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Sunday, September 26, 2021

 

About the Book

Book:  Undercurrent of Secrets

Author: Rachel Scott McDaniel

Genre: Christian Romance

Release date: September 2021

Two women, a century apart, are bound by a haunting secret aboard a legendary steamboat.

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

As wedding coordinator for the 100-year-old steamboat The Belle of Louisville, Devyn Asbury takes pride in seeing others’ dreams come true, even though her engagement had sunk like a diamond ring to the bottom of the Ohio River. When the Belle becomes a finalist in the Timeless Wedding Venue contest, Devyn endeavors to secure the prestigious title with hopes to reclaim some of her professional dreams. What she hadn’t planned on was Chase Jones showing up with a mysterious photo from the 1920s.

A century earlier, Hattie Louis is as untamable as the rivers that raised her. As the adopted daughter of a steamboat captain, her duties range from the entertainment to cook. When strange incidents occur aboard the boat, Hattie’s determined to discover the truth. Even if that means getting under First Mate Jack Marshall’s handsome skin.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. Rachel can be found online at www.RachelScottMcDaniel.com and on all social media platforms. Her work is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency. Rachel resides in Ohio with her husband and two children.

 

More from Rachel

A Century on the River

In 1914, America hadn’t joined WWI yet. Airplanes, or flying machines as they were called, were still a phenomenon. Radios weren’t a thing. Hawaii and Alaska weren’t part of the United States. The world as a whole looked different than the one we walk today. But one thing remains true as it had 100 years ago—The Belle of Louisville graced the waters. In fact, the century-old steamboat is like a floating time capsule.

First named the Idlewild, this boat was built in Pittsburgh, PA and was launched in October 1914. It began its days as a packet boat, hauling freight and ferrying passengers. During the ‘Roaring 20s’ there wasn’t much documentation for her travels. But it’s believed the Idlewild spent the decade tramping—a steamboat term for going up and down the river, stopping at various towns and taking passengers for excursions. Which worked perfectly for Undercurrent of Secrets.

The boat was then sold to New Orleans where it continued to ferry passengers. In 1931, The Idlewild spent a season in Louisville running trips to Rose Island and Fontaine Ferry amusement parks. It then spent the next several years coursing the waterways from Canada to New Orleans, living upon the Mississippi and Ohio river systems until WWII. The second world war brought a lot of action to the Idlewild which was then outfitted with special equipment to push oil barges along the river. She also served as a floating USO nightclub for troops stationed at military bases along the Mississippi River.

In 1947, she was sold and renamed the Avalon. For the next two decades the legendary lady spent her days along the rivers, hosting excursions, bringing adventure to the hearts of many Americans. But all those years and miles eventually caught up to her and she fell in disrepair. In 1962, she was put up for auction in Cincinnati where she was purchased by Jefferson County Judge Executive Marlow Cook for $34,000. She then received her third name, The Belle of Louisville.

The restoration of the boat was supervised by marine architect Alan L. Bates (later Captain Bates). Capt. Bates’ books, Str. Belle of Louisville, and Moonlight at 8:30, were a huge help to me while researching the history of the boat and the crews who worked on her. The reno crew worked tirelessly rebuilding the Belle and on April 30th, she tested the waters again by racing against the Delta Queen in the first Great Steamboat Race. The Belle has been wharfed in Louisville ever since. This century-old steamboat has stood the test of time, surviving decades, sinkings, storms, weathering all the trials with grit and grace. If you ever find yourself in Louisville, you could book a cruise on the Belle and experience history.

MY REVIEW 

If you are a fan of time slip books, this is a must read. It flows smoothly from the past to the present without missing a beat. The story is very intriguing and there are historical facts scattered throughout the beautiful pages. It moves at a great pace and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay in the last or go forward at times. The author is gifted with pulling readers in with characters that jump off the pages and capture the allure of mystery and love.

I liked the setting of a steamboat and how it was the focus of the story between past  and present. I would love to go on one and experience the majestic voyage as it takes me across the river. The author describes the steamboat in a way that makes you want to be a passenger and slip back in time. I enjoyed learning how it operates and how popular it was in the 1900s. 

There rare four main characters that are relevant to the story. Devyn and Chase are fun to get to know. Poor Devyn has been taken advantage of by someone and finds herself dumped over social media. How awful can that be to be humiliated in front of millions of people? At least she has her wedding coordinator job. I think she shines at the job and you can tell she loves hosting weddings on the boat. Chase comes into her life as a mystery at first but I knew he had a secret. With the snarky remarks back and forth, I wasn’t sure this relationship would amount to anything. Oh but the witty Chase dangles a mystery in front of Devyn that entices her to help him. Thus begins the parallel between these two and our next set of characters. 

