Tuesday, October 31, 2023

My Thoughts and More on Snowbound Escape by Dana Mentink


About the Book

Book: Snowbound Escape

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Christian Fiction

Release Date: October 24, 2023

To rescue a witness…

this K-9 team must face a killer and a storm.

After months tracking a colleague falsely accused of a double homicide, officer Tanner Ford and his K-9 partner finally locate crime tech Mara Gilmore—but the real murderer is closing in. Now they must run into a frozen wilderness to survive. Evading the killer is the only way for Mara to clear her name. But will the harsh winter conditions cover their tracks…or bury them forever?


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Sometimes I wonder how much more intense a book is going to get, and this is one of the more intense ones I have read in a while. Mara has been on the run for months. She has been framed for murder and the murderer has threatened her and her family if she goes for help. It seems no one really believes her anyway. Let me tell you, the first chapter was one of the creepiest I have read in a while. I almost jumped at a certain scene. The bad guys did not give up in their pursuit of Mara. 

Officer Tanner Ford and his dog Britta have been looking for Mara. They get there just in time. However, it is not just the killers that is a danger to Mara and now Tanner too, oh no. The weather and nature itself have set up some of its deadliest traps. Up in Alaska they face such things as blizzards and extreme cold all while on the run.

Tanner and Mara and Britta have a lot going on. I knew this story had to work out for them, but it was incredibly intense. So, grab something warm to drink and an extra blanket or two as this book can get really chilly.

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

Dana Mentink is a USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author as well as a two-time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, and the recipient of a Holt Medallion. She’s written over fifty titles in the suspense, lighthearted romance and mystery genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense and Poisoned Pen Press. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)




More from Dana

What a challenge to write the eighth book in this fabulous Pacific Northwest K-9 Unit series! Writing a continuity (linked books with an overarching mystery) with seven other authors requires us to work closely together which is a rare blessing in this solitary business. There were so many good conversations, emails and texts that went into the construction of this series. Since wilderness escape novels are my favorite, it was great fun to write Tanner, Mara and Boxer Britta’s dramatic survival story. I hope you enjoy the book and the entire series as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 31

The Avid Reader, November 1

Pause for Tales, November 1

Paula’s Pad of Inspiration, November 1

Texas Book-aholic, November 2

Life on Chickadee Lane, November 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 3

Devoted to Hope, November 3

Bizwings Book Blog, November 3

She Lives to Read, November 4

Vicky Sluiter, November 4

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

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 5

Betti Mace, November 6

Pens Pages & Pulses, November 6

A Good Bok and Cup of Tea, November 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 7

Blogging With Carol, November 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 8

Simple Harvest Reads, November 8 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For Him and My Family, November 9

EmpowerMoms, November 9

Wishful Endings, November 10

Blossoms and Blessings, November 10

Bigreadersite, November 11

Labor Not in Vain, November 11

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 12 (Author Interview)

Raining Butterfly Kisses, November 12

Lily’s Book Reviews, November 13

Holly’s Book Corner, November 13



To celebrate her tour, Dana 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.


Friday, October 27, 2023

My Thoughts on Against the Wind by Amanda Cabot



Doctor-in-training Louisa Vaughn has no intention of remaining in Sweetwater Crossing. She's just there for a few days to help a friend. But she can't abandon the injured man she finds at the side of the road. Until his broken leg heals, she'll serve as the town's doctor and midwife. She may not be fully qualified yet, but surely she's better than nothing.

Josh Porter's plans to win his grandfather's challenge and fulfill his father's final wish to gain full control of the family business hit a roadblock when he breaks his leg. But his enforced stay in Sweetwater Crossing gives him new ideas about the expansion of the company into new territory--ideas Louisa could help turn into reality.

If only the town were more accepting of Louisa's talents! Someone is determined to convince her to abandon her dream of healing others. Can Josh help her uncover the person behind the threats before it's too late? And is there any future for them together when neither of them plans to stay?

My Thoughts:

Louisa Vaughn has decided to return home, if only briefly, to make matters right with her oldest sister. There were words said after the devastating deaths of their parents, and the three girls all went their own way. Now Louisa will make things right and move on with her life, pursuing a career in medicine. What happens next when she gets back to her hometown changes everything for her.

