Thursday, May 28, 2020

Book Review: Storing Up Trouble by Jen Turano

About the Book

When Miss Beatrix Waterbury's Chicago-bound train ride is interrupted by a heist, Mr. Norman Nesbit, a man of science who believes his research was the target of the heist, comes to her aid. Despite the fact that they immediately butt heads, they join forces to make a quick escape.

Upon her arrival in Chicago, Beatrix is surprised to discover her supposedly querulous Aunt Gladys shares her own suffragette passions. Encouraged by Gladys to leave her sheltered world, Beatrix begins working as a salesclerk at the Marshall Field and Company department store. When she again encounters Norman on a shopping expedition, he is quickly swept up in the havoc she always seems to attract.

But when another attempt is made to part Norman from his research papers, and it becomes clear Beatrix's safety is also at risk, they soon discover the curious way feelings can grow between two very different people in the midst of chaos.

My Review

Kidnappings.  Train Robberies.  Assault.  Burglaries.  This book has it all!  Storing Up Trouble also includes author Jen Turano's classic wit, a strong heroine, and an uplifting romance.

I loved Beatrix.  She has always been one to stand for justice and equity, and she has plenty of opportunity to do so in this book.  She takes on a position as a sales girl, and learns first-hand the plight of the working woman at that time.  It was also really encouraging to see Norman develop as a person as the book progresses.

In her characteristic style, Turano brings situations and characters together with humor and suspense to create a very satisfying conclusion to the American Heiresses series.  The book does stand alone well, but it is also enjoyable to take in cameo appearances by characters from previous novels.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Jen Turano is the author of over eight books and two novellas. A graduate of the University of Akron, she has a degree in clothing and textiles, is a member of ACFW, and lives in Denver, Colorado. For more information, visit her at

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Book review with a giveaway: Taking Chances by Melody Carlson

About the Book

Book: Taking Chances
Author: Melody Carlson
Genre: Middle Grade
Release Date: April 15, 2020

Zoey knows her days are numbered. At least when it comes to remaining in Cedarville. So when Louisa coaxes her to be part of a garage band, Zoey tosses her insecurities aside to make music with her friends. And she even goes out for the basketball team. But what will happen when her mom shows up and pulls the plug on everything?

Click here for your copy!

My Review

I was so happy to read another Zoey book, but when I got started on this one, I was feeling rather unsettled.  But as I read further, I realized that that was exactly what Zoey was experiencing!  Zoey has been through so much, that I wanted everything to settle down for her, but, as a middle schooler, that was not how it was to be.  Again, author Melody Carlson has nailed it- knowing how quickly circumstances, emotions, and alliances can change for a pre-teen.

I was so proud of Zoey in this book.  She had to negotiate changes in relationships and in school activities, but mostly I loved how she was really working to put her new-found faith into practice.  Not everyone around her appreciated that, but she stood firm.  She also stood up for herself respectfully.

I highly recommend this book and the entire Being Zoey series for pre-teen girls.  This book stands alone, but is better knowing Zoey's history.

I received an ARC of this book from the author, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita, and the Gold medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.

More from Melody

Sometimes I feel guilty for ‘torturing’ my teen and tween characters, but I do it for my readers. It’s not easy being an adolescent, and reading about someone who’s facing hard times is comforting. But in the final Zoey book, I really wanted to give her some victories too. So when challenges come her way, she stands up to them. And she even puts her newly found faith to work. The goal is for readers to feel hopeful about their own lives when they see Zoey rise above her tough circumstances.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, May 14
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 15
For Him and My Family, May 16
Inklings and notions, May 17
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 17
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 18
deb’s Book Review, May 19
Older & Smarter?, May 20
Vicky Sluiter, May 20
Remembrancy, May 21
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 22
Splashes of Joy, May 23
Christian Bookaholic, May 24
Blogging With Carol, May 24
Moments, May 25
Locks, Hooks and Books, May 26
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 27


To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away the grand prize package of the full Being Zoey series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Book review with a giveaway: Oliver's Moving Day by Vicki Sluiter

About the Book

Book: Oliver’s Moving Day
Author: Vicky Sluiter
Genre: Children’s book
Release Date: December 3, 2019

It’s moving day, and five-year-old Oliver is excited for the adventure ahead. He is full of questions as, along with big sister Edith, Mommy, and Daddy, Oliver moves from The Big City to The Country.

