Christy Award Finalists for First Novel-2022

All That Is Secret by Patricia Raybon (Tyndale House Publishers)

From award-winning author Patricia Raybon comes a compelling new historical mystery series, a riveting puzzle confronting the hidden secrets of class, race, family, and love.

Can an amateur detective solve the cold case mystery of her lost father’s murder?

In the winter of 1923, Professor Annalee Spain–a daring but overworked theologian at a small Chicago Bible college–receives a cryptic telegram calling her home to Denver to solve the mystery of the murder of her beloved but estranged father.

For a young Black woman, searching for answers in a city ruled by the KKK could mean real danger. Still, with her literary hero Sherlock Holmes as inspiration, Annalee launches her hunt for clues, attracting two surprising allies: Eddie, a relentless young white boy searching for his missing father, and Jack, a handsome Black pastor who loves nightclub dancing and rides in his sporty car, awakening Annalee’s heart to the surprising highs and lows of romantic love.

With their help, Annalee follows clues that land her among Denver’s powerful elite. But when their sleuthing unravels sinister motives and deep secrets, Annalee confronts the dangerous truths and beliefs that could make her a victim too.

Recorder by Cathy McCrumb -Children of the Consortium #1 (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media)

The Consortium is All. But Recorder Can No Longer Obey.

Recorder has no family, no friends, and no name. Donated to the Consortium before birth, her sole purpose is to maintain and verify the records. A neural implant and drone ensure compliance, punishing for displays of bias.

Suddenly cut off from controlling technology, Recorder tastes what it means to be human. But if the Consortium discovers her feelings, everyone she knows will be in danger.

With no name, no resources, and only an infinitesimal possibility of escape, Recorder’s time is running out.

Sugar Birds by Cheryl Grey Bostrom (She Writes Press)

Northwest Washington State, 1985

For years, Harris Hayes has taught his daughter, Aggie, the ways of the northern woods. So when her mother’s depression worsens, Harris shows the girl how to find and sketch the nests of wild birds as an antidote to sadness. Aggie is in a tree far overhead when her unpredictable mother spots her and forbids her to climb. Angry, the ten-year-old accidentally lights a tragic fire, then flees downriver. She lands her boat near untamed forest, where she hides among the trees and creatures she considers her only friends—determined to remain undiscovered.

A search party gathers by Aggie’s empty boat hours after Celia, fresh off the plane from Houston, arrives at her grandmother’s nearby farm. Hurting from her parents’ breakup, she also plans to run. But when she joins the hunt for Aggie, she meets two irresistible young men who compel her to stay. One is autistic; the other, dangerous.

Perfect for fans The Scent KeeperThe Snow Child, and The Great Alone, Sugar Birds immerses readers in a layered, evocative coming-of-age story set in the breathtaking natural world where characters encounter the mending power of forgiveness—for themselves and for those who have failed them.


JustRead is celebrating The Christy Award Finalists and counting down to the 2022 Gala with a print set of winning titles giveaway prize from The Christy Award and ECPA. Visit to enter.

The Christy Award Gala
November 17, 2022 | 7 pm
Shinn Center at Lipscomb University, Nashville

The Christy Award Dinner Gala will celebrate Christian fiction and announce the 2022 winners of The Christy Award. The event will honor the literary contributions of bestselling author Jan Karon (The Mitford Series) via special video address with tributes by authors Sarah Loudin Thomas and Amanda Dykes, and feature bestselling and Christy Hall of Fame author Chris Fabry, along with Christy Book of the Year® winning authors Amanda Cox and Becky Wade. Join industry authors and publishers to honor the power of Story and the year’s best Christian fiction.

First 100 to register are entered to win a set of Jan Karon novels!

The first 100 registered for The Christy Award events will automatically be entered to win a full set of The Mitford Series novels by our evening’s honoree, Jan Karon — including a signed copy of At Home In Mitford. Karon will address our attendees via video-cast.

Annie’s Hope by Merrillee Whren

My Review

Annie’s Hope, by Merrillee Whren is a heartwarming story of second chances. This is the first book in the Village of Hope Series. This contemporary Christian story is wonderfully written. When Annie loses her children she turns to rehab to straighten out her life. Following rehab she enters Village of Hope and works to get her life and children back. The person she is directed to is her ex-husband who does not trust her.

I just love this story. It is all about forgiveness and second chances in life and love. When Annie enters the Village of Hope it is to help herself and children, but she ends up helping the Village of Hope just as much as they help her. I just love her character. Her loving, caring personality is very evident. She is so pleasant to the elderly. While Ian is hesitant to trust Annie and does not want to rekindle any relationship with her, he is there to help when she is needed. This is a great heartwarming story, just perfect to curl up with.

I voluntarily received a complimentary copy of this book, this is my honest review.

