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.

Tacos for Two

Everyone loves tacos, am I right? If you’re looking for a light-hearted, rom-com of a book, then Tacos for Two by Betsy St. Amant will fulfill your wishes! And if you happen to love one of the classics, You Got Mail, then you’ll enjoy all the fun references and quotes to the movie.

So get ready to have your appetite enticed and your funny bone tickled when sparks start flying between Rory and Jude, also known online as Colormeturquoise and Strongerman99. Things are sure to get heated!

Thanks to Revell for my copy!

More About the Book

Rory Perez, a food truck owner who can’t cook, is struggling to keep the business she inherited from her aunt out of the red–and an upcoming contest during Modest’s annual food truck festival seems the best way to do it. The prize money could finally give her a solid financial footing and keep her cousin with special needs paid up at her beloved assisted living home. Then maybe Rory will have enough time to meet the man she’s been talking to via an anonymous online dating site.

Jude Strong is tired of being a puppet at his manipulative father’s law firm, and the food truck festival seems like the perfect opportunity to dive into his passion for cooking and finally call his life his own. But if he loses the contest, he’s back at the law firm for good. Failure is not an option.

Complications arise when Rory’s chef gets mono and she realizes she has to cook after all. Then Jude discovers that his stiffest competition is the same woman he’s been falling for online the past month.

Will these unlikely chefs sacrifice it all for the sake of love? Or will there only ever be tacos for one?

Get your copy here.

My Thoughts

Tacos for Two by Betsy St. Amant is a sweet, small-town romance with spicy twists and endearing references to You Got Mail. Although the story was more light-hearted most of the time and made me laugh out loud often, it still touched on deeper subjects such as grief, insecurity, and the frustrations of dealing with family.

I loved Rory’s (Colormeturquoise) quirkiness, her steller memorization of movie lines, and the love and loyalty she had for her family. Her hot/cold demeanor and easily roused temper put me off a little, but as I gained a full picture of her past through the story, I understood the reasons behind her insecurity and lack of trust. I still enjoyed her character and was so proud of her by the end.

Jude (Strongerman99) is an all-around good guy from an all-around not-good family. I admired his drive to break the cycle of negativity, manipulation, and dishonesty by forging his own path. It didn’t hurt that he’s an attractive, intelligent man with a big, soft heart. I loved watching him grow into himself as he found his own way.

Truthfully, all the other characters are fantastic as well. Independent. Vivid. Genuine. Rory has such a wonderful support group between Nicole, Hannah, and Grady. I loved that trio and felt they were a well of inspiration and wisdom. And man, I wish I had Hannah’s confidence and insight into the world around me. What a jewel!

Overall, I enjoyed this story. I got distracted by the hot/cold nature of Rory and Jude’s relationship but held out hope for Colormeturquoise and Strongerman99. This story is a clean/sweet light-hearted romance. Faith is mentioned in passing, but there is not a strong spiritual arc for the characters. Still, the story is entertaining and will make you crave tacos!

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

Happy Reading and God bless!

–Kristina

Since You’ve Been Gone by Tari Faris

Since You’ve Been Gone by Tari Faris is the third and final book in the Restoring Heritage series, and it is a gem! Fans of contemporary romance will love the small-town vibes, sparking romance, and though-provoking faith arcs in this story. Keep reading for more details and my full review!

Thank you to Revell books for my copy of this book.

About the Book

Leah Williams is back in the quaint town of Heritage, Michigan, and ready to try again to make her business a success. But blank slates are hard to come by, and a piece of her past is waiting for her there. Heir to the Heritage Fruits company, Jonathan Kensington is the guy who not only made Leah’s past difficult, he also seems determined to complicate her present as well.

Jon is trying to prove to the Heritage Fruits board that he, not his manipulative uncle, should be running the business. The board insists Jon find a new owner for the building that will house Leah’s business. To avoid forcing a buyout of Leah’s part of the building, Jon strikes a compromise with Leah, and the two go into business together. With her vision and his know-how, it might work. And Leah might realize he’s loved her since high school. If only he didn’t keep on shooting himself in the foot by boxing her out of important decisions.

Sparks fly in this romantic story of two people who must learn to trust both each other and the one who called them to this journey.

Get your copy here.

My Thoughts

Since You’ve Been Gone by Tari Farris is a charming, hometown contemporary romance. I loved the town of Heritage, Michigan! A small-town girl myself, I could appreciate the tight-knit group of Leah’s friends, the unique vibe of the downtown district, and the desire for the characters to make a difference in their hometown.

I loved watching Leah’s dream of opening her own business unfold. I loved her creativity and determination to keep her grandpa’s legacy present in the community. Her partnership with Jon was oh-so-much-fun with their flirty interactions and sparking attraction. It made the development of the MIM store really come to life. 

And Madison and Colby’s story? Eek! Colby’s loving and gentle manner had me swooning at the turn of every page. It is no surprise Madison didn’t stand a chance against his big, handsome heart. Madison’s story of redemption and Colby’s determination to show her God-like love was such a heart-warming story, and one I needed!

The struggles all the characters deal with from their pasts are heavy and heart-wrenching, but they are realistic and add such depth to the characters and their interactions together. And I loved how their community came together in faith and helped each other through difficult times.

Overall, I loved this Restoring Heritage novel from Tari Faris. I would highly recommend it to all Christian contemporary fiction fans. 

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

I hope you all have a chance to visit Heritage soon!

Happy reading and God bless,

Kristina

A Warrior’s Heart & GIVEAWAY

I was so excited to see this newest series, The Brides of Laurent, from Misty M. Beller. I’ve been a big fan of hers for awhile. She writes heart-stopping adventures through the West/Canadian West. And this book is no different! You are going to fall in love with the village of Laurent and its commander, Brielle. Keep scrolling to read more about Misty’s creation of this unique village.

Thank-you to Celebrate Lit and Bethany House for my copy of this story.

About the Book

Book: A Warrior’s Heart

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: August 31, 2021

Brielle Durand still feels haunted by the massacre that killed her mother a dozen years before. Vowing to never let it happen again, she’s risen to be the key defender for her people’s peace-loving French settlement living in hidden caves in the Canadian Rockies. When a foreigner wanders too near to their secret homes, she has no choice but to disarm and capture him. But now, what to do with this man who looks at her in a strange way and insists he can be trusted?

Hoping to escape past regrets, Evan MacManus ventured into the unknown, assigned to discover if the northern mountains contain an explosive mineral that might help America win the War of 1812. Despite being taken prisoner, Evan is determined to complete his mission. But when that assignment becomes at odds with his growing appreciation of the villagers and Brielle, does he follow through on the promise he’s made to his government or take a risk on the path his heart is leading him down? Either choice will cause harm to someone.

Brielle and Evan must reconcile the warring in their hearts, if they’ve any hope to find the peace the seek.

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

A Warrior’s Heart by Misty M. Beller is the first book in the Brides of Laurent series. I have always enjoyed Misty’s books for the gorgeous Western setting and epic adventures across mountain ranges. This book is a little different in that it takes place in one location, but what a beautiful place to stay for this story!

I loved learning about the unique village of Laurent and the strong and innovative people who lived there. It was fascinating to get a close-up look at their way of life. How they taught several languages to their children, the French-inspired food, and how they literally carved a way of life into the heart of a mountain.

I loved strong heroines, and the author is great at writing women warriors. I loved how Brielle was a leader, respected among all the villagers–including men. But I also loved how she was still a woman with vulnerabilities all her own. It didn’t take long for me to admire her as well.

I loved Evan. I loved his tenacity, his loyalty, and his big, passionate heart. He has all the physical attributes of a typical handsome hero, but it is pride and affection for Brielle and her strong role in the community that really won me over.

Overall, I loved this story. It had fantastic adventure, history, and (of course!) romance. Any fan of Beller’s will enjoy this new series. And any Christian historical fiction fans will love it, too!

