Jordan Valley Miss, by Susan Spess, is a sweet story of a very good looking, single dad and pastor, Eli, who was released from his very large church and took a job in a small church. He’s struggling with his own faith, loss of his dream position and a daughter who hasn’t spoken since the accident that took his wife and brother. Just as he is starting his new position he meets Glory. She is very vibrant and energetic. She belongs to many boards, works at her family’s day care center, leads bible studies and plays piano for the church.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story, to the point I could not put it down. This is a great story with many good messages within it. The message of having faith is strong as well as the message of caring for others. The message of having pride in having the biggest and best is one that stands out to me. I especially appreciate the devotional at the end of the story which tells us to keep our eyes on the Lod, to not be arrogant and to give credit to Jesus for our strength in times of trial. This is a great, quick read story, the ending had a happy twist I was not expecting. I received an ebook copy from the publisher, Pelican Book Group, through NetGalley, this is my honest review.
About the Book
When Pastor Eli Daniels’s wife and brother ran away together, he was the one who lost—his family, his church, and his faith. All he has left are his four-year-old daughter and a little church in the world’s smallest town. But he still has his speaking talent, and with it, he’s sure he can build up their numbers so he can catch the attention of another mega-church. He needs to be back in the big time, where he belongs.
Glory Matthews voted against hiring the new minister. He’s single and handsome and more charismatic than any man has a right to be. He’ll draw every man-hunting woman around. And because he’s used to the big time, he won’t stay long . But when Eli is with his daughter, he’s down-to-earth, loving and everything she could want, and Glory’s heart melts like a forgotten candle burning in the night.
If it’s one thing Eli doesn’t need, it’s Glory Matthews. She’s head-strong, pretty, faithful and doesn’t seem to be fazed by his “celebrity.” But Glory is also everything he could ever want, and somehow this Jordan Valley miss, just might help him find his faith and mend his heart.
About the Author
Hi! My name is Susan Spess.
Not Spees. Spess. (Rhymes with mess, less and confess.)
To be perfectly honest, my name is Susan Spess Shay. I’m number one out of six kids. I have three sons, three grandsons and a pair of twin granddaughters. I had a perfectly wonderful husband I loved the stuffin’ out of. We were married a whole lot of years before he passed. I have four sisters and a brother. They’re a pretty cool pack of people to know! Every one has a great sense of humor that keeps me grinning most of the time. I live in the small town world where I grew up and am part of the church where I first accepted Jesus as my Savior. Cleveland, OKLAHOMA
One year I decided to try NaNoWriMo. Know what that is? It’s where you whip out a fifty thousand word manuscript during the month of November. Kajillions of writers do Nano (or at least start it) so I thought I would, too. I wanted to be finished before Thanksgiving, so I did the math in order to know how many words I’d have to write a day to reach that goal.
And I was on top of my goal. I had more than enough words to reach fifty thousand by Turkey Day.
And then, about halfway through my manuscript, I awoke one day and in the black of the e-a-r-l-y morning, I had an epiphany.
I want to be remembered for my writing, but for a different kind of book.
So I set that manuscript aside, and started writing (not nano-ing) a totally different book. One my dad could appreciate. One I could share with my young nieces without them having to hide it from their mamas. One I could point anyone to and say, “See that? I did it (with help from my friends) and I’m so glad I did!”
The Dress Shop on King Street, by Ashley Clark, is book one in the Heirloom Secret Series. This is a story that covers several generations and the keepsakes they treasure. When Harper’s dress is rejected she leaves school and goes to visit Millie, the lady who taught her to sew. Millie is a 90 year old lady that left her home at a young age to hide the fact she is part Black. One of her ancestors was sold at just 9 years old and carried with her a pouch that contained 2 buttons. This was passed down through the family and was found at a sale by Peter, Millie’s grandson.
This is a wonderful book to read that shows the readers how it was during different times in our history for the Black people. This is a hard book to read as it shows the decisions they had to make as well as how they were treated. This story shows how Millie left her home to have a chance at a normal life. And when her twin daughters were born, she had to make the decision to separate them to keep them safe. This resulted in Peter not knowing who she really was. I enjoyed reading this story, that is based on a true person, and how the author brings the two women together to fulfill a common dream. This story is well written and very descriptive. It was easy to imagine what the buttons, dresses and the surroundings looked like.
I received an ebook copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley, this is my honest review.
About the Book
Harper Dupree has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her how to sew. As Harper rethinks her own future, long-hidden secrets about Millie’s past are brought to light.
