Thursday, September 26, 2013


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Made to Last
Bethany House Publishers (September 15, 2013)
Melissa Tagg


A Word From The Author:

I’m a former reporter turned author who loves all things funny and romancey. My debut novel, a romantic comedy titled Made to Last, releases from Bethany House in September 2013. In addition to my nonprofit day job, I’m also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for novelists.

It all started when my dad, at the ripe old age of sixteen, picked up my mom up for their first date. She was thirteen. Thirteen!* Dad drove a cherry red car up the lane to my grandparents big ol’ green house and honked his horn…whereupon Mom jumped out of the apple tree she’d been waiting in and off they went…fishing. True story. (I’d give more details, but I’m saving it for a novella I plan to entitle Two Leaves. Mom, I really hope you read this.)

Four years of college, a few trips abroad and a stint as a reporter later, that dream is soon to be a reality. My debut novel, a romantic comedy titled Made to Last, is now out from Bethany House. Book two, Here to Stay, comes out on May 1, 2014.

In between writing and staring out the window brainstorming, I also work as a grant-writer at one of Iowa’s largest private nonprofits and serve as the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for novelists founded by Susan May Warren.

And I love, love, love talking about finding our purpose and identity in Christ. (And well, okay, food, old movies, boots and scarves, my awesome nephew Ollie, and, fine, Tim Tebow, too.)


Miranda Woodruff has it all. At least, that's how it looks when she's starring in her homebuilding television show, From the Ground Up. So when her network begins to talk about making cuts, she'll do anything to boost ratings and save her show--even if it means pretending to be married to a man who's definitely not the fiance who ran out on her three years ago.

When a handsome reporter starts shadowing Miranda's every move, all his digging into her personal life brings him a little too close to the truth--and to her. Can the girl whose entire identity is wrapped up in her on-screen persona finally find the nerve to set the record straight? And if she does, will the life she's built come crashing down just as she's found a love to last?

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Made to Last, go HERE.

My thoughts...

A very good debut novel with an interesting plot and sweet romance. Reality TV star Miranda has three men in her life... a pretend husband, an ex fiance, and a reporter, Matthew Knox, who has been assigned to dig up any dirt in her "perfect" life and who just happens to be in love with her. Knox has his own deep seated problems.

I found this to be a wonderfully entertaining book, the author has great talent and I'm looking forward to her future work.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

BELOVED by Robin Lee Hatcher

Best-selling author Robin Lee Hatcher returns to the adventurous American West in the final book of her Where the Heart Lives series. This story is filled with Robin’s trademark heartwarming and emotionally charged message of faith, courage, and love.

When Diana Brennan’s husband returns eight years after abandoning her, can she find it in her heart to forgive him?

Diana Brennan came west on the orphan train and was given a home with a loving couple who cherished and spoiled her. At 17, she fell hard for Tyson Applegate, the son of a wealthy mine owner. After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, Tyson took off for adventures around the world, including fighting with the Rough Riders in Cuba. Receiving no word of him for eight years, Diana’s infatuation with her dashing husband died an ugly death, and she is ready to move past the old pain and marry again, just as soon as Tyson is declared legally dead.

But when her husband returns, supposedly a changed man, he wants to reunite with his wife and run for the senate. While Diana suspects the election is his real reason for wanting her by his side, she agrees to maintain his home and to campaign with him, but when it is over, win or lose, she wants her freedom. He agrees with one condition––she must give him a chance to change her mind about him.

My thoughts...

Diana Applegate was abandoned by her husband, Tyson, years ago and believes he is dead. She's ready to remarry and move on with her life when suddenly he shows up at her engagement dinner wanting to reunite and show her he is a changed man. He also wants to run for the Senate and needs her. She agrees to stay with him until the race is over and then wants her freedom.

This is a cute story with such likeable characters. Hatcher is talented and brings a wonderful story of love and forgiveness. This one is hard to put down. 5 stars from me!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Ripple Effect Romance Series Giveaway

The Ripple Effect Romance Novella Series 
Enjoy this exciting new series of clean novellas by six critically-acclaimed authors.

"Like a pebble tossed into calm water, a simple act can ripple outward and have a far-reaching effect on those we meet, perhaps setting a life on a different course—one filled with excitement, adventure, and sometimes even love."

Book 1: Home Matters by Julie N. Ford
Book 2: Silver Linings by Kaylee Baldwin
Book 3: Righting A Wrong by Rachael Anderson
Book 4: Lost and Found by Karey White
Book 5: Second Chances 101 by Donna K. Weaver
Book 6: Immersed in Love by Jennifer Griffith

Home Matters by Julie N. Ford

According to her mother, Olivia Pembroke was born to be a star. But how is she supposed to be famous when she can't even get a decent acting gig? Her lucky break comes when she lands an audition for a wildly popular home improvement show. Even though she has no design training and has never even held a power tool, she refuses to let that stop her. She's confident that her destiny is finally within reach.

When her affections are torn between her heartthrob co-host and the irritating, yet somehow endearing lead contractor, does she continue to reach for the stars? Or does she design a new happily ever after? One that leads not to the fading lights of fame and fortune, but to a love that will burn forever.

Silver Linings by Kaylee Baldwin

Drew Westfall wants nothing more than to forget what he had to do in the name of "smart" business. Cutting off all ties with his parents—including handing over the entire contents of his trust fund to a charity—he takes off for Bridger, Colorado where his best friend has an extra room for him. It doesn't take long for him to realize that his business degree won’t do him much good in a town as small as Bridger, but he's broke and has nowhere else to go.

Eden Torresi has every reason to wallow. Not only did she lose her mother, but she had to drop out of nursing school and is in a relationship with a guy unwilling to commit. But Eden isn't the wallowing type. Instead, she chooses to spend most of her time taking care of the seniors at Silver Linings Nursing home. When she learns that her boyfriend's new roommate is down on his luck, her caring nature makes her want to reach out to him and offer what help she can. But the more time they spend together, the more complicated things get, especially when the seniors of Silver Linings decide to play matchmaker.

Righting a Wrong by Rachael Anderson

Seven years ago, Cambri Blaine fled her small hometown of Bridger, Colorado after her senior year ended in a fiasco. Only Jace Sutton knew the real reason why—that she was a spineless coward. Now, seven years later, her father's been in an accident and needs help, and Cambr has no choice but to return home. So with trepidation, she takes a leave of absence from the landscape architecture firm where she works and boards a plane, hoping against hope that Jace is no longer around and that the past can stay where it belongs—in the past.

If only life worked that way.

Jace never expected to see Cambri again. After she’d led him on, bruised his heart, and left town without a backward glance, he was forced to pick up the pieces and try not to hate her for it. Eventually, he put it behind him and moved on, creating a life for himself in his beloved hometown. But now that Cambri is back and looking more beautiful and sophisticated than ever, some of those old feelings resurface, and Jake instinctively knows, for the sake of his heart, that he needs to avoid her at all costs.

If only it were that easy.

Lost and Found by Karey White

Lydia was supposed to have an adventurous and exciting summer. Instead she's done nothing more than read and eat takeout. Now it's time to go home, and what does she have to show for it? A big fat nothing. Unless, of course, her trip to the airport somehow turns into something more than just a flight home.

