Smoke Screen Guest Review from Mindy Houng

Smoke screen FB Banner

About the Book

Book: Smoke Screen

Author: Terri Blackstock

Genre:  Christian Suspense

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Smoke ScreenOne father was murdered, and another convicted of his death. All because their children fell in love.

Nate Beckett has spent his life fighting wildfires instead of the lies and rumors that drove him from his Colorado home town. His mother begs him to come to Carlisle now that his father has been released from prison, but it isn’t until he’s sidelined by an injury that he’s forced to return and face his past. But that means facing Brenna too.

Fourteen years ago, Nate was in love with the preacher’s daughter. When Pastor Strickland discovered Brenna had defied him to sneak out with Nate, the fight between Strickland and Nate’s drunken dad was loud—and very public. Strickland was found murdered later that night, and everyone accused Roy Beckett. When the church burned down, people assumed it was Nate getting even for his father’s conviction. He let the rumors fly and left Carlisle without looking back.

Now, Brenna is stunned to learn that the man convicted of murdering her father has been pardoned. The events of that night set her life on a bad course, and she’s dealing with a brutal custody battle with her ex and his new wife where he’s using lies and his family’s money to sway the judge. She’s barely hanging on, and she’s turned to alcohol to cope. Shame and fear consume her.

As they deal with the present—including new information about that fateful night and a wildfire that’s threatening their town—their past keeps igniting. Nate is the steady force Brenna has so desperately needed. But she’ll have to learn to trust him again first.

 

Click here to get your copy.

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

It’s another well-written novel from Terri Blackstock that is reminiscent of her Moonlighters series. It has intrigue regarding what may be considered “cold cases” from the past but the emphasis is more on the family drama and relationships as Brenna struggles through an ugly divorce and its aftermath and her old high school sweetheart returns to their hometown. There is a lot of backstory involved in Brenna and Nate’s tumultuous high school relationship and the outcome of that past relationship collides with the present day happenings to bring some twists and turns to the plot. The heart-wrenching realities of divorce, alcoholism, wild fires, and desire for revenge are starkly real and the author digs deep into the emotion well to bring us close to the characters’ hearts and motivations. These darker realities are balanced out by the growing affection between Brenna and Nate and lessons of faith and trust.
It’s definitely not like the author’s previous If I Run series in the intensity of suspense, but leans more toward her last book Catching Christmas in the intensity of emotion and shared human experience. If you enjoy contemporary fiction with a strong theme of overcoming adversity, you will enjoy this book. I received a copy of the book from Thomas Nelson via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

Terri BlackstockTerri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of InterventionVicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com; Facebook: tblackstock; Twitter: @terriblackstock

 

Excerpt from Smoke Screen

I woke up in a blinding bright room, my clothes off and something clamped to my face. I tried to reach it, but I couldn’t bend my right arm, and my hand stung. An IV was taped to my other hand, but I moved carefully and touched the thing over my face.

An oxygen mask. I tried to sit up. “What happened?”

T-bird came to my bedside, a sheen of smoky sweat still soiling his face. “Nate, lie back, man.”

“The fire,” I said. “Need to get back. My men.”

“They’re still there. Making progress. But you’re not going anywhere near a fire for a month or so.”

I took the mask off and coughed a little, but managed to catch my breath. “A month?”

“Yep. Second degree burns on 20 percent of your body. Some of the burns are deep.”

It came back to me, the event that had gotten me here.

“The family. Were they injured?”

“Not a scratch or burn. Turns out it was a U.S. Senator from Kansas. He says you’re a hero.”

“You know I had no choice. They were in the path—”

“Take the praise where you can get it, man. We don’t get that much.”

I looked at my right side. My right arm was bandaged, and so was my side and down my right leg to the point where my boots had stopped the flames. Second degree wasn’t so bad, I told myself. Third degree would have been brutal. I’d be able to leave the hospital soon. I’d heal.

“I won’t need a month,” I said.

“Yes, you will. They can’t let you go back. Doctor’s orders. You’re grounded until he releases you.”

I managed to sit up, but it was a bad idea. The burns pulling on my skin reminded me why I shouldn’t. “I can’t be grounded during fire season. Are you crazy? I need to be there. You don’t have enough men as it is.”

“Sorry, Nate. It is what it is. Why don’t you go home to Carlisle for a while? Take it easy.”

Go home? Pop had just been pardoned, and he and my mom were trying to navigate the reunion. Though she would love to have me home, I didn’t know if I was up to it. My father could be challenging, and fourteen years of prison hadn’t done him any favors.

 

Taken from “Smoke Screen” by Terri Blackstock. Copyright © 2019 by Terri Blackstock. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.

Blog Stops

As He Leads is Joy, November 9

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 9

CarpeDiem, November 9

Christian Bookaholic , November 9

Fiction Aficionado, November 10

KarenSueHadley, November 10

Quiet quilter, November 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 10

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 11

Among the Reads, November 11

Genesis 5020, November 11

A Reader’s Brain, November 11

Robin’s Nest, November 12

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 12

Bigreadersite , November 12

Blogging With Carol , November 12

Betti Mace, November 13

Spoken from the Heart, November 13

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 13

Emily Yager, November 13

By The Book, November 14

For Him and My Family, November 14

A Baker’s Perspective, November 14

Splashes of Joy , November 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 15

Through the Fire Blogs, November 15

Andrea Christenson, November 15

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 16

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 16

Just the Write Escape, November 16

Mary Hake, November 16

Remembrancy, November 17

Simple Harvest Reads, November 17 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

EmpowerMoms, November 17

Bloggin’ ’bout Books, November 17

Blessed & Bookish, November 18

Older & Smarter, November 18

For the Love of Literature, November 18

Inklings and notions, November 18

Lights in a Dark World, November 19

amandainpa , November 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 19

Pause for Tales, November 19

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 20

For The Love of Books , November 20

Hallie Reads, November 20

Cathe Swanson, November 21

Christian Bookshelf Reviews, November 21

All 4 and About Books, November 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 21

Batya’s Bits, November 22

Livin’ Lit, November 22

Texas Book-aholic, November 22

janicesbookreviews, November 22

Finding My Son Author Interview

Finding My Son FB Banner

About the Book

Book: Finding My Son

Author: Eric Odell-Hein

Genre:  Christian Memoir, Adoption

Release Date: February 21, 2018

finding my son front coverEric was perfectly happy being one half of a dual income, no kids family. Having the freedom to travel the world with his wife Christine, while indulging his hobbies and furthering his education and career, was a pretty sweet life.  

 Christine wanted to be a mom.  

 Though he was scared he didn’t have what it took to be a good dad, Eric wanted to fulfill his wife’s dream. After years of trying to conceive, however, the couple received a devastating diagnosis: infertility. 

 For Christine, adoption was the obvious answer. Eric wasn’t so sure. 

