Friday, May 30, 2014

UNTIL I FOUND YOU by Victoria Bylin

Kate Darby works for an ad agency and has taken a leave of absence to take charge of the Clarion, a newspaper started by her grandparents, when her grandmother Leona suffered a stroke. Kate is leaving the hospital when her car plunges down a hillside. Nick Sheridan, author of California for Real Men (CFRM), takes the same road as Kate and sees where her car landed just off the cliff. He climbs down to help her get out of the car, before it completely plunges to the bottom.

Nick became a Christian six months ago, and made a vow to himself and God. For a year, Nick promised not to date and rush to make any life decisions because he was deeply hurt not too long ago. His newfound faith has changed his way of life from the old party animal he once was, to a more mature and purpose driven person. Meeting Kate is challenging his self-made vow, since he believes she could be ‘the one’, Nick is taking the slow lane to win her heart.

Kate has many situations and decisions to face, including her feelings for Nick. She wants to be in his life, but she will have to accept God in her life first. Kate knew God a long time ago, but is unsure how to believe or trust in Him again. She does not want to accept Him only to be with Nick, but accept Him for herself. Kate writes God a letter asking guidance for her job situation, the healing of her grandmother and her relationship with Nick, but does not know if He will answer.

While recovering Leona, Kate’s grandmother, writes Kate a small memoir of her life, love and the condor bird. The story of the condor is a sub-plot in the novel and important role in the life of Kate’s grandparents.

The characters in Victoria Bylin’s novel are both reaching for answers and guidance to their situations. The story line combines faith and love nicely for Kate and Nick, dealing with their problems. My favorite was the gala scene for Kate’s job and the need to make a decision regarding her life. My least favorite was the constant indecision to make a clear decision on Kate’s part. This is a good Christian romance novel worth reading and adding to any avid reader’s bookshelf.

I received this book free from the Bethany Book Reviewer program for an honest and unbiased review.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Who is afraid of Virginia Wolf with two daughters named Erinn and Suzanna? They both live in Venice Beach, California. When Virginia decides to leave the east coast for California, her daughter Erinn, immediately gives Suzanna reasons why their mother won’t be able to stay with her. Erinn goes as far as to rent her guest house and take a job assignment in Cambria for a few days.

When Virginia moves to Venice Beach, she has a feeling Erinn rented her guest house and took the job assignment because of her.  Their relationship is cordial, but Virginia wants to reach out a little more.

Suzanna is happy to have her mother stay with her and her husband, Eric. This will be a good thing for their daughter, Lizzy. She will be able to spend time with her “Grammy.”

Since Virginia has been in Venice Beach, she has become very active in the community. The busy bee is an activist for saving a ‘historical tree’ in the business courtyard where Suzanna’s ‘The Rollicking Bun’ is located. In addition, she becomes involved in a project with rabbits. As if that is not  enough to keep Virginia busy, she has also two admirers competing for her attention.

Things start to get a little shaky when Erinn feels threatened, because the ex-wife of Christopher pops up suddenly. While Suzanna is concerned about a reality TV star, named Blu, who is after her husband, Eric. But, Suzanna is also facing another dilemma. An old friend from the past, Rio, appears and she is dealing with old feelings.

Celia Bonaduce’s novel of family life and relationships has a good story line. The characters are likeable and the situations believable. I believe there should have been more dialogue between the characters. I found the story to be a tad bit wordy with thoughts and description. Overall, it is an enjoyable read. There is a sample from the next novel in the series, A Comedy of Erinn, at the end. I recommend this novel to readers of family life, love and relationships.

I received this book free from Kensington Books through the Net Galley Reviewer Program for an unbiased review.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms

The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.

I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.

I'm a woman


Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.

I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me. 

