Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Spotlight + Tour GIVEAWAY: The Light before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher

About the Book

Book: The Light Before Day  
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher  
Genre: Historical Fiction  
Release Date: October 2, 2018

“Henry, this . . . fortune, this sudden wealth . . . I fear it will change our lives. And I don’t want my life to change.” 

After three years on a whaling voyage, Henry Macy returns to Nantucket to news that his grandmother has passed, bequeathing her vast fortune to him and his sister, Hitty. And it was truly vast. But Lillian Coffin was no fool. The inheritance comes with a steep cost, including when each should marry and whom—a Quaker in good standing, of course. But if they relinquish the inheritance, it all goes to Tristram Macy, their father’s thieving business partner. 

As Hitty and Henry seek a way to satisfy the will’s conditions, they’ll be faced with obstacles on every side—and it may be that Lillian Coffin will have the last word after all.

CBD  B&N  Amazon

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Phoebe’s Light and Minding the Light, as well as the Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series. She has also written several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. Fisher lives in California. 

Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow her on...

Twitter @suzannewfisher
Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor.

Guest Post from Suzanne

The Mortgage Button  

In each story of the ‘Nantucket Legacy’ series, there’s a reference to a mortgage button in the newel post of a stairway. Phoebe Starbuck, the main character in Phoebe’s Light, made a point to notice it in the captain’s house on Orange Street, the famous residences of sea captains. In Minding the Light, Daphne Coffin touched the mortgage button on the newel post of her horrible mother’s grand house each and every morning. Hitty and Henry Macy were well aware of the absence of their childhood home’s mortgage button—and all that its absence symbolized—in The Light Before Day

Mortgage buttons meant something to each of those characters. It made a statement to anyone who walked into a house. 

Have you ever seen a mortgage button? It’s a very Nantucket-y tradition. In fact, some say the mortgage button originated on Nantucket Island, thirty miles out to sea.  

Supposedly, when a house’s mortgage was fully paid and there were no liens against the property, the homeowner drilled a hole in the newel post of the main staircase, rolled up the mortgage document, put it inside, and capped the hole with a decorative plug of scrimshaw. 

Scrimshaw is a term for an American folk art developed during the 18th and 19th centuries. Whaling in New England was an industry that lifted Nantucket Island to become the world’s wealthiest port. After a whale’s oil was rendered, the ship’s captain would give his crew the sperm whale’s teeth or bones to carve during long tedious hours at sea. Whaling had its exciting moments, but they were far and few between. As a pastime, sailors carved all kinds of useful gifts to bring home to their loved ones: needles, combs, games, clothespins, busks…and mortgage buttons. 

But let’s jump back to the mortgage button. Some legends say that the actual mortgage papers were ceremoniously burned and the ashes stashed inside the drilled hole before sealed with the button. However, as appealing a thought as that might be, it is most likely a myth. There’s never been any evidence of ashes or even hidden mortgages found in salvaged newel posts. Still, mortgage buttons are common among Nantucket homes, and the tradition has spread to other parts of the country. In southern states, for example, they’re called brag buttons. Whether myth or truth, today it’s more a matter of a charming nostalgic custom than a nod to your healthy (or…not so healthy) net worth.


To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a 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 image above or the link below to enter.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, November 4
Texas Book-aholic, November 5
Godly Book Reviews, November 5
Among the Reads, November 8
Blogging With Carol, November 9
Mary Hake, November 10
Carpe Diem, November 11
Simple Harvest Reads, November 12
Janices book reviews, November 13
Captive Dreams, November 14
Bigreadersite, November 14
By The Book, November 15
Pause for Tales, November 16
Book by Book, November 16
Have A Wonderful Day, November 17
Bibliophile Reviews, November 17

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: Return of the Song by Phyllis Clark Nichols


Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Return of the Song by Phyllis Clark Nichols, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


return of the song Title: Return of the Song
Series: The Rockwater Suite #1  
Author: Phyllis Clark Nichols  
Publisher: Gilead Publishing
Release Date: September 18, 2018  
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction  

When Caroline lost her love, she lost the music too.

Caroline Carlyle's dreams were crushed when her fiancĂ© died six weeks before their wedding. For years she wrestled with aching loss and shattered faith, struggling to find the inspiration that once came so easily. Abandoning her half-finished piano compositions, Caroline trades her old ambitions for the comfort and familiarity of life as the town’s piano teacher.

But Caroline's world turns upside down when a mysterious stranger enters her life. Filled with courage and fresh purpose, Caroline embarks on a quest to track down the beloved, rare piano she played as a child. Her search leads her to Rockwater, the Kentucky estate of a wealthy gentleman, where Caroline finds her heart may be composing a surprising new song.  