I was given a copy of this book by Celebrate Lit with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and children now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

More from Misty

A secret village living in hidden caves for a century…

One of the fun things about being a writer is letting your imagine run away with itself at times. In general, I’ve never considered myself a creative person. Not like my grandmother, who’s an amazing artist and decorator. She can look at something plain and normal and, with a little paint, create something truly beautiful.

But little by little, I’ve finally learned that just because I don’t feel creative like she is, I still have an imagination that can come up with intriguing ideas.

For example, I was listening to a historical podcast a few years ago that talked about the Vikings and the female warriors who would sometimes gain fame among them. As the hosts talked about the first Viking raids to North America, I started thinking… “What if one of those groups went farther west than any of us thought? What if they found the Rocky Mountains and lived there in a hidden community for centuries?” The thought took hold, and little by little, the idea for the Brides of Laurent series came to life.

I eventually changed the village to be a French settlement named Laurent. The village’s primary warrior was a woman named Brielle Durand, who’d worked hard to win her place as Le Commandant, leader of the Guards and Hunters. I love Brielle’s strength and wit, but also how real her personal struggles became as I wrote her character.

Add in a mountain man spy working for the United States government, and you have the secret for a romance with sparks to light up the mountain sky!

I pray you love A Warrior’s Heart, the first book in this new series. And keep an eye on some of the other characters in the book who might get their own stories soon!

Blessings!

Misty

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 30

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 30

An Author’s Take, September 30

Remembrancy, October 1

Bigreadersite, October 1

lakesidelivingsite, October 2

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 2

Joanna Bair, October 2

Inklings and notions, October 3

To Everything There Is A Season, October 3

Reviewingbooksplusmore, October 3

Wishful Endings, October 4

For Him and My Family, October 4

Mary Hake, October 4

deb’s Book Review, October 5

Life of Literature, October 5

Betti Mace, October 6

Blossoms and Blessings, October 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 6

Blessed & Bookish, October 7

Connie’s History Classroom, October 7

For the Love of Literature, October 8

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 8

Connect in Fiction, October 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 9

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 10

Through the Fire Blogs, October 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 10

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 11

Simple Harvest Reads, October 11 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, October 12

Pause for Tales, October 12

Live. Love. Read., October 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/11dc9/a-warrior-s-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway

I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did. Be sure to enter the giveaway. Good luck!

Happy reading and God bless,

Kristina

The Gold in These Hills

There’s always a risk when reading a new-to-you-author. But I love taking the plunge into a story and voice I’ve never heard before. I was excited for the opportunity to read The Gold in These Hills because I’d heard such wonderful buzz about the book, and because I hadn’t had the chance to read Joanne Bischof yet (A true tragedy!). I was blown away with the prose of her words and the way she turned ordinary people’s struggles into a beautiful, emotional, and encouraging journey.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson publishing for my copy.

About the Book:

One wild and mysterious ghost town. Two second-chance love stories. And the century-old legacy that binds them together. 

Upon arriving in Kenworthy, California, mail-order bride Juniper Cohen is met by the pounding of the gold mine, an untamable landscape, and her greatest surprise of all: the kind and loving man who awaits her. But when the mine proves empty of profit, and when Juniper’s husband, John, vanishes, Juniper is left to fend for herself and her young daughter in the dwindling boomtown that is now her home.

Juniper pens letters to her husband but fears she is waiting on a ghost. Perhaps worse, rumors abound claiming the man she loves could be an outlaw. Surviving in a ghost town requires trusting the kindness of a few remaining souls, including the one who can unlock the mystery of her husband’s disappearance—and Juniper’s survival depends not only upon these friends but also the strength of heart she must fight to maintain.

Present day. Trying to escape the heartache of his failed marriage, Johnny Sutherland throws himself into raising his children and restoring a hundred-year-old abandoned farmhouse in what was once known as Kenworthy, California, in the San Jacinto Mountains. While exploring its secrets he uncovers Juniper’s letters and is moved by the handwritten accounts that bear his name—and as a love story from the past touches his own world, Johnny might discover yet that hope and resilience go hand in hand.