 In Finding My Son: A Father’s Adoption Journey, author Eric Odell-Hein offers an unfiltered view into the heart and mind of a man who has experienced the sometimes messy and often awkward process of becoming a father through adoption. Encouraging men to acknowledge the fears they don’t want to admit while advocating a thoughtful, deliberate transparency as the best approach to even the most unnatural, uncomfortable aspects of the adoption process. Eric shares his misgivings and mistakes with an honesty that does not deny his insecurities. 

  A valuable resource for any man considering growing his family through adoption—or anyone seeking to understand the process—this engaging memoir is a testament to the beautiful gift of adoption and a touching account of a father’s love. 

 

Click here to get your copy!

Mindy Houng’s Interview with Eric Odell-Hein

What inspired this book?

When I went through the adoption process, the adoption agency gave us a list of books to read. They were all great books, but they didn’t speak directly to me. I ascribed this to the fact they were written by adoptive mothers and seemed to resonate especially well with fellow prospective adoptive mothers. But they didn’t address the sort of fears, concerns, and insecurities I was facing as a husband who was going through the process of deciding to become an adoptive father. After the process was finished and I had spent a few years as an adoptive father—the best choice I’ve ever made—I decided to share my story and experience in an attempt to fill what I perceived as a gap in the book resources available to those considering adoption. In my personal experience, I had to face a lot of concerns, emotions, past hurts, and insecurities. I think of lot of people, perhaps guys more than others, tend to bury these things and power past them. But I think it’s wise to identify and intentionally engage with these sorts of issues when facing serious life decisions. My hope is that in transparently sharing my experience, other people considering adoption will find something they can take away from the book that will be helpful to them as they face this process.

Which author influenced you the most?

As a child, I devoured the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, but my admiration of his works didn’t really translate to my gifting, which is non-fiction. During my college years, I ran across the works of Mircea Eliade, a Romanian historian of religion, and that inspired me to pursue my own academic research and writing (I have previously authored two academically oriented books on religion). When studying world religions, I read a book by Lama Surya Das that influenced my writing style. While I disagreed with his religious conclusions, I was struck by the quality of his writing and found myself aspiring to be able to write as effectively as him. Today I devour everything written by Dr. Michael Heiser. Not only do we share a religious worldview (Christian), but he has a tremendous ability to take deep concepts and patterns of thought and distill them down to a practical, impactful level. If you only read one author (beside me!), give Heiser’s books a try.

What is your favorite Bible verse or life verse?

John 1:51 has become my favorite verse:And He [Jesus] said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.’” To get an idea of the significance of this passage, read the story of Jacob’s dream back in Genesis 28:10-22. Jesus explicitly points to himself as the ultimate hierophany and axis mundi: the point of connection between heaven and humankind. In the ancient Near East, where the people who wrote the Bible lived, the concept of connection to the heavenly realm was incredibly valuable. Jesus spoke to his listeners in a powerful way that communicated his central role as the only way humankind connects to God. I absolutely love this.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

There is no better place to spend a vacation than Germany and Austria during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Their Christmas markets are truly something special. In October I’ll be taking my family on cruise to Rome, Greece, and various other locations, so I might have a new favorite after that trip. If I limit myself to the U.S., then Yellowstone is the clear winner.

What are you reading right now?

I am currently switching between two books, one non-fiction and the other fiction. For non-fiction, I’m reading Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition, by James K. Hoffmeier. For fiction, I’ve just started on the series of books that the TV show The Expanse is based on. Currently I’m on book two in the series, which is called Caliban’s War, by James S.A. Corey.

If you could have one piece of art or music a deserted island, what would it be and why?

I’m laughing right now, because I actually consider this question on a fairly regular basis. If I could only have one album to listen to, it would be In Love, by the group Juli. It’s a German-language band, and their music simply resonates with me, particularly the song Seenot. I’m not generally into art, so this might seem silly to anyone who is, but I recently watched Werk Ohne Autor (English title: Never Look Away), which was based on the life of the famous German artist, Gerhard Richter. The pivotal piece of art in the movie is adapted from his real-life work titled “Aunt Marianne,” which is an intentionally blurred painting of himself and his aunt. While this may seem heretical to art-lovers, the version of that painting re-created for the movie is very moving. If the movie-version of that piece of art is ever made available for sale, I will buy a copy and place it in my home office.

Thank you Eric for taking your time to chat with us!

About the Author

SONY DSC

Eric Odell-Hein (PhD, MDiv, MRS, ThB) is the president of Columbia Evangelical Seminary. The teaching pastor at Summit Evangelical Free Church, he is also the author of Recovering Lost Treasure: Finding Christ in Ancient Myth, Symbol, and Ritual and Systems of Evil: A Study in Comparative Theodicy. Eric lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with his wife Christine and their son Ephraim. All three are passionate travelers.

 

More from Eric

Adoption was a scary prospect for me. My mother and all her siblings are adopted, and the family dynamic for them was challenging. So when my wife decided we should adopt, I initially responded with a flat-out “no.” But my heart changed, and I am strongly convinced that our son, who joined us via adoption back in 2008 when he was just two days old, is the greatest child in the entire world. If you knew where I was emotionally prior to adoption compared with where I am now, you would marvel at the change. My adoption book is for people like me, particularly men, who struggle with the enormity of the choice to adopt and the constant challenges of the process.

On a lighter and more personal side, when people learn about all the various aspects of my life, they often have to stop and process the seemingly incongruous pieces. Some people know me as a guy who has spent more than two decades in software and entertainment, primarily in various aspects of behind-the-scenes video game technology and management. My entire family plays games, and more often than not, when I get back home in the evening, I find my wife and son online with other members of the extended family playing Minecraft. Sometimes we’ll all get in an online session together, each one of us at our own TV on our own Xbox, and take on bad guys together in one game or another.

Other people know my intellectual side, where I have earned several degrees in areas of theology and religion, including a Ph.D., as well as serving as president of Columbia Evangelical Seminary. I previously published two books on academic topics (evil among world religions, religious symbology) and have more in various stages of development, the next one being a focus on the ancient Near Eastern (ANE) cosmogonic/chaos-order symbolism in baptism. As a teaching pastor, I have a reputation for sermons with an intense ANE contextual emphasis that are part sermon and part seminary course. Check out my most recent four-part series on the Odell-Hein Books Facebook page here.

I was born in Germany to an American family, and while my German-language skills have deteriorated, I love German music. I’m very excited that my favorite group, Juli, has a new album coming out later this year. It’s mild stuff compared to most of the rock or industrial music I listen to, but they’re good. Check out the first single from their upcoming album here. I’ll be one of the small handful of Americans who purchase the album on the day it first releases in the US.

When not working or playing games with the family, I read primarily academic ANE books. When we’re in the car, I love to subject the family to my go-to podcast, the Naked Bible Podcast. No, it’s not what it sounds like. If you want to hear a serious scholar tackle the ANE context for the Bible, start with Dr. Michael Heiser’s Exodus series (it begins with episode 255).

