Monday, December 18, 2023

My Thoughts and More on When Love Comes by Penny Zeller

About the Book


Book: When Love Comes

Author: Penny Zeller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: December 5, 2023

Can love be found amidst broken hearts and unexpected loss?

Determined to heal her broken heart, Charlotte Eliason visits her aunts in Prune Creek, Wyoming. What should be a time of peace and calm becomes one of chaos and unwelcome surprises when she discovers her longtime foe, Tobias Hallman, is the new blacksmith. To make matters worse, her two meddlesome aunts are constantly inviting him to supper and encouraging friendship between the two sworn enemies.

Tobias Hallman has always wanted to be a blacksmith, so when an opportunity arises to own his own shop in Prune Creek, he seizes it. However, he doesn’t expect to cross paths with his childhood nemesis, the annoying Charlotte Eliason.

When tragedy strikes, close proximity soon forces two reluctant hearts to become allies in a quest to rescue Tobias’s orphaned niece. Can Charlotte and Tobias put aside their preconceived disdain for each other and find love in the midst of challenging circumstances? Does God have a plan for them and for a young girl grieving the untimely loss of her parents?


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

This was a story about two people that seemed unlikely that they would fall in love with one another. They were somewhat antagonistic towards one other, and peace between them seemed far off, but love? Well, that seemed impossible.

Charlotte is healing from a broken heart and decides to do that away from her ex-boyfriend, so she decides to go visit with her spinster aunts for a while in the town of Prune Creek. Her aunts are quite a hoot and feel that it is in Charlotte's best interest to meet the new town blacksmith. But when Charlotte meets him, she was not prepared to come face to face with her childhood nemesis. Nor his good looks either. 

Tobias wants to start out on his own and make a way in the town of Prune Creek. He is making friends, is beginning to have a successful business, and hopefully one day he will have a family of his own. He certainly wasn't prepared to run into Charlotte, even though she has grown more beautiful than he can imagine.

But these two, through circumstances not of their own making, face some fiery trials ahead of them. Sorrow has come and the tentative friendship that is being built is seeing both of them through these sad times. I enjoyed seeing their friendship grown into so much more, especially when in the beginning these two were quite adamant against being matched up together. Bonus, there are a couple of secondary surprise love matches that unfold as well.

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

Penny Zeller is known for her heartfelt stories of faith and her passion to impact lives for Christ through fiction. While she has had a love for writing since childhood, she began her adult writing career penning articles for national and regional publications on a wide variety of topics.

Today Penny is a multi-published author of nearly two books. She is also a homeschool mom and a group fitness instructor. Her desire is to assist and nurture women into a closer relationship with Christ.

When Penny is not dreaming up new characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters and camping, hiking, canoeing, reading, running, gardening, and playing volleyball.

More from Penny

One of the most exciting things about writing a book is creating memorable characters. I couldn’t wait for Charlotte and Tobias to have their own story—and to revisit Aunt Myrtle and Aunt Fern. I hope you enjoy this short excerpt from When Love Comes.



“Charlotte! Oh, Charlotte!” Two jubilant voices garnered her attention. Aunt Myrtle and Aunt Fern waved at her from the north end of the boardwalk. Charlotte bustled her way through the crowds and toward the aunts.

My, but if they hadn’t begun to have a strong resemblance in their older years. Both had completely gray hair, and while Aunt Fern wore spectacles, her round face and pert nose matched her sister’s.

“Best not ever say they resemble each other,” Ma told her before she embarked on this trip. “Even if they do. For you might find yourself sleeping in the chicken coop for such a comment.” Ma and Charlotte had laughed over that, even as Ma insisted it would be detrimental to suggest their likeness.

“Look at you! You’ve grown into such a lovely young lady,” Aunt Myrtle wrapped her arms around Charlotte. “We’re so glad you’re here.”

Aunt Fern gave her a hug next. “Yes, we are. It’s been too long since an Eliason was here in Prune Creek. The buggy is thisaway. It’s a slight bit too far for us to walk to the Peabody house these days.”

“Too far for you, maybe,” chided Aunt Myrtle. She fingered her decorative hat. “What do you think about my hat, Charlotte? Mrs. Peabody was about to discard it when I salvaged it.”

Since she was taller than Aunt Myrtle, Charlotte could see the top of the hat and the fake bird immersed in a portable flower garden. “It’s lovely.”

“Well, it is not,” declared Aunt Fern. “Who wears a hat with a bird on it?”

