Thursday, September 30, 2021

Book Review: A Midnight Dance by Joanna Davidson Politano

About the Book:

The best moments in dance are the unscripted ones.

At their core, all theater romances are tragedies. Ella Blythe knows this. Still, she cannot help but hope her own story may turn out different than most--and certainly different than the tragic story of the Ghost of Craven Street Theater.

After a chance encounter with one of the ballet company's handsome dancers late one night, Ella is swept off her elegantly pointed toes. The dance they share and the promise he makes to her feel like a new beginning. Yet as she faces mounting challenges in the ever-shrinking ballet company, Ella cannot deny the uncanny feeling that her life is mirroring that of the ghostly ballerina.

Is she dancing ever closer to the edge of her own disastrous end? Or will the secrets that are about to come to light offer release from the unyielding grip of the past?

My Thoughts:

Several days have passed since I finished A Midnight Dance by Joanna Davidson Politano and I’m still thinking about this novel. Written mainly in first person point-of-view (POV), this story catapulted me directly into Ella’s mind and experiences. She’s a determined, relatable heroine whose pursuit of ballet dancing and potential romance with a handsome dancer bring her to Craven Street Theater, a place that holds secrets she must grapple with.

The complex mystery in A Midnight Dance unfurls with finesse as Ella discovers truths of the past and present. I loved how the mystery tied together with Ella’s career dreams, spiritual questioning, and budding romance. The spiritual lessons that unfold apply both in Ella’s story, a work of historical fiction, and in modern-day lives.

A Midnight Dance by Joanna Davidson Politano surprised me in the best of ways and stands as one of my favorite reads in 2021. This story held my attention from Ella’s first midnight dance, through every plot twist, right on into the beautiful finale. Five stars!


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.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Book Spotlight & Author Interview: Redeeming the Prodigal by Jodi Basye

About the Book:

A soiled dove at rock bottom. A mountain man broken and lonely. Can an unexpected encounter be their second chance at love?

Jo Bradford never thought she’d end up a fallen woman in a mining-town brothel. But after running away from a family who loves her and falling into the clutches of a sinister outlaw, Jo found herself left with a devastating choice. Starvation or prostitution. After a brutal attack in the brothel leaves her with an ugly scar, she’s cast out of the Parlor House, her only sanctuary from the outlaws she escaped from.

Gideon Cross blames himself for his pa’s disappearance.

When he decided to search for his father, he left Jo behind with hopes of returning for her. Instead, news arrived that she was missing, and Gideon was left broken-hearted. After years of grieving, he is finally ready to move on and start the family he’s always wanted, even if it isn’t with Jo.

When a twist of fate brings Jo and Gideon face to face again, can the grace of God mend their broken pieces and lead them to reclaim love, or will their past failures be too much to overcome?

This gripping saga, full of heart-pounding adventure, will take you on an emotional journey of love and redemption in the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Purchase Link: Amazon

Excerpt (Chapter 6):

Jo turned back from the corral fence at the livery and started back toward the Thorntons’ house. Her spirits and her steps were a little lighter than they had been earlier. She’d been apprehensive about visiting the preacher and was shocked to have received so much compassion from a man she’d expected to toss her out on her ear.

Could Abigail be right? She had found a clean and beautiful life. She had the love of a kind man, a home to tend, and she didn’t seem to be carrying this heavy load Jo was carrying. Could Jo shuck this burden and have a fresh start after all?

Wearing one of Abigail’s dresses and the concealing hat and veil, she had the benefit of blending into the crowd as she walked down the busy street. As much as she hated the fussy frills of hats and bonnets, the anonymity it provided her here had become a comfort since the attack.

Shouts of fire rang out, and a billow of black smoke rose from a building down the street. Panic traveled between the citizens of Cripple Creek like a lightning bolt through a herd of longhorn cattle. The town had been rebuilt over the last year after nearly all of it had burned to the ground. The threat of losing everything again caused chaos to break out in the street.

A man brushed past Jo as he ran down Bennet Avenue toward the firehouse. People poured out of the businesses onto the boardwalks. The loud clanging of a bell and the thunder of hooves had everyone on the crowded street scattering to clear a path for the fire wagon.

A child’s cry rose above the chaos and noise. A small boy, ripped away from his parents in the press of people, stumbled into the road.

The fire wagon barreled down the street, sliding around the corner with mud flying from an erratically shaking wheel. Jo ran into the street to grab the child. The rushing horses spooked and shied as Jo jumped in their path and yanked the boy back before their hooves could trample him. She slipped in the mud and rolled, clutching the boy to her. There was a loud crack as the axle snapped and the large back wheel splashed into the muddy street.

