Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Title: Meant to be Mine
Author: Becky Wade
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (May 6, 2014)
Pages: 384

There are books that are good, and then there are ones that when you read the last word, you let out a long sigh. That would be a sigh that is quickly followed by a warm and tingly sensation, and what comes after reading an amazing book. that is exactly what happened with MEANT TO BE MINE by BECKY WADE.

A friend of mine read MEANT TO BE MINE and proceeded to let me know I MUST read it. She's read some of my writing, knows my fascination for cowboys. She knew the fact that the hero is a bull rider, would be enough to entice me. Needless to say, she was right.

Celia Park has had a crush on Ty Porter since the day she laid eyes on him in high school. Years later in Vegas, it didn't take long to realize her feelings for the cowboy hasn't changed.

Ty Porter is making a living doing what he does best - riding bulls. A few days in Vegas with Celia Park, gives way to his reckless side. Doing something that would change the course of their lives, and cause him to focus a hundred percent on his career and little else.

MEANT TO BE MINE is the first book I've read by BECKY WADE, and won't be the last. In fact, only minutes after finishing, I ordered UNDENIABLY YOURS, the first of the Porter brother's books. I can only hope MS WADE has another in the making for Jake Porter. My interest is already spiked regarding Ty's brother with so few words.

The very first page of MEANT TO BE MINE captured me, pulling me in. A slow reader, I stayed up late into the night, reading until I could no longer keep my eyes open, finishing some ninety pages. If I had the time to sit and read all day, I would have. When I had less than a hundred pages left, I woke the next morning realizing I wasn't about to get anything done until I completed this incredible story.

MS WADE knows not only how to write, but how to create a story that ropes you in and doesn't let you go. I LOVED the characters...all of them. Each is districted. What she did with the characters may not have worked for other authors, but for MS WADE, it did.

If I had to pick one quality of the story that made MEANT TO BE MINE stand-alone from other novels I've read, I would have to say it would be the uniqueness of the path the author took the characters on. There were several situations that were easily predictably, not that I had problem with it, because I didn't. But MS WADE caught me completely off guard by NOT doing what the reader would expect. Not once, not twice, but several times. And I LOVED it.

I can't wait for UNDENIABLY YOURS to arrive to read about Bo Porter, and looking forward to the story about Jake in the future. I guess I've just found myself a new favorite author.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Title: With Every Breath
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (August 5, 2014)
Pages: 368

Every book that I have read by ELIZABETH CAMDEN has blown me away. She is a phenomenal writer AND storyteller. There are those that write well, and those that create a good plot. But it’s those that can do both that produce a novel that a reader gets wrapped up in and will remember for a long times.

Kate Livingston is intelligent and ambitious. Hesitant, she gives in and accepts an offer for a job from the insufferable Trevor McDonough. A man she hasn’t seen since their high school days.

Trevor McDonough is good at keeping his distance from those that might hurt his wounded heart. That goes double for Kate Livingston. If she knew the secret he carried, she would think twice about the attraction she has for him.

As always, ELIZABETH CAMDEN produced a novel that is not only entertaining, but enlightening. I am not only left with a warm feeling you get from reading an amazing story, but filled with a new sense of knowledge and understanding about a subject I may not have pursued on my own.

WITH EVERY BREATH by ELIZABETH CAMDEN is not a novel you want to miss. I loved the characters growth. MS. CAMDEN does an amazing job transforming Trevor. Only a remarkable writer can do what MS. CAMDEN did with his character, and still have the reader loving him.  

There is no question that when I spot an ELIZABETH CAMDEN novel, I will be reading it in the near future.

*Please see my profile for more information on this review.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Too often Christian movies fail to show a realistic picture of a faith based life. The journey of a Christian is unique to the individual. A common misconception is that people of faith have not experience the trials and tribulations others have. That once they give their life to the Lord, it’s easy going.

What I love about THE SONG is the journey Jed King embarks on.  An aspiring singer who thinks his career is over before it starts, crosses paths with a woman of faith that inspires a song within, stirring up the passion he lacks.

Rose Jorden is a wholesome girl who is committed to her faith and family. Jed King promises a life of love that soon turns her world upside down.

THE SONG is packed full of one man’s trials and tribulations. It’s a story about aspirations, commitment, temptations, love, faith, hope, redemption, restoration, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

Jed King is a man with a past, struggling to follow in his father’s footsteps as he faces the price that often comes with a career in music. The uniqueness of THE SONG is the depiction of a realistic life. One of drugs, drinking, and other temptations that often comes with fame.

THE SONG is a great representation that some things are worth fighting for. You will be left with a sense of hope. Hope that no matter what we go through in life, as long we have God as our center, we can get through it.

Friday, August 15, 2014


Title: Rusty Spigot, Dirty Water (An Introspective journey for the Offender.)

Title: Rusty Spigot, Dirty Water (An Introspective journey for the Offender.)
Author: Michael Farlin
Publisher: WestBowPress (January 14, 2014)
Pages: 108

I wasn’t sure what I was in for when I ran across RUSTY SPIGOT, DIRTY WATER (AN INTROSPECTIVE JOURNEY FOR THE OFFEREND) by MICHAEL FARLIN. What I soon discovered is a treasure. Not only for those that are incarcerated, but those that have been, about to be, involved in the ministry, and for those that know of someone in any of the above situations.

