Search This Blog

Saturday, August 29, 2020


The sheer intensity of this story had me not on the edge of my seat, but in the floor leaning against the sofa. I had to be as close to the words as possible so I wouldn’t miss anything. I have only been to the circus once in my life. A friend took me and I was able to go behind the scenes and see the animals. The elephants were huge and commanded attention. There was a lot of people running around getting things ready for the big show. I noticed during the performance how hard each act worked to make their appearance perfect. It is a sight to see with everything going on at once.

The author presents a story that is a time slip which I adore. I love how the past and present collide. I am amazed how the author parallels two time periods and pieces them together  like a puzzle. Pippa is a character that I found very endearing. She has a past that has haunted her for years. She has never felt like she was loved yet she has someone who protects her from harm. The Watchman was very intriguing and I tried so hard to figure out his connection to Pippa. The Bonaventure Circus is surrounded by unexplained deaths, secrets and a mix of characters that explode across the pages. I loved being in this time period and reading how Pippa gets herself mixed up in a mystery that flows over to present day.

Chandler is very determined to prove that she can renovate the now abandoned circus depot. Right away you can sense that something  isn’t quite right as unexplained noises and shadows appear that frighten Chandler. I did enjoy reading about her strained relationship with her parents which causes Chandler to push people away. Her son is the most important person in her life and she will protect him at  all cost. When Chandler starts to find evidence that links  to the murders of the past, she puts her life and her son’s life in danger. I loved how the mystery weaves throughout the story and blends seamlessly from past to present. I was shocked at the ending and gasped as the author reveals answers to questions I had pressing in my head. I wanted to know who The Watchman was and how he fit into the killings. My interest piqued when I got close to the end and someone I never suspected did the unthinkable. This story is one of the best mysteries I have read all year. It includes faith and oh how I loved the spiritual truths the author used to help a few characters find their way back to God.

If you read only one book this year, it must be this one. It is written with depth and oozes with mystery so intense you feel apart of the story. What I really liked was the underlying theme of how we all need someone. We are loved unconditionally and are never alone. This story brings home the emotions of feeling abandoned and lifts you up to the truth that,  “We all need saving.”  “It’s the idea that we don’t that makes us fools.”

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing and the author. The review is my own opinion.

The Black Midnight FB Banner

About the Book

Book: The Black Midnight
Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo
Genre: Christian Historical Suspense
Release Date: August, 2020
The Black MidnightDeath Seems to Follow Harriet’s New Friend
Book 7 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History
Three years before Jack the Ripper began his murderous spree on the streets of London, women were dying in their beds as The Midnight Assassin terrorized the citizens of Austin, Texas. Now, with suspicion falling on Her Majesty’s family and Scotland Yard at a loss as to who the Ripper might be, Queen Victoria summons her great-granddaughter, Alice Anne von Wettin, a former Pinkerton agent who worked the unsolved Austin case, and orders her to discreetly form a team to look into the London matter.
The prospect of a second chance to work with Annie just might entice Isaiah Joplin out of his comfortable life as an Austin lawyer. If his theories are right, they’ll find the The Midnight Assassin and, by default, the Ripper. If they’re wrong, he and Annie are in a bigger mess than the one the feisty female left behind when she departed Austin under cover of darkness three years ago.
Can the unlikely pair find the truth of who is behind the murders before they are drawn into the killer’s deadly game? From Texas to London, the story navigates the fine line between truth and fiction as Annie and Isaiah ultimately find the hunters have become the hunted.