The Quick Guide to Home Organizing by Sandra Felton

What you can learn from this book is the different organizational styles:

The Planner- develops basic strategy with a master plan and calendar
The Delegator- appoints or hires other to help bear the load
The Lister- has weekly and daily lists for activities
The Vigilant- completes a task shortly after it presents itself
The Worker- puts in long hours, needs to remember to take a break
The Focuser- prioritizes and handles important things efficiently

Which style can you claim? Personally, I would be the ‘planning lister’ being that I like to put everything on a calendar listing daily activities. In addition, included is the six-week program, The Maintenance Program. The program entails a weekly projected bullet list of things to do, which is actually nothing new in the world of organizing.

This home organization book is focused on instructions for total order in your life, with tips on actual home organizing. I was looking for new and creative ways to re-organize the dining room, bedroom, and bathroom. I chose this book based on the picture and short synopsis, and it does not live up to the challenge in that respect.

The resources list at the end of the book, in my case, would be a little more helpful in looking for the home organization I was seeking. I recommend this book to persons who want to organize their lives more than just a room in their home.

I received this book from Revell Books through the Net Galley Review Program for an honest and unbiased opinion. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rebecca Lyman's Digital books vs. Physical books

Digital books vs. Physical books

The Wall Street Journal article reveals that physical books are now proving to be holding their own in sales longer than anyone expected. One reason listed was that most people use their electronic devices to play games or watch movies. Even if those devices are specifically purchased for e-book reading they don’t end up being used for that very much. I know this is not always the case but I’m sure it does happen. Also, one person quoted in the article says that people read to get away from electronic devices. I agree with that wholeheartedly, I think this is one of the reason’s I love reading physical books- I can escape from reality. Its not much of an escape though if you’re battery starts running low (score for real books!)
Another thing I found interesting about the Wall Street Journal article was something I actually found in the comments. Someone left a comment that in France the e-book costs the same as the physical book. They did this to “keep their book-loving culture intact.” I did a little research and found another article that confirmed book discounting has been banned in France. Even further than just e-books, France regulates the prices of books so that a book in a small bookshop will cost you the same as a book from a “high-street giant.” This has allowed independent book stores to survive amid all the discount sellers.
While I was doing some reading on the e-book vs. real book debate I came across a study that was done recently. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project conducted an in-depth survey of people ages 16 and up on their reading habits. It was really a quite interesting article (the link to the article and the study’s findings is below) detailing various kinds of topics, such as reasons for reading, book readers by age, and library use in the past year among many other things. Some of the facts I found interesting from this article included:
  • 83% of Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 read a book in the past year
  • 60% of Americans under age 30 used the library in the past year
  • About half (48%) of readers said they had purchased their most recently read book, 24% said they had borrowed it from a friend or family member, and 14% said they borrowed it from a library (see chart below)
  • Almost half (45%) of high schoolers—and 37% of college-aged adults—say that the library is not important or “not too important” to them and their family
Below is a chart that I found particularly interesting which shows the format of books read by people ages 16 and up in the past 12 months:
05-book-sourcesLet me know your thoughts!

Don’t miss Joe R. Lansdale's COLD IN JULY

Laura Lee Baas of Bookshelf Bombshells declares that with Cold In July, Joe R. Lansdale “delivers a rip-roaring tale, not to mention one helluva body count.”
A couple of my favorite Lansdale character traits are front and center: for one, wife Ann. Lansdale has the wonderful habit of creating female characters who always kick some ass sooner or later. In one pivotal scene, Ann brains a man with a household object; seen through Richard’s eyes, she appears “like a Valkyrie.” Even if Lansdale’s women start off with the odds stacked against them (Sue Ellen and Jinx in Edge of Dark Water) or very vulnerable and fragile (Becky in The Nightrunners) he always seems to get in a few scenes that illustrate how strong and resourceful a woman can be.
Ann is not the only character who gets a little extra personality in this fast-paced novel. Richard Dane is portrayed as no slouch with his fists, but he’s also a relatively young man. Both Ben Russel and Jim Bob are past middle age and would be peripheral, though fascinating, characters in most books. Lansdale puts them right in the middle of the action and repeatedly demonstrates their endurance and need to make this situation right, long after most people would have given up. He’ll make you believe they can do it, too.
Lansdale has a dark sense of humor and a brilliant ability to translate physical tension onto the page. In this novel, originally published in 1989 (and a film by the time you read this), he blends crime, southern gothic, and his own brand of East Texas noir. Don’t miss it.
For the rest of Baas’s review, visit Bookshelf Bombshells.
For more info on Cold in July, visit the Tachyon page.


