Saturday, September 16, 2017

Pride and Prejudice Read-Along

Okay y'all, I am absolutely too excited for this read-along! P&P is my most favorite Austen read so this will be such a treat to share thoughts with everyone. Head over to Amber's blog Seasons of Humility and check out all of the details! I hope you join us because seriously, THE MORE THE MERRIER!!! I can't wait!!!! (*squeals with delight as I run to find which copy I am going to read!*)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Jessie by Lori Wick

Jessie and Seth's romance and marriage was quick. As was Jessie's temper! Not long after they were married they found themselves arguing all of the time. Nothing Seth did could please Jessie. It became even worse once their daughter was born. Seth couldn't handle anymore and decided it would be best if he left. Leaving Jessie to raise 2 daughters, one that was born after Seth left. Now 8 years later Seth has returned. He's a changed man, but can Jessie ever trust him again?

Seth Redding is a character we met in the Yellow Rose Trilogy. He's the man that abducted Darvi and then fancied himself in love with her. Now after spending time in prison for his part in the abduction Seth has repented and turned his life over to Christ. I love reading stories of changed lives and what the Lord can do with broken people. Seth is definitely changed but Jessie isn't quite sure if she can trust that. And most of all she has no desire to believe in a God that she is sure does not exist. Seth patiently loves her and his daughters. He consistently shows Jessie that he is there to stay. I loved the changed Seth. He was a likable guy in A Texas Sky even though he was totally misguided in his behavior. Another part of the story that I enjoyed was Hannah and Nate's romance. It was sweet and heartwarming. Not my favorite Lori Wick trilogy, but still sweet reads filled with faith and romance.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Assaulted Caramel by Amanda Flower

Bailey King is set to be the next chocolatier at JP Chocolates in New York City. Bailey is called home to her Amish grandparents in Harvest, Ohio right before the big announcement is set to be made. Bailey's grandfather is very ill. The first thing that greets Bailey when she arrives is her grandfather arguing with a man in front of his Amish candy shop. When Bailey's grandfather collapses Bailey is beside herself. Bailey is even more distressed when she discovers the man that her grandfather was arguing with dead in the middle of her grandfather's candy shop kitchen, with Bailey's fingerprints all over the murder weapon!

Feeling like she and her grandparents are being framed for the murder Bailey takes it upon herself to find out who the real killer is. As Bailey's world begins to unravel will she find who the real killer is or will she end up in jail with no secret boyfriend, no best friend, and no famous chocolatier job?

I loved this first book in the Amish Candy Shop Mystery series! I enjoyed Bailey's character. She's feisty and confident and loyal to her grandparents. Her best friend Cass was hilarious! Her sarcasm and wit made me laugh out loud several times. And of course I have to mention deputy sheriff Aiden Brody...I hope he and Bailey will be an item in the coming books because they are perfect for each other! This series is once again set in Amish country which is author Amanda Flower's forte. She does an excellent job in capturing the Amish community and small-town life. And what would be a book set in a sweet shop without a recipe to try one of those chocolate goodies? There is a recipe for salted caramel fudge at the end of the book that sounds divine and I can't wait to try it! An excellent start to a new series and highly recommended!

P.S. I did make the salted caramel fudge and it was a big hit! mmmmm!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sabrina by Lori Wick

Is it possible for a prostitutes sins to be forgiven and to be made clean? Sabrina finds that the answer is a resounding YES! Sabrina is brought into the home of a couple who help women like her to find a new life. Through the blood on the cross that Christ shed for her Sabrina finds forgiveness from her sins. But her old life is still close by and so the couple suggests that Sabrina move to Token Creek. There Sabrina finds a job working as a seamstress in Jeanette Fulbright's shop and also working part time for Jessie at the mercantile. Her next step is to find a place to live because Sabrina is used to being independent and refuses to take advantage of Jeanette's hospitality. Unfortunately the only apartment available is in a part of town that Sabrina is all too familiar with. Having a heart for the women in that profession Sabrina soon makes an impression on some of these women. She also has made a few enemies in the men. Sabrina never dreamed that with her background any man would ever want her as a wife. But with Christ's cleansing power and Pastor Rylan Jarvick's love, Sabrina's battered heart begins to heal and she learns that with Christ all things are made new.

