Monday, June 30, 2014


Life never lacks for improvement—in ourselves, in our relationships, in just about everything. But all our brave stabs at getting better, if they ever change anything, are incomplete at best, complete failures at worst. Sometimes much worse.

Unless . . .

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the great “unless” of life—both for those who already believe (but can’t believe the messes they’re still capable of making), as well as those who don’t yet believe but just know their way isn’t working.

Recovering Redemption, written with a pastor’s bold intensity and a counselor’s discerning insight, takes you deeply into Scripture to take you deeply inside yourself, discovering that the heart of all our problems is truly the problem of our hearts. But because of what God has done, and because of what God can do, the most confident, contented person you know could actually be you—redeemed through Jesus Christ.

None of us, really, can do what’s required to change our lives for the better, taking what’s persistently frustrating and making it perfectly satisfying. Yet as hopeless as that may sound, it is the flat-line truth in which good news comes to life . . . to your life. For just as what’s lost can be found, what’s wrong can—even now—be recovered.

My thoughts...

A good book for believers and unbelievers, the authors explain the gospel and how we can allow it to cleanse us of legalism, something that is hard to let go. Christians should be changing daily... becoming more Christ like.

This book gives us a better understanding along with examples of what believers face and what has been (sometimes wrongfully) pounded into their heads. Let Jesus work in your hearts... all you have to do is let Him. Lots of scripture included. Good enough for a second read.

Thanks to B&H Publishing for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Meet the Authors

Matt Chandler serves as Lead Pastor of Teaching at The Village Church in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. He came to The Village in December 2002 and describes his tenure as a replanting effort where he was involved in changing the theological and philosophical culture of the congregation. The church has witnessed a tremendous response growing, from 160 people to over 11,000 with campuses across the DFW metroplex.

Matt is currently involved in church planting efforts both locally and internationally through The Village and various strategic partnerships. He serves as president of Acts 29, a worldwide church-planting organization. Over the last 10 years, Acts 29 has emerged from a small band of brothers to nearly 500 churches in the United States and around the world. Beyond speaking at conferences throughout the world, Matt has also written several books, including The Explicit Gospel, published in April 2012, and Creature of the Word, released in October 2012. His greatest joy outside of Jesus is being married to Lauren and being a dad to their three children, Audrey, Reid and Norah.

Michael Snetzer serves as Recovery Groups Pastor at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. He received his Masters in Counseling from Dallas Baptist University. For seven years he served as a counselor at the Center for Christian Counseling. He has served on the pastoral staff at The Village Church since 2007. He has worked part-time at North Texas Christian Counseling since 2012.

He has three children: McKenna, Ava, and Greyson. He and his wife, Sonia, were married in 2007.

Friday, June 27, 2014


Sarah, I’m not coming home tonight.
If you love me, you will give me the space I need…
Tell the children I love them.

It started out like any other day for Sarah Lawler; getting the kids ready for school, making the pack lunches and juggling baby Ella’s feeds.

There was no way of knowing that her husband, Paul, would leave for work that morning and simply not come home.

Now the questions are piling up quicker than the unpaid bills and, unable to answer her children’s questions about where their Daddy is, Sarah is getting desperate.

But it turns out she isn’t quite as alone as she thought she was. When her beloved childhood friend, Edward, comes back into her life, Sarah thinks she’s finally been thrown a life line.

There’s just one problem with Edward: no one else can see him.

Edward is an angel. And he has a message for Sarah that will change her life and the lives of others forever. For it is only in the most difficult of times that Sarah can discover how strong she truly is.

My thoughts...

This is the beautifully written story of Sarah, a woman with a "gift" for dreaming of things that will happen. Her husband suddenly left her and their 3 children leaving only a short note with no explanation. When her daughter's teacher is killed she starts having strange dreams that might actually be clues. With her twin brother, James, they begin to dig into the crime. Uh oh.

Love the interesting characters and the adorable children. The storyline is priceless. Carmel has written an amazing book!

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

Thursday, June 26, 2014


It's a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancĂ© Jeff, the man who shattered her heart—and who she hasn’t seen in 18 years.

Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her. But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable.

As the body count mounts and Kat's hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved—her former fiancĂ©, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there.

My thoughts...

Harlan Coban is one of the greatest mystery writers I've read. There are so many lively twists in this book I couldn't wait to finish it! Great ending to an intriguing novel. He writes the best murder clues and ways to solve the crimes. He's always very good at not giving clues to the identity of the murderers. Love the writing style and the excitement this book brought!

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


Texas socialite Claire Massey is living the dream. Her world is filled with designer clothes, luxury cars, and stunning homes. But her Neiman-Marcus lifestyle comes crashing down when her charming cattle broker husband is arrested for fraud. Suddenly, she finds herself facing attorneys, a media frenzy, and a trail of broken hearts. Betrayed and humiliated, Claire must start over against incredible odds to save her family--and discover a life worth living.

