Saturday, June 30, 2018

Month in Review - June

  • Wrote 633 words
  • Sculpted 0 babies
  • Tatted 4 crosses
  • Sewed 0 sock monkeys  
  • Knit 0 hats
  • Exercised 20 days
  • Read in the Bible 30 days
  • Wrote up 2 backlogged book reviews 
  • Friday, June 29, 2018

    Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "The Love Letter" by Rachel Hauck

    About the Book

    The Love Letter
    Title: The Love Letter
    Author: Rachel Hauck
    Release Date: June 12, 2018
    Genre: Contemporary
    Tour Dates: June 21 – July 4
    From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dresscomes a story of long-lost love and its redemption in future generations.
    Romance has never been actress Chloe Daschle’s forte—in life or on screen. But everyone knows who to call for a convincing death scene . . . and it might be killing her career.
    When Chloe is given a peek at the script for an epic love story, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and request an audition for the lead female role, Esther Kingsley. The compelling tale, inspired by family lore and a one-page letter from the colonial ancestor of scriptwriter Jesse Gates, just might break her out of this career-crippling rut. Jesse would rather write about romance than live through it after his past relationship ended in disaster. But once on-set together, the chemistry between Jesse and his leading lady is hard to deny.
    Centuries earlier, in the heart of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow wrote their saga off the silver screen. Esther’s Loyalist father opposes any relationship with Hamilton, but Esther must face her beloved father’s disapproval and the dangers of war in order to convince Hamilton of their future together. Hamilton has loved Esther for years, and on the eve of battle pens the love letter she’s always wanted—something straight from the heart.
    Set in stunning upcountry South Carolina, The Love Letter is a beautifully-crafted story of the courage it takes to face down fear and chase after love, even in the darkest of times. And just maybe, all these generations later, love can come home in a way not even Hollywood could imagine. 

    My Thoughts This book grabbed my attention and held it from the first word to the last. I was caught up in the drama of the dual storylines and my heart ached when things were not going smoothly for the characters. The dual timelines of Revolutionary War era with Hamilton and Esther and current time with Jesse and Chloe were written well and blended together nicely. I loved how the two timelines were tied together. There is an obvious spiritual thread and the Gospel is woven throughout the book. I wish I could go see Bound by Love!

    About the Author

    Rachel HauckRachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.
    Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times. She is a double RITA finalist, a Christy and Carol Award Winner.
    Rachel sits on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, and is the comical sidekick to Susan May Warren at the amazing My Book Therapy. She is a worship leader and speaker.
    A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel is a devoted Ohio State football fan. She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

