Sunday, December 10, 2017

Imperfect Justice

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“This is the way legal thrillers are meant to be—compelling, intelligent, and deeply satisfying.” —Randy Singer, author of Rule of Law

THE POLICE SAY THE WOMAN WAS A MURDERER. EMILIE WESLEY KNOWS THEY CAN’T BE TALKING ABOUT HER CLIENT . . . CAN THEY?

To the world it seems obvious: Kaylene Adams killed her daughter and then was shot by police. Attorney Emilie Wesley knows a different story: Kaylene would never hurt anyone and was looking for a way out of a controlling, abusive relationship. Her death shakes Emilie’s belief that she can make a difference for women in violent marriages. Self-doubt plagues her as she struggles to continue her work in the wake of the tragedy.

Reid Billings thought he knew his sister—right up until he learned how she died. He discovers a letter from Kaylene begging him to fight for custody of her daughters if anything should happen to her. No attorney in her right mind would support an uncle instead of the father in a custody case, but Kaylene’s letter claims Emilie Wesley will help him.

Thrown together in a race to save Kaylene’s surviving daughter, Emily and Reid pursue the constantly evasive truth. If they can hang on to hope together, can they save a young girl—and find a future for themselves in the process?

My thoughts: I loved this book! It would of helped to read the first book in the series by Cara, since the story is referenced, but it does stand alone decently, since it's about a different character than the first book. I like that it is a legal mystery, without being burdened with too much legalese. I like that there are two mysteries going on with the story, which really helps the tale move quickly. There is also a lot of depth to it, with dealing with an abusive marriage. Cara handles the story well. I highly recommend this one!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holly, Ivy, and Intrigue review and giveaway!



My review: I enjoyed the different stories in this book, since they were all very different and yet all engaging. I think I liked the fast pace of Holiday Pursuit the best, though I did like that historical aspect of Christmas Murder Mix-Up and the added air of mystery in A Holiday Intruder. If you are looking for a Christmas themed mystery, then I highly recommend picking up this book! It is a unique holiday collection.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.

Buy a copy here:

Christmas Murder Mix-Up

“I have to get rid of her now.”

After four months of a blissful marriage, Paige is devastated to overhear her husband, Cooper, say those words to his best friend. Because of a suspicious Christmas gift, a gas leak, and a home invasion, Paige’s love for Cooper is tested to the limit. Will their marriage survive the Christmas Murder Mix-up?

Holiday Pursuit
When Brianna Rockwell’s brother finds himself in danger and disappears three days before Christmas, she does everything to rescue him. Brianna dodges bullets, escapes fire, and even turns to her longtime crush for help. But the closer she gets to solving the mystery and finding her only sibling, the more desperate someone gets to silence her forever…

A HOLIDAY INTRUDER:

Kelsey Jordan prefers upcycling junk and refinishing antiques for her store in a Georgia mountains town to being the center of attention. When a robbery and an unknown benefactor shove her in the middle of a decades-old mystery, and a real estate developer and a former baseball star compete for her attention, Kelsey isn’t sure who to trust.


About the Authors

As an avid reader, Joanie Bruce welcomed the transition from reading to writing and considered it a wonderful new experience to please others with her words. She has three published Christian suspense novels, and enjoys writing from her home in the country. Thankful that God has given her the ability to write, draw and paint, Joanie strives to use them to encourage others and to honor Him in all her accomplishments.


Alexa Verde penned her first literary masterpiece, a rhymed poem, at the ripe age of eight, and since has had 200 short stories, articles, and poems published in the five languages that she speaks. She has a bachelor degree in Spanish, a master’s in Russian, and enjoys writing about characters with diverse cultures. She’s worn the hats of reporter, teacher, translator, model (even one day counts!), caretaker, and secretary, but thinks that the writer’s hat suits her the best. After traveling the world and living in both hemispheres, she calls a small town in south Texas home. The latter is an inspiration for the fictional setting of her series Rios Azules Christmas and Secrets of Rios Azules.


DENISE WEIMER holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. An associate editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, Denise is the author of The Restoration Trilogy, The Georgia Gold Series, romantic novella REDEEMING GRACE, and ACROSS THREE AUTUMNS: A Novella of The Backcountry Brides Collection through Barbour Publishing (May 2018). This wife and swim mom of two daughters always pauses for coffee, chocolate, old houses, and to write any story God lays on her heart.

For a complete list of blog stops, visit Celebrate Lit here

The authors are graciously hosting a giveaway here!
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Monday, December 4, 2017

Take ten: bookish settings I would love to visit


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1. Persuasion

Bath, England. I know Jane Austen hated it, but I think it would be fun to visit!

2. Jane of Austin

I may of visited Austin, Texas as a kid, but if so, I don't remember much about it. I have heard that it is a fun city, and this book made me think it would be one I would enjoy.

