Saturday, January 16, 2021

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Justified Means by Chautona Havig

 



About the Book



Book:  Justified Means

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Suspense

Release date: January 7, 2013

How could she not be terrified?

When Erika Polowski is abducted from her bed and held captive without explanation, she has one goal. Get away before they kill her.

Keith Auger’s job as an agent is to keep Erika safe—even if it means keeping her locked in an abandoned cabin in the middle of nowhere. At gunpoint.

What should be a routine “involuntary extraction” goes south when someone finds out where they’re hiding. Add to that a coworker with a chip on her shoulder and too many unexplained “accidents,” and it all adds up to one unlikely, terrifying explanation.

There’s a mole in The Agency.

He’s promised to protect her, but can Erika trust a man whose job it is to hold people against their wills? Does his deep faith make it any better or just a whole lot creepier.

And just who wants Erika dead anyway?

The Agency Files: They’ll do whatever it takes to keep their clients safe. Period.

Grab this first book in the series today.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

If you are looking for a thoroughly enjoyable and different kind of suspense/thriller, Justified Means might just be what you are searching for. I was giddy with anticipation to read this book, especially since I know that I am in for a truly unique reading experience with author Havig's books. I don't even like to read the blurbs on the backs of her books just because I like the unexpected in the stories.

Here we have an agency that is pretty much in the shadows and the way that they save people is certainly unique. And one Erica Polowski is experiencing just how unique their techniques are. Erica was a character I could certainly understand and relate to. She has been kidnapped, they say for her own good, but can she trust them? And she is angry and confused even frustrated. She is also a smart girl. When it comes down to it, I would have a hard time trusting too, if I were in her position. So she is in quite a conundrum especially when she and the reader are kept very much in the dark and we can only read faster to see how the story unfolding sheds light on the suspense.

Keith Auger, her captor, is a no nonsense guy who loves God (yep he is a Christian in a unique career) and genuinely cares for the people under his "care". I could certainly understand why Erica would be frustrated and angry with him, as I was picking up on those vibes as well. But I liked him and I knew as the story unfolded he was a good guy like he claimed. Would Erica ever understand? I was wondering if I ever would- it was quite a story to wrap your mind around. And yes the Gospel message was there and clear.

I was provided a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions 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 chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

Isn’t That Idea a Bit Crazy and Farfetched?

Black ops teams. They’re the stuff of TV shows and movies. I have no doubt such things exist—military groups that have to exist and work outside the normal scheme of things to give those who answer to the public plausible deniability or some such thing.

Then one of those “what if?” questions hit me. They’re an occupational hazard, those “what if?” questions. They appear out of nowhere and start crazy thoughts in your head.  Ones like, “What if a private company existed to do things that couldn’t be tied to the government in any way—no money exchanged?”

What if sometimes a protection company had to work outside the law in order to do the job they needed to do?  What if that meant they might just have to abduct someone to save his or her life?

Those of course led to the granddaddy of all questions. What if that someone didn’t appreciate being saved?

The Agency was born and with it their motto:  Whatever it takes.

That’s what they’ll do to keep their clients safe. Only the wealthy can afford their services. Some of the poorest of the poor receive them. But it always boils down to one primary goal.  Protect their clients at all costs.

Even if the client doesn’t want protection.

Is the idea a bit crazy and far-fetched?  Yeah… probably. But I wouldn’t be surprised to discover there are similar agencies out there, and if there are, I hope they save lives with the sort of compassion my guys have.

Blog Stops

For the Love of Literature, January 5

Inklings and notions, January 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 6

Texas Book-aholic, January 7

Artistic Nobody, January 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Amanda Tero, Blog, January 8

deb’s Book Review, January 9

For Him and My Family, January 9

Through the Fire Blogs, January 10

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 11

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 12

Lots of Helpers, January 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 14

Spoken from the Heart, January 15

Blogging With Carol, January 15

Pause for Tales, January 16

Adventures Of a Travelers Wife, January 17

A Novel Pursuit, January 17

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 18 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, January 18

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/10708/justified-means-celebration-tour-giveaway

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Sing Until You Die by Carole Brown

 



About the Book

 


Book: Sing Until You Die

Author: Carole Brown

Genre: Historical romantic suspense

Release Date: October 15, 2020

From childhood up, Claire Anne Rayner has despised the man who’s like a brother and son to the rest of the Rayner House residents. But when she puts her musical training on hold and begins singing to the troops as a means of helping support and encourage them, she is pulled into a mysterious spy’s efforts to destroy a certain high-ranking man.