He has never been to The Country and has only seen pictures in his books. What will it be like? Where will they live? Will there be lots of people and tall buildings? Join Oliver and his family as they wave goodbye to The Big City and journey through the suburbs and into The Country. Will Oliver have his questions answered? Read along and find out!

Click here for your copy!

My Review

Oliver's Moving Day is a light-hearted snapshot of a very important day in five-year-old Oliver's life:  Moving Day.  While moving from one residence to another is a big deal for any family, it was especially pivotal for Oliver's family as they moved from an apartment in the city to a single-family home in the country.  It was fun to experience this day from Oliver's perspective.  He seemed to have no idea what "The Country" was until he got there, but then recognized some things, like farms, from his picture books.

The illustrations were comic-like, seemingly computer-generated, and were brightly colored, with great contrast.  There were a couple pages that I think should have been drawn out into more pages with illustrations because of the length of the text.  I also thought that some illustrations didn't match the text as well as they should have.  The visual contrast between The City and The Country is well done.  Overall, though, this is a story that young children will enjoy.

I received an ARC of this book from the author, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Vicky Sluiter has had a passion for reading since she was four years old. She started with the back of cereal boxes and moved on to everything else, including books, magazines, and t shirts. As a wife and mom, gramma to five boys, and the proud owner of a bearded dragon named Elliott, she has learned what boys like Oliver want to read. You can follow Vicky’s blog and book reviews at

More from Vicky

I love writing children’s fiction because children are so much fun. So lively and expressive. You never really know what will happen when a child is involved but usually it will involve laughter. I have five grandsons so have experienced this many times over the years. The boys are ages 5 yrs to 14 yrs. Being at different stages the house is full of fun when they are all together. The youngest adores the oldest, and it’s reciprocated even if he won’t admit it. The middle three enjoy hanging together and getting into mischief. This Gramma loves every second of it!

The idea for a little guy on a farm was birthed when I was taking classes in writing fiction for children 30 years ago. I grew up on a hobby farm in farm country so the setting was pretty natural for me. And all the neighbors were boys so that’s what I’m used to. I could drive a tractor and bale hay right along with them. Having Oliver move from The Big City to The Country was inspired by my three youngest grandsons. That’s what they did and when they come to visit me they get excited to see the tall buildings in The Big City. And yes, they actually use that phrase. They are thoroughly convinced that Oliver’s Moving Day was written about them. In a way it was!

I’m so glad I didn’t give up on my dream. It was temporarily set aside, but in the right season it bubbled to the top again. Never let go of your dreams!

Blog Stops

To celebrate her tour, Vicky is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of the book and toy truck!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Book review with a giveaway: On a Coastal Breeze by Suzanne Woods Fisher

About the Book

Book: On A Coastal Breeze
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 5, 2020

For Madison Grayson, life is good. Newly licensed as a marriage and family therapist, she can’t wait to start her practice. Despite the unfortunate shortage of eligible bachelors on the island–they’re all too young, too old, or too weird–Maddie feels like she’s finally found her sweet spot. Not even one panic attack in the last year. Not one.

And then Ricky O’Shea drops in. Literally. Floating down from the pure blue sky, the one man in the world she hoped never to see again–the one who’d been her archnemesis from kindergarten through her senior dance–parachutes into town, landing on Boon Dock, canopy draping behind him like a superhero. Ricky O’Shea. Now Pastor Rick, the new minister on Three Sisters Island.

Time to panic.

With wit and a bit of whimsy, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Three Sisters Island where family, forgiveness, and a second chance at love await.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

If you haven't spent a summer on the island yet, pick up this book and go there now!

On a Coastal Breeze takes place the summer following On a Summer Tide, and this volume focuses mainly on Maddie.  She is now a certified, practicing therapist, eager to help people and operate a profitable business.  I found that I especially liked her.  She is grounded in Scripture, and has the knowledge and winsome personality to help people, through her marriage and family practice.  She is the go-to person when you need a listening ear.  She can also be the no-nonsense purveyor of truth.  But reading through, it happened that she and each of the main characters had problems that need to be confronted.  That's what kept the book so believable-everyone was dealing with something.

