Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Dangerous Illusions (Code of Honor #1) by Irene Hannon













Title: Dangerous Illusions (Code of Honor #1)
Author: Irene Hannon 
Pages: 352
Year: 2017
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Revell
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death—and puts Trish under police scrutiny—her world is once again thrown into turmoil.

     Detective Colin Flynn isn’t certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge—and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn’t just dangerous . . . it’s deadly.

     Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon captures readers with a mind-bending story that will have them doubling back to retrace their steps-and figure out what they missed!

My review:

     An intricately woven romantic suspense novel!

     I absolutely love both of the main characters! They are incredibly well developed. The way that their back grounds are presented over time is fantastic!

     The plot of the story had me purely guessing for most of the book. I couldn’t figure out the motive behind the things that were happening to Trish. She was so burdened down by everything that had been going on in her life that I just wanted to hug her. I was definitely rooting for Colin and the rest of the police to figure it out and catch the bad guys.

     This wonderful book is getting a 5 star rating from me. I’m highly recommending it. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this series.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Saturday, December 2, 2017

21 Days of Christmas: Stories that Celebrate God's Greatest Gift - Compiled by Kathy Ide + A GIVEAWAY


About the Book

  
Name of book: 21 Days of Christmas: A Fiction Lover’s Devotional  

Author: Kathy Ide  

Genre: Christian Fiction Devotional  

Release Date: September 1, 2015

Christmas is more than just a holiday. It is a time to recapture the joy and wonder of God’s greatest gift: His Son, Jesus. 21 Days of Christmas will warm your heart with stories about giving, loving, and family. These engaging tales celebrate the hope and joy that make this blessed season unique. At the end of each story you’ll find an insightful message that will help you discover anew the true meaning of this special time of year. So grab a cup of hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick, curl up in your favorite chair beside a picture window overlooking a serene spot, and savor the true meaning of Christmas through these inspirational and encouraging stories.


Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

Filled with wonderful short Christmas stories!

This is a fantastic devotional for December. Each story is short and easy to read. Some of them are very thought provoking. Others are simply sweet and a delight to read. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that each story is followed by an application section. This helped me to take each one and truly think about what can be learned from it. 

They all definitely point to God and the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. The most magical Christmas present ever.

I am giving this great little book a rating of 5 stars and highly recommending it.


More About Kathy Ide

Kathy is the editor/compiler of the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series (www.FictionDevo.com) and author of “Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors” (http://secretsofbestsellingauthors.com). She has also written numerous articles, short stories, devotionals, play scripts, and Sunday school curriculum. She has ghostwritten ten nonfiction books and a five-book novel series. 

She is also a full-time freelance editor, working with aspiring, new, and experienced authors as well as publishers. 

Kathy speaks at writers’ conferences across the country. 

She is the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network (www.TheChristianPEN.com) and the Christian Editor Connection (www.ChristianEditor.com). 

For more about Kathy, visit www.KathyIde.com.

Guest Post from Kathy Ide

Looking for a great Christmas gift for friends and family who love fiction … or devotionals? You can give them both in one book! 

21 Days of Christmas: Stories that Celebrate God’s Greatest Gift is book two in the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. It’s a collection of 21 fiction stories, each written by a different author—including well-known novelists such as Lena Nelson Dooley, Joanne Bischof, Jan Cline, and Lynn Kinnaman. Some stories are about the first Christmas, when Mary and Joseph brought God’s Son into the world. Others are about how we celebrate that history-changing event today. Each story is followed by a brief Life Application written by the author of that story. 

The first chapter starts out with an amusing tale of a modern-day couple in the front seat of a car, on Christmas Eve, traveling to see relatives for the holiday. They’re griping about the hassles of the season, and hollering at the the kids, who are playing with the foil on Mom’s Jell-O salad in the backseat. Then we break from that to a scene of Mary and Joseph entering Bethlehem, about to bring God’s Son into the world. It contrasts the modern-day wife, not wanting to go into a sleazy diner because it’s the only place open on Christmas Eve, with Mary hesitating to go into a smelly barnyard to give birth. When the modern-day couple decide to tell their children the Christmas story—complete with snow and a little drummer boy—the contrasts become both highly funny and very poignant. 

I wrote one of the chapters in the book. It’s about the first Christmas, from the perspective of Joseph. What he must have thought and felt when Mary was giving birth to Jesus, knowing that he had been personally given the divine responsibility to teach God’s Son about God. Based on the Old Testament teachings he’d been raised with, what did Joseph think Jesus would be like when He was born, and how did reality clash with those expectations? 

This book makes a great gift for family and friends, with its beautiful debossed hardback cover, full-color interior, and a ribbon page marker. With stories about the Nativity as well as tales of modern-day people celebrating that event, almost anyone would enjoy receiving a copy and reading it—even those who don’t believe in Christ as their Savior. It’s small enough to be a stocking stuffer (or tucked into the pocket of a Christmas-themed pot holder!) and inexpensive enough to be a practical gift for those people you’re not sure will reciprocate, or who may feel uncomfortable if they didn’t get you anything. 

