Thursday, April 20, 2017

Author Spotlight: Danny and Wanda Pelfrey

Danny and Wanda Pelfrey are longtime writers of non-fiction books in the educational and inspiration markets. They have for most of their lives been avid readers of mystery/suspense. AS A SHIELD and a previous mystery title are the result of a desire to entertain themselves and others as well as drive home important spiritual messages. Their passion is now “mysteries with a message.”
AS A SHIELD is one of four planned Davis Morgan mysteries set in a small North Georgia town. Davis, a pastor for almost twenty-five years, returns to his hometown after the death of his wife, to operate a rare and used bookstore. He is promptly appointed chaplain of the small police department and recruited by city officials to write a history of his home town. Mystery and romance seem always to be lurking around the corner for the popular bookseller.The reoccurring characters such as Charley Nelson, young police officer; Amy Morgan, Davis’s young daughter who is an English teacher; her roommate Deidre, who Davis is more and more drawn to as time passes; Miss Helen, the local historian and a host of others add to the fun and excitement.

 A visit to little Adairsville, Georgia will surely be a memorable event for anyone who chooses to drop-in. In AS A SHIELD, Davis, through his encounters with two strange villains, comes to experience for himself the truth of Psalm 5:12, “For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”

About the Authors: Danny and Wanda Pelfrey are a husband/wife team who in the past were active writers of non-fiction material, having, between them, cranked out several books. They are both graduates of Point University and Danny has a Masters from Kentucky Christian University. Danny has spent most of his adult life as a pastor and Wanda as a teacher.Their interest at present lies in the creation of mysteries with a message.

Danny and Wanda are the proud parents of two daughters and five grandchildren. They reside in a little Cape Cod style cottage in the small town in North Georgia that is the setting for their mysteries.

About the Book: Davis Morgan, having left the ministry after the death of his wife, returns to Adairsville, Georgia, his hometown. There he operates a used and rare bookstore while being appointed chaplain of the police department. He and Charley, a young policeman, after discovering the body of a tattooed man find themselves in a serious battle to bring justice to two strange villains who are threating the safety of Davis's daughter. While all this is going on, Davis is struggling with interpreting his relationship with a young history teacher who happens to be his daughter's roommate. __._,_.___ Posted by: Clash of the Titles

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Long Time Gone

Long Time Gone
The Cimarron Legacy #2
Mary Connealy
 The plot to uncover who wants their ranch continues with the Boden family. They had thought that with a powerful enemy gone they could go back to life as normal. But he may have just been one piece to the puzzle. Because trouble is still following them everywhere.

Another excellent book by this author. I really enjoy her writing style. She's able to convey the correct emotions, bring depth to the characters, and draw the reader in to the story and the lives of the characters. I've read the first book in the series so I would definitely say that this isn't a stand-alone. You need to read the first book so that you can grasp what has happened before. The story begins right where the first one left off with the assumption that the reader knows what just happened.
This plot has adventure, strong family elements, trust, faith, suspense, and romance. And it's all woven together to create a wonderful story that I thoroughly enjoyed. Can't wait for the next book.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ellie Camps Under the Stars

Ellie Camps Under the Stars
The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant
Marci and Elle Fair
Ellie, the elephant, and Pudgy, the penguin, love spending time together in nature. So they plan a camping trip under the stars. It took some effort, but they planned a great camping trip. Once on the trip they learned about stars, nature, and friendships.

My daughter loved this book. We enjoy camping as a family so this was a great book to read before one of our trips that she could relate to. The pictures are adorable and help tell the story of the two little animals. The little questions throughout the story engage the young reader as well as the additional activities at the back of the book. This book is all about learning and adventure. Your young adventurer will love the entertaining story, but will also enjoy the way the book brings camping and nature alive in a fun and informative way.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Vera Bradley

Vera Bradley Paisley Patterns Coloring Book
I'm a huge fan of adult coloring books and grew up with Vera Bradley products, so was super excited to get this book. The attention to detail and quality of the book are exceptional. The book begins with some informational pages about coloring techniques, various coloring devises, and more. My favorite was a sample of all of the patterns used in this book. It also included the name of the pattern and what year it came out. The pages are thick and didn't bleed through. The back of the book included some note cards and gift tags that were super fun to use.

Overall, this was a wonderful book that is worth every penny. The intricate designs call for concentration and promote relaxation. The beautiful patterns inspired creativity and were nice enough to display. The extras in the back were enough to sell this book for me. This would make an excellent gift or as a relaxing tool for you when stressed out and needed some relaxing time.

I received a copy of this book from Fox Chapel Publishing. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Maybe It's You

Maybe It's You
Crisis Team #3
Candace Calvert
 Sloane has left her past behind when she moved to Los Angeles. She even went so far as to change her last name. But in trying to help a young girl, she is noticed by the PR Manager for the hospital. He's looking for a face for Hope Hospital and thinks that Sloane would be the perfect candidate. But Sloane is doing everything to avoid the spotlight. Her conception of Micah didn't get off to a great start, but maybe learning that he's also a volunteer crisis responder will change her mind.

