Review and Giveaway The Thief of Blackfriars Lane

About the Book

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane

Book:  The Thief of Blackfriars Lane

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Christian historical

There’s Often a Fine Line Between a Criminal and a Saint

Constable Jackson Forge intends to make the world safer, or at least the streets of Victorian London. But that’s Kit Turner’s domain, a swindler who runs a crew that acquires money the old-fashioned way—conning the rich to give to the poor. When a local cab driver goes missing, Jackson is tasked with finding the man, and the only way to do that is by enlisting Kit’s help. If Jackson doesn’t find the cabby, he’ll be fired. If Kit doesn’t help Jackson, he’ll arrest her for thievery. Yet neither of them realize those are the least of their problems.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

A game of cat and mouse around Victorian London pulls the reader into the workings of evil schemers. A constable and a street swindler find a tenuous partnership to defeat nefarious crime.

Do you ever test the line between doing good and breaking a mandate or a law, whether written or perceived? When it comes to care of loved ones, we can tread close to putting our personal needs aside to make sure others are cared for and safe. How many sacrifices do parents make? How many dreams are put on hold for our children? Breaking the law rarely the right option, but creativity, sacrifice, and love go a long way to aiding loved ones or even strangers.

Michelle Griep gives the reader a fantastic run through the dangerous streets, hoping to settle a few entanglements and mysteries.

About the Author

Michelle Griep

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at http://www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

More from Michelle

Zootopia in Victorian London

I admit it. I like kid’s movies. You know, the animated sort that entertain both young and old alike. One of my favorites is Zootopia, a rollicking adventure about a bunny whose dream it is to be a police officer and make the streets of the big city safe for all animals. In fact, I loved it so much that I thought why not set it in Victorian London?

So I did.

And that’s what The Thief of Blackfriars Lane is all about, but that meant I had to do a little digging into the history of police force of the late 1800’s. Here’s what I learned…

The Metropolitan Police (founded in 1829 by Robert Peel) was composed mostly of young men, many of whom were recruited from rural areas. Few were from London, the philosophy being that they would thus be free from local patronage and influence.

It is a bit of an anomaly that hero Jackson Forge and his friend, Officer Baggett, carry a sidearm. Some did, but most relied on truncheons. It was up to the officer. Revolvers were usually only supplied after the death of a police officer by an armed criminal, at the discretion of the Divisional Officer, or if a constable requested to use one during night duty. In 1884, after the deaths of several police officers, the Home Office ordered nearly a thousand revolvers from Webley & Scott to be issued to branches of the London police. . .which is where I got the idea of a shipment of guns for the villain to attempt to steal.

Police detectives were recruited from within the ranks of existing uniformed officers. There were actually women on the force at the time, employed as police matrons. But these were behind-the-scenes workers, tasked with guarding women and children. If my heroine, Kit, were to be out in public, serving as Jackson’s assistant, she’d have to keep her job secret. The first female police officer wasn’t seen on the streets until 1919.

And so, armed with that information, I wrote the adventures of not a police bunny and a con artist fox, but of Jackson Forge, a fresh-faced constable, and his thorn in the side, swindler Kit Turner. Snatch up your own copy and enjoy a visit to Victorian London!

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, January 23

Bigreadersite, January 23

Inklings and notions, January 23

Bizwings Blog, January 23

Remembrancy, January 24

Connect in Fiction, January 24

deb’s Book Review, January 24

Blogging With Carol, January 24

She Lives To Read, January 25

Blessed & Bookish, January 25

Genesis 5020, January 25

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 25

Library Lady’s kid Lit, January 26

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, January 26

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 27

Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 27

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 27

CarpeDiem, January 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 28

For the Love of Literature, January 28

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 28

Connie’s History Classroom, January 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 29

Rachael’s Inkwell, January 29

Life of Literature, January 29

Betti Mace, January 30

Older & Smarter?, January 30

Texas Book-aholic, January 30

HookMeInABook, January 30

For Him and My Family, January 31

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 31

Mia Reads, January 31

Godly Book Reviews, January 31

Through the Fire Blogs, February 1

KarenSueHadley, February 1

The Book Chic Blog, February 1

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, February 1

Artistic Nobody, February 2 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Simple Harvest Reads, February 2 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Mamma Loves Books, February 2

Blossoms and Blessings, February 2

Splashes of Joy, February 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 3

Vicky Sluiter, February 3

Pause for Tales, February 3

The Write Escape, February 4

Wishful Endings, February 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 4

Hallie Reads, February 4

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, February 5

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, February 5

To Everything There Is A Season, February 5

Daysong Reflections, February 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Thief of Blackfriars Lane!!