Josh Porter is from New York City, and he is striving to make his late father's dream come true. Coming from a rich and successful family, albeit without a lot of love, he and his cousin are in a contest of sorts set up by their grandfather. What is at stake is the one who will control the Porter empire. Josh, however, has great ideas that will help their company, but unfortunately, he has an unfortunate accident. Now he is laid up in a small town with a broken leg. Can he still beat his cousin in their race to the top?

Both Josh and Louisa have goals, and both thought that they were headed in the right direction. This was a story that showed that sometimes when we think the worst has happened, it may just turn out that it turned us to the right direction.

Josh and Louisa's relationship is a slow burn one at first. Each turning to the other in times of need and friendship. They developed a genuine care for one another and supported each other, especially when Louisa's life is in danger from someone who is not happy with her life's choices. And then there was love. Something one of them felt was just a fairy tale.

I enjoyed meeting up with the sisters again. I am looking forward to Joanna's story next.

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:

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of After the Shadows and Against the Wind, as well as several historical and contemporary romance series, including Mesquite Springs, Cimarron Creek Trilogy, Texas Crossroads, Texas Dreams, and Westward Winds. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers' Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more at AmandaCabot.com.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

My Thoughts and More on Spoon to be Dead by Dana Mentink


About the Book

Book: Spoon to Be Dead

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release Date: October 31, 2023

A murder for the holidays is about to shake things up!

Trinidad Jones is starting the festive season with sugary confections and a heaping scoop of worry as her shake shop enters its first Oregon winter. With snow abound and tourists trickling through, she’ll do anything to keep her milkshake dreams afloat, even if it means catering a holiday steamboat party for some new arrivals in town.

But when her good-for-nothing ex crashes through her shop’s door claiming he’s being charged with murder, things go sideways. With clues piling up like whipped cream on a sundae and motives abound, Trinidad and her fellow ex-wives must solve this murder before she’s finally thrown for a scoop.

The third book in the Shake Shop Mysteries following Trinidad Jones who makes sweet confections and solves sticky situations in her small town!


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Trinidad is not having a good day, which may affect the entire winter season at the Shake Shop. It is cold outside and there is much less foot traffic in the store. Trinidad is trying out new ventures to keep her shake business afloat in the slow season, but a big opportunity in catering gets more complicated when the customer asks for non-dairy desert, from an ice cream shop. That is only the beginning. Then a good man is found murdered, and her ex-husband is back in town and believes he is the murderer. Everything goes from bad to worse when he asks Trinidad to help him, which of course makes Quinn, Trinidad's new boyfriend a bit jealous. 

How can she not help him when those closest to her are asking her the same. Not only that but something is up with Gabe's other ex-wife, Bonnie who is keeping big secrets from Trinidad and Juliette. One of my favorite parts of this whole series is the close relationship the three ex-wives have formed with one another despite what their ex-husband put all of them through. This is a fun cozy mystery that kept me guessing through the end. It can be read alone but is so much richer and sweeter with the first two in the series. 

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

About the Author

Dana Mentink is a USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author as well as a two-time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, and the recipient of a Holt Medallion for excellence in mystery/suspense. She was honored to receive the Author of the Year award from West Coast Christian Writers. A California native, she’s written over fifty titles for the general and Christian markets in the suspense, lighthearted romance, and mystery genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense and Poisoned Pen Press. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com if you’d like to learn more.


More from Dana

It seems like just yesterday that I was dreaming up decadent freakshake recipes for book one in the Ice Cream Shop mysteries and here we are in book three! It’s Christmas time in Upper Sprocket and there’s a wedding in the works, but most surprising of all is the appearance of Gabe Bigley, the cheating ex of Trinidad and her two besties. You can imagine there is going to be a hefty helping of murder, mayhem and merriment in this next installment in the series. Hope you love book three as much as I do!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 14

Bigreadersite , October 14

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 15

Lighthouse Academy, October 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 16

Texas Book-aholic, October 17

Simple Harvest Reads, October 17 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 18

Mary Hake, October 18

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 19

For Him and My Family, October 19

Betti Mace, October 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 20

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 21

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

Blogging With Carol, October 22

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 23

Blossoms and Blessings, October 23

Labor Not in Vain, October 24

Holly’s Book Corner, October 24

Lily’s Book Reviews, October 25

Splashes of Joy, October 25

Pause for Tales, October 26

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, October 26

She Lives To Read, October 27


To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

(If the winner is outside the U.S., then he or she will receive an eBook.)

