Thursday, April 30, 2020

Month in Review -- April

  • Wrote everyday at least a minimum of 100 words? yes
  • Number of days that I wrote 500 words a day: 27 (3 < 500)
  • Wrote 15,251 words this month
  • Be creative
    • Tat 2 crosses
    • Crochet
    • Knit
    • Sculpt
  • Exercise 5 days a week? 3 out of 4 weeks
  • Read my Bible everyday? yes
  • Blog posts that weren't book reviews: 3
  • Read 10 books

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

"The Lost Lieutenant" by Erica Vetsch -- Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

About the book:

He's doing what he can to save the Prince Regent's life . . . but can he save his new marriage as well?

Evan Eldridge never meant to be a war hero--he just wanted to fight Napoleon for the future of his country. And he certainly didn't think that saving the life of a peer would mean being made the Earl of Whitelock. But when the life you save is dear to the Prince Regent, things can change in a hurry.

Now Evan has a new title, a manor house in shambles, and a stranger for a bride, all thrust upon him by a grateful ruler. What he doesn't have are all his memories. Traumatized as a result of his wounds and bravery on the battlefield, Evan knows there's something he can't quite remember. It's important, dangerous--and if he doesn't recall it in time, will jeopardize not only his marriage but someone's very life.

Readers who enjoy Julie Klassen, Carolyn Miller, and Kristi Ann Hunter will love diving into this brand-new Regency series filled with suspense, aristocratic struggles, and a firm foundation of faith.

Read an excerpt from Kregel by clicking here!

My Thoughts

This is the first book I've read by Erica Vetsch. It will not be my last! I was pulled into the story right from the beginning and never wanted to put the book down. It was interesting learning about the English aristocracy along with Evan. I enjoyed watching the characters grow throughout the book. I was intrigued with finding out what it was that Evan was forgetting about the battle in Spain and what was going to happen with Cian. I found the book to be well written and with a nice flow. I look forward to reading more books by Erica Vetsch.

Author Interview:

Who doesn’t need to be swept away to another place and time every now and then? After all, there’s never a bad time for a good story. For readers ready to take a trip back to early nineteenth-century England, The Lost Lieutenant (Kregel Publications) by Erica Vetsch is a perfect means of transport.

Q: Up until now, many of your books have been historical releases but set in the American West. Why the move to England for the new series?

If there is one thing my family and friends know about me, it is that I always want to be learning and researching new historical topics. Having written and researched so many books set in the American West, I found myself feeling as if I was in a bit of a rut. I was having difficulty coming up with something fresh and interesting, where I could really dive into the research. I had been reading quite a bit of Regency, thanks to some recommendations from an author friend, and the more I read, the
more I realized I didn’t know many specifics about the era. Suddenly, there were so many avenues to explore, like the aristocracy, the clothing, the amusements, the Napoleonic Wars, and much more! My imagination sparked, and I was hooked!

Q: For those who may not be familiar with the term, what is Regency fiction? Why do you think this genre is so popular with readers?

Regency fiction covers the time period of 1811–1820 in England, though books set between 1800 and 1830 are often classed as Regency. There’s always a bit of literary license about writing fiction, isn’t there? The Regency period occurred at the end of the Georgian era in England, when King George III (monarch during the American
Revolution) was deemed unfit to rule. Some historians believe he suffered from a blood disease called porphyria, which has cognitive side effects. Some believe it was schizophrenia or other mental illness. In any case, he was considered unable to fulfill
his role as monarch, and in his stead his son, the Prince of Wales, became the Prince Regent. The near decade of his rule as substitute monarch is called the Regency.

Q: What kind of research goes into a series like this? Have you been able to go on a trip to see some of the sites you have written about?

There is a tremendous amount of research, especially when you’ve not written Regency much before. Readers of Regency fiction pay close attention to historical details, and they want you to get it right. As a historian myself, I want to get it right. I
now possess a sizable research library of Regency history books. Some are encyclopedic in nature, covering the entire era, and some are quite specific, such as Georgian seaside villages or coaches of the Regency era. As to traveling, I had tickets booked for a trip to England for May 2020, but due to COVID-19, those plans are in abeyance. Hopefully when the world is healed and no longer reeling from the virus, I will be able to rebook the trip and take in all the amazing places I long to see. Until then, I shall rely on the research of others through their books and the assistance of Google Maps satellite view!

