THE SKY KING RANCH SERIES by Susan May Warren – Book Blog Tour – Excerpt and Giveaway

Sunrise, Sunburst, & Sundown
The Sky King Ranch Series
by
SUSAN MAY WARREN
Christian Fiction / Romance
Publisher: Revell
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THE SKY KING RANCH SERIES
Meet the boys of Sky King Ranch! The Kingston brothers are back in town, and you can read their stories in the Sky King Ranch series books Sunrise, Sunburst, and Sundown by USA Today bestselling author Susan May Warren.
Sunrise: Pilot Dodge Kingston has always been the heir to Sky King Ranch. But after a terrible family fight, he left to become a pararescue jumper. A decade later, he’s headed home to the destiny that awaits him.
Sunburst: When former Navy Seal and lifelong bachelor Ranger Kingston is called upon to take part in a rescue mission to save his brother Colt, who has been kidnapped by terrorists in Nigeria, he is shocked to find among the hostages a woman he knows and could never forget.
Sundown: Former Delta Operative Colt Kingston may not know the truth, but he sure doesn’t trust Tae, the woman who is caring for his ailing father at Sky King Ranch. Behind those beautiful blue eyes, he can tell there is a troubled–and smart–woman.
PRAISE FOR THE SERIES:

“Warren proves yet again why she is a master in the genre.”–Booklist, starred review on Sunrise

“International intrigue and adventure paired with a simmering romance equals one fast-moving story you won’t be able to put down!”–Lisa Harris, bestselling author of the Nikki Boyd Files series, on Sunburst


Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter One of

SUNRISE

Book One in The Sky King Ranch Series

by

Susan May Warren

By the time Dodge got to the hospital, he’d already broken his first promise.

It was a Saturday, the same day the sun turned the Copper River into blades of ice, lethal and brilliant as they shoved and jockeyed out of Denali’s shadow south into the Gulf of Alaska. The dawn had broken at the respectable hour of 7:42 a.m., and with it, the sunrise not only brought a southernly gust of warm air that cracked the freezing point and turned the starting line of the Iditarod to mush and grime but also laced the air with the scent of spring.

A balmy 37 degrees in Anchorage, nearly a heat wave this time of year.

Which only brought out the crazies.

As he stalked through the waiting room of Alaska Regional and punched the elevator button, Dodge shot a look at the flat-screen where the news recapped yesterday’s celebration, aka the parade through Anchorage of the fifty-seven or so mushing teams. People dancing on icy berms, high-fiving the mushers, tailgaters wearing board shorts along with fur caps and mukluks, children wanting to pet the dogs. Outsiders from the Lower 48 were trying to grab selfies with local celebrities.

The mushers would be starting on their thousand-mile journey from Willow Lake later today, and with that information from the reporter, Echo Yazzie slipped into Dodge’s mind.

He wondered—

No. He shook her away, got on the elevator, and rode it to the third, med-surg floor. As he got off, he recognized the smells of a hospital, not that different from Walter Reed, and his insides clenched.

He wouldn’t stay long.

Of course, the old man hadn’t died in the accident, and maybe that was crass of Dodge, but if he had, maybe it would all be over, the burn in Dodge’s gut finally extinguished.

He spotted his sister, Larke, standing at the end of the hall, staring through the window at the blue sky, the muddy streets. She stood with her back to him, so he only guessed it was Larke, her long blonde hair in a singular braid down her back. But she also wore a Sky King Ranch flight jacket, the words emblazoned on the back, so that seemed a dead giveaway.

A man sat in a nearby molded chair, his hair cut military short. He considered Larke with worried eyes.

Probably Riley McCord, her SEAL husband. Perfect. With Dodge’s luck, his brother Range and Riley would have met on some classified SEAL mission, become best of pals, and Riley would have gotten an earful of family dirty laundry over a post-mission debriefing.

Dodge, of course, starring as the villain of the story.

He braced himself. “Larke?”

She turned, and of course she looked older—the last time he’d seen her she’d been eighteen and joining the Army.

And he’d been sixteen and just stupid enough to think that he had his life buttoned up.

“Dodge?” She wore trauma in her eyes, probably fatigue and worry, but also residue from the years she’d served as a medic. Still, he wondered if she had been the one to find the wreckage of their father’s DHC-3 Otter bush plane. His friend Moose had been sketchy on that part when he’d called to tell Dodge about the accident.

Glancing at the man in the chair, who rose, Larke put her coffee on the ledge of the window. “Wow. I didn’t think . . . I mean . . . how did you find out?”

Dodge wished she’d finished her first thought. She didn’t think . . . what? That he cared about the old man? That he’d ever return? That he didn’t think about his choices nearly every day, especially recently?

