Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review: Devotions from the Garden: Finding Peace and Rest in Your Busy Life by Miriam Drennan

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 32,645 KB
Print Length: 206 Pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 31, 2015)

Book Description

Come to the garden alone, and fill your soul with His presence.

There's nothing on earth like the peace and loveliness of a magnificent garden. It's the place where Adam and Eve first fellowshipped with God, and where you, too, can escape from this chaotic world into His loving arms of beauty and serenity. Devotions from the Garden takes you to that place where senses are restored as dewdrops settle and butterflies gather to witness the miracles of God's creation bloom and grow. These ninety devotions explore the parallels of life with the elements of the garden to help you see God, to sense His presence, to soothe your soul, and to rest in knowing He is with you throughout each day. Included are striking photographs with a fresh, contemporary design for timeless appeal.

About the Author

Miriam Drennan is the author of Devotions for the Beach and the Days You Wish You Were There and Soar Above the Madness: Surviving Office Politics Without Losing Your Mind, Your Job, or Your Lunch. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she enjoys gardening and playing with words. Drop her a line at www.that-writer.com.

My Review

Devotions From the Garden: Finding Peace and Rest in Your Busy Life by Miriam Drennan is a lush, beautiful volume filled with gorgeous floral photos and insightful devotions.

There are 90 devotions contained in Devotions From the Garden. Each devotion has a bible verse, a devotion and a prayer. I love gardens and plants. As creations of our Lord, I find that devotions related to plants and flowers so appropriate. I just love looking at the photos of flowers. I find flowers very relaxing and inspiring. Flowers are good for your soul.

In Devotions From the Garden, author Drennan brings together her knowledge of gardening and her biblical wisdom. She assists the reader in escaping into the world of flowers. The mysteries of the garden are intertwined with God's Word to relax and encourage the reader.
The perfect gift for the Christian gardener!

Review: Butterfly Kills: A Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery (Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery #2) by Brenda Chapman

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 722 KB
  • Print Length: 377 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1459723147
  • Publisher: Dundurn (Jan. 10 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I4XXVI8

Book Description

Jacques Rouleau has moved to Kingston to look after his father and take up the position of head of the town's Criminal Investigations Division. One hot week in late September, university student Leah Sampson is murdered in her apartment. In another corner of the city, Della Munroe is raped by her husband. At first the crimes appear unrelated, but as Sergeant Rouleau and his new team of officers dig into the women's pasts, they discover unsettling coincidences. When Kala Stonechild, one of Rouleau's former officers from Ottawa, suddenly appears in Kingston, Rouleau enlists her to help. Stonechild isn't sure if she wants to stay in Kingston, but agrees to help Rouleau in the short-term. While she struggles with trying to decide if she can make a life in this new town, a ghost from her past starts to haunt her. As the detectives delve deeper into the cases, it seems more questions pop up than answers. Who murdered Leah Sampson? And why does Della Monroe's name keep showing up in the murder investigation? Both women were hiding secrets that have unleashed a string of violence. Stonechild and Rouleau race to discover the truth before the violence rips more families apart.

About the Author

 I'm an Ottawa author with 14 published novels, including the Jennifer Bannon mysteries for ages 10+, a full length adult murder mystery In Winter's Grip (Dundurn 2010), and a Rapid Reads mystery The Second Wife (Orca 2011), which was shortlisted for a Golden Oak award. Second Chances, a YA novel for ages 13+ was released by Dundurn in September 2012.

I am currently writing two adult mystery series: The Stonechild and Rouleau police procedurals from Dundurn include Cold Mourning (2014) and Butterfly Kills (Jan. 2015).

The Anna Sweet mysteries are novellas from Grass Roots Press for adult literacy or those wanting a quick read. My Sister's Keeper and The Hard Fall were both released in 2013. To Keep a Secret was published in September 2014 and A Model Death in December 2014. My Sister's Keeper was shortlisted for an Arthur Ellis award and The Hard Fall is up for a Golden Oak Award.

I grew up in a small pulp mill town on the north shore of Lake Superior and earned degrees in English literature and teaching. I spent fifteen years as a special education teacher before becoming a senior communications advisor in the federal government.

My Review

If you kill a butterfly you will change someone's fate. 

Gotta love a Canadian-set mystery! Butterfly Kills provides a vivid picture of the area around Kingston, Ontario. It is an area that I am not familiar with so it was very interesting.

