The Heart of the Mountains by Pepper Basham

MY REVIEW:

Pepper Basham is a mastermind of storytelling when it comes to the Appalachian mountains. She paints beautiful word pictures of the world as seen from the ridges of their peaks. I love how she always brings together characters both from the mountains and from across the pond in England. Jeb and Cora’s story was a perfect example of why I love her books. 

The Heart of the Mountains takes place shortly after the Great War when Cora flees an unwanted arranged marriage in England and travels to her brother’s home in the mountains of North Carolina. She immediately finds herself in a precarious and dangerous position shortly after her arrival and is rescued by Jeb McAdams. Thus begins the tale of two mismatched souls who quickly find more in common than expected as they get to know one another.

Readers know that they will find a sweet romance complete with kissing when they pick up a book by this author. However it is the cast of other characters, the daily lifestyle of the mountain people, and the drama going on around them that really shines in this story. The city girl who sticks out like a sore thumb and the simple mountain man with a heart of gold who is willing to give up his own happiness to honor his dead friend were the perfect couple even if appearances said otherwise. It was fun getting to know them and observing the development of their relationship as they poured out their lives taking care of others. 

The Heart of the Moutains is a wonderful story that you will just have to read for yourself. I fear saying more would reveal too much and ruin it for you.

 

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:

Book: The Heart of the Mountains

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance

Release date: July 1, 2022

Click here to get your copy!

Can their hearts overcome the darkness of the mountains?

To escape a forced marriage, Cora Taylor travels from England to the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of her brother, who is working as a teacher in a mission school. She hopes to find a place where her nursing skills and independent ideas will be accepted and appreciated, but nothing prepares her for the wild mixture of isolation, community, brokenness, and hope within these mountains…or in the person of Jeb McAdams.

Returning from the devastation of World War 1 emotionally damaged, Jeb McAdams struggles against the rampant mountain alcoholism to soothe his nightmares. It’s easy to hide within the mountains, or it was, before Cora Taylor arrived. Now, she seems to show up at every turn, bringing her modern ideas, curiosity, and beautiful eyes with her.

Bound by their shared war history, the pair develop an unlikely friendship, which unexpectedly hints to something more. But when Cora’s desire to help the women of the mountains crosses an unspoken line, will Jeb be able to protect this feisty flatlander from the wrath of the mountain men or will he end up losing much more than his heart?

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

You can learn more about Pepper at her website http://www.pepperdbasham.com or connect with her on FB, IG, or Twitter.

MORE FROM PEPPER:

It’s so interesting how one idea can influence an entire series, or…how one person’s story can.

The idea for The Heart of the Mountains started in Laurel’s Dream with a hint of a family history story about a girl named Kizzie. (Someday, I hope to bring Kizzie’s story to the pages of a book). From there, the idea began to grow out of a love for my Appalachian culture into a series of books which highlighted (and fictionalized) stories from my family history.

The main story in The Heart of the Mountains is about Jeb and Cora, two different people with similar servant hearts, but the secondary story that touched me so much was the one based on my great grandfather’s life. I write about it in the Author’s Note at the end of the novel, so I won’t go into detail about it. However, what I loved getting to do is bring the truth of God’s redemption in my great grandfather’s life…to life again.

I never knew “Papa Rat”. I only knew the stories handed down to me by my granny and my mama, but in writing this story, I feel as though I had a tiny opportunity to “meet” him in these pages. He was a gruff mountain man with a broken past which led him to make a whole lot of broken choices, but his story is incredibly encouraging, because it points to the God of broken people. My great grandpa wasn’t left in his brokenness, but, after years of running away from God, he would later recount that God pursued him. The beauty of Sam McAdams’ journey in The Heart of the Mountains is only a little glimpse into what I imagine my great grandpa’s redemption story looked like.

Because my great grandpa was forever changed when Jesus saved him (as any of us should be).

