Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Review: The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron



About the Book

Book: The Painted Castle
Author: Kristy Cambron
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: October 15, 2019

Bestselling author Kristy Cambron concludes the Lost Castle novels with this sweeping tale of art and secrets long buried in England.

It was supposed to be a one-week job: survey an art find, collect a hefty fee, and use that to settle historian Kiera Foley’s life back into balance. But from the moment she sets foot in the East Suffolk countryside, the mysteries surrounding the old English manor and the enigmatic art thief who’s employed her stir more questions than answers. Then, Kiera finds the existence of a portrait captivating enough to upend all of her expectations. This one could be a twin-a painting so close in composition to a known masterpiece, it may be rendered priceless if it truly captured the likeness of a young Queen named Victoria.

Set in three time periods-the rapid change of Victorian England, the tumultuous skies over England’s eastern shores in WWII, and modern day-The Painted Castle unfolds a legacy of faith, family, and stories that are generations in the making.

Click here to grab your copy.  


My thoughts

Kristy Cambron excels at the split-time novel, a form I have always enjoyed, but even more so in Cambron’s talented hands. Each of her novels has been a masterpiece, but the Lost Castle series has especially resonated with me. While The Painted Castle beautifully concludes the series, I wish it could go on and on.

The Painted Castle enveloped me in three time periods – Victorian England, World War II, and current day. Three strong women captured my heart and imagination as they journeyed through painful loss with the determination to heal, and then learned to love again. This is such an evocative, atmospheric novel, with each era realistically and vividly conveyed. The three time periods are seamlessly connected, not only through the richly developed characters, but through an English estate, beekeeper’s cottage, library, and an intimate painting of Queen Victoria. I was fully invested in each era, with my favorite being whichever one I was reading at the time. Cambron has crafted a story rich with emotion and chemistry between each hero and his leading lady.

Best of all was the way the faith element was woven into the threads of this story, coming across as a natural part of their lives. This quote is so very true: “What lasts isn't what we build on our own, but the stories He builds within and around us."

Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and Thomas Nelson. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


About the Author



      KRISTY CAMBRON is an award-winning author of historical fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping series. She’s a Women’s Ministry Leader at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, and a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10Library Journal Reviews’ Best BooksRT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations. 
      Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation, working with such companies as the Disney Institute, IBM/Kenexa, and Gallup. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read. 

More from Kristy

About The Painted Castle

A war-torn estate holding its secrets close. A lost library bricked off from the world. And a portrait-maker’s unknown masterpiece of a Queen named Victoria… What stories do they long to tell? 

It was supposed to be a one-week snatch-and-grab: survey an art find, collect a hefty fee, and use that to settle historian Kiera Foley’s life back into balance. But from the moment she sets foot in the East Suffolk countryside, the mystery of an old English manor, a crumbling beekeeper’s cottage, and a library that had long ago been sealed off brick by brick, all stir more questions than answers. What begins as a novice assignment instead peels back layers, lulling Keira into the depths of the estate’s long-forgotten history. 

Despite questions swirling around the enigmatic, rumored art thief who’s employed her, Keira finds the existence of a portrait captivating enough to upend all of her expectations. This one could be a twin—a painting so close in composition to a known masterpiece, it may be rendered priceless if it truly captured the likeness of a young Queen named Victoria… 

1842— In order to salvage what’s left of her family’s shaky circumstances, artist Elizabeth Meade knows her duty must be to marry well. But she hopes looks can be deceiving enough to hide her true motives behind a congenial smile and gain entry into the ballrooms of England’s noble elite. Instead of husband-hunting, Elizabeth searches for the one thing that’s seared to her memory—the eyes of her father’s killer, whom she unwittingly sketched one snowy night in Piccadilly ten years before. She never expects to find answers tucked away in the countryside at Parham Hill, in the form of a portrait-maker who could help her artist dreams come true, if only she could forget the highwayman she’s hunted for the last decade—the estate-owner who unwittingly selects her as his betrothed…

