“On a Summer Tide” by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Susan here.  Oh, I am so excited to be reading this book! This makes two in a row, of really exceptionally good Christian fiction books. On a Summer Tide, features three sisters. I’m only guessing at this point (haven’t finished it, I’m savoring it) which of the sisters will find her true love in this entertaining romp of a book.

In my opinion, the potential for two more books in the series is a good–no–a  great thing!

Cam, Maddie, and Blaine are three unique sisters (aren’t all sisters unique?!), and that fact gives plenty of room for the author to shine. She makes it all very interesting when the girls’ father buys an island! Yes, a decrepit island off Maine. Not a setting I’ve ever encountered before and boy, is it fun.

The dad, who has an injured voice (never came across that character detail before), sells the family home, and buys an island. The island is the site of the summer camp where he met his wife decades in the past. His wife has recently passed away, but circumstances, and a tiny bit of manipulation, work together so that all the daughters come to the island as he takes possession. Did I forget to say, that he bought it sight unseen?

The fun begins! I don’t want to say too much, because I don’t want to take away any of your enjoyment. But I will say that the set-up (some call it the premise), the characters, the setting, and the delightful details are shaping up in a satisfying way! I highly recommend this book.


On a Summer Tide is charming, amusing, and absorbing–what more could we ask?

My own book, by the author of this blog, is also available on Amazon. A Match for Melissa features a young lady trying to do the right thing. Her wealthy father wants to marry her off to someone with a title. She wants true love. Enjoy the journey, as Melissa faces danger, scandal, and tough decisions.

A Match for MelissaThanks for visiting graciouswoman.wordpress.com



Review of “The Refuge” by Ann Gabhart


Susan Karsten here, with a book review!

Set mostly within a Shaker (cult) community over a century ago, The Refuge is a wonderful story with a fascinating setting. Gabhart draws readers into the past, and you feel almost as if you are there!  The relatable characters include a widow, who was stranded within the Shaker community when her husband died,  and is expecting a baby! Shakers did not believe in male/female married relationships. In fact, they believed in celibacy, even for married people. (Now you know one reason the Shaker cult died out.)

So, the couple went to live in the community in order to escape a cholera epidemic. They weren’t planning to stay there long-term. When they moved there, they each had to sleeep in dormitories with others of their own gender. They couldn’t fraternize with each other, even though married! (By the way, none of these details are spoilers, you’ll learn all this way early in the book.)

I won’t tell you anything more about the plot, but you will really enjoy this one! It’s so well written, and I believe it represents some of the best work in the Christian historical fiction genre published this year. It far exceeded my expectations.

{This is my first post for over six months, so I hope you like it!  Also, check out my own book, “A Match for Melissa”. It’s available on Amazon!}


All the best! Susan

The Plot is Murder by V.M. Burns, a review and author interview

Hi, faithful readers! Susan Karsten here with a nice book to tell you about. THE PLOT IS MURDER is a novel I sought out on my own — not through the blogging program of any publisher, etc.


A delightful and different cozy mystery in which author Burns takes the reader along on a fascinating adventure. The adventure involves much more than a murder solve, in that the main character is a writer (think Downton Abbey!) who opens a book store and we get to learn all about what is entailed in that!

Another rare and fun part of this cozy is that Burns includes a novel (mystery, of course) within a novel! Scattered at appropriate points in the book, you will read protagonists Samantha Washington’s fictional tale, one set in England between the two World Wars.

Here’s a teaser from the back cover: The small town of North Harbor on the shores of Lake Michigan is about to have a new mystery bookstore. But before the first customer can browse its shelves, the store’s owner is suspected of her own murder plot . . . 
Samantha Washington has dreamed of owning her own mystery bookstore for as long as she can remember. And as she prepares for the store’s grand opening, she’s also realizing another dream—penning a cozy mystery set in England between the wars. While Samantha hires employees and fills the shelves with the latest mysteries, quick-witted Lady Penelope Marsh, long-overshadowed by her beautiful sister Daphne, refuses to lose the besotted Victor Carlston to her sibling’s charms. When one of Daphne’s suitors is murdered in a maze, Penelope steps in to solve the labyrinthine puzzle and win Victor.

But as Samantha indulges her imagination, the unimaginable happens in real life. A shady realtor turns up dead in her backyard, and the police suspect her—after all, the owner of a mystery bookstore might know a thing or two about murder. Aided by her feisty grandmother and an enthusiastic ensemble of colorful retirees, Samantha is determined to close the case before she opens her store. But will she live to conclude her own story when the killer has a revised ending in mind for her?

 author V.M. Burns

Here is my interview of V.M. Burns:

So many of your book’s details, such as setting, careers, life situation, people, were intriguingly different. The following questions are based on things in the book that made me curious.

Was the setting based on St. Joseph, MI, and Benton Harbor, MI?

  • Yes, the setting for the book is based on St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, Michigan. I was born in nearby South Bend, Indiana and lived in both St. Joe and Benton Harbor for several years.

Do you own a bookstore?

  • I don’t own a mystery bookstore, but similar to my protagonist, Samantha Washington, owning a mystery bookstore is my dream.

Do you have a “Nana Jo” in your life?

  • I don’t have a Nana Jo, but one of my first jobs after graduating from college, was working for an area agency on aging. While working there, I meant a lot of fun loving, vibrant seniors. I think Nana Jo and ‘the girls’ are a conglomeration of many of those women.

I loved the details of Samantha’s teaching attributes. Were you a teacher for many years?

  • Unlike my main character, I did not teach in the public school system. However, for many years, I worked as a corporate trainer. I have a passion for training and I have a number of family members who were teachers.

Based on the novel within a novel, I am guessing you might be a fan of Downton Abbey? Are there other works set between the wars that have influenced you?

  • Yes, I am a Downton Abbey fan. I enjoy British historic mysteries and all things Agatha Christie. I love Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, and Foyle’s War. I also love Ellery Queen, Nero Wolfe and Miss Fisher Mysteries.

How many mysteries have you written?

  • The process to get a book in print is long. So, while I currently have two books published, I have actually written eight. I have three series. The Mystery Bookshop Mystery series has two books released. The third book in this series will release in late November. In July I will release the first book in a new RJ Franklin Mystery series which will be set in St. Joseph, Indiana (based on my hometown of South Bend). In August, the first book in my Dog Club Mystery ebook series will release. This series will start in Indiana, but just like me, it will move to Tennessee.

Who are your favorite mystery, and cozy mystery writers?

I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie, Victoria Thompson, Emily Brightwell, Rex Stout, Jill Churchill, and Dorothy Gilman. I love historic cozies.

I loved your quirky characters. They seemed so real. Which are your favorites?

  • I think Nana Jo and the girls (Dorothy, Irma and Ruby Mae) are my favorites. I love that they are confident and outgoing. These women have lived and enjoy life. Like Sam, I’m much more conservative and insecure. Nana Jo and the Girls remind me not to take life so seriously and to take time to laugh and to have fun.

Thank you, V.M. Burns, for this interview. I want my readers to know that you’re an Agatha nominated author of THE MYSTERY BOOKSHOP MYSTERY SERIES, The RJ  FRANKLIN MYSTERY SERIES, and The DOG CLUB MYSTERY SERIES. 

To find out more about author V. M. Burns, visit her at her Website:  vmburns.com

or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vmburnsbooks/

or on Twitter: @vmburns

{And if you want to know more about me, Susan Karsten, and my historical romances, you can check out: Susan Karsten – author on facebook 🙂 }

Begin Again, a book by Leeana Tankersley

103_1871A book full of musings. If you like reading meandering, vague “how to live better and not be as wrongheaded as I was” books, this one’s for you! Granted, you may see it differently and love what this author has to say. She really covers the insecure mom ground nicely.  Yet, the book doesn’t seem very specific about who she is trying to help, and what she is trying to solve. Maybe it’s just me? Beautiful cover and I hope it does well and finds the readers it is meant for.


Pelican Point, by Irene Hannon

Oh my! What a lovely romance. Not only do the main characters find true love, but we get to go along for the ride. Hannon’s skills as a romance author are a cut above the others in the genre. She brings so much to the table with her settings, her characters, the details, and the twists and turns that never make me anxious (like some authors who overdo it!).

If you’ve enjoyed the other books in this series, you will not be disappointed with this one. Hannon’s quality does not go down as she gains in popularity, no. She provides the same consistently excellent writing.

Coach Wooden’s Forgotten Teams, by Pat Williams, a review by Susan Karsten


This book is so interesting! If you are inspired by stories of great leadership, this one’s for you. I’ll get it right out there, I am not a fan of basketball at any level. I will politely watch a game if a relative or friend is playing, but otherwise, it’s a no for me, dog. BUT, this book is so well-written, and chock-full of anecdotes that transfer over to general interest that I am giving it five stars. This would make a perfect grad gift for any readers who play roundball, for any coaches or would-be coaches, for leaders, for sports fans, etc. One last compliment for this book: It was so well-written, that I am potentially going to seek out and read other books by the author, Pat Williams.

Thanks for reading this review! Bye for now, Susan

Defeating Dementia, book by Furman


Hang on to your hats…this book reveals how to lower your chances of getting dementia by 67%! Yes. It’s true. This book is by a respected doctor, with forwards by a senator and a famous minister. I will be placing this book in my own church library, and I think it’s a really important book on this topic. If you are concerned about this unfortunate element of aging, this would be a worthwhile book to read.