Friday, June 28, 2024

DEDICATED TO THE ONE I LOVE by Beth K. Vogt, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"I want you to do whatever it takes to finish writing that book."

No pressure, right? Except that it had been three years since her husband had died in a tragic accident and best-selling romance novelist Kylie Franklin (pen name Veronica Hollins) had not been able to finish her novel-in-progress. What she had been able to write were friendly, entertaining emails with a man named Joe, whom she had met in an online group, Words With Friends.

"Dear Kylie . . . Here's a question for you: Where did the Jolly Rancher Candy Company originate? Joe"

Military suspense author Joe Edwards (pen name Tate Merrick) has been given an ultimatum from his literary agent; his sales numbers are continuing to sag . . . so, add romance! What???? Never. His main character, Remington, would never go for it.

Can you see where this story is heading???? Joe and Kylie get along just fine, but Veronica and Tate? That's an entirely different story, and that is exactly what this author has written! Quite cleverly, I might add.

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

BackCover Blurb:
She doesn’t believe in love anymore. He doesn’t either.

They’re perfect for each other.

Beloved romance novelist Kylie Franklin walked away from her pen-name career as bestselling and award-winning Veronica Hollins the day her husband died. Her loyal readers are eager for the final book in her sensational series. But Kylie’s given up on love, both fictional and in real life. Behind her back, Kylie’s agent contrives a way to get her writing again.

Joe Edwards has made a name for himself with his popular military suspense novels under the pen name Tate Merrick. Yet he can’t quite break onto the bestseller list. What his books need, his publisher suggests, is some romance. Joe flat refuses. However, his publisher is determined and hires Veronica Hollins to save the day—and his career.

Veronica and Tate quickly realize they’re Kylie and Joe, good friends who connected online via a popular word game and their mutual love of trivia. Surely they can wrangle their alter egos into this literary collaboration. But as the deadline looms, their differences threaten the romance developing off the page. 

June 2023, Available in digital ebook or paperback at Amazon

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

JUSTICE DELAYED by Sarah Hamaker (Seeking Justice Series), Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

A Christian Romantic Suspense Novel (The Seeking Justice Series Book 1)

"Nineteen years ago, my brother's only child - Melender Harman - killed my son Jesse."

Having served a seventeen prison sentence for a crime that she didn't commit, Melender Harman is slowly and quietly trying to re-imagine life on the outside, working night shifts for a cleaning service while she contemplates how to uncover the truth of what really happened on the night Jesse Thompson disappeared. On one such evening, Melender interrupts a convenience store robbery and is hailed as a hero, the incident bringing her into contact with journalist Brogan Gilmore who is instantly intrigued with the beautiful, reclusive woman, and against his better judgement agrees to help her review the Thompson case.

"Child, when we allow anger over wrongs done to us to take root in our hearts, we're saying to God Almighty that crimes committed against us are worse than crimes committed against Jesus . . . How can we hang on to unforgiveness when our Savior does not?"

This particular dive into "delayed justice" is brimming . . . no, actually overflowing . . . with the kinds of unexpected discoveries that can be universally attributed to cover-ups, pay-offs, and ulterior motives. Expertly cast, and with perfectly pitched plotting, this story moves with an elegance that belies its subject matter. And what I loved the most? Deep within its core strums the steady heartbeat of Brogan's determination to find the truth, tempered with Melender's cautious trust in his ability to do so.

Such a good book! 

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

BackCover Blurb:
Journalist Brogan Gilmore had been a rising star when an unethical shortcut on a story leads to his fall from grace. A chance encounter with convicted murderer Melender Harman a few months after her release from prison provides Brogan with a chance for career redemption—if he can land an interview with her.

After serving her 17-year sentence, Melender has one objective: To uncover the truth about what happened to her cousin the night the toddler disappeared. When Brogan pursues her for an exclusive story, she reluctantly agrees if he’ll help her reexamine the original investigation into Jesse’s presumed kidnapping and murder.

While re-investigating the case, Brogan struggles to keep his objectivity as he begins to believe Melender is innocent of the crime—and starts to envision a possible future together. Then a shocking discovery throws their relationship—and investigation—into turmoil.

As Brogan and Melender come closer to solving what happened to Jesse, will their budding relationship survive the truth?

May, 2024
Available in digital ebook and paperback:

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

YOU'RE THE REASON by Tari Faris with Susan May Warren, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #ReleaseDay

(Home to Heritage Book 1)

Pair an accomplished ballerina healing from an injury, and a Ninja Warrior contestant with a troubled past and you get tension. Especially considering their shared history in Heritage and the tragedy that took her brother’s life. Grace and Seth are now sharing an old dance studio and vow to keep on their side of the space. He is a worthy hero, caring for his mother, who is an alcoholic. Grace needs to evaluate her future in light of her injury, and whether she can heal both physically and emotionally from previous hurts. 

