Monday, June 24, 2024

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 and her best friend jump from a six-story beachside cliff in an attempt to impress their boyfriends. Laney rose from the water. Her friend did not.

Six years later, when Laney’s troubled mother’s memoir hits the bestseller list airing the family’s destructive secrets, Laney is forced to relive the trauma, this time in the public eye. To escape the scrutiny, she seeks shelter at her estranged grandmother’s seaside inn. But she can’t reconcile the loving woman with the heartless parent in her mother’s book. As she looks for answers, the ex-boyfriend who’d witnessed her darkest days reappears, stirring up both pain and hope.

When her mother's vindictive fans threaten her grandmother's livelihood and the lighthouse Laney has come to love, she turns to the century-old words of a young lighthouse keeper to help her find the courage to move forward. But once truths from the past come to light and old love finds new beginnings, will Laney discover that forgiveness is the only way toward true healing?

My Thoughts:

In The Way Back, we have a story that really delves deep into the familial relationships. Especially those between mother and daughter. Laney Jacobs is a young woman who has not had an easy life. She has never met her father and her mother, for most of Laney’s growing up years, was strung out with whatever vise she could find. Laney felt mostly safe and loved among her best friend Maddie and her boyfriend Jacob, until tragedy struck. Not able to deal with life, Laney begins to self-harm.

Laney leaves her home in California and goes to Maine to meet the grandmother she never knew, especially now, as she wants to find out the truth about what really happened to her mother, now that her mother has written a famous memoir about herself and the lighthouse, she grew up in. Is what her mother says true, knowing her mother, or does her grandmother say something else? Shocking secrets do come out.

There is another young woman’s story we get to learn about along with Laney, written in the pages of a very old journal of a brave young woman lightkeeper. That story as well delved into a mother and daughter relationship and had me mesmerized along with Laney.

I really felt for Laney, the trauma she went through, even in her childhood where she did not have a responsible parent. The shame and guilt she is tackling with after her self-harm, it is heavy on her shoulders. I liked how the author showed us Laney’s continuing healing process, this was needed as the subject at times was heavy.

I never really know what I am going to get with this author’s work. Her stories really pull me in, and even when they broach uncomfortable subjects, she writes with empathy and hope for the characters.  I am glad that there is a hope where Laney can experience healing in all of her relationships, find love, and forgive herself. There are some sensitive topics broached in this novel.

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.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

My Thoughts and More on Texas Forsaken by Sherry Shindelar

 



About the Book


Book: Texas Forsaken

Author: Sherry Shindelar

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: May 21, 2024

The man who destroyed her life may be the only one who can save it.

Seven years ago, Maggie Logan (Eyes-Like-Sky) lost everything she knew when a raid on a wagon train tore her from her family. As the memories of her past faded to nothing more than vague shadows, Maggie adapted—marrying a Comanche warrior, having a baby, and rebuilding her life. But in one terrible battle, the U.S. Cavalry destroys that life, and she is taken captive again, this time by those who call themselves her people. Forced into a world she wants nothing to do with, Eyes-Like-Sky’s only hope of protecting her child may be an engagement to the man who killed her husband.

Enrolled in West Point to escape his overbearing father, Captain Garret Ramsey has graduated and finds himself assigned to the Texas frontier, witnessing the brutal Indian War in which both sides commit atrocities. Plagued by guilt for his own role, Garret seeks redemption by taking responsibility for the woman he widowed and her baby. Though he is determined to do whatever it takes to protect them, is he willing to risk everything for a woman whose heart is buried in a grave? Or is there hope she might heal to love once more?

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Wow, what a story, one that really gripped me from the beginning and had me wondering throughout how these people would overcome their pasts, make peace with their present, and live for the future. Eyes-Like-the-Sky was ripped away from her family when the Comanche attacked them some seven years ago. When we first meet her, she has already acclimated to her new people, the Comanche, with a husband she loves and a baby she adores. Her memories of that horrible experience that ripped her from her birth family so cruelly are all like shadows in her mind. Until her world is upended again.