While this book is in a series, I do think it could be read as a stand-alone. I somehow missed book #2 and was still able to jump right in to this story without feeling like I was missing a piece. I enjoy the laid back writing style and the character depth that the plot had. The author gave enough background and information to make the main characters intriguing. There was a bit of mystery and intrigue combined with the romance of the story. I always enjoy medical drama and was a tiny bit disappointed that there wasn't more medical jargon, but appreciate the author thinking of the non-medical readers. Overall, this was a fun story that I read quickly and enjoyed.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sandpiper Cove

Sandpiper Cove
Hope Harbor #3
Irene Hannon
 Lexie returned home after the death of her husband. She manages to hold the job of police chief and raise her son as a single mom. She's not remotely interested in dating again. Right now all she wants is to catch the person or persons responsible for the vandalism that has been happening in her small town. When Adam, a man with a criminal past, becomes one of the victims of vandalism, Lexie enlists his help to catch the people. She doesn't expect a friendship to grow.

I've always been a fan of the suspense novels by this author. But I'm really, really enjoying this series by her. The stories have heart. They can definitely be read as stand-alone, but I have enjoyed each book and recommend starting at the beginning. The characters are quirky, funny, authentic, and heartwarming. The author does a wonderful job of giving them depth and making them come alive. Her writing style makes me feel like I'm in the small town and I know the residences. The elements of faith, the importance of family, the sweetness of romance all come together to create a beautiful story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next one.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

An Afffair in Winter

An Afffair in Winter
Season #1
Jess Michaels
Rosa Wilde is on the way to meet up with her sister when weather stands her at a local inn. There she spends the night in the company of a man that she knows only as Mr. Gray. Imagine her surprise to arrive at the estate where her sister is about to get married and find that he's the brother of her sister's fiance. And he doesn't want the two to get married. 

This book was a mixed bag for me. I liked the two main characters and quite a few of the secondary characters. I think the author did a great job of grabbing my interest with them. The story was a quick read that I was able to enjoy in one afternoon. There were some sweet and heartfelt moments throughout the book and I liked the way the author showcased the closeness in some families. I wasn't as fond of the plot, it was very obvious what the outcome would be from the very beginning. The element of mystery wasn't really there for me. And I felt like the bedroom scenes were a distraction rather than a plus in the story. I skipped over most of them to get to the interesting sections. The chemistry between the characters just wasn't there. I liked them individually, just not together. This was my first book by this author and since I enjoy the genre so much, I'm definitely willing to give her another shot.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Vera Bradley

Vera Bradley Floral Patterns Coloring Book
Unless you are living under a rock, you've noticed the adult coloring books rise in popularity. With so many of them out there, it's hard to know which one to pick. I enjoy coloring in these books, so I've been reviewing all different kinds to find the best ones.

This is one of those "best ones". The binding and cover are thick, yet bendable so the book can be opened to color. The pages are of thick cardstock style paper that makes bleed through impossible. I didn't even have any ghosting when I used markers. The first few pages consist of an introduction, suggestions, information on the various markers or pens to use, coloring techniques, and more. The coloring pages are of the various flower patterns that Vera Bradley has used. About half of the pages have flower quotes on them, in addition to the colors. At the back of the book are some note cards and gift tags that can be colored as well. In the beginning of the book are a few suggestions on how to use these. Overall this was a beautiful book that I've really enjoyed using. While this would make an excellent gift, I recommend getting two. You won't want to part with it.

I received a copy of this book from Fox Chapel Publishing. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Dinner: Changing the Game
Melissa Clark
Each recipe is designed to make dinner a wonderful celebration of food and is intended to become a family classic. Each recipe is for dinner and can be a stand alone dish with perhaps a salad or some bread added. The author wanted to change the game and make meals easy and fun again. More than 200 recipes fill this large cookbook. Full page photographs add appeal as well. 

The recipes are well laid out and easy to read. All of the ingredients are easily obtainable. The average recipe contains 4-5 steps of instructions. The author also included some of her thoughts on the recipe at the beginning of each one. This adds an authentic and personal feel that I enjoyed. The book is very large, but lays flat on my counter for easy use. This is a cookbook that I will be keeping and adding to my shelf. But it would also make an excellent gift for the cook in your family.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Friday, March 31, 2017

If You Were Me

If You Were Me and Lived in Israel
Carole P. Roman
This book is part of a series designed to introduce children to how other people live in different countries. Using a mixture of illustrations and photography, the author talks about children who live in Israel and what life might be like if you were a little boy or girl who lived there. She talks about location, family, food, and fun. The difficult or unfamiliar words have a pronunciation beside them and are all included in a pronunciation guide at the back of the book.
My children really enjoy this series and look forward to each one. While the style of the book is laid out like a story, this is non-fiction and more informative. Children will learn quite a bit about the culture of other children around the world while having fun reading. I would recommend this book for family fun or for schools as an addition to curriculum.
I received a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Promises for You

FaithGirlz Promises for You Coloring Devotional
60 Days Discovering God's Hope and Love
 This book combines several different elements of Bible study. Each page has black and white color pages. One one side is a Bible verse, short devotional, and space for journaling. The devotionals are geared towards pre-teen girls. The hard glossy cover and thick paper make this a book to keep long after the pages are colored and the spaces filled with writing.

I liked this so much that I was tempted to keep it and get another one for my daughter. While the devotions were shorter than what I would want, they fit perfectly for the intended age group. My daughter loved the book and the topics have prompted further studying and deeper questions. This would make a perfect gift for the young girl who is growing in her walk with Jesus.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Created for Connection

Created for Connection
Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love
Dr. Sue Johnson and Kenneth Sanderfer
The two authors have taken their experiences as psychologist and emotional focused therapist and written a book designed for couples using the EFT method. EFT is Emotionally Focused Therapy the views the love relationship as an attachment bond. The couples are taught to find ways to grow and enrich the bond they have with each other. The authors give practical advice and tell stories from their experiences that help show the method they are encouraging.