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Christian Book | Book Depository


She had been walking a straight, dull path the last six years, living on level ground in a valley of monotony void of mountain peaks. She had found comfort in the simmering state of her daily days; but from somewhere deep inside herself, a place she could not describe or explain, came the unsettling sense her path was about to take a turn.

Return of the Song by the gifted Phyllis Clark Nichols is the type of story I love most and I enjoyed every minute spent within its pages. There’s a gentle thread of romance, but this is primarily in the women’s fiction genre – the character-driven story of a woman gradually finding newness and hope after a heartbreaking loss six years previously. The prose is simply exquisite, the pace steady, and characterization is rich.

The story resonated with me on many levels, for like Caroline, I’m a musician who has taught piano, and I live in Georgia. From the small-town Moss Point setting, to Caroline’s performance of the classics, composing, and instilling a love for music in her students, Nichols crafted a story that sparkles. The prologue gives us the last few hours of David’s life in Guatemala and I’m so glad this was included, because it shows his heart for the Lord and his fiancĂ©, allowing his spirit to live through the book.

There’s a wealth of strong supporting characters – such as Sam and Angel, an older couple who love Caroline like a daughter, and the young savant Bella. And oh, how I loved Roderick! Because they converse by phone and don’t actually meet in person until way in the book, it might seem at first that romance isn’t a key element. However, I think this reflects the author’s pure genius because I connected with Roderick from the beginning and felt the realness of their steadily growing friendship. Can’t wait to see what happens with these two!

Although very much open ended, Return of the Song concluded satisfactorily for me and I understand that Freedom of the Song, to be released next spring, will pick up right where this one leaves off.

Highly recommended, “best of the best” for me!

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

Please click on the title to see my review of the previous excellent book by Phyllis Clark Nichols, Christmas at Grey Sage.



Phyllis Clark Nichols’s character-driven Southern fiction explores profound human questions using the imagined residents of small town communities you just know you’ve visited before. With a strong faith and a love for nature, art, music, and ordinary people, she tells redemptive tales of loss and recovery, estrangement and connection, longing and fulfillment . . . often through surprisingly serendipitous events.

Phyllis grew up in the deep shade of magnolia trees in South Georgia. Born during a hurricane, she is no stranger to the winds of change: In addition to her life as a novelist, Phyllis is a seminary graduate, concert pianist, and cofounder of a national cable network with health- and disability-related programming. Regardless of the role she’s playing, Phyllis brings creativity and compelling storytelling.

She frequently appears at conventions, conferences, civic groups, and churches, performing half-hour musical monologues that express her faith, joy, and thoughts about life—all with the homespun humor and gentility of a true Southern woman.

Phyllis currently serves on several nonprofit boards. She lives in the Texas Hill Country with her portrait-artist husband.  

CONNECT WITH PHYLLIS: website | Facebook | Twitter

return of the song blog giveaway


(1) winner will receive (US only)
  • a print copy of Christmas at Grey Sage
  • a print copy of Return of the Song
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 12, 2018 and last through 11:59pm November 19, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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

Review + Double GIVEAWAY: The Killer Christmas Sweater Club by Terry Ambrose

The Killer Christmas Sweater Club
By Terry Ambrose
A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery #3
Satori, 2018


All ten-year-old Alexandra Atwood wants for Christmas is to get her dad and the B&B’s cook Marquetta under the mistletoe. After all, how can they get married if they don’t kiss first?

When murder strikes in Seaside Cove, bed-and-breakfast owner Rick Atwood is asked to help find the killer. But this will not be an easy case to crack. Not only did the killer contaminate the crime scene, but there are suspects all over town. And they all received the same Christmas sweater from the victim.

Alex hears rumors about the murder and decides that since she’s on Christmas break, she has time for a little multitasking. She launches her own investigation even as she continues her efforts to get her dad and Marquetta together.

Just when Rick thinks he’s identified all the suspects, he discovers a new one—his estranged wife. With the days until Christmas ticking down, Rick feels pressured from all sides. He needs to solve the case. He needs to send his wife back to New York. But the one thing he doesn’t need is for his daughter to be one step ahead of him and the cops.


My thoughts

The Killer Christmas Sweater Club is a fun cozy mystery with a great Christmas theme. The main characters are Rick, owner of the Seaside Cove B&B on California’s coast, his lively ten-year-old daughter, Alex, and the B&B’s chef, Marquetta. Reading the previous two books would give a better sense of the regular characters, but this story works well as a standalone.