Aunt Myrtle lifted her chin, nearly causing the hat to topple from her head. “Women of high society who take a fancy to the latest and most elegant fashions.”

“But you’re neither.”

“Pshaw. Hush, Fern.”

They walked down the boardwalk on the way to the buggy. As they passed the barbershop, a balding man with the thickest spectacles Charlotte had ever seen perched in the entryway. “Well, hello, Fern. Would you like a haircut?”

“You know full and well, Mr. Gorman, that I do not need a haircut.” Aunt Fern fluffed her gray curls and tossed him a disgusted look. “That vexing man asks me if I would like a haircut every time I walk by the barbershop. Far be it from me to allow someone with magnifying glasses for spectacles to see well enough to fashion my coiffure.”

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 6

lakesidelivingsite, December 6

Alena Mentink, December 7

She Lives To Read, December 8

Vicky Sluiter, December 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 9

Texas Book-aholic, December 10

EmpowerMoms, December 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 13

Devoted To Hope, December 14

Cover Lover Book Review, December 14

For Him and My Family, December 15

Holly’s Book Corner, December 16

Connie’s History Classroom, December 16

Splashes of Joy, December 17

Pause for Tales, December 18

Life on Chickadee Lane, December 19

Mary Hake, December 19


To celebrate her tour, Penny is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift and a 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.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

My Thoughts and More on Knowing You by Tracie Peterson


About the Book


Book: Knowing You

Author: Tracie Peterson

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: November 7, 2023

Could a captivating art exhibit hold the key to truth—and love?

Budding artist May Parker is captivated by the Japanese exhibits at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and longs to know more about her mother’s heritage—which her mother refuses to speak of because of the heartache she left behind in Japan. Wanting to experience more of the exhibits, May works as a Camera Girl–but her curiosity leads her into danger when a suit of samurai armor becomes the target of an elusive art forger.

After ten years apart, May is reunited with her childhood friend Lee Munro, a police detective assigned to keep a watchful eye on the exposition. Their friendship immediately begins to blossom with hints of something more, but when they become entangled in a dangerous heist involving the samurai armor and their love is threatened, can they overcome the odds against them?


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

This was a story about an artist who is of mixed heritage and the prejudice against her for her birth. May Parker's mother is from Japan and her father is a well to do American businessman who fell in love. May loves both her parents and has a deep passion to know her Japanese history, one that her mother will not speak of. May is also a talented artist working at the Seattle Exposition where a very valuable suit of samurai armor is on display.

That armor looks to be a notorious art forgers next crime, and Detective Lee Munro has been searching for him for five years. Only to be thwarted time and again. Lee did not realize that he would also be running into May, his childhood friend and first love after ten long years. He has missed her greatly, but never thought he had a future with her due to his parents' strong prejudices.

As Lee and May rekindle their friendship, a love begins to form a strong bond between them as well. They have a lot stacked against their relationship. Not only is danger coming from the art forger, who will stop at nothing to accomplish his goals, but Lee's entire family is against them as well. A bit of adventure awaits these two before they can settle down.

I enjoyed this trip to the early 1900's Seattle. I found the story of May, her heritage and what she faced interesting. I liked Lee and his passionate desire for her, and his unwavering will to catch the predator.

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

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling author of more than 100 novels, both historical and contemporary, with more than 6 million copies sold. She has won the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award and the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Her avid research resonates in her many bestselling series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana.





More from Tracie

Knowing You is book three in the Pictures of the Heart series. This series has proven to be a lot of fun for readers, as well as for me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the research and chance to share this tidbit of history.

In the summer of 1909, Seattle was finally able to debut The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition – often affectionately called the AYP.  The AYP was set up with amusement park rides, vendors, concerts, and all things typical of a fair.  It was also designed to showcase various details about life in Alaska, the Yukon, and a variety of Pacific Islands. The latter included Hawaii, the Philippines, and Japan as well as others.  When I started looking into the various displays, I came across the building they put together for the Japan Building. They spoke of the various displays that the building held and how photographs and other pieces of memorabilia told of Japan’s history.  It was a fascinating set up and I couldn’t help but think it might be fun to have a heroine who was part Japanese.

I mapped out the story studying various aspects of Japanese history, talking to folks who knew more than I did on the topic and reading (a lot) on things like the Samurai and their armor, the Satsuma Rebellion, and the language and Kanji. I learned so much and tried to weave some of the most interesting bits into the storyline. I kept thinking about the fact that most people in the United States in 1909 probably didn’t even know where Japan was, much less anything about their history. There was, after all, no Internet.

