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Sunday, January 29, 2023


About the Book

Book: Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Author: Janice Thompson

Genre:Christian Fiction / Mystery / Romance

Release date: January 1, 2023

Inquisitive, detail-oriented, Veterinarian Kristin Keller prides herself on winning over any dog. But has this self-proclaimed dog whisperer finally met her match in a Sheltie named Remington who has just won the Texas state agility course competition? The champion pooch is acting out of sorts—almost as if he is not the same dog. Has he, by chance, been switched out with another dog just before the next big competition? Kristin and the other Lone Star employees will do anything to help the Atkinson family figure out this mystery surrounding their beloved Remington.


 Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Janice Thompson, who lives in the Houston area, writes romantic comedies, cozy mysteries, nonfiction devotionals, and musical comedies for the stage. She is the mother of four daughters and nine feisty grandchildren. When she’s not writing books or taking care of foster dogs you’ll find her in the kitchen, baking up specialty cakes and cookies.


More from Janice

Barking up the Tree is book three in the Gone to the Dog series. Kathleen Y’Barbo and I are writing six books, in total, and we’re very excited about this series. I happen to be in the dog rescue business. I’ve worked with multiple Houston-based dog rescues over the past five years and have been blessed to care for over fifty dogs in nearly every shape, size, and breed. I am always interested in dog-themed stories.

As a Texan I wanted to place this series in my neck of the woods. Kathleen and I settled on Brenham, Texas, a town not far from where we both live. It’s the home of Blue Bell ice cream (yum!) a favorite here in the Lone Star state. We created a large fictional cast of characters and placed them in a town we know and love.

Along with writing books I’m also a baker and run a baking blog (www.outoftheboxbaking.com). With that in mind I would love to share a recipe from the book. Enjoy!

Nanny’s Coconut Pecan Cake (aka Italian Cream Cake)

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 1 white cake mix
  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut (flakes)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding (powder)

 

FOR THE FILLING/TOPPING:

  • Toasted coconut
  • Toasted chopped pecans

 

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 1 cup (two sticks) salted butter (softened)
  • 1 block cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 rectangle Crisco (can omit if you prefer traditional cream cheese frosting)
  • 1 bag (7-8 cups) powdered sugar
  • Clear vanilla extract

 

Instructions

MAKING THE CAKE:

  • Combine all ingredients except nuts and coconut. Mix well.
  • Work in the nuts and coconut.
  • Grease and flour three 9” pans.
  • Divide batter between the three pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (approximately) until cake springs back to the touch.

MAKING THE ICING:

  • Bring ingredients to room temperature.
  • Mix butter and cream cheese until soft and creamy.
  • Add Crisco and continue to beat until incorporated. (You can leave out the Crisco if you prefer traditional cream cheese frosting.)
  • Add extract and then lower the speed of your mixer to add powdered sugar (more or less to desired consistency).

 

FILLING AND ICING THE CAKE

  • Level all three cakes.
  • Put one cake on your cake board and add a layer of cream cheese frosting.
  • Pipe a ring around the edge of the cake and add some toasted pecans and coconut.
  • Continue to stack and fill.
  • Turn the top cake upside down, so that it’s bottom up.
  • Ice the cake with a crumb coat and chill.
  • Once chilled, ice liberally with frosting.
  • Add chopped (toasted) pecans and coconut to the sides and top then pipe trim or rosettes to add further d├ęcor.
MY REVIEW 

Welcome back to the series where dogs are the stars and laughter abounds in this adventure filled with fun, faith and of course dogs and more dogs. I love getting to know Kristin better in this story and how compassionate she is. She has this knack for winning over even the most difficult dog until a strange mix up happens. Our Star dog is Remington who has just won the Texas state agility course. What an exciting  time as Remington is now up for the nationals. 

Something strange is going on with Remington as he is not himself at all. His health has declined and he is not friendly at all. When blood work comes back, it is discovered that Remington is not Remington. Someone  switched dogs and the mystery begins. Why would someone take someone’s dog and leave them with a  sick dog? Oh my the questions are plenty in this dog napping adventure. With a flair of I Love Lucy show, the sick dog is now named Fred Mertz. The team starts the work to help this poor dog. The question still looming is “Where is Remington.” 