Small towns make great cozy mystery settings, and Seaside Cove is no exception … “a small town without a whole lot to do other than watch what your neighbors are doing.” The Christmas sweater theme really resonated with me because of personal experience. Some time ago, my eyes were opened when my daughter asked to borrow several of my Christmas sweaters for a contest she was planning with her campus ministry team – and until then, I had no idea these sweaters were anything but cherished by those who wore them. Such a fun theme for a book! The problem arises because the murder victim had given a few Christmas sweaters, all alike, to members of the community – apparently to make amends for the grief he had caused, but the real reason might have been to create divisiveness and distrust.

A lot of the fun in this story comes packed in the pint-sized body of Rick’s daughter, Alex. Manipulative in a cute way in trying to get her dad and Marquetta together, and highly inquisitive when it comes to mystery investigation, she will literally steal the hearts of readers. And when she becomes a reporter for the Cove Talkers Newsletter – lookout! The story is told from two perspectives, Alex and her dad, and I loved getting to know Alex’s thoughts and heart from her journal entries.

I liked that the romance between Rick and Marquetta is progressing slowly through the series, and Marquetta is great with Alex. However, a small hiccup in Alex’s plans develops when Rick’s estranged wife surfaces as a murder suspect. Suspects are plentiful and it’s fun to figure things out along with Alex.

The Killer Christmas Sweater Club is an enjoyable story, recommended to cozy mystery fans.

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


Terry Ambrose is a former skip tracer who tracked down deadbeats for a living. He’s long since turned his talents to writing mysteries and thrillers. Several of his books have been award finalists and in 2014 his thriller, “Con Game,” won the San Diego Book Awards for Best Action-Thriller. 

He likes cool photography, funny mysteries, and finding the oddest things while walking on the beach.




One blog winner will receive a Kindle edition of the first book in this series, A Treasure to Die For. To enter, please click on this link and share my Facebook post, then leave a comment here.

BE SURE to leave your name and your email address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Wednesday, November 21. Winner will be chosen by random.org and contacted by e-mail.

Eligibility: International


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: The Unannounced Christmas Visitor by Patrick Higgins

About the Book

Book: The Unannounced Christmas Visitor  
Author: Patrick Higgins  
Genre: Christian fiction/Christmas  
Release Date: November 18, 2014

What if angels really did come from the most unlikely of places? That’s exactly what happens in this heartwarming story, set in a homeless community in Anywhere USA. Sent to Planet Earth by his Maker, disguised as a homeless person, Enoch was on a mission: to rescue a man whose life was slowly but steadily spiraling out of control. 

Inspired by Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,” this story will stir your soul like never before, guaranteed! 2016 IPA (INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHER AWARDS) GOLD MEDAL AWARD WINNER.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

“Yahweh, Jehovah God, change the overall heart of
this gathering place of believers to resemble the
heart of Yeshua rather than the unconverted world.”
- Enoch

The Unannounced Christmas Visitor by Patrick Higgins is a compelling, thought-provoking story that I enjoyed very much. It seems like a combination of allegory or parable and relationship drama – relationship between members of the Jensen family, and relationship between mankind and God. In the opening pages, an angel in the form of a homeless man, Enoch, enters a megachurch worship service, is promptly escorted from the front to the back row, and proceeds to shake up the norm. Elements of this story reminded me of the beloved classic, In His Steps.

I loved the interaction within the Jensen family. John, once a loving husband/father and devout Christian, had become disconnected from his family, standoffish and argumentative in recent months. Lydia was open to God’s working in her life and began reaching out to Enoch and the homeless group in the park. Lydia knew that “her Savior was more interested in the condition of the heart and how His followers treated others, than how many Christian songs and Bible verses they had memorized.”

Enoch was a fascinating character and I adored him. His mission from God wasn’t clearly revealed at first, so he had spent a good amount of time with the homeless group, ministering to them in incredible spiritual ways. The author brought this group to life, making me care about them. Then as Lydia, and later John, reached out to them, the story was hard to put down. I loved the impact of the night John spent with them in the cold park.

“Until you’re put in a position of total dependency on
Christ and not your own abilities, you’ll never truly know
what it means to be fully alive as one of His followers.”
- Leroy

This story clearly presents the gospel message. There are lengthy passages of dialogue – teaching, sermonizing, etc. – but the intrinsic value of the message reigns supreme. The story illuminates the real meaning of Christmas, perfect for the season or anytime of the year. An Unexpected Christmas Visitor would make a great gift for a new Christian, a seeker, or someone who has grown complacent in their faith.