Such a sweet story! Lori Wick's characters experience deep sin, yet they come out with a refreshing innocence and newness that only Christ can bring to someone's life. Yes, she does tend towards the preachy, but I like that about her books. They leave me knowing exactly what the Bible teaches on a subject, they don't leave me hanging and wondering, "How did this person get saved when there was no talk of the persons need for salvation?" Once again, a sweet romance blossoms between two unlikely characters. A pastor and a former prostitute! Wow! I like that the romance was slow and that it built rather than being thrust upon the reader out of the blue. I also enjoyed the setting of Token Creek, and am looking forward to reading Jessie's story next.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

His Steadfast Love by Julie Lessman

When her twin sister Shannon gets married, Cat decides it is time to move out on her own and get a taste of the world to help satisfy her wild-child nature. Cat is angry at God and set to distance herself from Him and from the family that loves her.

Associate Pastor Chase cares deeply for the O'Bryen family and hates to see Cat so hurt and lost. When the family asks him to befriend Cat he is more than willing to help this lost soul find her way back to the God who loves her more than anyone ever could. What Chase doesn't count on is the attraction that they both have for each other. But Chase has vowed to never care for another woman that doesn't share his deep faith and Cat is definitely off-limits in the romance department!

Will Chase be able to help Cat see that God really does love her and that the path that she is walking can only lead to heartache and pain?

OH MY GOODNESS! I love Cat's story! I'm a sucker for Prodigal stories anyway. I love to see how a wayward child of God finds their way back to the Savior. Cat's feelings of never adding up, and her bitterness towards her pastor father are totally believable and heart-breaking. As with all of Julie Lessman's stories, the passion between characters is oh so swoon-worthy! We get to see how Tess and Ben are doing in their newly-married life and my is Tess a firecracker! We also get to read a couple of steamy scenes with Shannon and Sam(get me a fan please! Whew!!). And WHOA, Chase and Cat? Oh my! Those two belong together, but not before Cat is reconciled with the Savior who never lets us go and continually shows His steadfast love even when His child walks away for a time. A perfect ending to the series and a perfect story of Christ bringing one of His own back into the fold. I loved it!

UPDATE: I read this the first time to help edit the book. I then purchased the final copy and reread it. I loved it all over again! I got thrills and chills just as much(and maybe more) than reading it through the first time! I love that this story renewed my hope for those of us who have a Prodigal in our lives. Yes, this is my favorite of this series! 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Cassidy by Lori Wick

I thought the romance in this one was a bit out of left field. I mean I liked Cassidy and Trace as a couple, but we had no warm up to their couple-ness. I guess it came upon the reader as it came upon Cassidy and Trace, by surprise! ha! Otherwise I really liked this story and Cassidy was a sweet girl who had wonderful morals. Especially when it came to not gossiping about other people. Trace was the perfect cowboy/rescuer/hero even though he was a bit slow and did things a bit backwards in the romance department. The author does tend to preach in her books, but always short "sermons" that lead the characters to make better choices in their lives and point them towards a more perfect relationship with the Savior. If you are looking for passionate kisses in this one don't count on it! Sweet pecks here and there and some longing looks, but that is as far as the physical goes. And just in case you are wondering, I love stories like this!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Disaster Status by Candace Calvert

This is the second time I have read this book and I have to say that I liked it better this go-round! Maybe because this time I have read the first book and the third book so I was familiar with the characters? Scott and Erin are quite the couple. Scott is running away from his responsibilities and Erin is holding resentments against a father who didn't live up to his responsibilities when she was younger. Of course the two of them butt heads from the beginning, but there is a definite attraction. The ER is hopping throughout the book and Scott and Erin cross paths quite a bit since Scott's nephew is a patient at the hospital. The ultimate disaster that pushes Scott and Erin to evaluate their lives has the potential to break them apart. If you enjoy an exciting Emergency Room setting then definitely check into The Mercy Hospital series.

Friday, August 11, 2017

City Girl by Lori Wick

Reagan is an independent young woman on her way from New York City to her new life in Texas. She has accepted a job as a nanny and can't wait to start her new adventure. Unfortunately when she arrives she finds that the job is no longer available.

Chase Rawlings runs a cattle ranch. Chase knows that Reagan is not interested in anything but friendship with a man. She has no desire to marry. When an accident has Chase's housekeeper bedridden Reagan steps in to help care for her and Chase. What Reagan finds is a much more exciting adventure than she ever knew possible!