Wills Mason is loved by everyone but Claire who cannot forgive him for his and her sister’s unmerciful, youthful teasing. But now, grown up and serving as a civilian spy, Wills must prove that Claire is not willingly relaying messages to the enemy, as his colonel believes, even when all evidence points that way. And can he prove he’s changed and can be trusted to cherish her heart as she deserves to be loved?

 

Click here to get your copy!
                                                                                                                                                                      
My Thoughts:

Sing Until You Die was a page turning story of spies, duty, love, and family. Taking place during World War 2, everyone is on edge and must be careful as to whom to trust. Wills Mason has just been given the assignment to find out if Claire Anne Rayner is a spy. A spy?! Not only has he grown up with Claire and is best friends with her sister, he is in love with her. How could she be a spy?

Claire was a character that my heart broke for. She is the youngest in her family, and though spoiled (like a pet she feels), she is lost and a little bit sad. She loves her family but she at times did not feel like she fit in. And growing up with her sister Josie and Wills who tormented and teased her a lot, I could definitely understand her standoffishness with Wills and why she could not trust him. And when her singing career seems to be taken over by everyone else, that is just something else to make her feel like a failure.

Wills has some things he needs to work through. He does love Claire very much and I like that he strives to fix what is broken between them. Not to rush her, but be there for her in ways he never was. Though his intentions of winning her over and wooing her are complicated by his job of uncovering if she is a spy.

This was a good read to escape present life and I look forward to more of author Brown's stories.

I was provided a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author


Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

 

More from Carole

A Grip on the Story by Carole Brown

Unlike books one and two of The Spies of WWII series (With Music in Their Hearts and A Flute in the Willows), I couldn’t get a handle on where to go with Claire Anne Rayner and Wills Mason’s story in Sing Until You Die. I knew their names, knew their careers, but the plot evaded me until it was time to write the novel. And then…

 

Slowly the plot opened up:

  • How Claire was using her career
  • What was being asked of Wills by his colonel
  • The conflict between the two main protagonists
  • The protagonists’ personalities
  • Who the spy was
  • Why revenge was being sought by the foreign spy

 

The more I wrote, the more I loved these two faulty, but loveable characters. Were they perfect? No. Were they determined to do what they felt was their duty, what they knew was their calling? Yes and yes.

Claire, as a child and teenager, faced thoughtless and sometimes cruel teasings because of over zealousness from certain family and friends. In her youthful mind, she felt loathing for those hurting her and knew she’d never forgive those involved.

Wills, on the otherhand, as a youth, was bound to prove he was one better than his best friend. Nothing was too dangerous or too extreme for him to try. No matter how others might feel…

Yet, through loving family and friends, these two grew into adulthood as caring, serious, and  individuals determined to succeed in their separate pursuits. The only thing they needed to do was ask for forgiveness and forgive. Could they lay aside their accusations for each other and do it? Would they realize that past feelings and thoughts about the other might just be wrong?

I worked hard at showing the slow and sometimes painful process of their achieving that. But tying in the insidious spy, thrust these two adorable, but different, characters into each others’ lives. That brings about the question:

Will the web of deceit the mysterious German spy is weaving destroy their one chance of happiness with each other, or can they both let go of the past and work together to bring the spy to justice?

Blog Stops

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 4

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, January 5 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 5

deb’s Book Review, January 6

Inklings and notions, January 7

Betti Mace, January 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 9

Texas Book-aholic, January 10

For Him and My Family, January 11

Connie’s History Classroom, January 12

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 13 (Author Interview)

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 13

Artistic Nobody, January 14 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 16

Pause for Tales, January 17

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Carole is giving away the grand prize package of a music-themed tote bag a 4-piece set of bird/flower coasters, a $25 Amazon gift card, and a signed copy of Sing Until You Die!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1052f/sing-until-you-die-celebration-tour-giveaway

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Review: A Cowboy for Keeps by Jody Hedlund

 

About:

Greta Nilsson's trip west to save her ailing little sister, Astrid, could not have gone more wrong. First, bandits hold up her stagecoach, stealing all her money. Then, upon arriving in Fairplay, Colorado, she learns the man she was betrothed to as a mail-order bride has died. Homeless, penniless, and jobless, Greta and her sister are worse off than when they started.

