Monday, April 12, 2021

Book Review with a Giveaway: Courage in the Mountain Wilderness by Misty M. Beller


About the Book

Book:  Courage in the Mountain Wilderness

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: April 6, 2021

Keeping her son safe on this epic journey may be harder than she imagined.

Caleb Jackson is on a journey. And not just the mission he and his friends have embarked on to fetch the Nez Perce chief’s runaway daughter. Maybe someday, he could also find God’s plan for his life. He’d once thought being a small town minister was the Lord’s will for him, but he’d proved a failure at living under the scrutiny of his congregation. Yet the chief’s niece and her feisty toddler accompanying them on this expedition make him feel like he might be able to make a difference yet.

Otskai is eager to take on a challenge. She’s lived under the shelter of other’s choices her entire life, especially when she was betrothed to one of the village braves at the tender age of eight. Now with her husband dead, she’s finally found the freedom she always craved—even with a two-year-old to raise. She’s built her camas root harvest into a thriving trade to provide all she and her son need and more, yet she can’t seem to keep her active child safe. When she agrees to accompany her new friends on a trip to bring back her wayward cousin, she knows she’ll have her hands full managing her boy.

The journey turns out nothing like Otskai expects, and for the first time in her life, she’s thankful to have others around to help. Especially Caleb, whose gentle attentions captivate her son and occupy him for hours at a time. But as the danger escalates and her worst fears come to light, she must find the courage to choose between freedom and a love more liberating than she imagined possible.

From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and adventure so intense, lives will never be the same.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Misty M. Beller continues the adventures of an eclectic group of people brought together by God's hand.  If one has not read the previous books in the Call of the Rockies series, know that this book stands alone.  Something I love about this series is the camaraderie amongst this group of people.  They are there for one another, each with special talents to offer, and the group functions well together.  They also have each been through hard things, and have come out stronger for it.

In this story, Otskai is the widowed mother of a toddler, whom she loves with all her heart.  She especially enjoys the freedom that she has as a widow.  She is able to provide well for her son.  And even though Caleb Jackson catches her eye, through his strength, his kindness, and care for her son, she is not willing to give up that freedom.

As the group travels together and faces many challenges and adventures, Otskai is able to see God at work in their lives, and through Caleb, she learns what true love really looks like.  I enjoyed this novel, and recommend it for Christian fiction readers, and those who enjoy western settings and Native American characters.

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

About the Author

Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and children now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

More from Misty

Mom Guilt—it’s real, no matter what your race or tribe.

One of the things I love about writing the Call of the Rockies series is the cast of characters that covers almost more races than I can count on all my fingers! From Spaniards, to Frenchman, to Southern Americans, to Blackfoot, to Nez Perce, to Salish, to Shoshone. And let’s not talk about the various sectors within some of the tribes (Peigan Blackfoot, Blood Blackfoot, Pikunin of the Nez Perce…oops, we weren’t going to talk about those!).

But what I love the most about so many people groups represented is learning how much we really are alike, down deep in our cores! Sure, some are introverts, some are extroverts. Some like to swim, some hate to swim. Some like to cook, some like to play with the kids (okay, maybe most like to play with the kids!).

Yet there are common threads that connect us all. As I was writing Courage in the Mountain Wilderness, I discovered a new thread that I have in common with Otskai, the Nez Perce hero of the story.

Mom guilt.

Yep. Our situations are a little different—I’m married with four kiddos, and she’s widowed with one very energetic two-year-old son. But we both struggle with that same push and pull. That same set of conflicting longings. When I’m with my kiddos, sometimes I just desperately want time alone. Time to actually get things done. But then at night when they snuggle close at bedtime, wrapping their sweet arms around my neck and not just saying, but showing, how much they love me, I can’t imagine how I could ever want to do anything but spend time with these sweet little ones God has trusted me with.

Thus, the guilt.

Maybe Otskai and I are the only ones who’ve ever experienced that particular strain of Mom Guilt. But I’ll bet there are other ways you can relate—both to these very real fictional characters who may or may not be the same race as you. And also to the very real real-life characters you meet every day.

The great news is that God loves each and every one of us, Mom Guilt and all.