3. Lizzy and Jane

While this isn't my favorite out of Katherine's books, I did enjoy the introduction to Seattle! I think I would love the markets and foodie scene.;)

4. The Red Door Inn


Anne of Green Gables

Prince Edward Island. It sounds like a neat place to get away!

5. I Always Cry at Weddings

I have never been to New York City, but would love to someday!

6. Under a Summer Sky

Savannah, Georgia sounds like a place I would enjoy, with all the historical buildings!

7. Anna and the French Kiss

I should add a disclaimer that I haven't actually read this series, though it is on my TBR list! I would like to visit Paris someday though.;)

8. Close to You

This book made me want to plan a trip to New Zealand! My nerd side comes out with this one, since it is centered around Hobbiton. lol.

9. The Bronte Plot

Another nerd book for me, since the main character goes on a tour of the Bronte's home. I need rich friends to take me on trips. lol.

10. Can't Help Falling

This one is set in Oxford, which is on my list of places to visit.

So, there is my list! I stuck with actual places, though there are plenty of fictitious ones I would love to visit, like Hogwarts and Narnia. I would also just love to be able to time travel to different eras or jump into stories.;)



No One Ever Asked



Challenging perceptions of discrimination and prejudice, this emotionally resonant drama for readers of Lisa Wingate and Jodi Picoult explores three different women navigating challenges in a changing school district--and in their lives.

When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray--the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser--faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones--the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge's top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she's stepped into. Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as "this" or "that", when such complexity exists in each person?

My thoughts: This book is excellent! I love that the story is written from three very different perspectives, one of a privileged PTA mom, a new mother of an adopted child, and a new teacher. There are so many different facets to this story, making it easy to relate to and hard to put down! This book cemented Katie as one of my favorite authors. I highly recommend ordering a copy of this book!
I received a copy of this book from Blogging for books in exchange for my honest review.
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Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Sea Beneath Us Review and Giveaway


Etta just wants a home, a safe haven for her family; her daughter Florence wants to make a positive difference in the world. After suffering tragic loss, Etta walls off her heart. Florence opens hers to love again. Though they do not understand each other, both understand the struggle with cultural expectations of the day for women. They also grapple with personal insecurity and faith. Set in the early twentieth century, the stories of Etta and Florence intertwine as each seeks fulfillment. Follow them from Midwest America to the state of New York; from the Isle of Pines, a tropical spot off the coast of Cuba, to the heart of American power, Washington, DC.

My review: I enjoyed this book, since the story has a lot going for it! I loved the historical aspect and the amount of detail in the story. I didn't know that British law didn't recognize the marriage of a brother in law marrying his sister in law, so I found that interesting. This is an excellent historical tale to pick up!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.
About the Author

Cathy Slusser is a second generation Floridian who grew up in St. Petersburg, but spent holidays and vacations with her grandparents who lived in Manatee County. She moved to Terra Ceia Island in northwest Manatee County in 1979. Cathy fell in love with history upon reading Eugenia Price novels in Middle School. When she traveled to St. Simons Island, Georgia and saw the places those characters lived, she knew that the subject of history could be alive and exciting. Ever since that time, she has made it her goal to share that message with others. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Furman University and a Master’s Degree in History from the University of South Florida. She has worked for the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court’s Office since 1984 and is Chief Historian. In this role, she supervises five historical sites, the Manatee Village Historical Park, the Manatee County Historical Records Library, and the Florida Maritime Museum, the Palmetto Historical Park, and the Manatee County Agricultural Museum. Cathy has two grown sons, Rob and Tim, a fabulous daughter-in-law, Miranda, and a daughter of the heart, Christina. She has been married to her husband, Glen, a third generation Floridian since 1981. She enjoys dog training, sewing and writing. Cathy is the author of three novels about Manatee County history and the Atzeroth family, first settlers of Terra Ceia Island, published as a trilogy called From A Heavenly Land and a fourth novel, The Sea Beneath Us about her grandmother and great-grandmother. Cathy is passionate about preserving Manatee County’s past and telling its stories to residents and visitors of all ages.

Guest Post from Cathy Slusser
Writing a book about my grandmother, Florence Louise Tichenor Pace was not on my “to do” list. I am one of those people who loves “to do” lists. I enjoy the satisfaction of crossing completed items off my list so much that I add things that I have already done to the list just so I can cross them off! But, I never thought to write a book about my own ancestors.

When I finished the From A Heavenly Land trilogy, a lot of people asked me what was next. I had some ideas, but before I could put fingers to keyboard, I felt compelled to write this story. Maybe it was because every time I look into a mirror, I see my grandmother’s eyes looking back at me. I look very much like her, as does my mother, Emily Pace Bayless. I imagined Grandma saying, “You write about extraordinary women. What about me? When are you going to put my story on paper?”

