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Monday, November 21, 2022
About the Book
Book: Into the Fog
Author: Karen Randau
Genre: Romantic suspense
Release date: September 6, 2022
Love and danger spar in this thrilling romantic suspense novel.
Hands push Marie Jessica (“MJ”) Goodrich from a rural roadway into an icy creek. The clock is ticking for her pleading friend on the other side of the ravine.
Running from flashbacks of a life-altering attack in Afghanistan, MJ takes refuge with her mother, managing Peach Blossom Orchard. But peace is elusive in a rural Oklahoma town full of secrets.
After losing his wife and children in a fatal car crash, Josh Rivers doubts he deserves a second chance at love. He can’t believe his bad luck when MJ, the woman who plagues the nightmares of his military service in Afghanistan, shows up in his hometown. She claims a driver ran down and abducted her friend Kelsey. Frustrated with the county sheriff’s investigation, MJ and Josh partner to follow clues that lead to a kidnapper who demands a bizarre ransom.
With danger increasing for everyone MJ loves, will the clock run out before they solve the mystery? Find out how MJ and Josh—swirling in a whirlwind of mystery and suspense—lean on their mutual faith to find answers, courage, forgiveness, healing … and wholesome romance.
If you like to read Christy Barritt and Colleen Coble, you’ll love Into the Fog, a keep-you-up-at-night clean romantic suspense novel that launches the Peach Blossom Romantic Suspense series.
Karen Randau a best-seller author of fast-paced mystery, thriller, and suspense books from her home in the picturesque mountains of Arizona. She enjoys cooking, hiking, and hanging out with her family. In addition to the Peach Blossom Romantic Suspense series, her books include the Frankie Shep Mystery-Suspense Series, the Kayla Walsh Suspense Series, and Rim Country Mysteries.
More from Karen
Into the Fog is set in a farming community outside Tahlequah, Oklahoma, home of the Cherokee Nation, the largest of the 39 Native American tribes in Oklahoma.
If you’ve ever watched old Western movies, you may have heard a lot about the dangers of traveling through Indian Territory. Did you know that much of what is now Oklahoma was called the Indian Territory until Oklahoma became a state in 1907? Some of the tribes fought with the Confederacy during the Civil War, and some fought with the Union.
If those weren’t enough reasons for an identity crisis for the people of Oklahoma (who sometimes refer to themselves of Okies), the federal government lists Oklahoma in both the South and the Southwest regions of the United States. Many Okies claim their state is in Midwest region of the United States, but it is not listed that way in the federal census.
One thing is for sure: Oklahoma has a culture all its own, rightly earned by its confusing history. Many of these cultural oddities are explored in Into the Fog.
You’ll also enjoy the two main characters, MJ and Josh.
Marie Jessica “MJ” Goodrich served with the Army Rangers in Afghanistan until a bomb gave her a life-altering injury and a case of PTSD. She believes her injuries were so bad that no man will ever want to marry her. Besides, her mother’s failing memory and the peach orchard keep her too busy to embark on a romantic relationship.
Josh Rivers always wanted to be an artist, but he’s stuck running the auto shop he inherited. He’s dreamed of MJ ever since he pulled her from a bombed marketplace in Afghanistan, and it cost him his wife and children. He doesn’t believe he deserves another chance at love, but he prays for companionship anyway—and finds MJ unconscious in a ravine moments later. Could a guy’s luck get any worse?
The question answered in Into the Fog is: Will Josh die saving MJ again, or will they get out of the whirlwind of mystery and danger swirling around them in time to find their happily ever after?
I liked that the book is fast paced and kept me guessing throughout the story. MJ is a strong character who has seen her share of danger. She has come back home to help her mother run the business since she is showing early signs of dementia. The author does a good job of illustrating how this disease slowly takes away the ability to remember things. I’m not sure MJ was prepared for her mother’s decline in health but she never once wanted to leave her. Along with the business not doing well , MJ also deals with PTSD.
When MJ’s friend disappears into the fog while they are out running, MJ is determined to find out what happened. How could Kelsey just disappear right in front of her? Something is not adding up and MJ reaches out to the sheriff for help. I wasn’t too sure about the sheriff. He seems to be vague about things and not really in a rush to solve the crime.
