The Catch by Lisa Harris

There’s just something about reading the last book in a series. Am I right? The thrill of finding getting to THE END. But also, the disappointment of saying goodbye to characters you’ve grown to love. Sigh. It’s a bittersweet thing!

All these same sentiments applied when I received the last book in the US Marshals series by Lisa Harris. The Catch is the conclusion to Madison and Jonas’s story–and boy is it a thrilling ending! Keep reading to find my full review and a link to purchase your own copy.

More About the Book:

Everything hidden is eventually found

After a harrowing attempt on a judge’s life at the courthouse, Deputy US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are tasked with finding a missing woman and an endangered child in connection to the murder of the judge’s wife. What seems like a fairly straightforward case becomes hopelessly tangled when the marshals discover that the woman they are searching for is not who they think she is.

Madison and Jonas are forced into a race to find the woman and the child before the people who want her dead discover her location. And in a final showdown that could cost her everything, Madison will come face-to-face with the person who murdered her husband.

Purchase your copy here.

My Thoughts:

The Catch by Lisa Harris is the third and final book in the US Marshals series. I’ve read each of the books in this series and have loved the high-stakes suspense of the US Marshals. From the first book, when Madison and Jonas found themselves stranded by a plane crash, this series has been action-packed. But the story also deep personal issues of the characters, like Madison’s grief over losing her husband or Jonas’s hesitation to trust and move on. I felt like the romance was well written between the action. It didn’t feel rushed on awkward. And while the inspirational arc was not overbearing, the themes of trusting God and His sovereignty were consistent. 

I enjoyed this conclusion to the series. Searching for kidnap victims, hunting down hitmen, and solving cold case crimes are only a few of the obstacles Madison and Jonas have to face in this final installment. The action is heart-pounding, the danger spine-tingling, and the romance oh-so-sweet! This story will keep you turning pages until the conclusion. This book is for you if you enjoy romantic suspense, like Lynette Eason or Elizabeth Goddard!

I was given a copy of this title by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Happy reading, and God bless!

–Kristina

Turn to Me and a Giveaway!!

Welcome to the Turn to Me Blog Tour!

Turn to Me by Becky Wade is the third book in the Misty River Romance series. I have been blessed to be on the launch team for all three of the full-length novels, and I completely fell in love with the town of Misty River and its incredible inhabitants. If you’re looking for a series to make you swoon, challenge your faith, and make you snicker out loud, Misty River should be your next vacation destination!

Here’s More About the Book:

His promise will cost him far more than he imagined. Guilt has defined Luke Dempsey’s life, but it was self-destructiveness that landed him in prison. When his friend and fellow inmate lay dying shortly before Luke’s release, the older man revealed he left a string of clues for his daughter, Finley, that will lead her to the treasure he’s hidden. Worried that she won’t be the only one pursuing the treasure, he gains Luke’s promise to protect her until the end of her search. Spunky and idealistic, Finley Sutherland is the owner of an animal rescue center and a defender of lost causes. She accepts Luke’s help on the treasure hunt while secretly planning to help him in return–by coaxing him to embrace the forgiveness he’s long denied himself. As they draw closer to the final clue, their reasons for resisting each other begin to crumble, and Luke realizes his promise will push him to the limit in more ways than one. He’ll do his best to shield Finley from unseen threats, but who’s going to shield him from losing his heart.

Purchase your copy here.


My Review

Turn to Me is the third and final installment of Becky Wade’s Misty River Romance series. Having devoured the other books in the series, I was looking forward to getting to know the elusive and reclusive member of the Miracle Five, Luke Dempsey. He’s a dark, broody man–one who harbors heaps of guilt and shame. And yet, he makes a perfect hero–handsome, loyal, and fiercely protective. His bad-boy persona is merely a cover for his soft heart.

In this opposites-attract story, Finley is the perfect person to get under Luke’s skin. Becky does a fabulous job (like usual) of having witty, meaningful, and genuine dialogue. I don’t know how many times I was asked to explain why I was giggling while looking at my phone. It wasn’t because of some cat video–it was the banter between Finley and Luke. I kept cheering on The Restoration of Luke so I could witness his dead-pan one-word responses to her flowery invitations of change.

I was so glad Turn to Me also gave Ben another chance at love. I love Ben (who doesn’t?), but I will confess that my excitement in reading more of his story meant more time with his mom Cece. She. Is. The. Best. Painfully honest and bold in her extension of love to others, especially those who need it most. I’d love to sit at her dining room table one day!

