Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Review and Excerpt: Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock

About the Book

Book: Smoke Screen
Author: Terri Blackstock
Genre:  Christian Suspense
Release Date: November 5, 2019

One father was murdered, and another convicted of his death. All because their children fell in love.

Nate Beckett has spent his life fighting wildfires instead of the lies and rumors that drove him from his Colorado home town. His mother begs him to come to Carlisle now that his father has been released from prison, but it isn’t until he’s sidelined by an injury that he’s forced to return and face his past. But that means facing Brenna too.

Fourteen years ago, Nate was in love with the preacher’s daughter. When Pastor Strickland discovered Brenna had defied him to sneak out with Nate, the fight between Strickland and Nate’s drunken dad was loud—and very public. Strickland was found murdered later that night, and everyone accused Roy Beckett. When the church burned down, people assumed it was Nate getting even for his father’s conviction. He let the rumors fly and left Carlisle without looking back.

Now, Brenna is stunned to learn that the man convicted of murdering her father has been pardoned. The events of that night set her life on a bad course, and she’s dealing with a brutal custody battle with her ex and his new wife where he’s using lies and his family’s money to sway the judge. She’s barely hanging on, and she’s turned to alcohol to cope. Shame and fear consume her.

As they deal with the present—including new information about that fateful night and a wildfire that’s threatening their town—their past keeps igniting. Nate is the steady force Brenna has so desperately needed. But she’ll have to learn to trust him again first.

Click here to get your copy.

My Thoughts:

Smoke Screen is a riveting book dealing with difficult subject matter and hurting characters.

Blackstock had a way of roping me into the elements and the characters and their various tragedies. And there were many. Phew, I wasn't sure how this was going to work out for Brenna and Nate. The characters were very real and I came to care for all of them deeply. Brenna was broken but in like a strong way, and Nate was like an actual saint. With that said, I say we kill Brenna's ex, and his new wife, and kill the ex's dad twice and stick a stake in his heart just to be safe.

I'm not entirely sure what to classify this book as. It wasn't suspense, the pace was too slow and it wasn't particularly suspenseful. It wasn't a mystery either, even though there was the whole question of who killed Brenna's dad. Everything was resolved quickly and off screen and that whole part was pretty brushed over. It was more like a familial drama? Where most of the drama took place around fires and court rooms? I don't know, this book defies classification because it was so unique. And I enjoyed that unique aspect even if it wasn't what I was first expecting.

It is a standalone, the other books I read of hers was a trilogy so I hadn't been so sure. Which i am fine with because the endings of the trilogy I read has been tense.

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

Reviewed by Nicki

About the Author

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of InterventionVicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com; Facebook: tblackstock; Twitter: @terriblackstock   

Excerpt from Smoke Screen

I woke up in a blinding bright room, my clothes off and something clamped to my face. I tried to reach it, but I couldn’t bend my right arm, and my hand stung. An IV was taped to my other hand, but I moved carefully and touched the thing over my face.

An oxygen mask. I tried to sit up. “What happened?”

T-bird came to my bedside, a sheen of smoky sweat still soiling his face. “Nate, lie back, man.”

“The fire,” I said. “Need to get back. My men.”

“They’re still there. Making progress. But you’re not going anywhere near a fire for a month or so.”

I took the mask off and coughed a little, but managed to catch my breath. “A month?”

“Yep. Second degree burns on 20 percent of your body. Some of the burns are deep.”

It came back to me, the event that had gotten me here.

“The family. Were they injured?”

“Not a scratch or burn. Turns out it was a U.S. Senator from Kansas. He says you’re a hero.”

“You know I had no choice. They were in the path—”

“Take the praise where you can get it, man. We don’t get that much.”

I looked at my right side. My right arm was bandaged, and so was my side and down my right leg to the point where my boots had stopped the flames. Second degree wasn’t so bad, I told myself. Third degree would have been brutal. I’d be able to leave the hospital soon. I’d heal.

“I won’t need a month,” I said.

“Yes, you will. They can’t let you go back. Doctor’s orders. You’re grounded until he releases you.”

I managed to sit up, but it was a bad idea. The burns pulling on my skin reminded me why I shouldn’t. “I can’t be grounded during fire season. Are you crazy? I need to be there. You don’t have enough men as it is.”

“Sorry, Nate. It is what it is. Why don’t you go home to Carlisle for a while? Take it easy.”

Go home? Pop had just been pardoned, and he and my mom were trying to navigate the reunion. Though she would love to have me home, I didn’t know if I was up to it. My father could be challenging, and fourteen years of prison hadn’t done him any favors.
Taken from “Smoke Screen” by Terri Blackstock. Copyright © 2019 by Terri Blackstock. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.

