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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Book Review: Belle o’ the Waters by Raima Larter

Belle Waters is about to celebrate her fourteenth birthday, and she is terrified. The fear of marriage looms large for her, and every other girl who was born into the Mormon settlement of Salt Lake in the 1850's. She knows it is her duty to marry and bring Heavenly Father's children into the world, but she's not interested in tying the knot with anyone, especially not the Prophet, an old man with a number of wives and counting. But when the US Army invades Salt Lake intent on arresting the Prophet, Belle soon realizes that the possibility of becoming a child bride is only the beginning in a series of disastrous threats. This is a work of fiction, but is loosely based on a true historical event: the Mountain Meadows Massacre of September 11, 1857, which sparked a short-lived Mormon War. Although set over a century ago, the themes and issues explored in this novel are timely and current: religious freedom and extremism, the role and status of women in society, and the contemporary impact of homegrown terrorism. Belle o' the Waters is a searing exploration of those living within an oppressed community, and an ultimately revelatory novel about what it means to lead a courageous life, despite one s circumstances.


Raima  Larter
Raima Larter is a writer and scientist based in the metropolitan Washington DC region. A former college professor and government scientist, she is the author of two novels, "Fearless," a modern-day mystery/thriller and "Belle o' the Waters," set in late-1850s pioneer America. Larter is the creator and author of the blog, Complexity Simplified, which covers topics ranging from science to spirituality and writing. She holds a PhD in Chemistry from Indiana University and an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins. She does freelance science writing for a number of organizations, including the American Institute of Physics and the American Institute for Cancer Research. She has authored numerous short stories, some of which have won awards, and is the author of the short story collection, "The Gate of Heaven and Other Story Worlds."


This book is based on a true historical event. The event took place on September 11, 1857. It is called the Mountain Meadows Massacre.  I was not familar with this event so I started to do a little research of my own. The Mountain Meadows Massare per the LDS website is: “On September 11, 1857, some 50 to 60 local militiamen in southern Utah, aided by some American indian[s], massacred about 120 emigrants who were traveling by wagon to California. The horrific crime, which spared only 17 children age six and under, occurred in a highland valley called the Mountain Meadows, roughly 35 miles southwest of Cedar City. The victims, most of them from Arkansas, were on their way to California with dreams of a bright future” (Richard E. Turley Jr., “The Mountain Meadows Massacre,” Ensign, Sept. 2007). Since I am a historian I am always intrigued by books based on events. The author did her research. I felt that I was learning a lot from her book. This story is about a young Mormon girl who has a lot of courage. The characters are well written and the storyline flows nicely. This is the first book I have read by this author. I really enjoyed it

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Mascot Books, all thoughts are my own. 

Book Review: Go down the Mountain by Meredith Battle

Go Down the Mountain by [Battle, Meredith]

Go Down the Mountain was inspired by the stories of the people who lost their homes to Shenandoah National Park in the 1930s. At once dramatic adventure, moving love story and recollection of a vanished life, the story follows mountain girl Bee on her harrowing journey to discover the truth about her family, living and dead. 

Bee is a nervy, teenage beauty whose beloved father's sudden death in a snake charming accident has left her alone with her abusive mother. Her one salvation is Miles, the big-city photographer who promises escape and a life full of the adventure she craves. But when Bee is caught in a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with a government man who takes her family's land and won't stop until he claims her too, it may be Torch, the boy she grew up with on the mountain, who becomes the man she needs.

Meredith Battle
Meredith Battle lives with her husband, son, dog and ducks in a 200-year-old house in the Virginia Piedmont, a short drive from the Blue Ridge Mountains, the setting for her debut novel. She is currently working on her second book.
"Go Down the Mountain" was inspired by the stories of the people who lost their homes to Shenandoah National Park in the 1930s. At once dramatic adventure, moving love story and recollection of a vanished life, the story follows mountain girl Bee on her harrowing journey to discover the truth about her family, living and dead.
"Go Down the Mountain" is available to preorder on Amazon:


This book is a look at what life was like for American's who were the poorest during the Great Depression. I have heard a lot of stories about the people of Appalachia and the poverty stricken conditions that they live in. This book seems to be accurately researched. I loved the main character Bee. What a strong female that she is. Having to endure so much in her life time. I enjoyed this book and learning about these based on true stories. 

