Saturday, February 4, 2023

What Happens Next By Christina Suzann Nelson

What Happens Next
by Christian Suzann Nelson
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764240409

I had the opportunity to read one of this author's previous stories and thought it was incredibly interesting so I didn't want to pass up another chance to read one of her books. The publisher sent me the book for review!

Summary:

Popular podcaster and ex-reporter Faith Byrne made a name for herself telling stories of greatness after tragedy--but her real life does not mirror the stories she tells. While her daughters spend the summer in Hawaii with her ex-husband and his new wife, she must manage life on her own. All of that changes when she's asked to spotlight her childhood best friend's missing person case on her podcast.

Dora Crane has never accepted that her younger daughter could be dead, keeping her home looking the same as when her daughter disappeared. But when her husband leaves her and her older daughter intervenes, she agrees to counseling and to pack up her missing daughter's belongings under one condition: Faith Byrne comes to Deep Valley and sheds light on the cold case.

As the long-abandoned investigation moves forward, old wounds and long-buried secrets are exposed. Will these two women, whose lives have never been the same, finally get the answers they need to reconcile the past and the future?

My Review:

Christina writes such interesting books. Her characters seem like someone who would be your neighbor, but then there's so much more. In What Happens Next, she's done it again.

Here you have a middle-aged woman, Faith, who has recently gone through a divorce. Her past comes back to greet her out of the blue in the form of her childhood friend's sister. Her friend, who she never heard from again after her family moved after the best summer of her 10 year old life, has been missing all these years.

We get three different perspectives and while sometimes that can be clunky or hard to follow along, this was done smoothly and it flowed perfectly. What I found especially interesting was getting to know Heather through her chapters. She's the missing friend/daughter. You can't help but love her spunk and curiosity.

I also felt like this author brought 1987 to life through the "past". It was like having deja vu reading those pages and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip down nostalgia lane! If you were around and a teen in those days, you'll enjoy the topics that are brought up.

The author also makes us work for it trying to figure out who might be connected to Heather's disappearance. Dora, Heather's mom, was incredibly relatable! She certainly had me stepping back wondering what my reaction would be. I'm pretty positive Dora could easily be me... or anyone of us us moms.

The faith of the characters comes through subtly, but it's there, but in different ways for each character.

I'm looking forward to what the next story will bring us!

About the Author:

Christina Suzann Nelson (www.christinasuzannnelson.com) is an inspirational speaker and Christy award-winning author. Her first novel, If We Make It Home, was honored as one of Library Journal's top five inspirational novels of 2017, and her 2021 novel, The Way It Should Be, won the Christy Award for general fiction.

In 2017, Christina was named the OCW Cascade's Writer of Promise and received a Cascade award for her novel Swimming in the Deep End. Her stories have been published in the Cup of Comfort for a Better WorldCup of Comfort for Adoptive Families, as well as other publications. 

Christina is over-the-top about her passions, including the stories created somewhere in the twists and turns of her less-than-focused brain. When she's not writing, Christina serves on the board of Every Child Linn-Benton, a nonprofit where she has the opportunity to influence the lives of families and children in the foster care system.

On a typical day, she chases escaped farm animals, reads, hikes with her dog, and enjoys her husband and six kids.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

In Spotlight And Shadow By Rachel Scott McDaniel

In Spotlight and Shadow
by Rachel Scott McDaniel
Publisher: Barbour
Series: Doors to the Past
ISBN: 978-1636094762

I was excited to learn I was on the launch team for this new book by one of my favorite authors. To find out she was doing this split time thrilled me to no end. I didn't know how much I was going to enjoy it, but it was absolutely wonderful!

Summary:

A Gem of a Mystery Takes Center Stage

​Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.


Elise Malvern has a habit of letting people down. Her former boyfriend who hoped she’d be his bride. Her grandfather who hoped she’d take over the family’s auction company. But mostly she’s disappointed herself. What’s the point of pursuing her passion as a violinist, if she is too scared to audition for a seat in the Pittsburgh Symphony? Her internship at the elegant Heinz Hall places her in the wings of the stage, but never on it. By accident, she discovers an old stage prop. Her instincts tell her there’s more to the paste necklace than meets the eye. Whether a good idea or not, she accepts help from a childhood friend, who happens to be country music megastar—Peirson Brooks. Peirson and Elise share a history; one she doesn’t care to repeat. The more involved they become in the mystery, the more things get tangled, including her heart.
 
