Friday, July 29, 2022

Off the Chain By Janice Thompson + GIVEAWAY

Off the Chain JustRead Takeover Tour

Welcome to the Takeover Tour for Off the Chain by Janice Thompson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! I received the book for being part of this tour!


Off the Chain
Title: Off the Chain 
Series: Gone to the Dogs Mysteries #1 
Author: Janice Thompson 
Publisher: Barbour Fiction 
Release Date: July 1, 2022 
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Christian 

The Town of Brenham, Texas, Has Gone to the Dogs! 

Curl up with your pup and sink into a delightful small-town mystery as riddles and rescues stack up in book one of a new cozy mystery series

Marigold Evans’ first attempt at rescuing an abandoned pooch lands her in the underground sewer lines of Houston’s Buffalo Bayou. . .and almost in jail, until Parker Jenson comes to her defense. Then a bad day only gets worse as the Lone Star Vet Clinic, where they both work, is vandalized and the list of suspects starts to climb. With the help of her fellow employees, Marigold sets out to simultaneously solve the crime, rehab the rescued dog, and help more dogs in crisis. But why would anyone continue to work against all their good efforts? 

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Christianbook | BookBub


Janice Thompson

Janice Thompson, who lives in the Houston area, writes novels, non-fiction, magazine articles, and musical comedies for the stage. The mother of four married daughters, she is quickly adding grandchildren to the family mix.

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


(1) winner will receive a print copy of Off the Chain and a $15 Amazon egift card!

Off the Chain JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight July 27, 2022 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on August 3, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


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

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Apostle's Sister By Angela Hunt

The Apostle's Sister
by Angela Hunt
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: Jerusalem Road
ISBN: 9780764233876

Always a fan of this author's Biblical fiction, when I saw it come up for review, I requested it right away! The publisher sent me the book for review.


She's always longed for more, but what if the path she's chosen requires more than she's willing to give?

Aya, daughter of Zebulun of Tarsus, does not want a traditional life. After years of being overshadowed by her brilliant brother Sha'ul, she wants a chance to use her own gifts beyond being a wife and mother. When her father insists that she marry a Torah student, she reluctantly agrees.

A dedicated scholar, Sha'ul, or Paul, returns to Tarsus to follow the instructions of the Law and wed the woman his father has chosen to raise his profile and help him earn a seat on the Great Sanhedrin--the highest religious court in the land. But when the Nazarene, Yeshua, and his followers bring trouble to the Holy City, Sha'ul will stop at nothing to silence them.

After moving to Jerusalem with her husband, Aya expects to be bored in her role as wife to a Torah student. Instead, she finds herself fascinated by his studies. Then her brother makes a life-altering decision, and she must face a troubling question: Can she remain true to her beliefs and still love her blasphemous brother?

My Review:

I'm always ready for a good Biblical fiction story by this author! I think my rating is more of a 3.5 stars, but leaned more towards 4 than a full 3 which is why I'm giving it the 4 stars.

When we first meet Aya in The Apostle's Sister, I really liked her. She was young and had a gift for singing. It was easy to see that the home she grew up in leant to her being given privileges most girls could only dream about. So, I think that was part of her angst in doing her parents will in marrying at 16. We have to keep in mind the time period and that women did the will of men, especially their parents. This story really covers almost her entire lifespan. What we see is her journey HaShem. There was a point in this story that was incredibly powerful and I really loved "seeing" it through Aya's eyes and mind.

As for Sha'ul it was an interesting, fictional insight into who he might've been as a Pharisee. He lived and died by the law. I could easily imagine his arrogance at being so well versed in the Torah and oral laws. There was a LOT to absorb through his storyline as well as Aya's husband. It is clear that the author really did a lot of research, but also relied on the Spirit to guide her in bringing Aya & Sha'ul's story to life.

Sometimes it was overwhelming trying to understand the laws, what they were celebrating and why, and a few other pieces. While this is a fictional piece of work, what the author shared in the story is all Biblical. I honestly can't even imagine having to learn all of the laws and to live by them to the T at every given moment of my life. You see that with these characters!

