Saturday, February 24, 2024

Review: Suddenly Sadie Series by Joanne Bischof#

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A story where hope is found at all new heights.

Graduate from college. Get married and have children. These have always been checkpoints on Sadie’s map of life. But still single in her thirties, and weary of unmet expectations, she faces a crossroads:

Continue waiting for life to begin? Or rethink what those checkpoints should be?

Determined to find renewed purpose, Sadie deletes her old dating apps, opting instead for a trip to the outdoor adventure store in her small, Colorado town. The plan is simple: find a hobby that offers fresh challenges and experiences. New horizons to be explored. Even if it means facing some of her biggest fears, inside and out.

So begins the first adventure in the all-new chronicles of Sadie McGillis—one woman who strives to redefine what happiness should look like. From Christy-Award winning author, Joanne Bischof, comes a faith-journey of the heart. A novel where friendships are born, life is embraced, and joy is found in unexpected places.

My Review: 

I have always loved reading Joanne Bischof's historical fiction. She is among my favorite authors and was excited to see her branch out to contemporary. I was curious to see how her first book from her new the Suddenly Sadie series, Sadie on the Rocks, would be like. I was not disappoint. She has proven that she can tackle any era / decade / century with her writing. I enjoyed being introduced to Sadie, who is in her thirties and is single. I loved seeing her discovering herself, finding joy, and feeling empowered. I could see myself within Sadie. She inspired me so much.

Sadie on the Rocks will be getting a very well deserved five plus stars from me. I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy reading clean fiction full of faith and inspiration. I am looking forward to the next installment from the Suddenly Sadie series, Writer on the Wall.

I received a digital copy of Joanne Bischof's Sadie on the Rocks from the author, but was not required to write a review, nor a positive one. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion.

View all my reviews

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


An uplifting series for women who come for the friendships and stay for the views. Ever since training for her first indoor rock climbing competition, writer and editor, Sadie McGillis has embraced a new love of the sport and the confidence of trying something new. And now that this Colorado book-lover is writing her first novel about these adventures on the wall, and in the single life—the pressure is on! So begins the second book in the Suddenly Sadie series, where a single woman continues her quest for joy. Along the way, she’ll discover new-found friends, unexpected challenges, a rugged and kind rock climbing instructor, and the faith to make sense of it all. A light-hearted inspirational read about overcoming our fears, and embracing the challenges God has placed before us. Both in life . . . and in the pages. A celebration of adventures for Christian single women, the Suddenly Sadie series is great for women of all ages and walks of life! Don’t miss book #1 “Sadie on the Rocks” -- where hope is found at all new heights.

My Review: 

I adored seeing Sadie embracing herself in the first book from Joanne Bischof's Suddenly Sadie series and was excited to have the opportunity to read the second installment, Writer on the Wall. It was great catching up to see where she was now and what she was up to. I love how she was tested and witnessing how she was able to overcome her fears and challenges she faced. I was inspired and gave me a wonderful reminder that God is always there for me.
I would love to give Writer on the Wall one hundred stars if I could. I believe readers and fans of clean contemporary woman's fiction will not want to miss reading it. I am hoping there be more Sadie adventure to come from the Suddenly Sadie series.
I received a digital copy of Joanne Bischof's Writer on the Wall from the publisher, but was not required to write a review, nor a positive one. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion.

View all my reviews

Blog Tour and Giveaway: When Legends Rise by Daphne Self

About the Book

When Legends Rise

Author: Daphne Self

Genre: Science Fiction

Release Date: July 26, 2022

He is now one of them. Genetically altered . . . Designed to kill . . . Trained to eradicate . . . Until he became more. Juliet 7-A was the top elite assassin for the Global Federated Territories until an ambush deemed him beyond salvaging. He was scheduled for decommission. His only recourse for survival is a new identity and his search for the one friend he had―a friend who defected and deserted him. Those he once hunted will save him. Yet it comes with a price. A price that demands much of him. What happens when an assassin awakens?