Get your copy here.

My Thoughts:

The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof is the first novel I’ve read by this author, and I was completely blown away by the depth of this dual-time novel. I have come to love this genre, especially when the two timelines are intricately woven together. In this story, the characters are separated by a hundred years yet they are bound together not only by a historical farmhouse but by common hardships of heartache and rebirth. 

Much like Johnny, I was captivated by Juniper and her struggles in the early 1900s. I could feel her strength, her determination to persevere at all cost, and yet I could also see how fragile her strength was. The author did such a beautiful job of creating vibrant and layered characters and drawing you to them. The many characters in this story (past and present) stayed with me even when I’d set my e-reader down.

This story deals with heavy, difficult topics, and yet it is beautiful from start to finish in how it shows the characters facing each difficulty head-on and forcing themselves to adapt, to keep living beyond each moment of trial.

Any Christian historical fiction fan will enjoy this story because of the history woven in both timelines. And all fans of dual timeline novels will enjoy Juniper and Johnny’s story. Just be prepared to feel a full spectrum of emotions as Joann Bischof whisks you into the story.

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

In many ways, I cannot express how this book touched my heart, but I encourage you to read this beautiful story and feel the impact yourself. Thank-you, again, to Thomas Nelson for my copy.

Happy reading, and God bless!

Under the Texas Mistletoe

I know, I know. It’s barely autumn. And I have pumpkins sitting next to fall-colored mums on my porch. But Christmas is coming! And nothing will put you in the mood for the most wonderful time of the year like Karen Witemeyer’s newest release, Under the Texas Mistletoe.

Under the Texas Mistletoe is a collection of three novellas as well as Christmas themed devotionals, recipes and historical tidbits. As usual, the Christmas stories in this book are emotional, entertaining, and inspirational. If you enjoy her full length novels, you will adore these novellas.

This collection would make a perfect gift for the Christian book-nerd in your life, especially is they are historical fiction fans. The devotionals and recipes really add a special touch to this book. And the shorter novellas are easy to read in the busy holiday season. Don’t forget to add yourself to your gift list!

About the Book

Three Charming and Festive Holiday Novellas Spiced with Humor, Frontier Action, and Sweet Romance

In this 3-in-1 novella collection, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer presents the new story “A Texas Christmas Carol,” in which a town’s wealthy, Scrooge-like bachelor finds his world invaded by a woman set on earning his donation for helping the local poor, and by the penetrating questions of three mysterious visitors.

It also includes, for the first time in print, “An Archer Family Christmas.” When the Archer clan gathers for the Christmas holiday, an unexpected request for help leaves Cassandra Archer directly in the path of a dangerous outlaw. Desperate to protect the woman he loves, Jim Archer races to the rescue, only to find that Cassie’s life is not the only one in peril. It will take a Christmas miracle–and the entire Archer clan–to keep a second Archer Christmas from ending in disaster.

In previously published “Gift of the Heart,” a widow and her young daughter move to Hope Springs for a fresh start. But with no money to secure a home, Ruth must convince a wealthy resort owner to accept her heirloom brooch as collateral. Will the pin that brought love to three generations soften the heart of a wounded recluse and give Ruth a second chance at love as the holidays draw near?

Sprinkled throughout the collection, you’ll find a hope-filled Christmas devotion, Witemeyer holiday recipes, and fun facts about nineteenth-century Christmas celebrations! 

Get your copy here.

My Thoughts

Under the Texas Mistletoe is a collection of Christmas novellas from Karen Witemeyer. But it is also so much more! It has Christmas-themed devotionals as well as recipes tucked in between the stories, and those special details make this collection a perfect Christmas gift for the Christian fiction lovers in your life (including yourself!).