I could have argued that she had already done an excellent job of that, having left us her handwritten autobiography in a spiral notebook. Once at a historical meeting, participants were asked to bring a memento that we treasured. I brought that notebook. In it, I learned about my grandmother’s tenacity, her creativity and her love of God.

Those characteristics were nothing new to me, having known my grandmother until her death at age 97 in 1992. Grandma was an intimate part of my life. During my childhood, she and Granddaddy travelled once a week to our house where they greeted my sister and me upon our return from school. She made many of the clothes my sister and I wore, including Nehru jackets and pants which were all the rage at the time. She did not like the “loud” colors, but made them anyway because she loved us. I still have a wrap around skirt that she made me in high school.

We spent many holidays and weekend trips with her and Granddaddy at their retirement home on Ware’s Creek in Bradenton and shared a love of books. I knew that I could read all weekend without being told to get up and do something productive. Reading was productive in her eyes. She often gave us books as gifts, but most of the time, we found potato chip crumbs inside, evidence that she read them before passing them along.

One of the stories that most characterizes my grandmother is her involvement with our local health department. She sewed baby layettes that included clothing, blankets and diapers and donated them to the health department for distribution to the poor. She embellished the pastel colored flannel outfits with embroidery saying, “Every baby, no matter what their circumstances should have a pretty, new outfit to come home from the hospital.”

A second story involves me. When I was in girl scouts, I started an embroidered sampler in order to earn my sewing badge. My grandmother taught me the stitches, but it was clear that I was not interested in the work, nor that I would finish it in time to earn my badge. While she finished it for me, she left one flower incomplete as a message that I had not done my part. It is signed FP and CB with both our initials.

My grandmother was a remarkable woman who made a strong impact on me and everyone who knew her. Just recently, I talked to someone who remembered Grandma and told me a story about her even though she has been dead 25 years.

The story she never told us and left out of her autobiography are the details about her relationship with her mother, Henrietta Emily. I sensed some conflict between the two women and wanted to know why. I don’t know for sure that my version of the story is accurate, but it is a good theory.

For a complete list of the blog stops, please click here

Cathy is giving away a handmade quilt that she made! To enter the giveaway, click this link. Be sure to comment before you head over there, since commenting on the blog stops serve as entries into the giveaway! (copy my blog's link)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Runaway Romance review and giveaway





When a reality TV star meets the reality of life, will it be her downfall or her salvation?

Ann Stanway had it all—a starring role in a reality show, an adoring boyfriend, and a sparkling future with limitless possibilities. Until the rules changed and the life she’d thought was real no longer existed. Leaving L.A. seems like her only option, and she lands in Kentucky at a quiet Amish inn—as far removed from her past as possible. Now she knows what was missing in her life–peace, true friendship and, dare she hope, a man who accepts her for who she is–or at least who he thinks she is.

Hunter Lewis is intrigued by the new woman staying at his friend’s Amish inn. Annie appears to be what she claims, but she’s secretive and won’t open up. He’s been burned by a woman before and can’t tolerate deception. But his interest in Annie is growing, and the attraction seems to be mutual—until something happens that makes Hunter question everything he’d thought was real. Dare he risk his heart, when he’s certain Annie is keeping secrets?

Can their new romance withstand the pressure, or will Ann choose to run again?


My thoughts: I've read some of Miralee's Middle School age fiction, which is excellent, so I was thrilled to get a copy of this book to see how her adult stories are. This one is excellent! I like that there is more going on with the characters, and it is a fun twist on the usual Amish based fiction. I like how the two worlds collide in this story. Miralee does a great job of portraying the characters and bringing the story to life.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.



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About the Author

I love life, love my family, love writing Christian fiction–reading, riding my horse and puttering in my garden are all ways I relax. I often have my little 7 lb Chihuahua, Lacey, on my lap when I’m working–there’s nothing like a warm ball of love on your lap to act as a stress reliever!

First and foremost I’m a child of God and daughter of the King. I’ve been involved in women’s ministries for years, I’m married to a wonderful man, have two grown children, two cats, two dogs, 10 chickens and ride my son-in-law’s Arabian mare since my old mare passed in 2013. We live about 9 miles from the nearest town on 11 acres, in a peaceful setting surrounded by trees.

I started writing shortly after I turned 50, and discovered I loved it so much I don’t want to stop. I have 15 novels out & a five book set of horse novels for middle-grade girls. I write both women’s contemporary fiction, historical & contemporary romance, and horse/mystery novels for girls. One of my Western romances, Love Finds You in Sundance, WY, was awarded the Will Rogers Medallion for Western Fiction, three books have been optioned as movies, and several books have been on the ECPA best seller list. You can find out more about me andmy books at http://miraleeferrell.com/



Guest Post from Miralee Ferrell

In the spring of 2015, I received an email from a Hollywood producer, followed by a phone call. Imagine my surprise when she asked if I’d be willing to write a book for them. They were no longer producing the Love Finds You books into movies and were working on a different project for UP TV, a possible three-movie series, and she hoped I might be able to work with them. She explained that she’d optioned Love Finds You in Sundance, Wyoming, two or three years earlier, and loved it. Of the thirty-five or so titles she’d read of the line, that was her favorite. However, UP TV didn’t want to make historical or old west movies, so she’d shelved it for now.