This time by a white man, Captain Garret Ramsey. He tears her world asunder again, but he cannot get her out of his mind. There are many trials, especially as they are trying to get her to go to what is left of her original family. But Sky has been with the Comanches too long, and she is grieving for the husband she loved. Garret steps in to be her protector, hers and her little girl's, to be her husband. However, there is a lot of healing that needs to take place before they can get past their traumatic pasts and make a future. And the Civil War is on the horizon.

I really enjoyed this fictional story, that was based on an historical captive woman and what she went through. I cannot imagine the horror of being ripped away from family, not once but twice. This story will be sticking with me for a while.

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


Originally from Tennessee, Sherry loves to take her readers into the past. She is an avid student of the Civil War and the Old West. When she is not busy writing, she is an English professor working to pass on her love of writing to her students. Sherry is an award-winning writer: 2023 Genesis finalist, Maggie finalist, and Crown finalist. She currently resides in Minnesota with her husband of thirty-eight years. She has three grown children and three grandchildren.

 

 

 

More from Sherry

The story of Cynthia Anne Parker, the most famous captive of the nineteenth century, haunted my heart for a couple of decades. Abducted from one world, adopted into another, and then stolen back, Cynthia Ann’s story of love and unrepairable loss captured my heart. All the more so since it was fact, not fiction.

I longed to give her a second chance. So I developed a character who was similar to Cynthia, started the narrative at the moment of crisis, and wrote a different trajectory. I couldn’t give Cynthia a happy ending, but I could give Eyes-Like-Sky a story of love and hope taking root in the midst of devastating loss.

Cynthia was taken captive by Comanches at age nine during an attack on her family’s fort in the Texas frontier in 1836. Her father and several extended family members were killed, and her brother John, her cousin Rachel, and a couple other family members were captured along with her.

Her Aunt Elizabeth was rescued a couple months after the attack. Her cousin Rachel, who had been badly abused by the tribe, was ransomed a couple of years later and died within a year of her return. John adopted the Comanche lifestyle and lived with the tribe for years before eventually leaving the tribe to farm in Mexico. But Cynthia became Comanche and became an integral part of the tribe for over twenty-four years.

She married an influential war chief, Peta Nocona, and had three children with him, including Quanah Parker, who eventually became a powerful Comanche chief. Several times over the years, Indian agents and traders attempted to ransom her, but she refused to go, and the tribe rejected their offers.

In December 1860, Texas Rangers, along with U.S. Cavalry troops, attacked her village and captured her and her baby girl, Prairie Flower (Topsanah), killing everyone else in the camp. (There has been significant historical debate about whether her husband was present at the time. Some accounts claim he died fighting to protect her. Other evidence points to him having been away on a hunting trip at the time of the attack and dying a couple years later from an old battle wound.)

Eventually, one of Cynthia’s relatives claimed her and took her to live with family, but she refused to accept this new life that was being forced upon her. Repeatedly, she tried to escape to the open plains, desperate to find her husband and her sons. One of her uncles eventually agreed to help her look for her people, but they’d have to wait until the Civil War ended.

Prairie Flower died, word came that Cynthia’s son Pecos had passed away, as well, and the Civil War dragged on. Cynthia lost hope of ever being reunited with the two remaining members of her beloved family, Nocona and Quanah.  Overcome by sadness and longing, she sank into a deep depression and died of a broken heart.

Cynthia Ann’s story, the story of a woman torn between cultures, perplexed, intrigued, and haunted me. My heart ached for her loss, and questions flooded my mind. Some stories are like that. They stay with you, and this one was all the more indelible because it was true and filled with unknowns.

As I put pen to paper to begin Texas Forsaken, I sought to create an indelible story of heart-wrenching trials, forgiveness, and second chances. A story of love and hope born anew. A story of redemption.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 20

Alena Mentink, June 21

Holly’s Book Corner, June 21

Lighthouse Academy Blog, June 22 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 23

Pause for Tales, June 23

Texas Book-aholic, June 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 26

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 28

Stories By Gina, June 29 (Author Interview)

Books You Can Feel Good About, June 29

For Him and My Family, June 30

The Lofty Pages, July 1

Connie’s History Classroom, July 2

Cover Lover Book Review, July 3

Giveaway



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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/2c06b/texas-forsaken-celebration-tour-giveaway


Sunday, June 16, 2024

My Thoughts on When the Ocean Roars by Charlsie Estess

 

About:

He needs to surrender. She needs to fight. Are they ready for their next battle? Weeks before the Ultimate Fighting World Championship, Keane “The Golden Lion” Temple lands in Japan for the battle of his professional life. The adored prizefighter is primed to take the win. And nothing has ever distracted him from victory in the ring. But when his path collides with an intriguing woman, he gives in to impulse and asks her to spend his day off from training with him. Surely, he can keep his heart safe for one day.