The first novella is a new, unpublished story titled “A Texas Christmas Carol.” This story was absolutely charming. From the play on the original character names to the genuine dose of Christmas spirit infused within its pages, Evan and Felicity’s story is a must-read this Christmas season. I laughed out loud. I had tears in my eyes. And at the end, the prick of the true Christmas Spirit gave me goosebumps in the redemptive qualities of Evan’s story. 

The second novella, “An Archer Family Christmas” has been on my TBR since it released in digital form last year. I love the Archer family from their full-length novels/novellas, so I was thrilled to be able to visit their family once again. In true Archer fashion, danger and threatens to steal their Christmas cheer, but the brothers join forces to fight against evil. I loved getting a deeper insight into Jim and Cassandra’s relationship and their struggles. It’s a beautiful story and one I highly recommend for all Archer brothers fans. My only complaint is that there can always be more Crockett. (wink)

And the third novella is a previously published novella “Gift of the Heart.” I read this story when it was first released and fell in love with Ruth and her daughter. It is a heartwarming story of second chances and thawing hearts. I loved every minute of it, and it is a perfect inclusion in this collection.

This collection is perfect for the holiday season as each story does not take long to read, and they bring such joy and Christmas spirit into your thoughts and heart. I would highly recommend Under the Texas Mistletoe for any fan of Christian historical fiction, and this collection is perfect for gift giving.

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 find all the Christmas cheer as you enjoy these stories!

Happy reading and God bless!

–Kristina

Under the Bayou Moon

I’m still buzzing about my latest read from Revell. It was SO good, folks!

Under the Bayou Moon by Valerie Fraser Luesse is an absolutely beautiful story. Set in a small bayou town in Louisiana after World War II, this story follows Miss Ellie Fields as she begins the journey of a lifetime to discover her true purpose in life. And friends, this is quite the heart-touching, soul-lifting story. Historical fiction fans should definitely read this book, but if you are looking for the perfect book to round out your summer reading, I’m here to tell you this is it!

Thank you to Revell for my copy of this story. Keep reading to find out more about the book and read my full review.

More About the Book

When Ellie Fields accepts a teaching job in a tiny Louisiana town deep in bayou country in 1949, she knows her life will change–but she could never imagine just how dramatically.

Though rightfully suspicious of outsiders, who have threatened both their language and their unique culture, most of the residents come to appreciate the young and idealistic schoolteacher, and she’s soon teaching just about everyone, despite opposition from both the school board and a politician with ulterior motives. Yet it’s the lessons Ellie herself will learn–from new friends, a captivating Cajun fisherman, and even a legendary white alligator haunting the bayou–that will make all the difference.

Take a step away from the familiar and enter the shadowy waters of bayou country for a story of risk, resilience, and romance.

Get your copy here,

My Thoughts

Under the Bayou Moon was an emotional, adventurous, and soul-lifting story of a woman searching for where she belongs. When Ellie Fields arrives in the tiny bayou country town of Bernadette, Louisiana, she instantly falls in love with the nature-filled country and unique and personable people. But is what she finds enough to anchor her heart to the bayou?

This was such a beautiful story. The author did a perfect job of painting the landscape of Bernadette, from the sights and sounds of the bayou, to the unique, tightly-knit community, and the spicy, delicious cuisine. Even the history of the area comes to life through the words of Ellie and Raphe’s story. I fell in love with the culture and people–their big hearts and rich history. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Bernadette!

Ellie (Juliet) is such a pearl. Her heart for others is so grand, but I loved her witty personality. The banter between her and Heywood had me laughing over and over. It is impossible to read Ellie’s story and not fall in love with her. You will be cheering for her to find her place and purpose in this world from the first chapter.

The love story between Ellie and Raphe is so deliciously slow, soft, and sweet. The author did a fantastic job of creating a deep, lasting connection. I just love these two together. Sigh.

Overall, I would highly recommend Under the Bayou Moon to any Christian historical fiction fans. It is a perfect read for those clinging to the last days of summer adventure.

I hope you enjoy this unique story! Happy reading and God bless!

