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!

Friday, July 29, 2022

The Secret Between Them (Widow's Peak Creek, #5) by Susanne Dietze

The Secret Between Them (Widow's Peak Creek, #5)

After a lifetime of questions,
She’s ready for some answers.

In her mother’s hometown, Harper Price is sure she’ll finally learn about the grandfather and father she never knew. But that means working with grumpy local lawyer Joel Morgan. The single dad is wary of Harper, even as her kindness to his daughter warms his heart. Winning his trust is Harper’s first challenge…but not her last as her quest reveals shocking truths.

From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.


I've made five visits to Widow's Peak Creek and enjoyed each one but this last one was especially poignant. The Secret Between Them is the last book of the Widow's Peak Creek series and it's a powerful reminder of the universal need to belong. Harper Price visits Widow's Peak Creek to try to learn her father's identity but there may be many more secrets to uncover. The townspeople are warm and friendly, and she's especially drawn to Joel Morgan and his little girl Maisie, but the answer she's seeking may offer more than she bargained for. Is finding her father at the risk of hurting others what she truly wants? Will Harper be able to finally move on, or will a part of her heart be left behind?

Author Susanne Dietze gives readers a heartwarming story with many of the issues that are so relevant today. Parental acceptance, learning to trust, and being obedient to God's will are all a part of this outstanding plot. The characters make me want to be their friend and I can see myself living in this friendly little town. Widow's Peak Creek is the perfect place to fall in love and start a new life! If you're a fan of inspirational romance, grab a copy of The Secret Between Them.

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's the award-winning, RITA®-nominated author of several romances who's seen her work on the Publisher's Weekly, ECPA, and Amazon Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos.

You can visit her on her   Website  Facebook    Twitter    Instagram

Please check my thoughts about the other books in this series!

Widow's Peak Creek

Book 5: The Secret Between Them

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Texas Buried Secrets (Cowboy Lawmen, #6) by Virginia Vaughan

Texas Buried Secrets (Cowboy Lawmen, #6)

An uncovered grave reveals a deadly secret…

Publicly vowing to bring a serial killer to justice, Deputy Cecile Richardson solidifies herself as the criminal’s next target. And when a newly discovered victim is identified, it becomes even more personal for Cecile. She will solve this cold case. Can Sheriff Josh Avery keep her safe long enough to identify and catch the culprit—or will the killer successfully hunt down his prey?

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.


The Cowboy Lawmen series has offered many exciting adventures with the Avery family, and this sixth and final book is especially thrilling. Buried Texas Secrets focuses on Sheriff Josh Avery and his deputy, Cecile Richardson, and author Virginia Vaughan has outdone herself! Yes, we've met them before, but we've never seen them quite like this. Cecile admits that she has deep feelings for Josh, but she's finally accepted that he is never going to allow himself to care for her. The unsolved murder of his wife has left him deeply scarred and he's certain that some people still consider him a suspect. There's no way he can ever allow himself to enter another relationship! No way at all until Cecile becomes a target herself, and Josh is given a wake-up call.

I'm really going to miss this Avery family, but I couldn't ask for a better way to say goodbye. Texas Buried Secrets is filled with adventure, danger, and mystery, and the human emotions make it especially memorable. Josh and Cecile experience fear, frustration, and uncertainty but these feelings are conquered by their strength, faith, and courage. Can they uncover those Texas buried secrets? Will they find happiness together? I recommend this book to all who enjoy inspirational romantic suspense fiction.

I voluntarily accepted a copy of this book from the author. There was no obligation for a favorable review.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Virginia Vaughan is a former investigator for the State of Mississippi who left a promising career to pursue her dream of being a writer. Blessed to come from a large, Southern family, her fondest memories include hearing stories recounted by family and friends around the large dinner table. She was a lover of books even from a young age, devouring gothic romance novels and stories of romance, danger, and love. She soon started writing them herself, delving into the genre of romantic suspense, armed with her passion for writing and the knowledge gained from her criminal justice background

Learn more about Virginia at her Website   Facebook    Twitter     Instagram     Pinterest

Hope you'll check out my thoughts about the other books in this series.

