Forged in Love by Mary Connealy // Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Forged in Love

Author: Mary Connealy

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: February 28, 2023

When sparks begin to fly, can a friendship cast in iron be shaped into something more?

Mariah Stover is left for dead and with no memory when the Deadeye Gang robs the stagecoach she’s riding in, killing both her father and brother. As she takes over her father’s blacksmith shop and tries to move forward, she soon finds herself in jeopardy and wondering–does someone know she witnessed the robbery and is still alive?

Handsome and polished Clint Roberts escaped to western Wyoming, leaving his painful memories behind. Hoping for a fresh start, he opens a diner where he creates fine dishes, but is met with harsh resistance from the townsfolk, who prefer to stick to their old ways.

Clint and Mariah are drawn together by the trials they face in town, and Clint is determined to protect Mariah at all costs when danger descends upon her home. As threats pursue them from every side, will they survive to build a life forged in love?


Click here to get your copy!


Mariah Stover loses her brother and father in a terrible stagecoach robbery, but being the lone survivor puts her in the sights of the Dead Eye Gang that killed her family.

Mariah is an independent heroine, facing terrible danger and almost insurmountable heartache. I liked that Clint steps up offering his help. He is a gifted cook, and I liked the way that he adjusts to living in a simple Wyoming town, and taking joy in what he does. He is a gentleman, with noble intentions. I liked that he was patient with Mariah, giving her space to mourn and figure things out. It was nice to see them bonding over their faith as well. 

This was a fast paced romantic adventure, set on the Wyoming plain. I liked getting to know the townsfolk, as well as the humor, and romance. A great introduction to a new series, with strong admirable characters in an adventure filled romance! I'm excited to read the rest of the series!

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

About the Author

Mary Connealy (www.maryconnealy.com) writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has sold more than one and a half million books. She is the author of the popular series Brothers in Arms, Brides of Hope Mountain, High Sierra Sweethearts, The Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.


More from Mary

The Inspiration

I started plotting this novel when I found out that Wyoming was the first state (then a territory) in the Union to grant women the right to vote. Then I discovered it wasn’t just the right to vote; all sorts of other rights were given to women as well, like the right to run for elected office or be appointed to office. In fact, the first woman justice of the peace in the U.S. was from Wyoming. This inspired me to have one of my heroines be the second justice of the peace in the country.

As I continued my research, reading about all that went on in Wyoming was fascinating. They became a territory in 1868—with women voting—and yet they weren’t allowed statehood for another thirty years. With other states being granted statehood in only a few years, why was this? Because the U.S. government refused to let Wyoming in unless they took the vote away from women.

Because Wyoming adamantly refused to strip the vote from women, year after year they were denied statehood. When they finally did get it, the state’s women maintained their right to vote because Wyoming would not budge on the issue. The whole history of this was great reading.

So I wrote a three-book series called Wyoming Sunrise in which all my heroines play against the normal, conventional female roles of the day.

Now, what job could I possibly think of that wasn’t traditionally for women? How about Mariah who happens to be a blacksmith? And while I’m writing against stereotypes, I created a man named Clint who runs a diner. That wasn’t too unusual, for lots of diners were run by men back in the day. Yet not many of them were talented chefs trained in high-class restaurants in New York City. Clint is an excellent chef. Of course, an excellent chef in a small Wyoming town is kind of wasted on folks who prefer fried chicken and beef stew.

Clint makes chicken and beef, but he calls his dishes weird names and makes them unusually delicious. Meanwhile, Mariah is working over a hot forge for long hours every day. When her father and brother are killed in a stagecoach holdup, she becomes the only blacksmith in town.

There’s some resistance to her doing such a masculine job, but even among those who disapprove, well, they’ve got a broken wagon wheel or a hole in their kettle and it’s either let Mariah fix it or go without. Mariah is allowed to be a blacksmith out of pure necessity.

My second book, The Laws of Attraction, has a female justice of the peace, while the third, Marshaling Her Heart, features a tough lady rancher. I write westerns, and honestly, writing about tough, feisty lady ranchers like Becky the Rancher comes naturally to me. Writing about a blacksmith and a judge, however, presents more of a challenge.

Mariah, who survived the stagecoach holdup, learns that the robbers believe she might know something that will reveal their identity, and she needs to be silenced. Clint tries to protect her and finds himself stepping between her and a murderous gang of outlaws.

Through it all, love finds them, and they begin to forge a life together.

Blog Stops

Bigreadersite, March 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 18

Texas Book-aholic, March 19

Through the Fire Blogs, March 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 19

Stories By Gina, March 20 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, March 20

Books You Can Feel Good About, March 20

Connie’s History Classroom, March 21

For Him and My Family, March 21

Labor Not in Vain, March 21

Cover Lover Book Review, March 22

Lighthouse Academy, March 22 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Remembrancy, March 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 23

Betti Mace, March 24

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 24

She Lives to Read, March 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 25

Pause for Tales, March 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 26

Holly’s Book Corner, March 26

Book Looks by Lisa, March 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 27

SodbusterLiving, March 28

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 28

Splashes of Joy, March 29

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, March 29

Wishful Endings, March 30

HookMeInABook, March 30

lakesidelivingsite, March 31

EmpowerMoms, March 31

Mary Hake, March 31


To celebrate her tour, Mary is giving away the grand prize package of a $15 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of the book Forged in Love!!

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



After the Shadows by Amanda Cabot // Review


Emily returns to her hometown to find that her father has passed, a string of mysterious events has Emily and the new school teacher asking questions. 

An engaging read with a full cast of characters in a small town shrouded in secrets, with a mystery that kept me guessing. Well written with wonderful well developed characters. Emily is a courageous woman, willing to stand up for truth and ask the hard questions. I loved her friendship with little Noah, who is the most adorable little boy! 

There is a lot going on in this small Texas town, and I liked the multiple intertwining story threads, as well as the growing friendship between Emily and Craig. 

Overall, an entertaining novel, and great start to a new series, with a heroine that I could cheer for all the way through. Definitely great for fans of Western romance, with a streak of mystery!

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

The Courtship Plan by Kathleen Fuller // Review

My Review: 

Charity Raber is excited for a fresh start in a new community, who doesn't know about her past desperate ways. Jesse Bontrager is the last person she expected to see again, will they be able to put their past behind them and give love a chance? 

A charming and humorous opposites attract romance, I loved Shirley and how she genuinely cares for her friend Charity, and doesn't want her to be hurt. She is probably my favorite person in the story. I liked how Charity and Jesse get to see a different side of each other and that Jesse wants to be kind to Charity. It was also really cute how the dog helped bring them together along with Shirley. 

This was a quick read, with a sweet plot, filled with humor, faith, and romance. I liked how Charity grew since the first time we met her in a previous book, and how she continues to mature in this story as well.

Overall, a wonderful story from probably my favorite author in Amish fiction. A wonderful start to what is sure to be a great series!

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


Under Fire by Lynn H. Blackburn // Review


Special Agent Tessa Reed finds herself the target of mounting threats, which is a stress she doesn't need while serving as a liaison working with the president's security, which includes Zane Thacker, the man she can't forget. 

A high stakes romantic thriller, with an action packed plot that kept me on my toes. Tessa and Zane have a complex friendship, and I liked seeing them work together and work through things over the course of the book. 

A wonderful read with a multi-layered plot, filled with suspense, faith and romance. Compelling relationship building, with strong protagonists, I loved how they were there for each other through so much. Plenty of action, as well as familiar characters from other books. A wonderful addition to the series, but could be read as a standalone. Definitely recommend to fans of action packed suspense!

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


The Secret Society of Salzburg by Renee Ryan // Review

My Review: 

The story of two women, an opera singer and an aspiring artist who risk it all to help Jews escape the wrath of the Nazis. 

A gripping historical read, compelling characters and courageous women, as they face the growing unrest in Austria and Germany in the first rumblings of WWII. Based on a true story this is a rich historical novel of love and sacrifice. 

Elsa is a gifted singer, admired by Hitler, but she hides a dangerous secret of Jewish heritage. Her unlikely friendship with Vera and Hattie Featherstone allows them to work together to help Jews escape Germany. The story follows Elsa in two separate timelines, and I admired her strength throughout. 

Overall, a engaging and heartbreaking read, compelling and well written. Bringing to life treacherous times, and the courage of remarkable women.  

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


Potiphar's Wife by Mesu Andrews // Review

My Review: 

A gripping drama of a Cretan Princess thrust into a marriage of convenience to Pharaoh's most trusted friend, she longs for her homeland while struggling to find a place among the Egyptians. 

A fictional novel of redemption and faith. I found this book to be an engaging read that explores the characters of the people typically remembered as the villains in Joseph's story. Well researched, this book brought the contrasting cultures to life, I loved how Ahira and Joseph showed love to Zuleika, and despite it all I found myself grudgingly rooting for the anti-hero. 

A powerful story of redemption, belonging, and forgiveness, great for fans of ancient history. In some ways this was a more difficult read for me because I knew where it was headed, but it also took me by surprise. This book has a more mature content due to the subject matter, but I think that the author dealt with it well. I am excited to read the next book in Joseph's story. 

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


Power Play by Rachel Dylan // Review

Lucie's Review: 

International intrigue abounds as attorney Vivian Steele and former Navy SEAL Jacob Cruz try to get to the bottom of an assassination of two foreign ambassadors. 

First impressions aren't everything as Viv and Jacob find out as the web of intrigue grows smaller, though they don't initially see eye to eye they soon find that they are each other's best chance to get to the bottom of the case. Rachel finds herself in a tough spot, playing a dangerous game that she was never trained for. 

I liked how this book switched back and forth between the two teams as work to reveal what really went down. And I liking the growing friendship between Delaney and Weston as she teaches him the ropes. 

Overall this is a engaging read with a lot going on, it definitely keeps the gears spinning, as they unravel the plot behind the murders. I liked that Viv and Jacob bond over their shared faith, in this suspenseful romance. 

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

In Her Sights by Karen Witemeyer //Review


Can Tessa catch the eye of a man who is convinced that he'll never find love?

A delightful western romance, with characters that brought a smile to my face. An entertaining read that had me invested from the very beginning, I loved the meet cute, and the cameo from Annie Oakley.  There was great interaction between them, as well and inspiring thread of faith woven throughout. 

I liked how Tessa take the initiative to show Jackson that he is a worthy man, and that she admires his noble character. 

Overall, an engaging read, with wonderful characters and a great plot, I was sad to see it end! Enjoyable must read!

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


In Spotlight and Shadow by Rachel Scott McDaniel // Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: In Spotlight and Shadow

Author: Rachel Scott McDaniel

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical Fiction / Mystery / Romance

Release date: February 1, 2023

A Gem of a Mystery Takes Center Stage

​Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

Elise Malvern has a habit of letting people down. Her former boyfriend who hoped she’d be his bride. Her grandfather who hoped she’d take over the family’s auction company. But mostly she’s disappointed herself. What’s the point of pursuing her passion as a violinist, if she is too scared to audition for a seat in the Pittsburgh Symphony? Her internship at the elegant Heinz Hall places her in the wings of the stage, but never on it. By accident, she discovers an old stage prop. Her instincts tell her there’s more to the paste necklace than meets the eye. Whether a good idea or not, she accepts help from a childhood friend, who happens to be country music megastar—Peirson Brooks. Peirson and Elise share a history; one she doesn’t care to repeat. The more involved they become in the mystery, the more things get tangled, including her heart.

A century earlier…
Sophie Walters longs for center stage, her name on the marquee, and all that jazz, but climbing her way into an acting career is more difficult than she imagined. Having spoiled all her chances in Hollywood, she returns to Pittsburgh, accepting an insignificant role in a popular production. She watches her dreams pass by from behind the curtain at the illustrious Loew’s Penn Theatre. She finally gets the coveted spotlight, but not for her talent. No, her surge to fame is all one terrible mistake. Somehow, she’s suspected to be a notorious jewel thief known around Pittsburgh as The Mirage. The man she pleads for help is none other than the man she jilted at the altar five years before, Sterling Monroe.


Click here to get your copy!

 My Review: 

Two women find the courage to face their pasts and embrace love. 

A fast paced read with two riveting plots that bind together across time. Elise is a violinist who discovers a secret in an old coat, while working to face her fears with the help of an old friend. Sophie finds herself in the middle of a jewel theft, and the only one who can help her prove her innocence is the man she left at the altar. 

An engaging read from the start, I liked how the author gave Elise and Sophie distinct voices, it really added to the story, giving it a depth of character. I liked that Pierson offers to help Elise, and how he is honest about his mistakes. Elise struggles with her identity, and feelings of not being good enough. I liked seeing her and Pierson together despite their initial hesitations. I especially liked the mystery and suspense of Sophie's story, I admired her courage and faith. 

Overall, this was a well done dual-timeline novel, with a riveting plot, gripping characters, romance, and faith. A page-turning read that is well worth our time!

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

About the Author

Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. Rachel can be found online at www.RachelScottMcDaniel.com and on all social media platforms. Her work is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency. Rachel resides in Ohio with her husband and two children.


More from Rachel

History of The Loew’s Penn/Heinz Hall Theater


The Loew’s Penn theater in Pittsburgh opened its doors on September 6, 1927. Thousands of Pittsburghians crammed the streets hoping to enter. Those who were fortunate to claim a seat gasped at the grandeur of what that has been billed the ‘Temple of Cinema.’ The new hotspot in the Steel City was regarded as the most magnificent theater between New York and Chicago.

The Loew’s Penn was five stories high and could seat over 3,000 guests. The grand lobby had a 50-foot-high vaulted Venetian ceiling, gilded Corinthian columns, and two spectacular chandeliers. The crystal for the chandeliers was imported from Vienna. From silk drapes to artwork by Renaissance masters to Italian marble staircases the theater seemed more like a museum than a cinema palace. As for the entertainment, the night began with a live stage show followed by a silent film feature.

Attendance averaged around 60,000 theatergoers a week. And with an admission charge of $.50, the theater made around $30,000 a week. Which was a substantial fortune during the 1920s. The theater hosted live stage shows and they also brought in national acts including Paul Whiteman and the Rhythm Boys featuring Bing Crosby. Also Buster Keaton and Eddie Cantor graced the stage.

Over the years, the allure of the Loew’s Penn faded, and the theater fell into disrepair, finally shutting its doors in 1968. The Howard Heinz Endowment purchased the building, saving it from demolition. After a 16-month renovation that had cost over $11 million, the doors opened yet again under the new name of Heinz Hall. The plush red carpet is bold and beautiful, but also a subtle nod to … you guessed it … Heinz Ketchup. The grand lobby features the original marble flooring as well as the two 15-foot chandeliers. The main auditorium seats 2,661 guests. Heinz Hall is now the home to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra it also hosts concerts and Broadway touring companies.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 25

Melissa’s Bookshelf, February 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 26

Just Your Average reviews, February 26

Rebecca Tews, February 26

Where Faith and Books Meet, February 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 27

deb’s Book Review, February 28

Simple Harvest Reads, February 28 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 1

Blogging With Carol, March 1

Remembrancy, March 2

Connie’s History Classroom, March 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 3

Betti Mace, March 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 4

Cover Lover Book Review, March 4

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 5 (Author Interview)

Christina’s Corner, March 5

Paula’s Pad of Inspiration, March 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

For Him and My Family, March 6

Through the Fire Blogs, March 7

Bigreadersite, March 7

lakesidelivingsite, March 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 8

For the Love of Literature, March 8

Blossoms and Blessings, March 9

Holly’s Book Corner, March 9

Labor Not in Vain, March 9

Book Looks by Lisa, March 10

Pause for Tales, March 10


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

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



Their Unbreakable Bond by Deb Kastner // Review

Lucie's Review: 

Stone Keller returns to his hometown and takes a job working with his family friends, while he helps his ailing mother. He is surprised to find that his best friend's sister isn't so little anymore...

A romance of second chances and starting over, I liked how Stone is up for the challenges thrown his way and how he is always encouraging Felicity in her faith and to see the bright side of things. It was also really interesting learning about how they train dogs for avalanche rescue. 

I loved seeing more of the Winslow family, and I liked the interaction between Stone and Felicity. A heartwarming romance, enjoyable, with great characters. 

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