Thursday, July 19, 2018

Mystery Review Opportunity: Swell Time for a Swing Dance

Hello, friends! Today I'm sharing about an autumn blog tour opportunity for a new WWII-era mystery novel from a dear friend and client, Cindy Vincent. :)

Here are some of exciting aspects of this particular tour, which runs October 15-19:

- Paperback review copies available to bloggers with US mailing addresses

- Numerous options for participating (from a simple spotlight post if you're crunched for time to guest posts, interviews, or a book review)

- Tour-wide giveaway includes some awesome WWII-themed prizes

Read on to learn more about the book and find out how you can sign up for the tour...

Swell Time for a Swing Dance 

About the Book

December 31, 1941. Young Houston socialite Tracy Truworth, Apprentice P.I., can’t imagine a better way to send off the old year and ring in the new than by dancing through the night with her fella, Pete Stalwart. But a swell evening soon takes a terrible turn when a fellow dancer with moves like Fred Astaire ends up dead on the dance floor. And before the hands on the clock can point to midnight, a finger is pointed at Pete, accusing him of murdering the young man.

Then after Pete is hauled away in handcuffs, the night goes from bad to worse . . . and Tracy’s sweet grandmother is accused of stealing an ancient artifact from the museum. Now Tracy must team up with her boss and mentor, Sammy Falcone, in order to find the stolen statuette, unmask the real murderer, and restore the reputations of those she loves the most.

Yet as America becomes embroiled in another world war, the risks and sacrifices intensify—even on the homefront. And Tracy soon finds her own home invaded by a near parade of questionable characters, while unsavory suspects lurk in the shadows, and a ruthless reporter makes her life miserable. With time ticking against her, Tracy must be willing to swing past the setbacks and hop through the hazards if she hopes to solve a mystery that involves a lot of dancing . . . and a lot more danger.

Available now from Mysteries by Vincent 

About the Author 

CINDY VINCENT, M.A. Ed., was born in Calgary, Alberta, and has lived all around the US and Canada. She is the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls. She is also the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Caper novels and the Daisy Diamond Detective series. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and an assortment of fantastic felines.

Note to Potential Reviewers

This is a full-length historical mystery novel set at the beginning of World War II. While the book is not specifically Christian fiction, there are some faith elements and the content is clean, with only kissing (no sex scenes) and mild (non-gory) violence. While Swell Time for a Swing Dance is the second book in a series, it can be read and understood on its own.

Want to Read the Book Now?

If you'd like to review the book or participate in the tour in other ways, sign up here:

To learn more about my services as a freelance book editor and marketer, please visit

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Helpful Perspective for Life's Journey | Review of Born to Wander

About the Book (from Moody Publishers)

Why are we so restless? 

All of us have a little wanderlust—a desire for that next thing, that new place, but this competes with our longings for security, control, and safety. We don't like how it feels to be unsettled and uprooted. Whether we're navigating a season of transition, dealing with the fallout of broken relationships, or wrestling with a deep sense of restlessness, we are all experiencing some form of exile. And most of us do whatever we can to numb the feelings of unbelonging, powerlessness, and unsettledness that come with it. But the truth is that exile has a profound purpose if we can just learn to lean in.

Over and over again Scripture tells us that the people of God are exiles and wanderers. And this is good news because exile is what transforms us into pilgrims. In Christ, we are no longer directionless wanderers, but pilgrim followers who have a clear purpose and a secure identity. In Born to Wander, Michelle Van Loon weaves together personal stories and keen insights on the biblical themes of pilgrimage and exile. She will help you embrace your own pilgrim identity and reorient your heart toward the God who leads you home. Engaging and thoughtful, enhanced with practical suggestions, prayers, and questions, Born to Wander will teach how to trust God even when you don't understand what's happening around you and follow Him even when it hurts.

If you keep chasing security, you'll never find it. Embrace the purpose behind the wandering and discover the freedom and safety of resting in God alone.

My Rating


My Review

I love the idea of adventure, the concept of life being a journey. I also understand the restless longing that doesn't go away no matter where you move or how your life might change for the better. So the premise of this book captured my attention!

Born to Wander is an encouraging series of chapters on various steps of the "pilgrim" journey each Christian faces in this world. It's all very readable and approachable, speaking to modern challenges while discussing lessons and accounts from Scripture. I found the latter chapters (particularly "Divided," "Trekked," "Sojourned," and "Diverted") to be especially compelling and thought-provoking (although it might also be that I was more focused when I was reading much of those sections in one day).

