Sunday, March 18, 2018

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): The Innkeeper's Daughter by Michelle Griep

About the Book

Title: The Innkeeper’s Daughter  
Author: Michelle Griep  
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction  
Release Date: March 1, 2018
A London officer goes undercover to expose a plot against the Crown Dover, England, 1808: Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the king—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue. . .until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm. 

All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother. 

Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.


My Thoughts

Dover, England - 1808

Romance, history, intrigue and espionage … a book by Michelle Griep is simply not to be missed, and reading The Innkeeper’s Daughter is sheer delight. The story moves at a steady pace that kept me eager to turn the pages. Griep does British settings, my favorite sub-genre, so very well. Along with romantic suspense, I always learn something new from the historical detail and delightful humor adds to the charm. Without going into detail, there’s a historic gem that gave me new insight into a line from The Star Spangled Banner.

I’m not an expert on styles, but The Innkeeper’s Daughter seems to combine elements of Regency and Dickens – all I know is that I loved it. From the lead characters, Alex and Johanna, to a wonderful supporting cast, all are well-drawn. Fans of Griep’s earlier novels will be delighted to see Brentwood’s appearance. And I think she created one of the most unusual secondary characters I’ve ever come across – Mr. Nutbrown, who speaks through a puppet.

Going undercover in seeking the identity of a suspected traitor among Dover’s elite puts Alex in Johanna’s world, and I was totally at a loss in knowing who to trust. Alex was famous for going beyond the rules to capture a criminal, and when it came to the prim, yet saucy Johanna, Alex thought that “Bow Street could use an interrogator like this woman.”

Griep’s writing is very descriptive, giving me a clear feel for the era and it’s people. There’s a beautiful example that I want to share, taken from a scene when Alex visits Lord Cobum’s mansion:

He knew no one, but could name them just the same. The fat merchant hoping to sell his soul to gain a contract with the viscount was Greed. The servant sneaking off for a tryst in an unused closet, Lust. And the pair of matrons whose plan was to allow their charges enough slack to hog-tie a bachelor? Self-serving Languor. Here in a manor home or down at a quayside bawdy house, people were people the world ‘round.

There’s nothing to indicate that The Innkeeper’s Daughter isn’t a standalone novel, but I certainly hope more is on the horizon. Romance seems likely for Johanna’s mom and Alex’s boss. There’s a moving scene involving an injured Mr. Nutbrown at the end and I’d love to know more about him. And then there’s Alex’s fellow worker, Thatcher – a man of few words, an “officer of shadow and dust” with a unique ability at camouflage. More, please!

Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. 

An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. 

Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog “Writer off the Leash” or visit

Guest Post from Michelle Griep

Celebrating Oak Apple Day

Spring is just around the corner, or maybe it’s in full bloom in your neck of the woods. Regardless, by this time of year, everyone is ready to celebrate. . .and nothing new is under the sun. For centuries people have been eager to welcome budding greenery and warmth. 

In my recent release, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, I incorporated a spring holiday that’s been around for over 500 years in England, one you may never heard of. 

Oak Apple Day. 

This ancient celebration dates back to the year 1651. At the time, Charles II escaped the Roundhead army by taking cover in an oak tree. Everyone loved ol’ Charlie and was glad he lived, so in his honor, a new national holiday was born—one that in some parts of England is still celebrated today. 

Another name for this annual event is Royal Oak Day and the festivities occur every May 29th. Celebration traditions vary from parades to the ringing of bells, but one thing that is standard is that it’s a day to pin an oak leaf on your lapel. If you fail to wear one, you could end up getting pinched. 

The hero in my latest release is kind enough to remind the heroine that she forgot to pin on her leaf, thus saving her from untoward pinches. Interested in hearing more about this gallant fellow and the forgetful miss? Here’s a blurb about The Innkeeper’s Daughter… 

Tension is high with the threat of a Napoleonic attack in Regency England, but risk from abroad means nothing when there’s danger at home. 

Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the crown—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue . . . until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm. 

All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother. 

Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead. 

It’s a race against time for them both.

Blog Stops

Mommynificent, March 16
Among the Reads, March 17
Mary Hake, March 17
Karen Sue Hadley, March 18
Kathleen Denly, March 19
Remembrancy, March 20
Book by Book, March 20
Bookworm Mama, March 22
Vicky Sluiter, March 22
Carpe Diem, March 22
Pause for Tales, March 23
margaret kazmierczak, March 23 (Interview)
A Greater Yes, March 24
Simple Harvest Reads, March 26 (Mindy Houng Guest Post)
Pursuing Stacie, March 27
Bigreadersite, March 27
The PhD Mamma, March 28


If you’re willing, please help spread the word by clicking on this link and sharing my Facebook post. Thank you!

