Review: Season of Memories by Jennifer Rodewald

Season of Memories wraps up the Murphy Brothers series, which is one of my very favorite book series of all time. These Murphy brothers and their wives have provided me with some of my most profound reading experiences. Each story has had a focus on some type of spiritual growth that the characters are going through, as well as situations that pulled all kinds of emotions from me. Season of Memories was no exception to this. My heart was all over the place!

I loved the way the author placed the reader primarily in the present, yet provided multiple flashbacks in order to show how Kevin and Helen, the Murphy parents, grew their family. It was not a simple, easy growth either. These two were not believers when they wed and had huge struggles to overcome in the early years of their marriage. The way the author showed what was going on in their lives every few years as they added to their family was precious. I loved seeing them welcome these Murphy men as babies while juggling the various issues that arose in life.

I highly recommend this entire series, all nine books. It is hard to say goodbye to these characters, but I am happy that I can go back and reread them anytime I want.

(5 stars)

I received a complimentary copy of this book, however, I also pre-ordered my own copy, too. All opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK

“There had been grace. Great grace . . . The kind of grace that changed a life. His life.”

Kevin and Helen Murphy have seen good times, and they’ve gone through dark valleys. In their nearly forty years of marriage, they’ve raised seven boys, built two thriving businesses, and witnessed time and again the wonder of God’s faithful love.

When a health crisis puts the entire family on high alarm, the memories begin to flow.

Witness their story—the highs and the lows—as the Murphys walk through this tender and poignant season of memories.

PURCHASE YOUR OWN COPY HERE

(Will also be available on KU)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Rodewald

Jennifer Rodewald is a Christian author of fiction who is passionate about the Word of God and the power of story. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.

Born in Colorado, she experienced both the seclusion of rugged mountain living and the busy streets of a Denver suburb during her growing up years. Somewhere in the middle of college, she married a Husker and found her way back to the quiet lifestyle of a rural area, which suits just fine.

Blessed with a robust curiosity, Jen loves to research. Whether she’s investigating the history of a given area, the biography of a Christian icon, or how nature declares the glory of God, her daily goal is to learn something new. Aiming to live with boundless enthusiasm, her creed is vision, pursuit, and excellence, and she incorporates that pursuit as a Christian writer.

Jen lives and writes in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life.

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Review: Her Surprise Christmas Courtship by Emma Miller

I so enjoyed this story! I am very happy that the two characters portrayed on the cover actually match their descriptions in the book. Millie is a larger young woman and Elden is a tall and handsome young man. They have known each other as acquaintances for years, yet Millie never, ever believed they could end up together romantically.

Interestingly enough, both characters dealt with self confidence issues which, along with some communication issues, caused them some problems. Yet, I loved the way their courtship came about and some of the early moments between them when Eldon was trying to figure out how to convey that he wanted to court Millie. It made my heart happy. They were such a sweet couple.

This is the first book in a new series and I am looking forward to reading more stories about Millie’s sisters.

(4.5 stars)

ABOUT THE BOOK

Could following her heart…

Lead her to the man next door?

Handsome Amish men like Elden Yoder don’t fall for big girls like Millie Koffman, so she’s sure he bid on her charity-auction cake by mistake. Only it’s all part of Elden’s plan to woo his pretty neighbor—and put his failed engagement behind him. But as the past threatens their new courtship, can they overcome their own insecurities…and find love for Christmas?

From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.

Seven Amish Sisters

Book 1: Her Surprise Christmas Courtship

PURCHASE YOUR OWN COPY HERE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emma Miller lives quietly in her old farmhouse in rural Delaware amid fertile fields and lush woodlands. Fortunate enough to be born into a family of strong faith, she grew up on a dairy farm, surrounded by loving parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Emma was educated in local schools, and once taught in an Amish schoolhouse much like the one at Seven Poplars. When she’s not caring for her large family, reading and writing are her favorite pastimes.

Amazon Harlequin Bookbub

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Review: Christmas Crime Cover-Up by Dana Mentink

This story was such an exciting and action-packed addition to the Desert Justice series! You could easily pick up and enjoy Christmas Crime Cover-Up as a stand alone novel if you wanted to. However, if you read book two in the series, Missing in the Desert, you will get a better idea of what happened to Seth and how far he has come since the tragedy that impacted him in that novel.

The author really kept me guessing with this story. I just could not figure out who wanted Felicia and Nora dead. What in the world had happened to put them in someone’s cross hairs when they had both simply returned to save a wild donkey in the desert? There were some excellent twists in this novel.

I really liked Seth. He had overcome so much and was a good and patient man with Nora. They worked and fit well together and I liked seeing them grow close in this story, even as Nora pushed back against any connections to Furnace Falls. I also enjoyed how much Jude was entwined in this book and am looking forward to the final book in the series, which will feature him as the hero.

(4.5 stars)

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK

A violent attack

Isn’t the homecoming she expected.

When an ATV tries to run her down in Death Valley, animal rescuer Nora Duke knows it’s a sign she never should have returned. Now she’s stuck on Seth Castillo’s ranch until Christmas with a pregnant donkey—and a criminal desperate to silence her. Facing her past is as terrifying as uncovering a killer’s twisted plan. But can Seth convince her to stay…if they live through the holidays?

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

Desert Justice

Book 1: Framed in Death Valley
Book 2: Missing in the Desert
Book 3: Death Valley Double Cross
Book 4: Death Valley Hideout
Book 5: Christmas Crime Cover-Up
Book 6: Targeted in the Desert

PURCHASE YOUR OWN COPY HERE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dana Mentink lives in California where the weather is golden and the cheese is divine. Her family includes two little girls (affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo.) Papa Bear works for the fire department and he met Dana doing a dinner theater production of The Velveteen Rabbit. Ironically, their parts were husband and wife.

Dana is an American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year finalist for romantic suspense and an award winner in the Pacific Northwest Writers Literary Contest. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third and fourth grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet.

Website  Blog  Facebook  Pinterest  Twitter Bookbub

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Review: Stay With Me by Jody Hedlund

Stay With Me is an outstanding addition to the Waters of Time series! I loved these two main characters and the way they were “all in” for each other. I appreciated that Sybil had a good grasp on what was happening to her based on her experiences with the other characters in the earlier books. She was determined to get back to Nicholas to save him early on in the story, which was a beautiful peek into her heart. There were other times, as well, in this novel when the hearts of these two main characters really showed through in the way they put each other first and also tried to help and save others.

The passion that these two characters had for life was inspiring, as was the romantic passion that began developing between them. The reality in this story was that Nicholas and Sybil were made for each other regardless of where or when they began in life. It was sweet to see their connection grow throughout the novel.

I was thrilled with the way the author wrapped up this story while also setting up some hints for the next book to come. This is one of those series that I will read again and again!

(5 stars)

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sacrificing and dying to oneself is costly.
But doing so brings new purpose and joy.

As a private investigator, Sybil Huxham has seen her fair share of strange occurrences. But nothing in her career has been more perplexing than the miracles she’s witnessed as a result of people drinking ancient holy water. When she discovers more of the rare holy water, she experiences strange overlaps with a nobleman in the Middle Ages who is languishing in a dungeon, accused of treason and condemned to die. To save his life, she finally crosses to the past completely.

Nicholas Worth has never met a woman quite like Sybil, and as the two run for their lives into the Weald, they find refuge among a community of outlaws. With both their reputations on the line, they have little choice but to marry. As they get to know each other, an undeniable attraction develops. But danger and disease chase after them, drawing ever closer. Will they be able to escape the threats? And will Sybil choose to stay with Nicholas in the past, or will she be ripped apart from him forever?

PURCHASE YOUR OWN COPY HERE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jody Hedlund is the best-selling author of over thirty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award. She lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy teens, and five spoiled cats.

WebsiteGoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterestInstagramBookBub

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Blog Blitz Giveaway: Strike to the Heart series by Danielle Grandinetti

Welcome to the Blog Blitz for the Strike to the Heart series by Danielle Grandinetti,
hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOKS

Title: To Stand in the Breach

Series: Strike to the Heart

Author: Danielle Grandinetti

Publisher: Hearth Spot Press

Release Date: September 13, 2022

Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense, Christian

She came to America to escape a workhouse prison, but will the cost of freedom be too high a price to pay?

1933, Wisconsin – Large animal veterinarian Katy Wells takes her patients’ welfare personally, so it’s no surprise when she stands up to angry farmers planning a milk strike or takes in an injured draft horse to save its life.But after a visitor from the past discovers her location and reveals a threat, she must choose between her work and her freedom, and whether to trust a man to keep her safe.

To Stand in the Breach is the prequel novella to A Strike to the Heart, releasing April 2022.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookBub

Title: A Strike to the Heart

Series: Strike to the Heart

Author: Danielle Grandinetti

Publisher: Hearth Spot Press

Release Date: September 13, 2022

Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense, Christian

She’s fiercely independent. He’s determined to protect her.

Wisconsin, 1933―When a routine mission becomes an ambush that kills his team, Craft Agency sniper Miles Wright determines to find the persons responsible and protect the woman he rescued. But the fierce independence that led Lily Moore to leave her family’s dairy business for the solitary life of a dog trainer and the isolation of her farm don’t make that easy. Neither does his unwanted attraction to her. Meanwhile, escalating incidents confirm that she’s far from safe.

Lily fears letting the surprisingly gentle retired marine into her life almost as much as she fears whoever is threatening her. As Wisconsin farmers edge toward another milk strike, one that will surely turn violent, it becomes clear that the plot against Lily may be part of a much larger conspiracy. When the search for her abductor leads close to home, she must decide whether to trust her family or the man who saved her life.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

Title: As Silent as the Night

Series: Strike to the Heart

Author: Danielle Grandinetti

Publisher: Hearth Spot Press

Release Date: September 13, 2022

Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense, Christian

He can procure anything, except his heart’s deepest wish. She might hold the key, if she’s not discovered first.

Chicago, 1933―Lucia Critelli will do anything for her ailing grandfather, including stand in a breadline to have enough food to make him a St. Nicholas Day meal. When she catches the eye of a goon who threatens her grandfather, she discovers the end of Prohibition doesn’t mean the end of the mafia’s criminal activity.

Retired Marine Scout Giosue “Gio” Vella can find anything, especially if it helps a fellow Italian immigrant, so he has no doubt he can locate his neighbor’s granddaughter, who has gone missing from a local church. Keeping her safe is another matter. Especially when he chooses to hide out with his Marine buddy in Eagle, Wisconsin, the site of a barely-held truce among striking dairy farmers.

Will Christmas bring the miracle they all need or will Gio discover there are some things even he can’t find, particularly when he stumbles upon the most elusive gift of all: love.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookBub


EXCERPTS

TO STAND IN THE BREACH

He found her.

Desperately clutching the paper, Dr. Katy Wells slipped into the sheltered area between two of the buildings at the center of the small town of Eagle, Wisconsin. She placed a gloved hand on the worn plank wall of Town Hall and squeezed her eyes shut to block out the words on the letter. Fear’s insidious claws sank into her chest. Fourteen years of running, of staying one step ahead of her uncle and other men who wished her harm … and she’d finally found security here, in this town, hidden as it was in the middle of the United States.

Until today.

A STRIKE TO THE HEART

Miles Wright pressed his eye to the A5 telescopic sight attached to his Springfield long-range rifle. Instead of being hunkered down in the trenches of Europe or in the humidity of Central America, as he would be if he’d stayed in the army, he flattened himself against the rough branch of a monstrous pine one hundred yards from the ruins of a stone house lost amid the forests of northern Wisconsin.

He breathed deeply, the smell of decaying leaves filling his nose even as the action calmed his heart. Dusk had come, but he could still spot the shadows of his four fellow retired soldiers darting from tree to tree toward the stone structure where Lily Moore’s kidnappers likely stashed her. His team was tasked with a simple rescue and had yet to meet any resistance. Miles’ job was to keep it that way.