    Guest Post from Rachel Hauck

    I’m always looking for story ideas. My husband does a standard disclaimer when I start drilling into a conversation with questions like:
    “Really? So why did you do that?”
    “Have you sought help?”
    “Was it love at first sight?”
    Hubster says, “Warning, anything you say can end up in a book.”
    Of course, stories abound! Interesting people abound!
    Then again, sometimes ideas just hit out of the blue. A few years ago I had the idea of a young, contemporary couple meeting by “accident” only to learn that their great grandparents were in love but time, life, family, war, or society made their love impossible.
    I suppose there are a hundred ways to tell such a story but when it came time to write The Love Letter, I was slightly infatuated with the Poldark series on PBS.
    Set in 18th century Cornwall, the story and the characters were so dynamic I had to write my own version of Poldark.
    But could I write a split time with a 240 year difference? I mean, they didn’t have electricity or phones in 1780! They didn’t even have a postal system. Letters were carried by traveling friends or family.
    What possible conflicts could my historical characters face? What event could be so dark and tragic to keep them apart?
    The Revolutionary War created a perfect backdrop for my young lovers.
    I set the story in upcountry South Carolina not realizing the battle I chose for the back drop, the Battle of Cowpens, was the inspiration for the movie The Patriot. (A fav movie of mine!)
    For the contemporary story, I started with shoes. I mean, doesn’t every thing start with shoes?
    “Nice outfit but what shoes are you wearing?”
    “You’re going on a date? You need new shoes.”
    What we “walk in” can either empower or defeat us. There’s a spiritual metaphor I’ll mediate on for awhile.
    However the shoe angle didn’t quite work so the contemporary story ended up in Hollywood with an actor/screenwriter and an actress.
    Both worlds—1780 upcountry South Carolina and contemporary Hollywood—were a bit out of my southern bailiwick.
    I did a lot of research on the war and the colonial south. Where I couldn’t find details, I filled in with my imagination.
    As for Hollywood, I talked with a screenwriter friend, read books, watched interviews, and then, you know, made the rest up. Don’t you know I eventually ended up on a movie set—Once Upon A Prince—four days after I finished reading the galley proofs for The Love Letter!
    One of the hardest parts of the story was the actual love letter. What did it say? Who wrote it and why? Was there more than one? No, only one. But why only one?
    I must have written and rewritten the letter five different ways to Sunday before I settled on the magical one.
    During the course of the book, I realized I’d never written a love letter. Have you?
    I’ve written sentiments to my husband on an anniversary or birthday card. I speak my love and affection out loud all the time. But a bonafide love letter?
    A love letter is it’s own art form. They range from sickly sweet with a lot of “darlings” and “sweethearts” to Shakespearean sonnets.
    There’s a vulnerability that comes with writing a love letter. Putting one’s heart on the page creates a new level of commitment with your affections.
    Will the reader receive your words? Will the reader respond in kind?
    It’s fascinating to consider the purpose of a love letter. Have we lost something intrinsic to the human heart with our instant texting and email society.
    Can you imagine Romeo texting to Juliet in 2018?
    Saw you at your window. You looked hot.
    Doesn’t quite have the same ring as: “But soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun.”
    Scripture is a continuous love letter. “For God so loved the world—”
    Whether you write love letters or poems, or quick texts, or put XO’s on cards to loved ones, write a love letter this month.
    Write one to yourself, to Jesus, a spouse, child, parent, friend, foe—
    See how it will bless your heart! Off to write my love letter…

    Blog Stops

    Among the Reads, June 21
    The Avid Reader, June 21
    Genesis 5020, June 21
    ansel book blog, June 22
    C Jane Read, June 24
    By The Book, June 25
    Carpe Diem, June 26
    Mommynificent , June 27
    Radiant Light, June 28
    Novels corner, June 29
    Bigreadersite, June 29
    Pause for Tales, June 30
    Splashes of Joy, June 30
    Remembrancy, July 2
    amandainpa, July 2


    To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away
    Grand prize of a Kindle Fire 7
    Semi-Grand prize of a book basket
    2nd – 4th place prize of a copy of The Love Letter!!
    Click below to enter.

    "The Love Letter" is available in paperback:
    • Paperback: 352 pages
    • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 12, 2018)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0310351006
    • ISBN-13: 978-0310351009
    • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 794 KB
    • Print Length: 352 pages
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
    • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 12, 2018)
    • Publication Date: June 12, 2018
    • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B077CWM8JF

    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.

    Monday, June 25, 2018

    Book Review: "The Sleuth's Miscalculation" by Kimberly Rose Johnson

    About the Book  
    Two strong-willed sleuths team up to solve a mystery. Can they work together, or will their differences pull them apart?

    Librarian Nancy Daley loves a good mystery and enjoys moonlighting as a consultant for the sheriff’s department. When license plates go missing in Tipton County, she’s on the case. This time things are different—she’s been partnered with the new deputy, and he’s not interested in her help. To make matters worse, she’s angered the wrong person and is now being threatened.

    Sheriff Deputy Carter Malone expects Tipton, Oregon to be a sleepy small-town, but he miscalculated. He’d come to town for a fresh start with his nephew—one without the issues big cities deal with. Had he made a mistake? To complicate matters, he’s told he must consult with the sheriff’s daughter, who is not in law enforcement. When the minor case they are working morphs into something more, things quickly go from harmless to scary.

    Can they solve the mystery before it’s too late, and more importantly, what will they do about their growing attraction?

    My Thoughts
    "The Sleuth's Miscalculation" is the first book in the Librarian Sleuth series. I liked Carter and Nancy and their interactions. I liked how there were several people who seemed like they might be the one behind the mysteries happening in Tipton. I had my suspicions early on that proved to be true, although I didn't totally understand the motivations behind their actions. I look forward to reading more books in the series and getting to know the characters better.

    Kimberly Rose JohnsonAbout the Author   Two time Faith Hope and Love Reader's Choice Finalist, Kimberly Rose Johnson, married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.
    Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. 
    "The Sleuth's Miscalculation" is available in paperback:
    • Series: The Librarian Sleuth (Book 1)
    • Paperback: 228 pages
    • Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink (May 16, 2018)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1943959390
    • ISBN-13: 978-1943959396
    • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 3908 KB
    • Print Length: 176 pages
    • Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink (June 1, 2018)
    • Publication Date: June 1, 2018
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B07C5S8ZL6

    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. 

    Saturday, June 23, 2018

    Book Review: "Along Came a Prince" by Carol Moncado

    About the Book
    The Monarchies of Belles Montagnes
    Book 2: Montevaro

    Richard Antonio David Nicklaus is Montevaro's spare - and he likes it that way. He prefers traipsing through mountains and rafting down rivers to board rooms and state dinners. After one more trip through the Ozark Mountains, he'll have to head home and help his sister prepare for her wedding and coronation, taking over more official duties because of their father's ailing health.

    Trail guide Ellie Brewer is sick of rich, pretty boys, but she's assigned one on her last trip before heading to Montevaro to spend time with her aunt, uncle, and cousin, Charlie, before he marries a princess. She admits Rick does okay - until he fails to follow instructions and she ends up injured miles from where they're supposed to be.

    After Rick takes her on a once-in-a-lifetime trip on their way to Europe, Ellie spends her recovery in Montevaro. When Rick takes off for weeks at a time, and is seen dancing with other women, Ellie wonders if she really meant anything to him. Ellie finds herself drawn to another man, but knows he can't compare to the one she misses. Rick wants to be with Ellie but official duties have him flying around the world and concern for his distant cousin - Queen Christiana of Ravenzario - preoccupies him when he's home. Somehow, he'll have to convince Ellie not to regret the day Along Came a Prince.

    (Series previously title The Montevaro Monarchy)

    My Thoughts
    I enjoyed getting to be back in Montevaro once again with Rick's story. He didn't show up in the first book in the series, so I didn't know him from that book, but he did show up in "Dare You" which I had previously read. It was fun to read this book and see how he and Ellie ended up being the adorable couple they were in that story. I knew that Rick and Ellie would end up together, but I still held my breath at points when it seemed like Ellie might end up with Jonathan. This book set up events that happen in future books in the series. We also get to meet Ana, whose story is next in the series and I look forward to reading it soon.

    About the Author  Carol Moncado
    When she's not writing about her imaginary friends, USA Today Bestselling Author Carol Moncado prefers binge watching pretty much anything to working out. She believes peanut butter M&Ms are the perfect food and Dr. Pepper should come in an IV. When not hanging out with her hubby, four kids, and two dogs who weigh less than most hard cover books, she’s probably reading in her Southwest Missouri home.

    Summers find her at the local aquatic center with her four fish, er, kids. Fall finds her doing the band mom thing. Winters find her snuggled into a blanket in front of a fire with the dogs. Spring finds her sneezing and recovering from the rest of the year.

    "Along Came a Prince" is available in paperback:
    • Series: The Montevaro Monarchy
    • Paperback: 310 pages
    • Publisher: CANDID Publications; 1 edition (April 21, 2015)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0990987248
    • ISBN-13: 978-0990987246
    • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 2313 KB
    • Print Length: 308 pages
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    • Publisher: CANDID Publications; 1 edition (April 21, 2015)
    • Publication Date: April 21, 2015
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English

    Thursday, June 21, 2018

    Book Review: "Fatal Recall" by Carol J. Post

    About the Book 
    Amnesia stole her memory—

    a killer wants her dead

    When Paige Tatem loses her memory, she knows just two things: she has a target on her back, and police officer Tanner Brody is the only man she trusts to protect her. As they piece together her past, Tanner wonders what lies hidden in Paige’s mind. And as the truth begins to emerge, it becomes clear that a ruthless enemy wants certain secrets to stay buried.