Wyatt McQuaid is struggling to get his new ranch up and running and is in town to purchase cattle when the mayor proposes the most unlikely of bargains. He'll invest in a herd of cattle for Wyatt's ranch if Wyatt agrees to help the town become more respectable by marrying and starting a family with Greta. But when old insecurities and surprising revelations arise, can a union born out of desperation survive?

My Thoughts:

This was a most enjoyable read and a great one to start off 2021 with. We have two characters who find themselves in a marriage of convenience due to circumstances that neither could control and the marriage would benefit both.

Greta is trying to save her little sister from the consumption that is slowly stealing her life away. She will do almost anything for Astrid and coming to Colorado as a mail order bride so her sister can benefit from the air there is something she is willing to do. But as she and her sister wind up penniless and in town, Greta is told her fiancĂ© is dead.

Wyatt is trying to start a profitable ranch so he can bring his mother, brothers, and sister out west. Hopefully saving his brothers from joining up for the Civil War. But Wyatt is broke and faces a formable enemy. His solution is to marry Greta on the advice of the mayor who has interests of his own.

What I really liked was just how organic Wyatt and Greta's relationship takes shape. They still are working towards their own separate goals, until they begin to merge into one. Just like their marriage, they are strangers to friends all within holy matrimony. And that means something. It is a special bond that opens both of their eyes. 

As they navigate this new life together, both must face their innermost demons. Wyatt thinking he is a failure and Greta believing she is a burden. I so enjoyed watching as they helped heal each other of these misconceptions.

Love, romance, family, and danger make this already my number one read for this year and a new favorite by author Hedlund.

I was provided a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.



About the Author:

Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of over 30 historical novels for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards, including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Awards. Jody lives in Michigan with her husband, busy family, and five spoiled cats. She loves to imagine that she really can visit the past, although she's yet to accomplish the feat, except via the many books she reads. Visit her at jodyhedlund.com.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Review: Courting Misfortune by Regina Jennings

 

About:

Her trickiest case depends on keeping her motives--and her heart--in disguise.

Calista York needs one more successful case as a Pinkerton operative to secure her job at the agency. When she's assigned to find the kidnapped daughter of a mob boss, she's sent to the rowdy mining town of Joplin, Missouri. With extended family in the area, Calista must conceal her profession if she hopes to recover the missing girl.

When Matthew Cook decided to be a missionary, he never expected to be sent only a short train ride away to Joplin. While fighting against corruption of all sorts, Matthew hears of a baby raffle being held to raise funds for a children's home. He'll do what he can to stop it, but he also wants to stop the reckless Miss York, whose bad judgment consistently puts her in harm's way.

Calista doesn't need the handsome pastor and her nosy family interfering with her investigation, no matter their intentions. A girl's life depends on her. If she doesn't find Lila Seaton soon, the constant meddling could have dire consequences.

My Thoughts:

Courting Misfortune takes us into the belly of Joplin, Missouri, a town that needs a lot of help and guidance. That is why preacher Matthew Cook has come to town. He has heard of the immorality and wants to offer hope to the miners and the women of questionable reputations.

Calista York comes to Joplin as a Pinkerton agent looking for a missing, kidnapped girl. The girl's picture haunts Calista, but Calista also wants to prove herself a capable agent, as capable as any man. And she needs to work this case on her own. However, Calista's family lives near Joplin and she can't hide from them. I don't even know how to explain her family. They are quite a bunch and bring much needed humor to this story. With a family like that you should never be lonely. I liked them, their oddities, closeness, and camaraderie.

Matthew is drawn to Calista and tries to save her from herself. Calista must continue to act as a ridiculous young lady as she searches out the nightlife for the missing girl, poor Matthew is only trying to protect her. As he also tries to stop a most ridiculous and bordering on illegal if not certainly unethical plan that the children's home has come up with to raise money.

Two people come to Joplin to help others. Both have pure intentions just very different missions. Neither one of them expected to fall in love. This was a fun one. I look forward to more of author Jennings humorous and slightly dangerous stories in the town of Joplin that is in serious need of redemption.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.


About the Author:


Regina Jennings (www.reginajennings.com) is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history. She's the winner of the National Readers' Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Review: To Dwell Among Cedars by Connilyn Cossette


About:

As they fight for the soul of Israel, will they find healing for their own?

