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Friday, November 26, 2021

Book Review And Giveaway- Murder at the Empire By: Cathe Swanson


About the Book

Book: Murder at the Empire

Author: Cathe Swanson

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: October 5, 2021

Murder at the Empire CoverGayle Wells is a killer organist, but does a killer have her in his sights?

They call him the Emperor.  John Starek fills his theater with fine artwork and treasures. He’s particularly pleased to have one of the country’s first female organists – and he thinks Gayle Wells is the bee’s knees.

Despite pressure from her social crusader mother, Gayle isn’t interested in changing the world. She just wants a car of her own – and a career playing the organ at the Empire movie palace would be especially ducky.

Then the Empire’s treasures start disappearing and employees start dying. Are a few pieces of art really enough motive for the string of murders? Will Gayle be next?

Murder at the Empire brings the Nightingale into an elegant movie palace in the roaring 20’s – but the real excitement is all off-screen.


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

6-20-2016-1000After 40 years of wandering (but always in lovely places and not in a desert), Cathe Swanson has recently returned to her childhood home and family in Minnesota.  In the summer, she and her husband enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and being outdoors, gardening, hiking, birdwatching, and kayaking. The long winters are perfect for writing books, playing games, reading, and indoor hobbies. Cathe’s been a quilter and teacher of quiltmaking for over 25 years and enjoys just about any kind of creative work, especially those involving fiber or paper.

Everything inspires new books! A lifelong love of quilting, Cathe’s Swedish heritage and an interest in genealogy led to The Glory Quilts series, and The Hope Again series is inspired by her life in the Midwest and experiences with the elderly, the military, and inner-city ministry. As a child of the sixties, she’s having fun writing about hippies and the Jesus People movement in the Serenity Hill series.


Cathe writes books with creative plots and engaging characters of all ages, to glorify God and entertain and bless readers. Her heartwarming stories will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again.


More from Cathe

The 1920’s is a fascinating era. Women had recently won the right to vote, and America adopted the Volstead Act – Prohibition – which led to the growth of underground clubs and organized crime. Women were forging new paths in social reform, politics, science, medicine and every other career. America became more urbanized, building suburbs and developing a large middle-class population. The affordable automobile changed the entire culture! It was a time of innovation and rapidly expanding technology. Synthetic fabrics, convenience foods, electric appliances and other inventions made daily life easier. People had more free time, money and access to a variety of entertainments than ever before.


So much happened in this brief, exciting decade between the end of WWI and the Great Depression! It’s always interested me, so I was flattered and thrilled when Celebrate Lit Publishing invited me to participate in The Ever After Mysteries, a collection of 1920’s mysteries inspired by fairy tales. I’m a great fan of mysteries from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, and I read at least a thousand fairy tales as a child.


To be honest… I set about it backward. I knew I wanted to write about a young woman playing the Mighty Wurlitzer organ to accompany silent films at a glamorous movie palace, so I Iooked for a fairy tale to match it!


I chose The Nightingale, an old Chinese story about an Emperor with a beautiful palace. Everything in it was exquisite and fragile, and people came from all over the world to admire his palace. He loved to show it off and even tied little bells to the prettiest blossoms in the garden, to make sure no one missed them. When the emperor heard rumors about a bird that sang more beautifully than anything else, he sought it out and brought it home to live in the palace, where it could sing to entertain him and his guests.

At that point, the fairy tale and my story diverge. In the fairy tale, the nightingale lives in the palace singing for the court until the Emperor of Japan presents the Emperor of China with a bejeweled mechanical bird – so much prettier than the plain brown nightingale. The Chinese emperor abandons the real bird and enjoys the mechanical one until it breaks. He falls into a deep depression and is only restored to health by the return of the real nightingale.


None of that happens in Murder at the Empire, but there’s lot of other fun, jazzy excitement as the John Starek – the “Emperor” – fills his magnificent movie palace with fine artwork and beautiful things – including Chicago’s first female theater organist, Gayle Wells. He thinks she’s the bee’s knees, but she’s a pretty independent girl, busy working and saving money to buy her own car.