RUSTY SPIGOT, DIRTY WATER may be only 108 pages, but don’t let the amount fool you. It’s packed with honest life perspective on having been incarcerated. I have many highlights and notes throughout.

A few notes I took along the way:

-An honest account, in a realist way on prison, life, and faith.
-Speaks straight talk. No fancy words or dancing around the facts.
-Persevere over the discouragement and disappointments. It will all be worth it.
-Straight truth without being preachy.
-Because MR FARLIN has been incarcerated, and not afraid to speak honestly, makes it very powerful. 

I highlighted several powerful insights throughout the book. Here are just a couple:

Page 44-45 – “All Jesus is asking is that you believe in Him, His truth and power and His ability to take your life into a whole different reality that it is now. It can and will happen, but you have to do your part.”

Page 66-67 – “If you can get clean and mean it, do it! It will get messy, but that’s because you may not know how to handle life when your mind is not altered. Getting clean and sober in prison was the best place to do so.”

MICHAEL FARLIN also is a speaker. I am excited to meet and hear him in person at our monthly prison and jail gathering at the church I attend. I am ordering several copies of RUSTY SPIGOT, DIRTY WATER to share with others. Those in the ministry as well as those that are incarcerated. If you know of someone that is incarcerated or in the ministry, this wonderful book will make a great gift that may open one’s eyes and change lives, possibly even saving one.

*Please see my profile for more information on this review.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Title: Gathering Shadows (Finding Sanctuary
Author: Nancy Mehl
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (May 6, 2014)
Pages: 320

What you need to know about me before reading my review are two things: One, I’m not a fan of Amish stories. Two, I’m not a fan of mysteries. Therefore, the fact that I LOVED GATHERING SHADOWS (Finding Sanctuary 1), speaks volumes about NANCY MEHL’S writing and ability to tell a story.

Wynter Evans, a reporter, heads to the small town of Sanctuary, after discovering a photograph of a young man that resembles her abducted brother. Zac, the stations photog, is assigned to tag along to capture the story in pictures, while Wynter does so on paper.

Rueben King, the mayor, means to make sure Wynter and her photographer don’t cause any undue harm to the people of Sanctuary, respecting their privacy. What he didn’t expect is to have a growing attraction to the beautiful reporter.

MS MEHL’S writing is superb. I was captivated from the first to the last, page. As a writer, I know that it is an author’s goal to end a chapter in such a way the reader can’t stop. Though many accomplish it for the most part, MS MEHL takes it to another level. She NEVER left it easy to stop at the end of one. I had to force myself to put the book down in the middle of a chapter when I needed to attend to other things, because I knew once I got to the end, I would HAVE to continue on.

The faith aspect is light, yet powerful. The characters strong, and two-dimensional. The storyline keeps you interested, with an ending you would not have guessed. Though the end was satisfying, it left me wanting to read more. I can’t wait for the next in the series. I have a feeling Zac, the photog, will become a main character, and for that I am excited. I also would love to hear more about Wynter and Rueben, and Wynters, brother.

*Please see my profile for more information on this review.


Monday, August 4, 2014


Title: Forgiveness, Finding Peace Through Letting Go
Author: Adam Hamilton
Publisher: Abingdon Press (August 1, 2012)
Pages: 160

Honestly, I can’t remember where I heard about FORGIVENESS, FINDING PEACE THROUGH LETTING GO by ADAM HAMILTON. If I had to guess, I would say it was a recommendation in another book I read.

Don’t let the size of FORGIVNESS fool you. It’s packed with great information. Most of my copy is highlighted, underlined, notes written within, and pages dog-eared. I copied a few pages to share with others. They were so intrigued, they purchased the book themselves.

Some of my favorite gems within the pages:

“Forgiveness is believing that the future can be better than the past. The past can’t be changed, but God can do something redemptive with it.” Page 122

“You can choose to harm everyone because you were hurt, or you can choose to harm no one because you were hurt. Either way, it’s a choice.” Page 123

I loved the whole concept, “Just RAP: REMEMBER your own shortcomings, ASSUME the best of people, and PRAY for them.” Page 76

I could go on and on in what I gained from reading FORGIVENSS. I highly recommend this amazing little book for everyone. None of us has escaped being hurt by someone at one time or another in our lives, or hurting another, whether knowing or unknowing.

I hope that one day MR. HAMILTON’s book will be available in soft cover, so I can share it with those through the prison ministry I’m involved in. Don’t miss out on this book that will help to change your life for the better. I will definitely be seeking out more books by ADAM HAMILTON.

