Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice by Mary Connealy

Bailey and Gage each have something the other wants—but can these two headstrong homesteaders settle their differences long enough to find out what?

Fire and Ice 

Wild at Heart 

Paperback, hardcover, audio, and ebook

October 6, 2015

by Mary Connealy 

336 pages

  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764211805

Saddle up for mysteries and laughs with the Wilde sisters!
Bailey Wilde is the oldest sister--and the one who takes care of everyone else in her family. But after her sisters marry and move away, her little homestead becomes bleak and lonely, especially during the long winter months. In a moment of weakness, Bailey agrees to a wild plan concocted by her neighbor, Gage Coulter.

Gage is an honest man, but he didn't make his fortune by being weak. He won't break the law, but he'll push as hard as he can within it. Five thousand acres of excellent grazing land is lost to him because Bailey's homestead is located right across the entrance to a canyon full of lush grass. Gage has to regain access to this land--and he's got to go through Bailey to do it. So he makes a proposal...

Can these two independent, life-toughened homesteaders finally loosen up enough to earn each other's respect--and maybe find love in the process?

My thoughts:  I read FIRE AND ICE through in one sitting (I was doing a lot of "hurry up and waiting" at the time) and found it hard to put this book down when I had to move from point A to point B... etc for my waiting. I didn't think I would like Bailey much from the other two books in the series (Now and Forever and Tried and True) because she was very much a manly woman. However, Bailey does have a feminine side and we got to see it as well as get to know her and Gage during this hair-raising historical romance. Someone is trying to kill Gage -- but who? And why?  I greatly enjoyed this book and look forward to whatever is next in Ms. Connealy's writing career.  Highly recommended. 

About the Author

Mary Connealy writes "romantic comedies with cowboys" and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has over half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild At Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie's Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero. Learn more at

Friday, October 30, 2015

Interview with Patty Smith Hall / Giveaway!!!

Patty is giving away two copies of her January Love Inspired Historical in addition to A Home for Christmas. Print or ebook.  USA only for paperback. Please include contact information as we can't contact you if you win without it.  

Please tell the readers about the book that is being showcased today.  

A Home for Christmas is a novella I wrote in the Christmas Mail Order Angels series along with Cynthia Hickey, Darlene Franklin, Gina Welborn and several others. Set in the mining town of Angel Vale, Wyoming in the late 1870s, the premise of the series is a promise made by one of the men to send for a bride from his mother’s hometown of Melville, Maine. Other men looking for wives join in and after several letters back and forth, a group of women arrive to meet and in some cases, marry their intended groom.

How did you come up with the concept of your novella?

As I was reading everyone else’s stories (and by the way, they’re  all fantastic!) a seed of an idea popped into my head—what happens when the intended groom rejects his bride? The more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea but I had to come up with a believable reason why this man would reject Margaret Cobb after he’d paid for her travel expenses. Now, I love the wounded character—all of us are scarred in some way or another but Margaret’s problem had to be visible as well as emotional, something a person would notice in a heartbeat. So my heroine has a port wine stain on her face that her father told her was her punishment for killing her mother in childbirth.

What are you working on now? Do you have a release date for this book?

Right now, I’m working on edits for a story based in the Georgia gold rush of 1830. I wrote it a few years ago but life and deadlines for contracted work put it on the back burner until now. I’ve also got a book releasing in January with Love Inspired Historical, the fourth in my WWII series. The Baby Barter will be available January 1 or 2.


Patty Smith Hall is a multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Heartsong. She currently serves as president of the ACFW-Atlanta chapter and lives in North Georgia with her husband of 30+ years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters and a future son-in-love. Her new release, A Home for Christmas is now available on Amazon. 

Facebook: Patty Smith Hall
Amazon page for A Home for Christmas


    “If you don’t want me, I understand.” Her fingers fumbled with the ribbons of her bonnet, then tugged it off, loose sprigs of honeyed blonde hair tumbling over her shoulders to her trim waist.
     “Why would I. . .” His question trailed off as his gaze met blue eyes the color of the morning sky. Then his focus shifted, taking in the dainty slope of her nose, the too full lips, the tiny dimple in her right cheek. 
     Movement caught his attention and Avery followed her hand as she pressed it to her left cheek. “I know I’m not attractive but I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t stare.”
    Avery blinked. Was the woman mad? Didn’t she have an idea just how lovely she was?
     Margaret lifted her hand, her fingertips lingering over an area high on her cheek. A dark reddish purple spot stained her skin. Was this the ‘situation’ she’d spoken of? The reason Winslow had cast her aside? “Papa said this is my punishment for causing my mother’s death. So if you’d like to rescind your proposal, I completely understand.”
    Avery watched her for a moment longer, a peace he couldn’t quite comprehend settling over him. Whether she knew it or not, Margaret Cobb was the answer to his prayers.


Is she cursed? 

All of her life, Margaret Cobb has felt cursed, the port wine stain on her cheek a punishment for her mother’s death. But she dreams of a home and family. When the opportunity arises to be a mail order bride for a man in Angel Vale, Wyoming, Margaret risks everything familiar for her chance at happiness, only to be rejected once again. That is until assayer Avery Waldwin offers to marry her.

Or the answer to Avery’s prayers? 

Avery Waldwin needs a mother for his young daughter, even if it means marrying a woman he’s never met. A marriage of convenience was all he’d hoped for, but there’s something about the kind, Godly woman that draws him to her. As the Christmas season approaches, both Avery and Margaret discover there’s only one present they each want—

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Christmas Undercover

Christmas Undercover

Echo Mountain

Mass Market Paperback, ebook

October 6, 2015

  • 224 pages
  • Publisher: Love Inspired
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373446988


FBI agent Sara Vaughn believes a group of pharmaceutical businessmen are engineering drugs with deadly results. Her boss won't approve a sting operation, so she goes rogue—following the suspects on a hike in the Cascade Mountains to record evidence. But when Sara witnesses them murder one of their own, they target her. Saved by a handsome volunteer mountain rescue worker, Sara at first suspects Will Rankin is another bad guy hunting her. But when the widowed father of two risks everything to save her, she knows that Will is all that's standing between her and seeing Christmas morning. 

Echo Mountain: Saving lives and finding love in the mountains of Washington State

My thoughts:  This story was slower paced than most Love Inspired Suspense, which isn't a bad thing. I liked that Sara and Will aren't running for their lives the whole time.There was also enough action so the reader doesn't forget that it is a suspense first and a romance second. I liked how Will struggled to be a good father to his two daughters despite his mother-in-law's interference. I didn't get (at first) why Sara felt she couldn't tell anyone she was an FBI agent, though by the end it was clear why. There wasn't much of a faith message, it was about prayer which is important, but if one is not a Christian and not a praying person, imho there should've been more. But I also understand this brand doesn't want a strong salvation message. We knew who the villains were in this story all along, and why, which did serve to slow the story down some, but all in all it was a good story. Recommended for those who love romantic suspense.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

An Apple For Christmas / Christmas Lessons

An Apple For Christmas 

A Christmas Novella

Christmas Traditions

Kindle Edition

by Darlene Franklin

  • 59 pages
  • Publisher: Forget Me Not Romances, a division of Winged Publications 
  • July 21, 2015

Ruby Nelson trades her job in the laboratory for teaching in a small girls’ school in Vermont. Twin sisters challenge her position—and their father captivates her imagination. Will the orchard grower graft Ruby onto his heart? 

My thoughts: I like Ms. Franklin's more recent novellas. They are cute. This one was set on an apple orchard and an all-girls' school in Vermont. The father and both daughters are named after apple varieties. Really cute. There is a light faith message, which is really good. 

At first I didn't like Ruby very much. She was rude and prickly to the father. But she softened up. I didn't understand why she was unwilling to use her scientific skills when he asked, even though he offered to pay her for her help. I also didn't understand why the head mistress would blame Ruby when one girl (out of a class of twenty-thirty) didn't pass even though everyone else did. 

Also, I think the apple harvesting was a little late (November/December) and they said something about no snow before Christmas  -- this would be more Oklahoma (if they have apple orchards there?) 

All in all, this was a good story. I enjoyed getting to know the main characters and a little about their lives.  