While the chemistry between Finley and Luke kept me smiling through most of the story, like most of Becky’s books, this story had some hard issues to work through. Guilt. Shame. Grief. Redemption. Goodness, the tears flowed as Luke fought hard against the truth. I hope we all have a Finley in our life who sees us the way our Creator does, loves us through the pain, and points us to the Truth. The inspirational arc of this book was so powerful and challenging, it made the story infinitely more meaningful outside its pages.

Overall, Turn to Me was a fabulous story. Contemporary romance fans, like those of Courtney Walsh, will enjoy this novel (and the entire series!) I highly recommend this book to any Christian fiction fan.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions are my own.


Q & A with Becky Wade

Q: Turn to Me is a contemporary romance novel, but it also has a mystery thread. What challenges did you experience when incorporating both of these elements into your story?

A: Balance was a challenge! I consider myself a romance writer first and foremost. So, on one hand, I didn’t want the mystery to overshadow the love story. On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoy driving the plot of my stories forward with a big story question. In Turn to Me the story question is, “What’s waiting at the end of the treasure hunt?” I ended up using that question as the tie that binds Finley and Luke together long enough for them to fall in love.

Q: Through the experiences of your male protagonist, Luke Dempsey, this story engages themes of redemption and letting go of what is behind us. Can you elaborate on that?

Luke’s younger brother died when he was fourteen and, ever since, he’s blamed himself. His guilt and grief set him on a path of rebellious self-destruction until, eventually, he landed in prison. When Turn to Me begins, he’s been out of prison for months and he’s determined to make a new, clean start. The events of the novel give him both an opportunity to meet the God of redemption and to release the guilt that has strangled him for so long.

Get to know more about Becky and the characters from Turn to Me at her Author Chat Party on Facebook May 10th!

RSVP using this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/527590135564795

The party will take place on Becky’s Facebook page.


Sneak Peek into Turn to Me:

She considered Luke, lining up what she saw before her with what she knew of his past.

Once upon a time, a group of middle school kids had survived more than a week buried in the rubble of an earthquake that had struck while they were on a mission trip in South America. They’d become known as the Miracle Five, and they were Misty River’s best-known and best-loved sons and daughters.

Luke was one of the five.

Almost twenty years had come and gone since that fateful earthquake. The former middle school kids were all adults now, and Luke remained the most reclusive of the five. After their rescue, he’d immediately retreated from the spotlight and never consented to interviews or public appearances.

The other four had gone on to become successful. Natasha MacKenzie, an attorney and mother. Genevieve Woodward, Natasha’s sister, a Bible study author. Ben Coleman, high school teacher. Sebastian Grant, pediatric heart surgeon.

The day Luke had turned eighteen, he’d dropped out of high school and left home. He’d worked for a chop shop in Atlanta until he’d been arrested for stealing a car and sent to prison.

It didn’t take much intuition to discern why Luke had gone off the rails while the other four were living constructive lives. The earthquake had resulted in two thousand fatalities, but only one Misty River resident had died.

His name had been Ethan. He’d been twelve years old. And he was Luke’s younger brother.

Finley had moved to this town after college, so she’d had no interaction with Luke when he was young. But everyone who’d known him then agreed that he’d been a golden boy before his brother’s death. The natural disaster had ripped from Luke both his brother and his promising future.

And now she was struggling to absorb the realization that this injured, complicated, infamous man knew about her birthday treasure hunt. Even though Luke was hard as slate, he was also, apparently, compassionate enough to grant her father’s dying wish. Which was that Luke . . . protect her?

From what?

She’d been envisioning the hunt as a very personal journey between herself and her father. Perfectly safe, just like all the prior hunts. Resistance was pushing upward inside her at the idea of embarking on this hunt with a stranger.

Gradually, though, an opposing force matched and then surpassed her resistance.

The tug to rehabilitate.

Luke Dempsey was a tragic and thorny case. Many would say he was a lost cause.

Thing was, she had a soft spot for lost causes. It ran contrary to her nature to abandon any creature to its lostness. Over the years, she’d come face to face with numerous ferocious animals. Dogs who’d been beaten. Feral cats. Unbroken horses. There’d even been the memorable case of one very angry raccoon.

So many times she’d sensed, at the deepest level, that God had entrusted a certain wounded creature to her care.

That’s exactly how she felt now. About Luke.

Not a single one of her past “lost causes” had remained a lost cause. No one—no animal or person on earth—was beyond redemption. If she and Luke worked together here at Furry Tails and on her treasure hunt, she’d have double the opportunity to assist in the Restoration of Luke.