The book was easy to read. The steps seemed easy to implement and the authors appeared knowledgeable about the topic. I found the book to be incredibly long and as it went on, more and more boring. While it was a well written book, it seemed more therapy focused and less self-help. Which would have been my reason for purchasing had I picked up the book. Overall, this might help couples who really don't realize that negative words towards their spouse are a bad thing, or someone who really needs their eyes opened. But it wasn't really something I found that I could benefit from.

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Perfect Pumpkin

The Perfect Pumpkin
Teandra Knapp
Mother and daughter arrive at a pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkin for carving. But as time goes on, the mother realizes that her daughter's version of a perfect pumpkin is far from her own. The little girl wants a pumpkin that is so different and dis-formed that no one else wants it. She intends to give it a loving home when no one else will.

My daughter enjoyed reading the book and picked up on the message that the author was trying to convey. The illustrations were colorful and filled every page. The story is sweet and can be the opener for deeper conversations with young children. My only complaint was the lack of editing. I found quite a few grammatical errors that jumped out at me. I know I'm an adult and this is a children's book, but several of the errors were such that the story could be confusing or read incorrectly. Cleaned up, this is a cute story with a great message.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Mail Order Mommy

Mail Order Mommy
Boom Town Brides #2
Christine Johnson
Amanda, an orphan, is taken in by a foster family. But she isn't treated like family. She's just another servant working in their home. When the son makes inappropriate moves on her and blames her for his advances she flees with a friend as a mail order bride. But upon her arrival she realizes that the children of the man wrote the advertisement and Garrett has no intention of getting married again. His wife was not faithful and upon her death Garrett vowed to remain a widow. But Amanda falls in love with his children and he needs a nanny and a housekeeper.

I've read the first book in this series and really enjoyed it. So I was excited to see what happened next. This book was part sweet and part frustrating. I wanted to give the main male character a good swat upside the head for being so stubborn. But that just means the author did a great job of creating a likeable character that had flaws. Because in the end, the reader and the main female character forgive him. The author does a great job with the characters. They all stand out and the secondary characters play a big part in the plot as well. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

Monday, March 27, 2017

A Stolen Heart

A Stolen Heart
Cimarron Creek Trilogy #1
Amanda Cabot
Lydia packs up her entire life and moves to Cimarron Creek to be with her fiance, Edgar. But when she steps off of the stage coach, she's met by the sheriff who informs her that Edgar is missing and his pregnant wife is very worried about him. Lydia manages to hide her dismay and soon learns that the town has many secrets and a not so secret dislike of Northerners. But she shoulders on and insists on calling this small town home.

The story started out with rich details and captured my attention immediately. I've read a series by this author before, but it was a contemporary setting. So this was a change for me. I enjoyed this book even more than her previous ones. The characters were very well defined and stood out. They all had flaws and quirks that made the story come alive. The romance was clean and the plot had elements of faith woven throughout. There was a little mystery mixed in with the romance and drama that added a touch of suspense. The author did a great job of tying everything up together in the end, while leaving an opening for the next book. I loved how she set the scene and found my self wishing she'd hadn't limited herself to only three books by calling this a trilogy. I can see an entire line of books with different characters from the town. Can't wait to read the second book. 
I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Somebody Like You

Somebody Like You
Maverick Junction #1
Lynette Austin
Cash is dumbfounded when he realizes that he might lose the ranch he's put his life in to. His grandfather has passed away and his will states that Cash must be married by his 30th birthday or risk losing the ranch to his horrible step-grandmother.
Annelise is going against family wishes and the body guards her father hires for her to come to Maverick Junction. She is in search of long lost relative who might be able to help her grandfather beat cancer. What she doesn't expect to find is Cash Hardeman and the sweet people in Maverick Junction.

I hadn't read anything by this author, but had heard some good things. This book didn't disappoint. The characters came alive, the plot had original elements, the descriptions were well done without being too much, and the story had heart as well as humor. The author has done a great job of creating well defined characters that you love or love to hate. And she has a style of writing that draws the reader in. I can't wait to read more books by this author.

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Elusive Miss Ellison

The Elusive Miss Ellison
Carolyn Miller
Lavinia Ellison lost her mother due to the thoughtlessness of a member of the Hawkesbury family. So when the brother arrives in her village she makes the assumption that he is the same arrogant, careless type of person. But the more time she spends with Nicholas, the more she realizes he is not anything like she imagined.

This was a true regency romance. The plot was complicated, but not difficult to follow. The characters came alive on the pages and were relatable. I've read a ton of regency fiction and I really felt like the author got the genre and wrote with authenticity. This is a Christian novel and so the story line is clean and there are bits of faith woven throughout the story. I appreciated the way the author stayed true to the era while also making this a decent book that I can pass on to my daughter. Overall, this was a wonderful book that I really enjoyed and I look forward to reading more by this author.

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Then Came You

Then Came You
Bradford Sisters #.5
Becky Wade
Garner has made some major mistakes in his life. But nothing is so daunting as when he holds his newborn daughter in his arms as his girlfriend drives away. He might be the heir to a shipping company, but he has no clue what to do with a baby. His life isn't going exactly as planned and soon he is in charge of running a failing company, raise a daughter without her mother, and work with an exasperating young woman who thinks she has all of the answers.