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 Texas Times by Caryl McAdoo


About the Book

Book: Texas Times

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: September 8, 2023

A prim and proper country girl is thrown into a mayhem of madams and mercy killing when Alexandria Bell inherits her estranged uncle’s portion of a big city’s premier newspaper, the Texas Times. She does find the pickin’s better in Dallas as before she knows it, three suitors vie for her attentions. One makes her laugh, one speaks to her heart, and the third possesses such a way with words, he make her envious of his talent . . . but she’s his boss. Come along on Alex’s new career adventure and see if any are successful in winning her heart and hand.


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Alexandria Bell, or Alex for short, is a thirty-year-old woman who has never married, and she is ready for some changes in her life. She finds that she has inherited half of a newspaper business from her estranged late uncle. Much to her mother's consternation, she leaves for the big city to begin her new life and career.

What a life it is. She finds she has a talent for writing, though she must work hard to find her place at the newspaper office. Winning over her less than enthusiastic partner is the first step. There are also secrets that her mother never shared with her. Like why was there such a falling out between her mother and her uncle? And add the suitors that come her way, Alex finds that she just might have a chance at marriage after all. But who is the worthy one to win her hand? This story adds another character to the Cross Timbers Family Saga and the story of Alex finding her way and her love. There might just be a happily ever after for her after all.

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


About the Author

Award-winning author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and her best-selling tales—coming up on seventy titles now published—delight readers all around the world. The prolific writer also enjoys singing the new songs the Lord gives her; you may listen to those at her YouTube channel.

She loves working in the yard at The Peaceable, her home tucked away on twenty acres, mowing and planting flowers. She lives there with Ron, her high school sweetheart and husband of fifty-five years, five dogs, two dairy goats she milks daily, a flock of chickens, and a plethora of barn cats.

The couple shares four children and twenty-seven grandsugars, six are greats. Caryl and Ron love their quiet, country life in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas and wait expectantly for God to open the next door so they may do His will.


More from Caryl

I can’t imagine the Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga coming to an end anytime soon, but I’m up to nine books in it! I love these characters so much and the fact that some of those beautiful fictitious people I love from my first family saga (Texas Romances) show up from time to time—I mean they all live in Texas so . . . !

This book nine, TEXAS TIMES has been so much fun because of its background setting—a Dallas newspaper in 1877. It lends itself to anything happening at any time, so the adventure and pace of the story know no bounds!

I introduce a new female character as my heroine in TEXAS TIMES, Alexandria who is moving to Dallas from the tiny Texas Hill Country community of Spicewood to assume a new position at the newspaper there after inheriting a forty-five percent ownership of it.

The Cross Timbers’ characters show up in TEXAS TIMES as the heroes. There’s Amos Humble, the paper’s star reporter and son of Landry and Arlene Humble (book three TEXAS TEARS) and Stephen O’Neal, the first class fiddler son of Flynn and Alicia (book one GONE TO TEXAS.) So I’m still in the third generation with no telling how many more books to go!

This story covers a lot. Forgiveness of others and one’s self, God’s supernatural miracles, His giftings, His plans and purposes for our lives, the importance of truth… I could go on and on. I pray you all will enjoy this fast-paced story and that it gives God glory!


Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 18

An Author’s Take, October 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 20

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, October 21 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 23

Texas Book-aholic, October 24

ABBA’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 25

Pause for Tales, October 26

Sylvan Musings, October 27 (Author Interview)

The Lit Lady, October 27

For Him and MY Family, October 28

By The Book, October 29 (Author Interview)

Exploring the Written Word, October 29

Holly’s Book Corner, October 30

Cover Lover Book Review, October 31


To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away the prize 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.


Thursday, October 19, 2023

My Thoughts on Lost and Found by Suzanne Woods Fisher



What you're looking for isn't always what you find. 
Trudy Yoder shares a passion for birding with Micah Weaver--and she has an even greater passion for Micah. Their friendship is finally turning romantic when Micah abruptly grows cold. Worse still, he wants to leave Stoney Ridge. 
Micah thought he was over Trudy's older sister, Shelley, who shattered his heart by running away to Nashville to pursue a singing career. Then out of the blue, she started leaving alarming messages for him. 

So when the bishop asks for volunteers to scout a potential church relocation in Tennessee, Micah jumps at the opportunity. Despite scant details, he's confident he can find Shelley. After all, his reputation as a field guide is based on finding birds that don't want to be found. 