Pulling the boy to her, she looked wildly around for the person who should be responsible for him. Surely there would be a panicked mother calling out for the boy, but the street was in chaos. The high-strung horses were squealing and stamping as men ran to assist the firemen with the wagon. Someone was shouting for water. With the fire wagon disabled, the rescue of its water tank would be postponed.

The child wailed and clutched Jo’s skirts, tears streaking down his muddy face. Where was his mother?

Jo looked him over to make sure he wasn’t injured and noticed a scrape down his chubby leg below his short-pants. What should she do? The sheriff was directing people and attempting to organize the pandemonium. She scooped the boy up into her arms and made her way to him.

“Excuse me, Sheriff?” Jo placed a tentative hand on the tall man’s arm. She had never met him and was apprehensive about interrupting his concentration.

Glancing down at her distractedly, he gave a short, “Yes,” in response.

“I can’t find this boy’s mother—” Jo hesitated, knowing no respectable woman would approve of Jo holding her child, much less being left responsible with him. “He’s hurt. I’m going to take him to Doc Thornton’s and get him taken care of. If you find his parents or anyone looking for him, will you please tell them where I’ve taken him?”

The sheriff gave a brief nod and went on pointing and shouting to other men.

Jo looked around one more time. No one in sight looked like a distraught parent. The boy’s frantic crying had calmed now to an exhausted, hiccupping sob, and he laid his head on her chest as she walked to the Thorntons’ house down the side street.

Once inside, Jo explained the situation to Abigail, who guided her to the examination room. Jo gently attempted to pull the boy away from her to deposit him on the table, but he clung tighter to her, burying his face in her neck. The gauzy veil attached to her hat was soaked with his tears and pinned down under his weight. She gently tried to peel his chubby fingers from her shirtfront, but it was no use.

“Sit down here, Jo. We don’t need to frighten him any more than he already is.” Abigail motioned Jo to a chair in the corner and left the room, presumably to find her husband.

Jo sat down and shifted the boy so John would have access to the abrasion on the child’s knee. She leaned her head back against the cushion of the high-backed chair. The veil of her hat was caught beneath the boy’s head as he pressed it into her chest, and she gently shifted him, removing the hat and veil. He didn’t even look up but snuggled back against her and slipped a thumb into his mouth. She wrapped an arm around him and relished the heavy weight on her chest. Was Abigail right? Was this a possibility in her future? The endearing attachment of the boy lit a spark of hope deep within her.

Abigail’s voice carried into the patient room from the front parlor.

“Yes, Mrs. Johnson, little Robert is safe and sound. Come this way.”

Jo smiled for the boy’s sake, but she was also reluctant to let go of the presence that warmed her heart.

“Mama!” The boy tearfully reached out, and Jo handed him over, smiling at the happy reunion.

“We didn’t even know he’d slipped out.” The woman’s voice shook. “He was playing on the floor by the door of our shop when people started shouting about a fire.” The woman’s voice broke, and she squeezed her son tighter. “He must have slipped out behind us when we stepped onto the porch—I—I didn’t even know he was gone at first.” She buried her lips in the boy’s wispy blond hair and kissed the top of his head.

Robert’s sniffling eased, and he smiled and patted his mother’s own, tear-streaked face.

“I am so grateful to you, Miss ….”

Jo cleared her throat. She had only ever gone by “Copper Kate” in this town, but the Thorntons and Pastor Walton were right. This could be her chance to move forward.

“Jo, Josephina Bradford.” She stumbled over the introduction as she rose to her feet.

“My name’s Johnson, ma’am. Martha Johnson.” Martha bobbed her head.

Martha looked up to meet Jo’s eyes, and a momentary flash of shock crossed her face. Little Robert’s calm demeanor split into a frightened wail. Heat flooded Jo’s neck as realization struck her like a stab to her heart. Their reaction could only be due to the sight of her scar.

It was a dreadful sight, which was why she always wore the veil. How stupid had she been to take it off when someone besides the Thorntons could see her?

“Excuse me.” Jo turned and rushed down the hall to her room.

“Wait, Miss—” The woman called behind her, but Jo shut herself in, locking the door.

About the Author:

Jodi Basye pens authentic western romances full of heritage, heart-pounding adventure, and a little happily ever after.

She's a born and bred country girl with a western heritage and a love for stories that stay true to her cowgirl boots and ranching roots. She's been writing all hours of the night since I was sixteen years old. Old habits die hard.

Now, she's the blessed wife to a rugged mountain man, a homeschooling mama, and living my dream of writing books by my wood cook-stove in the wilds of Alaska.