Ami Ono cannot pass on the invitation but also hides her full identity. As their extraordinary day bleeds into night, both realize one day won’t be enough. Then the excursion ends in disaster when Keane discovers who Ami is. They part ways, but compelling circumstances and an undeniable attraction draw them back together, driving their attraction—and her high-society family drama—to something more intense than Keane has ever faced. As the forbidden romance threatens to take down his principles in the knockout of his life, he struggles to honor his beliefs. Will The Golden Lion surrender his heart? Will Ami defy the domineering men in her life and accept it? Do they stand a chance against nature?

My Thoughts:

This was an interesting story of a forbidden love meshed with instant attraction, where the old-world customs clashes with the new world of falling in love. It was also an interesting setting, against the backdrop of Japan in modern day, where a karate championship is about to take place.

Keane Temple has arrived in Japan to take the win. He is a karate championship, an interest that his mother instilled in him when he was little due to a turbulent and abusive home life situation. Keane is a great fighter, and his frame is widespread in Japan. Especially as he will be matched with one of their own top contenders. 

While out and about, Keane meets an amazing woman, Ami Ono whom he has an instant connection with. She as well with him. Ami is the youngest and only daughter after six boys. She comes from a well to do family, but her life is not her own. Her father and brothers are a bit controlling. What is a girl to do? I also found her vocation as a vulcanologist very interesting too. What an intriguing career choice.

The title both drew me in and fit the story well. I enjoyed my visit to Japan, I hope to go someday for real, but this story brought the culture and land to life in my imagination well. A great old-fashion love story to boot, with some surprise and dangerous plot turns that kept me turning those pages.

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.


Thursday, June 13, 2024

My Thoughts on Unforgiven by Shelley Shepard Gray

 

About:

They're each other's best hope for redemption--and love

Ex-con Seth Zimmerman has spent the last three years making amends by helping the vulnerable in his former Amish community. Lately, this mission includes calling on Tabitha Yoder, whose divorce from her abusive husband has isolated her from the community. Even though she never comes out of her house to talk to him, Seth knows she watches him from the window while he chops wood, clears her driveway, and drops off food.  
 
An uneasy friendship is just starting to take hold between them when small gifts begin to appear at Tabitha's home--gifts that can only be from her ex-husband. Seth might be Tabitha's only hope at maintaining her hard-won freedom from the man whose violent outbursts had almost cost her life. But coming to her rescue might mean he ends up behind bars once again.  

My Thoughts:

I don't read a lot of Amish stories, but I have enjoyed author Gray's stories in the past, and it has been a little bit since I have read one of hers. Here we have two individuals that have found themselves in horrible situations, due to circumstances mostly out of their control. They are now outside of their Amish community, living as Englishers but still close to family.

Tabitha has done the unthinkable and has divorced her violent husband who did put her in the hospital and almost killed her. She could not continue to live like that, as he would have ended up killing her. Her fear was palpable, and she really did not have the support she needed, unfortunately. Tabitha was really lonely and went for days without human contact. Reading how isolated she was, was giving me those tense feelings as well. It just seemed to ooze from the page.

Seth Zimmerman sees her though and cares for her. He had been coming over her house for a couple of years doing things for her like chopping wood or leaving groceries. He of all people knows what it is like to be shut out. He stepped in once upon a time to help a young woman and the consequences of that action landed him in prison. So now he is back, just not Amish anymore, and he has set his sights on his old crush Tabitha.

This story also included Seth's sister and her beau's point of views. Not only did this contain a new beginning for these two, but there was also a thread of suspense throughout as Tabitha was still not quite safe. This story really showed how rules, no matter how good they are, cannot replace the love and care we need to show others. They are not an excuse to forgo your Christian duty to mankind.

