Sunday, August 28, 2016

Secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the family forever.

Book info
About the book:

The Things We Knew (Thomas Nelson, July 2016)

A tragedy from the past resurfaces in this tale of family secrets and reignited love.

After her mother's death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother's death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can't remember a bit of it.

But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother's best friend and Lynette's first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her. Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can't.

But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn't want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister.

As their father's failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface---secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question all they ever believed in.

Purchase a copy:
About the author:

Catherine West
writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she's not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border collie for long walks on the beach or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children.

My Review:
Wow, "The Things We Knew" is an intense read from the start to the end filled with characters whom become so real and become wedged into your heart and life.  Catherine West does an incredible job with creating two families filled with members whom lives become intertwined once again after so many years and could be the last time or the beginning of a reconnection. 
Lynette is the youngest of the five Carlisle siblings and her memories are spotty, but bits and pieces are returning with the return of Nicholas Cooper and then Lynette's siblings as well.  As secrets, mystery, the past are all coming together along with the present and they are forced to decide if they can forgive and how strong their faith actually is.  There are some different issues discussed and faced by the characters giving so much depth to the characters and the ability to relate to the story. 

To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for the complimentary copy of this book and for including me on the blog tour.*

Monday, August 22, 2016

Will the secret that Robert has kept ruin his chance at love?

Book info
About the book:

The Loyal Heart (Zondervan, July 2016)
Robert came to Galveston to fulfill his promise to a dying man and look after his widow. He didn't expect to find love in the unlikeliest of places.
Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything.
After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Miranda's home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip's name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone.
Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. He's mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can.
He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesn't prove to be an easy task---Robert knows something about Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well.

Purchase a copy:
About the author:

Shelley Shepard Gray
is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

My Review:
"The Loyal Heart" is a book rich with historical detail and sweet romance.  Shelley created characters whom are strong, compassionate, loyal and ones whom readers cannot help but root for and empathize with.  Robert made a promise and is determined to fulfill the promise, but he finds his heart more involved than he thought possible as he finds he wants to help and protect Miranda as much as he can.  Miranda has suffered a loss and is lost and unable to move on, her hurt is overwhelming and she is suffering even more as her reputation and name has been destroyed.  I loved reading books set during the Civil War and this focuses on life right after this and trying to piece back together life and move on.  I liked how Shelley tied in the flashbacks, thus giving a deeper understanding of the war experiences and how they influenced the characters to whom they were after.  I highly recommend this book for historical fiction fans and am looking forward to Shelley's next Lone Star Hero's Love Story to be released next year!

To read other reviews included on this blog tour go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review and for including me on this blog tour.

"Without Warning"

"Without Warning" is the second book in Lynette Eason's Elite Guardians series and it is fast-paced and one that will keep you turning the pages all the way to the end and leave you wanting more!  Daniel has no idea why he is being targeted but he is apparently a target when he finds a former employee hanging in the basement of his restaurant and then soon after another one of his restaurants is going up in flames as a result of arson.  Daniel's niece seeks out the help from her self-defense instructor and friend Katie whom is part of the Elite Guardians group as Daniel is the only family she has left and her guardian.  As Katie and the rest of her team become involved in the case they find themselves scrambling to uncover whom is targeting Daniel and why as they and others become in the line of fire as well.  

I am a huge fan of Lynette's books and this was another winner from her!  I always find myself staying up way to late reading as it is impossible to stop in the midst of the action and chaos without knowing that the characters are fine and who is behind the incidents.  I was thrilled that this one came out so soon after book #1 and now I am anxiously awaiting book #3!

*Thanks to the Revell Bloggers Program for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Dana Mentink’s ‘Fetching Sweetness’ Prize Pack Giveaway

Fetching Sweetness Dana Mentink
A recipe for love and loss, merriment and mayhem, fun and faith in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest can only be found in Fetching Sweetness by Dana Mentink. It should have been so simple for Stephanie Pink: Retrieve a reclusive author's valuable new manuscript and be promoted to a full-fledged literary agent. But when the author's canine companion, Sweetness, makes a break for it and Stephanie has to track Sweetness down, she meets Rhett Hastings. They’re in for a surprising string of adventures and misadventures.

Celebrate the release of Fetching Sweetness with Dana by entering to win the Sweetness Unleashed Prize Pack!

fetching sweetness - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
fetching sweetness - collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 24. The winner will be announced August 25 on Dana's blog.

fetching sweetness - enterbanner

Book info
About the book:

Fetching Sweetness (Harvest House, July 2016)

Standing between Stephanie and her dream is one hundred pounds of lovable trouble.
It should have been so simple for Stephanie Pink: Meet up with Agnes Wharton in a small town in California, retrieve the reclusive author's valuable new manuscript, and be promoted to a full-fledged literary agent.

But Agnes's canine companion, Sweetness, decides to make a break for it before Stephanie can claim her prize. Until Agnes has Sweetness safely back at home in Eagle Cliff, Washington, Stephanie will never set eyes on the manuscript she needs to make her dreams come true.

When Stephanie tracks the runaway mutt to a campground, she meets Rhett Hastings---a man also on the run from a different life and a costly mistake. Rhett agrees to help Stephanie search for the missing dog . . . thus launching a surprising string of adventures and misadventures.

Once Sweetness gets added to the mix, it's a recipe for love and loss, merriment and mayhem, fun and faith in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest.

Purchase a copy:
About the author:

Dana Mentink
lives in California, where the weather is golden and the cheese is divine. Dana is an American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year finalist for romantic suspense and an award winner in the Pacific Northwest Writers Literary Contest. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third and fourth grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with her husband, two daughters, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle, and a feisty parakeet.

My Review:
"Fetching Sweetness" is such a sweet and fun read, and at the same time full of heart.  Stephanie is on a mission to obtain a manuscript that fans have been waiting for, for over a decade.  However, they are going to be waiting a bit more as well as Stephanie waiting for her promotion as work as the author's dog takes off and she makes a deal with Stephanie, no manuscript until she finds and returns her dog.  When Stephanie stumbles onto a campground and finds herself accepting help from a man she doesn't know, she finds herself at the beginning of an adventure.  Rhett is on a journey to find some healing from his past and helping this woman and a dog was not part of the plan, but he finds himself offering to help and hoping Stephanie will help him with his own journey. 
I loved this book and found myself laughing out loud at times and at other times wanting to reach out and hug Stephanie and Rhett as bits and pieces of their pasts are shared.  The characters have enough eccentricities to make them so fascinating, but also "normal" enough that they are easy to empathize with.  I cannot wait to read what Dana writes next!

To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour and for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a  honest review.*

Friday, August 19, 2016

NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible

Book Description from the publisher:

Context Changes Everything
You’ve heard many Bible stories hundreds of times, but how many behind-the-scenes details are you missing? Sometimes a little context is all you need to discover the rich meaning behind the stories of Scripture.
That’s what the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible provides. Every page is packed with expert insight into the customs, culture, and literature of Bible times. These fascinating explanations will serve to clarify your study of the Scriptures, reinforcing your confidence and bringing difficult passages of Scripture into sharp focus.
Discover new dimensions of insight to even the most familiar Bible passages as you take a behind-the-scenes tour into the ancient world.
The Bible was originally written to an ancient people removed from us by thousands of years and thousands of miles. The Scriptures include subtle culturally based nuances, undertones, and references to ancient events, literature and customs that were intuitively understood by those who first heard the Scriptures read. For us to hear the Scriptures as they did, we need a window into their world.
The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, with notes from Dr. John H. Walton (Wheaton College) in the Old Testament and Dr. Craig S. Keener (Asbury Theological Seminary) in the New Testament, brings to life the ancient world of Scripture for modern readers.
Features: • The full text of the NIV • Targeted book introductions explain the context in which each book of the Bible was written • Insightful and informative verse-by-verse study notes reveal new dimensions of insight to even the most familiar passages • Key Old Testament (Hebrew) and New Testament terms are explained and expanded upon in two helpful reference features • Over 300 in-depth articles on key contextual topics • 375 full-color photos, illustrations, and images from around the world • Dozens of charts, maps, and diagrams in vivid color • Words of Jesus in red • Additional study Bible tools: cross references, a concordance, indexes and other helps

My Review:
This Bible is a wonderful one for further study into the life and times of the Bible, the stories and people whom lived during this time.  This is a nice hardcover edition filled with so many nice extra features.  I love the articles and the maps and charts that are included throughout the Bible as I found they added so much as far as going more in-depth.  I will keep this Bible as one to use and study as home as it is heavy and thick, therefore not fitting too well into my purse. 

*Thanks to the BookLook Bloggers Program for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Carrie Stuart Parks’ ‘When Death Draws Near’ Undercover Artist Starter Set

When Death Draws Near Carrie Stuart Parks
Plunge into forensic artist Gwen Marcey's world, full of cold-case murders, shady politics, and a den of venomous suspects. Add Carrie Stuart Parks' new Gwen Marcey novel, When Death Draws Near, to the top of your must-read list. Gwen accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky—a small town facing big-city crime. But before she can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others. Can Gwen uncover the truth—and convince anyone to believe her—before she becomes a victim herself?

Join Carrie in celebrating the release of When Death Draws Near by entering to win an Undercover Artist Starter Set.

when death draws near - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
when death draws near - collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 22. The winner will be announced August 23 on the Litfuse blog.

when death draws near - enterbanner

Book info
About the book:

When Death Draws Near (Thomas Nelson, August 2016)

Death has always been part of Gwen Marcey's job. But when faced with her own mortality, everything takes on a different hue.

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs and homes when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky. The Eastern Kentucky town, located deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, has been plagued by a serial rapist and a series of unexplained deaths. Before Gwen can develop a composite drawing, the latest witness vanishes, just like all the previous victims.

Turning her attention to sketching the face of an unidentified body, she discovers a link between his death and a Pentecostal serpent-handling church. Serpent-handling is illegal in Kentucky, and the churches have gone underground to avoid the authorities and continue to worship as they believe. Gwen is offered a handsome reward to infiltrate the renegade members, a reward she desperately needs as it seems her breast cancer has returned.

Joined by her digitally-obsessed, Generation Z daughter, Gwen goes undercover to a nineteenth century revival, planning to draw the faces of the snake handlers so they can be identified and arrested. Instead she uncovers a murderous plot and a festering evil.

Purchase a copy:
About the author:

Carrie Stuart Parks
is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol award-winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.

My Review:
"When Death Draws Near" is the first of Carrie Stuart Parks' Gwen Marcey's novel that I have read and I am now looking forward to reading the other two books in the series.  Gwen takes on a temporary job as she is in between work at the time.  This small town has a  huge amount of issues going on as their appears to be a serial rapist, deaths and possibly some underground activities and illegal events taking place.  However, Gwen isn't receiving the support she was hoping for and she soon finds herself right smack in the midst of the problems and quite possibly her own life on the line.  This is a fast-moving book filled with twists and turns, drama and suspense.  Gwen is a great main character as she has a fascinating and never boring job, and is facing real life challenges; therefore making her completely relatable and easy to empathize with.  I highly recommend this latest read from Carrie!

To read other reviews included on this blog tour go here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour and for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Are you the perfect mom for your kids? You might not feel like it, but you are, says @HettieBrittz and her new book!

Book info
About the book:

(un)Natural Mom: Why You Are the Perfect Mom for Your Kids (David C Cook, August 2016)
Do you feel like you're the only mom who serves store-bought birthday treats, dreads school plays, and misses the days of going to the bathroom by herself?
Unnatural Mom gives you permission to say that mothering doesn't always come naturally to you. Parenting expert and self-proclaimed unnatural mom Hettie Brittz helps you . . .
-Recognize how unrealistic our culture's standards of mothering are
-Move beyond the myths of "supermom"
-Complete a profile to determine your own parenting style
-Understand and forgive the mothers who hurt you
-Embrace your capabilities as well as your challenges
Come find new hope in discovering that every mother has unique gifts. In Christ, the "unnatural" mom becomes the supernatural mom who is just right for her family!

Purchase a copy:
About the author:

Hettie Brittz
is an author, international speaker, and one of South Africa's foremost voices on parenting advice. She is the developer of the Evergreen Parenting Course and Tall Trees Profiles. Hettie and her husband, Gospel singer Louis Brittz, live in South Africa with their three children.

My Review:
I absolutely LOVED "(un)Natural Mom;" this is a must-read for all mothers! I feel like we are all caught up in comparing ourselves, our families, everything about our lives with others in today's society, even more so with the abundant use of social media.  We are all about sharing and at time oversharing, and comparing ourselves to others.  Hettie helps each reader to realize that she is the perfect mother to her children and to discover her strengths and really what makes you mom.  Start out with taking an online assessment and then you can read about temperaments and types to discover what kind of a mother you are and the strengths of your type.  I found this book to be amazing!  It really helped me to not feel alone as a mother with the struggles and the rewards both of mothering, but also validated with how I mother and choose to raise my children.  I highly recommend this book and Hettie is an author I am going to read more of!

To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go  here!

*Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour and for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*