Wednesday, February 28, 2024

LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON (True Crime Junkies #5) by Christy Barritt, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney #NewRelease

(True Crime Junkies Book 5)
"The day was so normal. . .until the Lights Out Killer chose her. "

A cold blooded killer is stalking Anchorage, Alaska residents, striking only at night, and leaving a signature symbol carved on the corpses. The Arctic Circle Murder Club (whose cases contribute to their popular podcast) just happens to be meeting in Anchorage for the weekend, so naturally they respond to a request by one of the victim's family members to take a look at the evidence. Meanwhile, the killer strikes again.

Team member Andi Slade has troubles of her own to contend with . . . starting with dumpster diving in order to escape the authorities after she was nearly caught on one of her clandestine surveillance missions. Consequently, Andi has put the entire team in the cross-hairs of her dangerous personal vendetta. Fortunately Duke McAllister is determined to help protect Andi from herself, as they work together to keep Andi safe while investigating the bizarre killing spree going on around them. The clues are sparse, bodies are showing up every other day, and what may link the victims to each other is tenuous at best.

"Maybe you're a bit like Esther . . . She was created for 'such a time as this'. Maybe you were too."

I say . . . "leave the lights on" while you read this creepy crawling story with its dual plot lines that merge and diverge throughout every chapter. It's a conundrum that bears solving . . . stay tuned! 

BackCover Blurb:

First the lights go out . . . then they die.

The body count is rising. Six murder victims. The only connection? An X carved into the dead person’s chest. When the family of one of the victims asks the Artic Circle Murder Club to investigate, the team dives into their toughest case yet.

Stopping the murders isn’t the team’s only challenge. When Duke McAllister sees his teammate Andi Slade dodging the cops, he knows she must be in deep trouble. But Andi isn’t the only one on her team on thin ice. Trouble seems to be following them all.

With more murders making the headlines, the threat level reaches an all-time high. The end game has begun. The clock is ticking, and disaster looms near. Will they stop the killer before the deadly grand finale? Or will the lights go out one final time?

River Heights Press, February, 2024

A LADY'S GUIDE TO MARVELS AND MISADVENTURES by Angela Bell, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #NewRelease

(A Whimsical Victorian Historical Romance from a Debut Author)

A little Victorian Steampunk, a little Jules Verne, a little Nutcracker makes this a fabulous book that blends quirky characters, acerbic wit, an interesting premise and Godly wisdom. 

Clara feels responsible to look after her family. She has a hard time seeing that God is in control, not her. Her grandfather Drosselmeyer, is a clockmaker and inventor of marvelous contraptions. Theodore Kingsley, who has a hidden past, is taken on as an apprentice. He is mistrusted by Clara but they, along with her Mum, set out on a scavenger hunt to track down Grand and his flying owl, while fleeing a dastardly villain.
The descriptions of the places they visit make me feel like I was there. And throughout the journey Clara thaws toward Theodore. 

Mum was a favorite character. She advocated for animals and their welfare and wore a live ermine named Fred as a stole.
The clues for the scavenger hunt were so well done and were connected to an intricate pocket watch. The message clues from Grand to Clara were full of godly wisdom and helped Clara to see that she didn’t have to live up to her nickname of Little Atlas with the weight of the world on her shoulders.
An exceptional and cleverly executed debut from an outstanding author.
*A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Bethany House via NetGalley. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are mine alone.*5 stars and a strong faith thread 

BackCover Blurb:
Miss Clara Marie Stanton's family may be eccentric, but they certainly aren't insane.

London, England, 1860
When Clara's ex-fiancé begins to spread rumors that her family suffers from hereditary insanity, it's all she can do to protect them from his desperate schemes, society's prejudice, and a lifetime in an asylum. Then Clara's Grandfather Drosselmeyer brings on an apprentice with a mechanical leg, and all pretense of normalcy takes wing.

Theodore Kingsley, a shame-chased vagabond haunted by the war, wants a fresh start far from Kingsley Court and the disappointed father who declared him dead. Upon returning to England, Theodore meets clockmaker Drosselmeyer, who hires him as an apprentice, much to Clara's dismay. When Drosselmeyer spontaneously disappears in his secret flying owl machine, he leaves behind a note for Clara, beseeching her to make her dreams of adventure a reality by joining him on a merry scavenger hunt across Europe. Together, Clara and Theodore set off to follow Drosselmeyer's trail of clues, but they will have to stay one step ahead of a villain who wants the flying machine for himself--at any cost. 