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, April 6
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 6
Blossoms and Blessings, April 6
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 7
reviewingbooksplusmore, April 7
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 8
cats in the cradle blog, April 8
Betti Mace, April 9
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 9
For the Love of Literature, April 10
deb’s Book Review, April 10
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 11
Jeanette’s Thoughts, April 11
Texas Book-aholic, April 12
Maidens for Modesty, April 12
Inklings and notions, April 13
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 13
Older & Smarter?, April 14
Blessed & Bookish, April 14
Locks, Hooks and Books, April 15
Splashes of Joy, April 15
Wishful Endings, April 16
Mary Hake, April 16
For Him and My Family, April 16
She Lives To Read, April 17
Connie’s History Classroom, April 17
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 18
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 18
Adventures Of A Travelers Wife, April 19
Simple Harvest Reads, April 19 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)


To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Book Review with a Giveaway: My Dear Miss Dupre by Grace Hitchcock

About the Book

Willow Dupré never thought she would have to marry, but with her father's unexpected retirement from running the prosperous Dupré sugar refinery, she is forced into a different future. The shareholders are unwilling to allow a female to take over the company without a man at her side, so her parents devise a plan--find Willow a spokesman king in order for her to become queen of the business empire.

Willow is presented with thirty potential suitors from the families of New York society's elite group called the Four Hundred. She has six months to court the group and is told to to eliminate men each month to narrow her beaus until she chooses one to marry, ending the competition with a wedding. Willow reluctantly agrees, knowing she must do what is best for the business. She doesn't expect to find anything other than a proxy . . . until she meets a gentleman who captures her attention, and she must discover for herself if his motives are pure.

You may purchase a copy here.

My Review

Honestly, this book was an 1880s season of The Bachelorette.  However, our heroine, Willow, did not ask to participate, but rather cooperated with her family's plan out of respect for them.  Not intending to marry, she was surprised with the situation, yet graciously acquiesced.  Willow was beautiful, sweet, and smart, and had the desire to continue the success of her family's business.  The young men were specifically chosen for this contest, and each personality was defined.

As the book continued, it became more and more entertaining.  There were a few behind-the-scenes mysteries to be solved, and plenty of angst.  It was also quite illuminating how the New York's wealthy set were always in the newspaper, for good or for bad.  It seemed strange that the entire city would want to read about the balls, dinners, and contests of the wealthy, but that's what was published.

I loved Willow, and I enjoyed the book more and more as I read, so I recommend it.  Those who enjoy reading about the New York Four Hundred in the 1880s will enjoy this book.  I especially recommend this to fans of Jen Turano's 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

Grace Hitchcock is the author of multiple historical novels and novellas. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in Baton Rouge with her husband, Dakota, and son. Connect with her online at

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Book Review: Miriam's Song by Jill Eileen Smith


About the Book:

In her eventful lifetime, Miriam was many things to many people: protective older sister, song leader, prophetess, leper. But between the highs and the lows, she was a girl who dreamed of freedom, a woman who longed for love, a leader who made mistakes, and a friend who valued connection.

With her impeccable research and keen eye for detail, bestselling author Jill Eileen Smith offers this epic story to fill in the gaps and imagine how Miriam navigated the challenges of holding on to hope, building a family in the midst of incredible hardship, and serving as a leader of a difficult people, all while living in her brother's shadow. Follow Miriam's journey from childhood to motherhood, obscurity to notoriety, and yearning to fulfillment as she learns that what God promises he provides--in his own perfect timing.

This book is available for purchase here.

My Review:

In the Bible, not much is revealed about Miriam, the older sister of Moses, after she connects her mother with the Egyptian princess who rescued him from the Nile river.  But behind every mention that is found in Scripture, there is certainly a story, and Jill Eileen Smith has put together a wonderful tome that chronicles the life of Miriam.  We get to know her as a beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother, and leader of the Israelite women.  I loved how she was especially sensitive to the Lord, and that was evident as she lived her life and influenced others.

Even though I am familiar with the account of Moses and the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, this novel is written in such a way that I yearned to know what would happen next, even though I knew what would occur next.  This is the joy of reading Biblical fiction, and Jill Eileen Smith has penned an excellent account of this time in Biblical history.

Readers of Christian and Biblical fiction will certainly enjoy this novel, as well as those with an interest in the life and deeds of Moses.  

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

About the Author:

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, Wives of the Patriarchs, Daughters of the Promised Land, The Heart of a King, Star of Persia, Miriam's Song, and the nonfiction When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams, and She Walked Before Us. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

When she isn't writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, "helpful" cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Contact Jill through email (, her website (, Facebook (, or Twitter (

Book Review with a Giveaway: The Indebted Earl by Erica Vetsch

About the Book:

Can Captain Wyvern keep his new marriage of convenience all business--or will it turn into something more?

Captain Charles Wyvern owes a great debt to the man who saved his life--especially since Major Richardson lost his own life in the process. The best way to honor that hero's dying wish is for Wyvern to escort the man's grieving fiance and mother safely to a new cottage home by the sea. But along the way, he learns of another obligation that has fallen on his shoulders: his uncle has died and the captain is now the Earl of Rothwell.