A century earlier…
Sophie Walters longs for center stage, her name on the marquee, and all that jazz, but climbing her way into an acting career is more difficult than she imagined. Having spoiled all her chances in Hollywood, she returns to Pittsburgh, accepting an insignificant role in a popular production. She watches her dreams pass by from behind the curtain at the illustrious Loew’s Penn Theatre. She finally gets the coveted spotlight, but not for her talent. No, her surge to fame is all one terrible mistake. Somehow, she’s suspected to be a notorious jewel thief known around Pittsburgh as The Mirage. The man she pleads for help is none other than the man she jilted at the altar five years before, Sterling Monroe.


My Review:

I absolutely LOVED this story!! It's a split time and I loved both time periods equally.

If you like laughing out loud you'll LOVE the "current" time storyline. Of course, mix in a mystery, romance, and strong faith, and you've got the recipe for a fabulous story. If you like your heart strings being pulled and a second chance romance with a mystery thrown in, you'll be in seventh heaven with the historical story.

Elise is living life not knowing her father and her mother having passed away. With an unexpected run in with her former boyfriend, she ends up chasing after a mystery of an emerald necklace. I loved seeing the world through Elise's eyes. While she deals with anxiety when trying to perform, her work at Heinz Hall is important to her. With Pierson back in her life, and challenging her to do "scary" things, they become quite the team. I will admit that I laughed so much throughout their storyline. At one point it was loudly! Their banter was fantastic. Pierson was SO great at helping Sophie challenge herself!

Getting to know Sophie in the past was more heart wrenching and where the mystery starts. Sophie was a fun character to get to know and for the life of me I couldn't figure out a) why she left Sterling at the altar and b) how the timelines would be connected. When Sophie finally explains what happened in her past I was incredibly surprised. I liked Sterling's broody and strong presence in her life.

I enjoyed how both storylines unfolded and was absolutely absorbed in the story. The faith that was evident in the characters lives showed how God made an impact in their lives. I appreciate when authors use characters to share the Truth of the Savior. It was well done in this story.

About the Author:

Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. She currently enjoys life in Ohio with her husband and two kids. Rachel can be found online at www.RachelScottMcDaniel.com and on all social media platforms.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Yesterday's Tides By Roseanna M. White

Yesterday's Tides
by Roseanna M. White
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764240010

The cover of this book is what caught my attention. Isn't it stunning? Then, of course, knowing it's a Roseanna M. White book had me excited as well! As part of her launch team I received her book for review.

Summary:

In two world wars, intelligence and counterintelligence, prejudice, and self-sacrifice collide across two generations

In 1942, Evie Farrow is used to life on Ocracoke Island, where every day is the same--until the German U-boats haunting their waters begin to wreak havoc. And when special agent Sterling Bertrand is washed ashore at Evie's inn, her life is turned upside down. While Sterling's injuries keep him inn-bound for weeks, making him even more anxious about the SS officer he's tracking, he becomes increasingly intrigued by Evie, who seems to be hiding secrets of her own.

Decades earlier, in 1914, Englishman Remington Culbreth arrives at the Ocracoke Inn for the summer, never expecting to fall in love with Louisa Adair, the innkeeper's daughter. But when war breaks out in Europe, their relationship is put in jeopardy and may not survive what lies ahead for them.

As the ripples from the Great War rock Evie and Sterling's lives in World War II, it seems yesterday's tides may sweep them all into danger again today.


My Review:

Wow, I think I'm in love!

Yesterday's Tides was fanTASTIC! I've become a big fan of timeslip novels, and am usually a fan of one time period over another. Not so with this story. I loved both time lines equally!

First we meet Evie, who gives off the all-American young woman vibes in the 1940s. Her life seems the same every day but it's a life she's chosen. There seems to be a simplicity to her life as well. And then Sterling shows up, barely alive on her beach. He seems to be quite the special agent!

