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The Separatists ~ Review

The Separatists
A Newsmakers Novel #3
By Lis Wiehl
      with Sebastian Stuart

Journalist Erica Sparks is ready to embark on a new chapter in her life. The Erica Sparks Show is still a network darling with GNN and she wants more journalistic endeavors at the network. And she has the perfect idea - a once a month in-depth topic driven show.

First up for Erica - the growing secessionist movements throughout the nation and specifically Take Back Our Homeland out of North Dakota. Erica is driven to succeed and unfortunately, her personal life is taking a hit. Her marriage with Greg is shaky and each added success delivers a hit. And then there is Jenny who seems to be caught in the middle of Erica's success - she uses it to her advantage while disdaining its intrusion into her life while dealing with typical tween issues.

But when Erica gets a phone call that someone needs to talk to her about something very important - something that may have to do with the Take Back Our Homeland movement - things start to go wrong. And by wrong, I'm talking deadly and all too soon the body count starts going up. (As a side note you may not want to eat while reading some of the murders are a tad nauseating with post death descriptions.)

The closer Erica gets to finding answers or the illusion of answers the more dangerous her investigation becomes. And anyone as who's read the previous Newsmakers books knows Erica doesn't back down when it gets dangerous.

First off I have mixed feelings about this book - the story overall is good and it fits in well with current news stories. The violence is a little graphic for my personal tastes but I know it is nothing compared to some popular thrillers. Erica is a character with whom one can empathize with while at the same time shake your head at her career focused drive. The shift in voice can, at times, interrupt the flow of the story but once the reader gets used to it the flow evens out. This book doesn't lack for suspense or excitement so it most likely isn't a great just before bed choice if sleep can be elusive but if you don't mind skipping a little shut-eye time get ready for some news-worthy reading.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher through BookLook Bloggers with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
From New York Times bestselling author Lis Wiehl comes the final book in her Newsmakers series. Journalist and newscaster Erica Sparks is only planning to report on an explosive story—until she gets caught in the middle of it.

After getting the green light from her network to launch an investigative news show, Erica flies to Bismarck, North Dakota, to investigate Take Back Our Homeland, the largest secessionist group. What she finds is profoundly disturbing – a growing threat to the future of our union.

Back home, her husband Greg is drinking more and talking less—and taking an unusual interest in the glamorous author Leslie Burke Wilson. Erica’s teenage daughter has also begun acting out in troubling ways.

Then she discovers a potential informant murdered in her Bismarck hotel. Take Back Our Homeland might be even more dangerous than she had thought—and she’s unwittingly become one of the key players in the story. Her fear and anxiety escalate – for her marriage, her daughter, and her own life.

Bestselling novelist and former legal analyst for Fox News Lis Wiehl takes us behind the anchor’s desk in this gripping look at high-stakes reporting in a country torn apart.

Lies and Letters ~ Review

Lies and Letters
By Ashtyn Newbold

Charlotte Lyons absolutely knows she is superior to every unattached young lady who is seeking a husband (and every attached one, for that matter). And her younger sister Clara, don't make her laugh. But for some reason Charlotte has yet to be presented with an offer of marriage but she and her mother are certain that it will happen any day.

But when a sudden reversal of not only fortune but reputation threatens Charlotte's chances both she and Clara are sent to the desolate and unrefined northern coast in hopes of securing an unsuspecting and wealthy Earl. With nothing to recommend them Charlotte and Clara find themselves having to live a life far different than the one to which they've been accustomed to.  And to make matters worse their only hope of ever meeting the Earl seems to depend upon the good favor of some lowly fishing merchant - a James Wortham, who even smells of fish.

Determined to hide the truth of their circumstances Charlotte soon finds herself caught in a web of lies of her own making. And when Charlotte loses even more than she thought possible will she begin to see herself for what she truly is? Or will the lessons of her mother keep her from seeing beneath the surface?

I totally loved Ashtyn's previous book Mischief and Manors and if it is possible to fathom I think this book Lies and Letters just might be better. I know, totally shocking considering how thoroughly delightful the previous work was, right. But the depth of character of Charlotte, Clara, and James just makes this book something special. And in the words of Miss Bingley (Pride and Prejudice) "And their mother!" She is certainly no nominee for mother of the year.

