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:
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 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 or on Goodreads

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.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Title: At the Edge of a Dark Forest (Fairwilde Reflections)
Author: Connie Almony
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (February 20, 2014)
Pages: 180

I feel almost speechless. As if no words I conjure up could do justice to the way I feel about, AT THE EDGE OF A DARK FOREST (A Fairwilde Reflections Novella) by CONNIE ALMONY. To say that I didn’t want it to end, is an understatement. If I had the ability, I’d make this amazing story into a movie. A movie that would no doubt become one of my favorites.

I have a special place in my heart for the retelling of fairytales. Beauty and the Beast being at the top of the list, right beside Cinderella. I tend to latch onto any movie that comes out with a new version of one of the classics I loves so much. Though I have read a few such stories, I don’t recall reading one that captured me the way AT THE EDGE OF A DARK FOREST has.

Cole Harrison is a bitter man, but not because he is lacking of worldly possessions. The wall he has built up around his heart has left him a man not many dare to get close to.

Carly Rose is put into a situation she has little choice but to endure. Her love for her father has her encountering a mission and a man that seems at first appearances, impossible.

I can’t provide much of a synopsis for this story, for in doing so I would write a good portion of the book. I, a slow reader, with little time, finished this amazing story in just two short days. Every time I attempted to put it down, it silently called to me. My emotions reeling from only completing it moments ago, are nearly too raw to express the horde of feeling it has created.

I guess it goes without saying that I am now a fan of MS ALMONY. Her writing is amazing, just as her storytelling. I was engrossed, inspired, intrigued, laughed, and cried. The author created many great lines that caused me to smile, my skin to have goose bumps, and my eyes to tear up.

AT THE EDGE OF A DARK FOREST is a clever and unique retelling of Beauty and the Beast. MS ALMONY took an unlikely twist to the storyline, yet kept the core of the story alive. I have never encountered a retelling of a story that kept the basic elements, with such a unique twist. I loved every word. Every scene. The beginning, the middle, and the end. It never disappointed. Not for a second.

Aside from the unique storyline, I LOVED how MS ALMONY incorporated bits of the original story through the characters. It was absolutely brilliant, adding to the overall charm of the story and characters. Though they referred to Beauty and the Beast, you never felt as though the story was mimicking it…yet it was so similar…in a unique way.

I love every character, each unique and three-dimensional. I love how MS ALMONY brought to the story things that you typically wouldn’t find in faith based fiction. The Christianity was relevant to life, subtle, yet so powerful. 

Okay, enough. I could go on and on. Do yourself a favor – get this book. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I feel confident that anyone with a teen daughter in the house will have no problem getting this. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Title: Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out
Author: Jolene Hart, CHC, AADP
Publisher: Chronicle Books (February 25, 2014)
Pages: 208

I just LOVE this little book! EAT PRETTY: NUTRITION FOR BEAUTY, INSIDE AND OUT by JOLENE HART, CHC, AADP. It’s packed full of great information, simply stated, in an easy to read layout. The book is titled appropriately, and visually beautiful. Even though I am not a pink person, I found it gorgeous.

I realize in today’s world we have everything at the tip of our fingers with the internet. Being a visual person, I find it helpful to have the information in front of me in a tangibly form. The internet can often be overwhelming, and let’s face it, as soon as you walk away, or click on another link, it’s gone. Having valuable information ready and waiting to flip through at anytime, anywhere, is priceless. Especially when you’re talking about your health, because when it comes down to it, it’s about staying healthy and fit.

The first page I opened to was page 149. My eyes locked on, Kiwi. What I read, and how it was worded and laid out, immediately sold me on the book. I am so happy I made the decision to purchase EAT PRETTY: NUTRITION FOR BEAUTY, INSIDE AND OUT.

I knew that I was going to get helpful information on what to eat and why, but I hadn’t realized I’d also receive information on what not to eat and why, along with some fabulous recipes. At the end of each description of food, there is a quick chart: Eat pretty food, beautifying compound, and beauty benefit, in just a few simple words.

What will you get in this amazing little book?
·        Information on antioxidants, biotin, and omega-3s.
·        More than 85 everyday foods, each with their specific beauty/health-boosting benefit.
·        Healthful ingredients.
·        A full lifestyle makeover, exploring stress management, hormonal balance, and mindful living.
·        Charts and lists.
·        Nearly 20 recipes.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Title: Chain of Mercy
Author: Brenda S Anderson
Publisher: Winslet Press (April 22, 2014)
Pages: 358

To say that CHAIN OF MERCY is the first, but not the last book I’ll read by BRENDA S ANDERSON, is a huge understatement. If I were only allowed one word to describe this amazing book, it would have to be, WOW!