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

About the Author

Patrick Higgins is the author of “The Pelican Trees,” “Coffee In Manila,” the award-winning “The Unannounced Christmas Visitor,” and the award-winning prophetic end times series, “Chaos In The Blink Of An Eye.”

Guest Post from Patrick

Why I wrote the book: Inspired by Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,” this story will stir your soul like never before, guaranteed!


To celebrate his tour, Patrick is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card!

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

Lighthouse Academy, November 10
The Power of Words, November 11
Genesis 5020, November 12
Bogging With Carol, November 12
Moments, November 14
Mary Hake, November 15
Inklings and notions, November 16
Bibliophile Reviews, November 17
Vicky Sluiter, November 18
Godly Book Reviews, November 19
Luv’N Lambert Life, November 20
Texas Book-aholic, November 21
Janices book reviews, November 21
Carpe Diem, November 22
Bigreadersite, November 22
amandainpa, November 23

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: A Vintage Death

A Vintage Death
By Mary Ellen Hughes
A Keepsake Cove Mystery #2
Midnight Ink, 2018


As the new music box store owner and resident of Keepsake Cove, a quaint town full of collectible shops on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Callie Reed is eager to get more involved in her community. She volunteers to plan the Fall street decorations and welcome a visiting author who’s come for a special book signing. But the celebratory mood is cut short when the local B&B owner is found dead, killed by a pair of vintage scissors.

Suspicion is cast on the victim’s estranged wife, Dorothy, who owns Keepsake Cove’s vintage sewing shop. Callie is sure Dorothy is innocent, and the visiting author agrees. Together, they begin their own investigation, only to discover that many people in Keepsake Cove have secrets. Secrets that are worth killing to keep quiet.

Amazon    B&N  Midnight Ink

My thoughts

If you’d like to relax with a heartwarming traditional cozy mystery, A Vintage Death is a great choice. It has that perfect blend of enchanting setting, characters that you enjoy spending time with, and a well-crafted mystery. Each book in the Keepsake Cove series stands alone, but I recommend reading them in order to enjoy the character development.

“We help each other out. When one of us runs into a jam,
we pull together to get them out of it.”
– Del Hodges

In this second book, Callie is settling into Keepsake Cove, enjoying her music box store, and making friends within the community. What fun names for stores … such as House of Melody (Callie), Shake It Up! (Delia), and Stitches Thru Time (Dorothy).  I don’t know if these specialty stores could succeed in real life, but Hughes has beautifully imagined a shopping village on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that I’d love to visit. And Callie’s young assistant, Tabitha, is a hoot as she dresses in the vintage style of someone famous every day.

Music boxes have always held a special appeal, so Callie and the store that she inherited from her aunt fascinate me. Grandpa Reed’s music box gives the series a slight paranormal element, “with its disconcerting habit of turning itself on at random times as though commenting or sending a message.” I’m not a fan of paranormal themes, but it works well here and is quite charming, although I haven’t exactly figured out the music box’s meaning. Encouragement or warning, or both?

A Vintage Death falls well into the fall season, as the Keepsake Cove community prepares a spooky-themed promotional event for a famous author. The murder of a store owner’s estranged husband puts Callie’s friend, Dorothy, in the role of a major suspect because the victim was stabbed with her Georgian dagger scissors. I loved how the mystery is solved by good old-fashioned sleuthing, although I often wanted to warn Callie that she might be questioning the actual murderer. Secrets within the historical home housing the victim’s B&B also adds a lot of interest. The murder storyline is well crafted and I enjoyed trying to discover the solution along with Callie.

A Vintage Death is a completely clean read and I recommend it to cozy mystery fans everywhere.

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

Please click on the title to see my review of the previous book in this series, A Fatal Collection.


Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries (Penguin), the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. A Fatal Collection is her debut with Midnight Ink. 

A Wisconsin native, she has lived most of her adult life in Maryland, where she’s set many of her stories. Visit her at www.MaryEllenHughes.com.




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Friday, November 9, 2018

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: Chosen People by Robert Whitlow

About the Book

Book: Chosen People  
Author: Robert Whitlow  
Genre: Legal Drama  
Release Date: November 6, 2018  
Publisher: HarperCollins

Bestselling author Robert Whitlow dives deep into the legal ramifications of a tragic event half a world away and how it affects two lawyers in Atlanta from vastly different backgrounds. 

