Wednesday, January 30, 2013

One Glorious Ambition by Jane Kirkpatrick

Born to an unavailable mother and an abusive father, Dorothea Dix longs simply to protect and care for her younger brothers, Charles and Joseph. But at just fourteen, she is separated from them and sent to live with relatives to be raised properly. Lonely and uncertain, Dorothea discovers that she does not possess the ability to accept the social expectations imposed on her gender and she desires to accomplish something more than finding a suitable mate.

Yearning to fulfill her God-given purpose, Dorothea finds she has a gift for teaching and writing. Her pupils become a kind of family, hearts to nurture, but long bouts of illness end her teaching and Dorothea is adrift again. It’s an unexpected visit to a prison housing the mentally ill that ignites an unending fire in Dorothea’s heart—and sets her on a journey that will take her across the nation, into the halls of the Capitol, befriending presidents and lawmakers, always fighting to relieve the suffering of what Scripture deems, the least of these.

In bringing nineteenth-century, historical reformer Dorothea Dix to life, author Jane Kirkpatrick combines historical accuracy with the gripping narrative of a woman who recognized suffering when others turned away, and the call she heeded to change the world.

My thoughts...

A historical novel based on the life of Dorothea Dix. What a great book! It follows the life of Dorothea and includes many interesting characters. Her passion is for teaching. I found it to be a fast paced, very interesting novel. She suffered pain and loss that was too much for one person to handle. The final chapter deals with politics and her push to change things for the "insane", her crusade did indeed change things for the mentally ill. She was a great woman and I thoroughly enjoyed every page.

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

Moon Over Edisto by Beth Webb Hart

The past has come knocking on Julia's door. Can she summon the courage to answer betrayal with love? Julia’s best friend, Marney, broke up her parents' marriage years ago. Now Marney shows up at her Manhattan apartment, asking the impossible—come home to Edisto Island to care for the half-sisters and half-brother she has never known. Marney, recently widowed, has lung cancer. There's no other family to care for the children while she’s in the hospital following surgery.

Julia loathes Marney. But if she doesn’t step in, her own mother—who has never gotten over the divorce—will be called upon to take care of the children. So she heads to South Carolina to keep the peace.

On Edisto, she begins to reconnect with the place and the people and she’s been running from her whole adult life. There’s the local doctor who once stole a kiss from her on that very beach, and the siblings she’s never known—especially the sister with selective mutism named Etta who’s the keeper of nearly every family secret . . . including the very one that just might bind-up Julia’s long-since shattered heart.

My thoughts...

When I read the book description I was excited to read this book, the storyline is wonderful. I feel there was some things missing though, for instance, Julia's sister absolutely cannot stand Marney or her children, she has not forgiven her father for being unfaithful.

When asked to handle funeral arrangements for Marney she immediately agreed. Julia's decision to move to Edisto was also sudden and she didn't even bother to talk to her fiance about it.

It just didn't seem finished in areas, I was left wondering why in many of the situations and people's decisions. That being said everything else was enjoyable, Julia and her mother were very likeable as was Aunt Dot. I'm happy things turned out as they did.

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

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The Runner by A. Wayne Gill ~ A Glass Road Public Relations Tour

Michael Knight has the perfect life - a perfect family, a perfect relationship and a perfect future. Groomed to follow in his father's footsteps, Michael's career as a preacher is laid out before him. But he has a secret that will take him from being a small town preacher's kid to the heart of the big city, where everything seems golden, glittery and glamorous.
When he gets the opportunity of a lifetime, Michael glimpses a future of power, influence and wealth. The whole world is his for the taking, but at what cost? Will he trade in all he has been for all he could become?

My thoughts...

What I liked about this book is that it shows Christians as real people with real problems, we are only human after all. A great plot with suspense and good characters. I've not read anything by this author before but I look forward to seeing more of his work. At the beginning of the book I felt it was slow moving with too much detail but it does get better. Very enjoyable.

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

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ashton Park ~ A CFBA Tour

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Ashton Park
Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2013)
Murray Pura


Murray Pura was born and raised in Manitoba, just north of Minnesota and the Dakotas. He has published several novels and short story collections in Canada, and has been short-listed for a number of awards. His first books to be published in the United States are the inspirational works Rooted and Streams (both by Zondervan in 2010). His first novel to debut in the USA is A Bride’s Flight from Virginia City, Montana (Barbour), which was released January 2012. The second, The Wings of Morning, will be published by Harvest House on February 1. Both of these novels center around the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.


For fans of the hugely popular Downton Abbey series, comes this equally enthralling story of the Danforth family of Ashton Park. Among the green hills and trees of Lancashire, only a few miles from the sea, lies the beautiful and ancient estate of Ashton Park. The year is 1916. The First World War has engulfed Europe and Sir William's and Lady Elizabeth's three sons are all in uniform--and their four daughters are involved in various pursuits of the heart and soul.

