Saturday, September 18, 2021

 

About the Book

Book:  Illusion of Love

Author: Sarah Hamaker

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: October 2020

A suspicious online romance reconnects an agoraphobe and an old friend.

Nursing a hurt leg, psychiatrist Jared Quinby arrives in Culpeper, Virginia, on a case for the FBI. The investigation leads him to the doorstep of his childhood best friend, Mary Divers. Meeting Mary again is the one bright spot in his life.

Suffering from agoraphobia, Mary has at last found love with online beau David Kline and dares to dream of a future with him. Then David reveals he will be leaving the United States to become a missionary in Peru. Determined to stop living in fear, she accepts David’s marriage proposal, even though she’s never met him face-to-face.

As Jared’s case intersects with Mary’s online relationship, the more he uncovers, the more he fears for her safety. Jared tries to convince Mary not all is right with David, but she refuses to believe him. When tragedy strikes, Mary pushes Jared even farther away.

Will Jared convince Mary of the truth—and of his love for her—before it’s too late?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Sarah Hamaker has been spinning stories since she was a child, with nonfiction and romantic suspense books published. Her stories have also appeared in several Chicken Soup for the Soul volumes. She’s a member of ACFW and ACFW Virginia Chapter, as well as the president of Capital Christian Writers Fellowship. Her podcast, “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” can be found wherever you listen to podcasts. Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband, four children, and three cats.

 

More from Sarah

Have you ever heard a story from a friend (or a friend of a friend) and thought it sounded more like fiction than reality? That’s what happened to me years ago when I heard first-hand a story about a woman who had been deceived by someone close to her.

Even while I grieved with my friend about the lies that had been told at her expense, I also admit to thinking, “That would make a fantastic storyline.” A couple of years later, I asked the friend for permission to use the basic outline of that story for what became Illusion of Love. To keep this friend’s identity a secret—and to avoid giving away the ending of my book—that’s all I can reveal to you.

However, what I can talk about is how interesting people’s reaction to the based-on-a-true story aspect has been along this book’s journey to publication. Most expressed their conviction that something similar could never happen to them. Part of that disbelief comes from our faith in our own ability to ferret out the truth from those around us. 

Unfortunately, time and again, it’s been proven that we can be terrible when it comes to judging the true character of others! This is why people get away with pretending to be royalty or people lose money to someone’s Ponzi scheme or why those in authority can often get away with heinous crimes for years (#MeToo, Catholic priest sexual scandals are too horrific examples). Along the way, you’ll find people who wanted to think they wouldn’t be deceived…and were or who overlooked signs that in hindsight pointed right at the lie or perpetrator.

Why has this kept happening over and over again throughout history? I think it boils down to the simple fact that we want to believe we have excellent judgment when it comes to the character and intentions of others, whether we meet those people face to face or online. We also have a tendency, especially if we’re female, to ignore our gut when it tells us to be careful or wary of someone or a particular situation. 

Especially when there’s real danger involved—in cases of potential abuse or criminal activity—it’s important to be prepared as much as we can be. One of the best books on this topic is Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear. It’s a book I’ve recommended my teenage daughters and sons read before heading to college. What Gavin does is break down why our initial impressions can be wrong and why paying attention to our gut—that unconscious part of ourselves—can be crucial to staying safe, even if it means we sometimes offend or make people mad or upset. If only Mary, my heroine in Illusion of Love, had read The Gift of Fear, things might have turned out differently for her. 

Why do you think we believe in our own judgment when it comes to people?

MY REVIEW 

This is a wonderful account of the dangers of dating sites. It is so easy to fall for sweet words from a stranger when you are lonely. You want to believe this person because they make you feel special , so you ignore the warning signs. My heart went out to Mary. Her childhood consisted of being abandoned at the age of nine by her parents. I can’t imagine how a parent could discard a child so easily. Learning about Mary’s past helps me understand how easily she falls for a man named David through a Christian Website. I do want to point out that just because a site is Christian based doesn’t mean everyone on there is a Christian. 

