Stealing the Preacher: a book review

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Description: 

On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he’s forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man’s daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he’s haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind–a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.

For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna’s outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?

My Review:

How many outlaw would hold up a train and steal a preacher, and as a birthday gift for the gang leader’s daughter, no less? Silas Robbins would, and the unfortunate Crockett Archer gets dragged into one mighty odd situation.
But as the Bible says: All things work together for good. And when Crockett helps Silas’s daughter Jo reopen the local church, lives are changed in a way Crockett never thought.

I’ve always loved Karen Witemeyer’s books, and have dread almost every one of them. I’m thinking that this one is destined to become a favorite. There’s plenty of humor, a touch of hijinks, and just a hint of suspense. The book never takes itself too seriously. It’s a light and easy read that is great for when you’re stressed and can’t take too much excitement in your books. I highly recommend it, and any of the rest of Witemeyer’s works to everyone.

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Advisory:

Romance: Clean. Some flirting and kisses only.
Language: Clean
Drinking/Drugs: Clean. It is mentioned that one character’s father is an alcoholic, but we never actually see him.
Blood/violence:  There is an attempted hanging, and one character is shot. There is description of the surgery and removal of the bullet that, while never graphic, might make more squeamish people a bit queasy.

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Inferno Release Day!!!

Today is the day! My baby is finally being re-released to the world!

Huge thanks to my wonderful family for supporting my writing, and most especially to my Mom, who does so much editing for me. Also, to the Saddle Up Club. I wrote this one for you guys.

Kindle Link

Inferno Kindle cover high-res paperback

Fire can destroy, or it can refine.

The Wilderness Ride Campout is the highlight of the year for Ashley Thompson and her friends. Not even her antagonistic fellow rider, Jocelyn Gregory, can ruin this weekend for her.

But when a wildfire traps them together on the mountain, relationships are taxed to the breaking point and old wounds torn open. Limited by injuries and with no clue where they are, The girls must find a way to set aside their prejudices and work together, or perish in the blaze.

Heart on the Line: a book review

witemeyerDescription:

Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can’t let the villain she believes responsible for her father’s death release his wrath in Harper’s Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she’s ever known.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship–dare he believe, courtship?–has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

My Review: 

It’s nice to be back in Harper’s Station. We still get a chance to see several old friends here, but the focus is now on a minor character from the first book: Grace Mallory. Heart on the Line starts with a bang and doesn’t let up until the end.

I loved the characters. Amos was a sweet guy, and Grace just the right amount of both sweet and sassy. I had an easy time figuring out the villain, as well as the mystery man found in the wood. Even so, it was a hard book to put down, and I hope we get to see more stories in this unique little western town.

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Advisory
Romance: clean
Language: Clean
Blood/violence: some blood, kidnappings, beating and abuse, murder / attempted murder, and a shootout.

Amazon Kindle Link
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Happy Reading y’all!

 

Inferno cover revel and release date!!!!

Inferno cover reveal and release date!!!!!

I can’t tell you how excited I am for this. This book has been almost a decade in the making. Inferno was originally written as a serial short story for my homeschool riding group – the Saddle Up Club – for their monthly newsletter. It was one of the first stories I actually finished writing, and I got a lot of great comments and feedback from it back then.

While I was in the process of writing my novel – Midnight Dancer – I started having trouble concentrating. So to get the creative juices flowing again I picked Inferno back up and began completely re-writing it. My writing style has changed a lot since then, so I went pretty crazy on it –  and it has grown from a short story of about 9,000 words, to a full length novella that is now at approx. 27,000+ words!

Now, I am so happy to finally be able to re-introduce Inferno to the world!

Back Cover Blurb: 

Fire can destroy, or it can refine.

The Wilderness Ride Campout is the highlight of the year for Ashley Thompson and her friends. Not even her antagonistic fellow rider, Jocelyn Gregory, can ruin this weekend for her.

But when a wildfire traps them together on the mountain, relationships are taxed to the breaking point and old wounds torn open. Limited by injuries and with no clue where they are, The girls must find a way to set aside their prejudices and work together, or perish in the blaze.

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And now, without further ado, the lovely new cover!

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Inferno Kindle cover final fixed

This is only my second attempt at cover photoshopping, and I just love how it turned out!

Official release date is July 9!

Unblemished: a book review

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Description: 

Eliyana can’t bear to look at her own reflection. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world exists where her blemish could become her strength?

Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her like he does: normal. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved.

