A ★★★★ Book Review of the Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma, Book Two in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


A Desperate Young Mother Searches for Her Child
Step into True Colors -- a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives. How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child?

Synopsis from The Pink Bonnet


A ★★★★ Book Review of the Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma, Book Two in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

A ★★★★ Book Review of the Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma, Book Two in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

★★★★ | The one thing no mother wants to face is the loss of her child. As a mother who’s experienced loss and as an adoptive mother, The Pink Bonnet yanked open doors and windows into my soul and brought me to tears.

Liz Tolsma took a true story of horrible tragedy and turned it into a beautiful tale of a mother’s love and how that love is a picture of the love God has for His own children.

The True Colors series is a series of books that highlights American crime. This particular story is that of Georgia Tann, the corrupt director of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society located in Memphis, TN. Miss Tann used highly unethical methods to secure and place children under the age of 7 into adoptive families from the 1920’s until the 1950’s. Her methods included deception, forcefulness, and kidnapping, which sets the plot for this fictional story.

Liz Tolsma does an excellent job of creating a suspenseful story line while keeping the details historically accurate. Cecile Dowd is a character that embodies every mother who’s ever lost a child and takes desperate measures to ensure that child’s safe return. As a mother, I identified with her desperation and determination. The cast of characters are all well developed and I felt a connection with each of them. Watching as each of their stories unfolds was a beautiful revelation of how God can use each one of us if only we allow it.

The only thing that kept my rating from five stars was the fact that Cecile’s plight wasn’t immediately taken to the police. I would think, if a child had been kidnapped, police would need to immediately notified. I was disturbed by this in the first half of the book. I did some research online at that point and discovered that oftentimes, these young mothers were considered poor and uneducated, making claims against what appeared to be a respected, licensed social worker. I also discovered the police officers even looked the other way because of affiliations Miss Tann had with high ranking politicians and offcials in the city. While these affiliations were made known in the book, the police aspect wasn’t truly revealed until the last chapters. I personally would have liked to have had that become known much earlier in the book and I would have found the storyline to be somewhat more believable. Regardless of that personal preference though, this novel is still worthy of all four stars.

The Pink Bonnet offers mild suspense, disturbingly accurate details, a heinous villain, a budding romance and a climatic conclusion. The underlying currents of desperation, hope, love and reunification are truly beautiful. I recommend it to readers who enjoy crime/suspense novels and even those who enjoy a historical romance.

While Georgia Tann will be forever known as a corrupt kidnapper and human trafficker who misused her license as a social worker for personal gain, God did use this horrible brokenness to create a more positive stigma surrounding adoptions. As a result we have better laws in place now, social workers who are routinely checked and adoptions are more open and public than they used to be. Our family, for one, is grateful for that as we enjoy an open adoption with our daughter’s birth family and celebrate them for their love and sacrifice. Adoption nearly always stems from brokenness, but there can be healing and beauty in the process if the parties involved choose love.


This mother, this child, loved each other with an overwhelming love, a love that knew no bounds, no limits, no ends. ...there was nothing like a mother’s love, other than God’s love for His own children.
— Liz Tolsma, The Pink Bonnet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Author Liz Tolsma | Photo Courtesy of  www.truecolorscrime.com

Author Liz Tolsma | Photo Courtesy of www.truecolorscrime.com

Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and their two daughters. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.

Visit Liz online at LizTolsma.com


Lastly, pick up your own copy of The Pink Bonnet or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A ★★★★★ Book Review of Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes, a Christian Fiction Novel

* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


A SOUL STIRRING DEBUT NOVEL FROM A MARVELOUS AUTHOR!

This deeply emotional novel ties two time eras together in a beautiful and spellbinding way. With captivating characters and melodic words, Amanda Dykes draws readers into the fictional world of Ansel-by-the-Sea where a story of love, honor and hope takes root in readers hearts and minds. A novel so well written, it deserves more than five stars!


Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★★★ | When author Amanda Dykes reached out to me on Instagram and asked if I would be interested in reading and promoting her debut novel, I immediately agreed and felt a kinship to her on a soul level. Fast forward a few months to when her novel, Whose Waves These Are, landed on my doorstep… I couldn’t wait to dive in to this story! What I didn’t anticipate was the way my very soul would connect to her novel - the characters, the story, and how it and they would be forever written on my heart.

