8.11.2022

By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser // Review

Review: 

Two resilient women decades apart are challenged by love and loss as the world changes around them. 

Allie Massey is watching her life go to shambles around her, the future that she had all mapped falling to pieces. She has a short time frame to pack up all of her beloved grandmother's things and clear out the property before everything is leveled and the commercial landowners take over. But going through the mementos reveals a secret side of her grandmother and her amazing courage. 

A well crafted read that is a mix between character and plot driven. The story meanders at its own pace, taking time to carefully bring all the pieces together in rich detail, while keeping me invested and wondering how it would all work out. I loved learning about Allie's grandmother, especially how she served in the war, as well as her courage and daring. I liked how the story was told through alternating viewpoints in the present day with Allie, and decades earlier with Dale, sometimes foreshadowing what would happen in the other time and place. 

Overall, a compelling, richly woven read, with a strong message of faith and hope. A compelling read that will take you through a gambit of emotions, captivating in the best way!

 
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

8.10.2022

The Heart of the Mountains by Pepper Basham // Celebrate Lit Tour, Review and Giveaway

 


About the Book


Book: The Heart of the Mountains

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance

Release date: July 1, 2022

Can their hearts overcome the darkness of the mountains?

To escape a forced marriage, Cora Taylor travels from England to the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of her brother, who is working as a teacher in a mission school. She hopes to find a place where her nursing skills and independent ideas will be accepted and appreciated, but nothing prepares her for the wild mixture of isolation, community, brokenness, and hope within these mountains…or in the person of Jeb McAdams.

Returning from the devastation of World War 1 emotionally damaged, Jeb McAdams struggles against the rampant mountain alcoholism to soothe his nightmares. It’s easy to hide within the mountains, or it was, before Cora Taylor arrived. Now, she seems to show up at every turn, bringing her modern ideas, curiosity, and beautiful eyes with her.

Bound by their shared war history, the pair develop an unlikely friendship, which unexpectedly hints to something more. But when Cora’s desire to help the women of the mountains crosses an unspoken line, will Jeb be able to protect this feisty flatlander from the wrath of the mountain men or will he end up losing much more than his heart?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 Review:

Healing hearts and finding love in the Blue Ridge mountains of  Appalachia.

Cora Taylor escapes an unwanted arranged marriage by joining her brother who is working as a teacher at a mission school high up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a place unlike anything she could have imagined. I loved watching Cora fall in love with the breathtaking beauty of the mountains as well as the unbending harshness, as well as befriending the many colorful mountainfolk. I admired her for not only bringing her own knowledge to her new friends, but also how she was willing to learn from them in return. 

Engaging from the start, I was quickly drawn into the story and cheering for both Jeb and Cora. Jeb is a strong man of faith, mindful of his personal struggles and fighting for a better tomorrow. There was great interaction between him and Cora, and even though it all happened over a short period of time, it felt right. 

Overall, a wonderful read with a compelling plot, and characters, I loved how the subplots added to the story, as well as the author's attention to detail and all the little ways that she makes Appalachia come alive. A satisfying, faith-filled read, definitely recommend!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About the Author


Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

You can learn more about Pepper at her website http://www.pepperdbasham.com or connect with her on FB, IG, or Twitter.

 

More from Pepper

It’s so interesting how one idea can influence an entire series, or…how one person’s story can.

The idea for The Heart of the Mountains started in Laurel’s Dream with a hint of a family history story about a girl named Kizzie. (Someday, I hope to bring Kizzie’s story to the pages of a book). From there, the idea began to grow out of a love for my Appalachian culture into a series of books which highlighted (and fictionalized) stories from my family history.

 

The main story in The Heart of the Mountains is about Jeb and Cora, two different people with similar servant hearts, but the secondary story that touched me so much was the one based on my great grandfather’s life. I write about it in the Author’s Note at the end of the novel, so I won’t go into detail about it. However, what I loved getting to do is bring the truth of God’s redemption in my great grandfather’s life…to life again.

 

I never knew “Papa Rat”. I only knew the stories handed down to me by my granny and my mama, but in writing this story, I feel as though I had a tiny opportunity to “meet” him in these pages. He was a gruff mountain man with a broken past which led him to make a whole lot of broken choices, but his story is incredibly encouraging, because it points to the God of broken people. My great grandpa wasn’t left in his brokenness, but, after years of running away from God, he would later recount that God pursued him. The beauty of Sam McAdams’ journey in The Heart of the Mountains is only a little glimpse into what I imagine my great grandpa’s redemption story looked like.

 

Because my great grandpa was forever changed when Jesus saved him (as any of us should be).

I think that’s what my granny and her siblings (and even “Papa Rat” himself) would want most -that his story would point to Jesus. I hope that’s what you see when you read about Sam McAdams in The Heart of the Mountains.

 

Have you ever read a book based on family history? One of my favorites is Catherine Marshall’s Christy.

Blog Stops

Bizwings Blog, July 28

Rachael's Inkwell, July 28

Bigreadersite, July 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 29

Texas Book-aholic, July 29

Inklings and notions, July 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 30

Boondock Ramblings, July 30

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, July 31

Reading With Emily, July 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 31 (Author Interview)

lakesidelivingsite, August 1

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, August 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 1

Daysong Reflections, August 2

deb's Book Review, August 2

Live. Love. Read., August 2

Betti Mace, August 3

Book Looks by Lisa, August 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 3

Remembrancy, August 4

For Him and My Family, August 4

Blossoms and Blessings, August 4

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 5

By the Book, August 5

Wishful Endings, August 5

For the Love of Literature, August 6

Books, Books and More Books, August 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 6

Connie's History Classroom, August 7

SodbusterLiving, August 7

Splashes of Joy, August 7

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 8

Back Porch Reads, August 9

Through the Fire Blogs, August 9

Pause for Tales, August 9

Labor Not in Vain, August 10

Miriam Jacob, August 10

To Everything There Is A Season, August 10

Giveaway



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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/20389/the-heart-of-the-mountains-celebration-tour-giveaway

Sophie Go's Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim // Review

Review: A delightfully whimsical romance, full of mouth watering confections, and single septuagenarians. 

Sophie Go returns to Toronto after attending a prestigious matchmaking school in Shanghai, she is excited to move into her own place and acquire a list of clients. But when it is revealed that her credentials are lacking, she finds herself scrambling for clients to keep her dream alive, offering her services to a group of seven single men in their seventies. 

A romantic comedy about a young woman finding her way, and making new friends, with elements of magical realism. A quick and light-hearted read, fun, with great cultural flavor. I loved how Sophie not only brought people together with her job, but also how they became her friends.

I found her parents to be horrifically manipulative and abusive to her, physically, financially, verbally, and emotionally. And I think that it played into the honor and shame culture, but her parents were just so jarringly terrible and outrageous that it took away from the book as a whole. 

Overall, a fun, quick read about finding love and finding yourself, in a magical Toronto setting filled with delicious sweets, and steadfast friends. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

*clean whimsical romance with moderate swearing, strong Asian representation and culture, as well as a m-m storyline

8.09.2022

Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan // Review

Review: 
A captivating read  that follows Megs Devonshire as she embarks on a quest to discover the answers to the questions of her terminally ill brother, George, about Narnia. 

A beautifully rendered novel that tenderly tells the story of a brother and sister as they discover the world created by C.S. Lewis as well as the about the inspirations that he drew from. I liked how the story flowed from Megs and George to Jack's years growing up, and how little pieces of his life made it into his stories and impacted his faith. This is a wonderful companion to Patti Callahan's other brilliant book about C.S. Lewis Becoming Mrs. Lewis, though this one is much different they compliment each other well. 

Overall, an excellent read. I loved they way that the book portrayed Jack and Warnie, and how the story was told by a story within a story. Hope filled and full of wonder, this beautiful book will stay with you after the last page is turned. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

8.08.2022

Off the Chain by Janice Thompson // Celebrate Lit Tour, Review, and Giveaway



About the Book


Book: Off the Chain

Author: Janice Thompson

Genre: Christian Fiction / Mystery

Release date: July 1, 2022

The Town of Brenham, Texas, Has Gone to the Dogs!

Curl up with your pup and sink into a delightful small-town mystery as riddles and rescues stack up in book one of a new cozy mystery series.

Marigold Evans’ first attempt at rescuing an abandoned pooch lands her in a drainage pipe in Brenham Texas. . .and almost in jail, until Parker Jenson comes to her rescue. Then a bad day only gets worse as the Lone Star Vet Clinic, where they both work, is vandalized and the list of suspects starts to climb. With the help of her fellow employees, Marigold sets out to simultaneously solve the crime, rehab the rescued dog, and help more dogs in crisis. But why would anyone continue to work against all their good efforts?

Click here to get your copy!

 Review: A chain reaction of misunderstandings and mishaps only gets worse when the vet clinic that Marigold and Parker work at is vandalized.

Marigold is passionate about her job and helping animals, her dream is to open a pet rescue to help animals in need. She is determined to find the perpetrator as she works toward her dream with her dependable friend Parker by her side at every turn. I loved how this experience helps Marigold step out of her comfort zone and make new friends and connections, with humor and a community full of wonderful characters along the way. I liked the close knit workplace, community of faith, and the adorable animal friends, especially Mr. Bojangles. 

I really enjoyed this cozy mystery, getting to know the townfolk, as well as following Mari throughout her days as she works to solve the case, find Mr. Bojangles a home, and make her dream a reality. A fun-filled, light-hearted read that brought a smile to my face. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About the Author



Janice Thompson, who lives in the Houston area, writes romantic comedies, cozy mysteries, nonfiction devotionals, and musical comedies for the stage. She is the mother of four daughters and nine feisty grandchildren. When she’s not writing books or taking care of foster dogs you’ll find her in the kitchen, baking up specialty cakes and cookies.

 

More from Janice

Dogs, dogs, and more dogs! My world is full of dogs. If you follow me on social media you’re probably overwhelmed with dog photos, but I simply can’t help myself. I’m in love with pooches of all shapes and sizes.

My fascination with dogs began when I was six years old and I got my first pup, Spunky. He was a mixed breed terrier. From that day until now I’ve had the pleasure of owning many, many pups—some purebreds, some street dogs that needed a safe place to stay, some elderly with chronic or acute health issues. I can’t get enough. They offer unconditional love, after all!

A few years back I was asked to foster for a local rescue, My Chi and Me. The rest, as they say, is history. For a quick glimpse at some photos, follow this link. You’ll see that I’m mostly enamored with small dogs. (Hey, I live in a tiny townhome and have limited space!) That said, I’m always willing to take on one more.

My most recent rescue ventures landed me squarely in the middle of a book idea: Why not use a dog story as the basis for a cozy mystery? My editor at Barbour Publishing wanted something dog-themed and I was happy to oblige. That’s where the idea for Off the Chain (and the whole Gone with the Dogs series) came from—a simple idea involving dogs and crime.

I took the opportunity to focus solely on rescue dogs as the idea developed. These days (especially post-Covid) the need for homes for these pups is great. I linked arms with my BFF, Kathleen Y’Barbo, and together we set our series in Brenham Texas, not far from our stomping ground in the Woodlands. I felt strongly that we should merge two separate dog worlds: rescue and veterinary. (Hey, Brenham is close to A&M and they know a thing or two about veterinary training!)

Thus, the Gone with the Dogs series was born. And writing the first book, (Off the Chain), was a blast! I hyper-focused on one primary point of view character, a vet tech. (As the owner of three dogs I feel like I’m always in the vet’s office!) My stories, which is written in first person, took me back to my writing roots. I love, love, love writing in first person because I “become” the character. Fun, right?

My editors loved the book and it got some fun endorsements, so I’m excited to see what my readers think. I can’t wait to get their feedback. I hope it’s not too “Ruff!”

But, seriously. . .I’m hyped! And I’m feeling so blessed to merge my worlds—dogs and writing!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 26

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, July 26

Texas Book-aholic, July 27

The Book Club Network, July 27

An Author's Take, July 28

Remembrancy, July 28

deb's Book Review, July 29

Pause for Tales, July 29

The Avid Reader, July 30

For Him and My Family, July 30

Christina's Corner, July 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 31

Inklings and notions, August 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 3

She Lives To Read, August 3

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, August 4

Blogging With Carol, August 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 6

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, August 7 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, August 7

Labor Not in Vain, August 8

Books I've Read, August 8

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Janice is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a paper 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/1ffe2/off-the-chain-celebration-tour-giveaway

8.06.2022

Counterfeit Kingdom by Holly Pivec and R. Douglas Geivett // Review

Review: 

Right out of the gate this book did such a wonderful job of putting into words what I had been feeling about New Apostolic Reformation churches for a while, backing their critiques up with Scripture and lovingly speaking truth. 

I knew a little about NAR prior to reading this book, and already knew that it was something that I was uncomfortable with, but I struggled to put into words the reasons I had for being personally against such teachings. This book does an excellent job of breaking down erroneous teachings and contrasting it with the truth of Scripture, as well as explaining other more controversial teachings that can accompany NAR preaching, showing how it slips in through music, youth teachings, an missions. 

Overall, an excellent resource for parents, and Christians who have questions about this movement, or even people who might be involved with such teachings. Written in an easy to read style, the authors do an excellent job of presenting Biblical truths. A valuable and timely read, highly recommend!


I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Let It Be Me by Becky Wade // Review

Review: 

After a troubled childhood Sebastian Grant has made a career out of fixing hearts, but is his own in danger when he falls hard and fast for the one woman he can't have?

High School Math Teacher Leah Montgomery is shocked to discover a secret that puts her world in a tailspin, she has worked hard raising her younger brother and never thought that she was cut out for romance. I loved her relationship with Dylan and how she is devoted to giving him the best, and is worried about his future. 

An engaging multi-layered read, with familiar faces from the previous novels in the series. There was definitely some great chemistry between Sebastian and Leah, and I liked the winding plot that kept me on my toes. While this wasn't my usual kind of book, I found it to be enjoyable. I really liked how the Colemans took Sebastian in and became the family that he needed in his life. But I wasn't comfortable with the idea of forgiving God. 

Overall, a well written contemporary romance, filled with tension, relationship building, friendship, and stepping into the unknown. I would definitely read a book about Ben finding someone nice in the future! 


I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

8.04.2022

Lifemark Trailer // New Movie from the Kendrick Brothers!




David’s comfortable world is turned upside down when his birthmother unexpectedly reaches out to him, longing to meet the 18-year-old son she’s only held once. With the encouragement of his adoptive parents, David embarks on a journey of discovery that leads to a staggering truth from his past. From executive producers Kirk Cameron and the Kendrick Brothers—creators of 
War Room and Fireproof—comes LIFEMARK, inspired by an incredible true story that celebrates the gift of life. #LifemarkMIN



Where the Road Bends by Rachel Fordham // Review

Review: 

Norah King is out of options when it comes to saving her farm after the death of her father, so she agrees to marry a neighboring farmer to save her land, but an injured stranger throws her future plans into turmoil. 

My heart definitely went out to Nora, things just kept going from bad to worse for poor Nora as she is stuck in an impossible situation. I liked how she takes Quincy in, showing kindness and hospitality, doing the right thing even when it hurts. Nora's kindness to Quincy is a turning point in his life, and I liked that he changes his life as a result of meeting Nora. 

There was a lot to like about this book, with strong themes of forgiveness, second chances, and the importance of honesty. There were things that I both liked and disliked about the time jump, and I could see why it was done. While there were noble themes, the story wasn't overtly Christian, which isn't a bad thing just might not be what some people are expecting going into it. Great for fans of clean historical romance.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Inventions of the Heart by Mary Connealy // Review

Review:

Picking up right where the previous book left off Inventions of the Heart follows the three Stiles sisters as they continue to evade their stepfather's nefarious plans for their inheritance. 

Michelle has been feeling at loose ends since her sister Laura's marriage. She likes to stay busy and offers to help Zane extract the gold from his property, using her mechanical mind to develop efficient ways to speed the process. Michelle is intelligent, but at times insecure about her homemaking skills, I love how she uses her strengths to help Zane manage his property and mine. Zane a dashing cowboy hero, he's never thought much about marriage before meeting Michelle, and I like how he comes to appreciate her more and more as he get's to know her.

A great installment to a wonderful series, there is a lot going on and it definitely will be important to have already read the first book in the series. I liked the action, humor, and strong themes of trusting God's plan. I enjoyed the interaction between Michelle and Zane, as well as the close bond between the sisters. A satisfying adventure and romance, definitely recommend!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.