Thanks for stopping by the blog today! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Becky Wade’s newest release, Turn to Me. Becky is running a fabulous giveaway to celebrate the launch of the book. You can enter on Becky’s website here.

Don’t forget to stop by the other blog stops to read more Q&A’s, excerpts, playlists and more!

Happy reading and God bless,

Kristina


Blog Tour Stops

May 5th

Inside The Wong Mind

May 6th

Blessed & Bookish

May 7th

Books and Everyday Life

May 8th

Simply Susan

May 10th

Melmo2610 A Bookish Blog

May 12th

Becky’s Bookshelves

May 14th

Holly’s Book Corner

May 15th

Christian Chick’s Thoughts

May 16th

Remembrancy

May 18th

The Green Mockingbird

May 19th

Batya’s Bits

May 20th

Life of Literature

May 21st

Britt Reads Fiction

May 22nd

Amy Watson Author

May 23rd

Beauty In The Binding

May 24th

Reviews By Erin

May 25th

My Book A Day

The Spark of Love Book Review

Do you enjoy reading a book series or do you prefer stand-alone novels? I admit I enjoy a little bit of both. I love a fantastic stand alone novel, but I really enjoy being able to revisit characters and settings that I love.

The Mesquite Springs series by Amanda Cabot is one of those series I have enjoyed visiting over and over again!

Keep reading to find out more about Alexandra and Gabe’s story, The Spark of Love, and find my full review. A purchase link is also provided below!

More About the Book:

She’s determined to start a new life in the West . . . if only the old one would leave her alone

When a spurned suitor threatens her, heiress Alexandra Tarkington flees New York for Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country, where her father is building a hotel. But the happy reunion she envisions is not to be, as her father insists she return to New York. Instead, Alexandra carves out a niche for herself in town, teaching schoolchildren to paint and enjoying the company of Gabe Seymour, a delightful man she met on the stagecoach.

But all is not as it seems. Two men, each with his own agenda, have followed her to Mesquite Springs. And Gabe, an investigator, is searching for proof that her father is a swindler.

With so much to lose–and hide from one another–Alexandra and Gabe will have to come together if they are ever to discover whether the sparks they’ve felt from the beginning can kindle the fire of true love.

Purchase your copy here.

My Thoughts:

The Spark of Love by Amanda Cabot is the third and final book in the Mesquite Springs series. Like the other books in the series, this story is full of danger, mystery, sweet romance, and a beautiful historic landscape.
Throughout this series, I have fallen in love with Mesquite Springs, Texas. It is a charming small town with generous and compassionate characters who will steal your heart.
I loved Alexandra from the very beginning for her bravery and intelligence. And the more I got to know her loving heart, the more I kept cheering her on through all her troubles.
Gabe was an excellent hero. Handsome, no doubt. But the story highlighted how perfect he was in what really counts–honor, compassion, love, and honesty. I loved how he could see Alexandra for the amazing woman she was.
Overall, this was an exciting story that kept my attention chapter after chapter. I’m sorry to not be able to visit Mesquite Springs again, but I am looking forward to the author’s next series.
I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

I hope you get a chance to visit Mesquite Springs for yourself!

Happy reading and God bless,

Kristina

Blog Blitz: Battle Prayers and a Giveaway

Welcome to the Blog Blitz for Battle Prayers by Michael Klassen and Thomas Freiling, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

As we approach the Easter season, this book full of scripture-based prayers would be a perfect way to prepare your heart for Resurrection Sunday. It would also make an excellent gift for any brother or sister in Christ. Keep reading to find out more about Battle Prayers and read an excerpt of one of the prayers below. Scroll to the very bottom to enter a giveaway for your chance to win a copy of Battle Prayers!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Battle Prayers

Author: Michael Klassen and Thomas Freiling

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: Feb 15, 2022

Genre: Christian, Spiritual Growth, Prayer

Do the unending obstacles you face make you feel like you’re in a constant spiritual battle? Arm yourself with 100 prayers that will uplift and encourage you during the difficult moments of life.

It can be difficult to find the right words when you’re praying through hard times. In Battle Prayers, find a classic model to lift your prayers to God, not only for yourself, but others.