But one night her mother doesn’t come home, and that’s when everything gets weird. Now Joshua is her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian. Add a hooded stalker and a Central Park battle to the mix and you’ve gone from weird to otherworldly.

Eliyana soon finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. A world enslaved by a powerful and vile man. And Eliyana holds the answer to defeating him. How can an ordinary girl, a blemished girl, become a savior when she can’t even save herself?

My Review: 

I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. Filled with twists and turns, it kept me glued to the pages until the end – and then it left me hanging. Argh!
The plot was well done and I an very interested in learning more about the story world Ella has created and watching it expand. It promises to be a very interesting ride.

The mirror realm is very interesting, a bit like New York might have been if it had never been developed, but rather has a handful of almost medieval style villages with a fantasy twist.

The mythos of the world is a bit confusing. The revelations come in small bites, bit by bit. Good way to keep my mystery loving mind engaged. However, I can’t really find the christian message in this book. There is a light vs. darkness theme, but it’s all a bit muddled. Hopefully book 2 will bring clarification.

There is also a love triangle (yes, I can hear y’all screaming now.). I have to give it to Ella, though. Normally, I can decide who our female MC should go for within moments of meeting the two potential romantic interests.

Not this time.

When I started, I was totally team Joshua. Ky, well… he irritated me, and I don’t usually go for the ‘bad boys’. But by the end of the novel, I ditched Joshua and now sit firmly in team Ky. Joshua can hang. Elyana had better not end up with him. Ky turns out to be a good guy deep down, with a lot of depth. Joshua has depths too, but it’s mighty murky down there. Total snake in the grass, that one.

I all, I really enjoyed the ride and book 2 can’t come fast enough.

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Advisory:

It’s been over a month since I ready this, so I can’t fully recall the details, but aside from some (non-graphic) violence I can’t recall anything bad about this book.

 

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Happy Reading y’all!

Bite Sized Reviews

 Robyn Hood: A Girl’s Tale by K.M. Shea  

One thing I do love about K.M. Shea is her ability to turn many a familiar story into a laugh riot. While some of the characters could be downright stupid at times, it never hurt my enjoyment of the story. After recently reading a terrible Robin Hood book from another author, I picked this one up in hopes that my love of the story would be rekindled, and hopefully not butchered again. While this book isn’t your ordinary Robin Hood tale, I absolutely loved it. Between this book and the movie playing in the same room at the time I was reading, I laughed so hard I cried.
Robyn has a wonderfully sarcastic voice, and you can’t help but love her and her boys, silliness, stupidity and all. If you haven’t read a K.M. Shea book yet, do yourself a favor and pick one up. You won’t regret it.

Amazon Kindle Link

 

A Lady of Integrity by Shelley Adina 

This one started a bit slower for me, tougher to get into. But in the end, as always, it was a rollicking good ride. Clockwork cities, Undersea dirigibles, krakens, betrayals and more. This book has plenty to offer any lover of steampunk. Adina puts her characters through the wringer. Anything that could possibly go wrong, did. Lots of twists I didn’t see coming. Many times throughout the book, a good resolution seemed impossible. But it was, and Adina did it in fine style.

 

 

Amazon Kindle Link

 

For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund

This book is undoubtedly the best of the series. Sabine is fun, determined, and quirky. Bennet is an admirable guy who I respect for being so determined not to marry a woman just to take advantage of her money. They could both be a bit bullheaded at times, but not unbearably so.

One felt so bad for Sabine, the way so many people treated her just because of a minor skin blemish was heartbreaking. Human narrow-mindedness and superstition never cease to amaze me.

The stakes in this book are high and several times you really wondered how any of them could get out of that mess. I found myself eagerly flipping the pages to find out what happened next.

Amazon Kindle Link

 

The Yielding by Tamara Leigh

I enjoyed the first book in this series, but this one dragged. The plot was solid, but most of the story focused on the back-and-forth between the two MCs, which never seemed to get very far. The romance felt more like lust than love much of the time, and there was a bit too much fondling going on to be a comfortable read. Leigh was toeing the ‘Clean Christian Fiction’ line with this one, and I’ll admit that makes me hesitate about reading the next one.
The hero also tended to be a serious jerk. While I understand why he treated Beatrix the way he did, it really got old after a while.

 

Amazon Kindle Link

 

 

Deliver: a book review

deliver Description:

Can something broken ever heal?

Martyn is broken. After torturing his best friend, he doesn’t belong anywhere in Acktar. No matter how far he runs, he can’t lose his guilt.

