Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Review: Misstep by Deborah Dee Harper

By Deborah Dee Harper
The Road’s End #1
Write Integrity Press


Pastor Hugh Foster: His heart was in the right place, even if, in hindsight, it appeared he’d clearly taken leave of his senses.

It’s December in Road’s End, Virginia, a tiny town long forgotten by anyone but its residents, where Colonel Hugh Foster and his wife, Melanie, have chosen to live—for better or worse. The jury’s still out on that one!

Road’s End is comprised entirely of senior citizens whose kids have grown and left for greener pastures. Hugh, Melanie, and Bristol (one of the few sane people in town) are faced with a crumbling church in desperate need of repair and renovation, a dwindling congregation of opinionated, ornery senior citizens, and a camel—yes, a camel. And if that's not enough, the trio and the rest of the Road's End residents are soon mired in danger and intrigue when a group of gun-toting drug dealers arrive in town, bent on killing the church handyman, and conspiring to ruin the doggonedest record-breaking blizzard the town has ever seen.

Poor drug dealers.


My thoughts

I absolutely adored Misstep, book #1 in The Road’s End series by new-to-me author Deborah Dee Harper. This story is unusual, fresh – and dare I say unique? It’s full of laughter and spiritual gems. The greatest compliment I can pay is to say that I’d like not only to visit Road’s End, Virginia and get to know the colorful people who inhabit this small rural community, but I long to spend time with author Deborah Dee Harper as well. Her delightful sense of humor simply clicks with me, and she quite capably projects it into her characters and situations in which they find themselves.

Here’s just a small taste of what you will find in Road’s End … chickens who escape and take on a life of their own, a camel named Sophie, a lonely recluse, crooks out for revenge, senior citizens who are in no way intimidated by these threatening guys, an exploding Hummer, and the granddaddy of all blizzards. On the night that all these ingredients converge, Pastor Hugh realizes that he had an army of nineteen men, “fifteen of them above the age of seventy-five – and an eighty-three-year-old, half-frozen woman who hadn’t spoken a civil word to anyone in town since the FDR administration.”

I’m excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for Hugh Foster, a former military chaplain, who retires to Road’s Inn and suddenly finds himself pastoring the small congregation that faces challenges when it comes to numerical growth … What had happened to the cozy little world I’d envisioned not so long ago – the one where I retire in comfort to a charming Virginia village, buy an inn with my beautiful wife, and live a carefree existence devoid of detonations, exotic animals, general pandemonium? This story resonates with me because I live in the south and have family ties to communities with similar characteristics.

Cleverly wrapped up in all this quirky characterization and humor are spiritual insights that speak to the daily-lived Christian life – family, redemption, and forgiveness, both of others and of self, through God’s grace. Emma is a pivotal character that touched me so very deeply … Who was she? The rich old woman who doesn’t need anybody – or the little girl who needs anybody who’ll have her? Her backstory and journey of transformation speaks to all of us.

Humor is obviously a strength of this story, but equally impressive is the author’s descriptive narrative talent. I’ll end with this example, one of Emma’s reflective moments …

Emma had little respect for the accomplishments of man, but nature’s endeavors never failed to surprise and impress her. The sun that healed, comforted, nurtured every living thing; the wind that scattered seeds, ushered the clouds across the sky, soothed her during the day and lulled her to sleep at night; even the dark clouds that drizzled rain and shrouded the mountains in mist – all were elements of something far greater than man could dream up on his own.

Misstep was a fascinating and engrossing read for me, a novel that should have universal appeal. It also goes on my 2018 favorites list.

Highly recommended.

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

Next in series: Faux Pas


Deborah Dee Harper writes from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and specializes in humorous, inspirational Christian books for both children and adults. Her novel, Misstep, is the first book in her Road’s End series for adults (although children are welcome to read them as well).

She’s also written a children’s adventure series, Laramie on the Lam, that is inspirational, humorous, and full of fun. (Many of Laramie’s fans are adults!)


Monday, July 30, 2018

Review: Murder She Reported by Peg Cochran

Murder She Reported
By Peg Cochran
Alibi, 2018


Manhattan, 1938. Tired of being trapped in the gilded cage of her family’s expectations, Elizabeth Adams has done what no self-respecting socialite would think to do: She’s gotten herself a job. Although Elizabeth’s dream is to one day see her photographs on the front page of the Daily Trumpet, for now she’s working her way up as the newsroom’s gal Friday.