I think that’s what my granny and her siblings (and even “Papa Rat” himself) would want most -that his story would point to Jesus. I hope that’s what you see when you read about Sam McAdams in The Heart of the Mountains.

 Have you ever read a book based on family history? One of my favorites is Catherine Marshall’s Christy.

 

BLOG STOPS:

 

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e- gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/20389/the-heart-of-the-mountains-celebration-tour-giveaway

Out of the Night by Susan May Warren

MY REVIEW:

For those readers who enjoyed the Montana Marshalls series by Susan May Warren but were left wanting more of RJ & York’s story, the new The Epic Story of RJ and York series is what you’ve been waiting for. For those who have not yet had the pleasure of reading the aforementioned series, I think you would enjoy this one also but I would recommend reading the Montana Marshalls first and/or perhaps the Global Search and Rescue series too. Or not! Even without the background story, this is the perfect book for those who enjoy lots of intrigue, suspense, danger, and action with a little romance and faith thrown in for good measure. 

What begins as a romantic trip to Paris for York and RJ does not turn out at all as expected. Their plans are quickly interrupted by a man they believed to be in prison and their lives quickly went awry and from bad to worse. This action packed tale had me turning the pages and wondering what else could possibly happen. If you’ve read anything by this author, you know that there is no end to the trauma to which her characters might be subjected.

Out of the Night not only continued RJ and York’s story but as I’ve come to expect from this author, familiar characters from her other books popped in from time to time. Of course as the first of three in this series,  readers can expect this one to be a cliffhanger. I guarantee that when you reach the end you will be eager for the next installment. 

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book provided for the author’s launch team. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Will he ever outrun trouble?

All former spy and current national security agent York Newhouse wants is to propose to the woman he loves, RJ Marshall. Then they can move to Shelly, Montana, and start the calm, safe life he’s been dreaming of for over a year.

Too bad trouble doesn’t agree…

Or maybe RJ simply attracts trouble because she’s just going out for coffee when she spots a wanted, known terrorist standing in the middle of a street in Paris. At least she thinks it’s international criminal Alan Martin, the mastermind behind a plot to kill the president.

But he’s in jail, right?

Wrong. Martin has escaped, and it’s up to RJ—and York—to keep him in their sights until he can be apprehended. But chasing down Martin means following him into the darkness of whatever plot he’s cooked up now.

So much for York’s epic proposal. Now, he just wants to escape Europe with their lives.

The romantic trilogy ignites in book of the Epic Story of RJ and York!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 85 novels with more than 1 million books sold, including the Global Search and Rescue and the Montana Rescue series, as well as Sunrise and Sunburst. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan makes her home in Minnesota. Find her online at www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook @SusanMayWarrenFiction, and on Twitter @SusanMayWarren.

Fatal Code by Natalie Walters

MY REVIEW:

Fatal Code is a fast paced, suspense filled novel that moves at breath-taking speed from the beginning to the end as the SNAP team works with aerospace engineer Elinor Mitchell to prevent a major catastrophe before it is too late.

As a suspense lover, I found the plot to be near perfect with enough action, mystery, and suspense to keep me turning those pages. Characterization was wonderful. Kekoa was the perfect mix of handsome hunk, tormented soul, and team clown. He was honorable to a fault and determined to protect Elinor at all costs. Elinor was a delightful nerd, serious about her work but with a self-deprecating sense of humor. She and Kekoa were a great team even if she did not acknowledge it at first. I loved how well the team worked together and the family like ties they shared. I eagerly anticipate the next installment of this excellent series.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In 1964, a group of scientists called the Los Alamos Five came close to finishing a nuclear energy project for the United States government when they were abruptly disbanded. Now the granddaughter of one of those scientists, aerospace engineer Elinor Mitchell, discovers that she has highly sensitive information on the project in her possession–and a target on her back.

SNAP agent and former Navy cryptologist Kekoa Young is tasked with monitoring Elinor. This is both convenient since she’s his neighbor in Washington, DC, and decidedly inconvenient because . . . well, he kind of likes her.