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 6

Vicky Sluiter, November 7 (Author Interview)

Just the Write Escape, November 8

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 9

Simple Harvest Reads,  November 10 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, November 11

janicesbookreviews, November 12

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 13 (Author Interview)

A Reader’s Brain, November 14

Inklings and notions, November 15

By The Book, November 16 (Author Interview)

Book Love (Featuring Gail Hollingsworth), November 17

Through the Fire Blogs, November 18 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Eric is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon certificate and a signed copy of each of his three books!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/f00a/finding-my-son-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Bright Unknown Review from Mindy Houng

The Bright Unknown FB Banner

About the Book

Book: The Bright Unknown

Author: Elizabeth Byler Younts

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: October 22, 2019

cover Bright UnkownTwo young friends embark upon an epic journey across 1940s middle America in search of answers, a family, and a place to call home.

The only kind of life Brighton Turner understands is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of a rural Pennsylvania asylum. A nurse has thoughtfully educated and raised Brighton, but she has also kept vital information from her in order to keep her close. Brighton befriends a boy whom she calls Angel—he doesn’t know his name—and as the two of them learn more about what lies beyond the walls they call home, they fight for their release and eventually escape.

However, the world outside the only place they’ve ever known is not what they expect. They have no real names, no money, and no help—and they must rely upon the kindness of strangers as they walk and hitchhike from Pennsylvania to Michigan to find their last hope of a home.

This heartbreaking journey, narrated in gorgeous prose, explores what it means to belong—and to scour the universe with fresh eyes for the brightness within.

 

Click here to grab your copy!

 

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

“Words are veils and masks, and there’s always something more on the other side of them than we want to believe.”This is my first book by Elizabeth Byler Younts and I am totally captivated. The author writes with such haunting, heart-wrenching innocence through the eyes of Brighton, a child born in an asylum during the 1920s. The story chronicles her life in the asylum as she befriends an albino boy she names Angel, as she watches and then lives the horrors administered to the hospitalized under the guise of “therapy”, as she craves love and touch and receives what she can’t process until much later in life. The despair and hopelessness of her teen years in the asylum are balanced out by her present-day 1990 voice in which we are aware that she’s lived a good life after escaping the asylum and infuses the whole story with hope. The author addresses the atrocities that so many went through from the late 1920s through early 1940s, those who were considered “not normal”, in the physical and/or emotional sense.
Elizabeth Byler Younts has found another fan in this reader who is still reeling from the beautiful complexity of this book. I received a copy of the book from Thomas Nelson via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

Elizabeth YountsElizabeth Byler Younts gained a worldwide audience through her first book, Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Solace of Water and the Promise of Sunrise series. Elizabeth lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, her two daughters, and a small menagerie of well-loved pets.

 

More from Elizabeth

The Bright Unknown was born out of a seed of a true story that my husband’s grandmother, Gigi, shared with me. Gigi told me that when she was a young girl living in Oklahoma her mom had a friend who was a nurse. During one of her visits over coffee she would occasionally talk about her patients at the local asylum. One particular story really intrigued Gigi and even decades later she still remembered it. The story was about a patient who had a baby while at the hospital and while Gigi remembers nothing about the patient or the child, she knew that when she moved out of Oklahoma several years later that asylum-born girl was around eighteen and still living within the walls of that hospital along with her patient-mother.

That story stuck with me. This trapped girl and her mother wouldn’t let me go. I began to wonder over her and ask all sorts of unanswered questions. Slowly but surely my imagined story for her came to life. Layer after layer I learned about Brighton, my name for her. I also named two characters after Gigi, her first and middle, as an honor to her. This story was born from a memory but now these characters feel real and present in my life today and I hope you will journey with them in The Bright Unknown.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, November 2

A Reader’s Brain, November 2

Living Life Free in Christ, November 2

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 3

Inspired by fiction, November 3

Fiction Aficionado, November 4

Genesis 5020, November 4

janicesbookreviews, November 5

Blogging With Carol , November 5

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 6

To Everything A Season, November 6

The Becca Files, November 7

Bigreadersite, November 7

A Baker’s Perspective, November 8

Connect in Fiction, November 8

Moments, November 9

Bloggin’ ’bout Books, November 9

Simple Harvest Reads, November 10

Betti Mace, November 10

Pause for Tales, November 11

Inklings and notions, November 11

Mary Hake, November 11

Texas Book-aholic, November 12

Hallie Reads, November 12

For the Love of Literature, November 12

Through the Fire Blogs, November 13

For Him and My Family, November 13

Remembrancy, November 14

mpbooks, November 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 15

Godly Book Reviews, November 15

Deadly Christmas Pretense Review & Giveaway

Deadly Christmas Pretense FB Banner

 About the Book

Book: Deadly Christmas Pretense

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre:  Christian Suspense, Mystery, Romance

Release Date: November 4, 2019

Deadly Christmas Pretense CoverA cowboy to her rescue…but she’s not who he thinks she is.

Posing as her sister for Christmas is the only way to save her, but Maggie Lofton needs help—even if it means working with her twin’s cowboy ex-boyfriend, Liam Pike. But between the bull’s-eye on her back and the dangerous connection she’s forming with Liam, Maggie’s mission is harder than expected. Will their tenuous partnership be enough to shield her when the killer closes in?

Book #2 in the Roughwater Ranch Cowboys series

 

Click here to get your copy.

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

A fun and action-packed second book in the Roughwater Ranch Cowboys series! Dana Mentink knows how to create a background full of suspense within a charming and sleepy little town. When Maggie’s twin sister Tammy is threatened, Maggie’s loyal and protective nature kicks in to help her sister. Liam, the former Green Beret turned cowboy, happens to be her twin sister’s ex-boyfriend who gets involved in helping Maggie when she finds herself being chased by cars, bullets, fists, and fire. Liam has emotional baggage from his traumatic childhood and a medical condition to deal with currently. He’s quite broken and it’s not in his nature to let others into his life but Maggie somehow wins him over with her gentle, kind, and understanding ways (along with her fabulous cooking skills). If you enjoy romantic suspense, you will definitely enjoy this book and the series. I received a copy of the book via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

Dana-MentinkDana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House. Dana was thrilled to be a semi-finalist in the Jeanne Robertson Comedy With Class Competition. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the  nutty terrier, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

 

More from Dana

I just love Christmas, don’t you? In our area we have a lovely holiday train. It’s an old steam type train which is decked out in lights for festive holiday tours. I was so thrilled that this cover features just such a train. Of course, in the novel the train is the scene of hair raising danger! Maggie, our heroine in this novel, is a cook. She serves up some mouth watering dishes (when she’s not dodging a killer.) I thought perhaps you might enjoy a Mentink holiday family recipe! God bless you as we enter this holiday season!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 1