I love the Rawlings brothers! They are sweet, courteous, strong men that serve and represent their Savior well. Reagan and Cash's story is another sweet example of Lori Wick's writing that takes the reader back to a time when life was much simpler and men were gentlemen and women were cherished. I love the whole series and will definitely miss the characters.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith

In this 17th installment of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi seem to butt heads a lot. As usual Mma Ramotswe is much more diplomatic than Mma Makutsi. A client comes in asking the ladies to find her past for her. Things start to not add up, but both Precious(Mma Ramotswe) and Grace(Mma Makutsi) have different ideas as to what the problem is. Add to this case Mr. Polopetsi's latest scheme that gets him in hot water, a stray dog that one of the mechanics hits with a car, and Precious and Grace's arch enemy Violet Sophotho being nominated for Woman of the Year, and you have another brilliant story filled with Mma Ramotswe's brand of philosophy that everyone has a bit of good in them and we should always try and be positive. I love the way Mma Ramotswe always tries to look on the bright side, how she always likes to see the good in people and how she is always managing to bite her tongue where Mma Makutsi is concerned. She has wisdom from observing and not jumping to conclusions. I love her character. I love her "traditional build!" There is a subtle sense of humor that she has that is delightful and her love for her husband, although not very demonstrative, is very deep. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series is definitely on my favorite series list!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Texas Sky by Lori Wick

Dakota Rawlings is the middle of the Rawlings brothers. Almost losing his life in a shootout caused him to evaluate his spiritual condition. Yielding his life to the Lord was the best thing that Dakota has ever done. Recovering from his gunshot wounds has been the hardest. When Dakota is asked to escort his boss's niece to her friends house Dakota agrees. Darvi Wingate is determined to get to her friend to share her news. Darvi has finally seen her need for the Lord and she cannot wait to share with the friend that has prayed for her for years. After a wonderful visit with her friend and much needed rest for Dakota he continues to escort Darvi to the train headed for home. Dakota sees a woman that looks like Darvi being led away from the train, but when he follows he can't find the men or the woman so he lets it go. But his spirit is not at rest and after a couple of days with his brother Dakota decides to go back to Aurora and look into what he saw. Trouble seems to follow Darvi around and Dakota is right to go back and check on her. Darvi has been held against her will by a man and his family. The moment he set eyes on Darvi he had to have her. No matter how many times Darvi tells him that she will never care for him, he is determined to try and win her over.

I love Dakota and Darvi's salvation experiences. I love their desire to grow in their relationship with Christ. Both are determined to find answers and live their lives serving Him and most of all to see their parents come to Christ as well. Darvi's abduction experience covers most of the book and the reader even feels a little bit of pity for the man that has been so taken with her. But no matter how nice of a man he seems to be what he has done is wrong and there is no getting around that. As with all of Lori Wick's books, the characters are sweet and likable. The spiritual lessons that the characters learn are woven into their stories and grow them in faith. I really enjoyed this story.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Woman who Walked In Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith

If you have never read any of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novels then you must remedy that! They are delightful! In this 16th installment it is decided, against her will, that Mma Ramotswe needs a holiday. Grace is to be the head detective while she is away and Charlie and Mr. Polopetsi are enlisted to help her. Mma Ramotswe doesn't know how to relax, and she is now at loose ends while on holiday. Only a couple of days in and Mr. Polopetsi comes to her with concerns about Grace's ability to handle their newest case. Through twists and turns everything works out as it always does through politeness and concern for others' feelings.

I love Mma Ramotswe's logic in dealing with people, she has a wisdom that shows she cares deeply for her clients as well as for her friends. And even though Grace can be grating she has a good heart and she proves herself to also have the ability to handle cases on her own. I enjoyed every bit of this book!

Every Little Thing About You by Lori Wick

I'm pretty much  a fan of anything Lori Wick has ever written and this is no exception. I love this series. Slater and Liberty are a fun couple. I love the innocence of these romances. There is a restrained passion between the couple that shows honor towards each other and towards God. Slater is a new Christian and has recently left his job as a Ranger to find a more permanent home where he can grow in his newfound faith. Liberty is her sheriff brothers backup whenever he needs her. The couple has a rocky start when Liberty has to arrest Slater for not relinquishing his gun and Slater refuses to pay the $10 fine to get out of jail. Once Slater repents of his stubbornness and pride he pays up and seeks employment in town. It isn't sitting right with him that Liberty has to put herself in danger to protect her brother. Liberty too has some pride issues in that she believes that she is the only one that can protect her brother. Even though they are attracted to each other will they both be able to yield their pride and let God do His job? Every Little Thing About You is the first book in this 3 book series. I have read them before and I'm definitely a fan of the Rawlings brothers! Next up: A Texas Sky where we read about Dakota Rawlings.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason

Haley has always had nightmares of another life that seem so real. Now, Twenty-five years later, Haley is finding out that those nightmares are real. Someone killed her family all those years ago and now they have found Haley and are determined to get rid of her as well. Haley must call on the full agency of her co-workers in the Elite Guardians to protect herself and those she has become close to in order to help her delve into a past that has haunted her for years.