Click here to get your copy!
I am really enjoying this series and love finding new  historical facts that enhance the stories. Each book is a stand alone but I encourage you to read each one. I had no idea about  the  murders in Austin during the late 1880s. I am a Texan so I thought I was well versed in our history, but to my surprise there had been grizzly murders taking place in Austin.  The murders became known as The Midnight Assassin . The details were gruesome and it is hard to believe that someone was capable of such a crime. 
I instantly liked  Annie and loved  reading about her royal background. Being a detective was something Annie kept from the Queen and I thought it added an element of mystery to the story. When Annie teams up with Isaiah to investigate the murders in Austin the story begins to take shape. The author delivers a riveting account of what happened as a murderer was lose. The author gives us clues as to who the guilty person could be. It is sad to know that the crime has never been solved. I can’t image after all these years someone was able to get away with murder. 
I enjoyed how the author incorporates the famous Jack the Ripper murders into this story. The question does arise that could the same person be guilty of both crimes? The notes at the end of the book are well worth reading. It gives facts about both crimes and the author explains some of the liberties she took in writing this fictional account of a true crime. 
There is romance in the book which at times I wished wasn’t so highlighted. I liked how the author develops the relationship but I think it took a bit away from the story. At the end of the story it felt a little rushed as Annie is summoned back to England and Isaiah travels there as well. I understand that the author needed to remedy their relationship but perhaps it was rushed a bit more for my taste. Overall the story is good and the details kept me interested in the story. 
I received a copy of the book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.   

About the Author

KathleenYbarboBestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than sixty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad.

More from Kathleen Y’Barbo

I am a tenth generation Texan, but London has held a place in my heart for over ten years. You see, I have a son who has lived there for more than a decade. Thanks to him and his family of three—my granddaughter was born there on New Year’s Eve 2019—the city will always be special to me. There is absolutely nothing like walking those streets with a thousand years of history close enough to touch.
It was on a walk with my son through this great city that the stories of nineteenth century London came alive. With fog shrouding the rooftops of buildings that were hundreds of years old and our footsteps echoing on the cobblestones, I could imagine a time when lack of electricity and CCTV would make this place less than charming on a dark night. What reminded me of my favorite childhood movie, Mary Poppins, quickly became more reminiscent of Jack the Ripper. And then a story was born.
Only I just had half the story.
The other half came to me several years later when I stumbled across an article in Texas Monthly magazine about a serial killer who rampaged through Austin, Texas in 1884 and 1885 and was never caught. Some surmised this madman, called “The Midnight Assassin” by some, might have been Jack the Ripper honing his skills before he crossed the Atlantic to begin his famous crime spree in Great Britain.
But Austin? Ironically, my other two sons lived in Austin. So while part of my heart was in London, two more parts of that same heart resided in the Texas capital. I thought I knew Austin inside out. Between one of my sons getting not one but two degrees from the University of Texas (this Aggie grad is still proud of him in spite of what I jokingly call his burnt orange rebellion) and my other son living there and managing a restaurant at the time (and who just graduated from Texas A&M Galveston last month!), I had spent many years in the city. And yet I had never heard of the Midnight Assassin.
Research turned up a tale that sounds so close to fiction I had to write about it. Discovering the theory that the Austin killer might also be the Ripper just added to my interest—neither had been caught. And I like to write about Pinkerton detectives.
From there the story unfolded. If you’ve read any of my historical romances, you know that I love incorporating actual history into my stories. As you’ll see when you read The Black Midnight, this book is no exception. While I will continue writing the historical romances I love to bring to you, I will confess that writing this book has me itching to research another one like it.
What’s next in my foray into true crime novels? Maybe Houston. You see, I have a daughter who lives there…
In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy reading The Black Midnight as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, August 27
Older & Smarter?, August 29
Texas Book-aholic, August 29
Artistic Nobody, August 29 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Betti Mace, September 1
Robin’s Nest, September 1
Bigreadersite, September 1
deb’s Book Review, September 2
Splashes of Joy, September 2
Rebecca Tews, September 3
Just the Write Escape, September 3
Emily Yager, September 3
Christian Bookaholic, September 4
KarenSueHadley, September 4
Remembrancy, September 5
Blogging With Carol, September 6
Life of Literature, September 7
Mary Hake, September 7
Godly Book Reviews, September 8
Back Porch Reads, September 8
Daysong Reflections, September 8
Pause for Tales, September 9
Hallie Reads, September 9


To celebrate her tour, Kathleen 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.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Rescued Hearts