Blake feels like he's been sent on a wild goose chase. While work is piling up back in Denver, he's on the other side of the country, hunting for some mysterious box that his grandfather left him. Well, no more. Nothing inside that box could possibly be more important than the opportunity to make it as the youngest partner at his firm. So he's going home, and that's that. But that's before he discovers his flight has been cancelled.

When these two strangers meet at the airport, they make a split-second decision to search for the box together. Maybe with both of them on the hunt, Lydia can have her adventure and Blake can find the box. And maybe, if they’re lucky, they’ll even find some romance.

Second Chances 101 by Donna K. Weaver

Thirty seven year old Francie Davis, a recent widow and empty nester, gets to attend college at last. She’s sure her luck has changed when she also lands a job on campus that will pay her tuition, as administrative assistant to a history professor. When her handsome new boss yells at her on the first day of work, Francie worries she will never be good enough.

For Professor Alex Diederik, life is going downhill fast. Not only is his bitter ex-wife trying to poison their only daughter against him, but now his one place of solace—his work environment—is being complicated by his attractive new administrative assistant. She drives home his feelings of failure as a husband and father, and Alex wonders if hiring her was the right thing to do.

Francie will have to put aside her hurt and insecurities or risk her dreams, while Alex must look outside himself if he’s to mend the breach with his daughter. And, perhaps, find someone who can help heal his pain.

Immersed in Love by Jennifer Griffith

Lisette Pannebaker speaks five languages and has a brilliant business plan—personal language immersion. Clients can hire her to shadow them and speak all day in any language they need to learn for business or travel—whatever.

But there’s a major hitch: she’s far too pretty. Clients with less than honorable intentions sign up just have Lisette at their side. Solution? A make-under. Way under.It works like a charm. None of her male clients show her the least bit of interest.

Until… Erik.

Erik Gunnarsson is charming, kind, and smart—everything she’s ever looked for. Even though he seems to have a secret and she swore she'd never date a client, Lisette is tempted to shed her disguise—even if it means jeopardizing her career.

Giveaway Details
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 10/31/13

Bloggers who put up a spotlight post about these books on their blog can enter to win an additional $25 gift card or paypal cash.  See details in the Rafflecopter.

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Pelican Ventures Book Group-White Rose Publishing (March 14, 2013)

***Special thanks to Dora Hiers for sending me a review copy.***


 After a successful auditing career, Dora left the corporate world to be a stay-at-home mom to her two sons. When her youngest son didn't want her hanging out at school with him anymore, Dora started writing Heart Racing, God-Gracing romance. Dora belongs to the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Carolina Christian Writers. Dora and her husband, her real life hero, make their home in North Carolina.

When Dora isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, family gatherings, and mountain cabin getaways. She despises traffic, bad coffee, technological meltdowns, and a sad ending to a book. Her books always end with a happily-ever-after!

Readers can connect with Dora:
Website -
Email - Dora(at)DoraHiers(dot)com
Blogs - &
Facebook -
Twitter -
Pinterest -


After a humiliating breakup, best-selling romance author Teal Benning flees to Promise Lake to complete her current novel, minus paparazzi and flashing cameras. Suffering from writer's block and a broken heart, Teal accepts the offer of help from neighbor, Hunter Miciver.

Hunter longs to be more than the friend who picks up the shattered pieces of Teal's heart, but when Teal finds out his secret, will she see him for the man he is—a man of faith and devotion, a man who would cherish her for the rest of her days—or will she lump him into the same category as all the other men in her life, including her father?

Will Teal recognize when truth whispers her name?

Product Details:
List Price: $3.99
File Size: 276 KB
Print Length: 126 pages
Publisher: Pelican Ventures Book Group-White Rose Publishing (March 14, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray: Not Enabled
Lending: Enabled

My thoughts...

Best selling romance author Teal Benning has broken up with her fiance and moves home to Promise Lake hoping to clear her head and finish the novel she's working on. She runs into her old friend, Hunter, who has always loved her and hoped she would eventually see him as a man who would always be there for her and love him back. He has a secret he's been hiding and it's time he tells her the truth.

A little romance and a bit of mystery makes this such an enjoyable story. I'm happy to have found a new to me author!

I received a copy of this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.


“You can stop screaming now, Kibbles. We’re home.”

Teal Benning downshifted and coasted into the gravel driveway, the wail of country music drowning the cicadas’ chatter coming through the sports car’s open windows. But the tunes did nothing to tame her cat’s occasional ear-piercing screech.

Home? Not technically, but close enough. She’d grown up in this tiny house tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains around Promise Lake.

For the last five years, home was in Atlanta, where she was Teal Benning, best-selling romance author and pro-basketball superstar Ian Hartsuk’s fiancée.

In Promise Lake, she was just Teal Benning.

Teal sighed and closed the windows. Jerking the keys from the ignition, the silence settled over her, and in the darkness, a glint sparkled from her finger, the remnant of her two-year-long relationship. Teal stared at the single diamond and clamped her lips together.

Correction. Ian Hartsuk’s ex-fiancée.

She tugged off the ring and smashed it deep into her laptop bag.

Why hadn’t she flung it at Ian’s head? She would have relished his expression as he watched several thousand dollars sink to the bottom of the hot tub. Wouldn’t that have been priceless? Nah. What was a few thousand to him? She’d figure out what to do with it later.

Teal stepped out on stiff legs, giving the short black dress a yank south and tugging her sweater tighter. She heaved the laptop bag over a shoulder and reached in for Kibbles’s carrier. Dried leaves crunched under high-heeled sandals as she wobbled around to the back of the car in the loose gravel.

The blackness settled around Teal’s throat like a noose. Her eyes burned, but she refused to give in to self-pity. What had she expected? Ian was no different from any other man she knew. Including her father. Cheating and lying, that was the name of their game.

Teal lifted her chin and pushed back her shoulders. All she needed was three months of disconnecting from the world and the constant paparazzi who hounded her in Atlanta. Without anyone traipsing around after her vying for the most obnoxious camera shot, and with Internet service more off than on, she’d forget all about Ian and the looming wedding date. The wedding that wouldn’t happen.

She had three months to pound out the words to the book that had already eluded her for eight weeks. Ninety days to create a heart-racing romance.

With a broken heart.

Teal clenched her jaw.

One look at the eye-popping price tag on the long white dress hanging in her closet in Atlanta would fix that.

Teal set the cat carrier and laptop bag on the ground and pressed her fingers against the tense muscles along the back of her neck, rolled her shoulders, and stretched. She reached into the trunk for her suitcase.

“Took you forever and a day to get home, Teal.”

Her head jerked up and banged against the trunk lid, breaking the expensive clip holding her hair in an elaborate twist. Hair fell over her eyes, and she lost her hold on the over-stuffed suitcase. It landed with a thud on the cat carrier, the contents spilling out onto the damp ground.

Kibbles screeched and clawed through the opening, then scampered away to cower in the bushes next to the house.

The voice in the darkness sounded deeper, richer, bolder, than she remembered. But comfortable.

And definitely amused.

“Make yourself useful, Hunter, and give a girl a hand.” She didn’t bother turning around, just knelt down and reached for the undies first. She scooped up the bras next and stuffed them in the suitcase pocket.

Yeah, she’d been angry and hurt. But was that an excuse to fling every stitch of clothing she owned into a suitcase for just a three-month stay? It wasn’t as if her mother didn’t own a washer and dryer. Sheesh!