–Kristina

The Heart of Splendid Lake

I know I’ve recommended a few beach reads this summer, but your hot, sandy days may be coming to a close. So sad! But I have the perfect read to round out your final summer days. It’s a perfect story to keep you company on a lazy summer afternoon!

Thank you to TNZ fiction for my copy of this book. It is such a sweet, hometown story!

More About the Book

Brianna is the youngest of the three Porter sisters and the only one who chose to stay in the small town of Splendid Lake, North Carolina. She followed in her father’s footsteps and became an expert boat mechanic, helping him run their small resort with cabin rentals, a convenience store, and a marina. 

When Brianna’s father unexpectedly dies, Brianna is steeped in grief and guilt—then left alone to clean up the mess. To make matters worse, a constant stream of real estate brokers begins marching through her property, offering to buy the family land. In particular, she keeps running into handsome real estate mogul Scott Gibson. 

As Brianna struggles to keep it all together, Scott finds his way into her heart. And as the two fight against their feelings, they just might find themselves forging a surprising and exciting new love at Splendid Lake.

Pre-order your copy here.

My Thoughts

The Heart of Splendid Lake by Amy Clipston is a contemporary romance set in a homey, small tourist town in North Carolina. Brianna Porter struggles to keep her family’s resort afloat after learning of the resort’s amassed debt. Add in a couple of life-altering family changes, and Brianna is overwhelmed. Scott Gibson is a seasoned real estate investor and enters Brianna’s life at the wrong time. But as Brianna gets more desperate to save her home, they are forced to worked together to find a solution. 

This is my first novel by Amy Clipston, and I loved visiting Splendid Lake with her characters. The town is so unique and charming, I’d love to be able to walk its downtown shop district or watch the boats on the lake. It’s the perfect setting for this story, and for a late-summer read!

Brianna goes through so much in the first few chapters of this book. I love her unique, tom-boy personality and her determination to do what’s best for her family. The relationship between her and Taylor, her long-time fiance, is often frustrating, but I know it’s part of her growth as a character. 

Her interactions with Scott, however, are flirty and fun. Scott’s genuine care for others–including Brianna and her family most of all–is incredibly endearing. I love how his humble, heart-breaking roots shaped him into a loving and hard-working man. He is 100 percent swoon-worthy. And his cars…double swoon!

The Heart of Splendid Lake is an emotional story, but one of healing and growth. I enjoyed watching Brie and Scott learn to trust each other and work together. There were times I cried and many more times I smiled or laughed at Scott and Brie’s banter. If you enjoy contemporary romance, then you’ll enjoy this late-summer read.

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 all enjoy this story as much as I did. And I CANNOT get over that cover. So many pretty colors!

Happy reading and God bless!

–Kristina

The Chase

Have you ever had a book series where you can’t wait for the next book to release? Thank goodness I didn’t have to wait very long for the second book in Lisa Harris’s U.S. Marshalls series, The Chase.

Romantic suspense is always a bit of a balancing act between the edge-of-your-seat action and the quieter moments of romance. I think the author does a fantastic job in this series of creating realistic, heart-pumping, keep-the-pages-turning action AND balancing it with character development and some slow-burn romance. If you’re a fan of slow burn…raise your hand! (Me!)

Keep reading to find out more about Madison and Jonas’s thrilling chase and to find my full review. Thank you to Revell books for my copy of this title.

More About the Book:

US Marshal Madison James may not be sure who shot her three months ago, but she does know one thing–it’s time to get back out into the field. When her partner, Jonas Quinn, receives a message that a federal warrant just came in on a man connected to a string of bank robberies, Madison jumps at the chance to get back to work. What she and Jonas find is a bank robbery in progress that’s gone wrong–and things are about to get worse.

For these bank robbers, it’s never been just about the money. It’s about taking risks and adrenaline rushes, and getting caught is not part of the game. When the suspects escape, Madison and Jonas must hunt them down and bring them to justice before someone else–someone close to them–gets hurt . . . or worse.

From Seattle to the San Juan Islands, bestselling author Lisa Harris takes you on a nonstop chase where feelings are complicated and failure isn’t an option.