Whose Waves These Are is captivating, soulful, emotional and layered but not overwhelming. Rather, it is a beautiful tale that evokes joy, laughter and hope amidst the trials life deals. The characters’ stories are real and heartrending, yet triumphant. I’m certain readers will find a piece of this story that they relate to and empathize with.

The pages of Whose Waves These Are stirred my soul, filled my heart and brought tears to my eyes. The characters and their unique stories, the way the book split history and present day, plus the way Amanda Dykes masterfully pulled it all together into one novel is extraordinary. It is so well written and so beautiful…

When I finished this story, I sighed. An audible, tear filled sigh that the story had come full circle. Love won, redemption was found and my heart was full. Now, as I write this review, I fear my words aren’t going to do justice for this novel. Instead of revealing the plot or mentioning the characters by name, I’ll simply leave my review at this - I recommend you read this book. Allow your heart to feel the writer’s words, absorb the narration and embrace the characters. When you’re finished, you won’t be the same.


“In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper: a rallying cry for hope, purpose . . . and rocks. Its message? Send me a rock for the person you lost, and I will build something life-giving. When the poem spreads farther than he ever intended, Robert Bliss's humble words change the tide of a nation. Boxes of rocks inundate the harbor village on the coast of Maine, and he sets his callused hands to work.

Decades later, Annie Bliss is summoned back to Ansel-by-the-Sea when GrandBob, the man who gave her refuge during the hardest summer of her youth, is the one in need of help. But what greets her is a mystery: a wall of heavy boxes hiding in his home. Memories of stone ruins on a nearby island ignite a fire in her anthropologist soul to uncover answers.

Together with the handsome and enigmatic town postman, Annie uncovers the story layer by layer, yearning to resurrect the hope GrandBob once held so dear and to know the truth behind the chasm in her family's past. But mending what has been broken for so long may require more of her and those she loves than they are prepared to give.” -
Synopsis from Whose Waves These Are


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com


Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Amanda Dykes (www.amandadykes.com) is a drinker of tea, dweller of redemption, and spinner of hope-filled tales who spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family. Give her a rainy day, a candle to read by, an obscure corner of history to dig in, and she'll be happy for hours. She's a former English teacher, and her novella, Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale, was met with critical acclaim from Publishers WeeklyReaders' Favorite, and more. She is also the author of a novella in The Message in a Bottle Romance CollectionWhose Waves These Are is her debut novel. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of Whose Waves These Are or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A Mini Review of Living Lies by Natalie Walters | A Christian Fiction Suspense Novel

*I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Revell at Baker Publishing Group via NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


★★★★

What a surprise this debut novel from Natalie Walters was!  While the premise of Living Lies is a suspense novel, it is also a beautiful love story and tender tale of discovering God’s purpose for one’s life.  Walter’s characters are relatable, dynamic and immediately draw you in.  The small town atmosphere that Walter’s created for this novel’s setting is picturesque and homey.  This novel opens readers hearts to the topics of depression, suicide and the stigmas surrounding mental health.  Walter’s lovingly depicts the beauty and purpose our Redeemer can offer those who find themselves or their loved ones facing fears and struggles that are larger than life itself.  The suspense and heroism in this story is exactly what readers will find they want from this novel… The mild suspense keeps readers on edge as the mystery unfolds and the hero swoops in to save the day just as readers hope.  My overall rating is a solid four star novel - a sweet and tender romance, a mysterious killer, and a beautiful discovery of second chances and finding a life worth living. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Author Natalie Walters | Image courtesy of https://www.nataliewalterswriter.com

Author Natalie Walters | Image courtesy of https://www.nataliewalterswriter.com

Natalie Walters is a military wife of 22 years and currently resides in Hawaii with her soldier husband and their three kids. She writes full-time and has been published in Proverbs 31 magazine and has blogged for Guideposts online. In addition to balancing life as a military spouse, mom, and writer, she loves connecting on social media, sharing her love of books, cooking, and traveling. Natalie comes from a long line of military and law enforcement veterans and is passionate about supporting them through volunteer work, races, and writing stories that affirm no one is defined by their past. Visit her website here: https://www.nataliewalterswriter.com


Lastly, pick up your own copy of Living Lies or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A ★★★★★ Book Review of Secrets of Cedar Cabin by Colleen Coble, a Lavender Tides Novel | A Christian Fiction Suspense Novel

*I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers book review program and Thomas Nelson (a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


This fast paced, dramatic story takes readers on an exciting journey to Lavender Tides, Washington.