“Moose Mulligan, down at Air One Rescue,” Dodge answered.

Larke wore a pair of jeans, Sorels, and a wedding ring on her left hand, but he knew that, too, thanks to the Copper Mountain Good News’s online portal.

He just kept his subscription for the obits. And maybe the police report. Really. The fact that it listed her engagement to a Navy SEAL a couple years ago was just a bonus line item.

“Have you been in Anchorage all this time?” She seemed to be working her words, trying not to accuse.

He felt it anyway.

“How’d it happen?” He glanced at the other man—Riley—now standing. Big enough, built like a linebacker, he stepped close to Larke and put his arm around her.

Dodge met his eyes even as Larke spoke.

“Otto Smith saw him go down and called it in. Dad was low, coming in for a landing at the Copper Mountain airfield, and his wing clipped a tree. Otto wasn’t sure but he thought the wing might have detached before it hit.”

“A faulty wing attachment?” His gaze went back to Larke, having found some solid ground in his silent face-off with Riley. Riley loved her—he would protect her, and Dodge appreciated that. Larke might be two years older than him, but she was still his sister.

“It’s the only way we can figure it.” Her gaze flitted toward the closed door that Dodge guessed was the old man’s room. “He’s been flying for forty-nine years. He doesn’t make mistakes.”

“It doesn’t have to be a pilot error for accidents to happen, Larke. Weather. A wind gust. Anything can happen in the bush.”

Her jaw clenched and her husband tightened his grip on her. He finally held out his hand to Dodge. “Riley McCord.”

Dodge met it. “Dodge Kingston. When did you two finally hitch up?”

“Before my first tour,” he said. “About a year ago.”

Dodge didn’t ask if he knew Ranger, figured it would come up if it needed to. “Congrats. Sorry I wasn’t there.”

“We eloped,” Larke said. “You and the boys were too hard to track down, and Dad already gave his blessing, so . . .”

She was being kind with her words. Truth was, he hadn’t a clue where Ranger, and especially Colt, had landed on the globe. And he didn’t ask. Just because they were triplets didn’t mean they were close. At least, not anymore.

To continue reading Chapter One of SUNRISE, click here!


Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of nearly 90 novels with more than 1.5 million books sold, including the Global Search and Rescue and the Montana Rescue series, as well as Sunrise and Sunburst. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan makes her home in Minnesota.

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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
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11/29/22

All the Ups and Downs

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11/29/22

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11/30/22

It’s Not All Gravy

Review Book 3

11/30/22

Stories Under Starlight

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11/30/22

LSBBT Blog

BONUS Promo

12/01/22

Shelf Life Blog

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12/02/22

Bibliotica

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12/03/22

Carpe Diem Chronicles

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12/04/22

StoreyBook Reviews

Excerpt, Book 2

12/05/22

Sybrina’s Book Blog

Excerpt, Book 3

12/06/22

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Reading by Moonlight

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The Plain-Spoken Pen

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CONCRETE EVIDENCE By DiAnn Mills – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

CONCRETE EVIDENCE
by
DiAnn Mills

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Pages: 416 pages

Publication Date: October 4, 2022

Categories: Christian Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers

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Bestselling and award-winning author DiAnn Mills delivers a heart-stopping story of a faulty construction job, the discovery of a dead body, and a sinister plot.

On the family’s Brazos River Ranch in Texas, Avery Elliott helps run her grandfather’s commercial construction business. Raised by Senator Elliott, Avery has never doubted her grandfather is the man of integrity and faith she’s always believed him to be …. until the day she finds him standing with a gun over the body of a dead man. To make matters worse, Avery’ just discovered a billing discrepancy for materials supposedly purchased for construction of the Lago de Cobre Dam.

Desperate for answers, Avery contacts FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins for help. As Marc works to identify the dead man Avery saw, threats toward Avery create a fresh sense of urgency to pinpoint why someone wants to silence her. With a hurricane approaching the Texas coast and the structural integrity of the Lago de Cobre Dam called into question, time is running out to get to the bottom of a sinister plot that could be endangering the lives of not only Avery and her loved ones but the entire community.

Praise For CONCRETE EVIDENCE

“* VERDICT Mills . . . delivers another action-packed novel that offers intrigue and an adventurous ride. Recommend to fans of Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason, and Carrie Stuart Parks.” – LIBRARY JOURNAL, Shondra Brown

“The confident plotting keeps the mysteries coming, and red herrings will have readers guessing the culprit through to the satisfying conclusion. Fans of Colleen Coble and Susan Sleeman will savor this thrilling standalone.” – PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY

PURCHASE LINKS ARE FOUND AT:

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Action, adventure, danger, excitement. Romance. Faith. Concrete Evidence has them all and so much more. Like the approaching hurricane in the story, the events in this book happen fast and furious with surges of violence and the occasional calm that only portends of more devastating crises to come. It wasn’t until the very end that my heartbeat settled into its normal pace.