Author Interview:

Q: What was the inspiration behind Redeeming the Prodigal?

Jodi: Jo’s story has been on my heart for many years. There was a time in my life where I felt like I’d gone too far and fallen from grace. I knew I couldn’t lose my salvation, but I wasn’t sure I could ever be used by God again. In Redeeming the Prodigal, I wanted to shine light into what might be a dark time for some readers and encourage them that His grace is sufficient for all of our sins—no matter how big or small.

Q: How long did it take you to write this novel?

Jodi: As this was my debut novel, I wanted to take my time and get it right. So, from start date to publish date, it was almost two years. Although, I also wrote two novellas during that time as well.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote from this novel?

Jodi: I would have such a hard time choosing. I think the quote that best captures Jo’s struggle to accept love is this: “She was damaged. Plain and Simple. It wasn’t fair to Gideon for her to clutter his life with her broken pieces.”

Q: What do you hope readers take away from Redeeming the Prodigal?

Jodi: Even when we feel we’ve fallen too far from God, He is always there. Even in the famine of our faith, He offers us the Bread of Life.

Q: Would you share something about yourself that most readers would not know?

Jodi: Although I live in Alaska now, I was raised a Colorado country girl. I spent more time riding horses than playing with dolls. So, the western themes in my books are very near to my heart.

Q: What are you reading now?

Jodi: Penelope’s Pursuit by Chautona Havig

Q: How many bookcases are in your home?

Jodi: Four (and that is not enough, there are boxes stacked in corners full of books as well.)

Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Jodi: I love the adventure of living in Alaska. We live a very “outdoorsy” life with camping, hunting, fishing, foraging, and gardening.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Book Review: Hanging' by a Moment from Susan May Warren and Andrea Christenson

Hangin' by a Moment JustRead Blog + Review Tour 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Hangin' by a Moment by Andrea Christenson presented by Susan May Warren, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Hangin' by a Moment

Title: Hangin' by a Moment
Series: Deep Haven Collection #5
Author: Andrea Christenson presented by Susan May Warren
Publisher: Sunrise Publishing
Release Date: September 14, 2021
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

He just wants to erase his past. She can’t seem to escape hers. But facing it might put their future in jeopardy.

The day Jack Stewart walked out of jail, he vowed to keep his conviction a secret. The whole thing was just a terrible mistake, and he did his time. Now he wants a new life in a sleepy town where no one knows his name. Deep Haven is the perfect place to start over as a chef. The last thing the former pararescue jumper wants is to get involved. But when Boone Buckam—the guy he owes for getting him out of the slammer—asks for help, how can he refuse? 

Colleen Decker has already escaped evil once—as a teenager, she was kidnapped by a murderer. But she’s put all that behind her as a trauma nurse in Minneapolis. Or maybe not, because a freak mistake in the ER sends her past crashing down on her. She needs a timeout in her hometown of Deep Haven. She doesn’t plan to stay—even when she’s roped into the job of flight nurse for the town’s Crisis Response Team chopper. Colleen’s not sure why she’s drawn to danger, but she’ll be safe enough—after all, she’ll need training, and her teacher is a handsome former pararescue jumper. What could go wrong? 

When Jack said he didn’t want to get involved, he especially meant his heart—but being with Colleen feels like a fresh start. He’ll even climb aboard a chopper again, despite his vows.  They’re headed for a happy ending… 

But secrets never stay buried in a small town. And when disaster strikes one snowy night, they’ll both have to decide if the past will destroy them…or if it just might lead them home. 

Cozy up to this perfect Deep Haven drama about discovering a season of second chances.

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



The themes and quotable lines in Hangin’ by a Moment by Susan May Warren and Andrea Christenson were my favorite aspects of this fun, weekend read. Colleen and Jack, the main characters, both struggle with regret over their past actions. As they learn to lean into living out God’s design for their lives, several side characters speak much-needed truths into Colleen and Jack’s lives. I’ll share a favorite quote here: “Just because you live in a small place doesn’t mean you have to live a small life. And it doesn’t mean you can’t find exactly what you’ve been looking for (p. 76).”

Hangin’ by a Moment commences with the repercussions from a dangerous situation. This plot-driven story continues with additional moments of danger, drama, and romance. It held my interest from start to finish, though I did sometimes struggle to keep all the side characters and their significant others straight.

Hangin’ by a Moment from Susan May Warren and Andrea Christenson lands as the fifth installment in the Deep Haven Collection. It’s written as a stand-alone, but I recommend reading the entire series in order.

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.


