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 enjoy reading to my granddaughter and supporting authors through my reviews!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Socialite by J'nell Ciesielski: Review & Giveaway



About the Book



Book:  The Socialite
Author: J’nell Ciesielski
Genre:  Historical Romance
Release Date: April 14, 2020

Glamour, treachery, and espionage collide when an English socialite rushes to save her sister from the Nazis.

As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?


Click here to get your copy!

MY THOUGHTS.....

Even though I don't have a sister I found myself wondering, as I read The Socialite, what I would have done and how far I would have gone to protect my sister if I thought that she was in danger, or worse yet, involved with a person who followed an ideology based on hatred and murder. This is the premise of J'Nell Ciesielski's story and what a story it is! Romance, betrayal, danger, and espionage are included and this is definitely a book that you won't soon forget. Ciesielski has created characters that seem to jump off the pages in this beautifully crafted story and she has given me an entirely new perception of England, Paris, and France during the era of Adolf Hitler and World War II.

If you enjoy historical fiction and clean romantic fiction, you will certainly want to read The Socialite. The cover alone is incentive enough to add it to your bookshelf!

I received a copy of this book from the author through Celebrate Lit. I wasn't obligated to write a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Author



With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at her website www.jnellciesielski.com.


More from J’Nell


I blame Pinterest. Too many hours are spent chasing rabbit holes of glorious pictures of fashion from eras gone by, Highlanders in kilts, WWI ambulances, and fairytale castles. One day I was browsing something super important (or possibly escaping from the actual work I was supposed to be doing, er, we’ll never know) and stumbled across a black and white picture of six beautiful girls. Who are these lovely ladies? I wondered. A quick search brought up the Mitford sisters. Six gorgeous daughters born into an aristocratic English family, each girl with a different passion: Diana the fascist, Jessica the communist, Unity the Hitler lover, Nancy the novelist, Deborah the duchess, and Pamela the poultry connoisseur. Whoa. You know dinner time around their family table was interesting. How could such different personalities belong in the same family? What would you do if your sister got moon-eyed over Hitler??

Bam. An idea was born.

In the beginning, my little rebel Ellie was going to be a full-fledged Nazi ideology lover, but she quickly informed me that it wasn’t so much the Nazis or their crazy ideas she loved, but one man in particular. One twisted Nazi who had fallen completely under her spell, and she under his. The ideas of love can often be more difficult to break as Kat finds out when she tries to rescue her na├»ve sister. Luckily, she has a hunky Sottish bartender to help her while providing a few romantic intentions of his own. With everyone hiding past hurts and true identities, how will they ever hope to find the love they each long for when war rages under the bright lights of Paris? Guess you’ll have to read to find out ;)

Blog Stops

Emily Yager, May 22
Simple Harvest Reads, May 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Livin’ Lit, May 26
Betti Mace, May 27
Genesis 5020, May 28
Remembrancy, May 28
Mia Reads, May 29
Rebecca Tews, May 30
Moments, June 2
Andrea Carmen, June 3
Hallie Reads, June 4

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a book and a book sleeve!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Farm Stand by Amy Clipston

The Farm StandABOUT THE BOOK

Experience some sweet, garden-fresh romance in the next installment of Amy Clipston's Amish Marketplace series.

Salina Petersheim runs her own booth at the Amish market, where she’s known for having the freshest and most delicious produce in the area. Her father is the bishop of her church district, and her brother is a deacon. They are a very close family, yet sometimes she tires of being compared to her older brother, Neil, who is married and has two children. She also feels the pressure of having to be the perfect daughter for her parents.

Salina has been dating Josiah for almost a year now, but he feels more like a friend than a boyfriend. Her parents approve of Josiah, who is a hardworking roofer. He’s handsome and easy to talk to, but he just doesn’t warm her heart the way she feels a boyfriend and future husband should. She secretly longs for more.

