tom demanded.

“Madison.” Evan Fischer, the cohost, the skeptic, and the all-­around grumpy hero of the show strode past his partner. Heather’s expression didn’t waver as her eyes remained fixated on . . . whatever she was staring at in the spirit world beyond. “Madison’s gone.”

Evan left less than a few inches between his face and Kit’s as he bent his six-­foot frame down to meet her five-­foot-­four one. “Where is she?”

“I don’t kn—”

“Where. Is. She?” He cut off Kit’s answer as unsatisfactory.

Her breaths came shorter, faster. She could feel Tom behind her. She was sandwiched between him and Evan, with Heather staring into the great abyss.

“I told you. I don’t know.” Kit heard the quaver in her voice. She shoved her trembling hands into her pockets.

“She’s gone.” Evan slapped the wall, glaring at Tom, who was speechless. “Is this a scam? A stunt?”

Kit couldn’t answer. Of course, the show would think it was a ploy by Madison. A publicity ploy. But it went deeper than that. Far deeper. Kit sagged against the wall, the air not reaching her lungs as it should.

She prayed then. Prayed that Madison really was messing with them. That she had simply gone too far ahead beneath the stage and left them behind.

But the theater was hungry, and everyone in Kipper’s Grove knew it was only a matter of time before this hunger added to the stories of death and spirits. That’s how the theater was, after all. Drama. Suspense. And the unearthly way that such things drifted through its rafters.


Excerpt from The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater by Jaime Jo Wright. Copyright 2023 by Jaime Sundsmo. Reproduced with permission from Baker Publishing Group. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Jaime Jo Wright

Jaime Jo Wright is the author of nine novels, including Christy Award and Daphne du Maurier Award winner The House on Foster Hill and Carol Award winner The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her cat named Foo; her husband, Cap'n Hook; and their two mini-adults, Peter Pan and CoCo.

Catch Up With Our Author:
BookBub - @JaimeJoWright
Instagram - @JaimeJoWright
Twitter - @JaimeJoWright
Facebook - @JaimeJoWright
TikTok - @JaimeJoWright



Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and opportunities to WIN in the giveaway!




This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for Jaime Jo Wright and Bethany House Publishers. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.



Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Tours



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.