The ending for me was a bit abrupt. I turned the page and it was done. It took me a moment to realize that was the end. Do I wish there would've been a tidier ending, but the reality was, Aya's life never seemed to have that luxury.
Now, I'll have to go back and read the first three books in this series. I'm forever reading out of order, but thankfully they're standalone!

About the Author:

The author of more than 100 published books and with nearly 5 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the New York Times bestselling author of The Note, The Nativity Story, and Esther: Royal Beauty. Romantic Times Book Club presented Angela with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2008, Angela completed her PhD in biblical studies in theology. She and her husband live in Florida with their mastiffs. She can be found online at

Friday, July 15, 2022

The Abide Bible + Free Devotional + GIVEAWAY

I love the variety of Bibles that are available to us these days. God's Word has been given beautiful design in The Abide Bible published by Thomas Nelson. I received this Bible for review & there's a giveaway you'll find towards the bottom.

The edition I received is the Stone Leathersoft. The two other options are Brown Leathersoft and Blue Hardcover. I loved the design on the cover of the Stone, but the Brown also caught my eye. At the front of 
The Abide Bible you'll find more details on how to use the Features listed below.

NET Journal Edition Features

  • Practical Scripture-engagement prompts based on five ways of interacting deeply with the Bible:
    • Praying Scripture: pattern your prayers after biblical texts, personalizing the prayers and gaining language for the thoughts and emotions you wish to express
    • Picture It: place yourself in the biblical narrative as a bystander or participant in important events
    • Journaling: focus and reflect on Scripture and its meaning for your life, opening yourself to God's voice as you write
    • Engage Through Art: consider a classic piece of art - photography, scultpure, painting - and let it deepen your meditations on God's truth
    • Contemplate: follow the church's longstanding practice of reading, meditating on, praying, and contemplating a passage of Scripture to experience God's presence through the words of the Bible
What I enjoy about these features is that it helps us, as the reader, to use a different perspective of what's happening in that particular Scripture. For example, in Genesis the Picture It has you imagining standing next to God as he speaks creation into existence. Obviously we're limited to our own imagination, but the awe and wonder of Scripture comes to life in a different way.

Since I'm not much into journaling I like the prompts it gives to write out my thoughts on the Scripture I've just read. I don't do well with a blank page, so these Journaling ideas are incredibly helpful. I also appreciate the Praying Scripture feature because I typically take Scripture at face value unless the Spirit speaks to me in a way that opens it up even more. Well, this feature helps to have a fresh take on what we're reading, gives us a deeper look at it.

The art you'll find in The Abide Bible is very interesting, especially for someone who isn't very "artsy". We're introduced to a multitude of artists from around the world through a variety of mediums. What I liked about this art is that the contributors found a way to share a piece of art that's unrelated to the Bible and relate it to the Bible. lol Like The Little Street (1658) by Johannes Vermeer. It portrays a scene across from the author's house, and the contributor has the reader go through Psalm 91 and meditate on what it means to live with God. There's much more to the reading of the Engage Through Art feature, but that's the gist of it.

Aesthetically, The Abide Bible is simply gorgeous. The Leathersoft edition is, well, soft. Like butter! It lays open without pages trying to flip over. The ribbons match beautifully. And the font, it must be a 16 because it's crisp and clear. There are a few maps at the back of the Bible, but not much more. There's no index. 

FREE DEVOTIONAL! They are offering 21 Days Free for a study in John led by the author/editor, Phil Collins (sadly, no Gensis connection!! : ) The sign up for the offer is HERE

Be sure to entire to the GIVEAWAY for The Abide Bible!

Monday, July 11, 2022

Elysium Tide By James R. Hannibal

Elysium Tide
by James R. Hannibal
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 9780800738518

Having read my first James R. Hannibal book last year, as soon as I saw this book was available for review I knew I wanted to grab it. Revell sent me his book for review.