One thing I love about reading this author's books is the way I am drawn in by a relaxed, comfortable writing style.  It's like going home.  In this case, it's going home to a beautiful island with all of its wonderful and quirky characters.  This novel can be read as a stand-alone, but it's best if it is read as a sequel to On a Summer Tide.

If you're looking for a great summertime read, this is it!  Readers of inspirational contemporary romance and women's fiction will certainly enjoy this book.

I received a copy of this book for m the publisher, Revell, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than thirty books, including On a Summer Tide, as well as the Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, The Deacon’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, among other novels. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs. She lives in California. Learn more at and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @suzannewfisher.

More from Suzanne

Dear Reader,

The minute you step off the ferry and onto Three Sister Island, magic begins. Crisp ocean air acts like an elixir. Stress starts to evaporate, like a wisp of steam from a cup of hot tea. Happiness moves in, and you’ll feel more cheerful, more positive about the future.

And then there’s time! Somehow, there seems to be plenty of it.

Little things will catch your notice—finding seashells on the beach, watching waves crash against the rocks, gazing at the star-studded night sky.

Life just starts to slow down…and you wonder if you really want to ever leave Three Sisters Island.

Nor do you have to! That’s the beauty of books—they are the perfect escape. Always available, just waiting to be picked up. Always ready to transport you to a fresh and new state of mind.

On a Coastal Breeze is that kind of a read. The Grayson Family saga continues as they move to Three Sisters Island off the coast of Maine for a fresh start. Maddie Grayson takes center stage in this story. Life is finally coming together for Maddie. On the very day she opens her counseling practice, she spots a billowing skydiver. Parachuting in is Ricky O’ Shea—the one person on earth Maddie hoped she’d never see again. But Rick’s the new pastor for the island’s only church and he’s not about to leave. That’s when sparks start to fly.

Join me for a getaway by the sea that will leave you in a happy, relaxed, vacation-y state of mind…without leaving your home. Once you board the Never Late Ferry, even in your imagination, the island will take it from there.

Warmly, Suzanne

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, May 18
The Avid Reader, May 18
By The Book, May 18
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 19
Locks, Hooks and Books, May 19
Artistic Nobody, May 19 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
Betti Mace, May 20
Lighthouse Academy, May 20
The Power of Words, May 20
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 21
Texas Book-aholic, May 21
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 21
Wishful Endings, May 22
Inklings and notions, May 22
deb’s Book Review, May 22
Blossoms and Blessings, May 23
reviewingbooksplusmore, May 23
Connect in Fiction, May 23
Remembrancy, May 24
Writing from the Heart Land, May 24
Blogging With Carol, May 24
Blessed & Bookish, May 25
Inspiration Clothesline, May 25
Back Porch Reads, May 25
For Him and My Family, May 26
Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 26
Daysong Reflections, May 26
Spoken from the Heart, May 27
Mary Hake, May 27
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 27
Simple Harvest Reads, May 28 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Bigreadersite, May 28
Splashes of Joy, May 28
Older & Smarter?, May 29
Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 29
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 30
EmpowerMoms, May 30
Pause for Tales, May 30
Batya’s Bits, May 31
Southern Gal Loves to Read, May 31
Hallie Reads, May 31


To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a copy of her book to five winners!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Book Review: The Happy Camper by Melody Carlson

About the Book

Home is the place to heal, right? At least, that's what Dillon Michaels is hoping as she leaves her disappointing career and nonstarter love life behind to help her grieving and aging grandfather on his small Oregon farm. The only problem? Her eccentric mother beat her there and has taken over Dillon's old room. After a few nights sleeping on a sagging sofa, Dillon is ready to give up, until she receives an unlikely gift--her grandfather's run-down vintage camp trailer, which she quickly resolves to restore with the help of Jordan Atwood, the handsome owner of the local hardware store.

But just when things are finally beginning to run smoothly, Dillon's noncommittal ex-boyfriend shows up with roses . . . and a ring.