Butterfly Kills is the second book in the Stonechild and Rouleau Mysteries featuring Sergeant Rouleau and police officer Kala Stonechild. I had not read the first book in the series however I was still able to read Butterfly Kills as a stand-alone. Both officers were previously based in Canada's capital, Ottawa. Stonechild is First Nations.

There is a lot going on in Butterfly Kills but the different stories make for an interesting read. I found the storylines to be very contemporary. There is murder, marital rape and differing customs that make up the mosaic that Canada is. Secrets abound in this police procedural. Follow the mysteries and learn the secrets going on in Kingston, Ontario.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Review: Lowcountry Boneyard (Liz Talbot Mystery #3) by Susan M. Boyer

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 609 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Henery Press; First edition (April 21 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

Book Description

USA TODAY Bestselling Author - The AGATHA AWARD-WINNING Liz Talbot Mysteries

“Has everything you could want in a traditional mystery: a credible and savvy protagonist, a meaty mystery, and setting that will make you want to spend time in South Carolina. I enjoyed every minute of it.” – Charlaine Harris, New York Times Bestselling Author of Day Shift

“This brilliantly executed and well-defined mystery left me mesmerized by all things Southern in one fell swoop. Boasting a superb cast of characters, engaging conversations, a feel good atmosphere and all-around entertaining whodunit, this is the best book yet in this wonderfully charming series.” – Dru’s Book Musings

“This third in the series continues to smoothly combine elements of the paranormal and romance with a strong investigative plot that delves into the deeply hidden secrets of families…The charming setting, strong writing, and extremely engaging characters that have become hallmarks of this series never cease to entertain.” – Kings River Life Magazine

“Lovely writing with well-developed characters, a believable plot and plenty of interesting detail…Boyer may be unstoppable in conjuring mystery as she travels the social circles and back roads of the fascinating southern landscape.” – Speakers International

Where is Kent Heyward?

The twenty-three-year-old heiress from one of Charleston’s oldest families vanished a month ago. When her father hires private investigator Liz Talbot, Liz suspects the most difficult part of her job will be convincing the patriarch his daughter tired of his overbearing nature and left town. That’s what the Charleston Police Department believes.
But behind the garden walls South of Broad, family secrets pop up like weeds in the azaleas. The neighbors recollect violent arguments between Kent and her parents. Eccentric twin uncles and a gaggle of cousins covet the family fortune. And the lingering spirit of a Civil-War-era debutante may know something if Colleen, Liz’s dead best friend, can get her to talk.

Liz juggles her case, the partner she’s in love with, and the family she adores. But the closer she gets to what has become of Kent, the closer Liz dances to her own grave.

Related subjects include: women sleuths, private investigators, cozy mysteries, murder mysteries, book club recommendations, Southern fiction, Southern humor, Southern living.

Books in the Liz Talbot Mystery Series:

  • LOWCOUNTRY BORDELLO (#4) November 2015
Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all…

About the Author
Susan M. Boyer has been making up stories her whole life. She tags along with her husband on business trips whenever she can because hotels are great places to write: fresh coffee all day and cookies at 4 p.m. They have a home in Greenville, SC, which they occasionally visit.

Susan’s debut novel, LOWCOUNTRY BOIL (a Liz Talbot Mystery) is an Agatha Award winner for Best First Novel, a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense recipient, a Macavity nominee, and a 2012 RWA Golden Heart® finalist. Lowcountry Bombshell (Liz Talbot Mystery #2) was released September 3, 2013. LOWCOUNTRY BONEYARD will be released in April 2015.

Susan’s short fiction has appeared in moonShine Review, Spinetingler Magazine, and Relief Journal, among others.

My Review

Only $4.99 on Amazon

Do you love Charleston, South Carolina? I do and that is what initially grabbed my attention. I enjoy writers who intimately know and understand the region they are writing about. Author Susan Boyer transports the reader to the Low Country of South Carolina in her latest novel Lowcountry Boneyard.

Our sleuth, Liz Talbot, lives in the family vacation home on a barrier island that she inherited from her grandmother. Liz had been living in Greenville, SC before moving back to the Charleston region. She loves the area, her family is close by and a resident ghost needs her to help save their island from developers. It is too bad that her boyfriend and business partner wants her back in Greenville...what is she going to do about that?