Dr. Peter Chesterfield is the top neurosurgeon at the Royal London Hospital. He's also a workaholic, and after a blow-up with a colleague, his boss orders him to attend a medical symposium at the luxurious Elysium Grand on the island of Maui. During a midnight walk on the beach, Peter pulls a woman with a skull fracture from the water. Despite all his skill, she dies in his arms, leaving him with only one clue to what happened to her: the word "honu."

Obsessed with finding the cause of his patient's death--discovering what or who ripped the power over life and death from his surgeon's hands--Peter becomes entangled in an ongoing investigation. He also becomes a source of deep irritation to detective Lisa Kealoha, who has jurisdiction over the case.

The reluctant pair join forces, diving deep into Maui's evolving gang culture, and unearth a conspiracy that runs deeper than either could have imagined. Knowing too much is deadly--and they must catch the killer before the killer catches them.

My Review:

Holy smokes, Elysium Tide was SUCH a good story! I'm glad I was introduced to this author last year! He does suspense so well! So many elements that come into play that make this story so exciting!

I felt like this story was a mix between Doctor Strange and Hawaii Five-O, and I loved it. Dr. Peter Chesterfield reminded me of Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange at the beginning of his first movie. He was very full of himself and he wasn't exactly easy to like.

His forced trip to Hawaii drops him in the middle of danger that unfolds throughout the story. We also meet Lisa Kealoha who I liked for her tenacity and go get 'em attitude. She takes her job seriously and she's not messing around! When she and the good doctor meet you just knew they were going to play off each other well.

Through the author I loved seeing Peter's mind work and put pieces of the puzzle together! Also, the research the author must've done on so many things like the lifestyle of those who live in Hawaii, gang activity, surgical topics, and so much more! There was also an unexpected humor that really gave levity. Have no fear, I'll be adding quotes to Goodreads because they were "gold"!

Of course, I appreciated the faith that comes through not only in Lisa's life, but the lives of some of the secondary characters. They live it out in front of Peter for him to see it first hand. I love it when characters make their faith a visible part of their lives.

I'll admit that I didn't see the end coming. It gave me the "ahhhhh," and head nod when it all unfolded. And then the VERY end... I definitely have questions! hahaha

About the Author:

James R. Hannibal is no stranger to secrets and adventure. This former stealth pilot from Houston, Texas, has been shot at, locked up with surface-to-air missiles, and chased down a winding German road by an armed terrorist. He is a three-time Silver Falchion Award winner for his children's mysteries, and a Carol and Selah Award winner for The Gryphon Heist and Chasing the White Lion. His latest spy thriller is The Paris Betrayal. James is a rare multisense synesthete, meaning all of his senses intersect. He sees and feels sounds and smells, and hears flashes of light. If he tells you the chocolate cake you offered smells blue and sticky, take it as a compliment. Connect with James at

Sunday, July 10, 2022

The Berenstain Bears School Days Collection By Mike Berenstain

The Berenstain Bears School Days Collection
by Mike Berenstain
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0310753834

The timing of this book coming up for review was fortuitous! My daughter had just told me my granddaughter was really getting into The Berenstain Bears books and if I had any, bring them to them. I flew out with this book a week or so later!


Head back to school with the Berenstain Bears! Young readers will enjoy the stories, activities, stickers, and recipes in The Berenstain Bears School Days Collection, an addition to the Living Lights™ series of The Berenstain Bears books. With stories about starting school, new students, rumors and gossip, and settling disagreements, this treasury is perfect for children beginning a new school year or right in the middle of one.

The Berenstain Bears School Days Collection also features educational games, discussion questions, and activities to engage young minds, and includes several recipes perfect for lunchboxes or after-school snacks.

The Berenstain Bears School Days Collection includes:

  • School Time Blessings
  • Stand Up to Bullying
  • The Truth about Gossip
  • Blessed Are the Peacemakers
  • Bear Country Fun Sticker and Activity Book
  • Selected recipes from Country Cookbook

My Review:

So, clearly my granddaughter isn't ready for school, but since she loves The Berenstain Bears it's great for the stories. With it being hardcover it'll last until she finally reaches elementary school. The stories that are included are so appropriate for kids who might encounter situations like bullies, gossip, etc. They're stories that will give children godly examples of how to experience school.