In 1946, Millie Middleton–the daughter of an Italian man and a Black woman–boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.
Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston to find the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they’ve both dreamed of. But it’s not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams
About the Author
Ashley Clark writes romantic women’s fiction set in the South, and The Dress Shop on King Street is her debut novel. With a master’s degree in creative writing, Ashley teaches literature and writing courses at the University of West Florida. Ashley has been an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers for almost a decade. She lives with her husband, son, and two rescued Cocker Spaniels off Florida’s Gulf Coast. When she’s not writing, she’s rescuing stray animals, dreaming of Charleston, and drinking all the English breakfast tea she can get her hands on. Find her online at http://www.ashleyclarkbooks.com.
The Inn at Coral Bay is the beginning of a wonderful new series, Winter Sisters Series. The author, Evelyn Parkes is a new author to me and I enjoyed her story so much. This is a quick to read story that focuses on forgiveness and second chances.
The Winter sisters have come home for their father’s funeral. Jackie left right after high school and has built a successful career. But she has not kept up with her family. Now that she is home, she is forced to communicate with her sister Margo. And after seeing the condition of her parent’s Inn, she is forced to reconnect with Hank, her long time high school friend that she has not been able to forget about.
I really enjoyed reading this story. It is well written with strong characters and realistic situations. I especially enjoyed the family interactions. I don’t especially like Jackie, she focuses on what she was expected of her for her parents could run the Inn, but she fled as soon as she could and didn’t look back. Now she is home and struggles with wanting to tell them what to do. This story does a good job of showing what happens when a person’s only focus is their career. Jackie has suffered so much. She has lost her marriage, her career is going downhill, her relationship with her sisters is not good and she didn’t get to say goodbye to her father.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
About the Book
Jackie is trying to save her parents’ Inn, but the place is in serious need of repairs. Hank is an Ex-Marine turned local handyman who agrees to help her fix up the Inn despite their rocky past. Can Hank and Jackie work together to re-build their relationship? Or are the foundations of their romance beyond repair?
After a messy divorce, high powered New York lawyer Jackie Winters returns to her hometown of Coral Bay upon the horrible news of her father’s untimely death. 14 years after leaving without a backwards glance, Jackie is fearful of facing the town and the people she walked out on, especially Hank Silvers, her childhood sweetheart. As she returns home, she is shocked by the terrible state of her parents’ Inn, making it her responsibility to have it restored. After hearing the news that Jackie Winters is in town, Hank Silvers, Ex-Marine turned local handyman, is dreading the inevitable reunion with the woman who broke his heart. It’s not long before Jackie seeks his help, and he reluctantly agrees to help fix the Inn.
Can Jackie and Hank find the strength to forgive each other while restoring the Inn to its former splendour of Jackie’s childhood? Or will the shifting foundations of their relationship come crashing down on them?
Night Night Pumpkin is part of the Night Night series written by Amy Parker and Illustrated by Virginia Allyn. I just love this series! It is one of my favorites for young children. The story is just the right length to read to younger children. The pictures are so colorful and filled with different animals and things from nature that God has made for us to enjoy. This is a great series to have to read to little ones to relax them for nap times or just for run.
This book follows a little dog around as he goes through a pumpkin farm. The reader and listener get to enjoy the puppy as he learns about trees and fallen leaves, as he selects a pumpkins and apples for treats and snacks, as he travels a corn maze and rides in a hay wagon, and finally as he listens to his grandfather stories and then off to bed.
When I noticed this book was available on Netgalley, I knew I had to have it as a special treat to read to my grandchildren this fall. I thank the publisher and NetGalley for offering this complimentary ebook. This is my honest review.
About the Book
With anticipation building for the beginning of pumpkin spice season, families now can find a bit of pumpkin sweetness in Amy Parker’s new bedtime storybook, Night Night, Pumpkin.
Night Night, Pumpkin follows adorable animal characters through a day filled with autumn activities like jumping in fall leaves, apple-picking, wearing cute costumes and more before saying goodnight to the things they encounter.
Featuring charming artwork by award-winning illustrator Virginia Allyn, rhyming verse, and fun scenes of animals enjoying the wonders of fall, Night Night, Pumpkin will be a family favorite during the autumn, Halloween and Thanksgiving seasons.
“The Night Night series has been such a big hit with families that I wanted to find a way to share all the warmth and abundance of the autumn season while helping little ones to say “night night,” said Parker. “In writing Night Night, Pumpkin, I recalled all of those joyful childhood and parenting memories of fall and Thanksgiving and packed them into this little book. I hope it helps families to celebrate the joy and abundance of the season, while reminding little ones that rest makes them their best.”