Hattie is probably my favorite character in the book. She has had an unfortunate childhood when she thinks she has been abandoned. The man who takes her in just happens to be the Captain of Idlewild. I loved the antics Hattie found herself in on the boat and proved to the men she could carry her weight aboard the vessel. Jack appears on the boat but he has a secret as well. Their encounters are not always  friendly and Hattie has a hard time trusting Jack. 

Now that’s all I’m giving away about the story. I will assure readers that they are in for a treat as the story unfolds. The author delivers a tale of mystery complete with love letters, secret meetings and an ending that made me cry. I have put this book on my top favorite list of books for 2021. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 25

Rachael’s Inkwell, September 25

Texas Book-aholic, September 26

Christian Bookaholic, September 26

Where Faith and Books Meet, September 27

Inklings and notions, September 27

Genesis 5020, September 27

For Him and My Family, September 28

Life of Literature, September 28

deb’s Book Review, September 29

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 29

Remembrancy, September 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 30

She Lives to Read, October 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 1

Older & Smarter?, October 1

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 2

Mary Hake, October 2

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 3

Simple Harvest Reads, October 3 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Bizwings Blog, October 3

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 4

For the Love of Literature, October 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 5

Through the fire blogs, October 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 6

Pause for Tales, October 6

Artistic Nobody, October 7 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Just Your Average reviews, October 7

Splashes of Joy, October 8

Labor Not in Vain, October 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a 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/11b61/undercurrent-of-secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway


Friday, September 24, 2021

 

Seasoned Grace copy

About the Book

Book:  Seasoned Grace

Author: Melissa Wardwell

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: August 31, 2021

Wardwell_Seasoned_GraceYou can run from your past, but you can’t escape it.

Though he disappeared that day, Raylin McReynolds never believed her father died at the World Trade Center on 9/11.

So, when a mysterious letter arrives from Breakers Head, informing her that she would find him on the Independence Islands off the coast of Georgia, she has no choice but to find a job, get there, find her father.

As mainland troubles encroach on Hooper Island, Sean Anderson devises a plan and presents it to the island pastors and his cousin, Scott. The result: Grace Mission—a place where those struggling can find the help they need.

What he didn’t need was a distraction in the form of a newcomer to the islands—a mission volunteer, no less.

Others at the mission, Beth and Scott, see more than just frustration brew between Raylin and Sean. What will it take to convince Sean and Raylin to stop bickering long enough to see what’s obvious to everyone else?

Raylin’s on a mission to find her father and protect her heart, but neither seem willing to cooperate.

Seasoned Grace continues the Hooper Island stories of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Melissa WardwellShe doesn’t mind alternating between the world of writing and the reality of being a mother, but she would rather sit with a good book or a good friend and a cup of coffee.

When she isn’t penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books for her blog, Back Porch Reads.

To see more from Melissa Wardwell, visit www.melissawardwell.com

 

More from Melissa

Here we are, in the middle of the collection. The third island—Hooper Island. Have you enjoyed the journey so far? I hope you have, I’m sure you have 😉

Seasoned Grace quickly became my favorite addition to the Independence Islands Collection. It is a little more serious on a few of the topics than my first two contributions. Now that a foundation has been set, I felt like I could get a little deeper into my character’s emotions and pasts. People are complex so writing two-dimensional characters are not something I like doing. I want readers to see the secret hurts that mold them into the person they are, and how God can heal those painful areas.

Grace is the running theme throughout this book. Grace enough to let things go, the Father’s grace, showing grace to those around us, and any other form of grace that might come up. Grace is like salt and pepper. It gives the right kind of flavor to our lives. At least I think that is a life quote Gram would tell Beth.

There is one chapter that you will see one of the new characters lay out their painful past in a rather quick way in a conversation with another character. This character suffered much in their life that some will struggle with understanding how they could talk about it so freely (which is why I am shining a light on it now).

When a person has found healing in life by following Christ and has allowed Him to take away the sting of what others have done to them, those moments become easy to talk about with others. Especially if it means that the one listening will seek healing for themselves.

This conversation in the book is intense and thought-provoking. It also displays the level of grace required to see people the way God might see them instead of through our tainted lenses. I found myself crying as I wrote it because I know how freeing it is to forgive and let the Father heal a wounded heart.