And then things start falling apart… with murder at the Empire. I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it!

My Thoughts 

Murder at the Empire is a fairytale retelling historical story that is written by Cathe Swanson. This is a book that is set in the 1920’s. Which is one of my favorite time periods. The author did great research to ensure historical accuracy. 

In this story you will be transported back to Chicago. A city that while prohibition is going on, speakeasy clubs try to go undetected. A city where there are murders and lots of secrets. We meet a very talented organist, Gayle Wells. She’s working in a theater that has been beautifully designed by John Starek. He is also known as the Emperor. Then weird things start happening. Some of the beautiful decorations start to disappear and people are dying. 

I loved this story. Gayle wants to branch out on her own. She wants to have her own car and is hoping to achieve that by her organ playing. She finds herself in danger and potentially the next target. I like that the author peppered in the topic of women’s rights that was prevalent during this time period. 

I am not familiar with the fairytale this is based off of, The Nightingale. I read a few summaries of it so I can say that the author did a good job recreating it with her own flair and style. The book is easy to follow and presents a great unique story. 

I’m enjoying this series. They can all be read as stand alone. They are written by different authors and are all tied together by the fairytale retelling topic. 

I received a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit Blogging Program. All thoughts are my own. 

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 17

Blossoms and Blessings, November 17

Texas Book-aholic, November 18

Blogging With Carol, November 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 19

deb’s Book Review, November 20

Sodbusterliving, November 20

Inklings and notions, November 21

For Him and My Family, November 22

Simple Harvest Reads, November 22 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 23

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 24

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 25 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, November 25

Connie’s History Classroom, November 26

Genesis 5020, November 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 27

Connect in Fiction, November 27

Back Porch Reads, November 28

Through the fire blogs, November 28

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 29


To celebrate her tour, Cathe is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a 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.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Book Review and Giveaway - Garrett Author: Izzy James On Tour with Celebrate Lit


About the Book

Book: Garrett

Author: Izzy James

Genre: Christian Romance

Release date: November 27, 2020

Garrett Tyler thought he was leaving Ballard House for home, secure in the knowledge that love had finally won-out for his long-time friend Olivia. He steps out the door and into the past, 1769 to be exact. While finding his bearings Garrett stumbles upon a beautiful woman being attacked. He makes sure she gets home and because of his kindness, she allows him to stay in an outbuilding—even believing his time travel story—while he figures out how he will get back to his life in the future. The more time they spend together, the deeper friendship they build, but one thing is going to rip her world apart.

Mercy Hansford is a confidant, independent woman running her own tailor shoppe. Her world is shaken when she is brutally attacked after delivering one of her sought-after shirts. The consequences of this night could be more far-reaching than either of them can guess.

Should Mercy trust a man she barely knows?


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Izzy James grew up in coastal Virginia. She lives there still with her fabulous husband in a house brimming with books.


More from Izzy

Why did I write Garrett?

While I was writing Max I was working through physical therapy prior to a lumbar fusion surgery. My physical therapist’s assistant was a young man named Garrett. He was intrigued that I was a writer and asked me if I would use his name in a book one day. So I had a name.

As I finished writing Max–who came forward in time from 1769–I started thinking about what it would be like for a young person of today to find himself back in 1769.

Garrett of the book bears no resemblance to Garrett of the physical therapy office! Garrett was fun to write. I hope you will enjoy reading it.

If you’d like to hear more about my books and be included in a monthly giveaway sign up for my newsletter.

Newsletter Link:

Every Christmas I send Christmas cards to each member of my Christmas Club. I pray for each reader as I sign and address the cards. If you’d like a Christmas Card from me please sign up before December 1. It does require your physical address. It will never be used for anything else.

Christmas Card Link:

Both email and physical addresses are held sacred. They will never ber sold or used for anything but what you signed up for.

My Thoughts

Garrett is a time travel novella that is written by Izzy James. This novella is 112 pages. This is book two in Yorktown Christmas Time Travel series. I have not read book one. While I was able to follow along in book two, I would recommend reading book one, Max before this one. That being said, it was still a good book that I enjoyed. 

One of the things that I love about this author is the fact how well she writes the revolutionary time period so well. This book travels back to 1769. The author always writes this important part of history so well. 

I loved Garrett and Mercy. Garrett walks into the year 1769 and right into Mercy being attacked. He is able to intervene and take her to safety.  Mercy was so strong and had to overcome so much - she believes that Garrett is from the future. Since he did save her life, she gives him a place to stay. This is such  a wonderful read. 

While this is a novella, there's a lot of story packed into the 112 pages. The characters are fun and unique. It took me a few chapters to grasp the full storyline, but I was able to figure it out. I love this author, and will always try and read everything she puts out. 

I received a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program - all thoughts are my own. 

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 16

Britt Reads Fiction, November 16

Texas Book-aholic, November 17

Inklings and notions, November 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 18

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 19

By the Book, November 19

Simple Harvest Reads, November 20 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For Him and My Family, November 20

deb’s Book Review, November 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 22

Kayem Reads, November 22

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 23

Connie’s History Classroom, November 24

Mary Hake, November 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 25

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 26

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, November 26

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 27

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 28

Pause for Tales, November 28

Connect in Fiction, November 29


To celebrate her tour, Izzy is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

Monday, November 22, 2021

Book Review and Giveaway -Fabyan Place: Two WWII GIs Fight to Survive and Overcome Racial Strife as POWS by Peter Angus Hosted by IRead Book Tours


Book Details:

Book Title:  Fabyan Place: Two WWII GIs Fight to Survive and Overcome Racial Strife as POWS by Peter Angus
Category:  Adult Fiction 18+, 350 pages
Genre:  Historical Fiction 
Publisher:  Dottenfritz Press 
Release date:   August 2021
Formats Available for Review: print-softback (internationally), e-book (mobi for Kindle, epub, and pdf)
Tour dates: November 22 to December 3
Content Rating:  PG13 + M: Some use of the “F” word, some swearing, bigoted pejorative vernacular common in the 1940s, treatment attributed to Nazi captors in both a POW and Death Camp and one antagonist suicide.

Fabyan Place is a book that stays with you. A callow young man goes to war and confronts his prejudice, forming an unlikely friendship in a POW camp with another soldier. They each know a secret about the other that could be a death sentence. Deeply researched with fascinating details and unforgettable characters, moving and thought-provoking, the story rises to a ferocious finish that will take your breath away.” — Kay Williams, co-author, The Matryoshka Murders and Butcher of Dreams

“Enthusiasts of this genre will be impressed by the book’s authenticity. The author has a deep knowledge of the Second World War and offers many historical insights and details that I was not aware of.” — David Aretha, editor, World War II Chronicle and The Holocaust Chronicle

Book Description:
Should racism prevent you fighting for your country?
Does bigotry still live even after a war has ended?
Must standing at the gates of hell in a POW camp forever change a man?
Memories of his internment as a prisoner echo as a young war veteran returns to his family and an enigmatic visitor arrives unannounced on Christmas morning.

The guest brings memories of the war, the horrors of the camps and the life-altering changes in his own psyche as his family prepares for their annual feast.

Fabyan Place is an engrossing suspenseful historical fiction novel about two mixed race young men from urban New Jersey and rural Georgia whose experiences clash in a Nazi concentration camp.

Get your FREE copy of FABYAN PLACE for Christmas
on these FREE Days:

(click on the date to follow the link to get your free book) 
November 26 (Friday) - Black Friday
November 29  (Monday) - Cyber Monday
December  1 (Wednesday) 

December 2 (Thursday) 
December 3 (Friday)

Buy the Book:
Meet the Author:

Pete Angus spent his early years in New York City and environs. From there it was working and living in Vienna, Belgrade, Warsaw, Moscow, and Paris before settling in his current base, London. Fabyan Place, his first novel, is drawn from his own recollections and his extensive study of WWII military history. Pete has caught the writing bug and is currently working on a new mystery series featuring a military CID officer investigating unusual crimes in the 1940s.

Connect with the Author:  Author's Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads

Some things I learned from writing FABYAN PLACE

By Peter Angus 10 November 2021 ( )

Second to writing in this profession, I love doing the necessary research and that is why I think I fit well with the historical fiction ‘light thriller’ genre. For me, writing Fabyan Place was a delight! It also gave me the opportunity to use tons of family detail that a professional genealogist discovered about all elements of my immigrant (to the United States) family as well as it gave me an opportunity to reach out to extended family members to discover new stories to insert in the book. As an aside, it also allowed me to dig out my old high school yearbook to come up with some names for my characters, and that sparked many a night dreaming about being a teenager once again in Jersey City!

As I researched some background information around this brief tale of my ancestor’s past, I came across many factual historical titbits I had not been aware of, which surprised me as I am a schooled historian of that period. I was not aware of the pervasiveness of the Jitterbug dance, or how it became prominent in England before America because of Negro soldiers. I had also been unaware of the mixed ethnicity of Newark, New Jersey, the home of my grandparents; and of a variety of other things, such as Fort Huachuca, Rhineland bastards, Buffalo Soldiers, the fact that the Jim Crow laws had been copied by the Nazis. I also found it surprising that American soldiers had been imprisoned in a Jewish concentration/death camp, the institutional challenges and prejudice faced by Negroes in the United States, and the mixed but mostly positive reaction to American Negro soldiers in wartime Britain.

I also discovered quite a bit about my own family’s North American aboriginal roots and how the Indians were sympathetic but remained mostly silent about Negro discrimination in America at the time because while they were themselves minorities, they eluded strict scrutiny and prejudice because of their nearly Caucasian skin color.

Except for Sonny and John’s personal story, the Jacobs and their ancestors’ autobiographical nature in Newark is as real and as accurate as I could make it.

By including the historical narrative into the story, I hope the Fabyan Place reader might investigate further their own family history as well if their interest is piqued!

My Thoughts
Fabyan Place: Two WWII GIs Fight to Survive and Overcome Racial Strife as POWS is written by Peter Angus. This is the first book that I have read by this author. I am a history lover with a masters in military history. I am thankful how well the author researched in order to create this well written story. I love that the author tackled racism of the time. It's not often I get to read about that. 
This is not a war story - it's a story of the harsh treatment our African American soldiers went through. It shows the segregation of transportation, the black officer lack of training. Even in war, there were harsh treatment of African American soldiers. 
The characters are well written, real feeling and will tug at your heart. Sometimes we forget that before the segregation of the south, there was so much injustice happening with our military. I appreciate that the author focuses on this. 
Thank you to the author and IRead book tours for the copy of this book to read. All thoughts are my own. 

Tour Schedule:

Nov 22 – Connie’s History Classroom – book review / guest post / giveaway
Nov 22 - Book Corner News and Reviews - book review / giveaway
Nov 23 - Leels Loves Books – book review / giveaway
Nov 24 – Rockin' Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
Nov 26 – Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / author interview
Nov 26 – Olio by Marilyn – book review / giveaway
Nov 26 - Books for Books – book review
Nov 29 – @twilight_reader – book review / giveaway
Nov 29 - Books are a Blessing – book review / author interview / giveaway
Nov 30 – Splashes of Joy – book review / giveaway
Dec 1 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / author interview / giveaway
Dec 2 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / guest post / giveaway
Dec 3 – The World As I See It – book review / author interview / giveaway
Enter the Giveaway:

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Book Review and Giveaway - Honor in the Mountain Refuge Author: Misty Beller On Tour with Celebrate Lit


About the Book

Book: Honor in the Mountain Refuge

Author: Misty Beller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: November 9, 2021

This epic journey is his last chance to start a new life.

After being cast out of his Blackfoot village for his kindness to the Nez Perce captives, Chogan travels west in search of meaning for his life. Meaning that doesn’t require killing or torturing innocent people. Though the lovely face of Telípe, a Nez Perce woman, is imprinted on his heart, he avoids her village.  She deserves a happy life with her husband and coming child.

With her husband dead and the birth of her babe imminent, Telípe’s reality looks nothing like she planned. She’s been forced to return to the village where she grew up and the chaos of her family’s lodge—with all her boisterous younger brothers. She desperately desires to start a new life for herself and the babe growing within her, but she can’t seem to climb above the mire of her past. When she stumbles into the brave who’d shown her kindness during her captivity, something ignites within her—a new hope.

Chogan’s determination to stay and help Telípe is thwarted by her people’s fear and hatred for his tribe—especially since he was among last winter’s kidnappers. It doesn’t matter that he did everything he could to keep her and her unborn child safe and comfortable during that awful event. But as a new predator threatens the safety of the village, Chogan determines to take down the massive wildcat that’s already injured several children—including one of Telípe’s younger brothers. When the danger escalates, Chogan is faced with an impossible choice. No matter which option he chooses, his life will never be the same—nor that of the woman he’s come to love.

From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and adventure so intense, lives will never be the same.


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and children now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.


More from Misty

When minor characters get their own story!

One of the things I love about writing in series is the chance for minor characters to become major characters, with fascinating lives and personalities of their own! The heroine in Honor in the Mountain Refuge, Telipe, first appeared in Light in the Mountain Sky as Meksem’s little sister who was kidnapped by a band of Blackfoot warriors. Even when I’m the writer, characters often surprise me by doing things very differently than what I expected!

Telipe did exactly that in one of the final scenes of that previous book. When Meksem and her friends showed up to rescue Telipe and the other captives, Telipe actually braced herself in front of one of one of her Blackfoot captors, stopping anyone from injuring him. Why would she do that?

In that book, Telipe only says that the man had been kind to her when the other warriors were not. I knew there HAD to be more though.

I pray you enjoy learning Telipe’s story as much as I did, including how that Blackfoot brave she protected shows up again in the most unexpected of places!

My Thoughts

Honor in the Mountain Refuge is book six in the Call of the Rockies series. This book is written by Misty Beller. I have only read books: three, four and five. I feel that they can be read as stand alone books. One of the best things about this author is how she can capture historical time periods. Every book about Native Americans that she writes teaches you so much. I love the details she puts in her books so that it is as real feeling as possible. 

 Telípe has lost her husband and she is expecting a child. Chogan lacks the war like nature that is required of his tribe. He has been sent away.  He has a tender heart and showed compassion to  Telípe. Chogan's tribe had previously kidnapped  Telípe. Once Telípe realized that Chogan was different and worthy of her trust - their love story can start to build. I love the story of two people from feuding tribes, but God's love and redemption is shining through. 

Misty always writes such beautiful stories. You will be drawn in within the first few pages. The settings are described so beautifully that you will feel like you are there. She always weaves such beautiful reminders of God's loving grace, forgiveness and second chances. 

I received a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit Blogging Program, all thoughts are my own.  

Blog Stops

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 9

Texas Book-aholic, November 10

Inklings and notions, November 11

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 11

Splashes of Joy, November 12

For Him and My Family, November 12

lakesidelivingsite, November 13

deb’s Book Review, November 14

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 15

Vicarious Living, November 16

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 17

For the Love of Literature, November 18

Connie’s History Classroom, November 18

Betti Mace, November 19

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 20

Blossoms and Blessings, November 20

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 21

Through the Fire blogs, November 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 22

Pause for Tales, November 22


To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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