Friday, December 31, 2021

Proposing Mischief by Regina Jennigs

Jennings creates great characters and she has done it again with Maisie. What a feisty gal. And when she comes head to head with Boone, having trespassed into his mine, the action begins and never stops. Maisie is a farm girl and the kind of gal who would rather wrestle than arrange flowers. Both Boone and Maisie have some relationship issues. Maisie has an old beau harassing her and Boone needs to shut down the women after him. His proposal is all business, or is it?

This novel has a foundation in historical fact. It was the time when electricity was becoming popular and it is interesting to read how it is being used. One man was creating a huge amusement park with an emphasis on the lighting. Boone, on the other hand, uses lights to illuminate a cave. The cave has amazing features and is again based on a real cave under Joplin. An interesting issue in the plot is whether people would rather go to a glitzy, man-made attraction or a natural one created by God.

I enjoyed this entertaining novel. Steeped in history, it has a good romance, a serious mystery, waves of humor, and fun characters. It is the second in a series but reads well on its own.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history. She's the winner of the National Readers' Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year. She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and their children. You can find out more at Photo: Lane Aday Photography

Bethany House Publishers, 334 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.)

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

God With Us by Justin S Holcomb

Christians today can benefit in their spiritual lives from a wealth of others who have written over the centuries. But some of us may not be inclined to read Calvin's Institutes of Christian Religion, or Augustine's works. Holcomb has gleaned inspiring sections from those authors as well as Bunyan, Owen, Spurgeon and many more. He has also included sections from more contemporary authors like Bruce, Bonhoeffer, Machen, and Lewis.

The goal of the devotional, Holcomb writes, is to concentrate on two essential features of Christian teaching on Jesus Christ. The first feature is His person, fully God and fully man. The second is the work of Jesus Christ, subjecting Himself to the frailties of sinful humanity and accomplishing our redemption.

I appreciate the daily devotions. A short Scripture is presented and then a devotion from a classic author expanding on the truth. I like that Holcomb has edited the readings to be more understandable to modern day Christians. These are not fluffy readings, however. Calvin, Warfield, Eusebius, Ambrose and the like wrote serious works. I found I had to read through some of the devotions more than once to fully comprehend the concepts.

I recommend this devotional to Christians who are willing to put a little extra work in understanding what classic authors have written about the person and work of Jesus Christ. You'll find a good collection of inspiring insights from Christians of years ago.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Justin S, Holcomb is an Episcopal minister and teaches theology at Reformed Theological Seminary and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has written, co-authored, or edited more than twenty books on numerous topics including historical and systematic theology, sexual assault, domestic abuse, and biblical studies. He is a co-host of the White Horse Inn radio show and podcast. He has also written for a number of Christian periodicals.

Bethany House, 384 pages.

I received a complimentary 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.)

Monday, December 27, 2021

Head Shot by Otho Eskin

Marko is an over the top hero, rather unbelievable. He knows how to manipulate mobsters and convicts and he knows lots of them. He is arrogant and sarcastic and belligerent and gets away with it. He does jobs for mobsters and government agencies and, by the way, he is a Washington D.C homicide detective too. He can do three operations all at once. He doesn't wear a gun, except when he wears a gun. He is truly a hero very hard to like.

Eskin is an entertaining writer. There is lots of witty dialogue. The novel is full of action. Marko is pitted against the greatest assassin alive. There are several murders and Marko is sure they are connected. He works on revealing the web involved. Part of that web involves an autocratic regime and we get some insight in to the politics involved. There was a twist at the very end that seemed a bit too unbelievable to me.

This is a novel featuring a police detective who forces his way through adverse situations, often without regard for who is hurt in the process. There is not much police procedure as Marko works pretty independently of accepted police tactics. Readers who like an over the top hero who does what he wants will like this novel.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Otho Eskin served in the US Army and in the US Foreign Service as a lawyer and diplomat. He has fulfilled various government roles including negotiating international agreements on seabed mining. He speaks several languages. He has written several plays and one novel. He and his wife live in Washington, D.C.

Oceanview Publishing, 305 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.)