I was happy to be introduced to Jared . He is an old friend of Mary and it is not by accident that they run  into each other after many years. Of course he doesn’t tell Mary that he is investigating fraud that may involve her friend  David. The author shows a very vulnerable side to Jared as he slowly comes to terms with his feelings for Mary. He is desperately trying to talk Mary out of a decision that could not only destroy her emotionally but could also damage her financially. Isn’t it funny how we want to trust people even when there are subtle signs that all is not right? Jared’s instincts are on high alert when Mary shares some  surprising news regarding her future. As Jared tries to warn Mary about David she can’t believe that the David she knows would do anything to hurt her.  I loved how Jared was diligent in keeping a close eye out for Mary. 

The story takes on internet dating  sites  and how it can be used to deceit people. I loved the mystery and how clever the criminals thought they were. The characters  are well written and I believe the author shows how easy  it is to fall victim to scams while hoping for a relationship. The ending is good and wrapped up all the loose ends in a way that  gives you a reason  to be cautious when visiting dating sites.

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

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 15

CarpeDiem, September 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 16

Inklings and notions, September 17

Texas Book-aholic, September 18

lakesidelivingsite, September 18

For Him and My Family, September 19

deb’s Book Review, September 20

Mary Hake, September 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 21

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 22

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 23

A Reader’s Brain, September 23

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 24

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 25

Pause for Tales , September 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 26

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

Spoken from the Heart, September 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sarah is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card & eBook 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/119e8/illusion-of-love-celebration-tour-giveaway


Thursday, September 16, 2021

 

About the Book

Book:  A Giant Murder

Author: Marji Laine

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: August 3, 2021

Would you like a shot of… death with that, sir?

Josephine Jacobs was just doing her job, serving at an exclusive party, so why is she now being accused of shooting TG Taggert?

At a party full of suspects in the murder of Taggert, Josie served the food giant everything but an eternally “parting shot.” Who really killed TG Taggert?  His wife?  His son, Jack?  What about Harper Davis?  Rumor has it, she was having an affair with him—motive for her or Taggert’s wife! The list of those who seemed to hate him keeps growing, including a chemist and a chef!

With her long-time friend, Office Porter O’Brien, Josie sets out to find out who really killed “the giant,” and clear her name.

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. A Giant Murder offers a retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” with enough clues and suspects to keep you looking over your shoulder. We’d recommend Kevlar… but it hasn’t been invented yet!

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Marji Laine is a graduated home-schooling mom of four with two college students staying in the nest for a little longer. She and her hubby of 34 years also share their North Texas home with a rescue pup named Rosie. When Marji isn’t editing or publishing the books for her authors at Write Integrity Press, she indulges in penning her own mystery, suspense, and romance novels. She loves acting in musical comedy, has directed many stage productions, leads a high school Bible study and sings in her church choir. She prefers mountains to beaches, dogs to cats, NASCAR to football, Magnolia pie, white roses, green, and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. You can find her at her website: MarjiLaine.com 

 

More from Marji

I so enjoyed researching the history of downtown Dallas as I crafted my story, A GIANT MURDER. The house that I chose for Josie and her mom is actually still there on Haskell Avenue. The photo with the wrought iron is about twenty years old, but the house was built circa 1914. The photo with the wooden fence is from last year, after a big remodel. This house was also the setting of another of my books. It and the field that used to be next to it was an after-school child care center in AIN’T MISBEHAVING.

Thinking about what life might have been like in this house in the twenties, I can’t help but think about my grandparents. They were teenagers at the time of my story – 1926 – and while my grandfather grew up in, what was then, a little farming town called Paris, Texas, my grandmother grew up in Oak Cliff, just across the bridge over the Trinity River from this house in downtown Dallas.

Makes the research that I did on this era even that much more special. Having come through COVID, I realize that my great-grandparents had to nurture their preteens and teenagers through the Spanish Flu that devastated whole communities. The more things change, the more they stay the same?

All of this reminiscing sent me to an old recipe book that had been a wedding present for me from my mom almost thirty-five years ago. In the dessert section near the back, I found a precious recipe for Date Candy that had come by way of my great-grandmother, Carrie Ethel Leatherwood Morin. I never met her, but I do remember hearing from my mom that she was a woman of faith, and I have a poem she wrote late in life, about growing up in the country.