“I’ll get this, Teal. You get that ferocious tiger of a cat.” Heavy footsteps ground into the gravel, and Hunter Miciver squatted next to her.

“Ha! That ferocious tiger weighs about seven pounds. All meow, no bite. Kibbles isn’t used to being outside. She’ll be lurking somewhere near the front door.” She snatched a stray bra off the ground and dangled it behind her back.

Hunter stuffed the rest of the clothes into the case and glanced at her, waiting, holding the lid open.

She rolled her eyes and crammed the bra into the case.

He closed the suitcase and unfolded to his full height, all six feet of him.

She stood, the top of her head reaching Hunter’s neck. Unlike Ian, where she’d barely reached his chest and always felt like such a minuscule person in the midst of his giant friends.

But then, they hadn’t turned out to be her friends, had they? Only Ian’s. Including her best friend, Kate.

Some best friend.

Not Hunter. He was a true friend, a lifelong ally. Had he known, Hunter would have warned her about Ian. Hunter couldn’t lie if his life depended on it.

Teal smiled. “Thanks, Hunter. It’s good to see you.”

A cool breeze caressed her face, along with Hunter’s scent. Different than what she remembered. Distinctly masculine with a hint of…she sniffed. Peppermint?

“You’re welcome. I’m glad you’re home. Crazy loud feline, and all.” Hunter closed the trunk lid and turned to face her. Even in the darkness, she made out the sympathy in his expression. Lacking his trademark smile and the crease lines around his eyes, both arms opened wide and reached out for her. “I’m sorry, Teal.”

She lifted her chin.

She. Would. Not. Cry.

Not over a jerk like Ian. And not even for two wasted years.

But, Kate? The first friend she’d made in Atlanta?

Teal couldn’t stop the single sob that crawled from the back of her throat. She took a step forward, and Hunter’s arms tightened around her.

She closed her eyes. A hug never felt so warm, so comforting, so…like coming home.

From Hunter Miciver?

Was that because she had known Hunter since elementary school? Hunter and his sister, Kelli, who lived across the street and were the only other kids in their neighborhood, played together after school every day. They spent the summers hanging out at the lake, and winter weekends skiing, tubing, or snowboarding.

Or was it because he acted like her big brother, too? He never complained about tagging along with her and Kelli on their first few dates. Crushing six teenagers into a car made for four didn’t even bug the guy.

Somewhere along their journey, Hunter had evolved into a friend with open arms, always willing to share a hug when her relationships soured and disintegrated.

Which they always did.

But a dear friend was all Hunter would ever be. Not quite marriage material. Or dating for that matter.

Not that she was looking. Because she was definitely not in the market.

She disengaged herself from his arms with a gentle step back. She didn’t want him to get the wrong idea.

A rush of cool air whispered by. She shivered and tugged her sweater tighter, rubbing her hands against the thin material covering her upper arms. “How did you know?”

He leaned against the car and crossed his arms. One brow lifted. “Your breakup is plastered all over the Internet, Teal.”  He made the quotation symbol with his fingers. “Best-selling romance author suffers heartbreak—”

Sheesh! Was it an unspoken rule that the girlfriend was always the last to know her boyfriend was cheating on her?

“OK, Hunter. I get the message.” Teal sucked in a deep, shaky breath, the crisp mountain air soothing her battered spirit a little. “When did you get in?”

“Just drove into the driveway myself. Followed you in. Didn’t you see me behind you?”

No, she hadn’t. She had been…distracted.

By the image of Ian’s teeth nibbling a trail along some brunette’s neck, his hands blazing a different path. And the click before a camera flashed, the exact moment when she realized who the brunette hair belonged to.

Defeat and weariness weighed heavy against Teal’s shoulders. She sighed, sliding a gaze over Hunter, from the baseball cap hanging low over his head, past the black leather jacket and the snug-fitting jeans down to the tennis shoes. “You look great, Hunter. I like the whiskers.”

And the longish, curly hair. Not like his teen, geeky years when he always wore it short. And he had bulked out. He wasn’t so scrawny anymore. Not that she would share that little tidbit with him.

One side of his lips curved at her appraisal, and he hoisted himself away from the car. “Come on. Let’s get your stuff and your screaming cat, inside. Maybe I can talk you into throwing on a pot of coffee. That was a long drive.” Hunter grabbed the handle of her suitcase and heaved the laptop bag over a shoulder.

“Coffee?” She scooped up the cat carrier. “It’s after midnight. It’ll have to be decaf, because I don’t plan on staying awake all night.”

He gave his head a little jerk, the smile crinkles around his eyes more obvious. “Decaf? What’s up with that, Teal? You’re not even in your thirties, and you’re drinking decaf?”

She shrugged and slid the key into the front door. He didn’t need to know that she hadn’t slept a full night since…it didn’t matter. “So, what’s it feel like, Hunter? The big three-oh?”

“Just another blessed day in the big scheme of things, Teally.”

Hunter, ever the eternal optimist.

She understood a little of that now. Thanks to the military chaplain she’d interviewed for her last book. But lately, questions ping-ponged in her brain, growing more agitated the moment her head hit the pillow at night.

She pushed the door open and flipped on the light switch to the great room. Fur rubbed against her ankles as Kibbles darted inside.

“Wow! Your mom made a few changes,” he whispered.

The previous furnishings of worn recliners and a flea market sofa had been replaced with a couple new leather couches. Dark. Rich. Expensive. Definitely not her mom’s usual decorating touch.

Teal stared, gulped. “Yeah. I guess so. That’s what I get for not making it home in a while.”

“Too long, Teal.”

The sadness in his voice made her look at him. Some unreadable emotion lingered around his eyes, compressed his lips.

“Maybe, but how would you know? How many times have you been home in the last year?”

His face cracked into a giant grin. “Probably about as many times as you. But Kelli keeps me up-to-date with any changes on the home front.”

Kelli, Hunter’s twenty-eight-year-old sister was Teal’s childhood best friend, although mostly online now, since about four hours of driving time separated them. “The rat. I should have known.”

With quiet steps he disappeared up the stairs, carrying her suitcase to the bedroom her mother still preserved for her. She set the carrier on the hardwood floor and wandered into the utility room, removing her sweater and hooking it on the rack. Teal retrieved Kibbles’s food and water dish and filled them up, then dumped fresh litter into the box her mother kept for her visits.

Teal slipped back into the kitchen, breathing a quiet sigh that her mother hadn’t redecorated in here.

She flipped the coffeemaker switch as sneakers slapped the wood floor behind her.

“At least your old bed is still in the bedroom.” That voice, so deep and intense, did funny things to her insides. Weird.

Or was she just comparing Hunter’s deep tone to Ian’s voice, which seemed rather whiny in comparison? She frowned. She so didn’t want to go there, to be the kind of person who constantly trashed the ex-fiancée.

Water gurgled through the coffeemaker, the precious aroma quickly filling the small kitchen. She grabbed a couple mugs from the cabinet and automatically added sweetener to hers. Hunter liked his coffee black.

“So what’s going on with you, Hunter? How long will you be home?”

“Until the first week of January.”

She glanced over a shoulder, the coffee decanter hovering just above the mugs.

Hunter had taken off his leather jacket and lounged against the counter, arms crossed, his muscled upper torso filling out that black long-sleeved shirt, oh-so-nicely.