Oddly enough, this was my first Colleen Coble novel. Being a prominent suspense novelist in the Christian fiction world and a USA Today Bestselling Author, I’m surprised I haven’t read Coble’s books before. Regardless, I’m glad I chose this book and even more delighted it did not disappoint. Rather, it enticed me to read more books from this clever, creative author. Secrets of Cedar Cabin was a book that immediately drew me in and kept me turning the pages as fast as I could. This novel was well planned, well paced and had enough suspense to keep me hooked!


Her mother lied about her identity and her husband wasn’t who she thought he was—can Bailey even trust herself anymore?

Running for her life in the wake of her mother’s murder, Bailey Fleming escapes to the only place she can think of—a remote, dilapidated cabin in Lavender Tides. Intending to finally get to the truth behind the lies of her past, Bailey only finds more questions when bodies are discovered near her cabin hideout along with traces of a dangerous human trafficking ring. In an unlikely partnership with FBI agent Lance Phoenix, Bailey races to understand the mystery surrounding her life and circumstances before the murderer tracks her down.

Meanwhile, Lance is determined to rescue his sister, Ava, who was abducted after running away from home as a teenager. An unexpected lead brings him to the remote cabin, and he wonders if Bailey—with her suspicious past and strange connections to his sister’s case—is really who she claims to be and if she can somehow lead him to Ava.

Filled with Colleen Coble's custom blend of suspense and romance, Secrets at Cedar Cabin takes us back to the evocative landscape of Washington's coast where nothing is quite as it seems. - Synopsis from Secrets of Cedar Cabin


A ★★★★★ Book Review of Secrets of Cedar Cabin by Colleen Coble, a Lavender Tides Novel | A Christian Fiction Suspense Novel

A ★★★★★ Book Review of Secrets of Cedar Cabin by Colleen Coble, a Lavender Tides Novel | A Christian Fiction Suspense Novel

★★★★★ ||  I enjoyed several aspects of Secrets of Cedar Cabin . The first being the pace of the book. It moved quickly and kept me so interested, I finished it in just a day and a half. Being a suspense fiction lover, I really enjoyed the story line and the plot as it thickened and wove. Being an animal lover, I enjoyed Bailey’s cat and the delight Sheba brought to the story. (I’ve since learned that Coble often includes a pet in each of her stories and that made me love her all the more!).

This novel was a great read, the suspense was intriguing and the plot was dark and sinister, but not in a bad way. The story had romance, a touch of faith and drama. None of it was overbearing or overdone. It was all just right! Coble’s characters were endearing and easy to relate to. Following along with them as they grow in their faith and relationships was encouraging.

One thing I will say is that there seemed to be a lot of characters introduced which left me a little disoriented. As a result, I had the sense the book was a part of a series, which I didn’t know at first. Because of my personality and the fact that I enjoy books more when read in order, I wanted to include this fact. I recommend reading the other books in this series first, but it’s not imperative. Coble does a decent job of making her books stand alone novels, but I believe the stories have more impact if read in order.

Since finishing the Secrets of Cedar Cabin , I’ve actually read the entire Aloha Reef collection which I also highly recommend. Coble is a master at her novels and I’ve enjoyed each and every one I’ve read so far!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Image courtesy of https://colleencoble.com

Image courtesy of https://colleencoble.com

Colleen Coble | Best-selling romantic suspense author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 4 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at www.colleencoble.com. You can also follow Colleen on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of Secrets of Cedar Cabin or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A Book Review of An Easter Prayer, Written by Amy Parker, Illustrated by Alison Edgson | A Children's Touch-and-Feel Picture Book

*I received a complimentary copy of this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers book review program for Tommy Nelson (an imprint of Thomas Nelson) in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links to purchase the book and I will receive a commission based on sales generated.


The PERFECT Easter basket addition!

With sensory pages sure to delight your little one, this adorable prayer book offers thanksgiving to God for all the wonders of spring!


The perfect addition to your little one’s Easter basket this spring! | A Book Review of An Easter Prayer, Written by Amy Parker, Illustrated by Alison Edgson. A Children's Touch-and-Feel Picture Book!

