Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book

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Book: Catching Christmas

Author: Terri Blackstock

Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Christmas

Release Date: October 9, 2018

This Year, Christmas Comes Just in Time

As a first-year law associate, Sydney Batson knows she will be updating her resume by New Year’s if she loses her current court case. So when her grandmother gets inexplicably ill while she’s in court, Sydney arranges for a cab to get her to the clinic.

The last thing cab driver Finn Parrish wants is to be saddled with a wheelchair-bound old lady with dementia. But because Miss Callie reminds him of his own mother, whom he failed miserably in her last days, he can’t say no when she keeps calling him for rides. Once a successful gourmet chef, Finn’s biggest concern now is making his rent, but half the time Callie doesn’t remember to pay him. And as she starts to feel better, she leads him on wild goose chases to find a Christmas date for her granddaughter.

When Finn meets Sydney, he’s quite sure that she’s never needed help finding a date. Does Miss Callie have an ulterior motive, or is this just a mission driven by delusions? He’s willing to do whatever he can to help fulfill Callie’s Christmas wish. He just never expected to be a vital part of it.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

I have been in quite a reading slump lately and this book was the perfect book to pull me out of it. The story is a lot of fun and definitely gives the reader “all the feels”. It focuses on a slightly grumpy cab driver who is called to drive an elderly woman to an appointment. This assignment pulls him into her world and he ends up becoming her personal driver.

The story is full of humor…some moments had me laughing out loud, but it also has touching moments and some heartbreaking ones. The characters are written extremely well. I felt like I knew each of them personally and was sad to say goodbye to them when the book was over.

This book is also full of Christmas…sometimes I read “Christmas” books and find that there’s only a page or two that mentions the holiday. This one discusses the season throughout the entire story, which really put me in the Christmas spirit.

I highly, highly recommend this story. I would rate this as the best Christmas book I’ve read, I loved it and think that you will too!

I received this book from the publisher/author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

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Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Catching Christmas is her first Christmas romance. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com Facebook: tblackstock Twitter: @terriblackstock

 

From Terri Blackstock

 

Enjoy this premium excerpt from Catching Christmas

https://aerbook.com/books/-128993.html?utm_source=pubpage

 

To get you in the Christmas mood, here’s an early holiday playlist:

“White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby

“I Heard the Bells” sung by MercyMe

“Light of the World” sung by Lauren Daigle

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sung by Amy Grant

“Don’t Save it All for Christmas Day” sung by Avalon

“Till the Season Comes ‘Round Again” sung by the Katinas

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 15

Daysong Reflections, December 15

Genesis 5020, December 15

Back Porch ReadsDecember 15

The Power of Words, December 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 16

Quiet Quilter, December 16

Among the Reads, December 17

Kathleen Denly, December 17

By The Book, December 17

Lighthouse Academy, December 17

Cultivating Us, December 18

Simple Harvest ReadsDecember 18 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, December 18

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, December 19

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, December 19

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, December 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 20

amandainpa, December 20

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 20

Multifarious, December 21

Cathe Swanson, December 21

Stories By Gina, December 21

Connect in Fiction, December 22

Have A Wonderful Day, December 22

Splashes of Joy, December 22

Bibliophile Reviews, December 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 23

Lis Loves Reading, December 23

Mary Hake, December 23

Bigreadersite, December 23

Book by Book, December 24

Pause for Tales, December 24

To Everything A Season, December 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 25

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 25

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Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 26

Inklings and notions, December 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 26

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 27

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Texas Book-aholic, December 27

A Baker’s Perspective, December 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 28

Older & Smarter?, December 28

Janices book reviews, December 28

Carpe Diem, December 28

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away a grand prize of a finished copy of Catching Christmas and a Christmas Tree Ornament!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d776/catching-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

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Mind Games by Nancy Mehl Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book

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Book: Mind Games

Author: Nancy Mehl

Genre: Suspense

Release Date: December, 2018

Publisher: Bethany House

FBI Behavioral Analyst Kaely Quinn’s methods may be highly unorthodox, but her talent is undeniable. She’s done her best to establish a new life for herself after being demoted and transferred to St. Louis when a reporter revealed she’s the daughter of an infamous serial killer. But when that same reporter claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely’s, it seems her old life has followed her.

When a body is found that fits the poem’s morbid predictions, Kaely and her new partner, Special Agent Noah Hunter, are forced to move past his skepticism of her approach and work together to unravel the deadly riddle.

With a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely are tested to their limits to catch the murderer before anyone else, including Kaely, is killed.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

 

My Thoughts

Full of twists and turns, this was one of the best Christian thrillers I’ve read. The story follows a criminal profiler who has an unorthodox method of finding her criminals and an interesting past. A serial killer sends a poem that eludes to the fact that she will be the final victim and the race is on to find him or her.

I really enjoyed this story, it was original and fast paced and light on the romance. It also had many surprises and kept me guessing. The characters were all interesting and had their share of flaws.

I did find that it didn’t feel like book one in a series as there was a lot of talk of past events (but everything was explained). There was also a lot of police jargon and abbreviations that I didn’t understand at times but I was still able to piece things together.

Overall, this was a great thriller that I flew through and I look forward to reading more books by Nancy Mehl.

I received this book from the author/publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

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Nancy Mehl (www.nancymehl.com) is the author of more than thirty books, including the Road to Kingdom, Finding Sanctuary, and Defenders of Justice series. She received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson. She is part of The Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.

 

Guest Post from Nancy

Writing Mind Games is a dream come true. I’ve been interested in FBI profiling for years. I’ve read about it, studied it, and watched every TV special I could find on the subject. So when the chance finally came to write the book I’ve always wanted to write, I jumped at it. Thankfully, through the help of another writer, I was hooked up with a retired FBI profiler. I was so excited. Until I found out I had almost everything wrong. Yes, I had some understanding about profiling, but I knew nothing about the FBI and how it works.

First of all, the FBI doesn’t call the men and women who profile criminals, profilers. They’re called Behavioral Analysts. The plot for Mind Games had my analyst running around the country solving crimes while she was stationed in St. Louis. Uh, no. Behavioral analysts do travel, but they all work out of Quantico in Virginia. So…I rewrote.

There were ways around my conundrum, but one solution led to more and more problems. We finally worked through them. Then I spent the next few months learning acronyms. CIRG, CJIS, NCAVC, HRT, UNSUB, CNU, THU, ViCap, CODIS, SWAT, ERTU, OPU, THRU, ERT… Well, the list goes on and on. The FBI is made up of many specialized units. And a plethora of acronyms, it seems.

I rewrote Mind Games three times before my source said we were good to go.

If you assume I’m out of the woods now, you’d be wrong. I haven’t had the nerve to open up the manuscript I sent her for book two in my Kaely Quinn Profiler series. I figured I had Fire Storm right but… Well, I can tell from her email comments I’ll be doing more rewriting. Sigh.

So is it worth it? A resounding yes! I love learning, and as long as my analyst friend hangs in with me (she has the patience of Job), I’ll keep at it.

I hope you enjoy Mind Games. It’s edgy but fun. Kaely Quinn is a quirky character. She was thrown out of Quantico because her version of profiling is… Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out!

Blog Stops

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Godly Book Reviews, December 17

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Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 19

For the Love of Literature, December 20

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A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 22

Bibliophile Reviews, December 23

To Everything a Season, December 23

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 23

Cafinated Reads, December 24

Texas Book-aholic, December 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 24

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Nancy is giving away a grand prize of a copy of Mind Games and the three books in Nancy’s Defenders of Justice series, plus a $20 Starbucks gift card!

Two additional winners will also receive a copy of Mind Games!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d73b/mind-games-celebration-tour-giveaway

Strategem by Robin Caroll Review and Giveaway

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About the Book

9781683227304

Book: Stratagem

Author: Robin Caroll

Genre: Christian Suspense

Release Date: November, 2018

A High-Stakes Simulation Adventure Leaves Grayson Thibodeaux the Prime Suspect. . .for Murder

Deep in the gritty underbelly of New Orleans, psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux loses everything when his wife leaves him to climb her company’s corporate ladder. He buries himself in his job of creating mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s to create an elaborate game, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts:

I love a good mystery and this one was great. Set in the historical city of New Orleans, the story was very atmospheric and the pacing was brisk.

The story focused on a murder that occurred during a team building simulation adventure in a creepy mansion. There are many characters (suspects) and as the crime is unfolded through police interrogations, there are more questions than answers. The story reminded me several times of the movie “Clue” as there were many characters and the setting was dark and creepy.

I found the story to be original and fun and although I guessed the culprit ahead of time, I was guessing throughout the story.

Overall, this was a very fun mystery that I highly recommend!

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

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“I love boxing. I love Hallmark movies. I love fishing. I love scrapbooking. Nope, I’ve never fit into the boxes people have wanted to put me in.” Robin Caroll is definitely a contradiction, but one that beckons you to get to know her better. Robin’s passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others and come alongside them on their faith journey—aspects Robin weaves into each of her twenty-five-plus published novels. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends quality time with her husband of nearly three decades, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home. Robin gives back to the writing community by serving as executive director/conference director for ACFW. Her books have been recognized in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year.

