Friday, August 28, 2015

Review: Glory Days: Living Your Promised Land Life Now by Max Lucado

Are you stuck in the wilderness known as midlife misery? Can you name the day you became a Christian but can’t remember the last time you defeated a temptation or experienced an answered prayer? Find encouragement in Max Lucado's new book, Glory Days. With God’s help you can close the gap between the person you are and the person you want to be. Like Joshua and the Israelites, you can move from a wilderness existence into a promised inheritance.

Now through August 31, 2015, pre-order Glory Days and receive free gifts!


There are two pre-order options:

Option 1:

Pre-order one copy of Glory Days (any format), and receive a free digital download of the abridged audio version of In the Grip of Grace by Max Lucado.

After you've pre-ordered, please claim your free gift by submitting your email and proof of purchase at

Option 2:

Pre-order one copy of Glory Days (any format) AND one copy of God is With You Every Day (Max's brand-new, 365-day devotional—any format), and receive both the abridged audio version of In the Grip of Grace and a paperback copy of Traveling Light by Max Lucado (U.S. addresses only). 

After you’ve preordered, please claim your free gift by submitting your email and proof of purchase at

Pre-order today and get your free gift by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the offer ends on August 31, 2015.


Book Description

 The wilderness. Maybe you know it well.

The Israelites sure did. After all, they spent forty years wandering the desert. Victories were scarce. Progress was slow. They were free from Pharaoh but not free from fear. Saved but stuck.

Sounds a lot like midlife misery. Caught in a rut. Stalled out. Running on empty. Are you mired in the same?

You can name the day you became a Christian and escaped Egypt. But you can't remember the last time you defeated a temptation or experienced an answered prayer. You're fighting the same battles you fought the day you came to Christ. You're out of Egypt, but Egypt's not out of you.

Isn't the Christian life supposed to be better than this?

Jesus offers abundant joy. Yet you live with oppressive grief. The epistles speak of grace. You shoulder guilt. You are more than a conqueror yet are commonly conquered by temptation or weaknesses.

But there's good news. With God's help you can close the gap between the person you are and the person you want to be. Like Joshua and the Israelites, you can move from a wilderness existence into a promised inheritance.

This is God's vision for your life. You, at full throttle. You, as you were intended. You, as victor over the Jerichos and giants. You, minus the stumbles, hurts, and hate.

You and your Promised Land life.

"New York Times "bestselling author Max Lucado invites readers to leave the wilderness and discover a life defined by grace, refined by challenge, and aligned with a heavenly call. By studying the life of Joshua and the biblical book that bears his name, Lucado reveals God's promises for every step and reminds readers that God still fights for them.

About the Author

 Max Lucado has touched millions with his signature storytelling writing style. Awards and accolades follow Max with each book he writes. Max is the first author to win the Gold Medallion Christian Book of the Year three times—1999 for Just Like Jesus, 1997 for In the Grip of Grace and 1995 for When God Whispers Your Name. In 2005, Reader’s Digest dubbed him “America’s Best Preacher.” In addition, he has been an ECPA Gold Medallion finalist with more titles than any other author in the industry.

In 1994, he became the only author to have 11 of his twelve books in print simultaneously appear on paperback, hardcover and children's CBA bestseller lists. Lucado set a new industry record by concurrently placing nine different Word Publishing titles on the CBA Hardcover Bestseller List in both March and April 1997. Max Lucado is a fixture on the national bestseller lists – a Max Lucado title has appeared on the CBA hardcover bestseller list every month for the past dozen years. He has appeared on the Publishers Weekly, USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists. He has won eight ECPA Gold Medallion awards.

In addition to his nonfiction books, Lucado has authored several award-winning children's titles including, Just In Case You Ever Wonder, The Crippled Lamb, Alabaster's Song and the award-winning You Are Special. Max is also the author of Hermie: A Common Caterpillar, and the Max Lucado’s Hermie and Friends collection of books and DVD’s are quickly becoming a fixture on bestseller lists. He also served as the general editor for the best-selling Lucado Study Bible and God's Inspirational Promise Book.

In the Fall of 2006, he released Facing Your Giants, followed by Every Day Deserves a Chance in April of the 2007.

For over twenty years, Max has served as the Senior Pastor of the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. But he says his greatest accomplishment is finding a one-in-a-million wife in Denalyn and having three unbelievable daughters: Jenna, Andrea, and Sara.

My Review

Glory Days: Living Your Promised Land Life Now is a book by Christian author Max Lucado. Lucado is one of the most prolific contemporary Christian authors. I have enjoyed and found wisdom in all the Lucado books that I have read. He has an easy to read style that makes it available to all readers.

