Friday, August 31, 2018

Toby's Troubles

About the Book

Book Title: Toby’s Troubles
Author: Carole Brown
Genre: Romantic Mystery, Cozy Mystery
Release date: July 1, 2018
Everyone loves Toby Gibson. A co-owner of Undiscovered Treasures, a unique shop of antiques, collectables and junk, Toby is friendly, generous to a fault, the director of the local plays in Appleton and supports his church’s youth functions. But the minute his sister, Caroline and her new husband, take off for their honeymoon, a “ghost” begins to haunt the shop—or maybe it’s just an intruder. If so, Toby has no idea for what he is looking. To add to his troubles, he suspects Amy, not only is bidding for the property he’s wanted forever, but is in love with him. And he’s not interested.
Amy Sanderson who owns the only flower shop in Appleton—Bloomin’ Life—is drawn into capturing Toby’s “ghost” when her own business is damaged by a destructive intruder. Having loved Toby from childhood, she’s more than willing to join forces with him. But she has no interest in being his best friend or like a sister to him. And if she has to resort to schemes of outbidding him at his frequent auction attendences to get his attention, then so be it. She can be just as stubborn as the man who’s determined to ignore her love.
In between the break-ins, destruction of property, thefts and personal competitions against each other, Amy and Toby work together to find the thief who seems so determined to find a valuable item, he’ll stop at nothing.

My thoughts: TOBY'S TROUBLES is, I think, the first book I read by Ms. Brown, though I have heard of one of her prior books before. This one intrigued  me, but I didn't realize it was the fourth book in a series when I requested it. In case you like to read series books in order, they are:  Sabotaged Christmas, Knight in Shining Apron, Undiscovered Treasures and TOBY'S TROUBLES. 

I like the humor in this story, though the story itself is somewhat disjointed at times. I couldn't get a handle on Amy though she did have some point of view scenes, and sometimes readers were left completely out of the loop, and some things were unclear. 

I did enjoy the story and tried to figure out who-dun-it and well, what did they actually do? How? Why? Where? When? None of the big questions were answered initially, though "who" was very strongly implied. And where the "treasure" being sought was hid was implied as well. 

I'm interested in reading Rylie's story, coming, I assume, soon. If you like cozy mysteries you will likely enjoy TOBY'S TROUBLES. There are no dead bodies, if you're the squeamish sort. But there is a ghost. 


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

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Guest Post from Carole Brown

Antique Shops, A Thief, the Community Theater, and Love
Toby’s Troubles, Book Four from the Appleton, West Virginia Romantic Mysteries series
I knew when I wrote this book who Toby was. But capturing Toby’s personality and presenting it in the right way, was a challenge for me. Readers can see his teasing, fun-loving character when he labels the person who’s breaking into his shop as a ghost. But Toby is also serious, smart and successful. The side of him who has had plenty of girl friends, but who’s never gotten serious with any of them, is prominent too. But I didn’t want him to seem frivolous and uncaring, because he isn’t that. With a focus on his interests, love has never—as of yet—been a primary concern, so when Amy Sanderson strolls into his life, she turns out to be his confidant in the time of his troubles. The question is: can she not only have a place in his life as a best friend, but also capture his heart?

Let’s talk about:

Antique Shops
Who doesn’t love a place filled with valuable items, interesting history, and hard-to-find items? Undiscovered Treasures—a shop of antiques, collectibles and junk—could be described as the town gathering place. Everyone loves browsing there. Deciding on such a place for the business of brother and sister, Toby and Caroline Gibson, was a fun choice. From grandfather clocks to unique shaped vases, it’s a shop where treasure hunters could just find what they’re looking for.
A Thief:
There are way too many new people visiting Appleton, West Virginia, so how is someone like Toby suppose to guess what the thief is after? The thief definitely knows what he’s looking for, just not where. He’s tall, thin and a fast runner, especially when escaping across a rooftop. But then, maybe it’s not a new person in town. Maybe the thief is Toby’s part time help, who has a mystery all of his own. It makes things interesting, and a bit terrifying for everyone.
The Community Theater:
One of Toby’s loves is directing and overseeing the community theater. Caroline Gibson writes some of the plays, the actors are usually taken from the West Virginia area, and all proceeds go to charities. But when their main actors, of the current play, elope and leave the play desolate, someone has to step in to fill the gaps. Toby struggles with decisions he doesn’t want to make.
Toby is smart, funny, and a resourseful man. He’s also busy with his community theater activities and his business. Known as the one man in town who’s not interested, at the current time, in getting married, his reputation of loving and leaving is in danger of being wrecked by one small woman. Can she sabotage his well-laid plans and help him realize it’s now or never? Could it be the time when real love is captured by two people, even when one of them seems doomed to ignore what God’s put in their hearts?
I love creating characters. Developing them into real people with real desires, moods, troubles

Blog Stops

Vicky Sluiter, August 21
Godly Book Reviews, August 21
The Avid Reader, August 22
Connect in Fiction, August 25
Splashes of Joy, August 27
Maureen’s Musing, August 29
Mary Hake, August 29
Pause for Tales, August 31
Lighthouse Academy, September 1
Texas Book-aholic, September 2
Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 2
Carpe Diem, September 3
Bigreadersite, September 3


To celebrate her tour, Carole is giving away a grand prize that includes winner’s choice of one of the two attached mugs, winner’s choice of a print or kindle copy of Toby’s Troubles and a tote bag!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click below to enter.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice Coloring Book

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice Coloring Book 

(Coloring Faith)


August 14, 2018

by Thomas Nelson 

  • Series: Coloring Faith
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400210015

If you rush to Starbucks at the first hint of cool weather . . . If Pumpkin Spice Latte is your fall drink of choice . . . If you need a way to recover from a busy summer and take a breath before a busy holiday season, this book is for you. Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice Coloring Book includes gorgeous illustrations featuring your favorite images of autumn. This one-of-a-kind adult coloring book has classic fall quotes, fun sayings, and Bible verses featured alongside detailed coloring pages.
Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice Coloring Book offers hours of enjoyment and reflection and makes the perfect gift for anyone who loves fall.
So settle in by a crackling fire for an evening of relaxation, rest, and pumpkin spice!

My thoughts: PUMPKIN SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE COLORING BOOK is a coloring book for those who just can't get enough of autumn. Even if you are not a fan of Pumpkin Spice flavored everything, this has lovely pictures of farms and pies, corn and gourdes, leaves and pumpkins and ever so much more. Plus there are fall quotes, Bible verses, and other sayings. 

My teen daughter (who is not a fan of Pumpkin Spice flavored drinks) absolutely *loves* this coloring book and stole it from me right away. (I stole it back to write the review.) 

This is the perfect gift for the autumn-lover or pumpkin spice lover on your list. Fall birthdays, fall holidays and more.  

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Unshakable Hope Promise Book by Max Lucado

Unshakable Hope Promise Book 

Paperback, ebook – Student Edition, 

August 7, 2018

by Max Lucado (Author)

  • Age Range: 12 and up 
  • Grade Level: 8 - 12
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Student ed. edition 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400316618

Get to know the God who keeps His promises. Unshakable Hope Promise Book, by bestselling author Max Lucado, explores the promises God made to His people throughout the Bible and how they are relevant to your life today. Get ready to discover the amazing plans and promises God has just for you!
What would you do tomorrow if you had no fear? How would you live your life if you knew that the promises in the Bible are for you? What if God Himself put promises there meant for you and has an amazing plan for your life?
In Unshakable Hope Promise Book: Student Edition, Max Lucado shows you how God has kept His promises in the lives of His people for all of history. Using examples from biblical characters and current examples from teens like you, Max will help you explore and understand the ways God has kept His promises then and how He keeps them now.
Embrace an exciting faith-filled life as you work through stories, Scripture, and journaling questions in Unshakable Hope Promise Book. 

My thoughts: UNSHAKABLE HOPE PROMISE BOOK (Student edition) is a book for students (Jr high and highschool) to study the promises of God.  There are thirty different promises included in this book along with a mini-teaching lesson about the promise mentioned, several verses and thoughts about them, questions for the student to think about and answer, and an application. 

This book would be excellent for the Christian homeschool student for a Bible class, for Sunday school classes or small groups for this age group, for Bible lessons in a Christian school, and more. 

I like the study included in this book and it will really help the teen learn about God and His promises and His ability to keep them. My two daughters will be working through this book in our homeschool this school year. 

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Imagine Zero

Imagine Zero
Text Box: I get impassioned by it, just hanging around people from the Seed Company, whose life mission it is to extend the Scriptures to the people who need them. It's exciting that in our generation, we could see that fulfilled. If we commit ourselves to getting the Bible into those last remaining languages, it can be done in this generation.     
- Lee Strobel 
Author & Christian Apologist

Mobilizing the Local Church. Eliminating Bible Poverty for Everyone, Everywhere.

In spite of the exponential explosion of data and unparalleled accessibility to information, there are an estimated 1.5 billion people around the world who still do not have a complete bible in their own heart language. Of the 7,000+ languages on the planet, only 670 have a complete translation of Scripture, and over 165 million people still do not have a single verse of Scripture in their native tongue.

So to "imagine zero people in need of God's Word" seems an impossibility, but this mantra of the Seed Company is edging closer to becoming a reality. Celebrating 25 years of service dedicated to the translation of Scripture and the transformation of lives around the globe, Seed Company has launched a new initiative entitled Imagine Zero. With the mobilization and support of the local church, leaders aim to accelerate the translation of Scripture and eliminate bible poverty throughout the world within the next decade.

To achieve their objective, the Seed Company has convened summits in 15 cities around the country thus far this year and is slated to take the message of Imagine Zero to at least 10 remaining cities beginning in September this fall. In every location, leaders are anticipating the historical moment when Scripture will be available to every language group on Earth. During each 3 1Ž2 hour session, pastors and other local church leaders are introduced to exclusive, Seed Company-commissioned research from Barna Group - Translating the Great Commissionand participate in discussions on how they can better energize their congregations, better understand the millennial generation, and better work together to make sure life transformation takes place through Scripture.

"Together, we discuss the implications of this research for our churches and the Gospel over the next decade and beyond," states president and CEO of The Seed Company, Samuel Chiang. "This isn't a conference - this is a summit of pastoral leaders in the community who are committed to helping others find and follow Jesus."

While attendees must register at the Imagine Zerowebsite, each summit is available free of charge to pastors and other church staff and will be conducted in round table discussions lasting from 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. A complimentary lunch is also included. Each summit is hosted and facilitated by author, speaker, and ministry leader, Mark Matlock. Mark is the founder and president of WisdomWorks Ministries, a nonprofit dedicated to helping individuals, churches, and faith-centered organizations leverage biblical wisdom. He has been working with youth pastors and students for over two decades and has spoken to over one million teenagers in his lifetime. Mark also currently serves on the Board of Directors for The American Bible Society.

"Imagine Zero is the channel for the church to bring the bible to every language within a decade, as well as increase bible reading in their own congregations. In many ways, this entire event is a gift to the church," offers Matlock. "It doesn't matter what size church you are, the insights that will be shared will be applicable to the specific local context of each congregation. We truly want every church leader to be able to personally experience Imagine Zero."

Upcoming Imagine Zero Summits:
Washington, D.C.
Jacksonville, FL
Atlanta, GA
Indianapolis, IN
Detroit, MI
Minneapolis, MN
Raleigh, NC
Columbus, OH
Houston, TX
Fort Worth, TX

Visit to learn more and register today.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Until the Dawn

Until the Dawn 

Paperback, ebook, audio, hardcover 

December 1, 2015

by Elizabeth Camden

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; 1 edition 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764217203

Top-Notch Dramatic Historical Romance from a Rising Star

A volunteer for the newly established Weather Bureau, Sophie van Riijn needs access to the highest spot in her village to report the most accurate readings. Fascinated by Dierenpark, an abandoned mansion high atop a windswept cliff in the Hudson River Valley, Sophie knows no better option despite a lack of permission from the absent owners.

The first Vandermark to return to the area in sixty years, Quentin intends to put an end to the shadowy rumors about the property that has brought nothing but trouble upon his family. Ready to tear down the mansion, he is furious to discover a local woman has been trespassing on his land.

Instantly at odds, Quentin and Sophie find common ground when she is the only one who can reach his troubled son. There's a light within Sophie that Quentin has never known, and a small spark of the hope that left him years ago begins to grow. But when the secrets of Dierenpark and the Vandermark family history are no longer content to stay in the past, will tragedy triumph or can their tenuous hope prevail?

My thoughts: I can't help but become engrossed in Ms. Camden's historical suspenses and UNTIL THE DAWN is no different. From the first page, the first paragraph, I was involved in Sophie's life, falling in love with this gentle, loving, innocent who believed the best of people even when they didn't deserve it. 

Quentin's family is ruled by demon's of the past and they believe the only way of eradicating the demons is to destroy the mansion. Level it to the ground. Burn everything inside...

But Sophie fights for it, and when grandson and grandfather disagree on a step and decide to hire experts to explain and find, and even they are at a loss...

The surprising end answers all the questions. Who murdered who and why? What are those old documents in a language no one can read? Is grandfather right, Quentin, or Sophie? Will Sophie keep her much loved, coveted job? Or will the secrets held in this historical mansion destroy who is left in the Vandermark family? 

I couldn't put this book down. 

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

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Hawaiian Discovery

The Hawaiian Discovery 

Paperback, ebook, audio, audio CD

June 5, 2018

by Wanda E. Brunstetter (Author), Jean Brunstetter (Author)

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Press 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1683224471

An Amish Woman Finds Love in Hawaii

Ellen Lambright mourned when her best friend, Mandy, moved from Indiana to Hawaii. But now Ellen has received the Amish church’s permission to go to Hawaii and help Mandy through challenging times. Rob Smith works on the Williams family’s organic farm, far from his past mistakes and burning regrets. When Ellen befriends Rob, the attraction is mutual, but her commitment to the Amish faith stands between them. Could a heartfelt discovery lead to forgiveness, reunion, and love? Or is Ellen’s destiny waiting for her in Indiana?

Find out in this sequel to The Hawaiian Quilt from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, writing with her daughter-in-law Jean Brunstetter.
My thoughts: THE HAWAIIAN DISCOVERY is one of the newest ones by prolific author Wanda E. Brunstetter.  Honestly, I think she is writing a book a month -- but maybe it just seems that way since I've read a lot of her books this year.  

I will admit this piqued my interest. Amish in Hawaii. Who knew?  I have never been to Hawaii, but I have seen pictures of the beautiful state, so it was interesting reading about the scenery in a book partially set there.  

I think this was more women's fiction than romance though there is a romance. The hero doesn't make an appearance until the end of the book and the man who has a point of view and is interested in Ellen is a hmm. Well, something that I can't find the word to describe. Scared, red-faced stumbling fool, and then suddenly bullish and threatening. Definitely a mixture of personality types there. 

There were a lot of characters that I had trouble keeping track of and a lot of changes of location which was easier since that was clearly indicated.  This book is definitely better than the last Wanda Brunstetter book I read.  It was a squeaky clean story with docile characters and a slow, peaceful writing style that is sure to appeal to fans of Wanda Brunstetter. For me, the major draw of this Amish story is the unconventional setting. 

Oh, this is the second book in a series. The first is The Hawaiian Quilt which I have not read. Yet.  I don't think reading them out of order detracted from the story.

I was given a copy by a friend (not the author) and all opinions are my own. I was not obligated to write a review. 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Forgiving The Past by Elaine Stock

Forgiving The Past by Elaine Stock

Imagine this scenario: You’re a widowed single-parent mom with an impressionable eight-year-old son. Your conscience is riddled with the worry that you might have pushed your husband toward his death, and that’s on top of the weight bearing down on you from your childhood days of participating with a pack of kids to bully a particular family in town.

Then, the one boy who was part of that picked-upon family, now a grown man and stirringly handsome purchases the house across the street from you. You’ll likely see him every day.

And, with a gulp, you realize…that you want to see him. That actually, despite all that transpired between the two of you back in high school, you’re Attracted to him with a Capital A.

Might that magnetism between the two of you be mutual?

                  Her name flowing too easily from his lips seized
                  her drifting attention. “Yes?”

                  “You’re someone I could never forget.”

In my newest release, an inspirational romance, Christmas Love Year Round, Book 1 of the Kindred Lake Series, the reunion of two long-ago enemies is the setup that kicks off the story. While one theme, the forgiveness of others is central, more so is whether one can forgive themselves for their actions as well as lack of actions. Another theme is love—what is it and will it last? Sure, love and good cheer are abundant during the Christmas holiday season, but the test of love’s strength is whether love can and will last year round. Is it possible, considering one’s shameful past? Can one stop the past memories from hurling the ugliness into the present? And, that’s the final theme: making amends into amems.

The topic of bullying heats up the pages of newspapers and slaps its way across social media. Sadly, it has become an epidemic in our society. Yet, antagonizing, intimidating, and shaming others is as old as mankind. Christmas Love Year Round is a special story for me because I, like many, have been picked upon. Introverted, mature-beyond-my-years, struggling with acne beginning in fifth grade, and moving from city to country mid-school-year, set me up as a too easy target. A shaggy-haired blond punk kid led the attack against me with a couple of handful of pals to help. Not fun at all! Nor, was it easy to get through my days. The name-calling, other insults, and stinging laughter hurt. Two and a half years later—in the middle of my junior year—I couldn’t take it a day more. I begged my father to take me to a dermatologist to treat my complexion. I also got my hair styled. I felt better about myself. Slowly but surely I started to make friends; people outwardly treated me much nicer…kinder. When this troublemaker kid would walk by me, with his herd of goons, I started to hear his pals urge him to knock off the tossing of caustic barbs. Finally, by the time I graduated, this self-appointed tormenter had stopped his enemy fire. He didn’t apologize, but that was fine. As long as he held back his explosives, it was all good.

It’s sad that people pick on others because of differences. Danny, my character Cami’s son, asks his mom that if God wants us to love each other, why does He make it so hard for us to do so. I hope you’ll read Christmas Love Year Round to find out Cami’s response to her son, and to see whether Cami and Gavin can let go of their shared troubled past and make amends into amens.

Here’s a great deal for you: today, August 25th, Christmas Love Year Round is up on Pre-Sale for only 99-cents on Amazon. Also, the “companion” novella to this new novel, And You Came Along, is also marked down to 99-cents and can be ordered on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The Kindle edition of Christmas Love Year Round is officially avaliable for the Pre-Sale price of 99 cents until the Kindle book releases on September 25th. The print version is now available as well. Here's the link for the Pre-Sale:

May each of you be blessed with love and joy year round!

Blurb for Christmas Love Year Round:

Cami Richardson is good at chasing away the men in her life: first Gavin Kinkaid, a former classmate she’d helped to bully, and later, her husband who left her widowed and a single mom. Now all she wants is to bring a smile back to her eight-year-old son. What she doesn’t expect is for Gavin to become her new neighbor.

Gavin wants to settle down after serving in the Air Force and mend the separation between him and his dad. What he didn’t count on is his changing feelings when he sees Cami as a kind woman instead of his former adversary.

When Cami’s son blindsides them both during the Christmas season, is their reunion at risk or will it grow stronger?

 Author Bio:

Elaine Stock is the author of the novels Her Good Girl, winner of the 2018 American Fiction Awards in the Christian Inspirational category, and Always With You, which won the 2017 Christian Small Publishers Association Book of the Year Award in fiction. And You Came Along, a novella, released in December 2017. Her novels fuse romance, family drama and faith in a clean fiction style. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association. In addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, she hangs out on her active blog, Everyone’s Story, dedicated to uplifting and encouraging all readers through the power of story and hope.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Elaine has now been living in upstate, rural New York with her husband for more years than her stint as a NYC gal. She enjoys long walks down country roads, visiting New England towns, and of course, a good book.

Elaine Stock--Fusing Romance, Family Drama, and Faith in a Clean Fiction Style.

While the City Sleeps (Women of Midtown)

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