Thursday, May 6, 2021

Book Spotlight: Pint of No Return by Dana Mentink

About the Book

Book: Pint of No Return

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release date: May 25, 2021

The first in new dessert cozy mystery series! A murder in town is bound to shake things up…

After her divorce from her thrice-married embezzler husband, Trinidad Jones is finally ready for a fresh start. So when she’s left one of ex’s businesses in Upper Sprocket, Oregon, she decides to pack up her dog, cash in her settlement, and open her dream business: the Shimmy and Shake Shop, introducing the world to her monster milkshakes. And even with a couple sticky situations underway, namely that the other two ex-wives also call Sprocket home, Trinidad’s life seems to be churning along smoothly.

That is, until she discovers her neighbor, the Popcorn King, head down in his giant popcorn kettle. When one of Trinidad’s fellow ex-wives is accused of the murder and Upper Sprocket descends into mayhem, it’s going to take a supersized scoop of courage to flush out the killer.

Excerpt

“Point taken,” Trinidad said. “I’ll bake them when I get back from my errands and freeze them for the opening. I have to run to the storage unit and finally pick up a few final things, go ahead and lock up the shop if I’m not back when you finish for today, okay?” She knew Carlos had afternoon football practice and they’d chatted about doing some additional odd jobs around town in their effort to bankroll a used Plymouth while they were both studying up for their driving permits. She eyed the fresh coat of pink paint the boys had been applying to the walls. “Looks like you’re almost done.”

Diego pointed to the longest wall. “We calculated the volume of paint just right, considering we had to apply a third coat. Freaky how your husband’s name keeps showing through. Reminds me of a horror movie I watched, like he’s rematerializing in town again since all his ex-wives are living here now…” Carlos broke off as his brother elbowed him in the ribs.

“Ex-husband,” she said, “and that would be a good trick for him to rematerialize himself out of jail.” She swallowed down a lick of something that was part shame, part anger as she considered the spot where ‘Gabe’s Hot Dogs’ once was emblazoned in blocky letters.


About the Author

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is the Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harvest House, and Poisoned Pen Press.

Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle.

You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

Monday, May 3, 2021

Book Review: When We Blinked by Stephanie Mack

About the Book:

Newly split from her husband and college sweetheart, Seraphina Jones has returned to work after four years as a stay-at-home mom. She loves her job at prestigious Hamilton Hotels & Resorts, but her transition from play dates to pencil skirts is proving wobbly at best.

Encouraged to rediscover her romantic side, Sera agrees to try hot new dating app Blinde, aimed at millennials tired of swipe culture. The differentiator? Blinde doesn’t allow any pictures. Instead, the wildly popular platform fosters connections through meaningful conversations, inviting the age-old question: Is true love actually blind?

Sera soon finds herself freshly confident, succeeding at work, and smitten by not one, but several men: gorgeous heir to the Hamilton throne, Graham Hamilton; irresistible dark horse Jack, slowly winning her heart via Blinde; and Connor, her ex, the only man she’s ever loved.

But even though Sera thinks she’s juggling three different suitors—the truth is, there are only two. Unbeknownst to Sera, Connor is posing as invisible hottie Jack, secretly allowing her to get to know him all over again, as if for the very first time. Could love at second sight change everything for Sera and Connor? Or will she want a clean slate with dreamy Graham?

Set against the backdrops of sunny Southern California and the whimsical Wyoming mountains, When We Blinked provides a timely, unforgettable portrait of modern love—the mistakes that shape us, the ties that bind us, and the grace that can make us new.


My Thoughts:

Reading When We Blinked by Stephanie Mack gave me all the emotions. The excellent writing tugged at my heart strings and I felt the sting of betrayal, the satisfaction of a job well-done, the struggles of parenting, and the insecurity of an uncertain future. I cheered for Seraphina throughout the novel.

From the beginning of When We Blinked, I had an immediate interest in the characters, but my reading progress slowed as the story dealt with heavy topics including divorce, porn addiction, alcoholism, infertility, and parenting a highly sensitive child. Humor balanced out the serious issues in the book. Still, I think it is fair to offer a trigger warning about the referenced topics as they are portrayed with authenticity and the author does not shy away from the destructiveness of porn, alcoholism, and divorce. I was especially pleased with the story’s embracing of mental health therapy and medical treatment. In the end, the author brought it all home. I absolutely loved the ending.