Blog Stops

As He Leads is Joy, November 9
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Fiction Aficionado, November 10
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Among the Reads, November 11
Genesis 5020, November 11
A Reader’s Brain, November 11
Robin’s Nest, November 12
All-of-a-kind Mom, November 12
Bigreadersite , November 12
Blogging With Carol , November 12
Betti Mace, November 13
Spoken from the Heart, November 13
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 13
Emily Yager, November 13
By The Book, November 14
For Him and My Family, November 14
Splashes of Joy , November 14
Andrea Christenson, November 15
Just the Write Escape, November 16
Mary Hake, November 16
Remembrancy, November 17
Simple Harvest Reads, November 17 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
EmpowerMoms, November 17
Blessed & Bookish, November 18
Older & Smarter, November 18
Inklings and notions, November 18
amandainpa , November 19
Pause for Tales, November 19
Hallie Reads, November 20
Cathe Swanson, November 21
All 4 and About Books, November 21
Batya’s Bits, November 22
Livin’ Lit, November 22
Texas Book-aholic, November 22
janicesbookreviews, November 22

Monday, November 18, 2019

Review: Back to His Lordship by Jen Geigle Johnson

Falling in love with an Earl in 1815 was the easy part. The hard part? Leaving him behind.

Evaline Johansen, daughter of mega billionaire tycoon feels isolated and alone until she stumbles upon a portrait gallery and sees herself hanging on the wall. The trouble is, she’s never been there before and doesn’t know the artist.

Lord Oliver Hereford doesn’t know what to do with this new, outspoken, energetic woman who has taken the ton by surprise. She may be London’s new sweetheart, but will he succumb to his initial attraction?

When his confirmed bachelorhood is challenged by the one woman who can, Lord Hereford doesn’t know he’s headed for a much greater choice than whether or not to love.

Read this delightful time travel romance for a journey back into the Regency time period through a modern woman’s eyes.

Check out the other Twickenham Time Travel series to linger in this world.
Twickenham Full-Moon Ball Time Travel Romance by Donna K. Weaver
Twickenham Manor Time Travel Romance by Jo Noelle
Twickenham Time Travel Regency Romance by Laura Beers
Twickenham Regency Romance by Jen Geigle Johnson
Twickenham Time Travel by Johanna Evelyn
Twickenham True Love Time Travel Romance by Laura D. Bastian

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48265154-back-to-his-lordship 
Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/y6dvzd4g 
BookBub: https://tinyurl.com/y3p5vn77 

My Thoughts:

This was a delightful regency/modern time-travel romance. I love the idea of the Twickenham Estate, run by fae who protect the place where magic bleeds into the mortal realm- and allow the accidental travelers to move through a painting to a different time every full moon.

There is something to be said about the idea of finding a proper, English lord to fall in love with- and it seems that proper, English lords are rather fond of flirtatious, independent American women from the future, too. Watching our hero and heroine explore whether or not their attraction could survive the differences that not even the hero was aware of was fascinating. And his shock over her desire to kiss an earl being on her bucket list was the best thing ever.

Seeing everyone's mutual friendships and what they would do for mere acquaintances to help with culture shock was also touching. It makes one wonder- would you be willing to give up modern conveniences to have an old-fashioned happily ever after?

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.

Reviewed by Jes 

About the Author:

jen johnson headshot
An award winning author, including the GOLD in Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards, Jen Geigle Johnson discovered her passion for England while kayaking on the Thames near London as a young teenager. 

She once greeted an ancient turtle under the water by grabbing her fin. She knows all about the sound a water-ski makes on glassy water and how to fall down steep moguls with grace. During a study break date in college, she sat on top of a jeep's roll bars up in the mountains and fell in love. 

Now, she loves to share bits of history that might otherwise be forgotten. Whether in Regency England, the French Revolution, or Colonial America, her romance novels are much like life is supposed to be: full of adventure. 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Review: Once Upon A Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep

To Purchase
Three Delightful Christmas Tales from Beloved Storyteller Michelle Griep


Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan favorite Michelle Griep:

 12 Days a Bleakly Manor: Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

A Tale of Two Hearts: Pleasure seeker William Barlow needs a wife immediately to gain his uncle’s inheritance, and Mina Scott is just the girl to make him look respectable—too bad she turns him down. Ought he give her a second chance?

The Old Lace Shop: Recently widowed Bella White is finally freed from the domination of the overbearing men in her life, but when she enters into a business partnership with the handsome Edmund Archer, she begins to wonder if marriage is worth a second chance.

My Thoughts:

Once Upon a Dickens Christmas is a Christmas collection of novellas from author Michelle Griep. Two have previously been published on their own, but in this collection those two plus a third are wrapped up in a lovely book collection. Inside and out. 

Focusing on the newest, The Old Lace Shop, we have a couple who once upon a time were in love and had dreams of each other till duty and responsibility separated them. Both have lost their spouses and both have had unhappy marriages. Bella’s was abusive and we see her grow to be an independent woman and to break out of the shell that her father, her husband, and society put her into.

I enjoyed seeing these two grow towards each other again when Bella stubbornly refuses to give up her share in the lace company that Edmund is the minority owner of. And Edward has some secrets he would like to keep private and hidden from the rest of the world. I think this one is my favorite of the three.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.