Father Donovan Fleming has just finished hearing a confession from a married woman. She is nervous about her pregnancy, and whether the baby belongs to her husband or her lover.

After she leaves, Father Fleming finds a blood stained baseball cap in the middle aisle of the church. He could hear someone calling his name, “Donovan Fleming”, the wind whispered. There was no one there. He was alone as he dropped to his knees. The Lord has healed me and washed away my sins. The voice laughed.”

When Father Fleming’s body is discovered, Detective James Wolf is ordered to the scene. He does not understand why, because he is in the narcotics division, not homicide. After a second murder is committed, Wolf is on the scene again. Somehow, the murders are connected. The flower found at Fleming’s murder scene, a black lotus, has appeared again.

Detective Wolf must find the real connection besides the flower. Neither victim knew each other. While Wolf is gathering evidence, a bothersome news reporter is on his heels. He tries to shake her, but she is persistent in drudging up ghosts from his past. How can he work his case and avoid her at the same time? Will he be able to locate and identify The Black Lotus assassin before their next move?

K’wan has plenty of suspense jumping right off the pages of this novel. It is well-written at a fast pace with intensity. The suspense is cutting edge and cunning. Even if you are on top of your sleuth game, you will not figure out the game players or assassin until the end. This novel is definitely worth pre-ordering. I recommend this novel to amateur sleuths as a challenge. Hats off to you K’wan, I was totally in the dark on this one.

I received this book free from Akashic Books through the Edelweiss Reviewer Program for an honest review.

Monday, May 26, 2014

THE HEART'S PURSUIT by Robin Lee Hatcher

Jared Newman, bounty hunter, rides into Twin Springs with his prisoner, Lute Peterson, to take a short break before continuing into Denver. Meanwhile, Bob Cassidy, who has stolen their family’s cash and jewelry, is standing up Silver Matlock at the altar.

Silver hires Jared to find the man who jilted her, and who has caused the unwanted gossip from the townspeople. With her stepmother, Marlene, not handling the embarrassment well, she orders Silver to Denver to stay with her sister, until the situation calms down. Instead, Silver decides she will join Jared in hunting Bob, to avoid going to her sister’s home in Denver.

As Jared and Silver begin their journey, Jared realizes the man traveling with Bob is the same man responsible for murdering his sister. When Jared receives information on his sister’s murderer, he leaves Silver to watch over Lute until he returns. Lute finagles his way out of the restraints and takes Silver hostage before Jared returns. Jared finds Silver, takes Lute back into custody, and delivers him to the town sheriff.

Once again, they set out to bring Bob and his co-hort to justice. Not only does Jared and Silver have reason to bring these two men to justice, they find they have a reason to release the bitterness from within their hearts.

Robin Lee Hatcher’s novel set in days of the old west is both entertaining and enjoyable. The plot moves at a steady pace and pulls you in at the same rate. I recommend to readers of light romance and western novels.

I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Reviewer Program for an honest and unbiased opinion.

The Heart’s Pursuit | Enter to win a $200 “Romantic Weekend Getaway” from @RobinLeeHatcher.

Robin Lee Hatcher's latest novel, The Heart's Pursuit, is receiving critical praise: "The Old West lives again in this inspirational romantic adventure. . . . Themes of forgiveness, justice and mercy dominate the story and add to the characters' depth. Hatcher treats readers to a rich sensory experience—you can taste the desert dust and smell the smoke and stench of a crowded gambling hall." (Publishers Weekly)

Robin is celebrating the release of her novel by giving away a $200 "Romantic Weekend Getaway."


One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card (Get away for the weekend with that special someone!)
  • The Heart's Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 8th. Winner will be announced June 9th on Robin's website.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Robin's blog on June 8th to see if you won.

