Monday, June 14, 2021

The Redemption by C L Tolbert Blog Tour and Giveaway

The Redemption

by C.L. Tolbert

June 1-30, 2021 Tour


Emma Thornton is back in The Redemption, C.L. Tolbert’s second novel in the Thornton Mystery Series.

When two men are murdered one muggy September night in a New Orleans housing project, an eye witness identifies only one suspect - Louis Bishop- a homeless sixteen-year old. Louis is arrested the next day and thrown into Orleans Parish Prison. Emma Thornton, a law professor and director of the Homeless Law Clinic at St. Stanislaus Law School in the city agrees to represent him.

When they take on the case, Emma and her students discover a tangle of corruption, intrigue, and more violence than they would have thought possible, even in New Orleans. They uncover secrets about the night of the murders, and illegal dealings in the city, and within Louis’s family. As the case progresses, Emma and her family are thrown into a series of life-threating situations. But in the end, Emma gains Louis’s trust, which allows him to reveal his last, and most vital secret.

Book Praise:

“With The Redemption, Cynthia Tolbert delivers another beautifully written and compelling read in her Thornton Mystery series, as law professor Emma Thornton’s fight to save a teen wrongly accused of murder endangers her own life in this gripping tale of corruption and crime in the 1990s Big Easy.”
Ellen Byron, Agatha Award Winning Author of the Cajun Country Mysteries

My Review:

This is one of the better legal thrillers I have read. It is a good combination of engaging characters, informative plot, and interesting setting. Emma, law school professor, is a good heroine. She cares about a young man accused of murder. I appreciate her convincing the dean to allow her and some of her students to be involved in the defense.

That a law professor is involved in defending an accused murderer is what makes the novel so informative. Emma uses the case as a teaching opportunity and we get to learn about procedure right along with her law school students. I found it very interesting to see how evidence is gathered and how accurate information is pried out of reluctant witnesses.

Tolbert introduced me to an area of New Orleans plagued with crime and crooked police. Much of the crime involved teens and it was interesting to read about brain development in teens and how they can be manipulated by powerful but evil people.

I have a pet peeve about heroines getting into suspenseful situations because of making thoughtless decisions. That happened here when Emma went to an isolated wharf by herself after her apartment had been ransacked and her life endangered. Of course, there by herself, suspense ensued.

This is an entertaining and informative legal thriller. It really gives the flavor of a community in need of a woman committed to helping defend those wrongly accused. I'm glad Emma was on the job.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: February 9th 2021
Number of Pages: 286
ISBN: 978-1-947915-43-5
Series:Thornton Mysteries, Book 2 || Each is a Stand Alone Mystery
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads


Read an excerpt:


September 9, 1994

8:05 p.m.

Just before dark on the night of his death, Brother Reginald Antoine stepped out of the cottage where he lived. He slammed the door shut to prevent the soggy heat of the late summer evening from invading the front room. Except for occasional river breezes, the New Orleans climate was swamp-like until late October. His exits had become swift and cat-like to avoid escalating power bills and a strain on the house’s only window-unit air conditioner.

He stood on the front porch for a moment, staring at the entrance to the Redemption housing project. All was quiet. No one was in sight.

He was looking forward to the evening. He’d promised to help Alicia Bishop complete forms for a scholarship to Our Lady of Fatima, the top girls’ school in the city. He found himself singing under his breath as he locked the front door.

Most of the kids Brother Antoine worked with never finished school, and he was painfully aware that he’d failed far more than he’d helped. But Alicia’s story would be different. Her graduation would be her family’s first. Clear-headed and determined, much like her Aunt Juanita, the woman who had raised her, she was destined to earn far more than a high school diploma. He believed she was destined for great things.

Brother Antoine surveyed the street familiar to him from childhood. Alicia and her Aunt Juanita lived in an apartment was only a few blocks over, but well within the Redemption housing project. Driving such a short distance would be silly, plus he felt like a little exercise. It was a good evening for a walk, even though no one felt completely safe walking around any neighborhood in the city at night. At least one person had been killed in New Orleans every day that year, so far. Sometimes more. Too many drugs were on the streets. But he didn’t worry about any of that.