About the Book

Book:  Annie’s Hope

Author: Merrillee Whren

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release date: September 27, 2022

The Village of Hope: A community built on service and love

Annie Payton hopes for one thing—to regain custody of her children. She believes the Village of Hope’s lawyer will give her this chance until she learns that lawyer is Ian Montgomery, her ex-husband.

Since Ian has turned from his life of substance abuse, he’s all about helping others, but he doesn’t know if he can help his former wife. Her betrayal still brings him pain, and most people at The Village don’t know about his past relationship with Annie.

As Annie and Ian’s lives intersect, can she show him that she’s clean and sober and wants a second chance not only with her children but with him?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Merrillee Whren is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author who writes inspirational romance. She is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award for best inspirational romance manuscript presented by Romance Writers of America. She has also been the recipient of the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of forty- plus years, and has two grown daughters. She has lived in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Chicago and Florida but now makes her home in the Arizona desert. She spends her free time playing tennis or walking while she does the plotting for her novels. Please visit her Website and signup for her newsletter and connect with her on Facebook.

More from Merrillee

One of my writing goals is to set at least one book in every state in which I have lived. So far I have written books set in Washington State, Texas, Florida, South Dakota, Georgia, Ohio, Montana, Massachusetts, and Tennessee. I still have to write books set in Illinois and Arizona to complete my goal. Just for fun I’ve gone astray and have written a couple of Christmas novellas set in Maryland, where my older daughter lives. The third book in the series, Puppy Love and Christmas Cookies is ready for preorder.

Annie’s Hope is one of my books set in Georgia. It is the first book in The Village of Hope series. We lived in the Atlanta area for nine years when our daughters were in elementary and middle school. I have many found memories of that time. One of the things I remember is a ministry there that served older adults and had children’s homes. When I got the idea for this story, I thought of that ministry. I also have friends who served many years at a children’s home in Oklahoma. I expanded on those ministries to create The Village of Hope, a multifaceted ministry, a place that provides hope, love, and a helping hand for those in need. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” This verse fits Annie’s Hope perfectly.

Because I’m what they call an organic writer, I don’t plot my stories. I start writing and see how things unfold. I start with a set of characters and wonder what if. In the case of Annie’s Hope, I wondered how a divorced couple might find love with each other again, despite hurt and betrayal. I’m always thankful that somehow God brings everything together when I write a book.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, November 3

lakesidelivingsite, November 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 5

Susan K. Beatty, Author, November 6 (Author Interview)

Cover Lover Book Review, November 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 7

deb’s Book Review, November 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool,Academy, November 9

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 11

Britt Reads Fiction, November 12

For Him and My Family, November 12

Inklings and notions, November 13

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 14

SusanLovesBooks, November 15

Pause for Tales, November 16


To celebrate her tour, Merrillee is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of A Match to Call Ours!!

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

The Christy Award 2022 Finalists

Welcome to the Blog Blitz for The Christy Award Finalists organized by ECPA and hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! We extend our sincere and enthusiastic congratulations to The Christy Award 2022 Finalists!!

The Christy Award Finalists 2022


All That Really Matters
Bookshop by the Sea
Husband Auditions

All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)

Bookshop by the Sea by Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong (Kregel Publications)


All That Is Secret
Sugar Birds

All That Is Secret by Patricia Raybon (Tyndale House Publishers)

Recorder by Cathy McCrumb (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media)

Sugar Birds by Cheryl Grey Bostrom (She Writes Press)


The Letter Keeper
The Secret Keepers Old Depot Grocery
Under the Magnolias

The Letter Keeper by Charles Martin (Thomas Nelson Publishers)

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox (Revell/ Baker Publishing Group)

Under the Magnolias by T. I. Lowe (Tyndale House Publishers)


Between The Wild Branches
Drawn By The Current
The Widows Of Champagne
Yours Is The Night

Between the Wild Branches by Connilyn Cossette (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)

Drawn by The Current by Jocelyn Green (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)

The Widows of Champagne by Renee Ryan (Love Inspired)

Yours is the Night by Amanda Dykes (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)


As Dawn Breaks
Hope Between The Pages
Shadows Of Swanford Abbey
Until Leaves Fall in Paris

As Dawn Breaks by Kate Breslin (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)

Hope Between the Pages by Pepper Basham (Barbour Publishing)

Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)

Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin (Revell/ Baker Publishing Group)


On The Cliffs Of Foxglove Manor
The Barrister And Letter Marque

Aftermath by Terri Blackstock (Thomas Nelson Publishers)

The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)


A Texas Christmas Carol
False Pretense
Mr Nicholas

A Texas Christmas Carol (in Under the Texas Mistletoe) by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)

Mr. Nicholas: A Magical Christmas Tale by Christopher de Vinck (Paraclete Press)

False Pretense by Heather Day Gilbert (WoodHaven Press)


A Time To Seek
Dark Intercept
Windward Shore

A Time to Seek by Tracy Higley (Stonewater Books LLC)

Dark Intercept by Brian Andrews & Jeffrey Wilson (Tyndale House Publishers)

Recorder by Cathy McCrumb (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media)

Windward Shore by Sharon Hinck (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media)


A Gentle Tyranny
Realms of Light

A Gentle Tyranny by Jess Corban (Wander, an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers)

Realms of Light by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media)

Shadow by Kara Swanson (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media)


(1) winner will receive print copies of The Christy Award finalist titles from one category of their choice!