Amazon Purchase Link: A Woman of Fortune

Revell (June 3, 2014)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My thoughts...

Love the beautiful cover... that's the first thing that draws me to a book with the second being the blurb. This sounded like a good story so I sent a request. It is a good book, it's just not what I was expecting. The story started out interesting but throughout I lost my interest a few times. Am I glad I finished it? Yes, it is a good story and I really liked the plainspoken characters of Jana and Max.

What's the book about? Forgiveness... one of the hardest things for people. The author did a wonderful job with Max and Jana Rae in showing the love of God.

The hard times Claire and her family experienced broke my heart. Thankfully she has Jana Rae as a good friend who offered support as well as kept them laughing!

Disclosure: I received this book free from Revell through the Baker Books program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Delilah Morrissey has always wanted to be a mother, but when she becomes a young widow, that dream now seems farther away than ever. Unable to continue to live alone in Chicago, her only option is to accept her sister's offer to move in with her family back in West Virginia. Will Delilah have the faith to pursue a new dream—even if it means giving up the old?

Amazon Purchase Link: Appalachian Seranade

Bethany House Publishers (June 4, 2014)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My thoughts...

This prequel to MIRACLE IN A DRY SEASON certainly gets you anxious to read the novel coming in July. I love the storyline and the great characters, especially Delilah. When her husband dies and leaves her with great debt she goes home to WV. While searching for a job she meets Robert who just happens to be looking for an employee in his dry goods store. His attraction for Delilah grows stronger each day but he's hesitant to get involved.

A realistically charming romance set in 1945 Appalachia when times are hard. The author knows how to write a great book!

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

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Refresh your strands, water not necessary. with natural tapioca, my formula absorbs oil and rejuvenates dirty hair for a clean feeling. invigorate your strands with the scent of white grapefruit and mint and feel naturally beautiful without parabens or dyes.

My thoughts...

I tried the product yesterday and have to say I was disappointed, it didn't refresh my hair or make it smell better. Instead it left my hair feeling dirty and heavy. The scent wasn't bad but it did nothing for my hair.

That night I left the can setting on my dresser, it leaked and this is the result. The dry shampoo has eaten through the finish, the dresser will have to be sanded and restained as this product can't be removed. I. am. not. happy.

Hello Proctor & Gamble?

Stay tuned for future updates.


The Summer Wind is the second book in Monroe’s Lowcountry Summer trilogy, following the New York Times bestselling The Summer Girls. This series is a poignant and heartwarming story of three half-sisters and their grandmother, who is determined to help them rediscover their southern roots and family bonds.

It’s midsummer and Eudora, nicknamed Dora, is staying at Sea Breeze, the family’s ancestral home on Sullivan’s Island. For years, Dora has played the role of the perfect wife and mother in a loveless marriage. Now her husband filed for divorce, her child is diagnosed with autism, and her house is on the market. Dora’s facade collapses under the weight of her grief and she suffers “broken heart syndrome.” Mamaw and the girls rally around Dora—but it’s up to Dora to heal herself as she spends the summer prowling the beach, discovering the secrets of the island and her heart. This is a summer of discovery for all the women of Sea Breeze. Carson returns from Florida to face life-changing decisions, Lucille confronts a health scare, and an unexpected visitor has Harper reconsidering her life’s direction.

When tropical storm winds batter the island, the women must band together and weather the tempest—both the one outside their windows and the raging sea of emotions within each of them. They must learn again what it means to be a sister. It is up to Mamaw to keep the light burning at Sea Breeze to guide the girls through the lies, the threats, and the rocky waters of indecision to home.

My thoughts...

Mary AIice is a new author to me... why haven't I read her books before? I'm totally enjoying this book, there's still a few chapters to read but I couldn't wait to write this, I've got several of my friends buying her books!

This is book two in the series and the sisters are spending their last summer at Sea Breeze with Mamaw before she sells the place. Carson has lost her job. Dora is going through a divorce that's effecting her health.Her son has Asperger's and with the stress of it all she has a breakdown. The sisters rally around. Environmental issues are explored, a dolphin gets tangled in a fishing net and is severely injured. You get involved in her account as well.

This is a wonderful story of hurt and healing, sisters coming together, family becoming important again. Monroe has written in such a way that makes you feel like part of the family. I could smell the sea air, feel the sand between my toes. I would call this a relaxing read. Loved it!

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

Monday, June 23, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

"It's Monday! What Are You Reading?" is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey where we share what we're reading and our goals for the week.

What I Read Last Week...

What I'm Reading Now...

I'm totally enjoying this book!

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Goldy Schulz knows her food is to die for, but she never expects one of her best friends to actually keel over while she's leaving a birthday party Goldy's catered. At first, everyone assumes that all the fun and excitement of the party, not to mention the rich fare, did her in.

But what looks like a coronary turns out to be a generous serving of cold-blooded murder. And the clever culprit is just getting cooking.

When a colleague—a woman who resembles Goldy—is stabbed, and Goldy is attacked outside her house, it becomes clear that the popular caterer is the main course on a killer menu. With time running out, Goldy must roll up her sleeves, sharpen her knives, and make a meal out of a devious murderer, before that killer can serve her up cold.

My thoughts...

More like a cozy mystery with lots of recipes at the end, Goldy went through abuse, the loss of a good friend, too much for one person but she pulled herself together each time. Some of the things were a tad unrealistic but to me that's what a cozy mystery is. A fast read that did leave me guessing who the killer was!

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

Friday, June 20, 2014

Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop!

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 internationally.

The PRIZE is your choice of one of the following books:

Enter via Rafflecopter and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 19, 2014

THE GLASS KITCHEN by Linda Frances Lee

With the glass kitchen,
Linda Francis Lee has served up a novel that is about the courage
it takes to follow your heart and be yourself.
A true recipe for life.

Portia Cuthcart never intended to leave Texas. Her dream was to run the Glass Kitchen restaurant her grandmother built decades ago. But after a string of betrayals and the loss of her legacy, Portia is determined to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan . . . and never cook again. But when she moves into a dilapidated brownstone on the Upper West Side, she meets twelve-year-old Ariel and her widowed father Gabriel, a man with his hands full trying to raise two daughters on his own. Soon, a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions, where she must confront everything she has been running from.

What seems so simple on the surface is anything but when long-held secrets are revealed, rivalries exposed, and the promise of new love stirs to life like chocolate mixing with cream. The Glass Kitchen is a delicious novel, a tempestuous story of a woman washed up on the shores of Manhattan who discovers that a kitchen—like an island—can be a refuge, if only she has the courage to give in to the pull of love, the power of forgiveness, and accept the complications of what it means to be family.

My thoughts...

My first book by this author and I finished it the day I started reading. Yes, it's that good. I love Portia's character, she is a full blown Texan now living in NYC. So out of place yet she fits right in. I couldn't believe the kind of clothes she wore, I laughed throughout the book at her outfits, her snappiness, and her way of dealing with people. Her neighbors are interesting and the apartment she lives in is so outdated it reminds me of my great grandmothers.

Portia's story is one of intrigue, betrayal, and finding love again. She has the "knowing" that was inherited from her grandma, the gift of knowing what food to prepare and how much. Her upstairs neighbor wants her apartment which is all she has left and he always gets what he wants.

A delightful tale of rebuilding a life from scratch. Great characters, fast moving, and recipes in the back of the book. Gotta say I love the cover as well.

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


The NIV ReadEasy Bible, Compact brings readability and portability together in one neat, sophisticated package. Whether you’re at church, running errands, or traveling the world, this pocket-sized Bible is perfect to take with you. Its combination of portable size and larger font makes this NIV Bible perfect for your on-the-go lifestyle.Features:* Attractive Italian Duo-Tone™ cover * Portable, readable edition* Presentation page---ideal for gift giving* Words of Christ in red* Ribbon marker.

My thoughts...

Love the attractive cover of this Bible, it's nice and soft also. It has a good size print with two column pages. It's definitely an easy read, no notes or references which is great when you're wanting a Word from God, He can take you directly to scripture...not a footnote, (though a study Bible is also a great too). I'm very pleased with this one! I received a copy of this Bible free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

SEAGRASS PIER by Colleen Coble

In a secluded corner of Hope Beach, one woman must decipher a stranger's memories . . . before they cost her everything.

Elin Summerall was one of the lucky ones. Not only did she get a heart transplant, but the donor was a perfect fit. A miraculously perfect fit.

But when Elin begins having violent flashbacks---and vivid dreams of being strangled---she realizes that she has been the recipient of more than just a new heart . . . Elin is remembering her donor's murder.

Her strange affliction has attracted some unwanted attention: from the press, from the authorities . . . and from the killer himself. Now, living alone with her young daughter and aging mother, Elin is being stalked---by a man she's only met in her nightmares.

The police are dubious of her story, but one off-duty FBI agent is eager to help her: Agent Marc Everton, the father of Elin's daughter.

Of course, he doesn't know about that. Yet.

Now, in a remote cottage on Hope Island, Elin and Marc must probe the secrets buried in her borrowed heart. And there's no time to waste. One man is desperate to silence her---before she remembers too much.

Colleen Coble has sold over 2 million novels worldwide. Seagrass Pier, the third installment in her acclaimed Hope Beach series, marks a new highpoint for emotion and complexity in Coble's addictive brand of romantic suspense.

Connect with Colleen: website, Facebook, Twitter

My thoughts...

The story is about Elin, a woman who receives a donor heart from a murder victim and starts to feel things as well as have dreams about the murder. Now we know this isn't possible but Colleen has such a way of writing that I was pulled into the mysterious dreams and suspense. Ooh, did I mention turns and twists that kept me reading way after bedtime? The crazy thing is that the murderer eventually starts targeting Elin after she contacts the police and starts working with one officer who is just as hesitant to believe her as his comrades, he is in for the shock of his life!

What a good book! I've enjoyed the Hope Beach series and am looking forward to more from this author!

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


Sally Bingham needs some time away to sort through the changes in her life and to rethink her upcoming marriage. Despite her ailing father's hesitations, she takes off for a bed and breakfast in Lancaster County for a weekend away. But her best-laid plans leave her in a near collision with a bishop's buggy and in the home of a mysterious Amish woman named Lizzie. Lizzie introduces her to a different perspective on life, a charming farmhand named Armin--- and opens a Pandora's box that will forever change Sally's life.

My thoughts...

I really enjoyed reading this book, the last in the trilogy. Sally's father had kept quiet about her childhood and what happened to her mother. When Sally is contacted by an Amish girl wanting to buy one of her dogs a can of worms is opened and she learns why she's always had a longing in her heart to be among the Amish people.

The more she finds out the more she has to deal with feelings of abandonment, being lied to, and forgiving those who tried to protect her but ended up causing more harm than good. The characters are unique and likeable. The author did a nice job tying things up, I loved Armin and rooted for him and Sally to get together. If you like Amish fiction I think you'll enjoy Sally's journey.

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

The latest book in Kate Lloyd's Legacy of Lancaster trilogy, Forever Amish, introduces us to a young woman about to uncover a shocking secret and find an invitation to a new way of living. This is a story of forgiveness, legacies, and the ties that bind through generations.

Kate is celebrating by giving away an Amish-made prize pack!

  One winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • A Qillow (A pillow with a lovely surprise inside! It opens to a 40” X 60” quilt ideal for traveling, sports events, and home.)
  •  A Center Diamond wall hanging (Hand-stitched by Old Order Amish quilter Emma Stoltzfus of E.S. Quilts in Lancaster, PA. It measures 42” x 42” and is a traditional Old Order Amish design.)
  • Darling Amish-made faceless dolls (Hand-crafted in Lancaster County, PA. Each measures 12 inches and is individually named. Meet Martha and Henry!)
  • Forever Amish and the rest of the Legacy of Lancaster trilogy by Kate Lloyd
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 29th. Winner will be announced at Kate's blog on July 1st.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning and be sure to stop by Kate's blog on July 1st to see if you won!


Abby Fischer, the heroine in Karen Barnett's new novel, Out of the Ruins (Abingdon Press), comes face to face with grief and anger that causes her to question her faith, something the author herself has done for similar reasons.

While her sister lies on her deathbed, Abby Fischer prays for a miracle. What Abby doesn't expect, however, is for God's answer to come in the form of the handsome Dr. Robert King, whose experimental treatment is risky at best.

As they work together toward a cure, Abby's feelings for Robert become hopelessly entangled. Separated by the tragedy of the mighty San Francisco earthquake, their relationship suddenly takes a back seat to survival. With fires raging throughout the city, Abby fears for her life as she flees alone through burning streets. Where is God now? Will Robert find Abby, even as the world burns around them? Or has their love fallen with the ruins of the city?

My thoughts...

Abby is a high spirited young woman who would do anything to save her dying sister. She gets involved with Dr. King and things get all mixed up. Bring on an earthquake with massive destruction and you've got the makings of a great novel.

I liked everything about the book...the plot, characters, events. Well written, fast paced, emotional, story of love, grief, and the will to live.

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

Don't miss the debut book, Out of the Ruins, in Karen Barnett's new series, The Golden Gate Chronicles. Set against the backdrop of early 20th century San Francisco, Out of the Ruins will remind readers that no matter who we are or what we’ve done, God is still as close to us as our next breath.

Karen is celebrating with a fun giveaway and Facebook author chat party.

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Out of the Ruins by Karen Barnett
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 19th. Winner will be announced at the Out of the Ruins Facebook author chat party on June 19th. Connect with Karen for an evening of fun book chat, games, and prizes. Karen will also be answering audience questions and giving an exclusive look at the next book in The Golden Gate Chronicles series!
So grab your copy of Out of the Ruins and join Karen on the evening of June 19th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 19th!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


The Insanity Plea

by Larry Thompson

on Tour May 19 - July 20, 2014

Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thriller
Published by: Story Merchant Books
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Number of Pages: 412
ISBN: 0989715477
Purchase Links:


A young nurse is savagely killed during a pre-dawn run on Galveston’s seawall. The murderer slices her running shorts from her body as his trophy and tosses the body over the wall to the rocks below. As dawn breaks, a bedraggled street person, wearing four layers of old, tattered clothes, emerges from the end of the jetty, waving his arms and talking to people only he hears. He trips over the body, checks for a pulse and, instead, finds a diamond bracelet which he puts in his pocket. He hurries across the street, heading for breakfast at the Salvation Army two blocks away, leaving his footprints in blood as he goes.

Wayne Little, former Galveston prosecutor and now Houston trial lawyer, learns that his older brother has been charged with capital murder for the killing. At first he refuses to be dragged back into his brother’s life. Once a brilliant lawyer, Dan’s paranoid schizophrenia had captured his mind, estranging everyone including Wayne. Finally giving in to pleas from his mother, Wayne enlists the help of his best friend, Duke Romack, former NBA star turned criminal lawyer. When Wayne and Duke review the evidence, they conclude that Dan’s chances are slim. They either find the killer or win a plea of insanity since the prosecution’s case is air tight. The former may be a mission impossible since the killer is the most brilliant, devious and cruel fictional murderer since Hannibal Lecter. The chances of winning an insanity plea are equally grim.

It will take the combined skills of the two lawyers along with those of Duke’s girlfriend, Claudia, a brilliant appellate lawyer, and Rita Contreras, Wayne’s next door neighbor and computer hacker extraordinaire, to attempt to unravel the mystery of the serial killer before the clock clicks down to a guilty verdict for Dan.

The Insanity Plea is a spell-binding tale of four amateur sleuths who must find, track and trap a serial killer as they prepare for and defend Wayne brother who is trapped in a mind like that of John Nash, Russell Crowe’s character in A Beautiful Mind.

Combining legal thriller with tracking a serial killer, Thompson once again takes the reader on a helluva ride, right up to the last page and sentence.

Read an excerpt:


The alarm jolted the young blond woman out of a dream where she was surfing toward a pristine beach on Maui, which had mystically transformed itself into jagged rocks. She moaned, turned off the radio, tried to rub the sleep out of her eyes and forced herself out of bed. It was five a. m. Debbie Robinson had two hours before she reported to work as a surgical nurse in the operating room at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston. Nude, she shuffled to the bathroom and then to the kitchen where she made a cup of instant coffee before slipping into a jogging bra, sweatshirt, shorts and New Balance running shoes. A five mile run along the seawall was her usual routine to prepare for her day

She stopped at the front door to take her key from the entry table and glanced in the mirror. Even with no make-up, the mirror reflected a wholesomely attractive face with a sharply defined chin, full lips, light blue eyes and a nose that had been touched up only slightly by a friendly plastic surgeon at the hospital. After she pulled her hair back into a pony tail, she left her apartment, glanced toward the hospital two blocks over and started a slow trot down 8th Street toward the Gulf of Mexico and Seawall Boulevard. Reaching the seawall, she paused momentarily and gazed out across the Gulf. At this hour of the morning, the stars were still visible in the eastern sky.

Resuming her run, in a matter of a few blocks Debbie had settled into an eight minute pace, fast enough to get her back to her apartment in about forty-five minutes. As she approached the old Galvez Hotel at 21st Street, she heard footsteps coming up behind her. Early morning joggers were common along the seawall; so she moved over to allow the other runner to pass.

Suddenly, Debbie felt a strong arm circling her waist and a hand covering her mouth. She had trained in the martial arts for years and refused to surrender to her panic. Instead, she twisted and brought her knee up into the groin of her attacker who groaned but still succeeded in forcing her to the ground. Before he could pin her arms, she reached into her shorts and found her apartment key. Using it as her only weapon, she raked the key as hard as she could down her attacker’s left cheek.

The killer let a low moan escape his lips. “Damn it, you bitch, you shouldn’t have done that.”

The killer held her with his left hand while he retrieved a knife from its holster on his waist. He flipped open the blade and pulled it from right to left against the soft flesh of her throat. Blood spurted from both carotid arteries and spilled from her neck. She was breathing more and more slowly when she slipped to the concrete. Her fluttering eyes became fixed as life drained from her body. The killer smiled with satisfaction as he bent over and used his knife to slice the running shorts from her lifeless body. Being careful not to get her blood on himself, he picked up her body and tossed it over the seawall to the rocks below. When he started his slow jog back to the hotel, he felt a few drops of blood, trickling from his cheek. He used her shorts to stem the flow. I’ll probably have to explain a Band-Aid on my cheek to my audience this morning as a shaving cut, he thought. As he continued his jog, he smiled. She was number three. Forty-seven to go.


A boulder covered jetty extended out about a hundred yards in front of the Galvez. As the sun rose, it illuminated the silhouette of a man sitting cross-legged at the end of the jetty, watching silently as the orange hued ball broke through the fog overhanging the Gulf. Satisfied that he brought forth another day as the voices commanded, he rose and picked his way through the rocks back to the seawall.

He certainly was not a jogger. His gray hair was a tangled, matted mess that hung below his shoulders, and he scratched at a long, scraggly beard as if searching for fleas or mites. He wore four layers of clothes, all that he possessed, and a tattered brown raincoat found in a dumpster. When people passed him, they recoiled from the stench of urine, feces and filth that surrounded him. As he made his way back to the seawall, he was waving his hands and shaking his head as if to reject someone’s direction. All the while he was muttering to an unseen being, something about wanting to be left alone.

He didn’t notice the jogger’s body until he tripped and almost fell on her. Even then he continued to talk. He bent over and peered into her face, expecting to find one of his fellow street people passed out below the wall. When he saw her neck and the pool of blood that had oozed from the gaping wound, he jumped back, horror framing his face. Looking around and seeing no one else, he stepped forward again, not realizing that his left foot was now in the blood. A second time he bent over the lifeless form and touched her left wrist, searching for a pulse. There was none. Instead, he found a diamond bracelet, paused as he glanced up at the seawall once more and took the bracelet from her wrist. Holding it close to his face, he studied the bracelet and found an inscription, To Debbie with love, Dad.

Now he became frightened that someone would find him with the woman. Glancing in all directions to make sure he was not seen, he stuck the bracelet in the pocket of his second layer of pants where it would be safe and started for the seawall. Abruptly, he stopped, listened briefly, nodded and returned to the body where he removed one of his coats and covered the woman’s head and shoulders. Then he climbed the steps to the top of the seawall where he saw an older couple out for a morning stroll. He turned his head to hide his face as he hurried toward 21st and the Salvation Army where he would join a line of other homeless ones awaiting breakfast. The couple heard him continuing his monologue.

“I know, I know, I shouldn’t have taken her bracelet,” he said, gesturing as if trying to push someone away. “Look, she’s dead. She didn’t have a pulse. It’s mine now. How many times do I have to tell you to leave me alone?”

When the light changed to green, he picked up his pace and crossed Seawall Boulevard, shaking his head. “I’m getting out of here as quick as I can. You don’t have to tell me how to do everything.”


Wayne Little loved every aspect of a trial except this one…waiting for the jury to return a verdict. Until the jury retired to deliberate, he could exert significant control and often take charge as he maneuvered through voir dire, examination of witnesses, arguing points of law to the judge and final summation. Once the summation was concluded, all he could do was wait, often for agonizing hours, even days.

Of course he would win like he nearly always did. Nonetheless, nagging doubts always crept into his mind as he paced the halls of the Harris County courthouse. Often, he walked up and down the stairway just to burn off nervous energy before he would return to the courtroom, reassure his client and wander off again.

The questions were nearly always the same. Did he make the right points on closing? Was he too easy on the expert witnesses? Should he have struck that one juror who glared at him throughout the trial and stared at the ceiling when he made his closing argument? And inevitably the longer the jury deliberated, the more questions surfaced.

It had been three hours when Claudia Jackson, a new partner in the firm and his second chair in the trial, found him at a table in the basement cafeteria, cold black coffee in his hand.

“Wayne, I’ve been looking all over this damn courthouse for you,” Claudia said, not trying to hide the exasperation in her voice.

Wayne looked up expectantly. “We get a verdict?”

“No, but I got a call from Grace. She said your cell must be off.

Wayne searched through his pockets for his phone, looked at it and agreed. “Yeah, I turned it off this morning when we began closing arguments and forgot about it.”

“Grace says the District Attorney in Galveston called. Said it was a courtesy call since you worked for him before you joined Tod. I didn’t know you had been a prosecutor.”

“Guess I never told you. I did three years there before Tod talked me into leaving my hometown and moving to Houston. That was about ten years ago.”

“He told Grace to tell you that your brother is in the hoosegow.”

A cloud crossed Wayne’s face as he stared down at the floor. “I don’t have a brother, Claudia. I haven’t had one since I’ve been in Houston.”

Puzzled, Claudia continued, “Wayne, the D. A. said this guy’s name was Dan Little. He’s apparently in pretty bad shape but mumbled something about you being his brother. And he had a faded, dirty business card with your name on it in one of his pockets.

“One more thing. The D. A. said to tell you he is charged with capital murder.”

After the jury returned a verdict for his client, Wayne told Claudia he would see her in the office the next day. He walked to the parking lot where he dropped his briefcase in a blue Nissan Armada and crossed the street to Tex’s Bar, a place he knew would be practically deserted in the middle of the afternoon. Wayne was enough of a regular that Tex, the owner and bartender, knew him by name and knew his brand of Scotch.

“Gimmie a double, Tex.”

“Starting a little early with the hard stuff today, aren’t you, Wayne? You just lose a case?”

“No. Actually, I just won one, but this isn’t a celebration. I’ve got some personal issues to sort through.”

Tex had been a bartender long enough to know when a customer wanted to be left alone; so, he poured a double Scotch on the rocks, set it in front of Wayne and walked to the other end of the bar where he continued to wash drink glasses.

Tex occasionally glanced toward Wayne, wondering what problems were troubling him. Wayne seemed to have the world by the tail. He carried a lean and muscular two hundred and ten pounds on a six foot, four inch frame. His hair was black as the ace of spades and his gray eyes sparkled when he told a joke or described his last win. Yet, his easy-going smile hid an intense personality, a young type-A if there ever was one.

In an hour or so, other lawyers began drifting into the bar. Seeing Wayne, some tried to strike up a conversation. Wayne was polite but his manner soon discouraged them; so they wandered off to other parts of the bar to tell war stories and bitch about judicial rulings. After enough drinks that Tex was concerned about his driving, Wayne paid his tab, assuring Tex that he was fine.

Leaving the bar, he considered taking the Metro train which stopped in Midtown only two blocks from his townhouse. Then he remembered his Nissan would be too tempting if he left it overnight. Once he crossed the street he was confronted by a homeless man.

“You got any spare change, mister? I haven’t eaten today and sure could use a hamburger.”

Wayne usually brushed such requests aside. This time, wishing it was Dan just asking for a buck, he reached in his back pocket and pulled a five dollar bill out of his wallet. Then, he continued to his car, climbed in and left the parking lot on the Fannin Street side. Carefully observing speed limits and red lights, he drove south on Fannin to his home. Wayne tried to push Claudia’s news out of his mind, only the more he tried the quicker the thoughts returned. In less than ten minutes he punched in the code at the complex gate, entered the driveway and turned down into his garage.

My thoughts...

This is the story of Dan, a paranoid schizophrenic accused of murdering a woman and his attorney brother, Wayne, who is determined to prove his innocence or if necessary to prove his insanity. This is a great story that I really didn't want to put down but due to things interfering such as earning a paycheck I had to stop and go with the book. It's an exciting story that tells us how difficult it is for an attorney to prove his client is insane at the time of the crime.

The characters are fantastic, especially loved the Judge. He is practical and realistic. Dan is also an interesting guy...did I mention he used to be a successful attorney? Mental illness is such a terrible thing, most people are afraid of anyone diagnosed with schizophrenia or other mental diseases. I hope books like this will inspire people to get involved in finding a cure. Well done Larry Thompson!

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

 The Insanity Plea Blog Tour
May 19-July 20, 2014


Friday, June 13, 2014

What Is the Tyndale Rewards Store?

I know what you’re thinking . . . not another points program. You’re right! It’s not just another points program. The Tyndale Rewards program is designed to provide you with opportunities to get books and Bibles for zero dollars. That’s right—F. R. E. E. As a member of the Tyndale Rewards program, you’ll have access to inspiring literature, Bibles, special promotional offers, and much more.

Other member incentives include a free gift on your birthday, along with opportunities to share your personal recommendations and feedback concerning Tyndale products. The more participation you have with the program, the more points you earn—and points translate into free stuff!

The Tyndale Rewards program is a great way to get free books and Bibles that you can keep for yourself or give to friends and family. Your journey to earning free faith-based products starts here.

Join HERE!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

THE QUALITIES OF WOOD by Mary Vensel White

When Betty Gardiner dies, leaving behind an unkempt country home, her grandson and his young wife take a break from city life to prepare the house for sale. Nowell Gardiner leaves first to begin work on his second mystery novel. By the time his wife Vivian joins him, a real mystery has begun: a local girl has been found dead in the woods behind the house.

Even after the death is ruled an accident, Vivian can’t forget the girl, can’t ignore the strange behavior of her neighbors, or her husband. As Vivian attempts to put the house in order, all around her things begin to fall apart.

My thoughts...

If you like psychological mysteries this is one you'll love, it's creepy and complicated. Guaranteed to make you stop for a moment and think about it. A great read for a debut novel, it will keep you guessing till the end. The kind of book I enjoy reading. Vivian and Nowell are preparing a house for sale when the body of a girl is found on their property. Police ruled her death an accident...but it wasn't.

No one in the town trusts anyone, there are rumors and gossip going around that is very interesting. One is especially interesting to Vivian, it seems there are things about her husband she doesn't know. Is it gossip or truth? The book is so well written, many characters are mysterious or just plain strange. Do we ever really know one another?

If you haven't guessed I totally enjoyed this book!

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


Avery is a seventeen-year-old girl whose reality has just been shattered by the death of her mother. Feeling a desperate need to flee from what has become her life, she follows a travel plan meant for her mom and her that leads her to the little beach town where her mom grew up. It's there that she meets a group of three adventurous friends who adopt her into their circle, allowing her to experience a summer she never thought would be possible after suffering such a great loss. Unfortunately, her summer full of experiences threatens to end abruptly when she realizes that one of the three has a secret that causes her to question everything about the new life she has been building.

Avery must learn to balance her grief and her desire for a future in order to achieve her mother's final wish for her: That she would be happy to be alive.

My thoughts...

It's pretty easy to get lost in this story, Avery is a sweet girl going through grief and heartache with the loss of her mother. She has the type personality where you can't help but like her immediately. The story itself is pretty emotional, the plot is really good.

Avery finds out it is possible to go with life, a trip to the friends...Rob was very patient and kind with her though he may be hiding something. It's a fun journey to be on with this cast of characters.

I love the idea of a happy to be alive because journal and may start one myself. Overall, a pretty good book for a first novel.

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

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


After spending years running from the shame her father put on her family, Jayne is determined not to let him steal her future in the same way he stole her childhood. Changing her name to Becca Morrow, she moves to California and settles into a new life and new job caring for ailing mother of handsome young businessman, Isaac Hughes.

But just as she's wondering if she and Isaac are headed for a relationship, Becca's patient passes away under unusual circumstances. Suddenly, her past catches up with her and the unnerving details of her heritage threaten to destroy all sense of home and all hope for love.

Even if she could clear her name, a phone call wraps a suffocating shroud around her heart. Her estranged father needs her help. But can Becca open her new life to the man who ruined her past?

My thoughts...

First off I have to say I love the beautiful cover, it fits so well. This is a wonderful story of true forgiveness, I don't know that I would've done what Becca did, especially being newly married. (I won't give that part away).

She left her hometown to start a new life where no one will ever know who she really is. She meets Isaac, they fall in love and get married. Then her identity is blown and she's asked to do things that would be hard for most.

I read the book in one day and I will say I enjoyed my day off! I thank God for putting such talent in the author that brings joy to so many. Yes, I loved the book and highly recommend it to anyone that loves to read.

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

Cynthia Ruchti asks what it takes to overcome your past and become who you were meant to be in her latest novel, All My Belongings. Cynthia has woven a heart-wrenching tale of forgiveness, grace, and learning what it means to truly belong.

Cynthia is celebrating the release of her latest novel with a fun giveaway and a live webcast event!
One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card
  • All My Belongings by Cynthia Ruchti
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 11th. Winner will be announced at the All My Belongings LIVE webcast event on June 11th. Connect with Cynthia for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Cynthia will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, fun prizes, and gift certificates throughout the evening.
So grab your copy of All My Belongings and join Cynthia and friends on the evening of June 11th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 11th!

Monday, June 9, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

"It's Monday! What Are You Reading?" is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey where we share what we're reading and our goals for the week.

What I Read Last Week...

What I'm Reading Now...

What I Hope to Read This Week...

What about you? What are you reading?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash!

Enter to win 1 of 2 great prizes. Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash! The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below. The 2nd is available only to bloggers who post about this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter. June Kindle Fire  

Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
  Or $229 Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
  June Sponsors I Am A Reader Feed Your Reader Bella Street's Weird Romance Bonnie Blythe's Pure Romance Lori's Reading Corner Author M.A. George CBY Book Club Fairiechick's Fantasy Book Reader Christian Bookmobile Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton Kindle and Me Author Inger Iversen A. Wrighton, Author Author Kim Cresswell-Trapped Inside My Head The YA Buzz Jenna Does Books Addicted Readers The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something year Old Girl BookHounds YA Every Free Chance Book Reviews Author Wendi Sotis Taylor Dean Books Heather Gray (Author) Author Cindy C Bennett More Than a Review The Reporter and The Girl Author Anna Kyss Owl Always Be Reading Laurie Here Romance Under Fire Author Jennifer Laurens BookReviewsAndGiveaways Paranormal book Club (PBC) The Late Bloomers Book Blog Reviews from a Bookworm Jennifer Faye, Author Free Bookster Making it Happen Extaordinaryreads MyLadyWeb: Women's History & Women Authors Author Claudia Burgoa Crystal Donahue, Author SMIBookClub Where The Broken Lie by Derek Rempfer Author Rosanne Rivers YA Author - Ellisa Barr Lynda Raymond Brenda Maxfield Fic Central Author Barbara Silkstone Aubrey Wynne: Historical Romance Author Georgina Young-Ellis   Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Giveaway here:   Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7", $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash. Ends 7/1/14 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 and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

THE PRAYER BOX by Lisa Wingate

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!

THE BRIDGE TENDER by MaryBeth Whalen

Emily must realize that her dreams didn’t have to die with her first love. When Emily Shaw, a young widow, learns that her late husband's last surprise for her involves returning to Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to realize an old dream of theirs, she reluctantly embarks on a summer of discovery in the midst of grief.

There, in the oasis of the beach community, she meets a host of townspeople with their own broken dreams and unexpected situations. As the island citizens divide over the fate of a nostalgic bridge, Emily happens upon a man who just may be the one to restore her faith in dreams, hope, and possibly love.

My thoughts...

This is such a beautifully written story of love and loss, going through the grief stage and slowly finding your way out. Emily is a young woman who lost her husband way too soon. As friends and family move on and expect her to do the same the author tackles the emotional loss Emily is experiencing and how it isn't easy to continue as everyone else does. Her husband has left her something though and it's the thing she needs to help her heal.

Love the characters, the emotions Emily feels tugs at your heart. MaryBeth does not disappoint with this wonderful novel.

I received a copy of this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.