Book Review: More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

About Karen

Contact Karen

After growing up in California, Karen moved to Texas to attend Abilene Christian University where she earned bachelor and master’s degrees in Psychology. It was also there that she met and married her own Texas hero. He roped her in good, for she has lived in Texas ever since. In fact, she fell so in love with this rugged land of sweeping sunsets and enduring pioneer spirit, that she incorporates it into the pages of her novels, setting her stories in the small towns of a state that burgeoned into greatness in the mid- to late1800s.

A life-long bookworm, Karen is living her dream by writing novels. Her books have consistently hit bestseller lists and have garnered awards such as the ACFW Carol Award, the Holt Medallion, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. In addition, she is a multiple RITA and National Reader’s Choice finalist. Karen is also a sought-after speaker for national writing conferences and regional workshops.

Karen’s favorite aspect of her writing life is hearing from readers. Nothing encourages her heart more. She’d love to hear from you. You can contact her here.

My Rating:

5 stars!

‘While I believe in prayer and utilize that weapon every day, when one faces Goliath, it’s best to have a rock in the sling. And he was the rock she planned to have on hand.’

Karen Witemeyer brings us another novel in her Patchwork Family series and it’s the best of the series in my opinion. In fact, I think it’s just my favorite of all her work!

Zacharias Hamilton is free now to live his life the way he sees fit. His adopted brother and sister are now both married and on their own and he settles down in the town of Honey Grove, Texas to live out his bachelorhood in peace. Until one day the sweet baker in town comes to his place of work and hands him a contract for marriage. She needs a man’s name to put on the deed of her bakery so the town won’t close her down. And he’s her first choice. What? Zach immediately says no, yet he begins to rethink this, even though he knows Abigail Kemp only has a marriage of convenience in mine. He doesn’t.

They marry but threats to her bakery continue and even her sister seems to have trouble surrounding her. Zach is not one to let those under his protection suffer, so he decides that his wife and sister in law need a strong man to watch after them. Soon, however, Abigail begins to think maybe this man means more to her than just a way to keep her bakery and she thinks she wants his heart.

I adored this book! Witemeyer’s wit is such a fresh breath of air on the pages. I’ve watched Zach through the last two books and wished so badly that he had someone to truly love him for who he is. He is a true man of integrity, despite his horrible upbringing and treatment at the hands of those supposed to love him. His light shines through this book from beginning to end. Any woman would be proud to have a husband like Zach Hamilton. And the wonderful spiritual theme sings through all the way: God can make a way where there seems to be no way and He can use what was meant for evil and turn it into good. I’ve seen him do this in my own life. Well done!

*My thanks to Bethany House Publishers and the author for a preview copy of this book. The opinions stated in this review are entirely my own.

Book Review: Hidden Twin by Jodie Bailey

My Rating: 5 stars!

‘She’d probably never get over the sensation that someone was breathing down her neck or staring at her through a sniper’s scope, seconds away from ending her life.’

Amy Brady is on the run again as once again her cover is broken. She is in the WITSEC program and never feels safe. Every time she gets used to one place, she is found by the folks who want her dead at all costs. She can’t even see her own twin sister. Sam Maldonado is the deputy marshal tasked with keeping Amy safe and he is determined to do just that. He never wants to lose someone in his care again. But are his feelings safe?

Jodie Bailey hits the ground running and the action continues until the very ending. I finished this book in less than 24 hours! The suspense is great, the characters well fleshed out and the spiritual theme so worthy. We all deal with fear from time to time, but we must trust God to not let it overwhelm us. Bravo!

*My thanks to the publisher and author for a preview copy of this book. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Publisher: Love Inspired

Publication Date: June 1, 2019

Find the book here:

Jodie Bailey is the CBA Best-selling author of novels about freedom and the heroes who fight for it. Her second novel, Crossfire, was a RT Reviewers’ Choice Award winner and her contemporary romance Quilted by Christmas received the Selah Award and spent two months on the CBA Bestseller List. Jodie is also a public speaker and teacher who packs her novels with the knowledge she’s gained as an Army wife.

Jodie Bailey grew up in Eastern North Carolina, where she developed a love for golden sand and the Atlantic Ocean. She started writing stories as soon as she learned how to put sentences together, and spent her childhood and teen years making her best friends’ dreams come true on paper.

In college, she met the love of her life–a soldier who rides a Harley and jumps out of airplanes for fun. This prompted a whole lot of moving from place to place, and she had no idea how much those moves would work their way into her stories. For ten years, she pursued her second love, teaching. Now a full-time writer, she still teaches part-time because the kids keep her young and, every once in awhile, she needs some time away from the imaginary characters.

Jodie currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, her daughter, and two dogs who think they rule the world.

Book Review: The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep

My rating: 5 Stars!

‘Staring at death was nothing new. It was a way of life. A companion Samuel frequently clasped hands with.’

At last! Michelle Griep gives us Samuel Thatcher’s story in her Bow Street Runners trilogy. When I first met this man in previous books, I knew he had a story to tell and knew it would be a good one. I was wrong. It was a great one. When I saw the cover some time back, that feeling was simply reinforced.

Abigail Gilbert has been betrothed to a baronet, but must travel a long journey to his ancestral home to marry him. She is more than ready to leave a family who has no use for her. A family that can’t even be bothered to give her a manservant to travel with her on a dangerous journey. And danger does indeed come, in the form of highwaymen.

Captain Samuel Thatcher arrives just in time to save Abby from said highwaymen. He despises his job and is hoping to retire and buy land and become a farmer, far away from crime and death. Abby asks him to escort her on her journey and he agrees only when she offers him a great deal of money. He can buy his property and retire from pursuing criminals. However, one of those criminals, the most vicious sort, is after him and nothing will stop this man from seeing Thatcher die. But Samuel has promised to keep Abby safe and he intends to keep that promise. He will be tested down to his last nerve in doing so, though.

Michelle Griep is a huge favorite of mine. Her books just get devoured here. When I open one and begin to read, I lose track of time and everything around me until I finish it. But … I want to race toward the end and I also want to slow down and savor every moment. So….I end up rereading many passages again and again, highlighting and writing in the margins. Griep manages somehow to capture each character in so much detail that they feel as if you’re riding along in the coach with them in the storms, battling the highwaymen and feeling every emotion in their hearts. And her spiritual themes are what some might call simple and direct, but they are very, very profound. I loved every moment of it and now I wish I could read it all over again. Samuel Thatcher is the epitome of a noble guardian and a mighty fine hero! Highly recommended.

My thanks to Barbour Publishing for a copy of this book via Net Galley. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

  • Series: The Bow Street Runners Trilogy (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Press (June 1, 2019)

About Michelle:

Michelle Griep is an author, blogger, and occasional super-hero when her cape is clean.

Dare I be so bold as to call myself an author? Being that I’m one of those freaks who attended poetry workshops instead of summer camp during my formative years, yes, I will. While other teens busied themselves throwing parties when their parents weren’t home, I was the nerd holed up in my room with pen and paper.

A Relative

Relatives. Can’t shoot ’em. It’s against the law, although I bet my husband and four children have been tempted now and again to put me in their crosshairs. I’m a wife of twenty-something years and mother of two sons and two daughters. And yes, it’s true…boys are way easier than girls, unless drama is something you crave.

An Anti-Establishment Rabblerouser

I am one of those library-card wielding, mini-van driving, let’s-take-a-jaunt-to-the-grocery-store and call it a field trip kind of homeschoolers. But allow me this disclaimer: I don’t wear denim jumpers, and I farm out anything related to science or math. Bonus disclaimer: The last of my nestlings has flown the homeschooling nest, but I continue to tutor writing and history at a local high school homeschool co-op. 

A Princess

No, I’m not currently on medication for delusions of grandeur. I am a daughter of a King. Seriously. I take the Bible as inspired truth and that’s what it says (Romans 8:16, 17).

A Boxer Lover

I’m not talking Fruit of the Loom vs. Hanes. I’m talking stubby-tailed, fuzzy muzzled, bundles of face-licking love. As the great philosopher Groucho Marx once said, “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” The current love of my life is a 60-pound brindle named Miss Ada Clare. Know what Dickens story that is from?

An Anglophile

What’s the deal with me and Great Britain? Beats me. I’m as passionate about anything English as I am about chocolate and java. Oddly enough, I prefer Bronte over Austen, and if A Sci-Fi Geek

As a matter of fact, that was me squirreled away in the backseat of the school bus with my nose plastered in a Bradbury book. Throughout junior high, I escaped classmate alien abductions by reading Asimov, Vonnegut and Wells. And I’m doggone pleased to be living in the same metro area as Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore.

A Chef

Sorry, I did not graduate from the Cordon Bleu. I didn’t even cough up the cash to attend. I am, however, a veteran of once-a-month cooking, and you can be, too. Also, if you’d like to email me, I’ll send you my favorite brownie recipe. Just go to my contact page and gimme a holler.

you’d like to debate the qualities of Typhoo versus PG Tips, feel free to e-mail me.

Book Review: ‘Danger on the Ranch’ by Dana Mentink

My rating: 5 stars!

‘He’s not my God, and frankly, I can’t understand how He can be yours, after what’s happened to you.’

Dana Mentink kicks off a new series, Roughwater Ranch Cowboys, with this novel and this one is anything to go by, it’s going to be great! Mitch Whitehorse retires from the US Marshals after his vile brother is sentenced to life in prison for capturing and killing women, a true serial killer. There is nothing good in this man. Then his brother escapes and comes gunning for Mitch. And the woman he was married to when he was killing women. Only she had no idea what he was doing. Now Jane also shows up, to warn Mitch, she says, but he doesn’t believe her. How could she have been married to his brother and not known he was such a vile and heinous criminal? But now she’s got a toddler with her, one she has kept secret. And they need protection. Can Mitch truly look past his brother’s offenses and keep this woman and her son safe? Even if he doesn’t believe her story?

This book started off with a bang and kept going throughout. I love Dana’s suspense novels and she outdoes herself with this one. Truly. The bad guy in this one is truly a vicious person and she explores the thought that how can God love someone this cruel? A wonderful novel with a great spiritual theme. And Mentink introduces us to the people that will be featured in the upcoming series and I am really looking forward to them each having their own book! Well done!

*My thanks to the author for a preview copy of this book. All opinions stated here are entirely my own.

Publisher: Love Inspired

Publication Date: June 1, 2019

You can find Dana at:

You can find this book at:

About Dana

Dana Mentink lives in California where the weather is golden and the cheese is divine. Her family includes two teen girls (affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo.) Papa Bear is retired from the fire department and he met Dana doing a dinner theater production of The Velveteen Rabbit. Ironically, their parts were husband and wife.

Dana is an American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year finalist for romantic suspense and a two time ACFW Carol Award winner. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. She is honored to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired, Harlequin Heartwarming, and Harvest House Publishers. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet.


  1. 2015 Heart of Excellence Finalist for Return to Pelican Inn
  2. 2014 ACFW Carol Award Winner for Jungle Fire
  3. 2013 ACFW Carol Award Winner for Lost Legacy
  4. 2012 Award of Merit in the Holt Medallion Contest
  5. Pacific Northwest Writers Literary Contest, inspirational fiction, 2008
  6. Women on Writing Flash Fiction contest, 2007
  7. Long and Short Reviews Best Romance of 2007 nomination
  8. Get Your Stiletto in the Door Contest finalist, 2005
  9. ACFW Book of the Year Finalist, 2009
  10. 2010 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award Winner

Book Giveaway & Review: The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton

Hello!  Today I am thrilled to have as a guest on my blog, author Lori Benton.  Lori has graciously offered to give away a signed copy of her upcoming novel, The King’s Mercy, to one commenter today.  More later on how you can get your name in the hat for that.  For now, let’s settle in and talk to Lori.

  1. I know you grew up near the Appalachian Mountains.  How was it growing up so near to all this wonderful history?

To be honest I wasn’t very interested in history as a kid. I grew up with my maternal grandparents as well as my parents living in our home and knew our family had lived and farmed in southern Virginia for many generations; I’d visited those farms. Now and then we took relatives to see historic places like George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon. We had friends who participated in Civil War reenactments and sometimes we attended those (there was a lot to do about Mary Surratt, hung for involvement in President Lincoln’s assassination, in my hometown where her old tavern stood), but by and large my focus, creative and otherwise, was elsewhere—outdoors in the woods and hills with the critters (I studied art in school and briefly worked as a wildlife artist). I had to move 3000 miles away to Oregon before I became keenly interested in Colonial American history. How inconvenient of me! At least the landscape had captured my attention as a child. I took away the bone-deep memories of how the eastern landscape—mountains, piedmont, and coast—feels, smells, and looks in every season.

  • How did you get into writing? 

I blame it on my best friend in the third grade. Without any warning at all she wrote a story and showed it to me. It was a lightbulb moment. Though already an avid reader, I guess it hadn’t occurred to me that I could write my own story—about anything I wanted. I promptly did so. I still have that story; it’s called Yellow Flower and the Wild Mustang, about a Native American girl who finds a wounded horse, heals it, and rides it in a race and beats the boys!

While I wrote in fits and starts after that, it wasn’t until I was in my early twenties, married and anticipating moving west, that I got serious enough about writing to start thinking about publication. This was 1991, before I had a computer or there was email and the internet. I went about it the old fashioned way: I started writing a novel like those I enjoyed reading at the time, realizing I’d figure out how to do it as I went along. Eventually I discovered there were things like writing craft books and writing conferences. I met other writers. I joined a critique group. The internet came along. I frequented writers’ forums, other writer’s blogs, and those of editors and agents.

Now everything a fledgling writer needs to know about the craft of writing and the business of publication is at her fingertips. It couldn’t be an easier time to learn.

  •  How do you get your ideas for books?

Ideas are everywhere. I get them watching films and TV, on long road trips behind the wheel, while hiking, listening to music, during Bible study, and reading other novels. But most often these days I get ideas while I’m researching a subject for a book I’m already writing. If it’s a really good book on the subject, rich with detail and historical accounts of interesting individuals, I probably won’t escape its pages without three or four more ideas for characters or situations that might one day, with enough simmering, become the kernel of a novel, making themselves known. As James Alexander Thom (author of Follow the River) states in his book The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction, “The past is where we get the raw material we use to make the stories by which we earn our bread. The raw material is already there, inexhaustible. We pick bygone time up by the handfuls and, like clay, see if it feels right and then form it into stories about the past.”

  • I have seen some of your photography and it is gorgeous!  Tell us how you came to be interested in photography.

Thank you! A few years ago I met a landscape photographer and learned several things right quick. One, I can edit a digital photo after I’ve taken it (the art college major in me rejoiced). And two, there’s this online platform called Instagram, where I can post my photos and other people can see, like, and comment on them. Who knew? J I was instantly hooked.

  • You are an explorer and you and your husband love to explore the Oregon wilderness.  What is the most favorite place you have visited?

The Pacific Northwest is awesome and majestic and beautifully breathtaking in so many different ways, coast, mountains, and high desert. But my favorite places tend to be National Parks. There are many I’ve yet to visit, but Mount Rainier in Washington, Crater Lake in Oregon, Glacier in Montana, and Yosemite in California are at the top of my favorites list.

  • My favorite book of yours is Many Sparrows, just loved it.  How much research, if any, do you do for your books?

Oh, so very much. I never stop researching. It’s a lifestyle. I read dozens of books for each novel I write, watch YouTube videos, explore the setting via Google Earth, talk to people who know more about the subjects I’m writing about than I do, and every now and then I travel to the places my novels are set—as was the case for Many Sparrows.  I’m so glad you loved that one.

  • Do you have a favorite of all your books and why?

That’s harder to answer than my favorite place to photograph or explore! No sooner can I choose one than I think of a reason another one should be my favorite. Most often the book I’ve most recently finished feels like my favorite because the characters, themes, setting, and the emotional arc of the novel are all very fresh in my mind. Right now that’s The King’s Mercy.

  • Tell us a little about your new book, The King’s Mercy.

Set in the Colony of North Carolina in the 1740s, The King’s Mercy explores the meaning of freedom from multiple perspectives: an imprisoned and exiled Scottish rebel; a blacksmith crippled by a devastating injury; a Cherokee youth who breaks with tradition; a plantation mistress caught in a dehumanizing system; the men and women her stepfather enslaves; a master with his hope set on earthly gain; a young man bound by hate and bitterness; and an itinerant preacher willing to become a slave to see the kingdom of God expand. Each one’s path to freedom is unique, but each must make make a choice. Obedience or willfulness. Trust or despair. Mercy or malice.

  • What do you hope readers will take away from this story? 

Something I’ve discovered about celebrating the grace and redemptive power of Jesus Christ in the form of story is that while I’ve had my conversation with the Lord about these characters and themes, after the book is published it becomes the reader’s turn. God will speak to each heart something unique. I love that! Whatever that is for each reader, my hope is that they’re drawn closer to the Lord through Joanna and Alex’s story, and that they turn that last page of The King’s Mercy more in love with our merciful Jesus than when they began.

Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn; Christy nominee The Wood’s Edge; A Flight of Arrows; and Many Sparrows.


My Rating: 5 Stars!

‘There isna mercy to be granted, by king or God. He was all but certain no God cared enough to grant it.’

Alastair MacKinnon left God on the battlefield of Culloden and hasn’t had need of Him since. Alex is taken captive and granted the king’s mercy, but it’s no mercy to him. Sold as an indentured servant for seven years in NC’s colony near Cape Fear, Alex knows no mercy as far as he is concerned. Alex is to be the new blacksmith at Severn, a vast property with a multitude of slaves, a practice he finds deplorable. Owner Edmund Carey, and his stepdaughter Joanna are kind to Alex but the overseer, Phineas Reeves, rubs him the wrong way and Alex can’t help but feel something is amiss with the man. An old preacher, Reverend Pauling, known to the Careys, speaks a word over Alex that he has no desire to hear and it is one of the most powerful statements in the book: ‘Almighty God has allowed you, by whatever series of events and decisions brought you to be in this place…if you will allow it, there will be good come of it.’ Turns out to be a most prophetic utterance.

Events happen which cause Alex great pain and he must forge another path for himself, both physically and spiritually. But will others suffer because Alex doesn’t take the reverend’s words seriously?

Reading a novel by Lori Benton is somewhat akin to sitting down at a most anticipated meal with all your favorite dishes. You begin to eat and each bite is more delectable than the last. That’s the way it was with the book: the more I read, the more I loved the book. Benton’s evocative prose swells beautifully with each description, adding many layers to the story, increasing its value to this reader. Her descriptions of everything are vivid and fully exquisite beyond imagining. My heart swelled just reading them. I finished this book with tears of joy washing my face. I thank God for the blessing of these words. Books like this surely cause me to thank God for authors who are obedient to the call of God on their lives to write these words. A true blessing. Bravo! I very highly recommend this book.

*My thanks to the publisher for a preview copy of this book. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.

Publisher: Waterbrook
Publication Date: June 4, 2019

Find Lori at:
Find the book at:

So who is ready for a giveaway?   Here’s how to get your name in the hat to win this wonderful book.

You must leave a comment on this blog post.  You must also leave your email in a non-spammy format like (susan at yahoo dot com)  The contest runs from May 31st to June 7th.  Sorry, but due to mailing costs, the contest is only open to US residents in the 48 contiguous states.  A winner will be chosen and I will contact you for your mailing address.  Good luck to you all!

Book Review: Darkwater Truth by Robin Caroll

My Rating: 5 Stars!

‘He’d talk to the devil himself if that’s what it took to make sense of all this.’

Robin Caroll brings us the conclusion to her Darkwater Inn series and she truly brings it! Well done!
Readers have been hanging on since the first book to see who Addy chooses: Beau or Dimitri. Well, I’m not telling. (smile)

The Darkwater Inn has had its share of issues in the last year and they’re not going to stop with this book. The biggest ever: renovation is going on and a skeleton is found behind a wall. Uh oh. What in the world is going on now? There are nefarious things afoot in New Orleans and in the Darkwater. It’s up to Beau and his partner, Marcel, who I really liked in this series, to discover the culprit. Beau, who is so in love with Addy and desperately wants her to choose him. And Dimitri, who wants the same thing. No more of that. There is a great mystery here and one based on an actual serial killer. But this serial killer was on the loose and creating murder and mayhem in 1918! What is going on now? Even Addy’s father is not safe.

I loved this book. The mystery was absolutely wonderful and creepy at times. Caroll is at her very best here and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute and she has brought the series to a very satisfying conclusion. I can’t wait to see what she has for us next. Highly recommended.

*Thanks to the author for a preview copy of this book. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Publication Date: May 31, 2019

Find Darkwater Truth here:

Find Robin here :

About Robin:

Robin Caroll grew up in Louisiana with her nose in a book. She still has the complete Trixie Belden series, and her love for mysteries and suspense has only increased with her age.

Robin’s passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others and come alongside them on their faith journey—aspects Robin weaves into each of her published novels.

Best-selling author of thirty-plus novels, ROBIN CAROLL writes Southern stories of mystery and suspense, with a hint of romance to entertain readers. Her books have been recognized in several awards, including the Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, and more.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends quality time with her husband of nearly three decades, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home in the South.

Robin serves the writing community as Executive/Conference Director for ACFW.