Book Spotlight: BLAZE

By Hope Bolinger


Book Synopsis
If you can’t stand the heat, don’t walk into the fire.

Danny knew his sophomore year would be stressful. . . but he didn’t expect his school to burn down on the first day.

To make matters worse (and they were about to get a lot
worse), he — and his three best friends — receive an email in their inboxes from the principal of their rival, King’s Academy, offering full-rides to attend the town’s prestigious boarding school. Danny wants nothing to do with King’s Academy and says no. Of course, his mother says yes. So off he goes to be bullied and picked on for not being part of the popular and rich “in crowd.”

From day one at King’s, Danny encounters hazing, mocking insults from girls at the “popular and pretty” table, and cafeteria food that, for such a prestigious school, tastes as if it were purchased from a military surplus supply warehouse. If he survives, Danny will have to overcome his fears of failure, rejection, and loneliness—all while standing strong in his beliefs and walking into the fire.

 Author Biography

Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a recent graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 300 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column “Hope’s Hacks,” tips and tricks to avoid writer’s block, reaches 2,700+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young’s blog, which receives 63,000+ monthly hits. She is excited for her modern-day Daniel “Blaze” to come out with IlluminateYA (an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). She enjoys all things theater, cats, and fire. You can find more about her at

 Pub Date

June 3, 2019

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All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes By Betsy St. Amant  

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes

ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND CUPCAKES is about what?  Love and cupcakes, of course.  The story finds twenty-six year old Kat Varland fretting over her future.  She is in love with Lucas Brannen, but Lucas has not expressed interest in her beyond eating her cupcakes and being her best friend. She works in her aunt’s bakery making the same old vanilla-chocolate-strawberry cupcakes, but yearns to show off her real talent in making novelty cupcakes.  She is at odds with her family, feeling that she is not appreciated for what she chose to be her livelihood.

Lucas Brannen coaches the local high school football team. He loves Kat but doesn’t know how to tell her. Every chance he gets, he freezes up.  When he secretly signs her up for the reality TV bakeoff on Cupcake Combat, he does so as an expression of love and to give Kat a shot at seeing her life’s dream become an actuality.

When Kat choses Lucas to be her assistant on the show, things start heating up between them; and I don’t mean romantically.  Constantly at odds, but both in love with the other, though unable to express his/her love, and trouble on the set with each other and other contestants, the stress keeps building.

Will Kat and Lucas resolve their friendship/love life?  Will Kat win the competition and realize her dream come true? What are they each willing to sacrifice for the other?

The story was cute, but I only gave ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND CUPCAKES a three star rating, because the story dragged on without purpose for too long.  For me, it took too long to get to the conclusion with little added value.  A novella length would have been more to my liking.

The characters were well developed and could have been someone you know or someone you’d meet on the street.  They each had flaws true to real life.

Betsy St. Amant is a Christian writer but doesn’t put so much into her book to turn off someone who is not a fan of Christian novels.

To find out more about St. Amant, check out her website Betsy St. Amant, Twitter page, and Facebook page

I received a copy of ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND CUPCAKES by Betsy St. Amant from Net GALLEY in exchange for an honest review.

Tattered Innocence by Ann Lee Miller

Tattered Innocence by Ann Lee Miller

After an affair with Bret, a married man, Rachel Martin wants to get as far away from him as she can.  Jake Murray’s love life had just turned topsy turvy not only when his fiance Gabrielle dumps him, but she leaves him without a first mate on his charter cruise boat, The Smyrna Queen. Rachel applies for the job and gets it, but at her first meeting with him, she has made up her mind that her new boss is cold and unfriendly.

Jake left the corporate world to start his own business on The Smyrna Queen, a dream he shared with his deceased grandfather. Nearly everything he owns is in this venture.  He needs a first mate to help him sail the boat and prepare meals for the guests. Since the only available sleeping quarters are in his cabin, Rachel makes it clear from the beginning that she is there for the job and nothing else.

It is quickly apparent that there is an attraction between the two of them, but neither will admit it because they are both still running away from previous relationships. Add to that, family problems, hurricanes, and the guilt they carry; this story has multiple layers to it.  Since this is a Christian romance novel, there are references to God all the way through the book. Rachel convinces Jake to go to a beach service with her, and though he is skeptical at first, he comes around.  There are often instances throughout where Rachel and Jake each reach out to God for guidance and forgiveness.

The book is well written, and the story will keep you turning the pages. If you are looking for a light romance novel and don’t mind Christian references, this is undoubtedly a book I would recommend.

Ann Lee Miller grew up in New Smyrna Beach, earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University, and currently lives in Phoenix with her husband and children. She writes full time and lectures at various Arizona colleges.