Get ready for a delightful afternoon (and evening) of reading with a favorite cup of tea and perhaps a shortbread cookie or two. And see what unfolds as the lies grow, tangle and then come undone. Can her heart be broken before she makes the mistake of a lifetime? Or will everyone have to pay for the lies she's told herself?

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All expressed opinions are my own.

About the Book:
"That same ache I had been feeling for
weeks now blossomed inside of me,
bruised, bleeding, and broken.
Only now did I realize it was my heart."

After a season in London, Charlotte Lyons is still regrettably unattached. With her family’s finances in peril, she is sent away with her sister to a bleak coastal town where she is expected to pursue a wealthy Earl. Beautiful and talented, how could she possibly fail? But when her heart is captured by someone entirely unexpected, Charlotte finds herself caught up in a web of lies and intrigue. Between hardship and sorrow, she finds more than she bargained for, forced to choose between the life she once wanted and a new love she never imagined.

About the Author:
Ashtyn Newbold discovered a love of writing early in high school. Inspired by regency period romance, she wrote her first novel at the age of sixteen. Because she can’t vacation in her favorite historical time periods, she writes about them instead. When not crafting handsome historical heroes, she enjoys baking, sewing, music, and spoiling her dog. She dreams of traveling to England and Ireland. Ashtyn is currently studying English and creative writing at Utah Valley University. She lives in Lehi, Utah with her family.

~ A Wrinkle In Time ~

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle is one of my all time favorite books. I was delighted when I picked up my sister's copy and delved into this new world. A world of It Who Which and What. A world without individuality and uniqueness and world threatened by darkness. And now that world of words is about to come to life in a new way.


A Wrinkle In Time opens in US theatres March 9, 2018.

The film, which is an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and ultimately, the triumph of love.

Directed by Ava DuVernay from a screenplay by Jennifer Lee based upon the beloved novel by Madeleine L’Engle, “A Wrinkle in Time” is produced by Jim Whitaker and Catherine Hand with Doug Merrifield serving as executive producer. The film stars: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Peňa, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, André Holland, Rowan Blanchard with Zach Galifianakis and Chris Pine and introduces Storm Reid.

Watch the teaser trailer for Disney's A Wrinkle In Time.

Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007)

Madeleine was born on November 29, 1918, and spent her formative years in New York City. She found her gift for writing at an early age developing stories, poems and journals and later went on to study English at Smith College. She married her husband Hugh Franklin and together they had three children and relocated to Connecticut. While her children were young L’Engle taught Sunday school for her church. Once her children were older she worked as a librarian at Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City where she held the position for nearly thirty years.

In 1962 she wrote A Wrinkle In Time and won a Newbury Award in 1963. The book has sold more than 15 million copies since its publication. She followed the successful debut with: A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time.

She also wrote a devotional titled: Glimpses of Grace: Daily Thoughts and Reflections.

L’Engle passed away at the age of 88 on September 6, 2007.

To read her interview with Christianity Today, please go to:

For additional information about her works including A Wrinkle In Time, please go to:


The Cover Story ~ Review

The Cover Story
A Branigan Powers Mystery
By Deb Richardson-Moore

Don't let the cover of this book fool you - this isn't some mystery sleuth from the past. Branigan Powers is on the story of a present day accident that could have been a murder attempt if what Charlie Delaney says is true. But was Charlie the intended victim or was her now deceased passenger Janie Rose the target? Branigan is determined to find out and she has the perfect cover for all her sleuthing as a reporter for The Grambling Rambler.

But this time the story is personal with her niece involved. Could Charlie have truly been forced off the road by a 1950s hearse? And even more puzzling where did this particular vehicle come from?

But when another murder occurs and a link is found to a nearby university Branigan's investigation takes her into the world of sororities and Southern charm that may predate the hearse she's searching for. Branigan's best hope for a solid lead lies with a homeless man named Malachi Martin who knows how to be invisible while in plain sight.

This is a story that could very well make or break Grambling and all it holds dear. And those thinking of living the Greek college life may what to read The Cover Story first before embarking on such a path.

This book is set in the present day and there are suspects a-plenty but none seem to stand-out in such a way so as to make for an easy case.  The Cover Story just screams cover-up if a crime has indeed been committed. But the question is has a crime been committed or did Charlie's mind create something that wasn't truly there.

If you like mysteries that draw out the suspense give this book a try. Who knows maybe you'll determine the truth before Branigan Powers and the Grambling police department.

I was provided a review copy of this book, by the publisher, with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
A bizarre hit-and-run brings Branigan Powers back to the crime-solving beat

A fatal crash involving two college students heading home for the holidays seems like an unfortunate accident. But when the surviving girl awakens, she tells a curious story of the vehicle that forced them off the road--an old-fashioned, 1950s-style hearse.

Reporter Branigan Powers delves into the mystery that takes her to the college campus and leads her into dangerous fraternity and sorority pledge parties.

Reunited with the homeless Malachi Martin, who is so adept at seeing what isn't there rather than what is, Branigan must uncover what is really going on at the college before other students are put in danger.

This second installment in the author's cozy mystery series delves into the world of newspapers and life on the streets--both of which the author knows well.


My Sister's Prayer ~ Review

My Sister's Prayer
Cousins of the Dove #2
By Mindy Starns Clark
       and Leslie Gould

The Talbot family saga continues with this My Sister's Prayer - the story is again a back and forth telling of the present day and 1704. Catherine and Pierre Talbot have prospered in the England since their escape from France. But when their daughter Celeste makes a hasty decision to leave all she knows behind for the promise of marriage in the colonies she sets in motion a chain of events that she never anticipated.

Celeste knows she has found the man she is to marry in Lieutenant Jonathan Gray. But when Jonathan is sent to a post in the American colonies Celeste agrees to follow him on the next ship. Indenturing herself Celeste holds Jonathan's promise close. But when she makes a most unexpected discovery - her younger sister Berta has somehow been forced on board - she fears whether or not Jonathan will be able to redeem them both.

In present day Virginia Maddee and Nicole Talbot are caught up in the past as they read through the letters of Celeste Talbot to her family that she left behind. As Celeste's story unfolds parallels are made to their own lives and relations as sisters. Nana has a special reason for wanting her granddaughters to read these letters now. But learning about their past isn't all that they are dealing with as Nicole with the help of Maddee and Nana recovers from an accident that nearly cost her her life.

As two sets of Talbot sisters deal with their unique situations and the choices that have brought them each to key moments in their lives they must learn to turn to God and the faith that has sustained them in the past. And the mystery that the modern Talbot cousins were involved with in the first book is continued in this one as the investigation continues. But can they truly discover the truth of what was hidden or will they continue to be haunted by their past?

This is the second book in the Cousins of the Dove trilogy and it is an interesting look into the past and how indentured servants came to the this New World. It would be interesting to know how many arrived on false promises.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:

Women of Fearless Devotion

Virginia, 1704

Celeste Talbot is usually such a sensible young woman—until she falls for an English soldier reassigned to the Colonies. Leaving her Huguenot family behind, she sets sail for America, only to realize that her younger sister Berta has been kidnapped and forced on board the very same ship. Whom can Celeste trust? The dashing soldier? Or the vigilant carpenter who remains by their side in the perilous New World?

Virginia, present day

Madeline “Maddee” Talbot has her hands full when she agrees to take in her younger sister, Nicole, following a serious car accident. The young women grew apart when Nicole fell into drug addiction, and Maddee prays this will be the start of a better life for her sister. But as they investigate a trauma from their childhood, Maddee must keep a diligent eye on Nicole—and the shadowy figure watching them from afar.

From the Christy Award-winning team of Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould, My Sister’s Prayer tells an epic tale of two women compelled to protect their sisters, confront their fears, and navigate the muddy waters of betrayal to find true love.