Then we meet Louisa in 1914. She's my kind of gal! She's more likely to pick up a "spanner" and fix an engine than sit around paining her nails. That summer one of her guests is Remington and she turns his world topsy-turvy just by being who she is!

For me, each storyline pulled me deeper and deeper in. The storylines are connected, but HOW? Are they connected in the way we hope? The author's writing kept dodging the answers and on more than one occasion I had to talk myself out of turning to the end for both timelines. Because of the unknown and not knowing how it could possibly all come together, I had a couple of very late nights reading.

There's intrigue, an awful mother-in-law, and characters from a number of other books that I adored by the author. I think this may have been my favorite part - seeing all of these familiar characters. You can 100% read this book as a standalone. There are just lots of "Easter eggs" for those of us who have read all of the other ones.

I almost forgot to mention that I think the author writes some of my favorite grandmas in her stories! Turns out there are a couple of great ones in this story as well. They give me something to aspire to as a somewhat new grandma!

I also have a deep appreciation of the author tackling the topic of mixed marriages which were looked down on for so many years. I felt like she handled it so well!

There were some surprising turn of events that happened throughout the story. Some had my heart racing and others had me FURIOUS! The author was able to pull out a LOT of emotions from me. I appreciated the author's inclusion of faith in her characters lives. They definitely relied on and turned to the Lord regularly. 

Hands down, I can't recommend this book enough. If you like reading WWI and WWII era stories, you do NOT want to miss this one!

About the Author:

Roseanna M. White(www.roseannamwhite.com) is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. She pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of numerous novels, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to Edwardian British series. Roseanna lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at www.roseannamwhite.com.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

A Mark Of Grace By Kimberley Woodhouse

A Mark of Grace
by Kimberley Woodhouse
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: Secrets of the Canyon
ISBN: 978-0764238024

Are you sad when a series comes to an end? I really enjoyed traveling west in the Secrets of the Canyon series! I was able to conclude the series thanks to the publisher since they sent me a book for review!

Summary:

When everything crumbles, her chance for a new beginning hangs in the balance.

Ruth Anniston survived an injury that left her physically scarred, broken, and angry at God. Now, she finds herself working behind the scenes as a kitchen and dining room supervisor at the El Tovar Hotel, hidden away from curious eyes and with little hope of finding love. When money begins to disappear from the hotel, Ruth's entire livelihood is put at risk when she lands on the list of suspects.  

Frank Henderson has at last succeeded in obtaining his dream job as head chef at the El Tovar. But competition in the kitchen is fierce, and one mistake could cost him his future. As the thefts at the hotel continue, and his affection for Ruth grows, Frank's career--and his heart--are in jeopardy. 

As tensions run high, Ruth and Frank must work together to save the El Tovar. They find themselves growing closer . . . but can their combined ingenuity overcome the odds against them?

My Review:

A Mark of Grace was a sweet conclusion to this series. If you like a story full of Truth and the Gospel message, look no further. It's there in spades and fit so perfectly into the story.

I've been waiting for Ruth's story because I loved her kind, generous spirit from the start. And of course, there's Frank. He's a strong tower compared to her gentleness. I loved the idea of the two of them together, but with Ruth's injury from the previous story and her recovery through this one made it incredibly difficult.

I thought it was so interesting to see how a person can change after a life altering injury. Ruth, tired of struggling with it all, is ready to try just about anything that will help her get better. Frank on the other hand encourages her and reminds her constantly that he still sees he as he did before her injury. It's quite the emotional, spiritual, and physical story for Ruth.

On top of that, Ruth and Frank have to work together to figure out wha't going on behind the scenes at the El Tovar hotel that might have them all losing their jobs!

While I liked the story, I felt like what was going on with Ruth went on a bit too long. It seemed to be stretched out. And then at the end with all of these crazy things happening all at once it had me shaking my head because it was a bit too much for me.

An overall sweet conclusion to this series and if you enjoy Harvey girl stories, you'll enjoy this one!