Josh has lost his family, recovering from being in the service, and dealing with PTSD. I won’t go into how he and MJ get together to solve the mystery because that will be a treat for readers to discover. I liked how Josh was very protective of MJ and helped as the mystery involves illegal drugs, a missing person and something else I didn’t expect.
The author does throw in curve balls just when I think I have figured out what is going on. People growing illegal drugs on someone’s land is very bold and I have to wonder why they thought it would never be discovered. The story takes a dark turn as something sinister begins to happen in the town. Why are people having trouble remembering things? What has made someone completely surround themselves in a place that is fortified with cameras and traps to warn of people coming onto their property? The author really had me on the edge of my seat as the action becomes more dangerous as people start getting shot at. The faith element is good in the story and it shows how to overcome obstacles that keep you from trusting God and learning to forgive yourself of past sins.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
Authors: Chautona Havig, Tabitha Bouldin, Susan K. Beatty, Jennifer Sienes, Melissa Wardwell, and Stacy T. Simmons.
Genre: Christian Christmas Romance
Release date: October 18, 2022
In castles far and near, long ago and yesterday, find happily-ever-afters wrapped in love and tied with Christmas joy.
Escape to Greenaway (by Chautona Havig): She just wanted to escape another holly, jolly family holiday. Because snowbound in a castle B&B with one of Santa’s elves (or as good as) is so much better. With the help of the castle’s owner, Tonya plays matchmaker in a bid to get that Christmas-loving girl out of her hair.
The King’s Promise (by Tabitha Bouldin): In a world of airships and kings, a prince makes a promise that tears him away from his love. An ordinary baker’s daughter finds herself caught in the middle of a game where the winner earns the queen’s crown. They both want what they can’t have as they struggle toward a seemingly impossible happily ever after.
A Castle for Christmas (by Susan K. Beatty): Sadie Foster abhors wealth. Will Randolph, on the other hand, works for the uber-wealthy owner of an over-the-top castle on the California coast–Sadie’s father. When Christopher Foster leaves the castle to her, Sadie doesn’t want anything to do with it or his money. But what if Sadie and Will use the castle and her inheritance for the good of others—together?
An Irish Christmas Heart (by Jennifer Sienes): Will she choose love or an arranged marriage? In the midst of post-famine unrest, Eleanor Blake, daughter of an English nobleman, is thrown into a maelstrom of emotions. How will she escape the duty for which she was born and the confines of the ill-fated Menlo Castle of Galway, Ireland to find her true love?
Christmas at Curwood’s Castle (by Melissa Wardwell): A Christmas party at Curwood Castle should have been Angel Davis’ Cinderella moment. Especially when her dear friend Jimmy arrives. Instead, one obstacle after another threatens to break any chance at a happily-ever-after.
Christmas in the Cotswolds (by Stacy T. Simmons): She’s a paleontologist and ardent Jane Austen fan. He’s enmeshed in the exactitude of mathematics, can they find common ground? Do opposites attract, will the romantic castle, and dashing duke be the undoing of Victoria’s plans?
Grab a mug of something hot and delicious and curl up somewhere comfy. Your literary chariots await to take you on a journey from an early twentieth-century castle in the San Gabriel Mountains of California all the way across the pond to the beautiful Cotswolds of England. These six novellas, all set in castles real and fictional, celebrate the heart and joy of Christmas in this second volume of castle Christmas novellas.
USA Today Bestselling author of Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.
Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education, but discovered life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance and writing—and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies including several in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.
Tabitha Bouldin is a student at Southern New Hampshire University, where she is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s in Creative Writing. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she works with critique groups and provides endorsements for other authors. Tabitha’s genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart. Tabitha spent ten years working as a Medical Assistant before God opened the door which allowed her to become a stay-at-home-homeschooling-mom and author.
Melissa Wardwell resides in Owosso, Michigan with her husband and three teen-aged children.She 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
Who says you can’t begin a new career after middle age? Certainly not Susan K. Beatty. She is passionate about writing about finding courage through faith and grit, particularly through the trials of breast cancer and other life trials. Her daughter is a metastatic breast cancer “thriver” and has been an inspiration for her writing. Susan’s first novel, Faces of Courage, debuted May 2021, as part of the Faces of Courage series, including several novelettes. She is also the author of An Introduction to Home Education (AKA California Homeschool Manual). Susan is a professional writer/journalist and is active in the writer community. She is proof you can begin a fiction writing career at any age.