Cowboy Lawmen

Book 6: Texas Buried Secrets 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Shoot the Horses First: A Collection of Histories by Leah Angstman: Cover Reveal & Giveaway with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours #HFVBT

I'm thrilled to be a part of the Cover Reveal for this new book that releases in February 2023. Check out this collection and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Shoot the Horses First: A Collection of Histories by Leah Angstman

Publication Date: February 28, 2023
Kernpunkt Press
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook; 238 pages

Genre: Literary / Historical / Short Stories

***Finalist for the Shorts Award for Americana Fiction***

Through a historian’s lens and folkloric storytelling, the pieces in SHOOT THE HORSES FIRST revel in the nuances, brutality, mythology, and tiny victories of our historical past. A launderer takes us inside the linens of the richest families in early Baltimore. A child on the Orphan Train has his teeth inspected like a horse. Civil War soldiers experience PTSD. While one woman lands on an island of the Wampanoag tribe, a woman 200 years later finds Apache in a harsh frontier. Children survive yellow fever, the desert heat, and mistaken identities; men survive severed fingers, untested medicines, and wives with obsessive compulsive disorders. Frederick Douglass’ grandson plays violin at the World’s Fair on Colored American Day, a woman with disabilities is kept hidden away like she doesn’t exist, and a botanist is denied her place in a science journal because she is female. Themes of place, war, mental illness, identity, disability, feminism, and unyielding optimism throughout harrowing desperation resurface in this collection of stories that takes us back to time immemorial, yet feels so close, and all too familiar.

Available for Pre-Order


“I’m astonished by the historical breadth in this collection of stories and by the sensibility that unites them. It’s a thrill to be dropped, so vividly, into such a wide variety of settings and periods—and even more of a thrill to discover the strong new voice of Leah Angstman. Read it!”

“In SHOOT THE HORSES FIRST, Leah Angstman blasts readers from the Twitterfied nowscape into the manifest past—to an America connected by the burgeoning railroad and shattered by civil war. As inventive and complex as the era itself, these sixteen fictions of nineteenth-century friction contain surprises on every page. Whether it’s an impromptu snowball fight on a battlefield during a ceasefire or a wayward orphan finding hope at the end of the line, Angstman astonishes us with complicated characters and crystal-clear prose. She is the literary heir to Shelby Foote, Willa Cather, and E. L. Doctorow. Get off the internet and read this book!”

“Rudyard Kipling said, ‘If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.’ Nothing demonstrates the wisdom of that better than SHOOT THE HORSES FIRST by Leah Angstman. This is an immersive, expansive, and unforgettable collection of fictional histories. Drawn from various points in America’s past and clearly well researched, these stories are harrowing and hopeful by turns. All through, there are unexpected kindnesses and betrayals and acts of heroism and transformation. Characters so deeply wrought they seem to leap off the page. Soaring and vast and lyrical, this book is a must-read.” —Kathy Fish, author of TOGETHER WE CAN BURY IT, RIFT, and WILD LIFE

“Angstman’s work is a joy to read. These characters see their worlds in the way that we see ours: naturally, and independent of the vastness of time in which life eventually situates itself in memory. Each one of these stories breathes troubling, beautiful life into the history that inspires it. The exhaustive research that must have gone into this collection lives in an easy harmony with the stories it undergirds, and it’s Angstman’s chief achievement here to strike that balance with poise and grace. Fear, love, heartache, and wonderment: it’s all right here, between both worlds.” —Schuler Benson, author of THE POOR MAN’S GUIDE TO AN AFFORDABLE, PAINLESS SUICIDE

“SHOOT THE HORSES FIRST puts the ‘story’ in history. With scholarly rigor and the soul of a bard, Leah Angstman weaves tales of defiance and resilience that bring the past to life and show us what endures.” —Jennifer Wortman, author of THIS. THIS. THIS. IS. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE

About the Author

Leah Angstman is also the author of the historical novel of seventeenth-century New England, Out Front the Following Sea, available now from Regal House, and the novel of the French Revolution, Falcon in the Dive, forthcoming from Regal House in spring 2024. She serves as the executive editor for Alternating Current Press and The Coil magazine and is a founding Quartermaster member of the American Battlefield Trust. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Nashville Review. She’s recently been a finalist for the Laramie Book Award, Chaucer Book Award, Eric Hoffer Book Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Da Vinci Eye Award, Clue Book Award, Richard Snyder Memorial Prize, Cowles Book Prize, and Able Muse Book Award; a semifinalist for the Goethe Book Award; and longlisted for the Hillary Gravendyk Prize. This is her first collection of short stories.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Medium | Ello | Mailing List

July 25th Hosts

Books Blog
Coffee and Ink
McCombs on Main
Older & Smarter
Carole's Ramblings
Reading is My Remedy
CelticLady's Reviews
Dive Into a Good Book
The Book Junkie Reads
Bonnie Reads and Writes
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

July 26th Hosts

Novels Alive
A Darn Good Read
Sadie's Spotlight
My Reading Getaway
Passages to the Past
Booking With Janelle
Cover Lover Book Review


Enter to win an ARC of Shoot the Horses First & horsey prize pack!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on July 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Shoot the Horses First Cover Reveal

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Sabotaged Mission by Tina Radcliffe

Sabotaged Mission

Framed and on the run…With nowhere left to hide

When a failed mission leaves CIA operative MacKenzie “Mac” Sharp injured and her partner presumed dead, going off-grid is the only way to survive. But her old flame, CIA officer Gabe Denton, has tracked her down and led a well-connected enemy right to her door. Now with someone trying to frame and kill her, working with Gabe is the only way to clear her name…and stay alive.

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.



After reading this book, I have these questions for author Tina Radcliffe. "What took you so long? Why haven't you tried romantic suspense before?" I've been a fan of her contemporary romances for several years and she's now proven that she can write suspense! Sabotaged Mission is an action-driven, danger-filled story that kept me turning the pages for answers. Who wants MacKenzie Sharp dead, and how is she going to get out alive? Is Gabe Denton the only person she can trust?

Sabotaged Mission reminds me of the classic movies that I've always loved, with its intriguing characters, second-chance romance, and non-stop danger and action involving the CIA. Radcliffe paints a vivid picture of the special chemistry that still exists between Mac and Gabe, with witty banter that is hilarious to read and touching moments of "what ifs"?" A lovable bulldog named Winston, Gabe's brother Ben, and Mac's special mentor are the perfect additions to this exciting tale. Hats off to the author!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but there was no obligation for a positive review. I am voluntarily sharing my thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Publishers Weekly bestselling author Tina Radcliffe hails from Western New York. She left home for a tour of duty with the Army Security Agency stationed in Augsburg, Germany, and ended up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While living in Tulsa, she spent ten years as a Certified Oncology R.N. before heading to Colorado as a library cataloger.

​A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina is a Romance Writer of America and American Christian Fiction Writers Honor Roll member.

Tina is also a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist. She is a four-time ACFW Carol Award finalist and a three-time ACFW Mentor of the year finalist. ​Her Harlequin books have won the ACFW Carol Award and the Holt Medallion. She has placed or won over thirty RWA chapter-affiliated contests in her career. As a short story writer, she has sold over forty short romances to Woman’s World Magazine.

​Tina is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Women's Fiction Writers Association. A popular workshop speaker, she currently lives in Arizona, where she writes fun, heartwarming romance.

You can connect with Tina at her   Website     Facebook     Twitter   Pinterest      Instagram     BookBub 
Tina also have a great newsletter filled with fun facts and great giveaways for her newsletter subscribers. Sign up for her newsletter HERE.

