Monday, February 27, 2023

Confessions to a Stranger

About the Book:

She’s lost her future. He’s sacrificed his. Now they have a chance to reclaim it—together.

Wisconsin, 1930—While fleeing for her life, Adaleigh Sirland’s rescue of a child introduces her to a family who provides her safe harbor. When her identity comes under threat of exposure, she must choose between running once more or helping the man who teaches her to hope again.

First mate David Martins is intrigued by the mysterious woman taken in by his grandmother, but she wrestles with a troubled past. When his estranged father is arrested for murder, can David put aside his own struggles in time to discern which secret threatens Adaleigh before it kills them both?

My Review: 

Adaleigh Sirland is a stranger to the small coastal village of Crow’s Nest. She has a secret that she keeps locked inside her heart, fearing the repercussions if she shares it. If she tells someone who she is running from, will she endanger them too? Ms. Grandetti keeps you looking over your shoulder throughout the book as you wonder if Leigh is truly safe.

Ah! Mrs. Martins, you just can’t but help loving her as she opens her home to Leigh. She has a generous spirit and Godly advice and experience that you know Leigh is going to be well taken care of and can trust again. It was so rewarding to see Leigh realize that she doesn’t have to carry the burden of her secrets any longer.

I recommend you read this book with mystery, suspense, murder, and romance are all wrapped up in this novel. This is the first book in the harbored in Crow’s Nest series and I am looking forward to reading more about the people of this small town.

I received a complimentary copy of the book. All opinions are my own and a favorable review was not required.

Friday, February 24, 2023

The Maid of Ballymacool

About the Book: 

Brianna Kelly was abandoned at Ballymacool House and Boarding School as an infant. She has worked there since she was a wee girl and will likely die there. Despite a sense that she was made for something more, Brianna feels powerless to change her situation, so she consoles herself by exploring the Ballymacool grounds, looking for hidden treasures to add to the secret trove beneath the floorboards of her room.

When Michael Wray, the son of local gentry, is sent to Ballymacool to deal with his unruly cousin, he finds himself drawn to Brianna, immediately and inescapably. There is something about her that feels so . . . familiar. When Brianna finds a piece of silver in the woods, she commits to learning its origins, with the help of Michael. What they discover may change everything.

Fan favorite Jennifer Deibel invites you back to the Emerald Isle in the 1930s for this fresh take on the Cinderella story, complete with a tantalizing mystery, a budding romance, and a chance at redemption.

My Review: 

With a cast of incredible characters, Gothic elements, and an intriguing plot, this story sucked me in and was incredibly hard to put down. I immediately reread it once I finished it. I loved everything about it, even the diabolical school mistress! 

My favorite characters were Brianna Kelly, Michael Wray, and Maureen Magee. Brianna never gave up even though she was mistreated and living in such a bleak environment. She was able to find joy and retained her sense of wonder when it would have been so easy for her to give up. Michael was the perfect match for Brianna; he helped her see her worth and bring about justice. Maureen Magee was the most complex character in the book, and while I abhorred the way she treated Brianna, she was a brilliant antagonist. She is the woman you love to hate and I was saying, “Yessss!” when all was revealed and she got what she deserved.

I highly recommend reading this book with the message that everyone’s life is precious and we are greatly loved by God. However, due to some of the content: slapping, verbal abuse, and adultery, I think this should be read by older readers and not necessarily teens. 

If you are reading this as an ebook, be aware there is a glossary of the Gaelic words and phrases that are spoken throughout the story. I didn’t realize that until I finished the book. lol

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Counterfeit Hope


About the Book:

Trapped by their pasts, is there hope for a future?

When Secret Service operative Andrew Darlington is brought in to support a US Marshal case involving counterfeiters in rural Indiana, he thinks it's simply the next rung on his climb to the top of his career. But liars can only climb so high--and Andrew is keeping a dangerous secret he doesn't ever want to get out. When he clashes with the criminal family that took over the town of Landkreis and killed the Marshal he was sent to assist, his past life is in danger of being exposed.

Widow Lightning Lu Thorne has only one goal: escape the clutches of the Thorne family with her son. Her decision to be an informant and testify against the Thornes looked like the perfect answer. Until the Marshal ended up dead. Now the tether keeping her tied to her felonious family is tightening, and a forced marriage to someone else in the Thornes' clutches threatens to kill any hope of escape.

Andrew and Lu find themselves on the same team--unwillingly. They each believe the other to be the enemy to their future plans. And even if they could learn to work together, the secrets they hold could shatter all hopes and dreams. Despite the encouragement of the local preacher, they're not even sure God can be trusted--much less other humans. Can either of them escape their past--and the family that is willing to kill their own when they smell betrayal?

My Thoughts: 

This is a book about second chances. Most of the time one character is given that opportunity, but in Counterfeit Hope, both Lu Thorne and Andrew Darlington find forgiveness. They are given a chance to redeem their pasts and have a fresh new start.

