Thursday, March 26, 2020


~Post Includes:  Book Spotlights, Excerpt,
Author Bio & Giveaway~
Happy Valley Return to Edisto JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Happy Valley & Return to Edisto by Lin Stepp, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Happy Valley by Lin Stepp Title: Happy Valley
Author: Lin Stepp
Publisher: Mountain Hill Press
Release Date: April 2, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Escape to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in this sweet tale of two young people who meet by chance, their paths soon overlapping and intertwining amid a cast of warm-hearted characters in the small rural community of Happy Valley.

With Grandpa suffering a heart attack, Juliette Hollander saw little choice but to head back to their Tennessee mountain farm in Happy Valley to help out.  She didn’t expect, or want, to leave behind her life and work in North Carolina to return to her grandparents’ home so soon. Nor did she imagine meeting, and working with, the mysterious man she met briefly last summer and never thought to see again.

Walker Logan spent the last two years traveling the United States, seeing the beauty of the country and running from his past. But an old rock house he sees while hiking near Abrams Creek Campground unexpectedly calls to his soul. With danger close behind, he never stayed in one place long enough to put down roots. Yet now, with a new vision, he decides to take the risk.


Someone was following him. His heartbeat kicked up, and he felt a thin sweat break across his brow. Walker could see the black van still behind him. It had followed him for the last several miles. Revving his cycle, he turned off on the side road ahead, glancing into his rear view mirror as he did, only to see the van drive by him. He’d been wrong. Again.

It was time to get past this—long past time.

He slowed on the narrow country road and then gunned his motorcycle into a rough gravel driveway. Roaring to a stop, Walker switched off the motor and dropped his feet to the ground. He pushed the cycle over to prop it against the gate of the rural property, trying not to glance back to see if the van had returned. But he could only hear the quiet of the country now.

Walking around to shake off the tension, he let the sounds of the birds, the hum of insects in the field, and the sun overhead calm him. He hated these moments. It was time for a change, and he was headed in that direction. He’d be danged if he’d let one flashback spook him again.

PURCHASE LINKS*:  Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Return to Edisto Title: Return to Edisto
Series: The Edisto Trilogy #2
Author: Lin Stepp
Publisher: Mountain Hill Press
Release Date: April 2, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Return to Edisto Island in the rich, Lowcountry story of a young woman’s difficult decision to run from threat and danger, changing the course of her well-ordered life and, in turn, the life of the young man who loved and lost her.

It was a long trip back to Edisto Island, South Carolina, and the beach house that shaped so much of Mary Helen Avery’s early life. Now her mind flashed between anger and hurt over the difficult situation she’d left behind at the job she loved.  Was she doing the right thing to leave? Should she have stayed to fight? She hoped at the quiet, beloved island she knew so well, she’d find the answers she needed and peace from all this turmoil.

J.T.’s heart took a familiar lurch when he saw the car with New Jersey plates parked at the Avery’s beach house. Even after ten years, the memory of Mary Helen Avery still tormented him.  Finding her on the porch weeping lit old fires he thought long dead. Was he a fool to hope for something more between them with all their problems of the past? Probably so, but if she stayed long enough, he’d find one more chance to try.


“Hmmm.” Kizzy put a hand to Mary Helen’s face, lifting her chin until she could look in her eyes. “You’ve been hurt, girl.” She stroked a hand gently over Mary Helen’s cheek. “But don’t you worry none. The island is a good place for healing and the good Lord lives strong here. He’ll help you work things through.”

Mary Helen bit her lip, trying not to let tears leak out at the kind words. Kizzy had always been intuitive about things. …

Kizzy followed Mary Helen to the door and out on the porch, walking with her to the car. After Mary Helen put her groceries inside and climbed in, Kizzy put a hand on the door before Mary Helen closed it, leaning over to study Mary Helen’s face once more.

“You’re a preacher’s girl, but I’m seeing you’ve drifted off and away from your faith. Leaning only to your own understanding won’t help you find the best answers at this time.” She paused, shaking her head. “You know the One who’s got the best answers for everything, girl. You may be mad at Him right now and think He hasn’t been watching out for you like He should, but it’s you that’s distanced yourself from Him. You do a little seeking and you’ll find Him drawing near again.”