But what he discovers in Tennessee is far from what he expects.

My Thoughts:

Times are changing in Stoney Ridge. Families are leaving to go to other Amish towns and Bishop David is having a hard time keeping up with the problem. A more progressive Amish church has moved into town, and they allow somethings that David and the older congregants do not believe in. However, the young people are a different story. After another family moves, David wonders if moving the entire congregation to someplace new is what is needed to be done.

Trudy Yoder is in love with Micah. They go bird watching all of the time and Trudy believes that Micah's feelings have changed and that he might just be interested in her too. They are getting closer, until her sister Shelley calls him. Then everything changes.

Micah cares for Shelley and now that she is reaching back out to him, he wants to do all he can do to help her. But when he sees what kind of trouble she is in, it is much more than he can handle on his own. 

I enjoyed going back for a visit at Stoney Ridge. Their lives are changing and some of the change is good, not good, and very sad. It was good to reconnect with these characters again and meet new ones. Trudy's bird watching log is included in between the chapters and it was fascinating to read about the different birds and her personal notes on them.

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:

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the award-winning, bestselling author of more than 30 books, including The Sweet Life and The Secret to Happiness, as well as many beloved contemporary romance and Amish romance series. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs. She lives in California. Learn more at SuzanneWoodsFisher.com and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @SuzanneWFisher.

My Thoughts and More on The River Queen by Stephenia H. Mcgee



River pirates, a stolen steamboat, and a deadly chase down the Mississippi—but falling in love might be the real adventure.

When river pirates attack and steal his steamboat, Emmett Carter barely escapes. Rescued and transported to a magnificent world of glitz and showbiz aboard a flashy showboat, Emmett is immediately captivated by something more than recovering his lost inheritance—The River Queen’s beautiful, but quirky, songbird.

Anola Flynn, the star singer on The River Queen, is struggling to keep the business running as attendance dwindles during the 1923 season. With her dreams of saving the family legacy—and the only life she’s ever known—slipping away, she forges an alliance with Emmett to keep her family afloat.

Now, to outsmart the gangsters chasing them, Anola and Emmett must wade through a dark current of deception and betrayal to save not only their dreams, but everyone they care about, from sinking deeper into the Mississippi River.

My Thoughts:

The River Queen was a delightful and unique look at the changing of people's entertainment during the 1920's. The story takes place on the Mississippi River and mostly on The River Queen showboat owned by the Flynn family. Unfortunately, the show is not making it financially, and Anola Flynn wants to find a way to save her family's legacy. 

Emmett Carter is also on the Mississippi River, or in it when we first meet him. His steamboat and all the cargo on it were stolen by river pirates. When he goes looking for help and to report the crime, he finds himself swept up onto the showboat. He is also truly mesmerized by the star of the show, Anola.

This begins a grand adventure between these two. They also realized that while Emmett is searching for answers, they could help one another. A quid pro quo situation. This was a fun story with a mystery thread, danger, and true love kisses all taking place on the Mississippi River. The atmosphere was lively and memorable of a time long gone. Anola and Emmett's banter and their miscommunication and wrong perceptions was some of my favorite moments.

I purchased a copy of this novel for my own reading enjoyment. My views and opinions are my own.

My Thoughts and More on Terra by Sofia Simpson


About the Book

Book: Terra

Author: Sofia Simpson

Genre: Young Adult Christian Fantasy

Release Date: February 14, 2023

Elementals don’t mix. They fight over territories constantly and news of their battles is everywhere.

Vela, an Earth Elemental, wants two things: to make it through high school and one day run her very own flower shop. When Linc, a Fire Elemental, strolls into her life, she is immediately thrown into chaos when a bond flares up, connecting them forever. Linc pursues her relentlessly, for connections like this are rare, but Vela wants nothing to do with it or him.

With this news, Vela discovers she and Linc may be a part of an age-old prophecy that could change their world forever by uniting the warring clans. However, a powerful group does not want their pairing to exist, for if it does, the prophecy may come true.

Vela and Linc must keep their bond a secret, for their lives are at risk if it is made public.

Can Vela deny a bond that could unite the battling clans, finally providing peace after centuries of conflict? Will she allow herself to love an enemy?


