Innocence Denied by Mike Garrett: Book Review

Book Information

Title: Innocence Denied

Author: Mike Garrett

ISBN: 978-1-63357-146-4

Publisher: Crosslink Publishing

innocence denied The cover was interesting on this. It all makes sense from the perspective of the book. I thought the colors were great and the scene mysterious.

Innocence Denied is an unusual story between Derrick Walton and Larissa Baxter. The goal of Innocence Denied is to highlight a story where a non-believer can be lead to Christ. Considering the content, I would recommend this book for adults. Not that the content isn’t appropriate for children, nothing specifically inappropriate happens, but some sexual references are given.

The circumstances that led Derrick and Larissa together were quite bizarre. I will admit, it took me a few chapters to accept the weirdness and move on with the story. The plot was engaging, with the entire story centering around Larissa being a murder suspect and Derrick trying to keep her from the police.

Derrick faced many challenges in showing Larissa that God loves her. I thought the book held up well with its theme of gentle guidance to God. Derrick was never pushy or overbearing. I found the reading light and easy, the words flowing well together in a way that kept me reading straight through without stopping.

Derrick proved himself to be a true believer, with his words and actions pacing the action of Larissa’s journey in a way that she could understand.

While the entire book has a charge of emotion since Larissa is a fugitive, it was the ending that really drove the nail home. I won’t give it away, just know that Derrick has intense reasons for wanting to help Larissa.

On a scale of one to ten, I give the romance in this book a one, which is exactly where it should be since the specific genre for this title is strictly Christian Fiction. Derrick does have feelings for Larissa, but it never advances beyond a rare mention.

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the book review program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Innocence Denied: Purchase Link


Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano: Book Tour and Giveaway with Celebrate Lit


Welcome to the Flights of Fancy Book Tour and Giveaway with Celebrate Lit. We have a full arsenal on the post today which includes: My book review, a Q and A with Jen Turano, and a Giveaway. Be sure to read all the way to the end for Giveaway info. Enjoy your trip!

Flights of Fancy.jpg

Title: Flights of Fancy

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Gilded Age

Release date: January 1, 2019

Publisher: Bethany House

Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she’s always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.

Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he’s unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.

Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora’s secret threaten those they love, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.

Review:    untitled design (1)

Oh goodness, where do I begin with this one? I suppose, first off, I should say that the characters were delightful. Even when we begin with Isadora Delafield at the beginning of the book, she shows a wonderful sense of independence. When she becomes Izzie, you can practically see her bloom into the woman she was meant to be.

Ian is strong and sure, exactly what we want in a hero. His character flaws were well-developed with a backstory that accentuated his need to achieve greatness. The meet-cute between Ian and Izzie has probably become my favorite of all time. (I won’t spoil it, but I can assure you, it will have you smiling and maybe even laughing out loud.)

The plotline moved well, with plenty of action at Glory Manor or with Ian when he returns to Pittsburg for business. I found those moments quite interesting as we begin to see the business side of Ian. While at Glory Manor, we see the more relaxed and content side.

Ian and Izzie’s mutual journey toward love sends them on a merry chase that includes cows who don’t realize they should stay outside the house, four children in need of love and parenting, and their own hang-ups in what they consider an acceptable match.

There were a few laugh-out-loud moments that were balanced by the seriousness of Izzie’s situation with the Duke. The banter between Izzie and Ian was fantastic. I could read conversations between those two all day long.

Favorite Quote: “My dear, it has been my experience that God occasionally throws obstacles our way so that we’re forced to grow into the people He wants us to be.” This is something that has been on my mind a bit lately so it was nice to see the idea so well represented in a book. God knows what is headed our way, and He tries to prepare us for it. Sometimes, those paths are fraught with danger, but He is always by our side.

I received a copy of this book from the Celebrate Lit team via NetGalley. I was not required to leave a review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


About the author:

jen turano

One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO.

Q & A With Jen Turano

“Flights of Fancy” is the first book in the American Heiress Series. What inspired you to write this series?

