Saturday, September 23, 2023

Jacob's Well by Urcelia Teixeira Blog Tour Book Review

About the Book

Book: Jacob’s Well

Author: Urcelia Teixeira

Genre: Christian Mystery & Suspense

Release Date: April 28, 2023

“A mother knows. At least, that’s what everyone told her. That she’d know when something was wrong. Feel it. Deep inside as if there was an invisible cord that had stayed behind the day she brought her son into this life.

Well, they were wrong. Dead wrong.

She didn’t know her son at all. But then, he didn’t know her either.”

©Urcelia Teixeira – Excerpt Jacob’s Well. All rights reserved.

Dark secrets swirl around the small coastal town of Weyport as Mary-Jean Foley discovers just how far she would go to protect her son.

Even with a new sheriff in town. Even when her husband doesn’t agree. Even when she thinks God isn’t looking.

But how far is too far and at what cost?

As newly appointed small-town Sheriff Angus Reid settles into Weyport, it doesn’t take him long to discover just how corrupt his new town is. With a desk full of suspicious open cases and too much to prove, he is determined to rid his town of crime and win the hearts of his people.

But when two teenagers suddenly go missing, it lays bare sinister secrets and emotional ties that threaten to derail his investigation.

And as the case untangles, the secrets buried deep within the coastal borders of the tight-knit community slowly bubble to the surface.

Determined to find justice for the missing boys and their families, he races against the clock to find them. Unbeknownst of the dark forces that rage against him.

Then he gets a call that a body has been found…

If you enjoy suspenseful, twisty secrets and lies mystery novels that are rooted in faith and leave your heart in your throat, you will have a hard time putting down this page-turning Christian mystery and suspense novel.

Get ready to be taken on an emotional journey through a town where it seems everyone has a secret.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

I liked this entertaining and thought provoking novel. Teixeira explores several issues in it. Marital stress while a son is missing is a big one. Keeping up appearances is another one. This is an ironic topic. The husband frequently comments about appearances and what the church people will think of what is happening. The wife criticizes him yet she hides evidence that might incriminate her son to keep up the appearance of his innocence. Perhaps the most serious issue is what it really means to have a relationship with Jesus, not just make it look like it when people are watching.

Teixeira's writing style is a pleasure to read. The plot includes a good deal of relationship drama as well as some suspense. While the end of this book does wrap up one aspect of the plot, full resolution will not come until the next novel. I'll be looking for it.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author

As the author of a dozen plus Christian suspense thrillers, Urcelia Teixeira writes to first and foremost, bring glory to God. Then, to delight, entertain, and encourage her readers by creating pulse-pounding stories that are infused with inspiration and biblical truths.

Readers have said her books are “addictive and impossible to put down!”

They describe her work as being “prolific and well written stories that keep you in suspense,” and love her “imagery and attention to detail” that swoop them into the minds of her characters ” as if watching a blockbuster movie!”

Many of her readers appreciate the clean action scenes and love that her “faith shines through in her writing as she stays true to herself, giving pause to contemplate.”

More from Urcelia

Many years ago God gave me a prophetic scripture through which He named me Hephzibah (meaning ‘My delight is in her’). Some time after that, life happened and for a long while I felt unworthy of that name.  But, God showed me grace in this area for the nearly ten years that followed and, although I never aspired to be a writer, I wrote my first ever book on a bucket list whim in December 2017. Somehow it evolved into a series, but, while writing the fifth book in my Alex Hunt adventure thriller series, I felt the Holy Spirit nudging and directing me into using my God-given talent for enhancing His Kingdom instead.  I obeyed and wrote the final book in that series, The Caiaphas Code, as my statement of faith before switching to writing Christian mystery and suspense instead.  Two days later, the idea for Every Good Gift was born and the day I finished writing the last sentence of this book, I heard the Lord whisper in my ear, Hephzibah, Hephzibah, over and over.  That has been the most noteworthy highlight of my short career so far: knowing that I have pleased God.