I love how the author gives us several suspects as the staff is on the case. Could it be someone from the competition that was jealous? Maybe it is the lady who is a hoarder or puppy mill as I think of them. Or could it be the woman who owns a mobile grooming company that didn’t like her unfavorable review from Remington’s owner? 

I loved being back with friends and seeing how Mari and Parker’s relationship was slowly blossoming. Mari’s rescue group is in full swing and continues to find dogs who need love and care. Will we hear weddings bells from these two soon? I can’t wait to follow their journey and perhaps witness a special occasion in the future. 

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

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 26

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 26

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 27

Remembrancy, January 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 28

For Him and My Family, January 28

Texas Book-aholic, January 29

deb’s Book Review, January 30

Mary Hake, January 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 31

Cover Lover Book Review, February 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 1

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 3

Pause for Tales, February 4

The Book Club Network, February 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 5

Blogging With Carol, February 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 7

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, February 7

Labor Not in Vain, February 8

Divine Perspective, February 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Janice 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/23cc8/barking-up-the-wrong-celebration-tour-giveaway


 


Saturday, January 28, 2023


About the Book

Book:What I Would Tell You

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance / Historical Fiction

Release date: January 1, 2023

DNA Test Unlocks a Family Mystery

Sephardic Jew Mathilda Nissim watches in horror as the Germans invade her beloved city of Salonika, Greece. What angers her most is the lack of resistance her people put up to their captors. In secret and at great risk to her life, she continues to publish her newspaper, calling her people to action. She doesn’t trust God to help them. When she and her husband find out they are expecting a child, Mathilda may have to resort to desperate measures to ensure her daughter’s survival.

Three generations later, college student Riley Payson and her cousin take a popular DNA test only to discover they don’t share any common ancestors. In fact, the test shows Riley is a Sephardic Jew from Greece. This revelation shakes Riley’s tenuous faith and sends her on a journey to discover what happened to her great-grandmother and how all this relates to her faith and her life today.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

More from Liz

Take a Trip to Greece with Me

I was privileged to travel to Greece last year to research my upcoming WWII novel, What I Would Tell You. God orchestrated it so beautifully. Because of Covid, we weren’t sure my daughter would be able to travel there for the summer internship she had applied for. Eight weeks before her scheduled departure, Greece reopened to foreign visitors. Around that same time, I sold What I Would Tell You, which is set in Thessaloniki, Greece, to Barbour Publishing. I had to go and visit!

 

Greece is a beautiful country. The pictures you see don’t do it justice. And to someone like me, the history is one of the best parts. My daughter and I explored the old city wall, built in the 1400s, many churches that predated the Ottoman Empire, and many excavated Roman ruins that have been dug up in the city’s process of putting in a subway system.

 

Because this is a WWII book, we also spent a great deal of time learning about the history of the Jews in the city. The Kapani Market, just down the street from our apartment, was a vibrant mix of colorful fruits, fragrant spices, and a cacophony of languages. I could well imagine what this old Jewish market was like prior to the war with people hawking olives, fish, and oregano.

 

We wasted no time in visiting the Jewish museum. I was shocked by the heavy security presence with armed guards outside of the building. Once inside, we had to show our IDs and were required to turn in our phones. Antisemitism is alive and well in Greece. But what a place. There were displays after displays tracing the history of the Jewish people in Thessaloniki from 1492 until WWII. The most breathtaking was the room with stone-covered walls, the names of all 48,000 Salonikan Jews killed in the Holocaust carved into the marble. There’s an entire scene in the book that deals with this room.

 

What saddened me most was what we saw when we visited the trainyard where the Jews were herded into cattle cars and shipped to Auschwitz. Before we got to where the station once stood, there was a wall on which someone had pained a mural covered with black-and-white figures in their striped uniforms, their eyes and mouths wide in horror. As if that weren’t difficult enough to view, what sickened me was the blue swastikas someone had painted over them.

 

We also trekked to the other side of the city to visit what had once been the Jewish cemetery, now the grounds of Aristotle University. All that remains to testify that half a million people were once buried here is a small, ill-kept memorial. There were two dead Christmas wreaths placed there. We visited in August.

 

In addition to a moving and thought-provoking story, I hope to also introduce you to the amazing city of Thessaloniki and give you a peek into the people and the culture of this amazing place. If you ever find yourself in Greece, plan some time in Thessaloniki. Many Americans miss this gem, but it’s packed with charm and history.

MY REVIEW

My emotions are a disaster right now after finishing this amazing book. I love that this is a dual timeline and how the author brings the past and present together in a brilliant way. It is evident that the author did extensive research about a war that had no mercy to those the Germans didn’t like. Their hatred for Jewish people was overwhelming to me. The scene where an innocent older man is beat to death then  stomped on brought fresh tears to my eyes. 

The author takes us  to the present where we travel alongside Tessa as she discovers who her ancestors were. A simple DNA test that tells her  about her heritage surprises her so much that she is determined to find answers. I found Tessa to be brave traveling by herself so far away without knowing  anyone in Greece. I was just as intrigued as she was to discover who her relatives were and how they  would tie into Mathilda’s  life. Her journey will take her on a road to discover secrets that were  meant to stay hidden.  As she learns more about what people had to endure she understands that the memories are difficult to hear. 

Mathilda is my favorite character from the story. The author seems to spend a bit more time on her character and she came to life for me. The times were getting very hard as she witnesses her husband being taken away by German soldiers. She doesn’t accept what has happened and  hopes to get the  other women to come together to find a way to get their men back home. I did fear for  her safety as she is also caring a child. She wasn’t able to share the good news with her husband before  he was forced to leave with the  other men. Promises from the Germans that the men would return unharmed  was  hard to believe so Mathilda comes up with an idea to  get them home. 

There is so many details about the story that I want to share but I don’t want to ruin anything for readers. I was shocked at some of the outcome for people but I also witnessed faith, hope and trust for a better life. Sacrifices were made that  were  done with unconditional love just like God sacrificed His only son for our sins. I was thrilled to see how the author had faith elements in the story and how it helped to give strength to those facing difficult times. I cried at the end and didn’t want to leave Tess and Mathilda. They  are an inspiration to me and their story is forever imprinted on my heart. 

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

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 28

Texas Book-aholic, January 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 29

Blogging With Carol, January 29

Genesis 5020, January 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 30

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 30

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 31

For Him and My Family, January 31

Cover Lover Book Review, February 1

Lily’s Book Reviews, February 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 2

deb’s Book Review, February 2

Betti Mace, February 3

Connie’s History Classroom, February 3

Paula’s Pad of Inspriation, February 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 5

Books You Can Feel Good About, February 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 6

Holly’s Book Corner, February 6

Bigreadersite, February 7

Blossoms and Blessings, February 7

Mary Hake, February 7

Labor Not in Vain, February 8

Pause for Tales, February 9

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, February 9

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, February 10

Southern Gal Loves to Read, February 10

Lights in a Dark World, February 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-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/23ccb/what-i-would-tell-you-celebration-tour-giveaway


Thursday, January 26, 2023


About the Book

Book: Rescuing Rose

Author: Susan Pope Sloan

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: January 24, 2023

His army destroyed her livelihood. She represents the people he scorns. How can they reconcile their differences when the whole country is at war?

When the Union Army marches into Roswell, Georgia, and burns down the cotton mill where Rose Carrigan worked, not only is her livelihood destroyed but she’s also taken prisoner and shipped northward with the other workers. Only the unlikely kindness of one of her guards makes the trip bearable.

Union Captain Noah Griffin hates the part of his job that requires him to destroy the lives of innocent civilians, but at least he’s able to protect these women he’s been ordered to transport to Louisville, Kentucky. Especially the one whose quick wit and kindness draw him.

While they’re forced to wait in Marietta, two fugitives arrive to complicate matters between Rose and Noah. As Rose heads north and Noah returns to the battlefront, they each face fears and prejudices. With survival so tenuous, only faith can help them find love in the midst of so much tragedy.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Born into a family of storytellers, Susan Pope Sloanpublished her first articles in high school and continued writing sporadically for decades. Retirement provided the time to focus on writing and indulge her avid interest in history. Her Civil War series begins (and ultimately ends) in her home state of Georgia with references to lesser-known events of that period. She and husband Ricky live near Columbus where she participates in Word Weavers, ACFW, and Toastmasters.

More from Susan

Rescuing Rose is the first book in the Rescued Hearts of the Civil War series. Years ago, I worked with a gentleman who was a Civil War reenactor. We had many conversations about the war and my writing aspirations. He told me two stories that stuck with me, one of which was the Roswell mill workers.