From the moment Steven meets Haley he is captivated. Especially by her Irish brogue that comes out now and then! Steven marvels at Haley's strength and positive attitude when life has been so hard. Steven's brother was killed years before, so he is no stranger to heartache. Steven doesn't know why, but he is drawn to protect Haley as one attempt after another is made on her life.

I enjoyed this last book of the Elite Guardian series. Haley grew up on the streets, but yet she is not tainted by that upbringing. I loved the suspense throughout the book. The action kept the book moving along and the relationships developed at a quick pace. I love a strong female character and Haley was a perfect fit for the Elite Guardians. If you haven't read this series I highly recommend it!

Check out my reviews of the other books in the series:

Always Watching

Without Warning

Moving Target

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Winning Over The Cowboy by Shannon Taylor Vannatter

Landry's dream has always been to own her own dude ranch. By no means did she hope to gain that dude ranch through her best friends death. According to Eden's will Landry and Eden's brother Chase are now co-owners of the dude ranch and must find a way to work together. The only problem is that neither trusts the other. Landry has just been dumped at the alter by her fiance so she cannot afford to trust another man in her life and Chase thinks that Landry is just a gold digging usurper bent on stealing his family inheritance away from him. Chase comes up with a plan to get Landry to sell him her half of the ranch, but will it backfire on him?

Awww, I really enjoyed Landry and Chase's characters. They were both rather adorable and of course meant for each other. I did get frustrated at their assumptions about each other. It seemed that they would take a step forward in their relationship and then two steps back, but they eventually got there. I loved the whole concept of the dude ranch and the way that Landry and Chase managed to work together to promote their different areas of interest. The spiritual aspect of the story was light with mentions of going to church and a need for trust, but not overly preachy. A sweet story with likable characters.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Gwen's husband is in prison for being caught as a serial killer. Gwen was accused of being his accomplice, but has been acquitted. Now Gwen and her two children are constantly in hiding because of their association with her ex husband Mel. People are out for revenge and the hate they spew is almost as horrific as what Mel would do to his victims. Now settled in a home on Stillhouse Lake Gwen is hoping to set down roots and keep her children safe. Gwen is just starting to get comfortable and hoping that her life is now her own when a woman's body turns up in the lake by her home. Gwen's past life is once more dredged up and her and her children are in danger because now there is a copy-cat killer out there and he obviously has been groomed by Mel. Gwen is no longer the meek woman she was while married to Mel and she will stop at nothing to keep her children safe.

Oh my goodness! So scary! The story was gripping and had me hooked even though it is outside of what I normally read. I found Gwen's character to be strong and I loved her fierceness in wanting to protect her children. She frustrated me though with her constant back and forth of, "Do we leave, or do we stay?" It seemed that she would settle on one and then turn right around and change her mind. Yes, understandable in the circumstances, but frustrating none the less. The murders were grisly and a bit hard to read, but not overgraphic. There was a mention of sex, but not descriptive. The language is pretty intense. All of that to say that yes, it is outside of my normal genre to review on my blog, but if you enjoy thriller-type books then you will definitely enjoy this. And a suggestion? You might not want to read it at night with the lights out and just your Kindle to light the room like I did. Made the book seem that much more scary!!! And a warning: This book is marketed for adults unlike this author's Morganville Vampire series which is YA and which I really enjoyed as well.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Critical Care by Candace Calvert

After watching her brother die in the ER Claire has no desire to ever work in the ER again. She tried, but it was too soon and an uncaring doctor called her a "weak link" and now that has crippled Claire for ER work.

Logan, Dr. McSnarly to the nurses, has no patience for nurses who can't keep it together on the job. Logan has no need for God in his life. After all, God refused to answer his prayers as a child so why should he need him now? The only problem is that Logan is miserable. He has run off almost every ER nurse he has worked with because of his harsh attitude, his marriage ended in divorce, he has the reputation of being uncaring, and he has no need for counciling that the hospital offers after a tragedy hits.

Claire is brought in to assess the ER staff after a particularly gruelling day in the ER. When she meets Logan the sparks fly! Claire sees a side of Logan that he has never shown at the hospital. Will they both learn that God's plans are so much better than theirs?