Full of quirky characters, family drama, and sweet romance, The Happy Camper will have you scouring Craigslist for your own diamond-in-the-rough camper to restore and haunting your local hardware store for a handy guy to help your dreams come true.

You can purchase a copy here.

My Review

The Happy Camper is a fun, uplifting read.  Dillon Michaels decides to move back to her Grandfather's farm after losing her job and her boyfriend on the same weekend.  What I really liked about Dillon was that she left on her adventure with a great attitude about the future.  No "Woe is me," with Dillon.  She appreciated beauty and the relationships in her home town.  She was willing to work hard for herself and to help others.  It was easy to root for her.

Jordan Atwood was a great guy.  Always willing to lend a hand, this local businessman and community leader was always a gentleman.

Although Dillon used the word "cute" a lot, there was just enough conflict to keep the story line interesting.  Romance readers who want an uplifting, happy story will be delighted with The Happy Camper.

I received a copy of this book from the author for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over 200 books with sales of more than 7 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at

Monday, May 4, 2020

Book Review with a Giveaway: Oh, Gracious! by Chautona Havig

About the Book

Book: Oh, Gracious!
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Christian fiction, contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction
Release Date: March 31, 2020

Life is too short to settle for just anyone.

Grace gave her whole heart to Jesus, but now he wants a part of it.

All she ever wanted was to be a homemaker.

Sure, she has a degree in physics. Yes, she could have a lucrative job in Rockland, but Grace Buscher enjoys her life as a single homemaker. As they say, it’s her choice.

As a successful business owner, a handsome guy, and heir to a small fortune, it’s no wonder Nolan Burke is one of Rockland’s most eligible bachelors. The problem is, he hasn’t met anyone who isn’t looking for a “trophy husband.”

Don’t family-centered women exist anymore?

Grace isn’t exactly eye candy. Nolan is a bit blind. So when an “accidental meeting” forges an unlikely friendship, it becomes obvious to everyone that it’s likely to become more.

But is Grace ready to give up the life she loves for the man she loves?

Find out in this completely updated, revised, and improved version of Chautona Havig’s first novel, Noble Pursuits.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

There are so many things to love about a novel by Chautona Havig, and Oh, Gracious! certainly gave me much to love.

It's obviously written for a Christian reader.  But Havig doesn't just give you nice characters and their story.  The characters in this story are wrestling with theological issues, and working through how the Bible actually applies to their lives.  Then they are given new issues to work through as Christian people living in community, and in submission to the authority of their local church.  

The book is good-sized, and kept me reading happily.  I liked both Nolan and Grace right away.  Nolan was a great guy, and Grace was a little quirky, but lovable.  It was delightful to watch Grace transform into someone ready to receive love.  It was also great to see how Nolan and Grace worked through their many conflicts.

This novel had plenty of humor and feel-good moments, but it was not fluffy.  It was an entertaining,  solid read, with lessons for the reader throughout.

I received a copy of this book from the author, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

Wow, My Beloved First Book Was a Hot Mess

On my blog, I sometimes answer readers’ questions, and one of the earliest ones was, “Since you zip out your books so fast, do you ever later wish you had done something differently with them?”

My answer today is the same as back then—usually. No. Yes, I sometimes regret not being able to tell a supporting character’s story because the book has given away that person’s past and/or future. Still, most of the time, I tell the story as I want it.

But in that post about “regrets,” I said that as I learn, I definitely wish to improve sentences here, and others there. I did this already with Argosy Junction, the second book that I published. The first two or three books were experiments where I made many serious mistakes. Took bad advice. Didn’t know the right things to research. All the mistake-ness.

Total transparency here. I chose Argosy Junction to revise first because I made fewer mistakes on it. Still lots, but not as many as my first book, Noble Pursuits.

Bad editing advice, horrible cover design (twice), and just basic writing craft stuff that I didn’t know when I started this whole journey all culminated in a book I both loved (the story) and hated (the final result). Many reviewers said the same thing, too. That poor book has the worst reviews of all of my books combined.

And for good reason.