It was great to visit Heritage again, to catch up with the characters and to see some new faces. Miss Faris is an engaging writer and infuses spiritual lessons along with a sweet romance.
*I received a complementary copy from Sunrise Publishing on behalf of the author. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are mine alone.*4 stars and a solid faith thread

BackCover Blurb:
She never intended to return to Heritage.

When an injury sidelines her, Grace Howell leaves her life as a ballerina and returns to Heritage, Michigan, to heal. Teaching dance is just a temporary gig, until she finds herself unexpectedly charmed by small-town life and her growing attachment to Seth Warner, a man from her past with a troubled history of his own.

He’s back in Heritage as a changed man.

The last place Seth thought he’d return is Heritage, but a felony record has narrowed his options, compelling him back to a community that hasn’t forgotten his transgressions. Dreams of starting a Ninja Gym give him purpose, yet it’s his entanglement with Grace—the woman he once let slip away—that ignites his desire to stay. Is this his chance at redemption and to live out the love he’s always harbored?

But can they forget the past?

When Grace’s old ballet company offers her a chance to come back, she’s faced with a heart-wrenching decision: pursue the dream she’s always known or stay with the community and man that have captured her heart, even as that love is put to the test.

But has Seth really changed?

Seth’s world is rocked by a confrontation that threatens to pull him back into the world he’s tried so hard to escape. He must fight to clear his name and protect his future with Grace, proving that his commitment to change is more than just talk.
With their happiness hanging by a thread, the decisions they make will define their fates and the heart of Heritage itself.

You’re the Reason
Here With Me
Christmas With You

P.S. Goodbye (prequel novella)
You Belong With Me
Until I Met You
While It Was Snowing (novella)
Since You’ve Been Gone
Upon a Midnight Snow (Christmas novella)

Sunrise Publishing, June, 2024
Available in digital ebook and paperback


THE SUMMER OF KEEPING SECRETS by Jill Lynn, Reviewed by Kim #ReleaseDay

The Summer of Keeping Secrets by Jill Lynn is, in my opinion, a must read! I seriously loved this entire story! It contains everything I want in a book - romance, great characters, a mystery, and great writing that pulled me into the story and made the characters feel like old friends.

There are three stories within this one wonderful storyline. I loved each one! I really connected with Marin and Garrett and was pulling for them from the start. Garrett is such a great character- kind, patient, always there to help, and just an all around great guy! Marin can be summed up in one word-loyal. She was so loyal to her family and her friends. We all need someone like her! 

Slade’s storyline was probably my favorite. Cyrus and Slade are awesome together! I loved their chemistry. I knew I would love Cyrus the second he hit the page with all his charisma! I also really liked Reed and his logical, calm demeanor. I really felt for him and what he was going through. The mystery was intriguing and the pops of humor were perfect!

I have loved each and every one of Jill Lynn’s Love Inspired romances so I was kind of nervous that she was branching out with Love Inspired trade, but I should have never worried because this story is exceptional! I can’t wait for her next one!- please write faster, Jill!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. I also purchased a copy. All opinions are my own. 5 stars!

BackCover Blurb:
For fans of Denise Hunter and Susan Mallery, a captivating story about a single summer that could completely break a family apart—or bring them back together.

Recently widowed Marin Henderson considers time with her two adult children a gift. And she’s intent on not prying into their lives while they’re all together, cleaning out her late parents’ Colorado home. But from the start, nothing goes as planned. Her free-spirited daughter, Slade, and her strait-laced son, Reed, both arrive ahead of schedule, and no one is explaining why. Marin knows they’re hiding issues in their personal lives. But she can only push so far because she, too, is keeping secrets.

Setting aside family tensions, the three of them get to work purging the house. But when Slade discovers a decades-old newspaper clipping about a body found on the rocks below the house, questions arise. Marin insists the death was ruled an accident, but Slade’s curiosity is piqued. And when a roof leak compels Marin to call on an old friend and flame for help, it’s the catalyst for a wave of revelations.