…truth is first believed in the heart.”

Suspicious deaths brought construction business owner Avery Elliott and FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins together in the most fraught of ways. Confused and afraid, Avery was on the run after seeing her beloved grandfather standing over a dead man’s body with a gun in his hand. Marc just buried the father who abandoned him when he was a child and was dealing with a mother who didn’t believe her former husband died of a heart attack as the autopsy declared. To top it all, he found out he has a teenage sister now under his guardianship.

Through explosions and shootings, sabotages and storms, these two somehow found themselves falling for each other. As a Romance reader, I approve and appreciate their decision to keep things slow and get to know each other better once the cases are resolved. As a Romance author, I’d have gone in a direction more in keeping with my Carpe Diem brand, but that would be a different story altogether. The choices Ms. Mills made here fit her particular subgenre of Christian fiction perfectly.

None of us have any control of when the good Lord takes us home. What we do control is how much we love and show our love.”

One of the things I love about this book is the fact that faith is observed and practiced, not merely paid lip service. Many of the characters’ actions are driven by their belief that a higher power will reveal truths and deliver them to safety. This gave them the courage to face dangers head-on. Some of their actions could be considered reckless which could potentially frustrate readers or have them chalk it up to adding suspense. I’m in the latter camp that found the intrepidity of the main characters acceptable.

What frustrated me is the ease with which I guessed who the main villain is. Ms. Mills provided plenty of red herrings and cast suspicions on several people but I zeroed in on the mastermind as soon as they were introduced in the story. I wanted to be proved wrong but I wasn’t, hence the slight disappointment. I recognize that it’s a ‘me problem’ and not an issue shared by the majority of readers. As they say, your mileage may vary.

In the note Ms. Mills wrote me, she said, “Expect an adventure.” I expected and she delivered spectacularly. Thanks, Ms. Mills and Tyndale Fiction, for providing me with a copy to review and enjoy. Thanks, Lone Star Lit, for including me in the blog tour.

4 out of 5 stars


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure?
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. You can download a list of her published titles by clicking here.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a former director of Blue Ridge Christian Writers, and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She shares her passion for helping other writers be successful by teaching writing workshops around the country.
DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

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10/18/22

Jennie Reads

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10/19/22

Rainy Days with Amanda

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10/19/22

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10/20/22

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10/20/22

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10/21/22

All the Ups and Downs

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10/21/22

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10/22/22

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10/23/22

It’s Not All Gravy

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10/24/22

The Plain-Spoken Pen

Review

10/25/22

Stories Under Starlight

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10/25/22

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10/26/22

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10/27/22

The Clueless Gent

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THE LOST MELODY by Joanna Davidson Politano – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

THE LOST MELODY
by
Joanna Davidson Politano
Historical Romance / Christian Fiction
Publisher: Revell
Pages: 384 pages
Publication Date: October 4, 2022
SCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

When concert pianist Vivienne Mourdant’s father dies, he leaves to her the care of a patient at Hurstwell Asylum. Vivienne had no idea the woman existed, and yet her portrait is shockingly familiar. When the asylum claims she was never a patient there, Vivienne is compelled to discover what happened to the figure she remembers from childhood dreams.
The longer she lingers in the deep shadows and forgotten towers at Hurstwell, the fuzzier the line between sanity and madness becomes. She hears music no one else does, receives strange missives with rose petals between the pages, and untangles far more than is safe for her to know.
But can she uncover the truth about the mysterious woman she seeks? And is there anyone at Hurstwell she can trust with her suspicions?
Joanna Davidson Politano casts a delightful spell with this lyrical look into the nature of women’s independence and artistic expression during the Victorian era–and now.

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:

“Haunting. Riveting. Filled with hope. The Lost Melody is all these things and more. Author Joanna Davidson Politano delves into the dark world of Victorian mental health, and it’s the reader who comes out the winner after being enchanted by this tale of identity lost. After you read the last page, the characters will live on in your mind. Truly a fantastic read!” — Michelle Griep, author of Lost in Darkness

“Joanna Davidson Politano’s stories go on my bookshelf as a favorite! The stories she pens entice my Gothic-loving senses, thrill my literary soul, and inspire the dark romantic inside my spirit. I cannot emphasize enough how strongly I adore each story from this vivid and insightful author, and how badly I wish for all readers to experience her tales!” — Jaime Jo Wright, author of The Souls of Lost Lake, and Christy Award-winning The House on Foster Hill

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An incredibly gripping symphony of music and faith, The Lost Melody held me in thrall from its darkly dramatic beginning to its gentle, hopeful finish.

