Monday, March 27, 2017

Murder for the Time Being

I cut my teeth on Nancy Drew mysteries, and ever since then I have enjoyed a nice, suspenseful novel. Joanie Bruce's book Murder for the Time Being doesn't disappoint. It's fast-paced but easy to read. A bank robbery, an attempted kidnapping, a near-death experience... all of these add up to draw the reader in and keep them on the edge of their seat as they read this book. The characters, Lexi and Drew especially, are well-developed and likeable. The tension between the two crackles off the page even as they try to push down those feelings.

I'd highly recommend this book for anyone who likes romance, suspense, and plot lines that include the realization that God is in control even if we can't see how.

About the Book

Book: Murder for the Time Being
Author: Joanie Bruce
Genre: Christian Suspense/Romance
Release Date: November 29, 2016
“You’ll pay for this. I’ll get you both.”
Computer expert Lexi Wynn is frightened. Someone is after her, but she doesn’t know why. Is it because of her past or because she was thrust into a deadly bank robbery and might identify the ones responsible? Escaping a failed kidnapping attempt and not sure who to trust, she hopes her specialized skills with computers might flush out the name of the killer. When a tall, dark, and handsome stranger rams into her truck with the hearse he’s driving and puts his life in danger to save hers, can she ignore the attraction she feels for him to concentrate on the killers? Or is God the only one who can save her now?
Drew Sheffield is irritated when a cute lady stops abruptly in front of him and he plows into the back of her pickup. After their initial confrontation, flashbacks of honeysuckle and sassy green eyes linger in his thoughts. When Lexi is threatened, he steps in to help the feisty young woman, in spite of agonizing over a past relationship.
Can Lexi and Drew forget the tragedies of the past and embrace the feelings between them or will ghostly memories snub out the promise of a future together?

About the Author

Joanie has a strong passion for reading, and her love for books with nail-biting suspense, inspires her to write contemporary suspense books. Thankful that God has given her the ability to write from her home in the country, she strives to use that opportunity to honor Him in all of her writing. Joanie and her husband, Ben, live in a country home near Madison, Georgia, right in the middle of a pasture full of beef cows. There they raised and homeschooled their three children. She enjoys cooking, taking long walks, painting oil portraits, and caring for their home in the country.

Guest Post from Joanie Bruce
Have you ever been devastated by a certain event in your life, and later it turned out to the best thing that ever happened to you? That’s what happened to Lexi Wyn in this book, “Murder for the Time Being.” Something unthinkable happened to her family, but in the end, it changes Lexi’s life forever and introduces her to the love of her life.
In this story, both Lexi and Drew have things in their past that discourage them from seeking a lasting relationship. However, God has a plan for them both, and through His Divine engineering, they are thrown together in circumstances that nurture a growing appreciation and affection for each other.
This book was fun to write because I anchored the story in my sweet little town of Madison, Georgia. I wasn’t raised in Madison, but I’ve called it home for much longer than any other place I’ve ever lived. While growing up in the big city of Memphis, Tennessee, I had definite plans for my future. All I ever wanted was to “marry a country boy and live in the country.” The Lord heard the desires of my heart and gave me what I wanted … a country boy, born and raised here in Morgan County on a dairy farm.
After we married, I adopted Madison as my home, and I love it so much that I wanted to feature some of the fun spots in Madison as the backdrops for the scenes in my books. I hope when you read through the pages of my book, you will get an idea of what a sweet little town Madison is and enjoy reading about Lexi and Drew and how they let God guide them in discovering that murder CAN be “for the Time Being.”

Blog Stops

March 15: autism mom
March 17: A Greater Yes
March 18: Radiant Light
March 20: Karen Sue Hadley
March 24: Pause for Tales
March 24: 2014 and Beyond!
March 26: Carpe Diem


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

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Buried Secrets: A Review and A Giveaway

If you've read my blog much in the last couple of years, you've noticed that I really like Amish fiction. I've loved to read it for a while, but got away from it, and since I've been reviewing, I'm remembering why I enjoy it so much.