This devotional would also be ideal to incorporate into an individual’s or a family’s advent celebration, reading one chapter a day during the three weeks leading up to Christmas. 

Each chapter takes only about ten minutes to read, which makes it ideal for the hectic holiday season. And since each chapter stands alone, it doesn’t matter whether you read one or two stories, half the book, or the whole thing. 

Other books in the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series are: 

21 Days of Grace: Stories that Celebrate God’s Unconditional Love 

21 Days of Love: Stories that Celebrate Treasured Relationships   

21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Motherhood

Blog Stops

Reader’s Cozy CornerNovember 22
Blossoms and BlessingsNovember 23
Carpe Diem, November 23
Multifarious, November 25
A Reader’s Brain, November 25
A Greater YesNovember 26
Lane Hill House, November 26
Texas Book -aholic, November 27
Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 27
Karen Sue Hadley, November 28
By The Book, November 29
Mary Hake, November 30
Remebrancy, December 2

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away a grand prize of a set of 21 days devotional books!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c3c2

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Christmas Town (Christmas Hope #8) by Donna VanLiere













Title: The Christmas Town (Christmas Hope #8)
Author: Donna VanLiere
Pages: 228
Year: 2016
Genre: Christmas Story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Format: eBook (also available in hardback)
Note: I received a free eBook copy of this novel through NetGalley. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.)

About the book:

     Donna VanLiere, New York Times bestselling author of the timeless The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Hope, is back with this moving and uplifting story about finding love, hope, and family in unexpected places.

     Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

     When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly ignorer to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

My review:

     Filled with delightful characters.

     The variety of people in this Christmas story is fantastic. They range from strong outspoken ones to those with either health or emotional limitations. They worked well together and the story is sweet and very inspirational. It displays the best of people of all walks of life coming together and supporting each other.

     At times the point-of-view seemed awkward to me. This is a new author to me and it may just be that her writing style is different than what I’m used to reading.

     I am giving this charming Christmas story a rating of 4 stars. I do recommend it. I will be reading more of this author’s Christmas books.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Pursued (Nikki Boyd Files #3) by Lisa Harris













Title: Pursued (Nikki Boyd Files #3)
Author: Lisa Harris
Pages: 315
Year: 2017
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Revell
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)

About the book:

     Nikki Boyd’s flight into Nashville was routine—up until the crash landing at the airport. When the dust settles, Nikki discovers that the woman who had been seated next to her on the plane is missing—and no one will admit she was ever there. Erika Hamilton has been flying to Nashville with an air marshal as a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial. When she flees from the crash, is she running from trouble or straight into it? Before Nikki can even see her family, she and her team are pulled into a missing persons case where the motives are as unclear as the suspects 

My review:

     An action packed romantic suspense novel!

     The case that Nikki is working on is a stand alone storyline. To get the full enjoyment out of this book though the series should be read in order to be able to follow the details of Nikki’s personal life.

     I love the depth of the main character. Nikki has more problems thrown at her over the course of this book than anyone should have to face. Yet she holds on to her sanity and remembers to ask God for the strength, and everything else, she needs.

     I really like the amount of personal life issues that crop up too. She has to try and balance work with them just like we all do.

     The plot was great! It moved quickly with plenty of twists and turns to keep the readers guessing. Early on the identity of the bad guy is revealed but it only made it more exciting in my mind to see how the story would play out.

     This is a very entertaining book. I’m highly recommending it and giving it 5 stars.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Christmas Admirer by Laura V. Hilton + A GIVEAWAY


About the Book

  

Name of book: The Christmas Admirer  

Author: Laura V Hilton  

Genre: Amish Romance  

Release Date: September 5, 2017  



Amish romance fans will love this heartwarming holiday story, perfect for gift-giving. 

Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but when his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, he was now the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters. What woman would want to put up with that? Still, against his better judgment, he can’t help leaving her a gift now and then, anonymously addressing her name in big block print, just to catch a smile. Roses one month, maple syrup candy another; and maybe this time, something special for Christmas. 

Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, but now the clock is ticking. Her father is selling his glass-blowing business, remarrying in January, and moving to Iowa with his bossy wife-to-be. Angry and frustrated, Susanna realizes she’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah?


Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

This is a wonderful Amish romance novel!

I loved both Susanna King and Benaiah Troyer from the beginning. They are incredibly well developed and easy to sympathize with. They are facing enormous difficulties and roadblocks in their relationship with each other. I understood the emotions and frustrations that they had to deal with and try to sort out.

