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Book: What You Said to Me

Author: Olivia Newport

Genre: Christian Fiction

Release Date: November 2020

Book 4 in the Tree of Life Series: A Father-Daughter Genealogy Team Link Faith Journeys on Family Trees


When 15-year-old Tisha Crowder gets caught shoplifting, attorney Nolan Duffy tries to protect her from consequences that could rattle her already troubled life. His daughter, Jillian, feels like she’s the one being punished instead—by having Tisha assigned to work with her on a backlog of genealogy files. Tisha doesn’t seem interested in taking the job seriously, and Jillian’s patience wears thin. Besides, everyone in Canyon Mines knows the Crowder family has experienced generations of brokenness. Then a sliver of hope turns up in long-ago words in plain sight, challenging shrouded assumptions about Tisha’s family. Now Jillian is the one who can walk with Tisha back to 1893 and uncover where everything went wrong in the first place—and save her from the past.

What You Said to Me is the fourth book in the Tree of Life series by Olivia Newport. You’ll want to return to the lovely Colorado mountain town of Canyon Mines again and again to explore and celebrate unforgettable family stories that will inspire you to connect with your own family histories and unique faith journeys.

Click here to get your copy!



Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of Pikes Peak.


Careful Words

 “You didn’t just say that.” Or, “I can’t believe you said that.”

Have you ever said that in retort to someone whose comment offended or wounded? I know I have. But what cuts me even more deeply is when I say to myself, “I can’t believe I just said that.”

The words of a parent at wit’s end, a spouse harboring hurt, a friend saddened by misunderstanding, an employee feeling undercut—they have all been my words. And they came out too fast to swallow back before they did their damage.

I hope I have also had the words of a parent who set aside busyness to listen, a spouse offering loving encouragement, a friend checking in with someone going through a tough patch, a coworker curious to see how I could help rather than compete. Those are the kinds of words I’ve never regretted, never had to repent of, never had to do rebuild from.

I certainly didn’t write What You Said to Me because I think I get it right all the time or even most of the time. Far from it! In our culture of rushing and achieving and—let’s face it, sometimes just getting through the demands of the day—sometimes our words are the last thing we are careful with. Yet they have the longest lasting consequence in our relationships and families—sometimes for generations. The dual-timeline story traces how words that injure became a pattern in one family line until one girl finally fought back to find healing for her future.

My challenge for myself, and all who read What You Said to Me, is to be the person who speaks healing words of hope so that “I can’t believe you said that” becomes “Thank you for saying that.”

If you have a particularly poignant experience of how another’s words impacted you, I’d love to hear from you.

Olivia Newport


How fascinating to be a professional genealogist! Combining two of the things I love the most—history and family! Ms. Newport has not only crafted a story with those two favored elements, she has leapt into the league of my favorite authors!

With characters who draw the reader into their own struggles and dialogue that invites the reader to speak up AND a double timeline, this story almost turned the pages for me!

This reviewer may or may not have OCD tendencies (I do) and I could totally feel Jillian’s distress—and protectiveness—at someone else’s hands on her project. Especially a fifteen-year-old with attitude. But that fifteen-year-old comes by that attitude honestly; verbal abuse leaves wounds deeper than any broken bone.

All it takes is one file to snag Tisha’s attention and spark her interest. And shift Jillian’s preconceived notion about her. Ms. Newport builds the relationship just as tenuously as a child’s set of wooden building blocks; slowly, steadily, until a friendship begins to form. The tie between Jillian’s work and Tisha’s quest is no coincidence but rather, one of God’s arrangements behind the scenes.

And may I just say that I did not like Georgina. OY! What a sad heritage she left behind!

Now, of course, I’ll have to go back and read the first three stories in this series!



I received a complimentary copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.


What You Said to Me Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Olivia 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.



Through the Fire Blogs, November 21

deb’s Book Review, November 21

Remembrancy, November 22

Connect in Fiction, November 22

lakesidelivingsite, November 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 23

Splashes of Joy, November 24

Robin’s Nest, November 24

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 24

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 25

Mamma Loves Books, November 25

Pause for Tales, November 25

Godly Book Reviews, November 26

Lis Loves Reading, November 26

Hallie Reads, November 26

Older & Smarter?, November 27

Texas Book-aholic, November 27

Inklings and notions, November 28

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 28

The Write Escape, November 28

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 29

Blogging With Carol, November 29

Mary Hake, November 29

For Him and My Family, November 30

Artistic Nobody, November 30 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Betti Mace, December 1

Worthy2Read, December 1

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 1

Lots of Helpers, December 2

Bigreadersite, December 2

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 2

Amanda Tero, blog, December 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 3

For the Love of Literature, December 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 4

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, What You Said to Me, Olivia NewPort, Celebrate Lit Publicity


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Book: To Steal A Heart

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Comedic Historical Romance

Release Date: November, 2020


After spending her childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. Using her old skills to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella unexpectedly encounters Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.

After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agrees to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.

As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.

Click here to get your copy!


JenNamed one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado.


“To Steal a Heart” is the first book in a new series. How did you come up with the idea for this series?