This book is the second book in the Sisters & Friends series, but can be read as a stand-alone (although I recommend reading the first in the series, Change of Heart!). This story offers a little heartache, a little redemption, the excitement of babies... just about anything you could ask for.

Emma has amnesia regarding an event that occurred when she wasn't making good decisions. She has moved in with her sister to help as she prepares to have twins. She becomes acquainted with the next door neighbor, Samuel, and begins to fall in love with him...

But just like it always will for each of us, her past comes to haunt her, and she must face the ugliness and decide how to move forward.

These characters are well-developed, and you truly feel for them. The book is well-written and easy to read. I'd highly recommend it!!!

About the Book

Book: Buried Secrets
Author: Rachel J. Good
Genre: Amish Romance
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Overcome the past and any other obstacles that stand in the way of the future God has planned for you.
Three years after the accident that almost claimed her life, Emma Esh has recovered physically but has no memory of the year before the accident. When she moves to a new community to help her sister Lydia and brother-in-law, Caleb, prepare for the birth of twins, she falls for their neighbor Samuel.
But the twins’ premature birth, a visit from the Englischer Emma once dated, and the sudden return of her memory threaten Emma’s romance. After the secrets of her past are revealed, will love be able to overcome all obstacles?

About the Author

Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – Sisters & Friends series, Love & Promises series, and two books in the Hearts of Amish Country series – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books and the contemporary novella, Angels Unaware, part of the Hope Chapel series. Rachel also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. She loves reading (of course!), traveling, and spending time with her five children and three grandchildren. Visit her at her website, Facebook, author page, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. You also can sign up for her quarterly newsletter here.

Guest post by Rachel Good:
Readers who have read Change of Heart, the first book in the Sisters & Friends series, will remember Emma as the wild teen who defied her family. Her older sister, Lydia, tried to prevent Emma from making mistakes during Rumschpringe, the Amish running-around time. Throughout most of the story, Lydia and Emma were at odds with each other, but in the end, the family needed to forgive Emma and show her God’s love.

In Book 2, Buried Secrets, Emma has no memory of her rebellion, so she’s devastated when she finally does remember. Then she must confront her past, learn to forgive herself, and also ask for and accept God’s forgiveness. Sometimes when we’ve done things we’re ashamed of, we struggle to believe that God can forgive what we’ve done. But God’s mercy has no limits. Emma needs to open her heart to that truth. As she does, she discovers an important lesson: Some mistakes in the past can never be undone, but God can forgive anything.

Authors often write about themes that are close to their hearts, and I’m no exception. Many times, after I write a novel, I look back and see how God directed me to tell a story containing lessons I needed to learn. In Change of Heart, Lydia discovers that judging other people or suggesting ways they can improve their lives can be a form of self-righteousness. God used my young daughter to point that out to me, but it’s a lesson that bears repeating. And as I finished the novel, I clearly saw it as a reminder not only to Lydia, but also to me.

Emma’s story also blessed me by reminding me how deep and wide God’s love is for each of us. No matter how we’ve failed, He never stops loving us, and His forgiveness is only a prayer away.

I also hope to remind readers that “all things work together for good for those that love God.” So often we expect hardship when we do God’s will, but He has promised to give us the desires of our hearts. Lydia learned in Change of Heart that God’s will was so much better than anything she could have planned, and Emma, too, comes to realize that, by trusting God to direct her life, she is blessed many times over.

Has God ever given you a desire of your heart? To enter the giveaway, share one of God’s blessings in your life. And let’s rejoice together at the many wonderful things He has done for each of us.

Book Excerpt

Emma concentrated on the plants beside her. Gardening soothed her, made her feel whole again. The spring sunshine warmed the ground and sent comforting rays through her cloak as she bent over the soft, moist earth. She lifted a seedling from its pot and inhaled the savory tomato-y aroma. Then she pinched off the lower leaves, set it in the hole, and gently bent the stem before covering it with soil.