Q: Tell us a little bit about your new book, The Lost Lieutenant.

The Lost Lieutenant is a combination of an arranged-marriage and a fish-out-of-water story. The hero, Evan, continually finds himself having his life dictated by others and wondering if God has made a huge mistake. Evan is a soldier, a sharpshooter in the British Army. The son of a parson, he knows more about battlefield tactics than how to conduct himself in London society. And yet, when
he is conferred an earldom and a bride to go along with the title, he is forced to accept his new role and make it his own. While he’s struggling with his new responsibilities, his bride, Diana, is hiding secrets from her husband, her father, and the man who could destroy everything. If the truth gets out, it could cost a baby his life. What she doesn’t realize is that her husband is keeping secrets of his own, secrets that could cost him his freedom. The Lost Lieutenant is a story of falling in love while learning to trust. Trust God. Trust your heart. Trust your spouse.

Q: In what situations do your characters find themselves at the beginning of the story?

Diana is in the untenable position of trying to keep her promise to her deceased sister while also obeying her controlling father. Is it permissible to lie if your motives are pure? Her father is forcing her to go to London for the Season so he can marry
her off to the suitor of his choosing, and Diana is torn between what she promised to do and what her father is forcing her to do. Evan is recovering in the hospital after being wounded in battle and shipped home from the Peninsular War. All he wants is to return to his regiment, but the Prince Regent has other plans. Evan is made a peer of the realm, and his hopes of returning to military duty go up in smoke.

Q: Diana and Evan both find themselves caught in circumstances beyond their control. How do they each handle themselves?

I think they each arrive at the same conclusion, that God is sovereign and God is good, but by different routes. Diana is used to being bossed and coerced by her domineering father, and she has less trouble with God’s sovereignty and more issue with whether God is good to someone like her—someone who keeps secrets and lies, even though she means well. Evan continually wonders if God really intends him to be an earl, to have a wife, to abandon the life and career he built for himself. And if so, now what? Through their circumstances, and through learning to love one another, each teaches the other the truth about God that they know, and they also discover a few truths together.

Q: What lessons in loyalty and responsibility can we learn that would benefit us in today’s culture?

Loyalty is an underlying theme. Evan is loyal to his regiment and other soldiers who had suffered injuries in battle. I especially like the relationship between Evan and his former sergeant, Shand. They’re loyal to one another, and Shand is the voice of
reason and wisdom that Evan needs from time to time. Though Evan doesn’t realize it, especially at first, he is a natural leader, for whom responsibilities are a part of life. He feels the weight of them, but that doesn’t keep him from assuming them.
Diana’s responsibility is to her sister’s child, the child she promised to raise as her own, and she’s willing to go to great lengths to protect him. She’s loyal to her sister’s memory and, as a result, lavishes love on her sister’s child. Her loyalty creates her
feelings of responsibility, and she doesn’t shirk her duty, and in fact embraces it.

Q: Evan never planned nor wanted the title and position he was given. What did he learn about nobility along the way?

Evan is slow to embrace his new title and position because he feels he was given them under false pretenses. He cannot remember what he did to earn them, and he’s fearful that someone will find out about his amnesia and his post-traumatic
stress and consider him insane. He considers much of what is “required” as aristocratic behavior to be either idle, empty action or downright wrong. He’s not
even sure he wants to be considered part of the nobility. In the end, Evan learns that nobility isn’t about the title you bear but the actions you show. Along the way, he’s got several helpers, especially Diana, who show him this truth.

Q: What role does faith play in the lives of your main characters, Diana and Evan?