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

In this YA novel we are introduced to a different sort of paranormal people. They are called elementals who have divided themselves into clans according to their elements. The elements being fire, earth, wind, and water. They have also divided up territories of earth and they are quite protective of their borders. This story focuses on an elemental family of earth, they call themselves gyans, in Colorado. The author does provide a map of the USA and how it looks to these beings in regard to their territory. And since they have divided themselves, they do not trust one another or get along. The humans know nothing of them.

Vela is a senior in high school and has a deep dislike for the fire elementals due to a very tragic past encounter with them. One that has left scars. So, when a new kid shows up at school and he is a festan (fire), well, Vela is determined to show him nothing but disdain. But her feelings soon change when she finds out he is basically her soul mate. His name is Link, and whether Vela wanted to like him or not, everyone else did. And he definitely likes her. Their banter and adventure were a nice break from the rest of the world for a while.

There is a lot of world building in this story and the author does it quite well, but to fully understand it you really need to be immersed in the story. I was and I have touched only a bit on what the story is about because this is a very intricate world full of family, love, hate, and purpose, intense at times but worth the read.

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

Sofia grew up moving constantly. Never in one place more than three years, there was plenty of time to daydream during long car rides. College finally gave her a chance to study what she had always dreamed of doing, writing her stories.

She obtained a B.A. in Journalism, married her handsome husband and had two amazing sons. She’s also the proud mother of a 100-pound red rust Doberman who loves to chase around his sister, a fluffy-not-fat-cat.

A big believer in dreaming big, Sofia loves speaking to youth, encouraging them to find hope no matter what their life looks like. Sofia is a daughter of the Lord first and foremost and finds inspiration with stories like King David and Esther.


More from Sofia

I became a Young Adult Christian Fantasy Author so that I could add clean content to the world of Young Adult books. I love writing a great love story, and here’s one that will meet all your expectations of a great enemies-to-lovers romance without the spice. I love writing a story that mixes faith with fantasy, much like Morgan Busse, Nadine Brandes and Sara Ella. And if you’re wondering if the butterfly on the cover has any significance at all? Why, yes, yes it does. Read Terra to find out why.

Blog Stops

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 6

Blossoms and Blessings, October 7 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 7

Texas Book-aholic, October 8

Splashes of Joy, October 9 (Author Interview)

Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, October 10

By The Book, October 11 (Author Interview)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 12

Through the Fire Blogs, October 13 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14

Guild Master, October 15 (Author Interview)

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 16

Artistic Nobody, October 17 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, October 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 19 (Author Interview)

Pause for Tales, October 19


To celebrate her tour, Sofia is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and copy of Terra!!

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


Tuesday, October 17, 2023

My Thoughts on On Moonberry Lake by Holly Varni



Cora Matthews's life is a mess. A broken engagement and the unexpected death of her mother have left her wondering if things will ever return to normal. Whatever "normal" is.

It certainly isn't what she finds at Moonberry Lake. After she receives her family's dilapidated lakefront lodge as an inheritance--with a surprising condition attached--Cora finds her life overrun by a parade of eccentric neighbors who all have something to say and something to teach her.

As Cora works to put her life back together, she must decide if she is willing to let go of the past, open her heart to love, and embrace the craziest version of family and home she could ever have imagined.

My Thoughts:

Moonberry Lake was an interesting place to visit. It sounds quite lovely and tranquil. Cora Matthews spent many summers with her grandparents there. She loved the freedom that she felt. Till one day a horrible rift opened between her mother and grandparents. Her mother never let her go back to visit them while they were still alive and never told her what was so monumental that she cut all ties with her own parents. Now Cora's mother has passed away and Cora finds herself back at Moonberry Lake for the funeral.

Life continues to get interesting as she finds out she has inherited her grandparent's lodge on the lake. It needs a lot of work, but it does hold some cherished memories for her. Also, Cora's mother has left a list of stipulations for her to do and keep, if the lodge is to remain hers. Cora is never one for staying around, not for jobs nor for fianc├ęs even. But she figures she can stick around the lodge for a bit.

As Cora begins to bring the home back to life, she has an ally in Sam a neighbor. He introduces her to many of the townsfolk. They are quite an eccentric and quirky lot. I found myself chuckling at the oddities of all of them and wondered how Cora was going to quite fit in. Cora is determined to finish what she started this time, and then things really go south.