Whoosh. A heavy weight slammed her backwards, smashing her head against the ground. Gasping, desperate to suck some air into her crushed lungs, Emma opened her eyes to find a furry face inches from her own. A huge mouth opened, revealing pointy white teeth. Then a wet pink tongue scraped across her cheek.

“Bolt,” a deep male voice commanded. “Off.”

A handsome stranger, black bangs hanging in front of his eyes, bent over her, his hand outstretched. “Ach, I’m so sorry. She slipped out the door again.” He clamped his other hand on the Irish setter’s collar and pulled the dog off Emma, leaving muddy paw prints across her skirt.

Still dazed, Emma lay where she’d fallen, gazing up at him, unsure whether the rapid pattering of her pulse was from her recent fright or from looking into the greenest eyes she’d ever seen.

“Are you all right?” Worry crinkled his brow.

“I–I’ll be fine.” Ignoring the hand he’d extended, she tried to sit.

The stranger dropped to one knee beside her. “Don’t get up if you’re hurt. Is there someone I can fetch?”

“I don’t need help.” Heat flooded Emma’s cheeks when her words came out sharply. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “Please forgive me.” Then pinching her lips together, she steeled herself to sit without assistance.

“There’s nothing to forgive. I’m the one who let my dog escape.” The words were barely out of his mouth when the Irish setter twisted free and bounded off, crushing the rows of seedlings Emma had just planted.

“Oh, no!” The stranger dashed off after the dog, swerving to avoid the tomato plants the setter had crushed. Gasping for air, he made a desperate tackle, landing a few feet beyond the garden, the dog wriggling under him. With a firm grip on the Irish setter’s collar, he stood, the front of his shirt, galluses, and black pants splattered with dog hair and dirt.

Emma suppressed the urge to giggle at his sheepish expression, the clod of mud clinging to his forehead, and the panting dog struggling to jerk free of his hold.

He pinched his lips together as he studied the mess. “I’m so sorry. Let me put Bolt in the house. Then I’ll help clean up.”

“Bolt?” Had he called the dog that earlier? Emma had been too distracted to pay attention. Now she couldn’t hold in her mirth.

Rather than taking offense, the stranger glanced down with a rueful expression, then joined in her laughter. “Jah,” he said between hearty chuckles. “Short for Lightning Bolt. She zigs and zags so fast I can’t catch her sometimes.” He waved a hand toward the disaster in the garden. “Like she did here. And now look at me.”

Emma did, and her laughter ended in a sharp intake of breath. And then his eyes met hers, and she stopped breathing altogether.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading Buried Secrets as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Blog Stops

March 9: autism mom
March 13: Bigreadersite
March 15: Carpe Diem
March 16: Splashes of Joy
March 20: A Greater Yes
March 22: Karen Sue Hadley


To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a full box of Whoopie Pies freshly baked for you from a bakery in Amish country, along with copies of Angels Unaware, the brand new Amish Words and Proverbs Coloring Book and Amish Quilts Coloring Book #1 (Large Print Edition), an autographed copy of Change of Heart, and an Amish cookbook!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

What I Read in February

1. The Cat That Went Bump in the Night- This was a free book on Amazon Kindle, and I wouldn't have considered it except it does have a cat on its cover, and that's one of the categories for the Popsugar Reading Challenge I'm participating in. So...
it was a nice, quick, read. It involved a paranormal cat, a man with a dead end job looking for a way out, and his involvement with a paranormal investigator. It was an "okay" book. I probably wouldn't read it again... but if you like short novels involving paranormal events, this would be up your alley. It is the first book in a trilogy.