AS SILENT AS THE NIGHT

Lucia tugged on her coat, a threadbare one that had seen too many winters. Gio slid his arm over her shoulder and pulled her close. She didn’t balk; in fact, she seemed to tuck in closer.

Buon compleanno, Lucia. Happy birthday.” He lowered his chin so he could see her, but as he spoke, she raised her face to his, bringing her lips within a hair’s breadth of his.

Her eyes widened, but she didn’t move. A white puff of breath wisped between them. Cold stiffened his extremities, and he flexed his fingers. So many reasons to put space between them, but he had no desire to entertain them. He ran his gaze over Lucia’s olive skin, dipped to her lips, then up to her warm, brown eyes. They searched his own, neither pushing forward nor retreating, letting him decide whether he was done denying the truth to himself.

Si, this woman, she was special to him. He slid his hand down Lucia’s back, drawing her nearer until her lips touched his. Si, si. More special than any other.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danielle Grandinetti

Danielle Grandinetti is author of the Strike to the Heart series and a book blogger at DaniellesWritingSpot.com. Her short stories have appeared in several publications and her writing has won the University of Northwestern Distinguished Faith in Writing Award. Originally from the Chicagoland area, she now lives along Lake Michigan’s Wisconsin shoreline with her husband and their two young sons. Danielle especially loves quiet mornings served with the perfect cup of tea.

Connect with Danielle by visiting daniellegrandinetti.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a paperback copy of the Strike to the Heart series and a tote bag featuring a dairy cow.

Strike to the Heart JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight November 29, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 6, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours
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Review: Honor’s Refuge by Hallee Bridgeman

I have really been enjoying this fast paced series featuring Special Forces soldiers. You can pick up Honor’s Refuge and enjoy this book without having read the first two books in the series, however, I think it would be a great idea to read book one, Honor Bound, first if you have the time. In that book, you will see all that Phil Osbourne persevered through in order to survive the injury that led to the loss of his leg. Honor Bound is also a fabulous book and my favorite of the series, so I highly recommend it.

I loved seeing Phil again in this story. He had a lot of emotional junk to get through from not only the past two years, but also other stressors from earlier in his life, as well. Melissa was no stranger to violence, either. She survived abuse as a child and witnessed the murder of her mother. I was so impressed with what she had done with her life. She was a very strong woman.

It was hard to watch as Phil struggled with some really heavy things in this story and was emotionally beat down time and again. However, he made such a big journey spiritually from the first page to the last. I really liked how straightforward Melissa was in speaking to Phil about their relationship during difficult times in this novel. She didn’t pull any punches. I enjoyed this action packed and emotionally charged book from beginning to end.

(4.5 stars)

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When she was just five years old, Melissa Braxton watched her father take her mother’s life. Separated from her sister, Lola, at that time, Melissa grew up with a strong desire to help those stuck in abusive relationships. It’s why she became a family therapist and opened a domestic abuse shelter.

After losing a leg to a gunshot wound in the line of duty, Phil Osbourne has felt like a man without a purpose–until he hears Melissa’s story and decides to use his Special Forces contacts to track down her missing sister. He knows what he discovers will break Melissa’s heart. What he doesn’t realize is that helping the women reunite will bring the cartel down on them like the Category 5 hurricane striking Miami.

Bruised yet not quite broken, Melissa and Phil battle the storm and the cartel, calling on strength they didn’t know they had to escape death, save the innocent, and–just maybe–find healing in each other’s arms.

PURCHASE YOUR OWN COPY HERE

ALSO AVAILABLE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hallee Bridgeman is the USA TODAY bestselling author of several action-packed romantic suspense books and series. An Army brat turned Floridian, Hallee settled with her husband in central Kentucky, where they have raised their three children. When she’s not writing, Hallee pursues her passion for cooking, coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. An accomplished speaker and active member of several writing organizations, Hallee can be found online at http://www.halleebridgeman.com.