Music opens up what we once believed lost.”

This book is unlike anything I usually read with its highly unromantic setting of a lunatic asylum and its emotionally broken characters. But having read and enjoyed a couple of Ms. Politano’s works in the past, I was enticed to give this one a try and I don’t regret immersing myself in this highly original story one bit.

Ms. Politano has an unparalleled talent for interweaving music and scriptures into a story in a way that is authentic and intrinsic. Music and scriptures are the means by which Vivienne proved her identity, survived her ordeal, and fulfilled her mission to save many lives. They also brought her true friendship and the unexpected promise of love.

There is no such thing as hopeless cases. Only those who have lost hope.”

The images Ms. Politano painted about the situations of several patients in the asylum were quite stark, woeful, and sometimes downright scary. The abuse Vivienne suffered enraged me at times and ensured that I’d root for her to gain her freedom. I don’t know how anyone who read this book wouldn’t be affected by her, Bridget, Dr. Turner, Violet, Otto, Anna, Philippe, Rose, and many others.

The spotlight on mental health in the distant past is enlightening and at the same time disheartening in the sense that we still don’t have a full understanding of it in the present.

Sometimes when you live among storms, you become a rock to endure the waves.”

If I have any cavil at all, it’s the insignificant presence of romance in the story. It’s there but not central to the plot and there’s a happy-for-now ending. Both combined barely meet the requirements to be considered part of the genre. I’ll say this is Christian Fiction with Romantic Elements rather than straight-up Christian Romance.

What people say about closed doors is true. If the way is barred to you, simply find an open window to go through instead.”

This book thoroughly engaged me. It made me feel and think. I recommend reading it in one sitting with lights ablaze.

Huge thanks to Lone Star Lit for the opportunity to join the blog tour and to Revell Books for the gift of a copy to review. The Lost Melody has probably one of the loveliest covers I’ve ever beheld. It would make a great gift for any occasion.

4 Four-half-stars


Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears, A Rumored Fortune, Finding Lady Enderly, The Love Note, and A Midnight Dance. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone’s story. She lives with her husband and their children in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan.

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LOVE AND THE DREAM COME TRUE by Tammy L. Gray– Book Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

LOVE AND THE DREAM
COME TRUE
State of Grace Trilogy, Book 3
by
TAMMY L. GRAY
Contemporary Christian Fiction / Clean Romance
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 368 pages
Publication Date: August 2, 2022
SCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY

The Anticipated Series Finale to the 2021 Carol Award-Winning Novel, Love and a Little White Lie

Their faith will face its toughest test yet.

Four years after getting the biggest break of his life, Cameron Lee’s music career has taken a nosedive, leaving him two options: become a sellout or give up on his lifelong dream. He reluctantly returns home for his sister’s wedding, hoping to avoid his past and find his love for music again.
Single mom Lexie Walters has suffered her fair share of tragedies and setbacks, but she has finally scraped together the money to achieve her dream of going into business with her cousin as an interior designer. When Lexie’s life is at an all-time high, she runs into her teenage crush, Cameron Lee.
Lost in the emotional turmoil of failure, Cameron is immediately drawn to Lexie and her infectious smile and optimistic spirit. Moreover, he adores her mouthy, no-holds-barred daughter. But fantasies only last so long, and soon Lexie and Cameron must face the real world, the one fraught with heartbreak, disappointment, and questions that sometimes can only be answered by a leap of faith.


“Cameron and Lexie’s chemistry is palpable, and readers will root for their happily ever after. This tender tale hits all the right notes.” Publishers Weekly