2. Before Bethlehem- This is a book that I have had on my Kindle for a couple of years. It was another free read, and I had made a note to download and read it back in December... but y'all know me and how some books get pushed to the back. This was a good storyline. It told the story of Joseph and Mary... how they came to be espoused... and the story of her pregnancy. The author presented a version of the story I was not familiar with... that Joseph already had James and the other children, and was a widower.  The author also focused on Roman rule, and how it influenced the lives of all who lived during that time frame. I enjoyed this novelization of the Christmas story, but encourage those who read it to delve into Scripture and compare the two.

3. Peach Cobbler Murder- This is another Hannah Swenson novel. In this one, Swenson's bakery comes under attack by a new business in town... until the owner is found dead. I love these novels because they are funny, the characters are well-developed, and they are easy to read. I have several more of these left, and I'm glad!

4. The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade- This book is set in central Kentucky, just outside of Frankfort, in fictional Goose Creek. It involves a new vet in town, a couple fighting over whether they really want to renovate a house to make a bed and breakfast, and a stand-off over the painting of the town water tower. Complete with a drugstore with a soda shop, this is small town living at it's finest, and I highly recommend this book! This is the first in a series, and I'm currently reading the second.

5. Never Forget- This is a book I reviewed for Celebrate Lit in January, but I just finished it up this month. It's a great read, with fabulous characters and a gripping storyline. I'd highly recommend!! (See link for full review).

6. Still Life- This is a book I got free from Netgalley. It tells the story of  Gillian Marchenko, a pastor's wife who finds herself in the dredges of depression. Beautifully written and candid, Marchenko offers hope for anyone who finds themselves lost. She describes the guilt and shame she felt as a Christian mother and a wife. This book is a true eye-opener to anyone who may struggle with not feeling good enough. Marchenko lays her life bear on the page and allows the reader to see that through faith, God, and good Christian counselors, as well as antidepressants, life lived through the battle is still life.  Another book I'd highly recommend!

7. Grace- This is another book I got from Netgalley. This book is set up like a daily devotional, with over 200 entries focusing on grace. Each entry has a Bible scripture, along with a short story or encouraging word. Alcorn offers a good Biblical basis about grace- what it is, what it isn't, and how we all have been offered grace. In addition, he encourages us to offer grace to each other. Because I reviewed this book on netgalley, I didn't use it as a daily devotional, but I can see the benefits of doing so and would recommend it for someone who would like to start or end their day with a little of God's Word.

8. Surround Me- This is another book I reviewed for Celebrate Lit, back in December, but I just finished it in February. This book is set in pre-Revolutionary War Charlestown, and I loved it!!! See the link for complete review.

9. Angels Unaware- Yet another book I reviewed for Celebrate Lit. This book was a delightful read, and a true reminder that God puts people in our lives for particular purposes.

10. Lists to Love By for Busy Wives- This was another book I got from Netgalley. Written by a husband and wife, the authors provide lists focusing on how to better love your spouse. Each short chapter includes reflective questions to help the reader focus on ways she could do better. I enjoyed it and found the content to be somewhat helpful, even if a lot of it is common sense. There's also a version for Busy Husbands. We can all love a little better!

I'm currently reading about 30 books.  Y'all!!! How did that happen??? Books keep looking good so I start them... and I'm reading some for review... and some for Bible study...
Here's what's on my short list- Hidden Figures, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, The Infinite Sea, The Story Keeper, Three Moons over Sedona, Independent Study, The Broken Way and The Broken Way study guide, The Underground Railroad, Lucky Us, Sweet Olive, Cherry Cheesecake Murder, Zip it, and The Women of Easter...