Filled with highs and lows, family secrets, and a town of assorted odd characters, Cora is going to maybe find the meaning of family that she has so long searched for. For some reason this story really surprised me. There is a thread of romance, but I think this story is about a woman falling in love with a town and its people.

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:

Holly Varni is a native Minnesotan of strong Norwegian descent, who was raised in the Lutheran Church that Garrison Keillor made a career depicting. Between the lutefisk, grumpy grandparents, and crazy neighbors who mowed their lawn wearing pajamas, the seed to becoming a storyteller was planted. Though she, her husband, and their three sons live along the Central Coast of California, her beloved Midwest roots continue to haunt everything she writes. She hosts the Moments from Moonberry Lake podcast where she shares more stories of her beloved characters. Learn more at www.hollyvarni.com.

My Thoughts and More on Abigail's Secret by Marilyn Turk


About the Book

Book: Abigail’s Secret

Author: Marilyn Turk

Genre: Dual Time

Release Date: August 15, 2020

Newly widowed mother Abby Baker goes home to Hope Harbor to help her ailing mother and restart her life. Weighed down by grief and fear of failure, she wishes she had the strength of her grandmother, who raised a young child alone while taking on the role of lighthouse keeper after her husband drowned. What was the secret of Granny Abigail’s strength?

Carson Stevens is a lighthouse enthusiast who has bought the deteriorating Hope Island lighthouse to restore it and turn it into a bed-and-breakfast. When he meets Abby, he wants the attractive granddaughter of the former keepers to be part of the restoration.

As Abby and Carson work together, they uncover clues to a family secret that threatens to change Abby’s life forever. But someone is trying to sabotage their efforts at restoration.

Renovating the old lighthouse is Abby and Carson’s goal, but as they grow closer, they discover that what they’ve really needed is a renovation of their hearts.


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Carson Stevens is finally living his dream, to open a bed and breakfast in a lighthouse. The old lighthouse at Hope Island will take a lot of work and money, but he is up for the challenge. But he never anticipated meeting a widow, Abigail and falling in love, nor uncovering the secrets that the lighthouse kept hidden for many years.

Abigail, Abby, has returned to her hometown to help care for her mother and to raise her daughter in the place she grew up. She has been through a lot of changes since her husband died. She works in the daycare where her daughter is, but her true passion is for interior decorating. When Carson approaches her about visiting the old lighthouse that was once her mother's home, she accepts his offer out of curiosity. Yet after that first visit, she feels drawn to the lighthouse and her creative bug is waking up.

At first Carson and Abby begin as friends and work on the lighthouse. However, as secrets become uncovered, Abby realizes that her grandmother was hiding a really big secret in 1945. What was it? Not only that but there is someone who does not want Carson to succeed with his lighthouse plans. This was an intriguing story that takes us to the coast of Maine with a bit of history during WW2. I have not been to Maine before, but after reading this story I so want to visit it and its lighthouses.

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 I fell in love with lighthouses, I wanted to read all about them and see as many in person as I could. Lighthouse Digest magazine was an answer to prayer. I inhaled every story in the magazine and used the information to write my lighthouse blog. https://pathwayheart.com/lighthouse/.

One blog post I wrote was about an opportunity to be a volunteer lighthouse keeper at a lighthouse, such as the Little River Lighthouse in Cutler, Maine. When my brother read my blog post he suggested that my husband and I do it. It had never occurred to me that I could be one of those people I wrote about! My husband jumped on board the idea, so we filled out the application, along with character references and proof we could drive a boat, and we were selected! The next summer, we arrived in the tiny town of Cutler, Maine, for our 10-day stay, and were met by the couple who arranged the lighthouse stays, who just happened to be the editors of Lighthouse Digest! I was awestruck.

They loaded us up in a boat in the harbor and took us out to the small island. We were charmed, and as a history buff, I was in heaven. The lighthouse and keepers’ house had been completely restored by a local non-profit organization which included a former Coast Guardsman who was once stationed there when the Coast Guard managed the property, as well as descendants of the last keeper family and the magazine editors.  Beforehand, the keepers’ house had been abandoned for years, and it took months of work to tear out the old and restore it too livable again. Notebooks with before and after pictures showed the extensive work they’d done.

Obviously, I could talk a long time about our experience on the island, but I’ll spare you. The point is, the story of Abigal’s Secret had its origin there, and I knew what Carson and Abby went through to restore the lighthouse property in the book.