The inspiration for this entire series started off with a What If? All of my proposals for new series start off that way, and this time it was – What if Consuelo Vanderbilt had balked when her mother insisted she marry the Duke of Marlborough – and then that led to – What if she’d run away until her mother came to her senses? Just like that, an entire series was born – a bit of a different take on American heiresses because in all three books, my heiresses might decide to go a tad…rogue. We start off with Miss Isadora Delafield – who does run off to avoid marriage to a duke, then we get to meet Miss Poppy Garrison, who is an unexpected heiress but who can’t quite seem to get a handle on the expected social decorum of the day, and then the final book revolves around Miss Beatrix Waterbury – who gets banished to Chicago after she annoys her mother one too many times, and once there, well, gets up to a bit of mischief.

How do you come up with the names of your characters?

I find most of my names as I research the New York Four-Hundred, although I normally take a first name here, a last name there so I’m not stepping on any toes by writing about an actual historical figure – except for some of the main figures in New York society back then, such as Mr. Ward McAllister – who was the social arbiter of the day, or Mrs. William Astor, who was the queen of that society. What I don’t do is simply make up names, no matter how outrageous they may appear. And, no matter how I may love a certain name, if the character decides it doesn’t suit them, that’s it, it’s out and I’m back to the drawing board.

How do you picture your character? Do you use Pinterest, magazines, movies?

Odd as this may seem, I don’t use pictures for my characters. They start off in my mind as a blurry figure, and then, they develop from there – I like to keep my descriptions of them somewhat vague on the pages so that the reader can imagine them exactly the way they’d like them to be.

What are some of your favorite resources for historical research?

I’ve been building up a research library over the past few years and now have over 200 books dedicated to the Gilded Age. My favorites are – “A Season of Splendor” by Greg King, “Society as I Have Found It” by Ward McAllister, “The Gilded Age in New York – 1870-1910” by Esther Crain, and “ ‘King Lehr’ and the Gilded Age” by Elizabeth Drexel Lehr.

The setting for “Flights of Fancy” is a bit of a departure for you since it’s set in and outside of Pittsburgh. Any reason for that?

My mom was born in Pittsburgh, and unfortunately, her father, a prominent attorney back in the day, died when she was only four. I thought it would be cool to set a story in Pittsburgh, which would then allow me to really dive into some research. And get this – while I was doing that research, I found this obscure journal called “Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In that journal was a bit about my great-grandfather, Fred, his wife, Susie, my grandfather, and his brother and sister, but I’d never heard about this brother, who apparently died quite young. One of the most fabulous research tidbits I’ve uncovered to date.

What are you working on now?

I’ve just recently turned in the content edits for the second book in this series, “Diamond in the Rough,” and I’ve also turned in a novella about the Harvey Girls that will be coming out in a novella collection in Fall, 2019. With those out of the way, I’m now starting the third and final book in the American Heiress series, Miss Beatrix Waterbury’s story, but I’m having a bit of a struggle with the hero at the moment – he was supposed to be Edward, but he doesn’t want to be an Edward – I think he wants to be Norman – but, time will tell on that one – don’t hold me to the name – it’ll depend on if he changes his mind or not – pesky characters.

You seem to enjoy adding animals in many of your stories. Will we find any animals in “Flights of Fancy?”

Since Miss Isadora Delafield ends up on a farm, I do believe you will find a few animals, such as an adorable cow by the name of Buttercup, a few goats that seem to have a great liking for laundry, and…there might be some chickens.

Thanks for stopping by today, everyone! Always enjoy visiting with all of you – in fact, that’s the best part of my job!

All the best,

~ Jen ~


flights of fancy giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a grand prize of a trunk filled with all of Jen’s full-length novels released to date!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


Welcome Gail Sattler and her book: The Other Neighbor

Welcome to Thoughtful Thursday, the new addition to the blog where authors talk all things books. Today we have Gail Sattler here with us. Welcome, Gail!