Mary Helen mumbled something in reply as Kizzy closed her car door. Pulling out onto the highway, she started crying and wept all the way to the beach house at Oleanders, hardly noticing the familiar scenery along the way. All the emotions she’d pushed down and held back this week seemed to suddenly overtake her.

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  PURCHASE LINKS*:  Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Lin Stepp

Lin Stepp is a native Tennessean, businesswoman, and educator. A New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Amazon best-selling international author, Lin has eighteen published books, including her twelve beloved Smoky Mountain novels, all set in different Tennessee and North Carolina locations, her newest Mountain Home book, a novella in one of Kensington’s Christmas anthologies, and two novels in her new Edisto Trilogy, set on the South Carolina coast. Lin and her husband, J.L., also write regional guidebooks, including a Smoky Mountain hiking guide and a Tennessee state parks book.

Stepp’s latest 2020 releases are Happy Valley, set in a quiet rural valley near the Smoky Mountains, and Return to Edisto, set at Edisto Beach, South Carolina. Lin’s previous title Claire At Edisto was the 2019 Best Books Award Winner in Fiction: Romance, sponsored by American Book Fest, her novel Welcome Back a finalist in the 2017 Selah Awards, and Lin and her husband’s guidebook Discovering Tennessee State Parks a 2019 American Book Fest Best Books Award Finalist in Nonfiction: Travel Guides and Essays.

Lin enjoys speaking for events, festivals, libraries, and book clubs, reading, hiking, exploring out of doors, and keeping up with her readers on Facebook, Twitter, and through her monthly blog and newsletter which you will find on her website at:

CONNECT WITH LIN: Website | Facebook | Twitter


(1) winner will receive a print copy of Happy Valley & Return to Edisto, matching bookmarks, and a $25 Amazon gift card!

Happy Valley & Return to Edisto JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight March 23, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on March 30, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

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Sunday, March 22, 2020



ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:
On an island off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland lives a centuries-old band of wild ponies. Among them is the most mysterious of all, Phantom, a rarely seen mare that eludes all efforts to capture her--that is, until a young boy and girl lay eyes on her and determine that they can't live without her. The frenzied roundup that follows on the next "Pony Penning Day" does indeed bring Phantom into their lives, in a way they never would have suspected.

Phantom would forever be a creature of the wild. But her gentle, loyal colt Misty is another story altogether.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from Goodreads}:

Marguerite Henry (April 13, 1902-November 26, 1997) was an American writer. The author of fifty-nine books based on true stories of horses and other animals, her work has captivated entire generations of children and young adults and won several Newbery Awards and Honors. Among the more famous of her works was Misty of Chincoteague, which was the basis for the 1961 movie Misty, and several sequel books.

"It is exciting to me that no matter how much machinery replaces the horse, the work it can do is still measured in horsepower ... even in the new age. And although a riding horse often weighs half a ton and a big drafter a full ton, either can be led about by a piece of string if he has been wisely trained. This to me is a constant source of wonder and challenge." This quote was from an article about Henry published in the Washington Post on November 28, 1997, in response to a query about her drive to write about horses.

Marguerite Henry inspired children all over the world with her love of animals, especially horses. Author of over fifty children's stories, including the Misty of Chincoteague series, Henry's love of animals started during her childhood. Unfortunately, Henry was stricken with a rheumatic fever at the age of six, which kept her bedridden until the age of twelve. Born to Louis and Anna Breithaupt, the youngest of the five children, Henry was a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Because of her illness, Henry wasn't allowed to go to school with other children because of her weak state and the fear of spreading the illness to others. While she was confined indoors, she discovered the joy of reading. Soon afterwards, she also discovered a love for writing when her father, a publisher, presented her with a writing desk for Christmas. On the top of stacks of colored paper her father wrote, “Dear Last of the Mohicans: Not a penny for your thoughts, but a tablet. Merry Christmas! Pappa Louis XXXX.”

Henry's first published work came at the age of eleven, a short story about a collie and a group of children, which she sold to a magazine for $12. Henry always wrote about animals, such as dogs, cats, birds, foxes, and even mules, but chiefly her stories focused on horses.

In 1923, she married Sidney Crocker Henry. During their sixty-four years of marriage they didn't have children, but instead had many pets that inspired some of Marguerite’s stories. They lived in Wayne, Illinois.

In 1947, she published Misty of Chincoteague and it was an instant success. Later, this book—as well as Justin Morgan had a Horse and Brighty of the Grand Canyon—were made into movies.

She finished her last book, Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley, just before her death on November 26, 1997 at the age of 95.

(John) Wesley Dennis (May 16, 1903-September 5, 1966) was an American illustrator best known for his collaboration with author Marguerite Henry, with whom he published 15 books.

He illustrated over 150 books in his lifetime, including  Anna Sewell's Black Beauty and John Steinbeck's The Red Pony. He also wrote and illustrated a few books of his own, among which are Flip, Flip and the Cows, Flip and the Morning, and Tumble.

As I may have mentioned a few hundred times since I launched this blog, I adore historical fiction. I especially enjoy rereading my favorite books from my own middle-grade years--and there are a lot of them because I have been a voracious reader since I was in Kindergarten!

As your read in the above author biography, Marguerite Henry wrote many horse stories. I checked several book sites and found that this 'Misty' series included four books:
  • Misty of Chincoteague
  • Sea Star
  • Stormy, Misty's Foal 
  • Misty's Twilight
I remember reading Misty and Stormy as a middle-grader, but I do not remember reading Sea Star. Misty's Twilight was published in 1992, obviously long after I was a middle-grader. 😊  When I checked out the Misty of Chincoteague paperback from the local library recently, I also grabbed Stormy, Misty's Foal and Misty's Twilight.

I really enjoyed rereading this featured novel a few decades after I originally read it! I was a girl who enjoyed reading horse and dog stories when I was a middle-grader, and that hasn't seemed to change much now that I'm a bit older, although I still remain young at heart.

This author does a fantastic job of documenting the Beebe family's history in this story set on Chincoteague Island, which is four miles east of the Virginia shore. Mrs. Henry shares about the family and other townspeople and the original Chincoteague ponies in a note to readers before Part One of the story begins.

The language in this story is so interesting because much of the dialogue is written in the regional dialect of the Chincoteague Island inhabitants. The narrative consists of higher-level vocabulary and the rich cultural history of these islands and the history of how the ponies arrived on Assateague Island after the capsize of a Spanish Galleon named Santo Cristo in this story. No date is given for the shipwreck, but I did some research and discovered that a ship named La Galga did capsize in this location in 1750.

Any part of the story involving the ponies takes readers on a wild, fast-paced adventure. The two main characters, siblings Paul and Maureen Beebe, are normal middle-graders in the mid-nineteenth century. They love spending time with their grandparents and their farm animals, and they work hard to earn money to make a special purchase, the nature of which I will not reveal in case you want to read this story.

I highly-recommend this book as a family or classroom read-aloud as it opens up opportunities for many discussions about small-community dynamics, animal welfare and conservation, and environmental awareness.

***BONUS CONTENT:   The following information was submitted to me by my author friend,  Rinda Beach
Thanks, Rinda!  🐎 🐴 😁
--Question:  Assateague Island is part of which two U.S. states?

Virginia/W. V      Louisiana/Georgia       Maryland/VA            Maryland/Delaware

Source: Atlas Obscura | Date Updated: March 17, 2020

Learn More: Assateague Island is located in two U.S. states: Maryland and Virginia. The island is known for its bands of wild horses that wander the sand dunes and even go swimming in the ocean. No humans live on the island, so it is operated by three services in order to protect the environment and wildlife: the National Park Service, Maryland State Parks, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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A Special Message from June--I'm sending out my good wishes to each of you hoping that you and your family and friends remain safe during our world's current health crisis. 😊 🙏

🔖📕📖📗📘📙📚 🔖📕📖📗📘📙📚 🔖📕📖📗📘

***Please join me next Monday, March 30th, as I feature Indie Author Lia London and her new middle-grade fantasy, 'Be Careful Where You Wish'.  The post includes a book spotlight, author bio, author interview, and fantastic bookish giveaway!****

🔖📕📖📗📘📙📚 🔖📕📖📗📘📙📚 🔖📕📖📗📘

Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog.

