Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Book List

Here are the books I've read this year:

"Unstuck" by Chris DuPre
"Porch Swing Girl" by Taylor Bennett
"A Courtship on Huckleberry Hill" by Jennifer Beckstrand
"A Song Unheard" by Roseanna M. White
"The Lacemaker" by Laura Frantz
"Rescue Me" by Susan May Warren
"A Matter of Trust" by Susan May Warren
"If Ever I Would Leave You" by Susan May Warren
"Longbow" by Wayne Grant (MG, read aloud to kids)
"Troubled Waters" by Susan May Warren
"Their Daring Hearts" by Sharlene MacLaren
"Liza's Second Chance" by Molly Jebber

"No Small Storm" by Anne Mateer
"This Treacherous Journey" by Misty M. Beller
"Love by the Numbers" by Laura V. Hilton
"21 Days of Love" compiled by Kathy Ide
"Phoebe's Light" by Suzanne Woods Fisher
"The Sea Before Us" by Sarah Sundin
"The Reluctant Groom" by Kimberly Rose Johnson
"The Essence of Joy" by Lynn U. Watson

"The Innkeeper's Daughter" by Michelle Griep
"For Love & Honor" by Jody Hedlund
"Becoming Mom Strong" by Heidi St. John
"A Loyal Heart" by Jody Hedlund
"Grace Restored" by Toni Shiloh
"Mermaid's Song" by Darlene Franklin

"The Forgotten Girl" by Heather Chapman
"Warbow" by Wayne Grant (MG, read aloud to the kids)
"Sea Rose Lane" by Irene Hannon
"Sandpiper Cove" by Irene Hannon
"Sons of Thunder" by Susan May Warren
"21 Days of Joy" Compiled by Kathy Ide
"Pelican Point" by Irene Hannon

"The Spirit of Christmas" by Lauraine Henderson
"The Amish Teacher's Gift" by Rachel J. Good
"Together Forever" by Jody Hedlund
"Wildfire" by Gayla K. Hiss
"This Wilderness Journey" by Misty M. Beller
"Quest for Leviathan" by Amanda Tero
"The Captured Bride" by Michelle Griep
"Points Worth" by D.C. Marino

"A Caffeine Conundrum" by Angela Ruth Strong
"Tremors of Doubt" by Lael Harrelson
"Resurrection of Hope" by Tamara Lynn Kraft
"To Claim Her Heart" by Jodie Wolfe
"Dare You" by Carol Moncado
"The Love Letter" by Rachel Hauck
"Good Enough for a Princess" by Carol Moncado
"Fatal Recall" by Carol J. Post
"Enduring Love" by Toni Shiloh
"Along Came a Prince" by Carol Moncado
"The Sleuth's Miscalculation" by Kimberly Rose Johnson
"If Only it Were Yesterday" by A.M. Heath

"Minding the Light" by Suzanne Woods Fisher
"Just Let Go" by Courtney Walsh
"Made Like Martha" by Katie M. Reid
"Firestorm" by Laura V. Hilton
"Plain Everyday Heroes" by Laura V. Hilton, Rachel J. Good, & Thomas Nye
"This Freedom Journey" by Misty M. Beller
"Finding Christmas Joy" by Amanda Tero
"The Firefighter's Twins" by Heidi
"The Widow's Plight" by Mary Davis

"A Promise Forged" by Cara Putman
"The Hope Jar" by Wanda Brunsteter
"Ties that Blind" by Chautona Havig
"Chasing Embers" by Rachel Skatvold
"Make Haste Slowly" by Amy K. Rognlie
"Where There's a Will" by Amy K. Rognlie
"The Ransomed Crown" by Wayne Grant (MG, read to the kids)

"Lethal Legacy" by Carol J. Post
"Yesterday's Christmas" by A.M. Heath
"Crack Yourself Up: Jokes for Kids" by Sandy Silverthorne
"A Worthy Rebel" by Jody Hedlund
"Surround Me" by Margarette Gray
"Shadows from the Past" by Ashley Dawn
"The Girl on the Tombstone" by Betty Ruth Weatherby