Susanna’s father on the other hand infuriated me. His refusing to talk with either Susanna or Benaiah and then only to issue orders made me see many shades of red multiple times throughout the book.

The journeys that Susanna and Benaiah were on were great. I was fascinated with the guidance and wisdom that was shared with each of them helping them learn to trust God.

I am giving this delightful book a rating of 5 stars and highly recommending it.

About the Author

Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Amish of Jamesport includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. In spring 2016 she released The Amish Firefighter with the setting in Jamesport, MO, the same as for The Amish Wanderer. 

Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

Guest Post from Laura V. Hilton

Glass Blowing and The Christmas Admirer
Right before my youngest son joined the Coast Guard we went on a short mini-vacation to Springfield, Missouri, actually going farther north almost to Kansas City to see another Amish community near there in Osceola. There is a cheese factory there and my son wanted to try some of their cheeses – such as a ghost pepper cheese. Too spicy for me. But upon the return to Springfield, Steve read about a glass blowers shop in the downtown area. We found the address and went to visit it. It is owned by an older gentleman and his son. They had a display area set up where people could see their wares and buy them and then a work area where the son mostly worked, and talked about how the fire needed to be so hot, and showed us how he worked and made things. As we watched, he made a lovely flower, a lily, in different colors of glass, green, white, pinks. 

 It was fascinating. 

 And I got to thinking what if…


So I did some more research. Asked questions. Probably drove them nuts. But when Whitaker House indicated they’d be interested in a Christmas novel, I proposed one about a glass blower. 

 The story is set in Jamesport, Missouri, and while completely stand alone, it does have some continuing characters from other books I’ve written set in Jamesport. If you are interested, the books set there are: 

Amish Books set in Jamesport, Missouri: 

The Snow Globe 

The Postcard 

The Birdhouse 

The Amish Firefighter 

The Amish Wanderer 

The Kissing Bridge (part of Springs of Love collection) 

The Christmas Admirer 

Gingerbread Wishes (part of A Plain Thanksgiving collection–November 2018) 

Love by the Numbers (February 2018)  

I haven’t read any books about an Amish glass blower, but that’s not to say they aren’t out there. I haven’t read all the Amish books available. Jamesport is an area that is more tourist-oriented than the books set in Seymour / Webster County Missouri. They give buggy tours, have bed and breakfasts, open their homes for visitors to eat supper with them, and have businesses. 

All Amish districts are different and the rules vary depending on the bishop and preachers. Some are more liberal and some more conservative. Some keep themselves distant and don’t welcome attention from non-Amish and some embrace it. While Jamesport is not as touristy as some districts in Lancaster Pennsylvania or in Ohio, it is much more so than others.

Susanna’s Cranberry Salad

Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
  • 1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 medium apple, chopped
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, mix the first six ingredients until blended. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Just before serving, fold cream and walnuts into cranberry mixture.Makes 16 servings.

Susanna’s Cranberry Sauce

For on top of turkey sandwiches as Becca requested
Ingredients
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water or orange juice
Directions
In colander, rinse cranberries. In sauce pan, add water or orange juice and sugar, boil until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook about 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries had burst. Let cool.

Susanna’s “Love Portion” Gingerbread

Ingredients
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup shortening, melted slightly
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ c water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
Directions
Shift together flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Set aside. In mixing bowl, mix shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are absorbed. Divide dough into three pieces, pat down until about 1 ½ inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut in desired shapes. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes in preheated oven. Cool on wire racks. When cool, decorate as desired.

Blog Stops

ASC Book Reviews, November 9
Books n Baubles, November 9
Janices book review, November 9
Have A Wonderful Day, November 10
A Greater Yes, November 10
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 11
A Holland Reads, November 12
Simple Harvest Reads, November 12
Beck To Basics, November 13
Carpe Diem, November 13
Christian Bookaholic, November 14
Blossoms and BlessingsNovember 14
Baker Kella, November 16
Quiet Quilter, November 16
Karen Sue Hadley, November 16
Pause for Tales, November 17
Pursuing StacieNovember 17
For The Love of Books, November 18
Blogging With CarolNovember 18
Bigreadersite, November 19
Vicky Sluiter, November 19
SusanLovesBooks, November 19
Moments Dipped in Ink, November 20
New Horizon Reviews, November 20
Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 22
Daysong ReflectionsNovember 22
Splashes of JoyNovember 22

Giveaway


In honor of her tour, Laura is giving away

Grand Prize Package: The Christmas Admirer, “Unto Us a Child is Born” painting on decorative serving plate by Donna White, The Hearthside Collection, Inc., and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book (not in photo).

1st Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and The Very First Christmas by Juliet David with interactive illustrations by Pauline Siewert (children’s book). 

2nd Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and “The Woman Who Honors The Lord Shall Be Praised” myrrh-scented candle from abba Jerusalem!

Click the link to enter! https://promosimple.com/ps/c16f