Between a daughter bent on distracting herself from her own career turmoil, a son desperate to hold on to his marriage and a mother forced to confront her choices from that long-ago summer, pieces of the past and present begin to unravel. And before the summer is over, they each must decide what to hold on to and what to let go…

Love Inspired Trade, June, 2024

THE COWBOY'S MARRIAGE BARGAIN by Deborah Clack, Reviewed by Kim #ReleaseDay

An Uplifting Inspirational Romance

I am a sucker for marriage of convenience stories, add in opposites attract, great banter, pops of humor and I’m all in! I really enjoyed Chase and Lexi’s story. I loved their chemistry and their banter. I also enjoyed how this story was not predictable. I assumed before reading that I basically knew what was going to happen. I was happily surprised when it didn’t! I loved the growth of both Chase and Lexi throughout this story and I loved Chase and his twin brother, Hunter’s, relationship. I am really hoping he gets his own story! The faith thread was seamlessly woven into the story. The following quote really hit home for me:

“You’ll do it every day because fear can’t drive your decisions. You’ll do it every day because there are no guarantees. And you’ll do it every day because that’s the choice we get. To trust God with the things that were his to begin with.”

The Cowboy’s Marriage Bargain is Deborah Clack’s first book, but I’m gonna say she reads more like a seasoned author and is definitely someone I will read again!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is light. 5 stars.

BackCover Blurb:
A cowboy with a struggling ranch

…and she has the perfect solution

To pull his ranch out of a downward spiral, widowed cowboy Chase Cross will do anything—even if it means making a deal with the woman he can’t stand. Because Lexi Gardner’s about to inherit a fortune…if she marries in thirty days. A marriage of convenience is the answer to both their problems. But when their bargain begins to feel real, will they put aside their differences for a future together?

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

Love Inspired, June 2024
Available in digital ebook and mass market paperback:

Monday, June 24, 2024

COLE AND LAILA ARE JUST FRIENDS by Bethany Turner, Reviewed by Kim

Cole and Laila are Just Friends by Bethany Turner is such a fun read! This book is for you if you enjoy the friends to more trope, great banter, humor, fun movie and TV references, and likable characters! I really enjoyed everything about this story.

I loved both Cole and Laila! Cole is the “always there for you,” “completely comfortable with” best friend. Laila is fun and spunky and I just loved everything about her. Their contrasting personalities made me love their relationship whether they were just friends or more. They were so compatible. Their first date was so fun and one of my favorite moments in the book! The humor was spot on. 

I also loved catching up with Brynn and Sebastian who were the main characters in Brynn and Sebastian Hate Each Other. If you haven’t read their story, while these are easily read as standalones, I recommend reading it first because you get to know the town and its residents.

I listened to the audiobook and the narrators were perfect for the characters! They added so much personality and fun to this story! I highly recommend it!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. This is a clean read. 4 stars.

BackCover Blurb:
Cole and Laila have been inseparable since they could crawl. And they've never thought about each other that way. Except for when they have. Rarely. Once in a while, sure. But seriously . . . hardly ever.

Cole Kimball and Laila Olivet have been best friends their entire lives. Cole is the only person (apart from blood relatives) who's seen Laila in her oversized, pink, plastic, Sophia Loren glasses. Laila is always the first person to taste test any new dish Cole creates in his family's restaurant . . . even though she has the refined palate of a kindergartener. Most importantly, Cole and Laila are always talking. About everything.

When Cole discovers a betrayal from his recently deceased grandfather that shatters his world, staying in Adelaide Springs, Colorado, is suddenly unfathomable. But Laila loves her life in their small mountain town and can't imagine ever living anywhere else. She loves serving customers who tip her with a dozen fresh eggs. She loves living within walking distance of all her favorite people. And she's very much not okay with the idea of not being able to walk to her very favorite person.

Still, when Cole toys with moving across the country to New York City, she decides to support her best friend--even as she secretly hopes she can convince him to stay home. And not just for his killer chocolate chip pancakes. Because she loves him. As a friend. Just as a friend. Right?

They make a deal: Laila won't beg him to stay, and Cole won't try to convince her to come with him. They have one week in New York before their lives change forever, and all they have to do is enjoy their time together and pretend none of this is happening. But it's tough to ignore the very inconvenient feelings blooming out of nowhere. In both of them. And these potentially friendship-destroying feelings, once out in the open, have absolutely no take-backs.

If When Harry Met Sally had a quippy literary love child with Gilmore Girls' Luke and Lorelai, you'd get Cole and Laila. Just . . . don't tell them that.

Author's Note: Cole and Laila are best friends who slow-burn (like, for nearly forty years, so…SLOW) toward love and yet never see it coming in this low-spice/clean, laugh-out-loud friends-to-lovers rom-com. All it takes is the threat of being separated, a trip to NYC, one night in one bed, a fake blind date for the ages, and a little dancing on a penthouse rooftop for the slow-burn to finally, finally ignite. 

Thomas Nelson, June, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding, and audiobook:


Sunday, June 23, 2024

BITTER AND SWEET by Rhonda McKnight, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

A wonderfully complex story about motherhood and the effect of growing up without a birth mother. For sisters Sabrina and Mariah, other family members step up to be there for them. They are both resilient, strong women who often clash with each other but learn from letters left by their great great grandmother, Tabitha, another strong woman.