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/1062a/the-thief-of-blackfriars-lane-celebration-tour-giveaway

I’d like to know your thoughts. Does this sound interesting to you?

Review of Decoy Valentine

FROM FAKE RELATIONSHIP TO TRUE LOVE

A broken engagement drives Susanna Kelly back to her hometown of Sweetheart, Texas and the arms of its quirky, lovable citizens. But her peaceful return to her roots is shattered when heart-shaped notes with sinister messages start appearing. The support of Daniel Sheppard, Asian American bestselling author and her childhood friend, gives her a much-needed ally amidst the turmoil. He offers to play the role of her boyfriend to discourage the stalker, but Susanna resists. Pretending to be a couple? And with Daniel of all people? Who would buy it? 

The note writer’s mind games force her to reconsider. Susanna accepts Daniel’s crazy plan, but the make-

believe romance has the opposite effect intended. Harmless notes turn into life-threatening accidents, and Daniel and Susanna must find out who’s behind the chaos before they can decide if their temporary relationship is a heaven-sent gift meant to last forever.

My Review

Shannon Kent is a new-to-me author. This contemporary novel contains all the elements of an entertaining read: small town, good food, quirky townspeople, and mystery/suspense. Just when it appears life should be easy and uneventful, hints of chaos to come trickle into Susanna’s normal routine. Not that her routine needs anything added to it with the big Valentine event in the making and the running of her café. But doesn’t life have a way of colliding with the possibility of something new? A new job or opportunity, a new boyfriend or romance, a new hobby or project. Hopefully, without the intense mystery and suspense waiting for Susanna.

This was the perfect book to balance my reading habits which lean heavily toward historical fiction. The characters’ depth engages every sense on their journey navigating a mysterious path. If you need a good book, Decoy Valentine gives an intriguing tale with loveable characters.

About the Author

Shannon Kent loves God, her family, and classic movie musicals. She gains inspiration for her novels from her many travels around the world. Her other two romances are Flower Boy Tour Guide and Reality Show Romance. She holds a special place in her heart for South Korean culture and loves to infuse her stories with a Kimchi-flavored spice. You can follow her at Facebook.com/shannonkentauthor.

Purchase Decoy Valentine here:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08SM3LJKM

Do you have a favorite contemporary author? Shannon’s book is work the read.

What’s new?

One reason I love to sink my mind into history is my inquisitive desire to know what was new to the people of the era. If you asked me what’s new in my town, as in additional buildings or businesses or infrastructure, I can honestly say a new library. Believe me, that is a big deal, for my town has never had a library, although it will be a small branch of the larger parish one. It is new and boasts the image of growth and change.

As I complete the Revolutionary Faith Series, my mind wanders to a time before railroads, paved interstates, and power lines to the 1770s bustling city of Charles Town, South Carolina. Asking my question then (What’s new?) would produce more than a new library. The city was already almost a century old. In 1670, two hundred settlers founded Charles Town, honoring King Charles II, on the west bank of the Ashley River. Around 1680, the town moved to its present location on the peninsula between the Ashely and Cooper Rivers. Everything was new.

By 1770 my characters, Elizabeth and Louis, would witness the birth of new structures such as houses, churches, government buildings, museums, and schools. During the pre-revolution or colonial era, people struggled with maintaining the old and establishing the new as the birth of a nation battled in their brains. Their city was already ninety years old. But something urged them to slacken their hold to the past and let the new penetrate the very foundation of their lives.

Reading, researching, and writing about history helps me find that balance between the new and the old. Our ancestors had the same struggles with what to grasp tightly and what to hold loosely. This past year has taught us some of the same lessons. Our way of life tilted and altered to adjust to what reigns important and valuable. Perhaps this new birth will produce a better place to weld the old with the new.

February 9 is the release of Wait for Me. Join Elizabeth and Louis in the fight for a new nation while clinging to the foundations of their lives.

https://www.amazon.com/Wait-Me-Revolutionary-Faith-Book-ebook/dp/B08HVWDQNL/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=wait+for+me+marguerite+martin+gray&qid=1611183529&sr=8-1 

Not So Minor

When I say “minor character,” what do you think? The more I read and the more I experience life, I pose the question, “Are they minor? Really?” The word “minor” tends to diminish the impact or importance of something. Not so! Not in novels. In novels the protagonists or major characters have the main story line. The other characters have a story, too, but reserved for another time, another point of view. I propose that without the “minor” characters, there is not much to a story. What do you think?