Each prayer is woven together with Scripture, reminding you that the answers to your struggles can be found in God’s Word and by listening to Him. Battle Prayers:

1. Shows how the power of prayer can lead you to find lasting encouragement

2. Provides inspiration and theological accuracy

3. Offers prayers ideal for helping move the mountains that can sometimes stand in between us and God

Whether a gift or for yourself, this volume of 100 prayers features:

1. Specific Scriptures and cross-references to other prayers in the book for additional encouragement

2. First-person prayers addressed directly to God, ideal for reading aloud during morning, evening, or devotional prayer time

3. A helpful and encouraging Appendix: “The 10 Essential Qualities of an Effective Battle Prayer”

Prayer doesn’t stop with the “Amen,” and is merely the beginning of deeper, daily, more meaningful communication with our Creator. Find peace in stress, healing for broken relationships, and protection for your loved ones in this essential volume of prayers.

PURCHASE LINKS*:Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | ChristianBook | BookBub


EXCERPT

YEARNING FOR MORE OF JESUS

My soul yearns, even faints,

for the courts of the LORD; 

my heart and my flesh cry out 

for the living God.

(Ps. 84:2 NIV)

Dearest Jesus, I bring before You what is both a request and a gift.

A request, because it benefits me. A gift, because it pleases You.

My heart’s desire is for more of You. I readily confess that my ceaseless wanderings have proven that, apart from Your presence, I am spiritually bankrupt. Only in You have I found eternal life and truth (John 14:6). Only in You have I found the way to the Father’s heart (John 14:6), and apart from You I have no good thing (Ps. 16:2).

You were the one whom the psalmist longed for:

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart and my

portion forever.

(Ps. 73:25–26 NIV)

Jesus, I desire only You because you are the strength of my heart and everything I will ever need— forever. My soul cries out for more of You, because only in You do I find true purpose and meaning. You alone fit perfectly the God- shaped hole I so often try to fill with worldly and selfish pursuits.

So, I echo John the Baptist’s words: May You increase, and I decrease (John 3:30). May You grow in me as I become less. And as I become less, live Your life through me. Only in that kind of life am I truly pleasing in Your sight.

Taken from “Battle Prayers” by Michael Klassen and Thomas Freiling. © 2022 Michael Klassen and Thomas Freiling. Derived from material previously published in Prayers to Move Your Mountains  

(ISBN 9780785286523, © 2000). Used with permission from Thomas Nelson. Thomasnelson.com.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a print copy of Battle Prayers!

Battle Prayers JustRead Blog Blitz

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight March 23, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on March 30, 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.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


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

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

The Lady of Galway Manor

There are a lot of heavy things going on in this world today. Chaos abounds, and it doesn’t take long to get discouraged. And while the troubles of the world are important, sometimes we just need a respite from the real world. An escape. And besides my Bible studies, my escape often comes in the form of stories.

And The Lady of Galway Manor by Jennifer Deibel was the PERFECT escape to the beautiful Emerland Isle. She did such a fantastic job of introducing the reader to the island, its people, and their unique culture. Now, I want a real-life escape!

Keep reading to find out more about the book (including a purchase link) and see my full review.

About the Book

In 1920, Annabeth De Lacy’s father is appointed landlord of Galway Parish in Ireland. Bored without the trappings and finery of the British Court, Annabeth convinces her father to arrange an apprenticeship for her with the Jennings family–descendants of the creator of the famed Claddagh ring.

Stephen Jennings longs to do anything other than make a career in his family’s jewelry shop. The past has taught him to no longer believe in love and the “lies” the Claddagh ring supposedly promises. How can he peddle what he now finds offensive?

The war for Irish independence gains strength, and the De Lacy family is caught in the crossfire. As events take a life-threatening turn, Annabeth and Stephen will discover that the bonds of friendship, love, and loyalty can only be made stronger when put through the refiner’s fire.

Purchase your copy here.

My Thoughts

The Lady of Galway Manor by Jennifer Deibel is another beautiful experience in historical Ireland from this author. I’ve been anxiously anticipating this novel since reading her debut, A Dance in Donegal, and this newest release was just as impressive!

I loved seeing Ireland through Anna’s eyes, watching her reconcile the real Ireland and its unique people with what she’d been taught back in England. Her view of this part of the world was child-like in its innocence but wondrous in its recognition of the rare artistry, character, and pride of the Irish. I really felt like I was experiencing each new cultural insight with her. It made me feel as if I was a visitor to the island, too (and made me want to search for airline tickets!).

I loved how the history and traditions of the Claddagh were woven into major themes in this novel and how they shaped the spiritual thread in the story. Love. Loyalty. Friendship. All three wind themselves into Anna and Stephen’s story much like the Celtic knots that grace his jewelry. And Jennifer Deibel does such a fantastic job at slow-burn romance. I don’t know how many times people caught me smiling or giggling at these two and their slow transition from enemies to more.