The story brings to light the difficulties of African Americans in the south in 1915. It is heartwarming to see family pull together, to learn to forgive and support each other through all that life throws at them or what they get themselves into. *The devil likes to use shame. He uses it because it works, but not when you resist him.* Wise and strong grandmother Gail: *Everything we struggle through has a purpose. Good and bad and the bitter and sweet.* 

A worthy offering from a very talented author who writes with honesty and sensitivity and shows that faith and grace matter. So glad I read this book and hope to read more.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley. All opinions are mine alone.*5 stars and a strong faith thread

BackCover Blurb:
From the beloved author of
The Thing About Home comes a dual timeline tale of family, grief, secrets, and the sweet redemption that lies within the bonds of sisterhood.

-The Present-

When summoned to Georgetown, South Carolina, sisters Mariah Clark and Sabrina Holland both assume their ailing grandfather's health has gotten worse. Neither expects their grandmother's undeniable request--save the family restaurant.

Mariah is at a crossroad in her life. After being dumped by her husband and forced to walk away from their diner that she helped rescue from bankruptcy, bitter feelings consume her. Even though the restaurant has been in the family for eighty-six years, giving her all to another struggling business isn't something she wants to do.

Living out of her van and striving for a fresh start, Sabrina yearns for stability for herself and her daughter and a chance to turn her baking hustle into a bona-fide business. The family restaurant may be just the blessing she needs--but as old tensions and angry disagreements resurface, Sabrina wonders if her sister will let her have a say.

-The Past-

After falling victim to a love she thought would last a lifetime, Tabitha Cooper finds herself away from home and struggling to survive in Charleston in the early twentieth century. She is determined to turn corn into cornbread and to take care of her children the best way she knows how--by serving food that's good for the soul--and along the way forges a path that leaves a legacy of success for generations to come.

Through letters that reveal Tabitha's complicated past, the sisters discover truths that just might be the right recipe to mend their hearts--if they can find a way to savor the blessing of today and leave the bitter aftertaste of old memories behind them.

Thomas Nelson, June, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback and audiobook:
Buy BITTER AND SWEET at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House

Saturday, June 22, 2024

THE HUDSON COLLECTION by Jocelyn Green, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

When I pick up a Jocelyn Green book, I know I’m going to read an intricately-researched story filled with rich historical detail. The Hudson Collection is no exception. Set in New York in the 1920s, it’s a perfect blend of history, suspense, and romance, with some inspiration thrown in to enhance it. Green is a master at creating engaging, flawed, realistic characters which she proceeds to toss into riveting situations. She then brings them out the other side with a noticeable increase in personal growth.

I enjoyed the main characters in this tale. Elsa is an ornithologist with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, who is dealing with the aftereffects of having polio as a child. When she is assigned to catalog the birds at the country estate of a deceased patron, she finds more than she bargains for—including some new friends and a mystery. Architectural salvage dealer Luke Dupont is an endearing, compassionate hero, and it was so easy to like him. I admired the way he was so caring and considerate with others, especially Elsa. I was impressed with the way they helped each other become better versions of themselves.

“People can be salvaged. Relationships can be restored. We can save the beautiful that remains and build upon that, can’t we?”

Themes of acceptance of others, the value of family relationships, and the worth of each individual stood out to me while I was reading. I recommend this book and author to those who enjoy historical romantic suspense.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishing through Interviews and Reviews. All opinions are my own.

BackCover Blurb:
Step into the beguiling world of 1926 New York and discover the power of resilience, friendship, and love from award-winning author Jocelyn Green.

Elsa Reisner's lifelong dream of working as an ornithologist at the American Museum of Natural History is fading as the job begins to drain her passion. But fate takes an unexpected turn when she is assigned to catalog the bequest of a recently deceased patron whose Gothic country mansion holds secrets and treasures waiting to be discovered.

As Elsa delves into her task, she forms an unlikely bond with the estate's delightful gardener and her daughter, as well as an architectural salvage dealer who still bears scars from the Great War. Together, they embark on a thrilling treasure hunt for a missing relic intended to safeguard the servants' futures before the estate is sold. At the same time, Elsa's body seems to betray her with new symptoms from a childhood disease that isn't through with her yet.

With the brooding veteran and her handsome colleague joining the search, Elsa must navigate the tangled web of secrets and hidden motives along with the changing state of her health. As her deadline looms ever closer, will she be able to secure a new life for her friends before the estate slips from their grasp?

Bethany House Publishing, June, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding, and audiobook:
Buy THE HUDSON COLLECTION at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House



Friday, June 21, 2024

LETHAL DANGER (Guardians Unleashed series #4) by Jerusha Agen, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

A Christian K-9 Suspense (Guardians Unleashed)

"The evil fair must be closed. Or more will die."

