Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Sketchy Behavior

Sketchy Behavior 

Paperback, ebook

August 27, 2011

by Erynn Mangum

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310721444

Drawing Conclusions or Drafting Disaster?

Other than harboring a somewhat obsessive fondness for Crispix and completely swearing-off boys after a bad date (don’t ask), sixteen-year-old Kate Carter is about as ordinary as they come, except for her two notable talents: art and sarcasm. 

After an introduction to forensic sketching in her elective art class, Kate discovers a third and most unexpected gift: criminal profiling. Her photo-quality sketch helps the police catch a wanted murderer and earns her celebrity status in South Woodhaven Falls. 

But when that murderer appears to be using his friends to exact revenge, Kate goes from local hero to possSble target. Will she manage to survive? Will life ever be normal again? And will local news anchor Ted Deffle ever stop sending her flowers?

My thoughts (review by Jenna):  SKETCHY BEHAVIOR is funny in a weird sort of way. She does have an extreme talent of sarcasm. She had one bad date that she doesn't talk about but she refuses to talk to any boy after that. Basically, she's a social nobody who draws the unwelcome attention of a terrorist and now she's become the center of attention for the entire state. 

I wasn't entirely impressed with this book. If it was supposed to be a Christian book, the faith message was very very weak. It was just another young adult book that wasn't all that well-written.  

I purchased a copy, but not from Amazon. I was not required to write a review.  3 stars.  

Monday, August 20, 2018

Small Town Justice

Small Town Justice 

(Love Inspired Suspense) 

Mass Market Paperback, ebook

January 5, 2016

by Valerie Hansen

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Love Inspired; Original edition 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373447145

Back home in Serenity, Jamie Lynn Henderson's determined to prove her brother was framed for the town sheriff's hit-and-run death years ago. But as she encounters dead end after dead end, Jamie Lynn discovers someone will go to any lengths—even murder—to bury the evidence. Her only hope of staying alive long enough to uncover the truth is Shane Colton, the late lawman's wary son. Shane's world was shattered by one senseless act that he can't forgive. But somehow he is drawn to protect the lovely woman trying to free her brother from prison. If they don't work fast, Jamie Lynn's single-minded quest might lead them both into the killer's trap.

My thoughts:  SMALL TOWN JUSTICE is a romantic suspense that is set in the imaginary town of Serenity, Arkansas...but the town is set in the location (and layout) of real life town Salem, Arkansas, only about ten miles from where I live. How fun is that?  Ms. Hansen lives nearby this area, too.  

It was fun visiting areas I've been in person on the pages of this book and imagining the story really happening.  

Jamie Lynn doesn't believe for one minute her brother really was the driver in a hit-and-run homocide and she hates that he's spending 30 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Likewise, Shane's mother believes her husband was murdered and not by accident.  The two women together are determined to find answers.  Who really killed Sam Colton and was it an accident?  But the killer doesn't want his past sins found out and he's prepared to kill again.  And again. And again. 

We knew from pretty much the beginning who-dun-it but we don't know how they'll get caught or what will happen in the journey to get there.   

Jamie Lynn is tenacious and not easily scared away even though Shane tries his hardest to convince her into letting it go and don't dig up old wounds. He wants his mama and his son to be safe -- and worse, they won't be if Jamie Lynn keeps poking around.

Good read. 

A friend (not the author) gave me her copy of the book. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a review. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

A Promise Born

A Promise Born 

(Buckeye Promises #2) 

ebook, print

by Cara Putman (Author)

  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Whisper Valley Press; 2 edition 
  • Publication Date: March 25, 2017

“Do not decide what I can handle. All I want is honesty. If you’re going to steal a kiss, you’d better explain why I’m not good enough.” Tears pricked her eyes, and she batted against them. “I deserve that.”

A heartwarming WWII historical from award-winning author Cara Putman:

In the midst of World War II, when the Navy WAVES give Evelyn Happ the chance to get out of Washington, DC, and contribute to the war effort, she can’t leave fast enough. The fact that she can use her college degree to contribute to the war effort makes the assignment even better. She arrives in Dayton, Ohio, to learn the engineers and military professionals don’t take her seriously at all. Why is it so hard to believe that she’s more than a pretty face?

