Saturday, February 29, 2020

Book Review: Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette

About the Book:

Strong-willed Tirzah wants to join her people in driving the enemy from the land of Israel and undergoes training for a secret mission inside the stronghold of Shechem. But soon after she has infiltrated the ruthless Aramean commander's kitchen, she makes a reckless decision that puts her and her allies in grave danger.

Fresh off the battlefield, Liyam returns home to discover his beloved daughter is dead. After his vow to hunt down her killer leads to months of fruitless pursuit, his last hope is in a family connection that comes with strings attached--strings that force him to pose as a mercenary and rescue an infuriating woman who refuses to leave her mission uncompleted.

When an opportunity to pave a path to a Hebrew victory arises, can Tirzah convince Liyam to fight alongside her in the refuge city of her birth? Or will Liyam's thirst for vengeance outweigh his duty to his people, his God, and the woman he's come to love?

My Thoughts:

Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette engaged my attention immediately with Tirzah who easily claimed the spot as my favorite character. As a leader, she’s strong and brave. As a spy, she’s skilled and confident. As a human being, she’s imperfect, yet tenacious. In short, she’s the kind of woman I aspire to be! I loved that Liyam respects and affirms her as a valued, gifted warrior-leader.

With romantic tension, constant danger, and hard issues, the storyline of Like Flames in the Night moves steadily. I enjoyed the characters’ personal development as the story progressed. Liyam, like Raviv from the first novel in the series, is a Blood Avenger. Liyam’s pain, struggle, and duty dictate many of his actions, but the last chapter is a potent masterpiece displaying the novel’s themes and Liyam’s character development. I wanted to cry and cheer.

Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette stands as the fourth and final installment in the Cities of Refuge series. While this novel can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading the novels in order as nearly all the characters from previous novels in the series, plus, some from Wings of the Wind, reappear in Like Flames in the Night. Truly, the epilogue created a satisfying conclusion to both this novel and the series as a whole. I will likely read the series in its entirety again in the future.

Learn more about Like Flames in the Night in this interview on my blog with Connilyn Cossette or read an excerpt on the publisher's website.

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

Author Interview: Connilyn Cossette on Like Flames in the Night

I've long been a fan of Connilyn Cossette's novels and nearly a year ago, I had the opportunity to join her launch team. A few weeks ago, Conni invited the launch team members to ask questions and today I'm sharing some of the questions and responses. Like Flames in the Night releases on this Tuesday, 03/04/2020. Don't forget to read my review and then go pre-order!

Author Interview: 

What inspired the idea for this story?

Connilyn: When I was in Israel a couple of years ago we went to a place called the Ayalon Institute. It was actually a kibbutz (like a co-op farm) that contained an entire underground bullet factory hidden from the British and the Arabs before the 1948 war. They secretly crawled down ladders beneath a commercial laundry room because it was noisy and could cover up the sound of the bullet making machines and many of the people who lived and worked on the kibbutz had no idea what was going on under their feet! Over a number of years, this group of young people managed to make thousands and thousands of bullets and ship them out through covert means, like in milk trucks. Without their sacrifice and ingenuity, the nation of Israel might have been lost when the Arabs attacked en mass. I was enthralled by the stories of miracles that happened during this time and how these young people, men AND women stood up for their people so courageously. I was inspired by this short visit to the underground bunker to write about brave men and women who put their lives on the line for the nation of Israel, both in ancient times and in modern ones. So as you will see as you read, there are a number of places where I talk about covert operations and secret weapons-making and those were directly inspired by that tour of the Ayalon Institute. Malakhi and Eitan would have loved everything about it. Look it up, it’s fascinating!

Who was your favorite character (or the one you most resonate with) and why?

Connilyn: In regards to the entire series, I would have to say Moriyah because I got to know her as a young girl and was able to follow her journey all the way through becoming a great-grandmother. She has been the foundation of all of the stories within the cities of refuge and she will just always be one of my very favorites. Don’t tell the others. For Like Flames in the Night, I’d have to say Liyam because he was just a blast to write, such fun to put through the wringer, and I just loved how his character arc developed!