"Her Hope Discovered" by Cynthia Herron
"A Tale of Two Hearts" by Michelle Griep
"When Your Kid is Hurting" by Kevin Leman
"This Courageous Journey" by Misty M. Beller
"The Sleuth's Dilemma" by Kimberly Rose Johnson
"Love's Christmas Blessings" by Laura V. Hilton and Rachel J. Good
"The Light Before Day" by Suzanne Woods Fisher

"Simply Smitten" by Kimberly Rose Johnson
"A Sparkle of Silver" by Liz Johnson
"An Hour Unspent" by Roseanna M. White
"Comfort & Joy" by Alana Terry, Toni Shiloh, Cathe Swanson, & Chautona Havig
"The Amish Midwife's Secret" by Rachel J. Good

"A Bodyguard for Christmas" by Carol J. Post
"I Know the Plans" by Melissa Wardwell
"In the Shadow of Croft Towers" by Abigail Wilson
"Dead Sea Rising" by Jerry B. Jenkins

2018 in Review

Total for the year:

  • Wrote 10304 words
  • Sculpted 1 baby
  • Tatted 31 crosses
  • Sewed 7 sock monkeys  
  • Knit 2 hats
  • Exercised an average of 20 days per month
  • Read in the Bible everyday except 2
  • Wrote up 8 backlogged book reviews 
  • Month in Review - December

  • Wrote 0 words
  • Sculpted 0 babies
  • Tatted 0 crosses (but did 10 snowflakes and 2 mini baby bonnets)
  • Sewed 0 sock monkeys  
  • Knit 0 hats (but did 2 pairs of socks)
  • Exercised 15 days
  • Read in the Bible 31 days
  • Wrote up 0 backlogged book reviews 
  • Wednesday, December 26, 2018

    "In the Shadow of Croft Towers" by Abigail Wilson -- Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

    About the Book

    Book: In the Shadow of Croft Towers
    Author: Abigail Wilson
    Genre: Historical fiction, romantic suspense
    Release Date: January 15, 2019
    In the Shadow of Croft TowerFrom debut author Abigail Wilson comes a mysterious Regency tale of secrets and spies, love and treachery.
    Orphaned Sybil Delafield jumps at the opportunity for a position at the mysterious Croft Towers. She believes she was hired to act as companion to a dying woman, but a highway robbery and a hostile welcome from the Chalcroft family cause her to wonder if she was actually hired to help someone spy for France.
    An unsolved murder adds intrigue to this already secretive family, and Sybil recognizes Mrs. Chalcroft’s handsome grandson as one of the infamous highwaymen who robbed her. Sybil must determine if this man’s charming smile and earnest eyes speak the truth or if he is simply using her like others in the house. Everyone seems to have something to hide, and Sybil must decide who to trust while also coming to terms with the truth about her own past.

    My Thoughts
    Once I picked up "In the Shadow of Croft Towers", I did not want to put it back down. The characters and the setting drew me in and kept me turning the pages to find out what was going to happen. I did deduce some of the mystery, there were twists and surprises I did not see coming, which was nice. There isn't a faith element in the story, but it is a clean romance with a couple of kisses and some hand holding. I found the book to be well written and felt if flowed nicely. I went looking for why I had never read anything by Abigail Wilson and discovered that this was her first book. I was pleased to see that there is another book coming next year and there is a tie in with this book. I can't wait!

    About the Author

    Abigail WilsonAbigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A Registered Nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the National Parks, attending her daughter’s gymnastic meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA’s Fab Five contest and ACFW’s First Impressions contest as well as placing as a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband and children. Connect with Abigail at

