Blog Tour: The Kissing Tree

THE KISSING TREE
Four Novellas Rooted in Timeless Love

by KAREN WITEMEYER, REGINA JENNINGS, 

AMANDA DYKES, and NICOLE DEESE
 
Genre: Christian / Romance / Anthology
Publisher: Bethany House
Date of Publication: October 13, 2020
Number of Pages: 400
 

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In this Texas-sized romance novella collection, courting couples, decades apart, leave a permanent mark of their love by carving their initials into the same oak’s bark.

Regina Jennings: “Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts

When a young man from her past returns and upends their small town with a new invention, schoolteacher Bella Eden is reminded of the heartbreak she suffered years ago under the old oak tree. When her job is on the line, can she trust the man who disrupted her life to help her fight for a brighter future?

Karen Witemeyer: “Inn for a Surprise

Determined to keep love alive for others, Phoebe Woodward builds an inn that caters to couples. When her father sends a property manager to help make it a success, she finds her whimsical vision thwarted by his stodgy practicality. Finding the right blend of romance and reality is a challenge, and her spinster heart may be in for a surprise.

Amanda Dykes: “From Roots to Sky

WWII airman Luke Hampstead found comfort in letters from the sister of a lost compatriot. When he visits Texas to thank her, he discovers her constructing a project with surprising ties to his letters . . . and that she herself is even more surprising. While a promising opportunity awaits him elsewhere, will what they’ve shared be enough to give their future flight?

Nicole Deese: “Heartwood

Abby Brookshire’s world is turned upside down when the historic tree she’s strived to preserve as the head groundskeeper at the Kissing Tree Inn is put in danger of removal. Making matters worse, the only way to protect its legacy is to partner with the man she’s been ignoring since he left town years ago. Will she have the courage to move on from the past and start a new beginning?

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished book  from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

“Broken Limbs” by Regina Jennings

Set in the mid-1800s Bella thought her love life would go differently as she planned her future with a guy she thought would give her happiness. She set up everything perfectly to make her move but what she did not prepare for was his countermove. It all happened under a big Oak tree, the beginning and the end of her journey to find love. After the initial debacle under the Oak tree she decided to move on from the embarrassment and try teaching. However, when Adam, a piece of her past, returns a few years later to the farm to pitch her father an offer, the embarrassment from the encounter under the Oak tree resurfaces. Can she put aside the pain from her past to truly dive into something new and push past her fear?

The author does a wonderful job of developing the main character Bella as a strong female lead. She explores the fear of rejection in relationships and in her career. We see Bella navigate through healing from her past and allow the same thing that hurt her, eventually bring her comfort. Such a sweet romance story that showcases the importance of pushing past fear and not allowing it to stop you from moving forward.

Inn for a Surprise” by Karen Witemeyer

Phoebe wanted to create an Inn that would highlight the town’s famous Kissing Tree. The tree was coined with the phrase after the story of Adam and Bella found love under the tree. With the help of her father’s business associate she can truly turn the Inn into something romantic and profitable. Barnabas was only sent by his business associate to the Inn to ensure it turned a profit since the Inn owner was his daughter. He wasn’t prepared to learn the remarkable history of the Kissing Tree and the importance it carried in the life of the Inn owner. Can he put aside his hard demeanor to welcome someone in?

This tale is a continuation in some sort of the previous book that focuses on the beginning of the old oak tree and the significance it holds in the town. The author focuses not only on the emotional connection the town and Phoebe has with the tree but the challenges that arise when someone challenges your vision. The main character is described a strong willed female lead who knows exactly what she wants but who is still healing from the pain of losing a parent. The tree symbolizes so much more than love but a strong connection. The author does a wonderful job capturing the attention of the reader from start to finish.

 From Roots to Sky” by Amanda Dykes

Luke sought out the small town of Oak Springs, Texas in search of a girl named Hannah. However, Hannah had no idea he was there in search of her. The remarkable tale of the Kissing Tree continues as Hannah and Luke grow to get to know each other. They are both reeling from the pain from their past and set on healing. Luke is able to help Hannah in the construction of her late brother’s cottage as they work through the grieving process together. Can Hannah and Luke move forward from their respective pasts to an unpredictable future.

I enjoyed how Luke was welcomed into the town and drawn to the area. I also liked how the author continued on with creating a strong female lead in this novella. Hannah isn’t a seamstress but she is able to use her math skills and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. Each female lead in these tales are willing to step outside the social norms of their time to truly follow their heart. This is an inspiration to readers to not be limited by the societal norms placed on women but emphasizes you can be strong and be a romantic. It was a pleasure to watch the love story of these two unfold as they work to navigate their new future together.