Evan has a background and foundation of faith to draw on, being the son of a preacher. He has a good relationship with his father that helps him in his relationship with his heavenly Father. While Evan doesn’t always know what God is doing, he finds it quite easy to ask through prayer for God to help him make sense of things. He has enough faith to not fear asking and questioning when things aren’t going according to Evan’s plans. Diana has some training, through a childhood teacher, about faith being more than a weekly ritual, about needing to have a
personal relationship with God through His Son. She prays, but because her father is so domineering and mean, she wonders if God could possibly be good to her. She has very clear lines about what is right and wrong, but she also fears that if she crosses
God, He will seek retribution. Through seeing a godly man, her new husband, Diana is able to gain confidence that she is both loved and lovable, that a man can be kind and therefore demonstrate that God can be kind as well.

Q: Is there a spiritual takeaway that you hope will resonate with readers?

There’s not one specific takeaway or “lesson” I had in mind for readers. I love that through the power of story, God can use what we write and reach the people He wants to reach and teach them what He has for them. Just as every reader brings their own imagination to a story when they read it, so too they bring their faith, their history, their experiences into the spiritual thread of the story. They start from where they currently are in their faith journey, and through the power of story, they can grow that faith and maturity through exploring the spiritual arcs of the characters.

Q: Without giving away too much, what can readers expect as the Serendipity & Secrets series continues?

Big things! There are two more stories in the Serendipity & Secrets series coming this summer and in early 2021, The Gentleman Spy and The Indebted Earl. And as a bonus, there’s a spin-off novella this Christmas in the Joy to the World novella
collection. My story is “The Wonders of His Love,” and I think readers will enjoy visiting the characters in this series again. The Gentleman Spy is the story of Marcus, Duke of Haverly, and a crusading bluestocking named Charlotte. Readers first meet Marcus, who becomes a good friend of Evan, in The Lost Lieutenant. Marcus marries Charlotte and thinks he can relegate her to the margins of his life so he doesn’t
have to change too much, but Charlotte is not one to be pushed aside and ignored.
The Indebted Earl is Sophie Haverly’s story of loss and newfound love. When Sophie’s fiancĂ© is killed in the war, his best friend and commanding officer returns to England to repay a debt. Charles carries the weight of guilt, feeling himself to be responsible for his friend’s death. If he can fulfill his promise to look after Sophie, maybe he can pay part of his debt. “The Wonders of His Love” in the Joy to the World collection is the story of transformation and spreading wings for widow Cilla Haverly. With no real place now in society, she wonders if her future is as bleak as it feels. Enter Hamish, a Scottish painter brought in for the holidays to paint the portraits of the new Duke and Duchess of Haverly. But Hamish creates more than just likenesses in oil on canvas. He also creates a longing in Cilla that she can’t deny.

Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor), Twitter (@EricaVetsch), and Instagram (@EricaVetsch).

About the author:

Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.  

Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. 

A self-described history geek, she has been planning her first research trip to England. 

Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor), Twitter (@EricaVetsch), Instagram (@EricaVetsch) and Pinterest (Erica Vetsch).


"The Lost Lieutenant" is available in paperback:

  • Series: Serendipity & Secrets (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications (April 21, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0825446171
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825446177
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches

and in Kindle edition:

  • File Size: 1129 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications (April 21, 2020)
  • Publication Date: April 21, 2020
  • Sold by: Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0851RR29T

I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

Monday, April 27, 2020

"Amish Country Murder" by Mary Alford -- Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Amish Country Murder
Author: Mary Alford
Genre:  Amish Suspense
Release Date: March 1, 2020
An Amish woman targeted by a serial killer
Is the only living witness…
As the sole woman to escape the Dead of Night Killer, Catherine Fisher’s the key to catching him—if he doesn’t kill her first. Now it’s up to FBI agent Sutter Brenneman to protect her. But with her memory missing and all clues indicating the serial killer took her for very personal reasons, it’ll take everything Sutter has to keep her safe.

My Thoughts

This is the first full length book I've read by Mary Alford (I had read one novella before in a collection). I found the book to be well written and kept me guessing who the Dark of Night Killer was. I was surprised in the end when I found out who it was. I was hoping for a more of a explanation as to why he did what he did. There were many twists that kept me reading. There was an element of faith woven through the book. I look forward to reading more books by Mary Alford.
Click here for your copy!