Phoenix K-9 Agency team member Jazz Lamont grew up romping throughout every corner of the Tri-City Fair when she lived with her aunt and uncle, some of her happiest childhood memories were associated with the sights, sounds, (and tastes!) of the fairgrounds. Serving on the fair's security team with her canine partner Flash, she is stunned when a Ferris wheel passenger cabin plummets to the ground. But that's not all, an injured passenger still trapped high up on the wheel is panicking . . . and her perilous climb for the ensuing rescue introduces her to . . . her favorite author, Hawthorne Emerson?

"A woman who was cool and calm in the face of disaster. Didn't encounter that every day."

Hawthorne Emerson is duly impressed with the gorgeous woman's agility, braving the heights to initiate a dangerous rescue . . . wouldn't she make a fabulous character in one of his thrillers? Hawthorne (also on the security team, and also climbing the heights with Jazz) isn't working at the fair for the sole purpose of providing an extra measure of safety for the thousands who attend, or even to energize his writing muse, he's there to gather intel on the untimely death of a teen two years prior.

While Jazz and Hawthorne navigate their tangled webs of faith, family, feelings, and future . . .  The so-called accidents at the fair continue to happen with devastating results. Meanwhile, Jazz has managed to catch the attention of a hit-man, leaving Hawthorne concerned that his past experience with a local cult has drawn the ire of some very dangerous people who view the fair as a place providing the wrong kind of entertainment.

Totally absorbing! Every page of this novel is well worth a turn! While the plot spins a bit in the middle (possibly so that readers can catch their breath) the ultimate outcomes are well worth the effort. Such interesting characters in the middle of a nearly impossible situation; "Carson Steele" himself would be impressed!

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine." - Isaiah 43:1
*I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars

See Rebecca's reviews of books 1-3 here, and here 

BackCover Blurb:
This K-9 team is trained to eliminate threats. This threat could eliminate them.

Being a loner is getting old. Jazz Lamont still can’t fit in at the Phoenix K-9 Agency, and she’s losing her best friend. At least providing security with her K-9 partner at the Tri-City Fair will mean revisiting the only place where she once belonged. But a series of accidents threatens her beloved fair and puts lives at risk.

Thriller author Hawthorne Emerson suspects foul play after the first “accident.” Moonlighting as fair security to investigate the death of his sister’s boyfriend, he’s eager to find the truth. He doesn’t expect the task to lead him to the cult he escaped.

Finding the culprit behind the sabotage is personal for Jazz and Hawthorne. But someone else has a personal stake, too. Someone who wants Jazz dead. When everything she thought was true is dismantled, can Jazz risk trusting others—including God—to survive?

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

April, 2024 Available in digital ebook, paperback, or hardcover Buy LETHAL DANGER at Amazon

Thursday, June 20, 2024

LOYALLY, LUKE (Skymar Series #3) by Pepper Basham, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"I reckon the best kind of love is simple in one way . . . Choosing each other over and over and over again."

Luke Edgewood refused to be the main character in any of the ridiculous romantic tropes that his three annoying sisters tried to impose upon his accidental encounter with a lovely, high class, slightly arrogant, flower flavored coffee drinking Grace Kelly look-alike . . . "enemies-to-lovers" . . . snort! . . . "meet-cute" . . . would you please define meet-cute? He was a flannel-wearing, black coffee, work boots, hammer swinging kind of guy . . . correction . . . man! Naturally when Luke arrives on his job site in the Skymar village of Crieff "she" was but a distant memory of a bad headache in the airport . . . until she's not.


Of course, "God had a predictable sense of humor". There she was, a member of his renovation team  . . . although to be exact, Ms. St. Claire was the main overseer of the project . . . and Luke was nothing but exact. Interestingly, she wasn't half-bad dressed in work clothes, plus the lady seemed to want a do-over on their first impressions as much as Luke did. Now, he just had to keep his sisters from finding out about this. (not happening)

As you might imagine, Ms. St. Clair is no ordinary interior design consultant and Luke is not as immune to beautiful women (with a desire to make their lives count for something)as he thought.
But all the things . . . the green shirt, a tuxedo, tree climbing, sledding, fishing, (the kissing!!! lots and lots of kissing!!!), black coffees, nosy reporters . . . add up to heart and home, restoration, renovation, and choosing each other over and over again.

Could it really be that simple? What a wonderful book! . . . . much better than any Hallmark movie that I have ever watched! *chime* 

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


BackCover Blurb:
Sometimes love means embracing the good, the bad . . . and even the impossible.

