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review 2019-06-26 03:02
Review Mandie and the Trunk's Secret by Lois Gladys Leppard
Mandie and the Trunk's Secret - Lois Gladys Leppard

Title: Mandie and the Trunk's Secret
Author: Lois Gladys Leppard
Series: Mandie, 5
Format: ebook, bind-up
Length: N/A
Rating: 3 stars


Synopsis: Mandie and her best friend return to the attic to investigate and discover a set of old letters which include some important and exciting information.


Favourite character: Celia & Joe
Least favourite character: April


Mini-review: Another good Mandie book. As a punishment for the events of the last book, Mandie and Celia have to clean the attic... only to get into another mystery.

Makes sense.

I was happy that Joe was in this one, if only because the scenes where Celia is pretending to ignore them while they make awkward yet adorable plans for the future (even if Joe deserves better than the bratty Mandie). I wish that they had added in a scene with Joe meeting Tommy, because that could've been hilarious. Another book, I suppose. 


Fan Cast:

Amanda "Mandie" Shaw - Emma Rayne Lyle

Celia Hamilton - Sadie Sink

Joe Woodard - Louis Hynes

Miss Prudence Heathwood - Mary Steenburgen

Miss Hope Heathwood - Patricia Heaton

April Snow - Emily Carey

Aunt Phoebe - Alfre Woodard

Dr. Woodard - Gideon Emery

Grandmother Taft - Meryl Streep

Thomas "Tommy" Patton - Asher Angel

Robert Rogers - Kyle Red Silverstein
Miss Cameron - Emily VanCamp

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review 2019-06-25 10:00
The Pink Bonnet Book Review and GIVEAWAY!

About the Book


Book: The Pink Bonnet
Author: Liz Tolsma
Genre: Christian Historical, Suspense
Release date: June, 2019  

A Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child  

Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime
Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.
How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child?
Click HERE to purchase your copy.

About the Author


Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.

More from Liz



A Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through 6 unique stories of historical romantic suspense in the exciting new True Colors series.
In book two, The Pink Bonnet, Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.
How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child?
Find out in The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma.
The True Crime Behind the Story
Georgia Tann was a woman who ran an adoption agency in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1924 until 1950. It is estimated that, in that time, she kidnapped over five thousand children and sold them to the highest bidder. She even advertised the children in the newspaper, especially around the holidays. Some of the nation’s biggest celebrities adopted through Miss Tann, including Joan Crawford, Dick Powell, and June Allyson. Learn more about Georgia Tann HERE and visit www.TrueColorsCrime.com for more exclusive content.

My Review


After finishing Liz Tolsma’s “The Pink Bonnet”, book two in the True Colors series, my opinions are mixed. This story needs and deserves to be told, and yet the grimness of it is oppressive, truly making it difficult fodder. Prior to this novel, I knew of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society by name only, so this story was shockingly enlightening. As with so many appalling events throughout history, this one seems incredulous in its scope and longevity. Targeting victims who were poor and vulnerable forms a sadly effective modus operandi, indicating the ongoing need for reform. In seeking to dispel the evil associated with this organization, the depth of complicity becomes evident and has far-reaching consequences that echo still today.

“The Pink Bonnet” opens innocuously enough, with a mother and her three-year-old daughter struggling to make ends meet in 1933 in Memphis, Tennessee, low on money but rich in love. Almost immediately, however, foreshadowing forms storm clouds on the horizon, and soon events come to a head. Entrusting little Millie to a neighbor for a few hours, Cecile Dowd returns to find her daughter gone, given over to the custody of Georgia Tann, the unscrupulous director of the Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society. What follows demonstrates the lengths a mother will go to in order to recover her child.

Incredibly pervasive, the extent of the corruption demonstrates the result of crony politics and the danger of being a parent in Memphis during this time period and also serves to remind us that such threats continue now as well. Child trafficking is an insidious business, and in this story Miss Tann is truly diabolical. Because of the guise under which she operates, a moral dilemma emerges: Is the child better off in an adoptive home? If the birth parents find their child and the child has a good life with their adopted parents, who gets custody? Pearl’s and Fanny’s characters offer a good balance by showing both sides of the adoption issue.

Harrowing and sinister, “The Pink Bonnet” merits words of warning. There is very little humor or lightheartedness to relieve tension, and due to the nature of the subject matter, there is mistreatment and physical abuse of a child as well as domestic violence, albeit with no graphic details. As such, I would not recommend this book for everyone. A few unanswered questions raised during the story remain, and the conclusion was more open-ended than I prefer, although part of this is attributable to the historical event itself. Faith in God does not truly become a strong contributing factor until the denouement, a fact which I found disappointing but which does point to the characters’ spiritual growth. One of the characters sums it up best: “The life, welfare, and happiness of children and their parents was priceless. Jesus had already purchased their lives with His blood. They were no longer up for sale.” Thank the Lord that none of us are orphans and that we will always be at home in Him!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and CelebrateLit and was under no obligation to post a review.

Blog Stops


Just the Write Escape, June 20

The Becca Files, June 20

Livin’ Lit, June 20

The Power of Words, June 21

Christian Bookaholic, June 21

Godly Book Reviews, June 21

Spoken from the Heart, June 22


For HIm and my Family, June 22

Blossoms and Blessings, June 23

Inspired by fiction, June 23

Mary Hake, June 23

Connie’s History Classroom, June 24

Moments, June 24

Simple Harvest Reads, June 24

Daysong Reflections, June 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 25

For the Love of Literature, June 25

Remembrancy, June 26

As He Leads is Joy, June 26

Emily Yager, June 26

Genesis 5020, June 27

Reader’s Cozy Corner, June 27

Carla Loves to Read, June 27

Inklings and notions, June 28

Changed by Him, June 28

Bigreadersite, June 28

Through the Fire Blogs, June 28

Inspiration Clothesline, June 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 29

Pause for Tales, June 29

Hallie Reads, June 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, June 30

For the Love of Books, June 30

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 1

Texas Book-aholic, July 1

janicesbookreviews, July 2

Older & Smarter?, July 2

By The Book, July 2

A Reader’s Brain, July 3

amandainpa, July 3

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 3




To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away a grand prize that includes a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Pink Bonnet!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e331/the-pink-bonnet-celebration-tour-giveaway


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review 2019-06-24 21:21
Severed Knot
Severed Knot - Cryssa Bazos

1652, the English Civil War has ripped over the land and torn apart families. Iain Johnstone and his Scottish soldiers have been captured and are being held captive by the English, barely alive. They are eventually put on a ship in order to be sold into servitude in Barbados. Mairead O'Conneil is supposed to be kept safe at her family farm in Ireland, but when the English descend on the farm, they kill the men and capture the woman to be sold into slavery as well. After surviving the voyage Iain and Mairead are both bought by the McVale plantation. While enduring hard labor, humiliation, and heartbreak Mairead and Iain find comfort in one another and Iain hatches a plan to escape the island.

Suspenseful, romantic and emotional, Severed Knot reeled me in with amazing characters and intriguing plot. Iain is incredibly, strong, reliable and caring but packaged in a hard exterior. Mairead is confident, compassionate and has a powerful constitution wrapped in a small frame. Both Mairead and Iain suffer insurmountable losses and hardships through their life and on the plantation. Their love develops slowly and carefully in the harsh landscape. Through the writing as well as Iain and Mairead's experiences, the cruel reality of the Barbados sugar trade is brought to life as the entire island is forced to realign itself for sugar. Hope and love continually surface as traits to help people survive. As the conditions worsen, escape becomes the only option. Suspense increases as plans are hatched, executed and interfered with for a satisfying ending.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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review 2019-06-24 17:03
Review: The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson,Rod Bradbury

Title: The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared
Author: Jonas Jonasson
Series: The 100 Year Old Man, 1
Format: paperback
Length: 384 pages
Rating: 4 stars


Synopsis: A reluctant centenarian much like Forrest Gump (if Gump were an explosives expert with a fondness for vodka) decides it’s not too late to start over …

After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he’s still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn’t interested (and he’d like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant (not to mention a death by elephant).

It would be the adventure of a lifetime for anyone else, but Allan has a larger-than-life backstory: Not only has he witnessed some of the most important events of the twentieth century, but he has actually played a key role in them. Starting out in munitions as a boy, he somehow finds himself involved in many of the key explosions of the twentieth century and travels the world, sharing meals and more with everyone from Stalin, Churchill, and Truman to Mao, Franco, and de Gaulle. Quirky and utterly unique, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared has charmed readers across the world.


Favourite character: Allan & Benny
Least favourite character: the Prosecutor


Mini-review: This book was fantastic and hilarious. I loved how it followed Allan's journey out the window versus how he came to be climbing out of the window, from the day he was born and onwards. The fact that he found himself in the middle of some of the biggest historic events that happened in the 1900s and became friends with presidents and such made this book so much better.


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review 2019-06-23 22:25
Small Town Secrets: Book Review of Harbor Secrets by Melody Carlson



A Peaceful Coastal Town…Threatened by a Storm of Secrets


It's 1916 when newspaper woman Anna McDowell learns her estranged father has suffered a stroke. Deciding it's time to repair bridges, Anna packs up her precocious adolescent daughter and heads for her hometown in Sunset Cove, Oregon.


Although much has changed since the turn of the century, some things haven’t. Anna finds the staff of her father’s paper not exactly eager to welcome a woman into the editor-in-chief role, but her father insists he wants her at the helm. Anna is quickly pulled into the charming town and her new position…but just as quickly learns this seaside getaway harbors some dark and dangerous secrets.


With Oregon’s new statewide prohibition in effect, crime has crept along the seacoast and invaded even idyllic Sunset Cove. Anna only meant to get to know her father again over the summer, but instead she finds herself rooting out the biggest story the town has ever seen—and trying to keep her daughter safe from it all.


Book Purchase Links:


Barnes and Noble




Author Bio:

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita, and the Gold medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.


Author Social Media Links:






My Review:

“Maybe it wasn’t the criminals who should be scared right now…maybe it was the folks who were trying to stop them.”


Melody Carlson’s The Legacy of Sunset Cove series opens with “Harbor Secrets”, which blends elements from different genres to create a small-town tale from the last century. Set in 1916, this story takes place in the coastal Oregon town of Sunset Cove. Women have been slowly making strides in the fight for suffrage and job opportunities, and the United States has not yet entered into what will become World War I. Sunset Cove seems to be an idyllic place, but there is a growing undercurrent of unease. Small towns are, after all, known for their secrets.

After her estranged father Mac suffers a stroke, widow Anna McDowell and her 16-year-old daughter, Katy, travel to Sunset Cove to spend the summer with him and to reconcile. Being a newspaper woman, Anna is perfectly positioned to take over Mac’s duties as head of the local paper, despite opposition from some of the staff. Before long, she discovers that local crime has infiltrated the town with the prohibition on alcohol, and her desire to pursue the story conflicts with her need to keep her family safe.


With an interesting premise and setting, “Harbor Secrets” provides a rather congenial reading experience with light suspense and hints of romance. However, I did have some issues while reading. The slang used at the beginning of the novel seemed to me to be too modern and was jarring, especially as I was trying to step into the setting of the narrative. Family drama and relationships form an integral part of this story, and while I enjoyed some of the characters, to me they seemed somewhat superficial, and I did not feel that I really connected with any of them. The suspense aspect added interest but was very light, and I personally found the last section of the book anticlimactic. The story did come to an end, which I always appreciate, especially in a series, while leaving an opening for book two. As for the faith component, I valued Anna’s praying during times of stress and how clean the storyline is but would have liked to have seen more faith woven into it, as there are numerous scenarios where this could occur. Nevertheless, “Harbor Secrets” offers readers a glimpse into the world of early prohibition and women’s rights in a small coastal town, a fitting book for summertime.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

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