What was wrong with her? She blinked and turned her attention back to the decanter, now dribbling coffee on the countertop. “You can take off work that long?”

“Nah, not really. I’ll get some work done from here, including online meetings. But everybody needs a little downtime, Teal.”

Maybe she should have been a graphic arts designer. Granted, she had the flexibility to work from wherever she chose, but deadlines waited for no writer. Didn’t she know it? She had three months. Until February 17th.

She finished pouring the coffee and handed him the mug. “Where is home now?”

He cleared his throat, adjusted the ball cap lower over his face and mumbled, “Mostly D.C.”

Teal waited for him to elaborate.

“Teal, you’re home. I wasn’t expecting you until next week sometime.” Teal’s mother breezed into the kitchen. She planted a kiss on Teal’s cheek and gave her a one-armed hug, being careful not to spill Teal’s coffee. She did the same with Hunter. “Good to see you, too, Hunter.”

“I’m sorry to wake you, Ramona.”

Teal didn’t flinch at Hunter’s use of her mother’s first name.

Ramona had reverted to her maiden name after her divorce and despised the title “Mrs.” Everybody called her Ramona. Including Teal, most of the time.

“That’s OK, Hunter. I heard talking, and I just wanted to make sure that it was Teal.” Ramona covered a yawn.

That was odd. Who else would be talking in the kitchen in the middle of the night?

Teal narrowed her eyes and stared at her mother.

A new, colorful robe was knotted around her waist. And Ramona’s long hair? Where was it? She wore it now cut short, and angled at the bottom.

Teal’s jaw dropped.

Hunter reached over and propped Teal’s chin up with his thumb, a gentle expression on his face. Pity? Why not? He knew about her breakup and that she never handled changes well.

What a long day. All she wanted was to slink upstairs, curl up in the bed, and bury her head under a pillow. Would she wake up to find this day had been a nightmare?

“Nice hair cut, Ramona.” Teal managed to choke out the words.

And it was. Truly. But why would Ramona cut her hair?

“Thanks, honey. It was time to let my long hair go.”

The furniture. A drastic haircut and a brand new, flashy red robe.

What was next? The kitchen? Teal’s bedroom?

“Want some coffee, Ramona? I just made a pot. Decaf.” Teal sank onto the bar stool in front of the island.

“No. I’m headed back to bed. Is everything OK, honey?”

Teal stiffened. She hadn’t had a chance to break the ugly news. But that conversation would not take place tonight. Teal forced her lips into a smile. “Sure. Why?”

Her mother studied Teal’s short, black party dress. “Well, for one reason, when we spoke on the phone last, you said you were coming home next week.”

Hunter’s brows arched.

Next week. Yes, well, that was before the hot tub incident with Ian and Kate tonight. She sucked in a deep breath and tugged her dress down. She felt naked, exposed, vulnerable.

Hunter stepped so close she caught that whiff of peppermint again. He looped an arm around her shoulder.

She glanced up, surprised at the tenderness shining from his warm eyes.

“Isn’t it wonderful that Teal could work out her schedule to come home early for the holidays? It’s been far too long since we’ve had a chance to hang out. Maybe we can find time to hit the slopes sometime next month.”

Her hero, stepping in to save the day.

Or rather, to shore up the emotional dam that threatened to break. She managed to send a smile of gratitude and caught his wink.

His stomach growled.

All three of them laughed.

Hunter dropped his arm to pat his belly. “Quiet down there.”

“Hunter, I think you’d better feed that hungry bear hiding inside you. I’m sure I have something in this kitchen that you and Teal can scrounge up.” Ramona looked from one to the other, something akin to suspicion mingling with her smile. “All right, then, I’m off to bed. See you in the morning, Teal. Good night, Hunter.”

Well, that conversation was postponed. Thanks to Hunter. Missing the warmth of Hunter’s arm, Teal shivered and rubbed her arms. Why hadn’t she changed into jeans for the trip here? “Sleep well, Mom. See you in a few hours.”

“Good night, Ramona,” Hunter added.

Her mother padded from the room.

Hunter leaned back against the counter, sipping coffee. He’d changed. Grown and filled out. But he was still the same childhood buddy. She smiled.


“Did I tell you it’s good to see you?”

“I missed you, too, Teal.”

“I didn’t say that.” She sputtered, swatting him on the upper arm. Her hand met firm, lean muscle. Stunned, she blinked. A couple times.

“It was implied.” Satisfaction gleamed from his roasted-coffee-colored eyes and curved one side of his lips.

“Would you like something to eat, Hunter? Ramona always has eggs and cereal in the house.”

Hunter pulled a cell phone from his jeans pocket and studied it. His eyes widened, and then his lips thinned. He scrubbed his beard. “I’m sorry, Teal, but I’ve got to run. Um…a client needs something. Will you be OK?”

A client? In the middle of the night?

“If one more person asks if I’ll be OK—”

“Hey. Don’t shoot me. Just checking. You just went through a rough experience, and I haven’t seen you in awhile.” He mashed the phone back in his pocket and drained his coffee, then pushed away from the counter. He rinsed out the cup, eyeing her over his shoulder. “You up for a run in the morning?”

Teal glanced at the kitchen clock. Two a.m. Now that she was away from the public eye, she might be able to catch a few hours of good sleep. “Hunter, I don’t know what world you live in, but it’s morning now.”

That familiar coaxing smile appeared, the one he always used to cajole her into cooperating with his plans. He slid an appreciative glance over her bare legs. “You may be just a tad out of shape, Teal, but you’re not too far gone from our track days. What? Are you afraid I’ll show you up?”

“Out of shape! Show me up?” She snorted and stood up. “Right. Like that’s going to happen.”

“OK, then. How about seven-thirty?”

She didn’t usually work until Saturday afternoons, anyway. And it was just a run, not an all-day event.

“Only if you promise to throw in breakfast, too.” She groaned. How had she let him talk her into this?

One dark brow arched, and he flashed a wicked grin. How did he do it? This cheeriness. At two in the morning.

She wanted to growl.

“It’s a deal, Teally. With at least a gallon of coffee, too. I’ll meet you here.”

“Awful smug, aren’t you? We’ll see if you’re singing the same tune after you’re eating my dust.” She mumbled as she flipped the coffeemaker off and followed Hunter to the front door, her gaze drawn to his bulky shoulders and wide, strong back. Hunter must be on some workout regimen.

“G’night, Hunter. Sweet dreams.”

He glanced over a shoulder, his eyes suddenly dark and unreadable. “Night, Teally. See you in a few hours.”

She closed the door behind him. She was glad Hunter was home. Maybe they could spend some time together, revisit their teen hangouts like the ski slope and the lake.

February 17th. Burn that date in your brain, Teal.

She had three months to finish this book.

She couldn’t afford to let Hunter be a distraction.


Hunter cocked his head, listening for the click of Teal’s deadbolt, and popped a peppermint in his mouth.

Sweet dreams?

Hunter didn’t have time for dreams. He needed to get to his computer. Fast.

And hit the bathroom even faster.

He couldn’t afford to let Teal be a distraction.

For now, anyway. Not when Shale needed him.

He probably shouldn’t have spared the precious minutes to come over to see Teal. But she had surprised him by turning onto their small road ahead of his car.

And here he was. Like a moth drawn irresistibly to the light of her smile.

After all, shouldn’t there be some perk to being in Promise Lake and not halfway across the world?