This novella is written in the epistolary style, using phone calls, letters, journal entries, and text messages to tell the story of Mr. Bradford. The story is beautiful and heart wrenching. But it ends on a wonderful, redemptive note and really sets the tone for the book that is coming about his daughter. I loved this tiny glimpse into the next series and thought the author did a fantastic job with this writing style. When done well this style seems richer, more personal, and thrilling and Becky Wade definitely delivered. Can't wait to dive into the next book.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Kingdom Family Devotional

Kingdom Family Devotional
52 Weeks of Growing Together
Tony Evans and Jonathan Evans
Family is the most important element in our country. Learning, growth, life lessons, and spiritual guidance all begin at home. We can't ever reach the world and cause a change without first starting in our own homes. Mr. Evans and his son Jonathan have written a devotional that focuses on the things that families need most and has divided the topics up by weeks. The book contains 52 weeks (260 devotionals) that speak to the needs of the families. Each devotional has a scripture that is to be read in conjunction with the devotional thought.

I really liked this devotional. I thought the authors did a great job of bringing their point across in each week. The thoughts were well worded and inspiring. Each day was short, but had a lot of content for thought. There were also some family activities that could be done with the devotional. The book cover was pretty as well. This would be a wonderful gift to give to that special family in your life or to use in your own family to boost your connection with each other and God.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale. All thoughts expressed are my own.

An Amish Home

An Amish Home
Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, Kathleen Fuller
Four young women learn that there are more important things than the perfect home. That the ones you love can make any place a wonderful home. Four well known Amish writers have come together to write novellas that portray the importance of family, faith, and love. Each story is a stand alone, but are all tied together by their theme of family and home.

I loved each of these stories. The authors did a great job of creating a plot and authentic characters in a short story. The stories all made me think about my own family and how much I loved an appreciated them. The length of each novella made it perfect for little moments when I only had a little bit of time to read. This would also make an excellent gift. Each story really showed the author's writing style and would be a great way to introduce new authors.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Fatal Mistake

Fatal Mistake
White Knights #1
Susan Sleeman
Tara is the only person who saw the Lone Wolf bomber and knows who he is. But she's terrified that he'll come after her and the police won't be able to protect her. So she runs. But the Lone Wolf is tracking her and killing anyone associated with her.  Cal, an FBI agent, is intend on finding Tara and flushing out the bomber. But he can't do it without Tara's help. Both of them must work together to find the bomber before he claims another victim. But what will happen if they both give in to the attraction between them?

I loved this story. The characters were flawed, yet likable. The secondary characters were a great addition and supported the main characters. The plot was original and full of suspense. The author did a great job of creating drama and tension to keep the story moving, while incorporating great elements of faith, family, and romance so the plot wasn't all about the bomber. She intricately wove the whole story together to create an edge of your seat suspense that I couldn't put down. I've enjoyed every story by this author, but this one is now my favorite. Definitely grab a copy if you enjoy suspense and romance.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Ties That Bind Us

Ties That Bind Us: A Collection of Vermont Short Stories
Stephen Russell Payne
These are all short stories that have Vermont as it's location, but for the most part do not connect otherwise. Each story shows a side of native Vermont that might not be known to an "outsider".

Since I'd just returned from an extensive trip in Vermont, I was really looking forward to reading this book. Each story was well written and left the reader with something to think about. I enjoyed reading the book, but had a minor issue with the theme. Each story had a death or impeding death at the base or heart of the plot. This lead to an overall depressing and dark slant to the book. I wish that the author had included some more light hearted or encouraging stories, as I'm sure that not all Vermonters are this dark. But this may simply be this author's writing style. Overall, an interesting and well written book with a darker theme.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Life After

Life After
Katie Ganshert
Autumn boards a train and minutes later wakes up in a hospital with no memory of what happened after she left work. She is the lone survivor from the crash, caused by a bomber. She's racked with survivor guilt and can't seem to get past the thought of all of the people who didn't make it like she did. Her obsession leads her to a family that lost their wife and mother on the train that day. To complicate matters, she was initially mistaken for this woman and Paul, the husband, had come to identify her at the hospital. Paul just wants to move on, Autumn is stuck in time. The two are force to work together and as they do, healing happens.

I absolutely loved this story. The emotions were so raw, the drama so real. The author did a great job of pulling me into the story and I couldn't put the book down. The authenticity made me feel like each scene was actually happening as I read. The characters were flawed, wounded, and yet likeable. The plot was incredibly original and well thought out. The author wove so many inspirational and faith based messages into the story, but I didn't once feel overpowered or preached at. I have no idea what genre this story would be placed in, but I do know that it is a story that I will be recommending to everyone, regardless of their reading preferences. It's just that good.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Her Baby's Protector

Her Baby's Protector
Saved by the Lawman/Saved by the Seal
Margaret Daley and Susan Sleeman,204,203,200_.jpg
Saved by the Lawman
A masked man tried to kidnap Kate's baby while at the nature reserve. Thankfully Chase, a police officer, was running close by and heard her screams for help. There is obviously someone out to get the family court judge and until they are found, Chase intends to stay very close to Kate and her precious son.

This was a suspenseful plot that was wrapped in romance, faith, and pure sweetness. Who doesn't adore a strong man that melts when presented with a baby?! The author did a great job of creating a suspenseful plot while also tying in other elements to round out the story. The twist was great and added to the drama.

Saved by the SEAL
When Bree's best friends are killed she gets custody of their infant daughter. Bree is sure that her friends were murdered, but the local detective won't give her the time of day. After a drive by shooting at her home, she decides to hide at her ex-boyfriend's ranch. He's a SEAL and is rarely home. But when Clint happens to come home to find Bree, her mom, and a baby in his home, he takes his vacation time to protect them and help Bree find the killer.