Like Claire, at first I didn't care for Logan! But also like Claire he grew on me! I loved his more vulnerable side and I definitely loved the peeks of humanity and caring that he showed to his patients in the hospital. The spiritual aspects of the book were also well done. Claire and Logan's different struggles with God and how He helped them overcome those struggles were definitely true to life experiences. I liked the secondary characters in the story as well. We read Erin's story in the next book DISASTER STATUS, which I read years ago so may have to read again! The ER activity was exciting and the romance between Logan and Claire was sweet. I enjoyed CRITICAL CARE. If you are a fan of medical romance stories then this will suit you perfectly!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Pony Express Mail-Order Bride by Rhonda Gibson

When Pony Express rider Philip Young arrives at his home relay station his brother greets him with a surprise. Bella Wilson and her two young nephews have answered a mail-order bride ad that Philip never placed! Bella sees no other way to care for her young nephews. Bella and Philip agree to a marriage of convenience. Neither one are looking for love since their pasts have proven that love cannot be trusted. Slowly but surely Philip and Bella begin to care for each other, but what happens when Bella's former fiance' arrives and threatens Philip and Bella's newfound happiness?

I enjoyed Philip and Bella's story. I did get frustrated with Philip's reasons for not wanting to fall in love with Bella, but everything worked out in the end, so that made me happy! I also enjoyed several other characters in the book. Hazel, the neighbor that gave Philip and Bella her home to live in, was quite a character. I loved her outspokenness. Philip's brother Thomas and his wife were a big help to Philip and Bella with the boys. If you enjoy historical romances then I definitely recommend this book for you to read. If you like Pony Express stories then you will enjoy it even more!

*I won this book in a contest and was not required to write a review. All opinions are my own*

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Separatists by Lis Wiehl with Sebastian Stuart

Erica Sparks is becoming more and more popular in the journalism world. With that fame brings more insecurities to her. She and Greg are now married, but Greg is without a job, and let's face it, he was unfaithful once before will he remain faithful now? Erica's latest news drama is a group of people in North Dakota starting a movement to secede from the United States. When people start dying Erica becomes suspicious and starts investigating. What do the secessionists who claim to be non-violent have to hide?

While I liked the news story I did find myself getting frustrated with Erica's insecurities and paranoia and ego. I found her to be bit whiney and too self-involved. Her relationship with her husband and daughter suffers throughout the whole story. Her drive to find the truth goes above and beyond the call of duty and places her in danger constantly. She gets the job done for sure and is cutting edge in news, but the toll it takes on her family doesn't seem worth it to me. As we are left with a big "uh oh" at the end of this book I would say there will be another Erica Sparks book coming out. Despite all of the things that irritate me about her I do look forward to the next book.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

Grace saw her father shot and killed and now she is hiding out in Harper's Station so that the man that had her father killed cannot find her. Grace is now a telegraph operator in Harper's Station, the all female community that gives women seeking refuge a safe place to live.

Amos and Grace have started up a relationship across the wires. They visit with each other after hours, but have never met. When Amos hears that Grace is in trouble he immediately rushes to her aid. Not as big and burly as some men, Amos has a steadfast character that draws Grace to him. Will Amos be able to help Grace in her hour of need?

I loved HEART ON THE LINE! The romance was sweet between Grace and Amos, and whew, the kisses were smouldering! The suspense was pretty gripping and kept me turning the pages way too long past my bedtime. I loved catching up with all of the other people in Harper's Station from the first book NO OTHER WILL DO. I love the way that all of the women take care of each other. I also really enjoyed the side story of Helen, another woman in Harper's Station. A wonderful read and I definitely recommend it!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Code Triage by Candace Calvert

Nick and Leigh are days away from their divorce being finalized. With their marriage already on shakey ground Nick sealed it's fait by having a one night stand with his best friends sister Samantha while mourning the death of his friend. Leigh knows how to run. She's been running away from situations all of her life because she knows that relationships don't last. Her mother's many boyfriends has shown her that. Leigh has even chosen a career as an ER doctor so that it is easy to pick up and leave when she needs to. Nick has repented his actions and is desperate to reconcile with Leigh but it seems at every turn their relationship is thwarted. Leigh has no desire to work things out, as long as she has Frisco her horse she believes she can walk away. Sam also has other ideas for Nick. Sam is raising a daughter on her own and having Nick in her arms has shown her that she wants him in her life and will do just about anything to keep him away from Leigh, including using her daughter to snare him. When all three of them are brought together in the ER emotions run high and there's no escaping their entertwined lives.

