Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Review: Beyond the Tides by Liz Johnson

 

About:

When Meg Whitaker's father decides to sell the family's lobster fishing business to her high school nemesis, she sets out to prove she should take it over instead. Though she's never had any interest in running the small fleet--or even getting on a boat due to her persistent seasickness--she can't stand to see Oliver Ross in charge. Not when he ruined her dreams for a science scholarship and an Ivy League education ten years ago.

Oliver isn't proud of what he did back then. Angry and broken by his father walking out on his family, he lashed out at Meg--an innocent bystander. But owning a respected fishing fleet on Prince Edward Island is the opportunity of a lifetime, as well as a way to provide for his mother, and he's not about to walk away just because Meg wants him to.

Meg's father has the perfect solution: Oliver and Meg will work the business together, and at the end of the season, he'll decide who gets it. Along the way, they may discover that their stories are more similar than they thought . . . and their dreams aren't what they expected.

My Thoughts:

Welcome back to Prince Edward Island where Meg and Oliver would consider themselves enemies of one another. Actually Meg is the one that pushes the whole enemy situation with Oliver. Due to an incident that happened at the science fair when they were both in high school, which ended up costing Meg some scholarships and awards. She still has not been able to forgive him.

Now her father has thrown a wrench into things. He wants to sell his lobster business to Oliver who has been working faithfully for him some years. Meg who never has had any interest in the business thinks this is a very bad idea. Meg also has some serious motion sickness which was getting mine going as I read this book, so how is she going to run the boats?

Her dad who is dealing with Meg's mother's mysterious illness, makes a deal with Oliver and Meg that they must work together and after that time he will then make his decision. But as Meg and Oliver work together, their relationship changes from enemy, to friend, to lover. But can Oliver believe he is good enough for Meg? And can Meg really trust and forgive Oliver?

This was a fun and swoony romance with some deeper topics like illness and abandonment. I enjoyed coming back to PEI for a visit and this is my new favorite author Johnson story.

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 Johnson is the author of more than a dozen novels, including A Sparkle of SilverA Glitter of GoldThe Red Door InnWhere Two Hearts Meet, and On Love's Gentle Shore, as well as a New York Times bestselling novella and a handful of short stories. She works in marketing and makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona.

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Always a Wedding Planner by R.L. Ashly, Leeann Betts, Toni Shiloh, and Davalynn Spencer

 



About the Books


Book: Always a Wedding Planner

Author: RL Ashly, Leeann Betts, Toni Shiloh, Davalynn Spencer

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release date: June 1, 2021

This collection features four stories of wedding planners who are partners at Weddings by Design, located in Loveland, Colorado. Each novella will be about 30,000 words.

Can four contemporary wedding planners break the jinx of singledom, or are they destined to witness the weddings of others?

Business partners Felicity Edwards, Kiki Bell, Cassie Blackthorn, and another who has yet to be named are best of friends in Loveland, Colorado—a romantic wedding destination for many couples—and they work together to make every bride’s special day the most important of their lives.

But each of the women hides a secret from the others, one that threatens their business, their friendship, and their happiness.

Can they work out their differences, build on their strengths, and trust each other—and God—with their futures?

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts:

This was a fun novella set of four friends who run Weddings by Design and they put their all into the business to make sure wedding dreams of others are met. Yet all of them are missing that happily ever after in their lives.

From meet cutes to ending up finding out a crush is still single, to all the secrets these friends were keeping from one another, the thread of the story woven throughout kept a good pace.

This was a cute romance that just goes to show you can never give up on love and where it might pop up and surprise you the most. And as an extra bonus, all these authors were new to me.

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 Authors



Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. Together she and Donna have published more than 30 novellas and full-length novels.

 

 

 





R.L. ASHLY is a master seamstress with a Master of Arts degree in Literature (May, 2019). S, who is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Literature.  A mother and grandmother, she is active in her local writing community, never says never to a home improvement task, and strives to one day write the Great American Novel.

RL Ashly writes on the run. She enjoys a good mystery with a complicated plot. Iced tea is her beverage of choice. Hemmed In is her first traditionally published novel.

 


DAVALYNN SPENCER is a Publisher’s Weekly and ECPA bestselling author with novellas in three Barbour collections, The 12 Brides of Christmas, The 12 Brides of Summer, and The Cowboy’s Bride. She won the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction and is the author of ten additional titles, both contemporary and historical. She blogs monthly for Christian Authors Network, Heroes, Heroines & History, contributes to the American Christian Fiction blog, and writes her own weekly inspirational blog. She appears on an area radio broadcast, Write Time Radio, and teaches writing workshops when not wrangling Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley.

 



Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

 

 

 

Interview with the Authors

How did you become a writer?

Toni Shiloh: I took some creative writing classes while earning my bachelor’s degree and I caught the bug!

 

RL Ashly: In fifth grade, I was standing in the hallway of my elementary school and deep in conversation with my classmates. We were discussing writing and I told them that someday I would be a writer. That was my initial decision, but it would take a while and a bit of education before I could pursue a writing career.

 

Leeann Betts: I’m that kid in class who, when the teacher said, “Write a one-page story”, I wrote two or three pages, edge of paper to edge of paper. I loved telling stories. My parents called them ‘fibs’. In more recent years, I wondered if I had at least one book inside me that needed outing. So I sat down and tried. Messed up. Tried again. Finally, with the support of my husband who supported me and cheered me on, I finished the book, then went on to write many more.

 

Davalynn Spencer: I wrote my first story as an assignment from my sixth-grade teacher. That was all it took.

 

What is the most important thing God has taught you through your writing?

 

TS: That I can’t do this alone. I’ve been blessed with great critique partners, beta readers, readers overall. And of course a lot of other people who have helped in various ways.

 

RA: Persistence

 

LB: That He is the One who does the writing – all I do is transcribe the story. Before I write, I pray that I would do my part faithfully.

 

DS: My purpose is to proclaim Him and His faithfulness. Regardless of what happens in a character’s life or my own.

 

Writing has a lot of rejection. How do you deal with it?

 

TS: Chocolate! Lol, honestly I usually whine to my bff and pray. And maybe eat a piece of chocolate or two.

 

RA: Rejection or a closed door? The older I get, the more I understand a ‘no’ as not the right opportunity for me. A ‘no’ can certainly protect us from a frustrating situation that we might not understand at the time. That being said, rejection is hard. A strategy I find helpful is to let myself be discouraged, angry, or frustrated for a limited time period. All emotions need to be processed before I go to bed. Tomorrow is a new day, new adventures. I am a human and need to process like everyone else. But I have found setting time limits is healthy for me.

 

LB: Being a writer is much like being a follower of Jesus—there are people who love the story, and there are those who just don’t get it. In both cases, I just remind myself that they aren’t rejecting me—they are rejecting the Living Savior.

 

DS: Rejection can deteriorate into dejection if we allow it. Remembering that Christ too was rejected helps ease the sting. But so does remembering to keep going. Keep doing. Keep writing. Quitting is the enemy of obedience.

 

Who is your support for writing? Family? Writing group?

 

TS: My husband definitely supports me and then I have my circle of writing friends. They’ve been along for the majority of my writing career and have helped me become better with each book.

 

RA: Definitely my critique group. Leeann Betts is the leader, and the entire group are great cheerleaders.

 

LB: My husband is a huge support, as are my critique group, my writing friends, and my readers. I love hearing from readers, and always respond.

 

DS: I have many author friends and I enjoy spending time with them sharing commons struggles and victories.

 

Who are some of your favorite authors (either secular or Christian)?

 

TS: There are too many to name! I love all books by Sarah Monzon, Jaycee Weaver, Andrea Boyd, Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, Ronie Kendig, Lynn Blackburn, etc.

 

RA: My biggest addiction is reading. I read whatever I can get my hands on including the cereal box. If I cannot read, then I will listen to an audio book. It is impossible to pick a favorite author. Everything from Socrates and Plato to Jane Austen and every contemporary writer on the planet right now.

 

LB: Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

 

DS: C.S. Lewis, Tamera Alexander, Laura Frantz, Louis L’Amour.

 

Do you have a favorite routine for writing?

 

TS: I put on my playlist that I create for each book then write. 🙂

 

RA: Rather than climb the walls in my house, I sit in parking lots and write my novels. Open space parks are nice too. Now that things are returning to more of a normal situation, it is easier for me to write at home. I keep my tablet and notepad in a bag for easy access. I haul that thing around everywhere I go. Then if a great idea pops into my head, I can jot it down on paper or electronically.

I do not really have a routine. Between work and chasing grandbabies, I need to write on the go. This way of writing would drive most people nuts. But it is the only way I can get things done. I catch a little bit of time on my lunch break, and before and after work.

 

LB: No routine, apart from praying to faithfully transcribe. I wish I could have something, like music, or candles. But I don’t.

 

DS: I sit down at my computer with a cup of coffee and jump right in. During the colder months of the year, I sit by the fire in my rocker and write on my laptop. With  coffee close by.

 

Tell us about your most recent book. What inspired you?

 

TS: I actually just kind of brainstormed and let the character develop in my mind. 🙂

 

RA: Hemmed In is a story about a seamstress and a firefighter. As a professional seamstress, my world revolves around sewing.  It was a natural choice to make the lead character a seamstress. My late uncles and aunts were the inspiration behind the story. My uncles stepped up to the plate, married my aunties, and became fathers to my cousins. They treated them as their own. The word ‘step’ did not refer to people. The only ‘step’ in their vocabularies were the ones outside leading to the front door. That left a lasting impression upon me.

 

LB: Worst-Kept Secret, my contribution to this collection, came as the result of a brainstorming session with my late writing friend, Darlene Franklin. We were coming up with ideas for collections. We started with “Always a Bridesmaid” then thought, “nah, that’s been done to death”. So “Always a Wedding Planner” came out, contemporary, which was a change, since the other collections were all historical. To create the heroine, I made her a lot like me. Introverted, afraid to disappoint, wanting to please.

 

DS: A Change of Scenery, Book 4 in the Canon City Chronicles series, focuses on the third generation of the Hutton family in 1911. Canon City was an early Hollywood, hosting movie makers of the silver screen. When I was a reporter for the newspaper in Canon City, I often visited the local History Center and Museum for stories from the past. Discovering so much intriguing movie history from this area led me to create characters around actual events and bring them to life in my Western-romance series.

 

Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

 

TS: I hope you enjoy Always a Wedding Planner!

 

 RA: I have a cat named Messy. She is better than any alarm clock. Woe to the human who does not get out of bed on time and put food in the dish.

 

LB: I am a Canadian by birth, American by choice (naturalized), and a patriot to my core.

 

DS: Nope, that’s it.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 3

Inklings and notions, September 4

By The Book, September 4

For Him and My Family, September 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 5

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 6

Kayem Reads, September 6

Texas Book-aholic, September 7

lakesidelivingsite, September 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 8

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 9

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 10

She Lives To Read, September 10

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 11

deb’s Book Review, September 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 12

Labor Not in Vain, September 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 13

Splashes of Joy, September 14

Through the Fire Blogs, September 14

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 15

Pause for Tales, September 15

Simple Harvest Reads, September 16 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway



To celebrate their tour, R.L., Toni, Leann and Davalynn are giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a print copy of the book (US only)!!

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/116b7/always-a-wedding-planner-celebration-tour-giveaway


Monday, September 13, 2021

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Borrowed Lives by Carol McClain

 

 


About the Book


Book:  Borrowed Lives

Author: Carol McClain

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Release date: March 2021

 

God Only Lends Us Those We Love for a Season

 

Distraught from recent tragedy, Meredith Jaynes takes pity on a young girl who steals from her. Meredith discovers “Bean” lives in a hovel mothering her two younger sisters. The three appear to have been abandoned. With no other homes available, Social Services will separate the siblings. To keep them together, Meredith agrees to foster them on a temporary basis.

Balancing life as a soap maker raising goats in rural Tennessee proved difficult enough before the siblings came into her care. Without Bean’s help, she’d never be able to nurture these children warped by drugs and neglect—let alone manage her goats that possess the talents of Houdini. Harder still is keeping her eccentric family at bay.

Social worker Parker Snow struggles to overcome the breakup with his fiancée. Burdened by his inability to find stable homes for so many children who need love, he believes placing the abandoned girls with Meredith Jaynes is the right decision. Though his world doesn’t promise tomorrow, he hopes Meredith’s does.

But she knows she’s too broken.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Meredith Jaynes has had a life that I certainly would have wanted to run away from. Far away. But through her pain and suffering she stays at the same home she shared with her late husband and daughter and raises her goats. That is until one day her life is changed once again, not through tragedy for her, but through the helpless plight of three little girls. Girls who have been abandoned and most likely abused. Bean who is the oldest and eight, Roxie who is five, and little Crystal who seems to be around three and has obvious physical limitations.

These girls storm into Meredith's life and in ways make things more difficult and in other ways make life sweeter. She knows being their foster mom is only temporary and wonders if she will be able to take the heartbreak. Meredith has a wonderful back up system in her family. They were a little bit quirky but they opened their arms to these little girls, no questions asked.

Then there is Parker Snow the social worker who is also trying to get over his heartbreak. His mother keeps setting him up with dates and this new one seems to be the perfect woman for him. So why is he having so many doubts? I know I was really rooting for him and Meredith to find a connection.

This was sweet inspirational story that at times was hard to read. There was some gold nuggets of truth that waited to be uncovered in this story and I believe the author did a good job showing the beauty of life and second chances.

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


Carol McClain is the award-winning author of four novels dealing with real people facing real problems. She is a consummate encourager, and no matter what your faith might look like, you will find compassion, humor and wisdom in her complexly layered, but ultimately readable work.

Aside from writing, she’s a skilled stained-glass artist, an avid hiker and photographer. She lives in East Tennessee. Her most recent interests are her two baby goats Peanut & Buttercup. Like all babies, they love sitting on our laps and being bottle fed.

 

More from Carol

People.

Their lives are messy, destructive, full of mistakes.

Mostly, their lives are beautiful.

For years, I worked with recovering addicts. When I first heard their tales, shock and disbelief overwhelmed me. I couldn’t understand the pain inflicted upon them by addicted parents or what they did in their own lives.

Without Christ, no redemption could be found in their misery. Doesn’t sound like a fun read, huh? Many recover from their addictive patterns. In the interim, the foster care system serves their families wonderfully.

All these factors, coupled with the theme that lives are only leant to us for a season create a story of hope, humor and redemption.

Aside from seeing faith in Jesus change people’s lives—there are always goats.

I love goats, but my husband hesitated in including them in our lives. Seeing as I live the lives of my characters (I am daft), I gave my protagonist in Borrowed Lives Nubian goats. I raised them in my younger years, and by including them in my story, I could have goats vicariously.

Couple the above (redemption from addiction, foster care, and my obsession for goats) with my love of East Tennessee where the people are kind and friendly, and the scenery unparalleled, Borrowed Lives was born.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 1

Texas Book-aholic, September 2

Spoken from the Heart, September 2

Inklings and notions, September 3

For Him and My Family, September 4

deb’s Book Review, September 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 7

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 8

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 9

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 10

Rebecca Tews, September 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 11

Batya’s Bits, September 12

Pause for Tales, September 13

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 14

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away the grand prize of 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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/116b2/borrowed-lives-celebration-tour-giveaway


Saturday, September 11, 2021

Review and Giveaway: Falling for Her Convenient Groom by Jennifer Faye

 


On Tour with Prism Book Tours
 
Wedding Bells at Lake Como

The perfect destination for love!

Italy’s picturesque Lake Como is the perfect destination for love, except the path to happy-ever-after isn’t always smooth...

Cousins Gianna and Carla aren’t looking for romance. Gianna’s nursing a broken heart and Carla’s wed to the family business. Until charismatic brothers Dario and Franco arrive on Lake Como’s stunning shores...and sweep them off their feet!

Find out what happens when a case of mistaken identity leads to a fake engagement in Bound by a Ring and a Secret 
 
And discover Carla and Franco’s story in Falling for Her Convenient Groom


Falling for Her Convenient Groom
(Wedding Bells at Lake Como #2)
By Jennifer Faye
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 159 Pages
August 24, 2021 by Harlequin Romance

Will their business deal…
…give them more than they bargained for?
 
To appease her overbearing father, Carla told him that she’s engaged. She doesn’t, however, have a fiancé…yet! That’s where Franco comes in—if they marry temporarily, she’ll ensure that both of their companies will mutually benefit. Since neither wants a relationship, saying “I do” is strictly for business. But with their undeniable chemistry, can they keep it that way?

(Affiliate links included.)

My Thoughts:

My very favorite trope is the marriage of convenience one. A lot of times I do not find ones that are set in contemporary times, but this one is and it is a favorite.

Sometimes you will do most anything for the family that you love, and that is how Carla finds herself engaged and married to a man that she does not love. To save her father's health. Oh she likes Franko, he is handsome and smart and is goal oriented like her and they do get along well. 

Franko never wanted to marry, coming from a broken family himself. But to save his Grandfather's business, Carla's crazy idea makes sense. It just needs to end after six months with no strings attached.

However, when their passion for work turns into passion for each other, no matter what they do, hearts are going to be broken. Plus their families are tangled up in a long time feud.

I really liked this story and it is my favorite Faye story. I knew Franko and Carla were meant for each other and their story as they find out themselves and fall truly in love is heartwarming.

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.



Go to Jennifer's Contact Page HERE and order your bookmark(s)!

Other Books in the Series

Bound by a Ring and a Secret
(Wedding Bells at Lake Como #1)
By Jennifer Faye
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 175 Pages
May 25, 2021 by Harlequin Romance

A mistaken identity…
…a proposal that changes everything!

 
Photographer Gianna is done with men. Retreating to her villa on the shore of Lake Como, Gianna is stunned to find gorgeous Dario renting her house! When Dario is mistaken for her long-gone fiancé, they realize a fake engagement could solve problems for them both. Pretending to be in love should be easy, but what happens when very real feelings start to grow?

(Affiliate links included.)

About the Author


Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming contemporary romances with rugged cowboys, sexy billionaires and enchanting royalty. Internationally published with books translated into nine languages. She is a two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award, the CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award, named a TOP PICK author, and been nominated for numerous other awards.


Tour Schedule


Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of BOUND BY A RING & A SECRET, winner's choice of print (US only) or ebook

Ends September 16, 2021



Grab Our Button!





Thursday, September 9, 2021

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Choir Loft Murder by Karen Randau

 



About the Book


Book:  Choir Loft Murder

Author: Karen Randau

Genre: Mystery Suspense

Release date: August 24, 2021

In book 3 of the Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas, a member of the church choir dies during rehearsal, and the apparent murder weapon—a blowgun—implicates the man Frankie loves. She’s shocked to discover Quint was a champion at the sport before he accepted the senior pastor role at the church. And he’s refusing to talk about his fate.

Her investigation reveals that Quint isn’t the only person with the skill to hit a woman’s carotid artery while she’s singing a high note, and Frankie is convinced someone is framing Quint. The closer she gets to proving it, the more she faces a stalker’s deadly wrath.

Can Frankie save herself and the man she loves from becoming the next victims?

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Well, this little novella was quite an intense read. This is the third book in the series and the first one that I have read, but that did not diminish this reading experience for me. And for this being a shorter novel, it packed a quite a storytelling punch.

Frankie Shep's life has not been easy and she is just trying to move on from all she has faced (and they were whoppers) and just lose herself in her and her fiancé's romance and wedding planning. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen and Frankie and Quint have a new major hurdle they must now overcome.

This was quite a read and boy did I feel for Frankie. She has had a rough life and a couple of times she asks why this keeps happening to her. I chuckled a bit and thought to myself, it is your author's fault. Anyway, this was a pretty good read and my first by author Randau and I will definitely be looking into her other novels. 

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


Karen Randau authors fast-paced mystery, thriller, and suspense books, including the Frankie Shep Suspense Novella series, Rim Country Mysteries, and Deadly Reception (a stand-alone novella as one of seven of the Tawnee Mountain Mysteries box set written by best-selling and award-winning authors). Her Rim Country Mystery novel, Deadly Payload, was a finalist in the Book Excellent Awards and the Beverly Hills Book Awards. She’s a lifelong writer, both for fun and as a professional in marketing communications. She holds a degree in journalism/public relations. A native of the southwestern U.S., Karen lives with her husband in Arizona.

 

More from Karen

Since Choir Loft Murder is the third book in the Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas series, I wanted to show how Frankie has grown through the series—from broken woman who is angry at God for allowing the deaths of family into a strong and happy woman who relies on God to help her through an unusually tough life.

She has shown her grit in all three novels in the series, and this one shows how she has grown through the adversity life has thrown at her.

In writing Choir Loft Murder, I wanted to show that ordinary people usually are stronger and more resilient than they know.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 27

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 28

Blogging With Carol, August 28

Texas Book-aholic, August 29

Inklings and notions, August 30

For Him and My Family, August 31

deb’s Book Review, September 1

Girls in White Dresses, September 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 2

Betti Mace, September 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 4

Simple Harvest Reads, September 4 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 6

Mary Hake, September 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 8

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 9

Pause for Tales, September 9

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback 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/1161c/choir-loft-murder-celebration-tour-giveaway


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Skullduggery by Caryl McAdoo

 



About the Book


Book:  Skullduggery

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery

Release date: July 15, 2021

A friend loveth at all times, but a brother is for adversity.

In a decrepit shack on a piece of river bottom property Henry Buckmeyer bought, he finds a human skull with a hatchet embedded in it. Much to Charity Lowell’s delight, her husband  Morgan agrees to co-author a mystery based on the find with dime novelist, May Meriwether, Henty’s wife! After digging into county records and interviewing  locals, plenty of facts are discovered and blanks filled in. A story takes shape, but is the novelists’ narrative what truly happened? It’s hard for Charity not to get in the big middle of the investigation. After two decades, will they be able to learn who the skull belonged to and who left the hatchet behind?

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

This was quite a tale within a tale. Charity wants so much for her husband to write another story, this time with author friend May Merriwether. Charity believes the best subject would be about the body they found with a hatchet buried in it's head on May and her husband Henry's property. Charity is full ideas and after coaxing her reluctant husband to this idea, they find a story of a love triangle that was more than they were expecting.

We get Sunny Day and the Geiger brothers' story of twisted love, whiskey, and very poor decisions. Ones that will affect them for the rest of their lives. I liked how the author told their story within the main story. Our four authors and investigators worked together to piece together this story that no one remembered or wanted to, not only get to the truth, but also to write an intriguing story.

This was very well told mystery and how it was unraveled and I liked getting to read about Henry and May from an even earlier series. I also found the title unique and looked up what the word meant. Very apropos.

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


Award-winning author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and her best-selling stories—fifty-nine published—delight Christian readers around the world. The prolific writer also enjoys singing the new songs the Lord gives her—listen at YouTube. Sharing four children and twenty-one grandsugars (three greats), Caryl and Ron (her high-school-sweetheart-husband of fifty-plus years) live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas. The McAdoos wait expectantly for God to open the next door.

 

More from Caryl

At the end of DUPLICITY At The Lowell House, book one in my new Cross Timbers Mystery series, Henry Buckmeyer travels from Red River County to Dallas to serve as a character witness in the big murder trial.

At a supper with friends in that book, he mentions he and Levi Baylor found a human skull with an ax still embedded in it inside a falling-down shack on some timberland property they bought together.

 

What starts out as an off-handed comment—merely mentioned for interesting conversation—turns into a great way to unite four of my all-time favorite characters together again for SKULLDUGGERY In The Sulphur River Bottoms!

 

Charity Lowell (Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga, book four and DUPLICITY) pulls out all the stops to persuade her husband, salivating to investigate and discover whose skull it is and who left the hatchet behind!

 

She’s got to talk him into first, solving the mystery and second, writing another novel about it! If only she can convince him to collaborate with May Meriwether, Henry’s famous dime novelist wife, things will be perfect! Just imagine!

 

Poor Morgan. Strong as he is, he cannot tell her no. He never could. So, with an invitation from the Buckmeyers, as much as he hates leaving home and his own bed, he agrees.

My favorite part is having Henry alive again! SKULLDUGGERY is set in 1866, so he’s still got almost twenty years to live!

 

—It so hurt my heart in COVERING LOVE (book eight in the “Texas Romance Family Saga”) when the patriarch passes to his reward in 1885. I wept while writing his demise then couldn’t get through reading those chapters at our writers’ workshop without crying—

So being able to resurrect his character in the Cross Timbers Mystery DUPLICITY made me so happy! SKULLDUGGERY became the perfect vehicle for me to be joyful again! Plus, I adore joining the characters from both my family sagas into a new story!

I was right up in Morgan’s face with Charity trying to talk him into going to Clarksville and staying a few weeks to investigate and write that book! Yes, he agreed, but he tells her in no uncertain terms, that’s the last one!

Ah ha ha ha ha! Yeah, right, Mister Lowell!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 29

Mary Hake, August 29

Texas Book-aholic, August 30

Inklings and notions, August 31

For Him and My Family, September 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 2

Connie’s History Classroom, September 3

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 5

deb’s Book Review, September 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 7

lakesidelivingsite, September 8

Pause for Tales, September 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 9

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 10

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Caryl 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/1161e/skullduggery-celebration-tour-giveaway


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: The Cryptographer's Dilemma by Johnnie Alexander

 



About the Book


Book:  The Cryptographer’s Dilemma

Author: Johnnie Alexander

Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Release date: August, 2021

A Code Developer Uncovers a Japanese Spy Ring

Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this new series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.

FBI cryptographer Eloise Marshall is grieving the death of her brother, who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, when she is assigned to investigate a seemingly innocent letter about dolls. Agent Phillip Clayton is ready to enlist and head oversees when asked to work one more FBI job. A case of coded defense coordinates related to dolls should be easy, but not so when the Japanese Consulate gets involved, hearts get entangled, and Phillip goes missing. Can Eloise risk loving and losing again?

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

What an interesting WW2 historical this novel was. Eloise Marshall is a cryptographer who is actually quite good at her job. So good in fact that she has caught the eye of the FBI who need her help on some suspicious letters about dolls and doll repair that the supposed senders and recipients knew nothing about. Joining her and going undercover as her brother is agent Phillip Clayton.

Both Eloise and Phillip want to help out in the war effort. Phillip especially wants to see battle but due to his color blindness he cannot fly any planes.  So they are both sent on this mission to get to the bottom of what these letters are all about. 

Many secrets come to light and the realities of the Great Depression are still heavy on each of their souls, even though they were younger during that time. The bombing of Pearl Harbor, thus killing Eloise's brother, has definitely impacted both of them. Can they get to the bottom of this mission intact and with answers to stop anything else nefarious the enemy is trying to do?

This was a very interesting read with a real life case that was quite strange but nonetheless threatened our freedom's of the time.

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


Johnnie Alexander creates characters you want to meet and imagines stories you won’t forget in a variety of genres. An award-winning, best-selling novelist, she serves on the executive boards of Serious Writer, Inc. and the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference, co-hosts Writers Chat, and interviews other inspirational authors for Novelists Unwind. Johnnie lives in Oklahoma with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon. Connect with her at www.johnnie-alexander.com and other social media sites via https://linktr.ee/johnniealexndr.

 

More from Johnnie

American Traitor in WWII

 

Not all secret messages involve substitution codes where random letters and numbers replace the original letters and numbers. Velvalee Dickinson, a doll collector who owned a doll shop on Madison Avenue in New York City, used jargon code to pass along information to the Japanese about the U.S. ships that had been damaged at Pearl Harbor.

 

Here’s an excerpt from one of the letters (as originally written):

 

The only new dolls I have are THREE LOVELY IRISH dolls. One of these three dolls is an old Fisherman with a Net over his back—another is an old woman with wood on her back and the third is a little boy….I can only think of our sick boy these days. You wrote me that you had sent a letter to Mr. Shaw, well I want to see MR. SHAW he distroyed Your letter, you know he has been Ill. His car was damaged but is being repaired now. I saw a few of his family about. They all say Mr. Shaw will be back to work soon.

 

Velvalee, who the FBI nicknamed The Doll Woman, wrote this letter on her Underwood typewriter. She used the return address and forged the signature of one of her regular customers, Mary Wallace of Springfield, Ohio. Then Velvalee mailed the letter to an address in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 

Unknown to Velvalee, the Japanese had abandoned the Buenos Aires address as a drop point. The letter was marked “return to sender.” When Mrs. Wallace received it, she turned it in to the Post Office Director in Springfield who passed it along to the FBI.

 

Cryptographers determined that the letter was written in jargon code. To the casual reader, the letter is about dolls. But the intended recipient would have understood it’s about much more than that.

 

In this example, only one of five letters given to the FBI between February and August of 1942,

cryptographers decoded the message as follows:

 

  • Old Fisherman with a Net over his back ~ refers to an aircraft carrier which has anti-torpedo nettings on its sides.
  • Old woman with wood on her back ~ refers to an older battleship, one made of wood.
  • A little boy plus our sick boy ~ a damaged ship.

 

Cryptographers believed that the words Mr. Shaw and Your were purposely capitalized and that the word distroyed was purposely misspelled to draw attention to them. Mr. Shaw referred to the USS Shaw, a destroyer (distroy + your = destroyer).

 

The remainder of the letter says Mr. Shaw is ill but “will be back to work soon.”

 

The ship was in dry dock at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. As the heroine in The Cryptographer’s Dilemma explains, “About two weeks before this letter was written, it [the USS Shaw] was undergoing repairs in San Francisco.”

 

In the novel, Eloise Marshall is a naval cryptographer who teams up with FBI agent Phillip Clayton, to find the person responsible for forging the signatures on the letters. Their search takes them from Washington, DC to the Springfield, Ohio, to the west coast and back again. On their journey, Eloise will confront an unexpected specter from her past and Phillip will risk his life to save hers.

Blog Stops

Life of Literature, August 25

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 25

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 26

Reflections From my Bookshelves, August 26

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 27

Bizwings Blog, August 27

Daysong Reflections, August 27

Texas Book-aholic, August 28

A Baker’s Perspective, August 28

Inklings and notions, August 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 29

For Him and My Family, August 30

Simple Harvest Reads, August 30 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Older & Smarter?, August 31

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 31

Aryn the Libraryan 📚, September 1

Rebecca Tews, September 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 2

deb’s Book Review, September 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 3

Blossoms and Blessings, September 3

Mary Hake, September 3

Connie’s History Classroom, September 4

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, September 4

Sodbusterliving, September 4

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 5

Labor Not in Vain, September 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 6

Moments, September 6

Splashes of Joy, September 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 7

Pause for Tales, September 7

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Johnnie is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a 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/1161a/the-cryptographer-s-dilemma-celebration-tour-giveaway


Monday, September 6, 2021

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Catch Me If You Can by Carole Brown

 



About the Book


Book: Catch Me If You Can

Author: Carole Brown

Genre: Romantic Suspense with a touch of quirkiness

Release date: August 5, 2021

 

The big cat sat on the oversized rock, ears pointed toward the sky, every muscle taut, every sense at the ready.

“S-s-shut up and f-f-forget it. You’ve s-seen nothing and know nothing. I won’t warn you again. G-g-got it?”

The cat’s head swiveled, his ears twitching as if catching the hint of threat in the whisper. A soft hiss slid from his open mouth and reinforced the overtone of evil pressing in upon the scene. Within hours, lies and dark secrets are slithering all over the campground.

Coaxed into finding the animal killer at Jamieson’s Outfitters, Tara Layne, with her sidekick, Boet, is welcomed by a threatening whisper and the unfriendly eyes of a rugged and devastatingly handsome manager. Wesley Clarke, both interesting and frustrating, holds an attraction for Tara that is primitive and exasperating.

Intermingled with her search, Tara deals with her own heartbreaking buried secrets. When a strange old Native American probes into the recesses of her heart, he encourages her to face her bitter feelings.

As Tara closes in on her search, she finds herself—and Boet—the target of someone who’s determined to outrun and outsmart her. Someone determined not to get caught.

His theme:

Fun as fast as you can, you can’t catch me.

The question:

Can Tara run fast enough to catch this real live Gingerbread boy

before he decides to get rid of her and Boet?

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

This was a suspense that definitely kept the reader guessing and looking around corners for any dark shadows that may be lurking, innocently or not. 

Tara Layne and her Savanna cat Boet (boot), have been hired buy a family acquaintance to investigate the killings at his, Bryan's campground. It seems nobody is happy to see Tara, not Wesley the manager nor his workers, nor the volunteers. And certainly not the "Gingerbread Man" who is killing protected wildlife. For what reason, no one can guess and he certainly seems to have a problem with Tara.

Everyone is suspicious and acts like they are harboring a whole lot of secrets. To say that Tara is getting a little freaked out is an understatement. After a few 'accidents' against her person, Tara does not know who to trust. And why is she so attracted to one of the suspects?

This was an interesting take on a mystery with a nursery rhyme theme and bit creepy as well. The reader got inside a few character's heads and I liked the flow of the shorter chapters as it made the pacing of the suspense more intense.

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


Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of thirteen full-length, best selling and award winning books (with a novella in an anthology), she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. She has found that the traveling and ministering has served her well in writing her novels. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

 

More from Carol

Who doesn’t like a good book while nibbling on cookies and sipping your favorite drink?

 

Writing Catch Me If You Can, Book One of the Nursery Rhyme Series, was a fun endeavor. I can’t remember how I came up with the idea, but I do know it’s been interesting and a long-time coming. Both Tara Layne and Wesley Clarke have personal and spiritual issues to resolve which are more serious topics to address. So I knew definitely that I not only wanted to include those, plus suspense and romance, but also a bit of quirky-ness to the story.

 

What were the two quirky things that help make it special?

Tara Layne comes from a very special family. Her older brother, Tory, four years older than the twins: Tara and Tomas, and her grandfather, Poppy, an archeologist, who cared for them when their parents died. He raised them while on dig sites, teaching them and giving them a unique view of the world.

 

When Tory was murdered, while studying to follow in their grandfather’s footsteps, Tara, an elementary teacher, resigned and took the schooling she needed to be a detective because the authorities seemed unable to discover why Tory was murdered.

 

Her brothers were always pranksters, and after Tory died, Tomas bought her an expensive gift: A Savannah cat, sort of as a joke. But instead of being irritated at her nerdy computer brother, she fell in love with her cat and proceeded to name him Boet (An African name that means brotherly love).  Boet not only hisses at those he’s not crazy about, but shows tolerance for those who he favors.

 

Here are some fun facts about a Savannah cat:

  1. Crossbred between a African Serval cat and a domestic cat.
  2. Many Savannah cats enjoy water.
  3. They are inquisitive and extremely intelligent.

 

The antagonist leaves Gingerbread cookie men at each site of the animal killings.

  1. Now that seems weird enough, but when you discover why and how the cookies play a part of his/her past, you’ll understand the title better and why the antagonist is so obsessed with these specific cookies.
  2. I’ve included a recipe below for your enjoyment! If you love gingerbread, these are sure to become a favorite!

Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • additional flour for rolling out dough

Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 2 tsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp extract of choice – lemon almond or vanilla

Instructions

Cookies

  • In a small bowl mix together baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon until well blended. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar, and eggs on medium speed until well blended.
  • Add molasses and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  • Gradually add in dry ingredients and mix until combined, but do not over-mix.
  • Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place into an airtight container or freezer style zipper bag, and place in refrigerator for at least two hours and up to 24 hours.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 deg. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats ore parchment paper.
  • Let dough sit at room temperature for 5-15 minutes or however long is needed to make it pliable enough to divide in half. The time it takes will depend on how long it’s been chilling.
  • Place 1 portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle additional flour over dough and gently roll dough out to approximately 1/4 – 1/3″ thick. The thicker the dough the softer the cookie will be. If dough sticks to rolling pin, sprinkle additional flour onto dough.
  • Cut out cookies with cookie cutter. Whatever scraps are left over after cutting out cookies can be rolled out and rolled out to cut out more cookies.
  • Place cookies on baking sheet approximately 1 1/2-inches apart.
  • Bake each sheet of cookies for 7-10 minutes until tops and edges are starting to firm up.
  • Remove baking sheet from oven transfer to a wire cooling rack. Allow to cool on baking sheet for ten minutes, then use a spatula to transfer cookies to another wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • If desired, once cookies are completely cooled decorate.

 

Icing

  • In a medium size bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well to combine. For thicker icing, add more powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time. For thinner icing, add more corn syrup, one teaspoon at a time. Place into a piping bag and pipe onto gingerbread cookies as desired.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 6

Pause for Tales, September 6

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 8

Inklings and notions, September 9

deb’s Book Review, September 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 11

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 12

Texas Book-aholic, September 13

For Him and My Family, September 14

Mary Hake, September 14

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 16

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 19

 

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Carole is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and signed 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/116c4/catch-me-if-you-can-celebration-tour-giveaway