Saturday, March 31, 2018

Weekend Briefing by Jes Drew

Weekend Briefing

Welcome back, agents, and happy Easter! Anyway, I called you here today to get cleared on an upcoming mission project. That is, the re-releasing of the Ninja and Hunter series with new covers.

It is always sad saying goodbye to old things, so agents have one week to purchase The Time I Saved the Day with its old cover, designed by Mission Head herself.

But it is also exciting to move on to new things, so agents have only one week to wait before The Time I Saved the Day appears with its new cover, designed by Y. Nikolova at Ammonia Covers.

The Time I Saved the Day

High school sophomore, Charissa O’Dell, has enough to do between homework, karate, and an upcoming school dance. However, when she is accidentally endowed with superhuman abilities, she adds one more thing to the list: crime fighting. Crime is a lot more complicated than her comics make it seem, and she finds herself relying more and more on the mysterious Villain Hunter, who somehow shares several of her superhuman powers. Even so, the more she infiltrates the world of crime, the more she attracts the attention of the criminals. Will she be able to survive her attempt to save the day?

Re-launching April 7 to all major online booksellers

Also coming soon…


Emily Rogers hoped her most dangerous days were behind her when she escaped from the Island. But soon she realizes that trying to figure out her relationship with Christopher Williams and dodging nosy reporters are the least of her worries. The evil they encountered on the Island is hunting them down.

Once again torn away from her parents and normal life, Emily and her cousins, along with Christopher and Oto and a handful of allies, must flee through Europe. To be caught would mean certain death, but how long can one keep ahead of the powers that be?

Coming April 16 to all major online booksellers

Join us next time, agents, for an interview with Agents Ninja, Villain Hunter, and O’Dell as we celebrate the relaunching of their debut book. Until them, don’t do anything that might get you brain-wiped. Ciao!

Spotlight and Giveaway: London in the Dark by Victoria Lynn: One Year Birthday Celebration

To Purchase

London, 1910

Budding Private Detective Cyril Arlington Hartwell has a conundrum. London is being ravaged by the largest run of thefts in recent history. His hunch that it is all tied together may put him and those he loves in more danger than he could have reckoned.

Olivia Larken Hartwell is just home from boarding school for the summer anticipating time with her adoring parents.She misses her absent brother, Cyril, hoping for the day he will finally come home. But tragedy strikes, causing upheaval for all concerned and changes her life in a way she never could have imagined.

Olivia, Cyril, and their friends must bring the hidden to light, seek to execute justice, and dispel the darkness that hovers over London… and their hearts. 


Click to Enter
More about Victoria Lynn

Friday, March 30, 2018

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: The Tempering Agent by Victoria Pitts Caine

About the Book

Book Title: The Tempering Agent
Author: Victoria Pitts Caine
Release Date: February 14, 2014
Dr. Priscilla Hackling finds herself thrown back into the murder investigation of her fiancé, Trey Whittington. While she was a suspect three years ago, she’s now working with the police to find the murderer, Egyptian artifact trafficker, Zarka El-Din. During a sting operation in Siwa, she and Agent Donnie Barnes are drawn to each other but Priscilla, overcome by personal ghosts from her past, decides a relationship isn’t possible. Priscilla realizes she’s the bait in the ruse and uncovers others involved with El-Din. Will she and Donnie reconcile and unravel the reason behind Trey’s death before El-Din kills her, too?
Click here to purchase your copy!
My Thoughts:

What a fun adventure The Tempering Agent was to go on. I have always been fascinated with Egypt and I like movies like Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, and the Mummy (the Brendan Fraser one) so I was excited to step into this story. Adventure and dangers abound it seems when searching for buried treasure. Dr.  Priscilla Hackling knows that first hand after her fiancé was killed three years previous over an important artifact. Now three years later she is in danger over the same piece and by the same man who supposedly killed him. Put into a rather dangerous position as bait, she relies on Agent Donnie Barnes to help her. Neither one was aware how much their hearts would get involved.

As I was reading, I at first felt that maybe their romance was rushed too quickly. However as I got deeper into the story and their inner thoughts, I felt with the brevity and uncertainty of life, especially since their lives were in danger and that they were in their 30’s, I changed my opinion. At times Donnie pushed too far then not far enough, so I did feel for Priscilla in this seemingly tug of war.

I was very interested in the local of Egypt and I liked how serious Priscilla took her job of uncovering ancient history. Knowing and learning about this world’s history I feel is very relevant to today and I could envision myself on the digs as well. One really unique aspect of this story is at the beginning of each chapter we have descriptions of a different precious gem, its uses, and possible meanings in history. Author Caine is a new author to me and I look forward to more of her work.