My husband and I fell in love with Maine while we were there, so the story had to be set there among the many islands and lighthouses. Maine has the second most lighthouses in the United States (over 50). We also stayed in Bar Harbor a few days before we went to Cutler, so the town in the book is loosely based on Bar Harbor. (Cutler isn’t that big.)

And of course, being the historian that I am, I knew Abby had to be connected to the lighthouse and that she would discover how her own life was similar to her grandmother’s, who just happened to be the lighthouse keeper during World War II, another era in history that fascinates me.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 4

To Everything There Is A Season, October 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 5

Texas Book-aholic, October 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 7

Mary Hake, October 7

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

Cover Lover Book Review, October 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 10

Life on Chickadee Lane, October 10

The Book Club Network, October 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 13

Books I’ve Read, October 13

Blogging With Carol, October 14

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, October 15 (Author Interview)

For HIm and My Family, October 15

Holly’s Book Corner, October 16

Pause for Tales, October 17

Lily’s Book Reviews, October 17



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 Over the Horizon by Penny Zeller



About the Book

Book: Over the Horizon

Author: Penny Zeller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: July 18, 2023

A most unusual proposal…

Alone in 1870s Idaho Territory, Paisley Abbott has nowhere to turn. With no other options, she finds herself consenting to an unconventional, but mutually beneficial agreement.

During an unplanned return to his family’s farm, prodigal Tyler Shepherdson inherits three orphans. When Tyler finds a woman hiding in the back of his wagon, an idea begins to form and he makes a rash decision that results in perhaps one of the most spontaneous marriages of convenience ever.

Despite an unorthodox beginning to their marriage, will Paisley and Tyler trust God as they forge ahead to create a home for three children? Will love arise from a desperate situation?

In the first book in the Horizon Series, travel to the late 1800s to the town of Horizon in the Idaho Territory with a cast of unforgettable characters, journeys of faith, and abundant humor.


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Paisley Abbott and Tyler Shepherdson are thrown together in a most unconventional way. Paisley, after losing her parents in a tragic accident, runs away from an evil, ambitious man who not only wants her land, but her as well for his wife. Paisley knows not only will she not be happy with him, but probably not safe either. So, she runs from him and hides away in a stranger's wagon.

That stranger is Tyler whose life has also taken a drastic turn as well. He also has lost his parents due to sickness and now he is responsible for his three younger adopted siblings. They need a lot of love, care, and patience. Not only that, but Tyler is carrying a load of guilt on his shoulders, so he wants to keep his promises to his late mother.

So, Tyler and Paisley have an interesting first meeting that only cements their continual relationship. And when Tyler sees a marriage of convenience as the only way out of their troubles, Paisley agrees.

We get a front row seat of both Tyler and Paisley's thoughts and feelings concerning their very short courtship, a marriage to a stranger, a family of many broken hearts, and the difficulties of farm life. In fact, life in general can be hard without the past and its dangers coming flooding back. This marriage and little family will need to learn to stand together to survive and to love.

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, love, and humor 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 and is now the author of nearly two dozen books. Penny is also a fitness instructor and resides with her husband and two daughters in small-town America.




More from Penny

When I was a child growing up in a small farming community, one of our highlights was cramming into my aunt’s “White Machine”, her old, white, 1980s Mercury Monarch that sunk low in the back and higher in the front—all six, sometimes seven, of us, along with my mom and aunt. It was a crowded affair, with those of us who were oldest (me included) on the bottom, and the youngers piled on top, sometimes stacked three-high so we could all fit. My two siblings, along with my three, sometimes four, cousins looked forward to this event. We didn’t have a lot of money in those days, so scraping up the necessary funds proved challenging at times. 

We’d cruise up to the local fast-food restaurant, and for twenty cents, my mom and aunt would treat us to ice cream cones, and they would order Tab sodas. The woman at the drive-thru had it memorized so she knew exactly what flavors and how many of each. 

I was always one of the vanillas. The three boys (my brother and two cousins) had eating, or rather, inhaling contests, to see who could eat their ice cream the fastest, along with a brain freeze included at no extra charge. 

Ice cream makes an appearance in Over the Horizon. My novel takes place in the 1870s in the Idaho Territory, and during my research, I discovered that a man named J. Easley owned an “Ice Cream Saloon and Confectionery Shop” in Idaho City in 1868. His advertisement provided inspiration for the fictional O’Dell’s Soda Fountain and Confectionery in the book. 