My heart and soul went into writing Jacob’s Well. I have three teenage sons, and raising them in a world filled with all kinds of temptation is not easy. They have to cope with so much more than we had to as kids: social media bullying, peer pressure to fit into a pretentious world that seems to intensify overnight, the lure of riches through online gaming or videos instead of education, to name but a few. But through the years, the pull of narcotics has remained the primary evil that threatens to destroy our children. I am blessed to have boys who aren’t scared to share their struggles with us and upon hearing a few of the stories about kids in their schools and our town, one of the main characters in Jacob’s Well was born. On the flip side, I have a mother’s heart and imagining what it would be like to watch your child go down the wrong path added in an entirely different element to the story, especially if that mother was a Christian. The spiritual and emotional battles that would rage within, the helplessness and desperation that come with wanting to do whatever it takes to save your son, the pride within your church community––these are all human responses. And that is how Mary-Jean Foley’s character was born.

Throw in a lawman and a villain in a coastal town where everyone has a secret and Jacob’s Well spilled out onto the pages!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 24

For Him and My Family, September 24

Texas Book-aholic, September 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 26

Girls in White Dresses, September 27

Betti Mace, September 28

Pause for Tales, September 28

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

The Book Club Network, September 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 1

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, October 2 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, October 2

Cover Lover Book Review, October 3

The Sacred Line, October 4

Blogging With Carol, October 5

Lily’s Book Reveiws, October 6


To celebrate her tour, Urcelia is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a paperback copy of the book!!

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

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Mindset Make Over by Mimika Cooney Book Review

About the Book:

Do you feel worried, afraid, anxious, doubtful, angry, depressed, confused? Do you know God is calling you to greatness but you feel far from great? Are your relationships a hot mess and the daily drama drains you? Do you feel out of control but you crave peace? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Are you stuck thinking of the worst case scenario for everything? Do you feel far from God yet you crave intimacy?

If you are ready to ditch the excuses and take back your authority as a child of God then this book is for you! This book is for you if...

- You want to recognize damaging thoughts and stop them from influencing your life.
- You want to fulfill your desire to walk in God's authority so you're not swayed by daily stress.
- You're determined to gain control over your mind to find freedom, peace and clarity.
- You're looking for strategies so you can become immovable when dealing with life's challenges.
- You want to take hold of God's promises for your life.
- You want to feel confident and carefree.
- You're determined to take action to make-over your mind!

With several quotes and short stories about overcoming fear, this Christian book for women will offer inspiration to overcome anxiety with confidence.

My Review:

This is a short yet good introduction to changing one's mindset, breaking free from mental bondage. She shares her own battle with self-worth and feelings of rejection so we know she has dealt with issues like ours.

Cooney says right up front that transformation requires a definitive decision that we do, in fact, want to change. I like her pointing out that we are three part beings. While our spirit becomes new, our soul is not instantly made new. It needs to be renewed. Habits and thought patterns need to be changed. She helps us identify root causes to bad thinking and how to renew our minds to who we are in Christ.

That is just some of the teaching in this book. It is a good introduction to spiritual transformation for Christians. I look forward to reading her other books on this topic.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Mimika Cooney is a leading faith-based Mindset Author and Speaker known as the "Personal Trainer for your Mind". She empowers ambitious Christians to rewire their brain by combining neuroscience, positive psychology, and a Christian faith-based approach.

Mimika teaches you how to unstick your mind, develop emotional resilience, and unlock high performance by becoming the boss of your brain! She is the creator of the “Unstick Your Mind“ mindset mastery method, a transformative program that equips Christians with the tools to achieve their breakthroughs.

As a leading voice in resetting your brain, she loves to empower purpose-driven individuals to transform their lives by shifting their mindset habits and patterns, as they pursue growth to achieve extraordinary results with God.

Mimika Media, 67 pages.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

I Cry in Corners by Chari Orozco Book Review

About the Book:

In this inspiring book, Pastor Chari Orozco explores how Jesus handled emotions during his time on earth and encourages readers to treat their feelings as a gift—an invitation from God to grow in spiritual maturity.