Friday, August 1, 2014


August 2014 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Small-Town Billionaire by Renee Andrews -- When trapped in a tiny North Alabama "Mayberry" town, billionaire Ryan Brooks wants nothing more than to get back to Chicago ASAP, but a business opportunity--and the eclectic yet gorgeous woman with the brainstorm idea--keep him planted, if only temporarily, on his sister's ranch. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The Doctor's Return by Narelle Atkins -- After years spent traveling the globe, Megan Bradley never expected to be back in her hometown sharing an office with her former sweetheart, Dr. Luke Morton. Though too busy to dwell on past mistakes, she can't ignore her feelings for the handsome doctor. Luke is afraid to trust his heart to Megan, knowing she may not stay for long. But as they work together, their romance quickly rekindles. When a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes her way, Luke must free Megan to choose between a big-city career or love and family...right there in Snowgum Creek. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Rescuing the Texan's Heart by Mindy Obenhaus -- Cash Coble is desperate for a change. Stressed out and overworked, he heads to Colorado to visit his ailing grandfather and finds his mood lifted by the beautiful woman living next door. After a troubled past, ice climber Taryn Purcell isn't looking for love. Especially not with a charming Texan who's consumed by work. But there's something about Cash that captures her heart. Never one to back down from a challenge, Taryn promises to show Cash how to carve out a happy life-one that includes her. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

A Heart to Heal by Allie Pleiter -- Guidance counselor Heather Browning is desperate. She needs a mentor to help Simon, a disabled student who is struggling at Gordon Falls High School. Unfortunately, hotshot Max Jones is her only option. Confrontational and cavalier, Max uses his flashy persona to hide the bitterness he's felt since his life-changing accident. Perpetually cautious, Heather finds Max's bad-boy bravado as intriguing as it is infuriating. But as Heather and Max work together to build Simon's self-confidence, they begin to trust each other. Max has never been slow and careful with anything. Can he be gentle with Heather's heart? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Stranded with the Rancher by Tina Radcliffe -- Stranded at single father Dan Gallagher's ranch during a Colorado blizzard, Dr. Beth Rogers is counting the days until the roads are clear. She can't wait to leave for her exciting new life in New York. But suddenly the big-city doctor is delivering babies in log cabins, helping to feed newborn calves and teaching Dan's little girl to play hymns on the piano. No-nonsense Beth even throws a snowball or two at the handsome, love-shy cowboy. She thought she had her heart set on leaving, so why does she dream of Dan asking her to stay forever? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Herb of Grace by Adina Senft -- Amish widow Sarah Yoder struggles with single motherhood and a forbidden attraction while she learns herbal medicine ... and God cures the ailments of the heart and spirit. (Contemporary Amish Romance from Faith Words [Hachette])

General Fiction:

Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney -- When empty-nesters Grant and Audrey Whitman spend the bulk of their retirement funds to renovate their home into a beautiful bed and breakfast, the last thing they expect is that their five kids will return home. Can Audrey still realize her dream and at the same time provide the comfort of home her children so desperately need? (Contemporary from Abingdon Press)

A Grand Design: Quilts of Love Series by Amber Stockton -- A quest to piece together an heirloom quilt takes a surprising turn when a man from Alyssa Denham's past-the reason she hadn't returned to the island in fifteen years-interrupts the relaxing getaway for her and her best friend, Libby. Will memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go? Or will the quest to piece together the heirloom quilt restore Alyssa's fractured heart-and bring healing to her entire family? (Contemporary from Abingdon Press)

Historical Romance:

With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden -- In the shadow of the nation's capital, Kate Livingston's respectable life as a government worker is disrupted by an encounter with the insufferable Trevor McDonough, the one man she'd hoped never to see again. A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, and business is the only reason he has sought her out now. Despite her misgivings, Kate agrees to Trevor's risky proposal to join him in his work to find a cure for tuberculosis. However, a shadowy enemy lies in wait and Trevor's closely guarded secrets are darker than she ever suspected. With everything to lose, they must find the strength to trust that hope and love can prevail over all. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])

Tried and True (Wild at Heart) by Mary Connealy -- Kylie Wilde fought in the Civil War dressed as a boy and now she's homesteading as a man. But when land agent Aaron Masterson comes to inspect her claim, he immediately realizes she's a woman. She begs him not to tell, but can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government, even if she really did serve in the war? Aaron is interested in the little spitfire from the moment her long hair falls from her cap, but when he tells her of his plans to make a life up in the mountains, she draws away. Kylie's focus is to "prove up" her homestead, sell it for a profit and move back east to civilization. When someone tries to burn her out, Aaron and Kylie suspect local land baron Gage Coulter, who denies any involvement. He does suggest a way for Kylie to stay safe, though--marry him! More attacks scare Kylie into considering matrimony. Should she tie her fortune to Gage or Aaron? Either choice will put an end to her dreams of a civilized life. And what if marrying doesn't stop the attacks after all? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])

The Lady and the Officer by Mary Ellis -- Madeline Howard never planned to become a spy, but when military intelligence falls into her lap, how could she not serve her country behind enemy lines? Two men love her-one a Rebel, the other a Union General. Maddy's heart is pulled between wanting to be loyal to those who care for her and wanting to help the man she believes is on the right side of the conflict. Will her faith in God show her the way to a bright future, or will her choices bring a devastation of their own? (Historical Romance from Harvest House)