Oddly enough, this series was inspired by a lot of different things. I keep this idea box, and whenever I stumble on something interesting, I throw the idea into the box. When I was getting ready to assemble a proposal for a new series, I took out the box and began rifling through it. Unfortunately, nothing struck my fancy. What did strike my fancy though, was the movie “My Fair Lady.” I’d recently watched it for the millionth time, and I thought…hmmm…what could I do with that? Well, I didn’t want to do a recreation of “My Fair Lady” and that’s when it hit me – what if I used a gentleman instead of a lady and improved his circumstances in life with the help of a professor? That wasn’t really enough, though, for me to formulate an entire series, but then I went to New York City for a research trip. While there, I roamed around Bleecker Street for hours. It was the perfect place to set a series, and then I saw this older building that my tour guide thought might have once been a boardinghouse. That was what really started me thinking, and before I knew it, I’d created an inquiry agency run by women that came about when a resident of a boardinghouse was unjustly accused of theft. When the police would not investigate further, believing they had the true culprit behind bars, the ladies who lived in the boardinghouse felt compelled to step up and clear their fellow boardinghouse resident of the charges brought against her. The series took off from there, the first book centering around one of the lady inquiry agents, Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who used to live on the mean streets of the Lower East Side and, at one point in her life, was best friends with Nicholas Quinn, the man who has now found his circumstances vastly improved from the time he knew Gabriella. Throwing the two of them back together made for an interesting storyline, especially since Gabriella believes Nicholas abandoned her all those years ago, which makes it next to impossible for her to trust him.

Are there other interesting characters in this series?

Of course. All of the lady inquiry agents come with their own secrets. Miss Daphne Beekman is a reclusive author who lives in the attic of the boardinghouse. She has the propensity to faint at the drop of a hat, which makes for a few amusing scenes in the first book. She’ll get her own story in “To Write a Wrong,” coming out later in 2021. Then there’s Eunice Holbrooke. She’s the owner of the boardinghouse, and she only wears full mourning garb, covering her face with numerous veils and refusing to speak to anyone about her past. Clearly, there’s a mystery just waiting to be solved there, one that will be solved in book three, which I’m just now beginning to work on. The other residents of the boardinghouse provide a lot of color to the story, from the two sisters who work as paid companions by day to gossip collectors and carriage drivers by night, to the resident artist, Miss Judith, who has recently decided to dip her toe into the portrait market even though she’s really not proficient with painting people. There’s also a one-eyed, patch-wearing dog by the name of Winston, a parrot that likes to nick sparkly items named Pretty Girl, and a neurotic poodle that falls for Winston that goes by the name of Precious.

Did the pandemic affect the writing process at all for “To Steal a Heart?”

Luckily, I had already turned in the book before the pandemic hit. With that said, though, I then had to do some of the edits during the first few months of the pandemic. That was interesting. I have very specific conditions I need in order to write and edit and having Al (the husband person) working from home isn’t one of those conditions. It took me far longer than it normally does to complete the editing process, which threw off my schedule for the next book in the series, “To Write a Wrong.” Drastic measures were needed. That’s why I’m now the proud owner of a she-shed. Al thought I was joking when I first broached the subject of a she-shed, but after I had my millionth meltdown, he decided that might be a really good idea. Turns out sheds are in high demand at the moment, so getting a shed in a timely fashion wasn’t possible. It took 6 weeks for us to get a shed delivered and then we had to frame the inside and put up a ceiling and walls. I was not actually very involved with that process because I’m a danger to everyone surrounding me when nail guns are being used. 🙂 I did paint the outside of the shed, then painted the inside. Of course the air conditioning unit I had to order was delayed, so I painted in 100 degree heat. Lost about five pounds doing that, so…unexpected bonus there. I just recently finished decorating the inside, and I’m typing this interview from my new space. I’m thinking I’m going to call it “Jen’s Novel Nook” but that might change, so don’t quote me on that.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Just that I hope everyone is surviving these crazy days. I know there are many people out there who are suffering from many different problems this pandemic has caused. Know that you’re not alone, and that brighter days will show up again. Until that time, try to remember to smile and, perhaps, read a few books.

Wishing all of you the very best!



* My review coming in December.


To Steal a Heart Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away the grand prize package of copy of To Steal a Heart, plus all three books in the American Heiresses series and a 30 second mystery kit


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



Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 17

Soulfully Romantic, November 17

Hebrews 12 Endurance, November 17

Blessed & Bookish, November 17

Through the Fire Blogs, November 18

The Avid Reader, November 18

Losing the Busyness, November 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 18

She Lives To Read, November 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 19

Wishful Endings, November 19

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 19

Artistic Nobody, November 20 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

lakesidelivingsite, November 20

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 20

Reviewingbooksplusmore, November 20

The Write Escape, November 20

Older & Smarter?, November 21

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 21

Christian Bookaholic, November 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 21

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 22

Mia Reads, November 22

Writing from the Heart Land, November 22

Betti Mace, November 23

Inklings and notions, November 23

Blogging With Carol, November 23

Life of Literature, November 23

Texas Book-aholic, November 24

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 24

Batya’s Bits, November 24

Joanne Markey’s blog, November 24

For Him and My Family, November 25

Inside the Wong Mind, November 25

Mary Hake, November 25

Godly Book Reviews, November 25

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, November 26

EmpowerMoms, November 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 26

Novels Corner, November 26

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 27

Connie’s History Classroom, November 27

Captive Dreams Window, November 27

Book of Ruth Ann, November 27

deb’s Book Review, November 28

Blossoms and Blessings, November 28

Daysong Reflections, November 28

Bigreadersite, November 28

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 29

Splashes of Joy, November 29

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 29

Simple Harvest Reads, November 29 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Vicky Sluiter, November 30

Pause for Tales, November 30

Spoken from the Heart, November 30

Hallie Reads, November 30

#Blogwords, Wreading Wednesday, Featured Book, To Steal a Heart, Jen Turano, Celebrate Lit Publicity


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She’s hanging by a string—with only one chance left.