Among the Reads, November 1

Emily Yager, November 1

KarenSueHadley , November 2

Blogging With Carol, November 2

Batya’s Bits, November 2

Bigreadersite, November 3

My Devotional Thoughts , November 3

She Lives to Read, November 3

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 4

Genesis 5020, November 4

mpbooks, November 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 5

Betti Mace, November 5

Quiet Workings, November 5

Blossoms and Blessings, November 6

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner , November 6

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 6

Older & Smarter?, November 7

Maureen’s Musings, November 7

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 7

Splashes of Joy , November  8

For Him and My Family, November 8

Moments, November 8

Christian Bookshelf Reviews, November 9

Simple Harvest Reads, November 9

EmpowerMoms, November 9

Through the Fire Blogs, November 10

Remembrancy, November 10

Pause for Tales, November 10

For the Love of Books, November 11

Hallie Reads, November 11

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 11

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, November 12

To Everything There Is A Season, November 12

Daysong Reflections, November 12

Texas Book-aholic, November 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 13

janicesbookreviews, November 14

Inklings and notions, November 14

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize package of a  a book necklace, Amazon gift card, and a paperback 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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/ed7d/deadly-christmas-pretense-celebration-tour-giveaway

Aiming for Love Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Aiming for Love

Author: Mary Connealy

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: October 2, 2019

Aiming for LoveJosephine Nordegren is one of three sisters who grew up nearly wild in southwestern Colorado. She has the archery skills of Robin Hood and the curiosity of the Little Mermaid, fascinated by but locked away from the forbidden outside world–a world she’s been raised to believe killed her parents. When David Warden, a rancher, brings in a herd much too close to the girls’ secret home, her older sister is especially frightened, but Jo is too interested to stay away.

David’s parents follow soon on his heels, escaping bandits at their ranch. But his father is wounded and needs shelter. Josephine and her sisters have the only cabin on the mountain. Do they risk stepping into the world to help those in need? Or do they remain separated but safe in the peaks of Hope Mountain?

 

Click here to get your copy!

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

Welcome to a brand-new series by Mary Connealy! Aiming for Love takes us to Hope Mountain in 1873 Colorado where we meet the Nordegren sisters who have been reared up high in the mountain by a set of grandparents who avoided civilization and taught them to fear the world outside of their cabin. With her trademark humor and easy-to-read writing style, the author paints a beautiful yet challenging backdrop of the untamed mountain as the three sisters meet the Warden family who are fleeing from those coming after their ranch in the “lowlands”. Jo, the middle sister, is the main character in this book and her musings about civilization and “other people” are thought-provoking and sometimes downright hilarious. Her curiosity, heart of gold, desire to help others and skill with living off the land endear her to Dave, the younger Warden brother.There are plenty of struggles, physical and emotional and spiritual, as the Wardens forge their way in the wilderness of Hope Mountain with the help of the sisters. This is book one in the series and sets up quite a few secondary characters and scenarios that will likely come into play as the series progresses. If you enjoy historical fiction, especially set in the frontiers, you will love this book. I can’t wait to read the second book in the series where we’ll get to know the youngest sister Ilsa better.I received a copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

Connealy_MaryMary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero. Learn more at www.maryconnealy.com.

 

More from Mary

What it would do to someone to run wild from nearly their earliest memory?

What if three young girls had the basic skills to survive a rugged life but no adults to guide them?

Would they grow up to be a completely odd and untamed version of themselves, or the truest, in some ways most honest version?

I wanted to explore that idea: wild children, tough young women, afraid of the invading world, but lonely, too. So I created the plot for my Brides of Hope Mountain series by mixing the three little girls who’d grown up wild on the top of a mountain with some fairy tale ideas.

Book one, Aiming for Love, is Josephine Nordegren’s story. I had this vision of Ariel the mermaid seeing a man for the first time when strangers invade the high valley she lives in with only her two sisters. Curiosity is her besetting sin, or so she’s always been told. She has wilderness skills, mainly in the form of owning a bow and arrow and understanding wild animals, but for the first time, she is drawn to a man.

Jo needs to be tamed, or Dave, the man she can’t stop watching from in the woods, needs to learn the ways of the wild, because they’re out of place in each other’s worlds.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, October 25

Moments With Mercy, October 25

Bigreadersite , October 25

Emily Yager, October  25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 26

Books, Life, and Christ, October 26

Quiet Workings, October 26

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 27

For Him and My Family, October 27

Stories By Gina, October 27

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 27

Older & Smarter?, October 28

Betti Mace, October 28

Wishful Endings, October 28

The Becca Files, October 29

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 29

Mary Hake, October 29

Mamma Loves Books, October 29

A Baker’s Perspective, October 30

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, October 30

Britt Reads Fiction, October 30

For The Love of Books, October 30

Hallie Reads, October 31

Connect in Fiction, October 31

Christian Bookshelf Reviews, October 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess , November 1

To Everything There Is A Season, November 1

Daysong Reflections, November 1

Splashes of Joy, November 1

Moments, November 2

Simple Harvest Reads, November 2

Batya’s Bits, November 2

She Lives To Read, November 2

EmpowerMoms, November 3

Seasons of Opportunities, November 3

Remembrancy, November 3

Blessed & Bookish, November 4

For the Love of Literature, November 4

Through the Fire Blogs, November 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 4

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 5

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 5

Pause for Tales , November 5

Texas Book-aholic, November 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 6

janicesbookreviews, November 6

A Reader’s Brain, November 7

Inklings and notions , November 7

Leona J. Atkinson, November 7

Lukewarm Tea, November 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Mary is giving away a grand prize package of a $20 Amazon gift card, a copy of Aiming for Love, and a copy of Fairy Tales from Around the World!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/ed95/aiming-for-love-celebration-tour-giveaway

Mindy Houng’s Q&A with Margaret Lalich and Giveaway

Overcome Depression FB Banner

About the Book

Book: Overcome Depression

Author: Margaret Lalich

Genre: Non-fiction/self-help/Christian growth

Release Date: March 22, 2019

Front BLUBREAKTHROUGH SCIENCE SHINES NEW LIGHT ON HOLY SCRIPTURES. “…pulls back the curtain to clearly & simply reveal how our mind works… A fun and eye-opening book” Karl Benzio, M.D., Medical Director: Honey Lake Clinic & Lighthouse Network.

This faith-based, reader friendly guide offers more than 100 self-help strategies and recovery skills for coping with depression. Brain Science and evidence based therapeutic practices offer hands-on, practical tools for immediate use.

“Amazing book! I have read so many books on depression and this is the only one that has truly helped me.”—Wendy Freeman, California

“…an amazing book on overcoming depression… deep, and yet understandable… a very practical and encouraging book about a very dark subject.”—Bill Walden, Pastor Cornerstone Ministries, Ca.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

 

Mindy Houng’s Q&A with Margaret Lalich

What inspired this book?

I’ve been a people lover all of my life and a believer for my adult life.  I spent 31 years working within mental health.  I have seen the effects of Depression and I have shared a lot of hope with more than a thousand patients in teaching recovery skills classes.  I wanted to share that with my Christian family.