Eight years ago, after the Philistines surrendered the stolen Ark of the Covenant back to the Israelites, Eliora and her brother left their Philistine homeland to follow it to the community of Kiryat-Yearim. Though they both were lovingly enfolded into a Levite family that guards the Ark, Eliora can't stop feeling like she doesn't belong.

Meanwhile, a faction of discontent Hebrews finds Kiryat-Yearim to be an unfit resting place and believes that the sacred vessel should be in the hands of the priests who mean to restore the Holy of Holies in a new location. Under the guise of gathering Hebrews to worship together for the festivals, Levite musician Ronen has been sent by his uncle to find where the Ark has been hidden and steal it back. But Ronen never expected that the Philistine girl he rescued years ago would now be part of the very family he's tasked to deceive.

Ronen's attempts to charm Eliora into revealing the location of the Ark lead them in unexpected directions, as they must battle betrayal and fear to help establish Israel's leadership for a better future.

My Thoughts:

With her attention to historical detail and masterful storytelling, author Cossette again brings another historical Bible scene to life. I have always enjoyed the drama and attention to detail that 1st and 2nd Samuel has to tell the stories of Samuel and the early kings of Israel. How God fights for a nation that still has now clue that His way is best. This story begins with the death of the priest Eli and his sons and the capture of the Ark of the Covenant.

Yes, the Philistines thought they had Israel and their God beat. Until strange and terrifying things begin to happen. Their god is beheaded with his hands cut off, earthquakes, and deadly plagues that torment them. This is where we meet the young Arisa and her little brother Lukio, Philistine children abandoned by their father and the rest of their family dead, accept a cruel cousin.

I really enjoyed their story as they were taught about the one true God by an Israelite slave who also saved their lives by telling them to follow the Ark, even though everyone else was terrified. They did as they were told and were not only saved but were adopted into an Israelite family and could choose new names.

Arisa is now Eliora and she is a grown woman who serves and loves her family well. Things are still not peaceful in Israel as different families of the Levites are still bickering. Ronen who met Eliora that fateful night meets her again eight years later as he is on a mission with his family and return it to what they believe is the rightful place. 

As Eliora and Ronen learn to care for each other, they also learn about family- adopted or blood- means a great deal and they will not just toss you away. There was a great many truths in this story about family love and God's love for us. I really liked that this was about two Philistine children, who followed God when they were too young to understand and grew up in a horrible culture, and yet they were saved. Not without tribulation and this story continues with Lukios tale.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.


About the Author:

Connilyn Cossette (www.connilyncossette.com) is a Christy Award and Carol Award winning author whose books have been found on ECPA and CBA bestseller lists. When she is not engulfed in the happy chaos of homeschooling two teenagers, devouring books whole, or avoiding housework, she can be found digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible to discover gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although she and her husband have lived all over the country in their twenty-plus years of marriage, they currently call a little town south of Dallas, Texas, their home.

Review: The Perfection in Love by Ronke Abidoye

 

About:

When two worlds meet, can love bridge the gap?

Young, attractive, successful, and tenderly in love, Henry and Oyin Wilson appear to be the perfect couple. When Oyin’s parents and Henry’s childhood friend, Olive, come to visit, everything begins to fall apart.

All they do is argue…when they speak at all.

Henry knows Oyin’s mother doesn’t approve of him. Oyin is sure that Olive is in love with Henry. The longer the visitors stay, the more they are all together, the more it all unravels.

Brimming with delightful dialogue and familiar whisperings of the still, small voice, The Perfection in Love is a touching story of true, eternal principles that govern our world—and our hearts—in these modern times.

My Thoughts:

The Perfection in Love was a story that captured my full attention and though at times the story was a hard read, the message was beautiful. 

Newlyweds (a year) Henry and Oyin are loving their married life and each other. Their time as a couple is sweet and fulfilling and they truly are happy. Until others come to stay with them awhile. 

Oyin and her family are from Nigeria so not only does Henry and Oyin need to get used to married life, but also to each of their cultures. Henry is convinced Oyin's mother dislikes him and Oyin does not see that. While Oyin plans for her family to come and stay, Henry also makes plans.

Olive is Henry's best friend from childhood and he asks her to come visit and stay as well. This makes an already uncomfortable situation worse as Oyin sees what Henry does not. Olive is in love with him.