When Hana Abboud walked into the conference room, she was unprepared for the images of a horrific terrorist attack near the Western Wall in Jerusalem. But after watching a courageous mother sacrifice her life to save her four-year-old daughter, Hana knew she needed to help attorney Jakob Brodsky represent the family’s pursuit of justice against those who perpetrate acts of violent jihad. As an Arab Israeli lawyer trained at Hebrew University, Hana is uniquely qualified to step into the gap. But they need a third partner, an investigator on the ground to help them unravel the snake pit of connections between the terrorists and an organization or company that can be sued in the American courts. Hana returns home to Israel and meets with investigator Hamid Hasan who quickly becomes more than a crucial part of the litigation team. 

As Jakob and Hana investigate the case in the US, he is stalked on the streets of Atlanta by affiliates of a terrorist organization. Their pursuit of truth can only be resolved where it began: the streets of Jerusalem. But who can they trust? How deep does deceit go? Can two lawyers and a shadowy investigator impact the kind of violence and terror that has become common in our broken world?

CBD   B&N   Amazon

My Thoughts

Chosen People is the first of Robert Whitlow’s books that I’ve read, and it is impressive. I obviously can’t compare it to his previous books, but I understand that with its backdrop of Islamic terrorism, the theme and pacing are different. Chosen People is well written, suspenseful and entertaining, but also relevant and compelling.

I was intrigued by Hana Abboud, a Christian Arab Israeli working in an Atlanta law firm. That combination of faith and nationality is something I had never thought about. In Hana’s words, “More and more Christian Arabs, especially in my generation, identify as Israelis even though we’re not Jewish.” Whitlow’s passion for the subject matter and knowledge of the Middle East is off the charts, and one of this book’s strengths is all that I learned. I thought I had a decent understanding of the Middle East, but Whitlow’s writing opened my mind up to a new awareness and clarity. From that standpoint alone, I’d like to read this book again, just to see what I might have missed and take in even more.

The idea of bringing a lawsuit to hold the perpetrators of terrorism accountable is also intriguing, and might also be a dangerous undertaking. The danger started on American soil, then picked up dramatically once the characters reached the Middle East. Suspense runs high and it’s not obvious who can be trusted. I recommend not even trying to figure it out, because you just might be shocked at the end. Young Sadie, daughter of a victim who sacrificed her life for Sadie, captured this reader’s heart. There’s also a romantic thread that I enjoyed.

The diversity of faith and cultures – Christian, Jewish, Muslim – made the story so realistic. Hana’s love for the Lord and her spiritual witness is truly inspiring; her way of praying often puts me to shame. And in thinking of God’s chosen people, even through complexity and grittiness, Whitlow imparts so much to reflect upon.  Even if this book isn’t in the style you usually enjoy, it is well worth reading.

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

Robert Whitlow is the bestselling author of legal novels set in the South and winner of the Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. He received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review. 

Website: robertwhitlow.com
Twitter: @whitlowwriter
Facebook: robertwhitlowbooks

Guest Post from Robert

Inside the Story

Chosen People—a title that reflects both the Biblical designation for the Jewish nation as well as converted Christians—opens during a terrorist attack near the Western Wall in Jerusalem. A courageous mother sacrifices her life to save her young daughter, leaving behind a grieving husband and a motherless child. 

Whitlow’s many trips to Israel and his in-depth research into the culture and laws of the Holy City are evident throughout the story. Furthermore, his experience as a lawyer gives him keen insight into the mind of his main character Hanna Abboud, an Arab Christian Israeli lawyer working in Atlanta. 

“This book provides a unique perspective to this region and its peoples through the eyes of an Arab Christian who believes that the faithfulness of God and truths of the Bible are unshakable realities,” says Whitlow. “This viewpoint is rarely expressed, yet it is one that needs and deserves to be heard so that it can become part of our framework for understanding this vital part of the world and the people who live there.”


To celebrate his tour, HarperCollins is giving away a grand prize of three finished Robert Whitlow books (to be chosen by the publisher)!!

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

Genesis 5020, November 8
Multifarious, November 9
The Power of Words, November 9
The Becca Files, November 10
Bibliophile Reviews, November 10
C Jane Read, November 11
Book by Book, November 11
Margaret Kazmierczak, November 12
By The Book, November 12
All-of-a-kind Mom, November 13
Painting with Words, November 13
Simple Harvest Reads, November 14 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Robin is Bookish, November 14
Texas Book-aholic, November 15
Moments, November 15
Mary Hake, November 16
Janices book reviews, November 17
Christian Bookaholic, November 18
Carpe Diem, November 19
Inklings and notions, November 20
Bigreadersite, November 21
For The Love of Books, November 21