Bethany House Publishing, February, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

TRAPPED IN YOSEMITE by Dana Mentink, Reviewed by Kim #ReleaseDay

Trapped in Yosemite by Dana Mentink started with a bang, literally, and didn’t let up until the very end. This story kept me guessing the entire time. I could not figure out who was trying to kill Stella or why.

Stella and Von were once engaged, but things didn't work out. When they meet up again in this story, so many things are going on! There are secrets--so many secrets! A killer who can’t seem to be stopped or found, add in a massive earthquake that basically traps our group in Yosemite and you have non stop questions and action! It took me a bit to warm up to Von. He has a tough/grumpy demeanor, but I loved seeing his growth throughout the story and how he changed by the end. Stella had a tough, heartbreaking road to recover from. I was so happy for her to finally find some peace once all was said and done. Bear was a great character of the K9 variety! I always love how Ms. Mentink writes dogs into her stories.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced, keep-you-guessing until the end, this is the one for you!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. 4 stars. 

BackCover Blurb:
When a massive earthquake levels the region, secrets and unknown dangers are exposed…

The ground in still-icy Yosemite National Park isn’t stable, and K-9 handler Von Sharpe fears the worst. But his worries are pushed aside when he sees an SUV viciously forced off the road…with his ex-fiancĂ©e at the wheel. It’s only when Stella Rivers steps out of the vehicle that the very ground under their feet cracks and breaks with the onslaught of a terrifying earthquake.
When her meeting with a mysterious client is ambushed, Stella witnesses the man being gunned down by a sniper and becomes a target herself. With the threat of aftershocks triggering landslides and floods, the new mom has no choice but to run to save her baby girl—even if it means teaming up with the man who has no idea he fathered her child.
Trapped in a dangerously unstable wilderness with a killer closing in, Von and Stella are running out of time to get to safety. And every fissure reveals a new secret that will shake them to their foundation… 

Love Inspired Trade, February, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:

Saturday, February 24, 2024

CHASING THE HORIZON by Mary Connealy, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

I could hardly wait to start Mary Connealy’s newest series, A Western Light. Chasing the Horizon is book 1 in the series and shows Connealy’s signature wit, humor, and creativity. Filled with courageous and daring heroines, competent and protective heroes, and some particularly despicable and dastardly villains, it’s set first in Chicago in 1869 and then in a wagon train along the Oregon Trail. When Beth Rutledge makes plans to escape her ruthless father, she has to first rescue her mother from an asylum and then join a wagon train west. Traveling incognito along with some friends that are helping them, they plan to settle in a place where her father can’t find them. The wagon train scout, Jake Holt, befriends and helps them along the way.

I love the way Mary Connealy creates the most amazing, interesting, and competent heroines for her stories. They’re always such fun to get to know. The plot is imaginative, and there is plenty of action, suspense, inspiration, and a dash of romance. It would be best to read the series in order, as there are some plot lines that continue through the series. It’s not really a cliff-hanger, but the stories are connected. I’m looking forward to Kat and Sebastian’s tale. I recommend this book to those who enjoy clean historical fiction. 
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own.4.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
Upon uncovering her tyrannical father's malevolent plot to commit her to an asylum, Beth Rutledge fabricates a plan of her own. She will rescue her mother, who had already been sent to the asylum, and escape together on a wagon train heading west. Posing as sisters, Beth and her mother travel with the pioneers in hopes of making it to Idaho before the others start asking too many questions.

Wagon-train scout Jake Holt senses that the mysterious women in his caravan are running from something. When rumors begin to spread of Pinkerton agents searching relentlessly for wanted criminals who match the description of those on his wagon train, including Beth, she begins to open up to him, and he learns something more sinister is at hand. Can they risk trusting each other with their lives--and their hearts--when danger threatens their every step?

Bethany House Publishing, February, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook: 



Friday, February 23, 2024

THE OFFER by D. L. Wood, (Deadly Decisions #2), Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

Thrilling Suspense (The Deadly Decisions Collection)

"She had to control her runaway panic. She needed to be ready. Because she was alone. Alone with a killer."

Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

"Ten thousand dollars. For four days."
Too good to be true? For Chef Adelaide Nichols it was a welcome infusion of cash for her trending New York restaurant, with that kind of money she could pay her rent and make a dent in the debt she had incurred just to get "East to West" established. The source of the bizarre job offer was a wealthy, obviously high-maintenance socialite who was used to getting her own way. Still, cooking meals for a private birthday party on a beautiful island near the coast of Canada didn't seem like a risky endeavor . . . until the front door of the five story Victorian mansion opened.

In spite of its tidy number of pages, this little book boasted a powerhouse of a story. Chilling twists and turns right down to the very, very, very end. Excellent short novel! 
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.

BackCover Blurb:

Some decisions are deadly.
Addie Nichols, a young, ambitious chef, is determined to make her new Manhattan restaurant a culinary sensation. Pursuing her dream has cost her everything, including financial stability. Though the restaurant is gaining ground, Addie can’t even afford to pay her rent.

One night a wealthy socialite makes Addie an unbelievable offer: an exorbitant sum for personally catering a weekend celebration for her husband on their secluded private island, nestled in the idyllic Thousand Islands. Ignoring inner echoes of “don’t talk to strangers,” Addie accepts. She desperately needs cash, and it’s only a few days. What could go wrong?


First, Addie is briefly distracted by a charismatic local boat captain before the disheartening realization that his captivating smile is something else she doesn’t have time for.

Then, she barely sets foot on the island when it becomes devastatingly obvious she’s made a huge mistake. But she’s trapped: leaving would be professional suicide, and now there are questions that need answering. With each passing hour come more disturbing revelations about her hosts, the tension mounting until finally death strikes, and the tranquil island becomes the sinister stage for a fatal script with Addie in the lead role.

With no way off the island, the body count rising, and the killer closing in, can Addie outwit a relentless psychopath before it’s too late?

The Offer is a gripping psychological suspense novel where nothing is as it seems. If you relish strong heroines, unpredictable twists, and riveting intrigue, you’ll be enthralled by this compelling story by USA TODAY bestselling author D.L. Wood. Get your copy now and don't miss another thrilling moment.

Silverglass Press, August, 2023



Thursday, February 22, 2024

THE RARE JEWEL OF EVERLEIGH WHEATON (Treasures of Halstead Manor #1) by Susan Tuttle, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"That woman's a thief."

"It took approximately four words to kill a reputation." Unfortunately, those four little words packed a wicked punch, costing Everleigh Wheaton her job; to his credit her employer didn't really believe the blowhard who spoke them, but he was afraid that his customers would, plus . . . that little sin of omission on her job application? Not exactly a testimony of honesty. Watch carefully, and you might be able to see the fortress around Everleigh's heart inch up higher and higher than ever before . . .
 . . . out of nowhere comes an invitation. "Your presence is requested at Halstead Manor tomorrow morning at nine o'clock. Sincerely, Casper" Should she? She should. And she would. And she did. The people Everleigh proceeds to meet and the ensuing assignment she decides to accept manage to challenge her in ways that she could have never imagined. A massive gem. A treasure hunt. A tragic figure. An opportunity to form friendships and a chance to tear down walls. "Was she coal or could she choose to be a diamond?"
Love a good sleuth story? This is most definitely the book for you! With its delightfully diverse characters stretching from the past to the present, following nebulous clues and learning valuable life lessons, it's possible that you will want to join the team!

"What is both unsolvable while also being the only solution?" It's a puzzle worth solving. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matthew 6:21
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 4.5 stars 

BackCover Blurb:
Everleigh Wheaton knows it only takes a few well-placed lies to ruin a reputation. She's experienced it time and time again . But there's a silver lining to repeatedly proving herself: she's become confident and self-reliant. When she loses yet another job and an enigmatic stranger offers a solution to her financial troubles, she's game. After all, she loves a good mystery, and the invitation to visit the legendary Halstead Manor is irresistible. 

But she's not about to let her guard down--especially not with the other women who received the same invitation. Life has taught her that trust is dangerous. A strange voice on the phone explains that he’s gathered the three of them to work together as treasure hunters. 