When he and the ladies arrive at his new manor house in Devon, they discover an estate in need of a leader and a gaggle of girls, all wards of the former earl. War the new earl knows; young ladies and properties he does not. Still wishing to provide for the bereaved Lady Sophia Haverly, Charles proposes a marriage of convenience.

Sophie is surprised to find she isn't opposed to the idea. It will help her care for her betrothed's elderly mother, and she's already fallen in love with the wayward girls on the Rothwell estate. This alliance is a chance to repay the captain who has done so much for her care, as well as divert her attention from her grief. When Wyvern returns to his sea commission, she'll stay behind to oversee his property and wards.

It sounds so simple. Until the stalwart captain is arrested on suspicion of smuggling, and Sophie realizes how much he's come to mean to her. Now she'll have to learn to fight, not only for his freedom but also for his love.

My Review:

The Indebted Earl was such a pleasure to read!  Author Erica Vetsch has penned a delightful Regency-era novel with outstanding character development, a captivating plot, and on-point setting descriptions.

From the effervescent Sophie, to the staid Captain Wyvern, all the characters were very well-drawn.  The time spent on character development at the beginning of the book paid off as I felt I really knew them as the book progressed.  I was pleased with how well minor characters were developed, as well.

The plot started off a little slowly, but that was to help the reader have a good foundation of the situation and the characters.  It did pick up and became quite exciting, and I enjoyed reading the story.

I could see the dustiness of the manor, feel the jostling of the carriage, and hear the sounds of the seashore through Vetsch's apt descriptions.  I love being drawn into the story like that!

This was the third of the Serendipity & Secrets series by Vetsch, but it reads well as a stand-alone.  Christian fiction, historical romance, and Regency-era fans will all be pleased to read this book.

I received a copy from the publisher, Kregel, through Audra Jennings PR, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author:

Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, whom she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.

Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.

A self-described history geek, she has been planning her first research trip to England.

Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor), Instagram (@EricaVetsch) and Pinterest (Erica Vetsch).


Click here to enter the giveaway:

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Book review with a Giveaway: The Purple Nightgown by A. D. Lawrence

About the Book

Book:  The Purple Nightgown

Author: A.D. Lawrence

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Release date: March, 2021

Marvel at true but forgotten history when patients check into Linda Hazzard’s Washington state spa in 1912 and soon become victims of her twisted greed.
Book 10 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True- History

Heiress Stella Burke is plagued by insincere suitors and nonstop headaches. Exhausting all other medical aides for her migraines, Stella reads Fasting for the Cure of Disease by Linda Hazzard and determines to go to the spa the author runs. Stella’s chauffeur and long-time friend, Henry Clayton, is reluctant to leave her at the spa. Something doesn’t feel right to him, still Stella submits herself into Linda Hazzard’s care. Stella soon learns the spa has a dark side and Linda a mean streak. But when Stella has had enough, all ways to leave are suddenly blocked. Will Stella become a walking skeleton like many of the other patients or succumb to a worse fate?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

The heiress and the chauffeur.

Having been best friends since childhood, Henry loves Stella and wishes the best for her.  Stella does not want any of the potential suitors her uncle entertains, but the voices around her have convinced her that Henry is not an option, either.  Henry is always supportive of Stella, and that makes him easy to love.  Stella's debilitating migraines generate compassion from the reader, and understanding when poor decisions are made because of that pain.

I loved that as the plot of the story heightened, Stella was able to recognize flaws in her character that had led to trouble, and Stella was more concerned for the opportunity to make amends with Henry than her own fate.

This book takes the reader through a gamut of emotions-concern for others, desperation, terror, and hope.  Those who have read any of the True Colors series will enjoy this one.  It is recommended for anyone who enjoys true crime stories.

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

About the Author

A.D. Lawrence makes her home in Northeastern Nebraska. She has been passionate about writing and true crime for years, and her two obsessions melded into the goal of authorship. She is an active member of the ACFW, writes a true crime blog, won the 2019 Crown Award and was a 2019 First Impressions finalist.


More from A.D. Lawrence

Times have changed. And like so many things, health retreats have experienced their own metamorphosis. Sure, they’ve always catered to people with both spare money and time, but aside from similar clientele, the face of the health spa is nothing like its early 20th century sister.

If you could afford a getaway to a modern-day health spa like The Golden Door, you’d be treated to the luxury of rest. Yoga on the beach. Deep tissue massages. A much-needed break from technology and life’s constant pressures. Mental well-being is valued almost as highly as physical health, and the two are thought to be connected. After days or weeks of pampering, you would return home relaxed, recharged, and ready to dip back into the hustle of the real world.