He tucked the bundle of papers he’d pulled for the meeting under his arm and headed out. When he was a kid he’d found the Redemption overwhelming - so vast it couldn’t be taken in, visually, from his porch or from any single location. A crowded jumble of russet brick, broken down porches, and peeling army-drab paint, it stretched across the lower garden district from Magazine Street to the Mississippi River. When he was about six he tried to count the buildings, but gave up when he got lost. Everything looked the same to him back then. When he returned to live at the mission house he realized he’d been wrong. Each place was unique. Every apartment, every stoop, every front door was distinct, because everything inside was different. Every place had its own family, its own problems, its own joys. Every place had its own family, its own problems, and joys. He didn’t realize how much he’d missed it until his return.

He passed the community garden planted around the corner from the mission house with its patches of brave sprouts pushing out of the ground. He was proud of that little spot, and equally excited for the people who were involved, especially those few who returned week after week to dig, and prod, and encourage the seedlings to grow. Some of the plants even promised to bear fruit, which was reason enough to celebrate.

As he walked he could smell urine from the street gutters where drunken men or stoned boys had relieved themselves. A recent rain only added a steamy intensity to the mix, creating a cauldron of odors which would vanish only when the next day’s sunlight parched the streets.

The Redemption was teeming with human spirit, poverty, and crime. It was home to many, but with rare exception, no one chose to live there. And everyone who did, even the very young, understood how fragile life could be.

He walked up the steps to Juanita Bishop’s apartment and rapped on the front door.


9:00 p.m.

Sam Maureau pulled his car into the Redemption and parked at a curb at the end of Felicity Street. He was alone. Jackson, his partner, couldn’t come. But Sam wasn’t worried. He checked his watch. He was right on time. Things were under control.

He turned off his lights and, except for the murky glow of the half-obscured moon, was surrounded by a blanket of darkness. It took several seconds for his eyes to adjust, but even after he waited, he still strained to see. Most of the streetlights on that block had been shot out, and several apartment windows had been boarded over. He peered in between the last two buildings on the corner for any sign of movement.

Sam kicked aside a beer can as he stepped out of his car. He didn’t expect any trouble that night. Marcus, a dealer who ran the Gangsta B’s, the largest gang in the city, had asked for a meeting to discuss ‘some business’, but they’d never had problems before. Their businesses had always co-existed, side-by-side. Sam had begun selling crack in small quantities ten years earlier, when he was twenty-five, and had remained one of the smaller distributers in the city. He figured that Marcus, who was younger by at least ten years, either wanted to bring him and his territory into the Gangsta B’s, or he wanted to buy him out. He didn’t see the need to change anything right now, unless the price was right. He was making pretty good money. His clients were happy with him. But he didn’t mind talking with Marcus.

Sam patted his jacket pocket. The gun was still there. It never hurt to be careful. He locked his car, checking to make certain nothing was in the back seat. Marcus had asked him to meet around the corner.

Sam made his way across the grassy common area, dodging the few mud puddles he could see reflected in the wan moonlight, to an old iron bench across from Marcus’s grandmother’s apartment where they had met once before. He sat down to wait. The bench hadn’t quite cooled from the daytime heat. The faint breeze from the river ruffled what scant remnants remained of his once luxurious surfer-boy hair and sent greasy paper bags, discarded whiskey bottles, and random debris scurrying across the sidewalk. He absent-mindedly patted his bald spot to make certain it was covered.

He couldn’t see them, but their chatter floated over to his bench. Even though the words were indecipherable, Sam heard three distinct voices. Then he heard Marcus speak.

“Go get Louis.”

Out of habit, Sam felt his jacket pocket again, reassuring himself that his piece was still there. Marcus and one other young man came into view. Sam nodded as they approached.

Marcus was a commanding presence. Tall, and athletic, intricate tattoos of black ink woe across his dark skin, tracing his biceps, and emphasizing his ropy, muscular arms and powerful shoulders. His long hair, pulled back into a pony-tail, flowed down his back. No one questioned his authority.

“We’re gonna wait a minute for Louis,” Marcus pulled out a cigarette from his back pocket and lit it, blowing billowy clouds into the night air.

“Yeah, sure. But what’s this all about?” Marcus ignored Sam’s question and pulled hungrily on his cigarette, blowing smoke rings, refusing to make eye contact with Sam.

Several minutes later a tall young man and a boy who couldn’t have been over sixteen joined them.