Their first assignment requires Everleigh to be a traveling nurse for retired FBI agent Gertrude Levine, who has one cold case she just can't let go of--the missing Florentine Diamond. With Everleigh's keen ability to solve puzzles, Natalie Daughtry's vast knowledge of history, and Brooke Sumner's connections to the antiques world, they're confident they'll track down the diamond. Except Gertie's nephew, Niles Butler, doesn't believe Everleigh is as innocent as she claims--even as he finds himself fascinated by her--and he's determined to block every move she makes. 

If Everleigh can't learn to drop her walls of self-protection, the diamond treasure won't be the only thing she’ll lose. 

Kregel Publishing, January 16, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and library binding:

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

RELYING ON THE ENEMY by Danielle Grandinetti, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #JustReadTour #Giveaway

Relying on the Enemy JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Relying on the Enemy by Danielle Grandinetti, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Relying on the Enemy

Title: Relying on the Enemy
Series: Harbored in Crow's Nest #4
Danielle Grandinetti
Hearth Spot Press
Release Date:
February 20, 2024
Historical Romance, with suspense

She’s protecting her children. He’s redeeming his past.  But there’s nothing convenient about saving their patchwork family.  

Wisconsin, 1931—All widowed mother Marian Ward wants is to provide for her girls. However, she faces the dead of winter with no income and dwindling resources. Then she overhears a nefarious conversation, putting her life and that of her children in immediate danger. 

Aiming to make amends to the Wards, Gilbert steps in when the threat to Marian escalates. It costs him dearly. Either lose his career or marry her, and be tied to his past until death do them part. 

He leaves the decision to Marian, who will do anything to protect her girls, even marry the son of the man who ruined her family. How will their fledgling trust prove strong enough to fulfill their vows as winter tightens its grip and desperation stalks at the door? 

Welcome to Crow’s Nest, where danger and romance meet at the water’s edge. 

A well written and touching marriage of convenience story with intrigue and danger.

Those who have read Ms. Grandinetti before will recognize some characters and the setting in Wisconsin.
Widow Marian Ward has two girls and looks after her Mother-In-Law, Elaine. She is having a hard time making ends meet after Robert Cox swindled her our of her money. Gilbert Cox is nothing like his father and comes to make restitution to those his father harmed. Due to extenuating circumstances, Gil offers to marry Marian.

I liked the tie in to Anne of Green Gables, when Nettie and Essie ask Gil if he is named after Gilbert Blythe and he settles in to read Anne to the girls. Gil is compassionate and really cares for Marian and her family. Gil wanted “to be her protector, her provider, to redeem what his father had broken.” Both he and Marian seek guidance from God and advice from Pastor Moller.
With dramatic scenes and threatening villains, this book keeps you guessing at who is causing trouble and who is really an ally.

Another wonderful historical novel.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are mine alone.*5 stars and a strong faith thread

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookBub

More Books in This Series

Confessions to a Stranger   

About the Author

Danielle Grandinetti

Danielle Grandinetti is an inspirational romance author fueled by tea and books, and the occasional nature walk. A 2023 Finalist in the FHLCW Reader’s Choice Award, she has also won the UNW Distinguished Faith in Writing Award and the CROW National Excellence in Story Telling Award. Originally from the Chicagoland area, she now lives along Lake Michigan’s Wisconsin shoreline with her husband and their two young sons.

Connect with Danielle by visiting to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

Tour Giveaway

(2) winners will win signed paperback copies of Refuge for the Archaeologist & Relying on the Enemy; a Crow's Nest Canvas Tote & a Crow's Nest paperback notebook!

Relying on the Enemy JustRead Tours giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight February 19, 2024 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on February  26, 2024. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

8Down by Kimberley Woodhouse, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #ReleaseDay

This story was an impressive workout for my brain!

A serial killler with a twisted mind who uses crossword clues to confound the Alaska Bureau of Investigation thinks he can outsmart Carrie Kintz who is lead on the case. Scott Patteson from Cyber Solutions is called in to help and is using all his expertise as the clues and bodies continue to pile up.