During that time period, I’d gotten my rights returned to all of my LFY books and had retitled them Finding Love in Last Chance, California, Finding Love in Tombstone, Arizona, and Finding Love in Bridal Veil, Oregon. Sundance became Outlaw Angel, and all four are still in print.

Here’s the amazing part. I came very, very close to turning down that contract offer with Summerside for Sundance. I was disappointed in the advance and royalty rate, and shortly after they released it, they sold the line to Guideposts, and that company didn’t continue the line much longer. Understandably, sales waned on their final releases, and I was disappointed with my sales from that final book as my others had done quite well. For a long time, I wished I hadn’t taken that contract and instead held out for one with another company for a three-book series. However, had I done that, I doubt Runaway Romance would ever have been written. It was Sundance that grabbed Chevonne’s attention and caused her to contact me. And the rest, as they say, is history.


Blog Stops
In honor of her tour, Miralee is giving away a grand prize of a Kindle Fire! Click the link below to enter! Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! Giveaway here

Christmas at the Grey Sage

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This Christmas, there’s plenty of room at the inn.

Nestled in the snow-covered Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe, the Grey Sage Inn looks like the perfect place for weary travelers to escape the craziness of the Christmas season. There’s plenty to see in historic Santa Fe during the day, and the inn’s owners, Maude and Silas Thornhill, are happy to spend their evenings hosting this year’s guests from across the country.

But an unusual snowstorm throws a wrench in the festive mood. The sprawling inn becomes close quarters as stranded guests discover this Christmas won’t be the relaxed vacation they expected. Tension and fear mount as the storm worsens, and Silas, a retired doctor, is called away in the middle of the night to care for a neighbor. The snow and stress unlocks tongues–and in the unexpected conversation that follows, secrets and pasts are revealed, and hearts are healed.

In the midst of snowdrifts and fireside conversations, of tales of days gone by, the warmth of Christmas brings a renewed hope as these trapped strangers become friends–proof again that the joy, hope, peace, and love of Christmas can be experienced no matter where you are.

My thoughts: This book is a fun one to pull out this holiday season! I love that the story starts out with Christmas traditions of the Maude and Silas in the early 70's before skipping to 2005. There is an array of characters and I appreciated the depth there was in both them and the story line, especially once the weather throws the unlikely group together. This is an excellent holiday book to pick up.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Stable Cat's Christmas review and giveaway


One night in Bethlehem, a small, dust-colored cat returns to her stable to find that a Baby has been born in the night. As all the animals tell the cat about the gifts they gave the Christ Child, the cat sadly concludes that she is too little and powerless to give a gift to the King. But when the Baby shivers and the cat leaps into the manger to comfort him, she discovers that she can give the best gift of all—herself. This timeless Christmas book celebrates the fact that everyone has a gift they can give the King, no matter their size or stature. Enchanting illustrations and a heartfelt message make this book a Christmas keepsake that can be enjoyed year after year.

My thoughts: This is a darling Christmas themed book of a little stable cat who discovers the simple gift of giving of herself is the best gift of all. My children and I enjoyed reading this story and discussing the meaning of it. We love pulling out the pile of Christmas books this time of year and reading through them, so this one makes a lovely addition to the small stack. This book would make an excellent gift, or would be fun to wrap up and open before Christmas, to prepare for the holiday.
I received a copy of this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Giveaway! If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this book, leave a comment with what your favorite Christmas tradition. Be sure to also leave a way for me to contact you, if you win!

If you would like to learn more about The Stable Cat, [here it is on Amazon:

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Top ten books on my Winter TBR list


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1. The Ladies of Ivy Cottage

I adored the first book in the series, and look forward to reading this one (even though I will have to wait a whole year for the final book!) soon. I may be holding off just a bit to savor it.

2. Until We Find Home

Cathy's books can be a bit hit and miss with me, but I look forward to picking up this one, since it looks like one I will enjoy!

3. Willowkeep

I've really enjoyed Julie's other books, so I look forward to reading this Regency based story.

4. The Empowered

This one looks like an interesting, suspenseful story, set in New Orleans and dealing with a kidnapping, cult, and trafficking.

5. My New Crush Gave to Me

This one looks like it could be a cute, YA story to read, with the holidays coming up!

6. No One Even Asked

I love Katie's other books, so I look forward to this one. It deals with a struggling school, politics, and what happens when two very different worlds collide.