But it’s a good story—one I love, as I said—and it has some strong fans. Some readers were able to look past the problems and see the heart of what I tried to do with it. And that was a beautiful thing. Those readers, actually, are the ones I’ve rewritten this book for.

Yes, I rewrote Noble Pursuits. While every sentence isn’t completely rewritten, enough are that I considered it a new book, not just a revised one.

A few readers have panicked to see the title changed, the story rewritten. They’ve asked if I took out this or even that. I took out and added nothing that 99.9% of readers would ever notice. And it’s a better book for it.

I am updating the original Noble Pursuits file with the new text. I’m doing this in hopes that those who already own that book can go into their digital content on Amazon and get the updated version. I don’t know if it will work, but I pray it does.

Meanwhile, for those who’ve asked why they can’t buy the first book on my Suggested Reading Order list, well… now you can!

Oh, Gracious! has been a long time coming, but she’s here with a new title, rewritten content, and even a lovely new cover by the brilliantly talented Perry Elizabeth. It took what seems like forever to settle on a title, but we finally did. Why we chose Oh, Gracious! however, is a story for another day.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, April 24
Wishful Endings, April 24
Truth and Grace Homeschool, April 25
The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 25
Inklings and notions, April 26
deb’s Book Review, April 26
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 27
Texas Book-aholic, April 27
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 28
Kat’s Corner Books, April 28
Aryn The Libraryan 📚, April 29
Cultivating us, April 29
Through the Fire Blogs, April 30
For Him and My Family, April 30
Locks, Hooks and Books, May 1
The Collaborative Press, May 1
Connect in Fiction, May 2
Spoken from the Heart, May 2
Read Review Rejoice, May 2
She Lives To Read, May 3
Books I’ve Read, May 3
Emily Yager, May 4
Captive Dreams Window, May 4
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 5
Back Porch Reads, May 5
Lots of Helpers, May 6
As He Leads is Joy, May 6
Artistic Nobody, May 7 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Pause for Tales, May 7


To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of one paperback copy of each of the 3 fully revised novels: Oh, Gracious, Argosy Junction, and Thirty Days Hath…!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Book Review: Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

About the Book

Lauren Bailey may be a romantic at heart, but after a decade of matchmaking schemes gone wrong, there's only one match she's committed to now--the one that will make her a mother. Lauren is a dedicated first-grade teacher in Idaho, and her love for children has led her to the path of international adoption. To satisfy her adoption agency's requirements, she gladly agreed to remain single for the foreseeable future; however, just as her long wait comes to an end, Lauren is blindsided by a complication she never saw coming: Joshua Avery.

Joshua may be a substitute teacher by day, but Lauren finds his passion for creating educational technology as fascinating as his antics in the classroom. Though she does her best to downplay the undeniable connection between them, his relentless pursuit of her heart puts her commitment to stay unattached to the test and causes her once-firm conviction to waver.

With an impossible decision looming, Lauren might very well find herself choosing between the two deepest desires of her heart . . . even if saying yes to one means letting go of the other.

You can purchase this book here.

My Review

Before I Called You Mine was a book that takes the reader on a journey of extremes-the frustration of waiting for your heart's desire, the contentment of having good friends, the giddiness of a newfound love, the crushing despair when your dreams have been squashed.  Author Nicole Deese expertly brought Lauren's compelling adoption story to life.

I loved how Lauren was such a caring, competent teacher.  I also loved how she fangirled over an educational mentor.  She was easy to relate to, and her widespread support system testifies to what a wonderful woman she was.

Joshua was an amazing guy-great with kids, so smart, and a dependable, godly man.  He wins the male character of the year award from me!

This was a soul-stirring, uplifting contemporary novel that fiction readers will love.  I highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Nicole Deese's ( eight humorous, heartfelt, and hope-filled novels include the 2017 Carol Award-winning A Season to Love. Her 2018 release, A New Shade of Summer, was a finalist in the RITA Awards, Carol Awards, and INSPY Awards. Both of these books are from her bestselling Love in Lenox series. When she's not working on her next contemporary romance, she can usually be found reading one by a window overlooking the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She lives in small-town Idaho with her happily-ever-after hubby, two rambunctious sons, and princess daughter with the heart of a warrior.