The despicable killer has the team scrambling for answers. “Scott was running out of adjectives to describe the depth of evil this man created.” They knew they were dealing with a warped person with an elaborate and sinister plan.

I liked the angle of the crossword clues and the way the team worked together. A nice peek at how cyber security works. Scott and Carrie were great protagonists who were solid Christians and they knew God was bigger than the evil they were up against. They learned to be honest with each other which lent authenticity to the story. 

This is a masterful second book in the series. A bit different but connected. I am glad there is more suspense to come in book 3. Ms. Woodhouse excels at this genre. 

* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel on behalf of the author and NetGalley. All opinions are mine alone.*5 stars and a strong faith thread

BackCover Blurb:
8 bodies down.

8 more lives at stake.

Investigator Carrie Kintz is new blood with the Alaska Bureau of Investigation in Anchorage. But with a serial killer on the loose, there's no easing into the job. It's sink or swim. The only clues to help law enforcement stop this madman are the taunts he drops into crossword puzzles across the country--always in the same 8 DOWN position.

Carrie is desperate to prove her worth to the force and the community by catching the killer. But when she discovers signs that these deaths are just the tip of the iceberg in a frighteningly elaborate cyberattack, it's time to admit she needs help.

Calling in security specialist Scott Patteson for his expertise seems like the right move--until Carrie realizes that he may be a dangerous distraction for her heart. With her faith fading in the face of horror and uncertainty and her career in danger of ending, this is no time for flirtation.

But with a killer who is determined to prove that he's smarter than everyone else, it may be impossible to fight both the madman and their feelings for each other . . . 

Kregel Publishing, February 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and library binding
Buy 8DOWN at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House



UNITED BY THE TWINS by Jill Kemerer, Reviewed by Trixi and WInnie #ReleaseDay

United by the Twins: An Uplifting Inspirational Romance 
(Wyoming Legacies Book 2)

Can two cute and adorable twin girls bring these two together? When a building brings rivalry between Reagan and Marc, they need to see eye to eye. Then a family emergency happens that forces them to work together to meet the needs of others in their lives. Can love really conquer all?

I love Jill Kemerer's stories because they are so full of heart and faith! I'm always inspired and uplifted when I read them. Reagan was such a ray of sunshine when it comes to twin girls Megan and Alice. Her heart for wanting to ease the burdens of the Young family is something each of us should want to do in our own lives. I also admire her wanting to make her own life apart from her loving but overbearing family. Trying to find her own way isn't always easy, but she strives forward. Her tenacity and go-getter attitude is refreshing! 

I really enjoyed getting to know her. Marc has had his share of tragedy and grief in life, but has worked hard to provide for his family. His sense of duty and honor makes him the kind of hero I like to read about. He has his own doubts and fears, but doesn't let them get in the way of what needs to be done. His story was one I enjoyed because of the growth of character I saw in him. Watching these two fall in love in spite of all that's between them was a lot of fun!

If you like heart-warming stories full of faith and love and maybe a bit of stubborn characters, I know you will enjoy United by the Twins!

* I was provided with a complimentary copy from the author and was not obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions are mine alone. * 


Jill Kemerer is a pro at writing delightful and charming small-town contemporary romances. United by the Twins is set in Jewel River, Wyoming and stars rancher Marc Young and Reagan Mayer, who just moved to town to start a chocolate shop. Friction begins when the building Reagan inherited and plans to use for her shop is the same one Marc’s mother has had her eye on to expand her bakery business. When Marc’s sister falls ill and Marc needs help with his sister’s baby twins, sweet Reagan drops everything to help out. I loved her compassion and caring, even as she’s working to be more independent and organized. Marc is a wonderful hero and I enjoyed seeing his relationship with Reagan grow and change. It was refreshing to see a grown man being so cute and loving with the babies.

If you enjoy delicious, clean and wholesome small-town romances, I’d recommend this story. Kemerer’s books are always uplifting and sweet.

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

BackCover Blurb:
They can’t agree on anything…

Except how to care for his twin nieces

After inheriting a building from her great-aunt, Reagan Mayer moves to Wyoming to open the small-town shop she’s always dreamed of. There’s just one problem: rancher Marc Young wants the storefront for his mother. But when a family emergency puts a pause on their dispute, leaving them to care for his twin nieces, can Reagan and Marc find a way to communicate, to trust…and to love?