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Mary Alford, loves giving her readers the unexpected. Her titles have appeared on the USA Today Bestselling List, Publisher’s Weekly bestselling list, and have finaled in the Daphne Du Maurier award of excellence in mystery, The Beverly, The Maggie, and The Selah Awards.
As a writer, Mary is an avid reader. She loves to cook, can’t face the day without coffee, and her three granddaughters are the apple of her eye. She and her husband live in the heart of Texas in the middle of 70 acres with two cats and one dog.
Mary is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook and Twitter or any social platforms listed at

More from Mary

Thank you for coming with me on this journey to the mountains of Montana, where the Amish Community of West Kootenai is nestled in the wide-open spaces of Big Sky Country, and a simple Amish way of life can be anything but. Especially when a serial killer is lurking nearby, waiting to take his next victim, and the clock is ticking.
Amish Country Murder is my second book set in the Amish Community of West Kootenai, Montana. My first book, Amish Country Kidnapping is available now at most book retailers.
As a reader, one of my favorite genres is Amish Suspense. There’s just something about a story that pits the simple and innocent Amish lifestyle with the dark and sometimes deadly world of a suspense. Good versus evil, so to speak.
When Catherine Fisher escapes the clutches of a serial killer, she can’t remember as single thing about her past before the monster took her.
FBI agent Sutter Brenneman has been working the Dead of Night Serial Killer case for a while. Catherine is his first living victim. Protecting Catherine and finding the killer before he strikes again is critical. Hiding out in Amish Country, Sutter is surrounded my memories of his own Amish past, rekindling old longings for the life lost to him. Is it possible to have it back? In the middle of a killer stalking their every move, Catherine and Sutter share many tender moments as their feelings for each other grow into love.
One of the things I love most about the Amish is their amazingly simple recipes that remind me of my childhood and the meals my mother used to prepare.
During one meal shared with an Amish couple, Catherine and Sutter enjoy sweet potato croquettes with meat loaf. Sweet potato croquettes are a simple side dish that is delicious and easy to prepare. I thought I’d share this recipe with you here.
  • 1 pt. of mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 tblsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tblsp. sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • breadcrumbs
  • marshmallows (optional)
Mash sweet potatoes very fine.  Add salt, sugar and melted butter to mashed sweet potatoes. Shape sweet potatoes into croquette rolls or patties.  Cool them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and roll in breadcrumbs.  Dip them in the slightly beaten egg white, and then into the crumbs again. Bake in a shallow, greased baking dish for 20 minutes, at a temperature of 400 degrees F.  For an even sweeter version of this dish, you can place a marshmallow in the center of each (make sure it is covered completely by the potato mixture).
I so hope you enjoy this recipe and Amish Country Murder. And stay tuned for my next Amish Suspense set in West Kootenai, coming in November of this year.

Blog Stops

Batya’s Bits, April 14
Genesis 5020, April 14
The Avid Reader, April 15
Betti Mace, April 16
Older & Smarter?, April 21
Artistic Nobody, April 23 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Pause for Tales, April 23
Hallie Reads, April 24
Emily Yager, April 25
SPLASHES of Joy, April 26


To celebrate her tour, Mary is giving away the grand prize package of a Lavender Spa 10-piece Gift Basket with Tote, and a print copy of Amish Country Murder!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was given for my review.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

"One Hundred Valleys" by Bonnie Leon -- Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  One Hundred Valleys
Author: Bonnie Leon
Genre:  Historical Romance
Release Date: March 15, 2020
After the death of her mother, Emmalin Hammond discovers she is not the heiress she’d always assumed she’d be. The revelation exposes her fiancĂ© true intentions when he withdraws his marriage proposal, leaving Emmalin heartbroken and humiliated. When she discovers the father she believed to be dead is still alive and living in the Oregon Territory she decides it is time to meet the man who has been hidden from her all of her life.
Accompanied by her Uncle Jonathon she sets out for the Oregon Territory in search of answers and hoping for a renewed relationship with her father. When tragedy strikes, she confronts the terrifying challenge of completing her quest alone. Faced with few options, she entrusts her life to a mountain man named Jacob Landon who agrees to transport her to a small settlement in Southern Oregon called Deer Creek, a place also known as the Land of One Hundred Valleys.
Emmalin is not prepared for the hardships of life in the Oregon wilderness. Each day presents a new challenge. Newfound friends, including the reserved Jacob Landon, come alongside to help her adapt and she gradually finds her way. Yet, she feels out of place. Should she brave the arduous journey back to Philadelphia and the life she once knew or remain and hope for something better in the Oregon wilderness?

