Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Month in Review -- July

  • Wrote 5315 words
  • Sculpted 0 babies
  • Tatted 1 crosses
  • Sewed 0 sock monkeys  
  • Knit 0 hats
  • Exercised 10 days
  • Read in the Bible 25 days
  • Wrote up 0 backlogged book reviews 
  • "Love's Belief" by Linda Shenton Matchett -- Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

    About the Book

    Book: Love’s Belief
    Author: Linda Shenton Matchett
    Genre: Historical Romantic Fiction
    Release date: May 15, 2019
    Love's Belief small jpgMidwife Pia Hertz and her mother Sabine have been delivering babies long before the Nazis came to power. Now, the Third Reich has implemented mandates that require Jewish babies and other “undesirables” to be killed as part of The Final Solution. Is Pia’s new faith in Christ strong enough to defy the laws of man?
    Despite the agony of the injury at the Battle of Drøbak Sound that took his arm, Dieter Fertig is relieved he’s no longer part of Hitler’s army. He returns to Berlin and discovers Jews are being deported by the thousands. When he realizes the Nuremburg Laws require his best friend’s baby girl to be killed, he must find a way to spirit the child out of Germany before the Nazis discover her existence.
    Inspired by the biblical story of Shiprah and Puah, the midwives who saved Jewish babies during Pharaoh’s reign, Love’s Belief shows how one person’s actions can change the world.

    My Thoughts

    “Love’s Belief” is the third book in the Wartime Brides series. I found it to be well written and that it had a nice flow. I liked the spiritual thread woven through the story and how Pia and Dieter looked for God’s guidance in their lives. It was an interesting “modern” (it is set during WWII) retelling of the story of the midwives in Egypt who refused to follow the Pharaoh’s command to kill the male Hebrew babies. I appreciated how this story showed that not all Germans were happy with Hitler and his regime, even those who served as soldiers or Nazi youth. I look forward to reading more books by Linda Shenton Matchett.

    About the Author

    Linda Matchett Head ShotLinda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent and archivist at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.

    Read an Excerpt

    Berlin, late February 1943
    Chapter One

    “I thought Frau Schmidt was going to die.” Pia Hertz blew out a deep breath. “We haven’t had a difficult birth like that in a long time, Mutti.
    Ja, but you are a gifted midwife, Pia. I wasn’t too worried.”
    Pia chuckled. “You always say that.”
    Mutti linked her arm with Pia’s. “We must have confidence, otherwise fear will make us prone to mistakes. Now, let’s reward ourselves with strudel, if we can find it, hmm?”
    “A wonderful idea. I’m starving. Hopefully, the baker has some, and the line won’t be too long at this early hour. Selections at most of the shops have been meager as the war has ground on.”
    Leaning close to Pia’s ear, Mutti whispered, “Be careful what you say. You don’t want to be accused of sedition.”
    Pia cast a glance over her shoulder. “You’re right. It doesn’t seem to take much to get arrested these days.” She sighed. “I don’t understand why God has allowed Herr Hitler to succeed. Why has He not stepped in to save His people, the Jews?”
    Dust coated their shoes as they sauntered along the sidewalk, skirting the piles of rubble from the most recent RAF bombing raid.
    “There are some things we will never have an answer to, Daughter, but we must trust in His plan. It is difficult. Despite being a believer since childhood, I still struggle with doubts. It’s understandable that you do, too.” She stroked Pia’s cheek. “When we get home, let’s pray together and see what He would have us do.”
    Pia stifled a gasp. “What are you suggesting?”
    Her lips pressed in a thin line, Mutti frowned. She jerked her head toward the SS officer standing about ten meters away, then tugged on Pia’s arm. Continuing down the sidewalk, they arrived at the bakery. Unlit windows and lack of women waiting indicated there were no more treats to be had for the day.
    Ach, we’ll have to assuage our penchant for a sweet another time.” Mutti rubbed her belly. “Let’s take a shortcut down Rosenstrasse then head for the river. It would be nice to look at something other than damaged buildings and debris.”
    “Good idea. It is warmer today than yesterday, and there is a market at the end of the street. Perhaps they have some bread or cheese we can nibble on.”
    A chill swept over Pia as they walked past a police officer, their eyes averted to avoid any interaction. An elderly couple tottered along in front of them, holding hands and speaking softly. Pia’s heart tugged. Would she ever find someone to spend her life with: someone to look at her like the wrinkled, gray-haired man gazed at the petite woman by his side? At twenty-eight, it seemed unlikely. Der Führer’s desire to rule the world was destroying an entire generation of young men, and she certainly had no interest in a black-coated member of the SS.