In 1911, during the time of The Purple Nightgown, the medical community took a diametrically different approach to health. Weight equaled health.The prevailing assumption was that any ailments were directly connected to weight. Thus, ‘fat camps’ grew in popularity. Men and women checked into sanatoriums where the aides put them through grueling exercise regimes and provided them with just enough food to sustain life. No coddling. Not many of us would subject ourselves to the treatments early health spas required.

In this era of already extreme health measures, Linda Hazzard made her mark in Washington State. Obsessed with fasting, she ran her patients through an unfathomable course of ‘diet and exercise’ that proved the undoing of many. She did give massages though, which you’ll learn more about when you read The Purple Nightgown.

Although it’s fun to long for a simpler time while reading historical books and watching shows like Little House on the Prairie, there are some modern ways of thinking and advances in human comfort I’d rather not give up. One of those is the vastly superior spa experience we have today. Somehow, a facial with soothing background music sounds much more appealing than running mile after mile every day with nothing to look forward to but a glass of orange juice or a bowl of canned tomato broth.

Hot stone massage anyone?

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 23
lakesidelivingsite, March 23
The Meanderings of a Bookworm, March 23
For Him and My Family, March 24
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 24
Godly Book Reviews, March 24
Through the Fire Blogs, March 25
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 25
For the Love of Literature, March 26
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 26
Mary Hake, March 26
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 27
deb’s Book Review, March 27
Pause for Tales, March 28
Remembrancy, March 28
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 28
Connie’s History Classroom, March 29
Genesis 5020, March 29
Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, March 29
Babbling Becky L’sBook Impressions, March 30
Texas Book-aholic, March 30


To celebrate her tour, A.D. is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Book Review with a Giveaway: Texas Target Standoff by Virginia Vaughan

 About the Book

Book:  Texas Target Standoff

Author: Virginia Vaughan

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Release date: March 1, 2021

A sniper lurks closer…

and only a navy SEAL can save her.

When psychologist Shelby Warren suddenly becomes a sniper’s target, navy SEAL Paul Avery springs into action to protect her. He needs her evaluation to get back to his team…and rescuing her might finally give him the redemption he’s been searching for. But when danger follows them to his family’s Texas ranch, keeping Shelby safe could be his most difficult assignment yet. 

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

From the opening scene, to the final chapter, this was an exciting book!  Just when I thought I could breathe a sigh of relief, something else happened, which kept the suspense level high, and pages turning.

Shelby was a great heroine.  She was committed to giving her patients excellent care, and to abiding by professional standards.  She tried to be tough, but as the attacks on her life escalated, sometimes she lost it.   I loved that her humanness came out!  

I had met Paul's family in a previous novel by this author, and it was great that he had them on his side as he sought to protect Shelby.  That the author portrays a family with solid, trusting, loving  relationships is comforting to me as a reader.

Readers of contemporary suspense and Christian fiction will enjoy this latest book in the Cowboy Lawmen series.  It easily reads as a stand-alone novel, and I highly recommend it.

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

About the Author

Bestselling author Virginia Vaughan writes inspirational romantic suspense. Blessed to come from a large, southern family, her fondest memories include listening to stories recounted by family and friends around the large dinner table. She was a lover of books even from a young age, devouring gothic romance novels and stories of romance, danger, and love. She soon started writing them herself. A former investigator for the State of Mississippi, Virginia utilizes her criminal justice background with her love or writing to transform words into powerful stories of romance and danger.


More from Virginia

As writers, we discover many new and interesting things while researching a story. For TEXAS TARGET STANDOFF, I decided I wanted the hero to have a dog so I started looking at different photographs of dogs online until I found the one image I wanted to use—a sweet little border collie I named Bullet. He helps my navy SEAL hero find comfort and friendship while he’s recovering from injuries at his family’s ranch. But looking at dog photos on the internet did more than help my character grow, it also inspired me to adopt a dog of my own.

My home had been pet-free for many years since my beloved dog Miss Duchess died from cancer five years ago and, although the ten-year-old nephew I’m raising had been asking for a dog for about a year, I hadn’t reached the point of pulling the trigger and bringing another one home. Only the research I did for this book reopened that desire inside of me for canine companionship. In September of 2020, my son and I searched the shelters in search of a family dog and, when I spotted this adorable border collie mix, I knew we had to bring her home. We named her Ivy and, since joining our family, this sweet girl has brought us lots of love and laughter, plus a new adventure—dog training. I’ve never trained a dog in my life and little Ivy is a stubborn one. I’ve scoured YouTube for videos, taken classes, and worked daily on the simplest of commands like sit, wait, lie down. Slowly, we are making progress although barking, jumping, and walking on a leash are still some areas where we’re struggling.