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

About the Author

Victoria Pitts Caine is a native Californian and lives in the central portion of the state. Her varied interests include genealogy and exotic gemstone collecting both of which she’s incorporated into her novels.
The author has received recognition in both fiction and nonfiction from: Enduring Romance top 10 picks for 2008, William Saroyan Writing Conference, Byline Magazine, Writer’s Journal Magazine, Holt International Children’s Services Magazine, and The Southern California Genealogical Society. Her first novel was published in 2007 followed by two more as well as novellas and short stories in anthologies.

Victoria is a former staff technician in air pollution control. She is the mother of two daughters. Now retired from the work force, Victoria and her husband enjoy travel, cooking, and are self-appointed “foodies”.
Guest post from Vicki Caine
Since childhood, I have been interested in genealogy and ancient Egypt. Two of my prior novels, Alvarado Gold and Cairo, let me follow my fantasies into those two areas. Donnie the hero in The Tempering Agent is also in the other two books, and it was his turn to find his own romance. When archaeologist Dr. Priscilla Hackling finds herself drawn back into the murder investigation of her fiancé and the missing breast plate of the high priest, Agent Donnie Barnes, is just the man to help her out, even if she doesn’t think so.
Traveling along with Priscilla and Donnie, I discovered some interesting facts about ancient Egypt, from the ruins in the Siwa Desert to the mystery of the Valley of the Kings. The genealogy factor in my novels is Donnie is loosely based on my cousin. Alvarado Gold tells the story of my family while Cairo and The Tempering Agent fueled my inquisitiveness about Egypt.

Blog Stops

Multifarious, March 23
Bigreadersite, March 25
A Greater Yes, March 26
Carpe Diem, March 29
Pause for Tales, March 30
Mary Hake, March 31
Simple Harvest Reads, March 31 (Guest post from Mindy)
Among the Reads, April 2
Pursuing Stacie, April 2


To celebrate her tour, Victoria is giving away
Grand prize: Murano type heart necklace with lampwork bracelet and $25.00 Amazon gift certificate
1st Place: Green and white lampwork pendant and earrings
2nd Place: Set of three lampwork earrings
3rd place: Set of three holiday themed earrings
4th place: One ten $10 Amazon gift card
5th place: One ten $10 Amazon gift card!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: The Heart's Appeal by Jennifer Delamere

About the Book

Book Title: The Heart’s Appeal
Author: Jennifer Delamere
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance
Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor–a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It’s only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.
Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women’s medical school. He’s supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he’s made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome?
Click here to purchase your copy!
My Thoughts:

What a welcome treat it was to step back into London with author Delamere. In her second London Beginnings, we are given the story of Julia Bernay, the second sister of three who grew up in George Mueller’s orphanage. I love the story of George Mueller and his orphans and how he had complete faith and trust in God to see to their every need. This is a unique series in which we get the stories of three such orphans who grew up there. What really struck me was the strong foundation of faith these characters have. And really, how could they not when they witnessed God’s provision every day in the orphanage.

Now out on her own, Julia is determined to become a doctor. At this time in history, it was difficult for a woman and this was made even more difficult with a law suit on the horizon against the very women’s school she needed to go to. This story started out with a bang and I enjoyed watching Julia and her confidence in her abilities to become a doctor and watching her grow into her role as a woman as well. The man she has become interested in, Michael, is really not a possibility for so many reasons, leastwise due to political and class distinctions. But the heart knows no such limitations and a lovely romance develops. Brimming with history and a strong faith message woven throughout, author Delamere gives us a historical tale vivid with the scandals and social issues of the day.

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

About the Book

Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.

Guest Post from Jennifer Delamere

Power couples?
Perhaps that’s not a concept that initially comes to mind when one thinks of Victorian England! And yet, they did exist. I love to include real people from history in my books, and in The Heart’s Appeal, Julia Bernay meets two inspiring real-life couples who will make a positive impact in her life.
In 1865, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first woman to qualify as a physician in Britain. She did this through a legal loophole, but soon the laws were changed to open the medical field to all women. In 1874, Dr. Anderson co-founded the London School of Medicine for Women. She remained involved in the school in various capacities for the rest of her life, even as she continued to run her own busy practice. In The Heart’s Appeal, she becomes a mentor for Julia, opening doors for her education and introducing Julia to people who can help her succeed in medical school.
Dr. Anderson’s husband, James Anderson (Jamie), was the joint-owner of a successful shipping line and also served on the boards of several organizations (including a children’s hospital). He was a handsome man, very much in love with his wife, and fervent in supporting her choice of a career.
In a letter he wrote to her while they were engaged, Jamie explained his vision for their future—how they could keep their professional and private lives separate, yet still give each other plenty of love and support:
“I think we had better lay it down once for all as a rule that I am under no circumstances to bring people ‘favorably under your notice’ or ‘exert any influence’ or anything of the sort. It will give people a wrong idea of you unless I take a decided line in this matter — and as I mean to be if I can a successful man of business, neither interfering with your pursuits nor being interfered with by you (but having our confidences on all feasible subjects at off times of the day and week and mutually advising and fortifying one another), I must let people know unmistakably not to come bothering me about your public affairs. Will you think about this, dearest?”
Who couldn’t love a man like that?
Jamie Anderson’s outlook on life comes into play later on in The Heart’s Appeal, when he provides advice and aid to Michael Stephenson, the book’s hero, at a critical time.
Julia also has an inspiring encounter with Dr. Anderson’s sister, Millicent Fawcett. Millicent was married to a Member of Parliament and actively supported her husband’s career in many ways, including acting as a scribe for him since he was blind. She is most remembered for her role in the women’s suffrage movement. In fact, a statue of her will be placed in Parliament Square in London this summer. She was not a militant suffragette, but rather campaigned for suffrage under the banner “Law-Abiding Suffragists.”
Both couples raised families, too, and their children’s successes in life show they were raised to have the same energetic and “can-do” attitudes that their parents had.
Julia initially believes she must remain single to achieve her life’s goals. But soon she finds her heart drawn to successful barrister Michael Stephenson, who admires Julia’s intelligence and ambition. She learns that love and the freedom to pursue her dreams do not have to be mutually exclusive. A meeting of minds to spark a true romance? Yes, please! I hope readers will agree this can be the most satisfying of all.

Blog Stops

A Greater Yes, March 23
Among the Reads, March 23
Splashes of Joy, March 23
Mary Hake, March 25
Remembrancy, March 25
Genesis 5020, March 26
Carpe Diem, March 27
Baker Kella, March 29
Simple Harvest Reads, March 29 (Guest post from Mindy)
Pause for Tales, March 30
Cafinated Reads, March 30
Pursuing Stacie, March 30
Book by Book, March 31
Bigreadersite, March 31
Vicky Sluiter, April 2
Live Love Read, April 4


To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a grand prize package of that includes All four March Bethany House historical releases (The Heart’s Appeal, plus A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason, A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears, In Places Hidden by Tracie Peterson) and a $20 Starbucks gift card!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Review: Beneath the Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn

To Purchase

Leigh Weston thought she’d left a troubled past behind when she moved back home to Carrington, North Carolina. But when dive team investigator Ryan Parker finds a body in the lake near her home, she fears the past hasn’t stayed where it belongs.

My Thoughts:

Beneath the Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn was a gripping tale. Cop suspense meets medical suspense in this enthralling caper. I loved all the characters (well, the good guys, anyway. The schmuck who left his wife is my least liked character, even after the murderer). Ryan and Leigh were so cute together, and so were Adam and Sabrina (even if they don't know it), and all the other people I look forward to reading in the rest of the series. I especially loved the relational dimension of everything, with the characters' entwined pasts, though; Leigh's brother was a bit annoying. I can understand telling other guys to stay away from your sister when you're both teenagers. But when you're married and she's thirty years old and you're still keeping up the don't-date-my-sister stuff, that's a bit extreme.

As for the suspense, it was really thrilling to think of anything normal in your life possibly being dangerous. Makes you realize all you take for granted in your day-to-day life. To think that someone you may know might be trying to kill you- chilling.

The mystery was also really good. You really have no idea who it is until they are finally revealed, though I did notice some patterns in the killer's 'MO' (a term this book taught me).

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book which I recommend to all fans of Christian suspense.

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

Reviewed by Jes

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Review and Author Q&A: Until We Find Home by Cathy Gohlke

To Purchase

For American Claire Stewart, joining the French Resistance sounded as romantic as the storylines she hopes will one day grace the novels she wants to write. But when she finds herself stranded on English shores, with five French Jewish children she smuggled across the channel before Nazis stormed Paris, reality feels more akin to fear.

With nowhere to go, Claire throws herself on the mercy of an estranged aunt, begging Lady Miranda Langford to take the children into her magnificent estate. Heavily weighted with grief of her own, Miranda reluctantly agrees . . . if Claire will stay to help. Though desperate to return to France and the man she loves, Claire has few options. But her tumultuous upbringing—spent in the refuge of novels with fictional friends—has ill-prepared her for the daily dramas of raising children, or for the way David Campbell, a fellow American boarder, challenges her notions of love. Nor could she foresee how the tentacles of war will invade their quiet haven, threatening all who have come to call Bluebell Wood home and risking the only family she’s ever known.

Set in England’s lush and storied Lake District in the early days of World War II, and featuring cameos from beloved literary icons Beatrix Potter and C. S. Lewis, Until We Find Home is an unforgettable portrait of life on the British home front, challenging us to remember that bravery and family come in many forms.

My Thoughts:

Until We Find Home was a story that quietly took me by surprise. The first few pages started out quite fast and intense, and then life slowed down for our characters and I must admit I felt antsy to move on in the story. I also did not care for the main character of Claire at first either. I felt she was clueless and selfish and a bit cruel in some of her dealings with the children. However, as I continued reading and let the story take me through its pages and I let me expectations go, I was quite astonished at how it seems that even I grew a bit with the characters as their story unfolded.

This is a story of family. Of opening your heart to those blessings that God has placed in your life. It may not be how you thought they would be like, but they are blessings just the same. This story also deals with letting go of our past hurts and even our dreams so that new and better dreams can take their places.

This story takes place during the years of World War 2 and deals with the refugee children that were sent away from their parents and homes for their own safety, especially Jewish children from other countries. We have British, American, Scottish, French, and German all trying to get along and eventually becoming a true bona fide family. All the characters grew on me and I enjoyed watching their journey from strangers to family. I also really liked all the literary works and their authors that were mentioned throughout. This was a thought-provoking and heartwarming tale.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author:

Three-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award–winning and bestselling author Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons, speaking of world and life events through the lens of history. She champions the battle against oppression, celebrating the freedom found only in Christ. Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children's and education ministries. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. Visit her website at and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks. 

Q&A with Cathy Gohlke

1. What inspired you to write Until We Find Home?

Alarmed by the plight of young refugees fleeing gangs in Mexico to cross United States borders, and heart heavy for victims and refugees worldwide who’ve suffered and continue to suffer under oppressive regimes, I looked for a moment in history to tell their tale as I wish it could play out. I didn’t have to look far. The Kindertransport of 1938–1940 brought 10,000 predominantly Jewish children to Great Britain for refuge from Nazi oppression. Accounts abound of men and women who rescued children through resistance, often at great cost to themselves—even life itself. But what happened next? What happened when those children entered countries of refuge? I wondered about the average person and what role they might have played once the children were out of immediate danger . . . and what role we might play in the world’s need today.   The UN Refugee Agency reported that in 2015, 51% of the world’s refugees were children. Jesus told us to care for widows and orphans. How do we do that from where we live, and as Christians, how do we reconcile Jesus’ directive with the world’s reality and our need for safe borders? The characters’ personalities were in inspired, in part, by people I know (the youngest character, Aimee, was inspired by my granddaughter). Some of the children’s antics and some of the older characters’ struggles were inspired by my own life stories, including Miranda’s journey with cancer. Bluebell Wood’s secret garden and many of the books and poems Claire loves in the story are based on books and poems I grew up knowing and loving—thanks especially to my dear grandmother, who read to me. This novel embodies a great many things important to me. It is, in some ways, my victory book through battling cancer.

2. The novel is set during WWII in England’s Lake District—not a location we typically think of in relation to the war. What is unique about this location and why did you choose to set your novel there?

England’s magnificent Lake District—breathtakingly beautiful and pristine—might seem an unlikely place to portray wartime life on the home front. In reality, the area demonstrates just what could happen to an unsuspecting English village—a location that seemed safe and far from the maddening war. Because of its apparent safety, the Sunderland Flying Boat Factory built an entire village—Calgarth—there to house its employees and manufacture its flying boats for the war effort. After the war, those empty buildings set amid the peaceful and beautiful Lake District became temporary homes for the Windermere Boys—over 300 children who had barely survived Nazi concentration camps in Europe and who were in desperate need of rest and restoration. Nearby Grizedale Hall became one of the first prisoner of war camps for German prisoners—particularly naval officers. In Keswick, a nondescript pencil factory, which had supplied the nation’s pencils for years, secretly created spy pencils during the war—pencils with hollow barrels in which tightly rolled maps were hidden to aid British aviators shot down over enemy territory. In each eraser was a compass.  The region, like other areas deemed “safe,” took in child evacuees from Britain and refugees from foreign lands. The Lake District was also the home of Beatrix Potter Heelis—worldrenowned children’s author and illustrator. Including the whimsy of snippets from her stories and her ironic character as an older woman during these years provided a contrast and relief from the fear of invasion that residents endured for years. These were just a few of the things that drew me to this portion of England’s “green and pleasant land.”

3. How do you expect the novel, especially the struggles of your characters, to resonate with your audience? Until We Find Home confronts fear and the lies we tell ourselves about our need to become worthy in order to be loved and valued. 

Freedom from our own demons, forgiveness received and given, and redemption through Christ are available to all who believe.   Claire learns that repentance and belief opens a personal relationship with Christ (not simply a “legal transaction”) leading to the abundant life He died to give us. Miranda learns that dying with grace and dignity is not as important as learning to live in God’s grace. These are things I’ve had to learn in life, and I hope these characters’ journeys spill into the hearts of readers. I also hope readers will ponder this: Most of us live quiet lives, rarely making decisions that change the world. But what if we could change the life of one person by providing a home and family for them? How would we cope with the everydayness, not to mention the prejudice, public opinion, injustice, necessary sacrifice, and potential crises? Would we do it? Will we? There are no easy answers, and the answers are not the same for everyone. But we have been made for hard things. Will we stand up or sit down?   I also hope that the writings of C. S. Lewis will be brought to the attention of readers who may not know him or who may want to revisit his books. His was a voice of reason in a terrifying time—a voice of integrity and purpose that is needed in our day.

4. Can you tell us about the historical research that went into writing this novel? Did you learn anything new that surprised you?

 Knowing I would set this story during WWII in England’s Lake District, in 2014 I traveled with my friend and writing colleague Carrie Turansky to England and Scotland, where we both did research for our book projects. For me, we traveled to Windermere and the Lake District to research Beatrix Potter and her renowned Hill Top Farm, explore the poetry and world of Wordsworth, and learn just what happened to refugees and evacuees in the district during WWII.   As a result I learned more about the Sunderland Flying Boat Factory and its village of Calgarth, camps for German prisoners of war including Grizedale Hall, wartime homes for British evacuees and foreign refugees, the Keswick Pencil Museum and the famous spy pencil, the postwar arrival of the Windermere Boys, and so much more.   I ran my fingers over the desk where Wordsworth had carved his name as a boy, visited his burial ground, and fell in love with that poet’s fields of golden daffodils, the heady perfume of lilacs, the glory of woodlands spread with sapphire carpets of bluebells, and newborn lambs tottering across the fells, butting tiny heads against their mothers’ sides in search of lunch. We ferried across Lake Windermere, ate Grasmere’s famous gingerbread, and took tea with jam and bread. Nowhere is the grass greener or the air purer than the Lake District in springtime. Beatrix Potter Heelis’s Hill Top Farm, with its rooms and their contents reminiscent of her books, was a real treat. During WWII, Hill Top Farm housed British evacuees.   Our research trip culminated when we joined a ten-day tour of Scotland’s “Highlands, Islands, and Gardens,” guided by Liz Curtis Higgs. Forty ladies followed in Liz’s wake as she inspired us through Bible study each morning, then guided us through magnificent Scotland by day. As a result of that trip, I could not help but include in my story a good Scottish doctor, as well as memories of the terrible feud between the MacDonalds and Campbells. In regard to that feud, we visited Glencoe and the site of that terrible massacre. That was the travel portion of my research. Internet investigations and the reading of books, old and new, continued for months. Included in those books were wartime diaries, especially those compiled from Britain’s Mass Observation Project; day-by-day histories of the war waged against Britain; journals and letters from Beatrix Potter Heelis; journals, letters, and biographies of C. S. Lewis; the books and notes of C. S. Lewis; the history of Glencoe; biographies and histories of Sylvia Beach and details of Shakespeare and Company, the American bookstore in Paris; studies of Europe’s child refugees housed in Britain; and so much more. Perhaps the most fun was found in rereading childhood classics.

5. Stories of wartime like Until We Find Home highlight the difficulty of living in uncertainty and dealing with the unexpected on a daily basis. How does faith play into this aspect of the novel and into the novel more generally? 

Each day is a gift, not a guarantee. Each day offers us a new beginning to remain focused on what we can do, to stay in the moment with our eyes on the Giver of Life, rather than to cower, paralyzed because we don’t know how we’ll deal with tomorrow. This is faith that Claire learns—faith we all learn—to live in the present and surrender the future, and our worry for the future, to God. Knowing that not a sparrow falls to the ground without our Father’s knowledge—and that we are more valuable than many sparrows—is a reminder that “God’s got this.” It doesn’t mean that bad things won’t happen—as Claire learned and Miranda knew. Jesus assured us that there will be trouble in this world. But the good news is that we don’t go it alone—He is with us, and He has overcome the world. Fear, as Claire learned, is a pinpoint in time, but faith is long-term—eternity driven—and sees the bigger picture.