The Christy Award 2021 Finalists JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight November 3, 2022 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on November 10, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.



Art of Writing on November 17, 12:30-5 pm at Lipscomb University in Nashville $99

A conference for writers, storytellers, and publishing curators.

The Christy Award Gala on November 17, 7-9 pm at Lipscomb University in Nashville $89

Celebrate this year’s finalists and winners with authors, editors, publishers, and readers!

Bundle the Art of Writing Conference & The Christy Award Gala $139


The Christy Award® is a program of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) and is the foremost award honoring and promoting excellence in Christian fiction since 1999. For more information about ECPA, visit For more information about the Christy Awards and Art of Writing conferences, visit or email

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Reunion in Saltwater Beach by Julie Carobini

My Review

Reunion in Saltwater Beach, by Julie Carobini is a contemporary Christian fiction story that focuses on the Cooper family after their mother’s death and close friend Addie Barrett. Jax left after high school to become and attorney and has not stayed in contact with very close friend Addi. Believing the other had moved on and started families of their own, they come to realize they both still have feelings for each other.

This is nice realistic story that shows the different emotions a family would go through after a parents death. It also shows what happens when secrets are kept to protect others. I enjoyed the healing that takes place in certain characters when past hurts are brought out and dealt with. This is such a good story, with many emotions running through it.

I voluntarily received a complimentary copy of this book, this is my honest review.

About the Book

Book: Reunion in Saltwater Beach

Author: Julie Carobini

Genre: Christian Romance

Release date: June 22, 2022

From the author of Walking on Sea Glass … He’s a big city lawyer. She’s the small town beach girl who broke his heart. Any hope for a second chance expired twelve years earlier …

Jax Cooper returns to Saltwater Beach but has no plans to stay any longer than necessary. Once his mother’s estate is wrapped up, he’ll be on a plane back to Chicago—and hopefully to a future as the youngest law partner in his firm.

Addi Barrett never left the small beach town of Saltwater. She chose instead to dote on her ailing mother, help her father’s business, and find new friendships in old places. That didn’t mean she never had dreams of her own …

When a Cooper family member goes missing, a foster dog needs some lovin’, and a long-hidden secret bubbles to the surface, Jax and Addi find themselves thrown together over and over again.

Can they find their way to a second chance at love? Or will past hurts rise up to make happily-ever-after impossible?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

JULIE CAROBINI writes inspirational beach romances. She is the author of 22+ books across two names and is known for spunky heroines, charming heroes, quirky friends, and the secrets they keep. Her bestselling titles include Walking on Sea Glass, Runaway Tide, Finding Stardust, The Christmas Thief, and more. Julie has received awards for writing and editing from The National League of American Pen Women and American Christian Fiction Writers and she is a double finalist for the ACFW Carol Award. She lives on the California coast with her husband, Dan and their rescue pup, Dancer—not far from their young adult children. Grab a free short story here:

More from Julie

Do you love a good secret? Me too. Some of my favorite books contain secrets just begging to be revealed. Add in a feel-good romance, some family drama, and a heaping dose of faith, and now we’re talking.

In Reunion in Saltwater Beach, Jax Cooper jetted away to college a dozen years earlier and rarely looked back. His best friend, Addi Barrett, stayed in the town of Saltwater, often wondering what might have been between the two of them. She also carried a secret she hoped never to revisit.

But that was before Jax returned home for his mother’s memorial. And his sister had a meltdown. And one of his brothers disappeared …

On a personal note, while writing this novel, I was unaware that my precious father would pass away just weeks before it released. Honestly, those months leading up to this story’s debut were … hard. But God!

I mention this because, during those last few weeks, my own brothers and I found ourselves talking on the phone or texting daily. Hourly at times. It was an intense time that brought us closer together as siblings—and showed our differences too.

Now I have an extra special place in my heart for the wild and wacky Cooper siblings. (Is it possible to feel a personal connection to a fictional family? Answer = yes )

Of course, I also found myself both fretting and rooting for Jax and Addi to, somehow, find their way to a second chance at love—despite the past that got in their way. And that’s no secret.

Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate you!


Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 24

Blogging With Carol, October 24

Texas Book-aholic, October 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 27

For Him and My Family, October 27

Inklings and notions, October 28

She Lives to Read, October 29

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 29

Splashes of Joy, October 30

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 1

Holly’s Book Corner, November 1

lakesidelivingsite, November 2

deb’s Book Review, November 3

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 4

Mary Hake, November 4

Through the Fire Blogs, November 5

Pause for Tales, November 6

Cover Lover Book Review, November 6


To celebrate her tour, Julie is giving away the grand prize package of a $75 and a copy of Reunion in Saltwater Beach!!
(eBook will be sent for an international winner)

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

A Not So Convenient Marriage by Sandra Merville Hart

My Review

A Not So Convenient Marriage, by Sandra Merville Hart, is book one in the Second Chances series. This is a Christian Historical Romance of Samuel and Rose. Childhood friends, they both went their own ways when Samuel married the new beautiful girl and Rose moved to Ohio to teach. Now years later Samuel’s wife has past away and he is in search of a mother for his children and a housekeeper. Being comfortable around Rose he asks her and she accepts.

This is a story that will tug at your heart. It is well written and easy to read and imagine. Rose is finally the wife of the man she secretly loved for years. But he does not return the love. Rose is such a strong character with a loving giving heart that endures so much and is often misunderstood. She lives in the shadow of his late wife. There are so many areas in the story that I felt frustrated with Samuel, the friends of his late wife, but how his former in-laws and her brother treated her is unbelievable.. Even though his first marriage had it’s share of issues, he still clings to his wife’s memory. This story points out the importance of communication and love in a marriage.

I voluntarily received a complimentary copy of this story, this is my honest review.

About the Book

Book: A Not So Convenient Marriage

Author: Sandra Merville Hart

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release date: November 8, 2022

A spinster teacher…a grieving widower…a marriage of convenience and a second chance with the man she’s always loved.

When Samuel Walker proposes a marriage of convenience to Rose Hatfield so soon after the death of his wife, she knows he doesn’t love her. She’s loved him since their school days. Those long-suppressed feelings spring to life as she marries him. She must sell her childhood home, quit her teaching job, and move to a new city.

Marrying Rose is harder than Samuel expected, especially with the shadow of his deceased wife everywhere in his life. And he has two young children to consider. Peter and Emma need a mother’s love, but they also need to hold close the memories of their real mother as they grieve her loss.

Life as Samuel’s wife is nothing like Rose hoped, and even the townspeople, who loved his first wife, make Rose feel like an outsider. The work of the farm draws the two of them closer, giving hope that they might one day become a happy family. Until the dream shatters, and the life Rose craves tumbles down around them. Only God can put these pieces back together, but the outcome may not look anything like she planned.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Sandra Merville Hart, award-winning and Amazon bestselling author of inspirational historical romances, loves to discover little-known yet fascinating facts from American history to include in her stories. Her desire is to transport her readers back in time. She is also a blogger, speaker, and conference teacher. Connect with Sandra on her blog,

More from Sandra

There are some stories that must be told. A Not So Convenient Marriage is one of them for me.

I don’t know what it is about this story, but once I began writing it over a dozen years ago, the characters wouldn’t leave me alone.

I wrote the first draft of this book a few years before my first book—another book, A Stranger on My Land—released, so I was still learning about the writing journey. I’m certain that my first draft of A Not So Convenient Marriage wasn’t ready for publication because it was rejected.

But the characters in my imagination wouldn’t allow me to let this one go. I edited and reedited, using skills I learned at writing conferences. Then I tried again with another editor. Another rejection.

Discouraged, I worked on other writing projects and met with a little success. When my first Civil War romance published, I decided to follow my heart and continue writing about that turbulent time period.

This book was set aside.

Still, every morning I woke up thinking about the characters in A Not So Convenient Marriage. In my mind, I’d rewrite a scene from the book as I lay, trying to sleep, in the middle of the night. Or the story would haunt me before falling asleep at night, keeping me awake an hour or two.

This happened almost daily for years.

Finally, I pulled up the manuscript again. It had been written in my early days so it required a lot of modification. I asked my agent to begin showing my updated proposal for the book. She was happy to do this because she always believed in this book. In fact, she decided to represent me after reading for proposal for it.

By the way, the story was still keeping me awake as I waited to sign a book contract.

Last year, I was thrilled when Misty Beller, Wild Heart Books, offered me a contract for a three-book series for this novel. Not only that, she also gave me a three-book contract for my “Spies of the Civil War” series, that published this year. (I invite you to read the whole “Spies of the Civil War” series beginning with Book 1 Avenue of Betrayal, Book 2 Boulevard of Confusionand Book 3 Byway to Danger.)

Misty told me that she cried when reading my manuscript for A Not So Convenient Marriage—the first time that had ever happened for a submission. That touched my heart.

I’m happy to say that scenes from the book no longer keep me awake at night…for now the story will be told.  