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:

Shelley Shepard Gray is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 100 books, including Unforgiven. Two-time winner of the HOLT Medallion and a Carol Award finalist, Gray lives in Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail. Learn more at ShelleyShepardGray.com.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

My Thoughts on A Run at Love by Toni Shiloh

 

About:

A CONTENDER RUNNING FOR THE ROSES

As a Black woman in a field with little diversity, Piper McKinney is determined to make her mark on the horse-racing world. Raised on a Thoroughbred farm in Kentucky, Piper's dream is for her horse to win the prestigious Kentucky Derby. With the help of her best friend and trainer, Tucker Hale, she gains national attention but must grapple with the complications that arise when a journalist delves into her past as a transracial adoptee.

A BEST FRIEND RACING FOR LOVE

In an effort to win Piper's heart, Tucker formulates a plan to train Piper's horse to victory, hoping to prove himself to her, her parents, and his own self-doubts. Then a shocking scandal hits the media, implicating both Piper and her parents, and she and Tucker will have to survive the onslaught to find their way to the winner's circle--and each other.

A ROMANCE WORTH THE CHALLENGE

My Thoughts:

There is a lot to unpack in this story. First off it is a friends to lovers story line. And boy did they take their sweet time. For me, it was frustrating their little dance they danced, but when they finally kissed-well let's just say they were all in for their romantic relationship.

Piper is an adopted woman of color, from a small country to rich parents. Parents who love her and maybe have been a bit overprotective and a mother a little bit opinionated. But really, what mother isn't a little bit of both of those. I did understand Piper's dilemma of wanting to be on her own as an adult. I get that, I do. I also, as a mom, understood her mother. I just wish Piper understood that it is a normal mother daughter relationship, I know she had the adoption issue as well, but it is a time of learning and growing for her.

Tucker is a list maker. He cracked me up how close he stayed to his lists, almost to his own detriment. I really liked the advice he got about his plans vs God's plans, and I took it as a lesson I need to apply to my life as well. I cannot plan everything out.

There were lots of ups and downs in this story. There was some major, and I mean major family drama that plays out. This was also a story about horse racing and what needs to go into all of that. So, this was a real unique story all around.

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:

Toni Shiloh is a wife, a mom, and an award-winning Christian contemporary romance author. Her novel In Search of a Prince won the first ever Christy Amplify Award. It has also been praised by Oprah Daily, POPSUGAR, Library Journal, and Booklist and is a Parable bestseller. Her books have won the Christy Award and Selah Award and have been finalists for the Carol Award and the HOLT Medallion. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Toni loves connecting with readers and authors alike via social media. Learn more at ToniShiloh.com.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

My Thoughts and More on The Girl from the Hidden Forest by Hannah Linder

 



About the Book


Book: Girl from the Hidden Forest

Author: Hannah Linder

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical / Regency Romance

Release date: May, 2024

The nightmares may free her…but destroy the man she loves.

Enjoy another Gothic Style Regency from Hannah Linder.

Eliza Ellis has stayed hidden in Balfour Forest for as long as she can remember. Perhaps her only friends are the trees, or her little dog, or her story-telling father called Captain. But at least she is safe from the cruel world outside, a world Captain has warned her against and protected her from.

That is, until a handsome stranger named Felton Northwood invades her quiet forest and steals her away. Why does he tell such lies? Why does he insist that her name is Miss Eliza Gillingham, daughter of a viscount, who disappeared fourteen years ago after the murder of her own mother? A murder Eliza is said to have witnessed.

When Felton returns Eliza to Monbury Manor and reunites her with a man who is told to be her father, all she remembers are the strange nightmares that have plagued her since childhood. Why have they suddenly grown worse? Are the answers hidden inside her own mind?

As danger mounts and lethal attempts are made on her life, Eliza and Felton must work together to uncover the identity of a killer who has stayed silent for fourteen years. When she finally uncovers the horrendous memories trapped in her mind, will divulging the truth cost her the man she loves—and both of their lives?

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Their lives were so tangled together even if Eliza did not remember. This was an engrossing gothic read that pulled me into the drama that surrounded the past of Eliza and Felton. Strange comings and goings and murder are all tied up to memories that Eliza experienced as a child and now only live in her nightmares.