Another fascinating thing about the AYP was the fact that it was set on the campus of the University of Washington.  The AYP groomed the grounds and put in beautiful fountains and over 50,000 flowering plants. They built several permanent buildings for the University of Washington and strictly adhered to their policy of no-liquor on campus. This was unusual because all the other fairs and expositions had allowed alcohol.  Nevertheless, from June until October the fair saw nearly four million visitors, and from all reports, they had an amazing time.

I hope you’ll enjoy your journey with me to the AYP!

Tracie Peterson

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid reader, December 4

Book Looks by Lisa, December 4

lakesidelivingsite, December 5

Lighthouse Academy Blog, December 6 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 6

Texas Book-aholic, December 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 8

Exploring the Written Word, December 8

Cover Lover Book Review, December 9

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 10

Blossoms and Blessings, December 10

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 11

Blogging With Carol, December 12

For Him and My Family, December 12

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 13 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, December 13

Holly’s Book Corner, December 14

Paula’s Pad of Inspiration, December 14

Splashes of Joy, December 15

Min Reads and Reviews, December 15

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 16

Pause for Tales, December 16

Lily’s Corner, December 17

Lights in a Dark World, December 17


To celebrate her tour, Tracie is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Amazon gift card and one paperback set of the Pictures of the Heart series (Remember Me, Finding Us, Knowing You)!!

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

My Thoughts and More on Rocky Mountain Promise by Misty M. Beller


About the Book

Book: Rocky Mountain Promise

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: November 21, 2023

Lorelei Collins possesses a soft heart for any animal in need, so when she finds a buffalo calf bawling beside its mother’s lifeless body, she can’t help but bring it home to raise on the ranch she and her sisters are building in the Rocky Mountain wilderness. Little does she realize that its white coloring is rare and considered sacred by Native Americans, which makes it highly valuable to them and the European trappers alike.

A flood of men visit their ranch to regard the marvel, some trying to woo Lorelei into marriage so she’ll bring the buffalo calf along as dowry, and others trying to steal the calf outright. When the men’s advances become more sinister, she approaches Tanner Mason, the quiet and mysterious owner of the new trading post, with an idea: She and the calf will move to his post, along with her family’s trusted Blackfoot friend. This will solve both their problems, bringing customers to his trade room and protecting her family from the trouble brought on by so many strangers. Yet as the danger travels with her, Lorelei and Tanner are faced with a threat greater than anything they’re prepared for–one that will test the limits of both their abilities and the love growing between them.

USA Today bestselling author Misty M. Beller delivers an exhilarating addition to the Sisters of the Rockies series fraught with peril, adventure, and romance amid the majesty of the Rocky Mountains.


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Lorelei Collins and her sisters have gone west and are still continuing to set up their ranch in the Rocky Mountains. Juniper has married, now the running of the ranch falls more on Lorelei and her two other sisters along with Native American White Horse. Lorelei has a soft heart for animals and when she comes across and orphaned white buffalo calf, she does not realize the rarity of this animal nor the trouble it will bring to her home and family. She certainly knows she will not leave it out in the wild, helpless.

Former police and now trading post owner, newcomer Tanner Mason has decided to make the Rocky Mountains home. As he rides out to meet his newest neighbors, he is surprised by a ranch being run by all women. He is most certainly surprised by the protective instinct he especially has for Lorelei. He also soon realizes how valuable this buffalo calf is, and how some unscrupulous men will not stop at the normal boundaries to possess such a creature. How can he run his post and protect Lorelei and her sisters?

This was a unique story surrounding two anomalies of that time, the white buffalo and a ranch mostly run by women.

This was a great addition to the Sisters of the Rockies series and watching Lorelei and Tanner fall in love. I liked seeing Lorelei's heart and care for Curly, the calf, and her mothering instincts were definitely kicking in. I am enjoying the tight knit community the sisters are acquiring. Looking forward to the other two sisters stories.

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

Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

Raised on a farm and surrounded by family, Misty developed her love for horses, history, and adventure. These days, her husband and children provide fresh adventure every day, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

Misty’s passion is to create inspiring Christian fiction infused with the grandeur of the mountains, writing historical romance that displays God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Sharing her stories with readers is a dream come true for Misty. She writes from her country home in South Carolina and escapes to the mountains any chance she gets.


More from Misty

My latest release, Rocky Mountain Promise, follows the four Collins sisters who traveled west to accomplish their father’s deathbed request, and stayed on to run a ranch in the Wyoming Rockies. This particular book is Lorelei’s story, the third sister by age.