Some other things I recently discovered about ice cream:


  • Ronald Reagan signed into effect National Ice Cream Day.


  • According to the International Dairy Foods Association, the top three favorite types of ice cream are chocolate, cookies n’ cream, and vanilla.


  • Most folks enjoy pizza and ice cream, but they may not like the combined flavors. Yes, there is pizza-flavored ice cream.


  • The ice cream cone was invented in 1904 by Syrian, Ernest E. Hamwi.


Over the Horizon includes a memorable cast of characters, all with their own distinct personalities. As such, it was fun to create a short character quiz, featured below, that includes a question about ice cream.  I’d love to hear from you about which character you are most like, so be sure to take the quiz and let me know in the comments!

Blog Stops

She Lives To Read, October 9

Exploring the Written Word, October 9

Madi’s Musings, October 10

lakesidelivingsite, October 11

Alena Mentink, October 11

Lighthouse Academy Blog, October 12 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 13

Mary Hake, October 13

Vicky Sluiter, October 14

Cover Lover Book Review, October 15

EmpowerMoms, October 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 16

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 17

Pause for Tales, October 17

Texas Book-aholic, October 18

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 19

For Him and My Family, October 20

Connie’s History Classroom, October 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 21

Holly’s Book Corner, October 22


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

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


Friday, October 13, 2023

My Thoughts on The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater by Jaime Jo Wright



It promises beauty but steals life instead. Will the ghosts of Barlowe Theater entomb them all?

Barlowe Theater stole the life of Greta Mercy's eldest brother during its construction. Now in 1915, the completed theater appears every bit as deadly. When Greta's younger brother goes missing after breaking into the building, Greta engages the assistance of a local police officer to help her unveil the already ghostly secrets of the theater. But when help comes from an unlikely source, Greta decides that to save her family she must uncover the evil that haunts the theater and put its threat to rest.

Decades later, Kit Boyd's best friend vanishes during a ghost walk at the Barlowe Theater, and old stories of mysterious disappearances and ghoulish happenings are revived. Then television ghost-hunting host and skeptic Evan Fisher joins Kit in the quest to identify the truth behind the theater's history. Kit reluctantly agrees to work with him in hopes of finding her missing friend. As the theater's curse unravels Kit's life, she is determined to put an end to the evil that has marked the theater and their hometown for the last century.

My Thoughts:

Well, oh boy! This is the kind of story that you really need to clear your whole schedule for. It is not a short book either, but the level of intensity, creepiness, and just needing to know what happened is very high. This just might be my favorite Wright book yet.

This is a dual-time story, with one timeline taking place in 1915 and the other in the present day. Greta Mercy, from 1915, is poor and has sole responsibility for her four younger brothers after her parents’ deaths and the untimely death of her older brother. She is essentially alone in the world. She has siblings and a couple of good friends, Oscar and Eleanor, but they are from the right side of town and have money.

The greatest fault Greta has, I think, is not trusting them more. They loved her and her family. Greta knows this, but that pesky pride gets in the way. From the start, things go from bad to worse for Greta, and her freedom and possibly her survival depend on finding the truth and her missing brother. This dangerous search amps up throughout the whole novel. The town and the theater are hiding some sinister secrets.

Present-day Kit has it a little better—same town and theater, though. However, her story also starts with an unbelievable reality. While on a ghost-hunting show in the Barlowe Theater, her best friend disappears, it seems, into thin air. No amount of searching gives any kind of clue about her whereabouts. Her family doesn’t know where she is, and the detectives working on the case are having a hard time piecing things together. Then someone begins to target Kit for reasons she cannot even fathom. Throw in Kit’s abandonment issues and a hunky guy that really gets on her nerves, and you have a story that is quite literally hard to put down.

If you are looking for a creepy October read with twists and turns and ghostly figures, yet ending with hope’s message, pick this one up.

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

About the Author:

Jaime Jo Wright (JaimeWrightBooks.com) is the author of ten novels, including Christy Award and Daphne du Maurier Award-winner The House on Foster Hill and Carol Award winner The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She's also a two-time Christy Award finalist, as well as the ECPA bestselling author of The Vanishing at Castle Moreau and two Publishers Weekly bestselling novellas. Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her family and felines.

My Thoughts on The Way Back by Heidi Chiavaroli

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