Susan May Warren is the USA Today best-selling novelist of 80 books. With more than 1.5 million books in print, she is beloved by reviewers and readers around the world. Visit Susan at

CONNECT WITH SUSAN: Website | FacebookInstagram | Twitter

Andrea Christenson lives in a Minneapolis, MN suburb with her husband and two daughters. When she is not busy homeschooling her girls, she loves to read anything she can get her hands on. She believes that a great loaf of artistic bread can turn a meal into a masterpiece. Andrea’s prayer is to write stories revealing God’s love.

CONNECT WITH ANDREA: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter 

Merging the creative energies of best-selling authors Susan May Warren and Lindsay Harrel, Sunrise Publishing is the matchmaker for established authors who want to build on their current success for future growth and aspiring authors looking to break out, build an audience, and hone their writing skills. 


(1) winner will receive 3 Hangin' by a Moment ebooks (one ebook for the winner and two to give to friends)!

Hangin' by a Moment JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight September 14, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 21, 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.


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

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Book Spotlight: Hunt for a Hometown Killer by Mary Dodge Allen

About the Book:

Title: Hunt for a Hometown Killer

Author: Mary Dodge Allen

Genre: Christian mystery/suspense

Publication date: July 2021

Small towns have secrets and skeletons... what happens when a sinkhole uncovers them?

Two years to the day after Roxy Silva’s husband was murdered, a freak sinkhole drains a retention pond, exposing the car used in his fatal hit and run. The skeleton of the presumed prime suspect, the car’s owner, is found inside the trunk, thrusting the investigation in a new direction.

Detective Kyle Ransom is determined to find his best friend’s killer, and Roxy is equally determined to help. As a mail carrier, she can remain invisible as she moves around town. Using her total recall memory, she observes activities and captures images of people, vehicles and license plates, as well as the addresses on mail and packages she delivers. Roxy has no idea her amateur sleuthing will place her life in danger.

Together, Roxy and Kyle uncover a shocking trail of deception and secrets. As they work on the cold case, their relationship heats up. Kyle’s wife died years ago, and he’s ready for a commitment. But Roxy is recovering from the depression triggered by her husband’s murder and other sudden and tragic losses in her life. She’s struggling with a deep-seated fear of loss, her faith, and finding meaning in a chaotic world. Complications arise when Roxy’s first love comes back into her life, wanting a second chance. Old feelings of attraction and bitterness surface, as she confronts a long-buried secret in her own past.

Kyle identifies a new prime suspect, and the killer drops out of sight. When Roxy leaves on a ‘wilderness women getaway’ camping trip with her wisecracking friends, she finds herself in danger as the killer stalks her. She returns home, and the killer follows. Roxy is plunged in a fight for her life when she’s taken captive, and she must use her wits to survive.

Purchase Link: Amazon

Excerpt (Chapter 1):

Riverside Bay, Florida

Roxy Silva breathed out a relieved sigh as she finished the last delivery on her mail route. She was looking forward to going home and cranking the air-conditioning down to the sub-zero range. It had been a difficult day—the second anniversary of her husband’s unsolved murder. And for the past several hours, while delivering mail in the scorching June heat, Roxy couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that the person who killed Vance was still out there, somewhere.

She brushed strands of damp hair off her forehead as she walked back to her mail truck, parked near the huge retention pond at the end of Dolphin Lane. Sunlight shimmered on the pond’s rippled surface, highlighting a strange patch of swirling water a few feet offshore. The whirlpool’s funnel shape reminded her of water circling around a bathtub drain.

“Hello there, Rox!” Mae Sims waved to her from the sidewalk bordering the pond. The elderly woman was pushing a pink baby stroller, and her small poodle was riding in the stroller seat, as usual. Mae stopped under the shade of a tall laurel oak and held up a plastic Cool Whip container. “I baked sugar cookies today. Want to try one?”

Roxy hesitated. Her thoughts flashed back to last year’s church bake sale, when Mae’s banana bread sent several people to the ER. “Thanks... but I can’t, right now. I’m running late, and I need to get back to the post office.” Roxy gave the woman a smile and a quick wave.

As she unlocked the truck’s driver’s door, a loud rumbling sound rang out. The pavement beneath her feet began vibrating. A towering geyser erupted from the whirlpool near shore, spraying her skin with cool droplets, like a misty rain.

Mae let out a panicked scream as chunks of the pond’s grassy shoreline slid into the convulsing water. The laurel oak nearby cracked and splintered as it toppled over, creating a massive splash.

Roxy broke into an icy sweat. “Mae! Get away from there!” She threw down her shoulder bag and ran toward the petite woman.