View all my reviews

Friday, July 22, 2022

UNTAKEN: 12 Hours Following the Rapture by C.O. Wyler

UNTAKEN: 12 Hours Following the Rapture

What would you do if your husband was missing, you do not want to be pregnant, you witness a horrific airplane accident, and you learn all babies and young children have disappeared? Twenty-eight-year-old Sarah Colton may think she is in control, but she is far from the truth, not realizing the Rapture has occurred. Enter the writer's mind as she deals with this imminent, amazing event.

* Updated 2022 version of Untakenable published in 2017.


As I read this book on my Kindle, I found myself highlighting sections that I wanted to revisit and read again. This is a book that is certainly worthy of discussion, whether it be with a friend, fellow church member, or non-believer. The title UNTAKEN refers to those who are left when The Rapture occurs. They are the people who haven't accepted Christ and are thus left behind, or untaken when Jesus Christ comes again.

It's apparent that author C.O. Wyler put a lot of thought and effort into developing a story that offers mystery, belief, disbelief, hope, and despair. The characters are very realistic as they face an event that is life-changing and we witness their struggles to understand what is happening. Yes, some of it might be considered speculative or personal interpretation but Wyler uses scripture from the King James Bible to support the story that she is telling. She definitely succeeds and she does it without being pushy or overbearing! I feel that seeds may have been planted for those who aren't familiar with God's Word and questions answered for those who have doubted that Heaven exists and The Rapture will occur.

UNTAKEN: 12 Hours Following the Rapture
is a thought-provoking novel and I recommend it to all who enjoy Christian fiction.

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


C.O. Wyler was born in Southern California and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest. Having owned a business for over thirty years, she is retired and enjoys her sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Byway to Danger (Spies of the Civil War #3) by Sandra Merville Hart

Byway to Danger

Everyone in Richmond has secrets. Especially the spies.

Meg Brooks, widow, didn't stop spying for the Union when her job at the Pinkerton National Detective Agency ended, especially now that she lives in the Confederate capital. Her job at the Yancey bakery provides many opportunities to discover vital information about the Confederacy to pass on to her Union contact. She prefers to work alone, yet the strong, silent baker earns her respect and tugs at her heart.

Cade Yancey knows the beautiful widow is a spy when he hires her only because his fellow Unionist spies know of her activities. Meg sure didn't tell him. He's glad she knows how to keep her mouth shut, for he has hidden his dangerous activities from even his closest friends. The more his feelings for the courageous woman grow, the greater his determination to protect her by guarding his secrets. Her own investigations place her in enough peril.

As danger escalates, Meg realizes her choice to work alone isn't a wise one. Can she trust Cade with details from her past not even her family knows?


The Spies of the Civil War series has been thrilling to read but this third book is truly my favorite. Byway to Danger is set in Richmond in 1862, and much of the drama centers around the Underground Railroad. Meg Brooks, a secret spy for the Union, has taken a job with a Richmond baker, and he has his own secrets to protect. Cade Yancey's made it his mission to help those in need and he does so by secretly helping the people who yearn to find freedom by escaping to the North. I've long been fascinated with the Underground Railroad movement and the dangerous night journeys that were taken, and Author Sandra Merville Hart offers an especially poignant portrayal of expectant parents who are determined that their baby be born on free soil. I found myself holding my breath as Cade, Meg, and Aunt Trudy join this couple on their quest for freedom!

It's apparent that the author has devoted much time and effort to her research and the result is an amazing combination of fact and fiction that's been woven together with a message of faith. I learned so much about these spies who worked for both sides of this terrible conflict and I highly recommend Byway to Danger to all who enjoy historical Christian romance.

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. There was no obligation for a favorable review, and I am voluntarily sharing my thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Award-Winning and Amazon Bestselling Author Sandra Merville Hart is thrilled that her next Civil War series “Spies of the Civil War” will release in 2022! Book 1 of the series, Avenue of Betrayal, is set in Washington DC in 1861. Boulevard of Confusion and Byway to Danger (Books 2 & 3) are set in Richmond, Virginia, in 1862. Actual historical spies will influence the lives of fictional characters in a series where everyone has secrets.

Sandra is on the Planning Committee for Faith & Fellowship Book Festival. She served in the past as Executive Editor for DevoKids.com where she also contributed many historical articles. She teaches writer workshops. She's a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and other writer groups.

Sandra Merville Hart loves to uncover little-known yet fascinating facts about our American history to include in her stories and drags her husband along on her adventures. Thankfully, he also enjoys these fact-finding missions.

Connect with Sandra on her blog, Historical Nibbles, where readers find posts relating to historical food/recipes, book reviews, and American history.

Learn more at       Facebook      Twitter     

Please check out my reviews of the books in this series!


Byway to Danger

View all my reviews

Monday, July 18, 2022

A Lancaster Family Secret by Kate Lloyd

A Lancaster Family Secret

Thanks to a DNA test, Annette Dupont's world is flipped upside-down when she discovers her life is built upon lies. Not that she doesn't harbor her own secrets that haunt her. Determined to find her birth mother in Lancaster County, PA, she uncovers her Amish family's secrets as a torrential storm barrels in.

During the ordeal and adventure, the Amish family's quilt store and farm are destroyed. Annette meets an attractive Mennonite, Matt Miller, who helps her. Annette has sworn off men but finds she cannot resist him, even when she discovers another woman is pursuing him.

Annette saves a young Amish man's life. He and an Amish woman elope, but Annette encourages them to return to the fold. Soon, a double wedding is planned-this young couple and Annette's Amish birthparents. In the end, will Annette find healing, family, and love?


DNA tests have become the rage in the past few years but what if your results showed that you weren't who you thought you were? Would you feel completely betrayed to learn that the people you'd called Mom and Dad weren't your parents after all? This is Annette Dupont's predicament in A Lancaster Family Secret, and this new book certainly lives up to its name. It is filled with secrets, surprises, and misunderstandings, and I couldn't wait to see how Annette's story would end!

Author Kate Lloyd has written her best story yet, and she completely captures all of Annette's emotions as she searches for answers. I was completely invested in Annette's journey from feeling disbelief and rejection to finding acceptance and forgiveness. Intriguing characters, an Amish setting, and Lloyd's unique writing style make this a wonderful read. I recommend A Lancaster Family Secret to all who enjoy family drama and clean romance.

I received a copy of this book from Union Bay Publishing. There was no obligation for a positive review.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 


Bestselling author Kate Lloyd is a passionate observer of human relationships. A native of Baltimore, Kate spends 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. Her Kindle novella An Unexpected Christmas Gift is available for preorder. Kate and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest, the setting for Kate's first novel, A Portrait of Marguerite. Kate studied art, art history, and Italian in college. She's worked a variety of jobs, including restaurateur and car salesman. Kate enjoys travel and walking with her camera in hand.

Learn more at Kate's      Website     Facebook     Instagram     Pinterest  

View all my reviews

Friday, July 15, 2022

NET, Abide Bible, Leathersoft, Brown, Comfort Print Holy Bible : Review & Giveaway

I'm thrilled to be a part of the launch of this new Bible from Thomas Nelson. The NET Abide Bible targets those of us who often find our minds wondering as we study our Bibles. I hope you'll check out my thoughts and then, at the end of this post, sign up for the FREE BIBLE STUDY and enter the GIVEAWAY for a copy of the NET Abide Bible.

New English Translation

The Abide Bible, NET

Experience life-giving, intimate communion with God.

The Abide Bible is designed to help you experience the peace, hope, and growth that come from encountering the voice and presence of God in Scripture. Every feature in Abide is designed to teach and develop Scripture-engagement habits that help you know the power and spiritual nourishment of abiding in Christ.

If you find yourself skimming over Scripture, easily distracted in the Word, or find Bible reading more of a dry academic exercise, The Abide Bible can provide the guidance you need to transform your time with God right in His Word.

Created in partnership with Bible Gateway and the Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement, The Abide Bible’s features practical Scripture-engagement prompts based on five ways of interacting deeply with the Bible:

Praying Scripture: Pattern your prayers after biblical texts, personalizing the prayers and gaining language for the thoughts and emotions you want to express.

