Saturday, March 31, 2018

Month in Review - March

  • Wrote 2415 words
  • Sculpted 0 babies
  • Tatted 0 crosses
  • Sewed 0 sock monkeys  
  • Knit 0 hats
  • Exercised 20 days
  • Read in the Bible 31 days
  • Wrote up 2 backlogged book reviews 
  • Book Review and Blog Hop: "Grace Restored" by Toni Shiloh


    About the Book

    Grace Restored
    Series: Freedom Lake
    Genre:  Adult, Christian, Contemporary, Romance
    Publisher: Indie
    Publication date: March 20, 2018
    Michelle Thomas has it all. Beautiful and successful, she’s just opened her own law firm in Freedom Lake. What more could she want? When her old flame rolls back into Freedom Lake, she’s intent on ignoring him. But how can she give the widower and his precious twin girls the cold shoulder?
    Still reeling from the death of his wife, Guy Pierre returns to Freedom Lake to take over as town sheriff and raise his twin daughters. Alone. Yet, life keeps throwing Michelle in his path and sparks of interest began to rise.
    Will old secrets tear them apart again or can they find the faith to let God’s grace restore what has been broken?

    About the Author

    Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.
    She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and president of the Virginia Chapter.

    Author Interview

    1. How did you decide that you wanted to write Christian romance?  What inspired this?
    When I rededicated my life to Christ, I wanted to be used by Him. It wasn’t until I went back to school to get my Bachelor’s degree in English that the writing bug really called to me. Not that it hadn’t before, but that it could actually be a way to reach people. I went to my local library to see if they had any books like this. I had never heard of Christian fiction so once I found the section, I began devouring the books and the lessons found between the pages.
    2. How often do you hear from your reader fans? Do you have any funny and/or awkward stories?
    I hear from readers maybe once a month. Usually it’s because they’re sharing a review with me or they just want to share how the story touched their hearts.
    3. What inspired the idea for Grace Restored?
    When I wrote book one, I knew the characters for each series. It wasn’t until I was midway through book one, Returning Home, that I realized how much of a story Guy and Michelle had. As soon as I finished the first draft of RH, I dove into Grace Restored with anticipation. They did not disappointment me.
    4. What do you want readers to take away from reading Grace Restored?That no matter what skeletons you shoved in your closet, God’s grace is enough to restore You to the kingdom, to peace of mind, to faith.
    5. What is your current WIP? What can you tell us about it?
    Currently I’m working on finishing the fourth and final book in the Maple Run series. This book features Shorty and Nikki with characters from the first three books making an appearance. These two have really struggled to share their thoughts with me from the moment I tried to make them book 2, lol. Thankfully, they’re opening up but it’s still a struggle.


    June 11, 2003
    “Promise we’ll always be friends.” Michelle Thomas glanced at her best friends, Jo Ellen Baker and Chloe Smith. Graduating from high school was going to change their relationship no matter what. She just prayed it would stand the test of time.
    “Of course, we will,” Jo said in her no-nonsense tone of voice.
    “Just because we’re going to college doesn’t mean our friendship will change,” Chloe stated in her soft voice.
    Michelle sighed. She loved her friends, but sometimes, they didn’t seem to understand how tenuous time could be. In the blink of an eye, life could be altered.
    “I love you, guys.” She smiled at them, eyes misting over.
    “Aw, group hug.” Jo exclaimed.
    Michelle wrapped her arms around them. Life couldn’t get much better.
    The sound of the doorbell brought the hug to a close. Her parents had gone out for date night and had allowed her to have a sleepover with her girls. She knew they didn’t like her opening the door when they weren’t home, but she was an adult now.
    She peered through the peep hole and frowned. Why was there a police officer at her door? She opened the door. “May I help you?”
    The officer removed his hat, a somber look coloring his features. “Are you Michelle Thomas?”
    She nodded. This was getting stranger by the minute.
    “I’m Officer Simpson with the Kodiak City Police Department, may I come inside?”
    What were the Kodiak City Police Department doing in Freedom Lake?
    “Who’s at the door, Chelle?” Jo called out.
    “The police.”
    Jo quickly padded to the door to stand next to her. “How do we know you’re really the police?”
    Trust Jo to be cynical and non-trusting. Who would lie about that?
    He handed over his badge and Jo examined it. Michelle wanted to laugh at her serious expression, but something was off. Something wasn’t right.
    Chloe peeked over Jo’s shoulder. “Looks real to me.”
    “I suppose,” Jo replied. She handed the badge back. “Just say what you have to say right there.” Jo pointed past the threshold, as if the officer wasn’t strong enough to cross it if necessary.
    The officer met Michelle’s gaze, his gray eyes softening. “Ms. Thomas, your parents have been involved in an accident.”
    “What? Are they okay?” She swallowed, trying to dislodge the lump in her throat. She met Jo’s eyes, noticing the creases in her forehead. She vaguely noted Chloe’s hand on her back.
    “Ma’am, I regret to inform you…”
    It sounded like a recording. The words didn’t make sense. How could they be dead? She just saw them. Her dad had teared up after the graduation ceremony while they were taking family photos.
    Slowly, the sound of wailing penetrated her thoughts. She wished they’d shut up. How could she hear what the officer was saying if they wouldn’t stop?
    Her knees buckled and she felt arms come around to steady her.
    It was her.
    She was the one wailing. She was the one making the incessant noise.
    They were dead. At the blink of an eye, her parents were dead.


    "Grace Restored" brings us back to Freedom Lake for the second book in the series. I feel that it would be best to read the first book (Returning Home) so that you have the background laid for this story. Many of the characters experienced spiritual growth in their lives through the story. Besides the main story, there are subtle subplots with some of the secondary characters. I think it is probably setting up the story for the next book. I found the book to be well written and it flowed well for me. I look forward to reading Chloe's story.

    There is one warning and it is a bit of a spoiler alert (although I figured out Michelle's secret early on in the book, so maybe not a huge spoiler). This story deals with a character's struggles with overcoming having had an abortion. I recommend reading at your own ability to deal with that.


    For a chance to win an e-copy (International) of Grace Restored by Toni Shiloh, comment on this blog responding to the following question: What verse capture’s God’s grace for you?

    Tour Schedule

    Reviewer: Mindy Houng

    Thursday, March 29, 2018

    Book Review: "Mermaid's Song" by Darlene Franklin

    About the Book Noble Prescott is drawn to the scene of a shipwreck by a sweet song sung in a language he didn’t understand. The songstress is barely alive, holding onto a piece of the ship’s railing. Her dress wraps around her legs like a mermaid’s tail.

    Thus begins this imaginative retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale.

    Justine Battineaux, an Acadian forced from her homeland on Cape Breton Island by British decree, finds herself adrift in the Maine colony. She doesn’t know the language and is distrusted as a foreigner.

    Noble lives up to his name, providing shelter for Justine—and protection, as distrust turns into danger. For himself, his family—and the woman he comes to love.

    How will Justine and Noble overcome the evil woman’s schemes to find their own love everlasting?

    My Thoughts "Mermaid's Song" is a retelling of Hans Christian Anderson's "The Little Mermaid" set during the French and Indian War. I found the way that Darlene Franklin tied the story to the original story was interesting with Justine not being mute, but unable to communicate due to speaking a different language. I found it a little redundant that it kept saying how Justine's dress made her seem like a mermaid. The one time would have been enough. I did like the characters and enjoyed reading the story. I had not known anything about the Acadians before, so it was interesting to learn a piece of history. The romance and story moved quickly, but that was to be expected since it isn't a long story. 

    Darlene FranklinAbout the Author Best-selling hybrid author Darlene Franklin's greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She published her fiftieth book, Mermaid's Song, in July 2017, and has contributed to more than thirty nonfiction titles. Her column, “The View Through my Door,” appears monthly in two national venues and three regional. You can find Drlene online elsewhere at and

    "Mermaid's Song" is available in paperback:
    • Series: Love Everlasting (Book 4)
    • Paperback: 101 pages
    • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 6, 2017)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1548654620
    • ISBN-13: 978-1548654627
    • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 8 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 213 KB
    • Print Length: 103 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1548654620
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    • Publisher: Forget Me Not Romances, a division of Winged Publications (June 29, 2017)
    • Publication Date: June 29, 2017
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B073JQR67L
    I was gifted a copy of this book by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

    Wednesday, March 28, 2018

    Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "A Loyal Heart" by Jody Hedlund

    A Loyal Heart Web CopyAbout the Book

    Title: A Loyal Heart
    Author: Jody Hedlund
    Genre: Young Adult medieval romance 
    Release Date: March 6, 2018
    He’s taken her as his prisoner. But she’s holding his heart captive. In gaining their freedom, will they lose what matters most?
    When Lady Olivia’s castle is besieged, she and her sister are taken captive and held for ransom by her father’s enemy, Lord Pitt. Loyalty to family means everything to Olivia. She’ll save her sister at any cost and do whatever her father asks—even if that means obeying his order to steal a sacred relic from her captor.
    As Lord Pitt’s commander, Sir Aldric is in charge of the beautiful but feisty new prisoner. He has his hands full attempting to keep Lady Olivia out of trouble. When Lord Pitt throws her in the dungeon and threatens to hang her for stealing, Aldric conceives a plot to save Olivia’s life—betrothal to him.
    Can Olivia give up the prestigious match her father has arranged with a wealthy marquess in order to marry a lowly knight like Aldric? And can Aldric move beyond his past mistakes to embrace love again? When loyalties are tested, they’re thrust into danger that could cost them their love and their lives.
    My Thoughts I was delighted to be able to read this latest installment in Jody Hedlund's medieval romance series. We first meet Aldric in "For Love & Honor" and get a look at what drives him in "A Loyal Heart" and what his 'demons' are. While you could read "A Loyal Heart" alone, you will get a much fuller picture having read (at least) "For Love & Honor" beforehand. Bennet and Collin (who we meet in previous books) both make a cameo appearance in this book. I love Aldric and his desire to be an honorable man and do what is right. I liked Olivia, but was glad for the character growth by the end of the book. Having read this book as an ebook, I missed having the differing fonts to show the different points of view. With both POV's being in the 1st person, it was a little confusing at first until I realized that Olivia's sections had a fancier flourish at the beginning of her sections and the first few words were bolder and a bit fancier font as well. I hope that there are more books to come in Jody Hedlund's medieval book series.

    About the Author

    Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.
    Jody Hedlund. Web - CopyJody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).
    When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

    Guest Post from Jody Hedlund

    The Growing Need for Sweet Young Adult Romances
    By Jody Hedlund
    This past year my youngest daughter turned twelve and entered seventh grade. And she decided that she wanted to read my books.
    Of course I was thrilled that she was taking an interest in my writing. But since my adult historical romances are more intense and contain some mature themes, I handed her the young adult series I’ve written.
    As she started the first book, I peeked in her room a time or two to ask her how she liked it.
    “It’s the best book you’ve ever read, right?” I teased.
    “It’s okay,” she replied, teasing me right back.
    The true test for how much she liked the series came when she couldn’t put the book down. She hid away in her room and read all day. Then she read the second book the next day and the third book the day after that.
    She never did gush over the series. But she didn’t need to. Her serious reading marathon told me all I needed to know! Then when I was writing the fourth book in the series, she asked me if she could read it early before it was published which was another testament to how much she enjoyed the series.
    “As long as you promise to say that I’m your favorite author,” I said, teasing her again.
    I’m happy to say that she finished A Loyal Heart just as quickly as the others. Although I’m not sure that I’m her favorite author, I’m satisfied that she loved the series.
    Even more, I’m thrilled that I could hand her sweet romances full of chivalrous qualities—like courage, sacrifice, honor, and loyalty. As she’s being entertained, she’s learning lessons about character traits that are important in relationships.
    My daughter, like other young teens I’ve talked to, really enjoys medieval settings and stories. In some ways, those kinds of stories connect them to the princess fairy tales they used to love when they were little. Let’s face it, even adult readers still love stories about knights and castles and daring damsels!
    In a book market for teens that has grown increasingly dark, jaded, and sexual, I only wish I had more to offer my daughter and other young women. It’s my passion to continue providing wholesome, clean romances for teens, books I know will encourage and uplift as well as entertain.
    How about YOU? Is there a teen reader you know who needs an alternative to what’s available in the market? I encourage you to gift them with A Loyal Heart. And make sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win the entire series that you can read, pass along, or even gift to your library.
    Jody Hedlund is the best-selling author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award. She lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!). When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

    Blog Stops

    Among the Reads, March 27
    books n baubles, March 28
    By The Book, March 29
    Genesis 5020, March 29
    Book by Book, March 31
    Mary Hake, April 1
    Novels Corner, April 2
    Remembrancy, April 3
    Carpe Diem, April 5
    Simple Harvest Reads, April 7 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
    Pursuing Stacie, April 8
    Bigreadersite, April 8
    margaret kazmierczak, April 8 (interview)
    Henry Happens, April 9
    Joy of Reading, April 9


    To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away a grand prize of An Uncertain Choice, A Daring Sacrifice, For Love & Honor, and A Loyal Heart!!

    Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
    "A Loyal Heart" is available in paperback:
    Paperback: 310 pages
    Publisher: Northern Lights Press; 1 edition (March 6, 2018)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 0692055231
    ISBN-13: 978-0692055236
    Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 3065 KB
    • Print Length: 195 pages
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    • Publisher: Northern Lights Press (March 6, 2018)
    • Publication Date: March 6, 2018
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B0797F1YZC
    I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

    Thursday, March 22, 2018

    Blog Hop: "Love at Lakewood Med" by TJ Amberson

    Love at Lakewood Med Blog Hop

    About the Book

    Love at Lakewood Med
    Genre:  Adult, New Adult,Conetemporary, Romance
    Publisher: Cedar Fort
    Publication date: March 13, 2018
    Savannah Drake would be thrilled about starting her final year of medical school if it weren’t for one thing: she has to spend a month working in the emergency room with cold, aloof Dr. Wesley Kent as her mentor. When her first day in the ER proves to be a humiliating disaster, Savannah is ready to swear off emergency medicine forever. Gradually, though, she finds that the unpredictable, emotional experience of caring for patients in the emergency room is affecting her far differently than she expected – and Dr. Kent turns out to be anything but the arrogant attending physician that she assumed him to be. But just when Savannah finally admits to herself that she is falling for Dr. Kent, she learns that things at the hospital are not all what they seem. Faced with a seemingly impossible choice, Savannah must decide between her future career and everything that she has come to care so much about.

    About the Author

    TJ Amberson - author photo - LOVE AT LAKEWOOD MED
    TJ Amberson hails from the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her husband and nutty cocker spaniel. Her most recent novels include The Kingdom Of Nereth, Fusion, and Love at Lakewood Med. When she’s not writing, TJ can probably be found enjoying a hot chocolate, pretending to know how to garden, playing the piano, or surfing the Internet for cheap plane tickets.

    Author Interview

    1. Who or what inspired you to become an author?
    Writing is just something that I have done for as long as I can remember. From the time I was in very early elementary school, I was penciling 50+-page-long stories on notebook paper and handing them in to my teachers to read. I will forever be grateful to those teachers for supporting me and encouraging me to continue writing.
    2. What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did becoming an author ever cross your mind?
    I thought about doing so many things! Movie editor, astronomer, professor, volleyball and basketball coach, pediatrician…and for the most time, I wanted to work at Mission Control for NASA. Throughout, I never really thought about “becoming” an author – writing was simply something I always did on the side, in addition to whatever other interests I was pursuing.
    3. What top 5 book(s) do you currently have sitting on your TBR pile?
    1)A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle (haven’t read it since elementary school!)
    2)Lethal Licorice by Amanda Flower
    3)Assaulted Caramel by Amanda Flower
    4)The Lady and the Gent by Rebecca Connolly
    5)Love Remains by Sarah Eden
    4. What inspired the idea for Love at Lakewood Med?
    The concept for the story was very loosely inspired by my own journey as a medical student and emergency medicine resident.
    5. What do you want readers to take away from reading Love at Lakewood Med?
    First and foremost, I hope that readers love the love story! I hope that readers say they enjoyed getting lost in a fun romance novel that made them laugh, cry a little, and swoon!  I hope that readers also come away feeling as though they were right there in the emergency department, watching the chaos, getting surprised by the unexpected, and feeling the complexity of situations that often arise there.
    6. What is your current WIP?  What can you tell us about it?
    Yes! I am working on the sequel to my YA historical fantasy, THE KINGDOM OF NERETH. I am having so much fun getting back to the fictional, medieval land of Nereth, and I’m extremely excited for my readers to see what adventures await the band of characters.

    10 Behind the Scenes Facts about the Book

    1. TJ Amberson started writing LOVE AT LAKEWOOD MED in 2012, put it aside while she wrote and published two other novels (THE KINGDOM OF NERETH, FUSION), and then returned to the story in 2016.
    2. The working title for the book was WHITE COATS & STETHOSCOPES.
    3. TJ queried Cedar Fort Publishing & Media with the manuscript because she thought that the company would be interested in publishing a clean romance.
    4. The novel was originally scheduled to be released in October 2017.
    5. Dr. Kent’s name was initially Dr. Hunt. But after someone pointed out that this was the same name as a character in a medical television show, TJ wanted to change her character’s name to something else. TJ decided on Dr. Kent because she felt that it had a strong yet approachable sound to it.
    6. The figure on the front cover of the book was designed to stay true to the main character, Savannah, including the slightly messy hair and white coat.
    7. One of TJ’s favorite scenes to write was the night hike.
    8. TJ found that the restaurant scene was one of the most complicated and nuanced scenes to write.
    9. Lakewood Medical Center is a fictional place, and TJ Amberson deliberately does not say in the novel where it is supposed to be located.
    10. While the characters in LOVE AT LAKEWOOD MED are fictional, the character of Lynn Prentis pays homage to one of TJ’s friends.


    Love at Lakewood Med Blog Hop Giveaway
    Enter the giveaway HERE.

    Blog Hop Schedule