Seasoned Grace also has several returning characters—Beth and Scott, Thaddeus, Amara and Dante, Sarah Reid, and her boys. There are also two new faces, Raylin and Sean, as well as a couple of other mobile business owners who come together to help Elnora Island bounce back from a hurricane.

All my contributions to the collection flow from one book to the next like a television series. While the other writers may have written their stories to be independently read from the others, that is not something I have done. Trust me when I say that it wasn’t my original intent. As I saw my five stories develop, there was a constant feeling of community and character interaction throughout the books. I couldn’t just leave some characters behind, never to be heard from again, while I bring in new faces. It just wouldn’t be right. They have developed friendships and that cannot be overlooked. That said, when they come together at the end for Thanksgiving diner, they, and you the reader, will have a pleasant surprise.

So, stay with me, push through, read on—it will all be worth it in the end.

 

P.S. I realize that I gave a recipe for Scrumptious Independence, but not Heart Pressed. I apologize for that one.

I hope this one makes up for it. Scott’s favorite

 

Fish Tacos

Oil

If you don’t have a deep fryer (like me), get a thick bottom, deep pan

Use natural oil, like corn or canola oil

Gauge the temperature with a candy or deep fry thermometer

Fill your pan no more than 2/3 of the way

Heat the oil slowly to 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit

too low of heat, you will get greasy fish

too high of heat, you will burn the fish

 

Fish

Cod works the best, but Salmon is pretty interesting option as well.

Rinse it off after thawing if you use frozen fish, excess water will make your oil spatter

Pat it dry with paper towel – I use a lot of paper towel, but I feed five adults

If fish pieces are thick, cut into 1 inch-ish strips.

I use Panko fish batter for my batter. I don’t make it from scratch

Slowly place coated pieces of fish into the hot oil and let it cook until golden brown.

 

While that cooks, prepare your toppings.

 

Cole Slaw

8oz. bag of pre-shredded Cole slaw mix

1 1/2 tsp Apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 tsp of sugar

1 cup of mayo or Miracle Whip

1/4 cup of mustard or 1/2 tsp of mustard powder

 

Avocado

Make sure it is ripe—soft, not hard

Mash it wit a fork

Cut a lime in 1/2 and squeeze the juice over the mashed avocado

Sprinkle salt and pepper on it

Stir together

 

Layering the taco

Spread some of the Avocado mixture on a tortilla

Place a strip or two of fried fish on top

Finish with Cole slaw mix

 

Enjoy!

MY REVIEW 

I am always excited when a new book comes out in this series. I have come to think of the characters as friends and enjoy being in their lives. This story is special to me because it has the one thing I have been lacking lately. The author gently sways us with melody and soothing tones of grace. There is that word I have been struggling with. It is easy to misjudge someone or hold a grudge.  But what if we actually gave them grace? This story is a perfect example of allowing past hurts to float away as the characters begin to listen to God as He softens their heart. 

I adored following Raylin and as begins the journey of finding her father that no one has heard from in years. It was interesting that the author referenced 9/11 and how that day affected so many. Raylin’s father was there on that fateful day and suddenly he was gone. Raylin is drawn to travel to the island  after a letter tells her that her father was there.  Could she finally get the answer she has been wanting all these years? Will her father explain his absence from her life? 

There is one part in the story that really  got to me. I won’t share the details because I don’t want to take away the powerful impact it could have on readers. It is never easy to share a painful experience but with God’s help this character was able to finally release themselves and be set free. Grace abounds everywhere in this story and every instance is an example of how we can become more Christlike. 

Along with grace I found forgiveness that was illustrated beautifully in the story. A mother and daughter who have drifted apart come to a place where healing could happen if grace and forgiveness was shown. I loved the healing of broken relationships in the story and how it is never too late to repair them. I found this story to be a little more on the serious side and it was just what I needed. Thank you to the author for showing me about grace through a story that is relatable in many ways. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 24

Texas Book-aholic, September 25

Blossoms and Blessings, September 25

Inklings and notions, September 26

HappyWhenReading, September 26

For Him and My Family, September 27

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

deb’s Book Review, September 28

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 28

Aryn the Libraryan, September 29

The Sacred Line, September 29

She Lives To Read, September 30

Connect in Fiction, October 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 1

Reviewingbooksplusmore, October 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 2

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 3

Life, love, writing, October 3

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 4

Simple Harvest Reads, October 4 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 5

Splashes of Joy, October 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 6

Blogging With Carol, October 6

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 7

Mary Hake, October 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a 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/11b5d/seasoned-grace-celebration-tour-giveaway


 

About the Book

Book: Dangerous Amish Showdown

Author: Mary Alford

Genre: Amish Suspense

Release date: August 24, 2021

Under siege in Amish country…

She must fight for their lives.