Night Night, Pumpkin builds on Parker’s highly successful Night Night line of storybooks and currently features 13 titles. It is the second in a seasonal expansion which began with Night Night, Bunny for Easter and also will include titles for Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
Parker has sold more than one million books with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Night Night, Pumpkin is a fun back-to-school gift for preschoolers and kindergarteners, a sweet Halloween reading treat, or a great I-love-you present for grandparents and parents to give to little ones as the leaves change from green to gold.
About the Author and Illustrator
Amy Parker’s children’s books have sold more than a million copies, including two Christian Retailing’s Best award-winning books and the bestselling books A Night Night Prayer; Night Night, Farm; and Night Night, Train. Parker lives outside Nashville with her husband and two children. Visit Amy at http://www.amyparkerbooks.com and on Instagram @amyparkerbooks and Facebook @amyparkerauthor.
Virginia Allyn has illustrated more than a dozen children’s books. She lives above a chocolate shop in a beautiful New Hampshire village. She enjoys collecting children’s books, hiking, and eating all her vegetables (except peas).
About the Publisher
Tommy Nelson® is the children’s division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a leading provider of Christian content, Tommy Nelson publishes a wide variety of high-quality, enjoyable products that are consistent with the teachings found in the Bible. Tommy Nelson’s award-winning products are designed to expand children’s imaginations and nurture their faith while inspiring them to develop a personal relationship with Jesus. For more information, visit http://www.tommynelson.com.
What You Said To Me, by Olivia Newport, is book four in the Tree of Life series. This is a nice story of family history and how it affects those in future generations. The story is split between modern day and 1893. Jillian is a genealogist who lives with her her attorney father, Nolan. Nolan meets a young girl, Trisha, from their community that he is trying to help and assigns her to work with Jillian for the summer. This really tries Jillian’s patience as the work she does is very precise and needs to be perfect. Trisha only knows her mother’s family and as she presses for more, the story of who they really are is revealed.
I really enjoy this series. I hope there are many more books to come. The story is filled with realistic events, suspense, mystery, and strong ties to family and community. I especially enjoyed the parts from 1893 as they showed what a family must do to survive when their world comes crashing down. It also showed the generosity shown to others. The stories are written so nicely with background that each could be a stand alone story. The stories do reference characters from the previous stories so it is best to read them in order. More so for this story as Jillian’s current project is from book two and the man she met in book three is now her boyfriend.
I received an e-book copy of this story from Celebrate Lit, this is my honest review.
About the Book
Book: What You Said to Me
Author: Olivia Newport
Genre: Christian Fiction
Release Date: November 2020
Book 4 in the Tree of Life Series: A Father-Daughter Genealogy Team Link Faith Journeys on Family Trees
When 15-year-old Tisha Crowder gets caught shoplifting, attorney Nolan Duffy tries to protect her from consequences that could rattle her already troubled life. His daughter, Jillian, feels like she’s the one being punished instead—by having Tisha assigned to work with her on a backlog of genealogy files. Tisha doesn’t seem interested in taking the job seriously, and Jillian’s patience wears thin. Besides, everyone in Canyon Mines knows the Crowder family has experienced generations of brokenness. Then a sliver of hope turns up in long-ago words in plain sight, challenging shrouded assumptions about Tisha’s family. Now Jillian is the one who can walk with Tisha back to 1893 and uncover where everything went wrong in the first place—and save her from the past.
What You Said to Me is the fourth book in the Tree of Life series by Olivia Newport. You’ll want to return to the lovely Colorado mountain town of Canyon Mines again and again to explore and celebrate unforgettable family stories that will inspire you to connect with your own family histories and unique faith journeys.
Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of Pikes Peak.
More from Olivia
“You didn’t just say that.” Or, “I can’t believe you said that.”
Have you ever said that in retort to someone whose comment offended or wounded? I know I have. But what cuts me even more deeply is when I say to myself, “I can’t believe I just said that.”
The words of a parent at wit’s end, a spouse harboring hurt, a friend saddened by misunderstanding, an employee feeling undercut—they have all been my words. And they came out too fast to swallow back before they did their damage.
I hope I have also had the words of a parent who set aside busyness to listen, a spouse offering loving encouragement, a friend checking in with someone going through a tough patch, a coworker curious to see how I could help rather than compete. Those are the kinds of words I’ve never regretted, never had to repent of, never had to do rebuild from.