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, November 1

For Him and My Family, November 1

lakesidelivingsite, November 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 3

Holly’s Book Corner, November 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 4

deb’s Book Review, November 5

Blossoms and Blessings, November 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 6

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 7

Inklings and notions, November 7

Connie’s History Classroom, November 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 9

Through the Fire Blogs, November 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 10

Pause for Tales, November 11

To Every BOOK There is a Season, November 11

Bizwings Blog, November 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 13

Mary Hake, November 13

Vicky Sluiter, November 14


To celebrate her tour, Sandra is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

Scars by Linda K. Rodante

Welcome to the Blog + Review Blitz for SCARS by Linda K. Rodante, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Title: SCARS

Series: Spiritual Warfare #4

Author: Linda K. Rodante

Publisher: independently published

Release Date: September 2022

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romantic Suspense

He tried to leave the past behind, but it won’t leave him…

Ex-gang member Garrett Lovett is a new creature in Christ. At least, he’s trying to be. He’s got a wholesome routine, a place on the IronWorks football team, and a pretty woman he wants to know better. But when the old gang resurfaces with the ultimatum to re-up or face consequences, Garrett has tough decisions to make. These guys know how to get to him—his addictions, his fears. When things get life-threatening, Garrett must decide if this God he’s heard about is real or not.

And if so, can he rescue Garrett and those he loves before it’s too late?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon

Excerpt 3

They rode in silence for a while and finally pulled into Howard Park. A short distance
across the causeway, he parked on the far side near the water. Evening was dropping fast.
Seagulls called, the wind blew cool and damp, and sea-salt smells filled the air.
After kicking off their shoes, they headed across the sun-warmed sand. When they hit the
hard sand along the water’s edge, she turned and headed up the beach at a fast clip. Garrett
hesitated a moment then met her stride.
They circled the small island, passing a few other late comers. He wondered if a park
service employee would run them off soon. The park closed at dark, and dark was almost on
Ryann stopped abruptly and glared at the dark waters. So, did she want to talk anymore,
or should he leave it?
A half-moon rose over their shoulders competing with the setting sun. The wash of
tangerine, blue and sapphire would be gone soon fading into night. Shallow waves rushed and
withdrew, their hush-hush sound background music to his thoughts.
He cleared his throat. “I keep hearing about this forgiveness stuff.”
“Yeah, me too. Only if you forgive, that doesn’t change the other person.”
Ah. There was someone she felt should change. His dad kept acting like Garrett should
change, and Garrett was sure his dad should. “What if they don’t feel they need to change?”
Her laugh sounded like a bark. “That’s the thing. They don’t feel they have to. So why
should I forgive?”
He was sure she should, but she was getting out of his league now. Pastor Alan or Reece
could help with that question. “You should ask someone who knows this stuff.”
Ryann shook her head. The wind tossed her hair across her face, brushing her lips. He
swallowed, stared over her head at the Gulf waters.
She huffed. “Maybe.”
“Someone important hurt you. Let you down. They tell me that’s the stuff you gotta deal
She huffed again.
“That guy you were facing off with at the church? He’s one of those that hurt you, right?”
“Matt? Maybe.”
“Lot of maybes here.” He tilted his head, wondering if he should pry anymore. “Come
on. Let’s walk.”
She turned, sent him a long look from under her lashes. “You do this often?”
“Walk at the beach? Just started since joining IronWorks. Some of the guys there come
out regularly. I like it. Seems the wind blows dust from my mind.”
“Why did you join the gang?”
He said nothing, but watched the wind catch her hair, twirl it. Behind her, across the
waters, the sky had turned dark violet. Warmth stirred in him that had nothing to do with

physical desire, but everything to do with the pleasure he felt being with her, that she’d wanted
to come, that she’d shared something of herself with him. It made her question not so intrusive,
and he gave her the condensed version about his mom dying and his father’s descent into
alcoholism and abuse.
She stopped. “I’m sorry about that.”
He could feel her concern. “Yeah, me too.”
“How are you and your dad now?”
“Still a long way from where it should be.”
Her chin dipped as if acknowledging that, and she started walking again. He caught up in
two steps. Moonlight shimmered on the waves now. The rush and crash from their interplay
creating a hypnotic effect.
Ryann wandered near the water, kicked spray into the air. A hundred lights caught the
moon’s glow and winked at them—a counterpoint to her frustration.
He drew close, making sure she could hear him over the wind and waves. “So, Matt?”
She glanced his way but didn’t answer.
Okay then…
He lifted a hand to her cheek. The moonlight glinted on her hair, across her nose. Her lips
pulled in, and he felt her studying him, felt her hesitation. He slipped his hand down her jaw,
under her hair, to the back of her neck.
How long had it been since he’d wanted to kiss a woman, nothing more on his mind?
Since he was fourteen? Sixteen? In the gang, women were objects. To be used. Yet right now all
he wanted was to continue this closeness that had suddenly developed between them, to get to
know her.
He pulled her gently forward, his gaze searching hers. Lowering his head, turning it, he
pressed his mouth against hers, feeling its softness. She didn’t pull away. He dropped his hand
down her back, let his arm draw her close, felt the length of her against him.