But fetching coffee isn’t exactly her idea of fun. So when veteran reporter Ralph Kaminsky needs a photographer to fill in for a last-minute assignment, Elizabeth jumps at the chance. At the Waldorf Hotel, Elizabeth is tasked with tracking down the season’s “It girl,” Gloria DeWitt, who will be making her society debut. Working her own connections to New York’s upper crust, Elizabeth manages to land an exclusive interview with Gloria.

Then Gloria’s stepmother is shot dead in a Waldorf bathroom, placing Elizabeth at the scene of a headline-worthy scandal: “Murder of a Society Dame.” Now Elizabeth will have to get the scoop on the killer before her good name gets dragged through the gossip columns—or worse. . . .

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My thoughts

Murder She Reported begins an interesting new series by Peg Cochran. I loved the period setting of 1930s New York City and the author did a very good job conveying the feel of that era – not only through the physical sights, but music, society structure, etc.

Elizabeth, nicknamed “Biz” by another reporter, is a well-drawn and sympathetic leading character. The difference between NYC’s upper class and the regular folk is distinctive as Elizabeth, part of that upper class, is caught between meeting her family’s society-related expectations and wanting to make a contribution on her own merit. I admired her determination to work hard, succeed, and not be held back by physical disability resulting from the polio she experienced as a child.

Elizabeth’s photography skills open the door to opportunity, and I enjoyed the relationship between Elizabeth and the seasoned reporter, Kaminsky. I thought it interesting that, in a male-dominated business, she wasn’t even appreciated by other female employees. The mystery itself is well crafted, fairly complex, and not one I could easily solve.

A few negatives for me were some lengthy descriptions that slowed the narrative down at times, and a few things that weren’t developed … For instance, I expected the envious photographer who threatened Elizabeth to play a prominent part. I was also very disappointed in the use of profanity.

Murder She Reported is an enjoyable mystery overall and should appeal to fans of historical mysteries. I’d like to see this story developed into a series.

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


Mystery writing lets Peg indulge her curiosity under the guise of “work” (aka research). As a kid, she read the entire set of children’s encyclopedias her parents gave her and has been known to read the dictionary. She put pen to paper at age seven when she wrote plays and forced her cousins to perform them at Christmas dinner. She switched to mysteries when she discovered the perfect hiding place for a body down the street from her house.

When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, cooking, spoiling her granddaughter and checking her books’ stats on Amazon.

A former Jersey girl, Peg now resides in Michigan with her husband and Westhighland white terrier, Reg. She is the author of the Sweet Nothings Lingerie series  (written as Meg London), the Gourmet De-Lite series , the Lucille series , the Cranberry Cove series,    and the Farmer’s Daughter ser ies.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: The Secret of Haversham House by Julie Matern

The Secret of Haversham House
By Julie Matern
Christian fiction, Regency romance
Cedar Fort, 2018


Francesca Haversham is eighteen years old and about to step into a glittering future – all she has to do is secure her wealth with an advantageous marriage. Then she learns the truth: her entire identity is a lie.

Now Francesca faces a horrible choice. Will she give up all she knows or continue to lie about her past and risk everything, including her heart?


My thoughts...

The Secret of Haversham House by Julie Matern takes readers to an interesting time in England’s Regency history, a time when purity of family bloodlines was all important and of much more value than personal feelings. It is this world that betrays the young Francesca when her true parentage is revealed, leaving her with life-changing decisions to make.

The author does a good job at creating vivid settings not only in England, but France and Italy also. It was easy to relate to Francesca, enjoying her strong friendship with Phillip and wishing I could warn her about her suitor, Langley Ashbourne … “There were many sides to Langley Ashbourne and that she was not yet sure which was the genuine and which the mask.”

If I had to describe the theme in one word, it would be prejudice. The story makes societal ranking so very real, as well as the disastrous effects of unacceptable lineage, and Francesca’s paternal grandparents take it to a whole other level. In the words of her grandfather, “Purity of the bloodlines is essential to maintain Britain’s position as the driving force of the whole world.” This type of thinking may not exist to that extent today, but prejudice in other forms is alive and well.

I was pulling for Francesca and Phillip all the way, and appreciated their human side. As a worthy hero, I expected Phillip to stand by Francesca and thought that his uncertainty when all was revealed reflected a realism based on the ways of society that had been drilled into him. I also loved that their romance was based on the foundation of friendship.

The Secret of Haversham House is Matern’s adult fiction debut. While I enjoyed this story, it lacked a certain sparkle. I’d like to see more character depth and emotion, maybe more conversation and less description that slowed the narrative down at times, but Matern’s writing shows much promise and I look forward to more of her stories.