And while Stephen made me want to smack the back of his head once or twice (I might have cheered when his father did once.) with his stubbornness, I still fell in love with his guarded heart and his loyalty to his family. 

Overall, this was an excellent story, one I will be recommending for a long time! Fans of historical fiction, especially stories set on the beautiful island of Ireland will enjoy this culturally rich novel full of tradition, beauty, and love.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Be sure to place this beautiful story on top of your TBR. It would be the perfect. St. Patrick’s Day read!

Happy reading and God bless!

–Kristina

What Happened at the Cross Blog Blitz


What Happened at the Cross JustRead Blog Blitz
Welcome to the Blog Blitz for What Happened at the Cross by Billy Graham, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

What Happened at the Cross

Title: What Happened at the Cross
Author: Billy Graham
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: November 23, 2021
Genre: Christian, Spiritual Growth, Easter

The cross of Christ towers over 2,000 years of history. What happened on that hill called Calvary? In this compilation of his life’s work, Billy Graham explains what Jesus accomplished on the day of his death, the meaning of his sacrifice, where he is now, the price of victory, and how to live with hope.

It’s almost impossible to find one of Billy Graham’s sermons that didn’t focus on the incredible events that happened over 2,000 years ago on Mount Calvary, and that’s because he centered his life and ministry around its message. In this special collection of the beloved evangelist’s inspiring messages on the cross, discover simple yet profound truths that will change your life.

This one-of-a-kind message includes:

• An exclusive foreword from Franklin Graham and afterword by Will Graham

• More than 40 bonus pages of Scripture references pointing readers to what God’s Word says about the cross and salvation

• The Steps of Peace salvation plan from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association

• Seven chapters of rich content explaining what happened at the cross; the price of victory; the meaning of the cross; the king’s eternity, and how to live life with hope

Perfect for Christians seeking spiritual encouragement and a better understanding of the Gospel’s message, What Happened at the Cross will help you better understand the meaning of the cross and equip you to proclaim the gospel in your Church, your community, and beyond.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | ChristianBook | BookBub


EXCERPT

James Hastings, a Scottish minister and biblical scholar in the early twentieth century, told an intriguing story about a German artist named Sternberg. As a little gypsy girl was sitting for a portrait in his studio, she noticed on the wall a half-finished portrait of Christ on the cross. The girl asked who it was. When told it was Jesus, she responded that He must have been a very wicked Man to have been nailed to a cross. The painter told her that, on the contrary, “Christ was the best man who ever lived, and He died on the cross that others might live.” Then the little girl looked at him with such innocence and asked, “Did He die for you?” The question haunted Sternberg’s conscience day and night, for though he knew the truth about Christ, he had not accepted Him as his Savior. He found he was no longer satisfied with life until he answered the question that you must also answer: Did He die for you? If so, then you must die to self and find life anew in the resurrected Savior.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Billy Graham, world-renowned preacher, evangelist, and author, delivered the gospel message to more people face-to-face than anyone in history and ministered on every continent of the world in more than 185 countries. Millions have read his inspirational classics, including Angels, Peace with God, The Holy Spirit, Hope for the Troubled Heart, How to Be Born Again, The Journey, Nearing Home, and The Reason for My Hope.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a copy of What Happened at the Cross.

What Happened at the Cross JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight March 8, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on March 15, 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.

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

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.


Sunrise by Susan May Warren

If you’re a book lover, you likely have a TBR stack a mile high, like me. And in that stack are several authors I desperately want to read, but can’t seem to find the time in between all the regular books I read for review. So, when I had the opportunity to read the first book in Susan May Warren’s Sky King Ranch series, Sunrise, through the Revell Blogger program, I jumped at the opportunity! Since I started reading more romantic suspense, I’ve been wanting to try her books, and I can tell you, I’m completely addicted now!

Sunrise is a fantastic start to the series, and I’m already counting down the days until the next book releases! (It’s already available for pre-order from Baker Book House, by the way.)

Keep reading to find my full review and clickable links to purchase your own copy!

About the Book

Coming home was never the plan

After a terrible family fight, pilot Dodge Kingston left home to join the Air Force. A decade later, he’s headed back to the destiny that awaits him as heir to Sky King Ranch. But that’s not all that’s waiting for him at home.

Echo Yazzie is a true Alaskan woman–a homesteader, dogsledder, and research guide for the DNR. After her childhood best friend and former flame, Dodge, fled Denali, she settled into life on the Alaskan range. She’s made her peace with being left behind–by her mother and by Dodge. And she’s strong enough to live without them.

