Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Illusion of Love by Sarah Hanmaker

 

About the Book

Book:  Illusion of Love

Author: Sarah Hamaker

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: October 2020

A suspicious online romance reconnects an agoraphobe and an old friend.

Nursing a hurt leg, psychiatrist Jared Quinby arrives in Culpeper, Virginia, on a case for the FBI. The investigation leads him to the doorstep of his childhood best friend, Mary Divers. Meeting Mary again is the one bright spot in his life.

Suffering from agoraphobia, Mary has at last found love with online beau David Kline and dares to dream of a future with him. Then David reveals he will be leaving the United States to become a missionary in Peru. Determined to stop living in fear, she accepts David’s marriage proposal, even though she’s never met him face-to-face.

As Jared’s case intersects with Mary’s online relationship, the more he uncovers, the more he fears for her safety. Jared tries to convince Mary not all is right with David, but she refuses to believe him. When tragedy strikes, Mary pushes Jared even farther away.

Will Jared convince Mary of the truth—and of his love for her—before it’s too late?

 My Thoughts:

This is a really good book about how oblivious people can be or how easily fooled.  I loved that the characters and the situation were completely realistic.  Online dating is both a wonderful  and scary thing.

I really liked the story and how it unfolds.  This is one of those stories that has you turning the pages and glued to them because you have to know what is going to happen next.  If you like romantic suspense, this is one you should read right away.

5/5

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book via Celebrate Lit.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Sarah Hamaker has been spinning stories since she was a child, with nonfiction and romantic suspense books published. Her stories have also appeared in several Chicken Soup for the Soul volumes. She’s a member of ACFW and ACFW Virginia Chapter, as well as the president of Capital Christian Writers Fellowship. Her podcast, “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” can be found wherever you listen to podcasts. Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband, four children, and three cats.

 

More from Sarah

Have you ever heard a story from a friend (or a friend of a friend) and thought it sounded more like fiction than reality? That’s what happened to me years ago when I heard first-hand a story about a woman who had been deceived by someone close to her.

Even while I grieved with my friend about the lies that had been told at her expense, I also admit to thinking, “That would make a fantastic storyline.” A couple of years later, I asked the friend for permission to use the basic outline of that story for what became Illusion of Love. To keep this friend’s identity a secret—and to avoid giving away the ending of my book—that’s all I can reveal to you.

However, what I can talk about is how interesting people’s reaction to the based-on-a-true story aspect has been along this book’s journey to publication. Most expressed their conviction that something similar could never happen to them. Part of that disbelief comes from our faith in our own ability to ferret out the truth from those around us. 

Unfortunately, time and again, it’s been proven that we can be terrible when it comes to judging the true character of others! This is why people get away with pretending to be royalty or people lose money to someone’s Ponzi scheme or why those in authority can often get away with heinous crimes for years (#MeToo, Catholic priest sexual scandals are too horrific examples). Along the way, you’ll find people who wanted to think they wouldn’t be deceived…and were or who overlooked signs that in hindsight pointed right at the lie or perpetrator.

Why has this kept happening over and over again throughout history? I think it boils down to the simple fact that we want to believe we have excellent judgment when it comes to the character and intentions of others, whether we meet those people face to face or online. We also have a tendency, especially if we’re female, to ignore our gut when it tells us to be careful or wary of someone or a particular situation. 

Especially when there’s real danger involved—in cases of potential abuse or criminal activity—it’s important to be prepared as much as we can be. One of the best books on this topic is Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear. It’s a book I’ve recommended my teenage daughters and sons read before heading to college. What Gavin does is break down why our initial impressions can be wrong and why paying attention to our gut—that unconscious part of ourselves—can be crucial to staying safe, even if it means we sometimes offend or make people mad or upset. If only Mary, my heroine in Illusion of Love, had read The Gift of Fear, things might have turned out differently for her. 

Why do you think we believe in our own judgment when it comes to people?

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 15

CarpeDiem, September 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 16

Inklings and notions, September 17

Texas Book-aholic, September 18

lakesidelivingsite, September 18

For Him and My Family, September 19

deb’s Book Review, September 20

Mary Hake, September 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 21

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 22

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 23

A Reader’s Brain, September 23

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 24

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 25

Pause for Tales , September 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 26

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 27 (Author Interview)

Spoken from the Heart, September 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sarah is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card & eBook copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/119e8/illusion-of-love-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Dinah's Dilemma by Linda Shenton Matchett

 


About the Book

Book: Dinah’s Dilemma

Author: Linda Shenton Matchett

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: August 15, 2020

Will she have to run from the past for the rest of her life?

Dinah Simpkins has no chance of making a good marriage. Her outlaw brothers and her father’s gambling addiction have ruined the family’s reputation. Then the Westward Home and Hearts Matrimonial Agency provides an opportunity for a fresh start. After Dinah arrives in Nebraska, she discovers her brothers played a part in the death of her prospective groom’s first wife.