CLICK TO PURCHASE

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Achingly poignant, uncomfortably true-to-life in many parts, and subtly spiritual, Love And The Dream Come True is a truly touching read.
Music is heart and soul and pain and loss.”
I came into this book not having read the two previous stories in the series and I think that worked for me. I was able to meet the characters, especially Cameron Lee, without forming expectations or opinions that may have affected my experience of reading about them.  When we meet Cameron at the beginning of the story, he is a mess. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. He takes panic pills, hides from family and friends, and is overwhelmed with unexpressed feelings. His path to redemption, forgiveness, reconciliation with his faith and his estranged friends, and healing through love is wonderful to witness.
Don’t fear anything but chances not taken.”
In contrast to Cam’s grump, Lexie is sunshine. She’s a bit scattered but she is bright and optimistic despite taking on a huge home renovation project and dealing with the angst of her teenage daughter Morgan at the same time. Her light balances the heavy in Cam’s storyline. Not to say that she doesn’t have her dark moments, particularly when it comes to the subject of her sister Annie. But she handles those with maturity and a natural tendency to love generously.
There is no surviving hardships without faith.”
Another bright spot in the book is Morgan. Having a thirteen-year-old kid myself, I immediately took to her and related with Lexie on the intricacies of parenting her. It’s often difficult to portray children in books, but I think Ms. Gray succeeded in creating a real, multi-dimensional character in Morgan.
 … life is made up of a whole bunch of should’ves … My advice is to learn. Learn from every moment and hope that as you do, the should’ves get further and further apart.”
While the story and the characters engaged me thoroughly, there was an aspect of the writing that distracted me and, in many ways, disappointed me. It’s the casual and repeated use of ableist language. Words and phrases that reference physical disabilities and words and phrases based on neurodivergence are scattered throughout the book. Perhaps unknowingly as these are everyday words. However, they’re expressed in a negative manner and oftentimes could have been substituted with more appropriate language.

… be grateful for the little things in life. That when you add them all together, they are much grander than the big things we think we need.”

This book made me cry. It also made me laugh and sigh. Huge kudos to the author for invoking strong reactions from this reader and I’m sure from many other readers as well.
Thanks to Lone Star Lit for including me in this blog tour and to Bethany House for providing me with a copy to review.
Three-half-stars

Tammy L. Gray lives in the Dallas area with her family, and they love all things Texas. Her nine modern and true-to-life contemporary romances include the 2017 RITA Award-winning My Hope Next Door. When not taxiing her three kids to various events, Tammy can be spotted crunching numbers as the financial administrator at her hometown church.
Bethany House

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Complete STATE OF GRACE SERIES in paperback!
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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY, OR VISIT THE PARTICIPATING BLOGS DIRECTLY:

8/23/2022

The Page Unbound

Guest Post

8/23/2022

Hall Ways Blog

BONUS Series Spotlight

8/24/2022

Book Fidelity

Review

8/24/2022

LSBBT Blog

BONUS Promo

8/25/2022

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

Notable Quotables

8/26/2022

Carpe Diem Chronicles

Review

8/27/2022

The Clueless Gent

Excerpt

8/28/2022

All the Ups and Downs

Excerpt

8/29/2022

Librariel Book Adventures

Review

8/30/2022

Rebecca R. Cahill, Author

Deleted Scene

8/31/2022

StoreyBook Reviews

Review

9/1/2022

Chapter Break Book Blog

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TURN TO ME by Becky Wade–Book Blitz & Giveaway

TURN TO ME
A Misty River Romance
by
BECKY WADE
Contemporary Romance / Christian Fiction / Clean & Wholesome
Date of Publication: May 3, 2022
Number of Pages: 416 pages 
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His promise will cost him far more than he imagined.
Guilt has defined Luke Dempsey’s life, but it was self-destructiveness that landed him in prison. When his friend and fellow inmate lay dying shortly before Luke’s release, the older man revealed he left a string of clues for his daughter, Finley, that will lead her to the treasure he’s hidden. Worried that she won’t be the only one pursuing the treasure, he gains Luke’s promise to protect her until the end of her search.
Spunky and idealistic, Finley Sutherland is the owner of an animal rescue center and a defender of lost causes. She accepts Luke’s help on the treasure hunt while secretly planning to help him in return–by coaxing him to embrace the forgiveness he’s long denied himself.
As they draw closer to the final clue, their reasons for resisting each other begin to crumble, and Luke realizes his promise will push him to the limit in more ways than one. He’ll do his best to shield Finley from unseen threats, but who’s going to shield him from losing his heart?
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Becky Wade is the 2018 Christy Award Book of the Year winner for True to You. She is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and moved to Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her children. When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. Her humorous, heart-pounding contemporary romance novels have won three Christy Awards, the Carol Award, the INSPY Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award for Romance. Becky lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and three children.
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SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE by Tari Faris – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

 

SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE
Restoring Heritage Series, #3
by
Tari Faris
 
Genre: Fiction / Christian / Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: September 7, 2021
Number of Pages: 336 pages
 
 
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With her vision and his know-how, this thing just might work . . .

Leah Williams is back in the quaint town of Heritage, Michigan, and ready to try again to make her business a success. But blank slates are hard to come by, and a piece of her past is waiting for her there. Heir to the Heritage Fruits company, Jonathan Kensington is the guy who not only made Leah’s past difficult, but he also seems determined to complicate her present as well.