When one of Echo’s fellow researchers goes missing, Echo sets out to find her, despite a blizzard, a rogue grizzly haunting the woods, and the biting cold. What she doesn’t know is that there are more than just the regular dangers of the Alaskan forests stalking her . . .

As Dodge sets out to find Echo, he can’t ignore the feelings he still has for her. But will he be able to find her in time? And if he does, is there still room for him in her heart?

You can get your copy of Sunrise here.

Get a great pre-order deal on the SECOND book in the series, Sunburst, here.

My Thoughts

Sigh. I’ve got a serious book hangover from reading Sunrise by Susan May Warren. This is the first book in the Sky King Ranch series, and, wow, it had me hooked from the first page. The setting is spectacular. Warren does an excellent job of painting the majestic and wild landscape of the Alaskan range while also knitting together an intricate and closely-woven, small community. I stood in awe beside the characters as they marveled at the Aurora Borealis and felt the rush and power of the dogs as they cut the sled through the snow. It was a fantastic trip to the wilderness!

And the characters…I fell hard for Dodge and Echo’s story. And while this is definitely a suspense story with turn-the-pages-as-fast-as-you-can action, it is also a beautiful and touching love story. I don’t want to spoil a single minute of their time together, but I will say this is one of those books where the characters stay close to mind whether the book is open or not.

Overall, I enjoyed every aspect of this story. I have gushed about it to whoever I can get to listen. It’s fabulous. It’s action-packed. It’s beautiful. It’s heartfelt. And it’s only the beginning!! I can’t wait for the next book to release. Fans of romantic suspense will want this book on their shelves!!

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 85 novels with more than 1 million books sold, including the Global Search and Rescue and the Montana Rescue series, as well as Sunrise. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan makes her home in Minnesota. Find her online at http://www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook @SusanMayWarrenFiction, and on Twitter @SusanMayWarren. 

I hope you all enjoy this story as much as I did. It’s an excellent read!

Happy reading and God bless,

Kristina

Blog Blitz: The Siren of Sussex

Hello, all! I hope you are settling into the new year. Have you made any bookish goals? Do you have a list for your TBR? I was blessed to be asked to read and review several great books for the month of January. One I am excited to share with you today is The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews. A special thank-you to the publisher, Berkley, for my copy of this story.

About the Book:

Releases January 11th, 2022

USA Today bestselling historical romance writer Mimi Matthews makes her Berkley debut with a boldly feminist tale about a daring equestrienne in her quest for independence just as the birth of haute couture takes the echelons of Victorian society by storm.

Matthews’ novel is inspired by the real-life Pretty Horsebreakers, a scandalous group of equestriennes and infamous courtesans at the forefront of fashion trends in Victorian London who defied the rules of polite society, and Charles Worth, the father of haute couture. THE SIREN OF SUSSEX (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; January 11, 2022) introduces Evelyn Maltravers, an incurable bluestocking determined to make her first and only season in London a roaring success.

Evelyn Maltravers is not exactly the woman who comes to mind when picturing a distinguished lady of the ton. More suited to riding than dancing, and much more opinionated than a young lady ought to be, her chances of securing a successful match have always been slim. But after her eldest sister is embroiled in scandal, that is exactly what she must do. Freshly arrived in London, Evelyn has one season to secure a husband and ensure both her own future and that of her four younger sisters. While Evelyn knows she will never dazzle the ton in a ballroom, there is one place where she has the advantage over all the ladies of polite society—on horseback in Rotten Row. But if she is to rival the alluring beauty of the Pretty Horsebreakers, she will need a tailor unafraid to take risks to make her the most fashionable equestrienne of the ton.

Evelyn turns to half-Indian dressmaker Ahmad Malik, who has a unique talent for bringing out his clients’ best features. Despite the inherent barriers he faces to becoming part of high society, Ahmad is working toward owning his own shop by designing the eye-catching habits of the Pretty Horsebreakers. Evelyn is convinced that Ahmad is the only person who can make her debut at Rotten Row a success. Ahmad knows that Evelyn, a fierce and confident woman on horseback, is the perfect muse, and an alluring subject to display his designs to the ton, if only he can set aside the intense attraction he feels for her.

With both their futures at stake, Ahmad will have to turn the diamond in the rough into the diamond of the season—while they both strive not to lose their hearts in the process.