2017 Popsugar Ultimate Reading Challenge
A book recommended by a librarian
A book that's been on your TBR list for way too long- Girl on the Train
A book of letters
An audiobook
A book by a person of color
A book with one of the four seasons in the title
A book that is a story within a story
A book with multiple authors
An espionage thriller
A book with a cat on the cover- The Cat That Went Bump in the Night
A book by an author who uses a pseudonym
A bestseller from a genre you don't normally read
A book by or about a person who has a disability- Tough as They Come
A book involving travel
A book with a subtitle
A book that's published in 2017
A book involving a mythical creature
A book you've read before that never fails to make you smile
A book about food
A book with career advice
A book from a nonhuman perspective
A steampunk novel
A book with a red spine
A book seet in the wilderness
A book you loved as a child
A book by an author from a country you've never visited
A book with a title that's a character's name- Dearest Dorothy...
A novel set during wartime
A book with an unreliable narrator
A book with pictures
A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you
A book about an interesting woman
A book set in two different time periods
A book with a month or day of the week in the title
A book set in a hotel
A book written by someone you admire
A book that's becoming a movie in 2017
A book set around a holiday other than Christmas
The first book in a series you haven't read before- The Illegal Most Famous Parade in Goose Creek
A book you bought on a trip

A book recommended by an author you love
A bestseller from 2016- Hillbilly Elegy
A book with a family member term in the title
A book that takes place over a character's life span
A book about an immigrant or refugee
A book from a genre/subgenre you've never heard of
A book with an eccentric character
A book that's more than 800 pages
A book you got from a used book sale
A book that's been mentioned in another book
A book about a difficult topic
A book based on mythology    

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What I Learned Winter Edition (January/February 2017)

1. George Washington was a victim of bloodletting?
So one night Wallace and I were watching Pawn Stars on DVR and one of the trivia questions at commercial break was about which famous American died of bloodletting. Bloodletting was a common medical practice, where blood was literally drained from the human body, though to release toxins and cure illnesses. It was used for nearly everything! According to the show, he had 9 pints of blood removed from a throat infection shortly before he died.  9 pints!!!

2. I love word origins. When I make time to look up words as I'm reading my Bible, I'm always amazed at the meaning behind the original words. One day, I was reading the Scripture about a crooked and perverse generation (forgive me for not jotting down the reference). It has the same root word, skolios, as our scoliosis... a "crooked" (S-shaped) curvature of the spine.

3. Another word origin... barn burner- I was watching a ballgame one night on ESPN and the commentators called it a barn burner, and that got me wondering why people called close games that. Basketball used to be placed in structures resembling a barn, maybe, and when they were on fire making baskets??? Or perhaps it just got so hot physically from the crowds and intensity of the game? The term actually comes from from the New York Democratic party,  as the barn-burners was one of two competing factions. It was thought to first be used in the sense of an athletic competition over a game of bridge.

4. Apparently they don't send out drivers license renewal forms.  I didn't realize this until Wallace and I were working on our tax paperwork. My license was... expired. And this makes twice it's happened. Needless to say, I wrote "check license" on the back page of my planner where I write things to do in the coming year... so it will be transferred over. Lord knows I don't want to have to take the drivers test again! Even though...

5. Driving isn't all that  hard, really...
I hate driving n traffic. I hate driving in weather.  But... Garth Brooks is Garth Brooks, and we had tickets, and by golly, we were going. So drive I did... to Cincy and back... I just wouldn't drive over Shoulderblade Hill. I even backed the car into the parking space, y'all, which is a major accomplishment for me, even with a back up cam! And it was worth it, because...

6. Garth Brooks is just as good the third time you see him on a tour.  We started off with him in Lexington, joined him in the middle in Louisville, and wound down in Cincy. Trisha Yearwood joined him in Lexington and Cincy. The last ttrip Caleb joined me and we had a great time. I love, love, love Garth Brooks and am amazed I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday morning but can remember words from songs 20+ years ago...

7. Winning District is just as fun the fourth time around.  Love my Ladycats!  This year wasn't the best season as far as wins and losses, but I've seen them grow so much on and off the court, and I am so extremely proud of them. And to top it off, Lauren Green had a picture of Caleb cutting the net with Wallace when he was two or three... and it was priceless to compare then and now.

8. When we think we are blessing others, really it's us getting the blessing...  My life as a coach's wife has taught me so much.  For as much as we have given to those we've been associated with, I've received ten fold.