First the problem I had getting through the book. When I read that Nick had had an affair I pretty much just wanted to close the book! I have no patience for cheating spouses, especially one that is supposed to be the hero of the story! I totally get that people make mistakes and I totally love how God restores marriages, BUT it is just one of those instant dislikes that I have in my reading. So throughout me reading this book that was a constant sour note in the experience. The rest of the story was GREAT! I loved the suspense, the danger that was portrayed, and I even liked Sam's character as an almost "Fatal Attraction" type woman. I loved the lessons that Nick and Leigh learned about themselves and the growth they had through their situation. I enjoyed Frisco's drama as well and his relationships with a little girl who wouldn't speak and a wounded little donkey. This is the 3rd book in the Mercy Hospital books and as par for the course for me, I have read them out of order, but I don't think it mattered in the understanding of the story. If you are a fan of hospital drama's then I would recommend checking the series out.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mother-Daughter Book Camp by Heather Vogel Frederick

In the last book of the series(for real this time the author says), the girls are headed to be councilors at summer camp before heading off to their colleges of choice. Camp Lovejoy has a long tradition of helping girls overcome their fears while having fun and making memories. The girls are each assigned cabins in the younger girls' section of camp. They are faced with homesick little girls, the obligatory "mean girls" and of course helping their campers have the best summer camp experience possible. Not only are each of the book club girls faced with taking care of their little charges, but they are also dealing with their own issues of finding themselves this summer before heading off to college. In an attempt to help some of the girls overcome homesickness the book club girls start a book club for their campers. Based on the same format they have used for years, the girls pick Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher to read to their little girls and discuss the book and learn about the author. Camp is filled with 6 weeks of continuous activity that keeps everyone busy and having fun!

I cannot tell you how much I love this series! I mean LOVE! I'm seriously going to miss Emma, Megan, Cassidy, Becca, and Jess. Each girl holds a place in my heart. The Mother-Daughter book club books prove that you can have a mid-grade book that is not filled with sexual content, foul language and gritty, angst-ridden characters, yet still manages to deal with real-life struggles of boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, peer pressure, and the every day complications of growing up and making good choices. I enjoyed this last installment of the series. Each girl was true to character and each one grew during the summer. Whether it was in helping a difficult camper or dealing with an issue in their own life they handled themselves with maturity and FUN! I loved the camp setting and the rivalry between the girls' camp and the boys camp across the lake! The shenanigans that went on there were hilarious and had me laughing out loud and applauding their creativity! I could go on and on, but I would give too much of the story away. Trust me when I say that this is a series that I highly recommend when asked what a parent or friend can give to a young girl. I've given this series to a couple of young girls and I hope that they have enjoyed it as much as I have. Trust me too when I say that tears and laughter abounded in this last book and I was thoroughly satisfied when I finished.

Reviews of other books in the series:

The Mother-Daughter Book Club(read before I started blogging)
Much Ado About Anne(read before I started bloggin)
Dear Pen Pal
Pies & Prejudice
Home For The Holidays
Wish You Were Eyre

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Firewall by DiAnn Mills

Taryn is at the airport ready to go on her honeymoon with her new husband. When she ducks into the restroom before her flight a bomb explodes and Taryn's world is turned upside down. When Taryn wakes up in the hospital FBI agent Grayson and his partner are there to question Taryn. She and her new husband are suspected of bombing the airport. Taryn's husband is nowhere to be found though. Video footage shows him leaving the airport before the bomb even exploded.

Taryn is now helping the FBI find out who the terrorist is that bombed the airport. Taryn's trust in men is shattered and all she can worry about is finding her murdered best friends child who has been taken by the people that want Taryn for her computer hacker skills.

Who is behind the bombing, who has Zoey and will Taryn and Grayson be able to stop them before it's too late?

Firewall was so exciting! From the moment the bomb exploded I was hooked and had to find out who was behind all of the destruction and what was their motive. I loved Taryn's determination to make things right and to find her fake husband. The tentative relationship she had with Grayson was sweet, and he was definitely her perfect match. I also loved that Taryn wasn't a wilting violet, she had self-defense skills that were awesome and used perfectly on the right person! I'm definitely a fan of this author and will be reading more of her books!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman

From the very first page FATAL MISTAKE had me in it's grip! From the moment Tara finds out that her life-long friend and neighbor is the Lone Wolf Bomber she is on the run from him. After all, she found all of his bomb-making equipment and he shot her AND threatened her while she was in the hospital. Tara had no choice but to run.

Special Agent Cal Riggins was the person who answered Tara's desperate 911 call and he has promised to protect her from Oren. But how can he protect her when Oren was able to get to her in the hospital? If Cal and his team can find Tara so easily then of course Oren will be able to. Once Tara realizes that Oren is targeting people she has come in contact with she agrees to help the FBI track him down before it is too late for another person.