Mae visibly trembled as she stood on the cracked sidewalk next to the oak’s gigantic root ball, which was still clinging to the soil at the edge of the steep muddy bank. Water dripped from her short gray hair as she stared into the hole.

“Mae! Come with me¾”

“No!” She shook her head and let out a sob. “Not without Trixie! She’s stuck in that tree!”

Roxy looked down. The pink stroller bobbed in the swirling water near the fallen oak. Something sparkled like diamonds in the oak’s leafy branches—Trixie’s rhinestone-studded harness. The tiny poodle sat wedged between two thick limbs, just out of reach. The dog’s high-pitched whimpering was barely audible over the rushing sound of the turbulent water. Roxy turned to Mae. “If you leave with me right now, I’ll come back and help Trixie. I promise!” She guided the frail woman to the spot where she’d discarded her mail bag. “Stay here, okay?”

Mae nodded. Her wrinkled face wore a dazed expression.

Roxy ran back and stood next to the huge mass of tangled roots and soil. She took a deep breath as she gripped a thick, dirt-caked tree root with her sweaty left hand and stepped off the sidewalk’s broken concrete. Her steel-toe athletic shoes sank into the damp, unstable dirt. Roxy tightened her grip on the root as she leaned down and stretched out her right arm toward Trixie. She gently slid her fingers under the sparkling harness and felt the poodle’s rapid heartbeat beneath her soft fur. “It’s okay, girl. I’ve got you.” Twigs snapped as she freed the tiny dog.

The dirt under Roxy’s feet abruptly shifted, and she lost her grip on the tree root. She held the small dog in the crook of her right arm as she slid downward. Branches scraped her left arm as her hip slammed against the trunk. She realized she was pinned against the limbs that had held Trixie.

Adrenaline surged. Roxy’s heartbeat accelerated as she grabbed a thick branch with her free hand. Using all her strength, she pulled herself up the slippery dirt wall and scrambled over the crumbling sidewalk. She ran toward Mae and picked up her shoulder bag before escorting the frantic woman further away from the sinkhole. When Roxy finally stopped, she was gasping for breath and trembling almost as much as the poodle in her arms.

Mae reached for Trixie and cradled her tiny dog like a baby. Tears formed in her eyes as she tenderly plucked stray twigs and leaves from Trixie’s dirty white fur. “She doesn’t look injured, but I’d better take her to the vet to make sure.” Mae looked up. Her lips quivered as she said, “Thank you.”

Roxy nodded and smiled, still too out of breath to speak. She heard the sound of voices and turned. Residents had gathered in the street, several feet away. She knew all of them well, since they had been on her mail route for years. A few waved to her, but most of them wore shocked expressions as they stared at the sinkhole. Mae hurried over and joined her neighbors.

The ground shook again. Roxy turned back to the pond and let out a sharp cry as the oak’s root ball slid out of sight, along with the cracked sidewalk. The pavement under her mail truck’s front tires disappeared. The truck slid forward and abruptly stopped. Its rear tires gripped the edge of the hole.

“Someone needs to call the police!”

Roxy startled, as if she’d been awakened from a trance. With shaking hands, she reached into the torn pocket of her postal uniform shorts and pulled out her phone. She hesitated when she saw the spider web of cracks, and then she whispered a quick prayer as she double-tapped the damaged screen. Relief surged when her phone lit up. She pressed a familiar speed dial number. When Kyle answered, she blurted, “A sinkhole opened up in Riverside Bay Estates! You need to send officers out here! My mail truck slid into the hole, and it’s caught on the edge¾”

“Rox! Are you inside the truck?” Kyle sounded panicked.

“No... I’m okay. Sorry, I should have told you that first.” She blew out a shaky sigh, as her heartbeat thundered like a jackhammer.

“Is anyone hurt?”

“No... at least I don’t think so. But my mail truck fell halfway inside the sinkhole. You need to send a tow truck.”

“Where exactly did the hole open up?”

“In that huge retention pond at the end of Dolphin Lane. Part of the shoreline is gone, but the sinkhole isn’t near any homes, yet. The water level has gone way down.” She stopped, as something on the opposite shore caught her attention. “Kyle! You need to send another tow truck! I see a black car stuck in the muddy bank across the pond, near the entrance to the wildlife refuge.” Her words caught in her throat as she made the connection. Two years ago, a witness saw a black Mercedes sedan speeding away from the scene of her husband’s fatal hit and run.

“Is it a Mercedes, Rox?”

“I don’t know. The front of the car is still underwater... but it’s definitely a black sedan.”