LOVED this story. It has everything I want in a romantic suspense. This author is amazing and has once again written a winner. The suspects are numerous and the plot keeps the reader on their toes. I like how she weaves a message of faith into the plot so seamlessly. It is actually a part of the characters. The characters are well developed and grab the reader with their authenticity. The romance between the couple was real and genuinely sweet. Another favorite. I can't wait to read her next book.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Behind the Scenes of Shoba Sadler's CHILD OF DUST
Today we'll sit down to chat with Shoba Sadler, author of the contemporary title Child of Dust. Shoba will take us behind the scenes of her unique new novel and give us a glimpse into her writing.

Shoba, why did you choose to write this type of novel?
Social status and cultural barriers makes for great conflict. Child of Dust is like a modern-day classic of Romeo and Juliet only instead of opposing families, these lovers, Kim and Bryan have cultural and social barriers to contend with.

Kim, the rich and spoilt socialite who loses her money is taken under the wing of her reluctant chauffeur, Bryan, who has his own struggles to deal with. They find love under the most unexpected circumstances.

Can you tell us why you started with an Asian setting for your first two novels?
I was founder of Agape Christian magazine in Malaysia. I also freelanced for the leading English, secular newspaper in Malaysia, The Star. My feature stories forThe Star were several page write-ups with gorgeous photos. Many of my stories were selected by the features editor to be cover stories as well.

As I interviewed people all over the world for Agape, I saw God moving powerfully in Asia and yet there were so few stories coming from there especially in the Christian romance genre.

In Asia, Christianity is seen very much as a Western culture. Yet so many Asians have had powerful encounters with Jesus Christ. Then there is the struggle to validate their faith in the midst of culture, tradition, loss of identity, social stigma and so on.

There alone you have so much material for backdrop, tension, drama, conflict and final resolution.

An example of what I mean can be seen in my short story Finding Enlightenmentthat was awarded second place at It can be read here:

Talk a little about your unique setting.
When I read novels I am drawn to the backdrop and setting. A great description of the setting subtly woven into the story is what makes the difference between being a narrator who takes a person on a journey through his "telling" and a facilitator who steps out of the way altogether to allow the reader to explore the journey on his own. The writer should aim to be the facilitator and not the narrator.

There is nothing like a great setting to make the reader feel like they are there with the characters. It is like the difference between watching a 2D and 3D movie.

Unfortunately, many formulaic romance novels that are churned out in quick production-line succession fails to capture this allure of setting because it takes research and time. It is also not easy to write setting discreetly in the background and that is the only way to write it. Otherwise it will seem like reading lecture notes instead of a story.

I read one review of a multi-cultural romance set in an Asian country where the reviewer said she felt like she was reading a tour company's brochure and that is the wrong emotion to invoke.

So another reason I wrote Child of Dust was to give romance readers a chance to explore unique settings and backdrops not normally experienced by a reader in the current trend of romance novels available out there.

We'd love to hear a little about the historical background for your novel. Will you talk about that?
The main character, Bryan, Kim's chauffeur has been deeply affected by the Vietnam war in the sense that he is the illegitimate child of an American GI and a Vietnamese woman. This historical background sets a different dimension to the story and adds intrigue and authenticity.

Who would you say is the audience for this novel?

Child of Dust is an appealing read for anyone. As I have also written for the secular press, I am able to write in a manner that appeals to all walks of life both Christian and non-Christian. I have had non-Christians tell me they were so engrossed in the story that they didn't not notice the message of the gospel woven into the story. Yet that message is undoubtedly there.

I am an inspirational writer and everyone loves a good inspirational story just as they love watching a Hallmark movie.

What readers have to say about the novel:
"Make sure when getting ready to read Child of Dust that you don't have anything else planned for the day, you won't be able to put this book down. I could go on and on about this book. Highly and strongly recommend it. Is it possible to give a book 10 stars?" --- Debra Dunson, reviewer at The Edgier Christian Fiction Fan

"I found the writing of this story to be close to excellent.... I found this book to be one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time. It was interesting, the story kept moving along, and I learned a lot as I read this story. I found myself intrigued with the constant difficulties faced by the protagonists – and their stories were presented so much more like real life stories than any other book I have read in a long, long time." --- Marina, Community Writer, California

"This novel has a consistent rhythm, adding surprise after surprise, twisting our emotions at each new difficulty Kim faces. I couldn't put this book down, waiting to see if any or all the ends would be tired up. I would actually like to see the novel transcend into a movie. An amazing read." --- Brices Mice Christian Book Reviews

About Child of Dust: 
Beautiful but spoilt Vietnamese socialite, Cao Kim Lye, learns of her parents shocking death from the dashing Amerasian family chauffeur, Bryan Nguyen.

Kim steps out of a world of crystal and chandelier to enter the dust and chaos of working-class Hanoi. She finds herself living under the roof of a shop cum living quarters with Bryan and his adoptive family.

Ever conscious of the privileged class, Kim struggles against the emotional ties she forms towards Bryan, the reluctant saviour, who considers her an unnecessary hitch to his already complicated life.

He still bears the scars of abandonment by his mother and his American GI father when U.S. troops pulled out of Vietnam.

Eventually Bryan and Kim's powerful attraction to each other begins to break down the wall between them.