My Thoughts

Bonnie Leon is a new to me author. I liked the setting and found it interesting to read about the journey from Oregon City to Deer Creek, although it didn't have much of their journey given. It sort of just skipped over most of the trip. I didn't really like Emmalin that much at first. She was kind of snooty and didn't really try to see Samuel's point of view, just thought he should have tried harder. I was glad to see their relationship grow and Emmalin change. I would be interested in reading more books by Bonnie Leon.
Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Bonnie Leon is the author of twenty-two novels, including the recently released Return to the Misty Shore, the popular Alaskan Skies and bestselling The Journey of Eleven Moons. Bonnie’s books are being read internationally and she hears from readers in Australia, Europe, Poland, and even Africa. She enjoys speaking for women’s groups and mentoring up and coming authors.
Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and seven grandchildren.

More from Bonnie

Why this story?

In the spring of 1980 my husband and I, our two-year-old son, and our infant daughter left city life in Washington state and moved to Southern Oregon. We gave up our community of friends and family along with my husband’s reliable and well-paying job. Our friends thought we were crazy, but we were determined that Oregon was where we belonged. We were scared but not deterred.

I think the change in my own life as a young woman had a lot to do with why I wrote this story of Emmalin Hammond. To be sure, Emmalin’s level of difficulty and danger is distinctly different than mine, but there are similarities. We both experienced adventures, joy, and, yes, even danger.

Oregon has been my home for forty years now, and I am glad my husband and I made the decision to move here. We’ve had a good life in this wild and beautiful country. Sometimes I wonder about the women who made that choice during the nineteenth century. Emmalin set out on her harrowing journey to Oregon in the spring of 1855. Many who began that journey did not make it across the plains and desserts of America.
When I put down roots in Douglas County, Oregon I was thrilled to be here, but the changes weren’t all easy. The old farmhouse we lived in had more broken windows than intact ones. It was mouse infested. The plumbing needed major repair. And yet I loved it. The countryside was lush and green, and the rolling hillsides were dotted with farm animals, wildlife, and broad-limbed oak trees. There were wild blackberries sprawling along the farm’s fences and fresh fruit in our orchard. It looked much the same as the Oregon Emmalin discovered in my story, One Hundred Valleys.
I loved hard work and spent a lot of time splitting logs for our only heat source—a wood burning stove—felling trees on our new property, and working alongside my husband in our vegetable garden.
I had run-ins with things like poison oak and skunks, but that did not dampen my enthusiasm as a new Oregonian. I loved picking wild blackberries, fishing the high mountain lakes, hiking mountain trails, and fishing the North Umpqua river. I cherished those days as a farm wife and mother. Those were the best years of my life. I have never regretted our move to the beautiful land of one hundred valleys in Southern Oregon.

I am thankful for the early explorers who challenged the wilderness in the Oregon Territory more than a century ago. It is their courage and determination that made it possible for me and my family to live and thrive in this beautiful place.

Blog Stops

Bigreadersite, April 18
Emily Yager, April 18
Stories By Gina, April 19
Betti Mace, April 20
Pause for Tales, April 20
Splashes of Joy, April 21
Simple Harvest Reads, April 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Worthy2Read, April 23
Older & Smarter?, April 24
Vicky Sluiter, April 26
Mary Hake, April 26
Genesis 5020, April 27
Artistic Nobody, April 28 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)


To celebrate her tour, Bonnie is giving away the grand prize package of a $15 Amazon Gift Card and Vintage Oregon myrtle wood porringer bowl!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.