Sunday, April 5, 2020

Five Book Giveaway!

So... I totally missed doing my monthly book giveaway in February and March. To make up for it, I'm giving away FIVE books this month. They all go to one winner. All are previously used. Some I've read, some I haven't (but I happen to have more than one copy of those). 😉

Included books:
  • Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer - has some writing on the cover. 🙁
  • Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson.
  • One Final Breath by Lynn H. Blackburn - An Advanced Reader Copy (ARC).
  • Showers of Blessings by Helen Steiner Rice - Poetry.
  • Amish Rescue by Debby Biusti and Courting Her Amish Heart by Mary Davis.

Enter using the rafflecopter below. Giveaway open to entrants 18+ who are legally able to enter and located in the continental US only. Books will be sent via Media Mail.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 3, 2020

Book Review: Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

About the Book:

Lauren Bailey may be a romantic at heart, but after a decade of matchmaking schemes gone wrong, there's only one match she's committed to now--the one that will make her a mother. Lauren is a dedicated first-grade teacher in Idaho, and her love for children has led her to the path of international adoption. To satisfy her adoption agency's requirements, she gladly agreed to remain single for the foreseeable future; however, just as her long wait comes to an end, Lauren is blindsided by a complication she never saw coming: Joshua Avery.

Joshua may be a substitute teacher by day, but Lauren finds his passion for creating educational technology as fascinating as his antics in the classroom. Though she does her best to downplay the undeniable connection between them, his relentless pursuit of her heart puts her commitment to stay unattached to the test and causes her once-firm conviction to waver. 

With an impossible decision looming, Lauren might very well find herself choosing between the two deepest desires of her heart . . . even if saying yes to one means letting go of the other.

My Thoughts:

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese sports an eye-catching cover that reflects the lovely story in its pages. The story held my attention from the beginning and I enjoyed Lauren’s journey, even in the hard moments. Though the story deals with tough issues – difficult life choices, family dysfunction, etc. – it maintained a light feel and pointed to the Christian’s true source of hope -- God.

Before I Called You Mine mixed women’s fiction with a contemporary romance. Both Lauren’s adoption journey and family relationships receive plenty of attention. The story explored various aspects of following God’s will for one’s life. However, on the romantic side, Joshua (Lauren’s romantic interest) stands as an amazing male lead. He’s supportive, respectful, and willing to do what’s best for others even if it hurts. In short, he reflects the character of the Jesus he follows.

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese is a heartwarming novel that will appeal to inspirational fiction readers. It earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

First Line Fridays: The Piper's Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson

Happy Friday!

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today I'm sharing the first lines from The Piper's Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson:

"Did Katerina dare to stay out hunting past dark?"

Have you read this book? If not, check out my review.

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love to swap first lines!

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!

About the Book:

A fairy-tale journey of intrigue and romance that reimagines the classic Pied Piper story.
A plague of rats. A giant beast outside the village walls. A host of missing children. And one young woman determined to save her people.
In 1424 Hamlin, Katerina faces threats from all sides. An outbreak of rats has overtaken the village, a mysterious beast is on a killing rampage of the village’s children, and Katerina’s evil stepfather is a dark presence inside the walls of her own home. Katerina is determined to hunt and kill the Beast of Hamlin herself before more lives are lost.
When Steffan, the handsome but brash duke’s son, comes to town seeking glory and reward, Katerina decides he might be the ally she’s been looking for—even though the only gentle thing about him seems to be the sweet music he plays on his pipe. But there’s more to Steffan than she suspects, and she finds herself drawn to him despite her misgivings.
Together Katerina and Steffan must stop the enemy from stealing the children of Hamlin. But their interference might create an even worse fate for the entire village.
First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, April 2, 2020

March Reading Recap & Expected April Reads

My March 2020 Reads: 

How life has changed since the last time I posted a reading recap! Unlike some other readers, my reading time has not seen a dramatic increase even though I am staying home during COVID-19. As it is, I only read after my daughters are tucked into bed for the night.

In March, I finished:
  1. The Socialite by J'nell Ciesielski. - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  2. Don't Overthink It by Anne Bogel - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  3. A Wing and a Prayer by Julie Lessman - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  4. Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Review coming soon.

  5. His Lady in Hiding by Jen Geigle Johnson. - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  6. The Basic Bible Atlas: A Fascinating Guide to the Land of the Bible by John A. Beck - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  7. Formula for a Perfect Life by Christy Hayes. - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  8. A Lady's Maid by Jen Geigle Johnson - ⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

Expected April 2020 Reads:

In April, I hope to read:
  1. Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar - My local book club's selection for April. Though we won't meet in person, we'll still discuss it via multiple emails.  

  2. The Prophet and the Dove by Kirby Lee Davis. - Currently reading.

  3. The House at the End of the Moor by Michelle Griep - I love Michelle's books and was thrilled when this one arrived in the mail!

  4. The Lost Lieutenant by Erica Vetsch. - A new to me author.

  5. Fierce, Free and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You by Jen Hatmaker. - I've followed Jen on social media for awhile now, but this will be my first book by her.

  6. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, annotated by Karen Swallow Prior. - I read Sense and Sensibility years ago, but I'm a fan of Karen Swallow Prior's works, so revisiting this classic seemed like a great idea!

  7. Emberhawk by Jamie Foley - A fantasy, way out of my normal reading, but it sounds very interesting. My husband has already read it and loved it!

  8. Stay with Me by Becky Wade. - With this large list, I'm not sure if I will get to the book in April or May. Either way, I'm looking forward to it!  😃

What will you read this month?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Book Review: Don't Overthink It by Anne Bogel

About the Book:

We've all been there--stuck in a cycle of what-ifs, plagued by indecision, paralyzed by the fear of getting it wrong. Nobody wants to live like this, but overthinking doesn't feel like something we can choose to stop doing. It feels like something we're wired to do, something we just can't escape. But is it?

Anne Bogel's answer is no. You can overcome negative thought patterns that are repetitive, unhealthy, and unhelpful and replace them with positive ones that will bring more peace, joy, and love into your life. In Don't Overthink It, you'll find actionable strategies that can make an immediate and lasting difference in how you deal with questions both small--Should I buy these flowers?--and large--What am I doing with my life? More than a book about good decision-making, Don't Overthink It offers you a framework for making choices you'll be comfortable with, allowing you to use an appropriate amount of energy and freeing you to focus on all the other stuff that matters in life.

My Thoughts:

Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel is the type of self-help book to read once (or more) every year. Though the book focuses on how to deal with overthinking, much of the advice applies to overall mental health. Chapter 5 (Take Time to Make Time) and chapter 11 (Rituals to Rely On) resonated strongly with me, but practical suggestions fill the pages of every chapter. There is an emphasis on preserving mental processing/decision-making power by streamlining or outsourcing activities as needed. Almost exclusively, the book focuses on smaller decisions, not big life changes. I found that the advice and practices by the author could be implemented right away.

I recommend Don’t Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life by Anne Bogel to anyone, though the book seems targeted to women. Whether overthinking rates as minor hinderance or a major issue, this book offers suggestions to empower one to make healthy choices.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Border Breach by Darlene L. Turner

Border Breach JustRead Blog Tour 
Welcome to the Blog Tour and Giveaway for Border Breach by Darlene L. Turner, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Border Breach Title: Border Breach
Author: Darlene L. Turner
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Release Date: April 1, 2020
Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

When drugs are smuggled across the border
it’s their duty to stop the culprits…at any cost.

Forming a joint task force, Canada border officer Kaylin Poirier and police constable Hudson Steeves have one objective: take down a drug-smuggling ring trying to sell a new lethal product. But when the smugglers come after Kaylin and Hudson, this mission becomes more than just a job. Can they live long enough to solve the case?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository  


Officer Kaylin Poirier’s stomach lurched at the sight of the two people inside a white florist van that pulled up to her booth at the Windsor-Detroit border. The driver wouldn’t meet her gaze and his passenger couldn’t sit still. Their body language elevated her guard. Could it simply be her overactive imagination or perhaps the humid weather putting her in a foul mood? Experience said there was more to it. This was her job, to protect the border and catch criminals illegally importing goods into Canada—whether it be drugs, weapons or immigrants. Today was no different.

Actually, today was different. Security at the border had been tightened by her father, Chief of Police Marshall Poirier. “We will find every drug smuggler and stop them before they can enter Canada. My daughter will make sure of it,” he’d said at a joint television press conference earlier in the morning.

She winced at the memory of his firm grip on her arm and commanding voice as he spoke. He’d vowed to clear his city of drugs after numerous gangs had terrorized the community with deadly narcotics. Too many teens had died in the past two months.

And he expected her to get the job done.

No pressure.


Darlene Turner

Darlene L. Turner is an award-winning author and lives with her husband, Jeff in Ontario, Canada. Her love of suspense began when she read her first Nancy Drew book. She’s turned that passion into her writing and believes readers will be captured by her plots, inspired by her strong characters, and moved by her inspirational message. You can connect with Darlene at where there’s suspense beyond borders.

CONNECT WITH DARLENE: Website | FacebookTwitter | Instagram  


(1) winner will receive a cross pendant, bookmarks, pens, and $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Border Breach JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight March 31, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on April 7, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!


*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Author Interview & Giveaway: Shenanigans by Heather Norman Smith

Shenanigans JustRead Blog Tour 
Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour and Giveaway for Shenanigans by Heather Norman Smith, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Shenanigans by Heather Norman Smith Title: Shenanigans
Author: Heather Norman Smith
Publisher: Every Season Books
Release Date: April 1, 2020
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction

You're never too old for fun, faith, or love.

Lavinia Lewis is a wealthy southern widow who enjoys a good prank. But when a resident at her posh retirement community in Southport, North Carolina gets sick at a potluck, Lavinia's reputation as a jokester lands her in big trouble. How can she clear her name when her own daughter doesn't believe she's innocent?

Neville McGrath is a long-in-the-tooth lawyer, afraid of being put out to pasture. Torn between his nephew's offer to move to Maine to live with him and his desire to keep working, Neville discovers other options when he takes Lavinia's case.

The jokes keep her young, but Lavinia remembers the true source of joy as she faces criminal charges. Can she help Neville find his faith for the first time, and can they both find love at eighty-years-old?

A humorous and inspirational story with lovable characters, a beautiful setting, fun mystery, sweet romance, family drama, and an ending that will leave you sighing in satisfaction.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository  


Heather Norman Smith

Heather Norman Smith is a Christian Fiction and devotions author. Her goal is to use the written word to entertain and encourage while illuminating the redemptive love of God. She is proud to be a life-long North Carolinian and also aims to present the beauty of the Tar Heel State in her fiction. Heather's home is just outside Winston-Salem, NC, where she lives with her husband, their four children (currently including a foster son,) and several very spoiled pets. In addition to writing and spending time with her family, Heather enjoys singing about Jesus. Her "day job" is in the Information Technology field, and she is also involved in youth ministry with her husband. Heather's other novels include Grace & Lavender and Where I Was Planted.

CONNECT WITH HEATHER: Website | FacebookTwitter | Instagram  


Would you share your inspiration for Shenanigans?

Heather: This book began with the title. My family was headed down the road in our minivan when my husband made some passing comment about my mother and her “shenanigans.” I don’t remember the context, but it was a light-hearted statement. We all laughed because the kids call her “Nana,” and it sounded like a play on her name. Tying the two together, I immediately started dreaming up a story about a prank-playing grandmother.

How long did it take you to write this novel?

Heather: The bulk of this story was written between May 2018 and November 2018, so around six months. A lot of editing and re-writing happened early this year, though, as I prepared to publish it.

Do you have a favorite character in Shenanigans?

Heather: Of course, I love the leads, but the supporting characters were a lot of fun to write. Lavinia’s neighbors at the retirement community make me happy—her best friends, Sylvia and Henry, and her next-door nemesis, Gordon Proctor. Also, Neville’s secretary, Shirley. The minor characters help drive the story quite a bit.

Do you have a favorite quote from this novel?

Heather: It may be a bit of a spoiler, but this quote drives at a theme of the book: “I don’t know how someone just forgets God, like He’s not the One in control of us livin’ and breathin’ and movin’ around on this earth. I don’t know how the most important thing became so unimportant to me. I know it doesn’t make sense, but it happened. And I wanna fix it. I wanna make things right again. I remember who God is now.”

What do you hope readers take away from this novel?

Heather: There are many take-aways, but the tag lines sums it up best: You’re never too old for fun, faith, or love. Portraying senior characters gave me the opportunity to show that God is waiting to welcome us into His family, even if we’ve spent a long time running from Him. The conversation about age also drives at the fact that ALL life is precious and valuable to God.

Can you share a book you are currently reading or have read recently?

Heather: I am currently reading a great romantic suspense called A Firm Place to Stand, by my friend Lori Altebaumer.

Who is an author that you would recommend to anyone and everyone?

Heather: Although not Christian Fiction, an author that I love and who inspires me with her humor and great characters is Fannie Flagg.

What hobbies do you enjoy when you aren't writing?

Heather: I have four kids (three biological and one foster who we are in the process of adopting), so my non-working, non-writing time is pretty much spent doing whatever they want or need to do. I love those rare days of nothing scheduled when we can just be together. We enjoy exploring outdoors on pretty days. We also have two dogs, two cats, and a tank of fish that I enjoy.


(1) winner will receive a print copy of Shenanigans and a story inspired glass ornament! Plus (1) additional winner will receive a print copy of Shenanigans!

Shenanigans JustRead Blog Tour Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight March 30, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on April 6, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!


*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.