The real reason he’d returned to this side of the world growled again, disrupting the peaceful night. Pain shot through his gut. He pressed a hand against his stomach.

A distinct click rattled from the other side of the door.

He hustled to the end of the driveway, and then jogged across the street to his parents’ house.

What happened to the operation? He didn’t expect to hear from Shale until sometime tomorrow, er…today. Later today.

“What’s going on, Shale?” he huffed, under his breath.

Hunter stopped to grab his bags from the car then raced inside and up the stairs towards his old bedroom. He set the bags down and hit the bathroom.

When the overseas doctor suggested medical tests, he had said no. What would happen if the doctor found something that required surgery? How would he cope by himself? Here in the states his family could help if surgery was necessary.

Relieved for the moment, he sank into the desk chair, which squeaked, as loud and obnoxious as ever. He booted up the computer and tugged his favorite sports cap off, running a hand through his hair. “Come on. Come on.”

Finally. He tapped at the keys, and while he waited for the program to load, he pulled out his cell phone and texted Shale.

Hunter glanced at the bed next to the desk. He closed his eyes and rubbed them, and then circled his neck to work out some kinks.


Samson, his parents’ ten-year-old golden retriever, ambled into the room and gave him the “What are you doing interrupting my sleep?” dogface.

“Hey, old buddy. How’s it going?” Hunter scratched the dog’s head until Samson plopped down on the rug and huffed.

“I’m with you, buddy.”

With a couple hours of work ahead of him, he would be lucky to catch some sleep before he left to run with Teal.

What would it be like to have a normal job? One where he could be snuggling under that toasty comforter by now. Where operatives or assets situated all over the world weren’t texting him at odd hours of the night. Er, morning.

Or to be married? With a wife to warm his bed, to cozy up to him with a hug at the end of a long day. And a family to come home to, with plenty of kids to help him see that the world wasn’t all bad. To bring the smiles and the laughter back into his day.

God, will Teal ever see me as the right man for her? Not just some jerk who will treat her bad, but the one who will show her what true romance is? With Your help, I would do my best to take care of her, love her, and cherish her for all of my days.

He would give up the job for her. In a second.

But one thing he wouldn’t do.

He refused to be someone she turned to for hugs and comfort when her boyfriends dumped her. Or the other way around.

And what’s the first thing he did tonight when he saw her?

Offered a hug.

Mush ball.

Hunter checked the screen. Time to get clicking.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Strong Rain Falling

by Jon Land

on August 12 - September 30, 2013

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller Published by: Forge Books Publication Date: August 13, 2013 Number of Pages: 368 ISBN: 978-0765331502 Series: Caitlin Strong, 5 (Can be read as a Stand Alone) Purchase Links:


Mexico, 1919: The birth of the Mexican drug trade begins with opium being smuggled across the U.S. border, igniting an all-out battle with American law enforcement in general and the Texas Rangers in particular. The Present: Fifth Generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong and her lover, former outlaw Cort Wesley Masters, both survive terrifying gun battles. But this time, it turns out, the actual targets were not them, but Masters’ teenage sons. That sets Caitlin and Cort Wesley off on a trail winding through the past and present with nothing less than the future of the United States hanging in the balance. Along the way they will confront terrible truths dating all the way back to the Mexican Revolution and the dogged battle Caitlin’s own grandfather and great-grandfather fought against the first generation of Mexican drug dealers. At the heart of the storm soon to sweep away America as we know it, lies a mastermind whose abundant power is equaled only by her thirst for vengeance. Ana Callas Guajardo, the last surviving member of the family that founded the Mexican drug trade, has dedicated all of her vast resources to a plot aimed at the U.S.’s technological heart. This time out, sabotage proves to be as deadly a weapon as bombs in a battle Caitlin must win in cyberspace as well. Her lone chance to prevail is to short-circuit a complex plan based as much on microchips as bullets. Because there’s a strong rain coming and only Caitlin and Cort Wesley can stop the fall before it’s too late.

My thoughts...

If you enjoy unpredictable thrillers this is the book for you. Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong is trying to find out who is targeting the sons of her love interest Cort Masters who just happens to be in a Mexican prison. She also must figure out what his teenage sons have in common with the dead bodies found lined up on a drill rig.

Drug Cartel, nuclear weapons, and ghosts from the past are what you'll find in this action packed novel. Fast paced, refreshing, entertaining... Jon Land knows how to write!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, September 23, 2013

THE MEMORY TREE by Joseph Pittman

As the holidays descend upon Linden Corners, life becomes a flurry of cooking, shopping, and visiting friends and family—and young Janey Sullivan is worried her Christmas traditions may get lost in the mix. Though she loves her adoptive father, Brian Duncan, she longs for her birth parents and questions her past. But an unexpected yuletide visitor may have just the answers she needs.

Haunted by the loss of his soul mate, Brian is reluctant to test the waters of the dating pool. With his family all coming to visit for Christmas, he hardly has time to think about it anyway—until newcomer Trina Winter arrives in town. Now, as life moves on for everyone around him, Brian begins to wonder if he can do the same.

As they grapple with the pain of the past, Janey, Brian, and Trina will each learn to make the changes that could lead to a bright new future—and perhaps the family they’ve always dreamed of…

My thoughts...

My first book by Joseph Pittman and I found it to be such a warm Christmas tale, I want to read more of his books. Christmas is magic in this little town and ten year old Janey has a dream. When tragedy strikes, the townspeople rally and wishes come true. Janey is able to look back in time to when her parents were still alive.

Love the cover and the Christmas magic, a heart warming story!

I received a copy of this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

THE SECRET KEEPER by Beverly Lewis

Come home to Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania--the beloved setting where Beverly Lewis's celebrated Amish novels began--with new characters and new stories of drama, romance, and the ties that draw people together.
Jennifer Burns shocks her family and friends when she bids farewell to her modern life in favor of the Old Order Amish world, settling in with Samuel and Rebecca Lapp.

The people of Hickory Hollow are curious about the beautiful young seeker among them--one handsome Amishman in particular--and Jenny faces many challenges in the Proving time the brethren set for her...challenges of the heart, as well as the spirit.

My thoughts...

Book three in the Return To Hickory Hollow series is a delightful read about a young woman who wants to become Amish. This was a great storyline but I don't feel the author explored it well, Jenny didn't go through the struggles one would expect while adapting to their faith, especially submission and pride. To me those would be the hardest for an Englisher but Jenny didn't really have much of a struggle with either. She was accepted into the faith too easily.

Lewis is one of the best Amish fiction writers, I wish she had given us more suspense and day to day coping with such a different lifestyle. I give this 4 stars.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


On the night of October 9, 1799, the frigate HMS Lutine breaks apart on the shoals of the Frisian Islands off the Dutch coast. When the insurer Lloyds of London pays on the wreck, it takes ownership and plans expeditions to recoup the lost millions in gold and silver. Nearly two hundres years later, after a series of largely failed salvage operations, Lloyds tries again - this time on the strength of new technologies and a strategy devised by the gifted young engineer Henri Poincare.

It is late spring, 1978. Poincare has worked to near-exhaustion preparing for the Lutine dive. Before the salvage season begins, he takes a rare holiday: a hike at low tide across the vast, muddy flats of the Wadden Sea. His guide is Liesel Kraus - smart, able, appealing...and troubled. She and her brother Anselm, directors of Kraus Steel, are haunted by a violent history that generates both rage and an enormous, corrupting wealth. The closer Poincare draws to Liesel and Anselm, the more warped life becomes until love and a death threat compel him to investigate what no one else - aside from Interpol - will. Pain as well as treasure, he discovers, can be dredged up from the past to reshape the present.