As a former Pinkerton detective Nathan Childs knows when someone is lying. The bride sent by the matrimonial agency may be beautiful, but she’s definitely hiding something, and he has no intention of marrying her until he uncovers the truth. But an easier solution may be to send her packing. Then his young daughter goes missing. He and Dinah must put aside their mutual hurt and mistrust to find her.

 My Thoughts:

A really good mail order bride book here.  Dinah's issues with her family lead her to become a mail order bride.  You can't choose who your family is or what they do, but God can distinguish between you and your family.  A lot of times, people can't see the distinction between family and individuals.

I liked Nathan.  He knows Dinah is hiding something and he doesn't trust a liar.  I really like the author's writing style.  The way the story went, just pulls you along and makes you need to continue with it.  Family really can mess with you and your life, but people have to realize that you are an individual and your choices are your own.  

4/5

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book via Celebrate Lit.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is a former trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life, and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

 

More from Linda

Dear Reader,

 

As a novelist, I write about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. And to me, nothing is more extraordinary than leaving all that you know to travel a great distance (often thousands of miles) to marry a man you’ve never met. Don’t you agree?

 

During the initial settlement of the American West, the population was primarily composed of men. Men who went in search of gold, to seek new opportunities in farming and ranching, or to make a fresh start where land and resources seemed unlimited. Eventually, loneliness set in for those who were single, yet there was a dearth of suitable women to marry.

 

The conundrum for the men was how to meet and court a woman without leaving for fear of someone taking their land or claims. Some of the bachelors wrote home asking friends and family for referrals to single women who would make a good wife. Courtship would take place via correspondence until the couple decided they were suited to marry. The more common scenario was that of mail-order brides.

 

Ads were placed by the men in eastern newspapers. They would tell a bit about themselves and what traits they were seeking in a wife. Interested women would reply, and the advertiser would respond to the applicant he thought was a good fit. As with those men who wrote home to find a mate, the process was much the same with courtship occurring through letters.

 

Most of the time, the marriages went smoothly, with the couple falling in love, resulting in a long and happy relationship. However, there are stories of marriages that did not survive because of abandonment, abuse, death, or the discovery of a still-living spouse. A few incidents are recorded about mail-order brides whose groom paid her railway passage, only for her to marry someone else because he seemed a better prospect. Fortunately, those instances seem to make up a small percentage.

 

I hope you enjoy Dinah’s Dilemma: A Mail-Order Bride Romance.

 

Blessings,

Linda Shenton Matchett

Blog Stops

Blossoms and Blessings, September 14

Mary Hake, September 14

Labor Not in Vain, September 15

Texas Book-aholic, September 16

Inklings and notions, September 17

For Him and My Family, September 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 21

Connect in Fiction, September 22

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 22

deb’s Book Review, September 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 24

Vicky Sluiter, September 25

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 25

Connie’s History Classroom, September 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 27

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize package of a Book Journal, Floral Book Plates, Bookjigs Bookmark, a $25 Visa Gift Card, and an autographed paperback edition of Dinah’s Dilemma!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/11826/dinah-s-dilemma-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Watcher by Sara Davison

 

About the Book

Book:  The Watcher

Author: Sara Davison

Genre: Speculative Romantic Suspense

Release date: March 2021

Someone or something is watching Kathryn Ellison.

Kathryn thought she had buried memories of That Night for good—until Nick Lawson returns, reigniting her long-suppressed feelings for him. Seeing Nick has always reminded her too much of the horrible night that changed her life. As much as she wants to be with him, she wants even more to forget. When Nick unexpectedly shows up at her family ranch, Kathryn knows it is finally time to let go of the traumatic past that has held her captive for so long.

David Henley is a captive too—of the dark secret involving Kathryn, a secret he’s kept even from his wife. Now the truth is about to be revealed. And when it is, he could be stripped of everything in his life that matters to him.

A storm is brewing in the spiritual realm, and its effects reverberate through the natural world, summoning otherworldly Beings to the ranch. While Kathryn confronts the memories of That Night and struggles to let them go, she is not as alone in her home as she thinks.

As spiritual and temporal forces collide, Kathryn—and everyone she loves—is about to be caught in the crossfire.


My Thoughts:


Writing this review without spoilers is going to perhaps not make as much sense as it should.  The story is an original one for me.  I've read books about spiritual warfare and such but the trauma that goes with this one is original.  The flashbacks are important and the feelings are so real.


As I read the book, my emotions were all over the place.  There is so much that has happened and the mystery is really well written.  This isn't a book I would recommend for everyone, there are a lot of triggers and material that will just not be for some people.  Faith is obvious in the book and I loved that.  Overall, it was a really good book but I will caution some readers with the material that is involved.


4/5


Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book via Celebrate Lit.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Sara Davison is the author of three romantic suspense series—The Seven Trilogy, The Night Guardians, and The Rose Tattoo Trilogy, as well as the standalone, The Watcher. She has been a finalist for more than a dozen national writing awards, including Best New Canadian Christian author, a Carol, two Selahs, a Holt Medallion, and three Daphne du Maurier Awards for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a Word and Cascade Award winner. She currently resides in Ontario, Canada with her husband Michael and their three children. The words on the mug she uses every morning pretty much sum up her life—I just want to sleep, drink coffee, and make stuff up. Get to know Sara better at www.saradavison.org and @sarajdavison.