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Thursday, March 19, 2020



My Friday Fiction Feature this week is a Blitz for Author Darlene L. Turner's newest Love Inspired Romantic Suspense release, 'Border Breach'. If you love to read clean, inspirational books with loads of fast-paced action, suspense, and romance, this book may be just the new read you're looking for.  


When drugs are smuggled across the border it’s their duty to stop the culprits…at any cost.

Forming a joint task force, Canada border officer Kaylin Poirier and police constable Hudson Steeves have one objective: Take down a drug-smuggling ring trying to sell a new lethal product. But when the smugglers come after Kaylin and Hudson, this mission becomes more than just a job. Can they live long enough to solve the case?

The waves crashed against the shoreline, reminding her of God’s peace.

Purchase Link:

#justreadtours #borderbreach #loveinspiredsuspense #darlenelturner #ReadapageTurner #debutnovel #christianfiction #harlequin

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Sunday, March 15, 2020



ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:

Have you ever wondered what makes a kite fly or a boat float? Have you ever thought about why snowflakes are symmetrical, or why golf balls have dimples? Have you ever tried to make a kaleidoscope or build a pair of stilts?

In Calling All Minds, Temple Grandin explores the ideas behind all of those questions and more. She delves into the science behind inventions, the steps various people took to create and improve upon ideas as they evolved, and the ways in which young inventors can continue to think about and understand what it means to tinker, to fiddle, and to innovate. And laced throughout it all, Temple gives us glimpses into her own childhood tinkering, building, and inventing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from Goodreads}:

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., didn't talk until she was three and a half years old, communicating her frustration instead by screaming, peeping, and humming. In 1950, she was diagnosed with autism and her parents were told she should be institutionalized. She tells her story of "groping her way from the far side of darkness" in her book Emergence: Labeled Autistic, a book which stunned the world because, until its publication, most professionals and parents assumed that an autism diagnosis was virtually a death sentence to achievement or productivity in life.

Even though she was considered "weird" in her young school years, she eventually found a mentor, who recognized her interests and abilities. Dr. Grandin later developed her talents into a successful career as a livestock-handling equipment designer, one of very few in the world. She has now designed the facilities in which half the cattle are handled in the United States, consulting for firms such as Burger King, McDonald's, Swift, and others.

Dr. Grandin presently works as a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She also speaks around the world on both autism and cattle handling.

(Excerpted from Temple Grandin's Official Autism Website)


Although this book was originally published in 2018, I recently discovered it when I was browsing on the non-fiction 'New Arrivals' shelf in the middle-grade section of the local public library. Since I had read about Temple Grandin for the first time a couple of months ago, I decided to give this book a try.

I have been known to tear up or shed a few tears while reading a book, seeing a movie or TV show, or hearing a song that touches me and moves me in some way. I disclose this because I was extremely moved by the author's Introduction to this book.

As an elementary school educator for over twenty years, I worked with many students on the autism spectrum who were either full-time members of my class or who were mainstreamed into my classroom for a period of time each week. Reading the author's poignant retelling of her childhood and her journey up through adulthood living on the autism spectrum reminded me of so many of the young people I worked with over the years.

Viewing autism again through Temple Grandin's eyes truly was an epiphany for me as a human being!

"Autism is not 'one size fits all.' The more we learn about 'the spectrum' . . . , the more we will understand different kinds of minds and how important different kinds of thinkers are--especially where creativity, innovation, and invention are concerned." Temple Grandin, page 3

Grandin also shares important facts about many other inventors from the past -- Mathematician Grace Murray Hopper, Thomas Alva Edison, and Elias Howe are just a few of the inventors the author references in this book. In fact, the book is probably three-quarters inventor bios and one-quarter projects.

Now, on to the projects in the book. There are five chapters of projects for kids to replicate. Things Made of Paper, Levers and Pulleys, Things Made of Wood, Things That Fly, and Optical Illusions. All historical photos, diagrams, and drawings in the book are black and white. Many diagrams submitted with patents of the past are included in this book.

The projects in the book are fairly simple and use common materials. There is a safety warning at the front of the book about using sharp or dangerous tools under adult supervision. I felt that many of these projects would be 'fun' activities for small groups of children to work on together in the classroom, in a youth group, in a club, or in Scouts. 

The Handmade Paper, Kaleidoscope, Jumping Jack, Puppet Theater & Curtain, Marionette, Kite, Stereoscope, and Solar System Diorama projects caught my eye because they are things I would have been interested in making as a middle-grade learner. The Epilogue about Grandin's Squeeze Machine was interesting.

Recommended for upper middle-grade students interested in S.T.E.A.M. subjects and for educators, librarians, and science club leaders. 


Hello ~ I'm working on my second book in my Tyler Stop middle-grade series, and I was wondering if you would help me out . . .

Did you ever ride on the Skunk Train in Mendocino County in Northern California when you were a kid or teen in the 1960s or 1970s? If yes, I would love to hear about your memories of the train, the ride, the scenery, and anything else interesting you can remember about the ride. 
Please send me an email at: junemccraryjacobs [at] gmail [dot] com  -or-  submit a comment on this blog post. {Note:  I moderate all comments, so they are sent directly to my email inbox. I will not post your comment, but I will use the info you share for my research only.}
 Your name and email address will remain confidential.
 ***If you respond, you will be entered into a giveaway for an ebook copy of one of my fiction books or sewing patterns of your choice!***
Thank you for your assistance, and I hope to receive your 'memories' soon!



Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog.

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Thursday, March 12, 2020


~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, Link to
Excerpt, Author Bio & My Review~

A young woman with a tragic past has arrived in town . . . and trouble is following close behind.

Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents' murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds shelter in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don't include a family of his own.

At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage?

Suspenseful and sweetly romantic, Out of the Embers is the first in a new series that invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, when the West was wild, the men were noble, and the women were strong.



"Out of the Embers is part prairie romance, part romantic suspense. I can't remember when I've enjoyed a book more. Amanda Cabot has written an intriguing, chilling mystery and she winds it through the pages of a sweet romance in a way that made me keep turning the pages fast to see what was going to happen next. An absolutely excellent read. And now I'm hungry for oatmeal pecan pie!"
Mary Connealy, author of Aiming for Love, book #1 in the Brides of Hope Mountain series


Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of A Stolen Heart, A Borrowed Dream, and A Tender Hope, as well as the Texas Crossroads, Texas Dreams, and Westward Winds series. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers' Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more at



What a great read! This is the first book I have read by Author Amanda Cabot, and I am definitely a fan of her beautiful writing style and her assortment of consequential characters.

Out of the Embers is set in 1855 Texas mostly in the small town of Mesquite Springs. From the opening lines of the book a reader feels Evelyn Radner's anxiety, fear, and dread about being watched by what we would today probably label a stalker.

Layer by layer the truth about Evelyn's past and the past of her six-year-old charge, Polly, is revealed to readers. Nothing is divulged by the author until the time is right for readers to be enlightened. The fine pacing of the revelations adds to the suspense and drama of the story.

Evelyn proves herself to be a survivor, a strong woman, and a woman with dreams for her future. Yes, she is fearful of certain people and things from her past; but she is ambitious, determined, loving, and most of all kind to others. I admired this character.

The main characters of the story besides Evelyn and Polly are Wyatt Clark  and his mother and sister who each harbor dreams and regrets which affect their own behavior and their treatment of others.

As expected, there are a fair number of 'villains' who add risk, danger, and excitement to the book. I found myself rooting against these characters throughout the story--a sure sign that the author had accomplished  her goal of drawing her readers into the story as it unfolded.

As I read the story I was reminded of how close-knit small communities in the Wild West became out of necessity. People drew together to accomplish common goals for their community and worked hard with the hope their town would grow and thrive to benefit all of the town's citizens.

As always, I enjoyed the faith element included in Revell's fiction, and I was inspired by the attitude of many of the characters toward the teachings in the Bible and how those teachings applied to their own lives.

There were some surprises at the end of the story which I will refrain from sharing here because I do not want to spoil the story for those of you who have not yet read it. Suffice to say this is an outstanding book, and a great way to kick off this new Mesquite Springs series by the author.

This book is highly recommended to fans of Christian/clean romance, historical fiction, Wild West fiction, and Christian/clean fiction.

Disclosure from blogger:  I received a paperback copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review to be posted on my blog and on retailer sites and Goodreads. I received no compensation for my review or posts here or on any other site.                                           

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