Stacy T. Simmons writes uplifting fiction that delights the reader’s romantic sensibilities. Thirty-four years of marital bliss is a great contributor. She is a mom of two grown children, and she and her family have a menagerie of pets she likes to call “Noah’s Ark.” You can find her working on her next manuscript with a piece of dark chocolate and a cup of coffee nearby. Connect with Stacy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Fueled by Faith and Caffeine.
More from Tabitha
Castles near and far. Over time and across worlds both real and fictional. When it came time to write for Keeping Christmas, the world opened up to offer each of us a jewel for our stories. While I chose to base my castle off of a real castle in Romania, others chose a different route. Yet we all came together with a singular mission to write stories about Christmas and to bring the joy of Christ into each and every book. Keeping Christmas is about more than overseeing a holiday. It is looking back through the years of Christmases far and wide, from our real world through fantasy lands some of us dreamed up, and keeping the spirit of the season alive.
Come and keep Christmas with us as we journey across land and sea, through the skies on an airship, and deep into the contemporary halls and towering turrets. Here you’ll meet characters to fall in love with and read stories that span the ages, from a scribe in King Herod’s castle to a paleontologist in the Cotswolds.
With a wonderful collection of authors this book brings, hope, joy, and faith this Christmas. Each story is written by a different author which lets you experience their writing. I loved each story and think it is a perfect read anytime of the year.
ESCAPE TO GREENWAY BY CHAUTONA HAVIG
This is the perfect story to start the collection off. Christmas time in a castle? Yes thank you. The author describes the beauty of the castle in a way that I wanted to make a reservation for myself. The characters are fun to read about and yes I adored Joy. Just being around her could make the grumpiest person smile. The author gives us a story that made me smile and rejoice as relationships were developed between the characters.
Tonya comes to the castle to escape anything to do with Christmas but and I laugh as I write this; God has other plans for her. Now I know Cheryl was praying she wouldn’t have any guests but well there is a reason that God has brought these four people together. Brett is a great addition to the story and I enjoyed how he seemed drawn to Joy’s excitement over everything t9 do with Christmas and friendship. I felt bad that Tonya was mean to Joy but let’s pray her attitude changes. With love in the air and God at work changing attitudes this story is filled with a Christmas message of focusing on the good things and giving our worry to God. I loved how the author highlighted the Fruit of the Spirit of Joy. We all need joy in our lives and to spread joy to others.
I love the stories this author writes and see hints of her humor and deep faith in each one. This story blessed me because it reminded me of the true meaning of Christmas. Each story has three things in common. They are castles, Christmas and Faith. Enjoy each one and be filled with Hope knowing God loves us unconditionally.
THE KING’S PROMISE BY TABITHA BOULDIN
I loved the way the author prepares us for a grand adventure as The Trails soon begin. After the king passed, his son is to become king. In order to find his queen twelve women must complete tasks in order for a chance to stand beside the new king. Poor Adrian is in love with Elina, but now things are changing and their dream of being married seems hopeless. The women participating in The Trails have been raised to rule and carry noble blood. Elina does not have any of these qualifications.
The excitement is in the air at the castle as potential Queens start to arrive. Elina finds herself there but as a servant. The pain she feels is hard to take as the man she loves is close but not within her reach. I loved the twist in the story as we find Elina deep in the competition with no one knowing. She has been given an order by a princess and must follow it.
The story is beautifully written and I loved how faithful Elina was in everything she did. She trusted God and allowed Him to show her what to do. In the end the illustration of a faithful God reigns forever.
A CASTLE FOR CHRISTMAS BY SUSAN K. BEATTY
What would you do if you suddenly inherited lots of money and a castle? That’s what happens to Sadie when she finds out her father has left her with more than she could imagine. It is a little surprising to Sadie, considering her father abandoned her. Walking into the castle she is overwhelmed with the beauty it holds. With nervousness she picks her mother’s room to stay in. What memories are here waiting for Sadie?