As the head of a strong Church of England family for generations, Sir William insists the Danforth estate hold morning devotions that include both family and staff. However, he is also an MP and away at Westminster in London whenever Parliament is sitting. During his long absences, Lady Elizabeth discreetly spends time in the company of the head cook of the manor, Mrs. Longstaff, who is her best friend and confidante. This friendship includes visits to a small Baptist church in Liverpool that exposes Lady Elizabeth to a less formal approach to Christian worship and preaching than she is used to and which she comes to enjoy.

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

My thoughts...

In the midst of WW1 Sir William and Lady Elizabeth live in an old family estate near the sea and have seven children, all of whom are expected to marry within their social class. Problems arise when that doesn't always happen. Sir William's family has attended the Church of England for generations, it's a given this will not change. Lady Elizabeth decides to visit a Baptist church while he is away on business... to her surprise she really enjoys it. Upon his return Sir William is not happy with what his wife has been doing.

Lots of drama with good characters, however, it's a bit confusing to follow all seven children's lives. That's a lot of characters to keep up with! It's not easily read, at some points there are many things happening at once and at other times it moves too quickly.

Overall, it's an enjoyable tale. 4 out of 5 stars.

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

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Know Me Better

Know Me Better is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy @ I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Each week she will pick 5 questions off of her author interview lists to answer.

Top 5 songs on your playlist? They're always changing and I usually only listen to music in the car.

How much time do you spend reading each week? I am always reading and can finish a book in two days although I have been known to finish it in a day.

What is the last thing you Googled? Office Max to check prices on their ink cartridges.

Favorite places to travel? Love going to the mountains and the beach. But I enjoy traveling and will go anywhere anytime.

What is your favorite way to spend a rainy day? Curled up with a book or watching a movie.

It's your turn. Share your answers to these questions as a comment below or connect to the linky.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mail Call!

This is what the mail brought yesterday. What a joy to open all the packages! The One Year Book of Psalms is from the Tyndale Rewards Program. You can get free books by earning points for reviews, participating in their survey panel, tweeting, and more.
How long does it take you to read an average size novel? For me it's 2-3 days.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Unglued Devotional

There are sixty short devotionals that encourage readers who are experiencing anger, fear, and other emotional struggles. You'll find each day begins with a scripture, a Thought for the Day, a devotion and a prayer to close. I like devotions that make you think and this one does. We've all had feelings of regret and days where we feel inadequate. Terkeurst covers these subjects and more very well. I've had the book a few weeks and really like it! You can buy a copy here.

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

Grace Given by Beth Shriver ~ A CFBA Tour

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Grace Given
Realms (January 8, 2013)
Beth Shriver


Childhood memories of her grandfather's ranch came alive as Beth wrote her first Amish story. Her parents grew up in the country, so she appreciates pastoral life and respects those who make a living off the land. She visits a nearby Amish community just south of Fort-Worth for an occasional church service or brunch with the bishop and his wife. And on the way home she stops at the community store to get some plum jam!

Beth received a degree in social work and psychology from the University of Nebraska. She worked as a caseworker for Boulder County Department of Social Services before starting a family. Beth and her husband, two children, along with two cats and a beagle live in Texas after moving from their first home in Colorado. She freelances for the local papers in her area and writes columns, devotionals for magazines, and novels in a variety of genres in both fiction and nonfiction. Beth is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Literary Agency.


“Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.” —Amish Proverb

Elsie Kline can’t forgive her sister for leaving the community. Gideon Lapp helps Elsie through her bitterness by studying the Martyr’s Mirror book that is centuries old, describing their ancestors’ sacrifice for their faith. But he feels there is something more. When the community moved to Texas, they were not welcomed by some of the locals. They have told Katie and Elsie that harm will come to their community if don’t go back up north where they came from. Gideon stays by Elsie’s side as she learns to give grace and to humble herself to accept grace as well. “Beth has a heart for helping others, whether through her nonfiction and fiction writing or in other capacities. It has been my pleasure to read and respond to her work during the past few years of knowing her.” —Leanna Ellis, Author of Facelift and Forsaken and winner of the National Readers Choice Award.

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

My thoughts...

I love Beth Shriver's books, she's such a talented writer. In the series the story covers the lives of three women.Elsie is keeping a secret about being verbally assaulted time and again by a group of English boys. The community has suffered a lot of harrassment and Elsie's secret would only make things worse. Her sister, Katie, was with her when the teens begin to taunt them, she has now run away with Jake to live among the English.