About the Book

Book:  Rescued Hearts
Author: Hope Toler Doughtery
Genre:  Romantic Suspense
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Rescued Hearts coverChildren’s clothing designer Mary Wade Kimball’s soft spot for  animals leads to a hostage situation when she spots a briar-entangled kitten in front of an abandoned house. Beaten, bound, and gagged by the two thugs inside, Mary Wade loses hope for escape when a third villain returns with supplies.
Discovering the kidnapped, innocent woman ratchets the complications for undercover agent Brett Davis. Weighing the difference of ruining his three months’ investigation against the woman’s safety, Brett forsakes his mission and helps her escape, the bent-on-revenge brutes following behind.
When Mary Wade’s safety is threatened once more, Brett rescues her again. This time, her personal safety isn’t the only thing in jeopardy. Her heart is endangered as well.

Click here to get your copy!
 I loved the twists the author cleverly puts in throughout the story to add an element of intrigue . Mary Wade is out for a bike ride when she discovers a kitten trapped . She can’t just ignore it, so she goes to help it. Unfortunately she stumbles upon a place that may look deserted, but is surprised when someone kidnaps her and throws her in one of the rooms of the abandoned house. The minute Mary Wade realizes she is in danger, I could feel her heart beating faster and faster. The men who have her are not very friendly and horrible things run through Mary Wade’s mind. I did like that she was a very strong and intelligent person. She didn’t seem to ever really panic and I loved that the author didn’t make her a helpless woman. 

I did like the surprise of the third man who seemed to be the leader. Brett is not happy at all that there is a strange woman tied up in the house. It does complicate things for him since he is an undercover agent. Brett was a very well written character with determination and a knack for getting out of tough situations. Will he risk blowing his cover to rescue Mary Wade? The action is good and kept my attention. I liked the references to their faith and especially liked Brett’s grandmother. She is a feisty woman who secretly plays a little matchmaking between Brett and Mary Wade. The story will definitely keep your attention as Brett and Mary Wade try to keep one step ahead of the men who kidnapped her. I did find the ending a bit of a surprise. There seemed to be another plot going on at the end that didn’t really fit with the overall story. The book was good, but a little disappointing to add the extra story at the end. 

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

About the Author

Hope DoughertyHope holds a Master’s degree and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Her novels include Irish Encounter and Mars…With Venus Rising, Rescued Hearts, and Forever Music. She’s a member of ACFW and RWA. Residing in North Carolina, she and her husband enjoy visits with their daughters and twin sons.

More from Hope

I live in the country on land my great grandfather owned. For exercise, I ride my bike on our two-lane roads. One afternoon a few years ago, I took a detour off the paved road and onto a dirt path not too far from my house.

The lane meanders by the location of a distant cousin’s long-since demolished house. Trees and a few bushes still outline the phantom house’s parameters, but no boards or bricks mark the spot. Farm equipment waits under nearby shelters.

As I passed the lonely trees and silent tractors, a creepy sensation tickled the back of my neck. My imagination kicked into gear. What if a bike rider rode by an abandoned house? What if she saw a kitten entangled in a honeysuckle vine at the porch steps? What if, while she tried to free the kitten, someone grabbed her and dragged her inside where she was beaten and threatened with rape?

My pedaling picked up speed, and I reached home in record time.

Those questions continued popping up in my mind, however. I began seeing the characters, then hearing them speak every night as I dropped off to sleep. I’d never written a romantic suspense story before, but the characters refused to leave me alone.

Those initial questions led to the first chapter of Rescued Hearts.

Blog Stops

Betti Mace, August 27
Texas Book-aholic, August 28
Batya’s Bits, September 2
Older & Smarter?, September 3
CarpeDiem, September 4
Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 5
Life, Love, Writing, September 6
Artistic Nobody, September 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)


To celebrate her tour, Hope is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a print copy of Rescued Hearts!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Chrismas carol society FB Banner

About the Book

Book: Christmas Carol Society
Author: Rebekah Jones
Genre: Holiday Fiction, Christian Fiction
Release Date: October 30, 2019
Christmas Carol Society CoverChristmas Carol Society – How Do You Impersonate a Christmas Ghost?
The Christmas season has arrived. The members of the newly-formed Christmas Carol Society are beginning their weekly meetings. Charlie Baker finds the first meeting odd enough, but when the assignments start, he has to wonder why he allowed himself to get roped into attending. Miss Dartmoor tells her members to impersonate the Ghost of Christmas Past for their own personal Scrooge.
Just how does a mere human accomplish such an absurd task? Charlie tries to figure it out, but begins to see the Lord might plan for the assignments to have a deeper impact on him than he expected.
An impact that Charlie isn’t sure he wants to face.

