Solve by Christmas by Amber Schamel



MY REVIEW:

Amber Schamel is a new author to me but the description of “Solve By Christmas” was intriguing so I chose to review it. I am glad I took the time to do so. The book is a fairly short one and I easily read it in the course of a day in between my necessary chores at home. The writing style is very readable and I was quickly pulled into the story.

Hero Jasper Hollock is an often awkward charmer who is sharp as a tack. Although he appears to be quite confident, he is anything but that beneath the surface and tends to cover his insecurities with brashness. He really needs to work on that! I also loved the character of Denny, the young man who fancied himself as Jasper’s sidekick. His persistence was endearing, even though Jasper constantly rejected his assistance. Miss Leslie was another interesting character although I would have liked to get to know her better. Perhaps the author will be inspired to continue with a series about Detective Jasper Hollock. I for one would read it.

“Solve By Christmas” was an enjoyable read with not one but two mysteries for Jasper to solve before Christmas. The story wrapped up very satisfactorily by the end and I was pleased with the solution to Mr. Rudin’s case. I loved how the gospel was presented in the context of the story. I hope others will pick up a copy of this fun Christmas book and read it for themselves.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Solve by Christmas Historical Mystery

When sabotage threatens the Rudin Sugar Factory, Detective Jasper Hollock believes this will be his first real case. But dear Mr. Rudin—the only father Jasper has ever known—holds a different assignment for his private investigator.

“I’ve struck a deal with God, Jasper, and you’re my angel.”

Mr. Rudin charges Jasper to build a “case” of reasons for his employer to continue his life. If he fails, Mr. Rudin will end it in suicide on Christmas night.

As the incidents at the factory become life threatening, Jasper’s attempts at dissuading Mr. Rudin prove futile, and Jasper is left staring at the stark reality of his own soul. Time is ticking. Jasper must solve both cases by Christmas before Mr. Rudin, the company, and Jasper’s faith, are dragged to perdition. Will this be the Christmas Jasper truly discovers what makes life worth living?

“Amber Schamel’s engaging prose weaves together not one, but two edge-of-your-seat threads in this historical mystery. With the hero racing against time to solve the two cases readers will be kept guessing as they attempt to crack the case. “ ~ Laura V. Hilton author of Christmas Admirer (Whitaker House)

Pick up your copy here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”. A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and has been awarded the 2017 CSPA Book of the Year Award in Historical Fiction. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites. Amber is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

GUEST POST FROM AMBER SCHAMEL:

Thank you so much for joining us on the Celebrate Lit blog tour for Solve by Christmas!! I am so excited you’re here. For this special event, I wanted to share the inside scoop behind the story.

Solve by Christmas is a historical Mystery set in Denver during the great blizzard of 1913. It has a unique storyline, so people often wonder where the idea came from. Honestly, it was one of those ideas that just popped into my head, then took on a life of its own and evolved over several weeks.

I wanted to give my readers a new story before the year was out, but I didn’t have a specific plot in mind. I did know I wanted to write a Christmas story. So, I had that much. Then I decided I wanted something with a firm deadline.” If this doesn’t happen by this date, everyone dies” sort of thing. Then “By Christmas” popped into my head and flicked on a light. What if Christmas was the deadline?

I’ve always loved detectives and mystery stories, and they go perfectly with deadlines. So, then I thought, what if a detective must solve the case by Christmas or death wins?

Sometimes, as an author, there are ideas and thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere. Almost like God dropping a card into your mental mailbox. The next point of Solve by Christmas was that way. What if a detective was assigned a case that he had to solve by Christmas, but it wasn’t a real case –at least not the type of case he wanted—but something completely different? From there, the story began to really take shape.

The next step, of course, is to come up with a character to be the detective. I wanted the story to have a Sherlock Holmes feel, so I started by studying his character a bit. But my story also has a less serious side since it isn’t a murder mystery and takes place at a sugar factory. I wondered…what would happen if you took Sherlock Holmes and meshed him with Barney Fife?

Now THAT would be hard to pull off. But I was determined to try. So, I made a list of Sherlock Holmes traits, and one of Barney Fife’s traits. I began to see that they actually DO have several similarities. They’re both a bit socially awkward. They both have a very similar flavor of pride. And they both have this air of authority…although Sherlock can back his up while Barney struggles in that area. Then I began to pick and choose between the traits that were left, this Barney trait, this Sherlock trait, and pretty soon I had Detective Jasper Hollock forming on the page. Whether you will get a Barney Fife and Sherlock feel when you read Solve by Christmas, I can’t say. But I do believe I was successful in creating a unique, quirky character that will bring this Christmas mystery to life.