I received a copy of this book through the publisher, Mascot Books. All thoughts are my own. 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Book Review: An Agent for Opal (The Pinkerton Matchmaker Book 25) By: P. Creeden

An Agent for Opal (The Pinkerton Matchmaker Book 25)


Opal Cahill was raised as the only girl in a family full of rough and tumble men. They taught her to fight and survive and taught her to push aside fantasies, because reality is as harsh as the rough side of a cat’s tongue. But she could never let go of reading about adventures of life in the west and dreaming that she might one day become a Pinkerton agent, like her hero, Kate Warne. But when her father passes, she’s stuck living in Atlantic City with her cousin who sometimes has them living in rundown shacks and sometimes, high end hotels. Until one day, that odd lifestyle catches up with them both. When Opal must choose a place to go out west, she heads to the Pinkerton office in Denver in the hopes that they might still interview her though it’s months after they originally advertised they were accepting applicants. 

Caleb Wade has just come back from going deep undercover. He returns to the Pinkerton office and runs into one of the most stubborn, frustrating, and interesting women he’s ever met. When he finds out that she’s not only his new partner but his new wife, he digs in his heels before he decides to treat it as another undercover act. Together the two travel to Ohio to help Archie’s good friend and owner of the Turner Theater deal with an arsonist who has already succeeded in burning down the theater once and threatens to do it again. Both Caleb and Opal must learn to get past their stubborn ways and work together in order to capture the person who threatens not only the building but the lead actress as well. 

Lady Pinkerton detectives, their rough and ready agents, and a whole lot of excitement and romance! The Pinkerton Matchmaker series tells the stories of the women determined to bring criminals to justice, and the agents who win their hearts. Each book is a standalone story and they can be read in any order.


P. Creeden is the sweet romance and mystery pen name for USA Today Bestselling Author, Pauline Creeden. Her stories feature down-to-earth characters who often feel like they are undeserving of love for one reason or another and are surprised when love finds them.

P. Creeden married her college sweetheart, who she also met at a horse farm. Together they raise a menagerie of animals and their one son, an avid reader, himself. Animals are the supporting characters of many of her stories, because they occupy her daily life on the farm, too. From dogs, cats, and goldfish to horses, chickens, and geckos -- she believes life around pets is so much better, even if they are fictional. 

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I did my masters thesis on the use of women and african americans as spies during the revolutionary and civil war. One of my favorites to read about was Kate Warne. I was really excited to read this book since I loved reading about Kate Warne so much. Meet Opal. She has been raised by a pack of boy cousins and has not been taught how to be a lady. She dreams of becoming a member of the Pinkerton  Detective Agency and when her cousin gets in trouble in Atlantic City - she heads west to try and capture the dream. Meet Caleb Wade. Full fledged Pinkerton Agent. He loves what he does. He is less then thrilled when his boss tells him he has to get married or face suspension. He and Opal are paired as a husband and wife team and sent on assignment to Ohio (my home state!!!) What will happen when they get there - will they figure out who is behind the theater arson? This book is a romantic suspense novella. It will keep you guessing. P. Creeden has done fantastic research and is historically accurate. I love the concept of Pinkerton Matchmaking. This is the first one in this series that I have read, but I will be going back and starting from the beginning. I was drawn in within the first few pages and could not put it down. If you like romantic suspense that keeps you guessing -- this is the book for you

I received a copy of this book through the author - All thoughts are my own. 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Book Review: Moment of Grace (The Belles of Wyoming Book 9) by: P. Creeden

About the Book: 
With the winter came betrayal, but can Grace find redemption and forgiveness in the spring?

Grace Lynn Adams struggles to live up to her heavenly name. She doesn’t deserve it, after all the bad decisions she’s made. The only two people who ever saw past that bad part of her and her poor reputation were her ailing mother and her best friend, Charles. But in one night, as her mother lay on her death bed, taking her final breath, Grace betrayed them both. 

Meanwhile, in the quaint town of Belle, Wyoming, life goes on and winter gives way to spring. With the warm temperatures, Grace finally feels ready to move on from the miserable doldrums she’s been in and maybe find some way to help others again—and maybe earn a measure of penance. But with the coming Easter, she’s reminded of Charles’s offer of marriage before the night of her betrayal, and she wonders if Charles might be waiting until that day, when family and neighbors draw together, to finally expose her. Or maybe she’ll finally get the chance to explain that she’d never wanted to hurt him, even if she doesn’t deserve his forgiveness.

This is a short, clean and wholesome, American western historical romance. Each story in this collection stand alone, and can be read in any particular order.