I would say this is a 1920s recipe, but who could tell? She was a middle-aged mom at that point, so it’s a good bet.

Date Candy

1 box – light brown sugar

4 T – corn syrup

½ pt – whipping cream

1 cup – dates

1 cup – pecans

1 t – vanilla

 

Mix sugar, syrup, and cream. Cook until almost a hard ball. Just before removing from pan, put in dates and stir until they melt. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Beat until almost hard – then add pecans. Wet a cup towel. Pour mixture onto cup towel and roll into a roll. Let it cool – firm – then slice.

 

Let me know if you decide to make my great-grandmother’s candy. I’d love to find out how it turned out!

MY REVIEW 

This has been a fun book to read and I really did  not want it to end. The setting is exciting and I love stories that take us back to the 1920s. You can tell that  the author has done extensive research to make the story authentic. I wonder what it would be like to live in a boarding house? There couldn’t be too much privacy except when you were in your own room. I was very intrigued by how the place was run and all the people who lived there.

Josie is a sweet character who works very hard to help her mother pay bills. What starts out as an extra job one night turns her world upside down. Who knew that taking a drink to someone would cause you to become a suspect in their murder? Has Josie been set up by someone or was the death an accident? The author gives readers twists and unexpected suspects in the story that I had to take out my journal to keep notes. Oh yes I always use a journal when reading a book for review.  I don’t want to forget any details. There is one very humbling moment in the story that I hope is not overlooked. In the midst of chaos , Josie shares God with someone. It is a very special moment and made me think how important  it is to share God with others. We don’t want to miss our opportunity and Josie confidently witnessed to this person with compassion. 

The mystery in the  book is quite unique since it has to do with a formula for a recipe. I applaud the author for being so creative and implementing a plot that is fresh and appetizing. Someone wants that recipe desperately and are willing to kill for it. There is a little romance in the story but it is done tastefully and does not over shadow the main theme in the book. I have to say I was shocked by who turned out to be the guilty person. How sad that people are greedy and jealous that they resort to violence. I loved the story and thought that there was just enough action to keep me interested in the case of the missing formula.

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

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 17

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 18

For the Love of Literature, September 18

Inklings and notions, September 19

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 19 (Author Interview)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 20

For Him and My Family, September 20

deb’s Book Review, September 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 22

A Reader’s Brain, September 23

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 23

Connie’s History Classroom, September 24

Simple Harvest Reads, September 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 25

Mary Hake, September 25

Rebecca Tews, September 26

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 27

Connect in Fiction, September 28

Bigreadersite, September 28

Through the fire blogs, September 29

Blogging With Carol, September 30

Back Porch Reads, September 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Marji 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/119f5/a-giant-murder-celebration-tour-giveaway


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

 

About the Book

Book: Dinah’s Dilemma

Author: Linda Shenton Matchett

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: August 15, 2020

Will she have to run from the past for the rest of her life?

Dinah Simpkins has no chance of making a good marriage. Her outlaw brothers and her father’s gambling addiction have ruined the family’s reputation. Then the Westward Home and Hearts Matrimonial Agency provides an opportunity for a fresh start. After Dinah arrives in Nebraska, she discovers her brothers played a part in the death of her prospective groom’s first wife.

As a former Pinkerton detective Nathan Childs knows when someone is lying. The bride sent by the matrimonial agency may be beautiful, but she’s definitely hiding something, and he has no intention of marrying her until he uncovers the truth. But an easier solution may be to send her packing. Then his young daughter goes missing. He and Dinah must put aside their mutual hurt and mistrust to find her.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is a former trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life, and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

 

More from Linda

Dear Reader,

 

As a novelist, I write about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. And to me, nothing is more extraordinary than leaving all that you know to travel a great distance (often thousands of miles) to marry a man you’ve never met. Don’t you agree?

 

During the initial settlement of the American West, the population was primarily composed of men. Men who went in search of gold, to seek new opportunities in farming and ranching, or to make a fresh start where land and resources seemed unlimited. Eventually, loneliness set in for those who were single, yet there was a dearth of suitable women to marry.