Rain falls on the just, and the unjust. Depression brings a rain of tears. Christians need shelter from these storms, A plea for help, whispered behind a mask, can be missed. Christians may wear a mask to shield others from discomfort, or to hide from others’ judgment.

Depression is not a sin, or a failure of faith. It’s not all in your head.  It’s a no-fault, complex illness. customized for each person who endures it. It can be survived.  There is hope.

What would you like your readers to get out of this book?

Many believers don’t realize the treasures they have been given in our divine design, or the treasures that they (themselves) are.  God wants us to use the gifts He gives. I want to help others find the gifts that are within them, and discover Hope, Power, and POWER TOOLS — to help them live their own definition of ‘success’ – to the Glory of God.

What is your favorite Bible verse or life verse?

I can’t say that I have ONE favorite verse – but lately two have strongly impressed me in working with this book:

            Psalm 34:18  “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are     crushed in spirit” (NIV)   I love this Psalm because of its loving assurance.

            1 Corinthians 1:27  “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to             shame the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame    the things that are mighty.” (NKJV)

I love this verse for three reasons:  First, I can be foolish (worrying and striving and responding to life). I am also intimately familiar with the fact of my weakness (as is anyone else who has suffered grief or depression).

Second: Since God chose the foolish and the weak,  I am CHOSEN by God.

Third:  In our foolishness and weakness, we become the perfect display for God’s Wisdom and STRENGTH as he sees us through.

What is your most well-loved and well-used house appliance?

My Coffee Pot

Describe your view as you’re sitting in your writing chair. 

To my right is a window that frames my lilac bush and the neighborhood trees.  My chair faces my computer desk and the wall behind it – upon which are two posters from Mt. Hermon, showing the beauty of that place and reminding me of the Christian Writer’s Conference and the fellowship and inspiration I have found there.

Thank you for letting us get to know you better Margaret!

About the Author

margaret lalichMargaret Lalich is a believer, a lover (family, friends and others), a relentless optimist, and a Certified Laughter Leader. Before becoming a college freshman (in her 30’s), she chose a teen marriage over graduation.  Later adventures, and mid-life corrections, led to completion of her M.S. and M.A. degrees and a 31-year career as a clinician and teacher, within mental health.

Laughter and tears are both found in experience. Tears can wash away emotional rubble, and laughter can be a ‘bungee-cord’ safety-life-line. If we fall into a pit of despair, laughter helps us rebound and boosts our climb. Margaret loves to share it.

Margaret is a mom, Grandma, and Great-Grandma who writes stories and non-fiction – highlighting experience, science, strategies, and hope. She wants to connect with readers — helping them find (and use) their gifts, and to live their own definition of ‘success’ – to the Glory of God.

 

More from Margaret

I have been asked WHY I wanted to write this book.  It’s because I ache for believers who suffer the pain of depression – and then add guilt, embarrassment, loss of hope, or helplessness to it. I want them to know they are heroes – not zeroes (no matter how they’re feeling). I want to share strategies, encouragement and the sheer excitement of scientific discovery that proves we have more power than we may have imagined, to help us climb out of the ‘pit’.

Yes, I am a bit of a cheerleader, and at times a clown – but I’m also a researcher and a clinician who has shared the wonder of such discoveries with more than a thousand patients. I have also been asked how long it took to finish this book. Not too long … just 31 years to learn and live it – and 3 years to research and write it.  Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 1.

First Things First:  Christians and Depression

“ For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7

Church is not a museum for perfect saints — it’s a first aid station for sinners who keep trying. I can’t recall the name of the pastor, who delivered that line, but his message resonated with me then and it still does today. I want to contribute to First-Aid supplies

God says He is for us, and we are loved. We can trust, and we must believe His Word. But, it can be hard to reconcile faith with depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. If you have struggled with this – you’re not alone. Right from the start, you need to know you are loved. We’re in this together.

 

Doubts and fears can seed questions such as:

“What’s happening?”

“Why?”

“Now what?”

If you ask these questions, be assured God hears the cry of your heart. By His grace, we will explore answers together. Yes, there are answers. Yes, there is hope and help that you can use – right where you are, starting now.

…Blame is a distraction. We cast blame on ourselves with hurtful thinking when we think or say things like: “If I had enough faith this wouldn’t happen.” Or, “ I should be stronger …  blah, blah, blah.”  Don’t surrender to this way of thinking.

 

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

There has been a revolution in the study of the brain (neuroscience). We’ve started to understand brain-works, and can now answer the first of our opening questions: “What’s happening?” With today’s technology and new imaging systems we can see the brain in action as thoughts, and new learning, form physical links, creating neural patterns and pathways within the brain.

The glory of God is revealed as we discover more of His divine design, and watch new scientific findings align with the old wisdom of God’s word for mankind.  Proverbs 23:7 says: “For as he thinks in his heart, so he is.” We have learned that what we think helps to form who, and what we are. We can use this knowledge to build recovery skills.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 17

Seasons of Opportunities, October 18

Donny Abbott, October 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 20

Artistic Nobody, October 20 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 21

EmpowerMoms, October 22

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, October 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 23

Texas Book-aholic, October 24

janicesbookreviews, October 25

A Reader’s Brain, October 26

Simple Harvest Reads, October 27 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, October 27

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 28

Inklings and notions, October 29

Kelly Harrel, October 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Margaret is giving away the grand prize package of a signed copy of the book, a refreshment package, and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/ed8f/overcome-depression-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Painted Castle Guest Review From Mindy Houng

The Painted Castle FB Banner

 About the Book

Book: The Painted Castle

Author: Kristy Cambron

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: October 15, 2019

cover Painted CastleBestselling author Kristy Cambron concludes the Lost Castle novels with this sweeping tale of art and secrets long buried in England.

It was supposed to be a one-week job: survey an art find, collect a hefty fee, and use that to settle historian Kiera Foley’s life back into balance. But from the moment she sets foot in the East Suffolk countryside, the mysteries surrounding the old English manor and the enigmatic art thief who’s employed her stir more questions than answers. Then, Kiera finds the existence of a portrait captivating enough to upend all of her expectations. This one could be a twin-a painting so close in composition to a known masterpiece, it may be rendered priceless if it truly captured the likeness of a young Queen named Victoria.

Set in three time periods-the rapid change of Victorian England, the tumultuous skies over England’s eastern shores in WWII, and modern day-The Painted Castle unfolds a legacy of faith, family, and stories that are generations in the making.

 

Click here to grab your copy.