Charleston heiress Kent Heyward is missing. Did she disappear due to her own volition? Or did a greedy family member make her disappear? The Boyfriend? Liz is on the case.

I really enjoyed Lowcountry Boneyard. The writing style was easy to read. The mystery aspect was good. There were realistic relationships among the characters in the book. Liz Talbot is very likeable.  If you are a mystery fan then Lowcountry Boneyard is for you!

Review: ACTS: EP Bible Commentary by Guy Prentiss Waters

  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Evangelical Press (June 20 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1783970030
  • ISBN-13: 978-1783970032

Book Description

Study Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles is exegetically and theologically sound, cogently reasoned and clearly written. Demonstrating Luke's competence as a historian.

Guy Waters’s Study Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles is exegetically and theologically sound, cogently reasoned and clearly written. I highly recommend this commentary to pastors and teachers preparing to preach and teach Acts, and to anyone interested in a readable exposition of Luke’s unique account of the risen Lord Jesus’ words and deeds through his chosen witnesses.
Dennis E. Johnson Ph.D., Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary California

In an age of multiplying commentaries, some of them very technical and some exceedingly popular, Guy Waters has contributed a mid- level work that is robustly theological, written in straightforward English, and designed to be edifying. This is a commentary that will make many friends among serious Bible readers.
D. A. Carson Research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and co-founder (with Tim Keller) of The Gospel Coalition 

Dr. Waters is the ideal commentator on Acts. Scholarly, pastoral, theological — all these and more combine in making this my first resource for Luke’s second volume. An outstanding contribution to the series and deserving of the appellation, “Essential”!
Derek W. H. Thomas The Robert Strong Professor of Systematic and Pastoral Theology, RTS Atlanta; Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC

About the Author

Guy Prentiss Waters is Professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Miss., USA. He received his B.A. in Greek and Latin from the University of
Pennsylvania;  his M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary; his Ph.D. in Religion from Duke University. From 2002 to 2007, he was Asst. Prof. of Biblical Studies at Belhaven University, Jackson, Miss., and has served at RTS since 2007. Guy is a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). He is the author of several books, articles, chapters, and reviews. Guy and his wife Sarah have three children and reside in Madison, Miss.

My Review

Acts: EP Study Commentary by Guy Prentiss Waters is an in-depth study of the Book of Acts.

This book proves excellent introductory background information for each chapter. Each chapter of Acts is explored in great detail. Dr. Prentiss provides introspective commentary and helpful application information. It is an incredibly insightful look at the Book of Acts. It is written in easy to understand language.  While I plan to use it for my own personal bible study, this would be an excellent book for pastors and for those who are teaching Acts.

Acts: EP Study Commentary is an insightful volume that I will use extensively when studying the Book of Acts for bible study. Great addition to my research library. It is currently available in paperback format only.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review: Silent Scream (D.I. Kim Stone #1) by Angela Marsons

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2479 KB
  • Print Length: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Bookouture; 1 edition (Feb. 20 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00S5K0CAU

Book Description

 Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult-sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …

Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.

As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?

A superb debut by an assured new writer. Blending sharp wit with emotion, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride alongside DI Kim Stone and look forward to the next outing.’ Mel Sherratt

'Stunning' Mail on Sunday

'I absolutely loved it! ... This one is one of the best crime thrillers I've read in a long time, and that includes mainstream authors such as James Patterson! I would seriously put this book in the same league.' Fiona’s Book Reviews

I have not been so impressed by a debut novel in a long time, and I'm actually now itching for more …D.I. Kim Stone is like the British Jane Rizzoli. She's so ballsy and doesn't understand the meaning of the word no. I LOVE heroines who just do what they want and sod the consequences and Kim did that, right from the beginning... I can't wait for the second book, because this one was a top-notch crime thriller.Leah Loves

’I don't think I've been so hooked by a new author since the discovery of Mark Edwards or Mark Billingham… Silent Scream gets 5 stars from me - if you finish a crime thriller feeling like you just need to have a lie-down and a cup of tea to get your breath back, then the writer has done their job. Angela Marsons, I still don't have my breath back.’ Reading Room with a View

‘Normally when I see everybody rating a book five stars I think 'Is it really that good?' Silent Scream is that good, and then some… The only problem Angela now faces is keeping up this standard as the series progresses, but if she does than she's going to be an author to watch and a huge star within the genre.’ Book Addict Shaun