Elsie and her friend, Gideon, begin to study a book about the persecution of the Amish. Gideon loves Elsie and hopes she will return that love someday. Someone else enters her life and could change everything. An enjoyable read!

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Placebo by Steven James

While covertly investigating a controversial neurological research program, exposé filmmaker Jevin Banks is drawn into a far-reaching conspiracy involving one of the world's largest pharmaceutical firms.

After giving up his career as an escape artist and illusionist in the wake of his wife and sons' tragic death, Jevin is seeking not only answers about the questionable mind-to-mind communication program, but also answers to why his family suffered as they did.

My thoughts...

My first Patrick Bowers book and it certainly won't be my last. Very interesting storyline, fascinating characters, suspense, and a lot of conspiracies. A perfect read! The book opens with a disturbing scene with the loss of Jevin's wife and children then moves to a year later and finds Jevin has changed careers. He is working on a tv documentary and uncovers a creepy experiment tied to psychopaths and a pharmaceutical company. He and Charlene, his assistant, end up in a situation where escape seems impossible.

A thriller to say the least. There are a lot of medical terminology in the beginning and some language that seemed inappropriate for Christian fiction. 4 out of 5 stars.

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Path of Freedom ~ A CFBA Tour

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Path of Freedom
Abingdon Press (January 2013)
Jennifer Hudson Taylor


Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of historical Christian fiction set in Europe and the Carolinas and a speaker on topics of faith, writing and publishing. Her debut novel, Highland Blessings, won the 2011 Holt Medallion award for Best First Book. Jennifer's work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, Romantic Times Book Reviews, and The Military Trader. She serves as the in-house Publicist at Hartline Literary Agency and co-owns Upon the Rock Publicist. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Communications. When she isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with family, long walks, traveling, touring historical sites, hanging out at bookstores with coffee shops, genealogy, and reading.


2nd in the Quilts of Love series

When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple. With only her mother’s quilt as a secret guide, the foursome follows the stitches through unknown treachery.

As they embark on their perilous journey, they hope and pray that their path is one of promise where love sustains them, courage builds faith, and forgiveness leads to freedom.

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

Watch the book trailer:

My thoughts...

Flora and her sister Irene are planning a trip by train to visit relatives, their Pastor (part of the Underground Railroad) asks that they allow two runaway slaves to accompany them . The female slave is pregnant, Flora is a midwife. Her skills are put to the test as they make their way using a quilt as their guide. Loved this part! Bruce Millikan is accompanying the slaves, he and Flora grew up together, he tortured her with his constant teasing. She is not happy he is back in her life.

This is an engaging story that tackled questions such as is it ok to lie to protect the slaves? A tale of forgiveness, freedom, and love. Fast paced, well written, enjoyable historical fiction. I really like this author.

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

Hurt by Travis Thrasher ~ A CFBA Tour

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
David C. Cook; New edition (January 1, 2013)
Travis Thrasher


After college, he targeted working in the publishing industry and was fortunate to find a job early after graduation. He worked as Author Relations Manager for Tyndale House Publishers, the publisher of his first two novels.

The thirteen years he spent working in author relations taught him the business of publishing as well as the psyche of writers.

Early on, he made a deliberate choice of not wanting to be boxed in by a brand or a genre. Instead, Travis has chosen time and time again to write the stories that mean something to him at that moment. He views his first ten years of being published as training and practice. Those novels in many ways were written for himself.

The four years of writing full time have taught him the discipline and determination necessary to make it as a novelist. They’ve also served to close the chapter on what is hopefully just one era in his writing journey.

The stories continue to fill his head like they did when he was in third grade. The only difference is that Travis now knows what to do with those stories. His goal continues to be to tell stories that move him as well as his readers. He wants to continue to experiment and take risks, but more than anything he wants to provide readers a satisfying experience.

The dream remains the same. To try and write something magnificent. To make up wild worlds full of wonderfully rich characters. To make sense of the world through the stories he tells. And to try and inspire hope with the words he writes.


His Rebellion Will Soon Turn to Hope

When Chris Buckley first encountered the mysteries of creepy Solitary, North Carolina, he had little idea how far he would fall into the town’s shadows. After losing the love of his life, Chris tried to do things his way. He hunted answers. Then he gave up trying to find them.

But now Chris comes back to Solitary knowing there’s a purpose for his being there. As he watches his place in a twisted and evil bloodline become clear, Chris waits for the last battle—and wonders who will be left when he finally makes his stand.

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

Monday, January 14, 2013

Unclaimed Legacy by Deborah Heal

Abby's weird computer program is working again. And it comes in handy when they 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 get inside the mind of a murderer to find out.

But while they're rummaging around in the Old Dears' family history, they discover the truth of God's promise to bless a thousand generations... and a legacy waiting to be reclaimed.

My thoughts...

This book is different from what I usually read. It's a great tale of time travel using computer oftware, perfect for tweens. Adventure, mystery, and humor. You may even shed a tear or two. Abbi and Merri are off to Illinois where they meet 85 year old sisters who are researching their family tree. The girls offer to help and uncover something shocking. A fun read! Well written, the author covers many issues prevalent today.

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

A Daughter's Redemption ~ A FIRSTWildcard Tour

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:

Love Inspired (December 18, 2012)

***Special thanks to Georgiana Daniels for sending me a review copy.***


Georgiana Daniels resides in the beautiful mountains of Arizona with her super-generous husband and three talented daughters. She graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor's degree in public relations, and now has the privilege of homeschooling by day and wrestling with the keyboard by night. She enjoys sharing God's love through fiction, and is exceedingly thankful for her own happily ever after.

Visit the author's website.


Inheriting her estranged father's property isn't the reason Robyn Warner wanted to come back to Pine Hollow. She thought she'd make amends with her father—but his sudden death made that impossible. And when she learns the identity of the handyman fixing the run-down cabins, Robyn is ready to flee Pine Hollow again. Caleb Sloane, the cop responsible for her father's accident, just wants to uphold his promise and then return to the force. But he can't seem to walk away. After all, he understands about guilt and regret. And he'll do everything he can to help Robyn find healing, happiness and—just maybe—a lifetime of love.

Product Details:
List Price: $5.75
Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired (December 18, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0373877927
ISBN-13: 978-0373877928


If the rest of the property was in the same sad condition as the front porch with its missing rails and bowed floorboards, Robyn Warner would be in Pine Hollow, Arizona, far longer than she'd anticipated. She wheeled her suitcase over the flagstone walkway and paused at the foot of her father's home to absorb the onslaught of memories.

It wasn't too late to turn around and hand the keys back to the lawyer managing her father's estate, though the sad huddle of cabins hardly qualified as such. What had once been a cozy mountain resort now looked pitiable and highly susceptible to a stiff wind. Her father certainly hadn't done her any favors by willing the property to her, but after more than a dozen years of silence, she was glad to be remembered at all.

Gravel crunched near cabin two—Robyn's favorite during her summer vacation stays as a child. A man in work pants and a paint-splattered T-shirt meandered out from between the ramshackle buildings. "Can I help you? It's easy to get lost out here."

"It certainly looks different than I remember, but this is the right place." She shaded her eyes to get a better look at the man who was tall and muscular without being imposing. He was the most clean-cut maintenance man she'd ever seen—and a nice contrast to the surfers with sand in their hair she was used to back at the surf shop she managed in California. She propped up the suitcase. "I'm Robyn Warner. And you are?"

"Caleb." He gestured toward the road. "Pine Hollow Resort is on the other side of the wash, about five miles down. Are you sure that's not where you were headed?"

"I'm here to check out.. " She caught herself before referring to Lakeside Cabins as hers. "I'm staying here. Dan Dawson was my dad." She fished the keys from her pocket and held them up. "I'll just let myself in."

The handyman scrutinized her as though assessing her legitimacy, much the same way her half siblings, Brad and Abby, had during the funeral last week. Gauging her motives and questioning her right to be there. Her right to grieve.

He swiped his brow with his arm and slid on a pair of sunglasses. "No one told me you were coming or I'd have cleared out."

"If it makes you feel better, the lawyer didn't tell me about you, either." She offered a tentative smile. "Or maybe he did, and I was still in shock." She recalled her conversation with Phil Harding, who'd upended her world when he contacted her after the funeral and said Lakeside Cabins was hers, though all her father's personal items would go to Brad and Abby. "Do you work here?"

Caleb shuffled the paintbrush from one hand to the other. "I've been fixing Lakeside up, but I can leave if you'd rather have the place to yourself." His tone held a hard edge.

"Not at all. I'll be glad to have your help. It looks like we have a lot of work to do." Though she didn't have a clue how to pay him. She made a mental note to ask the lawyer if there were provisions of some kind. After taking an unpaid leave from the surf shop, she was living on savings—meager ones, at that. "The sooner Lakeside is all fixed up, the sooner I can sell it."

"It could take a while." Caleb's neck bobbed with a hard swallow, as though he wanted to say more. His sunglasses kept her from further reading his expression, though it was becoming clear she made him uncomfortable.

"With the two of us working together, it'll speed things along." She smiled, hoping to defrost his stoic demeanor. Having an easy rapport with the handyman would make the work and the memories of Lakeside less painful. "Either way, I'll be here as long as it takes. But please, keep doing whatever you were doing." She gestured toward cabin two. "Every little bit helps."