About the Author: 
P. Creeden is the sweet romance and mystery pen name for USA Today Bestselling Author, Pauline Creeden. Her stories feature down-to-earth characters who often feel like they are undeserving of love for one reason or another and are surprised when love finds them.

P. Creeden married her college sweetheart, who she also met at a horse farm. Together they raise a menagerie of animals and their one son, an avid reader, himself. Animals are the supporting characters of many of her stories, because they occupy her daily life on the farm, too. From dogs, cats, and goldfish to horses, chickens, and geckos -- she believes life around pets is so much better, even if they are fictional. 

Interested in getting FREE books and notified of new releases? Sign up for my newsletter:

My Thoughts: 

This is a new to me author that I stumbled upon in a facebook group. I was excited to get to read a copy of this book to read. I had not read anything from this author before. This book is part of a series, but can be read as a standalone. It does start out in the middle of a conflict. That threw me through a loop, but I was able to piece it together. I love the characters that the author has written. They are well written. This book ]s a story of loss, forgiveness, and second chances. This is a sweet short read and I enjoyed it. I look forward to reading more from this author. 

I received a copy of this book through the author, all thoughts are my own. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Book Review and Giveaway: Love's Rescue by Linda Shenton Matchett on tour with Celebrate Lit

Loev's Rescue FB Banner

About the Book

Love's Rescue

Book: Love’s Rescue
Author: Linda Shenton Matchett
Genre: Historic Romance
Release Date: February 14, 2019
A prostitute, a spy, and the liberation of Paris.
Sold by her parents to settle a debt, Rolande Bisset is forced into prostitution. Years later, shunned by her family and most of society, it’s the only way she knows how to subsist. When the Germans overrun Paris, she decides she’s had enough of evil men controlling her life and uses her wiles to obtain information for the Allied forces. Branded a collaborator, her life hangs in the balance. Then an American spy stumbles onto her doorstep. Is redemption within her grasp?
Simon Harlow is one of an elite corps of American soldiers. Regularly chosen for dangerous covert missions, he is tasked with infiltrating Paris to ascertain the Axis’s defenses. Nearly caught by German forces moments after arriving, he owes his life to the beautiful prostitute who claims she’s been waiting for the Allies to arrive. Her lifestyle goes against everything he believes in, but will she steal his heart during his quest to liberate her city?
Inspired by the biblical story of Rahab, Love’s Rescue is a tale of faith and hope during one of history’s darkest periods.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Linda-Matchett-Head-Shot-200x300Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry (of Star Spangled Banner fame) and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent and archivist at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.

More from Linda

Dear Reader:
Love’s Rescue is a modern retelling of the biblical book of Rahab. I set the story in Paris during the last weeks of the German occupation of France during WWII. While researching the book, I read numerous memoirs and interviews of folks who lived through the occupation. Two aspects discussed time and time again were rationing and the difficulty in getting food. People with any amount of land at all planted produce to supplement the meager supply in the shops. If they were fortunate and an egg was available, it would be fried to a runny consistency and poured over the top of the dish.
Here is a simple recipe for Ratatouille:
1 whole white onion
1 large eggplant
1 large zucchini
1 bell pepper
2 medium tomatoes
2 large cloves garlic
2 sprigs thyme
2 T Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

  • Peel garlic cloves. Smash with end of knife, then cut into a small dice.
  • Cut onions, bell pepper, and tomatoes into a medium dice.
  • Chop the eggplant and zucchini into 1” cubes.
  • In a large saucepan or pot, warm olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Warm over low heat. Add the onion to the pot and cook until tender – about five minutes.
  • Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
  • Add remaining vegetables to the pot.
  • Add a generous pinch of salt and a light pinch of pepper.
  • Add the thyme.
  • Cover the saucepan or pot with a lid and cook over medium-low heat for approximately 40 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender and there is little liquid in the pot.
  • Serve on your favorite platter.

Bon Appétit!

My Thoughts

I am a huge fan of this author and the books that she writes. I was very excited to see a new release by her. This is set during WWII times. It is also a historical retelling of Rahab from the Old Testament. One of the things that I love about this author is her ability to create characters that stand out. While this is book two in the Wartime Brides series, it can be read as a standalone. Well written characters, intriguing storyline, and a great reminder that no matter what we are going through, God is there. The author makes sure that her books are historically accurate, so you feel like you are getting a lesson right along with a great story. 

I was provided a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program, all thoughts are my own. 