In order to avoid forcing a buyout of Leah’s building, Jon will have to strike a compromise. Can the two of them work together? Or will their troubled past set the tone for their future?

 
 
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With its uplifting theme of second chances–in love and in faith–Since You’ve Been Gone is one inspiring read. While tackling deep issues of childhood scars and fear of being hurt, grieving the loss of loved ones, and trying to succeed in business, Ms. Faris still managed to achieve a tone of lightness and hope that made reading this third book in her Restoring Heritage series easy and comforting.   
 
This is the first book by Tari Faris that I’ve read and I’m impressed with her ability to seamlessly weave two wonderfully sweet love stories in one novel. I especially appreciate the strong sense of family and community that shone throughout the book. All the charms of the small town setting were highlighted so well. The bit about Otis, the moving brass hippo, was particularly cute and heartwarming. I truly hope Heritage, Michigan exists because I want to go there for a visit. 
 
Love is letting someone in and trusting them even though they have the potential to break your heart.”
 
Leah and Jon’s rocky romance is both endearing and frustrating. It’s sweetened by swoon-worthy gestures yet soured by all the misunderstandings. Jon’s courtship of Leah, who he loved since high school, is complicated by his struggles with his sister, his conflict with his uncle regarding the running of the business, and his own insecurities about his readiness to lead the company his father built. Leah’s fear of getting hurt warred with her desire to be loved for who she is, quirks and all. Past familial drama did a number on her and caused her to be wary of love. Thankfully, supportive siblings and friends helped bring the two together for their much-deserved happily ever after. 
 
I love you and every broken piece about you and the fact you’re letting God heal that brokenness. And I hope you can grow to love every broken pieces about me.”
 
I liked Leah and Jon’s story but it was Madison and Colby’s romance that really captivated me. Of the two, the latter is more faith-centric. Damaged by abuse and finding affirmation in the wrong places, Madison took a self-destructive path in her youth. Her reluctant return to the town where she thought herself unwelcome and her rediscovery of her faith with the help of Colby and some unexpected new friends make a compelling story. The music she and Colby created was beautiful and profound. If it’s a real recorded song, I’ll buy it. 
 

Thanks to Revell, Tari Faris, and Lone Star Lit for providing me a copy of Since You’ve Been Gone for this review. I enjoyed this book, especially its earworm of a title, and will seek out the first two in the series. 

 
 
4 out of 5 stars
 

 
 
Tari Faris is the author of You Belong with Me and Until I Met You. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy, she is the projects manager for My Book Therapy, writes for learnhowtowriteanovel.com, and is a 2017 Genesis Award winner. She has an MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary and lives in the Phoenix, Arizona, area with her husband and their three children. Although she lives in the Southwest now, she lived in a small town in Michigan for 25 years.
 
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TRACE OF DOUBT by DiAnn Mills – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

TRACE OF DOUBT

BY DIANN MILLS

Categories: Romantic Suspense / Christian Fiction / FBI Crime Solving Novel / Clean Romance
Publisher: Tyndale House
Pub Date: September 7, 2021
Pages: 432 pages

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Fifteen years ago, Shelby Pearce confessed to murdering her brother-in-law and was sent to prison. Now she’s out on parole and looking for a fresh start in the small town of Valleysburg, Texas. But starting over won’t be easy for an ex-con.
 
FBI Special Agent Denton McClure was a rookie fresh out of Quantico when he was first assigned the Pearce case. He’s always believed Shelby embezzled five hundred thousand dollars from her brother-in-law’s account. So he’s going undercover to befriend Shelby, track down the missing money, and finally crack this case.
 
But as Denton gets closer to Shelby, he begins to have a trace of doubt about her guilt. Someone has Shelby in their crosshairs. It’s up to Denton to stop them before they silence Shelby—and the truth—forever.

PRAISE FOR TRACE OF DOUBT :

“Filled with high stakes, high emotion, and high intrigue.” – LYNN H. BLACKBURN, award-winning author of UNKNOWN THREAT and ONE FINAL BREATH

Trace of Doubt is a suspense reader’s best friend. From page one until the end, the action is intense and the storyline keeps you guessing.” – EVA MARIE EVERSON, bestselling author of FIVE BRIDES and DUST

“DiAnn Mills serves up a perfect blend of action, grit, and heart. . . Trace of Doubt takes romantic suspense to a whole new level.” – JAMES R. HANNIBAL, award-winning author of THE PARIS BETRAYAL

“Well-researched . . . with some surprising twists along the way. In Trace of Doubt, Mills weaves together a tale of faith, intrigue, and suspense that her fans are sure to enjoy.” – STEVEN JAMES, award-winning author of SYNAPSE and EVERY WICKED MAN

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DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.
 