Heartwood” by Nicole Deese

In this last tale of “The Kissing Tree” we see the fight to save the beloved tree from removal as the Inn changed owner hands. Abby must confront a person from her past she shut out of her life in order to save the tree. The real question is, is it the tree they are trying to save or something deeper. The tree has been an integral part of the town as a historical landmark. Griffin was hired to help stop the tree from being cut down but he wasn’t prepared for the reunion with Abby. After the loss of her father she changed and stayed in the same town she grew up in. Will they find their way back to each other and save the tree?

The ending to this collection of novella’s was one to remember as we see the final book bring the story of the Kissing Tree to an end. The author does a wonderful job tying in all aspects of the previous books into this one as the stories travel through timelines to come to an end. This final book reminds us of the attachments we have with items and the healing that comes from letting the items go. I have a scarf from my late mother and I lost it once. The fear that I had that day was so overwhelming I could not sleep. I kept thinking, this is the only thing I have to remind me of her. Truly the memories exist in your mind, not in the items we carry. The author allows us to watch the love story of the two main characters reignite as they heal from past wounds together and forgive. This was a great ending to a wonderful collection.

Overall Review of the full collection

Overall each tale in this book of novellas flowed nicely together. You can tell the author’s took time working with each other to ensure the story continued on from novella to novella. It all started with the kissing tree and a planned embarrassing encounter that led to the development of four uniquely told love stories that all enhance on the importance of pushing past fear and pain to truly open your heart to accept love. In each book the authors touch on grief, forgiveness, love, and family ties. The Kissing Tree carried memories, healing, and love as the entire town reaped the benefits of the significance that lied in the bark of the old Oak Tree. As we watch each story unfold you get to embark on a journey of a tree through different decades and watch the characters grow as the tree grows. I highly recommend this collection to anyone interested in four Texas based stories told in the mid to late 1800s. This book is suited for anyone who is interested. It does not contain lewd language or derogatory content. It is a fun, simple, engaging, short read.


Voted
#1 Reader’s Favorite Christian Romance Author of 2019 by Family Fiction
Magazine
, bestselling author  Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines,
and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. She makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children.

 
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma
Baptist University, with a degree in English and a minor in history. She’s the
winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist, and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. Regina has worked at
the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along
with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She
lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children.
 
Amanda Dykes is a drinker of tea, dweller of redemption, and spinner of hope-filled tales who spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family. She’s a former English teacher and the author of Whose Waves These Are, a Booklist 2019 Top Ten Romance debut, as well as three novellas.

Nicole Deese’s eight humorous, heartfelt, and hope-filled novels include the 2017 Carol Award-winning A Season to Love. Her 2018 release, A New Shade of Summer, was a finalist in the RITA Awards, Carol Awards, and INSPY Awards. Both of these books are from her bestselling Love in Lenox series. When she’s not working on her next contemporary romance, she can usually be found reading one by a window overlooking the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She lives in small-town Idaho with her happily-ever-after hubby, two rambunctious sons, and princess daughter with the heart of a warrior.

 

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Blog Tour: Something Worth Doing Author Interview

SOMETHING WORTH DOING
A Novel of an Early Suffragist
by
Jane Kirkpatrick
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction 
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: September 1, 2020 
Number of Pages: 336
 
 Scroll down for the giveaway!
 

Some things are worth doingeven when the cost is great

In 1853, Abigail Scott was a nineteen-year-old schoolteacher in Oregon Territory when she married Ben Duniway. Marriage meant giving up on teaching, but Abigail always believed she was meant to be more than a good wife and mother. When Abigail becomes the primary breadwinner for her growing family, what she sees as a working woman appalls herand prompts her to devote her life to fighting for the rights of women, including the right to vote. 


Based on a true story, Something Worth Doing will resonate with modern women who still grapple with the pull between career and family, finding their place in the public sphere, and dealing with frustrations and prejudices when competing in male-dominated spaces.
 
PRAISE FOR SOMETHING WORTH DOING:

“I have long admired Jane Kirkpatrick’s rich historical fiction, and Something Worth Doing is well worth reading! Oregonian Abigail Duniway is a vibrant, fiercely passionate, and determined activist who fought for women’s suffrage. Women of today have cause to respect and admire heras well as the loving, patient, and supportive husband who encouraged her to continue ‘the silent hunt.'” Francine Rivers, author of Redeeming Love 

 
“On the trail to Oregon, young Jenny Scott lost her beloved mother and little brother and learned that no matter what, she must persist until she reaches her goal. Remembering her mother’s words‘a woman’s life is so hard’the young woman who became Abigail Scott Duniway came to understand through observation and experience that law and custom favored men. The author brings alive Abigail’s struggles as frontier wife and mother turned newspaper publisher, prolific writer, and activist in her lifelong battle to win the vote and other rights for women in Oregon and beyond. Jane Kirkpatrick’s story of this persistent, passionate, and bold Oregon icon is indeed Something Worth Doing!” Susan G. Butruille, author of Women’s Voices from the Oregon Trail, now in a 25th anniversary edition


Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling and award-winning author of more than thirty books, including One More River to Cross, Everything She Didn’t Say, All Together in One Place, A Light in the Wilderness, The Memory Weaver, This Road We Traveled, and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. 
 