    Excerpt from the Book


    I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had never learned the truth. I wouldn’t have set off as I did for Croft Towers. I never would have met him.
    It’s strange what I remember about the day I left London. The mail coach was late; the weather wretched. The clock had struck midnight long before two strangers and I ducked beneath the postmaster’s outstretched umbrella to board the Royal Mail and rumble across the North Downs.
    That difficult journey east marked the beginning of an unseasonably cold autumn. Frigid rain pelted the coach windows. The undercarriage squealed beneath the seats as a metallic scent wound its way between the drafty boards. I gripped the windowsill, wondering if the coachman intended to hit every bump in the road.
    “Far to go, miss?”
    The woman’s voice startled me. Dressed head to toe in red
    satin, she’d endured the last few darkened hours with a handful of smelling salts and a tongue hot for complaints, but she hadn’t spoken to me until now. Not until the first hint of rain-soaked daylight peeked over the horizon.
    I lowered my gaze and fiddled with my bonnet ribbons. “Yes, ma’am . . . well, not too much farther, I hope.”
    Taken from “In the Shadow of Croft Towers” by Abigail Wilson. Copyright © 2018 by Abigail Wilson. Used by permission of

    Blog Stops

    Just the Write Escape, December 20
    Faery Tales Are Real, December 20
    The Avid Reader, December 20
    Mary Hake, December 22
    Carpe Diem, December 22
    Inklings and notions, December 23
    Blogging With Carol, December 23
    Stories By Gina, December 24
    Remembrancy, December 24
    Madeline Clark, December 25
    Janices book reviews, December 26
    Back Porch Reads, December 27
    Book by Book, December 27
    Daysong Reflections, December 28
    All-of-a-kind Mom, December 28
    Godly Book Reviews, December 29
    Bigreadersite, December 29
    A Rup Life, December 30
    Bibliophile Reviews, December 30
    A Reader’s Brain, December 31
    Texas Book-aholic, December 31
    Bookworld Reviews, January 1
    Pause for Tales, January 1


    To celebrate her tour, Abigail is giving away a grand prize of one finished copy of the book!!
    Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

    "In the Shadow of Croft Towers" is available in paperback:
    • Paperback: 336 pages
    • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 15, 2019)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0785223665
    • ISBN-13: 978-0785223665
    • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 706 KB
    • Print Length: 336 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0785223665
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
    • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 15, 2019)
    • Publication Date: January 15, 2019
    • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B07BB55QSB

    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.

    Sunday, December 16, 2018

    "I Know the Plans" by Melissa Wardwell -- Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

    About the Book

    Book: I Know the Plans
    Author: Melissa Wardwell   
    I Know the Plans
    Genre: Romance
    Release Date: October, 2018
    All the plans Tiffany and Brad made for their lives as individuals were thrown to the wind the moment they met. Now, after almost a decade of marriage, they spend more time apart than together. Though plans remain unfulfilled, their hearts seek to remain steadfast and connected.
    After Brad returns from his latest tour in Afghanistan, it is evident that the man Tiffany married is no longer the same. As Brad struggles with reacquainting himself with his life, Tiffany questions how it could be part of God’s plan. Have the sins of their past finally come back to haunt them? No matter how much support they have in their family and friends, the choice is still theirs. Will they continue to trust God with their lives or will they choose their own course?
    My Thoughts

    This is the third book in the "Promises From Above" series. I think you would get a fuller experience if you read the other two books first. You get quite a bit of overlap with the characters from the first books and it would be best to "meet" them in their own story. I found the story to flow well and it had a nice faith element that wound through it. I liked Brad and Tiffany and cheered with them in the highs and cried with them in the lows. I look forward to reading more books from Melissa Wardwell.

    About the Author  

    Melissa Wardwell

    Melissa Wardwell resides in the quant town of Owosso, Michigan with her husband and their three teen aged children. She began her writing journey in August of 2014 with her debut novel “What God Brings Together”. She decided to give writing a try after she shared a story that nagged at her with a friend. Unsure in her own abilities to craft a story she plunged ahead anyway. After reading the first draft of that first book, she then understood that God had a much bigger plan. “God does not give his children a desire just so that it can go to waste.” Since then, she has added three more novels and taken part in two anthologies. Melissa also has a review blog and is a contributing blogger for Heart”wings” Blog.
    Being a mother and wife herself, Melissa understands the importance of taking care of yourself from time to time. So, all her stories revolve around women who are mothers: single mothers, widowed mothers, young mothers, married mothers, and even women who have a mother’s heart but no children of their own.
    To see the full list of her work, visit