True Story? Say what?the other neighbor cover

Okay, it’s not a “true” true story, but it’s based on a true story. In The Other Neighbor, the antagonist, Jeff, has plans to build a bomb. When the “real” situation of the attempted bomb first happened, the public knowledge of potential bomb threats in North America was usually a false bomb threat at an airport, with very few (thankfully) real bombs being detonated. That’s a good thing. Except in my situation. The real bomb threat this story is based on was real, and the real antagonist, is still sitting in jail for it. Thankfully his plan did not happen.

But I built a story about it. You won’t know until the end if it was successful in fiction. I won’t give it away.

This is the first romantic suspense I’ve done, and I had to say, it was a lot of fun building it while everyone was wondering what it was Jeff was planning to blow up, and for what gain.  Some people are just bad. Some are just good. Most are somewhere in the middle. I’ll let you decide where in the middle my bad guy is.

Link for The Other Neighbor

About the author:

gail sattler - 2018

Gail Sattler lives in Vancouver BC Canada, where you don’t have to shovel rain. When she’s not madly writing (Gail Sattler has over 40 published novels and novellas, plus a few works of non-fiction) she plays bass for an Elton John tribute band as well as a community jazz band, plus she plays piano for a smaller private jazz band. When she’s not writing or making music (or at her day job) Gail likes to sit back and read a book written by someone else, along with a good cup of hot coffee.

Visit Gail Sattler’s website at

Gail Sattler’s blog – What Goes On In The Mind Of A Writer –

Facebook  –

Gail Sattler’s Facebook author page at

Serious comedy – no kidding!
November 2018 – The Other Neighbor
September 2018 – Mercury Rising
April 2015 – Dating the Best Man
see all Gail Sattler’s titles on

Thank you for spending the morning with us! Gail, it was wonderful to hear from you.

On Magnolia Lane by Denise Hunter: Book Review

612ecrdgghl I’m a sucker for flowers, so it’s safe to say this cover makes me swoon.

Book Blurb from Amazon:

Falling in love with Daisy was easy for Jack. But finding the courage to tell her becomes problematic when his secret feelings lead to even bigger complications.

After two years of counseling sessions with Daisy Pendleton, Pastor Jack McReady has earned a permanent spot in her life as a spiritual leader—and nothing more. Jack would never risk losing her trust by exposing the depths of his heart, but he’s hopelessly in love with her.

Daisy loves her southern small-town life and her job at her family-run flower shop, but she doesn’t have the thing she longs for most: someone to share it with. Her recent foray into online dating has been a disaster—until she meets TJ.

Jack could kill his friend Noah for using his initials and some indistinct photos to set up a profile on the dating app Daisy is using. But when he’s finally afforded the opportunity to show her a different side of himself, he’s sucked into the plan before he has time for second thoughts.

Online, Daisy shares some of her greatest fears with TJ, but in person, Jack and Daisy are spending more time together. When a devastating family secret surfaces, Daisy knows that only her trusted friend and counselor can bring her comfort. Jack wants nothing more than to be both men for Daisy, but revealing his secret will prove to be the ultimate test of Daisy’s grace.

“Move over You’ve Got Mail because in Denise Hunter’s On Magnolia Lane you’ve got an e-romance with enough RAM (romance and magic) not only to sputter your software, but to tug at your heart while touching your soul. Easily one of the top romance writers in the CBA, Hunter is a master at inspirational love stories that linger in one’s memory—and hard drive—long after the last page.” —Julie Lessman, award-winning author

My Thoughts:

On Magnolia Lane is a small-town romance between Pastor Jack and flower shop owner Daisy Pendelton. He’s loved her for years, and she hasn’t a clue. Daisy will have to find enough forgiveness in her heart to overcome a mountain of hurts. Through it all, Jack is the one thing she can count on, until he’s the one in need of forgiveness.

Poor, poor Pastor Jack. I cannot sympathize enough with his plight to win Daisy’s heart. But he knew what he was getting himself into. I appreciated that about On Magnolia Lane. Jack knew that it was a bad idea, but like so many of us, he let himself get carried away in the moment of glory.

Daisy has a tendency to put others to a higher standard, making their fall from grace that much more difficult for her to accept. When we place those we love on a pedestal, we try to make them infallible. Humans are not perfect. We try…some more than others…but we’re bound to make mistakes at some point. Forgiveness is hard to give, especially when it is needed by those we care about the most.

Small-town romances remind me of home…of a place where everyone knows everyone and your friends are people you’ve known your whole life. That is Daisy’s life as a part owner of the flower shop Oopsie Daisy. You become invested in the lives of everyone, not just your main characters, when you become immersed in the culture of small-town life.

On Magnolia Lane captured that hometown feel with a unique grasp of family, customs, and festivals.

This is one of those tropes where you know the ending almost from the beginning, but you don’t care. With so many other conflicts going on within the pages, you’re determined to see just how far the characters are willing to go in their pursuit of love and forgiveness.

Daisy is forced to face a lot of tough decisions. She has already overcome tremendous obstacles in her life: dyslexia being one. I’m going to throw in here that I was greatly encouraged to have a storyline where a main character suffers from true dyslexia and has learned to work with the limitations that have been forced upon her.

All in all, I was very pleased with this book. Genuine characters with real-world flaws, lots of drama, a steady thread of forgiveness, and soft romance all wrapped up together in a bouquet of delightfulness.

I received a copy of this book from the BookLook Bloggers Team. I was not required to leave a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Mindful Musings: Author Choices

It’s rather fun to think about the choices we face as authors…it’s also rather intimidating. Unless I’m the only one who stares at the list of manuscripts in my ‘to be finished’ folder, scratching my head and wondering, “What do I publish next?” If I’m the only one who does that, please don’t tell me. It comforts me to think that I’m not the only one. I’m rather odd in most other ways anyway. (Yes, I know this. No, I’m not ashamed of it. I prefer it that way, actually.)

Inner workings of my mind aside, I have several manuscripts in the ‘finished’ file. They still need to be edited, and covers made, and yada-yada-yada…all that other stuff we do as authors. But, the story itself is done. Now begins the process of choosing what to publish. I’m halfway through the process of publishing The Trials series. Book 2 released this week. Book 3 will release later in the year.

Here’s the dilemma…

Do I publish Book 3 and Book 4 before I begin releasing another series? Or do I alternate between series because the next series I had planned to release….HOLD UP! SPOILER ALERT! Not really, no juicy details…just this. The final two books in both series bring the characters of both series together. You get me, or did I lose you? Option 3: release something totally new that has nothing to do with anything that I’ve written before.

I can't decide which book to release next!.png

There are so many choices I’m tripping myself up. But I have to decide soon if I want to keep the schedule I made for myself.

So, what was the point of this post? Curiosity…and seeing the choices laid out in words helps me to make a decision. I’ve already been praying over the choices. So far, the answer is……a buzzing sound every time I try to make a choice. I love all the books. Some manuscripts are off the table entirely because I’m writing them with the intention of pitching to agents. I love self-publishing, don’t get me wrong, and I have no fear of self-publishing every book I ever write. But there’s no reason I can’t attempt traditional publishing.

trials set

Here’s a look at books 1 and 2 in The Trials series. Book 3 is done and ready to go. Book 4…*insert whisper here* I’ve only written chapter 1.

Other important information: Both series consist of 4 books, but each book stands alone. No cliffhangers. They are only noted as a series because they follow the same family through the set of books.

Now that I’ve made you scratch your head and wonder about any number of things…probably including my sanity…I want to hear from all of you – authors and readers alike. What do you like to see from a series?

1: Do you prefer every book in the series be released before another book – especially if it is another series – gets released?

2: Do you mind alternating releases if you know the final two books are going to bring everyone together for one final showdown?


Welcome to 2019! The place where choices are plentiful and my author brain is in overdrive!