The Tenth Witness, a prequel to the award-winning All Cry Chaos, is the tale of a man upended: a twenty-eight year old who rejects a brilliant career in engineering for an uncertain, darker one: international police work.

My thoughts...

This is a very well writ­ten story with a compelling plot and intriguing char­ac­ters. You've got everything needed for the perfect mystery... sunken treasure, murder, ex-Nazi's. Fast moving, action packed tale with engineer Henri Poincare and his business partner design and build an extensive platform for use in searching for sunken treasure. Henri falls in love with Liesel Kraus, whose brother supplies material for the platform. Henri eventually learns of the family's involvement with Nazi's during the war and the fun begins. A 5 star read for sure!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

THE MINER'S LADY by Tracie Peterson

When Chantel Panetta's younger sister claims to be in love with Orlando Calarco, Chantel knows there is no hope. The Panettas and Calarcos have been sworn enemies for decades, and young love cannot heal the deep wounds between the two iron-mining families. Yet, unable to resist Isabella's pleas, Chantel agrees to help her sister spend time with Orlando...only to have a run-in with Dante, Orlando's brother. The older, more handsome one.

Chantel can't deny the attraction that flares when she's with Dante. But when a tragedy occurs at the mine, is there any hope that the hatred that has simmered between these two families might be resolved? Or will Chantel's hope for love be buried amidst decades of misunderstanding?

My thoughts...

Another winner by Tracie Peterson! A feud between families finally comes to a head. Isabella Panetta and Orlando Calarco fall in love the coals are stirred and the fire blazes. Orlando's older brother tries to put an end to their relationship he finds himself falling for Chantel Panetta.

You'll find great characters with lots of problems, addiction, poverty. The author handles them beautifully and gives us a heartwarming romance novel.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Fired Up
(Bethany House March 1,
Mary Connealy


Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Christy Award Finalist, a Carol Award Finalist and an IRCC Award finalist.

The Lassoed in Texas Series, Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon and Gingham Mountain. Petticoat Ranch was a Carol Award Finalist. Calico Canyon was a Christy Award Finalist and a Carol Award Finalist. These three books are now contained in one large volume called Lassoed in Texas Trilogy.

The Montana Marriages Series, Montana Rose, The Husband Tree and Wildflower Bride. Montana Rose was a Carol Award Finalist.

Cowboy Christmas—the 2010 Carol Award for Best Long Historical Romance, and an Inspirational Readers Choice Contest Finalist.

The Sophie's Daughters series. Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats, Sharpshooter in Petticoats.

She is also the author of; Black Hills Blessing a 3-in-1 collection of sweet contemporary romances, Nosy in Nebraska, a 3-in-1 collection of cozy romantic mysteries and she's one of the three authors contributing to Alaska Brides with her Carol Award Winning historical romance Golden Days.


Rollicking Wild West Adventure and Romance from Bestselling Author Mary Connealy

Dare Riker is a doctor who saves lives, but someone seems determined to end his. It may have something to do with the traitors he dealt with during the Civil War, or it might be related to the recent incident with Flint Greer and the ranch. Whoever the culprit is, he or she seems really fired up, and Dare can't let his guard down for a moment, which is a challenge, since right now he's trying to win the heart of the recently widowed Glynna.

Glynna Greer came west as a mail-order bride and ended up in a bad situation. Now her husband, Flint, is dead, and she's determined to care for her son and daughter on her own. She wants to believe Dare Riker is as decent as he seems, but she's terrified to lock herself into another marriage. She plans to support her small family by opening a diner--never mind that cooking is not her greatest talent. The men in Broken Wheel, Texas, are so desperate for home cooking that they seem willing to overlook dried-out beef and blackened biscuits.

Glynna can't help but notice that danger follows Dare wherever he goes. There's the avalanche. And then the fire. But things really get out of hand when someone plunges a knife from Glynna's diner into Dare's back. Are Flint's cronies still plotting revenge? Is Glynna's son engaged in a misguided attempt to protect his mother? Is a shadowy outsider still enraged over past injustices? And can Dare survive long enough to convince Glynna to take another chance on love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fired Up, go HERE.

My thoughts...

Someone is trying to kill Dare Riker. He has moved to Texas and decides he doesn't want to continue working as the town doctor, he wants to become a rancher. The things this man goes through is unreal, being stabbed in the back, an avalanche and there's more. Widow Glynna Greer takes care of an injured Dare and sparks begin to fly, but Glynna's son does not want this to continue and he tries to put a stop to it.

Conneally has written a witty, entertaining, romance novel with a western theme. A gem of a book!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

EVENTIDE by Shelley Shepherd Gray

A young Amish woman harbors a difficult secret. Does she dare share the truth with the man she hopes to marry?

Elsie Keim doesn't want to be left behind. Her twin sister, Viola, and her older brother, Roman, have both found love and are building lives of their own. But Elsie? She's still stuck at home, being treated like a child. No one seems to consider her a capable woman-all they see are the thick lenses of her glasses, constant reminders that Elsie suffers from keratoconus and is slowly going blind.

Elsie knows there's much more to her than her disease. That's why when a new neighbor, Landon Troyer, shows some interest in her, she doesn't want anything to scare him away . . . even if it means keeping her condition a secret.

Landon is ready to start a new life and feels like Elsie may just be the right woman to start it with. But when Roman steps in and shares the truth about Elsie's illness, Landon is floored. His job is demanding and takes him away from home, sometimes for days at a time. How could he keep up with his responsibilities and take care of Elsie?

My thoughts...

Elsie Keim is going blind. She lives with her large, overprotective, Amish family. One thing she longs for is to find true love but with her coming blindness she knows no man would ever want her. However, handsome neighbor, Landon, starts showing an interest in her and she decides to keep her failing eyesight a secret. Elsie's brother, Roman, takes it upon himself to inform Landon of her condition, his heart is broken. With such a demanding job he would be away from home a lot and he wouldn't be able to take proper care of Elsie.

This is such a sweet emotional story, the characters are so loveable, their dilemma's heartbreaking. The author does a wonderful job of showing God's love. The three books in this series are a wonderful addition to any library.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Win This Trilogy by Deborah Heal

Here and now are the perfect place and time to get your copy of Unclaimed Legacy.

Unclaimed Legacy 99 Cents for a limited time   Now? Because it's only 99 cents for Kindle (for the month of September only). Here? Because buying it enters you in my giveaway of the complete Time and Again trilogy (personally signed by yours truly) AND a pretty mug for your morning coffee. Hint: You might want to keep the mug and Kindle book for yourself and give the signed copies of the trilogy as a gift. The Rafflecopter giveaway entry form is below, but first let me tell you about Unclaimed Legacy.

  Those who have read Time and Again know that Abby Thomas is a college student on a summer service project with 11-year-old Merri. And they know that the summer is not going the way Abby had expected—but in a good way. For one thing, she meets a very nice guy named John Roberts. And for another, she discovers a strange computer program called Beautiful House that lets her fast-forward and rewind life. Not her own, of course, but those of the people who lived in Merri’s old house.

And now Beautiful House comes in handy when Abby, John, and Merri agree to help the "Old Dears" next door with their family tree. Except Abby and John learn more about one of the ladies’ ancestors than they ever wanted to know. Convicted in 1871 of murder and arson, Reuben Buchanan is a blight on the family’s reputation. But was he really guilty? Abby and John must get inside the mind of a murderer to find out.

And while they’re rummaging around in the Old Dears’ family history, they also find Nathan Buchanan, a heroic relative connected to the Lewis and Clark Expedition—and a legacy waiting to be reclaimed. But the most important discovery they make is that God’s promise to bless a thousand generations is true.

"In this sequel to Time and Again Deborah Heal has taken pieces of real life history and woven them [into] a fantastic story geared to keep the reader entertained and on the edge of their seat… I adored every single bit of this. It has the perfect blend of history and action-packed suspense to keep young adults glued to the pages… I think she has mastered a home run here. This one easily rates a 5 out of 5 stars for me…and I hope it will work its way to the top of the best seller lists for young adults.”

-- Pirate2240 "Kat" Amazon Reviewer

080The Clue of the Unclaimed Legacy The blurb above doesn’t say a lot about it, but Unclaimed Legacy features my heroes Lewis and Clark. I’ve always been fascinated by them, partly because I knew the explorers spent the winter of 1803 at Hartford, Illinois, near where I grew up in Woodburn. They chose that site for the camp they called Camp River Dubois, because it was near the mouth of the Missouri River, which they would ascend the next spring. The captains spent the winter laying in supplies and training their men. I decided it would be fun to let Abby “time-surf” back to see Camp River Dubois. . .

Continue reading HERE to get my clues about Unclaimed Legacy.

As the blurb says, sometimes when Abby and John are “time-surfing” they learn more than they want to know about people from the past--like Bertram White a violent husband. Read my companion article about him HERE.

Read a free chapter of Unclaimed Legacy HERE)

Now, enter the contest to get your Kindle copy of Unclaimed Legacy for 99 cents and a chance to win the complete trilogy in paperback, personally signed by me. Oh, and a mug.

Time Travel Trilogy by Deborah Heal

Mar 27 2013 038

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 13, 2013


When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola's rambling Victorian house.

Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola's walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola's youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper--the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything.

My thoughts...

Tandi is a single mother in hiding from an abusive mate, her money is running out, and she needs an extension on her paying her rent. When she goes to speak to her landlady, Iola, she finds the 91 yr old dead. Iola's church inherits her property and in exchange for cleaning out her house they give Tandi a month's free rent. While cleaning the closet she finds prayer boxes containing letters to God. Reading these help her to realize the person Iola was and she begins to understand just how much God loves her.

I found this to be a wonderfully entertaining book and love the idea of a box. I intend to make a box which looks like a lot of fun. This one easily gets 5 stars!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Bethany House Publishers (September 1, 2013)
Nancy Mehl


Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Norman and their dog, Watson. She’s authored thirteen books and is currently at work on her newest series for Bethany House Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

She and her husband attend Believer’s Tabernacle in Wichita.


Mystery, Romance, and Suspense Seamlessly Combined in a Mennonite Small-Town Setting Callie Hoffman knows she has a good life in Kingdom, Kansas. She's thrilled to be engaged to Levi Housler, the new pastor of Kingdom Mennonite Church, and she spends her days working with her friend and soon-to-be sister-in-law, Lizzie Housler, at Cora's Cafe. However, Callie's idyllic life is interrupted when a body is discovered on the road outside Kingdom and the deceased turns out to be a victim of a serial killer. As Washington County's new sheriff begins questioning Kingdom residents, Callie and the rest of the town are appalled at the prospect of a killer among them. The very reason Kingdom exists is to protect the people from the temptations and dangers of the outside world, but all the town founders' attempts to plan ahead couldn't prevent a threat like this. Unsettled at this unforeseen danger, Callie is concerned when it appears Levi knows more than he's telling. Desperate to find answers for herself, Callie never expected that she'd have to face some of her own past's skeletons. As Callie and the residents of Kingdom fear this danger for which they never planned, they must learn anew that only God knows the future and their trust must always lie in Him.

My thoughts...

A Mennonite community and murders? That's what this fast paced though predictable book is about. When the police question a suspect in a murder shock waves are sent through the town. There's a lot going on and each situation is interesting, Levi, the new pastor is young and many feel too inexperienced, they would like to see him go so a campaign to oust him begins. He begins to have doubts about whether he is where God wants him. Levi is in love with Callie who shows her rage when a case of child abuse occurs, she has secrets of her own.

I found this to be an entertaining quick read even though it was easy to guess what was going to happen. Good for one of those days when you want to read a simple book and feel good at the end.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Unforeseeable, go HERE.

UNLIMITED by Davis Bunn

Simon Orwell is a brilliant student whose life has taken a series of wrong turns. At the point of giving up on his dreams, he gets a call from an old professor who has discovered a breakthrough in a device that would create unlimited energy, and he needs Simon's help.

But once he crosses the border, nothing goes as the young man planned. The professor has been killed and Simon is assaulted and nearly killed by members of a powerful drug cartel.

Now he must take refuge in the only place that will help him, a local orphanage. There, Simon meets Harold Finch, the orphanage proprietor who walked away from a lucrative career with NASA and consulting Fortune 500 companies to serve a higher cause.

With Harold's help, Simon sets out on a quest to uncover who killed the professor and why. In due time, he will discover secrets to both the worldchanging device and his own unlimited potential.

My thoughts...

Simon Orwell and his old professor are working on a project and have been exchanging emails. Simon has completed his part and heads to Mexico to deliver it when he is attacked by drug cartel. He barely escapes with his life and he still has the powerful device. Upon arrival he discovers the professor is dead and is determined to find out who has been sending the emails?

This is a fascinating read, Simon knows his life is in danger and so are those of many children in an orphanage, Bunn makes this an intriguing story with the plot and his writing style. He makes you feel like you are right there in the midst of it all and I really like that!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

DEVIL IN THE HOLE ~ A Partners in Crime Tour

Devil in the Hole

by Charles Salzberg

on Tour September 1 - October 31, 2013

Book Details:

Genre: Literary psychological crime fiction Published by: Five Star/Cengage Publication Date: July 19, 2013 Number of Pages: 253 ISBN: 978-1-4328-2696-3 Purchase Links:


Devil in the Hole is based on a true crime that occurred over 40 years ago in New Jersey, wherein a man murdered his entire family, wife, three children, mother and the family dog, and disappeared. My novel uses that event and takes off from there, following the murderer on his escape route. Using the voices of people he meets along the way, and people who are affected by his crime, the reader starts to build a portrait of the man and why he did what he did, in addition to following those who are searching for him.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 5-17-2013 This title publishes JULY 2013 “In this smartly constructed crime novel, Salzberg uses multiple viewpoints to portray an unlikely killer who methodically slaughters his family . . . an intriguing collage of impressions and personal perspectives for the reader to ponder.” **************************************** Devil in the Hole by Charles Salzberg. Five Star, $25.95 (254p) ISBN 978-1-4328-2696-3 In this smartly constructed crime novel, Salzberg (Swann Dives In) uses multiple viewpoints to portray an unlikely killer who methodically slaughters his family. When James Kirkland, a neighbor, notices something odd going on at the Sedgewick, Conn., home of the Hartmans, he calls the police. Inside the Georgian-style mansion, police find the neatly executed bodies of Adele Hartman, her three teenage children, and her mother-in-law. John Hartman, Adele’s husband, is missing. Salzberg adroitly creates the voices of Hartman as he tries to establish a new life for himself; Charles Floyd, a senior police investigator who becomes obsessed with finding Hartman; and Kirkland, whose discovery changes his life. A slew of other characters who knew Hartman or who encounter him as he moves around provide snippets of information. The result is not a finished portrait but an intriguing collage of impressions and personal perspectives for the reader to ponder. Agent, Alex Glass, Trident Media Group. (July) Reviewed on 05/17/2013 | Details & Permalink (July)

My thoughts...

Charles Salzberg has written one of the best novels I've read, this is an eerie look into the mind of a killer. We all wonder how can anyone be so evil, taking a life in such horrific ways? This is based on a true story and not only do we get a peek into the killer's mind but we see how it effects the victim's family and friends as well as people who just hear about it.

The talented author shows us how senseless these crimes are and how they don't accomplish for killers what they ultimately are looking for. A very interesting, not to mention perturbing, psychological thriller.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One James Kirkland I knew something was out of whack, only I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Just something, you know. And it wasn’t only that I hadn’t seen any of them for some time. I mean, they’d been living there for what, three, three and a half years, and I don’t think I ever had more than a two- or three-minute conversation with any of them. And God knows, it wasn’t as if I didn’t try. All things considered, they were pretty good neighbors. Mostly, I guess, because they kept to themselves. Which is certainly better than having neighbors who are always minding your business, or who don’t mow their lawn, or who drop in uninvited, or who throw wild parties and play loud music all night long. They weren’t like that. Just the opposite, in fact. Why, with that great big front lawn and two teenage boys you’d think they’d be out there tossing a football or a Frisbee around, or something. But no. It was so quiet sometimes it was as if no one lived there at all. Though I did hear rumors that the boys had a reputation of being hell-raisers. Maybe that’s why they kept such a tight lid on them when they were home. Because I can honestly say there wasn’t any hell-raising going on in that house that I could see. As a matter of fact, the only way you’d know the house was occupied was when you’d see the kids going to school, or him going off to work, or her and the mother going out to shop. Or at night, when the lights were on. Which brings me back to the house itself. And those lights. It was the middle of November, a week or so before Thanksgiving, when I first noticed it. I was coming home from work and when I glanced over there I noticed the place was lit up like a Christmas tree. It’s a Georgian-style mansion, one of the nicest in the neighborhood, by the way, with something like twenty rooms, and I think the lights were on in every single one of them. But the downstairs shades were drawn tight, so all you could see was the faint outline of light around the edges of the windows, which gave it this really eerie look. Maybe they’ve got people over, was my first thought. But that would have been so out of character because in all the time they’d lived there I’d never seen anyone go in or out other than them. And anyway, it was absolutely quiet and there were no cars in the driveway or parked out on the street. Just before I turned in, I looked out the window and noticed the house was still lit up, which was odd, since it was nearly midnight and, as a rule, they seemed to turn in kind of early over there. The next night when I came home from work and I looked across the street the lights were still on. And that night, before I went to bed, after midnight, I looked out and the lights were still blazing. After that, I made a kind of game of it. Under the pretense of getting some fresh air, I walked close to the house, as close as I could get without looking conspicuous, and listened to see if there were any sounds coming from inside. A couple of times, when I thought I heard something, I stopped to listen more carefully. But I never picked up anything that might indicate that someone was inside. And each night, when I came home from work, I made it a point to check out the house and make a note of how many lights were still burning and in which windows. I even began to search for silhouettes, shadows, anything I might interpret as a sign of life. And it wasn’t long before I whipped out the old binoculars to take a look, thinking maybe I could see something, anything, that would give me a hint as to what was going on. But when my wife accused me of being a peeping Tom, I put them away, at least while she was around. There weren’t always the same number of rooms lit, but I noticed there were always fewer, never more. It was as if someone was going around that house each day turning off one light in one room, but in no discernible pattern. I began to think of that damn house during the day, while I was at work, or on the train coming home. It became a real thing with me. I even kept a notebook with a sketch of the house and notations next to each window that had a light on. At night, I played a game. I began to think of that house as my own personal shooting gallery and, sitting on the window sill in my pajamas, while my wife was either in the bathroom or asleep, I’d choose one of the rooms and aim my imaginary rifle and pop! pop!, I’d shoot out one of the light bulbs. And, if the next night that particular room was dark, I’d get a tremendous rush of self-satisfaction that carried me through the whole next day. It was kind of like one of those video games my kids play. Pretty sick, huh? I mentioned it to my wife—not my silly game, but the fact that those lights were going out one by one. She thought I was nuts. “Can’t you find anything better to do with your time?” she asked. “No,” I said. “I’m entertaining myself. Leave me alone.” Then I asked whether she’d seen the Hartmans lately, because I was beginning to have this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach, as if something was seriously wrong. That it wasn’t a game anymore. “No,” she said. “I haven’t. But that’s not unusual. Besides, it’s not as if I’m looking for them. If you ask me, they’re creepy. The whole bunch of them.” “I know. But maybe . . . maybe there’s something wrong.” “Go to bed,” she said. So I did, lulling myself to sleep with my imaginary rifle cradled in my arms, as if it would actually afford me some protection just in case something was wrong. A few nights later, I set the alarm for three-thirty and slipped the clock under my pillow. When the vibration woke me, I got up quietly, so as not to wake my wife, looked out the window and sure enough the same number of lights was burning in the house as the night before. I was puzzled and frustrated because I was dying to know what was going on. I even thought of making up some kind of lame excuse to ring the Hartmans’ bell. But I didn’t have the nerve. Two weeks later, only three rooms in the house were still lit. Down from eight the week before, fourteen the week before that, the week I began to keep count. I asked my son, David, whether he’d seen the Hartman kid in school, the one in his class. “We’re not exactly best buds, Dad,” he said. “He keeps to himself. He’s weird. Maybe he’s queer or something.” “I just asked if you’d seen any of them lately.” “Not that I can remember. But I don’t go out of my way looking for any of them. They’re a bunch of weirdoes.” I went back up to my room and stared out the window for maybe fifteen minutes, trying to figure out what the hell was going on. I wondered if I should do something. “Come to bed,” my wife said. “I’m worried,” I said without taking my eyes off the Hartman house. “There’s definitely something wrong over there.” “You’re being ridiculous,” she said. “Besides, it’s none of our business.” “No, I can feel it. Something’s . . .” She sighed, got out of bed and handed me the phone. “Well, rather than having to spend the rest of my life with a man who insists on staring out the window at the neighbors’ house all night like an idiot, I’d just as soon you called the police and let them put your mind at ease. At least maybe they can get them to turn out all the lights. Maybe then we can get some sleep over here.” So, that’s how I called the cops.

Author Bio:

Charles Salzberg is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Esquire, New York magazine, Elle, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times, GQ and other periodicals. He is the author of over 20 non-fiction books and several novels, including Swann's Last Song, which was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel, and the sequel, Swann Dives In. He also has taught been a Visiting Professor of Magazine at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and taught writing at Sarah Lawrence College, the Writer's Voice, and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is a Founding Member.

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