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

Monday, December 21, 2020

Review: The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano

 

About:

A forgotten letter. A secret love. A vast estate.
Can one determined woman put the pieces together?

Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1865 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.

Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings--mostly negative ones--about the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa's search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words. 

Laced with mysteries large and small, this romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found is sure to delight.

My Thoughts:

What havoc could a simple love note cause? Well this particular one has turned the Crestwicke Manor on it's head and every one is touched by the powerful words that someone has written to their beloved.

This was a deep and compelling story that was very poetic in its telling. Cutting to the heart of the matter is the question, what is love? And more importantly what is true love? Is it between a husband and wife, or a mother and her children? What author Politano does is show all aspects of true love, even the most important one- the one with our heavenly Father.

From the beautiful cover to the beautiful story on the inside, this is my favorite read by author Politano. As I have mentioned before this story is about love and I also really liked how this story has a bit of a mystery due to the unknown author of the letter. I liked the human aspect of this story and how everyone was touched by those powerful words. It made them stop and ponder life and opened many eyes to how precious living is. I also felt it had a touch of a gothic feel as well, in the sense that there was great sadness in Crestwicke Manor. 

If you are looking for an authentic original read with a great story and a spiritual thread, The Love Note might just be your next read.

I was provided with 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:

Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears and A Rumored Fortune. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone's story. She lives with her husband and their two kids in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan. You can find her at www.jdpstories.com.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Rocky Mountain Revenge by Rhonda Starnes

 



About the Book



Book: Rocky Mountain Revenge

Author: Rhonda Starnes

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Release Date: July, 2020

To survive her deadly homecoming, she’ll need to trust a man from her past…

Temporarily home to help at her family’s vet clinic, Grace Porter has no intentions of staying—but someone’s determined she won’t live long enough to leave. With both Grace and her sister in the crosshairs, her ex-boyfriend, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, must protect them. But can the single dad lawman uncover the truth about why a killer’s out for vengeance before time runs out?

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Veterinarian Grace Porter is coming home to help her younger sister Chloe, as she gets her life on a different path after the finalization of her divorce. Little does Grace know that the first night she is back she steps into the middle of a brutal attack on her sister. And she is also in the enemy's crosshairs.

Grace pretty much needs around the clock protection and her ex-boyfriend, Evan, is also the police chief. Convenient? He knows a little something about living through a very traumatic experience and he is bound and determined that Grace and her sister will be protected. He also has a soft spot for her even though it has been more than a decade since she broke his heart.

But who is targeting Grace and her sister and why? Well, we as the reader get to go on this very suspenseful investigation that had a quite a few surprises thrown in. There are the usual suspects, but some are not. There is certainly a lot of hair raising twists and turns in this fast and thrilling read which kept me up past my bedtime. Throw in a little boy and animals, and the stakes are even higher. And to give us something to look forward to- Grace and Evan may just be falling in love again.

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


Rhonda Starnes is a middle school language arts teacher who has dreamed of being a published author since she was in seventh grade. She lives in North Alabama with her husband, who she lovingly refers to as Mountain Man. They enjoy traveling and spending time with their children and grandchildren. Rhonda writes romantic suspense with rugged heroes and feisty heroines.

 

More from Rhonda

Probably the number one question any author receives is “How did you come up with the idea for the story?”

When the Love Inspired editors announced, in February 2019, they were hosting The Great Love Inspired Author Search, I knew I had to enter. After all I’d spent the last six years targeting the Harlequin Love Inspired lines. This would be my fourth time entering one of their pitch contests, my third pitching to Love Inspired Suspense. The only problem was I didn’t have anything new to enter. They’d already seen all of my manuscripts.

I follow the Love Inspired editors on social media, so I had read several posts on themes and settings they’d like to see. One editor had even mentioned Colorado as a setting she’d like to see in a book. This started my wheels turning because my husband and I lived in Colorado for a few months when we were first married. We loved our time there and have often talked about going back one day. I started researching parts of the state that we didn’t get to visit when we lived there, and then I created the fictional small town of Blackberry Falls.

I’d had an idea in the back of my head for while about a story that involved a heroine who wasn’t in law enforcement but who witnessed a crime while on video chat. That’s how I came up with Grace Porter, a veterinarian who had run away from her small-town roots. And what’s a homecoming story without a reunion romance? Enter, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, the man Grace had left behind. Once I had the opening scene, main character, and setting in place, everything else just kind of evolved from there.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 9

Through the Fire Blogs, December 10

Genesis 5020, December 10

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 11

Simple Harvest Reads, December 11 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For the Love of Literature, December 12

Lighthouse Academy, December 13

Connie’s History Classroom, December 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 14

Reviewingbooksplusmore, December 14

Inklings and notions, December 15

Betti Mace, December 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 16

deb’s Book Review, December 16

Texas Book-aholic, December 17

lakesidelivingsite, December 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 18

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 18

For Him and My Family, December 19

Pause for Tales , December 19

Artistic Nobody, December 20 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

SusanLovesBooks, December 20

Splashes of Joy, December 21

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 22

Daysong Reflections, December 22

 

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Rhonda is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Rocky Mountain Revenge!!

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/104a4/rocky-mountain-revenge-celebration-tour-giveaway

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: The Gold Digger by Liz Tolsma

 



About the  Book


Book:  The Gold Digger

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre:  Christian/Historical/Suspense

Release Date:  December, 2020

Men Are Disappearing in LaPorte, Indiana

Book 9 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Fiction Based on Strange, But True, History

In 1907, shy but loyal Ingrid Storset travels from Norway to support her grieving sister, Belle Gunness, who owns a farm in LaPorte, Indiana. Well-to-do widow Belle, who has lost two husbands and several children, provides Ingrid with enough money to start a small business. But Ingrid is confused by the string of men Belle claims to be interviewing for her next husband. When Nils Lindherud comes to town looking for his missing brother, who said he was going to marry Belle, Ingrid has a sinking feeling her sister is up to no good.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

The Gold Digger is another addition to the True Colors series, about true crimes, and I have read some very disturbing ones and this one is near the top. Here we have a woman, Belle Gunness who keeps collecting men for husbands and children like some people collect baseball cards. Except the men are nowhere to be found and the children sometimes go missing too.

In this story, her sister Ingrid believes the best about her sister and is rather shocked when a man comes to town looking for his missing brother. Ingrid at first is rather naïve when it comes to her sister and lets Belle explain things away or Ingrid will explain it away in her own mind. But Ingrid grows in her character, and she and Nils Lindherud are the bright spots in this disturbing historical account. 

What makes this one so creepy is the secrets that still abound about this old crime and the questions that still have never been answered. I will not say anything more, but be sure to read the author's notes at the end on this disturbing crime.

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


Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.

 

More from Liz

This story was so much fun to write, and the research was so interesting. It has to rank up there with one of my favorite books to write. That’s what makes my job the best around.

There are a great number of characters in The Gold Digger who are historical. Many of the places I mention are also historical. I had the pleasure of spending a day in LaPorte, Indiana, to research the book and take some pictures they had in the museum there. Research is one of my favorite aspects to writing. I could have spent much, much longer losing myself in the museum and in the archives. Good thing my cousin, who I was staying with, called me to let me know that it was getting dark and she had dinner ready, otherwise who knows how long I would have been there. Probably until they kicked me out!

One thing that the people of LaPorte would want you to know is that they really are nice people and that their town is a nice town. Lots of good people have been born there or have lived there over the years, including Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, William Mayo, who founded Mayo Clinic, and William Scholl, who found Dr. Scholl’s. They kept emphasizing to me while I was there what a great place LaPorte is. Judging by their friendliness and helpfulness, I would have to agree.

To help you better visualize the characters and setting, here are some photographs of the real people and places that appear in The Gold Digger.

Enjoy the book!

Liz



Blog Stops

Connie’s History Classroom, December 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 17

Genesis 5020, December 17

Pause for Tales, December 17

Artistic Nobody, December 18 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Sodbuster Living, December 18

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 18

Older & Smarter?, December 19

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 19

Blossoms and Blessings, December 19

The Write Escape, December 19

For the Love of Literature, December 20

deb’s Book Review, December 20

Blogging With Carol, December 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 21

lakesidelivingsite, December 21

Betti Mace, December 21

Inklings and notions, December 21

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 22

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 22

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 23

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 23

CarpeDiem, December 23

Hallie Reads, December 23

Remembrancy, December 24

Christian Bookaholic, December 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 24

Writing from the Heart Land, December 25

Splashes of Joy, December 25

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 25

Through the Fire Blogs, December 26

Rebecca Tews, December 26

For Him and My Family, December 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 27

Bigreadersite, December 27

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 27

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 28

Mary Hake, December 28

Texas Book-aholic, December 29

Godly Book Reviews, December 29

Daysong Reflections, December 29

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, December 30

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, December 30

 

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of The Gold Digger!!

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/104fc/the-gold-digger-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Covert Amish Christmas by Mary Alford

 



About the Book


Book: Covert Amish Christmas

Author: Mary Alford

Genre: Inspirational Amish Suspense, Christmas

Fleeing to Amish country might be the only way to survive Christmas…

Hiding in Amish country, former CIA agent Victoria Kauffman’s determined to find evidence to catch the corrupt agents who killed her partner. But when her Christmas refuge is discovered, the sole person she can trust is Amish widower Aaron Shetler. With ruthless—and dangerously powerful—enemies after them, Victoria must use all her training to make sure they live through the holidays.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

This story was pretty much non-stop action from the first page. Throwing together a spy and an Amish man at Christmas time made for quite a read. This certainly was not your usual Amish story.

Victoria is an ex CIA agent who is still reeling from the death of her team. Not only that but she believes the very organization she used to work for is gunning for her. Well, someone certainly is and they prove that they will stop at nothing, not even for the Amish to get to her and her evidence. Victoria had a great plan especially since she was Amish in her young life. But somehow her every move is known.

Aaron is an Amish man who meets Victoria in a time when she really needs help. And he has first hand knowledge of how these men would treat her. As a man, Aaron feels a responsibility to protect Victoria along with his mother and son.

If you are looking for an out of the box Amish story that is a thriller and takes place during Christmas time, than look no further than this read. This was a quick and fast paced edge of your seat story. I did enjoy it, no matter how implausible it seemed, just for it's uniqueness and great fiction escape. 

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


USA Today Bestselling Author, Mary Alford, loves giving her readers the un-expected, whether it be in a rugged mountain setting or a peaceful Amish community.

Her titles have appeared on the USA Today Bestselling List, Publisher’s Weekly Bestselling List, and have been finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier award of excellence, The Beverly, The Maggie, and The Selah Awards.

Mary lives in Texas with her husband, two very spoiled cats, and a sweet rescue dog name Cody. Mary is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Face-book and Twitter or any social platforms listed at www.maryalford.net.

 

More from Mary

When you think about the Amish, you don’t usually associate their simple ways with spies and covert happenings, but that’s the beauty of the imagination. Anything is possible.

As I sat down to pen Covert Amish Christmas, I wanted to create a story that would bring to life the differences between the two worlds and I wanted it to have a Christmas setting to back-drop the story.

Covert Amish Christmas takes place in the breathtaking world of the Amish of Montana where mountains rise to the sky, and snowy woods create the perfect winter wonderland. Christmas is in the air. And so is danger…

I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas books so much because they allow me to return to my favorite time of the year no matter what day is written on the calendar.

And as Christmas quickly approaches, it means it’s time to bake all those delicious holiday treats we all love so much.

One of my favorites is Peppermint Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting. They are both delicious to eat and fun to give away.

So, I hope you enjoy them, and Covert Amish Christmas, and I pray this year, the Spirit of the season will remain with you all year long.

Peppermint Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

 



Ingredients:

◾2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting work surface

◾2 tsp cornstarch

◾1 1/2 tsp baking powder

◾1/2 tsp salt

◾1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

◾1/4 cup all vegetable shortening (unflavored), at room temperature

◾1 cup granulated sugar

◾1 large egg

◾1 large egg white

◾2 tsp vanilla extract

◾1/2 tsp peppermint extract

◾Crushed candy canes, for topping

 

Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting

◾4 oz cream cheese, softened

◾4 Tbsp unsalted butter

◾1/2 tsp peppermint extract

◾2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

 

Directions:

Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, then whisk it just a few times, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, on medium speed, whip together butter, shortening and sugar until very pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in egg and mix until combine, then add egg white, vanilla and peppermint extract and mix until combine. With mixer running, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combine. Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375 during the last 10 minutes of refrigeration.

 

Scoop dough out about 3 Tbsp at a time and roll into a ball. Place dough ball on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle top lightly with flour, then using something flat and smooth (such as the storage container lid), press and evenly flatten dough to 1/2″ thick. Transfer flattened dough to a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet and repeat process with remaining dough (you’ll have to use 2 cookie sheets). Bake in preheated oven 9 – 11 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely then frost with Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

 

For the frosting:

 

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese and butter until pale and fluffy. Add peppermint extract and powdered sugar and mix until pale and fluffy.

 

Blessings always,

 

Mary Alford

Blog Stops

KarenSueHadley, December 5

lakesidelivingsite, December 5

For Him and My Family, December 6

CarpeDiem, December 6

She Lives To Read, December 7

deb’s Book Review, December 7

Inklings and notions, December 8

Genesis 5020, December 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 9

Lighthouse Academy Blog, December 9 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridway)

Betti Mace, December 10

The Avid Reader, December 10

Texas Book-aholic, December 11

Blogging With Carol, December 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 12

Mary Hake, December 12

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 13

Hallie Reads, December 13

Older & Smarter?, December 14

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

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 15

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 16

Blossoms and Blessings, December 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 17

Pause for Tales, December 17

Splashes of Joy, December 18

Simple Harvest Reads, December 18 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Mary is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed copy of Covert Amish Christmas along with a gift basket containing Spa Gift Basket – Bath and Body Set with Vanilla Fragrance by Lovestee (Bath Gift Basket Includes Shower Gel, Body Lotion, Hand Lotion, Bath Salt, Eva Sponge and a Bath Puff)!!

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/10459/covert-amish-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Forgiven Again by Gina Holder

 



About the Book


Book: Forgiven Again

Author: Gina Holder

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: November 3, 2020

She’s running for governor. He’s a pastor.

Will they risk their lives to keep a secret?

Annie Staten, now known as Kathleen Phillips, has dreamed of pursuing a political career and following in her father’s footsteps. But Richard was a hated man during his tenure as governor and now his enemies will stop at nothing to prevent his daughter from winning the election.

Ryan Whitestone has loved Annie since high school, but his heart is broken by the woman she has become. When the daughter she gave up for adoption comes back into her life, can he help her heal from her pain and remind her of who she used to be?

Will Kathleen be able to forgive herself, put the past behind her, and find love again?

The continuing story of No Greater Love.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Forgiven Again is the second in the Shadows Over Whitman series and seamlessly begins a new chapter and a very good continuation of this series. We get more of Kathleen  Phillips story, why she gave up her little girl and what she went through in her marriage. She is also running for governor and with all the political business, someone is trying to make her stop.

Ryan has just found out he is a father and he is still in love with his Annie (Kathleen). I found his love for her steadfast and sacrificial. He never gave up on her even when she was as cold as ice. Even when she revealed some truths to him that cut him to the core. He was a genuine honest to goodness good guy. He loved his daughter and her mother.

Kathleen was a hard woman. She really let the bitterness take root and abused the people who were not responsible, mainly Paige. She was certainly a warning for others when you think you have all the time in the world to make things right. And you don't.

I have been enjoying this series, of a broken family and people who come together with genuine forgiveness and love. I am very interested in the next in the series.

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


Gina Holder dreamed of being a writer from her early teen years. She lives in Colorado with her husband and daughter. When she’s not homeschooling or working on her next novel, she enjoys reading, watching movies, cooking, singing, and playing the piano. Her indie published debut novel was released in 2017.

 

More from Gina

Forgiven Again: Extended Epilogue

The rag was warm and wet in her hand as Kylie wiped down the café countertop. Her shoes pinched her feet, and she was looking forward to kicking them off and plopping down on the couch with a movie and a leftover cinnamon roll.

As Kylie stretched across the flat surface, her hair fell into her face. She dropped onto her heels, then brushed the strand of hair out of her eyes. She turned to shake the cloth over the trashcan when the doorbell jingled behind her. Had she forgotten to switch off the open sign?

“I’m sorry. We’re closed,” she called over her shoulder. But instead of hearing the bell again, coins clunked down on her clean counter. She turned to face the late customer and cleared her throat. “Maybe you didn’t hear me. I said, we’re closed.”

The man about her own age nodded. His blond hair was knotted in dreadlocks and looked like it hadn’t been washed in months. His skin was tanned, and his clothes were well-worn. “I heard you. I just could really use a bottle of water.” His voice crackled, raspy and dry.

Compassion smote Kylie’s heart. It wouldn’t hurt to sell this guy one bottle of water before she sent him on his way. She turned to the fridge and opened the sticky door. The rush of cold air sent chills up her arms. “You look like you’ve been on the road awhile. Just passing through or hoping to stick around?”

“Hoping to stay awhile. I’m actually looking for someone.”

Kylie grabbed a cold water, then sat it on the counter. “That’ll be a dollar twenty-five.”

The man slid the coins toward her. Kylie took five quarters and dropped them into the cash register drawer. “Who are you looking for? Maybe I know them. This is a pretty small town.”

He twisted off the lid and poured the water down his throat. His Adam’s apple bobbed as he drank. When the bottle was empty, he sighed and wiped his arm across his lips. “Thank you. I appreciate you staying open for me.”

“Can I get you anything else?”

“No, thanks.”

Did he turn down her offer because he truly didn’t want anything else or he just couldn’t afford anything else? She glanced over at the boxed cinnamon roll waiting for her to take home. She grabbed it and slid in across the counter. “Hey. This was left over from this morning. I was just going to toss it out. You’re welcome to it.”

The young man’s eyes widened. His stomach audibly growled. His neck reddened. “Thank you. That is truly kind of you.” He stretched out his hand. “Christopher.”

Kylie smiled and took his hand. “Kylie. Nice to meet you.”

An odd look passed over the stranger’s face. “Kylie? I’m looking for a Kylie.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Really? I’m the only one in town that I know of.”

“Kylie Phillips?”

“Yes. That’s me.”

“My name is Christopher Phillips. I’m your brother.”

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 3

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 3

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 5

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 7

Texas Book-aholic, December 8

Artistic Nobody, December 9 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 10

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 10

For Him and My Family, December 11

Older & Smarter?, December 12

Inklings and notions, December 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 13

Betti Mace, December 14

deb’s Book Review, December 14

CarpeDiem, December 15

Pause for Tales, December 16

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Gina is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon Gift card and a copy of Books 1 and 2 of the Shadows Over Whitman series, No Greater Love and Forgiven Again!!

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/10455/forgiven-again-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, December 14, 2020

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Ghosted at the Altar by Chautona Havig

 



About the Book


Book: Ghosted at the Altar

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian fiction, Christmas romance

Release Date: September, 2020

He’s goin’ to the chapel and he’s gonna get… ghosted?

Guys don’t always “get into” the whole wedding thing, but there’s one thing Mitchell Bogaert has been anticipating for the last two years–that first glimpse of Brenna coming to meet him at the altar. So, when the back doors open to reveal a missing bride, he’s shocked, disappointed, hurt, angry–pick your negative emotion. It probably fits.

Brenna Kinsey didn’t know she’d bolt at the last minute, but now she’s trying to figure out what happened and how to prevent it happening again before Mitchell decides she’s not worth the emotional trauma–or the town drama!

Lauren Kinsey, on the other hand, is more than just the kid-sister bridesmaid. She’s a self-proclaimed sleuth and determined to ferret out the problem, arrive at a solution, and get things back on track before broken hearts shatter into more pieces than Humpty Dumpty.

Time’s running out, only the bride and groom don’t realize it. How will Lauren fix this mess before the “clock strikes midnight” and there isn’t a ghost of a chance to save the marriage that never got a chance to be?

 

Click here to get your copy!


My Thoughts:

What would make a bride run away on her wedding day? That is what both Mitchell and his future sister-in-law Lauren are attempting to find out. Especially since the love of Mitchell's life, Brenna, did just that. Where do they go from there?

Brenna is certainly dealing with some issues I am not even sure she thought would be an issue. She can't even believe she ran away from Mitchell on her wedding day.

What I liked about this story was the kindness and mercy that Mitchell showed to Brenna. He did not take the path of lashing out, he only sought to understand and help Brenna. In those choices, even though deep down he was mighty frustrated (understandably so), made him quite a romantic hero.

Throw in the help of Lauren a 14 year old lover of books and wanna be sleuth, and you have a team that is going to get to the bottom of Brenna's doubts and woo her back to the altar. A fun novella for this Christmas season.

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


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

How Did One Silly Story Become a Favorite Series?

Dickens and his revival of the “ghost story” at Christmas inspired the kick-off book in a series I’d planned almost twenty years ago. The little village of New Cheltenham first appeared in None So Blind and Thirty Days Hath…. However, the touristy village with its obsession with all things English was actually conceived almost twenty years ago!

That first book… still isn’t in print. I’ve reimagined it, and it will be coming out soon. However, Dickens… well, that guy has a way of getting under your skin, and what better place for a Dickens Ghost Storytelling Contest than in a village that looks ripped from England’s countryside?

The Ghosts of New Cheltenham was born. I actually thought it would be a great way for me to force myself to finish that book I’d started so long ago. But then Amanda Tru sent me a message that said, “We’re going to do one about wedding dresses,” and Something Borrowed, Someone Blue became the second book instead. I wanted more of Mitchell, Brenna, and the loveable Lauren, so I concocted a story that would give me just that.

Is it any wonder, then, when Amanda messaged again with our next collection theme of jilted brides or grooms, I immediately thought, “Oh, dear! What if Mitchell got ghosted at the altar?” That is the fastest title I’ve ever come up with!

Because one more Christmas story in New Cheltenham wasn’t quite enough, I set a third one there this year! The Bells of New Cheltenham. In that one, Mitchell is done with this ghost storytelling stuff and starts a contest of his own!

While you can read these books as stand alones (both mine and the ones within the collections), mine will be a richer reading experience if they are read in the following order

The Ghosts of New Cheltenham (read the companion short story free on Kindle Unlimited HERE)

Something Borrowed, Someone Blue (in The Wedding Dress Yes CrossRoads Collection)

Ghosted at the Altar (in the Five Gold Rings CrossRoads Collection)

The Bells of New Cheltenham. (in the Melodies of Christmas Love Collection)

(note, the last two really can be read in any order.)

How did my silly idea for a plasmaphobic guy who had to tell a ghost story to inherit spark one of my favorite series? All things considered, how could he not?

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, December 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 8

CarpeDiem, December 8

Inklings and notions, December 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 10

For Him and My Family, December 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 11

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 12

deb’s Book Review, December 12

Artistic Nobody, December 13 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Holly Jo Morris, December 13

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 14

Pause for Tales, December 14

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 15

Blogging With Carol, December 15

Lots of Helpers, December 16

Captive Dreams Window, December 16

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 17

Vicky Sluiter, December 17

lakesidelivingsite, December 18

Rachael’s Inkwell, December 18

She Lives To Read, December 19

Mary Hake, December 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 20

 

Giveaway



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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1045d/ghosted-at-the-altar-celebration-tour-giveaway

My Thoughts on The Way Back by Heidi Chiavaroli

  About: Young love means everything . . . until it leaves you with nothing. The summer before her senior year of high school, Laney Jacobs...