As Elinor follows the clues her grandfather left behind to a top-secret nuclear project, Kekoa has no choice but to step in. And with danger closing in on all sides, Elinor will have to trust the man who has been spying on her to ensure her discoveries stay out of enemy hands–and she stays alive.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Natalie Walters is the author of Lights Out and Fatal Code, as well as the Harbored Secrets series. A military wife, she currently resides in Texas with her soldier husband and is the proud mom of three. She loves traveling, spending time with her family, and connecting with readers on Instagram and Facebook. Learn more at www.nataliewalterswriter.com.

In Honor’s Defense by Karen Witemeyer

MY REVIEW:

Karen Witemeyer has long been one of my must read authors and In Honor’s Defense just enforces the reasons why I love her books. This author has skills that make her characters come to life on the pages against backdrops that cause her readers to almost feel like they are there. It doesn’t hurt that she also manages to insert a villain or two or three, plenty of action and suspense, and a touch of humor in just the right places. And let’s not forget that every tale is laced through and through with faith and scripture that both teaches and encourages the reader.

In Honor’s Defense is the perfect ending for the Hanger’s Horsemen series. I have enjoyed each installment of the series and would have been quite happy for it to continue. However, if it had to end, it could not have been wrapped up more perfectly. I loved how both Luke and Damaris were such complete opposites but complemented each other so well. I also enjoyed those moments when they stepped out of their usual nature when circumstances demanded.

Although this book is one of a series, it can very easily stand on its own. I highly recommend it as well as any other book by this talented author.

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

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Book: In Honor’s Defense

Author: Karen Witemeyer

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: June 7, 2022

Click here to get your copy!

Luke Davenport has been fighting all his life–for respect, for country, and for those unable to fight for themselves. But now that his Horsemen brothers are domesticated, he’s left alone to battle the wildness within. When an opportunity arises to take a job on his own, tracking down a group of rustlers, he jumps at the chance.

Damaris Baxter has mastered the art of invisibility. Plain and quiet, she hides in books and needlework, content to be overlooked. Until her brother dies suddenly, leaving her custody of her nephew. She moves to Texas to care for Nathaniel, determined to create the family for herself that she never thought she’d have and to give him the family he desperately needs.

When Nate finds himself knee-deep in trouble, Luke’s attempt to protect him leaves Damaris feeling indebted to the Horseman. But suspicions grow regarding the mysterious death of Damaris’s brother. And the more questions they ask, the more danger appears, threatening the family Luke may be unable to live without.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Voted #1 Readers’ Favorite Christian Romance Author in 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, Karen is a multiple award-winning author and a firm believer in the power of happy endings. She is an avid cross-stitcher, tea drinker, and gospel hymn singer who makes her home in Abilene, TX with her heroic husband who vanquishes laundry dragons and dirty dish villains whenever she’s on deadline.

MORE FROM KAREN:

Meet Luke and Damaris

As the Hanger’s Horsemen series comes to a close, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Luke Davenport and Damaris Baxter. If you haven’t read the other books in this series, don’t worry. This one stands on its own just fine.

Luke

Luke Davenport is a former cavalry officer who is part of an elite squad of men known as Hanger’s Horsemen. Haunted by the horrors of war, this group of Texas legends has spent the last few years fighting for justice on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves. Luke is Matthew Hanger’s right-hand man, but when Matt retires the Horsemen in favor of a more settled life with his new wife, Luke is left feeling adrift. So when a solo job comes his way to track down rustled cattle, he jumps at the opportunity.

Known for his strength, his size, and his skill with his fists, I modeled Luke after a pair of football players, Howie Long and JJ Watt. He’s a man of action with a bit of wildness inside, yet his ability to memorize Scripture earned him the nickname Preach. He’s a godly man with scars, seeking to find his place as his Horsemen brothers move on to new phases of life.