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of The Innkeeper’s Daughter and a $25 gift card from Barnes & Noble!!

Click the image above or the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Review: Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren

By Lisa T. Bergren
The Sugar Baron’s Daughters #1
Bethany, 2018


In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father's estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.

Although it flies against all the conventions, they're determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, conventions are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined-and that's just the start of what their eyes are opened to in this harsh and unfamiliar world.

Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.

To keep her family together and save the plantation that is her last chance at providing for them, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

Learn more and purchase a copy.

My thoughts

Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren is refreshingly different from anything I’ve ever read, brought alive by beautiful historical detail, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. From a historical standpoint, the Colonial period is my favorite setting for fiction, and I found this era and the exotic West Indies locale fascinating. There’s adventure and romance, political and cultural intrigue. When it comes to social injustice, Bergren writes with a realistic touch that I appreciate. I’ve always enjoy her writing and am glad to see this new series beginning.

The series follows three sisters as they leave England and sail to the Caribbean island of Nevis, determined to save their deceased father’s sugar cane plantation. The eldest, Keturah, is a complex and not always the most likeable of leading ladies, which made for fascinating reading. Keturah has the background of an abusive marriage, which directly affects the woman she has become. I loved the sisters’ close relationship, especially Selah’s joyous faith in God contrasted with Keturah’s lack of faith, feeling abandoned by God.

The story opens in the years leading up to the American Revolution, and I realize it’s easy for me to look back on this era and question how people fighting for their independence could morally defend the owning of slaves, but it’s still illogical to me. Social injustice plays a big part in this story, and it’s not a pretty picture. I felt for Keturah as she quickly found that succeeding on Nevis was like a game of chess.

Clay, with his playboy past, had changed and made an appealing hero. I loved the way his faith impacted Keturah and I also can take his words to heart … “All God asks of us is to do our best, from morning until night. He does not expect us to do things that only He can accomplish, only what we’ve been given to do, and to trust Him with the rest” (p. 186).

There’s some predictability to this story, and Keturah’s ability to get past her abusive past might have come about a little too neatly, but this is fiction and I loved it. I assume Verity and Selah’s stories will follow, and I’m eager to continue reading.


I received a complimentary copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Lisa T. Bergren has published more than 40 books with more than 3 million books sold combined. She's the author of the Christy Award-winning "Waterfall," RITA®-finalist "Firestorm," bestselling "God Gave Us You," and popular historical series like Homeward, Grand Tour, and more. She's also a recipient of the RT Lifetime Achievement Award.

She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and three teen-and-older children.

Find out more about Lisa at

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Review + GIVEAWAY: Lethal in Old Lace by Duffy Brown

Lethal in Old Lace
By Duffy Brown
Consignment Shop Mystery #5
Crooked Lane Books, 2018


Reagan Summerside returns in national bestselling author Duffy Brown’s fifth Consignment Shop mystery, now for the first time in hardcover.

There are two social functions in Savannah guaranteed to get people talking: weddings and funerals. And just as consignment shop owner Reagan Summerside agrees to marry the hunky Walker Boone, her neighbors, sisters Annie Fritz and Elsie Abbot, step up their business as professional mourners. They are so successful that the Sleepy Pines Retirement Center has hired them as a part of their retirement package. But the celebration over good business is cut short when the residents at Pines suddenly begin dying at an alarming rate. And the sisters are the first suspects.

Reagan has her doubts, however, and begins to look into the strange phenomenon. But then something even stranger happens: a body winds up in the sisters’ pink Caddy. The evidence begins to pile up and the suspicious case of Willie Fishbine, who swindled the sisters out of a fortune and coincidentally died prior to the Pines case, is reopened.

Not wanting Willie to be buried until they can find the killer responsible for the murders, Reagan must catch the culprit in time to walk down the aisle.

Amazon B&NKobo

My thoughts

Lethal in Old Lace is that perfect blend of crime, quirky characters, humor, romance, southern charm that doesn’t come along often. And did I mention humor?!