1942—When the 390th Bomb Group arrives at Amelia Woods’ Parham Hill Estate, the American flyboys bring playing cards, B-17 “flying fortresses”, and enough bravado to believe they can triumph over Hitler just by staring him down. Amelia isn’t certain, and she’s unwilling to compromise the safety and security in a carefully-crafted world she’s built for the dozens of London-evacuated children left in her charge. But with Anderson shelters buried in the gardens and an Allied airfield a stone’s throw away, Amelia may have no choice but to wait out the war under blackouts and bombs, and accept help from the captain who offers it—even if it means risking all she has left of her late husband’s memory… 

From the streets of Piccadilly and the lavish halls of Buckingham Palace to the countryside surrounding Framlingham Castle, a warn-torn estate, a hidden library, and the lost portrait of a queen come together to write the final chapter in the Lost Castle series. Set in three time periods—the rapid change of Victorian England, the tumultuous skies over England’s eastern shores in WWII, and modern day—The Painted Castle unfolds a legacy of faith and the family we fight for, of risk and reward, and the artful crafting of a story that can be generations in the making… yet still change everything about a single life.




Blog Stops

All-of-a-kind Mom, October 15
The Power of Words, October 15
The Avid Reader, October 16
Betti Mace, October 16
Fiction Aficionado, October 17
AndreaChristenson, October 18
She Lives to Read, October 18
Bloging With Carol, October 18
Back Porch Reads , October 19
KarenSueHadley, October 20
Livin’ Lit, October 20
A Reader’s Brain, October 20
Genesis 5020, October 21
Worthy2Read, October 21
Life of Literature, October 21
janicesbookreviews, October 22
Older & Smarter?, October 23
Mia Reads Blog, October 23
The Becca Files, October 23
Daysong Reflections, October 24
Connect in Fiction, October 24
Texas Book-aholic, October 24
Moments, October 25
Pause for Tales, October 26
Lis Loves Reading, October 26
Hallie Reads, October 26
Remembrancy, October 28
Batya’s Bits, October 28
Leona J. Atkinson, October 28

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Review + GIVEAWAY: Read and Buried by Eva Gates




Read and Buried
By Eva Gates
Lighthouse Library Mystery #6
Crooked Lane Books, 2019


Summary

Librarian Lucy Richardson unearths a mysterious map dating back to the Civil War. But if she can’t crack its code, she may end up read and buried.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse Library Classic Novel Book Club is reading Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne while workers dig into the earth to repair the Lighthouse Library’s foundations. The digging halts when Lucy pulls a battered tin box containing a Civil War-era diary from the pit. Tucked inside is a hand-drawn map of the Outer Banks accompanied by a page written in an indecipherable code.

The library is overrun by people clamoring to see the artifact. Later that night, Lucy and Connor McNeil find the body of historical society member Jeremy Hughes inside the library. Clearly Jeremy was not the only one who broke into the library–the map and the coded page are missing.

Lucy’s nemesis, Louise Jane McKaughnan, confesses to entering the library after closing to sneak a peek but denies seeing Jeremy–or his killer. When Lucy discovers that fellow-librarian Charlene had a past with Jeremy, she’s forced to do what she vowed not to do–get involved in the case. Meanwhile, the entire library staff and community become obsessed with trying to decode the page. But when the library has a second break in, it becomes clear that someone is determined to solve that code.

Amazon    B&N    Kobo


My thoughts

Read and Buried by Eva Gates is an entertaining cozy mystery that blends appealing characters, atmospheric setting, and historical detail. The combination of a lighthouse and a library makes for a great setting for any story. But a library in a lighthouse? Even better! Whether writing as Eva Gates or Vicki Delany, this author delivers wonderful cozy mysteries.

I love how creative license comes into play, as the author shares that the actual lighthouse on North Carolina’s Outer Banks barely contains room for stairs, much less a library and living quarters. How wonderfully creative is the lighthouse library, Lucy’s living quarters, a children’s playground outside that mimics the repair work being done on the base of the lighthouse. And it is in the midst of these repairs that a case containing historical documents dating back to the Civil War is discovered. Unforeseen events are set into motion as a myriad of people want to be involved. And this assortment of often quirky people - city officials, police officers, library staff, historians, educators, construction workers, and Charlie, the library cat - provides some hilarious scenes.