About the Author:

Kimberley Woodhouse (www.kimberleywoodhouse.com) is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 30 fiction and nonfiction books. Kim and her incredible husband of 30-plus years live in the Poconos, where they play golf together, spend time with their kids and grandbaby, and research all the history around them.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

The Reunion by Natasha D. Frazier + GIVE AWAY

The Reunion JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Reunion by Natasha D. Frazier, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! I received the book for review from the author and the tour!

About the Book

The Reunion Title: The Reunion 
Series: Langston Sisters #1 
Author: Natasha D. Frazier 
Publisher: Encouraging Works 
Release Date: October 25, 2022 
Genre: Christian romantic suspense 

Divorced. 

 Dragged through the mud by entertainment media outlets. 

Determined to rise above her past. 

Crystal Langston's plan was perfect: go to her 20th college class reunion to prove her divorce from her abusive ex-husband, NFL player, Dante Green, didn't break her. Her life was thriving outside of his shadow. Though it's been over a year since their divorce, Dante makes a huge announcement during their reunion mixer. His latest stunt results in his death. 

And Crystal is the number one suspect! 

Marcel Singleton recently launched his political campaign for Houston's District Attorney. Now that his childhood friend is no longer tied to Dante, he attends their class reunion with one goal in mind: to finally tell Crystal how he feels about her. What he didn't expect was that he'd be representing her in a murder case against her ex-husband. 

Crystal's life is going up in flames -- fast! 

Will Marcel's feelings for Crystal cloud his judgment? How will his involvement with a murder suspect affect his campaign? 

And if Crystal is innocent, will the real murderer come for her next?

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound

Also Available

With Every Step With Every Moment


My Review:

This was the first book I've read by this author and it won't be my last. I'm invested in the sisters lives after book one. I really feel like it's more of a 3.5 rating than a straight 3 star.

I really liked Crystal. She's been through a LOT with an abusive ex-husband. Like many women, she wonders how she missed the signs or even married Dante in the first place. His narcissistic behavior shows itself at their 20 year reunion. I liked her determination not to be swayed from attending the reunion as well as being willing to face him if forced to. I also like that her sisters get into her business! These sisters have each others backs.

Her childhood friend, Marcel clearly carries a torch still for Crystal. Too bad he's reminded of this on the heels of starting his political campaign to be the new DA and Crystal's ex is killed. His loyalty to Crystal is very sweet and I really liked watching them work through their feelings as they try to unravel the mystery of who killed Dante.

I appreciated that Marcel prayed a couple of times in the story so I hope it continues through the next two stories! We need more stories like this with faith in them and with characters who are POC in white collar careers. 

Overall I liked the story and writing. I didn't feel like there were a lot of options as to who might've killed Dante so I wasn't trying to figure out who the bad "guy" was. I like stories like this to have several options that keep me guessing and on my toes. This is going to be a weird "pull out" of the story, but Crystal's father refers to her as "my dear" a number of times and it just seemed odd to me. A couple of the descriptions of their kisses made me giggle because the wordings gave me a mental image that just seemed funny.

About the Author

Natasha D. Frazier

Natasha D. Frazier fell in love with love around the age of twelve because of artists like Babyface, Boys II Men, Whitney Houston, and New Edition. Around sixteen when her mother purchased a romance novel and left it lying around the house untouched, Natasha read it and a spark for the written word had been ignited.

Natasha believes that writing is one of her purposes and contributions to the world. She feels accomplished when she can get a few words written and like blah when life gets in the way. Her hope is that at the end of every novel, readers will feel like they’ve been wrapped in a cozy blanket with a mug of their favorite coffee/tea/warm drink. When she isn’t reading or writing, she is likely watching movies with her family. Natasha resides in Richmond, TX with her husband, Eddie Frazier, Jr. and their three children, Eden, Ethan, and Emilyn. Her greatest joy and commitment is to her family who she hopes to inspire above all else. One of her many mottos in life is: Faith removes limitations. Natasha and her family attend Parkway Fellowship in Richmond, TX, where she volunteers as a small group leader for elementary students. Natasha is also a member of the Houston Area Alumni Chapter of Jackson State University and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

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


Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will receive a copy of McCall Family Series and a $10 Amazon gift card!

The Reunion JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight January 10, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on January 17, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway


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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.