I love this story! I can honestly say that I’ve never read anything like Lethal in Old Lace, and it just might be the funniest cozy mystery I’ve ever read. Duffy Brown is not only a talented writer with a natural gift for humor, but she brilliantly captures the southern charm of Savannah, Georgia, a beautiful coastal city in my home state. I hate that it has taken me this long to discover the Consignment Shop series and can’t wait to start from the beginning.

This story can stand alone, but it’s obvious that characters have evolved throughout the series and I believe this story begins right after the previous one ended – with Walker proposing to Reagan, in fact. The author doesn’t rehash events from past books, but does give sufficient detail to keep readers from feeling lost.

Lethal in Old Lace is a fun, exciting ride – filled with southern mores, quirky characters and witty, snappy dialogue – and moving from one madcap adventure to the next. Corpses play a big part … one keeps appearing and disappearing, while another is kidnapped from the local funeral parlor. There’s no way my thoughts can convey all the wonderful humor, so I’ll just share a few quotes that I loved from some of the key characters …

      -- Reagan’s mamma, the judge: “Normal people don’t have bodies popping up in their lives like this except for that Jessica Fletcher woman in Cabot Cove. I can’t understand why anyone in their right mind would want to be her friend. They all wind up dead, and now you’re getting to be the same way.”
      -- Reagan’s loveable dog, Bruce Willis (BW): “Not that he was much of a watchdog; BW was more of a comfort dog. He was someone I got into trouble with and things didn’t seem so bad because there were two of us freaking out.”
      -- Aunt Kiki, on her husband’s love of golf: “I need to be getting home before your Uncle Putter finishes up that DVD he’s been watching on 18 Ways to Throw Your Golf Club and starts wondering where I am. I tell you, men and golf are like a religion around here. Just put golf in the title and they believe.”
      -- Mercedes, Reagan’s friend at the funeral home: “She was a respectable housekeeper by day, mortician beautician by night, and she had half of Savannah fighting over her for both reasons. Mercedes was a woman of many talents.”

I adored Lethal in Old Lace and hope this series continues for a long time, for I don’t believe I will ever tire of these characters.

Highly recommended.

I received an e-copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


While other girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy Brown longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. Today she conjures up who-done-it stories for Berkley Prime Crime and has two series, the national bestselling Consignment Shop Mysteries set in Savannah and the Cycle Path Mysteries on Mackinac Island.



March 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
March 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
March 9 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW, GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
March 10 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
March 10 – Mysteries with Character – SPOTLIGHT
March 11 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
March 11 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 12 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
March 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
March 14 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
March 15 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
March 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
March 17 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST
March 17 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 18 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
March 18 – Readeropolis – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
March 19 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT
March 20 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
March 21 – La libreria di Beppe – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY


Duffy Brown is giving away a tote bag at several stops on this tour. Be sure to check out the tour list above, then visit and enter.

For my giveaway, please help spread the word by clicking on this link and sharing my Facebook post, then leave a comment here letting me know that you shared. And if you’ve read any of Duffy Brown’s other books, I’d love to know your thoughts.

BE SURE to leave your name and your email address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Wednesday, March 21. Winner will be chosen by and contacted by e-mail.

Eligibility: US residents

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Plum Tea Crazy by Laura Childs

Plum Tea Crazy
By Laura Childs
A Tea Shop Mystery #19
Berkley, 2018

About the Book

Theodosia Browning investigates a Charleston steeped in tradition and treachery in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

While viewing the harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion, local banker Carson Lanier seemingly tumbles over a narrow railing, then plunges three stories to his death. But a tragic accident becomes something much more sinister when it’s discovered that the victim was first shot with a bolt from a crossbow.

At the request of the mansion owner, Theodosia investigates the tragedy and is soon neck deep in suspects. An almost ex-wife, a coworker, a real estate partner–all had motives for killing the luckless banker, but one resorted to murder to settle accounts.

Includes delicious recipes and tea time tips!

AmazonB&NKoboGoogle Play

My thoughts

To see the nineteenth book in a series published … what a credit to the creative writing of Laura Childs! I came late to the tea shop mysteries, having only read the last two or three, but became an instant fan. This is my favorite series of all that Childs writes and each book can stand alone, but it is so great to visit with old friends Theodosia, Haley, and Drayton in Plum Tea Crazy. And kudos to the design team for creating such an attractive cover!

I love all things southern, so the Charleston setting that Childs conveys so well is one of my favorite parts. This story is filled with delightful charm and gentle humor – along with the sights, sounds and tastes of the city. Theodosia is a warm, caring lead character who solves some great murder mysteries.