Richard Brooks is not who he appears to be. Not by a long shot. But that’s intentional. He wants nothing more than to rid of the man he once was. Only problem is, he’s everywhere he goes.

Sheila Peterson is intrigued by the handsome maintenance man. She never imagined she’d stoop so low as to go out with someone so beneath her, but he’d serve a purpose. Little did she realize what man was hidden behind the façade.

Forgiveness is a huge element in CHAIN OF MERCY on many levels, but it is so much more. The characters, writing, and storyline are beyond amazing. It’s not your typical, predictable novel. MS ANDERSON takes you on a journey with surprising twists and turns. Each of the characters is distinct, with tangible personalities. From the very first page, you will be pulled in, and absorbed into the lives of the characters. But it won’t stop with the last word. No, CHAIN OF MERCY is bound to remain in your heart forever.

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

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Title: The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and Exercises
Author: James Scott Bell
Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; Original edition (December 9, 2009)
Pages: 272
I had heard others mention THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS: FICTION WRITING STRATEGIE, TACTICS, AND EXERCISES by JAMES SCOTT BELL, and to be honest, I resisted purchasing it. I don’t always believe all the hype. That is until I spotted this tiny book at a writing conference a few years back. I finally relented and made the decision to purchase it. Still, it sat on my shelf of books to be read. Now, years later, I finally read it.

Wow! I do believe that God gives you what you need, just when you need it. If ever the saying “Tiny, but mighty” was true, it would be in reference to this book. I just LOVED the extremely short chapters. They are quick, precise, yet packed with core information. All the basics you need to write a great book, without all the fancy words and sentences to jumble your brain, threatening to lose the point. There was not one single chapter - of 77 - that I did not gain knowledge from.

THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS will be a book forever near as I continue my writing journey. Even if you have been writing for some time, it’s a quick reminder of the dos and don’t that you are sure to find helpful.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014


by Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher, Debra Clopton,
Margaret Brownley

Title: Four Weddings and a Kiss

Authors: Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher, Debra Clopton, Margaret Brownley

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 10, 2014

Pages: 400



Admittedly, this is the first story I’ve read by MARY CONNEALY, and I loved the storyline in SPITFIRE SWEETHART.

Rylan Carsterns has never noticed how pretty his annoying neighbor, Maizy Place is, until he was placed in an uncompromising position.

Maizy Place new she was in trouble when she is caught on Rylan Carstens property. If she thought that's the worse of her problems, she only needed to look around to discover how untrue it was.


Again, another first for me. LOVE LETTER TO THE EDITOR by ROBIN LEE HATCHER is a cute story, well written, with a good pace. I have a feeling I’ll be reading more by MS HATCHER in the future. She did a fine job of creating a well-rounded story in so few words. Not an easy feat, as any writer knows.

Molly Everton, the town newspapers daughter, is not happy when she discovers he father hired an editor. Why hadn’t she been given the job? After all, she knew the paper better than any other in the office, and certainly better than some stranger that wasn’t even a local.

Jack Ludgrove is optimistic about his new position at the newspaper, about moving to a new town, even if he only plans to stay for a shot while.  


If I was honest, and I do try to be in all I do, A COWBOY FOR KATIE by DEBRA CLOPTON is the reason I was most excited to receive FOUR WEDDINGS AND A KISS. I have been a HUGE fan of MS CLOPTON since day one. I can honestly say, I can’t get enough of her stories.

If I’m not mistaken, A COWBOY FOR KATIE, is MS CLOPTONS first historical, and I have to say she did an amazing job. I’m a huge fan on historicals, as well as anything with a cowboy in it. It wasn’t until I read this story, that I put the connection together. There’s something about cowboy ways, that holds similarities to characters of the past.

As typical of MS CLOPTON, she drew me in right away with characters and a storyline that pulls you in from the first word to the last. She did an amazing job with a historical story, as well as a novella. One of the hardest things to accomplish. It takes a skilled writer to be able to pull off a short story from start to finish, and not just accomplish it, but do it really well.

Katie Pearl has no interest in a husband, only in hiring someone to fix the damage done to her property. When she spots a wandering cowboy coming through town, she ropes him in just long enough to complete the job and move on.

Treb Rayburn only plans to stay in the town he wandered into long enough to earn enough to buy a horse. At the pretty ladies offer as a hire hand to earn a few bucks, and a horse to boot, Treb can’t resist. What he hadn’t planned on was getting to know Katie in a way that had him rethinking packing his bags and leaving.


COURTING TROUBLE is not the first book I’ve read by, MARGARET BROWNLEY, and another reason I wanted a copy of FOUR WEDDINGS AND A KISS. Love MS BROWNLEY’S writing, both fiction and non-fiction.

Grace Davenport’s reputation is not one to be desired. In fact, if you were a man, you’d do best to run in the opposite direction.