Along comes William “Will” Zimmerman, a Mennonite chef who runs a restaurant located next door to the Amish market. He wants Salina to supply the produce for his restaurant, and as they forge a business relationship, they both feel themselves falling in love. Salina especially tries to deny her feelings for Will since her father wants her to marry within the community.

 Both Salina and Will feel stuck in their current relationships, but they cannot deny what they feel for each other. Will they follow their hearts or bow to the pressure of family? Or will God provide a surprising new road for them?

MY THOUGHTS.....

What if you knew exactly what your life was meant to be and then, have everything change? Would you be brave enough to embrace the change or would you hang on because of the expectations of your family? This is the dilemma that Will Zimmerman and Salina Petersheim face because both of them are expected to marry other people. The fact that Salina's dad is the Amish bishop doesn't make it any easier for Mennonite Will! Will Salina and Will follow their hearts to a life of happiness together or will they give in to the expectations of others?

Salina is a gal after my own heart! Some of my deepest thinking and some of my best devotion times happen when I'm in my garden. l enjoy getting dirt under my fingernails so that I can see the 'fruits of my labor' and Salina shares those same feelings. She loves growing garden produce to sell at her farm stand at the Amish market and the local restaurant nearby and it's there that her life is turned upside down. Will runs the restaurant near the market and what begins as a business relationship soon turns into friendship, and then, something much deeper.

Author Amy Clipston has written another heartwarming story and we readers get to once again experience life among the Amish and Mennonites. Troubles are often present, love and romance are sometimes hard, but in the end, family and faith always prevail. A very wise comment from Will's mother says it best! "If it's meant to be, God will find a way. He always finds a way."

The Farm Stand is the second book in the Amish Marketplace series but it can be read as a standalone. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Amish fiction and Christian romance.

I received a complimentary copy from the author but there was no obligation for a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Clipston is an author of Amish and Christian fiction with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Most of her books focus on the Amish community, faith, and love but she also writes romance novels and young adult inspirational stories.

For more information, visit her    Website                                                                          Facebook               Twitter              Instagram

View all my reviews

The Mischief Thief (Rose & Thorne #1) by Johnnie Alexander

The Mischief Thief  (Rose & Thorne #1)ABOUT THE BOOK

Two wrongs don’t make a right . . . except when they do.

For con artist Chaney Rose, life hasn’t been easy. In desperate need of cash, she readily accepts a gig from an unethical attorney to recover Mischief, a stolen racehorse. Hunting for clues, she breaks into the suspected thief’s home only to be caught—with a few pilfered items in her pockets—by the police detective who’s tailing her.

By-the-book Adam Thorne was fired from his church ministry because of his father’s involvement with the valuable racehorse.
He arrives home to find a detective arresting the young woman who broke into his house. In a burst of Les Miserables-inspired charity, he claims he gave Chaney the stolen items.

Adam needs Chaney’s help to find his father who has disappeared along with Mischief. But when Chaney learns that Mischief’s owner intends to kill the horse, she needs Adam’s help to expose the cruel plan before it’s too late.

Can a con artist with a conscience and a minister without a ministry team up to do the wrong thing for the right reason?

MY THOUGHTS.....

"Her conscience stung as she tucked the box into her bag. Maybe because she was stealing from a minister. Was that a worse sin than robbing a regular person? Though shouldn't a minister forgive and forget? He might, but would God?"

The Mischief Thief made me smile and it also made me want to cry. My heart was touched by a little girl who had grown up in a family of grifters and had learned at an early age the art of stealing and swindling. I admired her devotion to her cousin Marshall and I was moved by the young girl who had walked past houses at dinnertime and wished that she could be part of those families, instead of the family she had been given. I laughed when a grown-up Chaney Rose was able to convince a guard that she was the wealthy (and very spoiled) new owner of Mischief, the stolen horse that is at the center of this story. Is it any wonder that Chaney's vehicle is named The Sting?