Purchase your copy here.

My Thoughts:

The Chase by Lisa Harris is the second book in her U.S. Marshalls series, and it is fantastic! I enjoyed the first book in the series, The Escape, but I loved the thrill of the chase even more in this story. It was high-stakes and action-packed from the very beginning.

I loved the investigation into the bank robbers and their crimes. Between all the detective work and profiling done by the marshall’s office, I was completely drawn into the mystery of the fugitives, their motives, and their desperate escape. The action was not only set at a great pace, but it was also realistic and went with the storyline perfectly. All you need to do is read the first chapter, and you will be hooked!

The romance between Madison and Jonas is a slow burn and definitely in the background compared to the suspense, but it also was realistically integrated into the story. I loved getting to watch them work alongside each other to solve the case. They are a perfect team.

Madison and Jonas’s story isn’t complete yet, and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series! If you are a fan of romantic suspense, you will want to read this book!

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:

USA Today and CBA bestselling author LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award finalist for Blood Ransom and Vendetta, Christy Award winner for Dangerous Passage, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 (Blood Covenant) and 2015 (Vendetta) from Romantic Times. She has sold over half a million books. She and her family have spent over sixteen year working as missionaries in Africa where she runs a small non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project promotes Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8)

When she’s not working she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari. For more information about her books and life in Africa visit her website at http://www.lisaharriswrites.com

Thanks for stopping by the blog today. I hope you enjoy this series as I know I’ve loved every minute!

Happy Reading and God bless,

Kristina

Where Faith Meets Fiction: Sing in the Sunlight

I was thinking of other ways to blog about books besides book reviews, and it came to me that one of the biggest reasons I read Christian fiction is that the stories challenge my faith. The spiritual arcs the characters endure always make me reflect on my struggles in faith. So, I’d like to start a feature called Where Faith Meets Fiction. These posts will highlight fictional books I’ve recently read/reviewed with a spiritual theme that has spoken to me personally.

For my first Where Fiction Meets Faith installment, I wanted to start with a character who stopped me mid-page with his spiritual revelation. In Kathleen Denly’s novel, Sing in the Sunlight, her hero, Richard Stevens, got into an argument with his new bride–a bride of convenience. He’s doing his best to woo her because he wants to have a marriage built on love instead of responsibility. In this scene, he loses his temper and hurts his efforts to convince his bride to love and trust him. But it’s the conviction he feels after this argument that struck me.

Here’s a short excerpt:

Richard buried his face in his hands. What had he been thinking? He hadn’t. That was the problem. He’d let the frustration build up and take charge. And what had they been arguing about? Attending church. A mirthless laugh escaped his lips as he slid to the floor, his back to the door. If this weren’t proof that he needed a Savior, he didn’t know what was.

When I first read this, I was preparing my heart and mind for the 2021 Resurrection Sunday by reading devotionals and setting aside time for prayer. But it’s funny how God inserts His lessons into our plans if we pay attention. Easter is a time to reflect on Christ’s majesty as the Son of God and on the sacrifice He made by suffering through the humiliation and pain of death through crucifixion. But to me, it is also the season of hope. Jesus gifted us hope when He defeated death and left an empty tomb for Mary and the other women to find on Sunday morning.

This hope is rooted in the His mercy and grace. And how often do we take His grace for granted? That’s exactly what made me stop mid-page and reflect as I was reading Richard’s story. 

How often do we forget we need His grace every day? And do we grasp how thankful we should be for His willingness to pay the ransom for our sins with His own life? 

In Kathleen’s story, Richard was a godly man. He made a conscious decision every day to walk with God and follow God’s will in his life. This meant he was disciplined in his words and actions, and he looked to God for guidance in decisions in his life. But Richard’s obedience wasn’t enough because he had moments where he failed, where he was disobedient–just like all of us.

Can you imagine if we didn’t have the gift of His grace? If we had to strive for righteousness all on our own? Oh, my. How we would fail, too.