Mimi Matthews delivers an enthralling romance while exploring themes of race, class, and the lingering effects of British colonialism. Drawing from her own Indian heritage and experience as an avid horse rider, Matthews brings to life Ahmad and Evelyn, two outsiders who change the course of Victorian society.

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My Review

The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews is an exhilarating ride through a Victorian London social season from a unique and refreshing perspective. The story of Evelyn Maltravers and her daring, unconventional approach to finding a husband immediately stole my attention. I loved her boldness and her strength, despite her many self-perceived weaknesses.

Ahmad Malik is incredibly interesting in so, so many ways. Handsome, talented, and an exquisite gentleman, he is a dark and brooding hero. I LOVED learning more about the fashion of the time, especially the riding habits. And it was interesting learning about his heritage and the struggles he (and so many others) faced.

Together, Evelyn and Ahmad form a daring, innovative partnership. The energy between them was electrifying, their friendship genuine, and their faith in each other encouraging. I adored them together and cheered them on as they reached for their greatest desires.

Overall, I loved this story. I was addicted to each page and was thrilled with the unique characters. They were characters that lived on the fringe of fashionable society or society in general but still had the courage to dream big dreams and chase them with all their hearts.

Fans of historical fiction/historical romance, especially Victorian-era, will enjoy this story. 

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Photo credit: Berkley Jove (TR)

USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Library JournalPublishers WeeklyBooklist, and Kirkus, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, and two Siamese cats. Learn more online at mimimatthews.com.

Excerpt from The Siren of Sussex:

A surge of disappointment dimmed Evelyn’s smile. It occurred to her, quite suddenly, how little she knew about him.

Of course, he must have a sweetheart. Heaven’s sake, he was probably married! Just because he didn’t wear a wedding band didn’t mean he didn’t have a wife—and probably several children besides. It was none of her affair.

She turned back to the shelves. “In that case . . . What about a romance?”

“No romances,” he said darkly.

“No?” Was he one of those stuffy men who disapproved of romance novels? Many did. Even so, she’d expected better of him. A man who designed clothing so beautifully shouldn’t be averse to sentiment. “What about this one, then? Silas Marner. It only came out last year.”

Mr. Malik drew it from the shelf. It was bound in brown cloth with gilt lettering on the spine. “What’s it about?”

“An individual and his place in society. The hero of the story is a weaver. A man with no family to speak of, who keeps himself apart from his community.”

“A bit too close to home.” He returned the book to the shelf. “She needs something bright. Something to boost her spirits.”

Evelyn wondered why. Was she ill? Melancholic? Had she had some sort of disappointment? “In that case”—she reached for a Jane Austen novel—“I recommend this one.”

He took it from her, giving the title a dubious glance. “Northanger Abbey.”

“It’s Miss Austen’s satire of a Gothic novel. A vastly entertaining read. It should take her mind off whatever it is that’s troubling her.”

Mr. Malik thumbed through the pages. His expression was doubtful.

“I confess,” she said “there is a romance in the story, but it’s witty rather than mawkish. I can’t imagine she won’t enjoy it.”

“It’s still a romance.”

A cough sounded nearby, along with the thump of books being shoved back on a shelf. It was a reminder that she and Mr. Malik weren’t alone. Far from it. The shop seemed to be growing busier.

Evelyn sunk her voice. “What does she have against romance?”

“Nothing,” he replied, his tone equally low. “I just don’t want her to get any ideas.”

“Ideas about what?”

“About happily-ever-afters.”

The wide swell of Evelyn’s skirts brushed his leg. She belatedly realized that she’d drawn closer to him. That their conversation had taken on an air of intimacy. “You object to them?”

“I don’t believe in fairy tales,” he said.

She gave him an amused look. “Is that what they are?”

“In my experience.”

“How illuminating.”

“Is it?” He turned another page.

“Indeed. You’re a cynic, Mr. Malik. I wouldn’t have thought it.”

“I’m a realist.”

“Happily-ever-afters are real. For some people, at least. And even if they weren’t . . . A little romance never hurt anyone.”

His eyes lifted to hers. There was an expression in them that was hard to read. “You think not?”

Butterflies unfurled their wings in her stomach. The same feeling she’d had when she’d first touched his hand. A fluttering, breathless sensation. As if her corset had been laced too tightly. “No,” she said. And then she thought of Fenny. “Not in a novel, anyway.”

His mouth curled into the barest hint of a smile.

Once again, she had the unsettling sensation that he could read her mind. She took a step back from him. “Forgive me, but I mustn’t linger. My maid is waiting for me.”

He closed the book, clutching it in his hand. “Thank you for your help.”

“It was my pleasure. I hope your . . .” Wife? Sweetheart? “I hope she enjoys the story.”

“My cousin.”

Evelyn nearly stumbled in the process of taking another step backward. “I beg your pardon?”

“The book is for my cousin.”

His words penetrated before she could school her features. She was certain an expression of relief passed over her face.

She was equally certain that he saw it.

Heaven only knew what he must think.

“Your cousin. Well, that’s . . . that’s splendid.” Splendid? Evelyn’s eyes closed against a swell of embarrassment. She was quite ready to disappear into a hole in the earth. She took another step back. “Please convey my regards.”

His smile broadened. “I shall.”

From THE SIREN OF SUSSEX published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Mimi Matthews.

This little happenstance meeting in a book shop (so romantic!) was a favorite scene. It was fun to see Evelyn thrown off balance a bit since she is usually so sure of herself. I hope you enjoy reading The Siren of Sussex as much as I did. Mimi Matthews has become a Victorian-era favorite!

Happy reading and God bless,

Kristina

The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone Takeover Tour and Giveaway!

Welcome to the Takeover Tour for The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone by David James Warren, hosted byJustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOKS

Titles: Cast the First Stone, No Unturned Stone, Sticks and Stone, Set in Stone, Blood from a Stone, Heart of Stone

Series: The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone #1-6

Author: David James Warren

Publisher: TriStone Media

Release Date: 2021

Genre: Time Travel Detective Series

Cast the First Stone
No Unturned Stone
Sticks and Stone
Set In Stone
Blood from a Stone
Heart of Stone

Strap in for the mild-bending, time travel thrill ride of the True Lies of Rembrandt Stone, by author David James Warren (the pseudonym of authors Susan May Warren, James L. Rubart, and David C. Warren).

It started with the chance to go back and fix the past–solve the one case that always haunted him. It ended in former Detective Rembrandt Stone finding himself tangled in time, chasing a serial killer across multiple timelines, searching for an answer that will save the people he loves. He’ll discover himself in a way he never thought possible…and if he plays the game right, find an ending that is beyond his wildest dreams.

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


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

James L. Rubart, Susan May Warren, David Curtis Warren

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He’s the best-selling, Christy Hall of Fame author of ten novels and loves to send readers on mind-bending journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He’s dad to the two most outstanding sons on the planet and lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at http://jameslrubart.com/

CONNECT WITH JAMES: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling, Christy and RITA award–winning author of more than eighty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. The mother of four grown children, and married to her real-life hero for over 30 years, she loves traveling and telling stories about life, adventure, and faith.

For exciting updates on her new releases, previous books, and more, visit her website at www.susanmaywarren.com.

CONNECT WITH SUSAN: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

David Curtis Warren is making his literary debut in these novels, and he’s never been more excited. He looks forward to creating more riveting stories with Susie and Jim, as well as on his own. He’s grateful for his co-writers, family, and faith, buoying him during the pandemic of 2020, and this writing and publishing process.

CONNECT WITH DAVID: Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone (6 books, print US only, ebook available internationally)

(1) winner will receive The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone audiobook set (6 audiobooks)

Rembrandt Stone 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 December 13, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on December 20, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. print US only, international ebook. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


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

JustRead Publicity Tours

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Lost in the Darkness & a Giveaway

Welcome to the Takeover Tour for Lost in Darkness by Michelle Griep, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Title: Lost in Darkness

Series: Of Monsters and Men

Author: Michelle Griep

Publisher: Barbour Books

Release Date: November 1, 2021

Genre: Christian Gothic Romance / Historical Suspense

Even if there be monsters, there is none so fierce as that which resides in man’s own heart.

Enchanting Regency-Era Gothic Romance Intertwined with Inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein  

Travel writer Amelia Balfour’s dream of touring Egypt is halted when she receives news of a revolutionary new surgery for her grotesquely disfigured brother. This could change everything, and it does. . .in the worst possible way.

Surgeon Graham Lambert has suspicions about the doctor he’s gone into practice with, but he can’t stop him from operating on Amelia’s brother. Will he be too late to prevent the man’s death? Or to reveal his true feelings for Amelia before she sails to Cairo?

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle Griep

Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. And guess what? She loves to hear from readers! Feel free to drop her a note at michellegriep@gmail.com.

CONNECT WITH MICHELLE: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a print copy of Lost in Darkness and a $15 Amazon gift card!

Lost In Darkness JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight November 10, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on November 17, 2021. 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.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


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

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.