This story started off like a rollercoaster and did not really let up on its speeding to the truth of what happened all those years ago when Eliza's mother was murdered, and she may have witnessed it all. All Eliza knows is that she lives in the forest with her father, whom she calls Captain, and she had an idyllic world. Safe from all the rest of the world who the Captain said might do her harm. Until one day a man comes and steals her away from all that.

Felton Northwood is tired of the stain of murder that is attributed to his family name. Especially when all believe his father is a murderer. No, Felton will not accept that, and he was most determined to do all he could to clear their name, no matter what.

So, their lives are tangled together in the past, present, and all their futures depend on the truth. I enjoyed this twisty tale that kept surprising me at every corner. Our characters were trying so hard to fumble there way as in the dark, just to get to the truth that had enslaved them all. What happened that fateful night and why? Can they survive the truth and move on, or will they forever be tainted? From Felton's doggedness to clear his name and pursue the life he wants to Eliza's palpable loneliness and fear that ever chased her, I was glued to the pages.

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


Hannah Linder resides in the beautiful mountains of central West Virginia. Represented by Books & Such, she writes Regency romantic suspense novels filled with passion, secrets, and danger. She is a four-time Selah Award winner, a 2023 Carol Award semi-finalist, a 2023 Angel Book Award third place winner, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Also, Hannah is an international and multi-award-winning graphic designer who specializes in professional book cover design. She designs for both traditional publishing houses and individual authors, including New York TimesUSA Today, and international bestsellers. She is also a self-portrait photographer of historical fashion. When Hannah is not writing, she enjoys playing her instruments—piano, guitar, ukulele, and banjolele—songwriting, painting still life, walking in the rain, square dancing, and sitting on the front porch of her 1800s farmhouse.

More from Hannah

Everyone has been asking me for years: “Can you see yourself in any of your characters?” I guess I’m in everything, interwoven in all of the sentences. Pieces of me are scattered in the settings. Traits and quirks and secret thoughts are dispersed into the minds and souls of my characters.But I always felt the need to say no. I don’t see myself in my characters.

Perhaps because, in the past, so many of my heroines have been so different than me. Ella Pemberton (Beneath His Silence)—outlandish and stubborn and daring, apt to speak her mind, bold in her manner and flawless in her dance. Nan Duncan (When Tomorrow Came)—injured and worrisome, voice like an angel, childishly sweet, yet too eager to please. Isabella Gresham (Garden of the Midnights)—spoiled and excitable, with raven black hair and an art for entering social circles with impeccable grace and exquisiteness.

I love them, sweet characters of mine.

But I don’t understand them. We’re too different. Like sand and sea, we meet, we touch, we sweep back and forth together but we’re of different substance.

But Eliza Ellis—rather, Eliza Gillingham—is the first character I truly resonate with. Not on purpose. In no wise did I pen her with conscious hints back to myself. But as the story progressed, I found my heart reaching out to her, settling into her.

Because she was the same.

The way she thought, the things she imagined, her forest and her pet and her stories. I comprehended what made her hurt. I understood the dream world she lived in, because I live in a dream world too.

So, if anyone asks me, “Do you see yourself in any of your characters?”, I’ll pull The Girl from the Hidden Forest from the bookshelf and hand it to them. I’ll tell them Eliza and I are like kindred spirits, that we’ve bridged a friendship between reality and fiction.

Whether you’re a reader or a writer, I hope you stumble upon a character one day that feels like you. It’s a strange and special feeling indeed.

Blog Stops

Devoted To Hope, May 30

Inspired by Fiction, May 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 31

Sylvan Musings, May 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 1

Texas Book-aholic, June 2

Mornings at Character Cafe, June 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 3

Blogging With Carol, June 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 4

Betti Mace, June 5

For Him and My Family, June 5

Alena Mentink, June 6

Splashes of Joy, June 6

Stories By Gina, June 7 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, June 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 8

Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, June 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 9

Cover Lover Book Review, June 9

Book Looks by Lisa, June 10

The Lofty Pages, June 10

Holly’s Book Corner, June 11

Pause for Tales, June 11

Lily’s Corner, June 12

To Everything There Is A Season, June 12

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Hannah is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a print copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/2bbf6/the-girl-from-the-hidden-forest-celebration-tour-giveaway


Monday, June 10, 2024

My Thoughts and More on When Hope Sank by Denise Weimer

 



About the Book


Book: When Hope Sank

Author: Denise Weimer

Genre: Christian / Historical / Romance

Release date: May, 2024

Can Hope Resurface After Evil Tries to Drown It?