Readers of this series will enjoy reconnecting with the characters and there are plenty of suspects with possible motives for the body discovered in the library. Lucy is an appealing protagonist and I enjoyed the first-person voice of her step-by-step investigation, as well as her romantic relationship with the mayor. The writing flows smoothly and is completely clean. The mystery itself is well crafted and the various methods of code breaking are fascinating. I especially enjoyed the historical detail, family history dating back 150 years, and the secondary theme of the Freedman's Colony. This story stands alone, but reading the series in order will give a much better sense of the recurring characters.

Read and Buried thoroughly entertains and I recommend it to all cozy mystery fans.

I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


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      Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than thirty books:  clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy.
      She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea By The Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series and, as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library books for Crooked Lane.
      Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It crime writing festival. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.



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Monday, October 7, 2019

Review: Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson


Christmas in Winter Hill
By Melody Carlson
Revell, 2019


Summary

Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn't always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, "Where's the snow?" Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista's Christmas spirit before the big day?

Bestselling author Melody Carlson invites you to spend this holiday season in a town you'll never forget--and never want to leave.


My thoughts

A trademark of Melody Carlson’s prolific writing is her yearly Christmas novella and Christmas in Winter Hill is a welcome addition. This is my first Christmas-themed read of the fall and I enjoyed it very much. The small town of Winter Hill, Washington is the perfect backdrop for this uplifting story of family and community. There’s a Hallmark feel to this story and I can easily see it in the future lineup of Christmas movies. That’s not a criticism, by the way, for I never tire of Hallmark productions.

“It takes a village to raise a Christmasville.”
- Mayor Richards

A new city manager who doesn’t enjoy Christmas and a town who lives for Christmas … now that’s a promising foundation for some interesting storytelling! Although there’s a gentle romance woven throughout and the yearly Christmasville production is key, the story’s main focus is on Krista and her daughter – difficulties that arise in Krista’s efforts to be a good city manager and their need for a fresh start, a place to truly belong. There’s a complexity to the characters and Krista’s background of growing up in foster homes – some good and others not so good – give a realness to her feelings about Christmas. Krista is easy to connect with and her daughter, Emily, is precious. I loved Krista’s approach to the seriousness of her job, as well as the way she brought Christmas into Emily’s life in spite of her own feelings.

Christmas in Winter Hill is an easy read, fairly predictable, but that in no way lessened my enjoyment. It’s a heartwarming story, with a gentle faith thread – a reminder of God’s timing and the need for a childlike faith in God’s goodness.

Recommended.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than two hundred books with combined sales of more than seven million. She is the author of many Christmas books, including the bestselling The Christmas BusThe Christmas DogChristmas at Harrington'sThe Christmas CatThe Christmas Joy RideThe Christmas Angel ProjectThe Christmas Blessing, and A Christmas by the Sea. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon.

Website




Friday, October 4, 2019

Book Blitz + GIVEAWAY: Keeping Her Close by Carol Ross


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Release Blitz for
Keeping Her Close
By Carol Ross

Keeping Her Close
(Pacific Cove Romance #3)
By Carol Ross
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 368 Pages
October 1st 2019 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Hired to protect her

…unable to resist her

The job sounds simple: teach a businessman’s daughter how to stay safe. But former navy SEAL turned bodyguard Kyle Frasier has a personal motive, too. Harper Jansen is his late best friend’s fiancĂ©e. Loyalty demands he protect her, not that Harper looks in need of rescuing. In fact, it’s Kyle who needs help—balancing duty with his desire to build a life with the one woman he shouldn’t want…

(Affiliate link included.)


Excerpt

“So…” she drawled. “How are we going to do this? Lecture and then lab? Or do you have like a personal security textbook, Stay Safe 101? Just to warn you, I’m awful at pop quizzes. After the first one, I will resent you for the entire semester and not perform to my highest capability.”

Kyle sat back in his seat, seeming to relax a bit as he pondered her tongue-in-cheek questions. And probably her. Had he been nervous that she wouldn’t agree to hire him? That thought was rather endearing. It made him seem both human and normal, and it gave her confidence in her decision.

But only briefly because his expression went stony again. Like granite. Hard, scary granite.