Mark Miller believes the WAVES are an unneeded distraction—the top secret project he’s assigned to is critical to the war and he and his team must focus on cracking the enigma code. Nothing they try works until a beautiful ensign offers solutions that help the engineers succeed in their mission. He’s not sure what to think about her, but has to admit that she’s brilliant enough to see the problem from a fresh perspective. He’s never met anyone like her and wants to know more.

When the actions of a spy put both Mark and Evelyn under suspicion, their loyalties to the country and each other are tested. Will their blossoming relationship survive, or be another casualty of war?

My thoughts:  A PROMISE BORN is a sweet romance about Mark Miller who works a top secret job for the Navy (so secret even the military doesn't know about it) and Evelyn Happ who signed up to be a WAVES so she could use her engineering degree. BUT she's assigned to a welding job and keeps sneaking into the building where the top secret stuff is and getting run out.  You have to admire her perseverance.  She does finally get transferred to where she wants to be but that ties Mark up in knots. He's practically engaged and Evelyn ignites feelings he never had for Paige. But Evelyn isn't a Christian.

The story is rather slow, and it took awhile for me to wade through it, but I did grow to like Evelyn and Mark and it was nice to know more about Kat and Josie where were featured in other books in this series. 

If you like World War II romance and missed  A PROMISE BORN when it was first published by Heartsong Presents, now is your chance to snag a copy. 

I was given a copy of Ohio Brides free and this story was included in it.  All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

As the Tide Comes in

As the Tide Comes In: A Novel 

Paperback, ebook

August 21, 2018

by Cindy Woodsmall (Author), Erin Woodsmall (Author)

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735291010

New York Times best-selling author releases her first southern novel, a Steel Magnolias-meets-Sweet Home Alabama story set on St. Simons Island.

When an unthinkable loss sends Tara Abbott's life spiraling out of control, she journeys from North Carolina to Georgia's St. Simons Island. Although confused and scared, she hopes to find answers about her past - her life before the years of foster care and raising her two half-brothers as a young adult. 

Will she find steady ground on the island, surrounded by an eccentric-but-kindhearted group of older women called The Glynn Girls and a determined firefighter? Or will the truth splinter what's left of her identity into pieces?

My thoughts: AS THE TIDE COMES IN is the second book in Ms. Woodsmalls' contemporary series (the first was The Gift of Christmas Past and fans will want to read that one first to get Hadley's story. )

Tara is a foster child, who gave up her dreams of college when her two half-brothers needed a guardian. She was eighteen, but the state left them alone since she stayed under-radar and she raised her half-brothers until they graduated high school. 

The book takes a dark turn there, and what follows is rather traumatic, heartbreaking, heart-wrenching, tear-inducing. You will need to keep a box of tissues handy.  There are humorous moments when the tourists on St. Simon's Island believe Tara is a ghost, and the southern mamas who hover around firefighter Gavin are a hoot.  I figured out the direction the book was going to go, and kept reading to see if it'd get there. It has a sweet, satisfactory ending and is a good read. 

This is more women's fiction than romance, but there is a sweet romance included. Gavin is kind and patient with Tara, staying calm, which is something she needed. He is a doll. 

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Hope Jar

The Hope Jar 

(The Prayer Jars #1) 

Paperback, ebook, audio, audio CD

August 7, 2018

by Wanda E. Brunstetter 

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Press 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1624167478

A Brand-New Series from New York Times Best Selling Author Wanda E. Brunstetter.

What happens when making an elderly Amish couple very happy means going along with a lie that gets bigger by the day?
Michelle Taylor is not who her new family in Lancaster County believes her to be. The Lapps were looking for their long-lost granddaughter when they met Michelle and she assumed the identity of Sara Murray. Once homeless and hopeless, Michelle has come to love her new Amish friends and even considers the idea of romance among them.
Finding an old blue jar in the barn that is filled with slips of paper containing thoughts, quotes, and prayers by an unknown author becomes a boost to Michelle’s budding faith— but also convicting. How can she tell the truth without hurting the ones she has truly come to love?

My thoughts: THE HOPE JAR is the first book in Ms. Brunstetter's new series.  Ms. Brunstetter is a somewhat new author for me, and while I understand that some authors tend to lean heavily to  the squeaky-clean, innocence of the Amish, I was not expecting this to be a question and answer book about the Amish and why they believe what they do and do what they do and how are they different.  The story kind of gets lost  in the telling and I struggled with the realism of some parts of the story.  

