All Saints, by Michael Spurlock

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I received this book from the publisher to potentially review it. I am happy to recommend it.

Very readable, this memoir is a fascinating look at a church, a minister’s life, and how the arrival of a foreign people group affects the life of the community.

The Karen people were driven out of their Asian homeland. They arrive in Smyrna, Tennessee. These Burmese Christians are looking for a church. They church-shop and land on this Episcopal church. They are accustomed to Anglican worship and theology, so it’s a good fit for them.

And since this struggling church needs members, to have an influx of members fits their needs, too. But, a lot of learning and adjusting has to take place.

This is a true story, a narrative of what actually happened not too long ago.

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Part 2 on “More Than a Soldier”, by Irene Onorato

Susan Karsten here!

Following is my Amazon review of the novel, More Than a Soldier:

Hank and Cindy! What a darling couple they make…too bad the road to true love holds so many obstacles. The past rears its head for both hero and heroine in this rollicking, delightful, scary, action-packed, and realistic romance. The romance rings true, and is very appealing, but what amazed me about this book was the non-stop action, and interesting details liberally slathered into this story, like butter on a pancake, in fact. Such an excellent read — I enjoyed every page.

~

I wholeheartedly recommend this enjoyable book! {available on Amazon}

Since the hero’s love for a tall stack of pancakes is mentioned in the novel, Renie has provided her specialty pancake recipe.

***Hank’s “Can’t Get Enough of ’em” Pancakes***

pancakes-951029_960_720 pixabayIngredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ scant teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions:

  1. Combine dry ingredients, except pecans, in large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix buttermilk, egg, and melted butter together in medium bowl.
  3. Pour buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients and mix until lumps are gone.
  4. Add nuts, if desired, and mix into batter.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray.
  6. Pour batter, using a ¼ cup measure, onto the skillet
  7. When bubbles appear on the surface, flip pancakes over and cook until browned on second side.

    ~

    More Than a Soldier

    Buy now on Amazon!

    buy-on-amazon

 

Part 1 on More Than a Soldier, by Irene Onorato

Susan Karsten here! I enjoyed this book so much, I’ve put together two blog posts on it, part #2 comes out on Friday, so watch for that to learn more about the book and its author.

Hank Fleming, the hero of the novel More Than a Soldier, is a former Spec Ops demolitions man. While serving in the military, driving in a convoy, his truck is hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, leaving Hank the sole survivor in the attack. Several years later, latent PTSD sets in and manifests in nightmares that make him relive the explosion that took the lives of several men.

When Hank meets Cindy Giordano, his foster brother’s biological sister, he falls hard and fast for her and sets out to win her heart.

Cindy finds herself drawn to Hank, but she’s instantly wary. With her ex-fiancé’s betrayal still fresh in her mind, friendship is about all she can muster.

When shadows from Cindy’s past threaten, Hank’s protective instincts go into high gear, and he realizes everyone has their own battles to fight. But the road to healing would be much sweeter with the right person by his side.

FUN EXCERPT:

     “It’s nice to be a passenger for a change and be able to kick back and enjoy the ride.” Cindy’s lazy half-smile oozed with serenity.

     “Good, I’m glad. You— Whoa, did you see that?” Hank slowed the Jeep and pulled onto the shoulder.

     Cindy dropped her feet to the floorboards and twisted around in her seat. “See what?”

     He backed up, stopped, and pointed to a smallish sign that barely stuck up over the roadside shrubbery. “That.”

     “All-you-can-eat pancakes, all day long, six ninety-nine,” Cindy read aloud before looking back at Hank. “So?”

     “What do you mean, so? I thought I saw a halo floating over that sign as we passed.”

     Cindy laughed. “I take it you’re a flapjack fan?”

     “Fan? You have no idea.” Hank put the Jeep in gear and merged back onto the road. “I love pancakes. Can’t get enough of ’em. Let’s go shut that place down for the day.”

Buy now on Amazon!

buy-on-amazon

 

 

 

The Promise of Dawn, by Lauraine Snelling

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A story about the rough life lived by the daring pioneers of Minnesota. Even though the novel takes place starting in 1909, things were very difficult for this group of Norwegians looking for a better life than what they had in Norway.

You will learn the intimate details of the journey, the settline, the struggles, and the dangers.

Well-written, the plot will keep you turning pages long into the night.

 

Piping Hot, by Susan Hadley Planck

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Piping Hot was written by a relative of my husband. She provided this book for my review. I am glad to have had the opportunity to read this fascinating memoir. I’m guessing here, but the author either has a phenom memory, or some detailed diaries to work from.

Learn about bagpiping as you journey the world in the late 1900s with the irreverant memories of the author.

The Gracious woman blog is written by me, Susan Karsten. I am happy to announce that my first novel, “A Match for Melissa”, has been published by Pelican Book Group! It was released to the public on July 7, and is available on Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble’s website.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent review:

“A Match for Melissa” is a Regency romance. My acquaintance with this genre is limited so I looked it up. To be a real Regency the novel must be set in early 19th century Britain and have a very defined style. A Regency novel will transport the reader back two hundred years so we know how the characters dressed, what their homes looked like and how they socialized. We see a world with clearly defined social classes, morality, manners and conversation.