Leaning forward, he placed his forearms on his thighs and tented his fingers. “It’s all lab, Harper. One hundred percent hands-on. And we’re going to start by getting you in shape. Calisthenics for one hour every morning at 4:30 a.m., followed by a five-mile run on the beach.” Tipping his head, he added, “But not your typical run. Every other day, we’ll add an obstacle course to simulate tactical evasion. And three days a week, we’ll have what I like to call target practice.”

What. The. Whatty-what? Harper opened her mouth, shut it and finally managed to stutter, “Um, target what? I don’t know how to… I mean, I don’t—”

He straightened, interrupting her with a stop-sign hand. “Relax, it’s not what you think. You won’t be doing any shooting. I’ll be shooting at you with a paintball gun while you try to dodge it. The less paint on your person, the more lunch you earn. Positive reinforcement can be helpful in specific, isolated training situations.”

Harper knew she was gaping. Was he out of his mind? Had the word normal actually crossed her mind in conjunction with this lunatic? He was as messed up as Owen. More, possibly. She was still trying to decide how to proceed when his face broke into a wide smile, or at least she hoped it was a smile. The whole time he’d been here she’d yet to see it, so she couldn’t be sure. She kept still, waiting, in case she was misinterpreting the gesture. Maybe he was wincing or had something stuck in his teeth.

Finally, he said, “Harper, I’m joking. I do have some basic protocol that we’ll cover. Your dad wants you to become an expert with your security system. But otherwise, we’ll just plan on doing this situationally, taking it one day at a time. Does that work for you?”

Huh. She had not seen that coming. But she also liked it. A grin crept over her, and she laughed. He joined her, and Harper was momentarily mesmerized by the deep, rich sound. The smile that lingered transformed him. Harper met his gaze and warmth spread through her chest, making her head a little light, her thoughts a bit fuzzy. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d laughed like this, felt so at ease.

That thought was sobering in itself, melting her laughter away. Because this situation was anything but easy; she officially had herself a bodyguard.


Other Books in the Series



About the Author


USA Today bestselling author Carol Ross grew up in small town America right between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, in a place where you can go deep sea fishing in the morning and then hit the ski slopes the same afternoon. The daughter of what is now known as free range parents, she developed a love of the outdoors at a very early age. As a writer, Carol loves to breathe the life she has lived into the characters she creates, grateful for the “research material” that every questionable decision, adrenaline-charged misstep, and near-death experience has provided.



Blitz Giveaway


- 1 winner will receive a $50 Amazon eGift Card and a copy of of Keeping Her Close (ebook if outside the US, signed print if in the US)
- 2 additional winners will receive a copy of Keeping Her Close (ebook if outside the US, signed print if in the US)

Ends October 5, 2019

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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Review + GIVEAWAY: Wyatt by Susan May Warren


Wyatt JustRead Blog + Review Tour 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for Wyatt, the fourth book of The Montana Marshalls series by Susan May Warren, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Wyatt by Susan May Warren 
Title: Wyatt 
Series: The Montana Marshalls, Book 4  
Author: Susan May Warren  
Publisher: SDG Publishing 
Release Date: October 2019  
Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

He’s lost her twice…he’s not going to lose her again...

NHL Hockey Goalie Wyatt Marshall has everything--fame, money and a thriving career. But he’s hiding the two things that matter most...a career-ending injury, and his broken heart. He’s been in love with Coco Stanley since she walked into his life at age fourteen, a foster child for the Marshall family. She stole his heart years later, when, after a secret tryst, she returned to her home country of Russia. But she won’t let him back into her life—and he can’t figure out why.  

She’s harboring a secret that could cost lives...  

Coco Stanley is tired of living her life undercover. Or at least, with an assumed name, always pretending to be someone she’s not. And that’s not the only secret she’s harboring. If Wyatt discovers the real reason she left him, it might just destroy him. She’s resigned herself to loving him from afar...  

But when he discovers she’s in danger...  

Wyatt is horrified when he learns Coco has been shot and left in Russia, her fate unknown. There is nothing—nothing—that will stop him from finding her. So what if he’s not one of his super-heroic brothers, not a Ranger, not a SEAL...Wyatt is a hockey goalie, a special kind of crazy brave. Except, is he brave enough to face the secret Coco is keeping, or will it destroy everything he’s hoped for?  