 

The conundrum for the men was how to meet and court a woman without leaving for fear of someone taking their land or claims. Some of the bachelors wrote home asking friends and family for referrals to single women who would make a good wife. Courtship would take place via correspondence until the couple decided they were suited to marry. The more common scenario was that of mail-order brides.

 

Ads were placed by the men in eastern newspapers. They would tell a bit about themselves and what traits they were seeking in a wife. Interested women would reply, and the advertiser would respond to the applicant he thought was a good fit. As with those men who wrote home to find a mate, the process was much the same with courtship occurring through letters.

 

Most of the time, the marriages went smoothly, with the couple falling in love, resulting in a long and happy relationship. However, there are stories of marriages that did not survive because of abandonment, abuse, death, or the discovery of a still-living spouse. A few incidents are recorded about mail-order brides whose groom paid her railway passage, only for her to marry someone else because he seemed a better prospect. Fortunately, those instances seem to make up a small percentage.

 

I hope you enjoy Dinah’s Dilemma: A Mail-Order Bride Romance.

 

Blessings,

Linda Shenton Matchett

MY REVIEW 

Oh how I loved this story. It was so emotional and realistic that I was able to relate to the main character so easily. Dinah has a sketchy family history and it is hard for her to escape it. Many people judge her because of her brothers. Here is where I had to stop.  My heart beat a little faster as I knew exactly how she felt.  have an older brother who has always in trouble and made very poor choices. It wasn’t uncommon for the police to knock on our door telling us that my brother was in jail. Like Dinah, people assumed that I did the same things he did, so I had no friends and I trusted no one.

I know Dinah made a hasty decision to become a mail order bride but she was so desperate to get away from her family she felt she had no other choice. Even though she has been through a hard life, her faith never wavered. I admired her caring heart and need to be accepted. We all want to be liked and Dinah wanted a better life and a chance to find happiness and friends. Every time she felt unworthy, I cried knowing  how much it hurts to feel rejected.

Nathan is everything you would want in a husband. He is hard working, loves God, and adores his daughter. I have always been fascinated by stories about mail order brides.  It is only  the woman that  takes a big risk but the man does as well. Nathan wants his sweet little girl to be happy and he is hoping that Dinah will fit in. The author does an excellent job of illustrating how these two people slowly start to trust each other. Nathan seeing Dinah spend time with his daughter makes him feel like he has made a great decision. 

This story does deal with two very important topics that we all have experienced. Trust and forgiveness can be difficult if we allow fear and pride to sneak in. When Nathan finds out that Dinah has not been honest with them, it shatters him and his heart turns cold. This is the meat of the story for me. I wanted to see how the author would explore these two subjects that many of us struggle with. 

Nathan is still trying to cope with a loss and now the woman he has brought to live with him as his wife has hid secrets from him. How can he trust her with his heart? The anguish he goes through is hard as  he grieves for what could have been. Have you ever had your hopes and dreams shattered? Nathan is a very compassionate man who know needs to turn to God for help. 

Dinah is beside herself as she knows that the truth has come out about her past.Why didn’t she tell Nathan right away? I can only guess that she wanted him to love her and accept her and allowed  her fear to take  over.  There is nothing that we do that God won’t forgive us for. Dinah in her fragile state will have to trust God as she decides if telling the truth will save her marriage. 

This is one story that shows how important communication is in a marriage. Nathan and Dinah both have been afraid to open up to each other and allow God to show them that “Love is patient and love is kind.”  The author has written a beautiful story that reminds us along with communication,  trust and forgiveness are key to a blessed marriage. 

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

Blog Stops

Blossoms and Blessings, September 14

Mary Hake, September 14

Labor Not in Vain, September 15

Texas Book-aholic, September 16

Inklings and notions, September 17

For Him and My Family, September 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 21

Connect in Fiction, September 22

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 22

deb’s Book Review, September 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 24

Vicky Sluiter, September 25

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 25

Connie’s History Classroom, September 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 27

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize package of a Book Journal, Floral Book Plates, Bookjigs Bookmark, a $25 Visa Gift Card, and an autographed paperback edition of Dinah’s Dilemma!!

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/11826/dinah-s-dilemma-celebration-tour-giveaway