Written with heartfelt compassion we watch as Henry and Oyin must fight their insecurities that hold them back from each other. Things only go from bad to worse as bitterness takes hold and roots itself in their marriage. Only when they come to the end of themselves can they step back and see the kind of love that they need. The 1st Corinthians 13 love.

We get the others perspectives as well, and I was able to sympathize will all of them. Some more than others, even if I did not agree with some of their actions. This is a beautiful story of marriage and the love we can and should have for our spouses.

I really enjoyed this story and it rounded out a nice year of reads for me. I look forward to more by new to me author Abidoye.

I was provided a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Plan B by Erin Stevenson

 



About the Book


Book: Plan B

Author: Erin Stevenson

Genre: Inspirational romance

Release Date: August 1, 2018

Landon St. Clair, an up and coming partner in one of St. Louis’ most prestigious law firms, was left at the altar on New Year’s Day at the city’s social event of the season. He wants nothing more than to lick his wounds in solitude and figure out a Plan B, and intends to keep his reservation at the St. Jardin Honeymoon Resort, even without a bride. With the owners’ reluctant approval, Landon takes on an assumed identity and cuts all ties to home for the week.

Kelsea Anderson is a jilted bride with nothing left but a battered heart and a plane ticket to the Caribbean. The only part of her doomed wedding that she had any say in was the honeymoon. She paid for it, and there’s no reason she can’t come to the romantic resort alone, so Kelsea jumps on a plane the day after New Year’s to escape the icy St. Louis winter and come up with a Plan B for the rest of her life.

Lottery winners Rose and Ike Goldman, married for 53 years, never looked back when they left Brooklyn, NY for the Caribbean where they bought a honeymoon resort three years ago. Rose was something of a matchmaker in Brooklyn, and once she meets Kelsea and “Brandon,” she knows she has her work cut out for her. She has only a week to convince them that sometimes, Plan B is the best plan of all.

Take a quick getaway to St. Jardin! Plan B is your ticket to a tropical paradise filled with beautiful gardens, merriment, and romance.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Plan B was a romantic story about second choices, choices that were always better for us anyway. You take two people, one jilted before the wedding and one at the altar and both decide to take the honeymoon trip anyway. Have a pair of matchmaking resort owners put them together and you have the makings of a very cute romantic adventure.

Kelsea and Landon are not each other's types. But as they are forced together as a pretend couple, they get to know each other. And in the getting to know one another and thinking they will not see each other again, they open up more than what they normally would. And what happens is magical.

I enjoyed going to this tropical resort and watching two broken hearts first mend and then learn to love again. The author also throws in some very enjoyable surprises.

I received a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own. 

About the Author


Erin was raised in Illinois and has lived in many places in the U.S., including on both coasts, but is a Midwest girl at heart. She spent many years as an educator from pre-school through college levels, and currently works in training and internal communications for a global corporation.

When she’s not writing, Erin loves spending time with her family and playing in the garden (which equates to mostly pulling weeds) at her central Iowa home. Her secret indulgence is plain M&Ms.

 

More from Erin

A Lucky License Plate

In November 2017, I was driving to the library to pick up a book I had ordered (when I’m not writing, I’m reading) and a car passed me on the highway. I looked over and its personalized license plate said NO PLAN B. All of a sudden a story popped into my mind about a jilted bride. She’s left at the altar and has to come up with a plan B for the rest of her life. When I got to the library, I had the story arc. It just came pouring out. My mother always told me to have a Plan B. That advice has served me well through the years, and I passed that important life lesson on to my daughter.

I wrote Plan B in about a month, the first in my three-book St. Clair Family series, which follows the main characters and their extended family in their quest to find the life and the love meant for them. All three books were published by Happy Jack Publishing and launched over a six-month period.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 15

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 16

Labor Not in Vain, December 16

Reflections From My bookshelves, December 17

deb’s Book Review, December 18

Inklings and notions, December 19

For Him and My Family, December 20

Artistic Nobody, December 21 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Texas Book-aholic, December 22

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 23

Spoken from the Heart, December 24

Cultivating Us, December 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 26

Pause for Tales, December 27

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 27

CarpeDiem, December 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 28

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Erin is giving away the grand prize package $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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/104b2/plan-b-celebration-tour-giveaway