Her works have won the WILLA Literary Award, the Carol Award for Historical Fiction, and the 2016 Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award. Jane divides her time between Central Oregon and California with her husband, Jerry, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Caesar.
 


BF951E8D-7340-4572-BE36-28EC7E4E193D_4_5005_c

Interview with Jane Kirkpatrick,

author of Something Worth Doing 

 

How does your book relate to your training and spiritual practice?

My training or profession is in mental health. My clinical internships were at a Lutheran Family Services center and at a regional burn center. Both were places where I learned about healing and story and found myself schooled by the people who came to us for help. They helped me as well.

When I began writing about the lives of historical women, I discovered I hadn’t left my healing profession behind. Stories heal and inspire. Not surprisingly, the characters heal the writer, too. In Something Worth Doing, the character struggles with the balance of service and family and how to be present in both. That’s the journey of an author, I think, and my spiritual journey as well.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Rewriting it! I was working on a nonfiction chapter about the same historical woman at the center of the novel Something Worth Doing and, somehow, in the novel I lost the story thread and peppered it with facts! Facts are good, of course. I want the stories to be authentic and historically accurate, but the story needs to come first. So, I needed to rewrite it. My editor’s suggestions have made it a better book—at least I think so!

Who are some of the authors you feel were influential in your work?

After my first book, A Sweetness to the Soul, came out, a reader sent me a note saying my writing reminded them of their favorite author, Francine Rivers. I quickly picked up her books and fell in love. Her attention to detail, her depth of character development, and her weaving of faith and spirit have all influenced my own writing. Wallace Stegner’s book Angle of Repose and his other works inspire my love of the West.

 

Do you have any strange writing habits or writing rituals you’d like to share with your readers?

Funny you should ask! I get up really early to write, between 4 and 5:00 a.m., and as I get closer to finishing the book, I get up earlier and earlier, sometimes at 1:30 in the morning. I usually finish my writing day by stopping in the middle of a sentence so I always have a place to begin the next day. Doing that keeps me from having writer’s block.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

I once joined my husband and his hunting partner on a trip into the mountains. The hunting partner didn’t want “a girl” in camp, but he let me come along. I was a good go-fer, never complaining, and at the end of the day he said to my husband,  “Well, she weren’t no trouble and she even helped some.” I’d like that on my tombstone.



———————————

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1st: Copy of Something Worth Doing + Oregon Map Bag
+ $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card;
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Copy of Something Worth Doing + $10 Barnes and Noble Gift Card. 
SEPTEMBER 15-25, 2020 
(US ONLY)
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY, 
or visit the blogs directly:
9/15/20
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9/15/20
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9/16/20
Review
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BLOG TOUR: Airborne Guest Post

 
 
 
AIRBORNE
by
DiANN MILLS
Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense 
Date of Publication: September 8, 2020
Number of Pages: 400

Scroll down for the giveaway!

 
 

Heather Lawrence’s long-awaited vacation to Salzburg wasn’t supposed to go like this. Mere hours into the transatlantic flight, the Houston FBI agent is awakened when passengers begin exhibiting horrific symptoms of an unknown infection. As the virus quickly spreads and dozens of passengers fall ill, Heather fears she’s witnessing an epidemic similar to ones her estranged husband studies for a living—but this airborne contagion may have been deliberately released.

While Heather remains quarantined with other survivors, she works with her FBI colleagues to identify the person behind this attack. The prime suspect? Dr. Chad Lawrence, an expert in his field … and Heather’s husband. The Lawrences’ marriage has been on the rocks since Chad announced his career took precedence over his wife and future family and moved out. 


As more victims fall prey days after the initial outbreak, time’s running out to hunt down the killer, one who may be closer to the victims than anyone ever expected.

===
A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
The story line for Airborne came to me three and a half years ago. All I had was a what-if: A virus unleashed on an international flight.

The search to find experts who were willing to give me accurate information took another year. Along the way, God placed the right people in my path: a woman and new friend whose doctorate is in microbiology and immunology, a man who trains flight attendants for the airline that I envisioned in my story, a pilot who not only flies for my designated airline but is also a suspense and thriller writer, the amazing people and resources of the CDC, and the wisdom and guidance of the FBI.

Tyndale House Publishers saw my passion for Airborne. This book was completed and edited before COVID-19 spread across our globe. My mission then and now is to show a story that weaves hope, reality, and the sacrificial work of first responders when a deadly virus spreads through innocent people.

My prayer is people will experience God’s presence during our current global crisis. Will you join me in that prayer?

CLICK TO PURCHASE
 
 
 
 
 

 

Stories Have Souls that Breathe Immortality

By DiAnn Mills, author of Airborne

An unforgettable story steps beyond “once upon a time” to a special place that captures the reader’s heart forever. Not every story has that spun gold, and not every reader experiences the same soul-grabbing story. What lingers as a memorable novel for you may not give me an exceptional read. But the criteria are the same: an immortal story touched us, spoke to us, and we were passionately involved in the lives of the characters and their quest.           

A gold-spun story is filled with rare, distinct, haunting, and extraordinary characters who accompany us to our sweet spot of remembrance. Readers and writers dream the character is real and imagine themselves joining the journey. Some readers become the hero or heroine, much like children don super-hero costumes and develop mannerisms of their favorite character.

A writer becomes every protagonist and antagonist. In this way, the writer understands the character’s motivation. How does a writer accomplish this amazing feat? Is there a magic wand to wave over our keyboard?

           There’s no fairy dust in writing. It’s all hard work.

We labor to create characters who are:

  • Multi-dimensional
  • Full of life
  • Possess authentic flaws
  • Solid victories
  • Flawed
  • Believable strengths

We immerse them into a setting that is determined to see the character fail by tossing rocks, swords, bullets, bombs, lies, and the hero’s worst fears into their paths. (Think Indiana Jones and his aversion to snakes.)

We offer the character a way out of their predicament, but the hero refuses. When knocked down, they get back up. When bleeding, they smack on a Band-Aid and keep moving. When they’re defeated in battle, they understand the war is not over.

  • The characters are unique.
  • The characters are not afraid to love or give.
  • They are secure in who they are.
  • They are confident in their abilities and willing to learn new skills.
  • They accept a higher deity called God is in charge of the universe.
  • They make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Their appeal is shown in their response to life’s challenges.
  • They inspire us to be better people.
  • They offer hope in a world that threatens our peace of mind.

Is a writer always successful in establishing the immortal character? Unfortunately, no. But we never give up because it’s in our DNA for each book to be written better than the previous one. We writers are committed to our craft so that our stories and their characters will live forever in a reader’s mind and heart.

What story characters have captured your heart?


 
 


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; director, alongside Edie Melson, of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and Mountainside Retreats; and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers.

DiAnn is passionate about helping other writers be successful and speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston. DiAnn is very active online and loves to connect with readers on social media and at diannmills.com

 

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————————————-

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FOUR WINNERS
Each gets a signed, personalized hardcover edition of Airborne
choice of either $25 Amazon or $25 Barnes and Noble e-Gift Card
August 18-28, 2020
(U.S. Only)
 
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY. 

 

Or, visit the blogs directly:
 
8/18/20
Book Trailer
8/18/20
Review
8/19/20
Author Video
8/19/20
BONUS Post
8/20/20
Guest Post
8/20/20
Review
8/21/20
Review
8/22/20
Excerpt
8/23/20
Excerpt
8/24/20
Scrapbook
8/24/20
Review
8/25/20
Character Interview
8/26/20
Review
8/26/20
Author Video
8/27/20
Review
8/27/20
Review
 
 
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Blog Tour : A Firm Place to Stand

A FIRM PLACE TO STAND
by
LORI ALTEBAUMER
Genre: Christian / Romantic Suspense
Independently published
Date of Publication: January 25, 2020
Number of Pages: 321

Scroll down for the giveaway!
 

Review

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished pdf copy from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

Has there ever been a moment in your life where you’ve felt like you can’t catch a break? Have you ever felt as though you were a burden to everyone you encounter? The main character Maribel has nothing but shortcomings her entire life but a job opportunity at Summer Camp in the middle has become available. She hasn’t had the best of luck with jobs or relationships but this may be her chance for a fresh start. That is until her car malfunctions and catches ablaze as she nears her new town. Within the first twenty-four hours of her arrival to her new town she finds a corpse in the river on her morning job, her car catches fire, and she has unexpectedly become involved in the secrets of her new town. Will she be able to uncover the secrets behind the dead body and the potential missing person? Can she keep her current role? How long can she keep her past hidden and stay hidden?

This book starts at a steady pace with the introduction of the main character and the author does a great job of capturing your attention in the beginning. We watch as Maribel’s character develops more as the storyline begins to unfold. The book begins with us seeing a glimpse into the past of Maribel and the preconceived notions she has about the people in her new town. She must learn to keep her guard up but also work to remove the walls she placed around herself to allow people a chance to get to know her. I enjoyed the development of each character and the realistic emotions tied to each character. Of course, as the story moved on I felt remorse for Maribel as she struggled to forgive herself for her past and move forward with the opportunity she was given. The author does a wonderful job of being descriptive when it came to explaining each character’s emotions, actions, and interactions. The writing style was intriguing where the author took the approach to alter between perspectives. There was no one true narrator in my opinion. The story was being told by each character and enjoyed getting the chance to be inside the mind of each character which aided in understanding the character development fully. I spent a great deal of time being both shocked and on the brink of tears while reading this book as it hit close to home to watch the main character try so hard. You can watch as the town’s secrets begin to unfold and Maribel sees who she can trust. With the journalist’s background in tow, she can observe her surroundings and get to the bottom of the town’s biggest secrets while simultaneously not realizing how sinister the villain in this novel is. I was thoroughly surprised and gasped out loud as finally came to the end of this book. All I can say is well done what a remarkable tale.

The author takes an interesting approach to the Christian based thriller. As the story continues to unfold you feel involved in the development of each character and invested in the outcome of the story. However, I did feel it was a little dry in some areas and wanted a bit more action. I felt there were high points in the story and a few low points in the story where I felt could have been developed a bit more. However, overall this was a well written Christian thriller. You can tell the author worked hard to have the biblical aspects of the story to fit well within the chapter. I enjoyed the fact that the author inserted a practical biblical tip of forgiveness and the importance of forgiveness. It is inspirational to see that focus inside this specific text that contains aspects of betrayal, loss, grief, and victimization. The author showcases the challenges of forgiveness from both parties. She sheds light on the perspective of forgiveness from the accuser and the person who has experienced the loss. the Bible discusses the importance of forgiveness throughout and the importance of relying on God to provide peace in the middle of a storm or turmoil. Special thanks to the author for doing a phenomenal job at incorporating the biblical aspect and the ability to have it flow so well.

 

I highly recommend this book for any who is interested in reading a thrilling christian mystery novel. This book is appropriate for young adults and higher as there isn’t any foul or rude content.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!



 

A life-long Texan, Lori lives in a small community not far from the rugged West Texas landscape she loves to write about. The mother of now-grown twins, she has learned that the secret to survival is a well-developed sense of humor and an active prayer life. After years spent working in the insurance business, Lori now uses her time to educate, inspire, encourage, and entertain through the written word.

———————–

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Signed Copy of A Firm Place to Stand + $25 Gift Card to the Texas Indie Bookstore of Choice
2ND PRIZE:Signed Copy of A Firm Place to Stand
3RD PRIZE: eBook of A Firm Place to Stand
APRIL 30-MAY 10, 2020
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Blog Tour: The Caretakers

THE CARETAKERS
by
ELIZA MAXWELL
Genre:  Psychological Thriller / Gothic Fiction / Sisters Fiction 
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: April 14, 2020
Number of Pages: 317Scroll down for the giveaway!

In the isolated estate she’s found the perfect getaway. But there’s no escaping the past in this chilling novel from the bestselling author of The Unremembered Girl.

Filmmaker Tessa Shepherd helped free a man she believed was wrongly imprisoned for murder. When he kills again, Tessa’s life is upended.
She’s reeling with guilt, her reputation destroyed. Worse, Tessa’s mother has unexpectedly passed away, and her sister, Margot, turns on her after tensions from their past escalate. Hounded by a bullying press, Tessa needs an escape. That’s when she learns of a strange inheritance bequeathed by her mother: a derelict and isolated estate known as Fallbrook. It seems like the perfect refuge.A crumbling monument to a gruesome history, the mansion has been abandoned by all but two elderly sisters retained as caretakers. They are also guardians of all its mysteries. As the house starts revealing its dark secrets, Tessa must face her fears and right the wrongs of her past to save herself and her relationship with Margot. But nothing and no one at Fallbrook are what they seem.

“Suspense fans will be satisfied.” —Publishers Weekly

CLICK TO PURCHASE
AMAZONINDIEBOUND
 

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished audiobook from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

 

Have you ever thought you were making the right decision and then it turns out it could have been wrong? Tessa thought she was making the right decision when she helped to free someone she felt was innocent but her core is shaken the killer strikes again. Not only is Tessa facing the challenges of a crippling career after a murder was released on her watch but now there is turmoil in her family. Her relationship with her sister is tumultuous and now she must work with her sister to uncover the family’s many secrets as an estate turns up as an inheritance to both women. As Tessa works to uncover the mystery behind the estate in Fallbrook, she finds more than she bargained for.

This captivating audiobook captures you from the moment it begins with a vivid telling of this suspenseful novel. The author does an amazing job with the selection of the narrators for this book. Each narrator being picked precisely for the personality of the main characters. I loved that the story was told from different perspectives allowing the reader to engage with each character. The transitional viewpoints allow the reader to gain a better understanding of the two sets of sisters and how their timelines and stories intertwine.

You ever come to the end of a novel and wonder, did that just end like that? That was me finishing this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the entirety of this novel. The author did an exceptional job creating a novel that allows the reader to be connected and intertwined with each character. I felt every emotion that lined the pages of this novel as the characters’ stories started to unwind. There are twists, there are turns, there are moments where you want to both scream and cry at the same time. The ending left me to want ing more from the story and it completes shock. The reality of the struggles Tessa faces with her anxiety is both empowering and impactful. How many times have we all put on a facade but have been facing a crippling fear and anxiety underneath? It reminds me of some of the same emotions I faced when I struggled with anxiety but did not share it with anyone. The struggles Tessa and Margot faced with their relationship provides a realistic approach to how the lack of communication and cause the downfall of a family. Everyone had good intentions but sometimes those can be misinterpreted. I wonder how longer Dierdre can keep up the facade with Kitty and what’s next for Tessa.

This is my first time reading a book written by this author but I am thoroughly invested in her writing style and the way the words flow throughout this story. There were a few times that I was a bit lost trying to keep up with the supporting characters but overall this book was phenomenal. I enjoy this type of historical based writing style that captures the essence of an authentic thriller storyline that has you at the end of your seat during the full ride.

I highly recommend this book for any who is interested in reading a thrilling mystery novel. This book is appropriate for young adults and higher as there isn’t rude content but it does discuss anxiety and parts of the story can be a bit heavy for younger audiences.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!

Eliza Maxwell is the author of The Shadow Writer, The Widow’s Watcher, The Unremembered Girl, The Grave Tender, and The Kinfolk. She writes fiction from her home in Texas, which she shares with her ever-patient husband, two impatient kids, a ridiculous English setter, and a bird named Sarah. An artist and writer, a dedicated introvert, and a British-cop-drama addict, she enjoys nothing more than sitting on the front porch with a good cup of coffee. For more information, visit www.elizamaxwell.net.


 

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Blog Tour: Out of the Embers

OUT OF THE EMBERS
MESQUITE SPRINGS, BOOK ONE
by
Amanda Cabot
Historical Fiction / Christian Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 3, 2020
Number of Pages: 336

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Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents’ murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds refuge in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don’t include a family of his own.

At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage?

Suspenseful and sweetly romantic, Out of the Embers is the first in a new series that invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, when the West was wild, the men were noble, and the women were strong.



PRAISE FOR OUT OF THE EMBERS:

Out of the Embers is part prairie romance, part romantic suspense. I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a book more. Amanda Cabot has written an intriguing, chilling mystery and she winds it through the pages of a sweet romance in a way that made me keep turning the pages fast to see what was going to happen next. An absolutely excellent read. And now I’m hungry for oatmeal pecan pie!” 

Mary Connealy, author of Aiming for Love, book #1 in the Brides of Hope Mountain series
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Review

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

 

What lengths would you go to protect someone you loved? Evelyn Radcliffe’s life was forever changed ten years prior after her parents’ were murdered in their restaurant. She has spent the last ten years in an orphanage that she has now called home. Although the sheriff said her parent’s murderer was captured and hung, she still feels as though she is being watched. Her suspicions have become more evident after she and Polly narrowly miss being killed in a fire that took the lives of those in the orphanage. Evelyn must step up as guardian for Polly and work to protect them from the person who appears to want them both dead. After the orphanage burns down Evelyn decides to take Polly and leave the town she has called home for far too long. After a harsh storm, Eveyln and Polly take shelter in the home of Wyatt Clark in the town of Mesquite. Soon she will realize there is more to the new town that a kind stranger. Will they both survive? Will Evelyn let go of the guilt that she carries and move forward with her new life?

In this first installment of a new Christian Historical Fiction series, Cabot dives into the realm of historical fiction. The author does a phenomenal job with the telling of. the story of Evelyn and Polly. The storyline flows seamlessly with twists and turns on every corner. I thoroughly enjoyed the emotional connection the author enabled with her writing style. I was able to fully connect with each character and truly feel transported into this time period. Each supporting character played a major role in the overall plot and the author even provided a teaser at the end of the book. I enjoyed how Eveyln’s character is developed as a strong female protagonist with a compassionate heart to serve others. I also enjoyed the Christian based aspect of this novel and the influence of the scriptures. There is one part of the story where Wyatt looks at Evelyn and tells her that the truth will set her free. Evelyn has been carrying the weight of her parent’s death and the weight of the burning down of the orphanage on her shoulders far too long. At that moment she feels as though God has saved her for a reason. Which we will later find out towards the end of the story and we come to find out more about Polly and why she won’t share her last name.