To be honest, I don't even know what to say about this book.  I ended up skimming, I like the idea that the second book in the series has the real granddaughter but I'm kind of wondering if it'll be the same as this story with it being a textbook about the differences in Amish and the why's and what for's.  Most Amish fiction fans know this stuff, and anyone who is being introduced to Amish fiction for the first time would likely be turned off by this story.  

And I know Ms. Brunstetter is one of the most popular Amish authors so, don't take my word for it. Maybe a story about an imposter nonAmish girl is a story you will absolutely love. It might just be me... so, underneath this is a link to read a free excerpt at amazon.  

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.  

Want a chance to get a sneak peak at The Hope Jar by Wanda E. Brunstetter?
Here's a FREE preview: https://amzn.to/2uyexcj

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written close to 90 books translated in four languages. With over 10 million copies sold, Wanda’s stories consistently earn spots on the nations most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.
Wanda’s ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.
When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties. Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, bird-watching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, have been blessed with two grown children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Make your own Prayer Jar!

Want to make your own prayer jar to pass along to future generations? CLICK HERE to download a printable template you can use to write your sentiments on. Simply cut out each strip of paper when you’re finished and put them in the jar of your choice.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, August 14
The Avid Reader, August 14
Just Commonly, August 15
Genesis 5020, August 16
Mary Hake, August 16
Bigreadersite, August 16
Lighthouse Academy, August 17
Splashes of Joy, August 20
SusanLovesBooks, August 20
Cafinated Reads, August 23
Quiet quilter, August 23
Carpe Diem, August 24
Texas Book-aholic, August 26


To celebrate her tour, Wanda is giving away a grand prize that includes a $25 Amazon Gift Card, jar-shaped notepad, and a copy of The Hope Jar (with an autographed book plate inside).
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d40a/the-hope-jar-celebration-tour-giveaway

Thursday, August 16, 2018

In The Mudpit By Lynne Tagawa

Have you ever been angry with God? Oh, you might not call it that. It seems like depression, a touch of ennui, or maybe an irritableness that you just can’t shake. Everything is going wrong. Your dishwasher breaks and spews water all over the floor, your neighbor’s dog keeps pooping in your yard, your bank balance is in double digits, and just yesterday, your doctor said there is something suspicious on a scan.

Then at church the pastor speaks on giving thanks in everything. Seriously?

In my new novel, The Shenandoah Road: A Novel of the Great Awakening, one of my characters begins to slog through this kind of mire. Don’t get me wrong: he’s a strong Christian, but his circumstances pull at him. First one thing, then another, and pretty soon he’s not sure if he even wants to get things right with God.

Hasn’t he suffered enough?

John crossed to the next tree, a massive pine. The sharp, clean scent caused him to pause, as if inhaling the aroma might somehow cleanse him on the inside.

He felt dirty.

He stretched out his hands to finger the bark, tracing the wide scales with his fingers. Yes, a longleaf pine—Abigail would want this for her book. Such a strange pattern. All trees had bark that cracked—or even peeled—in ridges or grooves; this one felt more like tiny plates.

And every year the tree would grow, and the bark would break some more, sap rising to heal the wounds. Hence the piney smell—the smell of brokenness. John laid his forehead on the tree, feeling broken himself.

Was this the way of all things under the sun? Grow … and break?

Oh God … out of the depths I cry to Thee …

Maybe he wasn’t growing. Maybe it was just sin. The filth of his murderous temper.

Create in me a clean heart, O God …

He collapsed and found himself kneeling in a thick bed of long pine needles, his shoulders shuddering and heaving. No tears would come, only this shaking and gasping, like an ague that had taken him unawares.

It wasn’t just his temper. It wasn’t just his anger toward Sloan or Roy.

He was angry with God.

Find out what happens next as John and Abigail travel to the valley. The Shenandoah Road is available in print via multiple booksellers and also through kindle.

Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/Shenandoah-Road-Novel-Great-Awakening-ebook/dp/B07FK5ZQ5Z/

Back cover copy TSR

John Russell’s heart aches from the loss of his wife, but the Shenandoah Valley frontiersman needs to marry again for his daughter’s sake. At first he believes he has found the right young woman, despite their differences in background, but his faith falters when time reveals she isn’t quite what she seemed. Can he truly love her? And what about his own failings?