My Review

SCARS by Linda K. Rodante is book four in the Spiritual Warfare series. While this book does stand alone, it takes over where book three ends with the same characters, so it is best to read them in order. This series focuses on a ministry within  a church that helps ex-convicts and ex-gang members get back on their feet. This story focuses on Ryann, who teaches climbing when not volunteering with the ministry, and Garrett, a former gang member. Garrett has been given a second chance and has chosen to follow God and Ryann is still struggling with issues regarding her past and her faith.

This is an enjoyable story to read. It is well written with a variety of characters, mostly good. The story does touch on the results of gang activities and premarital sex. I enjoyed catching up with past characters and seeing what has happened in their lives. It is heart-warming to see the care the members have for others. While the pastor and his wife have responsibilities at home, they travel to help family affected by a hurricane. When they develop health issues, the people from the ministry are there to help and pray for them. The message in this story for me is that the church is there to help those in need, regardless of their situation, they do not need to get their lives in order before attending the ministry and they are not looked down on.

I voluntarily received a complimentary copy of this book through the JustRead Publicity Tour program, this is my honest review.



Linda K. Rodante is a Florida transplant now living in Tennessee. She loves sweet tea, apple butter and both the mountains and the oceans. Her work with crisis pregnancy centers and anti-trafficking groups gave her a heart for women struggling in today’s society, while still respecting the role God has given men.

She writes Christian romantic suspense novels. Her books wrap sweet romance in real-life issues women face today with an edge of mystery and suspense. She desires to entertain and encourage women in their walk with the Lord. Her books can be found on Amazon

She’s a past finalist of ACFW’s Genesis contest and a member of Word Weavers International.

Connect with Linda by visiting to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


(1) winner will receive a signed copy of WARRIOR (Spiritual Warfare Series #1) and $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight October 26, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on November 2, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

The Bookshop of Secrets by Mollie Rushmeyer

My Review

The Bookshop of Secrets, by Mollie Rushmeyer, is a contemporary Christian fiction story that is filled with mystery and suspense. The author writes a heart warming story that deals with difficult issues of death, dementia and human tracking. Years after her mother’s death, Hope returns to Wanishin Falls, MN to get the books her mother left her and plans to return home the next day. The bookshop owner, who should have her books, doesn’t know where they are and is desperate need of help to get his bookshop back in order.

This is such a good story! I so enjoyed reading this and trying to solve the mystery of what could be hidden within the books. Hope’s past is so tragic, it is easy to see why she doesn’t trust others. But it was especially fun to see the friendships that developed, even when she didn’t want them to. This story shows the depth of history our families hold and how through out the years, misunderstandings happen and stories are no longer the truth.

I voluntarily received a complimentary copy of this book, this is my honest review.

About the Book

Book: The Bookshop of Secrects

Author: Mollie Rushmeyer

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction (Christian)

Release date: October 25, 2022

A collection of lost books holds the clues to her family’s legacy…and her future.

Hope Sparrow has mastered the art of outrunning her tragic past, learning never to stay anywhere too long and never to allow anyone control over her life again. Coming to Wanishin Falls in search of her family’s history already feels too risky. But somewhere in the towering stacks of this dusty old bookshop are the books that hold Hope’s last ties to her late mother—and to a rumored family treasure that could help her start over.

Only, the bookshop is in shambles, and the elderly owner is in the beginning stages of dementia and can’t remember where the books lie. To find the last links to the loved ones she’s lost, Hope must stay and accept help from the townsfolk to locate the treasured volumes. Each secret she uncovers brings her closer to understanding where she came from. But the longer she stays in the quaint town, the more people find their way into the cracks in her heart. And letting them in may be the greatest risk of all…

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Mollie writes contemporary fiction with a heart for history. What does this mean exactly? She loves to write inspirational fiction in contemporary settings with fascinating historical elements, people, objects, and stories woven throughout.

A modern girl herself– She wouldn’t want to go a day without modern plumbing and central air! But she’s always felt a special connection to the past. The legacies and lives left behind are like gifts waiting to be unwrapped, and she’s excited to share this blend of history and contemporary living with readers.

A born and bred Midwestern gal, Mollie Rushmeyer, makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband and two spunky, beautiful daughters. She is not only a bibliophile (the dustier the better, in her opinion), she’s a true anglophile at heart. Tea and coffee fuel her travels, by Google maps at least, and her passion for the written word.

More from Mollie

Since childhood, opening up a book unlocked a whole new world for me. Of possibilities and adventure, and made me care for people and places that didn’t exist. Like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia, books transported me. It was like magic.