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Retreats: Marketing, Speakers, Nonfiction and Novelist with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion for helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.
 
 

HER EVERY MOVE by Kelly Irvin – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

HER EVERY MOVE
By Kelly Irvin
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 352 pages
Pub Date: February 9th, 2021
Categories: Christian / Romance / Suspense
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He’s a cop trying to stop a serial bomber. And she’ll stop at nothing to clear her own name.

When a deadly bomb goes off during a climate change debate, librarian and event coordinator Jackie Santoro becomes the prime suspect. Her motive, according to Detective Avery Wick: to avenge the suicide of her prominent father, who was accused of crimes by a city councilman attending the event.

Though Avery has doubts about Jackie’s guilt, he can’t exonerate her even after an extremist group takes responsibility for the bombing and continues to attack San Antonio’s treasured public spaces.

As Jackie tries to hold her shattered family together, she has no choice but to proceed with plans for the Caterina Ball, the library system’s biggest annual fundraiser. But she also fears the event provides the perfect opportunity for the bomber to strike again.

Despite their mistrust, Jackie and Avery join forces to unmask the truth—before the death toll mounts even higher.

Bestseller Kelly Irvin is back with a nail-biting romantic suspense where nothing is certain until the very last page.

PRAISE FOR HER EVERY MOVE:

“A gripping story that will have you on the edge of your seat until ‘The End.’”—Patricia Bradley, author of The Logan Point Series, Memphis Cold Case Novels, Natchez Trace Parkway Rangers series 

“Explosive, tender, and races all the way through!”Jennifer Graeser Dornbush, author, screenwriter, and forensic specialist

Review_preview
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From its explosive opening scene to its dramatic climax, Kelly Irvin’s Her Every Move is one high-octane read. A ripped-from-the-headlines plot, a well-described familiar setting, a broad array of hot-button issues, and a large diverse cast made this book remarkably current and incredibly realistic.
Reading is a gift … Reading gives me joy, takes me places I’ve never been, and I learn things. What person wouldn’t want that gift?”
The San Antonio setting, my former residence and the last city I visited before the world shut down, first attracted me to this book. The heroine Jackie’s job as librarian and event planner further solidified my interest. But it was the fast-paced, action-packed, emotional storyline that kept me reading until the end.
The themes of familial love, lifelong friendships, social responsibility, faith amidst adversity, and complicated romance always appeal to me and they’re thoroughly explored in this book. Jackie’s strength while faced with unjust accusations of doing unspeakable crimes made her a sympathetic heroine. Avery’s steadfast performance of his duties despite developing conflicting personal feelings about the prime suspect Jackie and dealing with an unstable possible suspect in his best friend had me rooting for him.
My favorite character, however, is San Antonio itself. The culture, architecture, beauty, and history of this multiethnic city really came alive in the book.
We’re all guilty of believing we have plenty of time.”
For the most part, the book engaged my attention except in a couple of aspects. First is the excess of political issues raised. There’s climate change, domestic terrorism, racial profiling, gun control, budgetary constraints, etcetera. There could have been more focus on fewer causes for more impact.
Next is the weakness of the emotional ramifications after the reveal of the villain. There should have been long-term consequences for the people left behind and changes in policies, especially concerning public safety.
Lastly, the romance part needed more attention than it got. Jackie and Avery’s initial meeting was especially lacking in establishing their attraction. The ending was good but I wish there was more of the same sweetness in their journey to getting their happy-ever-after.
Huge thanks to Lone Star Lit and Thomas Nelson for the opportunity to review this book.
4 out of 5 stars
Bestseller Kelly Irvin is the author of 28 books, including romantic suspense and Amish romance. Publishers Weekly called Closer Than She Knows “a briskly written thriller.”  The Library Journal said of her novel Tell Her No Lies, “a complex web with enough twists and turns to keep even the savviest romantic suspense readers guessing until the end.” The two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist worked as a newspaper reporter for six years on the Texas-Mexico border. Those experiences fuel her romantic suspense novels set in Texas. A retired public relations professional, Kelly now writes fiction full-time. She lives with her husband professional photographer Tim Irvin in San Antonio. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two ornery cats.

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DREAMS REKINDLED by Amanda Cabot – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

BNR Dreams Rekindled

DREAMS REKINDLED

Mesquite Springs, Book 2

BY AMANDA CABOT

Categories: Christian Historical Fiction/ Romance/ Stand-Alone
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 2, 2021
Pages: 352

 

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He’s bound and determined to find peace . . . but she’s about to stir things up. 