Unlike her disgraced sister, Abigail Williams obeys the Commandments. At least, she thinks herself a Christian until a buckskin-clad newcomer courts her. He treats her kindly but also introduces her to a sermon by the controversial preacher, George Whitefield. Her self-righteousness is shattered, and she wonders about their relationship. If she confesses her lack of faith, will John continue to love her?

“Lynne Tagawa transports readers into the faith and hope, and sorrows and fears of 18th century colonial America. While other books feature the raw grit of frontier colonial life, this book goes deeper and reveals the heart.” —Douglas Bond, author of numerous books, including War in the Wasteland and Hostage Lands.

The Shenandoah Road is an authentic and engaging journey back to the challenges of settling in the Shenandoah Valley” —Laura Hilton, author of Firestorm (Whitaker House, 2018)

“Raw, realistic, and historically packed, this story will make you think. If you enjoy stories with deep theological themes, you will enjoy this.” —Amber Schamel, author of Solve by Christmas, winner of the 2018 Christian Indie Award

Lynne Tagawa, author of Sam Houston’s Republic and A Twisted Strand, lives in Texas with her husband.

Bio: Lynne Tagawa

About me:

Lynne Tagawa is married with four grown sons and three marvelous grandbabies. She’s written a Texas history curriculum in narrative form, Sam Houston’s Republic, and The Shenandoah Road, a story of the Great Awakening,is scheduled to be published in 2018. Lynne lives with her husband in South Texas.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Interview with Lauralee Bliss and #giveaway!!!

Today we welcome Lauralee Bliss to my blog. Glad to have you stop by, Lauralee. Lauralee is very graciously giving away one copy of this book to one person who comments. Please include contact information so we can notify the winner. USA only. Void where prohibited by law. 

Tell us about your book:

The Belle of the Congaree, part of The Southern Brides Collection, is a novella of reconciliation between enemies. Of God’s peace and redemption through difficult times and the journey taken by Elisa, a proud Southern belle, and Mason, a Northern carpetbagger, in South Carolina during the Reconstruction period.

When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

I wanted to become an author ever since my teen years when I wrote a variety of science fiction stories, believe it or not. English class in school was my favorite subject, and the teachers used to give me liberty to create stories of my own making. J It’s a part of me to tell a good story. And I never want it to be boring either. Hence the reason I add in my bio that my stories are like a rollercoaster ride for the reader.

Who are your favorite authors in your genre?

Laura Frantz, Anne Gabhart, and Julie Klassen. Very talented authors.

Where did you get your inspiration for your characters? 

The inspiration comes from the difficulties we face even today among those with opposing views. That despite vast differences, enemies can unite as one in the peace of our Lord, the Prince of Peace, and help in times of need. Elisa and Mason exemplify the kind of healing we need through the kindness of others.

Which character was your favorite to write?

I do love Elisa’s spunk in trying to forge a life out of depravity. I like her wilderness living as that is how I am, a wilderness type, in my love to hike and camp in my tent in the woods. I’ve been known to stay in a tent for months! You can even check out my wilderness adventures at blissfulhiking.com

Which was the hardest character to write?

Honestly I didn’t have difficulty with any of the characters. They are all there to move a story forward to a satisfying conclusion. The characters become family to me, the author, so all of them have a purpose and crucial part to play.

Book blurb:

The Southern Belle Brides Collection—where seven sweet and sassy ladies of yesterday experience romance in the southern states.

In The Belle of the Congaree, Mason Bassinger reluctantly travels to war-torn South Carolina, seeking lands his carpetbagger brother can buy. Elisa Anderson barely survives after her family’s plantation is destroyed. She welcomes visits by the handsome and wealthy Mason, who makes the cottage by the Congaree feel like a home. But when Mason’s true purpose is revealed, will her heart be broken by betrayal?

Find The Southern Belle Brides Collection at:

About Lauralee:

Lauralee Bliss is a published author of over twenty romance novels and novellas in both historical and contemporary with nearly 600,000 units sold. Lauralee enjoys writing books that are reminiscent of a roller-coaster ride for the reader. Her desire is that readers will come away with both an entertaining story and a lesson that speaks to the heart and soul.

Lauralee enjoys traveling this great nation, having been to 49 out of 50 states and learning unique historical lessons to incorporate into her books. She makes her home in the historic state of Virginia with her husband and dogs Eve, Buddy, and Skye. 

To find out more about Lauralee and her books online, visit:

Twitter:  @LauraleeBliss