Caleb offered a curt nod before he crossed back over the clearing and disappeared behind the small building.

Wind moaned through the trees, sending birds skittering from the branches. Robyn rubbed a chill from her arms. Something about being in the quiet space where her father lived so many years without her, so many years without birthdays and Christmases and simple phone calls, left her unsettled. She wished she'd disregarded her mother's repeated warnings to leave her dad and his family alone, that she was no longer welcome to visit. She should have at least tried to make peace. Now she'd never have the chance.

Robyn drew a fortifying breath before inserting the key into the lock. She worked the key and turned the knob several times, but it refused to budge. Before she could shimmy it out and try again, the phone in her pocket rang. Her thumb hovered over the button until she finally worked up the courage to answer. "Abby, how are you?"

"As good as can be expected. Listen, Brad and I haven't finished moving everything out yet, so he wants to make sure you don't take the armoire in the bedroom." Abby's voice had matured and no longer resembled the giggly pre-teen Robyn remembered.

She plugged her ear to drown out the wind. "I haven't even been inside yet. Trust me, I wouldn't have a way to move the furniture out even if I wanted to." She glanced at the rental car she'd put on her painfully thin credit card.

"Sorry, I know it's awkward." A long pause stretched over the line. "Brad just wants me to remind you that the furniture and personal belongings are ours. We'll be back to get them."

"I haven't forgotten." She swallowed her sadness. She and Abby had once been close until the argument that drove Robyn away from Pine Hollow—an argument with their father about how she felt less important than his other children. Lately she'd begun to crave the closeness of a real family, and now that circumstances had brought her back, she'd do whatever it took to restore her relationship with Brad and Abby. To find some sort of normalcy.

"Good. We wouldn't want any misunderstandings."

"Abby, I would never take what doesn't belong to me." She fingered the cross on her necklace and prayed for wisdom. "Maybe when you come out for the furniture we can have dinner. We have a lot of catching up to do."

Silence pulsed between them until Abby cleared her throat. "I'm not sure that's a good idea. We're still shaken up."

So was she. The tragedy of losing a parent—even an estranged one—was overwhelming.

"I mean, why would Dad leave Lakeside Cabins to you? No offense, but you haven't exactly been around."

The words stung with truth, and her face heated from the rejection. "I understand. Give me a call when you're ready to come by."

The line went dead. "Is everything okay?"

She whipped around, disconcerted. "Caleb, you startled me." She scanned his face to figure out how much he'd overheard. His expression remained neutral behind the sunglasses, which left her even more flustered.

"I heard voices and thought maybe you were talking to someone."

"I was. It was a private conversation." She jammed the phone into her pocket.

"I was only trying to help." Caleb held up his hands in surrender, then turned and stalked off.

"Wait." She scrambled down the stairs, her sandals slapping the wood. Exactly why she chased after the maintenance man or even cared what he thought, she'd have to reason out later. "I didn't mean to snap at you."

Caleb angled toward her, his mouth quirked. The masculine scent of turpentine and hard work drifted off him, and for some reason, it wasn't entirely unpleasant. "Apology accepted." His somber tone seemed to say otherwise.

Robyn ran her hand through her hair, snarled from the wind. "Really—I'm sorry. I'm not exactly great company right now after what happened to my dad. I'm normally easy to get along with—you'll see when we fix this place up, and before you know it I'll be long gone."

Judging from Caleb's formidable posture and the twitch of his jaw, her departure wouldn't be soon enough.

Caleb stormed into the office of Harding and Company and bypassed the receptionist. Without knocking, he entered the office of Phil Harding, attorney-at-law. "Why didn't you tell me she was coming?"

Phil tapped the keys on his computer without missing a stroke. "Almost finished. Then we can talk."

"You should've at least given me a heads-up." He pulled the door closed with a thud. "Didn't you think I might need that bit of information?"

All the way from the outskirts of Pine Hollow, he had rehearsed the diatribe he wanted to unleash on his so-called friend. But none of his imagined scenarios included Phil calmly pecking away at the keyboard.

Phil closed the program and spun around in his leather chair. "I presume you're talking about Robyn."

"Who else?" He dropped onto the cushioned seat, and if he dirtied the upholstery with his paint-stained pants, so be it.

"What'd she do?"

"She showed up." Simply arriving at the cabins was enough to infuse him with a jolt of reality. What originally seemed like a brilliant way to fulfill his promise quickly turned into the single worst idea he'd ever had the moment Robyn, with her sun-bleached hair and sorrow-filled eyes, told him she was Dan's daughter.

"Look, Caleb, I realize it's a little awkward."

"You think?" He blew out a frustrated breath. "I tried to play it cool in front of her, but you have no idea what that was like."

Phil removed his wire-rimmed glasses and wiped them with a handkerchief. In a placating tone, he resumed. "I can't control every variable. Did it occur to you I might have other projects I'm working on?"

He pushed out of the chair. "A phone call, Phil. That's all I needed."

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

My thoughts...

Robyn 's estranged father was killed by an out of control car driven by a teen and being chased by a cop. She inherits his property and returns home to fix up the place. Finding a handyman on the premises who has no intention of leaving until the cottages are repaired, she finds him attractive.

Caleb is the cop that was in pursuit of the teen and blames himself for her father's death. He's also the handyman and as he finds himself attracted to Robyn he is afraid she will find out the truth. This is an inspirational romance that is a delight to read. I haven't read many of the Love Inspired books and found this one enjoyable. A quick read and a sweet romance.

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

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Don't Panic by Lindsey Paige

Samantha Branson is having severe anxiety attacks. Her heart beats unusually fast, her breath quickens and her hands sweat. Every detail screams in her head that she is the center of unwanted attention. Everyone can hear her thoughts, her heart and her breathing. The silence of the classroom is so loud that focus is impossible.

After an attack lands her in the wrong bathroom, Sam meets Eli who offers to provide help. Faced with the return of her possessive ex-boyfriend and the blossoming of a new romance, Sam must find the strength inside herself to face her anxieties head on.

My thoughts...

Starting out I had a hard time getting into the book, the description of Sam's panic attack didn't quite seem real. The more I read though the better it became. I felt so bad for her as suffered with the attacks and no one seemed to notice what was going on. I also wondered where her mother was in all this. Thankfully she found a friend in Eli, he was there for her when no one else was and they formed a bond that was touching.

A good book for anyone to read that will give understanding into anxiety disorder. 4 out of 5 stars.

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

Buy the book here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Review and Ipad Giveaway! The Lesson by Suzanne Woods Fisher

In her wildest dreams, spunky and impulsive nineteen-year-old Mary Kate Lapp never imagined herself behind a schoolteacher's desk.

A run-in (literally) with the schoolteacher compels her to act as a substitute teacher, just as her restless desire to see the world compels her to apply for a passport . . . just in case.

The only thing of interest to M.K. in the sleepy Amish community of Stoney Ridge is the unexplained death of a sheep farmer that coincided with the arrival of a mysterious young man into the community. Frustrated that no one takes the crime seriously, she takes matters into her own hands. Unfortunately, as tends to be the case for M.K., she jumps headlong into trouble.

My thoughts...

The last book in the series and it was just as good as the first two. Suzanne has outdone herself! The Lesson has everything you could want... intrigue, romance, humor, and lots of secrets. There's addictions, illness, and other troubles. Mary Kate must take over the school against her wishes, she's more interested in solving a murder and presents clues to the local law enforcement who in turn brushes her off.

New residents are introduced in this book, Will and his sister Jenny. They have a secret and try to keep a low profile. The first meeting between Mary Kate and Will is funny, she just keeps plowing into people! Curiosity takes over and MK determines to find out what they're hiding.

A fun book with wonderful characters. 5 out of 5 stars!

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

Celebrate the release of The Lesson with Suzanne Woods Fisher by entering to win one of TWO iPads!
Two winners will receive:
  • A brand new iPad
  • A $15 gift certificate to iTunes
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 20th. Winner will be announced on 1/22/13 at Suzanne's Blog.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

$100 Giveaway in the Gracier Book Blast!

Gracier by Milissa R. Bailey

Everyone around her knows. Everyone she trusts has lied. And the one man who held the key to Jessica McCabe’s past is dead.

Welcome to Gracier, Iowa, a well-kept community with even better kept secrets. Lives are peaceful, streets are quiet, but behind the tranquility is many a tale to be told. Veterinarian Jessica McCabe has returned, but it is not the homecoming she had expected. Her grandfather, Jonas McCabe and Gracier’s longtime vet has died, leaving behind the practice they had hoped to share.

The reading of Jonas’ will sets off a series of events that bring into question Jessica’s birthright, the truth surrounding her mother’s untimely death and her grandfather’s sanity. With her world turned upside down she is thrown into a partnership with Matthew Cassidy, the man who chose his family’s wealth over Jessica’s love.

Her determined spirit leads Jessica to stay, continue the veterinarian practice and return to the life and the community she loves. But a secret loft and a box filled with a hidden past change the course of her life once again.

Longtime family friends, Dr. Andrew Harrison and retired Sheriff Chester Caughlin know the truth. A promise made to a dear old friend to protect the girl they helped raise is one they intend to keep. But the wheels of fate have been put in motion. The people entrusted with protecting Jessica from the past are losing control. The small town of Gracier, Iowa holds many secrets and those who have kept the truth hidden are about to discover that not everything has been laid to rest.

Book Trailer

"Milissa Bailey has set the perfect stage for the next book in the series with her intriguing characters that are as unpredictable as an Iowa tornado and as genuine as the county fair. The labyrinth of their lives makes you want to learn more about the secrets of Gracier".  - D. Bahrenfuss - Editor

"I was pulled in with the depth of this story and couldn't stop myself from finishing the second half in one sitting. GRACIER is a beautiful reminder of all that is important in life. Bailey has a wonderful gift and I hope she will continue to "breathe"!"
--Leisa Anslinger, author of Forming Generous Hearts, Here Comes Everybody

"...think Jennifer Chiaverini or Jan Karon" - Burlington by the Book

“It was one of those books that I stayed up late reading and picked back up the minute I woke up! ” -Mari Kait

"Milissa Bailey's depiction of small town Iowa is both charming and mysterious--the perfect combination to captivate readers." -C.G.Reader

“Add to that a group of supporting characters you can't help but love. Gracier is a must read.” -Shari

 "I couldn't put the book down...can't wait for book #2!!!!" -RJW


Author Milissa Bailey

Milissa Bailey grew up among the rolling fields of rural Iowa, where she continues to live with her husband, and three children. In her debut novel she draws upon her rich knowledge of the Midwest as she welcomes us to Gracier, Iowa, a well-kept community with even better kept secrets. Readers are introduced to a cast of characters they will come to know, love and hate. Vivid descriptions, palatable anguish, forbidden romance and touches of humor lend itself to the stories weaved in this idyllic setting. The small town of Gracier holds many secrets and those who have kept the truth hidden are about to discover that not everything has been laid to rest.

Milissa, along with her husband, own a marketing firm located in Iowa. She is currently at work on the second book in the Gracier series.

Author Interview

$100 BookBlast Giveaway (starts January 9th)

Ends 1/20/13

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 author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Like A Flood by Elizabeth Proske

When the college students signed up for the mission trip to flood-ravaged Colombia, they knew it wouldn't be easy. No electricity, no running water, skimpy rations, hard labor in the blistering sun – the Christian students were prepared for all that. But threats from paramilitant drug traffickers?

Daniel Wescott and his friends must make choices they never expected to face. Should they stay and continue the work of rebuilding in spite of the danger? When disaster strikes, is it worth risking their lives to help their Colombian hosts? And how important is it to get the Word of God to the Colombian people? The young missionaries are about to find out how strong their convictions really are!

My thoughts...

I had a bit of trouble getting interested in the book but I'm so glad I kept reading. It turns out to be a very good book with characters you will enjoy getting to know except maybe Daniel. He acts like the "perfect" christian but you'll see there is no such thing. Daniel is just as unperfect as the rest of us and it turns out he is a likeable guy after all.

We learn from the characters what living out your faith really means, going to a third world country can be a dangerous thing as we see in the story of these young people who are risking their lives daily to reach the lost. I wasn't expecting the outcome of one of the missionaries lives, that took me by surprise. The tale is gripping and intense. A true to life story of what missionaries face and how determined they are to get the Word of God to those in other countries.

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

7 Years Younger

7 YEARS YOUNGER: The Revolutionary 7-Week Anti-Aging Plan is a new book by the editors of Good Housekeeping magazine. Based on extensive product research conducted by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute on hundreds of volunteers, plus interviews with 100+ experts including dermatologists, brain scientists, stress reduction researchers, exercise experts, makeup artists, hairstylists, nutritionists, life coaches, and psychologists, the book delivers a practical anti-aging plan that you can start today.

My thoughts...

I received this book several weeks ago and began using some of the recommendations right away. There are many great ideas and tips that really work. One of my favorites is taking a pine bark supplement for younger looking skin. Experts say you won't see the full effect for about 3 months but I can tell a difference already. The book names the best products for skin care, I have to agree with their skin looks brighter and firmer, fine wrinkles are fading. I'm so pleased with the results.

Here’s just a sampling of the many surprising (and usable) stop-the-clock strategies for beauty, diet, fitness and health included:

-Take a few minutes each day to mentally savor the things you’re thankful for, and you’ll sleep better and longer each night.

- Choose a hydrating or satin-finish liquid foundation, as hormone levels dip and your skin gets drier.

- Shampoo less frequently to avoid hair dye color-fade. Refresh on your off days by spraying on a dry shampoo at the roots to soak up oil and restore volume.

There are many more recommendations techniques that are proven to help you look 7 years younger!

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

Secretly Smitten

Summer, fall, winter, spring—Smitten, Vermont, is the place for love . . . and mystery!

There’s a secret in Grandma Rose’s attic—a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to Smitten. How did the dog tags end up in the attic?

The mystery intrigues Rose’s three granddaughters—Tess, Clare, and Zoe—and they decide to investigate, though their mother, Anna, warns against meddling. But as the seasons turn and the mystery unravels, the three young women and their mother encounter some intriguing mystery men of their own. Has a sixty-year-old puzzle sparked something new for this close-knit family of women?

Join popular romance novelists—and real-life BFFs—Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for four delightful intertwined tales of mystery and sweet intrigue.

My thoughts...

Book two in the series is just as good as the first. I enjoyed reading each woman's story and loved that the stories interacted. Three sisters and their mother find love... sweet tales of romance with characters you will like.

"Love Between the Lines" is about the sister's search for info on a set of dog tags from the Korean War found in the attic.

"Make Me A Match" has Zoe opening a matchmaking service.

"Sit 'n Knit" is set in Anna's knit shop. Her life changes when a soldier walks through the door.

"Love Blooms" is Claire's story. Alone with her beloved plants and wishing for love.

Even though I thought the book ended too quickly it was a nice light read.

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

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Vanished by Irene Hannon

In her newest romantic-suspense novel, critically-acclaimed author Irene Hannon asks herself what would happen if the victim of a deadly car crash on a secluded country road simply disappeared? Vanished is the gripping first novel in Hannon’s Private Justice series. It opens with a shadowy figure caught in the beam of reporter Moira Harrison’s headlights – followed by a solid thump before she loses control and crashes into a tree. But when Moira regains consciousness, the victim is nowhere to be seen.

The police say the disappearance never happened, but Moira can’t forget the look of sheer terror she saw on the person’s face in the instant it was caught in thestigatee glare of her headlights. Now her only hope of discovering the truth is a former police detective turned private eye—and her own investigate skills.

My thoughts...

Moira Harrison had gotten lost taking a detour while driving home one rainy night and ended up on a two lane highway. Out of nowhere a woman appeared in her headlights, Moira's car hits her before running off the road. Those terror filled eyes would haunt Moira until she could no longer stand it. She had to find out what happened to the woman.

I loved this book, though I wouldn't call it suspenseful it is a great mystery. The characters are likeable and fun, I liked the attraction between Moira and Cal, the PI she hires to investigate. Great storyline! 5 out of 5 stars.

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

“Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Hannon, a former communications executive for a Fortune 500 company, left the corporate world in 2003 to focus on her growing fiction brand. While continuing to write contemporary romance, she also delved into suspense. From the beginning, her romantic suspense books have garnered rave reviews. Booklist named Deadly Pursuit (Revell, 2011) one of the top ten inspirational fiction titles for 2011. The final book in her Guardians of Justice series, Lethal Legacy (Revell, 2011) received a starred review from Library Journal, which praised the book for its “compelling characters and edge-of-your-seat action.”

Irene Hannon is the author of more than 40 novels, including the bestselling Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, a HOLT Medallion, a National Readers’ Choice Award, a Daphne du Maurier Award, a Retailers Choice Award and two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. She lives in Missouri.

For more information about her and her books, visit her web site at and follow her on Twitter at @IreneHannon.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books for everyday life. For more information, visit

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop

This hop is hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.

Each participating blog has their own entry rules and geographic limits, so be sure to read the rules for each one. This giveaway is open to US residents only and starts January 4 and runs through January 10 at midnight.

I'm giving away a box of books. You won't know what they are until you open the box!

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Flight of the Earls ~ A CFBA Tour

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Flight of the Earls
B&H Books (January 1, 2013)
Michael Reynolds


Michael K. Reynolds is the writer and producer of Emmy and Telly Award-winning film campaigns and has more than two decades of experience in fiction, journalism, copywriting, and documentary production. He owns Global Studio, a marketing agency, and is also an active leader in church and business, speaking in both ministry and corporate settings. Michael lives with his wife and three children in Reno, Nevada.


It’s 1846 in Ireland. When her family’s small farm is struck by famine, Clare Hanley and her younger brother, Seamus, set out across the ocean to the Promised Land of America. Five years prior, Clare’s older sister Margaret and her Uncle Tomas emigrated in similar fashion and were not to be heard from again. But Clare must face her fears as she lands in the coming-of-age city of New York. There she discovers love, adventure, tragedy, and a terrible secret which threatens to destroy her family and all she believes. Flight of the Earls is the first book in a historical novel trilogy based on Irish immigration in the 1840s.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Flight of the Earls, go HERE

My thoughts...

A wonderfully written imigrant tale set during Ireland's potato famine. Great characters that go through many struggles throughout their travel to America. Clare takes her brother with her against her wishes and things get interesting. Well paced, a hint of romance, and the second book in the series will continue Seamus, Clare's brother.

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