Journaling : Focus and reflect on Scripture and its meaning for your life, opening yourself to God’s voice as you ponder.

Engage Through Art : Consider a classic piece of art—photograph, sculpture, painting—and let it deepen your meditations on scriptural truths.

Contemplate : Follow the church’s longstanding practice of reading, meditating on, praying, and contemplating a passage of Scripture in order to experience God’s presence through the words of the Bible. 

Features include:

Bible book introductions provide a concise overview of the background and historical context of the book about to be read
365 Day Bible Reading Plan guiding you through the entire Bible in a year
Line-matched, single-column Scripture text for improved readability
Smyth-sewn binding lays flat in your hand or on your desk
Two satin ribbon markers allow you to easily navigate and keep track of where you were reading
Easy-to-read 9-point NET Comfort Print

Purchase Link


There are so many reasons to love this new Bible. The Brown Leathersoft cover, the print that is so easy to read, and the beautiful artwork that is used to illustrate some of the scripture. I also appreciate that there are colored maps, wide margins that allow me to record my thoughts, and journal prompts to spur my thinking. God's Word comes alive and I am fully engaged!

My only reservations are that the words of Christ aren't in red print and there isn't a Concordance, but I still recommend this Bible to anyone wanting to increase their understanding of God's Word. This NET Abide Bible is a study Bible that will truly enhance your devotion time!

I voluntarily accepted a copy of this Bible from the publisher via FrontGate Media. There was no obligation for a positive review.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Engage Through Art : Consider a classic piece of art—photograph, sculpture, painting—and let it deepen your meditations on scriptural truths.


The NET Abide Bible targets all of us who sometimes find our minds wondering as we study our Bibles. There are so many reasons to love this new Bible and here's one more! There is a FREE 21-day study of the book of John as part of this special Bible launch.

This LINK will allow you access to the FREE study.


Enter to win a free NET Abide Bible HERE

View all my reviews

Thursday, July 14, 2022

The Heart of the Mountains (My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge #2) by Pepper D. Basham

The Heart of the Mountains (My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge #2)

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


It's hard to convey the many emotions that I felt while reading this book. I've read several of her stories before so I know the power of Pepper Basham's words but this story trumps them all. It's obvious that Basham loves the Blue Ridge Mountains: the people, the culture, and the inherent goodness that can be found there, and she also loves God. The Heart of the Mountains is a testament to all of these loves and we readers are gifted with a tale that we won't soon forget!

I absolutely loved the characters! Cora Taylor, who is fleeing from an arranged marriage in England ends up in a mountain community in North Carolina. There she discovers a life she's never known, and she slowly adjusts, with the help of Preacher (her uncle Edward), Teacher Doctor (her brother Jonathan), and the war veteran who's trying to escape his tragic memories of World War I. Jeb McAdams helps Cora despite his initial reservations and proves to be one of the best fictional heroes ever.

The Heart of the Mountains is filled with romance, faith, and the power of forgiveness, and I was deeply moved by the conversion story involving Jeb's father, Sam. This is historical Christian fiction at its best and I can't praise it enough!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


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 connect with Pepper by visiting her websiteFacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter.

The Nurse's Secret by Amanda Skenandore: Review & Giveaway with #HFVBT (Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)

The Nurse's Secret by Amanda Skenandore

Publication Date: June 28, 2022
Kensington Books

Genre: Historical Fiction

From acclaimed author and registered nurse Amanda Skenandore, The Alienist meets The Light of Luna Park in a fascinating historical novel based on the little-known story of America’s first nursing school, as a young female grifter in 1880s New York evades the police by conning her way into Bellevue Hospital’s training school for nurses…

In the slums of 1880s New York, Una Kelly has grown up to be a rough-and-tumble grifter, able to filch a pocketbook in five seconds flat. But when another con-woman pins her for a murder she didn’t commit, Una is forced to flee. Running from the police, Una lies her way into an unlikely refuge: the nursing school at Bellevue Hospital.