What will it cost them to save her?  

What Wyatt and Coco don’t know is that revenge is stalking her and bringing her home just might cost them their long-awaited happy ending.  

Continue the breath-taking Montana Marshall series!
 
PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N



MY THOUGHTS

Wyatt by Susan May Warren checks all the boxes in the romantic suspense category. It’s suspenseful and definitely romantic. Family centered, with relationships between the Marshall brothers running throughout the series, each story building upon the previous one with even more intensity. Wyatt can be read as a standalone, but I recommend reading the series in order for the best understanding and connection with characters.

I love covers that feature male leads and this one’s a winner, both cover and storyline. NHL goalie and poster boy, Wyatt Marshall, just might be my favorite of the Marshalls. Having always felt less than capable in comparison to his brothers, he manages, through sheer determination and creativity, to find a way to enter Russia in search of the love of his life. Secrets lie between them. The history between Wyatt and Coco is long and has never ended well, but her recent injury propels Wyatt to the rescue.

The action is fast paced, the danger real, and the chemistry between these two can easily be felt. I love that the characters are flawed, but keep picking themselves up and going on. Wyatt and Coco have a lot of baggage to overcome and it’s great to watch them slowly rebuild their relationship. RJ and York’s story also continues and is key to the action.

Wyatt proves himself to be a true hero in life, not just on the ice. Readers will love the conclusion and be eager for RJ’s story that concludes the series.

Recommended.

I received a copy of this book through JustRead Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR


 

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling, Christy and RITA award-winning novelist of over sixty-five novels. An eight-time Christy award finalist, a three-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award.

A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: The Story Equation.

She is also the founder of MyBookTherapy.com, and Novel.Academy, a school for aspiring novelists.  
CONNECT WITH SUSAN: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram




TOUR GIVEAWAY


(1) winner will receive a signed copy of Wyatt and a Montana Marshalls Magic Mug!

Wyatt JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight October 2, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on October 9, 2019. US only. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

 


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

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Review + GIVEAWAY: Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing by Heather Day Gilbert




Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
By Heather Day Gilbert
An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery #2
Lyrical Press, 2019


Summary

Exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake is nervous about her new job at the White Pine Wolf Preserve, but it turns out that the care and feeding of wild carnivores may be the least dangerous part of the gig . . .

Pet-sitter Belinda Blake is no stranger to dealing with wild animals, but she’s wary when the owner of the Greenwich, Connecticut, preserve asks her to help out with her “fluffy darlings.” Her caution seems justified on her very first day, when she discovers a tour guide—dead, bloodied, and surrounded by wolves in the enclosure.

Was it death by predator or something more sinister? The body count rises, but something’s not adding up. As she gets to know the rescued wolves and wolf-dog hybrids better, Belinda realizes that her human colleagues are not above suspicion. With help from her own “pack”—her pregnant sister, Red the chauffeur/bodyguard, and hunky farmer Jonas—Belinda is hot on the killer’s tail, but if she doesn’t find him soon, he’ll do more than muzzle her to keep the truth from escaping.

Kindle    Nook     Kobo      AppleBooks     Google Play


My thoughts

I was not only pleasantly surprised – but shocked – by how much I enjoyed Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, book #2 in the Exotic Pet-Sitter mysteries by Heather Day Gilbert. This is a great cozy mystery series, totally different from other books in the genre. Characters are colorful and well-drawn, prose and dialogue flow steadily, and the mystery itself has an emotional, almost haunting, appeal. The author's passion for her subject shines clearly. I have not yet read the previous book, but this story easily stands alone.

Belinda Blake is an appealing leading lady, smart and with an unusual mixture of talents – from video gaming, to a vast knowledge of animals, and even detecting skills. She’s intelligent, quick thinking, and caring of friends and family. I connected with her from the very first sentence … Rainy weather was an introvert’s best friend. Yes! 