From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope. February, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and mass market paperback 

THE RHYTHM OF FRACTURED GRACE by Amanda Wen, Reviewed by Winnie and Paula #ReleaseDay


“Forgiveness is an act of grace and a gift from God . . .”

The Rhythm of Fractured Grace by talented author Amanda Wen is the third book in her Sedgwick County Chronicles series. It is a poignant and heart-tugging story of forgiveness, healing, and God’s grace. The author handles the rather difficult subject matter with sensitivity and care. Filled with fractured characters in both timelines—current day Wichita and 1870s Kansas—this tale grabbed my attention from the first and wouldn’t let go until the end. Siobhan Walsh, a violin repairer, and Matt Buchanan, newly hired as a worship pastor were both engaging and interesting. As Siobhan works to repair Matt’s antique violin, their lives intersect in ways they’d never imagine.

“Maybe God hadn’t moved. Maybe Siobhan had.”

The author tied the two timelines together seamlessly with the back story of how the violin came to be in Matt’s possession.

The beautiful cover and perfect title combined to entice me to read this story, and I’m so glad I did. I know I’m in for a moving and inspirational tale when I read one of Amanda Wen’s books. I recommend this book to those who enjoy deeply moving and beautifully written dual timeline stories
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Kregel Publications through JustRead Tours. All opinions are my own.


*Soli Deo Gloria-To God be the glory.*
I am very fond of dual time stories and this one was great. I was more interested in the historical time period which was about Deborah, her family, Levi and his daughter, Nora. Fascinating was the fact that the 1876 part was based on the real ancestors of the author. I loved the relationship between Deborah and Levi which at the outset was a marriage of convenience. Levi was a caring and considerate man who let Deborah grow into grace. 
Both timelines dealt with harsh realities, the need to rely on God and learn to forgive the seemingly unforgivable. *Forgiveness is an act of grace and a gift from God.*
I loved the way that a violin tied the two time periods together. 
In the present day, Siobhan was a prodigal daughter. I really felt for her as she questioned God when she had sinned, fell away and was making her way back to trusting Him. And I liked the way Matt wanted to be instrumental in her seeing God’s goodness again. 
This book pointed out the dangers that can lurk in any church when those in authority misuse the trust of vulnerable people. The author called attention to a hard truth that there are wolves masquerading as sheep even in churches. Every one of us are not above sinning. We all need Christ. *It’s about Jesus-Nothing more-nothing less.* 
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel via NetGalley. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are mine alone.*4 stars and a strong faith thread

BackCover Blurb:
Is Siobhan too far gone to respond to the song of a God who's calling her back to him?

When a new customer brings a badly damaged violin into Siobhan Walsh's shop, it is exactly the sort of challenge she craves. The man who brought it in is not. He's too close to the painful past that left her heart and her faith in shambles.

Matt Buchanan has had a rough start as the new worship pastor. A car accident on his way into town left him with a nearly totaled truck, and an heirloom violin in pieces. When he takes it to a repair shop, he's fascinated with the restoration process--and with the edgy, closed-off woman doing the work.
As their friendship deepens and turns into more, they both discover secrets that force them to face past wounds. And the history of the violin reveals more about their current problems than they could have ever expected.

On the nineteenth-century frontier, a gruesome tomahawk attack wiped out most of Deborah Caldwell's family. Her greatest solace after the tragedy is the music from her father's prized violin. Given her horrendous scars, she'd resigned herself to a spinster's life. But Levi Martinson's gentle love starts to chip away at her hardened heart, until devastating details about the attack are revealed, putting their love--and Deborah's shaky faith--to the ultimate test.

Full of forgiveness and the message that no one is too damaged for God's healing touch, the final book in the split-time Sedgwick County Chronicles will thrill fans of Rachel Hauck, Lisa Wingate, and Kristy Cambron.

Kregel Publications, February 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and library binding


Monday, February 19, 2024

THE COWBOY'S SECRET PAST by Tina Radcliffe, Reviewed by Kim and Winnie #ReleaseDay

Have you ever read a book that you just don’t want to end? One where everything, from the storyline to the characters to the town, is done so perfectly you could just keep reading it? This is how I feel about The Cowboy’s Secret Past by Tina Radcliffe. I loved this story from the first word to the very last word. I literally would not change a thing!

