Saturday, April 18, 2020

Review + GIVEAWAY: The House at the End of the Moor by Michelle Griep

About the Book

Book:  House at the End of the Moor
Author: Michelle Griep
Genre:  Christian Historical
Release Date: April 2020

An Opulent London Opera Star Escapes to the Rugged Landscape of the English Moors

Opera star Maggie Lee escapes her opulent lifestyle when threatened by a powerful politician who aims to ruin her life. She runs off to the wilds of the moors to live in anonymity. All that changes the day she discovers a half-dead man near her house. 

Escaped convict Oliver Ward is on the run to prove his innocence, until he gets hurt and is taken in by Maggie. He discovers some jewels in her possession—the very same jewels that got him convicted. Together they hatch a plan to return the jewels, clearing Oliver’s name and hopefully maintaining Maggie’s anonymity.

Click here for your copy!

My thoughts

Due to family circumstances, my review will be delayed a few days. I always enjoy Michelle Griep’s writing and eagerly anticipate this story.

About the Author

      Michelle Griep’s 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 or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 More from Michelle

What comes to mind when you hear the word moor? For some, images of Jane Eyre spring to life. For others, The Hound of the Baskervilles starts barking. But for most, it’s a big fat goose egg. The fact is that most Americans don’t have a clue what a moor is, but never fear, my friend…after you read the next few paragraphs, you’ll never again go blank-minded when you hear the word moor.

Last summer I skipped across the pond and tromped around Dartmoor with my daughter and husband. What an awesome experience. I learned first-hand just how windy this vast stretch of land can be, for that’s really what a moor is at heart: a vast stretch of land. Webster’s defines it as an expanse of open rolling infertile land. Sounds rather desolate, eh? Yeah. Kind of. But it’s oh so much more.

In spring and summer, green does abound. Gorse bushes. Scrubby grasses. Lambs and sheep and goats. All these animals roam free so there are trails worn into the dirt that you can hike along. But I hear you…where could you possibly go if there’s nothing besides some farm animals roaming around the place?

You could hike to a tor, which is a “high, craggy hill.” Some of them can be a little treacherous to climb, but sweet mercy, what a view! The earth stretches out like a green and brown quilt. As I hiked that day last spring, whispers in the wind inspired me to wonder a lot of what-ifs, and those what-ifs came together in a story of intrigue and betrayal.

What would you do if you found a half-dead man bleeding in the middle of nowhere? Find out what heroine Maggie Lee does in The House at the End of the Moor.


To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of the 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

Batya’s Bits, April 18
The Avid Reader, April 18
Among the Reads, April 20
Remembrancy, April 23
Hookmeinabook, April 23
Emily Yager, April 24
Betti Mace, April 25
Stories By Gina, April 25
Splashes of Joy, April 26
Simple Harvest Reads, April 26 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Vicky Sluiter, April 26
Pause for Tales, April 27
Hallie Reads, April 28
Bigreadersite, April 29
Older & Smarter?, April 29
Genesis 5020, April 30
By The Book, April 30
Artistic Nobody, May 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Friday, April 17, 2020

Spotlight: The Joy of Falling by Lindsay Harrel

About the Book

Book:  The Joy of Falling
Author: Lindsay Harrel
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: April 14, 2020

Eva and Angela must learn to live again. One step at a time.

It has been fifteen months since Eva and Angela lost their thrill-seeking husbands in a scuba diving accident. Both women are trying to navigate their way through the grief, but neither one is making much progress. Angela is barely making ends meet, angry at her husband for leaving her to raise three children on her own. Meanwhile, Eva is stuck, unable to move forward after losing the love of her life and her source of inspiration.

But then Eva gets a life-changing phone call. Before Brent and Wes died, they had signed up for a race of a lifetime—an ultra-marathon in beautiful New Zealand. Eva begs Angela to run the race with her in their husbands’ place, and Angela finally agrees, hoping to finally understand her husband’s choices.

Training is exhausting, and the race is even more demanding. Their journey grows more complicated by the presence of two men—Marc is Brent’s best friend who is running the race with Eva and Angela, and Simon King is a writer who is covering their inspiring story. With every step, Eva and Angela must ask themselves questions that they haven’t had the courage to ask before. As the women literally put one foot in front of the other, they wonder: Is it possible to find their way forward in hope?