About the Author:

Mary Dodge Allen is the recipient of two Royal Palm Literary Awards from the Florida Writer’s Association. She and her husband live in Florida, where she has served as a volunteer with the police department. Her childhood in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, sparked her lifelong love of the outdoors. She’s been a Counselor and Social Worker and she worked as a USPS mail carrier during a college break. Her quirky sense of humor is energized by a passion for coffee and chocolate.

Connect with Mary: 

Book Review: The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks: Young Readers Edition

About the Book:

Rosa Parks is one of the most well-known Americans today, but much of what is known and taught about her is incomplete, distorted, and just plain wrong. Adapted for young people from the NAACP Image Award—winning The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, Jeanne Theoharis and Brandy Colbert shatter the myths that Parks was meek, accidental, tired, or middle class. They reveal a lifelong freedom fighter whose activism began two decades before her historic stand that sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and continued for 40 years after. Readers will understand what it was like to be Parks, from standing up to white supremacist bullies as a young person to meeting her husband, Raymond, who showed her the possibility of collective activism, to her years of frustrated struggle before the boycott, to the decade of suffering that followed for her family after her bus arrest. The book follows Parks to Detroit, after her family was forced to leave Montgomery, Alabama, where she spent the second half of her life and reveals her activism alongside a growing Black Power movement and beyond.

Because Rosa Parks was active for 60 years, in the North as well as the South, her story provides a broader and more accurate view of the Black freedom struggle across the twentieth century. Theoharis and Colbert show young people how the national fable of Parks and the civil rights movement—celebrated in schools during Black History Month—has warped what we know about Parks and stripped away the power and substance of the movement. The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks illustrates how the movement radically sought to expose and eradicate racism in jobs, housing, schools, and public services, as well as police brutality and the over-incarceration of Black people—and how Rosa Parks was a key player throughout.

My Thoughts:

Reading The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks: Young Readers Edition by Jeanne Theoharis was a bit of a rollercoaster. At the beginning, I read slowly – just a chapter or two a night – as the hard realities that Rosa and other Black people faced weighed heavy in my mind. As the narrative progressed, I increased my reading as I was fascinated by Rosa and her fight against segregation and racism. Toward the end, my pace slowed again and I felt a bit more disconnected from the story than I previously had.

Growing up, I learned a whitewashed version of history and knew very little about Rosa Parks other than her refusal to give up her seat on the bus. After reading The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, I have a much greater admiration and appreciation for this remarkable woman. Her strength, her demeanor, her love of reading, her spiritual life, her pursuit of justice and equality. All of it inspired me. I’d love to read Mrs. Parks’ books, My Story (autobiography) and Quiet Strength. I imagine those books tell even more of her story as The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks focuses on her experiences with segregation, racism, and activism.

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks: Young Readers Edition is marketed for 7th-9th graders/ages 12-17. However, I learned much from this book as an adult and the writing is not simplified, though I suspect some situations may be less detailed than in the original edition. I felt that Jeanne Theoharis presented the information in this book objectively, except for perhaps a few parts near the end. I recommend this book to ages 12+ and I expect that we will use it as a resource in our homeschool program once my daughters reach middle school. Excellent book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product via the Amazon Vine program. All opinions in this review are my own.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Epic Book Launch: A Convenient Risk by Sara R. Turnquist

About the Book

Book: A Convenient Risk
Author: Sara R. Turnquist
Genre: Clean Historical Romance
Release date: October 26, 2021

He never imagined her heart would be so hard to reach.

Forced into a marriage of convenience after her husband dies, Amanda Haynes is determined she will never love again. Not that it bothers Brandon Miller. He needs her husband’s cattle. She needs financial stability and long-term support for her son and herself. But she never expected to care so much about the running of the ranch.

Butting heads over the decisions of the ranch, only adds to her frustration. Her wellbeing is soon threatened as their lives become entangled with Billy the Kid and his gang.

What has she gotten herself into? What kind of man has she married? Is there any way out?


“Where were you?” A gruff voice greeted her.

She jerked in that direction.

The tall frame of the doctor filled the doorway to her bedroom. His scowl accused her.

“I needed some fresh air.”

He shook his head. Had she disappointed him? “You are needed in here.”

She nodded, lowering her gaze to the floor as she stepped toward him.

He held up his hands. “There’s no point now. He’s passed.”

“What?” It wasn’t possible.

The doctor moved past her, his shoulder grazing hers. “It was only a matter of time.”

Amanda’s heart stopped. Cold surrounded and pervaded her being. Her breath rushed out of her. Would she be able to draw in another? In time, it did come, but with it came the tears. There were more. After all.


Brandon Miller pushed the gate closed and secured it. Gazing out across the cattle, he frowned. Would his efforts be enough? He doubted it. All the wishing in the world would not pay the bank.

Shoving away from the fence, he turned toward the homestead. Time for lunch.

He slipped into the house and spotted his uncle hobbling across the room. Rushing over, he put an arm under the old man’s bad side. “Uncle Owen, you should have called Cook to help.”


Excerpt One:

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Excerpt Seven:


Sara is a coffee lovin’, word slinging, clean Historical Romance author whose super power is converting caffeine into novels. She loves those odd little tidbits of history that are stranger than fiction. That’s what inspires her. Well, that and a good love story.

But of all the love stories she knows, hers is her favorite. She lives happily with her own Prince Charming and their gaggle of minions. Three to be exact. They sure know how to distract a writer! But, alas, the stories must be written, even if it must happen in the wee hours of the morning.

Sara is an avid reader and also enjoys reading clean Historical Romance when she’s not traveling. Her books range from the Czech lands to the American Wild West and from ancient Egypt to the early 1900s. Some of her titles include The Lady BornekovaHope in Cripple Creek, The General’s WifeTrail of Fears, and the Convenient Risk Series.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Help, I'm Drowning by Sally Clarkson

Help, I'm Drowning JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Help, I'm Drowning by Sally Clarkson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Help Im Drowning

Title: Help, I'm Drowning 
Author: Sally Clarkson
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: September 14, 2021
Genre: Christian Women's Spiritual Growth

Life is filled with unexpected storms that take you by surprise.

In these storms of life, it's easy to feel helpless, exhausted, afraid . . . and alone. We can feel like victims to circumstances out of our control. 

Beloved author Sally Clarkson understands deeply. Through almost seven decades of life, she has found herself tossed about in overwhelming life storms through many different seasons. 

In Help, I'm Drowning, Sally identifies the challenges that took her by surprise and then leads you to the wisdom she gathered from her experiences. Finding grace to walk through the darkness and hope to make it through will give you the comfort and encouragement you need in knowing you are not alone. Though there are no easy, formulaic answers that apply to every situation, Sally leads us to the One who is with us and will see us through. 

Sally found the anchors that held her steady in the midst of every storm, and she wants to help you find your anchors too. She invites you into her own personal story of anchoring well, and then--with honesty, grit, and her trademark wisdom--she will help you heal and move forward with courage and strength.

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



Chapter 8: Unexpected Challenges with Our Children from Help, I’m Drowning by Sally Clarkson, p. 162, 240 words (unedited)

I assumed that when I became a wife and mother, I would automatically be mature, healthy, loving, and successful at these relationships. I did not understand the demands and weight of being a mother at all. Then conflict in my own heart and life and the stress of living with so many needs and so many demands showed me my selfishness in new ways. I was so disappointed in myself when I lost patience, acted in an unloving way, even resented my children. But I longed for mercy. I wanted to be understood. I wanted someone to recognize that I had a heart to be good at these relationships, but sometimes I just couldn’t. I meant to be patient, giving, and loving, but I had my limits.

I learned that my children had all these same limits. It was through my children and the demands of everyday life that I learned the need for gentleness. Where does a woman find

the ability to be gentle, to show mercy and understanding and compassion? I believe it comes as she understands that her heart is selfish, prone to making bad choices, limited in patience, and only just beginning to understand what love requires. Mamas long for grace and a gentle, sympathetic response from others in their lives. A mother learns and understands that she herself is fragile and needy. She then realizes that her children, too, have the same issues and needs. 

Excerpt from Help, I’m Drowning by Sally Clarkson provided by Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Copyright Sept. 3, 2021. Used by permission.


Sally Clarkson

Photo Credit: © Steve Hixon

Sally Clarkson is the beloved author of many bestselling books, including Awaking Wonder, Own Your LifeThe Lifegiving Home with her daughter Sarah, Desperate with Sarah Mae, and Different with her son Nathan. As a mother of four, she has inspired thousands of women through Whole Heart Ministries. She advocates relentlessly for the power of motherhood, the foundational importance of family, and the influence of home through her Mom Heart conferences, speaking to audiences on several continents. Mentoring women to understand how to love God in a more personal way and how to live a satisfying Christian life are threaded through her messages. Sally's podcast, At Home with Sally Clarkson and Friends, has more than 14 million downloads.

CONNECT WITH SALLY: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


(1) winner will receive a four-book prize including Awaking Wonder by Sally Clarkson, The Happy Crab by Layla & Kevin Palmer, Make Their Day by Karen Ehman, and Prevail by Susie Larson!

Help, I'm Drowning JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight September 13, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 20, 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.