Tina Radcliffe is the absolute best when it comes to writing small towns with great families. If there was a Homestead Pass, I would move there in a heartbeat and somehow, someway live on the Morgan ranch! I absolutely love this family. Trevor, Hope, and Cole’s story is such a great one. I loved how Trevor mentored Cole and how he slowly fell for Hope. I loved Hope and how she overcame her fears to stay with Trevor. I also loved the forgiveness in this story. Trevor’s past was problematic, but he chose to trust God and follow Him. Such a beautiful faith message!

You cannot go wrong with a Tina Radcliffe story! I highly recommend all of her books, but this series and this story may just be my favorite!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. 5 stars! Perfection!

“It’s a choice. I choose to be happy.”

It’s always such a treat to start a new book by talented author Tina Radcliffe. She’s a pro at writing charming, engaging small-town stories that seep into your heart. The Cowboy’s Secret Past features rancher Trevor Morgan who has changed his life and worked hard to overcome his past. When Nurse Hope Burke shows up to care for Trevor’s grandfather, she brings along her nephew Cole who has just lost his mother. She has reason to believe that Trevor is Cole’s father.

I absolutely loved the way that Trevor treated Cole and had him help around the ranch, even though he felt he wasn’t Cole’s father. They developed such a wonderful relationship, and it showed Trevor’s commitment to living a better life. Hope was also endearing and sweet, and her sunny, optimistic attitude was a delight.

This is a delicious and well-crafted story of redemption, compassion, and hope. There is a lot of Radcliffe’s signature wit and humor involved, and I completely enjoyed reading it.

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

BackCover Blurb:
He’s not the same man he was

But maybe now he’s ready to be a father

Since leaving his wild rodeo days behind, rancher Trevor Morgan has sobered up and built a faith-filled life. So he’s shocked when the woman caring for his grandfather intrudes on that solitude. Nurse Hope Burke has hidden motives for coming to the Lazy M Ranch—she believes Trevor is the father of her orphaned nephew. Can a loving aunt and a wary cowboy change a little boy’s life forever?

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

Available in digital ebook or mass-market paperback.

Buy THE COWBOY'S SECRET PAST at Amazon or Christianbook .com 

Sunday, February 18, 2024

THE DIVINE PROVERB OF STREUSEL by Sara Brunsvold, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Of all the things our immigrant mothers carried with them to the rollicking hills of middle America, three things withstood the pressures of time and assimilation: faith in One True God, hope for better things, and love of butter . . . May God be your Rock the rest of your days, and butter be your joy."

Having little knowledge about her family roots, Nikki Werner drives miles to discover them after concluding that her faith, her hope, and her love are essentially decimated. Landing on the front stoop of her Uncle Wes' Missouri farmhouse, she seeks refuge within a place that she barely recalls from her childhood, but the memories that she does have are saturated with fondness. A short term escape becomes a summer of restoration, both for an old home place and a young woman's relationships with the people who mean (and could mean) the most . . . for Nikki Werner begins to cook, using time tested techniques from "the divine proverb of streusel".

"You can either look at what you don't have and yearn, or you can look at what you do have and give thanks . . . 'Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith. Proverbs 15:16'"

This entire story is snugly wrapped in the wisdom of a life well lived, penned by Nikki's grandmother as she passes along her love of cooking and philosophy of life in the form of her recipes. It's one of the most unique books that you will ever read, and possibly one of the most convicting . . . because someone in your life may need help "doing the next thing"; perhaps it's you. And maybe, just maybe we can each accept the challenge "to be the image of God" for someone else. Starting with the stories.

"Stories are the universal heart language. They bring together what is scattered."
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.


BackCover Blurb:
Shaken by her parents' divorce and discouraged by the growing chasm between herself and her serious boyfriend, Nikki Werner seeks solace at her uncle's farm in a small Missouri hamlet. She'll spend the summer there, picking up the pieces of her shattered present so she can plan a better future. But what awaits her at the ancestral farm is a past she barely knows.