Introducing a series of 6 exciting novels featuring historic American disasters that transformed landscapes and multiple lives. Whether by nature or by man, these disasters changed history and were a day to be remembered.

The Civil War has taken everything from Lily Livingston—her parents, her twin brother, her home. Now she works at her uncle’s inn and keeps her head down. Speaking up for her beliefs proved too costly in a part of Arkansas split by conflicting loyalties and overrun by spies and bushwhackers.

Emaciated in body but resilient in spirit, Lieutenant Cade Palmer is crowded onto the Sultana with other paroled Andersonville and Cahaba POWs for the journey north. But a fiery explosion on April 27, 1865, rends the steamer and empties two thousand men into the frigid Mississippi River.

Recovering from wounds that might end his career as a surgeon but clinging to his faith, Cade threatens both Lily’s defenses and her heart. How can she tell him she might’ve prevented the tragedy if only she’d reported a suspected saboteur’s claims? And when the man returns to town and encoded messages pass through the hotel, will Lily follow her convictions to prevent another tragedy?

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

When Hope Sank tells the story of the fateful day when the Sultana ship was carrying the POWs of the Union side back north. What happened was devastating as the ship blew up sending many of these soldiers to their deaths. What happened? Was it sabotage? Negligence? Or just a freak accident? As always, the author's notes at the back give us some insight as to what history says.

The war is over, but Lincoln has been assassinated, and the country has been torn apart. Reeling from its wounds we get a fictional account of the lack of trust on both sides of the North and South. Lieutenant Cade Palmer was a Union army surgeon and POW on his way back to the Union side, when his already turned up life becomes more so. Suffering from agonizing wounds, he is saved by the pretty Lily Livingston and taken to her Uncle's Inn in Arkansas.

Overhearing something she shouldn't have; Lily feels guilty about what happened. She is in a tough spot as all her immediate family accept her younger brother, has died. Now she is responsible for herself and him. When she saves Cade's life, little does she know her life will be forever changed.

This story really showed the realism of people's feelings when the country was just beginning the healing process from its war wounds and how could anyone trust the other side again. Both sides were devastated from death and war, and to have this unbelievable disaster that caused more tragic deaths and harm, was unthinkable. Who was at fault? Understandably this tragedy still showed how vulnerable the country still was. And for both Lily and Cade, some big decisions needed to be made and a lot of forgiveness needed to begin. 

I have really been enjoying this series. I like that the authors are bringing one day disasters attention again, so that we may learn a bit more about history and what others had gone through before us.

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


Denise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. A former magazine writer, Denise authored romantic novella Redeeming Grace, as well as The Georgia Gold Series (Sautee Shadows, The Gray Divide, The Crimson Bloom, and Bright as Gold, winner of the 2015 John Esten Cooke Award for outstanding Southern literature) and The Restoration Trilogy (White, Widow and Witch) with Canterbury House Publishing. A wife and swim mom of two daughters, Denise always pauses for old houses, coffee and chocolate, and to write any story the Lord lays on her heart.

 

 

More from Denise

The first novel I ever wrote was set during the Civil War, inspired by travels to historic sites of the Southeast with my parents and scribbled in my eleven-year-old hand in spiral-bound notebooks. Fresh out of college with my new degree in journalism with a minor in history on my shelf, I narrowly missed signing a contract for another Civil War series. Fast forward another decade or so. I was a young mom writing for magazines and directing a volunteer 1800s dance group when my Georgia Gold Series, literary-style historical fiction set between the Cherokee Removal and Reconstruction, found a home with Canterbury House Publishing. Since then, I’ve written everything from Hallmark-style contemporaries to Rev War romances (including my current Scouts of the Georgia Frontier Series with Wild Heart Books, where I also work as an editor). Everything but Civil War-era stories … until this one.

It feels a lot like coming home.

Some of that also has to do with the fact that I love writing stories that illustrate how God can bring healing and redemption out of the most difficult circumstances. I also endeavor to work as much real history as possible into the plots of my novels. And I love finding a little-known aspect of the past to center a story upon. When Hope Sank embodies all those things.