There you have it. The scoop behind Solve by Christmas. I hope you enjoy the story, and best wishes in the giveaway! I will be stopping by along with Jasper and Denny (the two main characters) to answer any questions you may have about the story or the characters, so please do leave us a comment.

BLOG STOPS:

A Baker’s Perspective, December 12

A Simply Enchanted Life, December 12

Connie’s History Classroom, December 13

Bigreadersite, December 13

The Fizzy Pop Collecton, December 14

Genesis5020, December 14

Baker Kella, December 15

Daysong Reflections, December 15

History, Mystery & Faith, December 16

Karen Sue Hadley, December 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 17

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, December 17

Aryn The Libraryan, December 18

A Reader’s Brain, December 18

Bibliophile Reviews, December 19

Mary Hake, December 19

Texas Book-aholic, December 20

Simple Harvest Reads, December 20

Babs Book Bistro, December 21

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 21 (Interview)

Seasons of Opportunities, December 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 22

Just the Write Escape, December 23

The Power of Words, December 23

Live.Love.Read., December 24

Carpe Diem, December 24

Blogging With Carol, December 25

The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, December 25

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, Amber is giving away a grand prize of a Christmas themed basket which will include a paperback copy of Solve by Christmas and The Swaddling Clothes (my two Christmas books) as well as a Christmas terrarium jar, and a Solve by Christmas notepad!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

https://promosimple.com/ps/c5bb

 

 

Holly, Ivy, & Intrigue by Joanie Bruce, Alexa Verde, & Denise Weimer



MY REVIEW:

“Holly, Ivy, & Intrigue” is the perfect companion for one of those cold winter evenings prior to Christmas when your shopping and baking are done or you just need a little time to yourself to unwind from all the seasonal busyness. The book is comprised of three separate suspense novellas that take place during the Christmas season.  Most readers should easily be able to read each novella in one sitting.

As can be expected, these stories move along very quickly with less character development than a full-length novel. Fortunately that did not detract at all from my enjoyment – in fact I found it refreshingly relaxing. Each novella was well written with ample mystery and tension to satisfy most suspense lovers.

Christmas Murder Mix-up was quite suspenseful yet had clever bits of humor woven through the story that kept me entertained as I read. Misunderstandings abound but of course everything works out well in the end.

Holiday Pursuit was an exciting tale that revolved around a dead body found in a stolen car. The spunky heroine found her share of danger and maybe even romance as she attempted to locate her brother who was suspected of the crime.

A Holiday Intruder may not have as much danger and excitement as the first two novellas but it is a satisfying mystery with an unexpected romance.

I would definitely recommend “Holly, Ivy, & Intrigue” for everyone interested in a bit of light and entertaining reading pleasure for the holidays. Be sure and check it out.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Click to purchase

Christmas Murder Mix-Up

“I have to get rid of her now.”

After four months of a blissful marriage, Paige is devastated to overhear her husband, Cooper, say those words to his best friend. Because of a suspicious Christmas gift, a gas leak, and a home invasion, Paige’s love for Cooper is tested to the limit. Will their marriage survive the Christmas Murder Mix-up?

Holiday Pursuit

When Brianna Rockwell’s brother finds himself in danger and disappears three days before Christmas, she does everything to rescue him. Brianna dodges bullets, escapes fire, and even turns to her longtime crush for help. But the closer she gets to solving the mystery and finding her only sibling, the more desperate someone gets to silence her forever…

A Holiday Intruder

Kelsey Jordan prefers upcycling junk and refinishing antiques for her store in a Georgia mountains town to being the center of attention. When a robbery and an unknown benefactor shove her in the middle of a decades-old mystery, and a real estate developer and a former baseball star compete for her attention, Kelsey isn’t sure who to trust.

Click here to purchase your copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

As an avid reader, Joanie Bruce welcomed the transition from reading to writing and considered it a wonderful new experience to please others with her words. She has three published Christian suspense novels, and enjoys writing from her home in the country. Thankful that God has given her the ability to write, draw and paint, Joanie strives to use them to encourage others and to honor Him in all her accomplishments.