Of course, the back of the book is my favorite and what I know my granddaughter will enjoy when she's old enough to understand everything. She loves being in the kitchen so I know she and her mommy will try the recipes. Because my little lovey is a pretty smart cookie I think she'll be able to do things like the mazes sooner than later and don't even get her started with the stickers! She's already obsessed with them!

Each of the books is exactly what you've come to expect from The Berenstain Bears books. They have lessons that the children will learn and take to heart. The illustrations are wonderful as always. The activities will excite children and give them a fun idea of what to look forward to school once they start!

When I was out with my granddaughter we had a great time looking through the stories and I can't wait to see her dive in when she's a bit older to all of the activities!

About the Author:

Stan and Jan Berenstain introduced the first Berenstain Bears books in 1962. Mike Berenstain grew up watching his parents work together to write about and draw these lovable bears. Eventually he started drawing and writing about them too. Though Stan died in 2005 and Jan in 2012, Mike continues to create the delightful Bear adventures from his studio in Pennsylvania, in an area that looks much like the sunny dirt road deep in Bear Country.

The Deadly Shallows By Dani Pettrey

The Deadly Shallows
by Dani Pettrey
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: Coastal Guardians
ISBN: 9780764230868

What could be better than one of your favorite authors asking you to review their book? Not much! I was thrilled when Dani asked me to be on her launch team. She sent me her book and goodies for review.


A deadly attack.
A stolen weapon capable of immense destruction.
A painful secret that threatens to tear two hearts apart.

CGIS Agent Noah Rowley is rocked to the core when several of his valued team members come under fire on his Coast Guard base. He and his remaining team race to the scene and end the attack, but not before innocent lives are lost. Furious and grief-stricken, he vows to do whatever is needed to bring the mastermind behind the attack to justice.

Stunned by the ambush, Coast Guard flight medic Brooke Kesler evacuates in a helicopter carrying the only surviving gunman. The gravely wounded man whispers mysterious information to Brooke that immediately paints a target on her back.

As Brooke and Noah race to uncover answers, emotions between them ignite. Noah struggles to protect Brooke at all costs and to conceal the secret that prevents him from becoming what he longs to be--the right man for her.

Everything is at stake as a horrifying truth emerges. . . .

The attack wasn't the end game. It was only the beginning.

My Review:

I know we're not supposed to pick favorites, but too bad. The Deadly Shallows is my favorite book in this series.

I usually start out talking about the storyline or the characters, but something that is incredibly powerful in Dani's books is she's not afraid of her faith being shown through her characters. It's not done in an "in your face" kind of way, but in a way that feels very true to the characters. Her characters pray out loud and give God the honor He is due. So, so good!

While this story is mostly about Brooke and Noah, I really enjoyed that it was about the entire team. Caleb and Austin get a lot of page time and I enjoyed getting to know both sets through the story. While each of the characters has their own struggles they work well together and respect each other.

There were a couple of storylines going on in the book that certainly keeps the reader on their toes. I guess bad guys don't know to let the team finish one crime before a new one starts. Good thing is, they've got a great group of people working together. I loved seeing them have each others' back and work cohesively. The suspense of the story had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.

Now we just need a story for Logan and Emmy! And I'm ready for it!!

About the Author:

Publishers Weekly and #1 Amazon bestselling author, Dani Pettrey has sold nearly 800,000 copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance. 

Her novels stand out for their "wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters" (Publishers Weekly), "gripping storyline[s]," (RT Book Reviews), and "sizzling undercurrent of romance" (USA Today).

She researches murder and mayhem from her home in Maryland. For more information about her novels, visit

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Distant Stars By Kassandra Garrison

Distant Stars
by Kassandra Garrison
Publisher: Self Published
ISBN: 979-8986124711

It's always great getting to know new authors! I was happy to receive a request from Kassandra to review her ebook. She sent it to me for my review.