 

Guest Review From Mindy Houng

“I’m sort of living here. Thought it was for the time being, but this place grows on you after a while, doesn’t it? All of a sudden you look up and you’re standing in a place that starts to whisper, ‘You’re home.’ And what’s funny is, you believe it without question.”
What a fantastic conclusion to the Lost Castle series! Kristy Cambron truly has a gift for storytelling and she has woven yet another well-crafted time slip novel that will pull you in from the first page. Balancing three time lines, three subplots, and three sets of main characters is tough and yet the author does it flawlessly and then brings all of them together at the end. Each time period has a fully developed plot and beautifully sketched characters who will pull at your heartstrings. Reading The Painted Castle is like going on a thrilling scavenger hunt to discover the treasure and story within objects from the past.
The Victorian world of 1843 is fascinating in its shrouded mystery as Elizabeth vows to avenge her father’s death and we learn of the origins of the Queen Victoria portrait that the book centers around. 1944 brings a world of heartache as WWII rages on in England and yet Amelia discovers hope as she tends Perham Manor and the home’s own story comes forth. Present day finds Keira, the youngest of the Foleys, unearthing joy, pain, love, and second chances in Perham Manor’s history and hidden treasures. If you have followed the series, you will appreciate the Foley brothers’ role in the book but it can definitely be read as a stand alone.
If you enjoy delightful time slip novels full of history, romance, charm and redemption, you must read this book! I received a copy of the book from Thomas Nelson via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

Cambron headshotKRISTY CAMBRON is an award-winning author of historical fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping series. She’s a Women’s Ministry Leader at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, and a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10Library Journal Reviews’ Best BooksRT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations. Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation, working with such companies as the Disney Institute, IBM/Kenexa, and Gallup. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

 

More from Kristy

About The Painted Castle

A war-torn estate holding its secrets close. A lost library bricked off from the world. And a portrait-maker’s unknown masterpiece of a Queen named Victoria… What stories do they long to tell?

It was supposed to be a one-week snatch-and-grab: survey an art find, collect a hefty fee, and use that to settle historian Kiera Foley’s life back into balance. But from the moment she sets foot in the East Suffolk countryside, the mystery of an old English manor, a crumbling beekeeper’s cottage, and a library that had long ago been sealed off brick by brick, all stir more questions than answers. What begins as a novice assignment instead peels back layers, lulling Keira into the depths of the estate’s long-forgotten history.

Despite questions swirling around the enigmatic, rumored art thief who’s employed her, Keira finds the existence of a portrait captivating enough to upend all of her expectations. This one could be a twin—a painting so close in composition to a known masterpiece, it may be rendered priceless if it truly captured the likeness of a young Queen named Victoria…

1842— In order to salvage what’s left of her family’s shaky circumstances, artist Elizabeth Meade knows her duty must be to marry well. But she hopes looks can be deceiving enough to hide her true motives behind a congenial smile and gain entry into the ballrooms of England’s noble elite. Instead of husband-hunting, Elizabeth searches for the one thing that’s seared to her memory—the eyes of her father’s killer, whom she unwittingly sketched one snowy night in Piccadilly ten years before. She never expects to find answers tucked away in the countryside at Parham Hill, in the form of a portrait-maker who could help her artist dreams come true, if only she could forget the highwayman she’s hunted for the last decade—the estate-owner who unwittingly selects her as his betrothed…

1942—When the 390th Bomb Group arrives at Amelia Woods’ Parham Hill Estate, the American flyboys bring playing cards, B-17 “flying fortresses”, and enough bravado to believe they can triumph over Hitler just by staring him down. Amelia isn’t certain, and she’s unwilling to compromise the safety and security in a carefully-crafted world she’s built for the dozens of London-evacuated children left in her charge. But with Anderson shelters buried in the gardens and an Allied airfield a stone’s throw away, Amelia may have no choice but to wait out the war under blackouts and bombs, and accept help from the captain who offers it—even if it means risking all she has left of her late husband’s memory…

From the streets of Piccadilly and the lavish halls of Buckingham Palace to the countryside surrounding Framlingham Castle, a warn-torn estate, a hidden library, and the lost portrait of a queen come together to write the final chapter in the Lost Castle series. Set in three time periods—the rapid change of Victorian England, the tumultuous skies over England’s eastern shores in WWII, and modern day—The Painted Castle unfolds a legacy of faith and the family we fight for, of risk and reward, and the artful crafting of a story that can be generations in the making… yet still change everything about a single life.

 

Blog Stops

All-of-a-kind Mom, October 15

The Power of Words, October 15

A Baker’s Perspective, October 15

The Avid Reader, October 16

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 16

Betti Mace, October 16

Reflections From My Bookshelves, October 17

Fiction Aficionado, October 17

Through the Fire Blogs, October 17

Inklings and notions , October 18

AndreaChristenson, October 18

She Lives to Read, October 18

Bloging With Carol, October 18

The Christian Fiction Girl, October 19

Back Porch Reads , October 19

Christian Bookaholic , October 19

KarenSueHadley, October 20

Livin’ Lit, October 20

A Reader’s Brain, October 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 20

Genesis 5020, October 21

Worthy2Read, October 21

Life of Literature, October 21

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 22

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 22

janicesbookreviews, October 22

For Him and My Family, October 22

Older & Smarter?, October 23

Mia Reads Blog, October 23

The Becca Files, October 23

Daysong Reflections, October 24

Connect in Fiction, October 24

Texas Book-aholic, October 24

Just the Write Escape, October 24

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 25

Moments, October 25

Simple Harvest Reads, October 25

Pause for Tales, October 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 26

Lis Loves Reading, October 26

Hallie Reads, October 26

Living Life Free In Christ, October 27

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 27

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, October 27

Soutgern Gal Loves to Read, October 28

Remembrancy, October 28

Batya’s Bits, October 28

Leona J. Atkinson, October 28

Better Than Fiction Review & Giveaway

Better than fiction FB cover About the Book

Book: Better than Fiction

Author: April W. Gardner &  Michelle Massaro

Genre: Historical Fiction/Contemporary Fiction

Release Date: April 4, 2016

Better than Fiction coverImagining him was harmless…until it wasn’t.

Romance novelist Meghan Townsend’s marriage is slipping, and no amount of prayer seems to help. She aims to recapture her husband’s waning attention by getting in shape and finds escape by crafting her own fictional love story. Taking inspiration for the hero from a new friend—the attractive, spiritual, and attentive Curtis Jameson—she pours her yearnings onto the page, and craves the kind of pulse-pounding romance found in her book, Racing Hearts…

In 1916 Corona, California, motorcars are all the rage, and racing them is what Meghan’s hero, Russell Keegan, does best. But when his competition vandalizes his car, the only mechanic available is a greasy woman in a man’s overalls.

After a racing accident claimed her father’s life, Winifred became the sole breadwinner for her family. She is disdained as a female mechanic, but her daddy’s trade is all she has left. Can she swallow her hatred of the races and take up Russell’s offer of big bucks to fix his car, or will she lose everything to mounting debt?