The Heart’s Pursuit Blog Tour

About the book: 

A jilted bride desperate to save her family from ruin.
A bounty hunter seeking vengeance for a ravaged past.
An arduous trek toward justice---or redemption.
Silver Matlock and Jared Newman know traveling together is a bad idea. Bad for Silver's already tarnished reputation in her small Colorado town. Bad for bounty hunter Jared's secret, single-minded mission for revenge. But Silver is determined to track down the rogue who left her at the altar and stole the last remnant of her father's fortune. And Jared's in a hurry to hunt down the murderer who destroyed his family---even if Silver is too distractingly beautiful for comfort.
The pair takes off over mountain and desert, past bleak homesteads and raw mining towns, hot on the trail of the two villains who took what wasn't theirs to take. Soon supplies dwindle, secrets emerge, and suspicion leave Silver and Jared at odds when they need each other most. To confront an enemy deadlier than desert rattlesnakes and rocky cliffs, Silver and Jared must learn to forgive and trust and face the question they haven't dared voice: What happens next?

Purchase a copy:

About the author: 

Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heart-warming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, two RT Career Achievement Awards, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over sixty novels.

Robin can be found at: websiteFacebookTwitter

Introducing Robin's new novel, The Heart's Pursuit
Introducing Robin's new novel, The Heart's Pursuit

Sunday, May 25, 2014

BECOMING MRS. WALSH by Jessica Gordon

Shoshana is engaged to one of the famous Walsh brothers, Drew. She is nervous about the luncheon with his sisters-in-law, which is happening within the hour. Zoey, Rachel, and Ariel take Shoshana shopping to register for her wedding. She is not familiar with shopping without having to look at the price tag. While she is worried about paying for an engagement dress picked out by her future sister-in-law, Ariel pays for the dress.
Shoshana is uncomfortable with the spending habits of the Walsh women. Being a small-town girl, she is one who definitely counts her pennies.

While they are attending a pre-engagement party dinner, Drew’s mother Birdie, suggests Zoey help by coordinating the wedding. Zoey is not very pleased with the idea but agrees to lend a hand.

Shoshana, who works for Monumental Magazine, a life style publication, is given an assignment to interview Mark Walsh, Drew’s brother and Zoey’s husband. She does not let on that he is her future brother-in-law. As Shoshana spends time with Mark, she develops strong feelings towards him and he reciprocates. After admitting their feelings and that fateful kiss, Shoshana and Mark have to decide whether they will take the relationship any further.

Jessica Gordon’s novel of love and indecision is an interesting read. The main character Shoshana was overwhelmed with her fiancé’s family wealth and too much emphasis was placed on her adjustment to that wealth. The ending of this novel left room to create a sequel, or to leave it to the reader to make their own conclusion. Overall, the novel is enjoyable and an easy read. I recommend to those who read soft romance novels, and who read novels on a lazy day afternoon.

I received this book free from CLP Blog Tours for an honest and unbiased opinion.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

'I LOVE BOOKS' - Live On-Air Interview - May 31, 2014 - 3:00 PM (PDT) - JESSICA GORDON, Author of 'BECOMING MRS. WALSH'


Shoshana Thompson is 26 years old, miles from home, and engaged to Andrew Walsh, the last single Walsh brother of one of Washington, D.C.'s wealthiest families. Throughout her engagement she becomes enamored with the Walsh lifestyle. 

Life in the fast lane comes to a screeching halt when Shoshana develops feelings for another man. When she discovers the feelings may not be one-sided, things are about to get a lot more complicated. This man is not only part of her fancy new world, he is also completely off-limits.

Jessica Gordon is a Johns Hopkins University alumna for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She received her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from the Writing Seminars program and her master’s degree in communications.
After working in the corporate world for several years, Jessica decided to return to her first love: creative writing. Jessica takes her readers to the prominent Washington, D.C. area where her characters navigate through the complex world of family, in-laws, and love.

Friday, May 23, 2014


To find her husband's killer, she will risk everything...