I felt a strong connection to this novel. Often times we don’t fully understand how God truly intervenes in our lives to save us because our saving is tied to saving someone else. I would implore the readers to really consider this as they dive into this book. Think a moment where you know that God has saved you to only use you to provide a blessing to someone else or use you to save someone else.

Overall this is truly a remarkably written Christian historical fiction novel that allowed the reader to be transported into the story. The author spent time developing every supporting character, the description of the setting, and the plot. This all combined created a well-rounded novel with a heartbreaking beginning and a happy ending. I highly recommend this novel for anyone looking for a Christian based novel as such that focuses on fear, grief, strength, and love.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!


Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Cimarron Creek trilogy, as well as the Texas Crossroads series, the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.
 

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Blog Tour: Ain’t Nobody

AIN’T NOBODY
NOBODY
by
HEATHER HARPER ELLETT
Genre: Murder Mystery / Southern Noir / Dark Humor
Publisher: Polis Books
Date of Publication: September 24, 2019
Number of Pages: 336
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Named a Best Debut of Fall/Winter 2019 by Library Journal, Ain’t Nobody Nobody is the story of a disgraced East Texas sheriff, his dead best friend’s surly teenage daughter, and a naive ranch hand who find unlikely redemption in a murdered hog hunter on a fence. 
 
Part Breaking Bad and part Faulkner, this tragi-comic mystery is perfect for readers who enjoy dark humor (think Fargo) and like their crime fiction with a literary flare. 
A Best Mystery of 2019 by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in those are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

This book is a debut novel for Heather Ellett. It dives into a murder mystery that takes place in the backwoods of an East Texas town. A town where everybody knows everybody and everything that happens. Randy Mayhill carries grief, shame, and regret everywhere he goes. He spends time trying to redeem the mistakes of his past and his involvement in his friend’s death. All Randy Mayhill ever wanted to do was become a sheriff but now even after his friend’s death and the loss of his job, he’s still carrying the guilt and shame. In an effort to relieve some of the guilt, he makes it his mission to do whatever he can to be available to Birdie and Onie, the daughter and mother of his late friend. But in a town overcome by feral hogs where the only murders that take place are the hogs when a dead body shows up on the fence of his late friend’s family house Randy steps into action. Birdies isn’t saying anything, Onie isn’t talking, and Bradley the helper looks frightened and isn’t saying a word. However, when Randy goes to dispose of the body, it’s gone. Randy must come out of his seclusion to solve a murder mystery and keep another scandal away from Van’s household as he continues to seek redemption for his friend’s death. Only one problem, Randy isn’t the Sherrif in town anymore and no one is giving him answers. The story continues to unfold with twists and turns and an ending that will leave you shocked, proud, and in tears. Who is the mystery man on the fence? What is Birdie’s involvement in his death? Where is Bradley? This story will take you on a wild East Texas backroad ride that will involve deception, redemption, grief, loss, and revenge. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the way it is written. I have not encountered a book quite like it recently. It is known from the first page that the author spent time working to develop each character and the storyline. It is a challenge to write a story in a way that allows the reader to build an emotional connection with the characters but this author did just that. You feel the grief, guilt, loss, regret, pain, emanating from each page. Each main character and supporting character’s story intertwines in such an effortless way that every character feels just as vital as the next. For example, we get a hint of Bradley’s backstory in parts of this novel but it just enough to understand his connection to the plot. Also, I was completely shocked at the ending and was not expecting it. The author does a superb job closing out this story in such a way that it still leaves you wanting more. I laughed at the end because I could not have seen this story ending in any other way. 

The author does a phenomenal job telling this story in a way that is both humorous in some areas and tragic in others. The author uses a unique approach to telling the story where the narrator is both involved in the telling of the story but also a commentator, providing insights in every chapter. This allows the story to feel more realistic and engages the reader in the development of each character. She uses descriptive text to express the character’s emotions in a realistic manner that allows the story to feel real when reading. This book will have you laughing, crying, gasping, and shocked all in one sitting. If you’re looking for a unique Texas read that will have you enveloped from the beginning try to solve a small-town mystery, then this is your book. It will capture your attention from start to finish. I highly recommend this Texas-based murder mystery for any interested in a tragically humorous adult mystery that will have you captured from the beginning. Click the link below to purchase this item or try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on this book!

 


 


 

Born and raised in East Texas, Heather Harper Ellett is a graduate of SMU and a therapist in private practice. She lives in Dallas with her husband and son.

 
 

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Blog Tour: Journey of the Pale Bear

JOURNEY OF
THE PALE BEAR
by
SUSAN FLETCHER
Middle Grade / Medieval Historical Fiction
(grades 3-7)
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Date of Publication: October 2, 2018
Paperback: October 1, 2019

Number of Pages: 302

Scroll down for the giveaway!


A runaway boy befriends a polar bear that’s being transported from Norway to London in this lyrical and timeless adventure story about freedom, captivity, and finding a family.
 