7. As You Wish

This one looks like it has a lot of potential, since it is about a small town where people are granted one wish.

8. P.S. I Like You

I love the premise of this book: awkward teen gets a chance to really get to know someone when she starts receiving notes from a fellow music lover. This book just screams adorable to me!

9. The Distance Between Us

Another Kasie West, since I enjoyed Lucky in Love so much and hope to have time for her other books this Winter.

10. The Weight of Lies

This one is different from my normal fare, but I have heard a lot about it, which has made me want to pick it up!
What is on your Winter TBR list? Are there books I should add to my list?

How did you do with your Autumn TBR list? I feel pretty good about mine, since I have read 8 out of the 10, thus far! I just have to complete What Hope Remembers and The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey

Sunday, November 26, 2017

All Things Now Living

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Sixteen-year-old Amy doesn't like anything to die, she won't even eat the goats or chickens her mama has butchered every fall, but she can't let herself pity the inhabitants of New Lithisle. In a few short months the dome they built to isolate themselves from the deadly pandemic is predicted to collapse, but her whole life Amy has been taught it's God's will they die. They traded their souls for immunity to the swine flu virus, brought God's curse upon themselves by adding pig genes to their own.

Then, while on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are.

Amy's feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn't end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer, and was trying to prevent the coming destruction.

Now time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome's collapse, but if Amy doesn't find her father's contact in time, she'll die, along with everyone else.

My thoughts: This story jumped in with both feet, since we are barely introduced to Amy and the world she lives in before she is thrown into her adventure! I thought that it was an interesting story and liked the twists there were. I do wish that there was a little more world building, since there wasn't a whole lot to explain how the dystopian world came to be where it was at in the story. Since this is book one, I hope that some of those questions will be answered in the next book! Over all, this was an enjoyable read.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Power of Meaning

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This wise, stirring book argues that the search for meaning can immeasurably deepen our lives, and that it is far more fulfilling than the pursuit of personal happiness
There is a myth in our culture that the search for meaning is some esoteric pursuit that you have to travel to a distant monastery or page through dusty volumes to figure out life s great secret. The truth is, there are untapped sources of meaning all around us right here, right now. Drawing on the latest research in positive psychology; on insights from Aristotle, George Eliot, Viktor Frankl, the Buddha, and other great minds; and on interviews with seekers of meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith identifies four pillars of meaning: Belonging, Purpose, Storytelling, and Transcendence.
To bring those concepts to life, Smith visits a tight-knit fishing village in the Chesapeake Bay, stargazes in West Texas, attends a dinner where young people gather to share their experiences of profound loss, and more. She also introduces us to compelling seekers of meaning from the drug kingpin who found his purpose in helping people get fit to the artist who draws on her Hindu upbringing to create arresting photographs. And she explores how we might begin to build a culture of meaning in our schools, our workplaces, and our communities.
Inspiring and story-driven, "The Power of Meaning" will strike a profound chord in anyone seeking a richer, more satisfying life."

My thoughts: This is an excellent book on how to live a life that is more meaningful. I know a lot of people decided their word for the year was present, as in to be present in the moment, so I think that this book is an excellent one to add to that thought.
I like the point that was made early on that happiness and meaning are not the same thing.
I highly recommend this book.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Gift of Christmas Past

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Arson wasn't the only fire that ignited between them.
Promises shattered.
Lies spoken.
She was arrested.
He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.

Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire. 



Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.

Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?

My thoughts: I was a bit surprised just how much I loved this story! It is a heartwarming tale of a foster kid who has to make a way for herself after being accused of arson. I like how is then skips forward to the present day, when Hadley is trying to rise above her rough start in life. I really liked that there is a side story with her friend, Elliot, and that this book encourages readers to love unconditionally.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Take ten: Books I am thankful for

This week, the subject over at Broke and Bookish is all about books we are thankful for. So, here is my list! It does include affiliate links.

1. Life After

This book is incredible! I love the message of getting out there and living the life we have, since we never know when life as we know it will end.

2. Under the Overpass

This one is incredible book about two young men who decided to be homeless for a year. It's been a while since I read it, but it made me look at the homeless in a whole new light.

3. The Mother Letters

I'm not going to lie, this one makes me cry, since it is such a beautiful collection of letters that are written to inspire mothers. They are so encouraging!

4. Control Girl

This one has been an amazing book to go through with the women's group I am in! It has made me look at women in the Bible differently, and made me think how I want to be remembered.

5. Mere Christianity

This is another incredible book that our group went through this year. It sparked some interesting discussions!

6. The Circle Maker

We did the 40 day prayer challenge/devotional, and it was one of my favorite devotionals! I highly recommend this one.

7. In Our Backyard

This is an excellent book on sex trafficking that opened my eyes to just how prevalent it is. I love that this book equips readers to do something about it.

8. Door to Freedom

The whole series is excellent and deals with some difficult subjects.

9. A Harvest of Thorns

Honestly, this book could of been better, as far as the writing and story line went, but I did appreciate that it brought up the dangers of working in the sweat shops in third world countries.

10. The Lost Girl of Astor Street

This one was just enjoyable, though by no means a fluffy read. It was one of my favorite books of the year!
What books are you thankful for? Do you tend to lean towards fiction or non fiction?



The Beginners Gospel Story Bible

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How do you explain the gospel to toddlers and preschoolers?

Often adults are stumped, but Jared Kennedy’s focus on the promises of God makes the gospel come alive to the littlest hearts. Through fifty-two Old and New Testament stories, The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible highlights God’s perfect promises. Every page pops with bright colors, playful illustrations, fun learning opportunities, and, best of all each story points children to Jesus.

Kids know the value of a promise. Through the gospel, our good and all-powerful God keeps his word and fulfills his promises to us better than we could have ever thought or imagined!

In The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible, author Jared Kennedy traces God’s perfect promises through fifty-two Old and New Testament stories, retold in simple and compelling ways with toddlers and preschoolers in mind. Each gospel-centered story highlights God’s tale of redemption through Jesus and the unexpected and surprising ways that God’s grace and mercy are revealed throughout the Bible. Children will hear the good news of God’s love for them clearly expressed in ways that will speak to their young hearts. Brightly colored illustrations highlight the stories and add fun teaching elements of counting, opposites, patterns, and object recognition to keep even the youngest child’s attention. Every story also ends with a question that parents and caregivers can use to further reinforce the message.

Through reading this book one chapter at a time to your children—or letting them read it to you!—even the youngest kids will come to know that God’s promises are especially for them, and that God always keeps his promises.

My thoughts: We love this book! The pictures are colorful and engaging, which my children have taken too. I love that this book has so many stories in it, including a lot of Bible stories that other children's Bibles gloss over (like Hannah). Each story has some verses to accompany the, and then there are questions to help engage young ones in the story that was just read. I know we will be enjoying this book for years to come!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

I always Cry at Weddings


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Ava Larson is going to bring all the other brides to tears.

Engaged to a wealthy NYC socialite's son, Ava is ready to set the city abuzz with her glamorous wedding. At least until she realizes her relationship isn't what it should be. Then, in a move as daring as a red satin dress, she does the unthinkable - she calls it all off and makes a promise to God that from now on, she'll save sex for marriage.

She's convinced the future is hers for the taking, especially when an undercover cop promises a new romance...and an unexpected friendship with the homeless guy under her stoop brightens her days.

But when her carefully balanced life teeters out of control, weddings aren't the only thing to make her cry. Ava has to figure out what life she really wants to live... and what is the world love really means.


My review: This book wound up being totally different from what I was expecting, and I mean that in the best way possible! I enjoyed getting to know Ava, as she went through a lot over the course of the story. I didn't always agree with her choices, especially with Julian, since things could of ended badly, but I thought she was a very real character as she tried to change her life around after setting on a new course. This is an excellent story by a talented writer. I look forward to reading more of Sara's books!
I received this book from White Fire in exchange for my honest review.



Thursday, November 16, 2017

Charming the Troublemaker



About the Book



 



Title: Charming the Troublemaker


 

Author: Pepper Basham

 

Genre: Contemporary Romance


 

Release Date: November 1, 2017




Troublemaking never looked so good…

When Dr. Alex Murdock is demoted to a university in rural Virginia, the last thing he expects to find is a future. But country charm never looks as good as it does on Rainey Mitchell.

Rainey Mitchell doesn’t need a high-class flirt in her wounded world, but trouble and temptations wafts off the new professor as strong as his sandalwood-scented cologne.

When circumstances thrust them together to save her tutoring clinic, can the troublemaker find the hero inside and encourage the reticent Rainey to open her heart again.

My review: I enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was thrilled to get a copy of this one. Charming the Troublemaker didn't disappoint! It's a lovely, quick witted modern story set in the Appalachian mountains. I love that Rainey has her own story with this one! I loved returning to the Mitchell family, since they are a heartwarming, small town family. I highly recommend picking this one up!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.

Click here to purchase!

About the Author



 


Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes novels inspired by her love for history and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4-stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, her newest release, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars. Her newest contemporary romance, Just the Way You Are, releases in April 2016. You can get to know Pepper on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, or Instagram.

Guest Post from Pepper Basham

I have a thing for underdogs.

Misfits.

Lots souls who desperately need to find where they belong.

I can’t help it! Call it a ‘fix-it’ mentality or an awareness that God rescued me and now I want to rescue other people…even fictional characters, but I’m definitely a softy for those characters that people are less likely to root for. Catherine from The Thorn Bearer/Keeper became my first rescue…and I just HAD to find another.