As I began dreaming up The Bookshop of Secrets in its early stages, I knew I wanted to create a character who loved books and was in awe of their transformative and transportive power as much as I am. Thus, Hope Sparrow, a human trafficking survivor and ultimate book lover, was born. I also wanted to honor my grandpa, who planted the seed—love of the written word—in my heart from the time I was very young. And so, Ulysses, the owner of Dusty Jackets Bookshop in the story, is based on my sweet grandpa who has since passed away. But I know he’d love this homage to all things literary.

Afterward, I didn’t know if I’d ever write again and I was more terrified of that than not gaining back the full strength of my left arm.

In the middle of writing this book, in 2018, I had a stroke. As with most medical emergencies, it was quite unexpected. I had a hole in my heart (that has been repaired, thankfully). Afterward, I didn’t know if I’d ever write again and I was more terrified of that than not being able to fully move my left arm again. My brain had to make new connections and it was so difficult, still is some days, to be creative. To find the right words.

But God. In the way that only He can, He brought this forgotten story, this project’s finish line that seemed to be at the summit of an insurmountable mountain within reach. I thought I had something to prove to myself. I begged God not to forget my dream to write. Like He could. But in the end, I just had to trust like my character Hope. Trust that He is good even when life hurts and is uncertain.

“Do you know what the opposite of fear is?”

“Bravery? Peace?” Dare she say her namesake, hope?

“The true counterpart of fear is faith. It takes faith to walk into the future, the unknown, with confidence. Secure in the love of the One who created you and those around you outweighs any hardship, real or imagined, that lies on the path ahead.”

I hope following Hope’s journey of healing and love in The Bookshop of Secrets truly blesses you.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 27

lakesidelivingsite, October 27

Inklings and notions, October 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 28

Simple Harvest Reads, October 28 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

An Author’s Take, October 29

The Write Escape, October 29

deb’s Book Review, October 29

Texas Book-aholic, October 30

Rebecca Tews, October 30

Blogging With Carol, October 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 31

Inspired by fiction, October 31

Life of Literature, October 31

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 1

Lily’s Book Reviews, November 1

Cover Lover Book Review, November 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 2

Losing the Busyness, November 2

For Him and My Family, November 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 3

Holly’s Book Corner, November 3

Mary Hake, November 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 4 (Author Interview)

Paula’s Pad of Suspense and Detection, November 4

Blossoms and Blessings, November 4

Sylvan Musings, November 5

Lily’s Book Reviews, November 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 5

A Reader’s Brain, November 6

Book Looks by Lisa, November 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 7

Truth and Grace Homeachool Academy, November 7

Story Craft, November 7

Through the fire blogs, November 8

Pause for Tales, November 8

Labor Not in Vain, November 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 9

To Everything There Is A Season, November 9

Lights in a Dark World, November 9


To celebrate her tour, Mollie is giving away the grand prize package of a eBook or signed paperback copy (paperback U.S. Only) of The Bookshop of Secrets and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

Sundown by Susan May Warren

My Review

Sundown by Susan May Warren is the third book in the Sky King Ranch series. This story does take over where the previous have left off so it is best to read them in order. This is a well written story that kept me reading just to see what was going to happen next. There is so much action and suspense in this story, at times it is unbelievable. Colt and Tae are strong characters who care about others and do what they need to do to protect others. I felt they both had high opinions of themselves with Colt going into action too soon after his injury and Tae felt only she could protect people from a strange virus.

I enjoyed reading this story, catching up with members of the Kingston family and seeing what lays ahead for them. The story is filled with so much action and so many secrets it was kind of hard to know who was the bad guys and why. The emotions that run through the story as the men leave the women behind. The story is filled with action, suspense, mystery and romance.

I voluntarily received a complimentary copy of this book through the Sundown Launch Team event, this is my honest review.

About the Book

Former Delta Operative Colt Kingston knows when someone is lying. He may not know the truth, but he sure doesn’t trust Tae, the woman who is caring for his ailing father at Sky King Ranch. Behind those beautiful blue eyes, he can tell there is a troubled–and smart–woman.

A few of her stories prove true–he’s found the crashed plane and the dead body inside. Still, her story of survival seems too incredible to believe . . . until the thugs she claims to be hunting her show up and threaten Sky King Ranch. Now Tae must disappear, along with her secrets.

But Colt’s not about to let her go it alone. And when they discover that her secrets include the antidote to a plague that threatens the world, it’ll take all three Kingston brothers to save the country they’ve vowed to protect.

Susan May Warren brings her Sky King Ranch series to a climactic close with this high-stakes race against the clock.

About the Author

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling, Christy and RITA award-winning novelist of over sixty-five novels. An eight-time Christy award finalist, a three-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award.

A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: The Story Equation.

She is also the founder of, and Novel.Academy, a school for aspiring novelists. You can find her online at

Where to Purchase

Alaskan Christmas by Maryann Landers

My Review

Alaskan Christmas, by Maryann Landers is a Christian Christmas novella in the Alaskan Women of Caliber Series. This story focuses on Collin and Pam and their first Christmas as husband and wife. Their plans are to spend Christmas with her family after attending a friend’s wedding. A snowmachine accident makes a slight change in plans.