    My Thoughts
    I always jump at the chance to read a book by Carol J. Post. "Fatal Recall" is the first book in a new series set in Murphy, North Carolina. Although I didn't have anything in common with either Paige or Tanner, I felt a connection to them and wanted them to reach their happily-ever-after. The suspense was well done and kept me guessing what was going to happen. The book flowed well and I finished it in a day. There was a nice spiritual thread and it was worked throughout the story. I look forward to reading more books in this series and getting to see my new friends again. 

    About the Author
    From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special events decorating company, Carol's resume reads like someone who doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up. But her one constant has always been her love for writing. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and enjoys sailing, hiking and camping. Her daughters and grandson live too far away for her liking, so she pours all that nurturing into caring for three fat cats and one spoiled dog

    "Fatal Recall" is available in paperback:
    • Paperback: 368 pages
    • Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense; Original edition (June 5, 2018)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1335459219
    • ISBN-13: 978-1335459213
    • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches

    Mass market paperback:
    • Series: Love Inspired Suspense
    • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
    • Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense; Original edition (June 5, 2018)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1335490434
    • ISBN-13: 978-1335490438
    • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.6 x 6.6 inches

    and in Kindle edition.
    • File Size: 1578 KB
    • Print Length: 224 pages
    • Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense; Original edition (June 1, 2018)
    • Publication Date: June 1, 2018
    • Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B0769YTQP2

    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.

    Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    Book Review: "Good Enough for a Princess" by Carol Moncado

    The Monarchies of Belles Montagnes     
    Book 1: Montevaro

    Crown Princess Adeline of Montevaro has her life planned out for her: get her Master's in international relations, marry nobility, produce an heir, inherit the throne. There's no room for romance with the single father she meets when their cars collide on an icy winter night. Parliament - and her father - would never approve.

    Charlie Brewer grew up without roots. The son of an archaeologist father and anthropologist mother, he either traveled along or lived with his aunt and uncle in the States. He's determined to give his daughter the stability he never had. He also wants to give her a mom, but the beautiful European he's falling for refuses to move to Serenity Landing, Missouri permanently.

    He won't move. She can't stay. What will happen when they try to forget each other by dating someone "acceptable"? They find themselves drawn together by one of the girls in the after school program Addie supports - a girl who happens to be Charlie's daughter. How will Charlie, and his daughter, feel when they find out the woman they've both fallen for is a... princess?

    A trip halfway around the world shows Charlie and Addie how much they long to be together - and how impossible it is. Is there any way he can prove he is Good Enough for a Princess?

    (Series previously titled The Montevaro Monarchy)

    My Thoughts "Good Enough for a Princess" is the first book in the Monarchies of Belles Montagnes series. I had previously read the fourth and fifth books in the series (when they were the first two books in a second series that was merged into the one larger series). I decided that I wanted to go back and start from the beginning to get to know the characters better as they make appearances in the other books. The book follows four different people: Addie, Jonathan, Charlie, and Samantha. It was interesting seeing how the stories intersected. I found the book to be well written and kept my interest throughout. I had a hard time doing anything else because I wanted to read. I am glad there are more books in the series for me to enjoy.

    About the Author  Carol Moncado
    When she's not writing about her imaginary friends, USA Today Bestselling Author Carol Moncado prefers binge watching pretty much anything to working out. She believes peanut butter M&Ms are the perfect food and Dr. Pepper should come in an IV. When not hanging out with her hubby, four kids, and two dogs who weigh less than most hard cover books, she’s probably reading in her Southwest Missouri home.

    Summers find her at the local aquatic center with her four fish, er, kids. Fall finds her doing the band mom thing. Winters find her snuggled into a blanket in front of a fire with the dogs. Spring finds her sneezing and recovering from the rest of the year.

    "Good Enough for a Princess" is available in paperback:
    • Series: The Montevaro Monarchy
    • Paperback: 348 pages
    • Publisher: CANDID Publications (December 6, 2014)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0990987213
    • ISBN-13: 978-0990987215
    • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 2227 KB
    • Print Length: 350 pages
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    • Publisher: CANDID Publications (November 17, 2014)
    • Publication Date: November 17, 2014
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B00OM8A948

    Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "To Claim Her Heart" by Jodie Wolfe

    About the Book

    To claim her heartTitle: To Claim Her Heart
    Author: Jodie Wolfe
    Release Date: May 14, 2018
    Genre: Historical Romance
    In 1893, on the eve of the great race for land, Benjamin David prays for God to guide him to his ‘Promised Land’. Finding property and preaching to the lost are his only ways of honoring his deceased fiancee, but he didn’t count on Elmer (Elsie) Smith claiming the same plot and refusing to leave. Not only is she a burr in his side, but she is full of the homesteading know-how he sadly lacks.
    Obtaining a claim in the Cherokee Strip Land Run is Elsie Smith’s only hope for survival, but not just any plot will do. She has a specific one in mind. The plot’s not only a way to honor her pa and his life, but also to provide a livelihood for herself. Elsie’s willing to do whatever it takes to get that piece of property, and she determined to keep it, but she wasn’t planning on a kind, handsome preacher standing in her way.
    Her bitterness is what protects her, and she has not intentions of allowing that preacher to lay claim to her land … or her heart.
    My Thoughts The Oklahoma Land Rush has always fascinated me, so I was excited about getting to read this book about the land rush on the Cherokee Strip. I hadn't given much thought to the possibility of two people claiming the same tract of land. "To Claim Her Heart" presented such a case and dealt with it in an interesting way. I liked Benjamin and Elsie and was encouraged by the growth they experienced in their lives along the way. There were twists I didn't expect and it kept things interesting. I stayed up too late reading on more than one occasion because I didn't want to put the book down and it kept pulling me along. 

    About the Author

    JodieJodie Wolfe got bitten by the writing bug as a young girl after reading and watching Little House on the Prairie. She creates novels where hope and quirky meet. The power of story to influence lives and change hearts is what motivates her to weave tales that tell of the Savior’s faithfulness and forgiveness. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at

    Guest Post from Jodie Wolfe

    The Heart of a Book
    I think there’s always a little bit of the author in each book they write, but sometimes something deeper and very close to the author is wrapped up in the pages of a story. That’s the case for To Claim Her Heart. This is the tale that my mother-in-law always wanted me to write. She was so proud of her family heritage and almost twenty years ago, she was anxious to share it with me. We visited Oklahoma where several of her relatives had staked claims in the last great race for land in our country – the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893. This September will mark the 125th anniversary of the land race.
    While it saddens me that my dear mother-in-law never lived long enough to see this story in print, I’m thankful that she shared her rich heritage with me. In To Claim Her Heart I was able to mention a recipe passed down through her family for prune cake. I also made sure the heroine had a Rose of Sharon quilt that was given to her. My mother-in-law gave me this quilt dating back as early as 1834 when it was stitched by my husband’s great, great, great, great grandmother. It’s been passed down to the oldest daughter for generations. But, I think one of my favorite memories is the one that concerns outlaws and how my husband’s great, great, great grandmother dealt with them. To find out more about this actual encounter, you’ll have to read To Claim Her Heart. I hope your heart will be as touched by these stories as mine was when my mother-in-law shared them.

    Blog Stops

    Carpe Diem, June 19
    Remembrancy, June 20
    Novels corner, June 21
    Among the Reads, June 23
    Margaret Kazmierczak, June 23 (Interview)
    Reading is my Super Power, June 24 (Interview)
    Vicky Sluiter, June 25
    Splashes of Joy, June 27
    Pause for Tales, June 29
    Bigreadersite, July 2


    To celebrate her tour, Jodie is giving away a grand prize of a Kindle Fire!!
    Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

    "To Claim Her Heart" is available in paperback:
    • Paperback: 318 pages
    • Publisher: Smitten Historical Romance (May 14, 2018)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1946016470
    • ISBN-13: 978-1946016478
    • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 3395 KB
    • Print Length: 320 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1946016470
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    • Publisher: Smitten Historical Romance (May 14, 2018)
    • Publication Date: May 14, 2018
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B07BBZKCB5

    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.