Click here to get your copy!

My thoughts

Due to family circumstances, my review will be delayed a few days. I’m already enjoy this story!

About the Author

      Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. She’s held a variety of writing and editing jobs over the years and now juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with writing novels. 
      When she’s not writing or chasing after her children, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. 
      Connect with her at

Read an Excerpt

Click here to read the first four chapters.

Blog Stops

Remembrancy, April 19
Genesis 5020, April 20
Splashes of Joy, April 20
Older & Smarter?, April 22
Hookmeinabook, April 24
Hallie Reads, April 26
CarpeDiem, April 27
Stories By Gina, April 28
The Becca Files, April 29

Monday, April 13, 2020

Review + GIVEAWAY: Desert Willow by Patricia Beal

About the Book

Book:  Desert Willow
Author: Patricia Beal
Genre:  Romance
Release Date: February 12, 2020

After a failed engagement, Captain Andrew Lee James has focused on building a career in the Army he loves. That commitment includes helping a feisty, out-of-work ballerina whose devotion to her grandmother’s dying wish immediately grabs his heart. She’s the one, but will he be able to win the heart of a woman who has vowed to never be involved with a soldier?

College graduate Clara Malone swore to never love anyone in the military again but when her dying grandmother asks her to deliver a love letter to the general who broke her heart decades ago, she agrees and finds herself escorted by a handsome Army captain whose kindness challenges her beliefs. Surrounded by desert willows that shower her path with pretty pink flowers and sing with the buzzing of hummingbirds, Clara enjoys the wild beauty of El Paso—and her time with Andrew—more than expected.

Can she deliver her grandmother’s last love letter without losing her heart to a man who represents everything she fears?

Click here to get your copy!

My thoughts

Desert Willow is an entertaining and emotional story, enriched by character depth, a blending of past and present, and a strong spiritual theme. Drawing from personal experience, Patricia Beal writes a heartwarming story straight from the heart. The narrative flows at a steady pace, holding my attention throughout.

Andrew and Clara are brought together by a story from the past involving Clara’s grandmother and a general. Clara travels to El Paso, Texas on a mission from her dying grandmother, that of delivering a letter to a general who had broken her young heart. In the process, she meets Andrew, a friend of the general’s family. There’s a vivid sense of place and I was drawn to El Paso as I was introduced to its sights and culture through Clara’s eyes. The author’s personal experience in both the military and this town made the story rich in detail.

Clara and Andrew are appealing characters, easy to connect with. Andrew, nicknamed “Ginger” by Clara (picture a Prince Harry without the British accent), is a kind and caring man, with a strong faith that he unashamedly shares. Clara has just graduated from college with a degree in dance, emphasis on ballet, and is trying to figure out exactly what can be done with that degree. Clara has pulled away from God over the years and in her family, “relationships never lasted long, and forever was a pipe dream.” Although attracted to Andrew, family history has convinced her that relationships with military men are destined to fail.

Desert Willow is an emotional story of family relationships and forgiveness, including self-forgiveness. Past events cast a long shadow, which many readers can identify with. Themes include serious topics, such as infidelity and the struggle to remain pure until marriage. I loved the strong faith message skillfully woven throughout, applicable to our daily walk. I also enjoy how the author brings in the beauty of music and dance.

I enjoyed Desert Willow very much and look forward to many more stories by Patricia Beal.


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

About the Author

      Patricia Beal is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. A Season to Dance is her debut novel (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, May 2017). Her second novel comes out in February of 2020. 
      Patricia graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and has worked for the U.S. Army as a writer and editor for many years. 
      Patricia writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and two children. You can find more info about Patricia on her website here.