This is a heart warming story that is quick and easy to read, perfect for an evening. The story is well written and is easy to get caught up in, to feel the tension, the worry and the love. I enjoyed that the story brings in the family we met in the first book in the series. I appreciate the importance of prayer and the care others give to Pam and Collin when he gets injured. I especially enjoyed how the author fills in the background for Pam and her family and gives a peak at what her future holds.

I voluntarily received a complimentary ARC copy of this story from the author, this is my honest review.

About the Book

I’d anticipated my first Christmas as a newlywed with excitement.
Then a crisis sent icicles through the core of my faith. 

After completing my fall semester, I’m excited to join my family at my parents’ log cabin and show my new husband how Christmas in rural Alaska sparkles. Lazy mornings on the couch by the woodstove and helping my mom make festive treats will be the perfect way to regroup before my teaching practicum starts. 

Before leaving to enjoy the holidays, we attend a friend’s wedding at a Bible camp outside of Palmer, Alaska. The rustic backdrop couldn’t be more romantic and memorable until Collin and I have a fight, threatening to crush the joy of the holidays.  

As we face a blustery mishap, will I crumble in a flurry of insecurities or will I discover God’s promised peace and a resolve to plow through?

About the Author

Alaskan based author Maryann Landers writes women’s faith filled fiction based on true stories of extraordinary women of her magnificent state. She loves to showcase the unique north and give her readers a little taste of rustic Alaska. While writing in her log home in the woods she is also looking forward to her next adventure with her Alaskan husband, juggling mom tasks such as crafting homemade meals from moose and caribou meat, building DIY projects from scrap woodpiles, and guiding her teens in their homeschooling. You may visit her at

Other Books in the Series

Where to Purchase

Blessings in the Bargain by Kari Trumbo ~ Review & Giveaway

My Review

Blessings in the Bargain by Kari Trumbo, is the 27th book in the Independence Island Series, the third of Breakers Point. This is a series that is being written by six different authors and covers five different island. This is a nice stand alone story, but it does have characters from earlier books, so it is best to read them in order. This story is about Courtney and Lex. Two people who tend to keep to themselves are stuck at sea for days with another couple and minimal food and water.

This is a well written story that is easy to get lost in. It is a Christian romance that is filled with suspense. This is such a good story, I enjoyed reading what happened in Lex and Courtney’s background to make them the way they are and enjoyed watching how they opened up to each other. I totally enjoyed the parts where Courtney is finding ways to collect water and get food for the four people. Courtney’s intelligence and strength really stand out in this story. Lex is a caring person and takes over controlling the boat so Rafe can help his sick wife.

I voluntarily received a complimentary copy of this book, this is my honest review.

About the Book

Book: Blessings in the Bargain

Author: Kari Trumbo

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: September 27, 2022

Despite a career in logistics, Courtney is unprepared to get lost at sea…

A fated trip to the docks with her closest pal Annie leads to disaster. Ship Captain Lex Ford agrees to take Courtney and two of her friends on what was to be a quick trip to test a new boat. A dangerous storm traps them against a reef, damaging communications and stranding them at sea.

Lex knew this was a bad idea…

He hated having people on his ship with him. Ever since his partner left, he doesn’t share his life with anything but the seagulls. So, when Courtney’s friend Rafe offers him a deal on a new boat, he’d rather ignore the offer.

His heart isn’t ready for how he feels about Courtney, and watching her brave the elements after the storm makes him want to protect her. But the last woman he loved just walked away. And what about their age gap? He’s far older than her. The Lord is good at turning bad situations for good, but can even He make this mess right?

This Breakers Head novel is Kari Trumbo’s final novel in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Kari Trumbo is the creator and co-author of the best-selling Christian Historical Romance series, Cutter’s Creek; selling over 200,000 copies. She has published over 45 titles in seven series. When she’s not writing, editing, plotting, or managing, she home schools her children and pretends to keep up with them. She loves reading, listening to contemporary Christian music, singing when no one’s listening, and curling up with a fluffy blanket when winter hits. She makes her home in central Minnesota with my husband of over twenty years, two daughters, two sons, one cat, and one hungry wood stove.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 19

Texas Book-aholic, October 20

Lily’s Book Reviews, October 20

lakesidelivingsite, October 21

An Author’s Take, October 21

She Lives To Read, October 22

Inklings and notions, October 23

deb’s Book Review, October 24

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 25

Holly’s Book Corner, October 25

Aryn the Libraryan, October 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 27

Blogging With Carol, October 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 28

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 30

Sylvan Musings, October 30

Blossoms and Blessings, October 31

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 1

For Him and My Family, November 1


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

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