Will Rutledge needs a fresh start. After aging out of the foster care system, he and his brother, Kane, have nothing but each other. Maybe that’s why he agreed to his brother’s insane plan to kidnap a millionaire’s daughter for ransom. With his brains and his brother’s muscle, what could go wrong?

Enter Hannah Cole. When her brother died, her family was left shattered. No amount of money could fill the hole in her home… not even if her dad has plenty of it. Hannah thought she knew darkness after a year of living with grief. That is, until she finds herself thrown into the trunk of a car and crying out to God for the first time since her brother died. 

Hannah and Will soon find themselves in close quarters, fighting the feelings they are developing for one another despite both their situation and seemingly insurmountable differences. Plans start to unravel and the two risk begging the question: 

Are some stars just too far apart to collide?

My Review:

I really was hooked with how the story started. I felt so bad for brothers Kane and Will. Their rough start is evident from the beginning. As the full story begins to unfold it's clear these guys are going to be making some poor decisions.

Things definitely go haywire and we get to see the true nature of each brother when the plan they have, which includes Hannah, ends up spinning out of control. The story is a good example of how kids in the foster care system struggle with feeling loved or cared for. It was a good glimpse into the mentality of how hard things can be for these kids.

The story is a quick read and the events that happen are even quicker. I don't want to give away too much since they'd be spoilers, but I've never been a fan of the "l" word being spoken within a couple of days and definitely not under these circumstances. That was probably the biggest part of the story I wasn't a fan of.

I did appreciate the forgiveness and redemption in the story and the faith that is shown throughout the story, especially in the lives of such young people. That's certainly refreshing! We need more of that in YA books these days.

About the Author:

Kassandra Garrison has always been a book lover. After earning her Bachelor's in Business Administration, she decided to follow her lifelong dream and share her stories with others by writing her first novel, The Influencers. She currently lives with her husband and high school sweetheart, Joseph, along with their daughter, Nora. In her free time, she enjoys baking, drinking coffee, and taking her rescue dogs on walks.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Heirlooms By Sandra Byrd

by Sandra Byrd
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
ISBN: 978-1496426871
As a big fan of Sandra Byrd, I was super excited when she invited me to review her new book as an ebook ARC. Of course, I said yes and she sent me her book for review!


Answering a woman’s desperate call for help, young Navy widow Helen Devries opens her Whidbey Island home as a refuge to Choi Eunhee. As they bond over common losses and a delicate, potentially devastating secret, their friendship spans the remainder of their lives.

After losing her mother, Cassidy Quinn spent her childhood summers with her gran, Helen, at her farmhouse. Nourished by her grandmother’s love and encouragement, Cassidy discovers a passion that she hopes will bloom into a career. But after Helen passes, Cassidy learns that her home and garden have fallen into serious disrepair. Worse, a looming tax debt threatens her inheritance. Facing the loss of her legacy and in need of allies and ideas, Cassidy reaches out to Nick, her former love, despite the complicated emotions brought by having him back in her life.

Cassidy inherits not only the family home but a task, spoken with her grandmother’s final breaths: ask Grace Kim—Eunhee’s granddaughter—to help sort through the contents of the locked hope chest in the attic. As she and Grace dig into the past, they unearth their grandmothers’ long-held secret and more. Each startling revelation reshapes their understanding of their grandmothers and ultimately inspires the courage to take risks and make changes to own their lives.

Set in both modern-day and midcentury Whidbey Island, Washington, this dual-narrative story of four women—grandmothers and granddaughters—intertwines across generations to explore the secrets we keep, the love we pass down, and the heirlooms we inherit from a well-lived life.

My Review:

If you love stories that bind women together, Heirlooms will be good for your heart. It makes you reflect on the sweet friendship you have and family that's not always blood family.

