About Me I am a retired librarian and I now support books and authors through my reviews.

I have always loved to read and I was able to share that love through my work as a public librarian for 22 1/2 years. I now promote literacy by reading, and then writing reviews. I love to support authors by sharing my reviews with others!

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Mackinac Island Beacon (Mackinac Island Romances) by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Mackinac Island Beacon (Mackinac Island Romances)

Plans hatched in 1897 bring friends and family from far distances toward Mackinac Island’s new twin beacons—the Round Island Lighthouse and the Social Affirmation Society’s training/retreat center. A missing daughter, a missing godchild—two young women’s lives have intertwined in ways they could never have known. The solution to both of their mysteries is revealed when all hope has been lost by those seeking them.

Is romance out of the question for Val and Susan, when their hearts begin to heal? Will Paul and Lawrence, friends from their childhoods, brought to the island for work, be their beacons of hope? Can God bring all their paths together or will too many obstacles stand in their way?


Carrie Fancett Pagels often chooses Mackinac Island as the setting for her books and she's become a wonderful travel ambassador for this area. I've never been there personally but I feel like I've seen the lighthouses, walked the secluded beaches, and experienced some of the historic events of this special place. This newest book took me back to 1897 Mackinac Island for a special reunion with many of the characters that I'd met before. The Sugarplum Ladies were back but much of the story centered around two young women and the two male friends from their childhoods. And, then, there was Jack Welling! He hadn't learned to filter his thoughts before he spoke so his remarks often provided humor during times when laughter was greatly needed. I really enjoyed Jack!!

Mackinac Island Beacon has a heartwarming story with romance, a missing daughter, and a spotlight on adoption and orphanages during the last years of the nineteenth century. I appreciated that Pagels used her psychological training to show the effects of mental illness and the need for treatment and understanding. She also enhanced the story with her references to faith. Pagel reminded us that God is always present in our lives and that His provision is non-ending. How else could the intense connection between Susan and Val be explained? How else can we define the instant connection that we often find with perfect strangers?

Longing for a lovely vacation getaway but unable to go physically? Mackinac Island Beacon is the perfect summer read for anyone looking for romance, a lovely setting, and an awesome adventure! I recommend it to all who enjoy historical Christian fiction.

I received a complimentary copy from the author. There was no obligation for a positive review.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Carrie Fancett Pagels is a multi-published award-winning author of Christian historical romance.  Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! She resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which is perfect for her love of history. Carrie loves to listen to audiobooks, bake, walk with her family, and travel to beautiful places by the water– but not all at the same time!

Learn more by visiting Carrie's      Website     
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Anchored at Mackinac
Mackinac Island Beacon

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Mona Lisa Smiles by Kate Lloyd

Mona Lisa SmilesABOUT THE BOOK

With Papa dead and Mama in assisted living, Mona Lisa Buttaro plans to sell Booty’s, the family restaurant, as well as the family home, but her quirky brother, Joey, is a roadblock. Mona Lisa persuades him to work at the restaurant, but his phobias about germs dominate his thoughts. Yet, if she sells the place, where else could Joey work? 

Mona Lisa hires former classmate Cliff McFarlane to do repairs on the family home. Newly sober and single, Cliff was in the popular crowd that excluded her in the past, but she is still attracted to him—not that she’d let him know. Mona Lisa wonders if she should give up all men—unless she can find one like Papa, her idol. 

Then she uncovers an outrageous while alive, Papa made monthly payments to a half-sister Mona Lisa never knew existed. 

Mona Lisa realizes her father was a liar—not unlike herself. She harbors her own shameful secret.


Kate Lloyd is a well-known author of Amish fiction, but she also excels in writing women's contemporary fiction. This book is the perfect example of the latter. Lloyd possesses a unique ability to fully engage readers and she does it by projecting real emotions! I alternated between frustration and compassion; I smiled, laughed, and I was even moved to tears. Most of all, I cheered for these people, and I longed for a happy ending!

There is romance in Mona Lisa Smiles but the main focus is on family and friends. It features the point of view of three very realistic characters who are fallible but likable, weak while strong, and all are dealing with issues common to many of us. If you're looking for a book that will keep you turning the pages, grab a copy of Mona Lisa Smiles.

I received a copy of this book from the author. There was no obligation for a positive review.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Bestselling author Kate Lloyd is a passionate observer of human relationships. A native of Baltimore, Kate and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest, the location of her novel, Reinventing Ruthie. A Lancaster Family Secret, follows but is not a sequel to A Lancaster Family Christmas. (Both are stand-alones.) Another captivating book is Stage Fright, a delightful story with twists and turns as a woman ventures through England with her church choir. From Rome with Love is an intriguing Christmas book that will keep you guessing. 

Kate loves spending time with family and friends in Lancaster County, PA, the inspiration for her novels Leaving Lancaster, Pennsylvania Patchwork, and Forever Amish, the third book in the Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy, and also A Letter from Lancaster County and Starting from Scratch. 

Kate studied art, art history, and Italian in college. She has worked a variety of jobs, including restaurateur and car salesman. Kate enjoys travel and walking with her cairn terrier, Piper, who plays an important role in her last two novels.

Learn more at Kate's      Website     Facebook     Instagram     Pinterest


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