In novels the minor characters are friends, sisters, brothers, parents, children, store owners, ministers, etc. But are they really minor in the lives of the major ones? Not at all. In my life, all the people who make up my circle are so very important that if one were missing my life would be off-centered. Hence, the reason it takes me time to adjust when someone moves or dies or grows up. None of these precious people serve a minor role.

Perhaps, “supporting” is a better word, for isn’t that what they do every day? What would a novel be without the interaction of the ones who complete the circle? As I launch the final novel in the Revolutionary Faith Series, Wait for Me, I have a love for all the characters that make Elizabeth and Louis into the people they are. The same roles of ones who have molded me: family, friends, teachers, mentors.

As you read the pages of Wait for Me, pay attention to the following special people:

          Sarah—Elizabeth’s best friend

          Anne—Elizabeth’s sister

          The Elliotts—her parents

          George—her brother

          Samuel and Christopher—Louis’ best friends

          All the children

          Jeannette and Henry

          Lucy

          Tom and Raymond

          Ellen and Amy

They each have a story. Each person in your life has a major role too. Let’s try to be thankful for those supporting us in so many ways.

Do you enjoy the minor characters in the novels you read? Who is an example?

Pre-order link for Wait for Me ebook:

https://www.amazon.com/Wait-Me-Revolutionary-Faith-Book-ebook/dp/B08HVWDQNL/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=wait+for+me+marguerite+martin+gray&qid=1610674918&sr=8-1

Fab New Year Multi-Author Giveaway

Hello Readers!

Happy New Year to you!! To celebrate you along with the new year, I have teamed up with Celebrate Lit to do a special giveaway!

We want you to have a chance to win 40+ of books or a $500 Amazon card to buy a ton of books yourself in Celebrate Lit’s Have a Fab New Year Multi-Author Giveaway!

Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/10442/have-a-fab-new-year

The event and giveaway is going on now through January 17.

My book Surround Me (Revolutionary Faith Book Two)is in the Giveaway. Stay alert: Wait for Me (Revolutionary Faith Book Five) will be released February 9, 2021! Less than a month…

Decorate with Books

I’m doing something I never thought I’d do. My husband and I own and run three Airbnb properties. My son told me five months ago, “Just try it, Mom. You might find you enjoy dealing with the different guests. You might even see it as a way to help during this time.”

Well, I knew the idea hung outside my comfort zone. What did I know about owning and hosting an Airbnb, must less three of them? Sure, I could keep a house for my family, but strangers? What needs would they have? Would I be able to meet those expectations?

One of my favorite parts of the project is the decorating. I feel I meet a need when I make it homey. I always include a variety of reading options. I place some of my favorite books by authors I follow in the rooms. I hope to entice the guests to read a good book and possibly find a new author. Whenever I stay at a BnB or Airbnb, I always gravitate to a bookshelf or a nightstand to browse the offerings. What better way to entertain my guests!

Perhaps you see a favorite author from my pictures of my houses. What books do you use as an entertainment for your family and guests?

Hibernation on top of Hibernation?

I have a bit of a dilemma. Every January, I hibernate from the abundance of activities. All the clubs, meetings, church committees, travels, practices. Just for a month I allow myself to bask in the warmth and coziness and silence. A time to regroup, to revitalize for the myriad of work and activity of the new year.

So, as you have guessed, the dilemma is that is what I’ve been doing since March 13, 2020! As all of you have too. I have nothing to hibernate and to recoup from this January. What would hibernation look like now? I can’t pull away from attending meetings—DAR, PEO, Sunday School. None of those are gathering. I have enough alone time to ease my normal January blues and need to seclude myself.

My hibernation this year might be just the opposite, where I can reach out instead of inward. Suppose I spend my “at home” time sending cards, calling friends, researching, writing, planning. January this year will give me a new beginning in a positive vein. I welcome the challenge. Who knows, perhaps all of my clubs and organizations will start meeting again and give me the need to hibernate in 2022.

How does your January look different from before? Are you ready for the challenges?

Merry Christmas 2020

Merry Christmas to you! We are thankful for our family and friends especially during this 2020 memorable year. The lessons we’ve learned have brought us close to our God who is still in control. He is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, as well as the Prince of Peace. Let us celebrate Jesus’ birthday together.

Our love crosses the miles to you, praying 2021 finds you well and safe.

Blessings and peace, Marguerite

Review and Giveaway Mishaps off the Mainland

Mishaps-bouldin

About the Book

Book:  Mishaps off the Mainland

Author: Tabitha Bouldin

Genre:  Christian fiction, contemporary romance

Release Date:  November 24, 2020

BOULDIN-Mishaps Off the Mainland

All Mel wants is to run the business of her dreams.

Melody Carmichael’s mobile pet grooming business might sink before it can sail when a favorite pet escapes her care. Doggie escape-artist, Daphne, got a taste of freedom, and the Afghan hound refuses to be found.

Enter Zeke Solomon. Desperate to bring the dog home for his grandmother, Zeke steps in to save the day.

And working together with Zeke would be a snap—if he would just stop blaming Mel for Daphne making a break for it.

Zeke is desperate to prove himself worthy of the Solomon name and step out from his father’s shadow. With his father breathing down his neck and demanding he return to the company business, Zeke must decide whether confronting the man he admires most is worth the risk of alienation.

Everything’s falling apart, and Mel’s dream transforms into a nightmare. She thought this was what God wanted for her life, but can you blame her for second-guessing everything?

Was it all just a mistake?

Mishaps off the Mainland is the fifth “Merriweather book” in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

My review

Oh, how I love this island series. Each book is like another season of a favorite show. Onward with the life of a pet groomer—might I say a struggling business with a series of mishaps.

A star of the novel is a runaway dog—an escapee. She ties, and tries, the lives together of many characters as she remains elusive. I can relate as a recent rescue dog owner. My Tully is a puppy, a rather large puppy, begging to be set free to roam. I never intended to have a dog, but I think God had another idea. I rescue cats too. My latest was a mama-to-be cat who gave us six babies—we kept two.

As the heroine Mel explores her options as a groom, she continues to rescue, love, and foster animals. She is an inspiration for us all. If you like animals, this tale is relatable. Sometimes animal lovers do crazy things for the good of the furry “beasts.” Live, laugh, and wander the islands with Mel, Zeke, and the escapee.

About the Author

Tabitha Bouldin

Tabitha Bouldin is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and an avid reader. When she’s not busy homeschooling her two boys, you’ll find her buried in a book.

More from Tabitha

Why mobile pet grooming?

I get this question a lot when I bring up Mishaps off the Mainland.

I mean, I could have chosen any occupation as long as it could be mobile. Anything from a mobile doctor office to a bug specialist. The world was wide open for ideas.

After just completing a rather serious series, I wanted to write something lighter, funnier, but with that same depth and heart that I love to read. I also needed something that fit my character, and Mel had some pretty strong opinions right out of the gate.

You see, Mel is one of those characters who spoke to me right away. She loves animals. All animals but especially dogs. They’re her happy place. Mel is also a giver. She will drop everything to help someone else.

When I asked her what her dream job would be, she answered me faster than any character ever has. Pet groomer! (Yes, I talk to my characters.)

And I thought, why not a mobile pet groomer? She gets to spend all her time with animals (which is a bonus for me as the author), and Mel’s character traits can shine through her actions and reveal her giving heart.

Once the job was decided, I knew there needed to be some drama. What would be the underlying fear of a pet groomer? I didn’t want to injure an animal, so I went for what felt like second most traumatic, an escaped animal.

While Daphne’s escape is serious and causes Mel no end of sleepless nights, it also provides some comedic relief for Mel and Zeke while they work through their own personal battles. I like to think of Mishaps off the Mainland as a mixture of quirky fun and serious truth. The story was a joy to write, and I hope you fall in love with Mel and Zeke.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 18

Livin’ Lit, December 18

Texas Book-aholic, December 19

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 19

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 20

Connect in Fiction, December 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 21

deb’s Book Review, December 21

Inklings and notions, December 22

The Collaborative Press, December 22

For Him and My Family, December 23

lakesidelivingsite, December 23

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 23

Joanne Markey, December 24

Reviewingbooksplusmore, December 24

Batya’s Bits, December 25

Daysong Reflections, December 25

She Lives To Read, December 26

Rebekah Reads, December 26

Splashes of Joy, December 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 27

Blossoms and Blessings, December 27

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 28

Captive Dreams Window, December 28

Artistic Nobody, December 29 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Simple Harvest Reads, December 29 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Aryn the Libraryan, December 30

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, December 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 30

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 31

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 31

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Tabitha is giving away the grand prize package a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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/104fd/mishaps-off-the-mainland-celebration-tour-giveaway

I look forward to your comments. What animals do you like as pets or just because?