    Blog Stops

    Genesis 5020, July 22
    Mary Hake, July 26
    Artistic Nobody, July 27 (Spotlight)
    Simple Harvest Reads, August 2 (Spotlight)


    To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away a grand prize package with a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of each book in the series!!
    Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

    "Love's Belief" is available in paperback:
    • Series: Wartime Brides (Book 3)
    • Paperback: 116 pages
    • Publisher: Shortwave Press (May 15, 2019)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 099852655X
    • ISBN-13: 978-0998526553
    • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 236 KB
    • Print Length: 115 pages
    • Publisher: Shortwave Press (May 15, 2019)
    • Publication Date: May 15, 2019
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B07QJ7VN9K

    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, July 30, 2019

    "Fragments of Fear" by Carrie Stuart Parks -- Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

     About the Book

    Book: Fragments of Fear
    Author: Carrie Stuart Parks
    Genre: Suspense
    Release date: July 23, 2019
    Fragments of FearFrom award-winning author Carrie Stuart Parks comes a new novel with danger that reaches from a New Mexico Anasazi archaeological dig to micro- and nano-chip technology.
    Evelyn Yvonne McTavish-Tavish to her friends-had her almost perfect world in Albuquerque, New Mexico, come to a crashing end with the suicide of her fiancé. As she struggles to put her life back together and make a living from her art, she’s given the news that her dog is about to be destroyed at the dog pound. Except she doesn’t own a dog. The shelter is adamant that the microchip embedded in the canine-with her name and address-makes it hers.
    Tavish recognizes the dog as one owned by an archaeologist named John Coyote because she did a commissioned drawing of the two of them months earlier. The simple solution is to return the dog to his owner, but she arrives only to discover Caron’s murdered body.
    After meeting undercover FBI agent Sawyer Price the mystery deepens as more people start disappearing and Tavish becomes a target as well. Her only solution is to find the links between microchip technology, an Anasazi site in the desert, her fiancé’s death, a late-night radio show, and the dog. And the clock is ticking.

    My Thoughts
    I had not read any books by Carrie Stuart Parks, but this will not be the last book of hers that I read. "Fragments of Fear" pulled me in and held me captive until the very end. I did not have a clue as to what was going on or who was involved. I found the book to be well written with a nice flow. I finished the book in a day. I was a little concerned at the beginning of the book with Tavish's use of crystals and the like for protection and guidance, but as the book progressed, she found the true Guide for her life. I look forward to reading more books by Carrie Stuart Parks.

    About the Author

    Parks Carrie StuartCarrie 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.

    More from Carrie

    Using Art to Solve Crime: Techniques Used by Forensic Artists

    Since 1981, I’ve been a forensic artist—an amazing feat since I’m only . . .um. . . well, younger than that. In those years, I’ve seen some shifts and trends, but some things have never changed. Despite the overwhelming prevalence of computers in almost every other field, they have never been able to replace a trained forensic artist. Artists have an amazing toolbox of techniques we use to gather the information we need to help solve crime.
    1. The pencil. Any forensic artist worth her weight in graphite knows the power of the lowly pencil and a sketchpad. Law enforcement would love a photographic image of the suspect, but all we have to work with is memory…and memory is faulty. The more the image looks perfect, the more imperfect it is for helping to identify a suspect. We want the drawing to just suggest a likeness and eliminate those not similar.
    2. Now that we brought up the subject of memory, a forensic artist needs to understand how memory works. The average witness will remember between four and five facial features. When they describe the person they saw, they will do so from their strongest memory to their weakest memory, from most important to least important. We listen carefully to the order of facial features.
    3. Whole vs Parts. We don’t look at faces as individual parts, although a particularly outstanding nose or Marty Feldman eyes might catch our attention. We will remember the face as a whole, with the proportions of the face an unacknowledged part of that. Forensic artist prefer to use reference photographs where the whole face is viewed.
    Want more? Check out the rest of my article at The Strand Magazine

    Blog Stops

    The Avid Reader, July 24
    CarpeDiem, July 24
    Livin’ Lit, July 26
    The Becca Files, July 26
    Cathe Swanson, July 27
    Bigreadersite, July 29
    Simple Harvest Reads, July 29 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
    Mary Hake, July 29
    EmpowerMoms, July 30
    By The Book, August 1
    Remembrancy, August 2
    amandainpa, August 2
    Pause for Tales, August 3
    Hallie Reads, August 4


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

    "Fragments of Fear" is available in paperback:
    • Paperback: 336 pages
    • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 23, 2019)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0785226133
    • ISBN-13: 978-0785226130
    • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 3884 KB
    • Print Length: 336 pages
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
    • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 23, 2019)
    • Publication Date: July 23, 2019
    • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B07KDZW11Z

    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, July 27, 2019


    We hadn't ever used our vehicle to go camping before, so it was interesting trying to figure out where to put things. We borrowed a car top carrier and bought a luggage rack for use in the hitch (which then needed a lift to get the rack out of the direct path of the exhaust)

    We saw several Amish buggies go by

    Painting rocks

    I picked the camping spot for the many trees for the hammocks

    We got rain the first night and full day. It was accompanied by high winds so we took down our canopy and anything else that could blow around.

    The beach was interesting in that the main part had a retaining wall and steps straight down into the water. (You can see it a little on the right side behind the boat)

    Moth on Will's shorts
    The Claire County Fair was going the week we were camping and was right across the street.

    We went and saw the dog show

    Beautiful clouds

    We went and looked at some of the animals

    Horse carts

    Sheriff horses

    Unloading the tigers for the tiger show

    We got to see the Calvarymen Quartet

    more swimming

    Sarah was tossing Andy

    We went back to the fair and saw the rest of the animals

    and we got to see the tiger show

    Also watched the "Globe of Death"

    Goofing around with the hammocks

    The campground had this giant checker board

    and Connect Four game

    So we invented a new game we called "Checker Four". You start with a game of checkers and when you jump a piece, you would get to use it for the Connect Four game

    We got to hear cars and trucks going by right behind our site

    You can see the fair grounds across the other street (We were near a corner)

    Chalk art

    Harness racing at the fair

    Bingo right before we left for home