Dear Reader,

My name is Luke Edgewood, and there are few things in life that I require. Mainly black coffee. And flannel. And lots of solitude. And my dogs, Chewy and Indie. What I don’t need is romance, so I have no plans to change my thirty-year-old bachelor status anytime soon.

But my youngest sister thinks that by accepting a short-term construction job in the small European country of Skymar, I’m going to follow along in her footsteps and discover my own romantic adventure. Nope. Bah humbug. The End. This time, her rom-com-movie senses are totally wrong.

Or maybe not. Because I’ve met a Grace Kelly look-alike who is annoying . . . until she isn’t. But she is impossible. As in, nothing can happen between us because she is a literal princess. Even though that’s easy to forget when we’re working together to restore a castle-like orphanage in a secluded mountain town and “forced proximity” includes a small closet, a secret one-hundred-year-old journal, and the tactile memory of an off-limits royal in my arms.

Basically, the whole situation has turned into an ooey gooey magical snow globe of romantic tropes complete with cute kids and an actual ball. Now, even my sentences are starting to sound like mush. Ugh. Send high levels of testosterone my way—I’m going to need it.



-Witty, hilarious, and heartwarming contemporary romance
-A sweet, kisses-only romance
-Stand-alone novel
-Book length: approximately 107,000 words
-Includes discussion questions for book clubs

Thomas Nelson Publishing, May, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:


Wednesday, June 19, 2024

THE SECRETS SHE KEPT (True Crime Junkies #7 ) by Christy Barritt, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"A thought circled in his mind.
A thought he didn't want to acknowledge.
A thought he certainly didn't want to speak out loud.
Because the idea seemed preposterous.
It didn't make sense.
Then again, a lot of things happening lately didn't make sense."

Duke McAllister had been faithfully searching for his missing fiance following her mysterious disappearance over two years prior  . . .long enough for his heart to have disconnected? Maybe. Brilliant, beautiful, stubborn-as-a-mule Andi Slade had slipped into his life and taken root, supporting his efforts to find Celeste while not demanding anything more of him than a friendship sporting a special bond. But neither Duke nor Andi nor any member of their Arctic Circle Murder Club podcast team were prepared for the news release . . . accusing Celeste of being a murderer.

" . . . he knew God was still there. Even when Duke couldn't see Him or feel Him, that didn't mean He had disappeared."

Such a tangled web! In fact, not in one million, zillion years would I have imagined how this story was going to turn out. This author and this series . . . her signature style . . . . and brilliant plotting, are absolutely, without a doubt, perfectly matched! 

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

BackCover Blurb:
In the Land of the Midnight Sun, secrets cast long shadows.

Former Army investigator Duke McAllister remains determined to uncover the truth behind his fiancée’s mysterious disappearance two years ago. Joined by his friend and podcast teammate, Andi Slade, Duke delves into Celeste Dawson’s past and soon uncovers a mind-bending conspiracy.

When a shocking news report names Celeste as a suspect in a series of murders, Duke must grapple with the mounting evidence that his fiancée may not be the person he thought she was. The stakes rise to terrifying new heights when bodies start piling up and the podcast team becomes a target.

Duke and Andi must navigate a labyrinth of secrets, betrayal, and murder to unravel the web of deceit that reaches far beyond anything they ever imagined. Will they find the answers before it’s too late? Or will the secrets Celeste kept destroy them all?

May, 2024


Tuesday, June 18, 2024

BORN OF GILDED MOUNTAINS by Amanda Dykes, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #ReleaseDay

Historical Fiction Small Mountain-Town Women's Friendship Novel Set in the 1940s

Amanda Dykes has cemented her place as one of my favorite authors with this awe-inspiring, mystical, magical story. Her writing evokes vivid pictures and profound concepts with its lyrical prose.

The story revolves around the friendship of Marybeth/Mercy and Ruby/Rusty starting out as 10 year old pen pals from a school project. Many years and life experiences later, they finally meet in Mercy Peak, a remote village in the mountains. The story is mesmerizing and sets the now grown women on a complicated treasure hunt. But they find much more than earthly treasure, they find the treasure of true friendship. *I have had very few friends in my life, and the close ones I have known have taught me one priceless thing: hope.* Marybeth.

The author takes the ordinary lives of the characters and teaches deep lessons of priorities, love, life and what matters most. *I think God made each moment and each moment matters.*

Another not-to-be-missed offering from an author who writes from the heart.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author and via NetGalley. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are mine alone.* 5 stars and a solid faith thread

BackCover Blurb:
A lost treasure. A riddled quest. The healing power of friendship.

Legends are tucked into every fold of the Colorado mountains surrounding the quaint town of Mercy Peak, where residents are the stuff of tall tales, the peaks are taller still, and a lost treasure has etched mystery into the very terrain.