A Stranger On My Land by Sandra Merville Hart -- Carrie and her little brother, Jay, find a wounded soldier on their land after a battle which later became known as "The Battle Above the Clouds." Adam, a Union soldier, has been shot twice in the arm. Though Carrie is reluctant to take Adam to their cave where her family hides their livestock from both armies, she cannot turn her back on him. But her Aunt Lavinia, bitter over what Yankees have done to their land, urges Carrie to allow Adam to die. Carrie refuses, but cannot remove the bullets. Adam's friendship with Jay softens her heart toward him. Even though Carrie's father fights for the Confederacy in far-off Virginia, her feelings for the handsome young soldier begin to blossom into love. When Adam's condition worsens, Carrie knows a Union surgeon is needed to save his life. How can she accomplish this and keep her family's hiding place a secret? (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Song of the Prairie by Vickie A. McDonough -- Janie Dunn's life changes when, at the request of her dying cousin, she flees with her cousin's newborn son to protect him from his abusive father. She moves to Kansas, but things take a dire change when her brother is killed. Is a marriage of convenience to kindhearted Aaron Harper the answer to her problems? Is Kansas far enough away from New York that they are safe from the baby's father? (Historical Romance from Whitaker House)

Romancing the Widow by Davalynn Spencer -- Martha Stanton isn't looking for love. The light went out of Martha's soul when her husband fell to a bullet in St. Louis. Now, back in her hometown of Canon City, she's convinced she'll never know happiness again. Until she crosses paths with a darkly mysterious Colorado Ranger. Haskell Jacobs has a mission. And the beautiful, flame-haired widow sure isn't it. But Martha is somehow mixed up in the crime that brought Haskell to the rough-and-tumble town...and soon, she's entangled in the lawman's heart. But the danger that lurks around them is all too real. Can they find strength and love in each other before it's too late? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin -- World War II flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, so how can C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be immune to her charms? Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don't want to go. Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts? (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker Publishing Group])

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas -- It's 1954 and Perla Long's arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle. Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor...until he meets Perla. She's everything he's sought in a woman, but he can't get past the sense that she's hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla's unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])

The Wrangler's Inconvenient Wife by Lacy Williams -- With no family to watch over them, it's up to Fran Morris to take care of her younger sister, even if it means marrying a total stranger. Gruff, strong and silent, her new husband is a cowboy down to the bone. He wed Fran to protect her, not to love her, but her heart has never felt so vulnerable. Trail boss Edgar White already has all the responsibility he needs at his family's ranch in Bear Creek, Wyoming. He had intended to remain a bachelor forever, but he can't leave Fran and her sister in danger. And as they work on the trail together, Edgar starts to soften toward his unwanted wife. He already gave Fran his name...can he trust her with his heart? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Sweet on the Cowgirl by Rose Ross Zediker -- Laura Barnes Wants to Be a Wild West show. But her father will only allow her to perform if she disguises herself as Mr. Buckskin Jones. When soda-pop king Guy Roberts shows up to do business with her family, Laura is torn between keeping her identity under wraps and revealing her growing feelings for Guy. Guy is drawn to Laura's poise and beauty, but he, too, guards a secret. As their affection for each other grows, Guy begins to think about a future that includes Laura. When both their secrets suddenly come to light, their romance will face the ultimate showdown. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Middle Grade/Young Adult:

Speak No Evil by Mary L. Hamilton -- At 15, Taylor Dixon dreams of getting his driver's license and driving race cars when he's older. His sister, Marissa, is the only one who believes in his dream, but her adventurous spirit keeps landing him in trouble. Consequently, Dad won't let him get his license and predicts Taylor is heading for the same jail cell as his once-favored older brother. Taylor returns to Rustic Knoll Bible Camp expecting softball, swimming and sermons. Then he finds a classic Mustang in the camp's garage and jumps at the owner's invitation to help restore it. But when Marissa falls for his snobbish cabin mate, the war of words and pranks escalates until it threatens both the car and his dreams for the future. Will Taylor fulfill Dad's prediction and end up in jail? Or will he finally learn the Truth found in the old car's engine? (Middle Grade from HopeSprings Books)

Rebels (The Safe Lands) by Jill Williamson -- The Safe Lands have long kept the true meaning of Liberation secret from their people. But after being sentenced to Liberation themselves, Mason and Omar soon discover the truth. Levi watched his brothers' public sentencing and tries to hold out hope they are still alive, He is forced to focus his attention elsewhere, however, when his new wife, Jemma, is captured and made the Safe Lands' newest Queen. His only choice to save Jemma may be to take up Omar's old role of undercover vigilante, leading the rebels in their quest to overthrow the government. But will Levi's new role be enough? Meanwhile, Jemma's sister, Shaylinn, is ready to give birth to the "Safe Lands'" children … but not even Ciddah is sure they can be delivered safely in the midst of a rebellion. And Mason must face the fact Omar's illness could be fatal. If they can all unite their efforts, together they may be able to expose the Safe Lands' lies to the people. But if they fail, they will all surely die. (Young Adult from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson & Zondervan])


Her Stolen Past by Lynette Eason -- When Sonya Daniels finds a kidnapped baby's birth certificate hidden in her late mother's home, she's shocked. What was her family's connection to the child, still missing for over two decades? And what happened to the little girl? Sonya hires detective Brandon Hayes to help her get to the truth. But someone doesn't want the truth to come out and will stop at nothing to keep them from investigating. Sonya knows the guarded cop won't rest until he unravels the mystery-but the answers could be more than she can bear alone. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

A Cry from the Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks -- In the shadow of the Mormon church, a 19th-century conspiracy is about to be shattered by a 21st-century forensic artist. In 1857, a wagon train in Utah was assaulted by a group of militant Mormons calling themselves the Avenging Angels. One hundred and forty people were murdered, including unarmed men, women, and children. The Mountain Meadows Massacre remains controversial to this day-but the truth may be written on the skulls of the victims. When renowned forensic artist Gwen Marcey is recruited to reconstruct the faces of recently unearthed victims at Mountain Meadows, she isn't expecting more than an interesting gig . . . and a break from her own hectic life. But when Gwen stumbles on the ritualized murder of a young college student, her work on the massacre takes on a terrifying new aspect, and research quickly becomes a race against modern-day fundamentalist terror. Gwen finds herself in the crosshairs of a secret society bent on fulfilling prophecy and revenging old wrongs. Can a forensic artist reconstruct two centuries of suppressed history . . . before it repeats itself? (Thriller/Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson & Zondervan])

Operation Zulu Redemption: Hazardous Duty Pt 3 by Ronie Kendig -- After all the hits they've taken, it'd be easy to quit. But Annie, Teya, and Nuala didn't train so intensely to be part of the first all-female special ops team to let their enemy win. Now that the fight's been incited so fiercely with Jessie, Candice, and Keeley, the rest of Zulu won't go down without a fight. They'll find answers, justice, and vindication for that tragic night they were set up in Misrata. Or die trying. Sam Caliguari won't give up, either. Not even the thugs who steal him away from Manson in an effort to muzzle him will stop him from getting Annie out of trouble. Annie knows Sam will use every bit of his SEAL training to track her down, but she didn't expect the tangle of strong feelings she'd have for him and Trace. Teya never imagined the nightmare that would hit after crossing the deadly path of The Turk. What could he possibly want with her so specifically? And while Trace anticipates physical threats, he's also watching his back for the next political fallout, because Francesca Solomon is unyielding in her quest to bring him down. Will Zulu ever catch a break? (Military Suspense from Barbour Publishing)

Operation Zulu Redemption: Act of Treason Pt 4 by Ronie Kendig -- It's Zero hour for Zulu. They've been targeted, hunted, deceived, and betrayed. Zulu is crumbling in their pursuit of justice. Even rifts within the team are tearing them apart. In the shocking, explosive finale of Operation Zulu: Redemption, the team has one last plan to draw the enemy out and take them down-for good. But will it work? Who can they really trust? Ultimately, what price will justice demand? (Military Suspense from Barbour Publishing)

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Blessings comes in many forms. This is just one of them. This is God at work. Inmates don't have much, so for one to give what little he has, is nothing short of God at work.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Title: Single Dad Cowboy
Author: Brenda Minton
Publisher: Love Inspired (May 20, 2014
Pages: 224

Anyone who has read my reviews in the past knows that I am a huge BRENDA MINTON fan. I have to admit, I was not impressed with the title of SINGLE DAD COWOY (Though anything with the word “cowboy” in it, has my attention.) But oh boy was I in for a treat. As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover, I guess the same could be said about the title.

Harmony Cross moved back to her family farm with one purpose in mind, and one purpose only. To get her life back in order. To find the person she once used to be. And that person didn’t include a man. A man was the last thing she needed in her life - ever.

Dylan Cooper has a plan. A plan that will not only get the matchmakers off his back, but help Harmony Cross obtain the independence and space she wants. If only he’d realized having an agreement to help one another as friends, would take a different turn.

As always the case, MS MINTON created an amazing story, with great writing and characters. I have to say, I do believe SINGLE DAD COWOY is now marked as one of my favorites. I loved both the main characters, Harmony and Dylan. Do I dare admit I fell in love with Dylan Cooper? The lines MS MINTON came up with had my heart melting and soaring all at once. This is why I read cowboy romances!

BRENDA MINTON blended a magical combination of chivalry, strength, stubbornness, persistence, confidence, sweetness, and gentleness in Dylan Cooper. Harmony’s inner conflict was carried out realistically to the end, in an unique way.

Often once the main characters kiss, that’s it. Not so in SINGLE DAD COWOY. Each time was refreshing, and realistic. I loved that the author was able to produce the “first kiss” several times throughout, and not only bring it to life, but continue their relationship as a “non-couple” in a believable way.

Me: Impatiently waiting for the next BRENDA MINTON book.


Monday, July 7, 2014


Welcome Jennifer Slattery
Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available for preorder at a 26% off discount. You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-I-Do-Jennifer-Slattery/dp/1596694173/
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.
I love a great story, but I loathe a bad one even more. Luckily, I’ve stumbled upon more greats than duds, but every once in a while…
A few years ago someone mailed me a historical fiction about... Um… I'm not sure what it was about because I never made it that far. I tried. Oh, my, did I try, but after page upon page of stirring pots, ironing clothes, and other life-activities, I put the book aside. I learned the heroine wore her hair in ribbons in painstaking detail, what she ate for breakfast—each and every day, and numerous other details of her daily life. Sadly, her over-abundance of minute details, void of conflict, dulled my brain.
Perhaps you can relate. 

As I think back on the varied novels I’ve enjoyed this past year,  I realized one of the things I long for in a story is the ability to visit a place other than my own. That doesn't mean I always gravitate toward time-traveling speculative fiction, but I don't want to relive the monotony of life either.

I love books that raise the stakes while introducing me to unique settings and heroic characters. One of my favorite authors is Charles Dickens. Upon first glance, I might conclude this is due to his "other-than" settings, but I believe it's more than that. His use of language creates images so vivid and emotive; I’m captivated by a routine walk through the city. He does this without losing the human element--the universal emotions we all share. So basically, he creates a world that is unique enough to grab my attention and propel me into the story, but he does it in such a way that I deeply connect with the characters.

One of my all-time favorite novels, A River Rising by Athol Dickson produced the same effect. The inner and outer drama woven throughout the novel was intense, but it was his writing that made everything come together. Every word, every verb, was carefully selected to enhance the overall mood of the novel, resulting in a total-mind take-over. As I read, I became the main character. I tasted the sweat dripping down my face, felt the muscles in my shoulders and back scream for relief.
What about you? What are some things you look for in a story? Think back to a story you've particularly enjoyed. What was it about that novel that grabbed you? Is it a slightly quirky character or a castle shrouded by clouds and hidden behind a patch of trees? Have other novels appeared to drag on? Maybe forcing you to put it down after a mere twenty pages? If so, why do you think that was?  
Beyond I Do
Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more. Ainsley Meadow’s encounter with a woman, her child, and their abuser sparks a passion that threatens her engagement. Will seeing beyond the present unite her and her fiancé or tear them apart? Raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


July 2014 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Biblical Fiction:
In the Field of Grace
by Tessa Afshar -- Destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi's, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation. But God has other plans for her life. While everyone considers Ruth an outcast, she is astounded to find one of the most honored men of Judah showing her favor. Long since a widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz is irresistibly drawn to the foreign woman with the haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his Cousin Naomi's chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from harm, but his heart knows better. (Biblical Fiction from River North [Moody Publishers])
Contemporary Romance:
A Plain Love Song (The New Hope Amish)
by Kelly Irvin -- Adah Knepp wants nothing more than to sing and play the guitar and write her own songs. That's a dream that will never come true in her strict Amish community. But then she meets Jackson Hart, and all of a sudden she finds the chance for a different kind of life. But pursuing her dreams means turning her back on her family and community--and saying goodbye to Matthew, the gentle Amish farmer she can't get out of her mind. Is it worth giving up the only home she's ever known to pursue her dreams? (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House Publishers)
When I Fall in Love (Christiansen Family)
by Susan May Warren -- Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she'd vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled-or maybe yanked-away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime. (Contemporary Romance from Tyndale House)
Contemporary Women's Fiction:

Hope Deferred
by Elizabeth Maddrey -- Can pursuit of a blessing become a curse? June and July and their husbands have spent the last year trying to start a family and now they're desperate for answers. As one couple works with specialists to see how medicine can help them conceive, the other must fight to save their marriage. Will their deferred hope leave them heart sick, or start them on the path to the fulfillment of their dreams? (Women's Fiction from HopeSprings Books)
The Tidewater Sisters
by Lisa Wingate -- Tandi Reese and her sister, Gina, have always been bound by complicated ties. Amid the rubble of a difficult childhood lie memories of huddling beneath beds and behind sofas while parental wars raged. Sisterhood was safety . . . once. But now? Faced with legal papers for a fraud she didn't commit, Tandi suspects that her sister has done something unthinkable. With Tandi's wedding just around the corner, a trip to the North Carolina Tidewater for a reckoning with Gina was not part of the plan. But unraveling lies from truth will require confronting strained sibling bonds and uncovering a dark family secret that could free Tandi from her past or stain her future forever. (Novella) (Women's Fiction from Tyndale House)
Historical Mystery:
Murder at the Mikado (A Drew Farthering Mystery)
by Julianna Deering -- Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has found smooth waters, Fleur Landis, an old flame, reappears in his life. She's married now, no longer an actress, and he expects she'll soon disappear--until she comes to him in dire need. The lead actor in her old troupe's production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police's number one suspect. Drew would love nothing more than to just focus on his fiancé, Madeline, and their upcoming wedding, but he can't leave Fleur in the lurch--even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline dive into the murder, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. Nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between. It's Drew's most complicated case yet. (Historical General Fiction from Faith Words [Hachette])
Historical Romance:
Captured By Love
by Jody Hedlund  -- Michigan Territory, 1814. A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger discover firsthand the high price of freedom. The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders. Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who's grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley. As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they'll risk for love. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])
Groom by Design (The Dressmaker's Daughters, #1)
by Christine Johnson   -- Dressmaker Ruth Fox gave up her dream of a husband and children long ago. Her family's floundering dress shop, her ailing father and her two younger sisters require Ruth's full attention. Though the handsome new stranger in town is intriguing, Ruth is certain he wouldn't look twice at a plain spinster of twenty-six. Sam Rothenburg's connection with the shy young woman next door is immediate, but he knows Ruth will be crushed when she discovers his real purpose in town. Sam is secretly working to open one of his father's large department stores in Pearlman, Michigan, which will surely put Ruth out of business. How much is Sam willing to sacrifice to claim Ruth's heart? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]
A Hero in the Making (Brides of Simps)
by Laurie Kingery -- Nate Bohannan won't let anything stand in the way of his grand plans in California. Even if it means traveling there with unreliable huckster Robert Salali. But after a destructive bender in Simpson Creek, Texas, the unscrupulous Salali runs out, leaving Nate to carry the blame-and the debt. He can fix broken furniture...but can anything fix the despair in café owner Ella Justiss's eyes? When her café was destroyed, Ella felt sure she'd lost her dreams along with it. Yet somehow Nate's cheerful care and optimism fill her with hope again. When danger threatens, will Nate be the hero Ella can finally trust-and love? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
The Warrior's Vow
by Christina Rich -- Swept away from her home and into the desert, Abigail is as much a prisoner as she is a princess. A ruthlessly ambitious captain of the palace guard intends to force her into marriage and rule Judah through her. Yet the badly beaten soldier Abigail rescues offers another choice-if she dares trust him.  (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Annie's Stories (Ellis Island)
by Cindy Thomson -- The year is 1901, the literary sensation The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is taking New York City by storm, and everyone wonders where the next great book will come from. But to Annie Gallagher, stories are more than entertainment-they're a sweet reminder of her storyteller father. After his death, Annie fled Ireland for the land of dreams, finding work at Hawkins House. But when a fellow boarder with something to hide is accused of misconduct and authorities threaten to shut down the boardinghouse, Annie fears she may lose her new friends, her housekeeping job . . . and her means of funding her dream: a memorial library to honor her father. (Historical Women's Fiction from Tyndale House)
Military Suspense:
Operation Zulu Redemption: Overkill
by Ronie Kendig -- In this FREE TEASER episode, readers meet the Zulu team. In the aftermath of their first highly successful op, the first all-female special ops team, known as Zulu, discovered that innocent civilians-women and children-died at their hands. Zulu was set up to take the devastating fall. Fearing for their lives, the Zulu team vanished. With new identities and spread across the globe, they live in relative but isolated peace-yet still haunted by the past. Five years after that horrific night, they've begun to hope they might be safe and the tragedy forgotten. Until two of them are murdered.  (Military Suspense from Barbour Publishing)
Operation Zulu Redemption: Collateral Damage Part 1
by Ronie Kendig -- Five years ago, six soldiers made American military history as the first all-female Special Forces team, named Zulu. A tragic mistake in Misrata, Libya, leaves twenty-two dead and Zulu fleeing for their lives. Now Jessica Herring and Candice Reyna are dead at the hand of an assassin. Keeley Shay clings to life in a hospital. The last three Zulu members are forced into a fight for answers, for redemption, and for their very lives. They must track down who hit the team and deliver justice to the enemy-before the interference of Sam Caliguari and relentless Army intelligence analyst Lieutenant Francesca Solomon gets them all killed. (Military Suspense from Barbour Publishing)
Operation Zulu Redemption: Out of Nowhere - Part 2
by Ronie Kendig -- Zulu continues the fight! The remnant of the first all-female Special Forces team, Zulu, will do whatever it takes to determine what really happened that night five years ago-when a trap entangled Zulu in the deaths of twenty-two innocent people in Misrata, Libya. With Lieutenant Colonel Trace Weston and Boone Ramage leading the way, Annie Palermo, Téya Reiker, and Nuala King are training harder and stronger, digging deeper for clues, and tracking down leads in the U.S. and Europe to clear their names. Just when things start to turn for Zulu, one of the team is targeted by one of the world's most deadly assassins. Then another vanishes. Zulu wanted the truth, but they didn't know it might cost every one of their lives. (Military Suspense from Barbour Publishing)
Romantic Suspense:

Seagrass Pier (The Hope Beach Series)
by Colleen Coble -- 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. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson & Zondervan])
Firewall (Deadly Force)
by DiAnn Mills -- After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they're both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn't who he appears to be. Agent Grayson Hall's number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day's act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)
Shake Down
by Jill Elizabeth Nelson -- To clear his imprisoned father's name, Shane Gillum must find evidence hidden in a Martha's Vineyard cottage. But he arrives to find the "vacant" property being prepped for sale by real estate agent Janice Swenson. Is she tied to the notorious owners? Or is she in over her head as the "accidents" on the property grow increasingly dangerous? And who is the saboteur targeting-Shane with his search, or Janice with her dark, hidden past? With so much at stake, trusting Janice is a huge risk...but keeping silent about the cottage's mysteries could mire them both in a deadly scheme. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin]).
Historical Speculative Fiction:

Shenandoah Dreams
by Lisa Belcastro -- What if she met the man of her dreams...in another century? (Speculative Fiction/Historical from OakTara Publishers)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Welcome author Cindy Thomson

Cindy Thomson is a writer and an avid genealogy enthusiast. Her love of history and her Scots-Irish heritage have inspired much of her writing, including her new Ellis Island series. Cindy is also the author of Brigid of Ireland and Celtic Wisdom: Treasures from Ireland. She combined her love of history and baseball to co-author the biography Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story, which was a finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research's Larry Ritter Book Award. In addition to books, Cindy has written on a regular basis for numerous online and print publications and is a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Historical Novel Society. Cindy and her husband have three grown sons and live in central Ohio. Visit her online at www.cindyswriting.com or on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/cindythomson.

An Interview with the main character from Annies Stories by Cindy Thomson

Annies Stories tells the story of Annie Gallagher, an immigrant from Ireland. We first met Annie in Graces Pictures, the first book in the Ellis Island Series. Annie is the housekeeper at Hawkins House, a boarding house for new immigrants run by Mrs. Agnes Hawkins.

Annie, can you tell us how you came to work at Hawkins House?

Oh, now, thats a question that requires a whole novel to explain. But Ill give you just a bit of it. I had the unfortunate experience of being put in a place called a Magdalene Laundry back in Ireland, and against my will too! Ill not tell you how I got out, but I was sent to Hawkins House in Manhattan where a woman named Mrs. Hawkins (better known to some of us as the Hawk) set me up as her housekeeper. I was happy to be there, but I wanted more for my new life in America. The stories my father wrote for me turn out to have a part in helping me achieve my goal, and then some!

On the cover youre holding a copy of L. Frank Baums The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Can you tell us why? I mean, it is a childrens book.

Then perhaps youve not read it? The book is a wonder for several reasons. I was drawn to the story because Dorothy Gale feels neglected by her aunt and uncle, and everything in Kansas is so gray and unwelcoming. She wants excitement. And she certainly gets that in Oz. I know what its like to feel that way. And besides all that, the book is printed in such wonderful colors. I had never seen anything else like it. And as for it being for children, tis a well-known fact that Mr. Baum has stated the book will appeal to adults as well as children. I would not be surprised if someone made a stage production out of this story. Ive read it more than once.

Tell us something about the other characters who appear in Annies Stories.

Well, there is Mrs. Hawkins, of course. Shes a kindly soul, but rather mysterious. Readers will learn a lot more about her than they did in Graces Pictures. Grace and Owen from the first book in the series are in Annies Stories as well. Readers of Graces Pictures will remember Reverend Clarke and Mr. Parker. There is a terrible Pinkerton man, although if you want my opinion he should not be around at all. And then my troublesome cousin Aileen comes through Ellis Island from Ireland, like I did except not from the laundry. She really should have been the one sent to the laundry, although I would not have wished that on her or anyone. But Ill let you read about that. We have a new boarder at Hawkins House named Kirsten. She and her perplexing brother Jonas keep us busy. And then there is Stephen Adams the postman. I wont tell you much about him except that hes handsome. There are a few other important folks, but you can meet in them in the pages.

I hear that you like to read. Why are books and stories so important to you?

I was raised on stories. My father, God rest his soul, was a seanchai back in Ireland. Thats the word for storyteller. It was his occupation. Stories and the telling of them is my precious link to his memory, and without that I would feel lost. Stephen loves books as well, and he even lives over top of the offices of a publisher. Books feed our souls in a way that no other entertainment can. Wouldnt you agree?

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Annie. We look forward to your story.

Thank you for inviting me. I hope we meet again in the pages of Annies Stories.

About the book

The year is 1901, the literary sensation The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is taking New York City by storm, and everyone wonders where the next great book will come from. But to Annie Gallagher, stories are more than entertainmenttheyre a sweet reminder of her storyteller father. After his death, Annie fled Ireland for the land of dreams, finding work at Hawkins House.

But when a fellow boarder with something to hide is accused of misconduct and authorities threaten to shut down the boardinghouse, Annie fears she may lose her new friends, her housekeeping job . . . and her means of funding her dream: a memorial library to honor her father. Furthermore, the friendly postman shows a little too much interest in Annieand in her fathers unpublished stories. In fact, he suspects these tales may hold a grand secret.

Though the postmans intentions seem pure, Annie wants to share her fathers stories on her own terms. Determined to prove herself, Annie must forge her own path to aid her friend and create the future shes always envisioned . . . where dreams really do come true.
A glimpse into
Grace's Pictures

“Listen to me,” her mother had said. “I don’t care what lies your father once spoke to you, darlin’. . . . Remember instead this: You are smart. You are important. You are able.”
Grace McCaffery hopes the bustling streets of New York hold all the promise the lush hills of Ireland did not. As her efforts to earn enough money to bring her mother to America fail, she wonders if her new Brownie camera could be the answer. But a casual stroll through a beautiful New York City park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced her camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader.

A policeman with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and avoid the gang intent on intimidating her, Grace must put her faith in unlikely sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness.