Sunday, January 25, 2015

Always On My Mind

Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale
December 2014
ISBN:    978-1414378442
Genre: Contemporary romance

Come home to the Christiansens’, where faith and family meet real life.

After a failed dig in Honduras, aspiring archaeologist Casper Christiansen heads home to Minnesota to face his unresolved feelings for Raina Beaumont, the woman of his dreams. But when he arrives unannounced on her doorstep, he receives the shock of a lifetime: Raina is pregnant with someone else’s baby.

Heartbroken, especially when he discovers the identity of the baby’s father, Casper tables his dreams and determines to be dependable for once, helping his older brother, Darek, prepare the family resort for its grand reopening. Casper longs to be the hero of at least one family story, but a never-ending Deep Haven winter and costly repairs threaten their efforts—and the future of the resort.

Worse, one of Casper’s new jobs constantly brings him into contact with Raina, whom he can’t seem to forget. A tentative friendship begins to heal fresh wounds, but can they possibly overcome past mistakes and current choices to discover a future together?

ALWAYS ON MY MIND is the fourth book in Ms. Warren’s A Christianson Family series. While it easily stands alone, readers will want to read the first three books in the series (plus the Christmas one) to be brought up to speed with all the siblings and the parents.  The books are:  It Had to Be You, Take a Chance on Me, When I Fall in Love, Evergreen, and ALWAYS ON MY MIND.

Sigh. I absolutely love Ms. Warren’s books, and ALWAYS ON MY MIND was just as good as I imagined. I picked it up, dove  in, and except for what I had to put the book down to do (like going to church Wednesday night) I didn’t put it down. It was that good. I immersed myself in this story. I felt Raina’s pain. Casper’s heartbreak and pride. And the faith message…. I love the way Ms. Warren’s books always minister to the hurting soul. So much truth in there.

I am absolutely waiting impatiently for the next book in this series The Wonder of You coming in July 2015.  There is a great hook leading into the next book at the end….

If you love contemporary romance, Ms. Warren is the absolute best. Don’t miss ALWAYS ON MY MIND.

Available in ebook and paperback. 400 pages.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Star Wars Workbooks

Star Wars Workbooks
Preschool/early elementary. Price $8.95
Workman Publishing

Star Wars Workbooks are workbooks designed especially for preschool and early elementary students featuring the popular Star Wars characters.

Star Wars Workbooks introduce young students to number recognition, reading and writing skills and more. Designed so students can write directly into the workbook. Includes colorful pictures and engaging text, so students interest is piqued.

In addition to introducing preschoolers to numbers, letters, and shapes, Star Wars Workbooks will also grow with the child, as they enter kindergarten, first grade, and then second grade.

Star Wars Workbooks teach students how to write letters and numbers, how to identify them, how to read sentences or words and figure out what is missing. It also teaches the necessary skills for future reading and math, such as identifying shapes, colors, and patterns.

The books in the Star Wars Workbooks series that I was sent to review were: Preschool Number Fun, Preschool ABC Fun, Kindergarten Math Skills, First Grade Reading, First Grade Writing Skills, and Second Grade Reading. My daughter called these her “fun” pages. She enjoyed interacting with the Star Wars characters as she worked with numbers, letters, and words. My only complaint about the series is that if you don’t know the characters well enough (as I didn't) it is difficult to identify who they are to match them up with the letter they start with. My Star Wars fan son had to help with that section.

If you or someone you know prepares to start school, or needs additional help with beginning reading and math skills then Star Wars Workbooks would be a good series to consider. Recommended for homeschool, public schools, preschools, and tutors. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Bachelor

Author: Stephanie Reed
Publisher: Kregel
October 2014
ISBN:    978-0825442162
Genre: Amish / Women’s fiction

In this sequel to The Bargain, Betsie Troyer is back home in her Amish community where she knows she belongs, free from the confusing Englisher way of life. She and Charley Yoder have made promises to each other, and her life is back on track--until Gerald Sullivan shows up with his young daughter, asking for Betsie's help. He’s on his way to find his estranged wife, and begs Betsie to take young Sheila in.

When she agrees, Betsie's carefully planned life is shaken up again. Sheila's newfound faith is troubling to Charley--and his attraction to another girl is beginning to be a problem. But how can Betsie confront him when she is still trying to confront her own feelings about Sheila's brother, Michael?

Keeping the peace between the Amish man she's always loved, a twelve-year-old Englisher girl, and a draft-dodging hippie is more than she ever thought she’d have to deal with in her simple, orderly life. Still, Betsie is convinced she can keep things from falling apart completely.

Then during her best friend's wedding, tragedy strikes and her world is upended. She has to make a decision: does she love Charley or Michael . . . or is she craving a deeper love that only God can give?

The compelling second novel of the Plain City Peace series, THE BACHELOR deftly weaves together the strands of a solid, simpler time with the turmoil of an era of change, revealing the strengths of both in its powerful narrative.

It has been a long time since I read the first book in this series, and I had some trouble remembering what had happened. It would help if there was a blurb reminding readers what happened The Bargain in this book so readers would remember the story better. Either that or read the books together. I was hopelessly lost at first.

The Amish district in this book is very strict, very harsh. I didn’t connect with the characters in this book at all. Looking back I did enjoy The Bargain. Betsie had no problems lying and there is a lot of discord among her family, future in-laws, and the community. But that may be realistic since it is based on a real life Amish community that the Englisch world is swallowing up. In fact, in the author’s notes, she says there are only four Amish families living there at the time this was published.

THE BACHELOR is well written, and I loved the diary entries and quotes at the tops of the chapters. The third book in the series, The Bride, will be coming in winter 2016.

Available in ebook and paperback. 256 pages.

Stephanie Reed lives on the outskirts of Plain City, Ohio, site of a once-thriving Amish community. She gleans ideas for her novels from signs glimpsed along the byways of Ohio, as she did for her previous books,Across the Wide River and The Light Across the River

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Case of the Jewel Covered Cat Statues

link to giveaway:

Book info and review

About the book: 

Buckley and Bogey, Cat Detectives, find their next big case with the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Agency to be their most complicated ever! It all starts when someone hides a mysterious package in their Mom's antique store --- in the middle of the night! Of course, the boys find it, and put it in a nice, safe place, until they can open it . . . and, find the rightful owner. But that's when a whole bunch of suspicious people show up in St. Gertrude, and every single one of them seems to be after that package! Holy Catnip! Plus, everything happens just when a priceless, jeweled statue collection goes on display at the St. Gertrude Museum. Missing from that collection are two jewel covered cat statues that disappeared almost a hundred and fifty years ago.

But soon Buckley and Bogey wonder how long those statues will stay missing. Because this is one case that really keeps them on their paws! From a trip to the Museum, and to an old church for the Blessing of the Animals; and from dinosaurs to diamonds, they end up dodging shady suspects the whole time. It sure helps to have their friends with them, especially when the bad guys make a beeline for boys. That's because it becomes very clear, very quick --- the priceless cat statues aren't the only cats those crooks are after! Holy Mackerel!

Thoughts by Jenna:  This is a very good book. It is a great suspense. I didn't figure out who did it until about the middle of the book and usually with kid-suspense I figure it out at the very beginning.  The repeat of Holy Mackerel and Holy Catnip at the beginning and end of every chapter were kind of weird. Kind of like cat swear words. The action was intense. I really liked it.  5 stars.

Purchase a copy: 

About the author: Cindy Vincent was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and has lived all around the US and Canada. She holds an M.A.Ed, and is the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls. She is also the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Caper books, the Daisy Diamond Detective book series, and the Cats are Part of His Kingdom, Too: 33 Daily Devotions to Understanding God's Love. She lives with her husband and the real, live Buckley and Bogey, who run surveillance on her house each and every night.

Find Cindy, Buckley, and Bogey online: website

 Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Broom and Gloom

Author: Christy Barritt
Publisher: self published
December 2014
ISBN:    978-1505434491
Genre: Cozy mystery

Gabby St. Claire is determined to get back in the saddle again. While in Oklahoma for a forensic conference, she meets her soon-to-be stepbrother Trace Ryan, an up-and-coming country singer. Trace shares that a woman he was dating went missing a month ago, and he suspects a crazy fan girl may be behind her disappearance. Gabby can’t pass up the opportunity to investigate. But her schedule is tricky as she tries to juggle her conference, navigate being alone in a new place, and locate a woman who may not want to be found. She discovers that sometimes taking life by the horns means staring danger in the face, no matter the consequences.

BROOM AND GLOOM is the 9th book in Ms. Barritt’s Squeaky Clean Mystery series. I am so glad that Ms. Barritt decided to go Indie for these books after the traditional publisher decided there was no market for them. I think her avid readers will testify there definitely is.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this latest book. I had missed many of the books in the series, but even so I easily kept up with what was happening. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Spooky suspense guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. Couldn’t put it down. Must read mystery with a great faith message.

Available in ebook and paperback. 274 pages.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Special Birthday Deal from Odyssey Adventure Club!