Our emotions drive so much of what we do, say, and think, even if we don’t realize it. Our response to our feelings—denying they exist, letting them lead our actions unchecked, distracting ourselves to avoid feeling them—can greatly impact our lives and those around us. Emotions are essential for everyday life, but how we navigate them in the storms of life will make or break us.
In I Cry in Corners, charismatic up-and-coming pastor Chari Orozco takes the readers through the life of Jesus, examining the powerful emotional tests he faced and how he responded, from his terror in the Garden of Gethsemane to his righteous anger in the temple to his disappointment when those he loved best betrayed him.

In each chapter, Chari gives readers both practical and spiritual wisdom to help them respond to emotions like Jesus did. How do we steward our emotions when those closest people fail us? We turn around and wash the feet of the ones we love. How do we face temptation? We refuse to get hangry, resist the devil, and remember that our value lies not in what we have but how we love. How do we steward our emotions with maturity when the hurt we’ve suffered comes from those who claim to know and love Jesus? We do what Jesus did: choose our words wisely, keep our eyes on the joy set before us, and, if necessary, flip over some tables. Our feelings are a gift from God, and through the life and struggles of Jesus, we find a blueprint for honoring your feelings without getting lost in them.
Written with a wry, straight-talking, irreverent but always faithful tone, Chari effortlessly weaves together stories of the New Testament with her own insightful, humorous, and refreshingly candid anecdotes. The resulting book is an affirmation of feeling all the feels while encouraging readers to use their emotions as a catalyst for deep spiritual growth.

You can read an excerpt here.

My Review:

I like that Orozco calls us to navigate our emotions the way Jesus navigated his. When lonely, for example, Jesus went to solitude. But he was not alone. His solitude was recharging in the presence of the Father.

My favorite emotion Orozco teaches about is feeling overwhelmed. She reflects on Jesus in the garden and notes he told his trusted friends what he was feeling. Then he got honest with God and finally let go, submitting to God's will. What a good example to follow.

I also like her pointing out Jesus' identity and confidence was not based on his heritage, education, location or accomplishments but rather in the truth of what Scripture said about Him and his relationship to the Father.

Rather than being a typical Christian self help book, Orozco really looks to Jesus for insights on navigating our emotions. I appreciate this teaching from Jesus' life example and his teaching. Orozco shares many experiences from her own life too. This book is a good resource for Christians.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Chari Orozco is an author of books, teacher of the Bible, and podcaster focused on all the feels. She is passionate about sharing the love of Jesus and using her gifts of speaking, writing, and design to impact the lives of those around her. When Chari is not writing or teaching she can be found traveling, designing and producing shows like Women of the Bible, Outside the Walls, and Coffee with Andi. She serves with her husband as lead pastors of Hope St. Pete in St. Petersburg, Florida.

FaithWords, 240 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Friday, September 15, 2023

Citizen Orlov by Jonathan Payne Blog Tour Book Review


Citizen Orlov

by Jonathan Payn 

September 4-29, 2023 Virtual Book Tour


Not every fishmonger can be a secret agent.

Journey to an unnamed mountainous country in central Europe at the end of the Great War. Enter Citizen Orlov, a simple fishmonger and an honest, upright citizen, who answers a phone call meant for a secret agent and stumbles into a hidden world of espionage and secrecy. Recruited by the Ministry of Security, he is sent on assignment to safeguard the king.

But Orlov soon discovers that his ministry handler, the alluring femme fatale Agent Zelle, is planning not to protect the king but to assassinate him. Caught in a web of plot and counterplot, confusing loyalties, and explosive betrayals, Orlov finds himself on trial for murder. Given the opportunity to clear his name, he finds that the lives of his friends, mother, and fellow citizens hang in the balance.