In 1948, when outsider Mercy Windsor arrives after a scandal shatters her gilded world as Hollywood's beloved leading lady, she is determined to forge a new life in obscurity in this time-forgotten Colorado haven. She purchases Wildwood, an abandoned estate with a haunting history, and begins to restore it to its former glory.

But as she does, her every move tugs at the threads of the mountain's lore, unearthing what became of her long-lost pen pal Rusty Bright, and the whereabouts of the infamous Galloping Goose Railcar No. 8, which vanished years ago--along with the mailbag it carried, whose contents could change the course of countless lives. Not to mention the fabled treasure that--if found--could right so many wrongs.

Among the towering mountains that stand as silent witnesses, the ghosts of the past entangle with the courage of the present to find a place where healing, friendship, and hope can abide amid a world forever changed.

Bethany House, June, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding, and audiobook:

TOWARD THE DAWN by Mary Connealy, Reviewed by Paula and Rebecca #ReleaseDay

(A Historical Western Romance Set in 1800's Cheyenne, Wyoming)

After spending the winter snowed in a canyon, inventor Seb and runaway Kat want to return to civilization. Seb is hiding from someone who tried to kill him, while Kat is trying to escape the long arm of her uncle who wants her to return to an asylum. Solution- get married!

Thrilling chases, running from unknown bad guys and discovering the truth take center stage in this second book in the Western Light series. But much is going on inside the hidden canyon, too, where babies are born and a crazy person from the past makes an appearance.

Witty banter between Seb and Kat plus a sweet romance and a suspenseful plot make this a clear winner. Two themes were: Truth will come out and reconciliation is always best. The faith of the characters was evident and discovering how to get priorities straight was a helpful lesson.

I cannot wait to see how things play out in the final book.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are mine alone.*4 stars and a solid faith thread.

"We need to get married."

"But only a fool tried to court a woman with no preacher in sight and a group of men who'd shoot him for anything less honorable than a true courtship."

Clearly, it was what it was. Kat Wadsworth and Seb Jones needed to leave their Hidden Canyon hideaway, a proven safe haven for both them and their posse of newfound friends over the winter. Were nuptials their sole ticket to freedom? Was there something wrong with an ingenious inventor and heiress (except Seb didn't know that part yet, in fact Seb didn't know a lot of things about the pretty little woman) escapee from an insane asylum pledging themselves to a lifetime of marital bliss?

And so after an exceptional amount of teary good-byes and a generous load of supplies, the two set off to claim a homestead, build a cabin (including a laboratory for Seb) and . . . the story doesn't go quite like that at all. In fact, it may involve a bit of running for their lives, since all of those things that they don't know about each other? . . . actually make a difference.

But in the end, "I love you Kathleen Pendergast Wadsworth Jones".

Clever, engaging, suspenseful at times, encouraging, uplifting, and romantic. The author keeps her audience on the edge of their seat (whether it be on horseback, wagon or train) while Seb and Kat learn to depend on each other, order their priorities, and quite frankly . . . outrun their enemies. The clever flashbacks to the characters they left behind set the stage for what's ahead. A really fitting addition to the series.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Interviews and Reviews. The opinions stated above are entirely my own. •3.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
Despite trials that threaten their path forward, hope dawns for a future filled with love.

Kat Wadsworth and Sebastian Jones never imagined their lives would entwine so closely. Forced to flee on a wagon train from a vengeful uncle and an unknown gunman, they live in a hidden canyon with the family that rescued them. But as the days turn into months, they each have separate reasons for wanting to move back to society, and the best way to the independence they desperately crave might be through a marriage of convenience.

However, settling into their homestead in Cheyenne, Wyoming, reveals a different reality for Kat. Her new husband becomes consumed by his inventions, leaving her feeling lonely and isolated. And just when they think they've left the danger behind, a mysterious attacker lurks in the shadows, threatening the new life they've built. Together, they must confront the perils from their pasts to forge a future with hope and the prospect of love.

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

Monday, June 17, 2024

DARKNESS CALLS THE TIGER by Janyre Tromp, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney


"You don't have to let the darkness call the tiger raging inside you."

Deep in the heart of Burma's Himalayan mountains a battle encroaches; innocent village communities are being caught in the crossfire between two warring factions, destined to be brutally ravaged, if not completely destroyed. Would the supreme God of the white missionary come to their rescue? . . . or are their cries for help falling on deaf ears . . . it is a question that many struggle to answer.