Crystal Caudill portrays the evil and manipulative Thorne family so well that you are caught up in the story of Lu and her hope to escape such debauchery. I was nervous and holding my breath at times, wondering what would happen next. Ma Frances is one horrible, vile woman that it seems that the web she has wound around her family and the town will never be able to be undone. But, Lu’s hope and determination for a new life along with Andrew’s help makes this possible. The faith element in this story was so well done and shines light to even the darkest of circumstances that people are caught up in.

There are some difficult topics in this book that Ms. Caudill shares before you begin the book. I appreciate how she shares that living in a broken world shows we have an even greater need for hope and rescue.

I was given a copy of the book. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Ellie's Escape

About the Book

Book: Ellie’s Escape

Author: Linda Shenton Matchett

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: March 25, 2022

She’s running for her life. He needs a trophy wife. They didn’t count on falling in love.

Ellie Wagner is fine being a spinster school teacher. Then she witnesses a bank hold up and can identify the bandits. Fellow robbery victim Milly Crenshaw happens to run the Westward Home & Hearts Matrimonial Agency so she arranges for Ellie to head West as a mail-order bride. But her groom only wants a business arrangement. Can she survive a loveless marriage?

Banker Julian Sheffield is more comfortable with numbers than with people, but he’s done well for himself. Then the bank president tells him that in order to advance further he must marry in six weeks’ time. The candid, unsophisticated woman sent by the agency is nothing like he expected, but time is running out. When her past comes calling, does he have what it takes to ensure their future?

Click here to get your copy!

 My Review: 

Miss Ellie Wagner’s trip to the bank forever changed her life as she is caught up in a bank robbery and hastily accepts the opportunity to be a mail order bride to flee from the robbers. She had what it would take to move out west to become an upcoming bank president’s wife. Ellie was resourceful and had a big heart in helping the families of the community. She was also confident in the face of danger making her a great heroine who kept calm when she really needed to do it. 

John Sheffield was on his way up the ladder of success at the bank. All the board thought he lacked was a wife. That’s quickly remedied when he submits to the wishes of his employers and marries Ellie. At first I thought he was too ready to acquiesce to whatever was asked of him in order to become bank president. His motives were selfish, but over time Ellie’s thoughtfulness toward him and others changed him. After his transformation I saw a man who would be good for Ellie.

With an interesting plot, humor, and faith throughout, I really enjoyed the story. I recommend readers of all ages to read this book in the Westward Home and Hearts Mail Order Brides series. It can easily be read as a standalone. 

I received a complimentary copy of the book through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. 

About the Author

Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is a former trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry (of Star-Spangled Banner fame). Linda has lived in historic places all her life, and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

 More from Linda

Dear Reader,

 One of my favorite tropes to use in a story is the proverbial “fish out of water,” so when it came time for me to brainstorm the idea for Ellie’s Escape, I made a list of situations that would be uncomfortable for my protagonists (see what we writers do to our poor characters?).

 As a result, I sent my female protagonist from the crowded city of Boston, Massachusetts (population 362,000) to the remote reaches of Gunnison, Colorado (population 888) where because of its location in the Rocky Mountains is one of the coldest places in winter in the United States. Compared to Boston’s elevation of 141’, Gunnison’s elevation of over 7,700 feet had to seem dizzying to my poor girl. The research into Gunnison was very fun, and I was able to use my boss as a subject matter expert because he’d lived there for several years before moving to New Hampshire. I gave my painfully shy male protagonist a gregarious mail-order bride that he doesn’t quite know what to do with.

 Here are a few fun facts about Gunnison:

 The Gunnison River drops an average of forty-three feet per mile through Black Canyon which is SIX times more than the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

  • Standing at 2,250 feet from river to rim, Black Canyon’s Painted Wall is the tallest cliff in Colorado, and nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building.
  • The town is named for a man who only stayed for three days – explorer John W. Gunnison who was searching for a route for the transcontinental railroad.
  • A little-known site for gold and silver mining, Gunnison and the surrounding area produced a reported 130,000 ounces of gold.
  • Gunnison residents isolated themselves during the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918. All highways were barricaded near the county lines, and train conductors warned passengers that if they got off the train in Gunnison, they’d be arrested and quarantined for five days.

 Comment and name a fun fact about where you live for your chance to win the grand prize.


Linda Shenton Matchett

Blog Stops

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 8

For Him and My Family, February 9

Betti Mace, February 10

Vicky Sluiter, February 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 12

Christina’s Corner, February 12

Book Looks by Lisa, February 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 14

Texas Book-aholic, February 15

deb’s Book Review, February 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 17

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 18

Connie’s History Classroom, February 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 20

Mary Hake, February 20

Holly’s Book Corner, February 21


To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Visa Gift Card and signed 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.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Cold Light of Day

About the Book: 

Police Chief Autumn Long is fighting to keep her job in the quiet Alaska town of Shadow Gap when an unexpected string of criminal activity leaves her with a wounded officer, unexplained murders, and even an attack on her own father. Despite her mistrust of outsiders, she turns to Grier Brenner, a newcomer who seems to have the skills and training Autumn needs to face this threat to her community.