Sunday, December 26, 2021

The Ghost of Darwin Stewart by L G Nixon

I enjoyed this imaginative novel for teen readers. It is in the style of Narnia with ghosts, portals into the spirit world, secret passages, spiritual beings and two girls engaging in a battle of good verses evil. Lucy is the thirteen year old heroine and Schuyler is her best friend. Lucy is at a flea market when she sees an artifact, much like an old magnifying glass. It calls to her but when she tries to buy it, the vendor says she must buy an entire trunk and its contents. When Lucy does so, she enters into a battle that has been waging for millennia. The items in the trunk will be essential tools as she enters the conflict.

There is no clear gospel message but like many imaginative young teen novels, there are many Christian principles. The theology contained might not be perfect but the narrative generally follows biblical principles. Young readers familiar with the Bible will recognize elements like the Tree of Life, rebellious angels, spiritual warfare, the armor of God, and more. Those not familiar with the Bible will get an entertaining adventure with spiritual lessons from the author at the end.

At the beginning of the novel, neither Lucy's nor Schuyler's parents believe in ghosts or spiritual beings. They think the girls are just living in a fantasy world. Like Schuyler's parents, readers will experience the reality of angels and demons and spiritual warfare. Some of the girls' experiences may be scary for some readers. Nixon is great at describing spiritual creatures and, even though I'm a septuagenarian, I found myself not wanting to read the book too late at night.

This is the first installment in The Issachar Gatekeeper series. I like how Lucy and Schuyler grew into their task. I'll be watching for the next in the series.

You can get some insight into Nixon's writing style and creating stories similar to those in the Bible at her website,, and clicking on Ascalon Chronicles.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

L. G. Nixon grew up hoping to be a writer. After a long career in office management, she began writing. Growing up in a creaky old house where relatives told ghost stories, she now shares stories God lays on her heart. She lives in Michigan with her husband and enjoys outdoor activities. You can find out more at

Fitting Words, 320 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the author. 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, December 23, 2021

Cold Brew Corpse by Tara Lush

This is another entertaining cozy mystery for coffee lovers. While it is the second in a series, it reads rather well on its own. I did review the first in the series and you can read it at Grounds For Murder.

I like the heroine. She had been a journalist in Miami but was now managing the coffee shop for her father. Her journalistic side comes out when the owner of the yoga studio next to the coffee shop goes missing and is then found murdered.

The murdered yoga instructor was popular with her flashy techniques but she was disliked by many. The suspect list is large. I was surprised at the culprit in the end as I am not sure there was much foreshadowing. Information was revealed late that would have helped us figure out who it was.

This is an entertaining cozy mystery set in an interesting location. Coffee and yoga lovers will find much to like. There is nothing amazing about Lush's writing style but the novel was a good and fun read overall. Unfortunately, there were no coffee recipes in the ARC I read. I would have liked to know how to make cold brew.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Tara Lush is a Florida based novelist and journalist. She is an RWA Rita finalist, an Amtrak writing fellow and the winner of the George C. Polk award for environmental journalism. She has been a reporter for The Associated Press for the last decade. She also writes contemporary romance set in tropical locations. She lives on the Gulf coast with her husband and two dogs. You can find out more at

Crooked Lane Books, 320 pp.

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.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Church as a Culture of Care by T Dale Johnson Jr

Johnson believes the church is to be the place for soul care for Christians. “God has provided the church with the necessary resources and designs for us to care well for one another with the Word of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we are led by Christ.” (138/2981) The church is positioned and equipped to best understand human problems and minister to the problems of life. (Well, maybe not exactly, as I note below.)

He defines and explores biblical counseling including oversight of God's church, the authority and sufficiency of God's Word, and the work of the Holy Spirit. He notes, “Pastors are called and responsible to care for the souls of God's flock.” (529/2981) “...Scripture places the responsibility for the care of souls on pastors.” (1071/2981) But then he adds, “...God places that duty square upon the shoulders of the elders of his church.” (1084/2981) But wait. The elders have the “particular purpose” to equip the saints for soul care. “Saints are to be equipped to serve the church by ministering the word of God for the care of souls.” (2245/2981) A question that comes to mind is who trains the elders to equip the saints to adequately provide soul care? What does that equipping look like?