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Daphne Self
, formerly published under the name D.M. Webb, resides in Iowa. As a Mississippian transplant, she spends her days in the Midwest state writing, editing, reading, antiquing, and planning adventures. She pursues her dream as an editor and author with one goal in mind: To Glorify His Name. Daphne is also an avid reader who devours book in many genres. As a long time member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and Realm Makers, she volunteers her time helping published and unpublished authors.




More from Daphne

It started as an idea back in the late 90s. It came to fruition in May 2021. The inspiration was this: salvation is free. That began the questions of: what if someone committed horrible acts, what if that person was indoctrinated and changed, what if when faced with the truth how would he react, and finally, what story from the Bible would work for my character? Of course, the story of Saul of Tarsus (Paul) came to mind. Blood was on his hands, yet he found salvation in Christ. And the story of Samson gave a bit of a parallel to my story, too.


I wrote this book before the show Halo was released, yet I had been playing the Halo video game for years. I’ve always enjoyed the backstory of Master Chief, so the main character of When Legends Rise is a bit like Master Chief John-117. Plus, if you have seen The Mandalorian, then you will see a few common themes between my book and that show. There’s also a bit of a Star Trek vibe in that I use “tech” speak and plausible science.


And what began as one book has now evolved into a 5-book series titled Legends of Light. Book two, What Legends Become, releases in June 2024 and follows the family and the continuing story of salvation, persecution, faith, and hope.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 19

Artistic Nobody, February 20 (Author Interview)

Madi’s Musings, February 20

Texas Book-aholic, February 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 22

Wishful Endings, February 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 24

Exploring the Written Word, February 25

Blogging With Carol, February 26

Pause for Tales, February 27

Guild Master, February 28 (Author Interview)

The Lofty Pages, February 28

Tell Tale Book Reviews, February 29

Fiction Book Lover, March 1 (Author Interview)


To celebrate her tour, Daphne is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of the book, bookmarks, character cards, and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

My Review

When Legends Rise is interesting book to read. Even though I am not a huge fan of this genre, I thought the author, Daphne Self, had a special way of providing a great story that had me engaged and often wondering what could possibly happen in the following scene. There was a lot of action that kept me engaged. I enjoyed taking this adventure and journey with the characters. I love the mix of faith and fantasy within the pages. 

I am giving When Legends Rise four stars. I believe book lovers of the science fiction will love it. I am looking forward to seeing what happens to the next installment from the Legends of Light series. 

I received a paperback copy of Daphne Self's When Legends Rise from the publisher, but was not required to write a positive review. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion. 

Friday, February 23, 2024

Book Blast and Giveaway: Out of Body by Kimberly Baer

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by < ahref="">Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Those weird dreams Abby Kendrick has been having? Turns out they aren’t dreams after all. They’re out-of-body experiences, like the ones her cousin Logan is having. At first Abby has fun with her new ability, using it to spy on her neighborhood crush and spook a mean girl. But when Logan gets in trouble on the astral plane, the game changes, and Abby must bend the rules of out-of-body travel as she journeys to a distant realm. Her mission is a perilous one, and success is not guaranteed. Can she save Logan and find her way home again? Or will the cousins be lost forever on the astral plane?

Read an Excerpt

The girl slept on, never stirring, breathing deeply. Arms and legs akimbo, hair spread out like disconnected wires, mouth hanging open. Was that how I looked when I was sleeping? It wasn’t pretty.

Something twinkled below me, a translucent silvery cord tethering me to my body. I’d never noticed it in my dreams-that-weren’t-really-dreams, maybe because I hadn’t realized I was out of body. The cord, thick and round as Italian sausage, was weird but reassuring. I assumed it would keep me from getting lost, because no matter where I went, I could simply follow it back to my body.

But how did the cord work? Was it retractable like the cord on our vacuum cleaner? Stretchy like a bungee cord? If so, how far could it stretch? I wanted to test it for myself, but before I could do that, I needed to figure out how to move. For now, I was stuck in place like a stalled weather front.

A few nights ago, I’d traveled all the way to Sorcery Place. I’d gone to Sophia’s house, to Grandma’s. How had I done it?

More important, how could I get back into my body? I gave a psychic grunt, straining toward that sleeping form, but nothing happened. I was anchored to the ceiling as firmly as my physical body was anchored to the bed.

What if I couldn’t get back? What if I was stuck up here forever?