About the author: 
Shoba Sadler has been a journalist for 20 years and founder of Agape magazine in Malaysia. She is a versatile inspirational author that likes to write in multiple genres. She has pioneered a new genre in Christian multi-cultural writing with her novel Child of Dust and her many award-winning short stories can be read here

Her passion for writing is matched only by her passion for cooking with farm fresh produce. She lives a healthy lifestyle on a farm with her husband, Kevin, a talented musician, who also loves to surf and ski. They grow their own vegetables and fruits and share their home with a multitude of animals and wildlife. They are passionate about buying directly from local farmers who practice organic farming.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

One To Ten

One To Ten
Squirrel's Bad Day
Carole P. Roman
Poor little squirrel has lost his acorns. He's so upset and little rabbit helps him see how it isn't as bad as it seems by  playing a little game. Rabbit asks the other forest friends to join in the game and soon the whole forest is thinking positively and encouraging little squirrel. The book ends with an encouragement for anyone who is feeling down and reminds them of the rules of the game so they can feel better.

The whimsical illustrations and lyrical style of writing work together to tell a sweet story of friendship and the effect of positive thinking. Parents will enjoy the positive message and the practical advice for children. Children will enjoy the colorful drawings and the entertaining animals. They will also be able to relate to little squirrel and his problems.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

How Long is Now?

How Long is Now?
Fascinating answers to 191 mind-boggling questions
The Last Word, a column at the back of the New Scientist magazine is dedicated to answering those strange and weird questions. The answers are supplied by other readers and the publishers publish the question along with the best answers in the column. This book is a compilation of that column and some of the questions people have asked over the years. Some of the questions include multiple answers.

This was a fun book for my son and I to read together. He is always asking me endless questions and his thirst for knowledge has led to some interesting conversations. These questions were gems in keeping him entertained. I did find some of the answers contradicted each other and we had to do some internet research to find the correct answer. I would have liked having the correct answer below the reader's answer. But overall, this was a fun book that we both enjoyed reading. I think it would be a great gift or coffee table book.

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Friday, March 3, 2017

When God Made You

When God Made You
Matthew Paul Turner
Children are so curious about the world around them. But they also wonder about themselves. Are they special? Why are they different from everyone else? Who made them? The author and illustrator worked closely together to create a book that tells and shows children exactly why they are the way they are and who designed them to be that way. Each page is completely covered in illustration while the lyrical words fit on each page to match.  

My kids loved this book and so did I. The illustrations are amazing. The little girl is adorable and you can feel her joy coming through the pictures. The words are thoughtful and sweet, while telling the little reader how very special and unique they are, and that God created them perfectly. I think every home should have this positive and inspiring book in their personal library. I will be donating a copy to our school as well. Definitely a five star book.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Tokyo Fashions

Forever Inspired Coloring Book
Tokyo Fashions
It looks like an adult coloring book, but has been designed for a younger demographic. Each has a black and white design pulled from Asian fashion. The artist can then fill in the colors to create a beautiful fashion plate. The pages are perforated so they can be torn out and used for decor or inspiration.

My daughter loves the "grown-up" coloring books. This book definitely fit that request, in her opinion. My little fashionista fell in love with the variety of clothing and the setting that the designer put behind each model. The spaces were perfect for her skill level and she loved being able to tear the pages out for better access or for hanging on her wall. There are several books featuring different places in the world and I will be getting more when she finishes with this one.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Beating Busyness

Beating Busyness
Adam R. Holz
Technology, social media, and the busyness of life tend to crowd our time with God and push us toward neglecting that still small voice. The author has taken from scripture and his personal experiences to write a Bible study on how to beat the busyness of life. Each chapter is a separate study that breaks down the barriers that we erect around us that crowd out the Holy Spirit. Each chapter is slightly different, but has some thoughts from the author on the subject, Biblical references to support his thoughts, and questions to get the reader thinking. There is space after each question to write in the book or jot down ideas and verses.

I liked this study guide. It was well thought out and nicely executed. There were a couple of times that I was a little uncertain where the author was going or didn't completely agree with his thoughts. But this didn't really detract from the study. It was thoughtful and informative. If you feel overwhelmed and incredibly busy, take a few minutes each day to recharge and reconnect with your heavenly Father using this Bible study pamphlet to guide you.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Words for Me!

Words for Me!
Sarah Jones
Years ago I spent hours sitting with my son reading these little word books. He adored them. So I was delighted to find that they are still around and that kids still love them. The author has illustrated tons of adorable pictures on each page of this small board book. The pictures are realistic, but have a whimsical touch that will appeal to little, developing minds. The stiff, thick pages are perfect for little hands as they figure out how to turn and read. The objects cover a wide range of things that a little toddler might experience - from kitchen items and toys, to items around town or out on a walk. This little board book will be fun, but also educational as it helps the parents expand their child's vocabulary. This is the perfect edition to a toddler library or gift for that expecting parent.

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads. All thoughts expressed are my  own.

Remember and Return

Remember & Return
Rekindling Your Love for the Savior
John MacArthur
As Christians we just as prone to busyness and stress as anyone else. And we often get to caught up in the stresses of life that we drift away from our love of Christ. This little devotional is written with that very thought in mind. The book has thirty-one chapters and each chapter is a days devotional. The day begins with scripture that the devotional is built on. The chapter ends with a daily challenge designed to encourage and inspire the reader to put what they've read in to practice.

The devotionals were well written and the layout of the book was great for what the author intended. I enjoyed reading the book and finished with fresh inspiration and love for my Savior. My only negative would be that the devotionals were a bit long when I was rushed in the morning. This book would be perfect for the individual who has a little extra time to spend reading.

I received a copy of this book from Goodreads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Murder is No Accident

Murder is No Accident
Hidden Springs Mysteries #3
A.H. Gabhart
Maggie wasn't supposed to be in the old vacant house. But she desperately needed somewhere quiet to write. Since no one was living here, it seemed like the perfect place. At least until she heard what sounded like a murder and rushed downstairs to find a woman - dead. 
Sheriff Keane is called to the scene and rules the death an accident. But he begins to doubt himself when a second person is murdered in the house and Maggie appears to be in danger.  Lots of gossip, drama, and murder are making this small town very, very busy.

I've really enjoyed reading the books in this series. The author really brings an authentic small town feel to the story. The characters are realistic, have depth, and are engaging. The mystery isn't revealed too soon and the suspense is perfect. I love how the author sprinkles little elements of faith throughout without being preachy or overbearing. I also like the little romance that is going on between the main character and another character who has slipped into each story just a little bit. It is just the right element for a mystery and pulls me into the next book. Overall, this was a great story and I definitely hope the author plans to write another one in this series.

I received a copy of this book from The Suspense Zone. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Other Side of Him

The Other Side of Him
Alice Rene
In the 1950s girls didn't have a lot of options, especially a young girl in the tenants of Chicago, being raised by a single immigrant mother. But with her brother's support and her mother's reluctant agreement, she studies hard and earns a scholarship to college. She's still in college when her older brother begs her to go on a blind date with one of his customers. On paper Greg seems like a dream come true. He's a wealthy, handsome heart surgeon who clearly adores Claire. There are a few things that worry her, but they are quickly pushed to the back of her mind. Her friends think she's landed in heaven. But as the relationship progresses, Claire decides to end it. Greg has a much darker side and Claire isn't interested. And thus begins some of the worst months of her life as Greg proceeds to stalk her, threaten her, and ruin her career.

This is a darker subject and plot than I would normally read. But I think it's good to step out of my comfort zone occasionally. The writing style has a YA feel to it and feels like the subject is geared towards college age people. The author handled the delicate topic and ensuing emotions well and left the reader with a more positive reading experience when finished. I'm hoping that people who read this book will gain a better understanding of the darker side of relationships.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sweet Lake

Sweet Lake
Christine Nolfi
Linnie has been running the family inn for years after her brother's disappearance with most of the family money. The inn has been in the family for generations, but Linnie can't get her family to take her seriously. A male heir has always been in charge of the inn and they don't intend for Linnie to be the exception. Add a quirky group of older women, a man who has been in love with her for years, and the return of her prodigal brother and Linnie has a fight on her hands.

The book started out incredibly slow. There were a lot of major characters and I had a hard time differentiating them. I felt like I was reading the second book in a series and had missed the first one. There were a lot of details and I was lost for a bit. But about half way through the story, it picked up and I was able to put the pieces together. From there the plot flowed well and I caught the author's vision for where the story was going. It ended well, although not like I'd expected. Overall, this was an entertaining story with some great insights into the character of people that I think readers of women's fiction will really enjoy.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

If I Had a Parenting Do Over

 If I Had a Parenting Do Over
7 Vital Changes I'd Make
Jonathan McKee
If you've ever done something and later thought of ways you could have done better or found a solution that worked perfectly, then you'll love the approach this author took when writing his parenting book. Coming from years of experience and pulling from other parent's thoughts he wrote a book on parenting. Each chapter deals with typical parenting issues and ends with approximately 8-10 questions that parents can ask themselves that help them to put the concepts into practice.

This was one of my favorite parenting books, ever. The author has a great writing style that made me feel as if I was reading a story, but was learning some real and practical advice. The combination of honesty, humor, and authenticity made me feel I was learning from an expert without feeling preached at. I ended the book knowing that I could truly put these concepts into practice and I have already tried a few of the ideas with success. Definitely a book I would recommend to any of my parenting friends.

I received a free copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Just a Kiss

Just a Kiss
Summer Harbor #3
Denise Hunter
Riley couldn't stand around and watch his brother date the woman he loved. So he enlisted in the military. Now he's home and missing part of his leg. It doesn't really matter Beau is marrying someone else and Paige is free to date again. Because who would ever want him. He's damaged and in a bad place mentally. But when he tries to find a place to rest while he completes his physical therapy and gets fitted for his prosthetic, the only place available is Paige's spare bedroom. Riley isn't sure he can handle it, but he's willing to try. 

This was an incredibly sweet story. While I knew the outcome, it was still fun to read along as the characters worked through their issues and dealt with the drama that ensued. The author did a great job of showing some of the emotional trauma that our veterans face when returning from a combat zone. The story had a message of faith and redemption that was subtly woven throughout the story. Overall, a romantic love story that will touch your heart and at times make you laugh. Another winner by this author.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Control Girl

Control Girl
Lesson on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible
Shannon Popkin
Does a lack of control make you break out in hives? Are you often frustrated, angry, or stressed because things aren't going according to plan. Does the chaos of life throw you into a tailspin? Than I have a book for you. The author has shared from her experiences and personal Bible studies on the subject so that we can learn from her mistakes and from the wisdom of the Bible to get a handle on our control issues. Each chapter begins with a personal story from the author. This is followed by a passage of scripture to look up and read that will go with the lesson. The author then expounds on the verses and ends with some questions and thoughts to ponder. At the end of each chapter is a few verses for meditation.