I loved writing Lorelei! She LOVES animals and has a heart to heal and nurture. Growing up on a ranch in the early 1800s, she understands that animals are important to survival, but she loves taking in any injured or orphaned creature she finds.

Like the orphaned buffalo calf with beautiful shades of white fur she discovered on the plains. The creature was only a couple weeks old, far too young to survive on its own in the wild, so she took it home to nurture until it could be released back into a herd.

Little did she know, white buffalos are extremely rare and considered sacred by the Indians, which puts them in high demand. I first learned about this belief when I was reading the non-fiction book My Life as an Indian, a memoir of James Willard Schultz, a white man who married into the Blackfoot tribe and lived among them for many years.

The respect for the white buffalo originally began with the Sioux, and they have a legend about the White Buffalo Woman that I won’t take time to share here (though you can read about it in Rocky Mountain Promise!). The deep respect for a white buffalo spread quickly among all the tribes and the trappers who lived in the Rockies and the surrounding plains, and such a creature (or even its hide) became one of the most sought after treasures in that day!

In Lorelei’s story, trapper and Indian alike show up in their cabin yard to see the remarkable white calf, some trying to woo her into marriage so she’ll bring the buffalo calf along as dowry. Others try to steal the calf outright. She ends up taking drastic measures to protect both the calf and her family. Any guess what she did?

I pray you love Rocky Mountain Promise as much as I do!



Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 29

Life on Chickadee Lane, November 30

Pens Pages & Pulses, November 30

Betti Mace, December 1

Wishful Endings, December 1

Lighthouse Academy Blog, December 2 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 2

Texas Book-aholic, December 3

Splashes of Joy, December 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 4

For Such A Time As This – Miriam Jacob, December 4

lakesidelivingsite, December 5

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 6

Life, Love, Writing, December 7

Avid Reader Nurse, December 7

Cover Lover Book Review, December 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 9

For Him and My Family, December 9

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 10

Exploring the Written Word, December 10

Holly’s Book Corner, December 11

Blossoms and Blessings, December 11

Lily’s Corner, December 12

Pause for Tales, December 12


To celebrate her tour, Misty 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.

My Thoughts and More on The Gilded Curse by Marilyn Turk


About the Book

Book: The Gilded Curse

Author: Marilyn Turk

Genre: Historical Suspense

Release Date: July 31, 2023

In early 1942, a mysterious telegram draws Lexie Smithfield back to the island her mother thought was cursed. Now the only heir to the dwindling family fortune, Lexie plans to sell the family’s vacation “cottage” in the Millionaire’s Village on Jekyll Island. But someone else is interested in the cottage and is getting more desperate to find what they’re looking for, even to the point of murder.

Lexie’s childhood friend, Russell Thompson, is now the Jekyll Island Club’s superintendent and the keeper of members’ secrets, especially one that would shatter Lexie. When he learns Lexie is in danger, he stays close to protect her, but soon discovers an attraction to Lexie he didn’t expect.

Could the danger be from someone they know or is it possible that the threat of Nazi invasion on their coast is a reality? Or is the island really cursed?

Russell and Lexie must work together to discover the real danger and keep from getting hurt or killed in the process.


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

This is the second story that I have read about the millionaire vacation club at Jekyll Island in Georgia. The first time I fictionally visited the island, it was at the height of its history. This time, Jekyll Island is a bit different. In this story the Great Depression and World War One has happened, and now the USA has been pulled into World War Two. The island has lost some of its glitz and glamour.

Lexie has not been back to her family's vacation home in ten years. Too many very bad memories outweigh the good. Plus, she is the only one left of her family after her brother's death at Pearl Harbor and her mother's decline and death at the sanitorium. All of the rest are gone except for the curse her mother insisted was on that island.

Lexie, once affluent but due to the Great Depression, has no more funds. She needs to sell the home on the island and move on with her life. Right from the start though things are not making sense. From the weird telegram she receives to the mysterious goings on at the resort, the unfriendly workers, and the ghost stories surrounding her family's home, Lexie is beginning to believe that maybe her mother wasn't so crazy after all. That maybe there is a sinister presence on the island after all.

Lexie finds her old childhood friend and manager of the resort now, Russell Thompson a huge help. It helps that he goes out of his way to be with her and that he has grown into a very handsome man. But there are too many coincidences that keep happening around Lexie. At first Russell could explain them away, but even in his jovial self he is seeing that something is not right. Plus, he is keeping a few of his own secrets too.