Grier is in Alaska for the same reason so many others are--to disappear--when Chief Long enlists his help. He emerges from the shadows and proves his mettle, but his presence in her life could be a deadly trap for them both. If his secret is exposed, all will be lost. And he's not sure even Autumn could save him.

As the stakes rise and the dangers increase, Autumn and Grier must rely on each other to extinguish the deadly threats.

 My Thoughts: 

I have come to expect an action packed, suspenseful romance story with plot twists each time I read one of Ms. Goddard’s books and this book did that and more. The pacing was perfect and the mystery behind the newcomer, Grier, kept me guessing throughout the story. Who really was he? How did he play a part in what was happening?

Chief of Police Autumn Long is “beautiful, tough, and determined”. She needed to believe that God put her at Shadow Gap for a reason and that she was the exact person needed for their town to solve this case. Her perseverance led to an exciting and satisfying ending.

The secondary characters of Grandpa Ike and Birdy as well as Hank add an extra dimension to the story. I hope I get to see more of them in future books. If you enjoy books by authors Lynette Eason, Lisa Phillips, and Susan Sleeman, you are going to love this.

I received an advanced reader copy of the book. I was not expected to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author:

With over one million books sold, Elizabeth Goddard is the USA Today and Publisher's Weekly bestselling, award-winning author of over fifty romance novels and counting, including the romantic mystery, THE CAMERA NEVER LIES--a 2011 Carol Award winner. Four of her six Mountain Cove books have been contest finalists. Buried, Backfire and Deception are finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, and Submerged is a Carol Award finalist. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of writing full-time.

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A Lady's Wager

It’s rare that you read a collection of short stories and every one of them gets a 5 star rating, but all three of these were fantastic and one you should read. It's like going to a dessert bar and having more then one delicious treat. Please, may I have some more? 

The Diamond of Bristol- Arlem Hawks

This was such a fun story! Corah Bradford reluctantly becomes part of daring wagers and crazy consequences that involve men of the Ton. When she needs a bit of help in escaping an unwanted potential suitor, Derrick Owens comes to her rescue. I loved his insults, especially,“ Unhand her, you blithering, addlepated son a blunderbuss.” 

Women of a Certain Age- Josi S. Kilpack 

I love that the matchmaker, Etta Markshire, meets her own match,Wynn Firth. Etta is challenged on her assumptions of people’s character and what she thinks are important “trappings and fripperies” as they are called by Wynn. Seeing Etta change throughout the course of the story was a terrific ending. It’s a refreshing change to see older main characters have their own love story. 

A Most Unsuitable Suitor- Sarah M. Eden

Lord Julian Wesley is smothered in debt from his spendthrift predecessors and looking for a way to make his estate once again solvent. How fortuitous that he should stumble upon an old wager involving Lady Charlotte Duchamps that can help him. I absolutely loved the way that Julian goes about trying to thwart Charlotte’s outings with potential suitors by being “awkward”. At one point in the story I was laughing so hard I was asked by my husband if I was okay. I love the twist in the story and Lord Julian’s exemplary character. Lady Charlotte got the best part of the wager when it comes to love. 

I received a complimentary copy of the book. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Earl Grafton and the Traitor

About the Book: 

When love arrives in the form of an enemy, who knew it would be covered in mud?

Baxter Fernley, the Earl of Grafton, takes his duty as a member of the 
ton with the utmost sincerity, even if King George III has lost his mind. As a respected member of the peerage and the local magistrate, his life has order and meaning until an unruly American woman with a muddy skirt falls at his feet in what he believes to be an attempt at trapping him in marriage.

Briar Kensington thought England was boring until her impolite neighbor knocked her down and threw unfounded accusations at her like a mud-slinging fool. When she overhears the man's claim that she might be the cause of King George's state of insanity, Briar decides she wants nothing to do with him, even if it was said in jest.

Baxter despises almost everything about his traitorous American neighbor, everything except her beauty and strong will. Briar finds Baxter to be an infuriating man without any common sense, even if she does admire his strength of character and loyalty to family and duty. When they agree to be civil, their awkward first meeting is forgotten and these enemies find themselves hoping for love.

My Thoughts: 

This is a fun romance with lots of bumps for Briar Kensington and Lord Baxter Fernley. Briar was a lonely young woman who had recently lost her parents and was brought to England to live with her grandfather. She and Baxter meet under unusual circumstances and get off to a bad start. The fun begins when Briar and Baxter are forced to see each other daily.

Baxter had six other brothers and I enjoyed getting to see a little of each of them and how they all interact. I am looking forward to seeing each of them in future stories. Gigi, Baxter's mother, is a wonderful matriarch and was just the kind of woman that Briar needed in her life to help her heal after the death of her parents.

I recommend reading this book if you like clean Regency romances, large families, and enemies to happy ever after stories. It's a quick read and I think you will like seeing how love brings out the best in Briar and Baxter.

Shoot at the Sunset

About the Book Book:  Shoot at the Sunset Author:  Kathleen Denly Genre:  Christian Historical Romance Release Date:  April 9, 2024 Will lov...