I guess that’s how Charming the Troublemaker came into existence.

Dr. Alex Murdock desperately needed to be rescued.

In a bad way.

If you’ve had a chance to read my first book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series, A Twist of Faith, you’ll know that Alex doesn’t seem to be made up of much hero material. He’s a flirt, a little arrogant, and…well, kind of like a lost puppy.

As book 1 grew and came to a close, I knew Alex and Rainey’s story would be next…but I immediately ran into a real problem.

Who in the world was Alex Murdock? We really didn’t get to know him very much in book 1. He zoomed in a few times, ruffling feathers and then finally showing off some interesting kindness/compassion in the end, but…he was still a big-time flirt.

So the question emerged: Can a flirt be a hero?

What is Alex hiding behind that ready smile and sense of humor? Why does he seem so lost?

The answers were surprising!! Just wait.

The Mitchell family draw him right in, as they did with Dee, and his world is forever changed.

And then there’s Rainey. Strong-willed and independent, she is deeply wounded by her ex-husband’s betrayal. Though she gives off all these ‘confident’ vibes, she hides her insecurities behind a tough exterior in a desire to keep people at a distance – well, everyone except her family.

Alex rocks her world with his ready charm.

And she sees beyond the plastic grin to recognize another wounded soul.

Throwing them together into a book has been a hilarious and heart-stirring adventure, I wasn’t prepared to encounter. They’re so much fun!

AND…he’s ADORKABLE!! Seriously!! He is SUCH a dork, but makes me grin. And…he looks like Armie Hammer 😉

Let me just give you a hint to some of my favorite scenes:

Anything with Sarah!

Underoos

All of the scenes in Rainey’s house

And those in Mama Mitchell’s

Okay, I like the WHOLE STORY…and I can’t wait to see what you think too.


Blog Stops

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away a grand prize of a paper copy of A Twist of Faith, a mug from the Blue Ridge Parkway, one driftwood scented candle, one mango scented candle, and a Troublemaker snickers 😉 highly appropriate. Chocolate with a nutty personality :)!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

World View

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How could our world be different if Christians were recognized for not only speaking the truth, but also demonstrating mercy?

What would our lives be like if we reacted to our common culture with not just biblical facts, but also grace and compassion?

For more than 25 years, Marvin Olasky has offered this kind of viewpoint in his columns as the Editor-in-Chief of World Magazine, the leading news magazine written with a Christian perspective. In this collection of far-ranging columns, Olasky’s commentary on world events and affairs, as well as his own personal interactions, encourages readers to respond with both grace and truth in every encounter.

A leading voice for standing for biblical truth in the public square, Olasky also believes Christians should incorporate the biblical virtues of humility, kindness, and mercy in all of life. His call for biblical values to include both truth and mercy makes his voice stand out in a world that often falsely divides those goals and settles for a poor imitation of the robust Christianity described in Scripture. These short and punchy columns offer readers a new way to consider challenges in today’s world and shows them how to respond to any encounter biblically, but not hysterically, providing a wake-up call for the complacent, while also calming the frantic.

My thoughts: I thought that this book was a wonderful one for Christians to pick up, since it is a call to become involved in the world around us, a call to be the change in the world that we wish to see. I didn't always agree with Marvin, but I did think this was a wonderful book to read, since it was easy to get through and made me think. I highly recommend it.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.



Wonder Woman: Warbringer

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Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together.

Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

My thoughts: I'm still a little on the fence when it comes to Wonder Woman. After all the hype about the movie, I was a little bit disappointed in it. That said, I thought that this book was well done. It is an excellent story of friendship, with all the usual super hero elements: romance, action, and snappy dialog. If you enjoyed the movie, then I highly recommend this one! Even if you are on the fence about the movie, as I was, it is still a fun book to pick up.
I received this book from Blogging for books in exchange for my honest review.



Monday, November 13, 2017

Take ten: books I want my kids to read


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1. The Chronicles of Narnia

Are you surprised this on is on here? lol. We've kind of started on this one with the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I will probably wait to read the others with them.

2. Harry Potter

Another one we will wait to read, but I look forward to reading these with my kids!

3. Lord of the Rings

Are you sensing a nerd theme?

4. Little House on the Prairie

I should start reading these aloud, since I loved them as a girl!

5. All of a Kind Family

Another of my childhood favorites that I can't wait to share with my children!

6. Molly

I loved all the American Girl books, but Molly was my favorite.

7. Little Women


8. Jo's Boys

This one might be one more to my son's liking.:)

9. Eight Cousins

It's been forever since I picked this one, but I loved it when I was a kid!

10. The Scarlet Pimpernel

Another one I should re-read before we read together (though, we have a while with this one!)

I went with books for older kids, since we read a lot of board and picture books. It will be some time before we tackle this list though.
What books should I add to the list?

Lady Jayne Disappears

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When Aurelie Harcourt's father dies in debtor's prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father's unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother's disappearance--and perhaps even her father's death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano's stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

My thoughts: I was quite excited to receive this book in the mail! I enjoyed the writing style and getting to know the main character, seeing that good can come from selfish. It was a bit of an interesting combination, with the gothic flavor set in Victorian times. I did like the social aspect of the story, with Aurelie coming from debtors prison. I feel like the mystery takes backstage to Aurelie's story and how it parallels the story she is writing. I look forward to reading more by this author!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Pass it on


Let Scripture reform the next generation.

There are many different kinds of legacies we can leave, but sharing yourself and your faith with the next generation will always stand the test of time. Through showing himself and his wisdom in the book of Proverbs, God has also left his legacy with us and relies on us to share it with our children and grandchildren. But before we can share that wisdom, first we must grow in our own understanding and knowledge and record, reflect, and consider what we have learned.
Pass it On provides readers with an opportunity to create a legacy of wisdom and faith and to share it with their children and grandchildren. As readers are guided through the book of Proverbs, they are asked to create their own personalized, wisdom journal with the aim of giving it to someone they love. Through careful study, answering questions, writing out prayers, and sharing personal stories, readers can create a lasting keepsake for themselves and for their families and friends.
Created by Champ Thornton, best-selling author ofThe Radical Book for Kids, Pass It On is an innovative resource to strengthen families and help them grow in their love for God and each other. This is a perfect gift for an older and wiser friend or relative, so they can share themselves and what they have learned about God with the next generation.
The fresh and careful translation provided comes from Dr. Bruce Waltke, who, now in his eighties, has devoted his life to a humble and Christ-focused study of God s Word, and especially the book of Proverbs. His two-volume work on Proverbs is considered by many as the premier commentary in the English language. As you study the translation of individual chapters, add your own comments in the margins. And feel free to circle, underline, and connect key words or phrases as you see them in the chapter for the day.

My thoughts: I love journaling, so I found this journal style devotional on Proverbs to be a perfect fit for me. I love how it has the verses written out and then questions for the reader to go deeper into the verses that struck home and think on why they hit home. I also love the prayers and how you can personalize them, along with the chance to connect with the gospel.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Habits of the Heart


Are you “out of shape” spiritually? Do you long for a life that is fully and deeply engaged with the Creator? Does your heart ache to be transformed by God? Real change happens only when we train ourselves to be in the habit of exercising our hearts in the practice of godliness. The Bible says that training the body is of some value, but the most important thing we can do is to train our spirit. Habits of the Heart will help you develop practices that draw you into a deeper and lasting relationship with God. Each day of the year, this simple guide will help you focus on one essential aspect of your walk with God and show you how to make it a habit.

Features: Unique cover material featuring wood texture stamped with a bronze foil Elegant interior design with full-color end papers and a ribbon marker 365 devotions offer a meaningful, yet practical, way to exercise your heart in the practice of godliness Each week immerses you in a specific practice: conversational prayer, unplugging from life’s daily grind, waiting on God, being watchful, and much more.

My thoughts: This is a fun little book of devotionals that will get the reader thinking about well known scripture passages. I love the reminders of where your treasure are, giving in secret, stewardship, paying forward, God's power, heaven, and more. These are perfect for the busy adult, as they have a scripture verse and then a short thought that is to the point. These exercises are refreshing and a great way to start the day.
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Usurper's Throne

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His last best hope for England may destroy them all.

Henry VII faces traitors on all sides.

In a darkened abbey in Hampshire, a dozen monks conspire against him.

In a French garrison, a governor favors his enemies.

And one of them holds a secret to devastate England.

Katharine of Aragon arrives in the midst of a storm, bought in a traitor's blood. The death of Edward Plantagenet turned the queen's cousin, the Duke of Suffolk, against Henry. He has since fled to the Netherlands to recruit an invading army. Henry hopes to keep his new daughter-in-law close, but Suffolk's allies stir corruption in Wales, forcing him to send his son into the north.

There, a brutal feud threatens all Prince Arthur holds dear.

As his ruthless enforcer, Sir Thomas Lovell, closes in upon his enemies, Henry's last hope lies in his children, and in a dynastic marriage to unite two kingdoms...

My thoughts: I have read a couple of Charity's other books, which were quite different from this one. While I love her speculative fiction, I also enjoyed this rich historical tale. She does a fantastic job of breathing life into historical characters while staying true to the history aspect. I hadn't read a whole lot on the Tudors, outside of my history classes, so I felt a little overwhelmed at times by all the characters, but there is a list of characters in the beginning to help those like me to keep everyone straight (especially how they are related!). This is a wonderful, rich story. I look forward to reading more in the series!
I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.