My Brother's Crown ~ Review

My Brother's Crown
Cousins of the Dove #1
By Mindy Starns Clark
      and Leslie Gould

My Brother's Crown is one of those delightful stories that weaves two into one in a such a way that the reader is thoroughly and completely drawn in within the first pages. The story opens in 1685 France and switches off with present day Virginia.

In France, the Gillet family is at a crossroads as the nation has become hostile to those identified as Huguenots. Huguenots are faced with a choice - convert to Catholicism, flee the country, or face the consequences of their defiance of King Louis XIV.

Catherine wants the family to leave yesterday, but her older brother Jules seems reluctant to take any action. Even worse, her betrothed, Pierre Talbot is more than happy to let her brother decide everything for the family and him. Catherine is determined to do whatever she feels is necessary to safeguard those she holds dear. But does she truly know her own heart? And if temptations come her way will she stand firm in her faith?

In Virginia, the Talbot family has prospered during their time in America and has decided to share an important legacy of their family with the world. A document that Renee Talbot feels sure is more than it appears at first glance. As Renee looks for a way to test what she suspects her own past is about to make its presence known. But this time Renee is not about to let anyone tell her she imagined what has haunted her for years. This time she has an ally who is willing to help her prove what she knows.

This book is perfect for those who love exploring history through fiction. And if your tastes run towards contemporary fiction, you are covered as well. Faith is an important theme throughout and is woven so that it doesn't come across as forced. The other thing the reader will come away with is the value of family in an individual's life. It is interesting to contrast the two stories as they unfold from Catherine and Renee's viewpoints. If you are looking for a book club selection you can't go wrong with this one.

And the dress on the cover - keep your eyes open for it as you read - it is an important factor!

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Harvest House, with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
France, 1685. Catherine Gillet knows her brother, Jules, wants to protect her from the sinister threats of the French crown. But Jules is involved in a potentially deadly enterprise, one connected with an encoded document. When his actions put the whole family at risk, will Catherine find a way to save them?
Virginia, present day. Renee Talbot, a direct descendant of Catherine’s, is fascinated by the document that’s been part of her family legacy for more than three centuries. Certain its pages hold hidden secrets, she takes a closer look—and makes a shocking discovery. But when memories of a childhood trauma are rekindled, she’s forced to seek answers of a different kind. Inspired by the faith and bravery of Catherine, can Renee find the truth and face her deepest fears at last?
From the authors of the Christy Award-winning The Amish Midwife comes an epic story of two women, centuries apart, each discovering her own hidden bravery, standing for what she believes in, and finding love in unexpected places.


The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories ~ Review

The Sweet Smell of
Magnolias and Memories
By Celeste Fletcher McHale

This is an interesting book, one that I both liked and disliked at parts. Don't get me wrong the story is well-written and the characters are well developed. It is just that at times certain characters made me want to roll my eyes and sigh with some of their antics.

A year ago Jacey and Colin met during a storm that could have cost them and the family they were sheltering with their lives. Somehow after 3 days, they are rescued and the pair has discovered that the other is the love of their life. But tragedy strikes and Colin and Jacey are separated and Jacey loses a portion of her memory due to another tragic accident.

For a year this tragedy has been lurking at the corners of Jacey's memory when she unexpectedly sees Colin again. Suddenly Jacey's memories start coming back with greater frequency and she becomes a woman on a mission. Jacey needs to find the family that she and Collin took refuge with.

With the help of her best friend Georgia, Jacey may finally find what she's been looking for. Or Georgia could help her lose it yet again.

I can't say any of these characters would be people I personally identified with as their lives were so different from mine. But it was an interesting look at how different people respond and react to disappointments and tragedy. Does it break you or give you a foundation on which to build something new?

This book is contemporary and set in the South (think Mississippi and Lousiana). Family and friends play a big role in how each character looks at life. I think of the main characters Georgia is my favorite - she's a unique personality that seems to just fill a room and she is battling her own demons that affect her outlook and actions.

I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to post a positive review and the views and opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Jacey and Colin shared the three most intense days of their lives together, waiting for help as Mississippi floodwaters surrounded them. Jacey knew Colin was the love of her life—until her rescue boat went under water, along with Colin’s last name and pieces of Jacey’s memory.