I certainly didn’t write What You Said to Me because I think I get it right all the time or even most of the time. Far from it! In our culture of rushing and achieving and—let’s face it, sometimes just getting through the demands of the day—sometimes our words are the last thing we are careful with. Yet they have the longest lasting consequence in our relationships and families—sometimes for generations. The dual-timeline story traces how words that injure became a pattern in one family line until one girl finally fought back to find healing for her future.
My challenge for myself, and all who read What You Said to Me, is to be the person who speaks healing words of hope so that “I can’t believe you said that” becomes “Thank you for saying that.”
If you have a particularly poignant experience of how another’s words impacted you, I’d love to hear from you.
Blue Moon, by Jenny Knipfer, is book two in the By the Light of the Moon series. This story takes off where the first book, Ruby Moon, ends. The story is a dual timeline story that takes place in 1885 with Vanessa giving birth to a son out of marriage. Her father arranges for her to give the boy to her twin sister, Valarie, and her husband, Felix, to raise as their own to avoid hurting the family name and his political career. When the boy is 10 years old, Vanessa inherits his father’s business and home in Webaashe Bay. In the dark of night, she flees with the child.
This is a fascinating series to read. This is a story that is easy to get pulled into. It is a clean suspenseful historical romance story that is well written with strong characters. The writing is very descriptive, it is very easy to envision the surroundings. The story touches on the illness of MS and how it was treated at that time. I really enjoyed this story and look forward to reading the next book, Silver Moon. I also appreciate the authors input at the end of the story, the discussion suggestions and recipes.
I received an ebook copy of this story from Celebrate Lit, this is my honest review.
About the Book
Book: Blue Moon
Author: Jenny Knipfer
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: September 27, 2019
By the Light of the Moon series: “Readers who love being trapped in a character’s mind should relish this finely written, gripping series. A must read for fans of historical fiction.”–The Prairies Book Review
A tale of precious things more rare than a blue moon…
The year is 1885 and unwed Vanessa Gulet must surrender her newborn son to her married twin sister, Valerie, to raise. A seed of bitterness grows in Vanessa. When the opportunity arises for her to have what she’s always wanted, Vanessa takes it despite the consequences to her family, getting more than she bargained for.
Meanwhile, Valerie, overcome with loss and grief, faces a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Will she and her husband, Felix, forge through their trials together, or will these upsets cause them to drift apart?
Will Vanessa and Valerie remain at odds, or will they allow the power of forgiveness to heal their strained relationship?
Love seems to bloom in the most unlikely of places in Webaashi Bay for an old friend of Jenay’s and a woman who owns the local dress shop. A parallel tale of love, forgiveness, and reuniting lost things is spun by a local author adding another dimension to the tale of the Gulet twins and their saga.
Fans of historical fiction, Christian historical fiction, clean romance, and literary fiction will enjoy this dramatic read!
Jenny lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ken and their pet Yorkie, Ruby. She is also a mom and loves being a grandma. She enjoys many creative pursuits but finds writing the most fulfilling.
Jenny’s education background stems from psychology, music, and cultural missions. She spent many years as a librarian in a local public library but recently switched to using her skills as a floral designer in a retail flower shop. She is now retired from work due to disability.
She authored and performed a self-published musical CD entitled, Scrapbook of a Closet Poet.
Jenny’s first three books earned five-star reviews from Reader’s Favorite, a book review and award contest company. Their praise: “Ruby Moon is entertaining, fast-paced, and features characters that are real. Blue Moon continues a well-written and highly engaging saga of family ties, betrayals, and heartaches… Silver Moon is a highly recommended read for fans of historical wartime fiction, powerful emotive drama, and excellent atmospheric writing.”
She holds membership in the: Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, Historical Novel Society, Wisconsin Writers Association, Indie Christian Publishing Association, and Independent Book Publishers Association.
Jenny’s favorite place to relax is by the western shore of Lake Superior, where her novel series, By The Light of the Moon, is set. She has self-published the first two books, Ruby Moon and Blue Moon in her four-part series. Two more novels to complete the series are planned for 2020. She is currently writing a new historical fiction series called, Sheltering Trees.
Libraries and retailers may find Jenny’s books on Ingram. Support your local bookstores, and request a copy of Jenny’s books there. Purchase paperbacks retail on Amazon. Ebooks are available through your favorite ebook retailer.
In Blue Moon I play off a minor character from Ruby Moon, Vanessa Gulet. When Ruby Moon ended, I started wondering what Vanessa’s life had been like, rejected by Renault, her old flame who had promised her his devotion.
Vanessa’s story grew along with Valerie’s, her identical twin sister. Asking the question of what could divide twin siblings drew me deep into the drama of the Gulet sisters, and a story of desire and loss sprang from my imagination.
An even richer depth occurred when I brought the main character from Ruby Moon, Jenay, into the thick of the twins’ saga. Vanessa must come to grips with what really happened to Renault and who was involved. Will she forgive the past and the unintentional wrongs committed and embrace the new friend she has made or not?
Also, I wrote from experience in Blue Moon, as Valerie must face the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and how to live with the fear of the unknown shadowing her life. It was therapeutic for me to write some of my own feeling and thoughts through Valerie. Journaling has always been a way for me to manage my emotions, and writing via story form was no different. Chances are you either know someone with MS or know of someone with MS. The disease is very prevalent in the U.S., and through Blue Moon I want to draw some awareness to what I and many people live with every day.
I hope in Blue Moon that the theme of forgiveness will encourage readers through their own struggles and believe that choosing to forgive is always the better choice, often bringing unforeseen blessings.
Thank you for taking the time to read a little about Blue Moon and its origin! I hope you get a chance to read it and the twins’ tale of forgiveness. If you do, please let me know, and please leave a review.
P.S. Did you know I include a recipe pertaining to the story in most of my books? In Blue Moon, I include an old family favorite: butter tarts. Lily, a daughter of the man Vanessa meets and is drawn to in Webaashi Bay, loves butter tarts. Vanessa and Lily make them together. Following is the recipe.
Lily’s Butter Tart
1 C sugar
¼ C softened butter or butter substitute
juice of half a lemon
½ C golden raisins
½ C sweetened shredded coconut
Your favorite pie crust recipe for one 9” crust
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and lemon juice. Beat well. By hand mix in the raisins and coconut. Line pastry tin with pie crust and fill with mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until set.
I based this recipe from an old one of my grandmother’s from the late 1800’s. NOTE: You can also cut rounds of pie crust to fill muffin tins to make smaller tarts. (Lily’s style) I make the one dish version because it’s less fuss.
To Steal a Heart, by Jen Turano, is the first book in the Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency series. The story takes place in New York in 1886. This is a Christian historical fiction story with strong characters, mystery, suspense and a touch of romance. Jewelry has gone missing and the wrong person is accused of stealing it. Gabriella and her friend are trying to find the real thief when her childhood friend, Nicholas, shows up in the very room they are searching. Since their parting as children, Nicholas has been adopted into higher society and Gabriella lives in a boarding home and works as a seamstress.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It is very well written and easy to envision. This is a nice book to read to just get lost in. As Nicholas is entering the season of having to choose a wife, Gabriella is becoming a strong, independent person. I enjoyed the humor in the story, of Gabriella’s friend and helper who is always writing in a notebook and has tendencies to fainting and of the lady trying to handle the horses driving the coach. I was totally surprised by the mystery surrounding Nicholas’s adoption by a wealthy man.
I received a e-book copy of this book from Bethany Publishing and Celebrate Lit through NetGalley, this is my honest review.
About the Book
Book: To Steal A Heart
Author: Jen Turano
Genre: Comedic Historical Romance
Release Date: November, 2020
After spending her childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. Using her old skills to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella unexpectedly encounters Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.
After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agrees to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.
As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.
Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado.
More from Jen
“To Steal a Heart” is the first book in a new series. How did you come up with the idea for this series?
Oddly enough, this series was inspired by a lot of different things. I keep this idea box, and whenever I stumble on something interesting, I throw the idea into the box. When I was getting ready to assemble a proposal for a new series, I took out the box and began rifling through it. Unfortunately, nothing struck my fancy. What did strike my fancy though, was the movie “My Fair Lady.” I’d recently watched it for the millionth time, and I thought…hmmm…what could I do with that? Well, I didn’t want to do a recreation of “My Fair Lady” and that’s when it hit me – what if I used a gentleman instead of a lady and improved his circumstances in life with the help of a professor? That wasn’t really enough, though, for me to formulate an entire series, but then I went to New York City for a research trip. While there, I roamed around Bleecker Street for hours. It was the perfect place to set a series, and then I saw this older building that my tour guide thought might have once been a boardinghouse. That was what really started me thinking, and before I knew it, I’d created an inquiry agency run by women that came about when a resident of a boardinghouse was unjustly accused of theft. When the police would not investigate further, believing they had the true culprit behind bars, the ladies who lived in the boardinghouse felt compelled to step up and clear their fellow boardinghouse resident of the charges brought against her. The series took off from there, the first book centering around one of the lady inquiry agents, Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who used to live on the mean streets of the Lower East Side and, at one point in her life, was best friends with Nicholas Quinn, the man who has now found his circumstances vastly improved from the time he knew Gabriella. Throwing the two of them back together made for an interesting storyline, especially since Gabriella believes Nicholas abandoned her all those years ago, which makes it next to impossible for her to trust him.
Are there other interesting characters in this series?
Of course. All of the lady inquiry agents come with their own secrets. Miss Daphne Beekman is a reclusive author who lives in the attic of the boardinghouse. She has the propensity to faint at the drop of a hat, which makes for a few amusing scenes in the first book. She’ll get her own story in “To Write a Wrong,” coming out later in 2021. Then there’s Eunice Holbrooke. She’s the owner of the boardinghouse, and she only wears full mourning garb, covering her face with numerous veils and refusing to speak to anyone about her past. Clearly, there’s a mystery just waiting to be solved there, one that will be solved in book three, which I’m just now beginning to work on. The other residents of the boardinghouse provide a lot of color to the story, from the two sisters who work as paid companions by day to gossip collectors and carriage drivers by night, to the resident artist, Miss Judith, who has recently decided to dip her toe into the portrait market even though she’s really not proficient with painting people. There’s also a one-eyed, patch-wearing dog by the name of Winston, a parrot that likes to nick sparkly items named Pretty Girl, and a neurotic poodle that falls for Winston that goes by the name of Precious.
Did the pandemic affect the writing process at all for “To Steal a Heart?”
Luckily, I had already turned in the book before the pandemic hit. With that said, though, I then had to do some of the edits during the first few months of the pandemic. That was interesting. I have very specific conditions I need in order to write and edit and having Al (the husband person) working from home isn’t one of those conditions. It took me far longer than it normally does to complete the editing process, which threw off my schedule for the next book in the series, “To Write a Wrong.” Drastic measures were needed. That’s why I’m now the proud owner of a she-shed. Al thought I was joking when I first broached the subject of a she-shed, but after I had my millionth meltdown, he decided that might be a really good idea. Turns out sheds are in high demand at the moment, so getting a shed in a timely fashion wasn’t possible. It took 6 weeks for us to get a shed delivered and then we had to frame the inside and put up a ceiling and walls. I was not actually very involved with that process because I’m a danger to everyone surrounding me when nail guns are being used. 🙂 I did paint the outside of the shed, then painted the inside. Of course the air conditioning unit I had to order was delayed, so I painted in 100 degree heat. Lost about five pounds doing that, so…unexpected bonus there. I just recently finished decorating the inside, and I’m typing this interview from my new space. I’m thinking I’m going to call it “Jen’s Novel Nook” but that might change, so don’t quote me on that.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just that I hope everyone is surviving these crazy days. I know there are many people out there who are suffering from many different problems this pandemic has caused. Know that you’re not alone, and that brighter days will show up again. Until that time, try to remember to smile and, perhaps, read a few books.
To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away the grand prize package of copy of To Steal a Heart, plus all three books in the American Heiresses series and a 30 second mystery kit (Link: https://amzn.to/3nqrIpC)!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
The Brief Haunting of Raspberry Hill is book two in A Crabapple Yarns Mystery Series. Being part of a series, this story does reference characters and places mentioned in book one, so they are best read in order. The author does a wonderful job of introducing them in this book, so it also makes a great stand alone story.
Grandma Rose’s obituary leaves her home to three members of her family that do not get along. To inherit the home they have to live in it as it is for a determined length of time. The house is known for being haunted and comes with a strange dog.
I enjoyed reading this book. I enjoyed the humor written into it. The characters are quirky and fun to follow. This is a great story of how important it is to have a relationship with family members regardless of situations. This story is filled with action and mystery with a touch of romance.
I received a copy of this book from the author through BookCrash blogging program. This is my honest review.
About the Book
Is Raspberry Hill haunted by more than old regrets and lost chances? Natalie Wolcott, one third potential beneficiary, is about to find out. When Grandma Rose passes away, she leaves her magnificent, if slightly sinister, mansion on the edge of town to her three estranged relatives who, according to the terms of the will, must live on site for one year, three months and four days for before they can inherit. It is obvious that Raspberry Hill, although given, still comes at a high price. Whispers of murder and a town with a long memory have Natalie wondering one thing… Who was Grandma Rose?… because it’s all too apparent that someone doesn’t want them there. When things start to go bump in the night, Natalie is convinced that someone from town, or perhaps even one of her co-inheritors, is trying to force her out. That is, until she meets the ghost in the basement. Her only comfort is her new job at Crabapple Yarns. Unfortunately, the shadows of the past are knitted together with the present and before she has a chance to fit in disaster strikes the sweet little yarn shop. The plan to save Crabapple Yarns unwittingly sets into motion a chain of events that just might end with another murder at Raspberry Hill.
About the Author
At just the age of years years old, Jaime Marsman became fascinated with the moving around of the alphabet to form words, thoughts and sentences.
She is also a knitwear designer for Love.Knit.Love and she feels the same thing to be true with yearn. This may be the reason she finds joy when she picks up her pens or needles. One of her fondest goals and dreams is to inspire others with her work. She wants others to find the joy of creating and following their dreams in their own way.
Jaime is grateful to God for his love and guiding hand in her life, she prays that everyone come to have the same joy and peace of knowing Him.
The Secret Sisters Club, by Monique Bucheger, is book one in A Ginnie West Adventure series. This book is a great start to a nice series for tween girls and older. The story takes place on a family farm with extended family helping to care for Ginnie and her twin brother. Ginnie lost her mother at a young age and Tillie’s father left the family.
I enjoyed reading of Ginnie and Tillie making a plan to get their parents together. The writing is so good, it is easy to imagine the hurt and anger Tillie feel towards her father as well as how Ginnie and her brother feel about not knowing their mother. I enjoy the strength of these three children with their ability to speak up to their parents about their feeling. And the love the parents have to try to help their children.
I received an ebook copy of this story through Celebrate Lit, this is my honest review.
About the Book
Book: The Secret Sisters Club
Author: Monique Bucheger
Genre: Mid-grade, blended family, horses
Release Date: March 18, 2012
Twelve-year-old BFF’s Ginnie West and Tillie Taylor, want to be sisters. Ginnie’s widowed dad plus Tillie’s divorced mom could equal a lifetime of round-the-clock girl talk and slumber parties. Too bad Dad vowed to never marry again. Ginnie and Tillie come up with the perfect scheme to change his mind: ‘Operation Secret Sisters’ (aka OSS). After all, if they can’t get Dad to move on, Tillie can’t move in. Things get more complicated when Ginnie stumbles across her mom’s hidden journals. Ginnie can finally get to know the mother she doesn’t remember and her dad doesn’t talk about—if Dad doesn’t take them away.
When Monique isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events.
Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy the journey that is her life. She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children, twelve granddarlings, too many cats, and many real and imaginary friends. She is the author of several books in three series and hopes to write many more.
More from Monique
I’d like to welcome you to the first book in my Ginnie West Adventures Series: The Secret Sisters Club. This series has been a fun journey that started longer ago than I care to admit.
As a tween, Ginnie West was my imaginary friend who gave me courage. Since then, I have written her story through four novels to each become a #1 Amazon Best-selling novel.
The Secret Sisters Club is the story of 12-year-old BFF’s (Ginnie and Tillie) who want to become sisters. However, The Secret Sisters Club is more than a scheme (AKA: OSS: Operation Secret Sisters) to get Tillie’s divorcee mom to fall in love with Ginnie’s widowered dad.
The Secret Sisters Club is a contemporary, middle-grade novel about: belonging, overcoming hard things, finding joy in the journey of your life, and finding the courage to change your own stars when you don’t like the hand you have been dealt—and realizing that ‘real’ family can be friends you have chosen when the people in the family you were born to are missing because of choices they made, death, divorce, and circumstances beyond your (and sometimes their) control—and these themes are shared in an uplifting, empowering, age-appropriate way.
Because Tillie was abandoned when she was six years-old by her birth dad, six years before The Secret Sisters Club starts, she longs to for a “whole” family: with a mom, a good dad, a sister, and a brother. Tillie has always been timid, but Ginnie helps her feel brave. Tillie, in turn, helps Ginnie realize that she has a lot to be grateful for.
Ginnie has never worried about what her family looks like—because it has always “felt” right. She lives in a 3-generation farm family composed of her great-Uncle Ben, his two kids, her dad , Todd, and his brother, Uncle Jake–who were raised by Uncle Ben because they were orphaned as young tweens, as well as Ginnie’s twin brother, Toran.