Helen is a woman of substance and character. I liked her immediately. She's suffered loss, but when it comes time to help another, she's all in. I enjoyed getting to know Eunhee. I felt that the author did an incredible job of portraying the Korean culture that she came from. She gave me a deep sense of passing important family traditions on to the next generation.

I loved how their granddaughters in this split time story are best of friends as well! Cassidy has had a lot of loss in her life as well (and I'll just say here for the record I'm not a fan of her dad and even less so of her stepmom who we thankfully never have to meet). When you talk about life not going as planned, Cassidy has had her lion's share of it. Grace ends up living with her - reminiscent of Helen and Eunhee - and it was sweet to watch them support each other. As a gardener, I appreciated all of the flowers and gardening references throughout the story!

The story also shows us in many ways how important community can be, especially during hard times. The author does an incredible portrayal of characters are differently abled: autism and Down syndrome. It was incredible to see the ripple effect a baby's life had on three generations. The author handled the subject matter with deftness and sensitivity.

I appreciated how Eunhee's life as well as their neighbor Johanna's glorified the Lord without bombarding Helen over the head with their faith. They lived it out for her to see. It certainly made an impact in the best of ways!

Altogether a very satisfying story that will stick in my heart for a long time!

About the Author:

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published fifty books. Sandra's delighted to kick off her new historical romance series with Tyndale House Publishers, Victorian Ladies, with Lady of a Thousand Treasures. The three-book Victorian Ladies series follows her historically sound Gothic romances, Daughters of Hampshire, launched with the bestselling Mist of Midnight, which earned a coveted Editor's Choice award from the Historical Novel Society. The second book, Bride of a Distant Isle, has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. The third in the series, A Lady in Disguise, was published in 2017. Check out her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, which was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne BoleynTo Die For was also named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2011, and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. Sandra has published dozens of books for kids, tweens, and teens, including the bestselling The One Year Be-Tween You and God Devotions for Girls. She continued her work as a devotionalist, with The One Year Home and Garden Devotions, and The One Year Experiencing God's Love Devotional. Please visit to learn more or to invite Sandra to your book club via Skype.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Songs That Could've Been By Amanda Wen + GIVEAWAY

The Songs That Could Have Been
by Amanda Wen
Publisher: Kregel
Series: Sedgwick County Chronicles
ISBN: 9780825447693

I loved book one in this story, not realizing it was part of a series! The author's debut novel, Roots of Wood and Stone was exceptional so there was NO way I was passing up book two for review. This book was sent to me from the publisher.


After a devastating tailspin in her late teens, Lauren Anderson's life is finally back on track. Then a chance meeting with Carter Douglas, her first love and the man who broke her heart, threatens to throw her well-balanced world out of control.

Now a TV meteorologist, Carter is determined to make amends with Lauren. After all, she still owns his heart. But his old demons are forcing him toward the same decision he faced in the past. Is he courageous enough to make a different choice this time around? 

When Lauren's elderly grandmother, Rosie, begins having nightmares about a man named Ephraim--a name her family has never heard before--a fascinating and forbidden past love comes to light. As Lauren and Carter work to uncover the untold stories of Rosie's past in 1950s Wichita, they embark on a journey of forgiveness and second chances that will change their lives--and Rosie's--forever. Along the way they'll learn that God wastes nothing, his timing is perfect, and nothing is beyond his grace and redemption.

My Review:

What an incredible story! I wasn't sure if the author could come close to her debut novel (the first book in the series), but she sure did!

This book was actually a quick read, but because of my traveling I didn't have the spare time I'd hoped for so don't let the dates fool you.

I was so unexpectedly drawn into the story of the past and loving it more than I could've possibly imagined. Actually the present day story takes up a good part of the beginning of the book. When the past begins to slide in, it's incredible how it unfolds.

Getting to know Lauren better in this story was wonderful. I didn't realize she was going to get her own story after the first book. Now I want to go back and see if I can notice certain things about her in that book in comparison to this one. Her storyline, as well as Carter's (her old flame), are powerful in speaking to addictions.

I loved that God is shown as the One who heals, if a person will allow it. That whole part of the story for them was just beautiful - and honestly difficult, messy, and confusing. Because that's how life can be sometimes.

And then there's Rosie's story. I'm actually not going to say too much about this storyline because even a little bit will give too much away. Let me just say, it made me cry. The first book made me cry and I truly didn't think it was going to happen again, but this part of the story knit its way into my heart. As I got to the end and thought I was safe from tears, the author built it up so much that how it unfolded let the dam unleash. It was touching and poignant. Needless to say, I love how the author writes in the past.

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the "present" characters, but just like book one, the "past" couple is the one who stole my heart and made me an emotional mess! I absolutely loved it!


You can enter this book giveaway HERE!

About the Author:

Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. She has placed first in multiple contests, including the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest, the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest. She was also a 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest finalist. Wen currently lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband and three children. This is her first book. To find her blog and short stories, visit www.amandawen.comReaders can also follower her on Facebook (@AuthorAmandaWen), Twitter (@AuthorAmandaWen), and Instagram (@authoramandawen).

Friday, July 1, 2022

The Heart Of The Mountains By Pepper Basham

The Heart of the Mountains
by Pepper Basham
Publisher: Barbour Books
Series: My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge
ISBN: 978-1636093253

When the author asked me if I'd read an ebook ARC of her book for review, I agreed. I didn't realize it was part of a series (par for the course with me), but I was happy to read it. I hadn't read anything about it so had no clue about the story and it was a wonderful surprise.


Can True Love Weather a World of Differences?

To escape marriage, Cora Taylor runs away from her home in England to join her brother in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, but not even her time as a nurse in the Great War prepares her for the hard landscape and even harder lives of the mountain people. With the help of Jeb McAdams, a quiet woodcarver, who carries his own battle scars, she fashions a place for herself among these unique people. But the past refuses to let go, and with dangers from within and without, can hearts bruised by war find healing within the wilds of the mountains?

My Review:

Oh my word, let me take a moment to have a contented sigh...

This story was so unexpectedly wonderful! I had read some early reviews and was afraid the hype wasn't going to stand up to my highfalutin opinions. Well, let me tell you, the story exceeded the hype. Is that even possible? For me, yes!

I don't know if this love story would be considered a slow burn, but if so, I'm here for it!

Poor Cora, maybe not poor Cora. I think initially, with her baptism into the life in the Blue Ridge Mountains I was worried for her, but that lady has spunk! She is worth her weight in gold! She had a lot to prove to the mountain people, that was for sure.

And then there's Jeb who is dealing with a LOT! As you read and get to know him, you can almost feel the weight of the world (or his little corner of it) on his shoulders. There's just such a steadiness, strength, and calmness in him that even soothed me!

Of course, this story wouldn't have been nearly as "fun" without all of the rumors (ahem Imogene - who needs to be put over someone's knee), hidden people, and running for their lives. The storyline gives the reader of such a deep sense of how these people see the world and what a tight knit community they are, albeit a rather rigid one with how they see flat landers such as Cora. Like her, I wondered what beauty Maple Springs would really have, but as readers we begin to see it unfold like she does over time. We even come to love the people and their ways... mostly.

If you love, love, love a good and sweet love story, look no further. I'm NOT a fan of super quick falling in love, but the way the author wrote Cora & Jeb, it was the most natural thing in the world. There is a gift in her writing to be able to convince me to believe in it! You'll want to be sure to have a fan because even the small things will have you near to swooning.

And the faith that comes through and is lived out throughout the story is a bright spot, although it comes in the midst of so much hardship. God's plans and His timing and woven beautifully throughout the story with the characters who live out their faith. I loved how it was written into it.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the story and hope in book three that Imogene will have a "come to Jesus" moment for all of her naughtiness. And I'm talking about a grown woman by the way. lol I still have to go back to read book one, but don't feel like I missed out on anything by reading out of order.

About the Author:

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell's Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus. 

You can learn more about Pepper at her website http: // or connect with her on FB, IG, or Twitter

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