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, April 17
Genesis 5020, April 22
mpbooksApril 27
The Becca Files, April 29


To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away a grand prize of a French/WWII themed gift basket that includes a WWII Word Find book by Linda Shenton Matchett, Love’s Rescue – Wartime Brides Book 2 by Linda Shenton Matchett, French-milled soap lavender scent, a Fleur-de-lis ribbon book mark, a set of three note pads with French motif, and a set of cocktail napkins with French motif!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

This Daring Journey: By Misty M. Beller --- Review and Giveaway on tour with Celebrate Lit

This Daring Journey FB Banner

About the Book

This Daring Journey
Book: This Daring Journey
Author: Misty M. Beller
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release Date: March 26, 2019
As a half-Indian raised among her Peigan tribe, Moriah Clark knows better than to trust white people. The tragedy that resulted in her birth is proof enough. But when her trusted grandfather marries her to a white man, she has no choice to but to obey and hope this new life isn’t her downfall. Her white husband turns out to be a decent sort, but his unexpected death left her to birth a newborn baby among hostile mountain men. She wants nothing more than to retreat to the safe haven of her tribal upbringing. When a mysterious frontiersman arrives on her doorstep seeking her deceased husband, his offer to escort her and the babe to her people seems like the opportunity she’s been praying to find. But can she trust him?
Samuel Grant has been sent to retrieve Henry Clark for his sister’s wedding, but the sight that greets him at the little cabin in the woods is not what he expected. Not only has the man died, but Henry’s wife is fighting off an aggressive gang of men at gunpoint—while trying to conceal a newborn. He can’t leave the pair unattended, so helping her travel into the mountain country to reach her family seems like the only option. If he can win her trust, that is.
Such a grueling journey with a three-week-old baby will be risky, but the challenges that arise test them far more than either expected. When a devastating surprise increases the danger ten-fold, Moriah focuses all her efforts on keeping her newborn daughter alive. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t realize how much of her heart belongs to the mountain man—until it’s too late.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Misty M. Beller writes 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

How did I get started writing?

I’ve always loved to read, but several years ago I was putting together my bucket list, and realized that I really did want to write a novel. So, “Write a novel that’s published” made it near the top!
I decided, it’s now or never, and made the commitment to do it. So, I had a general idea that I wanted it to be a Christian historical western romance. But where to start? I finally decided I needed to find a good book to help me plan. I stumbled upon (a.k.a. God led me to) the best possible book to help me get started with a great plan: Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. For all you writers out there, I can’t recommend it highly enough!
From there, I’ve soaked in every bit of writing instruction I can from some amazing groups and individuals. And I’ve spent countless hours sitting with my laptop pouring out words onto the screen. Writing is in my blood. It’s my passion. A true gift from my Heavenly Father, and I pray daily that he uses the words for His purpose.

My Thoughts

This is book number 6 in the Heart of the Mountain series. I have read and loved every single one of them. They can be read on their own since they focus on their own set of characters. This one, I feel is my favorite of the series. We meet Moriah. Who is trying to fend off angry, pushy, mountain men while she is trying to care for her newborn. Newly widowed when Samuel (Her brother in law) shows up on her doorstep, she is not sure if she should trust him. She knows that she is not in a good place and needs to protect herself and Baby Cherry at all costs. You will have to read for yourself to find out how the journey goes, but I promise you one thing..... You will not be dissapointed.  Tge author has yet again crafted a page turning masterpiece. Real feeling characters, breath-taking backdrops, and so much heart tugs. 

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

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, April 4
Simple Harvest Reads, April 4 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Pause for Tales, April 6
Splashes of JoyApril 7
Mary Hake, April 8
Wishful Endings, April 11
Vicky Sluiter, April 12
The Becca Files, April 12
Carpe Diem, April 13
BigreadersiteApril 14


To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away a 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.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Author: Kathy Rouser REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY -- -ON TOUR WITH CELEBRATE LIT

The lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection FB Banner

About the Book

Title: The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides
Author: Kathy Rouser
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release date: November 1, 2018
Publisher: Barbour

Lighthouses have long been the symbol of salvation, warning sailors away from dangerous rocks and shallow waters.
Along the Great Lakes, America’s inland seas, lighthouses played a vital role in the growth of the nation. They shepherded settlers traveling by water to places that had no roads. These beacons of light required constant tending even in remote and often dangerous places. Brave men and women battled the elements and loneliness to keep the lights shining. Their sacrifice kept goods and immigrants moving. Seven romances set between 1883 and 1911 bring hope to these lonely keepers and love to weary hearts.
The Last Memory by Kathleen Rouser
1899—Mackinac Point Lighthouse
Natalie Brooks loses her past to amnesia, and Cal Waterson, the lighthouse keeper who rescues her, didn’t bargain on risking his heart—when her past might change everything.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the AuthorKathleen Rouser headshot.larger file