Reeling from the loss of over 600,000 men in the Civil War and the assassination of President Lincoln just the week prior, the nation hardly noticed when a steamer carrying a couple thousand U.S. prisoners of war exploded in the Mississippi River on April 27, 1865. Over eleven hundred perished in the icy waters that swelled several miles past the normal embankments at flood stage, making the sinking of the Sultana the most crippling maritime disaster in the nation’s history.


The former POWs on their way to muster out at Camp Chase, Ohio, were already emaciated and ill from imprisonment at infamous Andersonville and Cahaba prison camps. A number were badly burned when the boilers exploded, and many did not know how to swim. You can imagine the scene that ensued. While the steamboats docked at Memphis—which had been under Union occupation since the summer of 1862—got up steam, local citizens hurried to help, even those on the Arkansas shore who had fought for the Confederacy. The towns of Hopefield, Marion, and Mound City had suffered harsh reprisals for harboring Confederate guerillas. The area was well-known as a hotbed of spies and saboteurs intent on disrupting Union shipping on the Mississippi.

From this cauldron of chaos, discontent, and pain, an emotionally rich story was born. Focused on survival for herself and her little brother, Lily works at her uncle’s inn and keeps her Union sympathies to herself in her family of Southern sympathizers. The Yankee lieutenant she pulls from the river needs emotional healing even more than physical, though his wounds may compromise his ability to practice as a surgeon. The bond that forms between them from their shared faith and allegiances makes Lily question if she might have another option besides marrying her childhood sweetheart, a former partisan. And when coded message pass through River’s Rest, Lily struggles to find the courage to do what she didn’t the first time—speak out to save lives.


While the sinking of the Sultana may be the inciting event in When Hope Sank, it’s not the main focus. The reactions of the characters in the aftermath are. In our lives as followers of Christ, isn’t that where the real focus should lie? How we respond to tragedy? How we learn to reach for God instead of blaming Him? How, when we walk with Him, He brings beauty out of our ashes? It’s my prayer that the message of When Hope Sank settles deep in your heart.

 

 

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 28

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 28

Bizwings Book Blog, May 29

Life on Chickadee Lane, May 29

Alena Mentink, May 30

Lighthouse Academy Blog, May 30 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Betti Mace, May 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 31

Texas Book-aholic, June 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 2

Book Looks by Lisa, June 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 3

Life, Love, Writing, June 4

Blogging With Carol, June 4

The Lofty Pages, June 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 5

For Him and My Family, June 6

Blossoms and Blessings, June 6

Stories By Gina, June 7 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, June 7

Cover Lover Book Review, June 8

Connie’s History Classroom, June 8

Holly’s Book Corner, June 9

An Author’s Take, June 9

Pause for Tales, June 10

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Denise is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon e-Gift card and copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/2bbf4/when-hope-sank-celebration-tour-giveaway


Friday, June 7, 2024

My Thoughts on Hidden in the Night by Elizabeth Goddard

 

About:

In this breathtaking race for the truth, not everyone will get out alive

At the behest of her ailing mother, former FBI special agent turned rare-book collector Ivy Elliott arrives in Alaska to secure an unpublished Jack London manuscript kept secreted away for decades. When she learns the manuscript is gone--taken by the granddaughter of the woman who possessed it--Ivy sets off in pursuit. She wants to save the priceless manuscript, but more than that, she must rescue the vulnerable girl, who was previously trafficked and has no idea what she's getting herself into. 
 
Joining forces with Alaska State Trooper Nolan Long, Ivy must battle a blizzard, sabotage, and the worst of an Alaskan winter as the search goes on. But every answer they find only raises more questions--and the danger to their lives and to the missing girl may be only the tip of the iceberg. 




My Thoughts:

So close yet so far away is how I felt about Ivy and Nolan and their relationship. Nolan lives in Alaska and Ivy lives in Florida and they keep meeting up in Alaska. In fact, Nolan was going to take a much-needed vacation down to Florida to find Ivy, whom he dubs Sunshine Girl. Then a bunch of bad things start happening, which may or may not be connected and not only is he needed in Alaska because he is a state trooper, but also low and behold, but Ivy is back in Alaska.