A recovering alcoholic and longtime widow, Sharon has struggled to build a new life. She’s made amends with her only daughter, Cassie, who’s been through a treacherous divorce. Cassie’s daughter, Renee, too young to understand her grandmother’s earlier mistakes, has become the light of Sharon’s life.

But Sharon can’t seem to escape from her past. Her mother’s deathbed confession haunts her. Convinced the answer to truly overcoming her addiction lies with her biological father, Sharon sends off a DNA test in the hope of finding him. When the results of the test aren’t as revealing as Sharon anticipates, she and Cassie team up to find the truth.

Meanwhile an old flame shows up. Sharon doesn’t think she can ever love again, but what Johnny offers seems like a dream come true. His charm and kindness shine so bright, Sharon can almost believe he’s changed.

As the search for her father continues to frustrate and tensions escalate with Cassie, Sharon wonders if leaving it all behind for a life with Johnny will save her crumbling heart.

Will the truth set Sharon free? Or it will it be the final blow to her sobriety?


65301398_2765143066860137_4062545218086371328_oMelanie Campbell is a member of Oregon Christian Writers and ACFW. She wrote her first story when she was eight-years-old and has been in love with the power of storytelling ever since. She is also passionate about social issues and holds a degree in Sociology from the University of Oregon, which she obtained during her stint as a single-mom. She’s now married and lives in Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley with her husband, their three children, and several spoiled pets.

When not writing, she does the bookkeeping and other office work for her husband’s painting business, obsesses over the well-being of their three daughters, and cooks healthy meals. In the spring, you may find her hitting the trails to one of Oregon’s magnificent waterfall.


I said it before (One Woman Falling, 11 March 2020) and I’ll say it again,


Ms. Campbell grabs the reader, jerks you into the story, and doesn’t let go.”

I don’t fight the battle Sharon does—alcoholism—but I know (and love) some who do. I also know what it is to struggle with invisible “difficulties.”

Once again, Ms. Campbell goes deep into the anguish and the constant battle Sharon faces. Daily. Moment by moment. The smallest things—or nothing—that can trigger the cravings. When she passed by the liquor store, when her friend asked her to go to the club, when she was in the convenience store—I could feel her heart pounding, and I could almost taste the longing, the need to quench the fire. To satisfy the addiction.

I silently applauded and praised her every time she conquered the demon voices. Every time she chose life.

Like all of us, Sharon seeks to know who she truly is, and like a person drowning, she longs to walk on dry land, to live a life without the constant undertow tugging at her. Though not for the same reasons, I, too, have fought to gain the most cherished mother-daughter friendship, and my heart swelled as Sharon and Cassie hammered out their new relationship.

I said it before (One Woman Falling) and I say it again, “My heart breaks to know there are women who live—and die—in such circumstances, and I applaud Ms. Campbell for telling this story and bringing awareness to” the depth of battle an alcoholic must embrace to know true healing and recovery.



I received a complimentary copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

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#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day-on-Saturday, #TRD, Book Review, One Way Home, Melanie Campbell, Whispers of Grace, JustRead Publicity


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Strong-willed watercolor artist Amelia York thought she could paint the scenes of her own life – that is until she finds herself responsible for getting her brother, a paralyzed war veteran, home to Iowa and must deal with the moody Army captain God has painted into her life.
Captain Braedon McCrae is ruled by honor and a strong sense of duty. Still, the deaths of two people close to him have left him angry at God and vowing to never love again.
After a steamboat incident forces Amelia and Braedon to marry, Amelia must decide if she will accept Braedon’s offer of an annulment or keep the sacred vows she made before God.
The more Amelia attempts to control her future, the more she muddies the picture, like watercolors in the hand of a child. Can she learn to love, respect, and trust a man she barely knows?


977327_763120520370885_1894838579_oFor as long as I can remember, I loved writing. I even dreamed in plots. I also grew up attendign antique auctions near4ly every weekend, so history was as much a part of my life as chores on the farm, reading books, and playing with Barbies.

So, writing historical romances fit perfectly. Times may change, the style of clothes may take on a different look, but the common threads that unit us remain the same. Couples fall in love. Injustices happen. We fight for what we believe in. We struggle. We endure. We grow.

After graduating from York College in York, Nebraska, with a A.A. degree, I transferred to Lubbock Christian University in Lubbock, Texas and graduated with a B.S. Ed.

When I returned to Iowa, I met and married the Love of my life, David. God had written our love story, and I know from the moment we met that he was the one.It wasn’t love at first sight by any means, but I was sure he was the man I would marry–and it scared me to death.

I didn’t tell a soul, but I did write about it in my journal. Two and half years later, we pledged our hearts and lives to one another.

I taught high school English until my oldest child was born. After that, I began my career as a professional wiper. I wiped noses, counter tops, tiny tushes, tears, and  the scraped knees of my own kids and the ones others allowed me to care for.

Once my children were older and less in need of my constant supervision, I started pursuing my first love again–writing.