In the story, it seemed so ordinary, an argument between man and wife. But it didn’t take much for Richard to allow his anger to take control of his tongue and say hurtful things–sinful things. And just like that, in the blink of an eye, he was in need of grace.

Have you ever stopped to think of all the little things we do every day that aren’t pleasing to God? Of all the mistakes that prove we still fight a sin nature even while striving to walk the righteous path? This scene from Sing in the Sunlight brought my NEED for grace into the forefront of my mind. It was a reminder my eternity depends on my reliance on grace because I am human, cursed through sin but redeemed through a promise. And the more I learn to surrender to my need for grace, the more I learn the depth of the abundant life He has planned for me.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

I’m thankful that by surrendering my life to Christ, I gain unimaginable freedom. It may be difficult for the world to understand, but the more we are dependent on Christ and His grace, the more we gain. 

I’m also thankful for authors who are willing to write their stories with the purpose of bringing people closer to God and to bring Him glory. I reached out to Sing in the Sunlight author, Kathleen Denly, while writing this post, and she was gracious enough to send me some insight into her character Richard as well as the inspiration behind her writing. 

A Note from the Author: Kathleen Denly

I have a confession:  Richard might be my favorite of the heroes I’ve written thus far. While not perfect, his sincere and selfless heart is positively swoonworthy. But the thing is, he wasn’t supposed to exist. Not originally. When I wrote my debut novel, Waltz in the Wilderness, the industry rumor was that publishers weren’t interested in series novels by unknown authors. So Waltz in the Wilderness was intended to be a stand alone novel. To my surprise,  however, the first publisher to show interest in that novel asked for proposals of additional books to follow it. So I asked myself, “Of my Waltz in the Wilderness characters, whose story needs to be told?” Richard was my answer because I felt he had so much to tell which I couldn’t include in that first novel and I knew that his deep-seated desire to protect women would make him a great hero. Not to mention his great sense of humor that made him fun to write. 

If you read all three of my Chaparral Hearts novels, you may notice a pattern among my main characters–they all have complicated relationships with their parents. However–without giving any spoilers–I think Richard’s parental relationships may be the most complicated. All of these relationships are, in some way, reflections of my experiences as a foster parent, foster program volunteer, and foster youth mentor. Exploring how Richard’s parental relationships formed and changed him leading up to and through the events of Sing in the Sunlight was both challenging and fascinating. If I have learned anything through my interactions with the foster system, and others who have touched my life, it’s that while our childhood experiences do affect us, they do not determine who we become. That is determined by our relationship with God. It’s my hope that that is a truth which shines through each of my stories.

Thank you Kathleen for giving us a closer look into Richard and the inspiration behind your characters. It’s a blessing to read stories with such strong themes of faith and truth.

Here’s More About the Book:

Richard Stevens isn’t who he thinks he is. Neither is the woman who now claims his last name.

 Disfiguring scars stole Clarinda Humphrey’s singing career, her home, and her family, but she refuses to let her appearance steal her future. While attending The Young Ladies Seminary in 1858 Benicia, California, she finds a man who promises to love and cherish her. Instead he betrays her, leaving her with child, and Clarinda must take drastic measures to ensure her child doesn’t suffer for her foolishness.

Richard Stevens’s life hasn’t turned out as he expected, and when a shocking letter turns even his past into a mystery, he travels to San Francisco in search of guidance. On the way, he encounters a mysterious young woman hiding beneath a veil. That night he experiences a dream that sends him on a quest to find the bride God has chosen for him. He never imagines she’s already told everyone they’re married.

Unwilling to lie, nor accept a marriage of mere convenience, Richard wants the real thing. Yet Clarinda’s not interested in love, only a chance to save her child. Can he help her rise above the pain that runs deeper than her scars to accept a love worth every risk?

You can read my full review here.

Connect with Kathleen on her website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and Pinterest.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! Do you have a book with a faith arc that has touched you in some way? I’d love if you’d share it with me in the comments below!

Happy reading and God bless,

Kristina