I loved this book. And it came at a time when I really needed it. I enjoyed it so much that I purchased a copy for a friend. The author does a great job of making the topics personal and relatable. I felt like she was speaking directly to me while reading. The book would work well as a personal study book, but would also be perfect for a small group or women's Bible study. Definitely a 5 star book, in my opinion.

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Something Wild in Anchorage

Something Wild in Anchorage
Alaska Adventure Romance #5
Renee Hart
Lissa is a disaster waiting to happen. So she hopes that she can manage to hang on to her new job with the Fish and Game Department in Anchorage. But from the very beginning she is making mistakes and hurting other people. The only good thing is the friends she's made at a local coffee shop.  

I have the large print edition and it was still only 153 pages, so this is definitely a novella. Despite it being book five, it can be read as a stand-alone. I'm sure that characters fro the previous books are mentioned, but I didn't feel lost or notice references from previous books. The style of writing was very young adult and often made me feel like I was reading about high school characters instead of adults. Their interactions and conversations were puerile. I also noticed quite a few grammatical errors. I think the book has potential, it just needs some editing. Overall, this was not a story that I would choose to read again, but might interest my young daughter.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Paris Fashions

Forever Inspired Coloring Book
Paris Fashions
It looks like an adult coloring book, but has been designed for a younger demographic. Each has a black and white design pulled from French fashion. The artist can then fill in the colors to create a beautiful fashion plate. The pages are perforated so they can be torn out and used for decor or inspiration.

My daughter is always begging me to get her a "grown-up" coloring book. These fit her request perfectly. My little fashionista fell in love with the variety of clothing and the setting that the designer put behind each model. The spaces were perfect for her skill level and she loved being able to tear the pages out for better access or for hanging on her wall. There are several books featuring different places in the world and I will be getting more when she finishes with this one.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Shannon Popkin's 'Control Girl' Blog Tour and Prize Pack Giveaway

Are you trying to stay in control of your quest for peace, joy, and security . . . and you're exhausted? Shannon Popkin's debut book, Control Girl, is a must-read for anyone with a heart that craves control. Join Shannon as she shares what she has discovered about her own control struggles and about God from studying seven Control Girls in the Bible. Whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move, or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future, each of these women's stories contain warnings and lessons for us today.

Learn how to give up control to God and become a Jesus girl! Enter to win a prize pack that will help you give up your Control Girl tendencies.

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on February 21. The winner will be announced February 22 on Shannon's blog.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The American Heiress

The American Heiress Brides Collection
Lisa Cox Carter, Mary Davis, Susanne Dietze, Anita Mae Draper, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Lisa Karon Richardson, Lynette Sowell, Kimberley Woodhouse
Nine authors have come together to write novellas about about wealthy heiresses in a sweet historical collection. Each story is tied into the book by the theme, but otherwise stands alone. Each author has brought her sense of writing style and strong Christian faith to play in the books. 

I enjoyed each of these stories. Each one was different and yet fit together. The characters were well developed and the surroundings and circumstances were well described. Each story was sweet, romantic, and had elements of faith. I also found quite a bit of humor in several of the stories, which I really enjoyed. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian historical fiction. It would also work if you are limited on time as each little novella stands alone.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Seven Brides

Seven Brides for Seven Texans Romance Collection
Erica Vetsch, Amanda, Barratt, Susan Page Davis, Lorna Scilstad, 
Keli Gwyn, Gabrielle Meyer, Vickie McDonough
7-Heart Ranch is located in central Texas and run by a man who loves his seven sons, but wants to have some grandchildren to carry on his legacy when he's gone. But none of his boys seem remotely interested in getting married. So the father issues an ultimatum. Marry by the end of the year or lose your inheritance. The chaos and romance that ensues is only entertaining to the father. The boys are not amused.

I absolutely loved this story. Some stories were a bit more my style or better written than others, but all of them captured the plot idea and ran with it. They were sweet, romantic, sometimes funny, and filled with a strong sense of faith and family. Several of these authors are ones that I've enjoyed reading before. But it's always nice to try out a new author with a novella to get a feel for their writing style. If you enjoy romance, entertaining family drama, and historical christian fiction than definitely pick up this book. 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

For the Record

For The Record
Regina Jennings
Betsy has big dreams of leaving her small town and becoming an important writer for a newspaper in a big city. Working at her uncle's newspaper should technically help, but no one seems to be taking Betsy's writing seriously. So she comes up with the idea to create a romantic, fiction serial for a newspaper. She based the main character on their new deputy. She'd be horrified if he ever read what she thought of him, but since no one ever reads the big city newspapers she knows she's fine.
Deputy Joel does not want to be in Pine Gap. But he left Texas under some rather uncomfortable circumstances and returning isn't an option at the moment. So he has to put up with the shenanigans of the locals and that nosy journalist Betsy who won't leave him alone.

This story took a while for me to get in to. It wasn't the author's writing, she writes with suspense, drama, and a touch of the romance that draws the reader in. It was the characters. I just couldn't bring myself to like them, mainly Betsy. She was selfish, whiny, and didn't fit with the time period. And her character didn't really grow through the book. I ended it feeling the same way about her. Joel was okay, but a bit too weak for me. The Christian elements, usually stronger in these types of stories felt like an ad-on. Overall, I finished the book because I was writing a review, but was so disappointed in a writer I've enjoyed in the past. Despite my negative comments, I do think readers who enjoy Christian romance, will fall in love with this author, but should perhaps start with one of her other books.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House. All thoughts expressed are my own.