Under Meghan’s skillful pen, these two embark on a thrilling, adventurous romance. But she finds that writing those love scenes with Curtis’s face in mind takes her heart places it shouldn’t go. Will she realize in time that real life can be better than fiction?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

“Real life was messier than fiction, but that was the beauty of it. Love was found in the mundane. The every day. The flat middle between the exhilarating highs and terrifying lows. It was found in socks with holes, in split ends and cellulite, in late work nights and unplugged toasters.”I’ve read books written individually by April Gardner and Michelle Massaro in the past but I have to say that this book combining both of their talents exceeded my expectations. What a thoughtfully-written and beautifully crafted novel paralleling an author’s contemporary life with her fictional characters from the historical romance she’s writing! The transition from present day Corona, CA to 1916 is seamless. The two separate plots are both easy to navigate and the life lessons that the main character learns when she evaluates her life and her book are affirming and encouraging. If you enjoy a dual timeline novel (though the historical component is a bit different since it’s technically a “book” that the contemporary counterpart is writing), you will thoroughly enjoy this book that will have you marveling at the thrill of a car race in 1916 and contemplating what love and committed marriage really look like. Meghan is our contemporary heroine who is trying to write and publish her first novel. She deals with all the mundane things of life that we do and equally struggles with being the best mom, wife, friend, and Christian she can be. Temptations, misunderstandings, frustration, and life struggles pull her away from her husband as these feelings also fuel her story that she’s writing. In 1916, Winnie is our historical heroine, working as a mechanic, shunned by society. When Russell, a hotshot race car driver, comes into town and needs her help, things become quite complicated between them. The Corona of 1916 is easy to fall in love with and the characters from the past are fun to get to know. Meghan and her husband Steve’s story rolls out a bit at a time, interspersed with the romance and excitement of 1916 Corona, and their story is somewhat more somber but still fascinating and heart-tugging.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

April headshotApril W Gardner writes Christian historical romance with a focus on our southeastern Native tribes. She is a copyeditor, military wife, and mother of two who lives in South Texas. In no particular order, April dreams of owning a horse, learning a third language, and visiting all the national parks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle MassaroMichelle Massaro writes contemporary fiction, soaked in grace. She makes her home in Southern California with her husband of over two decades and their four children. She’s dabbled in homeschooling, teaching Creation Science, and leading worship. When she isn’t tinkering with words, Michelle enjoys old Rogers and Hammerstein movies, making kefir, and Sudoku. A new lipstick and a good French roast always make her happy.

 

 

More from April and Michelle

April and Michelle get a lot of questions about how exactly co-authors write a book. Who writes which part? Did you have any trouble, any conflict? Valid questions! But in the case of Better than Fiction, it was no trouble at all, and neither author can remember a single heated disagreement. In part, because they’d been critique partners for eons and were already working together seamlessly.

It also helped that the story is made up of two intertwining novellas. Each author had her own blank canvas to color on with the other looking on and offering feedback. The most enjoyable part of the process was the challenge of making sure the events in the life of Michelle’s contemporary character (an author) influenced the characters’ decisions in April’s historical plot.

Why intertwining stories? The idea behind it was to show what it’s like to live in the mind of a writer, how her real life makes its way into her stories. The theme of emotional affairs was a good fit, as it is often all too easy for women—even Christian woman—to be drawn to another man and justify it as harmless friendship rather than admit she is looking to this person to fill a need that only God and her husband are meant to fill.

They decided to set the story against the backdrop of Michelle’s hometown of Corona, California in 1916 and the real-life Corona Road Race that took place in April of that year. It was the third race and, due to tragedy, the last.

From concept to “The End,” it took a span of about four years for Michelle and April to publish Better than Fiction, and as far as teamwork goes, it went off without a hitch. April was able to fly from her home in Georgia to stay with Michelle’s family and do research, and later, Michelle flew to Georgia for a concentrated writing weekend. The two had an amazingly fun time writing and working together.

Another question the authors get…will there be a sequel? Only time will tell.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 9

Among the Reads, October 9

Genesis 5020, October 10

Through the Fire Blogs, October 11

Betti Mace, October 11

Artistic Nobody, October 12

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 13

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 13

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 14

For Him and My Family, October 15

Remembrancy, October 15

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 16

Maureen’s Musings, October 16

Godly Book Reviews, October 17

Moments, October 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 18

Bigreadersite, October 18

Texas Book-aholic, October 19

For The Love of Books, October 19

janicesbookreviews, October 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 20

A Reader’s Brain, October 21

Inklings and notions , October 22

Simple Harvest Reads, October 22

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, April and Michelle are giving away the grand prize bundle of a $20 Amazon gift card, themed mug and bookmarks, and handmade throw pillow that says, “Books, my happy place”!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/ed92/better-than-fiction-celebration-tour-giveaway

Hope’s Highest Mountain Review & Giveaway

Hope's Highest Mountain FB Banner

About the Book

Book: Hope’s Highest Mountain

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: October, 2019

Hope's Highest MountainWhen Ingrid Chastain agreed to accompany her father to deliver vaccines to a mining town in the Montana Territory, she never could have anticipated a terrible accident would leave her alone and badly injured in the wilderness. Rescue comes in the form of a mysterious mountain man who tends her injuries, but she’s hesitant to put her trust in this man who seems to have wounds of his own.

After tragedy struck his family, Micah Bradley left his work as a doctor and escaped to the wilds of Montana. But his self-imposed solitude is broken when he finds Ingrid in desperate need of medical attention, and he’s forced to call on his doctoring skills once again.

Micah can’t help but admire Ingrid’s tenacity despite the severity of her injuries, until he learns the crate she brought contains smallpox vaccines to help quell a nearby outbreak. With Ingrid dead set on delivering the medicine–with or without his help–he has no choice but to accompany her. As they set off through the treacherous, snow-covered Rocky Mountains against all odds, the journey ahead will change their lives more than they could have known.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

It’s another fantastic Misty Beller journey through the Montana Territory in 1866. With her skillful blending of all the senses through her written words, the author paints a beautifully haunting landscape of the untamed west and provides a plot filled with unseen dangers on a wintery mountain and complex, relatable characters who will draw you deep into their past, fears, and hopes. If you enjoy historical fiction/romance, you will definitely enjoy this book. I can’t wait for the next installment in this Hearts of Montana series. Ingrid is the daughter of a physician researcher who is traveling with her father to deliver small pox vaccines to a remote fort when tragedy hits her hard. Her sweet determination, loyal and tender heart, and unshakable faith draw the reclusive and guilt-ridden Micah our of his shell to help her in completing her quest. Micah is laden down with past failures and his journey to receiving God’s grace and mercy is raw, heart-breaking, and quite tangible.

I received a copy of the book from Bethany House Publishing via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

Beller_MistyAfter working for 13 years in the corporate world, Misty M. Beller (mistymbeller.com) is now the author of fourteen independently published Christian historical romance novels. Raised on a farm in South Carolina, she combines her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life by writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters. She lives outside Charlotte, North Carolina, is an active member of ACFW, and teaches regularly at conferences and writing groups on effective book marketing.

 

More from Misty

Remember Lassie? Old Yeller? Chance and Shadow from the movie Homeward Bound? There was something about these dogs that gripped my heartstrings and made me love them as though I’d known them for years. (And, yes, I cried during every one of these movies and books.)