"A triumph—and an answer to that age-old question of what would have happened had Gogol, Kafka and G. K. Chesterton collaborated on a thriller. A timeless work which will, I fear, be forever timely."
~ Dixe Wills, author of Places to Hide and New World Order

"Jonathan Payne's Citizen Orlov is a stunning debut! A page turning, down-the-rabbit-hole delight, told with equal measure of wit and suspense. A timeless classic for our current moment; a paranoid and comic thriller with a surprise on every page. I loved it!"
~ Don Scardino, Producer/Director, 30 Rock, New Amsterdam

"Highly engaging, and written with an engaging lightness of touch, Citizen Orlov marks the debut of a comic novelist to watch for the future."
~ Dr. Adam Lively, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing & Programme Leader, MA Novel Writing, Middlesex University

"The blend of action and picaresque buffoonery flatteringly calls Conan Doyle’s Brigadier Gerard tales to mind, and Payne pulls off a genuinely surprising conclusion. This auspicious debut announces a bright new voice in comic suspense."
~ Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

[An] odyssey that seems part Kafka, part ‘Alice in Wonderland.
~ Wall Street Journal

My Review:

It is hard to describe this novel. It is part thriller, part spy intrigue, part humor, part satire, near fantasy, and maybe more. Orlov is a citizen who accidentally, through a tortuous route, finds himself as a hero. He starts out seeming to be a somewhat ignorant or innocent individual caught up in events well beyond his understanding. He bumbles along, always trying to do what he thinks is best. I was surprised at his transformation into a quite competent individual, smarter than those trying to use him.

The kingdom location and era of this novel is not specified which makes it kind of a universal adventure. It is certainly an entertaining read. One thing I learned from it was, should I be walking down an ally and hear a phone ringing through an open window, forget it. Let someone else answer it.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Book Details:

Genre: Espionage Thriller
Published by: CamCat Books
Publication Date: May 2023
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN: 9780744309010 (ISBN10: 0744309018)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Goodreads | CamCat Books

Read an excerpt:

On a frigid winter’s morning in a mountainous region of central Europe, Citizen Orlov, a simple fishmonger, is taking a shortcut along the dank alley behind the Ministries of Security and Intelligence when a telephone begins to ring. He thinks nothing of it and continues on his daily constitutional, his heavy boots crunching the snow between the cobbles.

The ringing continues, becoming louder with each step. A window at the back of the ministry buildings is open, just a little. The ringing telephone sits on a table next to the open window. Orlov stops, troubled by this unusual scene: there is no reason for a window to be open on such a cold day. Since this is the Ministry of either Security or Intelligence, could an open window be a security breach of some kind?

Orlov is tempted to walk away. After all, this telephone call is none of his business. On the other hand, he is an upright and patriotic citizen who would not want to see national security compromised simply because no one was available to answer a telephone call. He is on the verge of stepping toward the open window when he hears footsteps ahead. A tight group of four soldiers is marching into the alley, rifles on shoulders. He freezes for a second, leans against

the wall, and quickly lights a cigarette. By the time the soldiers reach him, Orlov is dragging on the cigarette and working hard to appear nonchalant. The soldiers are palace guardsmen, but the red insignia on their uniforms indicates they are part of the elite unit that protects the Crown Prince, the king’s ambitious older son. Orlov nods politely, but the soldiers ignore him and march on at speed.

The telephone is still ringing. Someone very much wants an answer. Orlov stubs his cigarette on the wall and approaches the open window. The telephone is loud in his right ear. Peering through the gap, he sees a small, gloomy storeroom with neatly appointed shelves full of stationery.

Finally, he can stand it no longer. He reaches through the window, picks up the receiver, and pulls it on its long and winding cable out through the window to his ear.

“Hello?” says Orlov, looking up and down the alley to check he

is still alone.

“Thank God. Where have you been?” says an agitated voice, distant and crackly. Orlov is unsure what to say. The voice continues. “Kosek. Right now.”

“I’m sorry?” says Orlov.

“Kosek. Agent Kosek.”

Orlov peers into the storeroom again. “There’s no one here,” he says.

“Well, fetch him then. And hurry, for God’s sake. It’s important.”

Orlov is sorely tempted to end the call and walk away, but the voice is so angry that he dare not.

“One minute,” he says, and lays the receiver on the table. He opens the window wider and, with some considerable effort, pulls himself headfirst into the storeroom, where he tumbles onto the floor. Picking himself up, he slaps the dust from his overcoat, opens the storeroom door, and peers along the hallway; all is dark and quiet.

With some trepidation, Orlov returns to the telephone. “Hello?” he says.


“No, sorry. I’ll have to take a message.”

The caller is still agitated. “Well, focus on what I’m about to say. It’s life and death.”