FACEBOOK TWITTER INSTAGRAM

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Review & Giveaway: The Best Intentions by Sarah M. Eden

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for The Best Intentions by Sarah M. Eden,
hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: The Best Intentions

Series: The Huntresses #1

Author: Sarah M. Eden

Publisher: Covenant Communications

Release Date: November 21, 2022

Genre: Clean & Wholesome Romance/Historical/Regency

In the eyes of London Society, Gillian Phelps is suitable enough. Though the ton whispers about her change of residence, any speculation remains just that: ballroom gossip. No one—not even the other Huntresses, the group of ladies she calls her dearest friends—knows that she is harboring a devastating family secret. Gillian has become adept at hiding the reality of her circumstances, but the close quarters of a house party will test her ability to conceal the crushing truth. And with so many people to deceive, the late arrival of another guest is a most unwelcome surprise.

Despite his standing as a gentleman of the ton, in truth, Scott Sarvol possesses little more than two debt-riddled estates. When an opportunity arises to survey one of his properties, he travels north, only to find himself an unwitting guest at Artemis Jonquil’s house party. He is warmly welcomed by all—except the aloof Miss Gillian Phelps. But when Scott proves himself unexpectedly helpful in a crisis, his acquaintance with Gillian shifts from wariness to something warmer.

As both her charade and her feelings for Scott deepen, Gillian realizes that the truth could spell not only a devastating fall from Society but also a shattered heart.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


MY REVIEW

I have only read a handful of titles by Sarah M. Eden so far and have discovered that I am becoming increasingly enchanted by any of her novels containing members of the Jonquil or Lancaster families. I was thrilled to see a chronological listing of these books as I turned the last page of The Best Intentions. And now my intention is to work through the list chronologically with the books that I have yet to read.

This story was a beautiful romance between two people who had experienced more than their fair shares of difficult circumstances and disappointments. I was impressed with the author’s ability to create two different situations that Gillian and Scott were struggling with, yet the troubles they faced seemed impossible to overcome.

I loved the way these two began to get to know each other and the way that love snuck up on them. And once that love was there, and acknowledged, I thought that their care and concern for each other showed what honorable and genuine people they were.

It was great to see so many Jonquils and even one of the Gents in this novel! It makes me eager to start catching up with these characters in the books that I have yet to read.

(5 stars)

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah M. Eden

Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today bestselling author of multiple historical romances, including AML’s “2013 Novel of the Year” and Foreword Review’s 2013 “IndieFab Book of the Year” gold medal winner for Best Romance, Longing for Home, and the Whitney Award’s “2014 Novel of the Year,” Longing for Home: Hope Springs. Combining her obsession with history and affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting witty characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. Sarah lives with her husband, kids, and mischievous dog in the shadow of a snow-capped mountain she has never attempted to ski.

Connect with Sarah by visiting sarahmeden.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a signed copy of book, $25 Amazon gift card, bookmark, stickers, and button.

The Best Intentions JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight November 28, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 5, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours
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Review: Coming Home by Shelley Shepard Gray

I have found my new favorite Shelley Shepard Gray book! And that is saying something, because there are quite a few of her titles that are high on my list. But there is just something extra special about Coming Home.

It is partially due to the fact that it is a second chance at love story. I have found that I truly enjoy a well written novel where two people who once loved each other get that chance they thought was gone forever. And these two main characters, Chelsea and Anderson, definitely thought their time together would always remain a thing of the past.

Another reason I loved this story was the community where it was set. I felt like the characters in this town were real people. From the firefighters, to the senior citizens gathering at the community center, to Chelsea’s son, Jack, and Anderson’s parents, the author created a wonderful setting for this book and all future stories to come.

I could feel the connection between Anderson and Chelsea from the first moment they saw each other again. The straightforward way Anderson approached the topic of he and Chelsea getting to know each other again was refreshing. Yet, even still, Anderson and Chelsea struggled to let go of the difficult moments from their past, the “what ifs” that could have been, guilt, and even the fear of being hurt. But these two did a remarkable job of sharing their hearts in braveness with each other when it really mattered. I also thought the connection between Anderson and Jack was beautiful and spoke to the very honorable man Anderson had become.