Alexa Verde penned her first literary masterpiece, a rhymed poem, at the ripe age of eight, and since has had 200 short stories, articles, and poems published in the five languages that she speaks. She has a bachelor degree in Spanish, a master’s in Russian, and enjoys writing about characters with diverse cultures. She’s worn the hats of reporter, teacher, translator, model (even one day counts!), caretaker, and secretary, but thinks that the writer’s hat suits her the best. After traveling the world and living in both hemispheres, she calls a small town in south Texas home. The latter is an inspiration for the fictional setting of her series Rios Azules Christmas and Secrets of Rios Azules.

Denise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. An associate editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, Denise is the author of The Restoration Trilogy, The Georgia Gold Series, romantic novella REDEEMING GRACE, and ACROSS THREE AUTUMNS: A Novella of The Backcountry Brides Collection through Barbour Publishing (May 2018). This wife and swim mom of two daughters always pauses for coffee, chocolate, old houses, and to write any story God lays on her heart.

BLOG STOPS:

Texas Book-aholic, December 3

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 3

Reflections From My Bookshelves, December 4

History, Mystery & Faith, December 4

Zerina Blossom’s Books, December 5

proud to be an autism mom, December 5

Mommynificent, December 6

Inklings and notions, December 6

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 6

Allofakindmom, December 7

Blogging With Carol, December 7

Blossoms and Blessings, December 8

Have A Wonderful Day, December 8

Janices book reviews, December 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 9

Carpe Diem, December 10

Mary Hake, December 10

A Baker’s Perspective, December 11

Daysong Reflections, December 12

Avid Reader Book Reviews, December 12

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 13

Remembrancy, December 13

Multifarious, December 14

Margaret Kazmierczak, December 14

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 15

Pursuing Stacie, December 15

Vicky Sluiter, December 16

Bigreadersite, December 16

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

https://promosimple.com/ps/c515

 

The Heart of an Agent by Tracey J. Lyons



MY REVIEW:

“The Heart of an Agent” is one of those books that makes one wish for a kinder, gentler world than the one we now live in. Of course if you actually think about it, the world probably wasn’t quite as kind and gentle as it seemed or there would have been no need for the Pinkertons. Nevertheless, Tracey J. Lyons paints a gorgeous picture of life at a Great Camp in the Adirondacks during the late 1800s that made me wish I could visit.

Although the series is entitled The Adirondack Pinkertons, this particular novel does not involve an actual case but features Lily Handland, a former Pinkerton agent who hopes to settle in one place and make a new and safer life for herself. Opportunities for a different job are either scarce or do not suit Lily’s skills but when she learns that the camp owned by grieving widower Owen Murphy needs someone to help get it back in operation, Lily quickly decides it is the job for her. Of course it might take some work to convince Owen of that fact.

I loved every minute of this heart-warming story about the determined and spunky former agent and the resistant and stubborn Owen. It was also fun to read more about Elsie and William as well as John. It is a beautiful tale of changed lives and renewed hope that is of course peppered with a few secrets, misunderstandings, and roadblocks to happy-ever-after. A subtle theme of faith is woven throughout the story.

“The Heart of an Agent” was the perfect follow-up to “A Changed Agent”. I eagerly look forward to the next book in this series.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. (I also purchased a digital copy.) A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Click to purchase

Tracey J. Lyons, the author of A Changed Agent, returns to the Adirondack Mountains of the 1890s in a novel of love, faith, and secrets…

Former Pinkerton spy Lily Handland has always dreamed of a quiet, safe life, free from chasing criminals and putting herself at risk. So when the opportunity to invest in a failing Great Camp in the Adirondacks comes to her attention, she quickly jumps at the chance.

Filled with grief, widower Owen Murphy wants to run away from it all. Though he’s worked hard to forge a future for himself, his guilt has kept him mired in the past. But all that changes when a headstrong, mysterious woman shows up at Owen’s door. Together, as Lily and Owen restore the beauty of the Great Camp, he begins to finally see a future. But will learning about Lily’s past destroy it all?

Click here to purchase your copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

An Amazon Top Ten bestselling historical romance author of the Adirondack Pinkertons and the Women of Surprise series, Tracey was a 2017 National Excellence Romance Fiction Award finalist. She sold her first book on 9/9/99! Her books have been translated into several languages and are available in print, digital and audio formats. A true upstate New Yorker, Tracey believes you should write what you know. Her historical romances are all set in the New York State area. Tracey considers herself a small town gal who writes small town romances. You can learn more about Tracey and her books by visiting her website at www.traceylyons.com.