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

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Book Spotlight: The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen


·         Title: The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart: Proper Romance Victorian

·         Author: Nancy Campbell Allen

·         Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Mystery/Suspense, Inspirational Fiction

·         Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing (September 7, 2021)

·         Length: (336) pages

·         Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook 


London, 1885

Amelie Hampton is a hopeless romantic, which makes her the perfect columnist to answer lonely heart letters in The Marriage Gazette. When Amelie plays matchmaker with two anonymous lonely hearts, she also decides to secretly observe the couple's blind date. To her surprise, the man who appears for the rendezvous is Harold Radcliffe―a grieving widower and a member of Amelie's book club.

Police detective Michael Baker has been struggling ever since his best friend and brother-in-law died in the line of fire. Because he knows the dangers of his job, he has vowed never to marry and subject a wife and family to the uncertainty of his profession. But when he meets Miss Hampton, he is captured by her innocence, beauty, and her quick mind.

When a woman's body is pulled from the river, Michael suspects the woman's husband―Harold Radcliffe―of foul play. Amelie refuses to believe that Harold is capable of such violence but agrees to help, imagining it will be like one of her favorite mystery novels. Her social connections and clever observations prove an asset to the case, and Amelie is determined to prove Mr. Radcliffe's innocence. But the more time Amelie and Michael spend together, the more they trust each other, and the more they realize they are a good team, maybe the perfect match.

They also realize that Mr. Radcliffe is hiding more than one secret, and when his attention turns toward Amelie, Michael knows he must put an end to this case before the woman he loves comes to harm.


"Allen pairs a matchmaker and a detective in this charming Victorian romance. Allen expertly combines mystery and romance into a fast-paced tale complete with plenty of surprises and a central relationship founded on mutual admiration and respect. Readers are sure to appreciate the strong, well-shaded heroine and twisty plot." —Publishers Weekly

"Allen's chaste tale of Victorian romantic suspense will also appeal to historical mystery readers, and it would be great for mother-and-daughter reads. This has great appeal for teens who like historical fiction laced with mystery and romance." —Booklist

“I was immediately drawn into the characters’ lives and enjoyed the unraveling of the mystery and the development of the romance.” —Mystery and Suspense Magazine


Nancy Campbell Allen is the author of fifteen published novels and numerous novellas, which span genres from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction. In 2005, her work won the Utah Best of State award, and she received a Whitney Award for My Fair Gentleman. She has presented at numerous writing conferences and events since her first book was released in 1999. Nancy received a BS in Elementary Education from Weber State University. She loves to read, write, travel, and research and enjoys spending time laughing with family and friends. She is married and the mother of three children.



Join the virtual book tour of THE MATCHMAKER’S LONELY HEART, Nancy Campbell Allen’s highly acclaimed historical novel, September 6-19, 2021. Thirty popular on-line influencers specializing in historical romance, mystery/suspense, and inspirational fiction will join in the celebration of its release with a spotlights, exclusive excerpts, and reviews of this new Victorian-era novel set in London, England.

TOUR SCHEDULE               

Sept 06          Timeless Novels (Review)

Sept 07          The Book Diva Reads (Excerpt)

Sept 07          Wishful Endings (Review)

Sept 08          Robin Loves Reading (Review)

Sept 08          A Darn Good Read (Review)

Sept 08          Storeybook Reviews (Spotlight)

Sept 08          Austenesque Reviews (Review)

Sept 09          Bookfoolery (Review)

Sept 09          The Lit Bitch (Excerpt)

Sept 10          The Bluestocking (Review)

Sept 10          Bookworm Lisa (Review)

Sept 10          The Silver Petticoat Review (Review)

Sept 11          Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)

Sept 11          My Bookish Bliss (Review)

Sept 11          Nurse Bookie (Review)

Sept 12          The Bibliophile Files (Review)

Sept 12          My Jane Austen Book Club (Spotlight)

Sept 13          Heidi Reads (Excerpt)

Sept 13          Reading with Emily (Review)

Sept 13          Our Book Confessions (Review)

Sept 14          Rosanne E. Lortz (Review)

Sept 14          Laura's Reviews (Review)

Sept 14          Beauty in the Binding (Spotlight)

Sept 15          All-of-a-Kind Mom (Review)

Sept 15          Gwendalyn's Books (Review)

Sept 15          Life of Literature (Review)

Sept 16          From Pemberley to Milton (Review)

Sept 16          Probably at the Library (Spotlight)

Sept 17          Greenish Bookshelf (Review)

Sept 17          Relz Reviewz (Review)

Sept 18          Novel Kicks (Review)

Sept 19          Historical Fiction with Spirit (Excerpt)