David and I have three adult children, but no grandchildren yet. He’s an elder in our church, and we both teach Bible classes and are involved in 4-H.


Amelia York is the kind of stubborn, and obstinate, and colorful—and annoying—character that makes a story authentic and realistic. I can’t say I don’t relate to her though, as an artist and shall we say, colorful. She’s faithful, too, and deeply devoted to her brother, both admirable traits.

Kind and compassionate, Braedon McCrae harbors wounds that keep him prisoner.

The two of them grate each other in a dance of anger and affection.

I love a good accent, and Celtic is one of my favorites. (I read his bits in accent.) The bits of the Scottish language were fun, but in places it broke the dialogue because the meaning was unclear to me. Dialogue in general is a critical element to this reader, and it didn’t seem to fully fit the era.

The story, though, was beautiful and tender. A vibrant canvas in the midst of garish war. The twists in this story were as rolling as the waters beneath the steamboat, and kept me turning pages to see where it might go. And that final twist! What a great surprise!



I received a complimentary copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

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#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day-on-Wednesday, #TRD, Book Review, Watercolors, Lorna Seilstad, The Mosaic Collection, JustRead Publicity


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Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.
With the one-year anniversary of the now-successful Barks & Beans Cafe approaching, siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield set up an iced coffee booth at the state fair. Taking a break from brewing, Macy bumps into Carolina, a long-lost childhood friend who’s now sitting pretty as a country superstar. Macy tries not to fangirl too hard when her old friend extends an invitation to meet the rest of the Carolina Crush band before their opening show.
But when Carolina falls victim to not one, but two near-death experiences, Macy takes it upon herself to find out who has it in for her old friend. Fortified with plenty of roasted corn, cinnamon rolls, and her brother’s signature iced maple latte, Macy takes to the Ferris wheel to get the lay of the land from the air. She discovers too late that this year’s fair isn’t all fun and games…but she’s already locked in for the ride.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown…with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.


41378795_1972880376126640_6318366332341452800_oHEATHER DAY GILBERT, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Publisher’s Weekly gave Heather’s Viking historical Forest Child a starred review, saying it is “an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership.”
Find Heather on Pinterest (heatherdgilbert), Instagram (@heatherdaygilbert), Twitter (@heatherdgilbert), and Facebook (heatherdaygilbert). You can find all her books at heatherdaygilbert.com


Well that was a different plot twist!

A visit with Macy Hatfield is a visit filled with antics and escapades and unexpected turns. I love her quirky personality, and her inquisitive mind—the one that lands her smack in the middle of trouble.

Ms. Gilbert has created characters who leap off the page and tug the reader right into the story. I could smell the coffee (and sometimes the dogs!) I could hear the yipping and yapping and barking. My heart raced when Macy ran into her old friend-turned-country-music-star, and my heart pounded when Carolina was struck with [SPOILER!]

The more Macy discovers about the attacks on her friend, the more confusing it becomes. But for all her quirky qualities, Macy has staying power and she is determined to help her friend.

Macy could well be a detective but for her whimsical and offbeat methods, which aren’t really methods at all. But she is as clever and diligent as, well, a hound, and her mind is always clicking, piecing together the bits like jigsaw puzzle pieces in a scavenger hunt.

Bo, strong and silent and stoic, is on perpetual stand-by to rescue his sister from the freak situations she has a habit of stumbling into. Their bond is deep, borne of tragedy and secured by love.

And Coal! Well, who wouldn’t love a dog as big as horse! He may be big but he’s a gentle giant, and oh! so protective of Macy.

Ms. Gilbert’s writing is brilliant, her characters real and fun, her stories a delight to read, and I look forward to the next book in this series, Spilled Milk.



I received a complimentary copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

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#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, Fair Trade, Heather Day Gilbert, Barks & Beans Café Cozy Mystery


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Book: The Red Ribbon

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian historical/suspense

Release Date: October, 2020

An Appalachian Feud Blows Up in 1912

Book 8 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History


In Carroll County, a corn shucking is the social event of the season, until a mischievous kiss leads to one of the biggest tragedies in Virginia history. Ava Burcham isn’t your typical Blue Ridge Mountain girl. She has a bad habit of courtin’ trouble, and her curiosity has opened a rift in the middle of a feud between politicians and would-be outlaws, the Allen family. Ava’s tenacious desire to find a story worth reporting may land her and her best friend, Jeremiah Sutphin, into more trouble than either of them planned. The end result? The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre of 1912.

Click here to get your copy!


PepperBashamPepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains where her family have lived for generations. She’s the mom of five kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus, and proud AlleyCat over at the award winning Writer’s Alley blog. Her debut historical romance novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in April 2015, and the second in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance debuted in April 2016.


Feuds, Moonshine, and Family Loyalties by Pepper Basham

My upcoming release for Barbour’s True Colors series is really close to my heart…and pretty close to my house.

The Red Ribbon, my first foray into a historical suspense novel, takes place in the county where I grew up. Carroll County, Virginia, is a county on the border of Virginia and North Carolina, not too far from Mt. Airy (Mayberry).  Nestled in the foothills and mountains of the Blue Ridge, it is a part of the Appalachian Mountains, and with that comes similar histories as other backwoods Appalachian communities: feuds, moonshine, and family loyalties.

One thing I love most about my Appalachian upbringing is the intense closeness of family – and when I say ‘family’ I mean, of course, my mom, dad, and brother, but also my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents…the whole “gang”, as my granny used to say.

The closeness of family, and the protection of the family name, is a big deal in Appalachia. There’s a lot of pride in the way your ‘name’ is thought of throughout the community, so when someone insults your name, there’s a good chance the repercussions aren’t going to be pleasant. Especially back in the early 1900s, when The Red Ribbon takes place. In fact, insulting someone by “stealing a kiss” is one of the events that leads to The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre/Tragedy.

A long-time feud between the Allen family and the “Courthouse Clan” came to a head inside the Hillsville Courthouse in March 1912 and this event resulted in the largest shootout within a courthouse in Virginia history. The story followed with a nationwide manhunt and made national news until the sinking of the Titanic the following month.

Growing up in Carroll County, I knew a few things about this story. Rumors and whispers, really. Most folks didn’t talk about it because it still caused a stir among those who were descendants (because another thing about Appalachia is that families tend to stay on or around family land for generations). People still took “sides”. So, when I decided to write this book, I knew I was stepping into precarious territory. Not that anyone would start up a shootout nowadays because of a book, but because people still have some deep feelings about how their ancestors are portrayed in history, and since many of my family members still live in Carroll County, I wanted to tread carefully into the events of “The Allen Tragedy”.

What I discovered was a story that still held a whole lot of mystery even one hundred years later. Bullet holes still mark the courthouse steps from that fateful day, rumors still circulate about who was to blame, and no one knows who fired the first gunshot that began the tragic shooting.

I’m not a “scary” book writer or reader, but I love a good adventure, so this book takes the reader on an adventure into Appalachia to my neck of the woods, and follows the journey of Ava Burcham and Jeremiah Sutphin as they live among the illegal moonshiners, dirty cops, and mountain gunslingers of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

(To learn more about the true events of the Courthouse Tragedy, you can read about it here: https://roanoke.com/news/virginia/the-courthouse-tragedy-gunfight-in-hillsville-in-1912/article_45d0d7f3-6e1f-57c4-83be-fceb3d98dafd.html)

Have you ever read a book set in Appalachia? If so, what was the title and what did you learn about the Appalachian culture? Have you ever visited the Blue Ridge Mountains?

Let’s chat mountain people, mountain ways, and mountain books 😊


I’ve loved every Pepper Basham book I’ve read and I’ve read all but one—but this book, The Red Ribbon, is the best one she’s written yet! The way Ms. Basham pulls the reader into the story, the way her characters are alive—the colorful mountain sayings, the history, the authenticity! A story by Ms. Basham is a visit to Appalachia.

But more than bringing history to life, Ms. Basham exposes the damage and brokenness of abuse: Ava Burcham. Scarred not only by her mother’s unpredictable behavior, but by witnessing [SPOILER,] Ava has closed herself off to love, courtin’ trouble instead (as Ms. Basham says) and pursuing a man’s profession—journalism. But behind her bold front, Ava has a heart of gold.

I adored Jeremiah and his utter and absolute faith and love for Ava. His persistence, his tenderness, his devotion.

I forgot at times that I was reading a fictional tale with history woven in, so honest the telling. I could see the vistas, cloaked in fog. I read with great apprehension when the courthouse scene unfolded, and sped through the pages in the aftermath.

Though I only visited a handful of times as a girl, I, too, have some family roots in Appalachia, and doubly appreciate Ms. Basham’s stories that bring that history to life.

“God ain’t sittin’ up in heaven watchin’ a show down here on earth. He don’t mind getting’ His hands dirty. Else, He’d never sent the Savior.”       – Granny Burcham



I received a complimentary copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.


The Red Ribbon Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Pepper 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.



Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 29

Fiction Aficionado, October 29

deb’s Book Review, October 29

Blossoms and Blessings, October 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 30

Texas Book-aholic, October 30

Blogging With Carol, October 30

Inklings and notions, October 31

Emily Yager, October 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, October 31

Hallie Reads, October 31

For Him and My Family, November 1

reviewingbooksplusmore, November 1

Christian Bookaholic, November 1

Betti Mace, November 2

Genesis 5020, November 2

For the Love of Literature, November 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess , November 2

Rebecca Tews, November 3

Robin’s Nest, November 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 3

Connect in Fiction, November 4

Older & Smarter?, November 4

To Everything There Is A Season, November 4

Artistic Nobody, November 4 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 5

By The Book, November 5

Remembrancy, November 5

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 6

Britt Reads Fiction, November 6

Life of Literature, November 6

Connie’s History Classroom, November 7

Splashes of Joy, November 7

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 7

A Reader’s Brain, November 8

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 8

Through the Fire Blogs, November 8

Godly Book Reviews, November 8

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, November 9

Bigreadersite, November 9

Where Faith and books Meet, November 9

Books I’ve Read, November 10

Just the Write Escape, November 10

Adventures of a Travelers Life, November 10

Amanda Tero, blog, November 11

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 11

Pause for Tales, November 11

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, The Red Ribbon, Pepper Basham, Celebrate Lit Publicity tours


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The time has come, and I must speak up…

I am making no comparisons, nor is this open for debate. I am sharing my thoughts and observations.

By the way, if I believed half the things that I see about Donald Trump I wouldn’t like him either! Call it what you will, the media does not portray the true man. If you don’t support our President, I encourage you to read my words, and consider the truth and value in them.