    Guest Post from Melissa

    Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
    This verse has been my “Go To” verse since the day I married. It is a constant reminder that no matter what struggles I endure, God has a plan. I may not be able to see through the fog, I may not like or understand the journey, but it is all part of a plan. All I can do is trust God’s design for my life and be willing to move when He tells me to.
    God used the writing process of “I Know the Plans” to remind me that He has a plan for me and book and I need to just trust the process. This book has taken me over a year to complete. If it wasn’t one thing to keep me from committing to it, then it was another. I don’t begrudge the events that kept me away, but as soon as I would begin to grumble to God about not having the energy or the brain power to write, I would get this preverbal reminder that I was not the one in control. If I am going to write faith lessons in fiction, I need to trust the Master Author.
    In “I Know the Plans”, Sergeant Bradley Jones and his wife, Tiffany, are hit with one whopper of a plot twist that leaves them wondering if they can get through some major medical issues, PTSD, and infertility in one piece. Their family and friends do their best to support the couple but sometimes, trusting God’s plan is all they can do. Something we all try to learn to do in our own lives.
    Due to the military thread in this book, I asked my veteran friends what charity they hold in high esteem. Almost every single one of them suggested “Wounded Warrior Project” and offered rave reviews of their humanitarian efforts in the military community. So, a portion of my royalties from this book will be going to “Wounded Warrior Project” in honor of their service and the service of thousands of others.
    There is another group of people I wanted to honor. Those who fight with infertility. I know many who have fought the battle to have children of their own. Some eventually find success, while other have not. Some have even taken the route of adoption and have saved the lives of young ones who needed all the love in the world. Then there are some that just choose to embrace the fact that children of their own was not going to happen and have given all their love to others. All of these groups of people fight a battle that is riddled with pain, confusion, endless medical procedures, and thousands of dollars. There isn’t one group or anther that could support these people as much as our love, prayers, and thoughtful kindness can. So, I encourage you to embrace those around you and shower them with love. Sometimes what they need is just a friend that will listen and not try to mix the problem. Just as you have received the Father’s love, now you can give it away.
    Finally, I want to thank the CelebrateLit blog team for signing up for this tour. I am honored that they choose to read this story and offer their honest opinions on this book. As always, I pray it ministers to the readers as much as it ministered to the author. “You all are amazing!”
    Melissa Wardwell

    Blog Stops

    Connect in Fiction, December 14
    Inklings and notionsDecember 14
    Godly Book Reviews, December 15
    Blogging With Carol, December 15
    Mary Hake, December 16
    Carpe Diem, December 17
    Maureen’s Musings, December 18
    All-of-a-kind Mom, December 18
    Texas Book-aholic, December 19
    Christian Bookaholic, December 20
    cultivating us, December 20
    Bibliophile Reviews, December 22
    Simple Harvest Reads, December 24 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
    Janices book reviews, December 25
    The Becca Files, December 26
    Bigreadersite, December 26


    To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away a grand prize that includes an “I know the plans” coffee mug and print copies of books 1, 2, & 3 from the Promises From Above Series!!
    Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

    "I Know the Plans" is available in paperback:
    • Series: Promises from Above (Book 3)
    • Paperback: 335 pages
    • Publisher: Independently published (October 25, 2018)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1729181090
    • ISBN-13: 978-1729181096
    • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 1560 KB
    • Print Length: 337 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1729181090
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    • Publication Date: October 30, 2018
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B07HWKZ4VZ

    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. 

    Friday, December 7, 2018

    "Dead Sea Rising" by Jerry B. Jenkins -- Book Review

    About the Book  

    Nicole Berman is an archaeologist on the brink of a world-changing discovery. During her first dig in Jordan, she believes she has found concrete evidence of a biblical patriarch that could change history books forever. But someone doesn't want the truth revealed. While urgently trying to connect pieces of an ancient puzzle, a dangerous enemy is out to stop her. 
    From a criminal investigation in Manhattan to the birth of Abram in ancient Ur, Jerry Jenkins weaves together a tale of drama and suspense that will draw you into the lives of two families separated by 4,000 years of history yet sharing remarkably similar struggles of faith. Dead Sea Rising combines the thrill of a whodunit with the moral and political intrigue of the ancient, and modern, Middle East. But be prepared. Once you begin, you won't be able to stop until you reach the final page!