I found some of the book a bit puzzling. For example, Johnson says, “Every believer is a counselor.” (2499/2981) He clarifies in saying he does “not mean every believer is called or qualified to do formal counseling with individuals struggling with very difficult forms of sin and suffering.” (2499/2981) He further clarifies the "every believer is a counselor" as in our gestures, our attention, attitudes, behavior, and words. (2499/2981) Yet, he says, God intends that the Word dwell in us so richly “that we are able to counsel one another from his wisdom.” (2499/2981) I am confused. Are lay people, with the sufficiency of the Word, able to counsel one another, or, are we not qualified for “formal” counseling? Johnson suggests a church shouldn't have a formal counseling ministry anyway, unless closely guarded. (2544/2981)

Formal counseling, Johnson says, is like having a specialist called in by a general medical practitioner for a more intense look at an acute issue. (2544/2981) Ah, are we talking about someone specifically trained to counsel? Does that mean God hasn't really provided the church with the necessary resources and designs for soul care as Johnson said earlier? Is it, “God has given us exactly what we need to care appropriately in the moment,” or do we really need trained counselors? (2647/2981) Where do they get trained? Johnson is an associate professor of biblical counseling at a major seminary so perhaps that is the kind of institution where such training needs to happen.

I really like the idea that God has provided for adequate soul care within the church. I was dismayed to find that Johnson added the need for “formal” counseling. I liked the idea of the sufficiency of Scripture with the leading of the Holy Spirit when it comes to soul care. But it sounds like, for tough issues, that really does not apply. “Formal” counseling, I am assuming, by someone trained (and not by the church elders) in biblical counseling techniques is needed. 

Johnson notes that this is merely the first in several books on biblical counseling. I look forward to them as I was left with many unanswered questions in reading this one. I could recommend this book be read by church boards as discussion questions are provided. However, I think the book might leave them with knowing what is supposed to be true but with no idea how to get there.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

T. Dale Johnson, Jr. is the Director of Counseling Programs and Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Johnson served as Associate Pastor of Family Life at Railford Road Church in Macclenny, Florida, before completing his Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as the Executive Director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. He and his wife have six children and live in Kansas City, Missouri.

New Growth Press, 176 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.)

Monday, December 20, 2021

52 Weeks of Resilience by Ink & Willow

About the Book:

Infuse spirituality and peace into your daily life with this beautiful interactive journal that offers a simple way to lower stress and rediscover rest.

Don't worry. It's easy to say these words because we know worrying doesn't accomplish anything, but when we're faced with our own uncertainties, worry is usually our first response. Drawing from biblical promises and wisdom, 52 Weeks of Resilience offers tried-and-true ways to let go of anxiety and live in peace and freedom. As you meditate on Scripture, reflect through journaling, and apply simple challenges to your every day, you will learn to intentionally:

  • Choose gratitude and joy over worry without waiting for perfect circumstances
  • Create a habit of prayer so you may find peace in surrendering your fears and worries to God
  • Practice a spirit of thoughtfulness as you shift your instinctual responses from fear and disappointment to resilience and confidence
  • Follow simple, practical action steps as you strive to capture every thought and replace them with truth
On your journey toward resilience in the face of stress and life’s trials, you will experience freedom, peace of mind, and true contentment. Because even in times of stress and worry, you can still take control. You don’t have to let it rule your life. Instead, you can learn to thrive.

You can look inside and read an excerpt here.


My Review:

These last years have been challenging ones. The coming year would be a good one in which to rebuild biblical attitudes towards life's events. This devotional journal helps Christians focus on gratitude, prayer, thoughts and habits. Each topic has thirteen weekly devotions. Each week provides a Scripture, a short devotion, a question for reflection and an action prompt. There is plenty of room for journaling. The journal is structured so that readers would move from anxiety or worry to trusting in God as they follow through the devotions.

I like the content of the devotions. They are good encouragement to help Christians refocus their attention and faith toward God. I do wish the layout had contained more frequent devotions. A week between inspiring messages is a long time when one is trying to refocus. This is a book for people who can do well with only weekly inspiration for change. The photographs are beautiful but I am not sure of their impact on changing focus to trust in God.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Ink & Willow, an imprint of WaterBrook Multnomah, a division of Penguin Random House 144 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.)

Sunday, December 19, 2021

The Opus Dictum by Gary McAvoy

About the Book:

In 1982, Roberto Calvi, known as “God’s Banker,” was discovered hanging under London’s Blackfriars Bridge. What wasn’t found was the briefcase he was known to have had with him the night before, reportedly stuffed with explosive documents blackmailing some of the most powerful people in Italy, and perhaps more.