Orlov’s hands are shaking. “Hold on,” he says, “I’ll fetch some paper.”

Before he can put the receiver down, the caller explodes with anger. “Are you a simpleton? Do not write this down. Remember it.”

“Yes, sir. Sorry,” says Orlov. “I’ll remember it.”

“Are you ready?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Here it is. We could not—repeat not—install it in room six. Don’t ask why, it’s a long story.”

The man is about to continue, but Orlov interrupts him. “Should I include that in the message: ‘it’s a long story’?”

“Mother of God,” shouts the man. “Why do they always give me the village idiot? No. Forget that part. I’ll start again.”

“Ready,” says Orlov.

This time the man speaks slower and more deliberately, as if to a child. “We could not—repeat not—install it in room six. You need to get room seven. It’s hidden above the wardrobe. Push the lever up, not down. Repeat that back to me.”

Orlov is now shaking all over, and he grimaces as he forces himself to focus. He repeats the message slowly but correctly.

“Whatever else you do, get that message to Kosek, in person. No one else. Lives depend on it. Understood?”

“Understood,” says Orlov, and the line goes dead.


Excerpt from Citizen Orlov by Jonathan Payne. Copyright 2023 by Jonathan Payne. Reproduced with permission from CamCat Books. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Jonathan Payne is a British-American writer based outside Washington, D.C. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Novel Writing from Middlesex University, London. His short fiction has been featured at the North London Story Festival and in magazines including Turnpike, Twist in Time and Fiction Kitchen Berlin. Before moving to the United States, he worked for the British government on matters of national security. When not writing or reading, he can be found in the boxing gym.

Catch Up With Jonathan Payne:
BookBub - @jon7payne
Instagram - @jon7payne
Twitter - @jon7payne


Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and opportunities to WIN in the giveaway!
Click here to view Citizen Orlov by Jonathan Payne Tour Hosts.



This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for Jonathan Payne & CamCat Books. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.



Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Tours

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Partners in Crime Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Book Tours.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Murder in the Bookshop by Anita Davison Book Review

About the Book:

1915, London: Working in the dusty bookshop that her Aunt Violet mysteriously inherited, Hannah Merrill is accustomed to finding twists in every tale. But discovering her beloved best friend Lily-Anne – with a paperknife through her heart – in the middle of the bookshop, is not a plotline she saw coming.

The case is anything but textbook. With the discovery of a coded German message, and Hannah’s instinct that Lily-Anne’s husband is keeping secrets, she determines to get to the bottom of it.

She can’t do it alone though. To crack this case, Hannah will need the enlist the help of her outrageous, opinionated, only-occasionally-objectionable Aunt Violet.

They think they’re making progress until one of their chief suspects is found dead. And Hannah realizes that she is herself now in the murderer’s sights. Will the final chapter be the ending of a killer… or just a killer ending?

My Review:

I love cozy mysteries but this is my first one from Davison. I liked the plot and Davison's writing style. Hannah is a strong woman, willing to operate her aunt's bookstore at a time when women were not thought capable of doing so. Hannah's aunt Violet is a kick. I like her attitude. She was part of the suffragette movement so Hannah had a good role model. Working together, they make good amateur sleuths.

The historical setting of early WWI is done well and I like the character development. I think Hannah has great potential and I'll be looking for the next in the series.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:

Anita's first published novels were set in the 17th Century, about The Woufe Family of Loxsbeare in Exeter during the Monmouth Rebellion and the Glorious Revolution. Royalist Rebel, based on Elizabeth Murray, later the Duchess of Lauderdale during her youth in the English Civil War.

Anita's current works are the Flora Maguire Mysteries, a series of Edwardian Cozy Mysteries published by Aria Fiction. The first book is Flora's Secret set on an Atlantic Steamship in 1900, followed by Betrayal at Cleeve Abbey, A Knightsbridge Scandal, The Forgotten Children and The Bloomsbury Affair which was released in November 2018.

Her novel, Envy The Wind set on Prince Edward Island in the year 1905, was written as part of the Canadian Historical Brides Series published by BWL Publishing, Canada in July 2018

Boldwood Books, 272 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)