Is Donald Trump a perfect human? Well, no. Duh. (Who is?) Is he a polished politician? Nope, not that either. Does he know how to get the job done? Yup.

But more than that, I look at his character. Yes, I said his character. The one before he decided to run for President. Who, by the way, hasn’t changed since gaining that office.

A mega-successful gajillionaire, Donald Trump knows his stuff. And he knows people. He is good to the people around him. Yes, I said good.

Course, gruff, blunt—doesn’t change the kindness and integrity of his actions. He hasn’t accepted a penny of his Presidential salary, but donates every check to a charitable American institution or organization. Organizations that benefit the very people he is accused of persecuting.

Donald Trump won the Ellis Island Medal of Honor that he received in 1986 for “professional contributions” for New York City, which would include the inner cities of African Americans—and all other disadvantaged Americans living there.

Rosa Parks is said to have admired his work. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are said to have praised him for his work and contributions that improved the inner city.

Not the acts or behavior or character of a racist.

When Donald Trump bought Mar a Lago in 1985 it became his private residence for ten years. When he opened it as a private club (with a hefty membership fee) he accepted Jews and African Americans, something most other clubs in the area were not doing. Whether it was a business move or a crusade is irrelevant. But it IS further evidence that our President is neither racist nor anti-Semitic.

In an effort to sway my convictions about our President, a friend of mine who works for BMW lamented to me recently that Donald Trump is planning to close the plant. I assured her that cannot be true—it is contrary to everything he is doing to BUILD our economy in America. He is bringing jobs and manufacturing back TO the U.S. and to close one of the biggest manufacturers would go against that purpose.

The debacle of the wall along our southern border is contentious, rife with falsehoods and lies. Claims that President Trump doesn’t want immigrants in our country are absolutely not true. What he wants, what we all want, are LEGAL citizens. (And yes, his wife is a legal citizen.) Illegal drugs pouring into our country—into our inner cities—coming across the border. Children bought or abducted from their homes, brought here to be sold into sex trafficking.

Do they deserve a chance at a better life? A chance to escape from the poverty of their home countries and villages? Absolutely. But crossing the border illegally, accompanied by “coyotes” is not going to make that happen. In fact, it sends innocent children right into a life of hell on earth.

Our President is PRO-life, ANTI-abortion. The depths to which we as a nation have sunk, allowing the murder of unborn babies later and later, even to the moments AFTER birth is an abomination. And President Trump is fighting for their tiny lives. #myblog #mypost #mybeliefs  #TRUTH

I’ve seen the photo of him at Ground Zero after the 9-11 attacks. That was two decades ago, people! And yet I find questions to his motive for being there, and even to the truth of what he did to help! Un-fricking-believable! The man loves his city and his country, and even if he didn’t climb in the rubble himself, he did send his own people—employees—in to help, on his own dime. What they did is irrelevant. Whether ten or a hundred or a thousand of his people doesn’t matter. He. Took. Action. He was in a position to help and he did. He still does.

I could go on, citing examples I’ve seen and heard. I’ll close with this article by Liz Crokin. Though I could not find a link to this particular article I did listen to a YouTube testimonial by Ms. Crokin.



by Liz Crokin (June 2016)

“As an entertainment journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to cover Trump for over a decade, and in all my years covering him I’ve never heard anything negative about the man until he announced he was running for president. Keep in mind, I got paid a lot of money to dig up dirt on celebrities like Trump for a living so a scandalous story on the famous billionaire could’ve potentially sold a lot of magazines and would’ve been a huge feather in my cap.

Instead, I found that he doesn’t drink alcohol or do drugs, he’s a hardworking businessman. On top of that, he’s one of the most generous celebrities in the world with a heart filled with more gold than his $100 million New York penthouse.

Since the media has failed so miserably at reporting the truth about Trump, I decided to put together some of the acts of kindness he’s committed over three decades which has gone virtually unnoticed or fallen on deaf ears.

In 1986, Trump prevented the foreclosure of Annabell Hill’s family farm after her husband committed suicide. Trump personally phoned down to the auction to stop the sale of her home and offered the widow money. Trump decided to take action after he saw Hill’s pleas for help in news reports.

In 1988, a commercial airline refused to fly Andrew Ten, a sick Orthodox Jewish child with a rare illness, across the country to get medical care because he had to travel with an elaborate life-support system. His grief-stricken parents contacted Trump for help and he didn’t hesitate to send his own plane to take the child from Los Angeles to New York so he could get his treatment.

In 1991, 200 Marines who served in Operation Desert Storm spent time at Camp Lejune in North Carolina before they were scheduled to return home to their families. However, the Marines were told that a mistake had been made and an aircraft would not be able to take them home on their scheduled departure date. When Trump got wind of this, he sent his plane to make two trips from North Carolina to Miami to safely return the Gulf War Marines to their loved ones.

In 1995, a motorist stopped to help Trump after the limo he was traveling in got a flat tire. Trump asked the Good Samaritan how he could repay him for his help. All the man asked for was a bouquet of flowers for his wife. A few weeks later Trump sent the flowers with a note that read: We’ve paid off your mortgage.

In 1996, Trump filed a lawsuit against the city of Palm Beach, Florida, accusing the town of discriminating against his Mar-a-Lago resort club because it allowed Jews and blacks. Abraham Foxman, who as the Anti-Defamation League Director at the time, said Trump put the light on Palm Beach not on the beauty and the glitter, but on its seamier side of discrimination. Foxman also noted that Trump’s charge had a trickle-down effect because other clubs followed his lead and began admitting Jews and blacks.

In 2000, Maury Povich featured a little girl named Megan who struggled with Brittle Bone Disease on his show and Trump happened to be watching. Trump said the little girl’s story and positive attitude touched his heart. So he contacted Maury and gifted the little girl and her family with a very generous check.

In 2008, after Jennifer Hudson’s family members were tragically murdered in Chicago , Trump put the Oscar-winning actress and her family up at his Windy City hotel for free. In addition to that, Trump’s security took extra measures to ensure Hudson and her family members were safe during such a difficult time.

In 2013, New York bus driver Darnell Barton spotted a woman close to the edge of a bridge staring at the traffic below as he drove by. He stopped the bus, got out and put his arm around the woman and saved her life by convincing her to not jump. When Trump heard about this story, he sent the hero bus driver a check simply because he believed his good deed deserved to be rewarded.

In 2014, Trump gave $25,000 to Sgt. Andrew Tamoressi after he spent seven months in a Mexican jail for accidentally crossing the US-Mexico border. Trump opened his pocketbook to help this serviceman get back on his feet.

In 2016, Melissa Consin Young attended a Trump rally and tearfully thanked Trump for changing her life. She said she proudly stood on stage with Trump as Miss Wisconsin USA in 2005. However, years later she found herself struggling with an incurable illness and during her darkest days, she explained that she received a handwritten letter from Trump telling her she’s the bravest woman, I know. She said the opportunities that she got from Trump and his organizations ultimately provided her Mexican-American son with a full-ride to college.

Lynne Patton, a black female executive for the Trump Organization, released a statement in 2016 defending her boss against accusations that he’s a racist and a bigot. She tearfully revealed how she’s struggled with substance abuse and addiction for years. Instead of kicking her to the curb, she said the Trump Organization and his entire family loyally stood by her through immensely difficult times.

Donald Trump’s kindness knows no bounds and his generosity has and continues to touch the lives of people from every sex, race, and religion. When Trump sees someone in need, he wants to help.”

I close with this quote from a friend of mine, and my own words that I’ve shared in some form multiple times.

“Christians, I’m calling us out. We’ve been instructed to love, instructed to care, instructed to do so much more than what we are. I can’t imagine we’re doing anything, really, than causing Jesus grief.

Condemn the hatred. Condemn the violence. Love your neighbors as yourself. And love Jesus more, for God IS love.”

Once again I’m appalled at behavior of those who claim the label of Christian for their cause. Let me say it plainly, God does not hate, and He does not condone the violence displayed in recent months. (For those who would cite the Old Testament as filled with violence, let me just say that battles fought were defending against aggressive and brutal attacking armies.)

The New Testament is a New Covenant with God, marked by the life and death—and resurrection—of Jesus. Never did He attack those who disagreed with Him. Not once. In fact, Jesus remained silent when He was attacked by those who so despised Him.

No, Jesus loved those who came to Him. Not once did He turn one away. Not once did He attack, verbally or physically, those who cursed Him.

This is our example to live by. Jesus sets the bar. And there is no hatred in Him.

For those who don’t know Christ, don’t know His—my—standard, let me make it plain:


They DO NOT represent the Church, or Christianity in any way, shape, or form.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For if a person does not love his brother, whom he has seen, then he cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  1 John 4:20

#Blogwords, Headline News and Current Events, President Donald Trump, #MAGA, #2020, 1 John 4:20, Liz Crokin, Trump Does the Unthinkable




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Madison walked through the fallen snow, looking left and right. It had been Kaylee’s idea to use the trail through the forest; she said no one would follow them. But Madison lost sight of Kaylee for a moment and when she found her again she wasn’t alone…

In the remote forests of Stillwater, Minnesota, you can scream for days and no one will hear you. So when the bodies of two fifteen-year-old girls are discovered frozen in the snow, Special Agent Nikki Hunt is sure the killer is local: someone knew where to hide the girls and thought they would never be found.
Though Nikki hasn’t been home in twenty years, she knows she must take over the case. The Sheriff’s department in Stillwater has already made a mistake by connecting the girls’ murders to those of a famous serial killer, refusing to consider the idea that the killer could be someone from town.
Then another girl’s body is found, a red silk ribbon tied in her hair, and Nikki realizes that the killer has a connection to her own dark past, and the reason she left Stillwater.
Nikki is not the only person in town who wants those secrets to stay hidden. Will she be able to face her demons before another child is taken?


14379795_10210470572906577_5013756128272116378_oStacy Green is the author of the Lucy Kendall thriller series and the Delta Crossroads mystery trilogy. ALL GOOD DEEDS (Lucy Kendall #1) won a bronze medal for mystery and thriller at the 2015 IPPY Awards. TIN GOD (Delta Crossroads #1) was runner-up for best mystery/thriller at the 2013 Kindle Book Awards. Stacy has a love of thrillers and crime fiction, and she is always looking for the next dark and twisted novel to enjoy. She started her career in journalism before becoming a stay at home mother and rediscovering her love of writing. She lives in Iowa with her husband and daughter and their three spoiled fur babies. Stacy loves to hear from readers! Visit her website at stacygreenauthor.com, or Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/StacyGreenAuthor


WOWZERS!!! Ms. Green pulls no punches!