I loved this book from start to finish and am anxiously awaiting the next novel in the series. Coming Home is a clean, contemporary romance title and the first book in the Woodland Park Firefighters Romance series.

(5 stars)

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When an army vet becomes a firefighter in small-town Colorado, the flames of an old love reignite in this sweet romance by bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray

In Woodland Park, a small town nestled in the foothills of Pikes Peak, Anderson Kelly and Chelsea Davis were once the high school “it” couple–the star quarterback and the valedictorian. They broke up when Anderson joined the army and one poor decision at a fraternity party changed Chelsea’s life. Now, she works long shifts in a senior center to support her nine-year-old son, Jack.

After multiple tours in Afghanistan, Anderson has changed, too–physically scarred but mentally strong–and he decides to move back to Woodland Park. Anderson and Chelsea steer clear of each other to avoid reopening old wounds, until they are forced to reconnect through the senior center. They soon discover that the love they once shared never completely vanished. But it will take a fire, a dangerous collision, and the love of one little boy to help Anderson and Chelsea see that the future they’ve always yearned for is in sight…

PURCHASE YOUR OWN COPY HERE

EXCERPT

Chelsea’s back was to the main entrance of Granger’s but it didn’t stop the fresh burst of cold air from sinking into her skin. She was starting to wish she’d chosen a thicker sweater for her night out with Mallory and Kaylee.

Granger’s Last Stand wasn’t the only option in Woodland Park for burgers, wings, and beer, but it was hands down everyone’s favorite spot. Located on the main drag through town, the restaurant had been expanded multiple times over the last twenty years. Now it boasted indoor, patio, and rooftop dining. Local bands played all summer and from time to time in the winter high school and college kids played acoustic guitar near the fireplace.

Tonight, since there was still a chill in the air, most everyone was inside. A couple of people were keeping the old jukebox playing and the buzz from the crowd provided the rest of the noise.

After eight hours of working at the Woodland Park Senior Center, Chelsea was ready to relax and catch up with her two best friends. “Mal, you never finished telling us about the couple who came into the boutique today,” she said.

The petite brunette shrugged. “It wasn’t all that notable . . . beyond the fact that the husband sat on the pink velvet chair by the door while his wife spent almost a thousand dollars on end-of-season fleece!”

“To be fair, that stuff adds up,” Kaylee said. “Last time I bought a Patagonia jacket, I paid three hundred.”

“Are you still wearing it, Kay?”

Kaylee picked up the sleeve of her jacket that was draped over her chair. “Obviously.”

“Well, there you go.”

Chelsea hid her smile by taking another sip of wine. The conversation was nothing new. Kaylee liked to carp about the prices at Mallory’s store but always managed to stop by to drool over every new shipment of high-end ski, apres-ski, and mountain gear. Since Chelsea couldn’t afford any of it, she enjoyed simply listening and being supportive. “Well, that’s great. I’m glad they stopped in.”

“Me, too,” Mallory said with a smile. “They were on their way to Cripple Creek to gamble. I hope they come in again before they head back to Kansas City.”

“I’m really happy for you. Congrats.” Chelsea knew that sales like that kept Mallory’s spirits up, especially in the spring. A lot of folks were still paying off Christmas bills in March, so the shop suffered a lot of slow days until the weather warmed up and she began selling biking and hiking gear.

“Thanks.” Mallory smiled again, but she kept glancing past Chelsea’s shoulder.

“What’s going on behind me? Am I boring you?” she teased.

“I think she’s having a hard time concentrating because the hotties from the fire station just blew in,” Kaylee said. “Who can blame her though? It’s hardly fair that five guys can look so good.”

Chelsea’s stomach sank. Of course the firefighters had to show up. It was the first night in ages that she’d gone out instead of hurrying home to Jack.