Click here to get your copy!
This was a nice story that is reminiscent of a famous book. As I read the book it reminded me how we all know a Scrooge. Do we reach out to that person or turn around and walk away? In the story the group has a special assignment that I think would be wonderful for a youth group to take on. It could even be done by adult groups as they share God with someone. 
The task seemed very difficult to Charlie  and I admired his attitude of pushing forward. He finds just the right person and this is where the adventure begins. Oh I wonder if perhaps we can be a Scrooge at times? I remember someone who always seemed to be angry with the world. He was never happy and didn’t want anyone around him. What I discovered was that he was lonely and didn’t feel needed. 
I won’t say who the Scrooge is in the story but I will say that the person is not happy, pushed people away and makes others around him uncomfortable. We get to see an insight into how faith plays into the story. The author does an excellent job of sharing salvation . She also mentions the Fruits of the Spirit which I thought  was great. We can do all the Fruits of the Spirit but if you don’t have a personal  relationship with Jesus you can still feel lost. I thought the story was good and had a few surprises in there. 
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion. 

About the Author

Rebekah Jones, AuthorRebekah Jones is first and foremost a follower of the Living God. She started writing as a little girl, seeking to glorify her King with her books and stories.
Rebekah is an old soul in a young body (she’s not 12 —honest!) While her exact age is classified, her interests are not. Among them are reading a variety of books, singing, playing, and composing music, studying all manner of subjects, nannying an adventurous group of youngsters, and, of course, writing her books, poems, articles, and short stories. She writes a wide range of books from gentle children’s adventures to family sagas to murder mysteries.

More from Rebekah Jones

Christmas Carol Society is a book very near and dear to my heart. Partly because of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, which is among my favorites, and partly due to my characters. Especially, Charlie Baker.

Charlie is very special to me. He wants to hide in his tiny corner of the world, and give up. He wants to give up on a world that has hurt him tremendously or taken people he loved. He wants to push away any possibility of repeating the past; he doesn’t want to be hurt again.

Charlie doesn’t want to join the Christmas Carol Society. He doesn’t want to find a “Scrooge.” He doesn’t want to make new friends. He doesn’t want to do any of it.

He joins because he loves his cousin. He doesn’t do it for any other reason.

His father encourages him to do it right, if he’s going to do it at all. His cousin calls him out, when his Christianity is at odds with his behavior. And Albert, his would-be friend, just doesn’t give up on him.

In a sense, Charlie is a Scrooge – and yet, he’s not. He has to find a Scrooge of his own. And through it, he finds himself doing all the things that he really doesn’t want to do at all – and it’s a good thing. Painful sometimes, but good. Scary at times, but good.

The characters that the LORD uses to teach me the most, end up being particularly special to me. Charlie is one of them. In some ways, I relate to Charlie rather a lot, and writing this story drove me to prayer often, so I would know what to do next. I frequently wasn’t sure where the story would go. But I learned along with Charlie.

I hope that my readers will love Charlie Baker as much as I do, and that his story, along with the others in this book, will in some way bless and encourage my readers for the LORD’s glory.

To the KING be all the glory! 

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, August 26
Splashes of Joy, August 28
Mary Hake, August 28
Just the Write Escape, September 1
Get Cozy Book Nook, September 1
She Lives To Read, September 2
Artistic Nobody, September 4 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Batya’s Bits, September 4
Connect in Fiction, September 6
Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 7
Emily Yager, September 7


To celebrate her tour, Rebekah is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of Christmas Carol Society, a copy of A Christmas Carol, and an ornament!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.