Dorothy Clark dreams of writing something that will challenge people as much as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin seems to have. But in 1850s Mesquite Springs, there are few opportunities for writers–until newspaperman Brandon Holloway arrives, that is. 
 
Brandon Holloway has seen firsthand the disastrous effects of challenging others. He has no intention of repeating that mistake. Instead of following his dreams, he’s committed to making a new–and completely uncontroversial–start in the Hill Country. 
 
As Dorothy’s involvement in the fledgling newspaper grows from convenient to essential, the same change seems to be happening in Brandon’s heart. But before romance can bloom, Dorothy and Brandon must work together to discover who’s determined to divide the town and destroy Brandon’s livelihood. 

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ALFIE CARTER by BJ Mayo – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

BNR Alfie Carter

ALFIE CARTER

by

BJ Mayo

Published by Skyhorse Publishing
Pages: 288
Published: January 19th, 2021
Categories: Southern Fiction / Rural Fiction / Mystery
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Cover Alfie Carter med res

The seemingly never-ending Cabinda War (1975—) has left multitudes dead in its wake and thousands of children homeless and orphaned.

Jackaleena N’denga, a young Angolan girl, has become the sole survivor of one specifically brutal village massacre carried out by a band of guerrilla boy-soldiers.

Jackaleena’s resilience leads her to an orphanage on the west coast of Africa, known as Benguela by the Sea, where she and other children are taken in and protected. Her brilliant mind and endless questions capture the heart of her mentor, Margaret, who ensures her that her survival thus far—especially being the survivor from her village—must mean she has big things ahead of her. When the opportunity arises, she must find her purpose.

Not without a plan, Jackaleena stows away on a mercy ship that has made its yearly visit to the orphanage and is now preparing to return to America. Her journey takes her across the ocean, into the arms of New York City’s customs officials, and finally into placement in a temporary foster home in Texas.

Enter Alfie Carter—a workaholic, small-town detective who is also battling memories of his past. His life is forever changed when he meets a young African girl looking for her higher purpose.

Review_preview
20210223_231202946_iOSAlfie Carter is an affecting story of finding faith and of losing and rediscovering deeply-held beliefs. With its characters examining the state of their spiritual life, it’s a timely read for this holy season of Lent. It is also a tale of harrowing cruelty, extraordinary bravery, careless disregard for others, incredible kindness, and unbelievable acts of forgiveness..
Despite the singular name in the title, this book recounts the lives of two people in places thousands of miles apart–Jackaleena N’Denga in Angola and Alfie Carter in Texas.
Jackaleena’s remarkable story is tough to read in the beginning because of the gruesome massacre she witnessed and the extreme difficulties of her desperate run for survival. Things improved after she’s led to Benguela by the Sea where she learns a different way of living and is taught about another higher being to trust. This is also where she develops her search for her purpose in life.
Alfie’s situation is not as shocking but he has his own losses to contend with, particularly the death of his child. It lead him to distance himself from his wife and turn his back on the unfair God who wasn’t there for him at many points in his life. It was interesting that it was also death that caused him to reevaluate his thinking and return to his wife and to believe again.
Mr. Mayo’s writing shone in the Texas scenes, in Alfie’s musings, in his investigation of the case he was working on, and in the spirit and strength he imbued into Jackaleena’s character. His own faith leaped off the pages of the book through various characters like Margaret, Rufus, and Cotton.
God gives us all a chance to believe in Him and serve Him or not. He does not force you to go down that path … You can simply walk away. All of us are free to do what we want individually. There ain’t nobody a-draggin you to God … His yoke is easy and his burden is light.
The book has some flaws. Some scenes about Alfie’s early life could have been cut short or deleted altogether in favor of expanding the parts where he and his adopted daughter interacted. It was a curious choice to have Jackaleena’s story narrated in the third person and Alfie’s in the first when the book started and ended with Jackie telling her background to the judge. I preferred it in the reverse. Finally, the book requires suspension of disbelief in many instances in the story, especially with regard to the result of the case that Alfie was working on. That or, have extreme faith in the goodness of man.
Overall, it’s an involving story that has uplifting messages. Thanks to Lone Star Lit and Skyhorse Publishing for providing a free copy to review.
Three-half-stars

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author pic Mayo

BJ Mayo was born in an oil field town in Texas. He spent the first few years of his life living in a company field camp twenty-five miles from the closest town. His career in the energy industry took him to various points in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Louisiana, Bangladesh, Australia, and Angola West Africa. He and his wife were high school sweethearts and have been married for forty-six years with two grown children. They live on a working farm near San Angelo, Texas.
Visit BJ Mayo at his website: https://bjmayo.com/

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