I recommend When We Blinked for mature readers due to topics in the book and two edgy scenes that went slightly beyond what I consider “clean” romance. While I wish the moments had been less detailed, the scenes were brief and did not overshadow the story. 

When We Blinked stands as Stephanie Mack’s debut novel and I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.




Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.


Sunday, May 2, 2021

April 2021 Reads & May 2021 TBR

My April 2021 Reads:

  1. A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  2. A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert. - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  3. 50 Pentecostal and Charismatic Leaders Every Christian Should Know by Dean Merrill - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  4.  When We Blinked by Stephanie Mack - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Review coming soon.

  5. Aftermath by Terri Blackstock - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Review coming soon.

  6. Pining for Lord Lockhart by Jen Geigle Johnson - ⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review..






Expected May 2021 Reads:

In May, I hope to read:
  1. Jewel of the Nile by Tessa Afshar.

  2. Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green. - A reread in anticipation of its sequel! Read my original review here.

  3. Shadows of the White City by Jocelyn Green - sequel to Veiled in Smoke.

  4. The Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz - My local book club's May selection.

  5. Let It Be Me by Becky Wade. - Currently reading!

  6. The Piano Teacher by Kristie Self. - Currently reading!

  7. The Audacious Miss Eliza by Laura Rollins.





What will you read this month?

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Begotten by Lisa T. Bergren

Begotten JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Begotten by Lisa T. Bergren, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Begotten Title: Begotten 
Series: The Gifted Trilogy #1 
Author: Lisa T. Bergren 
Publisher: BCG Press 
Release Date: April 26, 2021 
Genre: Christian, Supernatural Suspense 

Begotten is an edited, new edition of a novel previously released in 2006, The Begotten. 

At the height of the Inquisition, a secret half a millennium old is about to be exposed---a lost letter believed to have been written by Saint Paul but never part of the Christian canon. The letter speaks of men and women---the Gifted---with profound spiritual gifts that will strike fear in the heart of a Church dedicated to maintaining power. Now the letter has surfaced and the Gifted are gathering. But so are their enemies... 


PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository | Christianbook

EXCERPT

        He watched as his master was tied to a stake and a great fire was set. Tears he thought spent rose in his eyes, yet he refused to look away as the flames licked upward, as the heat made him retreat, step by step.

The bishop threw his master’s life’s work—the book, carefully wrapped in a burlap sack—into the fire at the priest’s feet. The burlap swiftly burned and curled, revealing the lambskin cover of the priceless book. It too began to burn.

The priest glanced over at the boy, a quiet question in his eyes.

The boy patted his shirt in response, reassuring his master, feeling the sacred pages next to his skin.

Go, child. Go! The boy shook his head in confusion; he could hear the priest, even though the old man’s parched lips moved not. 

The boy glanced over at the bishop, his face and grand robe dancing eerily in the heat waves between them. The bishop’s eyes narrowed, and he beckoned to the boy.

Run! Run, child!

Looking at his master one last time, the boy turned and fled into the night.


--From BEGOTTEN, by Lisa T. Bergren


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa T. Bergren

Lisa T. Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 60 books in a variety of genres, from children’s picture books to contemporary romance to supernatural suspense novels. She lives in Colorado Springs in a brand-new home she and her husband just finished building and intend to never leave, because she’s discovered she loathes moving. You can find out more about her at LisaTBergren.com

CONNECT WITH LISA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a signed print copy of Begotten, a custom Gifted candle, and a $50 Amazon gift card!

Begotten JustRead giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight April 27, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on May 4, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, April 30, 2021

First Line Fridays: When We Blinked by Stephanie Mack

Happy Friday!

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today, I'm sharing the first line from When We Blinked by Stephanie Mack.

"I tapped the toe of my nude suede pump on the elevator floor, willing us to move faster."

Have you read When We Blinked? I finished it last weekend and my review will come soon.

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love for you to share your book's first line!

Happy reading!



About the Book:

Newly split from her husband and college sweetheart, Seraphina Jones has returned to work after four years as a stay-at-home mom. She loves her job at prestigious Hamilton Hotels & Resorts, but her transition from play dates to pencil skirts is proving wobbly at best.

Encouraged to rediscover her romantic side, Sera agrees to try hot new dating app Blinde, aimed at millennials tired of swipe culture. The differentiator? Blinde doesn’t allow any pictures. Instead, the wildly popular platform fosters connections through meaningful conversations, inviting the age-old question: Is true love actually blind?