‘I started reading ‘Silent Scream’ thinking I would just read a few chapters. I ended up reading it all… An excellent read and one I would happily recommend.Northern Crime

‘This is a fantastic debut novel by Marsons. The blurb said that if you were a fan of Val McDermid and Mark Billingham you would love this book and being a huge fan of both I thought I would give it a go and I was pleasantly surprised… With lots of twists and turns this is a real page turner.’ The Laughing Librarian

It's highly unusual for me to find a book that leads me to put my life on hold. But Angela Marson's Silent Scream has led me to virtually abandon work for the last day, even with deadlines looming… ticks all the boxes for a 5* rating from me: a well written flowing story; strong but vulnerable protagonist; fast pace; intrigue; twists and turns until several final OMG moments; plenty of action; and the revealing of a brutal murderer.’ Off the Shelf 

About the Author

 Angela Marsons discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.

Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer's News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.

She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion - Crime.

After many, many submissions Angela was signed in a 4 book deal to http://bookouture.com as their first crime author.

Her first book SILENT SCREAM will be published in February 2015.

My Review

Amazon Kindle - 99 cents - very much worth it!

Fabulous debut crime thriller! I really enjoyed this book. I thought that the main character, D.I. Kim Stone, is an interesting woman with a fascinating back story. She is supported by a good group of reliable colleagues. I liked the setting of the West Midlands in the UK. It was pretty new to me.

The mystery component of Silent Scream was dead on. I had part of it figured out...probably because I have twins...but there were plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader enthralled. I am really fond of mysteries set in England (think Sharon Bolton) and Silent Scream was very satisfying.

I highly recommend Silent Scream.

Looking forward to Evil Games - Book 2 in the series is out May 29th!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Good Bye Glee: GLEE "I Lived" (Full Performance)

I really enjoyed Glee. Each episode brought a lot of joy to my heart. I know it was time for it to end as all good things do come to an end. However, I know I'll enjoy re-watching my favorite episodes over time. This was the final song from the final episode:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Review: Memory House by Bette Lee Crosby

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1757 KB
  • Print Length: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Bent Pine Publishing (April 14 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00U6W3VWQ

Book Description


Ophelia Browne knows the answer is yes. She knows because she’s been granted the unique gift of finding and caring for those forgotten memories. But now she’s nearing ninety, and Browne women seldom live beyond ninety.

Before time runs out Ophelia must find a successor. Someone who can take hold of the gifts and keep the memories from fading.

When broken-hearted Annie Cross shows up on the doorstep of The Memory House Bed and Breakfast, Ophelia knows she is the one. The two women forge a bond of friendship as they sip magical dandelion tea and share stories. When Annie starts to sense the memories Ophelia is delighted, but then a thread of violence begins to unravel and Ophelia fears things have gone too far.

About the Author

 USA Today bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby's books are "Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances." - Midwest Book Review

The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby's writing is, "A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures."

Samantha from Reader's Favorite raves, "Crosby writes the type of book you can’t stop thinking about long after you put it down."

"Storytelling is in my blood," Crosby laughingly admits, "My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write."

It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win twenty awards for her work; these include: The Royal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President's Book Award Gold Medal, Reader's Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer's Choice Award.

Crosby's published works to date are: Blueberry Hill (2014), Previously Loved Treasures (2014), Jubilee's Journey (2013), What Matters Most (2013), The Twelfth Child (2012), Life in the Land of IS (2012), Cracks in the Sidewalk (2011), Spare Change (2011). A Cupid inspired romance, Wishing for Wonderful, is scheduled for release in November 2014 and Book Three of The Wyattsville Series, Passing through Perfect, will be be available in January 2015

My Review

 Memory House by Bette Lee Crosby is only 99 cents for the Kindle. Available to pre-order now. Apparently the price will go up shortly after its release.

Memory House is a magical book about storytelling. It is Book One of the Memory House Collection. Fans of Bette Lee Crosby will devour this book as it has elements from her other stories. This can also be read as a stand alone.

Ophelia Browne has a gift. She has an amazing memory. She can touch an object and feel the memories attached to it. She will soon be ninety and needs to find a replacement to carry on this gift...the gift of memories.  Then Annie arrives at her inn...

Great writing, beautiful story...you'll enjoy it!