Praise for the Odyssey Adventure Club:

"AIO has been such a blessing to me and my family. They were able to help me re-connect with my 6-year-old, especially on our way to school. It's something we can listen to and have those special moments together. I'm so appreciative of what you all do and what you allow God to do in our lives."
~ Christine, Mom from Fla.
"Today I am getting baptized because I want to show God that I love God and it will bring me closer to Him. When I accepted Jesus in my heart I was listening to Adventures in Odyssey in my basement. Adventures in Odyssey was a big part of my decision to be baptized."
~ Claire Bivens, age 8
Members of the Odyssey Adventure Club receive:
  • 24/7 streaming access to more than 750 Adventures in Odyssey episodes (a $1500 retail value).
  • A new, members-only Adventures in Odyssey episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine.
  • A web quest of video stories and online activities reflecting the biblical theme of that month's episode.
  • On-the-go access with the OAClub mobile iOS app.
  • Growing access to Odyssey books, a daily devotion, access to select Radio Theatre dramas and more.
In the coming months, members will also be able to look forward to:
  • An exclusive, downloadable, cut-and-fold Odyssey character craft.
  •  In February, members can sneak a peek at the second Candid Conversations with Connie book.
Additionally, a portion of each Odyssey Adventure Club membership benefits Focus on the Family partner organizations, such as Carry the Cure and Mission Aviation Fellowship, providing parents with an opportunity to teach children about the value of serving others. The Odyssey Adventure Club hopes to spend another 25 years hand-in-hand with parents seeking to teach biblical truth to their children while inspiring the theater of their imagination.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Huckleberry Spring

Author: Jennifer Beckstrand
Publisher: Zebra
January 2015
ISBN:    978-1420136494
Genre: Amish romance

Nothing gives Anna and Felty Helmuth greater satisfaction than seeing their grandchildren happily married--except for planning their next matchmaking venture. And as springtime comes to Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, the air is filled with promise. . .

Ever since the Helmuths' grandson, Ben, abruptly broke his engagement and moved to Florida, Emma Nelson has kept busy tending her vegetable garden and raising award-winning pumpkins. She can put her heartache aside to help Ben's Mammi with her own pumpkin patch. At least until Ben shows up to lend support to his ailing Dawdi. . .

Gardening side by side with pretty, nurturing Emma is a sweet kind of torture for Ben. She could have her pick of suitors who can offer what he can't, and he cares too much to burden her with his secret. Leaving once more is the only option. Yet Emma's courage is daring him to accept the grace that flourishes here, and the love that has been calling him back to Huckleberry Hill. . .

HUCKLEBERRY SPRING is the fourth book in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series. I haven’t had the privilege of reading the other books, but its okay as this one easily stood alone.

I have to admit that I love Ms. Beckstrand’s voice. Her sense of humor is top-notch and shines through her writing. The events in Emma’s life were way over-the-top, but while not exactly believable at times, it was an enjoyable read for the most part.  The characters were very immature for most of the book, Emma spending a lot of it in tears, but when she needed to be strong the most, she was.  Both Ben and Emma were super kind, going out of their way to serve others.  Ben especially wanted to take care of Emma—keeping a guard-like eye on her—but yet he left her for a year without any protection so it seemed odd that when he was home he didn’t trust her to be careful. The faith message was weak, but again, the humor and the romance were great. I’m giving it four stars.

Available in ebook and paperback as well as large print. 352 pages.

Jennifer Beckstrand Bio:

I grew up with a steady diet of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. After all that literary immersion, I naturally decided to get a degree in mathematics, which came in handy when one of my six children needed help with homework. After my fourth daughter was born, I started writing. By juggling diaper changes, soccer games, music lessons, laundry, and two more children, I finished my first manuscript—a Western—in just under fourteen years.

I have always been fascinated by the Amish way of life and now write
Inspirational Amish Romance. I am drawn to the strong faith of the Plain people and admire the importance they put on enduring family ties. I have visited and studied Amish communities in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where I met with a bishop and a minister as well as several Amish mamms, dats, and children. It has always impressed me at what salt-of-the-earth people they are. My interactions with these kind people have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have a dear Amish friend with whom I correspond in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She helps me keep my facts straight and gives me inspiration for my stories.

My goal is to write uplifting, inspiring stories with happy endings and hopeful messages. If my books make readers want to give themselves a big hug or jump up and down for joy, I’ve done my job. I am a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers and am represented by Mary Sue Seymour of The Seymour Agency.

There are three Amish romances in the Forever After in Apple Lake Series

(Summerside/Guideposts). Kate’s Song, Rebecca’s Rose, and Miriam’s Quilt are all now available.

I have six Amish Roamish buggymances in the works with Kensington Books. The first and second books, Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Summer, are now available in stores and online. The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill is set in northern Wisconsin Amish country.

The series, The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill, is about an elderly Amish couple who try to find suitable mates for their grandchildren. What could be more fun than throwing two young people together to see if sparks ignite? No one would ever suspect two octogenarian Amish folks of mischief.Romantic Times gave Huckleberry Hill 4 1/2 stars and chose Huckleberry Summer as a TOP PICK.

I have four daughters, two sons, three sons-in-law, and two adorable grandsons. I live in the foothills of the Wasatch Front with my husband and one son still left at