Both Cal and Tara are attracted to each other but both are struggling with issues in their life and neither is in a right place with God to pursue a relationship. But the more danger that each of them is in the more they realize there is no fighting what the heart wants.

You know you are in for a great read when from the very first page you can't seem to put the book down. FATAL MISTAKE was just such a book! The author takes the reader on a roller coast ride that keeps the heart pounding and the fingers swiping or turning pages(whichever way you prefer to read your books nowadays). Not only was there suspense, but there was also romance. Two of my favorite things! While the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat the romance melted my heart. I loved Cal and Tara's characters. I also loved the spiritual aspect of the book. There isn't a lot of preaching in the story, but it shows both characters having natural struggles with their faith in God, and how those struggles formed their character and their relationship. This is the first book in the White Knights Series and I have to say that I am hooked and cannot wait for book two! Which by the way, there is a sneak peak of at the end of book one!

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Final Vow by Amanda Flower

Kelsey is busy with all the wedding preparations for her ex-husband and his fiance'. The last thing she needs at this time is another murder on Barton Farm. But that is exactly what she gets! Krissie(the bride) is determined to make Kelsey's life a nightmare by getting her way for the wedding. Her wedding planner is just as determined. But when the wedding planner ends up dead Kelsey is once again plunged into saving the reputation of her beloved farm.

Kelsey not only has the wedding to deal with, but she also has her growing feelings for Chase to deal with. Is she ready to open herself up to another man or has her ex ruined that for her?

My Thoughts:

In a way I can totally relate to Kelsey in that I am a fixer. Kelsey is the one that everyone goes to with their problems and she's expected to have answers. The only person she doesn't seem to take care of is herself. I did find that I got frustrated with her for letting some people walk all over her. She was determined to stand on her own and be strong, but yet it seemed that she allowed Krissie and her(Kelsey's) ex to take advantage of her too easily even when they threatened custody of her son.  The mystery of who the killer was kept me turning the pages. I really liked Chase's character, but definitely wasn't a fan of his ex-girlfriend! I have to admit I wasn't expecting the person who was the killer even though there were hints. All in all The Final Vow was a good cozy mystery to sit by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy!

Friday, May 5, 2017

An Interview With Holly Schindler

I've enjoyed Holly Schindler's books for several years now. She writes for multi-generational audiences so I thought I would pick a few of my favorites and ask Holly a few questions about each one.

MFPT:Your latest release is HOW BIG IS A HEART? Why did you decide to write a picture book? Where did the idea come from?

HS: I’ve had the text for a long time. Years, actually. I nearly sold it to a publisher at the very beginning of my career, but the deal ultimately fell through, even though the publisher felt that the writing was strong…so much so, they held onto the manuscript for a considerable amount of time.

Recently, indie publishing has allowed me to branch out in new ways. I’ve done quite a bit of cover art and even illustrative work for younger readers. I’ve always loved this story, and felt it could really be of help to expanding families. I used Rebelle, a great digital watercolor program, to create the textured hearts throughout (the idea with the art was to highlight the text, not overshadow it).

I’m really pleased with the final results, and I’m so glad to finally get this book into the hands of readers!

MFPT: I loved the book and think it is the perfect read for children who will be getting a new brother or sister in the family! And I loved the artwork!

MFPT: THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY is an MG that focuses on a young girls’
journey toward becoming a folk artist. Why did you pick that subject matter for young readers?

HS: I’ve always really loved reinvented objects. My parents bought and sold antiques, so I was always going to auctions with them. You can usually find some of those repurposed items at farm auctions—the Coke crate that’s now a stool, the old burlap sack that’s been embroidered with wildflowers, that sort of thing. I love seeing people’s creative minds at work—love seeing how they’ve taken something that really should be headed for the trash and given it a new life. (As a side-note, that’s a big part of why I chose to include so many metaphors and similes throughout the book. Auggie’s always making comparisons in her mind, seeing, for example, how a rusted pipe really is “like” a flower stem. That language shows what kind of artistic eye she has.)

I also love checking out folk art environments. If you Google them, you can find a ton of just incredible places: The Watts Towers in LA, the Orange Show in Texas, the Whirligig Park in North Carolina, even Bishop Castle in Colorado. What’s great about these environments is that they’re pieces of art you can actually go (or live!) inside, unlike paintings that simply hang on the wall.