Attorney Brock Daniels is confronted by a potential client – a very young one at that – to take on a case he had no intentions of taking. That is until he meets the boys, mother. Brock changed his direction of law practice for a reason, but looking into Grace Davenport’s eyes through the cell bars, has him rethinking his decision.

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

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


June 2014 New Releases

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


All Right Here by Carre Armstrong Gardner -- Ivy Darling can't have children of her own, and her husband Nick's resentment is forcing them apart. And while Ivy has the support and love of her large, close-knit family, Nick's family has never welcomed her into the fold. When the three children next door are abandoned by their mother, Ivy and Nick take them in for the night. One night becomes several, and suddenly Ivy and Nick find themselves foster parents to the only African-American kids in the town of Copper Cove, Maine. As Ivy grows more attached to the children, Nick refuses to accept their eclectic household as a permanent family. Just as Ivy begins to question whether or not she wants to save her emotionally empty marriage, Nick begins to discover how much Ivy and the children mean to him. But is his change of heart too little, too late? (Contemporary Fiction from Tyndale House)

A Woman of Fortune by Kellie Coates Gilbert -- 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. (Contemporary Fiction from Revell [Baker Publishing Group])

The Cat Lady's Secret by Linda W. Yezak -- Emily Taylor loves to help people, loves to ease their burdens and make their dreams come true. But when a conman ruins her reputation, she discovers that helping others is safer and easier from behind the scenes. When one of Emily's gifts captures the attention of an avid journalist, her identity as the town's anonymous benefactor-and her renewed relationship with her high school sweetheart-are threatened. As her private life begins to unravel, she realizes the one hope for regaining control lies behind prison walls. (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Harbourlight Books[Pelican])

Contemporary Romance:

A Romance Rekindled by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- Susan Hill can't forget how Blake Mitchell jilted her and left their hometown without an explanation. But when he returns to Leavenworth, the ruggedly handsome writer evokes conflicting emotions, especially when Susan meets the child she assumes is his daughter. Since his parents' deaths six years ago, Blake's been raising his little sister on his own. But he's never forgotten the woman he left behind. Now, he can't undo the past, but maybe he can change the future...if he can convince Susan to give him one more chance. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Lakeside Sweethearts by Lisa Jordan -- Agnes Kingsley can hardly bear to walk past the house she lived in as a married woman. It's full of bad memories she's never shared-not even with her best friend, Ian James. But now Ian wants her help to restore that old home for a community project. Agnes knows it's for a good cause, but as their work brings them even closer together, she's afraid to trust-in herself or in the feelings she's secretly harbored for her childhood friend. Yet as they chip away at the house, walls come down around both their hearts...uncovering a foundation to last a lifetime. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Their Unexpected Love by Kathleen Y'Barbo -- Widowed contractor Logan Burkett knows exactly what troublemaking teens need: discipline. A former rabble-rouser, Logan had his life turned around by firm guidance and hard work. But try telling that to Pippa Gallagher. The softhearted event planner runs a skate park ministry for troubled teens and thinks a place to be themselves is the answer. As he and Pippa work together renovating the space, they seem to disagree about everything. But when disaster strikes, Logan finds himself feeling very protective of the beautiful planner and surprised to discover they share one very special thing in (Contemporary Romance from Love Inpspired [Harlequin])

Historical Fiction:

The Hatmaker's Heart by Carla Stewart -- Nell Marchwold is fortunate to have landed a job as an apprentice designer at the prominent Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City. When Nell's fresh designs begin to catch on, her boss holds her back from the limelight, claiming the stutter she's had since childhood reflects poorly on her and his salon. But it seems Nell's gift won't be hidden by Oscar's efforts. Soon an up-and-coming fashion designer is seeking her out as a partner of his 1922 collection. The publicity leads to an opportunity for Nell to make hats in London for a royal wedding. There, she sees her childhood friend, Quentin, and an unexpected spark kindles between them. But thanks to her success, Oscar is determined to keep her. As her heart tugs in two directions, Nell must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for her dream, and what her dream truly is. (Historical General Fiction from Faith Words [Hachette])

Historical Romance:

Four Weddings & a Kiss by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, and Robin Lee Hatcher -- In 1885 five western preachers sit around a campfire talking about unlikely couples they've seen God bring together. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson & Zondervan])

The Beaches and Brides Romance Collection by Lynn A. Coleman, Susan Page Davis, Mary Davis, Paige Winship Dooly and Cathy Marie Hake -- Venture along historic American shorelines, enjoying five stories that are full of adventure, challenge, and romance. In Key West a couple collides over a child's welfare. In Washington, a captain's wife guards a secret. In Maine, a castaway returns from the dead. In Georgia, a woman dares to man a lighthouse alone. In Virginia, a wounded soldier recoups at a seaside cottage. Watch as God works through their challenges to bring them safely to a harbor of love. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Stuck Together by Mary Connealy -- Tina Cahill, newly arrived from the East, is determined to get the saloon in Broken Wheel, Texas, closed for good. To that end, she pickets outside the place every afternoon. Unfortunately, so far no one has paid any attention. Vince Yates earned the nickname "Invincible Vince" because of his reputation for letting absolutely nothing stop him. But Vince is about to face his biggest challenge yet: his past has just caught up with him. His father, mother, and the sister he didn't know he had, show up in Broken Wheel without warning. Vince has a lot of people to take care of, and Tina doesn't approve of how he's handling any of them. But with almost all the other men in town married off, Vince finds himself stuck with feisty Tina over and over again. Of course, Tina is the prettiest woman he's ever seen, so if he could just get her to give up her causes, he might go ahead and propose. But he's got one more surprise coming his way: Tina's picketing at the saloon has revealed a dark secret that could put everyone Vince loves in danger. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])

Truth Be Told by Carol Cox When Amelia Wagner takes over her father's newspaper in 1893 Granite Springs, Arizona, she vows to carry on the paper's commitment to reporting only the truth. But Amelia soon learns that even the truth can have serious consequences. Her father's revealing articles about the Great Western Investment Company have caught the attention of the wrong people, and pressure mounts for Amelia to retract her father's statements. Determined to find out the real story, Amelia begins her own investigation. She's joined by Benjamin Stone, a Great Western employee who's been assigned to keep tabs on her. What they uncover stuns them both--and has far-reaching implications for not only Ben and Amelia but all of Granite Springs. Can they reveal the truth before the enemy finds a way to silence them for good? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])

A Place in His Heart by Rebecca DeMarino -- Anglican Mary Langton longs to marry for love. Puritan Barnabas Horton is still grieves the loss of his beloved wife and needs only a mother for his two young sons. And yet these two very different people with very different expectations will take a leap of faith, wed, and then embark on a life-changing journey across the ocean to the New World. Along the way, each must learn to live in harmony, to wait on God, and to recognize true love where they least expect to find it. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker Publishing Group])

Ozark Reunion by Helen Gray -- In the aftermath of the Great Depression, it's time for Riley to start over. And the first step is winning the trust of his Missouri hometown. But it isn't easy for a man with a troubled past. Especially when his first love, Jolene Delaney, seems to believe that the new rumors about him are true. After Riley broke her heart, Jolene threw herself into teaching school and caring for her father and little sister. But she knows something is missing from her life. Especially when she comes face-to-face with Riley again. Can he convince Jolene that he's truly a changed man? Or will he succumb to old temptations and destroy her faith in him once again? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer -- Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston, Texas, to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole's father has always focused on what she's not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping. Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it's too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father's rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change in Nicole's plans. After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world. Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father's rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family's legacy? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group]) Historical Women's Fiction:

Yankee In Atlanta by Jocelyn Green -- When soldier Caitlin McKae woke up in Atlanta after being wounded in battle, the Georgian doctor who treated her believed Caitlin's only secret was that she had been fighting for the Confederacy disguised as a man. In order to avoid arrest or worse, Caitlin hides her true identity and makes a new life for herself in Atlanta. Trained as a teacher, she accepts a job as a governess to the daughter of Noah Becker, a German immigrant lawyer, who enlists with the Rebel army. Though starvation rules, and Sherman's troops edge closer to Atlanta, rages, she will not run again. Will honor dictate that Caitlin and Noah follow the rules, or love demand that they break them? (Historical Women's Fiction from River North [Moody Publishers])


Blind Trust by Sandra Orchard -- Kate Adams had no idea she was carrying counterfeit money, and she can't believe that it came from her sweet neighbor. Or that it lands her in the middle of another one of Detective Tom Parker's investigations. Determined to prove her neighbor's innocence, Kate stumbles into a pit of intrigue that is far deeper than a two-bit counterfeit operation-and strikes too close to home for comfort. As family secrets come to light, her world-and her budding romance with Tom-begin to crumble. To Kate, it's clear that she won't be safe until she uncovers all of Port Aster's secrets. But is it too late for her and Tom? (Mystery from Revell [Baker Publishing Group])

Romantic Suspense:

Moon over Maalaea Bay by H. L. Wegley -- They expected the honeymoon of their dreams. What they got was a nightmare wrapped in revenge and kidnapping. (Romantic Suspense from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])


Sky Zone by Creston Mapes -- Jack Crittendon is expecting a mindless night on the job at Festival Arena, but when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist threat, Jack is thrust into a life-or-death battle to save himself-and the lives of thousands of innocent people. (Suspense from David C. Cook)