About the Author:
Kimberly Baer is an author and professional editor who was born and raised in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a town marginally famous for having endured three major floods. She even lived there during one of them. She enjoys power-walking on days when it’s not too hot, too cold, too rainy, too snowy, or too windy. On indoor days, you're likely to find her hard at work on her next novel or binge-watching old episodes of Survivor, her favorite guilty pleasure.

Kim has had her nose in a book practically since birth. Her first story, written at age six, was about a baby chick that hatched out of a little girl’s Easter egg after somehow surviving the hard-boiling process. These days she writes in a variety of genres, including adult romantic suspense, young adult, and middle-grade. Her books are published by The Wild Rose Press and have won several awards.

Out of Body Book Trailer:


Barnes and Noble:
Apple books:
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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Refuge of Grace: Finding Your Safe Place by Tracy L Smoak

About the Book

Book: Refuge of Grace: Finding Your Safe Place

Author: Tracy L. Smoak

Genre: Non-Fiction

Release Date: September, 2023

”This book is a life-saving manual meant for any soul who has bottomed out and can only look up for help.”
– George Firehammer

Need a stronger connection with God? A safe place?

Anyone hoping for straight talk to bring Jesus close will find refreshment in Refuge of Grace. Learn from a fresh look at 22 little-told Bible passages via Tracy L. Smoak’s engaging storytelling and vivid imagery.

These scriptures offer true comfort in your everyday struggles. From hearing Gomer’s perspective about shame to imagining Jesus arriving in a Rolls Royce for the family reunion, you will know God’s working on your behalf-right now.


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

A native Floridian, Tracy L. Smoak grew up riding horses and climbing citrus trees. Her passion is to encourage others in their faith journey. Smoak writes for Guideposts. Ambassador International released her debut novel, Who Brought the Dog to Church?. Bold Vision published her Bible study about encouragement titled Refuge of Grace: Finding Your Safe Place.

She loves photography and authored two hardcover devotionals with her original nature art (Living Water to Refresh Your Soul – tranquil lake scenes; and Arranged with Love- floral landscapes).

Smoak holds a master’s in Education and a bachelor’s in Communication. At her church home, she leads small-group Bible studies. She is an active member of Word Weavers International.

More from Tracy

When life knocks you down, where do you go for hope?

We all want to be brave, but sometimes circumstances overwhelm us. Health declines, bank accounts empty, and friends disappear. No matter the disappointments, one absolute certainty we can count on is God. He will stand with us through every adversity.

Ideas for Refuge of Grace: Finding Your Safe Place began at 3 a.m. on a January workday in 2021. I tossed and turned in bed, wondering how I could continue teaching in a public school under all the pandemic constraints. We wore masks, developed lesson plans for both in-class instruction and online modules, and juggled a revolving door of student quarantines with absences.

Fear surrounded us on all sides.

Others also struggled. My older son managed an emergency department in a large city and had to find ways to supply unprecedented needs. My younger son worked in the financial industry and watched markets reel. Neighbors lost jobs and income.

How could we model resilience and move forward?

I turned to the Bible for inspiration and studied stories about how believers overcame hardship. Six months and 22 chapters later—all the while teaching full time—this collection renewed hope and kept me going.

My prayer is that reading these Bible promises of God’s faithfulness also will empower you.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 9

Artistic Nobody, February 10 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 12

Fiction Book Lover, February 13 (Author Interview)

Girls in White Dresses, February 14

Its Mama Safe, February 15

Beauty in the Binding, February 16 (Author Interview)

By The Book, February 17 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, February 17

Cover Lover Book Review, February 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 19 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, February 20

Simple Harvest Reads, February 21 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 22


To celebrate her tour, Tracy is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy each of Who Brought the Dog to Church? and Refuge of Grace: Finding Your Safe Place!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

My Review

I have found myself many times over the past few years learning how to cope stresses of life. Refuge of Grace: Finding Your Safe Place by Tracy L Smoak is just what I needed. I thought this book is a fabulous book to read. I liked the devotional style of it that gave me inspiration every morning. It was a perfect way to start off the day and a wonderful reminder of God's love and grace.