More from Patricia

Desert Willow: A Love Song to the City of El Paso, to Family, and to Prince Harry

      I enjoy this story so much! It’s great to finally get to share it with you.
     Desert Willow started as a NaNoWriMo project in 2015 and has a lot of my grandma’s history in it—life in the German colonies of the south of Brazil, the beginning of the shoe industry there, and the story of the most influential man her town has ever known, my great-grandfather.
      And what does that have to do with El Paso and Prince Harry?
      Well, my Prince Harry lookalike, a young Army captain named Andrew Lee James who lives in El Paso, is helping the protagonist deliver her grandmother’s last love letter, a letter she was urged to write all those years ago after what happened in Brazil.
      The contemporary story of Clara (protagonist) and Andrew was fun to write too because I’ve been around the Army since the nineties. We moved to Fort Bliss/El Paso in 2012 and lived there for six years. I thought I was going to hate it, but I loved it, so I just had to write an El Paso story.
      Now I think that what I enjoyed the most about writing this novel was making all the connections and showing how the actions of a distant past affect and inform the modern story so deeply.
      Some of you have journeyed with me for a while and know that my debut, A Season to Dance, was my salvation process. What comes after salvation can be hard. What’s that? Well, looking at past mistakes through God’s eyes and realizing just how wrong we were, for starters.
      We know how quickly God forgives us, but can we forgive ourselves and each other as quickly?
      Desert Willow deals with all that. And with Prince Harry… 😊


To celebrate her tour, Patricia is giving away the grand prize of a Kindle Fire 7 (!!

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

Among the Reads, April 13
Robin’s Nest, April 14
Batya’s Bits, April 15
Older & Smarter?, April 16
Rebecca Tews, April 19
Emily Yager, April 20
Simple Harvest Reads, April 20 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Hallie Reads, April 20
Pause for Tales, April 26

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Review + GIVEAWAY: All We Buried by Elena Taylor

All We Buried
By Elena Taylor
A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery #1
Crooked Lane Books, 2020


For fans of Julia Keller and Sheena Kamal, All We Buried disturbs the long-sleeping secrets of a small Washington State mountain town.

Interim sheriff Elizabeth “Bet” Rivers has always had one repeat nightmare: a shadowy figure throwing a suspicious object into her hometown lake in Collier, Washington. For the longest time, she chalked it up to an overactive imagination as a kid. Then the report arrives. In the woods of the Cascade mountain range, right in her jurisdiction, a body floats to the surface of Lake Collier. When the body is extricated and revealed, no one can identify Jane Doe. But someone must know the woman, so why aren’t they coming forward?

Bet has been sitting as the interim sheriff of this tiny town in the ill-fitting shoes of her late father and predecessor. With the nightmare on her heels, Bet decided to build a life for herself in Los Angeles, but now it’s time to confront the tragic history of Collier. The more she learns, the more Bet realizes she doesn’t know the townspeople of Collier as well as she thought, and nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.

My thoughts

All We Buried by Elena Taylor is a gem of a novel that immediately goes on my favorites list. It’s a captivating murder mystery, but like an iceberg, there’s much more underneath than what you see on the surface. All We Buried is a multifaceted novel, rich in character depth and complexity of storyline. The writing is tight and flows smoothly without a single word being wasted. From the very first page, I found this story hard to put down.

Through vivid setting, background and foreshadowing, the author envelops readers in the atmospheric feel of Collier, Washington. Collier was formerly a mining town built around a high-altitude glacial lake, with a past that refuses to stay in the past. Lake Collier, with its frigid and dangerously deep waters, is so intricately woven into the threads of this novel that it literally becomes a major character.

Sheriff Bet Rivers is an appealing and relatable lead character. The story begins around six months after Bet, having left a promising career with the LAPD, became Collier’s interim sheriff upon the death of her father. She comes across as very human in her desire to be accepted, to prove herself worthy, and in her feelings of inadequacy when it comes to solving a homicide, all complicated by a deputy who is running against her in the coming election.

So many elements combine to make this a riveting story – decades-old family secrets … underwater rivers and fissures … fascinating history of the area … a scientist’s discovery of a Jane Doe floating in the lake that triggers Bet’s recurring nightmares of another body slipping into the icy waters … legends involving a buried train filled with miners. The story is well crafted, with layers slowly peeled back. The pacing is pure genius, slow but steady at first as we get familiar with the people and Lake Collier background, then picking up steam and riveting suspense as the investigation progresses. The conclusion is very satisfying, with the promise of much more to come in this series. All We Buried is an incredible read for mystery lovers everywhere.

Very highly recommended.

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

Note: Readers will find a little mild profanity.


      Elena Taylor spent several years working in theater as a playwright, director, designer, and educator before turning her storytelling skills to fiction. Her first series, the Eddie Shoes Mysteries, written under the name Elena Hartwell, introduced a quirky mother/daughter crime-fighting duo. With All We Buried, Elena returns to her dramatic roots and brings readers a much more serious and atmospheric novel. Located in her beloved Washington State, Elena uses her connection to the environment to produce a forbidding story of small-town secrets and things that won’t stay buried.
      Elena is also a senior editor with Allegory Editing, a developmental editing house, where she works one-on-one with writers to shape and polish manuscripts, short stories, and plays. If you’d like to work with Elena, visit
      When she’s not writing or coaching writing, her favorite place to be is at the farm with her horses, Jasper and Radar, or at her home, on the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in North Bend, Washington, with her husband, their dog, Polar, and their cats, Coal Train and Cocoa. Elena holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego, a M.Ed. from the University of Washington, Tacoma, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Review + GIVEAWAY: Selah's Stolen Dream by Susan Count

Selah’s Stolen Dream
By Susan Count
Dream Horse Adventures #4
Hastings Creations Group, 2020


One girl’s victory is another’s tragic defeat.

Thirteen-year-old Selah’s perfect life unravels when her beloved horse is stolen. Then ten-year-old Emma buys the dream of a lifetime at a horse auction. When she learns the horse was stolen, even removing her hearing aid won’t drown out the voice telling her to make it right.

But two girls can’t divide the horse they both adore. So will life surprise them with an answered prayer?

My thoughts

The new YA release by Susan Count, Selah’s Stolen Dream, is a fabulous book for all ages. I have no personal experience with horses, but love reading about them. Selah’s Stolen Dream continues the adventures of Selah, now 13 years old, but background is provided so that it easily stands alone.

I highly recommend this story for many reasons. The writing is excellent and well-paced, with good character development. I was caught up from the beginning and loved the emotional pull of this story.

The narrative flows from two young girls’ perspectives, Selah and Emma, and growth is seen in both. In the beginning, Selah is a little too caught up in her “perfect” life revolving around Sweet Dream, winning competitions, and a possible film contract – until her precious horse is stolen. She quickly learns that the horse world has a dark side where greed is involved.

What I loved most about Selah’s Stolen Dream is the invaluable life lessons skillfully woven throughout. 10-year-old Emma is deaf, yearning to be treated normally in spite of her handicap. Her determination is an inspiration, and Black Velvet (Sweet Dream) gave her a new-found confidence and companionship. Although Selah never gave up the hope of finding Sweet Dream, she learned what life’s most valuable treasures are.

It’s the right thing.
What good is love if you don’t share it?
- Selah

One life lesson resonated greatly with me, that of doing the right thing. Selah learned empathy as she came to realize how her victory brought heartbreak to another. The author brings this story to a beautiful conclusion with far-reaching effects, emotional and heartwarming.

Selah’s Stolen Dream may be written for YA readers, but I loved everything about this moving story. It would work well for book club discussion and home school curriculum. And it offers some great teachable opportunities for families.

Highly recommended.

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


      How many twists and turns can one person take before they figure out what they were born to do? Susan Count’s degree is in Applied Science–nothing in that prepared her to write novels for children. But one day, she began to write with no preconceived ideas. No one could have been more astounded than she was when it turned into a middle grade equine series. As a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Texas Association of Authors, she takes the craft of writing seriously and considers revision to be her super-power.
      She writes at an antique secretary desk that occupies a glass room with a forest view. Fittingly, it once belonged to the same wise grandmother who introduced Susan to the love of reading via Walter Farley’s horse books. That desk has secret compartments which hold memories, mysteries and story ideas.
      Susan is a lifelong equestrian and is owned by a Rocky Mountain Horse. She is convinced that the only thing more delightful than riding the forest trails might be writing horse adventure stories. She invites you to saddle up and ride along.