 

The polar bear is a royal bear, a gift from the King of Norway to the King of England. The first time Arthur encounters the bear, he is shoved in her cage as payback for stealing food. Restless and deadly, the bear terrifies him. Yet, strangely, she doesn’t harm him—though she has attacked anyone else who comes near. That makes Arthur valuable to the doctor in charge of getting the bear safely to London. So Arthur, who has run away from home, finds himself taking care of a polar bear on a ship to England.
 
Tasked with feeding and cleaning up after the bear, Arthur’s fears slowly lessen as he begins to feel a connection to this bear, who like him, has been cut off from her family. But the journey holds many dangers, and Arthur knows his own freedom—perhaps even his life—depends on keeping the bear from harm. When pirates attack and the ship founders, Arthur must make a choice—does he do everything he can to save himself, or does he help the bear to find freedom?
 
Based on the real story of a polar bear that lived in the Tower of London, this timeless adventure story is also a touching account of the bond between a boy and a bear.

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Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in those are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

This is an engaging novel that involves family, friendships, and heroics. This book will grab your attention from the moment you read the first page and hold your attention until the end.

This book follows the life of Arthur, a young boy trying to survive in medieval times. It starts off strong with Arthur involved in a chase that leads him in a confined situation. He must use his wits to get out of his current predicament and to get to a place he so desperately desires to visit. Before he can start his journey, he must first serve as a handler for a bear on a ship headed to London. During his time with the bear, he will develop an unlikely bond with this animal. The bear and Arthur have so much in common, they merely want to be free. Arthur faces pirates, bears, and royalty on his journey. He must learn to continue to fight to survive. Will Arthur and the bear finally get the freedom they so desperately desire?

Throughout this novel, I realized that Arthur just wanted to find a place where he felt he belong. He just wanted to be around people that wanted him. The author does an amazing job with the descriptive terms in this novel. So much so, that I felt the emotions of the main character as he described his family dynamics. The supporting characters are developed nicely and the action scenes are engaging. I was a bit skeptical at first about reading this mostly in part due to the setting and time period. In the end, this was one of my favorite novels I have read this year. I thoroughly enjoyed the character development, action scenes, plot, and ending. The author writes this novel in a way that allows the reader to feel a connection with the main character and the support characters. She does this by providing small backstories for the supporting characters that connect with the main character.

If you’re in the mood for a medieval historical fiction middle grade novel based in Europe, then you’re in luck. This book fits soo many key character development points and has such an elaborate storyline that it would be a great read for upper elementary and middle grades. I highly recommend this book for all! You won’t want to put this one down until you finish it completely!

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*ACCOLADES AND PRAISE FOR*

JOURNEY OF THE PALE BEAR:
Honor Book, Golden Kite Awards, 2019

Vermont’s 2019-2020 Dorothy Canfield Fisher list
2020 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award Children’s Masterlist
School Library Connection highly recommended book
Junior Library Guild Selection
50 Must-Read Historical Fiction Books for Kids, bookriot.com


“…a stupendous coming-of-age-tale stuffed with adventure and laced with deeper questions… A richly satisfying story saturated with color, adventure, and heart.” –Kirkus, starred review

“I simply adore this novel. It has it all: gorgeous prose, fascinating history, riveting adventure. But it’s the unlikely tender friendship between a lonely boy and a polar bear that makes this a story to cherish. A lovely little miracle of a book.”

–Katherine Applegate, Newbery Medal-winning author of The One and Only Ivan

“I loved every single thing about this large-hearted and riveting medieval adventure.” —William Alexander, National Book Award-winning author of Goblin Secrets


 

Although Susan loves to write about long-ago and faraway places, she can’t bring those worlds to life without grounding them in the details of this one. To that end, she has explored lava tubes and sea caves; spent the night in a lighthouse; traveled along the Silk Road in Iran; ridden in a glider, on a camel, and on a donkey; and cut up (already dead!) baby chicks and mice for a gyrfalcon’s dinner. To research Journey of the Pale Bear, she explored the grounds of the Tower of London and went backstage at the Oregon Zoo, where, standing breathtakingly near, she watched polar bears Tasul and Conrad lip grapes from their keepers’ open palms.Journey of the Pale Bear is Susan’s 12th book, including the Dragon Chronicles series, Shadow Spinner, and Alphabet of Dreams. Collectively, her books have been translated into nine languages; accolades include a Golden Kite Honor Book, the American Library Association’s Notable Books and Best Books for Young Adults, BCCB Blue Ribbon Books, and School Library Journal’s Best Books.

Susan has an M.A. in English from the University of Michigan and taught for many years in the M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College. She lives in Bryan, Texas with her husband, historian R.J.Q. Adams, and their dog, Neville.

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