Not even pretending to look anywhere else, Mallory murmured, “That Mark Oldum is dreamy.”

“So is Chip,” Kaylee said. “I met him at the gas station a couple of weeks ago.”

Oh brother. “How do you know those guys’ names?” Chelsea asked her friends. “I didn’t know you hung out with firefighters.”

“I don’t, which is the problem,” Kaylee joked. “And, just for the record, I don’t know all of their names. Just one or two. And I know because I asked Wendy up at the bar.” Flipping her hair over her shoulder, she asked, “Why all the questions? I didn’t think you were interested in dating. Or have you finally changed your mind?”

“It would be great if you did start going out,” Mallory said. “All you do is work and go home.”

“No, that’s not all I do. I have Jack, remember? He keeps me plenty busy.”

“I get that, but I think it’s time you started doing more for yourself. Jack’s almost nine, you know,” Mallory added.

“Ha-ha, I know.”

“Then you also know that he’s going to want to start doing more things with his friends instead of just his mom, right?”

“I know that, too.” But she also hated to think about it. When had he gotten so big, anyway?

Kaylee sighed. “If you know all that . . . isn’t it time you started dating?”

“I’ve dated,” she protested. Though, to be fair, she hadn’t dated very much. She’d promised herself years ago to always put her little boy’s needs ahead of her own. And, though he probably wouldn’t mind if she dated occasionally, she never wanted to risk hurting him.

Or maybe she was simply afraid to risk hurting her heart again.

Anxious to push the attention elsewhere, she smiled at Mallory. “Who are you looking at now?”

“I’m trying to find where Mark went. I lost him in the crowd. I tell you what, half the station must be here.”

Chelsea tried not to tense but it was next to impossible. Whenever she was someplace there was a chance of seeing Anderson Kelly, she couldn’t help it. “What do the other guys look like?”


Excerpted from Coming Home by Shelley Shepard Gray Copyright © 2022 by Shelley Shepard Gray. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo Credit – Dianne Bomar

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

WEBSITE FACEBOOK TWITTER INSTAGRAM

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Find Britt Reads Fiction on Instagram!

That’s right! I’m on Instagram now…joining up with the wonderful Bookstagram community and having fun getting started on a new-to-me platform sharing about my love of books, as well as the many amazing Christian fiction and clean fiction authors out there.

If you’re on Instagram, I hope you will follow me: @brittreadsfiction
and we can share our love of good books together!

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Review: Her Christmas Redemption by Toni Shiloh

Her Christmas Redemption was such a good story! I really liked Vivian and could tell that she had truly made a new start and was earnestly seeking God in her new life. I felt for her as she battled holding in her secrets and the fear of what others would think.

Michael was also a character I liked a lot, although he had held onto a lot of anger which affected him in quite a few different ways as the story progressed. When some things fell apart for him, he immediately reacted in anger and frustration and it took a few different people pointing out that he needed to turn things over to God and seek His guidance. I loved seeing how his heart changed!

This was a great small town Christmas setting and I look forward to reading more stories involving Michael’s siblings!

(4.5 stars)

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Can she find a second chance…
on a town’s holiday wish list?

Organizing her church’s Christmas Wishes program is the perfect start to Vivian Dupre’s new life—one without the shame of her recent mistakes. But as she grows closer to co-coordinator Michael Wood, she’s even more determined to keep her past hidden. Together they can give joy to their small town. But when Michael discovers her secret, will he be willing to grant Vivian’s holiday wish—forgiveness?

From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.

PURCHASE YOUR OWN COPY HERE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and multi-published Christian contemporary romance author. She writes to bring God glory and to learn more about His goodness. Her novels, Grace Restored, w-as a 2019 Holt Medallion finalist, Risking Love a 2020 Selah Award finalist, The Truth About Fame a 2021 Holt Medallion finalist, and The Price of Dreams a 2021 Maggie Award finalist. 

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Newsletter: http://tonishiloh.com/subscribe
Blogs I’m part of: www.inspyromance.com and http://diversitybetweenthepages.wordpress.com

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