Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Lizzy the Lioness and #Giveaway

Thomas Nelson publishers is giving away one copy of Lizzy the Lioness to one commenter. Leave contact information. USA only. 

Lizzy the Lioness 


October 3, 2017

by Lisa Bevere (Author), Kirsteen Harris-Jones (Illustrator)

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718096588

Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is ask for help! Encourage your little ones with the true meaning of bravery through the beautiful story of Lizzy the Lioness by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Bevere.
Boys and girls will love the story of Lizzy, a little lion who must learn what it truly means to be brave in the face of hard things. When she sees someone in danger, Lizzy tries her best to help, but she quickly learns that sometimes being brave means asking adults for help.
With a unique spin on the concept of bravery, Lizzy the Lioness is a timely picture book in an ever-changing world. Children will see that bravery is so much more than big muscles or loud roars but often is found in the tiniest people who have the courage to speak up when no one else will. By asking God for help and then bringing grown-ups into the picture, Lizzy shows kids that being brave doesn’t have to happen by yourself—it happens with help!
New York Times bestselling author Lisa Bevere’s first picture book will make waves with its unique and compelling message for families everywhere. Parents and children alike will enjoy the beautiful artwork as well as the story of communication and teamwork.
You don’t have to be the biggest to be the strongest, and you don’t have to be the loudest to be the bravest. Show your children God’s truest definition of bravery with the timeless story of Lizzy the Lioness.

My thoughts:  LIZZY THE LIONESS is the most adorable children's book.  Both of my girls are older than the targeted age but they both enjoyed this story and looking at the beautifully done illustrations. 

There is a lovely faith message, a true valuable lesson about families and caring for each other, and it is engaging, encouraging children to look and learn. It also teaches that parents have rules for a reason so you don't get hurt. 

This will be a lovely addition to your family library, church library, or public library. Also recommended for day cares, nurseries, and as a gift for your favorite young child this coming holiday season. 

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

Be sure to enter for the giveaway!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Oceans Apart

Oceans Apart 

Crescent Cove #2

ebook, audio

by Lesley Ann McDaniel 

  • Print Length: 147 pages
  • Publisher: Ark Ink
  • Publication Date: July 16, 2016
  • ASIN: B01IM29KEY

This is the biggest weekend for the Inn at Crescent Cove since Lily Duarte bought it a year and a half ago—it’s been booked for a wedding. Now if only she can stop dwelling on the last wedding she planned, then called off at the eleventh hour…her own. 

Trying not to regret breaking her engagement to her rage-aholic ex-fiancĂ©, Lily puts all her focus on making this wedding a success. But when the bride turns out to be a nightmare and one of her key employees quits, Lily begins to question her ability to make it as a business owner. Even worse, she questions if she’ll ever find love with a man who doesn’t turn out to be controlling and abusive. 

Matthew Case has flown all the way from Baghdad, where he runs a computer consulting business, to act as best man for a lifelong friend. While he’s happy to be there, the trip serves as a brutal reminder of how lonely is own life is. His purpose in Iraq is clear, but none of the women he’s met there have captured his interest, much less his heart. Is he just being too picky? When he enters the Inn at Crescent Cove, the gorgeous dark-haired owner grabs his attention. Could she also be the one to win his heart? 

For Lily, the handsome best man could be the best thing about this wedding-gone-haywire, but he lives halfway around the world. Does she dare hold out hope that he’s really the Prince Charming he appears to be if their worlds are oceans apart? 

Crescent Cove. Where true love comes in waves. 

My thoughts:  OCEANS APART is the first story I've read by Lesley Ann McDaniel.  It is pretty formula romance, especially with  a  novella with a wedding destination theme.  Heroine runs a hotel for destination weddings, bride is a bridezilla, groom is pretty laid back, and the best man is a dream.  Oh, and the villain. We can't forget her.  Wow. A woman we love to hate. 

I would've liked to have seen this story fleshed out instead of rushed through in less than 150 pages.  It would have been fun to watch some scenes unfold and get more invested into the lives of the characters instead of a quick dash that leaves you going hmmm instead of ahhhh.

I do love that everything that could possibly go wrong did go wrong. Well, almost everything.

This was part of the Whispers of Love Collection (a 12-in-1 book) that has since disbanded and individually published.    I bought Whispers of Love when it was available and I was not required to write a review on any of the books.   All opinions are my own. 

Wow! Only 8 more days to the release of the Winter's Kiss novella collection. Grab it at only 99 cents!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Lifeguard, the Abandoned Heiress, & Frozen Custard

The Lifeguard, the Abandoned Heiress, & Frozen Custard: Contemporary Christian Romance (Serenity Landing Lifeguards Book 2)

Kindle Edition

  • Print Length: 175 pages
  • Publisher: CANDID Publications
  • Publication Date: July 15, 2016
  • ASIN: B01IKSX7E4

Adam Wilkerson is a lifeguard at the Serenity Landing Aquatic Center, and looking forward to a summer of fun and freedom before settling into adult life. The sudden appearance of a young woman with secrets, but who somehow manages to stir in Adam emotions long dormant, threatens to change his summer plans.

Gwendolyn Cranston-Schmidt is looking for a fresh start, and her one hope at help – her cousin – is unavailable. Time to find a job and a place to live. For a girl who’s never worked a day in her life, the struggle is real. Plus, her secrets are going to find her out, sooner rather than later. What she didn’t plan on was a cute guy who easily finds his way past her protective barriers.

Adam and Gwendolyn find themselves spending more and more time together – and sharing their secrets. Can they find a way to get beyond both of their pasts – or will their pasts come back to haunt them before they can move forward together?

My thoughts:  THE LIFEGUARD, THE ABANDONED HEIRESS, & FROZEN CUSTARD is the second book in Ms. Moncado's Lifeguard series, but it easily stands alone. I did read the first book in this series, both otherwise, I haven't read Ms. Moncado's books. 

At first I thought this was a young adult (teen) book, and honestly, it maybe. It reads that way. But Adam had been married before and Gwendolyn is pregnant, and she is debating keeping the baby or putting it up for adoption, and it confused me what genre it actually fell in with the tone and the characters.  

I do like this book. My son worked as a lifeguard for years (though not in as big of a place as this) and she knows her stuff. My niece and nephews who live in the town (city) where this is actually set go to the aquatic center written about often during the summer. 

There were some twists I never saw coming in this book, and I loved the way Ms Moncado worked in the faith message.  

I bought this book as part of the Whispers of Love anthology which has since been disbanded. and I didn't have to write a review.  All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Interview with Mary Alford

Mary Alford Author Interview for Framed For Murder

When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

MA: I’d say I realized I wanted to be a writer when I was a pre-teen. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to read just about anything I could get my hands on. As a child, I discovered Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys and was hooked on suspense. As a preteen, I found Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt and knew in my heart of hearts that romantic suspense was what I wanted to write.

I wrote my first book as a pre-teen, but didn’t really pursue writing seriously until about fourteen years ago. During that time period though, I fine-tuned my writing and found myself drawn to inspirational romantic suspense. Then, in 2012, I entered the Speed Dating contest hosted by Love Inspired Suspense and later received “the call” that I’d sold Forgotten Past, my first LIS book. I truly felt like a writer for the first time and it was a dream come true. It’s still hard to believe at times.    

Fear and danger are integral parts of your books. Imagination or

MA: Imagination and probably too much time reading suspense books and watching ID TV. The fear and danger my characters face is the same challenges we as human’s deal with on a much lesser scale. We may not be facing a killer bent on ending our lives, but we each have things we’re afraid of and keep us awake at night. Our own set of monsters so to speak.   

Another either/or question: Outliner or pantser?

MA: Pantser. I’ve tried being the outliner type, but I just don’t operate that way.

Do you have any favorite author(s) who have inspired you?

MA: Along with Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt, I love inspirational romantic suspense authors such as Susan Sleeman and Shirlee McCoy. These women are great at weaving suspense, inspiration and an amazing love story into each of their books.

Everyone always asks, so we will, too: Are your characters based on people you know? Which ones?

MA: Certain characteristics of people I know find their way into my books. For instance, most of my characters drink coffee. That’s all me. I love coffee, what can I say? But for the most part, my characters are totally made up.   

Here’s another question that everyone asks: Where do you get your ideas?

MA: Most of my ideas start from something I’ve seen or read about. From there, the story begins to take fruition in my head. I let it simmer for a while until I’ve got a good outline worked out in my mind and then I grab my laptop and start writing. The idea for Deadly Memories and Rocky Mountain Pursuit came from my love of spy stories. I can’t get enough of espionage stories. I think it’s the danger, the drama, the intrigue attached to espionage that makes it so appealing to me. These people risk their lives daily to keep our country safe.  

You write in Christian genres. What is the spiritual takeaway for your books? Is there a recurring theme? 

MA: I think in all my books the spiritual takeaway is that no matter what we’re facing in life, no matter how dark the world around us may seem, we are never alone. God is right there with us through it all.  

How do you mold your villains? They are very frightening!

MA: I think we all have “worst fear” villains hidden deep down in our inner psyche. Some of us fear the unknown. Someone stalking us. A killer on the loose. I like to take those fears and create villains who hide in plain sight. Like the people we know and trust. In Framed FOR MURDER, the villain turns out to be a childhood friend of one of the Scorpion Team members.

Would you characterize your books as romantic suspense? Are there any other genres that you’d like to tackle?

MA: Yes, I guess I would consider my books to be romantic suspense because they contain equal parts of each. In addition, I also write inspirational contemporary romance, another one of my favorite genres to read.

What are you working on now?

MA: I currently finishing up the Scorpion Team series with two more books that will be released in 2018.

Do you enjoy research? Is there any research subject that you’ve found especially fascinating?

MA: I typically don’t go overboard on research, but it is something that is necessary to make the book believable. In FRAMED FOR MURDER, well, loved researching the CIA and the spy angle of the book. It was fascinating for me.

Okay, just for fun. Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.

MA: Hum, well, I’d say that my hubby and I used to raise Emus and Ostriches. I still can’t believe we did that. That I’m trying to teach myself the guitar, (It’s going very slowly…), and I’d love to do some gold panning on my next trip to Colorado. Oh, and I’d also love to write a children’s book one day. 

What are your other interests besides writing?

MA: Music. I love playing the piano and as I’ve said, I’m learning the guitar very slowly. I also love gardening. I want to learn to make quilts as well. I also love doing crafts with my three granddaughters. They are very inspiring.  

SS: Tell us about your current release. When is it available, and where?

FRAMED FOR MURDER is available October 1st at:

And at most online booksellers. 

Framed for helping her partner smuggle guns—and then murdering him—CIA agent Liz Ramirez must find the evidence that will prove her innocence…before she's caught or killed. So when her squad's leader attempts to bring her in for questioning, she knows her future depends on convincing Aaron Foster to go rogue and help her. On the run from the rest of her team and the gun dealers who are convinced she knows the location of their missing weapons, Liz risks losing the proof that would clear her name. But will eluding her pursuers—and trying not to fall for the handsome commander—prove to be fatal?

What inspired the idea for this series?

MA: My love for spies. I think if I could have chosen a different career path it would have been a spy. I admire them greatly and appreciate their work.  

About Mary:

Mary Alford was inspired to become a writer after reading romantic suspense greats Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. Soon creating characters and throwing them into dangerous situations that test their faith came naturally for Mary. In 2012 Mary entered the Speed Dating contest hosted by Love Inspired Suspense and later received “the call”. In addition to writing for Love Inspired Suspense, Mary also writes Christian romance and sweet romance. Being a published author has been a dream come true for Mary. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Christmas Double Cross

Christmas Double Cross
Texas Rangers Holidays
Jodie Bailey
Mass Market paperback, ebook, paperback
  • Series: Texas Ranger Holidays
  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense 
  • November 7, 2017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373457427


Undercover Texas Ranger Colter Blackthorn's convinced Danielle Segovia is really a wanted criminal—until she's nearly kidnapped right in front of him. Now Colter must keep her out of the clutches of the notorious drug cartel leader whose traitor sister is a dead ringer for Danielle. The drug czar wants the drugs he thinks the pretty shop owner stole from him. And with the younger brother Danielle is raising dragged into the crosshairs, Colt has to find a way to protect them both. But a showdown at Christmas—with Danielle as bait—may be the only way to make sure they all survive the holidays.

My thoughts: CHRISTMAS DOUBLE CROSS is the latest page-turner by Jodie Bailey. I  was  literally on the edge of my seat and couldn't put this book down. 

At first I wasn't sure what I thought of either Colt or Danielle. He is convinced she is guilty and treats her accordingly, and enough doubt is cast on her at the beginning, you aren't totally sure whether she is or is not who she's thought to be. 

You know who the bad guys are in this book, and you know why, but you don't know when or where they will strike next. 
And how or who is going to win each round even though you ultimately know since it is romantic suspense and of course the good guys win.

There is a spiritual message but it is weak, and limited to mostly "help me, Jesus" prayers. If the hero had a clear come to Jesus moment, I missed it. 

There are dead bodies included if you are the screamish sort.

Lots of action, suspense, and romantic tension. A great read.

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

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Blind Spot

Blind Spot
Dani Pettrey
  • Series: Chesapeake Valor #3
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers 
  • October 3, 2017
  • Available in paperback, hardcover, ebook, and audio
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764212963

Each of Pettrey's Novels Has Been a Multi-Month Bestseller

FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life--but isn't sure exactly what he's chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that "the wrath is coming," Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She's sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there's anyone who can help him, it's Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can't deny, and she's pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell--and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming "wrath" that could cost thousands their lives.

My thoughts: I fell in love with Dani Pettrey's suspense with her Alaskan series.  This newest series is set in Baltimore (well, sort of, these agents do travel) and while they do stand alone, fans won't want to miss the first two books, Cold Shot and Still Life. I am anxiously awaiting the fourth book in this series coming in 2018. 

BLIND SPOT is an action-packed suspense that starts with a bang and doesn't stop. Three different cases merge into the pages of this book, making it impossible to put down (unless life makes you).  

I didn't think Tanner or Declan would be characters I could relate to, because they are both like super-heroes of sorts. But Ms. Pettrey created them surprisingly real, making them characters I could care for and root for. 

For the screamish readers, there are dead bodies. Lots of them. Some rather gruesome scenes and scenarios.  But it wasn't creepy. 

A great book, definitely worth five stars. I can't wait to read Luke's story coming in 2018

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Framed for Murder

  • Framed for Murder
  • Author: Mary Alford
  • Series: Love Inspired Suspense
  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense; Mass Market edition, also in ebook
  • October 3, 2017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373457380


Framed for helping her partner smuggle guns—and then murdering him—CIA agent Liz Ramirez must find the evidence that will prove her innocence…before she's caught or killed. So when her squad's leader attempts to bring her in for questioning, she knows her future depends on convincing Aaron Foster to go rogue and help her. On the run from the rest of her team and the gun dealers who are convinced she knows the location of their missing weapons, Liz risks losing the proof that would clear her name. But will eluding her pursuers—and trying not to fall for the handsome commander—prove to be fatal?

My thoughts: FRAMED FOR MURDER is the first book by Ms. Alford I've read, but I'm sure it won't be the last. Liz has been framed for the murder of her partner, and she knows if she wants to survive she has to run. What she doesn't expect is that her squad's leader would go rogue to help her. 

With enemies hot on their tail and knowing that someone on the team is the mole, they try to elude the enemy. But the enemy is always one step ahead of them, anticipating every move. And even those who are sent to help them are suspect. Who is behind the attack? Was Liz's partner the bad guy or was he caught in a bad situation? Who can they trust? And will they find what they need to put this terrorist team behind bars? 

I enjoyed reading FRAMED FOR MURDER and read it all in one afternoon. I know I've said this before, regarding Love Inspired Suspense books, and I will say it again, I'm sure (since I have two more to read in my short stack) that I would never survive as heroine in a LIS. I would be among the casualties. Wow. It is simply beyond astounding how the author took the worst case scenario and made it even worse than that. 

Don't miss FRAMED FOR MURDER for an edge of the seat suspense you can't put down. 

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck 

Paperback, ebook, hardcover

October 3, 2017

by Bethany Turner (Author)

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Revell 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800727666

Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. 

Best because, well, that's obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she's made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she's chosen. She's still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she's not sure she can write anymore. She's beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a "scandalous" book. And the fact that she's falling in love with her pastor doesn't make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn't afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.

My thoughts: THE SECRET LIFE OF SARAH HOLLENBECK is a first-person, chicklit style book. Reeling from her divorce, Sarah is struggling to find her identity apart from her ex-husband's trophy wife. So she joins book clubs. And in the process discovers she can write. And she begins to make friends. Unfortunately, her best friend is judgmental and drops her like a hot potato when she learns Sarah writes steamy romances. 

But Sarah's friend returns. And leads her to Christ. Which means that Sarah is losing it all, it is falling apart right and left, but yet there is this hot new man and... he gets drawn into this drama which ultimately is going to cost him everything too. 

Okay, if you read any chicklit, you know the score. And I've read and LOVED chicklit. I cried when the genre sort of died. But while I've read some really really good chicklit, this wasn't it. 

Ouch, right?  I wanted to love it. I was over-the-moon excited when I saw this hot new debut that was chicklit. YES! I honestly wanted to love it. But I didn't.  

This book was blah. I didn't care one ounce for Sarah. Piper had more personality though I didn't understand her. And some of it seemed rather contrived. 

More conservative readers will have issues with a lot of the book. Divorce. Affairs. Sex with an almost minor. And more. This is like a soap opera. Really. 

But it also touches on the very real tendency of Christians to be judgmental without knowing all the facts. Shoot their wounded instead of supporting them. 

A hard-hitting book that will leave the reader hurting but thinking. And for that, maybe I will give it more than the amount of stars I'd planned. Maybe. Or maybe not. Because the faith message was zilch. 

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

Monday, October 23, 2017

Total Christmas Makeover

Total Christmas Makeover

by Melissa Spoelstra

Holiday Devotional
Abingdon Press

In the bustle of the Christmas season, it can be easy to get swept up in all of the things to do. But it's important to pause and remember that our priority should be to spend time celebrating Christ's birth and not forget to invite Jesus to his own party.

Christmas is far more than a celebration of an event from long ago or a modern holiday centered around shopping. Mindfully take time to listen to how God continues to speak through the Christmas story as the Gospel narratives centered around the birth of Jesus provide encouragement and revelation concerning the love of God and his wisdom for us today.

In Total Christmas Makeover, author and Bible teacher Melissa Spoelstra provides a practical approach for you and your family to turn your attention toward God's grace day-by-day as you prepare for Christmas. This 31-day devotional presents key scriptures, ideas to implement with each reading, and questions for reflection to guide you in rediscovering rituals, relationship, and rest to connect you more deeply with Christ this holiday season. 

My thoughts:  TOTAL CHRISTMAS MAKEOVER is a devotional to start around Thanksgiving. It includes some verses, thoughts about the verses -- which is set around a theme, such as light to the world, worship, traditions, etc -- a prayer, and three or four questions for reflection.  You will need a notebook for writing your answers if you don't like to mark up books. There is also an application. 

The way it is designed makes me think it is designed for a women's small group or once a week Bible study, where you would read and discuss as a group. It is ideal for that. It can also be done alone, but I think it'd be more fun as a group, where maybe you could even plan to do some of the applications as a group.  

This is a more indepth devotional that will take more than a minute or two of your time. You will want to take the time to study the verses, read the story (maybe a couple of times), pray, make plans for the application, and put some thought into the questions.  

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

Learn more and purchase a copy.

 Meet the Author
Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women's conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and addicted to the study of His Word. Her passion is helping other women to seek Christ and know Him more intimately through serious Bible study, attentiveness to the Holy Spirit, and a tenacious dependence on God at all times, even through the storms of life. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids. 

Find out more about Melissa at http://melissaspoelstra.com.

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