Sadie tours the castle and all that it has including bunk houses, animals and structures that are in dire need of repair. She is determined to sell the place as fast as she can. Will is none to happy about her plans. He has been by her father’s side and helped keep everything running. What does she know about selling such a place? There is tension between the two, and I have a feeling within the walks are secrets.
It warms my heart to see how generous Sadie is. She wants to give back to the towns near her. Driving through them, you can tell the economy is not doing well. What better way to bless others than to throw a Christmas party? Her ideas are enthusiastically met by most and it gave me shivers to see how much she cared for others. Will she be able to pull off the big party in just a few short weeks? Will she sell the castle or make it her home?
I loved how the story uses Sadie to show how important it is to give to others. She unselfishly opened the castle for a Christmas celebration where everyone was blessed . I especially loved the budding relationship between Will and Sadie.
AN IRISH CHRISTMAS HEART BY JENNIFER SIENES
I loved how the author gives us a look at the way the Irish celebrate the holidays. They have two Christmases and it is said that,”anyone who dies between the two will be immediately whisked to heaven.” I love learning about traditions from other places and knew I was in for a treat as I started reading.
Eleanor lives in a majestic castle with her father, mother and sister. Elenor is sweet and pretty but her father treats her unkindly. She doesn’t know how to read which makes her father think of her as a dimwit. That broke my heart to hear a father be so cruel to his daughter. Her mother is the opposite and treats both daughters with compassion. Eleanor is upset that her sister is being forced to marry someone she does not love. Elenor is reminded by her mother that, “in life we are asked to do what seems near impossible . But nothing is impossible with God.”
Now that Eleanor’s sister has escaped to America her father is forcing Eleanor to marry the man that was chosen for her sister. It does not sit well with Eleanor and I feared what she might do. Will the man she met earlier find a way to help her? He is drawn to her but without knowing him well, Eleanor is not sure what to do.
Samuel is like a breath of fresh air for Eleanor. He wants to help her and has no desire to see her marry a man she has no feelings for. Samuel also knows that Eleanor suffers from dyslexia and explains to her that he wants to help her. Their meetings are dangerous and if her father finds out, I fear what he may do. When he learns that Eleanor and her family are in danger he sets off to try to stop the mob ready to destroy the castle and everyone in it.
The ending is very well written as we see God work things out as a man is exposed for greed. Eleanor is quite happy now that she has found confidence in herself. The theme of this story for me is, “Trust in the Lord.”
CHRISTMAS AT CURWOOD’S CASTLE BY MELISSA WARDWELL
Over the last several years I have had the pleasure of reading this authors books. She has grown in her writing and definitely has a gift that she uses to encourage others, This story is an example of her talent.
This is a tender story of a young woman named Angel. She lost her parents and comes to live with her aunt. She is excited to learn that she will be attending a party at Curwood Castle. Oh how she has dreamed of going there. Now she will be there with her best friend Jimmy. They have grown up together and as they became older their feelings started to get more serious. Will this be the moment that Angel gets her happily ever after?
Jimmy’s parents share with him some shattering news about Angel’s parents death. I was shocked just like Jimmy. His parents want to warn Jimmy that Angel is being told the truth as well. How will she react when she learns the truth? Her aunt has raised her and she thinks of her as her mother. This is a very emotional time as they both hug each other. The scripture says, ‘the truth shall set you free.” Now Angel knows that her aunt loves her like a daughter and that makes her happy.
The author closes the story out with two people who find happiness and let go of the past.They have both been struggles together but God had a plan for them and in His timing he brought them together to love each other forever.
CHRISTMAS IN THE COTSWOLDS BY STACY T. SIMMONS
Oh my! This story had everything a young girl dreams of such as a dashing Duke, a castle and a young woman who catches his attention. I loved Victoria and her job as a paleontologist. Dinosaurs have always fascinated me and getting to be with Victoria on her digs were fun. They come from different worlds but can they find a way to bring their worlds together?
Meeting the Duke was by far the best thing that has ever happened to her. The castle, his gentlemanly ways made me swoon. They work together on a project which leads them to spend a lot of time together. The story flowed so easily and I quickly were Victoria and the Duke’s cheerleader. Things try to get in the way, but I had faith that things would work out. If you are looking for a story that gives you a feeling of happiness this is the perfect one to read.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit . The review is my own opinion.