A thick layer of emotional armor shielding her from her past, Special Agent Nikki Hunt returns to the town that destroyed her life. The town she swore she’d never go back to.

But cases don’t follow an agent’s personal preferences, and Nikki is a professional. She’ll do what she must to solve the brutal murders.

As the case mounts, Nikki’s past unravels. With the cold case bubbling to the surface, and mingling with Nikki’s current case, it’s almost like a dual timeline. Each page, each chapter, every day adds a new twist. The dynamic between characters is high tension at best, volatile at worst.

Ms. Green pulls the reader in with a horrifying opening scene and doesn’t let up. AT.ALL. She twists the story over and back again, with suspects and red herrings and clues that point in every direction. And while I was pretty sure of the resolution of one of the crimes, I was not at expecting the outcome of the other!

This is my first book by Ms. Green and I promise it won’t be my last!

NOTE: There is occasional crude language.



I received a complimentary copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, The Girls in the Snow, Stacy Green, #NetGalley


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Free-spirited Opal Gilbert seems to have everything she needs to keep living a happy life in Sunset Cove as she refurbishes vintage furniture to sell at her funky ocean-side boutique, Bless This Mess. Until Lincoln Cole, a new-to-town ex-Marine nursing deep wounds and harboring hurts he can’t seem to shake, wanders into her shop. Opal knows a person in need when she sees one and offers Lincoln a job in her workshop. But the brooding former soldier has no interest in Opal’s offer. Thanks but no thanks.

But then a hurricane strikes, damaging Bless This Mess. Feeling guilty for how he treated Opal, Lincoln decides to help her repair the store. And soon it becomes clear Opal wants to restore not only her business, but also help Lincoln find restoration. As much as Lincoln tries to keep her at arm’s length, Opal’s well-meaning meddling begins to heal his wounds . . . and capture his heart almost before he realizes it.


96841359_2620372398236272_7056875242945249280_oBestselling author T.I. Lowe sees herself as an ordinary country girl who loves to tell extraordinary stories. She knows she’s just getting started and has many more stories to tell. A wife and mother and active in her church community, she resides in coastal South Carolina with her family.

For a complete list of Lowe’s published books, biography, upcoming events, and other information, visit tilowe.com and be sure to check out her blog, COFFEE CUP, while you’re there!

She would love to hear from you!!
twitter: TiLowe
facebook: T.I. Lowe


I gotta be honest, it took me a while to like Opal! I’m an eternal optimist but her joie de vivre is kinda over the top. Almost Pollyana, even.

Then again, that level of joy is soul deep, and absolutely necessary to withstand the force and depth of anger called Storm Lincoln. PTSD is a vicious beast and cruel master, and Lincoln was drowning in it.

The more I read, the more both of them became endeared to me. Opal’s joie de vivre stems from her bedrock of faith, and bubbles over in her art. As an artist, that especially endeared her to me even more. Her patience and tenacity with Lincoln—heck, she could almost be me!

I appreciated the way Ms. Lowe put them through the wringer, and threw them curveballs. Especially the hurricane! Because like the Phoenix from the ashes, Opal rose above the circumstances—and dragged Lincoln along with her. Even if he was kicking and screaming.

I especially love stories with a strong sense of family and/or community, and Beach Haven serves it in generous portions!



This book was given to me as a gift. I offer my review of my own free will, and the opinions expressed in my review are my own honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

 #Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day-on-Saturday, #TRD, Book Review, Beach Haven, T.I. Lowe, Carolina Coast Series


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Darla Mayhew has lived nearly all of her fifty-five years as a fiercely independent career woman. But when a sudden illness takes her sister Lucinda, she leaves Darla a dying request. Darla must take a road trip with Clifton, her sister’s arrogant and commitment-phobic “man friend.” Can she endure his company long enough to fulfill her obligation?

Clifton Peters has weathered divorce and other losses by staying calm and easy going. Only one woman rattles his tranquil existence. Darla Mayhew. Being forced into close proximity with her will be a nightmare. Why would Lucinda request this journey of them? Could the Master Potter use it to confront the dark chapters in their lives and challenge their conceptions of each other?


13521955_276016489427216_7013730330637411474_nChloe S. Flanagan is an author, technical writer, blogger, and graduate of New York University. She enjoys exploring the Christian walk frankly and thoughtfully in her fiction and in her blog, The Candid Corinthian. When she’s not writing Chloe loves music, travel, reading books in all genres, and spending time with family.


HOLY OY!! The sparks that flew in this story! I had to step back, figuratively speaking, to keep from getting singed!

But Lucinda was a wise woman, and knew both her sister and her “man friend” better than they knew themselves. And God, wiser than all of them, dropped an unexpected passenger in for the ride, one who seemed a random twist but had greater impact than either Darla or Clifton—or the reader—could have imagined.

But just as iron sharpens iron, and just as Lucinda knew they would, Darla and Clifton came to see one another differently. Even if it felt like sliding down a cheese grater to get there!

Truth and authenticity and depth covered the pages of Ms. Flanagan’s story. Her characters reflect her understanding of human nature, the wounds we all carry, and the healing process Father God sets before us.

Ms. Flanagan is another new favorite author for this reader.

BONUS: As a 60+ year old reader, I enjoyed a story of more “mature” characters!



I received a complimentary copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day-on-Saturday, #TRD, Book Review, Where Do They All Belong, Chloe Flanagan, The Potter’s House Series

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