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had real dogs I’ve loved too. As far back as I can remember, we’ve had at least one or two dogs, and each one has been my very best friend. They’ve suffered my undying love, even allowing me to dress them up like dolls during my younger years.

But the dogs in my stories have a special place in my heart. Handsome, the sweet little black fluffball in Hope’s Highest Mountain is no exception! He was the runt of the litter, and such a dark black that the story’s hero nicknamed him Shadow. You can see the picture that inspired Handsome at the book’s Pinterest page. Those eyes! Hard not to fall in love, right?

The more I wrote in the story, the more I enjoyed getting to know this little guy, and I could almost feel his soft puppy fur as he snuggled in close. I completely see why Ingrid (the heroine) is smitten him! As you read Hope’s Highest Mountain, I hope you love Handsome as much as I do. Please give him some extra petting for me! ?

Blog Stops

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 12

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, October 12

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 13

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 13

Betti Mace, October 13

Blessed & Bookish, October 14

Texas Book-aholic, October 14

Rebekah Jones, Author, October 14

Genesis 5020, October 14

For Him and My Family, October 15

Bloggin’ ’bout Books, October 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 15

A Baker’s Perspective, October 16

For the Love of Literature, October 16

janicesbookreviews, October 16

Mary Hake, October 16

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess , October 17

Batya’s Bits, October 17

Connect in Fiction, October 17

Older & Smarter?, October 18

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 18

Life of Literature, October 18

A Reader’s Brain, October 18

The Becca Files, October 19

Blossoms and Blessings, October 19

Splashes of Joy , October 19

Through the Fire Blogs, October 20

Moments, October 20

Inklings and notions , October 20

Simple Harvest Reads, October 20

Daysong Reflections, October 21

Wishful Endings, October 21

Joy of Reading , October 21

Pause for Tales, October 22

For The Love of Books, October 22

Britt Reads Fiction, October 22

Lis Loves Reading, October 23

Bigreadersite , October 23

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 23

Live. Love. Read. , October 24

Deanne’s Book Thoughts, October 24

Hallie Reads, October 24

Remembrancy, October 25

Mia Reads Blog, October 25

To Everything There is A Season, October 25

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of Hope’s Highest Mountain, a $20 B&N gift card, and cute mountain cards!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/ed1b/hopes-highest-mountain-celebration-tour-giveaway

Synapse Guest Review from Mindy Houng

Synapse FB banner About the Book

Book: Synapse

Author: Steven James

Genre: Thriller, Sci-Fi

Release Date: October 8, 2019

cover SynapseThirty years in the future, when AI is so advanced that humans live side by side with cognizant robots called Artificials, Kestrel Hathaway must come to terms not just with what machines know, but what they believe. Is hope real for them, or merely an illusion?

Soon after experiencing a personal tragedy, Kestrel witnesses a terrorist attack and is drawn into a world of conspiracies and lies that she and Jordan, her Artificial, have to untangle. With a second, more brutal attack looming on the horizon, their best chance of stopping it is teaming up with federal counterterrorism agent Nick Vernon.

But the clock is ticking—and all the while, Jordan is asking questions that Artificials were never meant to ask.

Deftly weaving suspense and intrigue into a rich, resonant tale that explores faith and what it really means to be human, Steven James offers us a glimpse into the future and into our own hearts.

Synapse is an unforgettable, gripping story of dreams shattered, truth revealed, and hope reborn.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

“Life is so precious and brief and fleeting, and… experiencing all that it has to offer without despairing at its brevity truly did lie at its heart.”
Wow, what an incredible and powerful sci-fi thriller from Steven James! This is the first book by the author I have read and I am stunned by his creativity, his flawless execution of a detailed and complex plot, and his seamless and emotion-packed writing style that grips you from page one and doesn’t let go. The philosophical, spiritual, and social questions and dilemmas the author raises through an intensely personal look at a world 30 years into the future, where artificial intelligence is so advanced to look human, will linger days after you finish the book. This thought-provoking novel about the essence of human-ness – addressing grief and suffering, faith and hope, love and forgiveness, and the afterlife – will resonate with everyone, not just fans of sci-fi or thrillers. It is one of the most captivating and stirring novels of 2019 and an absolute must-read.
The story is written in multiple points of view:
1) first person narrative from Kestrel, a Methodist pastor suffering from losing her daughter
2) third person present omniscient narrative from Jordan, Kestrel’s artificial companion and
3) third person narratives from Nick, the police officer tracking down domestic terrorists, and a couple of the villains/terrorists working to violently destroy the next innovation
The multiple points of view bring the plot together on a larger scale and enhance the reading experience rather than confuse or detract. The three major characters Kestrel, Nick, and Jordan are multi-layered and well-developed and their interactions truly tug at the heart-strings. Who would have thought that interaction between an artificial intelligence and a human would bring tears? But be prepared. Jordan is nothing like any robot you’ve met and he WILL make you cry.
I received a copy of the book from Thomas Nelson via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

stevenjamesSteven James is the critically acclaimed, national bestselling author of sixteen novels. His work has been optioned by ABC Studios and praised by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, the New York Journal of Books, and many others. His pulse-pounding, award-winning thrillers are known for their intricate storylines and insightful explorations of good and evil.  When he’s not working on his next book, he’s either teaching master classes on writing throughout the country, trail running, or sneaking off to catch a matinee.

 

More from Steven

“James is a pro at creating suspense.”

Criminal Element

 

“stimulating tale…thrilling story of greed and corruption”

Publishers Weekly STARRED review

 

Read my op-ed on robots and faith in the New York Times

 

I grew up reading and loving science fiction stories. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of artificial intelligence, but as I’ve thought about it over the years, I’ve realized that our lives are not based just on what we know, but also what we believe. So, I started asking myself, “What would the world look like if machines developed artificial belief?” Within a few decades, advanced AIs might very well have consciousness and self-awareness. At that point, what will they choose to believe about the meaning of live, God, and the afterlife?

All of these questions were in my mind as I wrote Synapse, a story that takes place 30 years from now in a world very much like our own. This is a cautionary tale with implications that are both chilling and revealing and I think that if you like suspense, you’ll love this near-future thriller.

Steven

Learn more at stevenjames.net

Facebook and Twitter: @readstevenjames

Buy the book: https://www.tnzfiction.com/synapse-a-novel/

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 8

Just Your Average reviews, October 9

Emily Yager, October 9

amandainpa , October 10

Wishful Endings, October 10

Just the Write Escape, October 11

Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections, October 11

Pause for Tales, October 12

Mary Hake, October 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 13

For The Love of Books, October 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14

Hallie Reads, October 15

Blogging With Carol, October 15

Remembrancy, October 16

Through the Fire Blogs, October 16

Simple Harvest Reads, October 17

Texas Book-aholic, October 18

Rebekah Jones, Author, October 18

janicesbookreviews, October 19

Bigreadersite, October 19

A Reader’s Brain, October 20

Inklings and notions , October 21

By The Book, October 21