Sera soon finds herself freshly confident, succeeding at work, and smitten by not one, but several men: gorgeous heir to the Hamilton throne, Graham Hamilton; irresistible dark horse Jack, slowly winning her heart via Blinde; and Connor, her ex, the only man she’s ever loved.

But even though Sera thinks she’s juggling three different suitors—the truth is, there are only two. Unbeknownst to Sera, Connor is posing as invisible hottie Jack, secretly allowing her to get to know him all over again, as if for the very first time. Could love at second sight change everything for Sera and Connor? Or will she want a clean slate with dreamy Graham?

Set against the backdrops of sunny Southern California and the whimsical Wyoming mountains, When We Blinked provides a timely, unforgettable portrait of modern love—the mistakes that shape us, the ties that bind us, and the grace that can make us new.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Bent Tree Bride by Denise Weimer

Bent Tree Bride JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Bent Tree Bride by Denise Weimer, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Bent Tree Bride

Title: Bent Tree Bride
Author: Denise Weimer
Publisher: Smitten Historical Romance
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Genre: Christian historical romance

"Romance. Intrigue. Honor. All that and more. I heartily recommend it." —Michelle Griep, Christy Award-winning author 

Susanna Moore can’t get him out of her mind—the learned lieutenant who delivered the commission from Andrew Jackson making her father colonel of the Cherokee Regiment. But the next time she sees Lieutenant Sam Hicks, he’s leading a string of prisoners into a frontier fort, and he’s wearing the garb of a Cherokee scout rather than the suit of a white gentleman. 

As both Susanna’s father and Sam’s commanding officer, Colonel Moore couldn’t have made his directive to stay away from his daughter clearer to Sam. He wants a better match for Susanna—like the stuffy doctor who escorted her to Creek Territory. Then a suspected spy forces Moore to rely on Sam for military intelligence and Susanna’s protection, making it impossible for either to guard their heart.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

ALSO AVAILABLE


EXCERPT

 
In this excerpt, Lieutenant Sam Hicks of the Cherokee Regiment has been assigned by his colonel to guard the colonel’s daughter and son while they are at Fort Strother in hostile Creek Territory. Susanna and George have talked Sam into demonstrating tomahawk and knife throwing at the practice range.


“What is your other requirement?”

“What?” Sam snatched his gaze from Susanna’s lips to her eyes.

Her cheeks, already rosy in the cold, darkened another shade. “For letting me throw your little bitty knife.”

“My little bitty knife?” Indignation laced his repetition of her words. “Let there be no doubt, this dagger could gut a man.”

“Very well. Your lethal weapon, although you seem to think I can’t handle the larger one, much less the tomahawk.”

“Why do you care about throwing a knife or a tomahawk or any weapon when your father would order his entire regiment to fight to protect you?”

Susanna released a gusty sigh. “Because as much as I would like to think he will always be there, he may not. What if I lose him in battle? What if this lung sickness returns when he goes out on the next campaign and Polly can’t save him? Then what will I have left?”

For one, Dr. Hawkins would rush to the rescue, although Sam would be wiser to bite his tongue than suggest that when she was this betwattled.

Thankfully, she continued without pausing to solicit any answers. “I should at least be able to defend myself. The lessons at finishing school may have taught me how to speak French and snare a husband, but they are useless out here.”

“You know he will send you home at the first opportunity.” As much as the thought pained him. Fort Strother would seem a cheerless place without Susanna Moore.

“But that’s just it. I shouldn’t have to leave.” She balled her hands into fists at her sides. “I want to show him I am as strong as Polly. That I can survive, and not only survive, but be helpful on the frontier. I don’t have to have Cherokee blood to do that, do I?”

The yearning for acceptance in Susanna’s words echoed a similar longing in Sam’s heart. She searched his eyes as she had earlier, but this time, he didn’t close his soul. If she needed strength, and he could help give it to her, what cause had he to deny her?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Denise Weimer 

Denise Weimer writes historical and contemporary romance and romantic suspense mostly set in her home state of Georgia. She’s authored a dozen traditionally published novels and a number of novellas. As a managing editor at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, she also helps others reach their publishing dreams. A wife and mother of two daughters, Denise always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.

CONNECT WITH DENISE: Website | Facebook | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a print copy of Bent Tree Bride and related story, The Witness Tree (2019), a pair of silver feather earrings, and a $20 Amazon gift card! (retail value $60)

Bent Tree Bride JustRead giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight April 20, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on April 27, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.