 

More from Sara

The Watcher has taken me on an incredible journey over the last decade. After obtaining my degree in English literature, I longed to write a book. However, I found the idea of sitting down and actually writing one extremely daunting. So, I took every creative writing course, read every book on the subject, and attended every writing conference and seminar I could fine—basically doing everything except writing. Then one Easter Sunday morning, in church, the idea for an entire book—beginning, middle, ending, characters—came to me. Over the next five years, I wrote, rewrote, edited, polished, and got feedback on the book, until I felt it was nearly ready to submit to a publishing contest.

I say nearly because, while the feedback I had received was largely positive, it was still clear that something was missing. A month before the deadline to submit to the publishing contest, it occurred to me what that something was—the timeline. The novel read a bit like a sweeping epic novel that took place over twenty years. While that might work in some genres, it doesn’t play well in romantic suspense.

I had always been intrigued by the idea of a non-human narrator, and it occurred to me that could work with this book. That led me to the idea of using The Watcher, an unseen being in the spiritual realm, as my narrator. When I added in that being and numerous other beings, I was able to shorten the timeline of the book from twenty years to six days.

Of course, this required a major overhaul of the book. I closeted myself in my office for a month, only completing the story the day before the deadline for the contest. That meant I didn’t have an opportunity to show it to anyone or get feedback, so I had no idea whether the idea worked or if the story even made sense anymore.

The Watcher ended up winning the contest and was published in 2011. A decade and eight other published novels later, I got back the rights to my debut novel, polished it up, added several more chapters, and re-released it through Mountain Brook Ink in 2021.

As my first novel, my only (so-far) standalone, and the sole novel I have released that is speculative romantic suspense as opposed to contemporary romantic suspense, The Watcher holds a special place in my heart. As with all my books, my hope and prayer is that it will touch readers’ hearts and draw them closer to the God who has promised to never leave them or forsake them.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 17

Blogging With Carol, September 17

By the Book, September 17

Inklings and notions, September 18

Texas Book-aholic, September 19

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 21

For Him and My Family, September 21

deb’s Book Review, September 22

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 23

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 26

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 27

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 28

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 29

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sara is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/119f3/the-watcher-celebration-tour-giveaway

Sunday, September 19, 2021

It’s Hockey Season by Jayne J. Jones Beehler

 

hockey season

About the Book

Book:  It’s Hockey Season

Author: Jayne J. Jones Beehler

Genre: JUVENILE FICTION / Sports & Recreation/Hockey

Release date: August 13, 2021

9781641236645It’s Hockey Season tells the tale of two brothers, Blaine and Cullen, who love ice
hockey and each other. Cullen is the all-star team captain and his brother Blaine,
who has Down syndrome, is the team manager. Blaine is clearly the unsung hero
of the team; his leadership and unselfish actions speak louder than words. Young
readers are able to learn respect and a better understanding for the challenges
individuals with special needs face on a daily basis.

 My Thoughts:

This was a goodie.  While it is aimed at children, I think the adults sharing it with the children could learn some lessons also.  It’s a short book but it has a lot packed in there.  Sibling relationships and their issues, people with disabilities, and so much more.

This is one of those books you want to share with all younger kids so they are shown in a fairly direct but simple way how to treat others that are different.  I truly loved the way the author handled that part of the book.  It was a good story and I liked the lessons that are shown here.  

4/5

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book via Celebrate Lit.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

jayne Jones BeehlerJayne J. Jones Beehler is a lifelong hockey fan who is also an advocate for children
with disabilities. She serves as a government and legislative affairs project
management consultant dealing with such issues as opioid addiction, juvenile
justice, foster care, higher education, and education reforms.

Jayne is a former history professor for Concordia University, where she was named
Political Science Professor of the Year in 2017. She holds a B.A. degree in Political
Science and a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law.

She serves as national legal advisor for the American Special Hockey Association
and is the founder of Margaret’s Missions, a chaperone travel program for people
with special needs.

Jayne resides with her husband and daughter in Wisconsin and Florida.

 

More from Jayne

“This book has great lessons for kids everywhere! I’m so happy my good friend Ann and the

American Special Hockey Association can be an inspiration for so many people!”

– Alex Ovechkin, Captain, Washington Capitals

 

“I’m a big fan of books that teach kids about hockey and more importantly about the value of

accepting those who may be different and working together as a team.

It’s important to lead by example and treat everyone with the same respect.”

– Claude Giroux, Captain, Philadelphia Flyers

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 11

Texas Book-aholic, September 12

Inklings and notions, September 13

The Space of Grace, September 13

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 14

For Him and My Family, September 15

Remembrancy, September 16

deb’s Book Review, September 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 18

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 19

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 20

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 21

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 22

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 23

Artistic Nobody, September 24 (Spotlight)

Author Adventure, September 24

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jayne is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card and copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/11822/it-s-hockey-season-celebration-tour-giveaway