Secondary characters add lots of interest. In fact, Timothy Neville is the catalyst for getting Theodosia involved, and he’s quite a character himself … “the octogenarian director of the Heritage Society, a multimillionaire, and old guard Charlestonite.” And Delaine is back in full force, a little rough around the edges, to say the least. According to Drayton, “she was one of those women that most men – and some women, too – considered difficult. Which, of course, was code for crazy as a loon.”

Theodosia’s method is different from many protagonists who solve the murder by slowly gathering evidence as they chat with characters, listening and observing. But Theodosia kind of runs from one character or social event to another, making wrong assumptions and keeping readers totally off track, which is what makes this story unique and enjoyable. I didn’t really try to figure out the murderer’s identity and just enjoyed going along for the fun ride.

I thoroughly enjoyed Plum Tea Crazy and hope this series keeps on going. Recommended to all cozy mystery fans.

I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries , Scrapbook Mysteries , and Cackleberry Club Mysteries . In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries  – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries  – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries  – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.



Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Review: Real-Life Romance by Rhonda Stoppe

Real-Life Romance
By Rhonda Stoppe
Harvest House, 2018


Do you believe in true love?

In a world of broken relationships and hurting people, it can seem like all we ever see is heartache-that marriages are doomed from the start and romance isn't worth the risk.

But heart-fluttering, long-lasting love is all around us...we just have to look for it!

This collection of beautiful, real-life accounts will bring laughter and tears as you enjoy each story of ordinary people who found extraordinary love. Page after page, you will find inspiration to

-rekindle the romance in your love story
-trust in God's providence and timing
-faithfully hope for your own happily-ever-after
-celebrate true romance
-believe in life-long love

Don't let the world define romance for you! See how God is at work in the hearts of His people-knitting together hearts in a love that forever endures.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

My thoughts

Not only did I thoroughly enjoy reading Real-Life Romance by Rhonda Stoppe, but I found it to be a personal blessing that touched me in so many ways. Romance is of God, and that’s what we see in these 25 stories. As Rhonda begins by talking about herself and Steve, I felt like we were chatting over a cup of coffee. Rhonda is a gifted communicator who has a passion for the Lord and helping others, and that’s inspiring.

Each couple’s story is unique and reflects the realities of life – and each couple is totally relatable. Their stories will speak to you, the reader. There’s no “fairy tale” feeling to this collection. While some stories will put a smile on your face, others will draw tears – the one constant being God’s faithfulness. Each chapter ends with a meditative section that begs you to take time and reflect. Real-Life Romance is for everyone, no matter what stage of life you’re in, but it would make a great gift for engaged or young marrieds.

The best way I can give a feel for this book is by highlighting a couple of chapters. Stories dealing with struggles that involve alcohol addiction, death of a child or spouse, and pornography are so very relevant. The stories of Rhonda and Steve’s four children are also great. But in the very first chapter, Rhonda said something that, while I know it in my heart, I still need to put where I can see it every day: “Working to remain content is a vital component to a happy marriage.”

John and Denel weren’t Christians in the early years of their marriage, and Rhonda writes these words that I find so encouraging: “Even though they didn’t know anything about God’s love for them, He loved them anyway. Even when they didn’t walk according to His commands, He wooed them.”

But it’s Curt and Vi’s story that resonated so much and I can’t forget. Coming to the end of his life after a marriage of 42 years and thinking about standing in the presence of the Lord, Curt said to Vi, “I am going to thank Him for giving me you.” If all our husbands could say that of us, how wonderful that would be! Vi, evidently a gifted writer, penned a poem to be shared at Curt’s funeral. I want to end with these ending line from her poem entitled The Waltz:

One Conductor, plus two partners, make a unit of three.
The Conductor selected the tunes and tempo for each melody.
And side by side, we simply complied with
The music He played faithfully.

Real-Life Romance will be a blessing to all who read it. Rhonda Stoppe has become a mentor to me through her writing and I highly recommend this book.

I received a copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Rhonda Stoppe is the No Regrets Woman. With more than 20 years of experience as a pastor's wife, mom, mentor, author, and speaker, Rhonda uses humor and honest communication to help women build No Regrets Lives.

She and her husband live their real-life romance in northern California, and have four grown children and eight grandchildren.

Find out more about Rhonda at