GUEST POST FROM TRACEY LYONS:

My family and I spent a lot of time in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. When I came up with the idea for the Pinkerton series, I knew the books had to be set in a place that I loved. The Heart of An Agent, book 2 in The Adirondack Pinkertons series takes place at an Adirondack great camp. Imagine a time when people would travel from faraway places to hike the many trails or lounge on a porch in one of the famed Adirondack chairs. These intricate, grand structures, built during the latter part of the nineteenth century are part of the unique landscape and history that makes up the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. I enjoyed creating the fictional Murphy camp, the setting for Lily Handland and Owen Murphy’s story.

BLOG STOPS:

Just the Write Escape, November 30

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, December 1

Locks, Hooks and books, December 1

A Greater Yes, December 2

Faery Tales Are Real, December 2

Multifarious, December 3

To Everything a Season, December 3

Reader’s cozy corner, December 4

Janice’s book reviews, December 5

Carpe Diem, December 6

Bibliophile Reviews, December 7

Pause for Tales, December 8

Have A Wonderful Day, December 8

With a Joyful Noise, December 9

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 10

Daysong Reflections, December 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 11

Mary Hake, December 11

My Writer’s Life, December 12

Books n Baubles, December 12

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 13

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, Tracey is giving away a Grand Prize Package of a tea-time themed gift box (Valued at over $75) and a $25 Visa Gift Card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c1f6

Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman



MY REVIEW:

I have read and enjoyed a number of books by Cara Putman during her career as an author that include both historical and contemporary suspense. Although each one has been very good, I believe that this author has excelled with her latest legal suspense series entitled Hidden Justice. “Imperfect Justice” is the second installment of the series and may be the very best one yet.

“Imperfect Justice” offers the reader not one, but two mysteries to help solve (you know we all get that involved with our books). When one of attorney Emilie Wesley’s clients dies after apparently shooting and killing one daughter and injuring the other one, Emilie is not convinced that her client could do such a thing. Working with the client’s brother Reid Billings to find the truth and thus potentially save the surviving daughter, Emilie is also plagued by an unknown stalker whose escalating actions make her increasingly uncomfortable if not fearful.

With almost perfect pacing, the plot of “Imperfect Justice” features vivid characterization and detailed descriptions. Action, danger, and a few surprises blend with a touch of romance to produce a gripping story that managed to hold my attention until I reached the very end. I also enjoyed that fact that Hayden and Andrew from “Beyond Justice” are featured secondary characters. It’s always fun to meet up with characters you loved from a previous book. I look forward to the next book in the series, “Delayed Justice” but it looks like it will be a wait of several months. If you haven’t read the first two books, do yourself a favor and pick up copies to read while waiting for the final book.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Litfuse Publicity. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

The police say the woman was a murderer. Emilie Wesley knows they can’t be talking about her client . . . can they?

To the world it seems obvious: Kaylene Adams killed her daughter and then was shot by police. Attorney Emilie Wesley knows a different story: Kaylene would never hurt anyone and was looking for a way out of a controlling, abusive relationship. Her death shakes Emilie’s belief that she can make a difference for women in violent marriages. Self-doubt plagues her as she struggles to continue her work in the wake of the tragedy.

Reid Billings thought he knew his sister—right up until he learned how she died. He discovers a letter from Kaylene begging him to fight for custody of her daughters if anything should happen to her. No attorney in her right mind would support an uncle instead of the father in a custody case, but Kaylene’s letter claims Emilie Wesley will help him.

Thrown together in a race to save Kaylene’s surviving daughter, Emily and Reid pursue the constantly evasive truth. If they can hang on to hope together, can they save a young girl—and find a future for themselves in the process?

Learn more and purchase a copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cara Putman is the author of more than 25 legal thrillers, historical romances, and romantic suspense novels. She has won or been a finalist for honors including the ACFW Book of the Year and the Christian Retailing’s BEST Award. Cara graduated high school at 16, college at 20, completed her law degree at 27, and recently received her MBA. She is a practicing attorney, teaches undergraduate and graduate law courses at a Big Ten business school, and is a homeschooling mom of four. She lives with her husband and children in Indiana.

Find out more about Cara at http://caraputman.com.

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