I got this book from the author for review. 

4 stars. 

Christmas Lessons 

A Christmas Traditions #5 

Kindle Edition

by Patty Smith Hall 

48 pages

  • October 1, 2014
  • ASIN: B00NVI9TS2

Love isn't always enough. 

If it were, history teacher Claire Davenport would have married her childhood sweetheart Billy Warner in a heartbeat. But Billy has big dreams of coaching college football, a plan that could be sidetracked by Claire's disability. Fearing he'll resent her, Claire breaks their engagement and sets out to build a life around the children at her school. 

But Christmas is the Season of Miracles! 

Two years later, Billy Warner is back in Marietta, the new head coach at the school where Claire teaches, and determined to find out why she broke his heart. Working together to give Christmas to needy families in their community, they can't deny the love they've always shared, but will it be enough to last a lifetime? 

A sweet Christmas novella by the author of Hearts in Flight, Hearts in Hiding and Hearts Rekindled.

My thoughts:  Set after WWII, CHRISTMAS LESSONS is a sweet romance about a second chance at love, old friends becoming lovers. The characterization isn't exactly deep, and we didn't get to know the characters as well as we would in a longer story, but it was a sweet Christmas romance. Billy wants to win Claire's heart and marry her, but years ago, she broke his heart when she rejected him. Why? Would he ever learn the truth and win her back? This is the fifth book in the Christmas Traditions series, written by eight other authors. A good read. 4 stars. 

Christmas Traditions: An 8-Author Multi Christmas novella series

I also read Carrie Pagel's, The Fruitcake Challenge (which I loved).

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

“I Have a Voice” Bringing Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Survivors Out of the Shadows

“I Have a Voice”
Bringing Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Survivors Out of the Shadows

Dallas/Fort Worth—Few problems are so pervasive, yet shrouded in secrecy, as domestic violence and sexual abuse. The statistics are staggering. They are reflected across every demographic. Nearly one in every four women is beaten or raped by a partner during adulthood.One in every four girls and nearly one in every six boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18—but until recent years, these widespread problems were rarely made public. This October, in conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Shannon Deitz, author, speaker, and founder of Hopeful Hearts Ministry, is inviting abuse survivors to step out of the shadows and bring their stories to light.

I Have A Voice - Jose
Through the I Have a Voice project, Dietz encourages survivors of domestic violence to give voice to their past. The I Have a Voiceproject consists of seven intensely moving interrelated videos, all with a collective purpose to help survivors

  • recognize the abuse they have suffered and expose the truth;
  • understand that they are not alone and that the abuse does not define them; and
  • overcome being a victim and realize the full potential of their lives.
True-life scenarios shared in the videos include stories of rape, incest, sexual abuse by clergy, domestic violence, and severe neglect. Each emotionally-charged testimony in the series clearly speaks of the courageous journey back to wholeness as well as the devastating effects of the abuse—particularly when that abuse occurred at the hands of a family member.  “Being abused by a stranger is bad enough, but being hurt by someone who claims to love you or who is obligated to take care of you is worse,” explains Deitz. “It’s one of the main factors that keeps victims imprisoned in shame and secrecy.”

In one of the first videos, Deitz relives the heartrending memories and feelings related to the abuse she endured by her own grandfather.  By allowing herself to be vulnerable and honest during the filming, she believes that others may be stirred to open up about their own “secret” and move past feelings of victimization to focus on the things gained through the adversity.  “Abuse changes things forever, but healing is possible if the choice is made to overcome the victim mentality and work hard to become a survivor,” Deitz stresses.

The videos also raise public awareness by demonstrating both the prevalence and the insidious nature of abuse. “Most people don’t realize that domestic violence rarely begins with actual violence. More often, it starts with emotional and verbal abuse, which erodes self-confidence and self-worth and causes the victims to question their instincts,” Dietz says. “The weaker the victim, the more dominant the abuser becomes. Ultimately, this dominance turns to violence when the victim begins to show signs of strength and defiance. This is why the highest rate of domestic violence fatalities occur when the victim has left the abuser.”