When the briefcase mysteriously reappears in the Vatican Archives, Father Michael Dominic and his team—Hana, Marco, Karl, Lukas, the feisty Pauline nun Sister Teri, and Dominic’s new assistant, Ian—are up against two powerful and enigmatic organizations, Opus Deus and the secret, outlawed Masonic Lodge P2, who savagely fight for control of the briefcase and its secrets. Their goal? To carry out one of the most dangerous conspiracies the Church has ever faced—all happening during an unexpected conclave to elect a new pope.

From Rome, Italy, to Geneva, Switzerland, join Dominic and friends as they fend off plotters, kidnappers, and blackmailers who have threaded their way into Vatican politics for decades, in a conspiracy known as The Opus Dictum.

My Review:

McAvoy has given us another great adventure into the world of intrigue around the struggle for power in the Vatican. I like that this adventure centers around an ultra conservative right wing group bent on gaining control of the Roman Catholic Church. It is really believable after the political events we have seen in the U.S. and other countries in the last several years.

Many of the characters in this novel we have seen in previous books by McAvoy. This novel does read well on its own, however. Father Dominic and those on his side desire to have the Catholic Church exist at its best. They come against powerful forces, some within the Church itself.

I like to learn something when I read a novel. In this one, there is much about the operation of the Vatican and particularly about a papal conclave. I also learned about steganography. In the novel, a text document was hidden in a photograph. And that was in the 1980s.

I can tell McAvoy has done an immense amount of research to make this novel as accurate as possible. He says in his Author's Note that he wants readers to feel like they are actually there as they read through the story. I certainly did. I really like his precise descriptions of the Vatican and other aspects, such as restaurants, foods, gardens, etc. McAvoy also tells readers the historical facts upon which he built his novel. He is an intelligent writer and a stickler for details, from weapons to Vatican finances, and that makes reading his novels both entertaining and informative.

I am not sure the plot structure works where the events of 1982 suddenly blossom at the current time. And I don't understand why, after a kidnapping and other attacks, Father Dominic's Swiss Guard friends let him be by himself and unprotected. Of course, suspense ensues. Other than that, this is another good novel from McAvoy.

You can watch the book trailer here.

This is the second novel in this series and the fifth I have read by McAvoy featuring Father Dominic. All of them are good. You can read my reviews of them: The Magdalene Deception, The Magdalene Reliquary, The Magdalene Veil, and The Vivaldi Cipher.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:

Gary McAvoy began his writing career writing columns for a small town weekly newspaper and articles for a regional Southern California magazine. That laid the foundation for corporate communications work supporting his own and clients' businesses. He was fascinated with cryptology and intelligence during his U.S. Army tour in Germany. Following his military service, he built a number of successful ventures in Southern California and then moved to the Pacific Northwest. You can find out more at

Literati Editions, 348 pp. This book releases January 1, 2022.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the author. 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, December 18, 2021

A Shadow on the Snow By JPC Allen Blog Tour

About the Book

Book: A Shadow on the Snow

Author: JPC Allen

Genre: YA Mystery

Release date: December 1, 2021

Nineteen-year-old Rae Riley can barely believe her gamble paid off. After spending seven months investigating the identity of her father and whether he tried to murder her mother, Rae has been accepted by her dad, Sheriff Walter “Mal” Malinowski IV, and his immediate family with open hearts. And for the first time in her life, Rae is making friends, jamming with three cute cops who play outlaw country music.

But someone is leaving Rae threatening notes, reminding her of her late mother’s notorious past when Bella Rydell wrecked homes and lives during the few years she lived in rural Marlin County, Ohio. Fearing the threats will make Mal and his family reject her, Rae investigates the mystery on her own. But her amateur sleuthing may cost her the father she’s always wanted when the stalker changes targets and takes dead aim at Mal.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This is a good novel with an engaging teen heroine. Rae is intelligent and persistent. I read the short story, the prequel to this novel. It explains how Rae went about the clever but dangerous task of identifying her father. While the facts of that short story are included in this novel, the short story is certainly worth reading.

Allen has incorporated several issues in this mystery of Rae being stalked and threatened. Rae has recently identified her father and his family. The family is a complex mix of people and there are some who don't like Rae. Some in the town think Rae is a gold digger and others believe she is following in her mother's immoral footsteps. Friendship and acceptance are prominent themes. There is a good faith message too.

The mystery is good and I liked the bits of suspense included, especially at the end. There were plenty of suspects and I like how Rae logically tried to deduce who her stalker was. I liked the roles her half-brothers played in the end.