Refuge of Grace: Finding Your Safe Place deserves five stars. I highly recommend it for readers who are struggling and needing to find God's comfort. I believe it would make a wonderful gift, as well. I would love to read more books like this one by Tracy L Smoak in the future. 

I received a paperback copy of Tracy L Smoak's Refuge of Grace: Finding Your Safe Place from the publisher, but was not required to write a positive review. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Movie Review and Giveaway: Ordinary Angels

Buy tickets today to see Ordinary Angels in theaters starting February 23rd!

Don’t miss this powerful film, based on a true story!
You’ll leave feeling inspired to be an angel to people in your own community!

Help us make the impossible possible. 
Every $1 you donate eliminates $100 in medical debt. Together with RIP Medical Debt,
we aim to erase $10,000,000 in medical debt relief.
The gift of debt relief is life-changing—and every dollar makes a difference. #OrdinaryAngelsMovie #KingdomStoryCompany


Based on a remarkable true story, ORDINARY ANGELS centers on Sharon  (Hilary Swank), a fierce but struggling hairdresser in small-town Kentucky who discovers a renewed sense of purpose when she meets Ed (Alan Ritchson), a widower working hard to make ends meet for his two daughters. With his youngest daughter waiting for a liver transplant, Sharon sets her mind to helping the family and will move mountains to do it. What unfolds is the inspiring tale of faith, everyday miracles, and ordinary angels.

Buy tickets today to see Ordinary Angels in theaters starting February 23rd!

My Review:

Ordinary Angels is an extraordinary film to watch. I was inspired to see the community rally around the family to help the little girl. I admired Sharon's determined and her bravery and courage to continue to find ways to help make things happen for Ed. I wanted to see how the impossible was made possible. Miracles really do come true. This is a wonderful faith filled film that all should be watching.

I am giving Ordinary Angels a very well deserved five plus stars. I highly recommend it for viewers of all ages who love watching heartwarming and inspirational movies based on true events. I believe it would be a great addition to a family movie night.

I received an early screener link to watch Ordinary Angels from Kingdom Faith Marketing Services, LLC, but was not required to write a positive review. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion. 


Many thanks to Kingdom Faith Marketing Services, LLC for providing a sample of the  product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own. 


$10 Amazon giftcard 

Leave a more than two word completed sentence telling me who you will be watching Ordinary Angels with. Don’t forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win. Winner’s name will be drawn on February 28, 2024.

Giveaway Rules:   

Giveaway is limited to US winners only.        

Two word comments will be deleted and will not be entered into the giveaway.

Chosen winner/s will be contacted by email to verify information needed to give to the appropriate channels to get the prize to you. 

Winner/s MUST reply to this email within 24 hours

If no response, a new winner’s name will be drawn and you forfeit the prize.

Locks, Hooks and Books is NOT responsible for lack of response from the chosen winner. 

Winners from previous Momentum campaigns within 90 days will be disqualified. 

Please note: Locks, Hooks and Books is NOT responsible in sending the prize. 

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Secrets and Wishes by Kathleen Rouser

About the Book

Secrets and Wishes

Author: Kathleen Rouser

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: January 30, 2024

She only wants a fresh start, but her past might be the only hope to save his life—and the lives of countless innocents.

Determined widow Maggie Galloway dreams of a peaceful life and a successful business. And winning the Silver Leaf Flour Company baking contest could be the key to that success. She even has a chance at a prestigious position through a dashing former beau. But when her son gets into a fight with the local pharmacist’s son, Maggie’s peaceful life is derailed.

Reserved pharmacist and recent widower Thomas Harper is also looking for a fresh start for himself and his four children. But when Thomas falls gravely ill, his only choice is to enlist the help of the local baker with a knowledge of concocting remedies. He’s even more reluctant to admit that Maggie may also be the remedy for his grieving heart. And when a traveling medicine man’s medicines beget tragedy, Thomas and Maggie must overcome their differences to save the children of Stone Creek—and face the growing attraction between them—before it’s too late.


Click here to get you copy!


About the Author

Kathleen Rouser is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical and contemporary Christian romance. She is a longtime member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Faith, Hope and Love Christian Writers. She resides in southeast Michigan, a location which she often uses in her novels, with her hero and husband of forty-some years and two sweet cats who found a home in their empty nest.




More from Kathleen

Maggie Galloway’s Prizewinning Recipe

Maggie Galloway was a secondary character in my first Stone Creek Brides novel, Rumors and Promises. As the older sister and housekeeper of hero, Ian McCormick, she liked to have her say. I enjoyed getting to know Maggie as I created her character. She was so much fun to write I knew she needed her own story.

She has a knowledge of remedies from working with her pharmacist husband in the past, but Maggie is also a prizewinning baker because of her creative and cherished recipe for pecan snickerdoodles. I hope you’ll enjoy her recipe.

Increasing the vanilla in her favorite snickerdoodle recipe while adding toasted chopped pecans to the dough and the cinnamon sugar made for the delightful crunch and a nutty taste, which had won her second place in the recipe contest. (From Maggie’s musings in Secrets and Wishes.)

Maggie Galloway’s Pecan Snickerdoodles

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 ¼ cup flour

½ cup chopped toasted pecans


Cinnamon sugar mixture:

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon finely chopped toasted pecans

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease cookie sheet.

Beat butter until creamy. Add 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar, mixing well.

Beat egg and vanilla into the mixture. Slowly add flour and chopped pecans to the mixture.

Set dough in the refrigerator (or the icebox in Maggie’s day) for at least a half an hour to make it easier to handle.

While you’re waiting, mix the cinnamon sugar ingredients together with the 1 tablespoon finely chopped pecans.

When the dough is ready, roll into small balls and roll in cinnamon sugar/nut mixture.

Place a couple of inches apart on the cookie sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes, only until slightly golden brown along the edges. Yield is approximately two dozen cookies.

Blog Stops

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, February 20 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 21

Books You Can Feel Good About, February 22

Life on Chickadee Lane, February 22

Devoted To Hope, February 23

Vicky Sluiter, February 23

Texas Book-aholic, February 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 25

ABBA’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 26

lakesidelivingsite, February 27

Betti Mace, February 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 29

Cover Lover Book Review, March 1

For Him and My Family, March 2

Holly’s Book Corner, March 3

Pause for Tales, March 4


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

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

My Review

I enjoyed the beginning to the Stone Creek Brides series, Rumors and Promises, and was excited to have the opportunity to find out what Kathleen Rouser had in store for her characters in Secrets and Wishes. I loved getting to know the main characters, Thomas and Maggie. I thought their scenes were fun together while their personalities clashed at times. It was great catching up with the previous main characters, as well.

I am giving Secrets and Wishes four and a half stars. I recommend it for readers who enjoy reading quick and clean historical romance. I am looking forward to reading the third installment from the Stone Creek Brides series, Scandals and Mercies, to see what happens next. 

I received a paperback copy of Kathleen Rouser's Secrets and Wishes from the publisher, but was not required to write a positive review. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Blog Tour and Review: Iron Maiden by J T Maicke

Iron Maiden by J.T. Maicke

Iron Maiden: An Alternate History of the German Empire
by J.T. Maicke

Publisher: DX Varos Publishing, Inc
(October 31, 2023) 
Category: Historical fiction, Alternate History 
Tour Dates January17-February 23, 20224 
ISBN: 978-1955065917 
Available in Print and ebook, 
411 pages 
Iron Maiden

Description Iron Maiden by J.T. Maicke

What if a woman ruled Germany in 1914? This alternate history explores that very question. An elaborate attempt to rid Germany of the Hohenzollerns has left a young sole heiress, Christiana, to take the throne of the German Empire. But this is no typical princess, hidden away in a gilded cage. This college educated, expert fencer, and accomplished equestrienne is not the meek little girl the politicians think they will be able to control. She has her own ideas how to rule!

Praise for J.T. Maicke’s First Novel The Humble Courier

“A great story of an unlikely hero during an awful time. J.T. Maicke has crafted a compelling story of an unlikely hero during a most troubling time, the rise of Nazi Germany. This is a compelling book to read, whether you are a fan of historic fiction or simply seeking a terrific narrative and story. Maicke has created compelling and realistic characters that one can identify with, and truly care about. It is a story that will last with you long after the book is completed, and leaves one longing for new works from this author.”-John, Amazon Review “This was an engaging read. The years between the ending of WWI and the start of WWII set the stage for events that would completely change the world. Normally when we think of the world wars, we think of Germany occupying other countries, and not other countries occupying Germany. This book takes the reader to a point in time often overlooked, and lets us step into the story through the eyes of a Catholic priest who wishes for justice, and the freedom to practice his religion and minister to his parishioners. I loved Father Harti as a character, and thought Maicke did a wonderful job bringing him to life. It was easy to get lost in the story. A great book for historical fiction lovers.”- Liliyana Shadowlyn, The Faerie Review “I have greatly enjoyed this book. I am impressed with the historical accuracy which makes the story even more compelling. The reader is draw into the story as if they were right there.”- J. Larkin, Amazon Review “A humble village, loving community caring Catholic priest. Sounds perfect, but then it centers in Germany in the 1930's. The idyllic life of the priest and others is turned around affecting not only the grownups but children as well. I especially liked the references at the back of the book to places and people. At the end of the story, I had tears in my eyes.”- Christine Mueller, Goodreads Review “An intriguing story set in Germany mainly during the early WWII era leading to thought provoking events! Harti is a Catholic priest of the small village where he was born. Sounds like a boring life? Oh, no, not for Harti! He is consumed by a deep sense of justice... That's only the beginning of Harti's trail of thoughts.... What I particularly enjoyed in this novel, lies in the writing style. All along the plot, the author gives a summarized account of the political situation in Germany along with the reactions of the Allies from the end of WWI on (French occupation after the Versailles Contract had been signed). I learned details I was not aware of, particularly about the role of the Catholic church at this time. Harti referred many times to the Bible (though not overwhelmingly) in order to find a way to find justice. That was for me very interesting and definitely thought provoking! The characters are fictional, some events and real people made fitting the story, but all made sense. A compelling novel!”-Christine, Amazon Review


In the Cabinet conference room next to his Wilhelmstrasse office, Chancellor von Eichenburg was about to proceed with the next item of business when he was interrupted by the sounds of cheers from outside on the street below. He gave his colleagues a puzzled glance, rose from his chair at the head of the table, and walked to one of the windows. He was soon joined by several other Cabinet members. To their surprise, a sizeable crowd was lining both sides of the Wilhelmstrasse, looking expectantly north toward Unter Den Linden, the main east-west boulevard running through the heart of Berlin. 

“What is happening?” asked Wermuth, the treasury minister.

“Is it a riot?” added General von Lyncker with a gasp. 

“Delbrück, see if you can find out what is going on,” von Eichenburg ordered the Interior Minister. 

Von Delbrück dispatched his secretary but, as soon as the young man opened the double doors to the conference room, he was met by a Guards major, accompanied by two infantrymen armed with rifles. 

“What is the meaning of this?!” demanded the Chancellor. “What is happening in the street?” 

“You and the rest of the Cabinet and your aides are to remain in the conference room, Herr Reichs Chancellor,” answered the major in a stern voice. “By order of her Imperial Majesty, the Empress Christiana.” 

“What!?” roared von Eichenburg. “What nonsense is this? You!” he ordered, pointing at von Delbrück’s secretary. “Go and find out what this is all about!” 

The secretary, a slim man in his twenties, turned toward the major and quailed under the officer’s hawk-like glare. The young man turned back toward the Chancellor, his hands spread, palms up, with a plaintive look on his face before stepping back away from the doors. 

“I repeat, Herr Reichs Chancellor,” stated the major flatly. “You and the rest of the Cabinet are ordered to remain in this room. The Empress will arrive shortly.” 

“The Empress! Here?” gasped von Schön. The Chancellor and his colleagues looked at one another in amazement and ran back to the windows, ignoring the Guards officer and his soldiers who remained at the double doors. 

The Cabinet members quickly opened the windows and leaned out looking toward the north just as the crowd on the street below erupted into cheers. Her Imperial Majesty, Kaiserin Christiana, escorted by over two hundred Guards cavalry and infantry, was riding down the Wilhelmstrasse in what appeared to be an impromptu parade. The Empress was accompanied by Generals von Heeringen, mounted one horse’s length behind her to the right, and von Löwenfeld, riding at a similar position to her left. Christiana waved to the cheering people on both sides of the street. Suddenly, she turned toward von Löwenfeld who then shouted an order for the parade to come to a halt.

Christa dismounted and walked to the left side of the street. General von Löwenfeld called for a squad of infantrymen to accompany the Empress, but she waved them back into formation. Instead, von Löwenfeld quickly dismounted and strode purposefully behind his queen.

Christa approached a little brown-haired girl, about ten years old, and a small boy, apparently her younger brother, standing by the curb. Both children were thin, dirty, and dressed in clothing that amounted to little more than rags. The little girl was clutching a small bouquet of drab, wilted flowers that might at one time have been pansies. The crowd drew back, jostling one another, the men frantically bowing and women curtsying as Christa approached. The children, wide-eyed, were at first too astonished to move, but then the girl nudged her brother who attempted a clumsy bow while his sister curtsied and held out her bouquet. Christa nodded to the urchins and accepted the girl’s dead flowers before taking a knee before them. 

“What are your names, my dears?” she asked. 

“I am Greta, Your Majesty,” answered the girl with a whisper Christa could barely hear. “Greta Vogel. And this is my brother, Uli. I mean Ulrich, Your Imperial Majesty.” 

“Where are your parents, children?” 

“We have no parents, Madam. Papa died at the factory and Mama got sick.” 

“Who takes care of you?” 

“We take care of each other,” the girl answered, looking down at her brother. Uli looked up at his older sister, smiled, and nodded. 

Christa, looked over her shoulder at von Löwenfeld and quietly gave an order. The old general smiled, clicked his boot heels together while giving a short, crisp bow of acknowledgement, and called over two cavalrymen who walked their horses toward the Empress and the children. Christa again turned toward the youngsters. 

“Would you like to join my parade?” she asked. The two children gasped and stared at one another in amazement before nodding enthusiastically. 

“Wonderful! These two men are going to give you a ride on their big horses. Then we will get something good to eat, alright?” Again, the children nodded fervently before the little boy suddenly reached out to Christa and hugged her tightly around her neck. The startled Empress laughed, hugged the boy back, and then reached out to Greta who joined in the embrace. The astonished crowd erupted into cheers and applause. General von Löwenfeld helped the children up onto the front of his Guardsmen’s saddles as Christa remounted and the parade continued. 

“Well, can you imagine the old Kaiser or his grandson doing something like that?” asked a tradesman wonderingly, referring to Wilhelm I and Wilhelm II. 

“I can’t even imagine the Emperor Friedrich doing something like that!” answered a man standing near him. The men and women within earshot nodded in agreement. 

And with that one simple gesture of kindness, Christa had won the love and admiration of the masses. Journalists in the crowd ran off to file their stories, which within hours spread throughout Germany and all over the globe, describing Christa as Germany’s new, beloved “People’s Queen.”

About J. T. Maicke

A self-described Germanophile, J.T. Maicke writes historical fiction novels that take place in Germany or among German-American communities in the Midwest. He has spent most of his life studying German history, geography, language, culture, customs, and cuisine. Maicke also spent several years living in and traveling throughout Central Europe, and he has visited many of the locations depicted in his novels. Maicke’s debut novel was ‘The Humble Courier.’ Website: Facebook: Buy Iron Maiden by J.T. Maicke Amazon Barnes&Noble DX Varos Publishing

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  Iron Maiden by J.T. Maicke


I honestly was not sure if I was going to enjoy reading Iron Maiden: An Alternate History of the German Empire or not. However, the cover and the blurb had me curious. I am so glad I took the chance and picked it up. I was far from being disappointed. I thought it was a great story of adventure, intrigue, and history with a strong female character in Christiana. I loved it.

I am giving Iron Maiden: An Alternate History of the German Empire five plus stars. I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy reading historical fiction with alternative twists. I would love to read other books from J T Maicke after reading this one. 

I received a paperback copy of J T Maicke's Iron Maiden: An Alternate History of the German Empire from the publisher, but was not required to write a positive review. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion.