Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!

20 Oct

Thanks to Mary at BookHounds for hosting the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop! There are lots of bloggers giving away books and bookish stuff, so make sure to check them out HERE.



I am giving away a copy of Mike Nappa‘s novel, The Raven. To enter, just leave me a comment telling what your favorite Halloween treat is.


41jklpz8chl-_sx322_bo1204203200_As part of his regular street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience’s pockets while they watch. It’s harmless fun — until he decides to keep the spare wallet a city councilman doesn’t seem to miss, hoping for a few extra bucks. When he finds not money but compromising photos of the councilman and his “personal assistants”, The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man. However, he quickly finds himself in over his head with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life-threatening plot code-named, “Nevermore”.

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues — and their complicated feelings for each other — to rescue The Raven and save hundreds of lives from a wildcard bent on revenge.


Book Review: A Day And A Life

20 Oct

514brqocxyl-_sx327_bo1204203200_The monastic rhythm of life at St. Alcuins means that all is peaceful on the surface, but beneath there are strong currents as each monk contends with his own hopes, fears, challenges, and temptations.

Not every monk is settled and secure. Sadness permeates the monastery when it is discovered early one morning that one of the novices, Brother Cedd, has disappeared. It quickly becomes clear that disturbance in the life of one can impact many. As the day goes on, the question looms: will Brother Cedd return? And what will be the consequences if he doesn’t?

In this moving conclusion to The Hawk and the Dove series, Pen Wilcock describes a single day in the life of the community weaving a deeply touching, frank, and witty tapestry of monastic life.


61vwghocnul-_ux250_Penelope (Pen) Wilcock is the author of over a dozen books of fiction and poetry, including The Hawk and the Dove series. She lives a quiet life on the southeast coast of England with her husband and is the mother of five adult daughters. She has many years of experience as a Methodist minister and has worked as a hospice and school chaplain.


My Impressions:

I have loved all of the books in Penelope Wilcock’s The Hawk And The Dove series and am sad that the time visiting with the monks of St. Alcuin’s has come to an end. I actually missed 2 books in the series, so I can dive into those, but when I finish with them, I’ll have to reread. And this series is one that definitely begs a rereading. A Day And A Life, book 9, draws all the threads together from previous books and weaves a story of faithfulness and community. A perfect ending to a lovely series.

St. Alcuin’s is a monastery located in Yorkshire during the 15th century. Although though they have contact with the outside world through tenants, pilgrims and benefactors, the monks live a mostly contained life, a life dedicated to prayer, work and service to others. Through varying perspectives the life and lives of the monks are, well, brought to life :)! I loved that Wilcock explores not only the brothers’ outward actions, but their inward thoughts, thoughts that are funny, poignant and extremely human. From a lowly postulant, a novice, seasoned brothers, and the abbot, a picture of what it means to have true fellowship emerges. From the reaches of time comes a story that is more relevant for today’s Christian than may be first expected. The monks struggle with frustrations, self-centeredness, loneliness and fear of the future. An overarching theme of belonging to a larger family — the family of God —  is woven throughout the book. There is also the theme of bearing with one another examplified with an amusing dinner scene.

Fans of The Hawk And The Dove series will be very pleased with this finale. If you haven’t read any of the books in this excellent series, you are in for a real treat. Start at the beginning and dig in!

Highly Recommended!

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel and Lion Hudson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


Children’s Corner — The Lord’s Prayer

19 Oct

51jgnkcs2ml-_sy417_bo1204203200_This iconic prayer is paired with flowing illustrations by award-winning artist Richard Jesse Watson and thoughtful insights by bestselling author Rick Warren, resulting in a book that rejuvenates the familiar prayer for a younger audience. Using poetic scripture from the King James Version, The Lord’s Prayer: Words of Hope and Happiness helps familiarize children with real biblical text while also presenting contemporary illustrations and insightful words that make this beautiful prayer come alive.


rickwarrenRick Warren is an American evangelical Christian pastor and author. He is the founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church, an evangelical megachurch in Lake Forest, California, that is the eighth-largest church in the United States (including multi-site churches). He is also a bestselling author of many Christian books, including his guide to church ministry and evangelism, The Purpose Driven Church, which has spawned a series of conferences on Christian ministry and evangelism. He is perhaps best known for the subsequent book The Purpose Driven Life which has sold more than 30 million copies, making Warren a New York Times bestselling author.

133-231-490-5-2-fn-lg_552386e63a54eRichard Jesse Watson is the acclaimed illustrator of numerous award-winning picture books for children, including Tom Thumb, winner of the SCBWI Golden Kite Award. Other awards include Waldenbooks Illustration Award, Best Book Design from the American Institute of Graphic Arts and Best Children’s Book from the Printing Industries of America. He was named an Ezra Jack Keats Fellow by the Kerlan Collection of the University of Minnesota.

Richard studied art at Pasadena City College and Art Center College of Design. He has continued his artistic studies drawing from life, and at art museums and cathedrals. He worked as a graphic designer for World Vision International, an illustrator for Hallmark Cards, later becoming a freelance artist.

Richard’s paintings are in galleries and on permanent display in corporate offices, conference centers, libraries, children’s hospitals, and private collections. His work has also appeared in Society of Illustrators National and Western Exhibitions and Communication Arts Illustration Annuals. Commissioned works include paintings for the Los Angeles Zoo, Bell Atlantic, Norwest Banks, and Children’s Television Workshop. “Ever since I was the size of a fire hydrant I drew pictures that I could play in,” says Richard. “Pictures in which to wander far and wide, to go anywhere and do anything. I could run barefoot through a forest fire, lasso giant sloths and saber-toothed tigers, and then get ever so sssthtuck in the Tar Pits, only to be rescued by German shepherds. Pictures were my own rocket ship to planets of unlimited imagination.”

Richard Jesse Watson lives in Washington State with his wife and children. His latest title, The Boy Who Went Ape, is illustrated by his son, Benjamin James Watson.

My Impressions:

Rick Warren’s The Lord’s Prayer is an extended version of the beloved prayer taught by Jesus. Through verse and illustrations a child’s understanding of the prayer is expanded and personalized. I liked that each verse of the prayer was accompanied by words that explained and encouraged. Each page of this book is a prayer unto itself, with gratitude for all God does as the focus. The illustrations are beautiful and detailed, although I really didn’t like the author’s choice for Heaven. While it is a representation from the illustrator’s perspective, I felt it went further than the scriptural record. I also didn’t like that the figure that I presume represents God looks a bit like Santa Claus. This book does make a child (and his/her parent) think about who God is and their place in His world.

Audience: children ages 5-8.

Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Top 10 Tuesday — Characters and Cats

18 Oct

Do you have a favorite character you would name your dog, cat or child after? Well that’s the theme of this week’s Top 10 Tuesday! My future daughter-in-love just got a cute Boston Terrier puppy she named Yossarian — after the main character in her favorite book, Catch-22. At my house, we have named animals after TV, literary, and Biblical characters. We had a doberman named Mr. Spock (it was the ears!), a feisty Jack Russell named Higgins from Magnum PI, and a beloved cat named Jezebel who was nothing like her namesake. My sweet little orange tabby is named Stella and I have to tell you I have fun calling her!😉

This week I decided to take character names from my most recent reads and find cats to match them, because what good is being a crazy book lady without adding a bit of cat insanity to the mix! To find out what other bloggers are naming their pets and their kids, click HERE.




Top 10 Cat Character Names

Arianna is a blue-eyed, platinum blond beauty from Cindy Woodsmall‘s The Amish of Summer Grove series. She is as sweet as she is pretty.


Brother Thomas has been a favorite character of mine throughout the 9-book series, The Hawk And The Dove, by Penelope Wilcock. You just have to name a cat after this faithful monk!


Charlie Lionheart is the name of the main character in Joanne Bischoff‘s novel, The Lady And The Lionheart. Isn’t that just the best name for a sweet orange tabby?!


Finn is the sweet and hunky former Navy SEAL in Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon. Is it too ironic to name a cat Finn?


My husband and I love listening to Agatha Christie audiobooks featuring Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. This very proper black and white kitten would be the perfect Hercule.


Inspector Jago from Mike Hollow‘s Blitz Detective series has seen a lot in his life — from the trenches of WWI to the bombing of London in WWII. Here’s a cat who has been around!


Mama Bliss is from Mike Nappa‘s novel The Raven. Mama was world weary as she sought to make up for the wrongs in her family’s life.


Nicolette (Nicki to her friends) is a fresh, young PI who speaks her mind. She is also is very curious! She is the main character in Mary Ellis‘ book, Midnight on The Mississippi.


The Raven is the title character from Mike Nappa‘s novel of the same name. He is a deception artist, but gets into lots of trouble with the Ukranian mob in Atlanta. Here’s a jet black kitten to match that name.


Last, but certainly not least there is Vandergriff from Amy Matayos‘ rom-com, The Thirteenth Chance. This cocky kitten matches the cocky baseball player he is named after.







Book Review: The Cautious Maiden

17 Oct

51ihxjionzl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents’ New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks; but when Violet’s own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance; Vance Everstone. As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU. With danger stalking her and a new fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust; and who to leave behind.



71xnmguh8yl-_ux250_Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award-nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles, which currently consists of: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart and The Captive Imposter. The Cautious Maiden is her fourth book.

Apart from writing, Dawn is also a mom of two little ones and serves with her husband in a premarital mentorship program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do.

Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and an associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.


My Impressions:

Fans of historical romance will love Dawn Crandall’s newest novel, The Cautious Maiden. Book four in her popular Everstone Chronicles, brings back favorite characters from previous books and introduces a heroine to cheer and a bad-boy turned hero to swoon over. Set in the north woods of Maine and the bustling city of Boston of the late 1890s, this novel has a bit of a modern feel as well, since it touches on the problem of sex-trafficking. It is not a major element, but it definitely brings awareness to a problem that seems to be as old as time. While The Cautious Maiden is part of a well-crafted series, it can certainly be read as a standalone. But be advised; you will want to go back and read the other books once you close the covers of this one.

Violet Hawthorne has lost much in the past year, but she is determined to live a life worthy of her parents’ memory and her faith in God. When she is put in a very compromising situation, Violet is thrust into the high society life of the Everstone family. Vance Everstone, the black sheep of the family, is back and determined to live a life worthy of his Savior. Will internal pressures and external threats allow the two to live a happily-ever-after?

Violet and Vance are two very appealing characters. Violet may be innocent of the world, but her quiet strength is very evident. Vance is the man of the hour — you won’t find another man who is in turns as tender and passionate as he is. Add his protective nature, his smoldering eyes and his determination to be a better man, and you have a very, very attractive hero. There are sparks aplenty between the characters, and Crandall explores the not so easy struggle to keep the flesh in check. New creations still have temptations and those saved by grace must be reminded to forgive. An element of danger is threaded through the story from the opening chapter and comes into its own towards the end. The action comes fast and furious with a twist and a surprise at the end. A few minor characters have their own interesting story lines, and I look forward to see how Crandall develops them. Can we have more of Violet’s cousin Cal and the shy Roxy?!

So if you are in the mood for a very satisfying romance with an historical setting, be sure to check out The Cautious Maiden. You won’t be disappointed!


Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Whitaker House for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


My Book Club Just Entered The 21st Century!

15 Oct

My book club, By The Book, entered into its 15th year last month! Wow! 169 books to show for it! But you know how it is, many of our members have very busy lives and cannot always attend. We have also lost some members due to their husband’s untimely career moves. Ok, not untimely for them, but definitely untimely for us! I also have friends and family that live far, far away and would like to join in on the fun. Soooo . . . I created a FB community just for us. And for you, if you’d like to join.

Here’s the info:

We will discuss a Christian novel every month. All you have to do is read it and share your thoughts. I will also endeavor to post links to the author’s pages, excerpts, news, and fun, fun stuff like recipes and pictures of our book world. Easy peasy!!

Won’t you join us? We’d love to have you. By The Book FB Book Club.


This month’s selection is Midnight on The Mississippi by Mary Ellis.


14708299_1306480966063401_7535827140538317115_nMidnight on the Mississippi begins the new Secrets of the South Mysteries from bestselling author Mary Ellis. These complex crime dramas follow an investigator’s quest to make the world a better place . . . solving one case at a time.

New Orleans — Hunter Galen, a stock and securities broker, suspects his business partner, James Nowak, may be involved in embezzling their clients’ money, but he’s reluctant to jeopardize their friendship based on suspicion alone. After James turns up dead, Hunter realizes his unwillingness to confront a problem may have cost James his life.

Nicki Price, a newly minted PI, intends to solve the stockbroker’s murder, recover the missing millions from the client accounts, and establish herself in the career she adores. As she ferrets out fraud and deception at Galen Investments, Hunter’s fiancée, Ashley Menard, rubs Nicki the wrong way. Nicki doesn’t trust the ostentatious woman with an agenda longer than the Mississippi River. Ashley seems to be hiding something, but is Nicki’s growing attraction to Hunter—a suspected murderer—her true reason for disliking Ashley?

As they encounter sophisticated shell games, blackmail, and murder, Nicki and Hunter’s only option is to turn to God as they search for answers, elude lethal danger, and perhaps discover love along the way.


mary-ellisMary Ellis is the best selling author of seven Amish inspirational novels that include The Wayne County series and The Miller Family series. She grew up in Ohio close to an Amish community. Before becoming a full-time writer, Mary taught middle school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. All three of her Miller Family series books have made the CBA and CBD bestseller lists. A Widow’s Hope was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards for 2010 and a runner-up in the 2010 Holt Medallion Awards.

Book Spotlight: Soul Anchors

15 Oct

My friend, Chrissie Tomlinson, has written a terrific book. Please check out Soul Anchors! Chrissie is a committed Christian woman who loves Jesus. I am excited for her as she travels on this journey with her book.


518xiqb-tyl-_sx355_bo1204203200_With in-depth instruction and personal application guides this Bible study will guide you through an examination of four soul anchors that we have through our relationship with Jesus Christ. These anchors — love, truth, peace, and freedom — are unchangeable despite the circumstances, despite our feelings, and in spite of all the obstacles that are thrown into our paths.





chrissie-tomlinson-edited-243x300-copyChrissie Tomlinson in her own words — My education includes degrees in Christian Education, Biblical Counseling, and Organizational Leadership. But most of my real schooling has come from being on the front lines of ministry. I have served in the ministry as Christian school educator, administrator, counselor, and most recently served as Director of Education and Preschool at a Southern Baptist church in Middle Georgia. Currently, I am employed by the USAF, and work as a contract specialist.

In my spare time, I am actively serving at my church, First Baptist Perry, Georgia, and stay busy with friends and family. I enjoy reading, knitting, and cooking, and, of course, writing.