I liked this debut effort. Allen's writing style is good. Though the novel is described as for youth, this elderly reader liked it and will be looking for the next mystery Rae tackles.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author

JPC Allen started her writing career in second grade with an homage to Scooby Doo. She’s been tracking down mysteries ever since and has written mystery short stories for Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Her Christmas mystery short story, “A Rose from the Ashes”, was a Selah-finalist at the Blue Ridge Mountains Writers Conference in 2020. Online, she offers tips and prompts to ignite the creative spark in every kind of writer. She also leads workshops for tweens, teens, and adults, encouraging them to discover the adventure of writing. A lifelong Buckeye, she has deep roots in the Mountain State.  A Shadow on the Snow is her first novel.

More from JPC Allen

“Write what you know.”

This piece of advice is given to a lot of beginning writers. But many writers are successful concocting stories in fantasy worlds or researching 18th century Russia and writing brilliant historical fiction. I’ve never been comfortable in any genre but mystery, and the more I’ve written, the more I’ve come to write what I know. There’s only one me, and if I pull from my experiences, I hope to give my mysteries a unique touch.

A Shadow on the Snow is set in southeast, or Appalachian, Ohio, because that’s where I grew up. I based Wellesville on St. Clairsville, the town I lived in as a kid. The library my main character Rae Riley works in looks like the library there, and the courthouse is right across Main Street, just like in my novel.

Until I was thirty, my mom’s parents lived out in the country on a ridge between St. Clairsville and the Ohio River. Their home was my favorite place on the planet, so when I needed a farmhouse for Rae’s family, I modeled it on Grandpa and Grandma’s house. I’m sure when my sisters and cousins read about the breezeway that runs between the house and the garage and the steps that lead from it to the outside door to the walkout basement, they’ll instantly know where I got my inspiration.

None of the characters are exact copies of real people I know, but I do use traits of real people to bring my characters to life. Aaron has my oldest child’s enthusiasm for science. Jeanine shares qualities with my youngest sister. Jason Carlisle is based on a man I saw once at my youngest child’s soccer game. All the other dads who coached wore baggy t-shirts and shorts. This man looked like he’d stepped off a yacht with perfectly styled hair, a navy blue windbreaker, and tailored white shorts. In my fictional Marlin County, where most men consider a plaid shirt without a tear to be formal attire, I thought a man who is fashionable would be an interesting contrast to the other characters.

Rae has a lot of me in her. She works at a library, which I did for ten years, but I was a children’s librarian, instead of a check-out clerk. She’s interested in photography and horses like I am. Both of us are shy, don’t like to inconvenience people, and worry what others think of us. However, I have never had the courage or the nerve to set a trap for a stalker, and that experience, as well as the most heart-pounding scenes in my book, are pure inventions. There’s a limit to writing what you know, and as a mystery writer, I’m very glad I can write about crimes without having to experience them!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 18

Nancy E Wood, December 19

Texas Book-aholic, December 20

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, December 21

Inklings and notions, December 22

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 23

Bigreadersite, December 23

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 24 (Author Interview)

Vicarious Living, December 25

For Him and My Family, December 26

deb's Book Review, December 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 28

Library Lady's Kid Lit, December 28

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, December 29

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 30 (Spotlight)

Blogging With Carol, December 30

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 31

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, December 17, 2021

The Lost Dutchman's Secret by Rebekah Jones Blog Tour

About the Book

Book: The Lost Dutchman’s Secret

Author: Rebekah Jones

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: November 2, 2021

There’s a deadly secret in them thar hills—and gold, or so they say.

Deeply in debt to a wealthy local, Charles Sinclair, Dorothy Hodges’ father finally promises she’ll pay and in gold, no less. If only Dorothy could take the promises he spins out of thin air and turn them into that gold, all would be well.

With the help of a strange, rumpled man, Dorothy does manage to bring payment to one of Sinclair’s sons only to discover it won’t pay off the debt. Will the next payment be enough?  The next?

When Charles Sinclair ends up dead, Dorothy is the obvious prime suspect, but Sinclair’s son isn’t so certain. Together they work to clear her name and find the real murderer of the Superstitions, but will they find the answers buried in those hills?

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. The Lost Dutchman’s Secret offers a retelling of “Rumplestilskin” that requires more digging than a miner searching for The Lost Dutchman Mine.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This novel takes us to the Superstition Mountains and the legend of a hidden gold mine. The characters are really different. I did not like Dorothy's father at all and that is, I am sure, by design. Dorothy herself is a timid and hesitant woman. She stumbles when she speaks and I did find the repeated use of hyphens, such as “I-I have, b-but..”, irritating. I did not find her character engaging. The other characters were not outstanding although I did really like little Hazel.

I liked all the background about the legend of the Lost Dutchman's Mine and the descriptions of the area. I am not sure the plot worked well, especially the fellow with the gold. And I am not sure how this story follows the fairy tale. I read a synopsis of Rumpelstiltskin and had some difficulty associating this plot with it.

Jones has a writing style that is easy to follow. I think the strength of this novel is the strong Christian message of faith and trust in God.

My rating: 4/5 stars. 


About the Author

Rebekah Jones is first and foremost a follower of the Living God. She started writing as a little girl, seeking to glorify her King with her books and stories.

Rebekah is an old soul in a young body (she’s not 12 —honest!) While her exact age is classified, her interests are not. Among them are reading a variety of books, singing, playing, and composing music, studying all manner of subjects, nannying an adventurous group of youngsters, and, of course, writing her books, poems, articles, and short stories. She writes a wide range of books from gentle children’s adventures to family sagas to murder mysteries.

More from Rebekah

“They say that no one had ever seen gold ore like it before, neither have they ever since. Except in the possession of Jacob Waltz. His mine had ore of higher value and higher potency than any other mine found in Arizona…”

What if the Miller’s daughter from the tale of Rumpelstiltskin didn’t have to spin gold, but pay it? And because of an enormous debt – that she had no way of knowing the value? And her father wasn’t a miller, but an old miner with a penchant for carving animals while living in the Arizona desert? And what if, for her pains, she found herself mixed up in a murder?

And what if, somehow intermixed with this poor young woman and her troubles, came the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Goldmine?

If you don’t know about the legend of that lost mine, you should. Or I think that you should. It’s a real legend as old as the 1860’s. Except, it wasn’t lost when Jacob Waltz went bragging about it. That came later.

The mountains that house the legend are magnificent. When a friend of mine came to visit me, she and I went to explore the area around the Superstition Mountains, as well as a part of the mountains themselves. Standing in a forest of cacti and brush, the jagged rocks and sharp peaks towered above my head, while a critter skittered unseen. Beautiful isn’t quite a strong enough word to describe it. As we hiked up the mountain, making our way through a myriad of desert plant life, rocks of so many shapes and sizes, and tiny critters, I could picture Dorothy, the miner’s daughter.

The modern structures and buildings in sight, faded in my mind’s eye, and I could imagine the young woman partway up the mountain in 1929, wearing her old, faded dress, and staring out across the valley. We plotted out where her father’s shack would have stood, and I made note of a perfect crevice of rock where she might have sat to think or read. I rather found myself wishing I could live out there myself, even if living in a shack in the heat of the Arizona summer doesn’t wholly appeal to me.

When I finally got in front of my manuscript again, I could see Dorothy’s world so clearly, I can only hope I managed to capture it in the book itself. I doubt if I could have captured the beauty of those mountains in words, the sight of them as they changed colors in the sunset, or the glowing starry sky above them after dark.

As for the Lost Dutchman’s Goldmine, I would be lying if I said I didn’t entertain fantasies about exploring the mountains to discover it, but we certainly did not go that far into the mountains. Besides, it was June in the Arizona desert. One does not blindly venture into the mountains on such an errand in such a time of year, unless one has a death wish. It’s rather fun to imagine though. Perhaps one day, I can go on a search – though I confess, I doubt it.

As for the book, I won’t say whether that lost goldmine is discovered or not. I’ll leave that for a reader to discover for themselves.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 17

An Author's Take, December 17

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, December 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 18

Texas Book-aholic, December 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 20

Genesis 5020, December 20

Inklings and notions, December 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 21

For Him and My Family, December 22

For the Love of Literature, December 22

deb's Book Review, December 23

Simple Harvest Reads, December 23 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Blogging With Carol, December 24

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

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 26

Vicarious Living, December 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 27

Connect in Fiction, December 27

Connie's History Classroom, December 28

Mary Hake, December 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 29

Back Porch Reads, December 29

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 30

Through the Fire blogs, December 30

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.)