Ginnie’s mother died in a tragic accident when she was 3 ½ years old, leaving Ginnie with very few memories of her mom. Which hasn’t been a problem for her—UNTIL she finds a box of her dead mom’s journals and starts reading one.
Then Ginnie realizes that she really missed out—her mom was pretty amazing: creative, energetic, courageous, funny, a nationally ranked beauty queen (which Ginnie couldn’t care less about) but also a nationally ranked equestrian and trick rider—which Ginnie cares VERY much about. And more than that—she realizes that her mother truly understood her. And while her dad loves her very much—Ginnie is constantly tossing him out of his comfort zone as he struggles to balance her need to be independent with his need to keep her safe.
The Secret Sisters Club explores the journey of two BFF’s finding strength to overcome adversities, humor in day-to day life, and courage to make hard choices as they grow up together, embracing their differences as well their similarities, to make life a totally awesome sauce adventure.
Her Merriweather Hero by Rachel Skatvold is book four in the Independence Island Series. This is a series written by six different authors that takes place of five different islands. In this story we meet marine sergeant Tyler Banner who is staying with his sister while he recovers from an injury.
Kendal bought a home, sight unseen, and moved to the island with her sister to start a traveling veterinarian clinic. The home is in bad shape and Tyler offers to help her.
This is a great story to read to get away from everything. It is very well written with strong characters. The main characters all are dealing with grief in their own way, while trying to move forward. I enjoy the parts where the characters help each other, even though they are short on time for themselves. I just love the island setting in this series and the chance to meet characters from previous stories..
I received an ebook copy of this story from Celebrate Lit, this is my honest review.
About the Book
Book: Her Merriweather Hero
Author: Rachel Skatvold
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 27, 2020
He just wanted a place to rest and recuperate.
She only needed a repairman to help fix up her beach house.
For marine sergeant, Tyler Banner, nothing could be further from the memories of his time in Iraq than the slow, easy pace on Merriweather Island. Taking up a job as a physical trainer serves to keep him in shape while he enjoys a little downtime. Making friends with the local vet—veterinarian, that is—on his morning jog is just a bonus.
When Kendall’s sister tricked her into recruiting Tyler’s help one day, she didn’t fortify herself against a breach to her heart. Making friends with the marine was easy, but helping him overcome the PTSD that holds him captive isn’t. As she picks her way across a minefield of memories and horrors Tyler endured, Kendall begins to hope he could be the man she’s prayed for.
Falling in love wasn’t in Tyler’s orders, but a new deployment to Iraq is. How can he convince Kendall not to go AWOL when she hears? What can he do to convince her that they’ll make it… together?
This “Merriweather book” is the fourth in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
Rachel Skatvold is a Christian author and stay-at-home mom from the Midwest. She enjoys writing inspirational romance and encouraging blogs. Rachel completed her first series, the Riley Family Legacy Novellas in 2014 and is now working on the Hart Ranch Series, set in the Montana wilderness and the Ladies of Ardena Series, set in medieval times. She is also a contributing author in the Whispers in Wyoming, Brides of Pelican Rapids and Independence Island Series. Other than writing, some of her hobbies include singing, reading and camping in the great outdoors with her husband and two young sons. You can find more information about Rachel and her books on her website: www.rachelskatvold.com.
More from Rachel
Her Merriweather Hero has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding stories I have written. Often when I am starting a new book, I immerse myself in the world-building process, which involves a lot of research and notetaking. This time around, I had the amazing opportunity to work with Celebrate Lit and the authors in the Independence Islands Series to map out these beautiful island stories. It has been an exciting journey so far.
This story was inspired by my parents who met through letters while my dad was in the Marine Corps. They both came from different backgrounds, with my mom being from Massachusetts and my dad from a small town in Iowa, but their differences didn’t stop them from falling in love. For Her Merriweather Hero, I used themes of opposites attracting, New England, and the Marine Corps from my parent’s love story.
Kendall is a young veterinarian who moves to the Independence Islands with her sister to start a new mobile clinic. There, she meets Sergeant Tyler Banner who is on medical leave after a tour overseas. She tries to avoid Tyler at first, determined to concentrate on making her business a success, but over time she can’t ignore the handsome military guy who keeps ‘accidently’ crossing her path. It doesn’t help he lives a few doors down from her fixer-upper beach house. Can she continue to try to ignore him or is it true that opposites attract?
This romantic island tale is also inspired by the verses from Hebrews 6:18-19 which describe God as our anchor. The characters feel tossed around by waves of difficulties at certain parts of the story, but He is always the anchor who keeps them secured.