I’d love to hear about your pets or your best training tips! To learn more about my family, including my training journey with Ivy, follow me on Facebook or subscribe to my newsletter at the links below. And look out for the next book—little sister Kellyanne’s story—in my Cowboy Lawmen series coming June 29, 2021.



Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 12
For the Love of Literature, March 12
Through the Fire Blogs, March 12
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 13
Bizwings Blog, March 13
Texas Book-aholic, March 14
Bigreadersite, March 14
Fiction Book Lover, March 14 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 15
Genesis 5020, March 15
Hebrews 12 Endurance, March 16
For Him and My Family, March 16
Artistic Nobody, March 16 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Inklings and notions, March 17
Reviewingbooksplusmore, March 17
Older & Smarter?, March 18
deb’s Book Review, March 18
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 18
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 19
Blogging With Carol, March 19
Locks, Hooks and Books, March 20
Betti Mace, March 20
Mary Hake, March 20
Lighthouse Academy, March 21
Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 21
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 22
Blossoms and Blessings, March 22
Labor Not in Vain, March 22
KarenSueHadley, March 23
She Lives To Read, March 23
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 23
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 24
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 24
Pause for Tales, March 24
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 25 (Author Interview)
HookMeInABook, March 25
Simple Harvest Reads, March 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)


To celebrate her tour, Virginia is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Texas Target Standoff!!

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

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Book Review with a Giveaway: Facing the Dawn by Cynthia Ruchti

About the Book

Book:  Facing the Dawn

Author: Cynthia Ruchti

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Release date: March 2, 2021

Mara Jacobs has been struggling. While her humanitarian husband is digging wells in Africa and caring for widows and orphans, Mara has been battling the home front—working a demanding yet unrewarding job, trying to manage three detention-prone kids, and suffering from exhaustion and depression. Even her own marriage is deteriorating after a three-year separation.

Then Liam’s absence turns into something more, changing everything and plunging her into a sunless grief. As Mara leans on those around her to find her way to healing and renewed faith, she discovers that even when hope is tenuous and the future is unknown, we can be sure we are not forgotten . . . or unloved.

Facing the Dawn is an emotionally evocative novel that will resonate with readers’ lives and their life challenges. Hemmed in hope, this tender story will be one readers will not soon forget.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This is a book about grief.  Gut-wrenching, you-don't-know-where-your-next-breath-will-come-from-grief.  It is also a novel of hope, and it garners my highest recommendation

Snarky isn't my thing, so it took me a while to like Mara Jacobs.  In her defense, she was just doing her best to survive, and I get that.  But as the story progressed and I caught glimpses of her true heart, she became someone I cared about deeply.

It was amazing to witness the transformation of her family.  While Mara was at her deepest point of suffering, God put people in the Jacobs family to walk them through their grief.  I loved seeing the surprises and changes that God orchestrated with no input from Mara.

Someone dealing with fresh grief may need to wait awhile before reading this book.  But the rest of us should read it and appreciate the themes of friendship, hope, loyalty, and compassion.

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

About the Author

Cynthia Ruchti is the award-winning author of more than 30 books, including the novels Afraid of the Light, Miles from Where We Started, As Waters Gone By, Song of Silence, A Fragile Hope, and They Almost Always Come Home. Her books have been honored with more than 40 readers’, reviewers’, and retailers’ awards, including Romantic Times’s Inspirational Novel of the Year, four Selah Awards, and five Christian Retailing’s BEST Awards, and has been a finalist for many others, including the Carol and the Christy. Former president of and current professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Cynthia lives in Wisconsin and can be found online at


More from Cynthia

When I sit down to write a novel, I sometimes have little more than a title or a single scene in my head. For Facing the Dawn, I had a mental picture of a woman who felt like circumstances had drained all the “color” out of her life, as if she were a piece of fabric that had been left out in the sun too long. Faded. Threadbare. Bleached out.

Where was I supposed to go from there? What would have made her feel like that? (Oh, I could imagine, but I needed to know THIS character’s story.) I visualized her called in the principal’s office at her kids’ school, not knowing which of the three was in trouble this time. But it was her. The ridiculousness of it all was almost enough to push her over the edge. Ever been there?

For Mara in the story, a long string of disappointments clogged her life like a backed-up sink (which she also had). Then true tragedy struck. And again. But I couldn’t leave her in that place.

When I wrote the last few words of the story, my heart was full. Tears fell on the pages—or the keyboard. And I reflected back on all the symbolism in the story that actually revealed bits of hope embedded in its fabric.