I appreciated the insights the author provides; for example, the context and explanations she offers regarding the Psalms/Songs of Ascent in the book of Psalms (in the "Trekked" chapter). This is a great, fairly quick read to use as a launching point for contemplating the life you're called to live, your identity in this world, and your perspective along the way.

*With thanks to Moody Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Novellas and Short Stories

I'm really excited about today's Top Ten Tuesday topic! Novellas and short stories are some of my favorites to write; even my two "novels" aren't really that long. ;) (You can see a list of the books I've written HERE.) I love when a story you can read in an evening or two has a much bigger impact than its small length would suggest. So, here's a list of some novellas/short stories I greatly enjoyed...

This Quiet Sky by Joanne Bischof

Sarah and Tucker's story floats through the heart with all the tender poignancy of a falling autumn leaf. Their friendship blooms sweetly, brightly. Grows into something as passionate and brilliant as the summer sun. And culminates in a season where beauty coexists with that which fades, causing bittersweet thoughts of that which lasts.
(Read more of my review HERE.)

Unlucky in Love & Lyrics by Tracy Joy Jones

This one was a newsletter freebie in honor of St. Patrick's Day, and what a fun, touching story! I'm not sure when/if the author will be offering this particular novella again, but you can currently grab her Fourth of July freebie novella (When Fireworks Fly) by signing up for her e-newsletter HERE. I haven't read it yet, but I really enjoyed How Gretchen Stole Christmas and Unlucky in Love & Lyrics, and I can't wait for the next novella to arrive in my inbox this fall. :)

Seaglass by Kara Swanson

Here's another newsletter freebie! (You can find it HERE.) This one is a short story by Kara Swanson, and here's my super short review from last December: A bit of fantasy churns through the pages of this simple little story, but the message shimmers bright for real-world readers. I love the imagery and what the two main characters come to see about living life.

The Little Siren by J.M. Stengl

All more newsletter freebie. ;) The Little Siren is such a cute and sweetly romantic introduction to the Faraway Castle series, and you can grab a copy when you sign up for the author's e-newsletter HERE. I've also started the other series novella, Cinder Ellie (available for purchase), and I'm having a blast revisiting the setting and reading about a heroine with a summer job, as I have one too (just as a breakfast server instead of a maid). 

The Language of Souls by Lena Goldfinch

This is the little story that introduced me to Lena Goldfinch's writing...and now I'm so blessed to call her a dear friend, mentor, encourager, and editing/marketing client. :) As I said in this post back in 2013, The Language of Souls is "a sweet, romantic, lovely fantasy novella."

Ten Thousand Thorns by Suzannah Rowntree

This story is beautiful... Epic, yet sweet. Profound, yet fun. Challenging, yet comforting. Ten Thousand Thorns is a version of Sleeping Beauty that has a life, message, and style all its own. I loved it!
(Read more of my review HERE.)

Bespoke by Amanda Dykes

All the rumors you might have heard are true...this is a lovely little tale! Only a few characters are featured, and yet the author weaves their lives into a braid of tender emotion, loss, and hope.
(Read more of my review HERE.)

One Enchanted Christmas by Melissa Tagg

Christmas in July, anyone? :) Here's another Christmas novella, and this one made my favorites list from 2015. (See the list HERE.)

Dash and Cinder by Bridget Ladd

Another novella that made a favorites list! (See the list HERE.) I do so love fairy-tale retellings. ♥

For Elise by Hayden Wand

This novelette is sweet, tender, and quirky.
(Read more of my review HERE.)

BONUS (Novella Collections I Love)

Five Glass Slippers
(Favorite novella: Broken Glass by Emma Clifton)

Five Enchanted Roses
(Favorite novella: Wither by Savannah Jezowski)

(Favorite novella: Rumpled by J. Grace Pennington)

With This Ring?
(Favorite novella: The Husband Manuever by Karen Witemeyer)

Monday, July 16, 2018

Secrets, Sacrifices, and Shapeshifters | Review of Kiss of the Spindle

About the Book (from Shadow Mountain Publishing)

Doctor Isla Cooper is cursed. Literally. Each night, at the stroke of midnight she falls into a death-like sleep from which she cannot be awakened for six hours. To make it worse, the curse has an expiration date—after a year, it becomes permanent. And the year is almost up. In a desperate attempt to find Malette—the witch who cursed her—Isla blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett’s private airship bound for the Caribbean, only to discover she’s traveling with three illegal shapeshifters and the despicable Nigel Crowe, a government official determined to hunt down and exterminate every shapeshifter in England.

Isla and Daniel must work together to keep the identities of the shapeshifters hidden while coming to terms with their own hidden secrets, and their blossoming attraction to each other. Filled with suspense, intrigue, and plenty of romance, Kiss of the Spindle is a steampunk Sleeping Beauty story. It is a race against the clock as Isla and Daniel try to hunt down the elusive Malette before Isla’s death-like sleep becomes permanent.

Available now!

My Rating


My Review

Danger comes in all shapes in this exciting take on the Sleeping Beauty story! In the beginning, the threat of future trouble and a building romantic tension carry the plot...and then things really start to take off in a new direction, especially once the characters reach their destination.

I so enjoyed getting to know the travelers and crew members aboard the Briar Rose airship. (Although I confess one particular passenger felt a little lacking in distinctive personality as the story progressed, at least compared to everyone else.) Samson is hilarious, and I loved his interactions with the captain! Nigel is mysterious; Daniel is a swoon-worthy, protective hero; and Isla is as spunky, determined, and likable as they come. This voyage brings together an interesting mix of people who have every reason to be wary of one another.

As with another steampunk/fantasy I read somewhat recently (The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder), the characters make the story feel accessible for fans of any great story (in this case, especially fans of romance!). It definitely has a dark side, and there are some magical elements mixed in with the interesting technological aspects, just as a heads up. But if you enjoy fairy-tale retellings with sweet and thrilling romance and fresh dangers the characters must navigate, Kiss of the Spindle is an excellent choice!

Complete with engaging settings (from an island paradise to a creepy swamp) and humor to lighten the tension, this story of secrets, sacrifices, and shapeshifters makes for an exciting escape.

*With thanks to Shadow Mountain through NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Audiobook Review: Echo in Time by C.J. Hill

About the Audiobook

After being pulled 400 years into the future, twins Taylor and Sheridan found some refuge from the government of Traventon, which used the dangerous Time Strainer to yank the girls from the past. Yet the threat of the dangerous technology still looms. Taylor and an ally, Joseph, are selected to go on a mission to destroy the time machine and weapon. But their actions before they do may have major consequences for the future and the past.

Action-packed and romantic, this futuristic sequel to Erasing Time is perfect for fans of dystopian and sci-fi novels such as The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and Matched by Ally Condie.

My Rating


My Review

I confess I knowingly came to this story unprepared, as I haven't read (or listened to) Erasing Time, which is the first book in the series. That did make it a little trickier for me to get invested right away...added to the fact that the narration initially feels a little too casual for a dramatic story like this one.

However, both the story and the narration won me over in time. :) (Reference to the audiobook's title intended!)

I've read several books by Janette Rallison (AKA C.J. Hill), and I'm a big fan of her My Fair Godmother series. While this particular book didn't end up being a favorite, I found it enjoyable and engaging once I became more familiar with the main characters and once the plot really took off with a mission to make things right...which led to a lot of things going quite wrong.

I really appreciate the fact that this story offered some surprises for me (which might have been partly due to me being unfamiliar with book one, but I bet those who are familiar with the series appreciate knowing what happens to the characters after Erasing Time). It's interesting to see how Taylor, Sheridan, and the team adapt to unexpected twists and consequences. When you mess with the time stream, all sorts of mayhem can ensue!

As for the narration, it came across a little flippant and perhaps disengaged at times...but I'm not sure if that might simply be a result of how I heard the narrator's main accent. Ultimately, though, different characters stand out in the voices he performs, and I was impressed with the range of accents and tones the narrator could pull off!

While it wasn't always easy visualizing what was happening, especially at the beginning (being unfamiliar with book one), the story and its characters pulled me in as they faced a range of challenges and discovered love in the midst of danger and change. This is an entertaining futuristic story about the difficult choices that come with power, intelligence, and unalterable circumstances.

*With thanks to the author for providing me with a complimentary audiobook download. This review is my honest opinion.*