Kathleen Rouser is the multi-published author of the 2017 Bookvana Award winner, Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan, and its sequel, Secrets and Wishes. She is a longtime member in good standing of American Christian Fiction Writers. She longs to create characters who resonate with readers who realize their need for the touch God’s grace and hope in their everyday lives. A former homeschool instructor, mild-mannered dental assistant, and current Community Bible Study kids’ teacher, she lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of thirty-some years, and the sassy tail-less cat who found a home in their empty nest. Connect with Kathleen on her website at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter @KathleenRouser.

Guest Post from Kathy

When author Pegg Thomas approached me about writing a novella for The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides book proposal I couldn’t refuse the chance. After all, I am a lifelong resident of Michigan, which is the Great Lakes State! Plus, I had a favorite lighthouse in mind, though I briefly considered others.

For over 20 years we have ventured “up north” for a week-long summer vacation on Lake Michigan, most of them spent in the same cottage. Since the cottage is almost 20 miles west of Mackinaw City, I’ve made the annual pilgrimage to the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse since they reopened with exhibits in 2004. Part of the first floor has since been restored to the middle-class furnishings of 1910 when George Marshall and his family resided there. Two generations of Marshalls manned the lighthouse and George Marshall’s brother, Charles, was at one time the assistant lighthouse keeper.

There is also an area of the lighthouse where they display maps, photographs and other information, chronicling the history of the lighthouse built on the Straits of Mackinac in 1892. Fresnel lenses, like those used in the tower, and interactive displays are also included. Did you know for several years, the fourth-order Fresnel lens flashed a red light? I’d always pictured a yellow light! A tour guide, dressed in period clothing, such as a U.S. Lighthouse Service uniform, will take you up the tall, winding metal staircase to enjoy the view.

My many visits, whether they’ve included the long climb to the tower or not, have intrigued me. I’d often thought that someday I would like to write a fictional story about this lighthouse. Built with Cream City brick, in a Norman architectural style, the building reminds me of a castle. Perhaps that’s why I chose to have the lighthouse keeper hero, Cal Waterson, rescue Natalie Brooks, a lone shipwreck survivor. She is the proverbial damsel in distress. Yet, despite her amnesia she finds a new strength in her faith to face an unknown future and in a sense rescues Cal and his daughter.

Returning to the lighthouse last year, I did climb to the tower to examine the view my characters might have had. Of course, I had to imagine what it would have been like without the Mackinac Bridge, which has joined our upper and lower peninsulas since 1957. It’s a spectacular view, where you can also see Mackinac Island, home of the famous Grand Hotel, which was already there in 1899, when my story takes place.

Not only do lighthouses spark so many ideas of history and romance, they are so symbolic— as guiding lights—and beacons of hope to lead through treacherous waters, much like our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the true Light who leads us to the Father. Indeed, Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse played a strategic part in guiding ships through the dangers of the straits. I look forward to visiting this beautiful historic landmark again and hope my readers will be drawn into an intriguing visit to the lighthouse through my story, The Last Memory.

My Thoughts

I love when Barbour Publishing releases novellas with a central theme, but various authors. They are always some of my favorite stories. This one features lighthouses, which I am fascinated with. I have never visited one before, but I love reading about them. 

This series has a great historical setting. I love when books I am reading feature a history lesson. I feel like I am learning something right when I am reading. The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection takes place in the late 1800 early 1900 centuries. Which is a great time period to read about. 

All have wonderfully developed characters, intriguing storylines and are great easy reads. I loved reading this collection. 

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

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, February 21
The Power of Words, February 21
Simple Harvest Reads, February 22 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Bibliophile Reviews, February 23
Just the Write Escape, February 24
Carla Loves To Read, February 24
Book by Book, February 25
EmpowerMoms, February 26
Back Porch Reads, February 27
Mary Hake, February 28
KarenSueHadleyMarch 4
Carpe Diem, March 5
BigreadersiteMarch 6


To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection, a sterling silver charm of the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, and a souvenir pictorial book of some of the Great Lakes lighthouse!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.