Leith is broken. While healing from the torture he received at Nalgar Castle, he struggles to find his new role. But can a Blade ever outrun his past?

The country is broken. Bitterness divides town against town, neighbor against neighbor. What will it take to deliver Acktar from itself?

They face their hardest battle yet.
Peace.

 

My Review: 

Can they ever be more than Blades?

One might think that with the war over and Respen the usurper gone, peace will have settled on the land and everybody lives happily ever after. Right?

Not Quite.

The new Acktar has no place for Blades. Those who were not banished struggle to find a place in a world where they can’t seem to fit, living in constant fear of being discovered for what they are, and killed. Rebuilding what they destroyed might take more than they can give.

Leith, still struggling with healing wounds, takes most of the other Blades to Stetterly to help with rebuilding, but if the villagers learn the truth, will a pardon be protection enough? Forgiveness is slow in coming, but as Rovers and the remains of Respen’s army plague the countryside once again, the Blades skill may be the only thing that saves the people of Stetterly.

Martyn, angry and guilty, has trouble letting go of what was. When King Keevan gives him a chance to get away, scouting the borders for trouble. He takes it. A chance encounter changes his plans abruptly, but is it enough to change his heart? When Martyn uncovers a sinster plot to be rid of the newly crowned King, past secrets come back to haunt him. They may just destroy him.

Deliver was one heck of a finale to the Blades of Ackar! This series is one of my favorites, and I’ve already read it several times over. Most likely I will be re-reading it again soon! Tricia Mingerink never fails to impress. The ending was a happy one, but I’m still a bit sad that the series is finally over. I still find myself wishing for ‘just one more book’! Or at least a little more about how certain things turned out. I would have loved to see the scene with a certain trial and Keevan placing his proposal before the nobles. It could have gotten interesting.

It was wonderful to see Leith and the Faythe sisters again, seeing how much they’ve changed since the beginning. Renna especially has grown a lot, stepping up from timid girl to strong leader. The new addition of Martyn’s POV adds some new tension and plenty of sarcasm. Both plots were beautifully crafted and well paced. Battle scenes were strong and faith is foremost in this story.

The only thing in the story that felt slightly off to me is that one character who was severely injured, did a lot more than he ever should have been capable of considering his injuries. I felt that the author greatly downplayed the injuries. If his wounds were not that serious, it should have been mentioned, nor should his recovery have taken as long as it did.  It’s a minor quibble though, and in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the story.

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Advisory:

Romance: clean and sweet. There was one point in the plot where some men attempted to attack a girl, but it was kept very clean.
Language: clean
Drinking/Drugs: Laudanum and whiskey was used for painkiller on an injured character, making him unusually talkative!
Blood/violence: There is a lot of violence and a bit of blood, but Mingerink never goes into detailed descriptions. Though there are several battles, death and a variety of wounds from sword wounds, to arrows, rocks, and severe burns, the author still keeps it clean.

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Happy Reading y’all!

Engaged in Trouble: a book review

engaged in troubleDescription:

When a washed-up pop star inherits a wedding planning business, it’s all bouquets and bliss until a bride turns up dead.

Paisley Sutton shot to stardom as a teenage rock sensation, but ten years later that star has fizzled out, just like her bank account. When she unexpectedly inherits her aunt’s wedding planning business, Paisley leaves the glamour of Los Angeles for a charming small town in Arkansas. Thinking she’ll arrive in Sugar Creek and liquidate the moldly property, Paisley’s shocked to find Enchanted Events has experienced a major makeover and is now the place for brides. She’s got two months to keep Enchanted Events afloat if she wants to sell and rekindle her music career with the profits.

Paisley’s tossed into a world of vows and venues, but her most difficult challenge comes in the form of one demanding bride. When this Bridezilla’s found facedown in her cake, all fingers point to Paisley as the prime murder suspect. And she does not look good in prison orange.

This former pop princess will need the help of her gun-toting, ex-CIA grandmother and her handsome neighbor, Beau Hudson, to unravel the mystery and clear her good name. As she and her unruly posse dig into Bridezilla’s life, she discovers the woman had a long list of enemies. The closer Paisley gets to the truth, the more her own life is in danger.

Love is in the air this wedding season, but before Paisley can help the ladies of Sugar Creek say, “I do,” she’s got to unveil a killer. Or find herself the next target.