Kailyn Moran, the missionary's daughter, forges a reputation for herself at an early age after coming face to face with a tiger and living to tell the story. After her beloved village is ransacked and innocents are murdered before her very eyes, Kai transforms herself into an agent of anger and revenge, becoming the elusive "sharaw", trusting no one, not even the man who longs to breach the walls around her heart, Ryan McDonough; "the Bear of Burma", who is consumed with guilt after leaving her unprotected . . . once upon a time.

" . . . trusting life to be good in the light ain't nothing. But if you have to trust in the dark, well now, that is faith."

Underneath this glimpse into the Asian theater during World War II are characters dressed in a kaleidoscope of passions, struggling to understand what it means to trust in an Almighty God, their bodies, minds, and spirits bearing visible and invisible scars of hatred and confusion, living in fear of embracing hope, much less an eternal rhapsody of love. Longing for permission to unload impossibly heavy burdens, (reminding me a bit of Pilgrim's Progress) their story follows them up tortuous hills and down exhausting valleys into a place that God had prepared for them before the foundation of the world.

"The sky is painted for you, my little tiger. Whenever you see the sky, remember you are loved no matter what and no matter when."

Excellent book! 

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

BackCover Blurb:

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Imperial Japan devours the southern portion of Burma, intent on taking over mainland Asia. Unaware of the coming darkness, Kailyn Moran drifts in her role as the only daughter of a widowed missionary.

As whispers of war snake through the Kachin mountains, Kai's father is convinced God will protect the mission. He entrusts the village to her and the kind yet inexperienced new missionary, Ryan McDonough, while he makes routine visits to neighboring villages.

War descends like a tempest upon the mountain peaks, and an unbreakable bond forms between Kailyn and Ryan as they unite to provide solace to both villagers and the flood of refugees. Despite their tireless efforts, a brutal enemy shatters almost everything they love, pushing Kailyn to embark on a path of unrestrained vengeance.

Afraid he's losing the woman he loves, Ryan fights to protect Kai from the deadly consequences of her choices. But in the face of destruction, can he convince her of the power and freedom of forgiveness? 

Kregel Publishing, May, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and library binding


Sunday, June 16, 2024

ONE LAST CHANCE by Susan May Warren, Reviewed by Kim


(Alaska Air One Rescue Book 2)

I’m gonna start this review by saying One Last Chance is my favorite Susan May Warren book to date! Get ready for some gushing! This story is everything I want in a romantic suspense! It has it all- great characters, edge of your seat suspense that will literally have you holding your breath, an insta-romance that is done perfectly (and that is saying something because this trope is not my favorite), a great faith thread, banter that will have you smiling, and one of the most charismatic heroes I have read in a long time!

Axel had my heart from the very first nail biting scene in this story! His personality just jumps off the page. Alex and Flynn’s first “meet” is perfect- one of my favorites to date! I knew at that moment their romance would be epic. The suspense/action had me turning the pages as fast as I could. Some of the scenes are so intense I won’t soon forget them! The faith thread was so well done and really spoke to me.

I cannot wait for book three! I have been wanting Moose and Tillie’s story since book one! If you have not started this series, I highly recommend it! I was expecting a lot after book one and The Last Chance more than delivered! I am sure this will be a top read of 2024!
*I purchased this book. 5 stars!

BackCover Blurb:
The voice on the radio saved his life.
But when he discovers who she is…it just might cost him everything.

Axel Mulligan was built to be a Coast Guard rescue swimmer. He could swim faster, endure longer and became a miracle for those in peril in the sea. Until a tragedy destroyed him and sent him home, to Alaska.

Now, three years later, he’s not going to let the past repeat itself, so as an Air One rescue swimmer, he’ll do anything to save lives. Including lose his own---which is what he expects when he goes into the icy waters of the Bering Sea, trying to rescue a cruise group of tourists. But for the voice on the other end of the Ham radio, he might have given up, let hypothermia win.

But it didn’t. Now he’ll do anything to find the voice and thank her.

Except the voice—Flynn Turnquist—is not who he thinks. A national wildlife researcher, she’s deep in the bush, tracking wolf pack patterns. Or is she? In fact, she’s a former cop, tracking down a serial killer. And she’s close enough to see his handiwork in the trail of bodies. She nearly had him—until he escaped into the Bering Sea. But she just knows he’s still alive…and she’s sure she’s on his trail…

When Axel finds Flynn…and what she’s really up to, it stirs up a terrible nightmare he’s been dodging for years—the kidnapping and death of his own cousin. Worse, he’s led the killer right to her doorstep. Now, it’s a race through Alaska to stay alive… and when tragedy strikes again, he must choose between rescue or redemption…

An exhilarating adventure through the Alaskan Wilderness!

Alaska Air One Rescue
Book 1: One Last Shot
Book 2: One Last Chance
Book 3: One Last Promise
Book 4: One Last Stand 

June, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and library binding:

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.