I’m excited to see how readers respond when they discover those little bits—a cardinal in a stand of birch trees, an oil painting with unusual brushstrokes, a papered wall, a cup of soup, a long-forgotten song, an envelope of ashes…

A story comes to life when readers dive in. I’m looking forward to hearing what they find when they do.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 4
lakesidelivingsite, March 4
Through the Fire Blogs, March 4
Rebecca Tews, March 5
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations , March 5
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 6 (Author Interview)
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 6
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 6
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 7
Reviewingbooksplusmore, March 7
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 8
Kathleen’s Blog, March 8
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 8
Texas Book-aholic, March 9
Cats in the Cradle Blog, March 9
Locks, Hooks and Books, March 10
Simple Harvest Reads, March 10 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, March 10
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 11
Artistic Nobody, March 11 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Older & Smarter?, March 12
deb’s Book Review, March 12
The Christian Fiction Girl, March 13
Inklings and notions, March 13
Pause for Tales, March 13
For Him and My Family, March 14
Mary Hake, March 14
By The Book, March 15
Christian Bookaholic, March 15
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 16
Spoken from the Heart, March 16
Southern Gal Loves to Read, March 16
A Baker’s Perspective, March 17
Writing from the Heart Land, March 17


To celebrate her tour, Cynthia is giving away the grand prize package of a DrinkCo Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated BPA-free beverage container (keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours/hot up to 12 hours), two Sunprint Notecards (Cynanotype art by Anna Atkins), an autographed copy of the novel Facing the Dawn, two Hemmed in Hope magnets/notecard inserts to encourage you or a friend, a Hemmed in Hope flash drive, and Facing the Dawn bookmarks (not shown in picture above)!!

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

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Book Review with a Giveaway: Delia and the Drifter by Melody Carlson


About the Book

Book:  Delia and the Drifter

Author: Melody Carlson

Genre: Historical Romance (Western)

Release date: February 15, 2021

 An arranged marriage to save the family from ruin?

Delia Blackstone knows what her mother is up to—she intends to marry her off to an older man who is all fortune and no future. And Delia’s having none of it.

When a mysterious visitor appears on the family doorstep and offers an opportunity for Delia to travel from Pennsylvania to Colorado, Delia knows it is time for her to strike out on her own and discover a new life. Along the way she encounters a handsome drifter who captures her heart. But is he interested in trading his exciting life of adventure for love?

Two murders, a missing will, and a number of puzzling relationships are enough to unsettle anyone—even smart, capable Delia. Who can she trust? And can she trust her heart in matters of love?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review 

Reading Melody Carlson's most recent book was such a pleasure.  Delia and the Drifter was a solid, thorough story that had me interested throughout.  What I especially loved about it was that wherever Delia found herself - in Pittsburgh, on the train, or in Colorado, the story was meaty and well fleshed-out.

I also appreciated how both Delia and Wyatt were true to themselves.  They both had goals to attain, yet eventually were willing to give those up for the other.

Delia and Wyatt were both people of faith who believed in prayer and God's guidance in their lives.  I loved how Delia's earthly father provided for her and prepared her for her future.  That was a beautiful picture of how God the Father cares for His children.

Those who enjoy historical fiction set in the Old West will certainly want to read this book.  Any reader of Christian Fiction will be pleased with it.

I received an e-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

I love historical stories about women. Particularly ones in the American frontier and old west. Probably because I grew up hearing pioneer stories from my grandparents, whose parents arrived in covered wagons. But contributions made by pioneering females is often overshadowed by their male counterparts. That’s why I enjoy researching and telling these fictional yet reality-based stories of women who lived and loved and did their part to settle the frontier. To me they are the unsung heroes of the West.

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, February 24
lakesidelivingsite, February 24
For Him and My Family, February 24
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 25
Blogging With Carol, February 25
She Lives To Read, February 26
Texas Book-aholic, February 26
Pause for Tales, February 26
Inklings and notions, February 27
The Meanderings of a Bookworm, February 27
deb’s Book Review, February 28
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 28
CarpeDiem, February 28
Betti Mace, March 1
Locks, Hooks and Books, March 1
Artistic Nobody, March 2 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 2
Simple Harvest Reads, March 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 3
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 3
Older & Smarter?, March 4
Connie’s History Classroom, March 4
Christian Bookaholic, March 5
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 5
Sara Jane Jacobs, March 5
Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 6
Labor Not in Vain, March 6
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 7
Connect in Fiction, March 7
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 8
Splashes of Joy, March 8
Hallie Reads, March 8
Batya’s Bits, March 9
Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, March 9


To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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

Friday, February 19, 2021

Book Review with a Review: Bookers on the Rocks by Chautona Havig

About the Book

Book:  Bookers on the Rocks

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

If it ain’t broke, why’s she so intent on fixing it?