Ivy is keeping some secrets close to her chest. Her mom has been diagnosed with cancer again and she is in want of a lost manuscript. I found the story line of a long-lost Jack London story a bit fascinating. There is some major superstition about it and Ivy is also trying to get it for another reason. But this only leads her to a murder and a missing young woman. Which Ivy cannot walk away from. Much to Nolan's chagrin.

These two were interesting. They liked each other, had chemistry, yet I don't know if it was fear or pride that kept them apart for so long. Instead of working together on the case, they were more stubborn than usual for a while.

I really liked getting to know Alaska and its climate a little bit better. I just assumed that Alaska was always cold and dark during the winter. However, that is not the case, as Ivy learns, that not all of Alaska is like that. Not even does their water freeze like the Great Lakes does. 

The searching for a missing young woman in small communities and over a great distance where there were not a huge police presence and people were tightlipped added a certain tension as time was running out to find her. And all this while an unusual winter storm hit too. Lots going on in this latest addition to the series, Missing in Alaska.

I was provided a copy of this novel from Revell Publishing through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Goddard is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than 60 novels, including Cold Light of Day, Shadows at Dusk, and Hidden in the Night, as well as the Rocky Mountain Courage and Uncommon Justice series. Her books have sold nearly 1.5 million copies. She is a Christy, Carol, and Reader's Choice Award winner and a Daphne du Maurier Award and HOLT Medallion finalist. When she's not writing, she loves spending time with her family, traveling to find inspiration for her next book, and serving with her husband in ministry. Learn more at ElizabethGoddard.com.

Monday, June 3, 2024

My Thoughts on To Catch a Coronet by Grace Hitchcock

 

About:

Sometimes the only way to outsmart a scandal is to find a crown big enough to silence it


Muriel Beau, country baker turned heiress, can't stop instigating outrage. She discards two arranged engagements, then further antagonizes Kent society by publicly proposing to a baron at a ball. His rejection leaves her with no choice but to flee to the city and to secure a coronet so splendid that her peers will forget her debacles. The glitter of the London courts convinces Muriel that it's possible to find the future she dreams of, until she finds herself entangled in yet another escapade--one that may cost her more than her crumbling reputation.

After years of serving as a privateer under an assumed name, Captain Erik Draycott, heir to Draycott Castle and soon to assume his uncle's title of Earl, returns to his London home to find it in disrepair thanks to his longtime nemesis. A staunch bachelor intent on returning to his ship, the captain is shocked when his mentor encourages him to take a wife. But while his alleged pauper status causes the potential London brides to turn their noses up at him, the ladies of Kent have no such qualms and are eager to fill his coffers with their fathers' wealth.

Caught in a whirlwind of high society and high seas, Muriel and Erik navigate a risky undertaking that threatens their futures and creating stakes that soar above the masts of Erik's ship. Will Muriel's bold charm and Erik's daring bravery be enough to outsmart the scandal and secure a future as glittering as the crown Muriel seeks?

My Thoughts:

This story starts off with Muriel embarrassing herself so badly, that she and her parents believe it is time she goes to a different location and under the tutelage of a family friend. Muriel just really hopes that her most humiliating moment will not follow her. I really felt for Muriel. She was a young woman who did want a husband and children. Unlike other heroines in this time period, she would like a marriage with love, but she is also reasonable enough to know that that may not happen. So, she embarks on her husband hunting with open eyes while also making sure her second love, being a baker, does not suffer.

When Muriel and Erik, the Earl of Draycott have their first meet, it is quite surprising and a bit humorous. I also enjoyed the author's cute little throw in of a certain Little Mermaid. 

Erik is a great guy, but he is living a double life. He is one man on land, and another on sea as he captains his ship. He is looking for a certain dangerous traitor while also trying to keep his two identities apart. His meeting with Muriel has thrown him for a loop, especially when she might be just the woman to tempt him to settle down with.

This was a fun and sometimes hilarious novel of two people trying to navigate a world where neither was prepared for from birth. Their friendship is refreshing as they see each other for who they are. Along with the humor there is the mystery and danger lurking as a certain villain is intent on not being thwarted and a certain secret identity legacy that put me in mind of one of my all-time favorite movies, The Princess Bride. This was a fun adventure and world that was easy to get lost in.

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.

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...