    My Thoughts

    I had never read a book by Jerry B. Jenkins before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I do not know if "Dead Sea Rising" is written in his normal manner, but it flips back and forth between modern day Manhattan and Biblical Ur where we follow Terah (Abram's father). The longest chapter was 8 pages. The majority of the chapters were 3 pages or less, including one that was only about 1/4 of a page long. I found it distracting to flip back and forth so much. I thought it would be better to have larger chunks in each setting at least. There didn't seem to be any sort of tie in with the two timelines, either, other than I'm assuming she is wanting to find something to do with Abraham in the archaeological dig in Saudi Arabia. I'm assuming that the tie in becomes more apparent in future books. I did find the book to be well written even though I didn't appreciate the style with which it was written. I found the mystery surrounding Ginny Berman's injuries to be interesting. I was disappointed that we didn't get a complete wrap up of the story and have to wait for the next book to continue the mystery. I didn't very much like Terah and his personality. I also thought that it strayed from what we do know of him. The Bible says "Now Terah lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran." In the book, he takes it to mean that Terah was 70 when he had his firstborn--Abram. I do not believe that Terah was 70 when he had his first child, nor is it evident that Abram was his firstborn. The Bible frequently lists the person most important to the Jews first (Shem, Ham, and Japeth, for example) and therefore listing them out of age order. The book also makes it that Terah has one wife. He obviously had at least 2 wives/concubines as Abram's wife Sarai was also his half sister, the daughter of his father but not of his mother. I am interested in finding out how Jerry B. Jenkins resolves the issues of Terah's other children in subsequent books.

    Jerry B. JenkinsAbout the Author  

    Author of more than 195 books with sales of over 70 million copies, including the best-selling Left Behind series, Jerry B. Jenkins is former vice president for publishing and former chairman of the board of trustees for the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. 

    Jerry's writing has appeared in Time, Reader's Digest, Parade, Guideposts, and dozens of Christian periodicals. Twenty-one of his books have reached The New York Times best-seller list (seven debuting number one). 

    Jerry owns the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, through which he trains writers online

    "Dead Sea Rising" is available in hardcover:
    • Hardcover: 320 pages
    • Publisher: Worthy Publishing (November 13, 2018)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1617950092
    • ISBN-13: 978-1617950094
    • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.1 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 3528 KB
    • Print Length: 320 pages
    • Publisher: Worthy Publishing (November 13, 2018)
    • Publication Date: November 13, 2018
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B07CH84GHP

    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.

    Tuesday, December 4, 2018

    "Bodyguard for Christmas" by Carol J. Post -- Book Review

    About the Book

    Someone’s after his little boy. 

    She has one chance to save them both.
    When his young son is nearly kidnapped, assistant district attorney Colton Gale needs a Christmas refuge—and a live-in bodyguard. Though former military police officer Jasmine McNeal fights to shield them 24/7, she refuses to get attached. But growing close to the little boy and his father might be her only shot at keeping them alive—and becoming a family beyond the holidays. 

    My Thoughts

    I thought it was an interesting premise having the bodyguard be the heroine instead of the hero. The characters were realistic and engaging. I enjoyed having characters from the previous books make appearances. It isn't entirely necessary to read the other books first, but I would (as usual) recommend reading them in order, just so you get the fullest picture of what is going on. Several twists and turns kept me guessing as to what was going on and I never knew for sure what was going to happen. There was a nice amount of a faith element and the characters experienced life changing growth in their lives. I found the book to be well written and flowed well. I look forward to reading more books by Carol J. Post.

    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
    "Bodyguard for Christmas" is available in mass market paperback:
    • Series: Love Inspired Suspense
    • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
    • Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense; Original edition (December 4, 2018)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1335490795
    • ISBN-13: 978-1335490797
    • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.6 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 1097 KB
    • Print Length: 224 pages
    • Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense; Original edition (December 1, 2018)
    • Publication Date: December 1, 2018
    • Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B07CC3Z73T

    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.