Hopeful Hearts Ministry has heard from survivors in Africa, Poland, England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and across the US. Each video gives a survivor the opportunity to speak about their story in their truth, discarding the shame that they have carried but was never really theirs. Viewers recognize their own story in the voice of other survivors, and the videos are encouraging them to speak out about the abuses they've suffered and to seek help if needed. 

“I simply want to say thank you for sharing your story…through the HHM website, Exposed, other resources shared, and your powerful I Have a Voice video, you have given fresh insight to my own dimly lit and locked up places of shame and victimization,” says Lauren, a 24-year-old abuse survivor. “Your I Have a Voice video is definitely the most eye-opening [resource] I have seen. I identified with the raw emotion of it.” 

The Hopeful Hearts Ministry website guides viewers to a variety of resources designed to help them move forward in their journey of survival, including classes in stretching and relaxation that help abuse survivors manage the stress and paralyzing fear that can be triggered unexpectedly—even years after the abuse has ended.

"I've attended the healing stretch classes since mid-September 2014, and I am so thankful. Each time I have had a very positive experience,” says Jennifer, age 42. “The very first class I attended was the day after I was released from the hospital. I had been in a crisis, feeling suicidal, and needed close monitoring during that time. I was terrified to go to a new place, and I was filled with self-hatred. Through stretch and breathing techniques, I experienced a bodily connection to my feelings. I had been separated from my feelings for so long that it was overwhelming to reconnect in such a positive way.”

For those who want to help a friend or family member who is living in an abusive situation, Dietz offers this insight: “Remember the dignity and worth of the victim has been worn thin, which is what causes them to stay. Do not add to the abuse by belittling or degrading them because they are unable to see the situation as clearly as you can on the outside.

Deitz is the award-winning author of Exposed:  Inexcusable Me, Irreplaceable Him.  She was also recently listed as one of the best authors in Houston by CBS Houston Radio.  For more information about Shannon Deitz and Hopeful Hearts Ministry, please visit

Monday, October 26, 2015

Love in the Details

Love in the Details

A November Wedding Story 

A Year of Weddings Novella

Kindle Edition and MP3 CD

by Becky Wade 93 pages

  • Publisher: Zondervan 
  • Publication Date: October 27, 2015
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
  • ASIN: B00UF72DSK

Holly ended things to give him a better life, but she was the future he’d always dreamed of.

Eight years have passed since Holly last saw her high school sweetheart, Josh. Now the wedding of Josh’s best friend has brought him back to Martinsburg, Texas.  His duties as best man and Holly's as the church's volunteer wedding coordinator link them together.  As they work behind the scenes to plan a beautiful November wedding for their friends, they're forced to confront painful reminders of what might have been.
Holly broke up with Josh all those years ago in an attempt to ensure his future success. However, she never told him the true reason behind her actions and now must decide whether to keep her secret hidden.  She's terrified of letting herself fall for him because she barely managed to piece her life back together after losing him the last time.
Not a day's gone by since Josh parted from Holly that he hasn't thought about her.  The pain of the past eight years has been too much to bear and he doesn't want to make himself vulnerable to her again. But the more time he spends with her, the harder it is to deny the love he still has for her.
Will Josh and Holly risk their hearts on the hope that God's timing really can be best?

My thoughts:   LOVE IN THE DETAILS is a very cute contemporary romance novella. I'm sorry to see another Year of Weddings series come to an end and hope that HarperCollins will keep up the fun with another year.  

Becky Wade is not one of my favorite contemporary authors. She is a good writer, but I'm more conservative than most Christians and generally am bothered by something in her books. (I know many will disagree with me.) But in this shorter venue of writing, I loved the story. Josh is kind of stiff and unfeeling acting, but it is sort of like a "wall" he built up around Holly. On the other hand, Holly seems to be open and friendly and willing to go the extra mile. Very definitely an extrovert. I enjoyed getting to know Josh and Holly and share in their romance. 

If you like the Year of Wedding series with Zondervan or are a fan of Becky Wade, then you will definitely want to read LOVE IN THE DETAILS. A great story. 5 stars. 

Movement Day Launches New App and Hosts Global Cities Press Conference October 29th

GLOBAL is the Word!
Movement Day Launches New App and Hosts Global Cities Press Conference October 29th

New York City- Collaboration, community and gospel movements are what Movement Day is all about, and on October 29, 2015, leaders from around the world will once again gather at the New York Hilton Midtown to further that very cause. Seeking to bridge the spiritual, economic and racial divides in our cities, Christian leaders will gather for the 6th consecutive year to address today’s urban issues and maximize their leadership potential. All have purposed to accelerate city transformation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In recent years, global interest and participation in Movement Day has been on the rise and leaders at The New York City Leadership Center, founders and hosts for the annual event, aim to capitalize on this growth in order to replicate the movement in other major global cities, to catalyze leaders, and to foster collaboration on a worldwide scale.

Utilizing today’s global technology, the world of virtual collaboration is now available to participants for iPhone and iPad in the newMovement Day 2015 App (as well as for Android users). “This app is very interactive,” says Director of Movement Day & Events, Ebony Small. “It extends well beyond simply offering information and actually allows users to engage with one another without leaving the platform. It will help to centralize communication for our participants and allow them to effectively collaborate on a global level.”

Among its many features, the new app will allow users to:
  • Message their colleagues directly;
  • Discover others who share the same interests;
  • Integrate their online profiles from Facebook, Twitter &
  • LinkedIn; and
  • Publish quotes, photos and social media updates.
Furthering the cause of global gospel movements, Movement Day 2015 will also host a press conference at the end of the day to announce Movement Day Global Cities 2016 – The Nations of New York Hosting the Nations of the World to be held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, October 25-27 2016.

The press conference will be conducted at the conclusion of Movement Day on October 29, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. in the Gramercy West, 3rd floor, of the New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 Avenue of the Americas NY, NY 10019. Panelists will offer a brief overview of the movement, current realities, and anticipated outcomes followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Facilitated by The New York City Leadership Center and the Lausanne Movement, an anticipated 5,000 global leaders will gather next year at Movement Day Global Cities 2016 for the sole purpose of impacting the spiritual and social climate of their cities by creating learning communities, sharing best practices and advancing high-level, city-changing collaborative partnerships.  The three-day event is expected to be a world-historic gathering of Christian leaders for this generation and will be led by an expert faculty that includes Bishop Claude Alexander, senior pastor of The Park Church, Rev. Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, Dr. Tim Keller, senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Dr. Luis Palau, founder of the Luis Palau Association, and Dr. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition.

Join the Movement
Online Registration Ends October 21. Walk-in Registration will be available Oct. 28.

October 29, 2015
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
New York Hilton Midtown
1335 Avenue of the Americas NY, NY   10019

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Finding Mercy

Finding Mercy

Mercy Medallion Series

Paperback, ebook, hardcover  

October 1, 2014

by Michael Landon Jr. Cindy Kelley

  • 416 pages
  • Publisher: David C. Cook 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0781408707

When Mercy abandons Captain Elijah Hale to search for her true identity, he goes after her. With the threat that bounty hunters might be hot on her trail, Mercy does all she can to stay ahead of the danger, frustrating both the bad men who are after her—and Captain Hale who wants to find her and escort her safely home. But when she stumbles upon clues that help her learn who she is and where she's from, the danger escalates and she has to learn to keep her friends close and her enemies even closer—if she can determine which is which!

This is historical romance with a blend of intrigue from beloved storytellers renowned for their work in film and print.

My thoughts:  I have been anxious to read this book, and thought I wouldn't get it to review, when all of a sudden, a year after it's release, FINDING MERCY finds it's way to my mailbox in Advance Reader Copy form. Wow. It took it's time getting here!  After reading (and loving) Traces of Mercy, I had high expectations for this book and it lived up to them and more. I loved this book!  Fans will want to read Traces of Mercy first as this series doesn't stand alone.  

I loved Mercy and Elijah and Isaac, and this book introduced us to new characters to love. It says it's a triology, but I can't find any information on the third book. I hope it will be written! 

FINDING MERCY had me sitting on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. Full of suspense and intrigue, this is a must read historical. My only complaint is that the ending felt a bit rushed.