What are you hoping readers will glean from this story?

Connilyn: Tirzah’s story is one of standing up courageously for her people, her family, and her God. My hope is that readers will be inspired to shine their lights boldly for Jesus and to not be afraid of anything—be it human or spirit—because Yahweh is our champion and when we are out of strength and frightened and feeling alone the Word says that He will fight for us! Nothing can stand against our great big God. Also, I want readers to be reminded through Liyam's Journey how truly powerful grace is.

Did anything surprise you in this story as you were writing?

Connilyn: I have to say that the length of the story was what most surprised me. There were no plans for it to be longer than the others but just due to the nature of the plot and also because I wanted to make sure that all the loose ends from the entire series were tied up in a satisfying way it ended up having a few chapters more. However, I hope that readers will be so absorbed in Tirzah and Liyam that they won’t even notice!

Any fun bits of trivia you want to share with readers?

Connilyn: I guess I would have to say that the first thing is that I never planned on writing this book at all. The original Cities of Refuge was a three-book series but when I got to the end of Until the Mountains Fall I felt like there was more story to be told within the time period and with this family. So I proposed the idea to Bethany House and thankfully they went for it! Also, the book discusses an altar that’s at the top of Mount Ebal in Israel and that altar has actually been found on top of that mountain. It’s most likely a later rebuild of the original altar and from what I read it looks like beneath the altar there are possible remnants of the altar that Joshua built when he and the entire congregation of Israel re-confirmed the covenant before he died. So that’s pretty cool! Someday I would really love to walk up that mountain and see that altar for myself.

This is your last book in the Cities of Refuge series, was there a specific plot or character you wanted to include before bringing the series to a close?

Connilyn: I think I really was just having a hard time leaving Moriyah and her whole entire family behind when I decided to write this book! But of course, I really wanted to explore Moriyah’s youngest daughter Tirzah’s perspective. I wondered what it would’ve been like to have grown up in the city of refuge, a place of complete safety in most cases, and then be kicked out and have to live somewhere else under the oppression of foreign invaders for eight years. Also, I was just really intrigued by the entire blank space there is in the Bible where Othniel is concerned and what his struggle against the Arameans might have looked like from the inside. And as advance readers already found out, there is a tie to the original Out from Egypt series in this book and I really wanted to explore connections there as well.

Why Cities of Refuge? Why not another story?

Connilyn: The easy answer is that because I was just fascinated. Once I started to do some reading about the cities of refuge, which I really didn’t know much about, I saw the beautiful way that they foreshadowed Jesus our Messiah who is the perfect balance of grace and justice for his people and I just wanted to delve into those characteristics of God so I thought that the cities of refuge was a perfect vehicle to do so! Besides, I’d just fallen in love with Moryiah in Wings of the Wind and felt she needed a story too. Who knew what would come of it all when I was struggling over whether to brand that poor girl’s face!

How does it feel saying goodbye to characters you’ve been with for so long?

Connilyn: It is really so bittersweet because I feel like these people are part of my family and I know them inside and out. So it kind of feels like I’m abandoning them in some way. But they’re always there waiting for me and maybe someday I’ll have a chance to come back and revisit them. And then again I’m also really excited to find new characters and discover their journeys and now that I’m writing this new series I’m having a great time creating a whole new set of people, discovering what makes them tick, and finding all sorts of disastrous and dangerous situations to put them into peril and complicated situations to mess with their heads. I’m kinda evil like that ;)

What do you have coming up next? Tell us a little bit about it and when we can expect it.

Connilyn: I will be coming out with a new series this winter which is called the Covenant House series. We are skipping forward a few hundred years to First Samuel in a time when Israel was in a fierce struggle against the Philistines, a foreign people that had arrived on the shores of Israel from the island of Crete hundreds of years before. This is a duology, based on the lives of a Philistine sister and brother who are adopted into an Israelite family and begins with the theft of the Ark of the Covenant. The first book is called To Dwell Among Cedars and will be releasing December 1 of this year.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Book Review: The Christian Book of Mystical Verse

About the Book:

"... some of the best devotional verse the English language affords..."
While the term "mystic" may have connotations that reach beyond traditional Christian thinking, it actually refers to a common spiritual experience that unites anyone who has fellowship with God.
The poems in this book were hand-picked by Tozer and follow a logical pattern, going in line with the very nature of salvation itself and the death of Jesus on the cross, man's contemplation of his own sin, redemption, communion with God, awaiting the return of Christ, and celebrations of eternal fellowship with God in Heaven.
Both intimate and exhilarating, The Christian Book of Mystical Verse is a book for anyone who seeks to worship God the Father, and who finds the rich language of Christians of old a great help in that endeavor.

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Christian Book of Mystical Verse compiled by A. W. Tozer. This collection includes hymns and prayers, but the majority of it is lyric poetry. Most selections are not written in easy-to-read, common speech; however, the effort to read slowly and experience the text is worth the effort. Many of the poems contain exuberant praise that serves as an uplifting reminder of the greatness of God.

The Christian Book of Mystical Verse is divided into fifteen topical sections and The Prayer of Quiet was my favorite section. This collection did not include some of the well-known poets I expected, but I enjoyed being introduced to new-to-me authors such as Frederick William Faber whose beautiful poetry featured often. Some of my favorite poems were: The Greatness of God by Frederick William Faber, Prayer for Purity by Nicolaus Ludwig Von Zinzendorf, My God! Silent to Thee! By Thomas Moore, and In Immanuel’s Land by Anne R. Cousin.

Perhaps you’re wondering about the word “mystical” in the title. A. W. Tozer explains in his introduction: “The word ‘mystic’ as it occurs in the title of this book refers to that personal spiritual experience common to the saints of Bible times and well known to multitudes of persons in the post-Biblical era. I refer to the evangelical mystic who has been brought by the gospel into intimate fellowship with the Godhead… He [or she] exists in a world of spiritual reality.” (Pg. 16)

I recommend The Christian Book of Mystical Verse: A Collection of Poems, Hymns, and Prayers for Devotional Reading compiled by A. W. Tozer to any Christian believer who enjoys lyric poetry.

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: Isaiah's Legacy by Mesu Andrews

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 line from Isaiah's Legacy by Mesu Andrews:

"I am Shebna. Small in stature, weak in body, strong of mind. A Levite."

Isaiah's Legacy released earlier this month. Do you have a copy or have you read this book? I read it last month and you can read my thoughts on it here.

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love for you to share your book's first line!

Happy reading!

About the Book:

At eight years old, Shulle has known only life in a small village with her loving but peculiar father. When Uncle Shebna offers shelter in Jerusalem in exchange for Shulle's help tutoring King Manasseh, Judah's five-year-old co-regent who displays the same peculiarities as her father, she's eager to experience the royal court. But Shulle soon realizes the limits of her father's strict adherence to Yahweh's Law when Uncle Shebna teaches her of the starry hosts and their power.

Convinced Judah must be freed from Yahweh's chains, she begins the subtle swaying of young Manasseh, using her charm and skills on the boy no one else understands. When King Hezekiah dies, twelve-year-old Manasseh is thrust onto Judah's throne, bitter at Yahweh and eager to marry the girl he adores. Assyria's crown prince favors Manasseh and twists his brilliant mind toward cruelty, beginning Shulle's long and harrowing journey to discover the Yahweh she'd never known, guided with loving wisdom by Manasseh's mother: Isaiah's daughter, the heartbroken Hephzibah. Amid Judah's dark days, a desperate remnant emerges, claiming the Lord's promise, "Though we're helpless now, we're never hopeless--because we serve El Shaddai." Shulle is among them, a girl who becomes a queen through Isaiah's legacy.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: No Chance Meeting by Jaye Elliot

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

No Chance Meeting
(No Chance Love #1)
By Jaye Elliot
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback and ebook, 393 Pages
February 11th 2020 by Living Sword Publishing

Alex Jennings is done with life. After losing her brother in Afghanistan, everything has collapsed around her. Getting laid off from her day job and failing in her art career, she has nowhere left to turn. She once had faith to believe that all things would work together for good, but that faith died with her brother. Now she just wants the pain to end.

Riley Conrad served thirteen years in the military until three bullets sent him home. After a year and a half of physical therapy and scraping together a living, all he wants is to live a simple life and perhaps even open the coffee shop he dreams about. However, the weight of failing his parents’ expectations doesn’t make it easy, and working as a bartender isn’t getting him anywhere fast.

Could a “chance” meeting between Alex and Riley set them both on the path God always intended?

(Affiliate link included.)

Excerpt from No Chance Meeting

She moved toward the kitchen counter. “Do you want coffee?”

“Always.” With a cheeky grin, Mindy slid onto one of the barstools on the opposite side of the counter.

Alex filled the coffeemaker with the coffee Riley had brought her after his appointment. While waiting for it to brew, she peeked over at Mindy, who was checking her phone.

“He kissed me the other night.”

Mindy’s eyes shot up, and her phone rattled on the counter. Her mouth fell open with a squeal. It was a good thing Alex had given her the news now instead of after handing over the coffee or her friend might have choked in her giddiness.

“Your first kiss! Oh, you must tell me! Did you like it?”

Alex’s cheeks competed with the heat coming from the coffee pot. What kind of question was that? 

“Yeah,” she mumbled through an attempt to wipe the dreamy grin from her face.

Mindy laughed. “It’s so funny seeing you blush. I don’t think I ever have before.” She leaned over the counter a little. “So it was a good kiss then?”

That set her face on fire. “I mean, yeah, I think so. It’s not like I had anything to compare it with.”

“Oh, you’d know if it was a bad kiss.”

Alex hid her face behind a cabinet door as she reached for the coffee mugs, letting herself grin fully. It was a good kiss.

Composing herself, she set the mugs on the counter and closed the cabinet. Mindy still watched her intently, her eyes sparkling with an abundance of delight and mischief.

About the Author

Jaye Elliot is an award-winning author, country girl, and hopeless romantic at heart. She loves a good hero and will always sigh happily during the lights scene in Tangled. She writes from her home in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, which she shares with three cats she considers her kids. When not writing romance novels, she pens fantasy and adventure stories as Jaye L. Knight.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a signed copy of No Chance Meeting, a coffee mug, a bag of chocolates, and a hand painted watercolor bookmark (US only)

Ends March 4, 2020

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Hometown Healing by Jennifer Slattery

Hometown Healing JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour and Giveaway for Hometown Healing by Jennifer Slattery, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Hometown Healing by Jennifer Slattery Title: Hometown Healing
Author: Jennifer Slattery
Publisher: Love Inspired
Release Date: August 1, 2019
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Romance

She’s home again, but not for long… 
Unless this cowboy recaptures her heart.

Returning home with a baby in tow, Paige Cordell’s determined her stay is only temporary. But to earn enough money to leave, she needs a job—and her only option is working at her first love’s dinner theater. With attraction once again unfurling between her and Jed Gilbertson, can the man who once broke her heart convince her to stay for good?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository


Paige Cordell felt as if she had regressed back to that awkward, frizzy-haired bookworm who’d left Sage Creek, Texas, fourteen years ago. With no intention of ever returning.

And yet here she was. As a divorced, unemployed, single mother no less.

Nothing screamed failure like sitting in Mom’s driveway, with all of her belongings crammed into a U-Haul hitched to her car.

She glanced back at little Ava, sleeping soundly in her car seat. She looked so peaceful, with her rosy cheeks, the halo of red curls and the slight part of her lips. As if she hadn’t just spent nearly an hour fussing, not that Paige could blame her. They’d had quite the drive. Traffic, work zones, an accident just outside of Houston.

Her phone rang. Paige glanced at the screen. It was Mira, her old high school friend.


“Just checking you made it into town okay. And to see if maybe you’d like to stop by my place for a nice, cold milkshake.”

“Just got in.” She explained the reason for her three-hour delay. “And though I appreciate the offer, I’m wiped.”

“I imagine.”

“And discouraged. I know I’ll find another job eventually…”

“Have you prayed about it?” Mira’s statement sliced through Paige like an accusation. “Might help.”
“Please don’t talk religion to me. Not today.” She believed in God. But unlike her friend, she didn’t find comfort in tossing every decision up to Him.

Besides, she and God hadn’t exactly been on the best terms as of late.

“Well, like I said, this is only a hiccup.” Mira’s overly perky pep talk wasn’t helping. “Consider this an extended vacation.”

“I can’t believe Ardell let me go. I mean, I get budget cuts, but why me? I was a high performer. I never missed a deadline, pitched great article ideas…”

“You’ll find something even better, with more job security.”

Paige inhaled a fortifying breath. “You’re right.” She’d never allowed setbacks to discourage her before, and she had no intention of starting now. “Maybe even for a better magazine, with a larger readership.”

Only, Chic Fashions was about as big as they came. Not only was it Chicago’s premier fashion publication, but it was considered the top in the nation. She’d worked long and hard to land a position with them, only to end up jobless and living with her mother.
The antithesis of adulthood.

She glanced at Mom’s single-story brick house, heavily shadowed by a towering oak. Thick roots snaked through the grass, and a handful of dandelions dotted the lawn. The windows were dingy, like they hadn’t been washed in…ever, and the canary-yellow trim was beginning to peel.

Other than that, the place seemed well-kept, and the yard had been mowed, which was surprising if her sister were right about how much Mom struggled. Hopefully Paige’s arrival would help pull Mom out of this phase she was in.

A blur of red seeped into her peripheral vision, and she shifted to watch a shiny red pickup truck pull into the adjacent driveway.

Her pulse spiked as a tall, broad-shouldered man dressed in jeans, boots, and a cowboy hat stepped out and then turned her way. “Seriously? Could this day get any worse?” she muttered.
“Why? What happened?”

With the phone still pressed to her ear, she sank farther into her seat, with no intention of leaving her vehicle. At least, not until Jed Gilbertson was no longer standing less than fifty feet away. Staring at her.

She turned to the box of office junk on the seat beside her to avoid making eye contact. “Jed just pulled up at his grandmother’s.” It’d been too long, and her heart had been too shattered, for him to still have such a pull on her.

“I thought you were over him.”

So did she.


Jennifer Slattery

Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of the soon to release Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE  and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

CONNECT WITH JENNIFER: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


(1) winner will receive a signed four print book bundle including Restoring Her Faith (Love Inspired), Hometown Healing (Love Inspired), Breaking Free (New Hope), and Restoring Love (New Hope)!

Hometown Healing JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight February 22, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on February 29, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Continental 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.

Friday, February 21, 2020

First Line Fridays: Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green

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 line from Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green:

"Meg's father was gone. Again."

Have you read this book? Book blurb below and you can read my review here.

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love for you to share your book's first line!

Happy reading!

About the Book:

The Flames Took So Much.
She Can't Lose Her Father As Well.

Meg Townsend and her sister, Sylvie, seek a quiet existence managing the family bookshop. Meg feels responsible for caring for their father, Stephen, whose spirit and health are both damaged from his time as a prisoner during the Civil War. Her one escape is the paintings she creates and sells in the bookshop.

Then the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago's business district. The fiery explosions and chaos stir up memories of war for Stephen as he runs from the blaze and becomes separated from his daughters. Days later, when the smoke has cleared, Meg and Sylvie manage to reunite with him. Their home and shop are lost, and what's left among the ashes may be even more threatening than the flames, for they learn that a close friend was murdered the night of the fire--and Stephen has been charged with the crime. After he is committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum, where they cannot visit him, Stephen feels as lost to them as the shop that now lies in rubble.

Though homeless and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life but prove the truth of what happened that night, before the asylum truly drives her father mad.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Book Review: The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

About the Book:

For fans of bestselling World War II fiction like Sarah’s Key and The Nightingale comes an illuminating tale of courage, sacrifice, and survival, about two couples whose lives are ravaged by Hitler’s mad war yet eventually redeemed through the fate of one little girl.
Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters the life of each citizen—Polish, Jewish, or otherwise. Sophie Kumiega, a British bride working in the city’s library, awaits news of her husband, Janek, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though Sophie is determined that she and the baby in her womb will stay safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her, compelling her to help, whatever the danger.

Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined they would welcome their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or that they would let anything tear their family apart. But as daily atrocities intensify, Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter’s life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war—if any of them survive—is a medallion she cuts in half and places around her neck.

Inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.

Visit the publisher's website to read an excerpt from The Medallion or to purchase your own copy.

My Thoughts:

I have such mixed feelings about The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke. The well-written narrative oozed with historical research that created a very authentic atmosphere. Plot twists and sympathetic characters held my attention night after night as I read this.

Unfortunately, the atrocities depicted in the novel are deeply disturbing.  The Medallion was a heavy read that felt so very dark and sad. In spite of the good actions of some characters and a hopeful ending, I wasn’t able push past the darkness of the tragedies. Sadly, it was the darkness, not the hope, that lingered in my mind for days after reading The Medallion.

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Sheriff's Second Chance by Tanya Agler

The Sheriff's Second Chance JustRead blog tour 
Welcome to the Blog Tour and Giveaway for The Sheriff's Second Chance by Tanya Agler, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


The Sherrif's Second Chance by Tanya Agler Title: The Sheriff's Second Chance
Author: Tanya Agler
Publisher: Harlequin Heartwarming
Release Date: January 1, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Broken things can’t be fixed… 
Or can they?

Officer and single dad Mike Harrison doesn’t believe in second chances. Ever. That is, until he learns that his former best friend—gorgeous green-eyed car mechanic Georgie Bennett—is back in town. Unfortunately, she’s also a suspect in a recent break-in! But it’ll take an old classic car to show Mike and Georgie that almost anything can be restored with a little patience…and a whole lot of love.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository


“How may I be of service, Miss Rachel?” Georgie dipped her head and tried to make Rachel feel like she was the most important customer ever to grace Max’s Auto Repair. For the moment, she was.

“I want to hire you.” She opened her purse and pulled out a twenty-dollar bill. Then she plunked a plastic baggie of change onto the counter. “I have twenty-three dollars and fourteen cents. Is that enough?”

“For what?” Georgie folded her arms over her chest. Why wasn’t Rachel’s babysitter watching this woman in a girl’s body?

“I want to hire you to fix my father.”

Excerpt From: Tanya Agler. “The Sheriff’s Second Chance.” 


Tanya Agler

An award-winning author, Tanya Agler moved often during her childhood and settled in Georgia where she writes sweet contemporary romance novels, which feature small towns, family and pets, and themes of second chances and hope. Her debut, The Sheriff’s Second Chance, is a January of 2020 Harlequin Heartwarming release. A graduate of the University of Georgia with degrees in journalism and law, she lives with her wonderful husband, their four children, and a lovable Basset, who really rules the roost. Represented by Dawn Dowdle and the Blue Ridge Literary Agency, she’s currently at work on the sequels to her debut.  When she’s not writing, Tanya loves classic movies, walking, and a good cup of tea.

CONNECT WITH TANYA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


(1) winner will receive a print copy of The Sheriff’s Second Chance, swag, and a bookmark!

The Sheriff's Second Chance 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 February 18, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on February 25, 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 only. Ebook prize available to Canada. 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.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Book Review: She Believed by Jean Fischer

About the Book:

Girls are world-changers! . . . And this delightful storybook proves it!

Just for the girls in your life, ages 5 and up, this collection of twelve extraordinary stories of women of faith will empower girls to know and understand how women have made a difference in the world and how much smaller our faith would be without them. Colorful illustrations complement the true stories of these twelve amazing women:

  • Corrie ten Boom
  • Gladys Aylward
  • Clara Barton
  • Catherine Booth
  • Amy Carmichael
  • Fanny Crosby
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Edith Schaeffer
  • Mary Slessor
  • Mother Teresa
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Harriet Tubman

My Thoughts:
My daughters (ages 7 and 4) loved reading She Believed: 12 Stories of Courageous Women of Faith Who Changed the World. They’ve been fans of the Courageous Girls series and She Believed goes right along with that. Each page spread features one woman with her story on the left page and an illustrated portrait on the right page.  The engaging narrative is fairly short and will likely appeal to younger readers. This collection includes well-known women (Clara Barton, Mother Teresa, and Harriet Tubman) as well as lesser-known women (Mary Slessor, and Edith Schaeffer).

I recommend She Believed: 12 Stories of Courageous Women of Faith Who Changed the World for children ages 3-9.  Although the book is targeted to girls, boys will learn from the stories as well.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of the book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Friday, February 14, 2020

First Line Fridays: The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson

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 Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson:

"If one was going to dip one's toes into the murky, pestilential waters of online dating, an escape plan was critical."

Have you read this book? I thought it absolutely adorable. You can learn more about the book below and read my review here.

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love to read your first lines.

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!

About the Book:

Just when you think you’ve met your match . . . the charade begins.
Cassie Everson is an expert at escaping bad first dates. And, after years of meeting, greeting, and running from the men who try to woo her, Cassie is almost ready to retire her hopes for a husband—and children—altogether.
But fate has other plans, and Cassie’s online dating profile catches the eye of firefighter Jett Bentley. In Jett’s memory, Cassie Everson is the unreachable girl-of-legend from their high school days. Nervously, he messages her, setting off a chain of events that forces a reluctant Cassie back into the dating game.
No one is more surprised than Cassie when her first date with Jett is a knockout. But when they both go home and find three children dropped in their laps—each—they independently decide to do the right and mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong?
Melissa Ferguson’s hilarious and warmhearted debut reminds us that love can come in very small packages—and that sometimes our best-laid plans aren’t nearly as rewarding and fun as the surprises that come our way.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Desert Willow by Patricia Beal

Desert Willow JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour and Giveaway for Desert Willow by Patricia Beal, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Desert Willow by Patricia Beal Title: Desert Willow
Author: Patricia Beal
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Release Date: February 12, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

After a failed engagement, Captain Andrew Lee James has focused on building a career in the Army he loves. That commitment includes helping a feisty, out-of-work ballerina whose devotion to her grandmother’s dying wish immediately grabs his heart. She’s the one, but will he be able to win the heart of a woman who has vowed to never be involved with a soldier?

College graduate Clara Malone swore to never love anyone in the military again but when her dying grandmother asks her to deliver a love letter to the general who broke her heart decades ago, she agrees and finds herself escorted by a handsome Army captain whose kindness challenges her beliefs. Surrounded by desert willows that shower her path with pretty pink flowers and sing with the buzzing of hummingbirds, Clara enjoys the wild beauty of El Paso—and her time with Andrew—more than expected.

Can she deliver her grandmother’s last love letter without losing her heart to a man who represents everything she fears?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon


While Andrew counted and concentrated, Clara moved to the music, letting the melody carry her to a different time, a different era. A time when life was slower, people had their license plates and names listed in a book, and young women spent time at windows dreaming of a life they didn’t yet have.

Clara pictured herself at a ball in Brazil, wearing an old-Hollywood gown, and dancing like her grandmother had. She was certain her upper body positioning was a mess, but that didn’t matter. Not now. She wouldn’t hold back on the fun because of what she didn’t yet know about the waltz. She was just going to dance.


Patricia Beal

Patricia Beal has danced ballet since her childhood and has performed with pre-professional companies in South America, Europe, and the United States. She fell in love with a handsome airborne infantryman at Fort Bragg, married him, and quit her day job to have his babies. Soon came the desire to have book babies, too. Patricia is a Genesis Award semi-finalist, First Impressions finalist, and the author of A Season to Dance (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2017). She writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and two children.

CONNECT WITH PATRICIA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


(1) winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card!