You can find out more about Robin by visiting www.robincaroll.com.

 

Guest post from Robin

Behind the Scenes: Robin Caroll Shares Her Inspiration for Writing Stratagem

Dear Reader,

Thank you for journeying to New Orleans in a web of deceit and confusion with me. Sharing a place that has such connection for me was a pure joy. South Louisiana offers such a laid-back attitude that I often miss “home.” I hope you’ll enjoy sampling a taste of the flavor of Louisiana.

Years ago I watched the movie The Game with Michael Douglas and Sean Penn and was enthralled. There’s just something grabbing about messing with a person’s mind and life by using their own feelings and instincts against them. When this story of Stratagem first began forming, I wanted to use all that intrigue to mess up the game master’s life. The end result is quite the ride!

As the characters came alive to me, I found the theme of forgiveness and acceptance coming out in the story. Some of the emotions within this story are very personal to me, and I’m honored I was able to share them with you. It is my wish that you may be touched by Grayson’s faith journey as well.

Until next time. . .

-Robin

Blog Stops

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Back Porch Reads, November 18

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Genesis 5020, November 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 19

Lighthouse Academy, November 20

Inklings and notionsNovember 20

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 21

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Moments, November 21

Just the Write Escape, November 22

Mary Hake, November 22

Simple Harvest Reads, November 22 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Bigreadersite, November 22

Aryn The Libraryan , November 23

Multifarious, November 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 23

Bibliophile Reviews, November 24

Remembrancy, November 24

amandainpaNovember 24

Margaret Kazmierczak, November 25

Pause for Tales, November 25

Book by Book, November 25

Livin Lit, November 26

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 26

Baker kella, November 26

Daysong ReflectionsNovember 27

Texas Book-aholic, November 27

Painting with Words, November 28

Maureen’s Musings, November 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 28

Janices book reviews, November 29

Carpe Diem, November 29

A Baker’s Perspective, November 29

Godly Book Reviews, November 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 30

Reader’s Cozy Corner, November 30

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Stratagem!!

 

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d629/stratagem-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Unannounced Christmas Visitor by Patrick Higgins Review and Giveaway

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About the Book

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Book: The Unannounced Christmas Visitor

Author: Patrick Higgins

Genre: Christian fiction/Christmas

Release Date: November 18, 2014

What if angels really did come from the most unlikely of places? That’s exactly what happens in this heartwarming story, set in a homeless community in Anywhere USA. Sent to Planet Earth by his Maker, disguised as a homeless person, Enoch was on a mission: to rescue a man whose life was slowly but steadily spiraling out of control

Inspired by Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,” this story will stir your soul like never before, guaranteed! 2016 IPA (INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHER AWARDS) GOLD MEDAL AWARD WINNER.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

This is a truly beautiful Christmas story that features a precious family. They meet a bedraggled homeless man at church named Enoch who teaches them many things and changes their lives forever.

This is the kind of story that makes you think long after reading the last page…what would I do in these situations? It also caused me to have some “sore toes” at times because of the convictions I felt regarding certain subjects. It’s straightforward but filled with truth. The author uses scripture throughout and the story really allows the reader to see and remember what is truly important.

I liked the characters in the story, the author was very good at developing them. At times I did feel like the story dragged but overall, it was a very worthwhile read and extremely heartwarming. Highly recommended!

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

Patrick higginsPatrick Higgins is the author of “The Pelican Trees”, “Coffee In Manila”, the award-winning “The Unannounced Christmas Visitor”, and the award-winning prophetic end times series, “Chaos In The Blink Of An Eye.”

 

Guest Post from Patrick

Why I wrote the book: Inspired by Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,” this story will stir your soul like never before, guaranteed!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 10

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The Power of Words, November 11

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God’s Little Bookworm, November 13

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, November 13

Girls in White Dresses, November 14

Moments, November 14

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Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 15

For the Love of Literature, November 15

Inklings and notionsNovember 16

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 16

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, November 17

Bibliophile Reviews, November 17

Vicky Sluiter, November 18

Debbie’s Dusty DeliberationsNovember 18

Godly Book Reviews, November 19

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 19

Luv’N Lambert Life, November 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 20

Texas Book-aholic, November 21

Janices book reviews, November 21

Carpe Diem, November 22

Bigreadersite, November 22

amandainpaNovember 23

A Baker’s Perspective, November 23

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, Patrick is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d5c7/the-unannounced-christmas-visitor-tour-giveaway

A Secret to Die For by Lisa Harris Review

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Synopsis

Psychologist Grace Callahan has no idea that she has a secret–one worth killing for. But when she finds out one of her clients has been murdered, she quickly realizes that the computer security specialist wasn’t simply suffering from paranoia.