This story kept me riveted as I uncovered along with Lexie the secrets of the island and of her family's past.

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

Award-winning author Marilyn Turk writes historical and contemporary fiction flavored with suspense and romance. Marilyn also writes devotions for Daily Guideposts, Walking in Grace, and contributes to other Guideposts publications. She and her husband are lighthouse enthusiasts, have visited over 100 lighthouses and also served as volunteer lighthouse caretakers at Little River Light off the coast of Maine.

When not writing or visiting lighthouses, Marilyn enjoys reading, walking, boating, fishing, gardening, tennis, and playing with her golden retriever. She also sings in the choir at her church and leads a women’s Bible study group. Marilyn and her husband have a combined family of four sons, one daughter, and four grandsons. She’s still hoping for a granddaughter someday.

She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Faith, Hope and Love Christian Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Word Weavers International, and the United States Lighthouse Society.

Marilyn is also the director of the Blue Lake Christian Writers Conference.

More from Marilyn

When my agent told me a certain publisher was looking for Southern Gothic novels,

I wondered what those were.  What I found out was that they were gothic-style novels set in the South, usually an old antebellum mansion, for example, “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte.” Think “Jane Eyre” or “Wuthering Heights” set in the southern United States. I had just visited Jekyll Island, Georgia and toured the Millionaires’ Village there, so those mansions came to mind.  These homes, which were actually vacation “cottages” of the rich and famous, were built in the Gilded Age of the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is said that the 100 members of the club represented most of the wealth in America at that time. However, the members aged and passed away, leaving their wealth or debt to their descendants, the Great Depression caused many to lose their fortunes, then two world wars wreaked havoc on the country, so most of those homes were abandoned. Thanks to ongoing renovation efforts by the state of Georgia, many have been rebuilt. My main character in The Gilded Curse, Alexandra Smithfield (Lexie), inherits one of those abandoned mansions right at the start of World War II. The family fortune gone, she intends to renovate and sell the mansion she hasn’t seen since childhood since her mother believed the island cursed, due to some tragedies that happened to their family while there. So Lexie is “cursed” in two ways – by inheriting something she can no longer afford to keep and by the imagined curse her mother believes. When suspicious events happen around her cottage, she wonders if her mother was right.

Today, you can take tours of the Millionaires’ Village and see the former “cottages” of Pulitzer, Vanderbilt, J.P. Morgan, etc. You can also stay at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, renovated and now part of the Jekyll Island Club Resort. Some of the characters in my book were real people who lived in 1942, particularly the Maurice sisters, two single sisters who loved the island and never wanted to leave it, even when the President of the United States wanted the island vacated during the war. One interesting thing about the Maurice house: efforts to renovate it have met one obstacle after another, leading some people to believe the sisters’ spirits are still there and very particular about what they want done to their house.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 11

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 11

Pause for Tales, December 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 13

Mary Hake, December 13

Betti Mace, December 14

Texas Book-aholic, December 15

Min Reads and Reviews, December 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 18

Holly’s Book Corner, December 18

Blogging With Carol, December 19

Cover Lover Book Review, December 20

For Him and My Family, December 21

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 22 (Author Interview)

Little Homeschool on the prairie, December 22

Connie’s History Classroom, December 23

Lily’s Corner, December 24


To celebrate her tour, Marilyn is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 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.

My Thoughts and More on And the Trees Talked Back by Frederick J. Burns



Book Details:

Book Title:  And the Trees Talked Back by Frederick J. Burns
Category:  Children's Fiction (ages 3 to 7), 48 pages
Genre:  Children's Book
Publisher:  Frederick J. Burns
Release date:   Nov 4, 2023
Content Rating:  G.  Suitable for everyone.
Book Description:

Meet Amanda, an extraordinary child with a unique gift — she can talk to trees.

Living in a quaint village with a mystical forest, Amanda's life takes an enchanting turn when she seeks out her inquisitive cat, Daisy. As the sun sets and the moonlight casts its glow, the duo embark on a thrilling night-time adventure.

As Amanda encounters ancient trees, she uncovers a world she never knew existed, where wisdom and acceptance coexist with fear and hatred. Amidst the rustling leaves and haunting shadows, she confronts the duality of nature, discovering the true meaning of good and evil. Her bonds with nature deepen and she learns to navigate the world where choices shape destinies.

And The Trees Talked Back is a heartwarming tale of wonder, friendship, and self-discover that will captivate readers of all ages.
Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ B&N
add to Goodreads
Meet the Author:

Burns, always an artist on the inside, breaks through his trial attorney exterior at age 63, to write and illustrate his first children’s book, AND THE TREES TALKED BACK. Three years in the making, Burns strives to convey a world where commonalities are more important than differences, where empathy is more important than distain and where making friends is more important than creating enemies. With no formal art training, Burns enjoys working in and learning new mediums and styles. His art has won awards in juried competitions, been displayed on billboards, in government offices, the D’Amour Museum of Fine Art, and now graces the cover of Dave Brinnel's second CD, ALONE. His detailed illustrations of trees using pen and ink with washes of watercolor have been compared to the fantastical illustrations of Arthur Rackham and Maurice Sendak. Burns lives in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts with his wife, Heather and two dogs, where he is developing ideas for his next book.

connect with author: website ~ instagram ~ goodreads

My Thoughts:

In this fairytale-esque storybook, we have a little girl that has a big imagination who has moved into a new house. Exploring some of her new home during the day, she sees all the many trees in her yard. That night her curious kitten gets out of her window, and she goes searching for it. But what she finds is as the title suggests, that the trees are talking back to her as she searches for her cat.

Amanda is just as surprised as the trees that she can hear and see their faces. She also finds that just like in the human world, trees can be kind and friendly, or even unfriendly and unkind. They also grow and can be in pain and die. But they can become her friends too.

This is beautifully illustrated in black and white, with just a dash of color here and there. I liked this uniquely told story with a curious kitten, girl, and a night full of magic and maybe just a little hint of danger.

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

Enter the Giveaway:
AND THE TREES TALKED BACK by Frederick J. Burns Book Tour Giveaway

Sunday, December 10, 2023

My Thoughts and More on Countin' On Jesse by Mary Pat Johns


About the Book

Book: Countin’ On Jesse

Author: Mary Pat Johns

Genre: (Inspirational) Contemporary Romance

Release Date: September 12, 2023

Peeps’ gym owner Jesse seeks accreditation. Accountant Brenna wants to help Jesse reach his goal. They’re a great team, but can she count on him when trouble strikes?

Accountant BRENNA MCKINLEY only wants what’s best for Peeps, the wildly popular gym in Valiant, Texas. But when money goes missing, and she’s the obvious suspect, will she be able to clear her name or face criminal charges? Keeping her dream job matters, but falling in love with her boss isn’t part of the plan. Neither is the creepy guy stalking her.

Young veteran JESSE JACOBS manages and co-owns Peeps, an exercise facility in Valiant, Texas. He needs help to gain accreditation for the gym, and his new accountant is all in. But is she who she seems? Too bad he’s falling for her like a man with no parachute. When the pressure builds, PTSD renders him moody and volatile, risking everything he loves.


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

This is a cute rom com that begins with a sloppy first meet between two people who are obviously meant for one another. Brenna is an accountant who enjoys numbers, but she is having trouble finding her dream job. Waitressing is definitely not for her especially after her silly salad slipup. So, when her friend sets her up a job interview with co-owner of Peeps gym, Jesse, she can't believe he is the same guy she had the salad mishap with.

They get over the awkward second meet and Jesse realizes Brenna is just who he is looking for to be his accountant, maybe even a girlfriend, but due to a strict no dating policy, she is off limits. Tell that to his heart as he struggles with his attraction.

Brenna loves her accountant job at Peeps gym. Unfortunately, not everything goes smoothly. She meets some characters who seem to be out of place there. The air conditioning breaks in the heat of Texas and membership drops. Not only that, but the numbers don't add up in the record books. Deposits are missing and this involves a huge chunk of cash. To top it off, Brenna has herself a somewhat stalker who just won't leave her alone.

Jesse has a lot on his plate as he also grapples with some PTSD from his stint in the military. He doesn't mind protecting Brenna, but how is he going to deal with all of these problems and keep a lid on his attraction with Brenna? This was a fun sweet romance that will have you rooting for the main couple.

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

About the Author

Mary Pat Johns’ writing career began once she retired from years of teaching speech and writing. She’s written devotions for an online publication and had short stories published by Chicken Soup for the Soul. She currently writes a biweekly faith column for the local newspaper.

Countin’ On Jesse is her debut novel, and she’s hard at work on the rest of the Valiant series. God put it in her heart to tell stories of brave veterans and their reintegration into civilian life after suffering the traumas of war. As she kept writing, her focus generalized to include ordinary people who learn how to move forward after devastating events. Her writing has a strong spiritual thread since she considers a return to faith in God the solution for what ails the civilized world.