The perfect addition to your little one’s Easter basket this spring! | A Book Review of An Easter Prayer, Written by Amy Parker, Illustrated by Alison Edgson. A Children's Touch-and-Feel Picture Book!

★★★★★ | This sweet Easter prayer book simply couldn’t be more adorable or precious! It’s perfect for explorative infants and toddlers who enjoy the different sensations a touch and feel book has to offer. With a fuzzy cover and unique textures inside, this prayer book is my favorite addition to my daughter’s Easter basket as we look forward to celebrating her first Easter this year.

An Easter Prayer shares short prose with a new setting and colors on each page. The adorable illustrations with delightful colors will melt your heart as Bunny and her new friend, Chick, offer little bits of thankfulness to God for the wonders of spring. I adore that the book encourages an attitude of gratitude for various springtime delights and highlights that being most thankful for Jesus.

Reading this book with my ten month old daughter is an excellent way to impress the true meaning of Easter on her heart at a young age. I feel certain this will be an Easter/Spring favorite for years to come.

The quality and thickness of the board book pages are impressive and I highly recommend this book as a gift for new parents/babies, an Easter basket addition for toddlers or a baby shower gift for babies due this spring!


I review for BookLook Bloggers

Lastly, pick up your own copy of An Easter Prayer or borrow it from your local library.

Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 

 

A ★★★★ Book Review of Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin, a historical fiction novel.

* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


A romantic tale of espionage, war, loyalty and the bond of family.

This beautiful new novel from one of my favorite authors offers the lovely story of a young woman desperate to find her family, a young man determined to honor his promise and a captivating romance set in Europe during the era of World War I.


"A complex and riveting tale that you won't be able to set aside. Bravo!"--Roseanna M. White, bestselling author of the Ladies of the Manor and Shadows Over England series

In 1918 England, Lieutenant Colin Mabry spends his days decoding messages for MI8 after suffering injuries at the front. When he receives an urgent summons by carrier pigeon from Jewel Reyer--a woman who saved his life and whom he believed to be dead--he can only hope he'll regain the courage he lost on the front lines as he's driven back into war-torn France. 

But Jewel isn't the one waiting for him in Paris. Instead, it is a stranger who claims to be her half sister, Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence. She found Jewel's diary and believes her sister is alive and in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is at first skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust grows.

That trust is quickly put to the test, however, when their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot and their search for answers quickly turns into a battle for their lives. - Synopsis from Far Side of the Sea

"Blending spycraft with a story of romance forged under the pressure of a life-or-death rescue mission, this action-packed historical will appeal to fans of historical thrillers and will keep readers guessing until the final moments."--Publishers Weekly


Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★★ |  In true Kate Breslin fashion, she delivers another exquisitely romantic tale in Far Side of the Sea. This sweet, tender historical fiction novel is all I hoped for and more. Being a huge fan of Breslin’s novels, For Such a Time and Not By Sight, I was looking forward to this newest release.

Johanna Reyer is a young woman, alone in this world, desperately seeking to find her sister and father in war-torn France. Her journey and persistence lead her to Colin Mabry, one of her sister’s friends who works decoding message for MI8. As the pair sets out to locate Jewel Reyer, they work together posing as a married couple and traverse Europe during the era of WWI, working alongside undercover British, French and American secret service agents.

I was captivated with this story from the first few chapters. Both Johanna and Colin battle their own unique past scars and uncover God’s truths along the way. The level of mystery that ensues the characters as the story unfolds is tantalizing. While the ending didn’t quite surprise me (I had my suspicions all along), I found the story was still complex enough to hold my interest and keep me entertained. The blooming romance between the two main characters was so touching plus I enjoyed their banter early on.

In Far Side of the Sea, Breslin educates readers to the unique way in which the various militaries utilized carrier pigeons during WWI, by weaving it into her narrative. I found this fascinating and learned something I hadn’t known before. I believe historical fiction lovers will enjoy this aspect of the novel, along with the WWI setting. Because the story holds a sense of mystery with espionage and the search for Jewel, light suspense readers may enjoy this story as well. As always, Breslin does an excellent job of delivering a beautiful Gospel message through her characters’ experiences and that is something I love dearly about her novels. So in conclusion, while For Such a Time is still my favorite Breslin novel, Far Side of the Sea is a great read also and one to be recommended!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com


Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. She is a Carol Award winner and a RITA and Christy Award finalist and lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. Find her online at www.katebreslin.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest!


Lastly, pick up your own copy of Far Side of the Sea or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A ★★★★★ Book Review of Convergence by Ginny L. Yttrup, a suspense novel published by Barbour Publishing

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Publishing, Inc. and was under no obligation to post a review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.



A psychologist paralyzed by fear.  
A mother propelled by love. 
A stalker bent on destruction.

 
Psychology professor Dr. Denilyn Rossi contends that the past is either a shadow that haunts us or a force that propels us. The choice is ours, she tells her students. What she doesn’t tell them is that her own past is a shadow she can’t seem to shake. Fear has immobilized her and is taking a costly toll.

Adelia Sanchez, however, has embraced Dr. Rossi’s teaching. She is ready to confront fear and render it powerless—using the trauma of her past to propel her to entrap the man who stalked and brutally attacked her.

As Denilyn’s past and Adelia’s present converge at the Kaweah River, a dangerous man bent on destruction threatens them both. Will he uncover the secret Deni and Adelia have fought so hard to protect?

-Synopsis from Convergence


A ★★★ Book Review of the White City by Grace Hitchcock, Book One in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

A ★★★ Book Review of the White City by Grace Hitchcock, Book One in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

★★★★★ | Hands down, this brand new thriller from Ginny L. Yttrup is a book I will recommend over and over. While this author is new to me, the suspense fiction genre isn’t. I was excited to read Convergence after glancing over the synopsis and happy to report it did not disappoint, but rather, far exceeded any expectations I had.

Readers will follow along, turning page after page as quickly as possible, while Yttrup weaves an intriguing, captivating story of suspense that keeps her readers engaged to the very end. Psychologist, Dr. Denilyn Rossi, is a brilliant character and I thoroughly enjoyed a look into her mind and heart as she struggles to battle a past that still haunts her and the fear that has presently immobilized.

Being cautious not to give too much of this novel away, I will say that I thought Convergence was very well written with an action packed plot. The characters were relatable, strong and solid. As Denilyn flashes between the story of her assault seven years ago and her current fearful situation, the story becomes riveting and truly had me on the edge of my seat. I believe the fear of the unknown is one of the strongest types of fear a human can encounter and Yttrup does a fantastic job of using that to her advantage. Adelia’s strong, faith driven character is beautiful in it’s own right and a great fit to this story. Around every turn, the knowledge of a psychopathic stalker who’s making deadly threats, drives these two women in their every step creating an exciting story of suspense and mystery for readers. The ending left me surprised, satisfied, and made me want to read the book again!

I loved the fact that Yttrup didn’t shy away from personal struggles including fear, control, and divorce but instead embraced them and used them to point to a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God. The faith based element of Convergence is perhaps my favorite part. It wasn’t over indulgent or forceful but rather encouraging and enriching. Because this novel is written in the first person, Yttrup uses her characters’ thoughts and feelings to expose readers to a wide range of thoughts and feelings… ones we’ve all had at one time or another. As the novel moves forward and the characters’ relinquish their fears and control to God, we see the beauty and redemption in surrendering ourselves to Him as He guides our steps.

I recommend Convergence to mature readers who enjoy Christian contemporary fiction, psychological thrillers, suspense and mysteries. Happy Reading!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Author Ginny Yttrup, Photo Courtesy of  www.ginnyyttrup.com

Author Ginny Yttrup, Photo Courtesy of www.ginnyyttrup.com

Ginny L. Yttrup is an award-winning author who writes contemporary, issue-driven fiction meant to engage the reader and encourage them to a deeper relationship with God. Ginny is a sought after retreat, even and writer’s conference speaker. Visit Ginny online at http://ginnyyttrup.com.

You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of Convergence or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A ★★★ Book Review of the White City by Grace Hitchcock, Book One in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


1893 | Chicago’s World Fair, mysterious disappearances, romance, undercover adventures and the secrets of the infamous H.H. Holmes, rumored to be America’s first serial killer.


Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair

Step into True Colors -- a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?.

Synopsis from The White City


A ★★★ Book Review of the White City by Grace Hitchcock, Book One in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

A ★★★ Book Review of the White City by Grace Hitchcock, Book One in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

★★★ | Perhaps, you know of the infamous H.H. Holmes, a man rumored to be America’s first serial killer. And perhaps you do not. This newly released novel, The White City, by Grace Hitchcock delves into that fantastical story of a man who’s true story is still somewhat unknown.

Readers will join fictional character Winnifred Wylde as she seeks to uncover the truth about H.H. Holmes. As the daughter of Chicago’s inspector Wylde, Winnifred spends her days buried in romance novels until she finds herself captured up into the real life crimes of H.H. Holmes. Posing as his secretary, she works undercover for this dangerous man, under the protective eye of the dashing Jude Thorpe, a true life detective and one of New York’s finest. The budding romance between these two characters is the highlight of this novel!

I gave this book three stars and want to encourage others to read and discover the story for themselves because I’m certain there will be many readers who will enjoy it immensely!

When I first read about this series and the release of this book, I was excited and anticipating a truly suspenseful plot, rich with historical facts and fictional liberties . After all, we’re talking about a serial killer and a time in history when crime was rampant. I expected a serious tone to The White City but instead found more of a Christian romance than a true crime novel.

What I loved about this novel was the setting, the villain, and Miss Wylde and Detective Thorpe’s romance. Detective Thorpe, with his handsome and protective demeanor is the epitome of a romance novel’s hero. I also loved the backstory of H. H. Holmes and his underhanded swindling, insurance fraud and the mysterious killings that he committed in his “hotel” with hidden doors and rooms. Truly, if the author had focused on these three things solely, setting aside Miss Wylde’s personal life, aunt and suitors, this would have a top notch read and exactly what I was hoping for from The White City. More historical background on Chicago and the World’s Fair would have been icing on the cake. At times, I felt like I was expected to have prior knowledge of these things as a reader and unfortunately, I had only but a little. For instance, I never did discover why Chicago was called the White City and found myself Googling H. H. Holmes too.

In the first two thirds of the book, I struggled with the characters and their actions/decisions, the plot and the parts about Miss Wylde’s aunt and suitors which I found myself hurrying through. I desperately wanted more suspense and a deeper plot focused more on Holmes and his crimes. The climax of this novel near the end was my favorite part for this reason - suspense, crime, romance and heroism all rolled up into a few chapters! In the end, this was a solid three stars for me. A good book with a hint of crime, lots of romance and a tiny dash of suspense.

I encourage you to read this book for yourself. I think readers will find the characters to be likable, the story flows along fluidly and the author writes very well, even if it wasn’t the way I initially expected or wanted. This novel is a light read, a clean story for young adults and there’s a delightful romantic aspect to the book that romance readers will enjoy with just enough historical fiction to entice a historical fiction lover.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Author Grace Hitchcock, Photo Courtesy of  http://gracehitchcockbooks.com

Author Grace Hitchcock, Photo Courtesy of http://gracehitchcockbooks.com

Grace Hitchcock is the author of The White City
and The Gray Chamber from Barbour Publishing. She has written multiple novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.

You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest!


Lastly, pick up your own copy of The White City or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A Book Review of I Love You, Funny Bunny by Zonderkidz, Illustrated by Sean Julian | A Children's Picture Book

*I received a complimentary copy of this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers book review program of Zonderkidz (a registered trademark of Zondervan) in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links to purchase the book and I will receive a commission based on sales generated.


This sweet, expressive picture book showcases tender moments between a parent bunny and her little one. With adorable illustrations and a soft, rhythmic tone, this is the perfect book for an Easter basket, a thoughtful gift or an afternoon snuggle!


A Book Review of I Love You, Funny Bunny by Zonderkidz, Illustrated by Sean Julian | A Children's Picture Book

A Book Review of I Love You, Funny Bunny by Zonderkidz, Illustrated by Sean Julian | A Children's Picture Book

★★★★★ | This beautifully illustrated picture book is a perfect addition for any young child’s library. Sean Julian creatively displays these adorable bunnies with soft edges, bright colors and eye catching backdrops. The sweet animals romp and play throughout the pages with other cute animals in the background. At the turn of each page, there is a sweet, rhythmic lyric for parents to read to their children that embraces the bond between a parent and child. I Love You, Funny Bunny expresses the beauty of a strong love and all the tiny, wonderful moments we often take for granted as parents.

As a parent myself, reading this book to my 9 month old daughter, I found this book to be sweet and tender. I love the way she scrunches her nose and calls my name and forget to tell her that as often as I should. I adored that I Love You, Funny Bunny encouraged unconditional love, while building self esteem in a child and thus strengthening a parent/child bond.

I believe this book is well suited for young children under the age of 8. Because the rhymes are short and sweet, and each page is a change of colors and setting, this picture book will capture even the shortest of young attention spans. The cover is a paper jacket over a hard bound, illustrated cover and the pages inside are thick sturdy paper. The book would make an excellent Easter basket addition, a thoughtful gift for a new parent or young child or as an addition to your own child’s collection.


I review for BookLook Bloggers

Lastly, pick up your own copy of I Love You, Funny Bunny or borrow it from your local library.

Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 

 

A ★★★★★ Book Review of The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright, a time slip suspense novel

* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


A superb combination of historical and contemporary fiction with powerful characters, a brilliant storyline, riveting suspense and a captivating dash of romance!

Author Jaime Jo Wright completely outdoes herself with this third time slip novel that is sure to capture readers imaginations and hearts in an edge-of-your-seat page turner! Both the depth of this story and the compelling plot are truly remarkable, showcasing the creative way in which Wright delivers the narrative.


Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to turn-of-the-century Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin. When the clues she finds lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a postmortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death. 

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother--who is battling dementia--compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman haunting the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns--and with it, Heidi's fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, they must overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined. - Synopsis from The Curse of Misty Wayfair

"Narrated in parallel story lines from 1908 and the present, Wright creates an inspirational mystery with thrilling finesse, blending chilling supernatural elements with the raw interiority of mental illness, and taking readers on Heidi's haunting search for identity, which is sure to keep them up at night."--Booklist

"Stellar writing combined with stellar storytelling is rare. Jaime Jo Wright brings both in abundance to her third novel, The Curse of Misty Wayfair."--James L. Rubart, bestselling author of The Man He Never Was

"The Curse of Misty Wayfair is deliciously thrilling, with a resolution steeped in light and hope."--Jocelyn Green, author of Between Two Shores

"Jaime Jo Wright does it again! The Curse of Misty Wayfair is a compelling and deeply moving story."--Kara Isaac, RITA Award-winning author of Then There Was You


Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★★★ |   Since reading the Reckoning at Gossamer Pond, I found myself eagerly listening to the House on Foster Hill by way of my Scribd account, highlighting the fact that I truly loved Jaime Jo Wright’s creative storytelling and suspenseful, time slip narratives. But only time could reveal that my absolute favorite of Wright’s novels is her newest release, The Curse of Misty Wayfair.

As I delved into this new story, I was immediately immersed in two stories… That of Thea Reed, a young woman who’s searching for her roots so to speak at the beginning of the twentieth century, and that of Heidi Lane, a present day woman who’s returned home at the mysterious bidding of a letter penned by her dementia ridden mother. Both stories take readers captive from the very beginning… Wright has a way of creating magnetic, multi dimensional characters that are relatable and likable.

While I loved Thea and Simeon’s story, it was the dynamic relationship between Heidi and Rhett that I found captivating, amusing and enjoyable. Their strength, and stubbornness, made for some great interactions that left me smiling. Not to mention, the intricate way these two stories wove together in a fascinating tale of suspense, mystery and intrigue was phenomenal!

Overall, this was an excellent read. It’s clear that Wright is a master of words and very studious of people and their unique makeup. She portrays her characters and their thoughts in a way so relatable, readers can easily identify with them. I love how each of her books portrays a character with special needs and the unique qualities those characters bring to the story, as well as the concept that everyone is made in God’s image with love and for a specific purpose. The faith elements woven throughout this novel are rich, deep and inspirational. The clear impact a personal relationship with the Lord is evident and following the characters on their journey to uncover God’s truths is enlightening and relevant.

Along with Wright’s other two novels, I highly recommend The Curse of Misty Wayfair to both historical fiction lovers and contemporary fiction readers. It is also a great read for mature young adults and college age readers. Please, don’t miss out on this gripping novel, it won’t disappoint!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com


Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Jaime Jo Wright is the Christy Award-Winning author of The House on Foster Hill. She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime works as a human resources director in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and two children. To learn more, visit www.jaimewrightbooks.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of The Curse of Misty Wayfair or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below!