The author did her homework. “A Match for Melissa” is chockfull of details on life in rural England and upper class London. The characters are delightful. Unless they are bad. (The bad ones are really wonderfully bad.) Melissa is an intelligent woman with an independent bent to her nature who still functions inside the strict rules of protocol for her class. Her father, also independent, but with greater latitude and freedom than a woman, is in charge not only of the family fortune but also the choice of Melissa’s future husband. Much of the tension comes from wondering when Melissa will be able to be matched with the man she really loves.

Plenty of minor characters add flavor and fun and dimension—the English dressmaker who affects (badly) a French accent, an ancient butler, and a competing suitor. The author has a gentle wit and a passionate, unashamed faith. “A Match for Melissa” is my first Regency from this author but Lord willing it won’t be my last!

So, please give my book a look! Thanks, Susan Karsten

Fault Lines, by Thomas Locke

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I believe this book falls into a category known as speculative fiction–one reviewer called it a psychological thriller, so take your pick. It reads like an action/adventure, but some fantasy is pivotal to the plot. An experimental psychological research program sets off the action. I don’t want to reveal too much, so as not to spoil the readers’ fun as they turn the pages of this uniquely-plotted story.

To enjoy this rollicking adventure, one indeed must suspend disbelief, which isn’t a problem for most readers of this genre. Thomas Locke is a pseudonym for a popular writer named Davis Bunn. The writing is polished, the plot tight, and the characters are realistic and detailed/nuanced.

 

The Gracious woman blog is written by me, Susan Karsten. I am happy to announce that my first novel, “A Match for Melissa”, has been published by Pelican Book Group! It was released to the public on July 7, and is available on Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble’s website.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent review:

“A Match for Melissa” is a Regency romance. My acquaintance with this genre is limited so I looked it up. To be a real Regency the novel must be set in early 19th century Britain and have a very defined style. A Regency novel will transport the reader back two hundred years so we know how the characters dressed, what their homes looked like and how they socialized. We see a world with clearly defined social classes, morality, manners and conversation.

The author did her homework. “A Match for Melissa” is chockfull of details on life in rural England and upper class London. The characters are delightful. Unless they are bad. (The bad ones are really wonderfully bad.) Melissa is an intelligent woman with an independent bent to her nature who still functions inside the strict rules of protocol for her class. Her father, also independent, but with greater latitude and freedom than a woman, is in charge not only of the family fortune but also the choice of Melissa’s future husband. Much of the tension comes from wondering when Melissa will be able to be matched with the man she really loves.

Plenty of minor characters add flavor and fun and dimension—the English dressmaker who affects (badly) a French accent, an ancient butler, and a competing suitor. The author has a gentle wit and a passionate, unashamed faith. “A Match for Melissa” is my first Regency from this author but Lord willing it won’t be my last!

So, please give my book a look! Thanks, Susan Karsten

Chasing Secrets, by Lynette Eason

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Soon after a dramatic opening scene, we learn that a five-year old Irish child has gone missing for 25 years. It’s not spoiling the story to say that she was considered dead, but is alive and living in the United States…anything more might spoil the story, so get ready for a tale that will provide suspense and romance.

It’s hard to review a book like this without giving away too much of the “fun” because the author jumps right in with heart-stopping action, and intrique. Top that with several possible love interests (who will win fair lady?), and some characters who are not what they seem.

No doubt fans of contemporary romantic suspense will want to place an order for this one!

The Gracious woman blog is written by me, Susan Karsten. I am happy to announce that my first novel, “A Match for Melissa”, has been published by Pelican Book Group! It was released to the public on July 7, and is available on Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble’s website.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent review:

“A Match for Melissa” is a Regency romance. My acquaintance with this genre is limited so I looked it up. To be a real Regency the novel must be set in early 19th century Britain and have a very defined style. A Regency novel will transport the reader back two hundred years so we know how the characters dressed, what their homes looked like and how they socialized. We see a world with clearly defined social classes, morality, manners and conversation.

The author did her homework. “A Match for Melissa” is chockfull of details on life in rural England and upper class London. The characters are delightful. Unless they are bad. (The bad ones are really wonderfully bad.) Melissa is an intelligent woman with an independent bent to her nature who still functions inside the strict rules of protocol for her class. Her father, also independent, but with greater latitude and freedom than a woman, is in charge not only of the family fortune but also the choice of Melissa’s future husband. Much of the tension comes from wondering when Melissa will be able to be matched with the man she really loves.

Plenty of minor characters add flavor and fun and dimension—the English dressmaker who affects (badly) a French accent, an ancient butler, and a competing suitor. The author has a gentle wit and a passionate, unashamed faith. “A Match for Melissa” is my first Regency from this author but Lord willing it won’t be my last!

So, please give my book a look! Thanks, Susan Karsten