Author Johnnie Alexander was able to show Chaney's vulnerabilities even when she was acting her worse and isn't that the case in real life? Aren't we all capable of displaying those good/bad qualities? I especially liked minister Adam Thorne because even when he was released from his church duties due to his father's actions, his Christian witness was still strong. His understanding and grace were exactly what Chaney needed to see!

If you enjoy Christian fiction with a little mystery and a lot of forgiveness and second chances, you will want to read The Mischief Thief. There isn't an obvious romance between Chaney and Adam but there is a special friendship that could easily deepen into something more. Johnnie Alexander, I am looking forward to another book that will continue this relationship between Chaney and Adam!

I received a complimentary e-book from the author and The Mosaic Collection. I wasn't obligated to leave a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Johnnie Alexander creates characters you want to meet and imagines stories you won't forget.

Her award-winning debut novel, Where Treasure Hides (Tyndale), made the CBA bestseller list. Her contemporary romance novels include Where She Belongs, When Hope Arrives, and What Hope Remembers.

She currently writes cozy mysteries and contemporaries for Annie's Fiction and historical novellas for Barbour.

Since talking about writing is so much fun, Johnnie hosts Novelists Unwind, which features videotaped interviews with inspirational authors, and Writers Chat, a weekly online show. She also teaches at writers conferences and for Serious Writer Academy.

In addition to winning the prestigious American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Genesis Contest (Historical), Johnnie was named a Bronze Medalist in the My Book Therapy Frasier Contest and has received several conference awards.

She is marketing director for the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference and past president of both the ACFW Memphis and ACFW Central Florida chapters.

Connect with Johnnie at her Website and follow her on Facebook     
Twitter     Instagram

View all my reviews

Shattered by Death by Catherine Finger:Review & Giveaway


About the Book



Book:  Shattered by Death
Author: Catherine Finger
Genre:  Thriller/Suspense/Mystery
Release Date: June 2016

When Josie’s abusive soon-to-be-ex-husband had an affair with another woman, Josie could have murdered them. When someone does, Jo is the prime suspect and the only one who can solve the case.

Click here to get your copy!







MY THOUGHTS.....

Jo Oliver has a lot on her plate. She is going through a messy divorce while waiting for her adoption of a teenager to be finalized. She is also the Chief of Police who has become a suspect when her estranged husband and his girl friend are found murdered, and later, as more murders occur, all of the clues point to her. Who wants everyone to believe that Chief Jo is a serial killer? Who has added her name to their list of victims? Will this prevent Samantha from becoming her legal daughter? Is it possible for Jo to continue to trust God as her life unravels?

This book offers readers peek into the inner workings of a police force. Yes, there is violence and the police chief doesn't always filter her comments or reactions but the officers support and protect each other. When FBI agent Nick Vitarello offers his assistance, romance is added to the plot but it is plagued with Jo's doubts about love and commitment. Author Catherine Fingers has given Shattered by  Death a strong faith message and even when Jo finds her trust in God wavering, prayer is often mentioned and thought-provoking comments help to carry her through.

"God is not a God of confusion. but of peace."

"We will not do God's work for Him. Rather, we will let Him do His work through us."

Shattered by Death is a thrilling Christian suspense novel that ends with unanswered questions and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit but there was no obligation for a positive review. These are my own opinions.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


About the Author


Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Recently retired from a wonderful career in public education, she celebrates the ability to choose how to spend her time in a new way during the second half of life. So far, she chooses to write books, ride horses, serve others, and generally find her way into and out of trouble both on the road and at home.  She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends.

Capsized by Death, the fourth novel in her Jo Oliver Thriller series, will be released by Elk Lake Publishing in November 2019. Anchored by Death, the third of her Jo Oliver novels, was a Bronze Medal winner at the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards; a 2018 Selah Awards finalist; and a finalist for the National Indie Excellence Awards. Her second Jo Oliver Thriller, Shattered by Death, was a finalist in the International Book Awards and the National Indie Excellence Awards.