 Damaris

Damaris Baxter has been invisible her entire life. Plain of face and quiet of manner, she it’s the epitome of unremarkable. While she dares heroic feats and grand adventures between the covers of her favorite books, life outside the pages consists of little more than needlework and dull conversation with her great aunt. Until her brother dies under suspicious circumstances and she travels to Texas to care for her nephew. Determined that the “Texas Damaris” will be bolder and braver than her former self, she sets out to win the heart of a grieving boy and ends up mixed up in a dangerous murder plot with a handsome cowboy who actually sees her.

When creating Damaris’s character, I gave her two of my favorite hobbies—reading and cross-stitching. She shares other similarities with me as well. She’s a quiet person who dislikes making waves, but when family needs her, there’s nothing she won’t do to help. Her questionable baking skills might also have found some inspiration in my personal experience. Just ask my husband about my famous transparent chocolate chip cookies. 

Opposites Attract?

I love to explore what brings people together, and while it’s a common idea that opposites attract, I’ve always believed that there must be some core commonalities beneath the differences to bind a couple together for a lifetime. So, while Luke and Damaris seem to be stark opposites—he an adventure-seeking soldier used to solving problems with guns and fists; she a quiet, proper lady used to escaping problems with books and needlework—they actually have several core commonalities. They both crave belonging and family, they both value God’s Word, and they both have a strong, protective instinct toward those they care about. This core common ground is what serves as the foundation for their relationship.

Now that you’ve been introduced to Luke and Damaris, I hope you’ll join them on the adventure that leads them to love.

 

BLOG STOPS:

 

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away a Hanger’s Horsemen prize bundle consisting of autographed copies of all three books in the series, a custom mug, and Horsemen swag!! (U.S. Only)

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1f45c/in-honor-s-defense-celebration-tour-giveaway

Valley of Promise by Kari Trumbo

MY REVIEW:

It is perhaps a bit ironic that Peace Valley has been at the center of the feud between the Johlman and Douglas families for several decades. The Douglas family are ranchers and blame every mishap or missing cow on the Johlmans who are sheep ranchers. Even if they may not even remember what started their feud, their children have never known otherwise. Now that those children are adults, they have grown discontent with the heavy-handed methods used by their fathers to control both their ranches and their families.

When Dasha Cattrel accompanies her father the judge and a Pinkerton agent to look into accusations against the acting sheriff, Armstrong Douglas is quickly attracted to her and hopes to get to know her better. What he doesn’t realize is that she is a relation of the hated Johlman family.

The Plot of Valley of Promise moves along a a steady clip with more than enough secrets, intrigue, twists, and adventure to please most readers. Missing cattle and a nefarious plot against both families as well as unexpected revelations add even more interest to this exciting story.

Trumbo’s characters are realistic and mostly likeable (except for the bad guys). Their faith, bravery, and loyalty were admirable. I loved how Armstrong and Dasha worked together to help solve the problems and their attempts to bring the families together. I have enjoyed both books in this series and look forward to even more excellent books by this author.

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

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Armstrong has never had a choice in his life.

Pa has decided everything from who his friends are to when he would take over their huge cattle spread. He’s made plenty of enemies in Belle Fourche, SD, along the way. Especially their neighbors—the sheep-ranching Johlmans.
When a judge arrives in town to look into all the misdeeds of both families, Armstrong’s carefully planned world begins to crumble, particularly when he meets the judge’s daughter. A woman who could have his heart, unless her father finds out what his family has been doing.

Dosha Cattrel’s father has threatened every man who’s shown interest in her. She’s given up hope of ever finding someone perfect enough to suit him, much less love her.

Her father brings her and a secretive Pinkerton agent to Belle Fourche to investigate a land war. She fully expects to be bored silly until she meets Armstrong, one of the very men under her father’s spyglass. What Armstrong doesn’t know is that she is related to the Johlmans, his fiercest enemies.

Can a secret love survive the light of day, or will secrets kill the growing love between them?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Where western meets happily ever after.