Desert Willow 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 February 10, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on February 24, 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.

Blog Blitz: Looks Like Love by Brandy Bruce

Looks Like Love JustRead Blog Blitz

Welcome to the Blog Blitz for Looks Like Love by Brandy Bruce, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Looks Like Love by Brandy Bruce Title: Looks Like Love
Author: Brandy Bruce
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Re-release Date: November 13, 2019

After a devastating break-up, Kasey Addison needs to rediscover life and love. She starts by taking a whirlwind trip to London to visit her best friend. When she returns, she’s given a new assignment at the advertising firm where she works. The cosmetics company they represent is releasing a special fragrance called Love. Kasey is tasked with finding out exactly what love looks like and how to sell it.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon


I stopped for a second and turned back to look at the huge stones. I silently told myself that I was really in England. I’d flown over the ocean. I was spending time with Amanda. I was standing at Stonehenge, absorbing the mysteries of history.
Lincoln’s words from the night before ran through my mind again. And as the cold wind blew over me, I started to believe those words. I believed that God was near to me. And for all the years I’d believed in God and held fast to my faith, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d truly felt close to Him.
My eyes watered from the wind, or maybe it was the cold—or maybe from my emotion. Whatever it was, the realization that I’d missed feeling close to God welled up in me. Along with a renewed hope that just maybe there was more in store for my life, too.
I had a strong suspicion that I was, at that very minute, having a significant moment in my life. A tiny corner of my heart whispered to me that if Riley hadn’t broken my heart, I wouldn’t have been experiencing any of this. Of course, if I’d had to choose between new life experiences and Riley—I would have chosen Riley.
But fate hadn’t given me a choice when it came to Riley. 


Brandy Bruce

Brandy Bruce is a writer, a book editor, a mom, a wife, and someone who really loves dessert! She’s the author of the award-winning novel The Last Summer, Looks Like Love, After the Rain, and The Romano Family Collection. Brandy, her husband, and their children make their home in Virginia.

CONNECT WITH BRANDY: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Visit the landing post at JustRead Tours!


*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Book Review: Secrets of the Pastor's Wife by Christina Ryan Claypool

About the Book:

Wherever Cassandra Martin goes, her secrets go with her. And hiding her past is beginning to take a toll.
Cassie lives in a small white parsonage in the village of Maple Grove. For 15 years, the beautiful and talented artist has appeared to be the perfect wife for Rev. John Martin, the new pastor at Maple Avenue Community Church.
The couple has moved frequently, and Pastor John is too busy with other people's problems to notice Cassie's distress. She has no close friends to confide in, fearing her secrets could jeopardize her husband's position.
That’s until Maple Grove coffee shop owner Katherine “Katie” Montague embraces Cassie as if she were the daughter she never had. Sensing her pastor's wife is haunted by something tragic, the caring widow begins praying for her. Will Cassie trust Katie with the pain of her past or will she let the secrets destroy her?

My Thoughts:

Secrets of the Pastor’s Wife by Christina Ryan Claypool offers readers a tale of tragic mistakes, long-held secrets, and the need for spoken truth. Although I’d consider this book a “heavy” read due to the issues it deals with, I enjoyed the gradual unveiling of Cassie’s story. It was easy to relate to Cassie. She loves her husband, supports him as best she can, and strives to follow Christ. Yet, she struggles with unaddressed issues from her past. I have a friend who is a pastor’s wife and based on what she has told me, I think the author offers an honest insider view into the realities of a pastor’s wife’s life.

I sometimes shy away from novellas as I feel they often lack character development due to the shortened form. However, the pages of Secrets of the Pastor’s Wife are packed with a character-driven plot. Although there is some action, Katie’s observations and lots of dialogue serve to put the focus on Cassie’s character growth. Several themes weave into the storyline and I appreciated the emphasis on mentoring/friendship that is shown between Katie and Cassie.

Secrets of the Pastor’s Wife by Christina Ryan Claypool is an inspirational novella that will appeal to readers (and book clubs) who enjoy character development mixed with spiritual truths.

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