Belinda is an exotic pet sitter, and that doesn’t mean cats and dogs. In the normal scheme of things, I would not like this series at all. Belinda’s client in the previous book was a snake, and I don’t have adequate words to describe how I feel about reptiles. This story involves wolves, albeit in a wildlife preserve setting, but I don’t have a fondness for this predator either. With a fresh and unique approach, however, the author has created an endearing series with stories that capture the emotions and are hard to put down.

Belinda’s connections place her in two worlds, that of upstate New York and then Greenwich, Connecticut, where this story takes place. A strong supporting cast adds depth, including Belinda’s pregnant sister and a chauffeur with some pretty impressive protective skills. Two guys also seem to be interested in her, a home-town neighbor named Jonas and a wealthy gentleman in Greenwich, Stone Carrington the fifth. I don’t care for love triangles, but don’t really know if there’s one here because Stone only appears briefly in the closing pages. I’m definitely pulling for the warm and caring Jonas, with whom Belinda shares great chemistry.

“I know this sounds impossible – but I think
someone’s framing the wolves.”
- Belinda

The wolves become major characters and I came to care about them through the author’s skillful storytelling. One in particular, Freya, came from a horribly abusive background. All were rescues and some were born in captivity. Early on, I had to ask myself if the true predator was animal, human, or maybe a combination of both. Fortunately, all is not as it seems on the surface. It was interesting to learn about the behavior and care of wolves, and I was intrigued by these creatures. It’s one thing to gain knowledge, but the best books have the ability to change preconceived opinions, and this story definitely changed my perception of the wolf.

Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing is an outstanding cozy mystery and I look forward to much more from Heather Day Gilbert. Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


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Heather Day Gilbert, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Like Belinda Blake, Heather plays video games, although so far she hasn’t done any exotic pet-sitting or hunted any murderers.


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GIVEAWAY




Thursday, September 26, 2019

Review + GIVEAWAY: Stitches in Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher


 


About the Book

Book: Stitches in Time
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Contemporary Amish fiction
Release Date: October 1, 2019  

Detachment had worked well as a life strategy for horse trainer Sam Schrock. Until he met Mollie Graber . . .

New to Stoney Ridge, schoolteacher Mollie has come to town for a fresh start. Aware of how fleeting and fragile life is, she wants to live it boldly and bravely. When Luke Schrock, new to his role as deacon, asks the church to take in foster girls from a group home, she’s the first to raise her hand. The power of love, she believes, can pick up the dropped stitches in a child’s heart and knit them back together.

Mollie envisions sleepovers and pillow fights. What the 11-year-old twins bring to her home is anything but. Visits from the sheriff at midnight. Phone calls from the school truancy officer. And then the most humiliating moment of all: the girls accuse Mollie of drug addiction.

There’s only one thing that breaks through the girls’ hard shell–an interest in horses. Reluctantly and skeptically, Sam Schrock gets drawn into Mollie’s chaotic life. What he didn’t expect was for love to knit together the dropped stitches in his own heart . . . just in time.

Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the little Amish church of Stoney Ridge for a touching story of the power of love.  

Click here to get your copy!  



My thoughts


Suzanne Woods Fisher has become one of my favorite authors and any one of her books is a gem. I’ve always said that, due to their complexity and timeless message, the appeal of Fisher’s novels extends beyond the Amish genre, and that has never been more true than with this newest release, Stitches in Time.  Character depth, spiritual and emotional growth, relevant issues, and humor seamlessly blend together in this enjoyable and memorable story.

Ah, the community of Stoney Ridge! If you’ve read earlier books Stoney Ridge books, you will undoubtedly remember Luke and Sam. They captured my heart as young boys with difficult family circumstances that would negatively impact their lives. Luke is now a young man of faith and married to Izzy – but as Luke is often painfully reminded, the Amish have long memories. This story also focuses on Sam and the budding attraction between him and schoolteacher Mollie. However, nothing could make for a better storyline than someone nominating Luke for deacon and his drawing of the lot.

Stitches in Time has many strengths, but two elements especially resonated with me. First is the way relevant social issues are featured – infertility, parental abandonment, troubled children, foster care – all so effectively handled with the author’s trademark grace and humor. Foster care touches many lives – from Luke’s efforts to fulfill a promise and Izzy’s closed-door treatment of this subject, to Mollie’s desire to foster and Sam’s insight and help.

Also impactful is the Good Shepherd theme woven throughout. I loved Izzy’s bond with the sheep and how she was surprised to learn of the Bible’s numerous shepherd passages. Stitches in Time is a beautiful reflection of Christ as our Good Shepherd, making this “I Am” Scripture, as well as Psalm 23, come alive for readers.

Stitches in Time is a “best of the best” read for me, very highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.



About the Author



Carol-award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes untold stories about inspiring people. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World to the historical novel Anna’s Crossing.  


More from Suzanne

Have you ever felt the tug to become a foster parent? 

On any given day, there are nearly 438,000 children in foster care in the United States. Most states have a critical need for more foster parents, and the number of children placed in foster care increases yearly. 

There are plenty of assumptions about having foster children, but most are incorrect. The media has a tendency to focus on the negative, but from all the research I conducted to write this book, for every bad news story, there were two good ones. Good stories just don’t make the news. 

Below are some of the most common assumptions about foster care, with corrected information that is applicable across the United States (but keep in mind that each state has their own requirements).   

Myth: Kids in foster care are bad or troubled. 
Truth: Children in foster care are good kids taken out of a troubled situation. They need a caring foster parent who is patient and understanding. When given the opportunity, most of these children begin to thrive.   

Myth: To be a foster parent, you need to be married and own a home and be a college graduate. 
Truth: You don’t need to be married or to own a home or even be a college graduate. That means if you’re single or renting, you can be a foster parent.   

Myth: I can’t afford to be a foster parent. 
Truth: There are monthly reimbursement rates for children in foster care based on the level of care you provide. Medical and dental care is paid through state Medicaid programs.   

Myth: Most kids in foster care are teenagers. 
Truth: The average age of a child entering foster care is seven years old.   

Myth: Most kids are in foster care because their parents have abused drugs. 
Truth: Now, this one is not a myth. It’s true. There are fifteen categories that can be responsible for a child’s removal from a home. Drug abuse from a parent has had the largest percentage increase.   

Myth: Fostering could require a commitment until the child turns eighteen. 
Truth: Generally, children remain in state care for less than two years. Only six percent spend five or more years in foster care.   

Myth: It’s too hard to give a child up to his biological family. 
Truth: Most children are in foster care for a short time, returning to their biological families. Reuniting a child to his family is the ideal situation. Foster families provide a safe haven for a child. Healthy grieving is to be expected, but it’s for the right reasons. It’s healthy.   

Myth: You can’t adopt foster children. 
Truth: In 2016, more than 65,000 children—whose mothers and fathers parental rights were legally terminated—waiting to be adopted. Also in 2016, more than 20,000 children “aged out” of foster care without permanent families. Research has shown that those who leave care without being linked to a “forever family” have a higher likelihood than the general youth population to experience homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration as adults.   

Is there room in your heart and family for a child in need? There are many ways to get involved, some that do not even require foster care. One recommendation: volunteer with The National CASA Association (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children. You can find out more information here: www.casaforchildren.org

Or consider small ways to connect to children in need—after school tutoring at your public library. Volunteering at a community center. Buy Christmas gifts for a family in need through an Adopt-a-Family program with a local church. Support a family who does provide foster care with respites—babysitting or meals. There’s many ways to get involved to care for children in need. And every little bit makes a difference.


Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of her book!!

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



Blog Stops


The Power of Words, September 26
The Becca Files, September 26
SusanLovesBooks, September 26
Through the Fire Blogs, September 27
Texas Book-aholic, September 28
Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 29
Blogging With Carol , September 29
Hookmeinabook , September 29
The Avid Reader, September 30
Mia Reads, September 30
janicesbookreviews, October 1
CarpeDiem, October 1
Stories By Gina, October 2
Activating Faith, October 2
A Reader’s Brain, October 3
EmpowerMoms, October 3
Wishful Endings, October 3
Pause for Tales, October 4
Quiet Quilter, October 5
Vicky Sluiter, October 5
Hallie Reads, October 5
Bigreadersite, October 7
By The Book, October 7
She Lives to Read, October 7
Moments, October 8