My Review: 

From the moment Paisley Sutton hits Sugar Creek with plans to sell off her great aunt’s old business, it’s just one mess after another. When the worst bridezilla ever (who just happens to belong to Paisley’s own very ex-fiance) is found murdered shortly after Paisley publicly threatens said ex-fiance with dire retribution – all evidence points to her. Not her wisest move, but he did wreck her career and publicly humiliate her. A little anger is to be expected, right? Too bad the cops don’t see it that way.

Loaded with heaping scoops of Jones’s trademark wit, Engaged in trouble is a fast paced ride from beginning to end.

Paisley is a fun heroine. She’s quirky, she’s flawed, she’s emotional, and doesn’t always learn the first time. But she won’t go down without a fight! Her determination is admirable, even when it’s aimed in the wrong direction.

Grandma Sylvie, the terrifying ex-CIA sister of Mad Maxine from the Katie Parker series, is probably the most fun character in the book. Though there are a lot of similarities between her and her sister, she is still her own character – and this one comes packing heat! Unable to fully leave behind the thrill of the “glory days” of her time in the CIA, she’s definitely not someone you want on your bad side, or probably even within fifty feet! Life is never dull wherever Sylvie or her stalwart partner Frannie are!

Beau on the other hand, is just meh in my opinion. Jones is great at writing zany small town adventures, and a mystery that keeps me guessing. I actually didn’t fully figure out whodunit until the characters did – which is unusual for me – but her romance has always felt a bit weak. I never connected with Beau at all, at some points I almost got a bit of a creepy vibe from him.

The only thing that kept this book from being a full five stars was some innuendo. Nothing explicit, but more than should have been seen in a Christian novel.

My Rating: four stars

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Heat Advisory:

Romance: Beau loves to make insinuations from everything Paisley says. Sylvie and Frannie meanwhile just insinuate for the sake of it, almost all the time. Aside from that, the romance itself was clean. Unfortunately, the innuendo makes this one a book I wouldn’t recommend to anyone younger than older teen/adult.
Language: clean
Drinking/Drugs: One character was found to be supplying another with subscription drugs.
Blood/violence: Not too much violence overall. There is a fire, and a murder that  happens off-page. Some blood is mentioned briefly at the crime scene.

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Happy Reading y’all!

Desert Rains: a book review

desert rains

Description: 

Enter the world of Balia, a place not so different from our own. Explore lush landscapes and rich cultures as Balia’s creator, TrueGod, moves through many times and places to find lost and broken people to call his own. In the ancient desert town of Alagor, nobody is more lost and broken than Banar, the lame beggar, unless it’s Anna, the royal slave, or Alandro, the wounded baker, or even Malia, the lonely noble daughter. When TrueGod unexpectedly weaves their lives together, he creates unlikely alliances that will not only save the city from the secret plans of a power-seeking magistrate, but may also heal their individual lives as they step out of their ordinary roles and do things none would have dared alone. If they fail, lives all across Alagor will be lost, including their own.

My Review:

Desert Rains blew me away.

This was actually the very first book I read by author Jill Penrod. At the time, I didn’t go in expecting much from a self published author (Though I have since found that most of my favorites live in the grand realm of self-publishing!).

I am so happy to say that this book surpassed even my highest expectations and I found myself completely enthralled with this story and its characters. Determined Banar who endured so much and is willing to fight for a better life for himself and his family. Sacrificial Alandro who finds himself a family in the most unexpected way. Hurting Ragen, patient Anna, and sassy Malia and Yarrow, the only couple who protect their secret love with the use of reverse psychology – by pretending to hate each other!

Once incident throws them all together, plots are hatched and tensions rise politically and in the city below as drought ravages the lands. Lines are drawn between the followers of TrueGod and the followers of a pagan belief and threaten to to tear the city inside out, with this unusual mix of people in the center of it all. But can a beggar, a baker, a coddled princess, a foreign prince, and a slave really make all that much of a difference?

I couldn’t put this book down. It’s a beautiful story about handing all your worries to God, giving him your absolute trust, and how God can use even the most unlikely of people to accomplish his greatest works. I highly recommend Penrod’s Balia books (except for Gypsy Heart, that one was a uncharacteristic bust) and eagerly await whatever comes next.

If you want to check out her books, she has one Balia novel, Nevernight Fortress, up for free on her website along with books related to a couple of her other series (See website link at bottom of article).

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Advisory: Sorry everyone. It has been a couple of years since I read this book. My memory of much of the details are not too clear anymore. So I won’t be doing a full heat advisory.

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Happy Reading y’all!