“You and your people gotta go. You’re right in the middle of my territory. I’m claiming it, and I’m taking it – now. Ain’t nothing you can do about it.” Marcus threw down his cigarette and stomped it into the grass.

Sam stood up to face Marcus. “Fuck you, Marcus. You don’t need my three blocks. I’ve had it for years, and its outside your territory anyway. You can’t just take it.” Sam clenched the fist of his left hand and shoved his right hand in his jacket pocket where the gun was hidden.

“That’s where you’re wrong, mother fucker.” Marcus grabbed another cigarette and rammed it three times against the pack. “I got business coming to me from uptown all the time now. It’s time for you to give it up.” Marcus nodded to the three boys, who formed a circle around Sam and Marcus.

“No way, bro’!” Sam’s hand instinctively tightened around the gun.

Surrounded by the group of young men, Sam saw an opening, turned, and simultaneously pulled the gun from his jacket. As he stepped toward his escape, he saw something moving along the sidewalk next to the street. It appeared to be a man dressed in dark clothes, but it was impossible to be certain. Sam heard one shot, and felt it whizz by him. The distant figure dropped. Sam twisted around, and aimed his weapon toward the sound of the gun fire. Then he heard another shot.

Feeling something hot in his chest, he crumbled to the ground. The last thing he saw was the young kid, the one they called Louis, running toward the river.


Brother Antoine said good night to Alicia on the front porch of her aunt’s apartment and started his walk back home. He was feeling good, lighthearted. He and Alicia had completed her application and she had nearly finished her essay. He was certain she was a shoo-in for the scholarship. He’d only traveled a few feet down the sidewalk when he saw a group of men and a few boys gathered together in the grassy area next to one of the buildings. The cloud-covered moon offered enough reflection to allow him to make out the scant silhouette of the tallest member of the group. There was no doubt. His swagger and perpetual cigarette were unmistakable. Marcus Bishop. They had to be up to no good.

Brother Antoine followed the curve of the sidewalk, which brought him a little closer to the group. He noticed there was movement, perhaps a scuffle. He heard a shot, then felt a searing pain in his chest. He placed his hand on his shirt where he felt dampness, and, struggling to breathe, fell to the ground. He grabbed the scapular around his neck, praying, as he lay there, someone would come administer the last rites.


Excerpt from The Redemption by Cynthia Tolbert. Copyright 2021 by Cynthia Tolbert. Reproduced with permission from Cynthia Tolbert. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

In 2010, Cynthia Tolbert won the Georgia Bar Journal’s fiction contest for the short story version of OUT FROM SILENCE. Cynthia developed that story into the first full-length novel of the Thornton Mystery Series by the same name, which was published by Level Best Books in December of 2019. Her second book in this same series, entitled THE REDEMPTION, was released in February of 2021.

Cynthia has a Master’s in Special Education and taught children with learning disabilities for ten years before moving on to law school. She spent most of her legal career working as defense counsel to large corporations and traveled throughout the country as regional and national counsel. She also had the unique opportunity of teaching third-year law students in a clinical program at a law school in New Orleans where she ran the Homeless Law Clinic and learned, first hand, about poverty in that city. She retired after more than thirty years of practicing law. The experiences and impressions she has collected from the past forty years contribute to the stories she writes today. Cynthia has four children, and three grandchildren, and lives in Atlanta with her husband and schnauzer.

Catch Up With Cynthia:
Instagram - @cltolbertwrites
Twitter - @cltolbertwrites
Facebook - @cltolbertwriter


Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Click here to view The Redemption by C.L. Tolbert Tour Participants



This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for C.L. Tolbert. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Gift Card (U.S. ONLY). The giveaway runs from June 1, 2021 through July 4, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

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

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Fatal Deception by Audrey J Cole

I have read all of the novels in the Emerald City Thriller series and this may be the best one yet. Part of it might be the setting of Whidbey Island. Born and raised on the island, I appreciate it being the location of the fictional deadly cult compound featured in this book. I really like Cole highlighting the scenic views of mountains Baker and Rainier and the dangerous cliffs that frame much of the island's edge.

But the best part of the book was the exciting plot. Tess, with the Seattle Police Department, goes undercover to become one of of many women following a popular wellness guru with a compound on Whidbey Island. The situation turns deadly and there is a suspenseful climax on the narrow and dangerous Deception Pass Bridge.

There are many issues covered in this book. An issue for Tess are the after effects of her brother being stabbed (in The Summer Nanny). A scary issue in the novel was the way the women were brainwashed by the guru. And where else will you find out about Sequim (pronounced skwim) being in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains?

This is a good novel for readers who like a well crafted suspenseful plot with well developed characters and best of all, a wonderful scenic, though dangerous, island setting.

This is the fifth in the Emerald City Thriller series and you can read my reviews of the previous books: The Recipient, Inspired by Murder, Summer Nanny, Viable Hostage

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Audrey J Cole is a registered nurse and a USA Today bestselling author of thrillers set in Seattle. A Sequim native, Cole lived in Australia for five years before returning to the U.S. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children. You can find out more at

(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.)

Chasing Wonder by Ginger Stache

Life is to be an adventure, Stache says, filled with wonder. Such a life won't happen automatically though. We must pursue it and nurture a mindset of expectancy. She helps us learn how to do that with lessons from her own experiences.

Stache knows what she's writing about. She's on the staff with Joyce Meyer Ministries and has traveled the world. She shares many of her exciting adventures. Readers might be intimidated by the wild stories but Stache is quick to say that all the adventure God has planned for us is not necessarily around the world. It could be around the block. She says her own favorite adventures were those revolving around opportunities to love.

To prepare for adventure, whether it be across the world or across the street, Stache helps us cultivate an adventure mentality. She helps us learn how to delight in God's wonder all around us. She helps us understand what might be holding us back, such as fear of embarrassment or being uncomfortable or being vulnerable. She encourages us to blaze our own path with a willingness to stretch more than normal, always knowing the Father will be with us. Her book is a joy to read and she adds great practical steps to take at the end of each chapter.

If you are ready to leave your life of monotony behind, read this book. If you are ready to truly ask God what He would have you do, read this book. You might have to do something you'd never thought you'd do. The adventure with God awaits.

Food for thought: “God wants to amaze and surprise you.” (34/325)

You can watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Ginger Stache is an Emmy Award-winning documentarian, writer, and television producer. She has traveled the world sharing the stories of people. She is the chief creative officer of Joyce Meyer Ministries and can be seen on Joyce Meyer's Enjoying Everyday Life program and heard hosting Joyce Meyer's Talk It Out podcast. She and her husband live in Missouri and have two adult daughters and two grandchildren. You can find out more at

Worthy Publishing, 224 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.)

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Dark Threat by Kimberly Rose Johnson Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Dark Threat

Author: Kimberly Rose Johnson

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: June 1, 2021

Reporter Trinity Lockhart pursues a story but then unwittingly becomes the story.

Acting on a tip from an anonymous source, Trinity investigates an art trafficking ring at a high-end Seattle gallery. She turns to handsome FBI agent Kyle Richards for help after being spotted by the crooks.

Kyle is drawn to the feisty reporter, but he can’t afford a beautiful distraction when lives are at stake. He must trust his friends at Protection Inc. to watch over Trinity while he investigates the gallery.

Will this couple overcome the impossible odds threatening to keep them apart?

Click here to get your copy!

 My Review

I enjoyed this mystery. The heroine is a crime news reporter so we get some insight into the requirements and dangers of that occupation. I also liked learning some about art forgery and selling stolen art. The characters were drawn well. It was interesting to see a plot where an FBI agent and people from private security worked well together to protect the vulnerable and capture the guilty. There is also a good message included about trusting God in troublesome times.

There is suspense near the end caused by the FBI agent doing a stupid thing. I like it when the villain outwits a smart hero, not when he outwits a non-thinking one. Other than that, a good plot of investigating an art crime ring.

This is a good book for those who like romantic suspense with a strong Christian message. It is informative and entertaining.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author

Award winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes romantic suspense and mystery with a heart.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter via her website at:

More from Kimberly

Dark Threat features FBI agent Kyle Richards. We first met Kyle in book one of the Protection Inc. series where he joined the team while working undercover for the FBI. He has since become an honorary member of the team and has been in every book since.

When I set out to write this series I planned to only feature the team members, but Kyle is practically part of the team, so he needed his own story too. I thoroughly enjoyed getting into Kyle’s head for this book.

As with most books, this one took research. Through the years I’ve done all kinds of research to understand the occupations of my characters. For the characters occupations in Dark Threat I did some different kind of research than I’ve done in the past.

I really wanted to understand how FBI agents think and operate so I listened to an audio book written by a former agent. The man was rough around the edges but it really helped me understand the atmosphere in which agents work. Then I read a book written by a female, former CIA as well as FBI agent. It was fascinating to see the differences between the agencies from a former agent’s point of view.

Trinity, the female lead in Dark Threat is a crime beat reporter. I pretty much knew nothing about the life of a television reporter, so I watched You Tube videos filmed by actual reporters about a day in their lives as reporters. One young woman did a series of videos, which I found extremely helpful. Another had the camera following her on the job. From her I learned about what it’s like to go out on location and how meal times during her day on the job were never guaranteed. She’d grab a bite when she could and sometimes she wouldn’t even be able to finish it because she had to rush to a breaking story.

Finally, I needed to better understand the art world. I have a college friend who is an amazing artist. She has a gallery in Boise, Idaho. I contacted her and picked her brain about art and art galleries.

As for anything related to law enforcement I asked my uncle who is a retired police officer.

The thing I loved most about talking to people about their professions is that one question often snowballed into a deeper conversation about the topic. My friend and my uncle would tell me things I didn’t even know I needed to know.

I think Dark Threat required the most research of all the books I’ve written. I’m not a huge fan of doing research, but I truly enjoyed every minutes of it for this book.

I hope you will enjoy reading Dark Threat even more than I enjoyed writing it!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 12

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, June 12

Texas Book-aholic, June 13

Blogging With Carol, June 13

Inklings and notions, June 14

Blossoms and Blessings, June 14

For Him and My Family, June 15

Bizwings Blog, June 15

deb's Book Review, June 16

The Sacred Line, June 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 17

CarpeDiem, June 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 18

Betti Mace, June 18

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, June 19

Bigreadersite, June 19

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, June 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 20

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 21

Daysong Reflections, June 21

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, June 22

HookMeInABook, June 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 23

Kayem Reads , June 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 24

Worthy2Read, June 24

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, June 25 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, June 25


To celebrate her tour, Kimberly is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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 digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(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, June 11, 2021

Deadly Delights by Laura Jensen Walker

This is a fun cozy mystery and especially of interest to those who love to bake as well as read. I liked the heroine, Teddy. She's an author who writes mysteries so we get some insights into the writing process. There are also some interesting discussions about literature and writers and why they do what they do. Teddy is also a breast cancer survivor and there are some discussions about mastectomies and life afterward.

Teddy has a couple of female sidekicks and they get into some interesting adventures, like going to a pole dancing place to interview one of the women. What a riot.

And then there is the food. Teddy enters the annual dessert contest, foiled by the murder of one of the judges. Nonetheless, we are tantalized with descriptions of luscious sounding recipes for desserts. Fortunately, Walker has included a number of them at the end of the book. I can't wait to try the cookies that have just about everything in them except the kitchen sink.

This is a fun cozy mystery with a good twist at the end and yummy recipes to try. The characters are fun and the plot was good. This is the second book in the series but read well on its own.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Laura Jensen Walker has written both fiction and nonfiction. Walker used a typewriter across Europe in the Air Force and spent three years in England. A native of Wisconsin, she now lives in Northern California with her husband. You can find out more at

Crooked Lane Books, 312 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.)

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Every Window Filled With Light by Shelia Stovall Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book

Book:  Every Window Filled with Light

Author: Shelia Stovall

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Christian Fiction

Release date: April 2, 2021

Welcome to Weldon, Kentucky, where the only things the locals love more than fried pies are gossip and match-making.

Librarian Emma Baker, a young and childless widow, believes her dream to build a family is over. It’s been two years since a student accidentally stabbed Emma’s husband to death, and her grief has stifled any interest in romance—until she meets Pastor Luke Davis. But when Emma learns Luke is counseling her husband’s killer fresh out of jail, her temper gets in the way.

Meanwhile, Emma discovers twelve-year-old Harley, abandoned by her drug-addict mother, hiding in the library, and takes the girl in as her foster mom. Then a young mother is made homeless by an apartment fire, and Emma opens her home again. One person and one prayer at a time, Emma begins to discover hope.

If Emma can yield and offer forgiveness to her husband’s killer, perhaps she’ll be able to piece together the broken parts of her heart…and the broken people who enter her life…to form a new family and maybe even have a second chance at love.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review 

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters are engaging. Each of them has hurts needing so desperately to be healed. And healing does occur when grieving Emma decides to take a chance and let a troubled youth into her life. The supporting characters were great too. Minnie and Casey are wonderful support for Emma. And Emma's mom, well, she does have a soft spot in her heart though she hides it well.

The plot is touching and the life lessons included are wonderful. I like the thought provoking aspects of the novel like exploring the difference between writing a check to a charity and taking in someone when their dwelling has burned down. I like how the characters learn to trust God when bad things are happening. And I like the insights into maintaining a positive attitude.

This is a touching novel with themes of healing, forgiveness and restoration woven through it. There is a strong Christian message of trusting God included. I highly recommend it.

My rating: 5/5 stars.


About the Author

Shelia Stovall is the director of a small-town library in southern Kentucky, where only strangers mention her last name, and the children call her Miss Shelia.

Shelia and her husband Michael live on a farm, and she enjoys taking daily rambles with their three dogs to the creek. Spending time with family, especially her grandchildren, is her all-time favorite thing. The only hobby Shelia loves more than reading uplifting stories of hope is writing them.

More from Shelia

When I was younger, I daydreamed about becoming an author, but it wasn’t something I pursued. I wrote a few short stories for fun, but I poured my time and energy into my children and career.

In the summer of 2011, I participated in a Bible study called Jonah by Priscilla Shirer. One evening, our facilitator asked us to meditate on the question, What does God want you to do that you don’t want to do.  I sat feeling smug as the others prayed. I’d already signed up for a short-term mission trip to Africa, which I hadn’t wanted to do. But as I sat in the quiet, God spoke to me. Write a book for me. My heartbeat quickened as God gave me the opening and the ending of the story. I envisioned a large two-story yellow Victorian home with every Window filled with light.

God’s request filled me with panic, and the workbook page remained blank. The thought of someone reading God’s request made my face hot. Who was I to think I could be an author? Finally, I made a feeble attempt, but it was too hard.

My Ninevah was Africa. I turned my thoughts and efforts to preparing to go to Niger in December 2011. After the trip, all I could think about was returning to Africa. Our translators were visiting the US. It thrilled me when they accepted my invitation to stay overnight in my home. While preparing for their visit, I discovered my laptop under the bed covered in dust. I gulped as I remembered God asking me to write a book. With trepidation, I opened the computer and read the first few pages of the story I’d started. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great. I whined to God. I don’t have the skills or the talent. I don’t know how to write a book.

Then, I received an email in my work email account promoting a Christian writers’ conference. To this day, it is still the only email I’ve received at work advertising a writers’ conference. I could hardly breathe as I read the email promoting the writers’ workshop to be held at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, TX—a long way from Kentucky. I shared everything with my husband, and he encouraged me to go even though we didn’t have the money. He reminded me we had a travel credit in our airline account because of connection problems during our first trip to Africa, and so, I packed my bags.

When I attended the conference, two instructors, New York Times best-selling author Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie, changed my life when they encouraged me to finish the story. Judy asked me to commit to writing one hour a day, and she predicted I’d finish the first draft by Thanksgiving if I’d stick with it. The conference was held in October, and I thought her expectations impossible. I didn’t meet her goal, but I finished the first draft on 12/12/12. I’ll never forget that morning. It’s a good thing I had no idea of the work ahead of me.

Judy was kind enough to give me the email address of her award-winning editor Jamie Clarke Chavez. I sent the first three chapters to Jamie, and my mouth dropped open when she agreed to work with me. Today, she is someone I consider a dear friend. Writers have asked me, How did you get Jamie Chavez to work with you. She must have taken pity on me. I cringe as I remember those first chapters. I consider Jame a gift from God.

Through the years of hard work, God has been faithful to provide me with encouragement and help along the road to publication. If there is anything good in Every Window Filled with Light, it is from Him and the people he sent to aid me. The best blessings of the writing journey are the friendships I’ve made along the way.