 

The bare-bones story is this: The Union army entered Roswell, Georgia, in July 1864. They ordered the workers out and burned the mills. Then they arrested the workers, who were mostly uneducated women, sent them to Marietta, and then put them on trains headed north.

Note that they were uneducated, unable to read or write, unskilled except in mill work. How were they to survive without means of supporting themselves and their families? If their husbands, sons, and fathers were away with one or the other army, how would they ever bring the women home again?

 

Since my hometown has several cotton mills and my grandparents worked in those, I felt a connection to those women. Their story should be told! My research led me to a wonderful scholarly book, The Women Will Howl, which was published thirty years ago and contained ample information to get me started. It became my primary resource, but I also had the advantage of a robust Internet to find other sources.

 

To provide a main character who was educated, I came up with two daughters of a minister with poor health. The family moved from Dalton, Georgia in 1863 so the daughters could work in the mill and take care of their father. After the mills are destroyed, Rose and her sister (Celeste) decide to teach some of the children how to read and write so they can help their folks and be better prepared for the future. When they reach Louisville, she leads the effort in finding jobs so they can provide for those who’ve fallen ill. In this way, Rose “rescues” the families in her group.

 

The male protagonist is a Union officer who aids Rose and Celeste when they are accosted by a band of hostile soldiers. Noah assists them again and takes on the role of self-appointed guardian. Though he and Rose often rile each other, he is smitten and does whatever he can to help their group adjust to their new reality. Circumstances tear them apart, however, and both must face hidden fears and prejudices before the relationship can be restored. How will that be possible when the war has pushed them hundreds of miles apart?

 

What I learned from research and writing this book.

  • There were people loyal to the Union scattered all over the South, even in Georgia.
  • Soldiers endured miserable conditions, often pushed to cover many miles before they reached the next engagement, in all kinds of conditions.
  • Leadership was fractured on both sides, with personalities clashing within the ranks.
  • Lee’s surrender at Appomattox did not end the war. It was months before that happened.
  • Mill workers thought tobacco use would ward off “brown lung” from breathing cotton fibers and losing a finger or two in machinery was almost a rite of passage.
MY REVIEW

I love when a book is so good that it keeps me from doing anything  else. I had a lot of chores to do, but there was no way  I was  going to put this book down. The historical facts in the book sent me right to the  middle of a war that cost many lives. Families were divided and many suffered great loss. I was mesmerized by the fate of those who were taken from their homes and jobs and sent to other “safer places.” I was heartbroken when Rose and Celeste had to leave everything behind and start new in a place where chaos seemed to be.

Rose’s character is very well written with grace and  determination to survive whatever comes her way.  With  her sister Celeste,  they embrace their new adventure with faith and gratitude. I loved how the author illustrates how we should love  each other and not be prejudice against  anyone. Sometimes we think of someone as our enemy but as Rose finds out it is possible that not everyone supported the side  they were fighting on. 

This brings me to Noah. He is abrupt at times but underneath that hard exterior is a man who cares deeply for others. He builds a friendship with Rose that I found endearing. He is concerned for  her safety  as  well as others in her group. The letters they write to each other are filled with hope and a hint of feelings for each other. I was very interested in where the  author would go with these two characters. I also learned a lot about this time period and how it changed so many lives.

 It must have been difficult to watch  your  home being overtaken by the enemy and thrust into a place where you needed to be aware of your surroundings at all times. With  the creativity and passion that the author uses in this story I could feel the pain as those displaced walked for hours. The emotional turmoil came at a price  to some.  When one  woman confides in Rose what a soldier did  to to her, Rose showed compassion and helped her see that God still lives her and that it was not her fault. What I loved the most was an honest look at war and how faith helped keep our main characters strong in the midst of danger. 

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

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 25

Bizwings Blog, January 26

Holly’s Book Corner, January 26

Texas Book-aholic, January 27

deb’s Book Review, January 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 29

Cover Lover Book Review, January 30

Betti Mace, January 30

Connie’s History Classroom, January 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 1

Lily’s Book Reviews, February 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 2

For Him and My Family, February 3

Pause for Tales, February 4

Blossoms and Blessings, February 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 6

To Everything There Is A Season, February 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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/23cc5/rescuing-rose-celebration-tour-giveaway