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


Julie Matern is a resident of Utah. She attended the University of Exeter in Exeter, England, and graduated with a double major in French and Education. She was born and raised in England, moving to America after her marriage and is the mother of six children.

She has served in the PTA for over 20 years, taught tap dance, and enjoys amateur photography. She is the author of ‘British War Children’ (for which she received a “Recommended Read” award from the League of Utah Writers) and ‘British War Children 2: An Enemy Among Us’.

Hometown: Highland, UT



Enter the giveaway HERE.

Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: The Truth Between Us by Tammy L. Gray

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Truth Between Us
(Bentwood #2)
By Tammy L. Gray
Inspirational Contemporary Romance
ebook, 252 Pages
July 12th 2018

Nine years to win her. Three years to love her. And one decision that destroyed it all.

April Duncan was raised with three clear truths: the family name is absolute, ambition and success rule over every emotion, and love always comes with strings attached. Image was everything in her carefully crafted world... until the mirror cracked.

Sean Taylor was April's best friend, the one man who taught her it was okay to let her guard down and to rely on someone. She trusted him. She loved him. Which made his deception the darkest kind of cruelty.

Now, nearly a year later, she’s ready to leave her failed engagement in the past and get back her life and her estranged family, even if it means dating a man solely for his connections. She’ll never again choose love over loyalty.

Sean has spent his entire life breaking barriers, facing challenges, and never giving up. Until one impossible choice destroyed his future and left him no option but to flee from the woman who annihilated his heart.

Now he’s back in Bentwood and determined to make her hear the truth and rebuild the trust he shattered. But April has become a mere shell of the woman who claimed his heart long ago.

Winning her back is more than just seizing a victory, because if he fails… the girl he’s loved for a lifetime will disappear forever.

The Truth Between Us is the second book in the Bentwood series. Each book can be read as a standalone, but it is recommended that you begin with book one to get the full experience among this tight group of family and friends.

My thoughts...

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and am thrilled to have discovered the writing of Tammy L. Gray. The Truth Between Us is an extremely well-written relationship drama with a strong, compelling plot and themes of grace and redemption. Honestly, I never wanted to put it down.

The Truth Between Us is Sean and April’s story, two members of the “Bentwood Brats.” If ever a book made me rush to read the previous story, it’s this one. I never completely got all the relationships and backstories straight, but it does stand alone and was a very satisfying read.

Sean and April are strong, compelling characters – realistically flawed and with emotional journeys to make – and what a read those stories made! I didn’t care much for April at first, but grew to love her as reasons for the way she was were revealed … Her family’s concept of love was tainted. Burdened with strings and conditions that could only be satisfied by compromising your soul. True love was unconditional, sacrificial. She’d just been too afraid to accept it. As for Sean, I connected with him from the beginning. The romantic tension between these two is great.

I would categorize this story as crossover Christian fiction, but with an edge to it because of certain elements – most of the characters aren’t Christians, mild profanity is used (3-4 times), and Sean and April lived together before their big breakup. Spiritual insight was very evident, however, through a new character. Caroline almost serves as a moral compass, drawing others to her quiet, sustaining faith and sharing spiritual wisdom as opportunities arose. I loved the relationship between Caroline and April, and one particular scene is so very funny!

“Sometimes, the things we desperately reach for 
end up destroying the person we’re meant to be.”
- Caroline

April, who had become empty and hollow in her attempt to win the love and approval of her parents, came to discover that love and grace didn’t make one weak, but rather strong. The Truth Between Us reveals much spiritual insight, peeling it back in layers a little at a time, just as we might minister to someone who is seeking in real life. I am a fan of Tammy L. Gray’s writing and eager to read Caroline and Beck’s story next – after going back to read Until I Knew Myself, that is.


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

Other Books in the Series

Until I Knew Myself
(Bentwood #1)
By Tammy L. Gray
Inspirational Contemporary Romance
ebook, 264 Pages
March 8th 2018

RITA Award-winning author Tammy L. Gray delivers an unforgettable new series following five struggling friends in search of the true meaning of family through secrets, betrayal and the unexpected influence of an outsider…

Tyler Mitchell grew up an orphan, taken in by his best friend’s family when he was only sixteen. Even though ten years have passed, and he’s been given everything he should ever want—a loving home, an adoring girlfriend, a successful career, and lifelong friendships—Tyler has always felt a foreigner in his own life.

When a surprising phone call reveals the death of his biological grandfather, Tyler’s seemingly perfect life starts to unravel. The people he loves most in world have kept from him the greatest secret of all—knowledge of his father’s family.

Now hunting for more information about his past, Tyler discovers nothing is quite as it seems. And the definition of family is far more complicated than choosing between blood and loyalty.

About the Author

Tammy L. Gray lives in the Dallas area with her family, and they love all things Texas, even the erratic weather patterns. She writes modern Christian romance with true-to-life characters and culturally-relevant plot lines. She believes hope and healing can be found through high quality fiction that inspires and provokes change.

Her characters are real, relatable and deep, earning her a 2017 RITA award in the Romance with Religious and Spiritual Elements category.

When not chasing after her three amazing kids, Tammy can be spotted with her head in a book. Writing has given her a platform to combine her passion with her ministry.

Tour Schedule

July 16th:
Katie's Clean Book Collection
All-of-a-kind Mom
Christian Chick's Thoughts
July 17th:
The Power of Words
Uplifting Reads
My Scribbler's Heart
Locks, Hooks and Books
July 18th:
C Jane Read
Reading Is My SuperPower
Book by Book
Author Austin Ryan
July 19th:
Faithfully Bookish
Wishful Endings
Tell Tale Book Reviews
Rockin' Book Reviews
July 20th:
Redeemed Hope Dweller
Among the Reads
Christen Krumm
Heidi Reads...
July 21st:
Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive a Kindle ebook of UNTIL I NEW MYSELF, book one in The Brentwood Series, and a $10 Amazon eGift Card
- Open internationally
- Ends July 25th

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce

The Last Summer
By Brandy Bruce
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2017


For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways, wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara's longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara's forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends' relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?


My thoughts

The Last Summer is different from anything I’ve ever read – delightfully unique and fresh. In one word, it’s a story about friendship; seemingly cute and lighthearted, but soon revealing a hidden depth and complexity. It’s real, honest, and down to earth, and will hit home for anyone who has ever experienced unrequited love. I loved it so much and give high marks for the enjoyment factor alone.

It was in college that I first experienced the forming of close friendships, with strong bonds that have lasted to this day, and The Last Summer takes me back to those years. Brandy Bruce has penned a thoroughly engaging story and I love her conversational writing style. There’s lots of local Texas color, and as a southerner, I enjoyed that so much!

The Last Summer is about the joy of friendship, fellowship, humor, romance, tears, and most important of all, shared faith. These seven young people, mid-twenties or so, experience life together and care about each other. I was pulled in from the first page and became a silent member of the group.

The story is told through Sara’s voice and I adored her. My heart sank along with hers upon discovering that her best friend, who she wanted to be much more, was dating someone else in the group. If there was ever a character that I wanted to shake some sense into, it was Luke. Another close friend, Jason, stood out to me and I’d love to see his story developed.

“We all make choices that hurt us sometimes. We’re a
broken people, honey. That’s why the story of
redemption reaches us at our core.”
– Sara’s mother

I loved how spiritual themes were gently woven throughout, touching me with their message of hope. In its realism, this story reflects life – some relationships will be strengthened, others strained; not everyone will be happy, some hurt is unavoidable. But through it all, the value of friendship shines, even in the tough times. And we clearly see a God who specializes in fixing the broken. No one is perfect, and that’s why grace is such a beautiful thing.

One of my favorite takeaways is the reminder of Psalm 113:3, expressed in a worship song that we sing frequently … From the rising of the sun ‘til the sun goes down, let the name of the Lord be praised. When everything feels hopeless, praise the Lord. And when the healing comes, praise the Lord.

You’ll enjoy Brandy’s Pinterest board for The Last Summer, so be sure to check it out!


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


Brandy Bruce is a mom, a wife, a book editor, an author, and someone who really loves dessert. She’s the author of the award-winning novel The Last SummerLooks Like Love, and The Romano Family Collection. 

Brandy, her husband, and their children make their home in Colorado.




Giveaway package includes the following: summer swag (beach towel, flip flops, sunglasses, bookmark, and candy) & winner’s choice of a print or e-copy of the book.

To enter, click on the image above or the link below …

Giveaway open to US residents only and ends 11:59pm MT on July 21st. Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.


Tour Schedule

July 16-Jorie Loves A Story | Joy of Reading  | amandainpa
July 17- Paulette’s Papers  | The Power of Words
July 18-Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic | Pause for Tales | Among the Reads
July 19-Book by Book | Edits and Reviews by Leslie | The Green Mockingbird
July 20-Heidi Reads… | Reading Is My SuperPower | Why Not? Because I Said So!
July 21-Remembrancy | Katie’s Clean Book Collection