I hope you’ll read Every Window Filled with Light or give it to someone who needs an uplifting story of hope. If there’s a person you know who doesn’t know Christ and doesn’t want to listen to a witness, this is a book you can share. I hope the reader will be so drawn into the story they won’t realize they are being exposed to God’s salvation plan until it’s too late.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about why I wrote Every Window Filled with Light. Has God ever asked you to do something you didn’t want to do?  I’d love to hear your story.

Warm regards,


Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 10

The Avid Reader, June 10

Through the Fire blogs, June 11

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 11

Texas Book-aholic, June 12

Cats in the Cradle Blog, June 12

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, June 13

For Him and My Family, June 14

CarpeDiem, June 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 15

Inklings and notions, June 16

Just Writing, June 16

Older & Smarter?, June 17

Rebecca Tews, June 18

deb's Book Review, June 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 19

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, June 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 21

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 22

Mary Hake, June 22

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, June 23


To celebrate her tour, Shelia is giving away the grand prize package of a themed gift basket from Habegger’s Amish Market!!

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 digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.
(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.)

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Thames Path Killer by Biba Pearce

This is a good British police procedure novel. It has a relatively good balance of investigative technique and character development. DI Rob Miller makes a good debut appearance as a lead investigator. He is a little unsure of himself but is ambitious. He doesn't seem to make any mistakes in his first case as lead which was a bit surprising. One rape and murder turns in to two and the pressure is on for Miller. A more experienced team is brought in to help with the investigation and it was a bit surprising that Miller got on well with them.

There was perhaps a bit more personal life of DI Miller in this novel than I would have liked. Miller spends so much time on the case his fiancĂ© becomes frustrated. Her place in the novel becomes more important later on but I did not appreciate the sexual tension and expression between the two.

Potential readers should know that the book opens with a violent rape and murder scene. This might be a trigger situation to some readers. Also, this book is a revised edition of The Surrey Stalker released a few years ago.

I like Pearce's writing style and the way the investigation is plotted. She is a new author to me and I will be looking for more from her.

You can start reading the novel here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Biba Pearce is the author of the DI Rob Miller series. She grew up in post-apartheid Southern Africa and is now a full-time writer with more than twenty-five novels written. She lives in Surrey and enjoys walking the countryside and kayaking on the river Thames. You can find out more at

Joffe Books, 186 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.)

The Sound the Sun Makes by Buck Storm

I have mixed feelings about this novel. I like that Storm can create a scene that generates expression. His writing is lyrical, almost poetic and this novel is full of word paintings. Storm's imagination is fluid in depicting magical realism. An old Native American woman standing in the middle of the road really isn't. A classic drive in theater with scores of classic cars populated with people soundlessly ceases to exist in a few hours, leaving no trace. A wild coyote comes to a peaceful rest at a character's feet.

As beautiful as some of the writing in this novel may be, the characters were not engaging. Early Pines, introduced as a man with anger issues, doesn't seem to develop at all. Near the end, given the advice to forgive and reconcile he says he'll think about it. Early came across as a man having lots of adventures, finally able to arrange a violent justice for which he longed. The villain, with unlimited financial, material and personnel resources, just seemed so over the top as to be unbelievable. The major characters almost seemed like people in a movie, which they were in a sense. They seemed flat, created for a purpose other than living real life.

And the plot left me empty of satisfaction. At one point, Calico, the main female character says of a monologue, “I honestly don't have any idea what you're talking about and I don't care.” (138/312) That's how I was feeling too. The plot moved along methodically even if it sometimes seemed the motion was in circles rather than in a forward direction. I never felt compelled to continue reading.

Had I not agreed to review the novel, I don't think I would have finished it. But I am glad I did as the only Christian aspect of it appears near the end. There is an exploration of God's sovereignty and man's choices, whether man freely chooses or all is preordained. Are we merely playing our parts in a grand movie designed by God?

This is a novel for readers who would like one featuring a sort of modern day cowboy with inner demons battling a crazy, beyond belief villain. You'll encounter some beautiful writing and perhaps that will be satisfaction enough.

This is the second book in the Ballads of Paradise series and you can read my review of the first one, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez, here.

You can read an excerpt of this novel here.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Buck Storm is a singer and songwriter in Hayden, Idaho. He is the author of several books, including Truck Stop Jesus, Through the Holy Land on the Road Less Traveled, The Miracle Man, and The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez. You can find out more at

Kregel Publications, 352 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy 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.)