Catherine and her novels have been featured on radio stations, blogs, and in numerous articles—all posted at www.CatherineFinger.com.
Catherine loves to interact with her readers at her Website and you can follow her on Facebook and on Twitter @BeJoOliver.


More from Catherine


“If you could kill someone and get away with it, what would you do? How would you do it?”

Having posed this question over dessert during a really good first date several years ago—to my surprise and delight my date proceeded to share a story about an international cosmetic gone badly awry. I was so taken with this story, that I couldn’t wait to get home and start writing. And I did. That night I sat down to write a scene between two powerful women, intending one to toy with the other by playing with a jar of deadly moisturizer as they interacted.

As I wrote that night, an unexpected scene involving spiritual warfare popped into my head and onto the screen. The edgy, scary, lock-your-doors-before reading story I called Shattered by Death was born.

While the moisturizer scene didn’t ultimately stay in the book, the idea of powerful women pitted against each other did. I strive to create antagonists that are as strong—or stronger—than Jo Oliver.

When I feel the tension of wondering whether or not Josie is going to make it out alive—that’s when I know I’m in the middle of a great story.

I hope you think so too.

Enjoy the read!

Catherine

Blog Stops

Betti Mace, May 29
Emily Yager, May 29
Bigreadersite, May 30
Rebecca Tews, June 1
amandainpa, June 8
Genesis 5020, June 8

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Catherine is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Friday, May 29, 2020

A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy

A Mosaic of WingsABOUT THE BOOK

It's 1885, and all Nora Shipley wants, now that she's graduating from Cornell University as valedictorian of the entomology program, is to follow in her late father's footsteps by getting her master's degree and taking over the scientific journal he started. The only way to uphold her father's legacy is to win a scholarship, so she joins a research expedition in Kodaikanal, India, to prove herself in the field.

India isn't what she expects, though, and neither is the rival classmate who accompanies her, Owen Epps. As her preconceptions of India--and of Owen--fall away, she finds both far more captivating than she expected. Forced by the expedition leader to stay at camp and illustrate exotic butterflies the men of the team find without her, Nora befriends Sita, a young Indian girl who has been dedicated to a goddess against her will.

In this spellbinding new land, Nora is soon faced with impossible choices--between saving Sita and saving her career, and between what she's always thought she wanted and the man she's come to love.

MY THOUGHTS.....

I admit that I love historical fiction and A Mosaic of Wings certainly didn't disappoint me! I know very little about entomology and author Kimberly Duffy's detailed research taught me so much about the study of insects. I also enjoyed the diverse characters that she created and developed. Nora Shipley is intelligent, outspoken, and determined to keep her father's legacy alive. Her loyalty to her late father's memory and her dislike for her step-father is understandable and they certainly influence her thoughts about romance and marriage. I really liked her classmate Owen Epps and I admired his kindness and the depth of his feelings for Nora. There were many times that I wanted to shake her for not seeing just how special he was! The young Indian girl Sita touched me with her dilemma of being forced to "serve men" after she has become a Christian and I would love to see Duffy devote a book to Sita's story. And then, there are Duffy's lyrical words that caused me to think and ponder.

"The more you're exposed to a thing, the more you accept it. And because of that, we sometimes miss the little details that could reveal something bigger than our expectations allow. But when you realize what you've found, you know everything has changed." (p. 341)

"And maybe that was her father's greatest legacy--not a scientific periodical, but the capacity to  love unreservedly. And a willingness to sacrifice what was most important for who was most important."  (p. 334)

This is a beautiful debut novel, from the stunning cover to the wonderful story inside, and Duffy completely transported me to New York and India as they might have been in 1855. I certainly recommend A Mosaic of Wings to anyone who enjoys historical Christian romance.

