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:
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.
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
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!
I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s previous books, “Stealing Jake” and “Claiming Mariah” so I felt certain that her latest novel “The Promise of Breeze Hill” would be equally enjoyable. Pam Hillman came through with flying colors. This book is definitely a winner in my opinion.
Although not a western like the other two books (and I love westerns), “The Promise of Breeze Hill” has a southern setting in Mississippi near Natchez Trace. As a lifetime rural Tennessee girl, I am also quite fond of Southern novels so the book had a lot in its favor before I even opened its pages.
“The Promise of Breeze Hill” is one of the best novels in its genre that I have ever been blessed to read. Connor is a hero who is easy to love and Isabella is an admirable heroine. Their love story is not an instant one but one that grows gradually through mutual respect. I liked how Connor was portrayed with integrity and bravery while he was looked down upon by others and how one character in particular was actually not the grand person he pretended to be.
I really loved this book and look forward to the rest of the series. I am ready for it NOW!
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by The Tyndale Blog Network. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Natchez, MS; 1791
Anxious for his brothers to join him on the rugged frontier along the Mississippi River, Connor O’Shea has no choice but to indenture himself as a carpenter in exchange for their passage from Ireland. But when he’s sold to Isabella Bartholomew of Breeze Hill Plantation, Connor fears he’ll repeat past mistakes and vows not to be tempted by the lovely lady.
The responsibilities of running Breeze Hill have fallen on Isabella’s shoulders after her brother was found dead in the swamps along the Natchez Trace and a suspicious fire devastated their crops, almost destroyed their home, and left her father seriously injured. Even with Connor’s help, Isabella fears she’ll lose her family’s plantation. Despite her growing feelings for the handsome Irish carpenter, she seriously considers accepting her wealthy and influential neighbor’s proposal of marriage.
Soon, though, Connor realizes someone is out to eliminate the Bartholomew family. Can he set aside his own feelings to keep Isabella safe?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn’t afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn’t mind raking. Raking hay doesn’t take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that’s the kind of life every girl should dream of.