Publication Date: May 10, 2014
Genre: Fantasy (Epic and Historical)

When Damara, the Duchess of Florett, received a missive from the palace, she knew it could only mean one thing. Her husband was dead. She had prepared herself for this moment ever since he marched off to war. Following the news of her husband’s death, she comes face to face with her husband’s sister, the Queen. She has come to Damara with a request from beyond the grave. Writ on the aging vellum her husband left her instructions and a confession. He was not as he seemed. He was the king’s spy and he died to keep the king’s secrets. In his final letter to Damara, he asks her to find his killer and take his place as a palace spy. Only Damara can unravel the clues her husband left behind in order to find his killer and bring them to justice.  

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iTunes  |  Smashwords

About the Author
Nicolette Andrews lives in beautiful Southern California with her husband and two daughters. She is the author of the Diviner's Trilogy and other works of fantasy. She's been know to often escape into world of fantasy and has happily been playing make-believe her entire life. When she is not writing, she enjoys gardening, spending time with her family and numerous outdoor activities, including hiking and camping. 

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Pinterest

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Simple Makeup for Busy Moms by Tricia Goyer

 What are your favorite tips for no-fuss makeup?

I have no tips...
I just know what looks I like

Created by: Edythe Hamilton on POLYVORE

This post is part of the No More Frumpy Mommy Moms’ Night Out challenge
 with Tricia Goyer

Finding Time to Follow Your Dreams by Tricia Goyer

Blogging for Books

Photo Courtesy: Pattison

I have always had a love for reading, but didn't know it would lead me to blogging about books. I had a vast variety of novels that I had read, but after running out of space for my books, I decided to donate them to the Veterans of America Organization. When the representative came to retrieve the novels, he stood there for a moment gazing at the bags of  books. He asked me, "Are you sure you want to donate all these books?" I said, "Yes, I do." There were 12 bags of at least 20 books per bag. I helped him load them on the truck, along with a few other items. Afterward he said, "This is a good thing because more people need to read." 

A little time had passed and I was talking with my sister one day. She expressed her interest in starting a book blog, and I agreed to help her with the task. After a few days, my sister decided she did not have the time to invest in blogging. From that moment on, I started my own book review blog and have been blogging ever since. 

Since retiring, I have made this my new career and I truly enjoy it. I want to share with everyone the books I read and want them to pick up a book and read also. I am so elated with my new endeavor that I have begun to interview the authors of books that I am currently reading. This new journey is fulfilling a dream that I never knew I had. 

This post is part of the No More Frumpy Mommy Moms’ Night Out challenge with Tricia Goyer

A Fast Recipe that Doesn’t Involve Fish Sticks by Tricia Goyer

Sweet Potato and Chorizo Tacos

Photo: Annabelle Breakey   Styling:Randy Mon

  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Total:30 Minutes

  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 medium orange-fleshed sweet potato (often labeled "yam")
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound Mexican chorizo*, such as Silva brand, removed from casing
  • 12 corn tortillas (6-in. diameter)
  • 6 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 2 ounces cotija (crumbly white Mexican cheese)* or feta
  • 2 firm-ripe avocados
  • 1. Peel onion and sweet potato and dice into 1/2-in. cubes. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, potato, and salt and cook until onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potato is just tender, 8 to 9 minutes.
    2. Increase heat to medium-high and add chorizo. Cook, breaking up sausage with the back of a spoon, until cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, heat tortillas in an oven or a microwave, or char over an open flame until warmed and softened. Wrap in foil or a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.
    4. Stack and thinly slice lettuce; combine in a bowl with juice of a lime half and cotija. Halve, peel, pit, and thinly slice avocados; put in another bowl and toss with juice from remaining lime half.
    5. Spoon about 3 tbsp. chorizo-sweet potato mixture into each warm tortilla. Divide lettuce and avocado among tacos.
    *Find Mexican chorizo and cotija at well-stocked grocery stores and Latino markets. Avoid the very soft, bright orange chorizo--it's too oily.
  • This post is part of the No More Frumpy Mommy Moms’ Night Out challenge with Tricia Goyer