I received a copy of this book from the author and Bethany House with no obligation for a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



ABOUT THE AUTHOR





Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she's not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of 20 years. He doesn't mind. You can find Kimberly at her Website or follow her on Facebook     Instagram     Pinterest




View all my reviews

On a Coastal Breeze by Suzanne Woods Fisher



About the Book



Book:  On A Coastal Breeze
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre:  Amish Romance
Release Date: May 5, 2020

For Madison Grayson, life is good. Newly licensed as a marriage and family therapist, she can’t wait to start her practice. Despite the unfortunate shortage of eligible bachelors on the island–they’re all too young, too old, or too weird–Maddie feels like she’s finally found her sweet spot. Not even one panic attack in the last year. Not one.

And then Ricky O’Shea drops in. Literally. Floating down from the pure blue sky, the one man in the world she hoped never to see again–the one who’d been her archnemesis from kindergarten through her senior dance–parachutes into town, landing on Boon Dock, canopy draping behind him like a superhero. Ricky O’Shea. Now Pastor Rick, the new minister on Three Sisters Island.
Time to panic.

With wit and a bit of whimsy, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Three Sisters Island where family, forgiveness, and a second chance at love await.

Click here to get your copy!

MY THOUGHTS.....

I don't know what I like best about this book. Is it the setting of Three Sisters Island, or could it be the realistic characters that live there and seem like they're old friends of mine? What about the suspense that is just enough to keep me guessing or the way the author adds little nuggets of advice and wisdom, along with moments of humor, as she tells her story? Could it be that all of these reasons combined are the reason that I enjoyed On a Coastal Breeze so much?

This is the second book of the Three Sisters Island series and I quickly fell in love with the people of this beautiful place. The main focus of this book is Madison Grayson, a newly licensed marriage and family therapist, but her two sisters and her dad are also included, along with Ricky O'Shea, the new minister who is also Madison's old acquaintance. To say that their past relationship is complex is an understatement but this is what adds so much interest to the present. Could there possibly be a future for the pastor and the therapist?

Susanne Woods Fisher has written an entertaining story filled with faith, trust, love, and family. I want to learn more about the residents of Three Sisters Island and I'd like to go back to see what is next in store for the Grayson family.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. A positive review was not required. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


About the Author




Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than thirty books, including On a Summer Tide, as well as the Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, The Deacon’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, among other novels. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs. She lives in California. Learn more at her Website and follow Suzanne on Facebook and Twitter


More from Suzanne


Dear Reader,

The minute you step off the ferry and onto Three Sister Island, magic begins. Crisp ocean air acts like an elixir. Stress starts to evaporate, like a wisp of steam from a cup of hot tea. Happiness moves in, and you’ll feel more cheerful, more positive about the future.

And then there’s time! Somehow, there seems to be plenty of it.

Little things will catch your notice—finding seashells on the beach, watching waves crash against the rocks, gazing at the star-studded night sky.

Life just starts to slow down…and you wonder if you really want to ever leave Three Sisters Island.

Nor do you have to! That’s the beauty of books—they are the perfect escape. Always available, just waiting to be picked up. Always ready to transport you to a fresh and new state of mind.

On a Coastal Breeze is that kind of a read. The Grayson Family saga continues as they move to Three Sisters Island off the coast of Maine for a fresh start. Maddie Grayson takes center stage in this story. Life is finally coming together for Maddie. On the very day she opens her counseling practice, she spots a billowing skydiver. Parachuting in is Ricky O’ Shea—the one person on earth Maddie hoped she’d never see again. But Rick’s the new pastor for the island’s only church and he’s not about to leave. That’s when sparks start to fly.

Join me for a getaway by the sea that will leave you in a happy, relaxed, vacation-y state of mind…without leaving your home. Once you board the Never Late Ferry, even in your imagination, the island will take it from there.

Warmly, Suzanne

Blog Stops

By The Book, May 18
Artistic Nobody, May 19 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
Betti Mace, May 20
Remembrancy, May 24
Mary Hake, May 27
Simple Harvest Reads, May 28 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Bigreadersite, May 28
EmpowerMoms, May 30
Hallie Reads, May 31

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a copy of her book to five winners!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.