Based on Florence Nightingale’s nursing principles, Bellevue is the first school of its kind in the country. Where once nurses were assumed to be ignorant and unskilled, Bellevue prizes discipline, intellect, and moral character, and only young women of good breeding need apply. At first, Una balks at her prim classmates and the doctors’ endless commands. Yet life on the streets has prepared her for the horrors of injury and disease found on the wards, and she slowly gains friendship and self-respect.

Just as she finds her footing, Una’s suspicions about a patient’s death put her at risk of exposure, and will force her to choose between her instinct for self-preservation, and exposing her identity in order to save others.

Amanda Skenandore brings her medical expertise to a page-turning story that explores the evolution of modern nursing—including the grisly realities of nineteenth-century medicine—as seen through the eyes of an intriguing and dynamic heroine.

“A spellbinding story, a vividly drawn setting, and characters that leap off the pages. This is historical fiction at its finest!” – Sara Ackerman, USA Today bestselling author of The Codebreaker’s Secret

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Bookshop.org | IndieBound | Target | Walmart


This new book is a fascinating combination of historical facts, mysterious happenings, and the efforts of one young woman to change her life. A young woman who's experienced the worst in life finds a way to better herself and help others if she doesn't go to jail first! Una Kelly excels in the con game---she can pick pockets with the best of them, and she has a knack for getting rid of her ill-gotten gains. It is when she becomes a murder suspect that she begins the greatest con of all! Uma becomes a student at Bellevue Hospitals' Nursing School to hide from the police but soon discovers that her greatest talent may be in caring for the sick.

Author Amanda Skenandore paints a vivid picture of the early beginnings of the nursing profession in our country and it isn't always pretty. Nurses were harshly judged and were given little respect from the doctors they worked with, and they worked under horrific conditions. Some of the hospital scenes are gruesome and disturbing but they demonstrate the great advancements in medicine that have occurred since the late 19th century.

The Nurse's Secret is a real page-turner! It has intriguing characters, intense suspense, a promising romance, and riveting historical facts that center around nursing during the Gilded Age. This is a book that will remain in your mind long after you've finished it!

I received a copy of The Nurse’s Secret from the author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Author


Amanda is the author of Between Earth and Sky, winner of the American Library Association's 2019 Reading List Award for Best Historical Fiction, and The Undertaker's Assistant, released from Kensington in July 2019.

She grew up in the mountains of Colorado and sang and danced her way through 68 cities on both sides of the Atlantic with the service organization Up with People before starting college. Her love of historical fiction started early with the stories of Kenneth Thomasma, Mark Twain, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

When she’s not writing, Amanda works as an infection prevention nurse. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and their pet turtle Lenore.

Amanda Skenandore is a historical fiction writer and registered nurse. Between Earth and Sky was her first novel. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Readers can visit her website at www.amandaskenandore.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BookBub, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 28
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks
Interview at Books and Benches
Review at A Potpourri of Opinions

Wednesday, June 29
Review at MTM Reads

Thursday, June 30
Review at Smashley Reads
Review at A Girl Reads Bookss
Review at Library of Clean Reads

Friday, July 1
Review at Bookworlder

Monday, July 4
Review at Reader_ceygo

Tuesday, July 5
Review at Momma Doc Reads

Wednesday, July 6
Review at The Page Ladies

Thursday, July 7
Review at Dive Into a Good Book

Friday, July 8
Review at Girl Who Reads

Saturday, July 9
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, July 11
Review at Book Reviews and More

Tuesday, July 12
Review at Rebecca is Reading

Wednesday, July 13
Review at Momfluenster

Thursday, July 14
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Review at Older & Smarter
Review at McCombs on Main

Friday, July 15
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Monday, July 18
Review at Novels Alive

Tuesday, July 19
Feature at Impressions in Ink

Wednesday, July 20
Review at Passages to the Past

Friday, July 22
Review at Coffee and Ink


Enter to win a copy of The Nurse's Secret by Amanda Skenandore!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on July 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Second Life of Mirielle West