Tessa Booker hates romance.

For twenty-five years, Tessa Booker has insisted that romance is something Hollywood cooked up to sell books and movies. Yes, she knows the word existed before movies.  She doesn’t care. That’s her story, and she’s sticking to it.

So when Ross gets a gentle nudge from Mallory Barrows to look into what Tessa’s doing every day while he’s at work, he discovers a romance in the works–one that sounds a little too “ripped from the pages” of his life!

Who is this woman, and what has she done with his wife? 

Armed with advice from 101 Ways to Romance Your Wife and a copy of the manuscript he printed while she was napping, he’s determined to figure out what’s up with his wife… and if maybe a little romance wouldn’t be a good thing after all.

In a twist of the “on the rocks trope,” this book introduces the next island in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Chautona Havig really has a gift of making us see ourselves in every one of her books.  Bookers on the Rocks focuses on Ross and Tessa Booker, a married couple that seems to have it all, until you get in their heads.  It was such a pleasure to get to know Tessa, past the eyerolls and extreme pickiness in her choice of books.  It was funny to watch Ross, Mr. Competent, stare helplessly at the refrigerator and wonder where to find sandwich ingredients.  They each really appreciated the other, but their marriage needed tweaking, and the island setting was the perfect place to do that.

Secondary characters from previous Independence Islands novels provided familiarity for me, but this novel definitely stands on its own.

Readers of Christian fiction will enjoy this novel, and fans of Havig's work will certainly want to add this to their collection.  I recommend it highly.

I received an e-ARC of this book form 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

Who Needs Romance? My Marriage Is Great as It Is!

Writing a book about a couple who are in love, devoted to each other, and don’t have marriage problems is… challenging. Let’s face it. Most books about married couples, especially ones “on the rocks,” are going to have fights, an affair (at least of the emotional variety), or some big thing threatening to send them straight to divorce court.

Mine doesn’t.

In fact, Bookers on the Rocks shows what happens when couples become too comfortable in their routines—so comfortable, in fact, that they become blind to each other’s needs. If you asked Tessa Booker if anything is wrong in her marriage, she’d say no. If you asked her if she wanted anything different, she’d say no. The age old, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.

Still, if you look at stories in Scripture, you see deep love and even romance in some places. Elkanah, who loved his wife enough to say, “Am I not more to you than ten sons?” Jacob who worked fourteen years to marry the woman he loved. Solomon and his love for the Shulamite woman. While the first two do not make me squirm, Solomon does. That book… oh, that book.

What I think Song of Solomon does is remind us of the Lord’s wooing of His people and how invested the Shulamite woman was in being delighted in her beloved—in all of him. If that isn’t a picture of how we should devote ourselves to our Lord, I don’t know what is.

In Bookers on the Rocks, I explore the possibility that those of us who aren’t naturally romantic might just be missing a vital ingredient in our marriages. A body can look and feel perfectly healthy for years—even decades. But if some essential nutrient is missing in a person’s diet, eventually that body will show it in some way. A lack of calcium can create brittle bones. No one sees the problem until a slight stumble turns into a nasty break.

Did it change how I view my marriage? No… not yet. Then again, yes it did, too. I’m more… aware of what is going on in my marriage these days. I doubt candlelight and roses will ever become a thing in our relationship, but translating what romance might mean and look like to my husband has become something I do think about from time to time. That probably means more Wienerschnitzel and less broccoli, but hey. He did a lot of dishes, dinner, and diapers (my perfect three Ds of romance) when our kids were small. I can endure a hot dog or three thousand, right?

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 10
Livin’ Lit, February 10
lakesidelivingsite, February 11
Sara Jane Jacobs, February 11
She Lives to Read, February 12
Texas Book-aholic, February 12
Book of Ruth Ann, February 12
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 13
Rebekah Reads, February 13
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14
Batya’s Bits , February 14
Inklings and notions, February 15
Simple Harvest Reads, February 15 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 16
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 16
Robin’s Nest, February 16
Lots of Helpers, February 17
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, February 17
Splashes of Joy, February 18
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 18
Artistic Nobody, February 19 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, February 19
For Him and My Family, February 20
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 20
CarpeDiem, February 20
deb’s Book Review, February 21
Connect in Fiction, February 21
Locks, Hooks and Books, February 22
Blogging With Carol, February 22
Blossoms and Blessings, February 23
Godly Book Reviews, February 23
Pause for Tales, February 23


To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and copy of the book!!