Kari is a USA Today bestselling author who writes swoony heroes and places that become characters with detail and heart.

Her favorite place to write about is the place her heart lives, (even if she doesn’t) South Dakota.

Kari loves reading, listening to contemporary Christian music, singing when no one’s listening, and curling up near the wood stove when winter hits. She makes her home in central Minnesota, land of frigid toes and mosquitoes the size of compact cars, with her husband of over twenty years. They have two daughters, two sons, one cat, and one hungry wood stove.

A Promise Engraved by Liz Tolsma

MY REVIEW:

A Promise Engraved is yet another split time novel that alternates between the Texas war for independence from Mexico and present time. Both time frames center around a mysterious tiger eye ring that is possibly connected to characters in both eras. Kayleigh, the modern heroine has bought the ring which may have been her mother’s. She takes it to a jeweler who is excited to help her solve the meaning of the cryptic engraving on the band. Their story is enhanced by the historical narrative of Josie and her experiences leading up to and including the battle of The Alamo.

Although there were leading male characters for both periods, the women, Kayleigh and Josie were the standout characters, especially Josie. Her grit and determination as well as her skills and bravery as a spy for the Texans held my interest the most. Kayleigh’s story was also interesting  but fell a bit short compared to Josie’s.

I enjoyed learning more about the history of the Alamo and its background. My prior knowledge was minimal and mostly consisted of knowing that there were no survivors and the names of some of the famous men who died there.

A Promise Engraved is an excellent book for those who love American history with a unique twist.

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:

Book: A Promise Engraved

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction/Romance

Release date: May, 2022

Click here to get your copy!

Can Promises Made in Times of Struggle Endure 200 Years?

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Young, spirited Josie Wilkins life is about to take a turn when faced with political turmoil and forbidden love in San Antonio of 1836. John Gilbert has won her heart, despite being a Protestant preacher who is forbidden to practice his faith in Texas. Will either of them survive an epic battle for liberty to create a legacy of love?

Nearly 200 years later, Kayleigh Hernandez takes breaks from her demanding job as a refugee coordinator working with Mexican migrants to attend flea markets where she has found a uniquely engraved ring. Enlisting the help of appraiser Brandon Shuman, they piece together a love story long forgotten. But will dangers linked to Kayleigh’s work end her own hopes for leaving a legacy built on hope, faith, and love?

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

MORE FROM LIZ:

The Story of Susannah Dickinson, Alamo Survivor

When asked how many died at the Alamo, many would answer that everyone did. While it’s true that all fighting on the side of Texas independence perished, there were survivors, all women and children and one slave. The only white woman (the rest were of Mexican descent) was Susannah Dickinson, along with her daughter Angelina. Susannah had followed her husband, Almaron, to Mexican Texas in 1831. They had married two years before when Susannah was just fifteen. She never learned to read or write.

She and the other women hid in the sacristy of the church, one of the surviving buildings in the mission and what we now think of as the Alamo. Her husband died, but Mexican General Santa Anna found them and spared their lives, sending them to Sam Houston with $2 each and a blanket.

She married again the following year but divorced him almost immediately on the grounds of cruelty. She married a third time the following year and was married for five years until her husband died of alcoholism. A fourth marriage occurred in 1847, but she divorced again in 1857, this time allegedly because she was having an affair. That same year, she married for a fifth time. This marriage lasted until her death in 1883.

The ring in A Promise Engraved is based on a cat’s eye ring supposedly given to Angelina by William Travis before the battle. Angelina was Susannah’s only child. She married and had three children, but that marriage ended in divorce. She gave the ring to a man she’d become involved with in New Orleans. She married again and had one more child but died in 1869 from a uterine hemorrhage.

Today there are many descendants of Susannah Dickinson. If you visit the Susannah Dickinson house in Austin, you’ll see a quilt that is signed by many of her living descendants.

BLOG STOPS:

 

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1e37a/a-promise-engraved-celebration-tour-giveaway