She lives in South Texas with her husband and their two dapple dachshunds. Her grown children and five grandchildren are useful sorts who keep her grounded with her reading/writing obsession. You can find her at the gym, at her computer, or reading a good book.

Countin’ On Jesse placed second in inspirational contemporary romance in the TARA contest. It was also a finalist in the Crown and the Maggie contests for unpublished authors.

More from Mary

I wrote Countin’ On Jesse because I couldn’t NOT write it, though learning to write fiction was an act of faith. My son is an army vet and deployed to Afghanistan during the war. When he returned, the adjustment back to civilian life was difficult. The PTSD he suffered was real. His dad and I prayed often for his restoration. I also experienced an urgency to share how people recover from traumatic experiences, but it’s not my MO to tell a sad story. I used humor, but never downplayed the seriousness of the hero’s issues with PTSD and anger. My goal was to impart hope.

One added sweet note. My son helped me craft a short story as a prequel for the series. I believe it was healing for him to revisit the Afghanistan setting through the perspective of time and distance. Readers have shared they felt like they were in the story. In truth, there was an eyewitness. I’m forever grateful that he came home to tell me of such events.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 27

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 28 (Author Interview)

The Lit Lady, November 28

Texas Book-aholic, November 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 30

Back Porch Reads, December 1 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 3

A Reader’s Brain, December 4 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, December 5

Beauty in the Binding, December 6 (Author Interview)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 6

Cover Lover Book Review, December 7

Holly’s Book Corner, December 8

For the Love of Literature, December 9 (Author Interview)

Pause for Tales, December 10


To celebrate her tour, Mary is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 gift Amazon gift card and a 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.

My Thoughts and More on Capturing Hope by Angela K. Couch


About the Book

Book: Capturing Hope

Author: Angela K Couch

Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Release Date: November, 2023

One step ahead of the Nazi’s. . .leaves Nadia little room for hope.

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

After her father is murdered by Nazis and her mother flees to her native Germany, hope is something of which Nadia Roenne feels little—even if it is the meaning of her name. It isn’t until an American photographer sacrifices his escape from Poland to save a Jewish family, that she finds a purpose. David Reid is very familiar with failure, but when he is charged with getting Nadia safely out of Poland, he is determined to succeed—even if she works against him at every turn, putting other’s lives ahead of her own. While they race against the daily shower of bombs over Warsaw and the ever-nearing German army, Nadia grows used to risking her life. . .but dare she risk her heart?


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

In Capturing Hope, we have two characters who would not have been friends under normal circumstances, and certainly not romantically involved. Nadia is a Pole and a somewhat spoiled and bitter daughter of her baron father and German mother. David Reid is an American photographer from a large family. One fateful night her father decides to throw a party. David is invited but Nadia is unimpressed with the American and doesn't even remember what his name is. However, that night the German army storms into Poland with the goal of wiping them off of the map.

Nadia's world of comfort and ease crashes down around her. She is witness to something most horrible, and she loses both parents in one night. David is the only hope she has to escape to England. Her father had previously prepared a way for her to escape, but as she watches the sacrifice the American makes for a Jewish family, how can she do any different.

David made a promise to Nadia's father to get her to safety. Now that their only way of escape is gone, bombs are raining down everywhere, it is going to be much harder for him to keep that promise. This is their harrowing journey as they try to escape the evil that has gripped Poland. This is a fast-moving novel of escape and survival, and ultimately true love.

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

To keep from freezing in the great white north, Angela K Couch cuddles under quilts with her laptop. Winning short story contests, being a semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, and a finalist in the 2016 International Digital Awards also helped warm her up. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in as well. When not writing, she stays fit (and toasty warm) by chasing after five munchkins.



More from Angela

When I first decided to set a story during the invasion of Poland, I was woefully unprepared for the pain and horror I found there. I wasn’t new to World War II and had just finished writing A Rose for the Resistance, which is set in France during the war and deals with the resistance and the Normandy invasion. The atrocities and genocide in Poland cut so much deeper.

In the early hours of September 1, 1939, the small town of Wielun, Poland, woke to a shower of bombs on their community. They did not house an army or warehouses, only homes and civilian businesses. Wielun was not the only town or village targeted—demonstrating the Nazi goal to spread fear and death. Six months earlier, Hitler had promised that if Poland did not bow to his wishes, he would wipe them off the map. Over the next month, and more so in the following six years, he came very close to succeeding.