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

Monday, February 15, 2021

Book Review with a Giveaway: A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel

 About the Book:

All her life, Boston-born Moira Doherty has relished her mother's descriptions of the Emerald Isle. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira is compelled to fulfill her dying wish--that she become the teacher in Ballymann, the beloved village in Donegal, Ireland, she's heard so much about.

After an arduous voyage, Moira begins a challenging new job in an unfamiliar and ancient country. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira's mother are unspoken in her presence but threaten to derail everything she's journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends--and the strength of Sean, an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced--as she seeks to navigate a life she'd never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live.

This book is available for purchase here.

My Review:

A Dance in Donegal by debut author Jennifer Deibel is a wonderful book that I highly recommend.  

From the descriptions of the Irish countryside, the nearby ocean, the quaint village and its people, it wasn't long before I felt like I was there.  Deibel made all of my senses aware of the setting of this story.

Most characters were lovable, yet some were despicable.  Moira's journey in this new, yet familiar town was documented in such a way that I felt deeply her uncertainty, despair, and joy.  Her character development was believable and on point.  I fell in love with those surrounding her, as well.

The story was paced well, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  With the beautiful setting, heart-stirring emotion, and the sounds of the Irish language and music, it would make a great movie.

For anyone who loves historical fiction or the Emerald Isle, this book is for you!

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Revell, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.  This post is also part of the Read with Audra blog tour.

About the Author:

Jennifer Deibel is a middle school teacher whose work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic magazine, and other publications. With firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona with her husband and their three children.

You can find her online at, Facebook (@JenniferDeibelAuthor), and Instagram (@jenniferdeibel_author).

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Book Review with a Giveaway: Roots of Wood and Stone by Amanda Wen

About the Book

This historic home holds the keys to their destiny . . . and their hearts.

Abandoned at birth, her family roots a mystery, historical museum curator Sloane Kelley has dedicated her life to making sure others know theirs. When a donor drops off a dusty old satchel, she doesn’t expect much from the common artifact . . .until she finds real treasure inside: a nineteenth-century diary. Now she’s on the hunt to find out more.

Garrett Anderson just wanted to clean out his grandmother’s historic but tumbledown farmhouse before selling it to fund her medical care. With her advancing Alzheimer’s, he can’t afford to be sentimental about the family home. But his carefully ordered plan runs up against two formidable obstacles: Sloane, who’s fallen in love with both the diaries and the house, and his own heart, which is irresistibly drawn to Sloane.

A century and a half earlier, motherless Annabelle Collins embarks with her aunt and uncle on the adventure of a lifetime: settling the prairies of Sedgwick County, Kansas. The diaries she left behind paint a portrait of life, loss, and love—and a God who faithfully carries her through it all. Paging through the diaries together takes Sloane and Garrett on a journey they never could have planned, which will change them in ways they never imagined.

This warm, beautifully written split-time novel will resonate with readers looking for stories that reveal the beauty of God’s plan for our lives, and how our actions ripple for generations.

This book is available for purchase here.

My Review

Debut author Amanda Wen knocks it out of the park with Roots of Wood and Stone, the beautiful opening of the Sedgwick County Chronicles. I loved this book!  I was immediately drawn into the story, and the author's comforting writing style made me feel like I belonged there.  In this dual-timeline story, the characters were very distinct in their personalities, and it was wonderful to experience the ties between them.  I cared for each of them right away.  As both stories progressed, the theme of hope in times of distress carried through, facilitated by prayer and listening to God's leading.  Wen truly, masterfully, weaved the two stories together to produce a very satisfying read.

Those with an interest in history and genealogy will be delighted to read this book, and I highly recommend this book to readers of historical romance and contemporary romance, as well.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Kregel Publications, through Audra Jennings PR, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. She has placed first in multiple writing contests, including the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity, the 2017 Phoenix Rattler, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions contests. She was also a 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest finalist.

Wen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and regularly contributes author interviews for their Fiction Finder feature. She also frequently interviews authors for her blog and is a contributor to the God Is Love blog. Her debut novel, Roots of Wood and Stone, releases from Kregel Publications on February 2, 2021.

In addition to her writing, Wen is an accomplished professional cellist and pianist who frequently performs with orchestras, chamber groups, and her church’s worship team. She serves as a choral accompanist as well. A lifelong denizen of the flatlands, Wen lives in Kansas with her patient, loving, and hilarious husband, their three adorable Wenlets, and a snuggly Siamese cat.
To find Amanda Wen’s blog and short stories, visit Readers can also follower her on Facebook (@AuthorAmandaWen), Twitter (@AuthorAmandaWen), and Instagram (@authoramandawen).


Enter to win a copy of Roots of Wood and Stone by clicking here.