Among her late grandmother's belongings, Nikki finds an old notebook filled with handwritten German recipes and wise sayings pulled from the book of Proverbs. With each recipe she makes, she invites locals to the family table to hear their stories about the town's history, her ancestors--and her estranged father.

What started as a cathartic way to connect to her heritage soon becomes the means through which she learns how the women before her endured--with the help of their cooking prowess. Nikki realizes how delicious streusel with a healthy dollop of faith can serve as a guide to heal wounds of the past.

Revell Publishing, January 16, 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:


Saturday, February 17, 2024

COLD THREAT by Nancy Mehl (Ryland and St. Clair series #2), Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

(Ryland & St. Clair Book #2): 
(An FBI Profiler Thriller Romantic Suspense Series)

"We believe the man who killed your grandparents is still taking innocent lives. Has been for many years. We also think he's here in Burlington. We're trying to find him before anyone else dies."

Trying to put the pieces of their lives back together following near death experiences at the hands of a serial killer, private investigators River Ryland and Tony St. Clair answer the call to assist Tony's father by profiling an arsonist who appears to have followed the St. Clair family from Des Moines, Iowa to the much smaller town of Burlington. Twenty years have passed, but the signature is the same . . . a felt snowman ornament hanging on the property that has been destroyed.

"As I walked away, I couldn't help but sing softly, 'Frosty the snowman' . . . "

While a winter storm approaches and a foiled attempt by the killer is suspected to have only fueled his simmering rage, Tony and River draw closer and closer to the truth . . . about their case, and possibly about the growing emotional attachment between the two of them . . . which neither of them is in a hurry to admit. The clock is ticking, the snow is falling; do they have what it takes to thwart the plans of "the snowman killer". . ."Jesus, help!"

As interesting as the plot details were to follow in this book, it was the characters and the depth of their conversations that I will recall with fondness about this story. River and Tony are both buried beneath so many layers of life experience, so it was pretty special to pull back the curtain and watch River's burgeoning faith as Tony tenderly guided her through the process of applying faith to her fears and failures. There is absolutely no way that I am going to miss the third book in this series, because I have a feeling that the best is yet to come . . . .if that's even possible.

"When we are deeply hurt, we still have scars. And we don't have to feel ashamed of them. We didn't put them there, and you can't heal them by yourself. But God will. He has scars too, you know. No one understands scars more than He does."

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


BackCover Blurb
Twenty years ago, several people were murdered in Des Moines, and the only evidence left behind was a snowman ornament hanging ominously on a tree in the victims' front lawns. With a suspect behind bars, the killings have come to an end--or so everyone thought. But now crimes with a similar MO are happening in a small Iowa town, and a local detective believes the killer is back and ready to strike again.

With little time left on the clock before they have another murder on their hands, private investigators River Ryland and Tony St. Clair must work alongside Tony's detective father to find evidence that will uncover an evil that has survived far too long. As the danger mounts and the suspect closes in, it will take all they have to catch a killer--before he catches one of them. 

Bethany House Publishing, January, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:

Friday, February 16, 2024

UP FROM DUST by Heather Kaufman, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

Up from Dust is a touching story based on Martha from the New Testament. While much of it is fictionalized, the relationship between her and her siblings, Lazarus and Mary, sounds like it has been carefully researched. Also, the second part of the book tells of the entrance of Jesus into their lives and their relationship with him.

While Biblical fiction isn’t my favorite genre, this is an excellent interpretation of how Martha’s life could have played out based on the events recorded in the Bible. It is well-written and interesting. I recommend this book to those who enjoy Biblical fiction.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishing. All opinions are my own.


BackCover Blurb:
Martha of Bethany is no stranger to adversity. After her mother's untimely death, Martha shoulders the responsibility of raising her siblings--quiet and studious Lazarus, and wild and rambunctious Mary. She finds solace in friendship and the beginnings of first love, but just as Martha begins to imagine a new future, hardship strikes again and her dreams crumble into dust.

Ten years later, Martha's friend pleads for the new teacher, Jesus of Nazareth, to come and heal her husband. When Martha discovers that the carpenter-rabbi is connected to her past, she's not sure she can trust him with her future. But as he continues to perform miracles, the invitation to believe becomes harder to resist, renewing Martha's hardened heart, even as she faces an unknown future.

Bethany House Fiction, January, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:


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