For the full month of September 1939, while German armies rolled across the country, the city of Warsaw endured daily bombardment. Homes, workplaces, churches on Sunday morning, the Warsaw maternity hospital— nowhere was safe. On the tenth of September, someone recorded seventeen separate air raids over the city. I was moved to tears while viewing photographs of women and children who had been shot in the streets and fields by the bombers after they had dropped their payloads over the city.

No one came to their rescue.

Poland was abandoned by its allies to the Nazis.

So how do you write about all that and more while still trying to keep hope alive in the story and in the characters who have to live through such a frightening and demoralizing history?

I invite you to read Capturing Hope to find out.

Blog Stops

An Author’s Take, November 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 1

Lily’s Corner, December 1

Texas Book-aholic, December 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 3

For him and My Family, December 3

Betti Mace, December 4

Books You Can Feel Good About, December 4

Life on Chickadee Lane, December 5

Cover Lover Book Review, December 5

Alena Mentink, December 6

lakesidelivingsite, December 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 7

Blossoms and Blessings, December 7

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 8 (Author Interview)

Devoted to Hope, December 8

Bizwings Book Blog, December 9

Exploring the Written Word, December 9

Holly’s Book Corner, December 10

Pause for Tales, December 10

Connie’s History Classroom, December 11

Labor Not in Vain, December 11

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 12

Lights in a Dark World, December 12

Joy Suzanne Hunt, December 13

Books I’ve Read, December 13


To celebrate her tour, Angela is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon eGift 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.

Friday, December 8, 2023

My Thoughts on Forever Lovely by Linore Rose Burkard



1819, England
Miss Margaret Andrews' sister disappeared into the future three years ago and Margaret hasn't seen her since. Julian St. John brings her to visit, but only for a day, since his wife Claire is about to give birth to their first child. He doesn't know Margaret's real desire is to find a modern invention to bring back with her. A bluestocking by nature and lacking her sister's famous beauty, Margaret knows she must make her way in society by becoming an inventress. But when the tallit, the magical time-travel shawl goes awry, she finds herself alone and stranded in 21st century New York City!

Present Day, Manhattan
Stewart Russell is a grad student studying early British female writers when he meets Margaret at a Jane Austen Society Conference in New York. Margaret is mistaken for an attendee but fits right in. Stewart is thrilled by her knowledge of the writers he's studying, almost as much as her effortless acting with the speech and manners of Jane's day. Until she claims to be from Jane's day! Worse, he is a wanted man due to a mix-up, and time is running out.

Margaret longs to keep him safe from the blackguards pursuing him, but first she must convince him she really is from the past. But when she can't even get herself back to 1819, how can she hope to bring Stewart too? It's a race against time and she must find a way before the unthinkable happens!

My Thoughts:

It has been way too long since I have read a Linore Burkard book, and I have always enjoyed her regencies. Add in a time travel twist, which is also a favorite for me, and you had me hooked.

This is the second in a series. I have not read the first yet, but I was not at all lost. Within the pages of this story, we are brought up to speed about the intriguing time-traveling prayer shawl. I am always amazed at the authors' imaginations and how their characters can time travel. So, whether it is a box, water, or shawl, the characters must learn and fend for themselves in whatever time they find themselves caught up in.

Margaret is the second sister. The one who has been told is not as pretty, and she is not even her father's favorite. But her older sister has already chosen her life in the future, and Margaret has accepted that. It has been three years since they have seen each other, and Margaret convinces Sir John to let her go to the future for a visit. All the while, Margaret is wanting to find and bring back an invention to help her succeed on her own in her own time. When Margaret steps foot into the future, she is not at all prepared for all that her senses take in. Even though she has heard the stories, she is now living it, at least for a little while.

But then things do not go as planned. Right from the start, they did not end up where they thought they would. Things only go from bad to shocking when Margaret is left alone in the city. But it is as if she was meant to be there at that time so that she could meet Stewart Russell, who is actually in a bit of a life-threatening situation himself.

This was a fun read to see how Margaret, who certainly did not fit in modern times, would cope, as her speech and view of the world were so much more learned and innocent. Stewart gets frustrated with her, even thinking she is a bit addled. He is not prepared to handle the truth. I enjoyed the adventure, mystery, and race against time to make things right for these two.

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

My Thoughts and More on Trail of Promises by Susan F. Craft

    About the Book Book:  Trail of Promises Author:  Susan F. Craft Genre:  Christian Historical Romance Release date: June 25, 2024 A marr...