Detective Nate Quinn has just been cleared for active duty after a bombing killed eighteen people, including his partner, and left him dealing with PTSD. His first case back on the job involves the murder of Stephen Shaw, and his only lead turns out to be an old friend, Grace Callahan–and her life is in grave danger. Someone believes Shaw gave his psychologist information before he died. Information they are willing to kill for.

With her signature pulse-pounding suspense, Lisa Harris takes readers deep into the heart of fear in this race against the clock.

My Thoughts

This story was full of action and adventure. The characters are in a race against time as they try to save themselves and the country from being destroyed.

The action scenes were interesting but I found them to be a bit too much after a while. At times the situations seemed unrealistic. I also found (in this book and many other romantic suspense Christian fiction books) that even when their lives are in danger and they are running from people who want to kill them, the characters are focusing on their romantic feelings for each other. This trope drives me crazy and feels extremely forced and ridiculous. I found myself skimming the scenes where the characters were pondering over their feelings of adoration for each other (while being chased by murderers!).

The pacing of the story was swift and there were no moments where the story lagged but for me it was just okay. Fans of romance and action may like this book.

My Rating

2.5 stars

I received this book to review from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar Review

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Synopsis:

In 1943 Germany, Helene is just about to wake up her children to go to school when a group of policemen break into her house. The policemen want to haul away her gypsy husband and their five children. The police tell Helene that as a German she does not have to go with them, but she decides to share the fate of her family. After convincing her children that they are going off to a vacation place, so as to calm them, the entire family is deported to Auschwitz.

For being German, they are settled in the first barracks of the Gypsy Camp. The living conditions are extremely harsh, but at least she is with her five children. A few days after their arrival, Doctor Mengele comes to pay her a visit, having noticed on her entry card that she is a nurse. He proposes that she direct the camp’s nursery. The facilities would be set up in Barrack 29 and Barrack 31, one of which would be the nursery for newborn infants and the other for children over six years old.

Helene, with the help of two Polish Jewish prisoners and four gypsy mothers, organizes the buildings. Though Mengele provides them with swings, Disney movies, school supplies, and food, the people are living in crowded conditions under extreme conditions. And less than 400 yards away, two gas chambers are exterminating thousands of people daily.

For sixteen months, Helene lives with this reality, desperately trying to find a way to save her children. Auschwitz Lullaby is a story of perseverance, of hope, and of strength in one of the most horrific times in history.

My Thoughts:

This book tells the story of Helen Hannemann, a German woman married to a man of Romani heritage, who goes with her husband and children to Auschwitz by her own choosing and is asked to organize a school and nursery in the camp. Based on a true person in history, this story was full of chilling details and shows how strong the bond is between a mother and her children as well as how scary humans can be.

The author wastes no time getting into the story, I never felt like there were unnecessary details or that the story dragged. The descriptions of the train ride and the experiences in Auschwitz were so vivid that I almost felt like I was watching a movie.

The fact that this story is based on things that actually happened in history made this story even more disturbing and terrifying. Some of the things that occurred in this book would have seemed unrealistic or far-fetched to me had I not known that they were based on true facts.

It is sad to see how mob mentality and power, along with brainwashing and a lot of satanic influence can change people. Although these types of books are not easy or fun to read, they are very important because history is something we should remember, so that we don’t allow it to repeat itself.

The writing was superb, the translation was very smooth, and the story moved at a great pace. I highly recommend this book!

My Rating:

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I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson Review

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Synopsis

From the award-winning author of Catching the Wind, which Publishers Weekly called “unforgettable” and a “must-read,” comes another gripping time-slip novel about hidden treasure, a castle, and ordinary people who resisted evil in their own extraordinary way.
The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan―even their very lives―in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambi that connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

My Thoughts

This story, although fictional, is based on a true period in history. The time that it portrays was a very dark, scary time where evil seemed to be reigning. There are some gritty scenes in the story that are difficult to read but the author did well at giving enough information to explain the situation without getting too graphic.

The story is a time slip style that jumps between past and present and in each time period, new things are revealed about the other. The mysteries surrounding Annika and an old copy of Bambi were very intriguing and I was eager to learn the truth about them.

I didn’t care for the present day story line as much, with the exception of the revealing of information about the past. The characters in the present didn’t really interest me and I found myself a little disappointed when I was taken out of the past.

Although this was a difficult story to read, there was still some glimmers of hope found in the pages…the gospel was presented well and the way people came together to help each other was very touching.

I would highly recommend this story.

My Rating

4.5 stars

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.