MFPT: I absolutely loved this book! Auggie and her Grandfather were so talented and I loved their creativity and their relationship. Such a wonderful story with so many lessons in it, accepting others and being your own person to name a couple.

MFPT: FERAL is a fantastic YA psychological thriller. Your previous YAs had been realistic. Why the switch?

HS: At its core, FERAL is about what it takes to recover from a violent act. (Claire, the MC, survives a brutal retaliatory gang beating at the beginning of the book.) The psychological thriller is a genre that strives to keep people constantly on-edge—which is how it must feel to suffer from PTSD. In researching the condition, I learned that in extreme cases, those suffering from PTSD can occasionally suffer from hallucinations as well. Finding that out was a big part of weaving the story threads together for FERAL.

Even though FERAL incorporates many elements of the thriller, it also does introduce many aspects or issues you’d expect to find in realistic YA fiction. Specifically, it focuses on issues related to friendship. Claire’s beating occurs after she stands up for her best friend. As she recovers, her friend’s life continues on as before, while Claire is scarred (physically and emotionally). We all brag we’d do anything for our friends—even give up our lives for them. But FERAL addresses the aftermath and asks, “Would you really not have any resentments? Especially at such a young age? How could your friendship continue on?” It’s a smaller thread, but a truly important part of the book.

MFPT: FERAL was haunting! But also there were so many different layers to it. I think it is a fantastic YA book!

MFPT: FOREVER FINLEY is my absolute favorite. You wrote it as a monthly serial. Did you know where you were going at the beginning? Or did it come as a surprise to you?

I didn’t intend on writing an entire series. To begin with, I wrote a short story called “Come December.” I originally thought it’d be a stand-alone holiday short story. But I wound up moving a surprising number of copies; the story introduced me to a slew of new readers. I thought it’d be a shame not to expand on it.

Of course, the most obvious way to extend the story would be to pick up again with Natalie (the MC of “Come December”). But I was actually more intrigued by the setting. What kind of magical place would allow Natalie to meet George in “Come December”? I started brainstorming, and I discovered that I wanted the town of Finley to be the thread tying all the stories together.

Even then, the ending remained elusive. It was honestly the most “pantsing” I’ve ever done putting any large work together. I didn’t realize how integral the cemetery caretaker was until about halfway through. That character was the piece that helped me pull it all together at the end!

MFPT: Well the ending totally surprised me! I loved getting a new installment each month! I looked forward to finding out what piece of the puzzle was going to be next. This is a new cover for the whole compilation and I love it! It is perfect, and captures the whole essence of the story.

MFPT: MILES LEFT YET centers around the latter years of life. I LOVE IT! Did you do research? How did you capture the tone so well?

HS: I live in a multi-generational household. So that’s given me a bit of firsthand knowledge about issues or feelings that can pop up at that time of life. And to be honest, I’m hitting the age myself where I now also find myself drifting toward stories that feature slightly older main characters. I love going on a journey with a character who’s had significant life-altering experiences—it adds a different dimension, allows them to choose different paths than a younger character would take.

Even in juvenile lit, the age of your characters dictates the level of mobility or independence. A fourth grader can’t drive a car or have the same kind of access to money as a high school junior. The same is true with adult characters. Adults of different ages have different access to tools, contacts, funding, etc. They have different responsibilities and concerns (employment, marriage, children, health, among others). It can have a big impact on your protagonist’s journey.

MFPT: I too am getting to "that age" so MILES LEFT YET totally resonated with me! I loved that we got to meet up with Norma again in the town of Finley.

MFPT: What’s it like to write for so many age groups? Why have you chosen to be so varied in your work?

HS: When I took the headfirst plunge into full-time writing, I didn’t know where the first “yes” would come from, so I tried everything: romance, mystery, literary fiction. To pay my bills, I was teaching music lessons out of the house—my young students inspired me to start writing for younger readers. But I’ve continued writing for different ages, in different genres. I love looking at the world through the eyes of such different characters!

MFPT: These are my favorites of Holly's books. Each one spoke to me in a different way and caused me to contemplate the characters long after closing the final pages. Thanks so much Holly for writing such fantastic books! Each of the books I have featured have been reviewed here on my blog. If you want to know more about them you can check out those reviews by clicking on the Review tab. Holly has numerous other books out that you can check out on Amazon or hopefully your local library!

One last word from Holly:

GIVEAWAY: I’ve recently updated the cover of FOREVER FINLEY. To celebrate the release, I’m giving away a review copy (e-book or paperback). To enter, just shoot me an email: hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.
You can also find all of my books at my Amazon page:
Or learn more at my author site: