Monday, July 29, 2019

Review: The King's Mercy by Lori Benton

To Purchase

When captured rebel Scotsman Alex MacKinnon is granted the king's mercy--exile to the Colony of North Carolina--he's indentured to Englishman Edmund Carey as a blacksmith. Against his will Alex is drawn into the struggles of Carey's slaves--and those of his stepdaughter, Joanna Carey. 

A mistress with a servant's heart, Joanna is expected to wed her father's overseer, Phineas Reeves, but finds herself drawn instead to the new blacksmith. As their unlikely relationship deepens, successive tragedies strike the Careys. When blame falls unfairly upon Alex he flees to the distant mountains where he encounters Reverend Pauling, itinerate preacher and friend of the Careys, now a prisoner of the Cherokees. 

Haunted by his abandoning of Joanna, Alex tries to settle into life with the Cherokees, until circumstances thwart yet another attempt to forge his freedom and he's faced with the choice that's long hounded him: continue down his rebellious path or embrace the faith of a man like Pauling, whose freedom in Christ no man can steal. But the price of such mercy is total surrender, and perhaps Alex's very life.

My Thoughts:

The King’s Mercy was an epic story taking us from the battlefields of Scotland, an overseas trip, to a plantation in North Carolina. The author states that this is a retelling of the Biblical story of the runaway slave Onesimus whom the apostle Paul sends back to his master and now Christian brother Philemon. That is a small letter compared to this book as the author certainly fills in the story that she has placed in the setting of colonial America.

Alex MacKinnon is a Jacobite and fighting for the losing side. He receives the king’s mercy and is exiled and transported to North Carolina. Things do not go according to plan and he becomes an indentured servant for a seven year length. After Alex accepts his new life, for now, he begins to realize that not all is right on the plantation that is run by a father with the help of his step-daughter, Joanna.

There is an air of animosity and way too many mishaps and accidents that are happening that is threatening to tear this home apart. Joanna who has stepped up into the role of mistress of the plantation has her own ideas of how the place should be run much to the dismay of her step-father and the overseer who seeks her hand in marriage.

This story has a very evil villain and his crimes are gastly and his history is very murky. I really liked how this story took shape and drew me in. I cared not only for the main characters but all of the secondary characters as well as they as a community were all being affected by this evil.

Looking forward to what author Benton will pen next.

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.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: All In by L.K. Simonds

About the Book

Book: All In  
Author: L.K. Simonds  
Genre: Women’s Fiction  
Release date: May 7, 2019

Cami Taylor: a blackjack dealer, a bestselling author, and a fraud. Cami’s boyfriend, Joel, loves her in spite of her flaws. He wants to marry her, buy a house on Long Island, and raise a family–a life that’s a million miles from Cami’s idea of happiness. Her therapist suggests compromise and trust, but Cami bolts like a deer. She breaks off the relationship and launches on a new quest for happiness, not knowing that a nasty surprise waits around the corner. What follows is a fight to the death. Who will be the one left standing?

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts:

All In was definitely not the book that I thought I was going to be reading. This is another case where the back cover only gives us a rough idea about what we might be in for. First, I did not like this story. It was raw and an uncomfortable read for me. However that does not mean that it is not an important message.

Our lives are guided by rules and boundaries and no matter what this current culture try's to tell us, these rules and boundaries are for our own good. They help us to live life in a much more peaceful manner and when we step beyond these boundaries and break the rules, consequences inevitably happen. We have gifts in this life that God has given the human race and unfortunately we as a people have corrupted probably all of them and have twisted them and defiled them into something so unrecognizable and want others to feel that misery as well.

This story I would say is a cautionary tale. One that the topics should be discussed with young people, ones that we should guard our hearts against, and finally we should be in prayer for the unbelievers. There is only one that can fill the God sized hole in our lives and trying to fill that hole with anyone and anything else will only lead to heartbreak.

While reading I did have to skim parts, not because the author was graphic, just because it was like watching a train wreck. This story does deal with mature topics and their is some language. But aside from all that, even though this book was not a happily ever after story here in ways it was a hopeful ever after for eternity.

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

L. K. Simonds is a Fort Worth local. She has worked as a waitress, KFC hostess, telephone marketer, assembly-line worker, nanny, hospital lab technician, and air traffic controller. She’s an instrument-rated pilot and an alumna of Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas. All In is her first novel. 

More from L.K. Simonds

How I came to write ALL IN. Back in the 1990s, I was vacationing in NYC with my buddies. We got out the phonebook—as we always did while traveling—to see how many people with our last names were listed. In that thick Manhattan phonebook was one listing for a person with the same name as my friend’s. Two initials and a surname, as a single woman might’ve listed her number back in those days. The address was only a few blocks from our Midtown hotel, and we joked about calling to see if she was a long-lost cousin, who might take us to her favorite shops and restaurants. 

We didn’t call, but the “what if?” stuck with me. What if you did call? What if the person you called was in crisis? Or about to face a crisis? What if that serendipitous phone call resulted in a friendship that became a lifeline? That notion was the inception of ALL IN. ALL IN is my first offering as a novelist—my best writing to date. I hope you enjoy it! 

Blog Stops


To celebrate her tour, L.K. Simonds is giving away a $25 Visa gift card and a hardback copy of All In!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: No Greater Love by Gina Holder

About the Book

Book: No Greater Love  
Author: Gina Holder  
Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense  
Release date: April 30, 2019  

He said he’d never risk leaving a widow. She said she’d never love a man in uniform.

Paige McDonald collects antique literature and works at the largest bookstore in Portland, Oregon. When her grandfather, a firefighter, was killed, she vowed never to fall in love with a first responder. An old Bible leads to an unexpected discovery and disrupts everything she knows about herself, her family, and God. Her desire to know the truth sends her to the town of Whitman directly into the radar of Patrol Officer Hamilton Bryant. 

After the loss of his best friend and fellow officer, Hamilton vowed never to marry. He won’t risk leaving a widow. Instead, he reserves his passion for serving his family and the town he’s sworn to protect. When a series of robberies and threats against the mayor correspond with Paige’s sudden appearance in Whitman, their paths intersect.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel by a new to me author. I was not sure what I would be getting myself into, the back cover gives a very brief synopsis, and the story is so much more than that. There is plenty of secrets in this novel and the little town of Whitman is the centerpiece.

Without giving too much away, Paige McDonald finds an old Bible that changes her life forever, here on earth and in eternity, and she decides to uncover these secrets while trying to find her place in a world where everything she believed ends up not being true. I liked Paige. She has spunk and try's very hard to help people and her love of old books and wanting to open her own bookstore was very relatable and admirable. However, she gets stuck in some very bad situations that are no fault of her own and her past seems to want to keep coming back and haunt her. She also does not want to get involved with the very handsome and available police officer Hamilton Bryant.

Hamilton was a good guy and really loved his family and town. He is not too sure about newcomer Paige especially when a lot of crime starts happening the day she arrives into town. Coincidence? What is she hiding and not willing to share? And why is he attracted to this stranger?

This was a very well done small town sweet romance and mystery and it is the first in a series that I plan to continue.

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

About the Author

Gina Holder completed the Long Ridge Writer’s Group “Breaking into Print” course and graduated from Faith Bible Institute. In August 2017, she published her first novel, Whither Shall I Go. She is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads. Her Website and Blog is found at She lives in Colorado with her husband and daughter. When she’s not working on her next novel, she enjoys reading, watching movies, singing, and playing the piano and organ. 

More from Gina

Fun Facts about No Greater Love (Don’t worry, spoilers weren’t invited to this party.)
  1. I love the smell of coffee, but I don’t like the taste. I asked my coffee-loving friends on social media for their favorite coffee drinks to use in the story.
  2. Tyler, Tony, and Timothy Thorne were modeled after three brothers I saw playing on a beach in Hurgadah, Egypt.
  3. R. Electronics was based on an actual store my husband and I saw in a mall.
  4. When Paige and Hamilton meet, he is looking for a runaway goat. This happened to my husband and me. We were out admiring large mansions, when a police officer pulled up behind us. We thought we were in trouble for loitering. Instead, he asked if we’d seen a goat running around the neighborhood.
  5. Hamilton’s deceased best friend is named after my childhood friend, William Donnelly. Will was a U.S. Marine killed in battle in Afghanistan. Like the character in the story, he got married only two months before his death and was killed on Thanksgiving Day. No Greater Love is dedicated in his memory.
  6. The character Jessie Faye is named after an elderly woman my husband knew while living in Fossil, Oregon.
  7. The diners in the food court scene were written from personal observations at a food court in Colorado Springs.
  8. While Whitman is a fictional town, it is modeled after the real town of Enterprise, Oregon, at the foot of the Wallowa Mountains.
  9. Several locations in the book are real establishments in Enterprise, including Heavenly’s Restaurant, the Espresso and Car Wash, El Bajios, and the Bowlby stone courthouse.
  10. There are several beloved pets in No Greater Love, including a parrot named Gerald, a Persian cat named Delilah, and a labradoodle named Bruce. All the pets have names except for Aunt Hattie’s Dalmatians.
  11. Paige McDonald works at Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon when the story opens. Powell’s lays claim to the status of the “largest independent used and new bookstore in the world.”
  12. Portland is the fifth city in America with the most coffee shops per capita.
  13. The statistics for the Whitman school—100% graduation rate and a 1:13 student-teacher ratio is not fictional. They are the actual statistics of the Enterprise High School.
  14. Behind the cash registers at Powell’s, there is a fake dictionary definition—“Smell bound: held as if under the spell by the scent of books.” This is the inspiration behind the opening scene of No Greater Love. The word, Bibliosmia, means the smell of old books.

Blog Stops

The Becca Files, July 17
Moments, July 22
Vicky Sluiter, July 24
Pause for Tales, July 25
Mary Hake, July 28


To celebrate her tour, Gina is giving away a grand prize of a signed paperback copy of No Greater Love and Whither Shall I Go plus 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.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Review: Yours Truly, Thomas by Rachel Fordham

To Purchase


A young woman working at the Dead Letter Office in 1883 opens a series of heartbreaking love letters. She's determined to find their rightful owner and make things right. But a trip to Azure Springs, Iowa, may provide love and healing for more than just the letter writer.

My Thoughts:

Yours Truly, Thomas was a delightful, heartfelt, and heartwarming read of two people who fall in love in quite an unconventional way.

I have never heard of the Dead Letter Office- where undeliverable mail went, but that is exactly where Penny works when she comes across undeliverable mail from a man by the name of Thomas who writes to the woman he so clearly and dearly loves, Clara. As Penny continues to read these letters, she is bound and determined to do what she can to bring these two people together and give them the happily ever ending she so wishes she may have one day.

Penny is a young woman who I wanted to cry with especially after her wonderful and lovely prologue. However life has a way of throwing curveballs at us and Penny has lost someone she needed the most. Unbeknownst to her, but this is her happily ever story.

Thomas is lost and hurting as he decides to leave everything familiar to him and head west. He writes these letters to Clara baring his soul in hopes of finding some type of healing in his life. He ends up at Azure Springs a place that surprises him by its beauty and the people who welcome him and make him feel at home. He finally feels at home.

It was nice to go back and visit Azure Springs again and see that this town’s people were still open to helping each other and strangers. There is a lot of unwrapping in this story of Thomas and Penny and I enjoyed going on this journey with them. This was a lovely story about a lost art in a time of our so called technological advances.

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.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Review, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Midnight on the River Grey by Abigail Wilson

About the Book

Book: Midnight on the River Grey
Author: Abigail Wilson
Genre: Historical Romance/Mystery
Release date: July 2, 2019

Abigail Wilson returns to Regency England with another tale of murder, mystery, and romance.

After her elder brother’s mysterious death, Rebecca Hunter vows to expose the man she believes responsible-Mr. Lewis Browning-known by the locals as the Midnight Devil and by Rebecca as her new guardian. He alone was on the bridge that fateful night and openly admits striking her brother with his horse, but he claims he remembers little else.

Summoned to his reclusive country estate to await her London season, Rebecca plans her own secret investigation. Yet, Lewis Browning is not as she once imagined, and his motivation is horribly unclear. Recurrent nightmares and Rebecca’s restless feelings are further complicated by the shadow of her mother’s prior descent into madness and whether she too will follow the same heartbreaking path.

Even as midnight rides, strange injuries, and further murders lead back to Lewis, Rebecca can’t ignore the subtle turn of her heart. Has she developed feelings for the man she swore to see hanged? And moreover, can she trust him with her uncertain future?

Click here to grab your copy.

My Thoughts:

I very much enjoyed author Wilson's debut novel and I was quite excited to be able to read Midnight on the River Grey. This was a dark, gothic novel  that was very hard to put down due to the many secrets, a few murder mysteries, a heroin who may or may not be going mad, and a gentleman who keeps going on midnight rides.

Rebecca Hunter has already lost her parents, and now her brother has died under mysterious circumstances. Her guardian, the very mysterious Lewis Browning, has decided to move her and her aunt to his home, Greybourne Hall. That also happens to be near where her brother died. 

Rebecca was a resilient character that would not let life knock her down. She has experienced much pain already and she has the backbone and tenacity to turn the tides of her life around. And she certainly does not need a husband either. She is quite determined to find out what happened to her brother while she still can, before her greatest fear comes upon her.

Lewis Browning is very mysterious and he admits freely he is keeping things from Rebecca. For her own good. Lewis was a character I certainly wanted to find out more about. What makes him go out every night? What was his relationship like with Rebecca's late brother? Why do the townspeople hate him?

This novel kept me turning the pages for all these answers and more. So if you like atmospheric reads of an old estate, secretive relatives, mysterious yet dashing benefactors who have way too many secrets, pick this read up.

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

Abigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A Registered Nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the National Parks, attending her daughter’s gymnastic meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA’s Fab Five contest and in 2016, ACFW’s First Impressions contest as well as placing as a 2017 finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband and children. Connect with Abigail at; Instagram: acwilsonbooks; Facebook: ACWilsonbooks; Twitter: @acwilsonbooks.  

An excerpt from Midnight on the River Grey


My heartbeat turned sluggish as an ache swelled in the back of my throat. This man—the person responsible for my brother’s death—expected me to live with him? In his house? Madness.

“And if we refuse?” 

“I’m afraid there is little choice in the matter at this point. The arrangements are already complete.”

Mr. Browning narrowed his blue eyes, scrutinizing me, no doubt, as the numbing shock of his declaration faded to resignation across my face. He sighed. “I do realize Greybourne Hall might hold unfortunate associations for you—”   

“Unfortunate?” My voice came out a bit louder than I’d expected. “Is that what you choose to call it?” 

He gave a sideways glance at Aunt Jo then returned to me, a pained look hovering about his eyes. His voice, however, remained firm. “Forgive me if I startled you. I hadn’t expected such a violent reaction to what I assumed was the logical next step. Perhaps I should make myself a bit clearer.” He gave a curt sigh. “I only intend for you to stay at Greybourne Hall till some place more suitable can be arranged. Unfortunately, there are few options at present.” 

Ice enveloped my heart. I had no wish to travel to, let alone live at that dreadful house, not even for a single night. In his letters, Jacob had described the rambling structure as a gray pile of stones fit for vampires, or worse. I could only image Mr. Browning, this dark-headed devil before me, at home in such a place. 

Blog Stops

Emily Yager, July 12

Stories By Gina, July 12

Simple Harvest Reads, July 14 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Wishful Endings, July 15

Mary Hake, July 17

Genesis 5020, July 18

Bigreadersite, July 18

Remembrancy, July 20

Pause for Tales, July 21

Hallie Reads, July 23


To celebrate her tour, Abigail is giving away a grand prize of a copy of her book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.