Gunshots shatter Willa Lambright’s placid Montana evening—and that’s before she discovers on-the-run lawman Mason Shetler on her doorstep. Willa hadn’t glimpsed her childhood friend since he’d turned his back on Amish country years before. Now the US marshal’s returned with an injured partner, a young witness he must protect at all costs…and vicious Mafia agents dead set on making sure none of them survive.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling author Mary Alford loves giving her readers the unexpected. Her titles have appeared on the USA Today list, Publisher’s Weekly bestseller list, and have finaled in the Daphne Du Maurier award of excellence in mystery, The Beverly, The Maggie, and The Selah Awards.

Mary is an avid reader. She loves to cook, can’t face the day without coffee, and her three granddaughters are the apple of her eye. She and her husband live in the heart of Texas in the middle of 70 acres with two spoiled cats and a dog who thinks he owns the place.

 

More from Mary

When I first heard of the title for my latest Love Inspired Suspense, I smiled. Dangerous Amish Showdown reminds me of the old westerns where the good guys face off with the bad guys and always win. As a child I loved watching them, mostly because my dad loved them so much, and yes, a big draw for me besides sharing the time with him, was seeing the good guys win. It’s what I try to put into every single book I write, and it’s exactly what happens in Dangerous Amish Showdown.

Lately, I find myself reminiscing a lot about childhood things such as watching old westerns with my dad, and smiling at those simpler times.

In Dangerous Amish Showdown, it takes coming back to his simple childhood Amish community for Mason Shetler to realize how special that life once was for him. Through the courage found in a little girl who has lost everything, and the strength of a woman whose future is uncertain, Mason discovered what he had been searching for all along.

I truly hope you enjoy Mason and Willa’s fight to protect young Samantha and the love they find along the way. And I hope their happy ending leaves you with a smile on your face, and maybe takes you back to a simpler time in your life.

Blessings always,

Mary Alford

MY REVIEW 

It’s a quiet night in my house and I’m sitting down to read this book. Before I know it, my heart is racing and I feel myself grabbing the chair to try to hang on. The adrenaline is pumping as I turn the pages. My mind is on high alert as I prepare myself for a jam packed non stop ride of danger at the highest level. The first few pages prepare me for a story that never lets up with incredible characters, faith and survival. 

The author has delivered a story that has all the boxes checked off for a suspense filled action packed edge of your seat adventure. As bullets fly and sinister men draw near there is only one objective for Mason and his partner. Their mission is to protect their witness which happens to be a sweet little girl. I thought Samantha was very brave and loved how she trusted the men who were there to keep her from harm. The author makes each scene so vivid I could see it unfolding right before my eyes. 

I did like how Mason ends up at a place where an old friend lives to hide out. It was nice to see how Willa was not afraid when she found Mason, his partner who is injured and a child on her doorstep. She steps up to help out and her faith is very evident throughout the story. With her home surrounded by men who are there to harm everyone, her calmness really helped the chaos going on inside the house. 

The story is fast paced and delivers a powerful ending that reflects the importance of faith and trust. I loved how the author was able to keep my attention until the very end. Now if you are wondering what happens to our sweet little Samantha and her protectors , you must grab a copy of this book and get ready to be jolted out of your seat as the action starts on page one. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 22

Maureen’s Musings, September 22

Hebrews 12 Endurance, September 23

The Avid Reader, September 23

Genesis 5020, September 23

Texas Book-aholic, September 24

Vicarious Living, September 24

Inklings and notions, September 25

Blossoms and Blessings, September 25

Betti Mace, September 26

For Him and My Family, September 26

Lighthouse Academy Blog, September 27 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

deb’s Book Review, September 27

Older & Smarter?, September 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 28

Bizwings Blog, September 28

For the Love of Literature, September 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 29

Living the Good Life, September 29

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 30

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 30 (Author Interview)

She Lives To Read, October 1

Bigreadersite, October 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 2

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 3

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 3

Mary Hake, October 3

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, October 4

Simple Harvest Reads, October 4 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 5

HookMeInABook, October 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Mary is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a 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/11b56/dangerous-amish-showdown-celebration-tour-giveaway