We are all wandering in the desert. We are bumbling through life. In the book Glory Days, Max Lucado discusses how the Israelites' journey that is told in Joshua to demonstrate how Christians can  leave the wilderness that they find themselves in, and find their Canaan, their own Promised Land. We don't need to wander any longer. We are accepted and forgiven by God.

Lucado emphasizes how much regular bible reading enhances a Christian's spiritual life. You can read all the Christian books you want but if you are neglecting your bible reading, you are missing a lot.

Glory Days is accessible to all. It is a good book to reinforce and assure Christians. It is also a great book to give to non-Christians who are struggling in their lives.

I highly recommend Glory Days as well as any book by Max Lucado.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review: NIV Zondervan Study Bible Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message By General Editor D.A. Carson

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 163849 KB
  • Print Length: 2912 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Lea Spl edition (Aug. 25 2015)
  • Sold by: Zondervan CA (CA SOR)
  • Language: English

Book Description

The NIV Zondervan Study Bible, featuring Dr. D.A. Carson as general editor, is built on the truth of Scripture and centered on the gospel message. D.A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is a founding member of the Gospel Coalition.


The NIV Zondervan Study Bible, featuring Dr. D.A. Carson as general editor, is built on the truth of Scripture and centered on the gospel message. An ambitious and comprehensive undertaking, Dr. Carson, with committee members Dr. T. Desmond Alexander, Dr. Richard S. Hess, Dr. Douglas J. Moo, and Dr. Andrew David Naselli, along with a team of over 60 contributors from a wide range of evangelical denominations and perspectives, crafted all-new study notes and other study tools to present a biblical theology of God's special revelation in the Scriptures. To further aid the readers' understanding of the Bible, also included are full-color maps, charts, photos and diagrams. In addition, a single-column setting of the Bible text provides maximum readability.

The accessible and fresh interior design will capture your attention and enhance your study experience. Along with your purchase, you'll also receive free electronic access to the NIV Zondervan Study Bible.

Features include:
  • Over 60 scholarly contributors 
  • Over 1.2 million words of new content 
  • Over 3,000 pages packed with in-depth study tools 
  • Nearly 20,000 all-new, comprehensive verse-by-verse study notes 
  • Customized, theologically rich, illustrated book introductions 
  • 6 section introductions to literary genres ("The Pentateuch," "The Historical Books," etc.) 
  • Full-color interior with extensive use of over 60 colorful charts, over 90 maps, and hundreds of photos 
  • Comprehensive library of over 30 articles by award-winning scholars on topics such as "The Bible and Theology," "The Glory of God," "Covenant," "Love and Grace," and more 
  • Cross-reference system 
  • Complete text of the New International Version 
  • Concordance with over 35,000 Scripture references 
  • Free electronic access to the study Bible

 Free electronic access to the study Bible

About the Editor

D. A. Carson (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author or coauthor of over 45 books, including the Gold Medallion Award-winning book The Gagging of God and An Introduction to the New Testament, and is general editor of Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmoderns and Worship by the Book. He has served as a pastor and is an active guest lecturer in church and academic settings around the world.

My Review

I must confess that I have quite a few study bibles. My latest is the NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message. It is a great resource for home study because it is big! And heavy! There are 2,880 pages. It is substantial. I can turn the pages without worrying about tearing them. I can read the print...and I'm not young! There is lots of color to add interest. And best of came with free access to the digital edition so I can access it remotely.

The NIV Zondervan Study Bible has a great layout. For example, the New Testament begins with an introduction to the New Testament which is followed by an introduction to The Gospels and Acts. Then there is an introduction to the Book of Matthew. There are beautiful illustrations, maps charts and graphs throughout.  At the end of the Book of Revelation there are articles by biblical scholars such as Timothy Keller who is one of my favorite biblical writers.

If you only want to have one study bible then this would be definitely one to consider. It is filled with a wealth of information for increasing your understanding of the bible. It is available for purchase beginning August 25th.

Review: Small Wars (Jack Reacher #19.5) by Lee Child

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 626 KB
  • Print Length: 44 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (Aug. 18 2015)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01208O00U
Book Description

 A young lieutenant colonel, in a stylish handmade uniform, roars through the damp woods of Georgia in her new silver Porsche - until she meets a very tall soldier with a broken-down car.

What could connect a cold-blooded off-post shooting with Reacher, his elder brother Joe, and a secretive unit of pointy-heads from the Pentagon?

About the Author

 Lee Child was born October 29th, 1954 in Coventry, England, but spent his formative years in the nearby city of Birmingham. By coincidence he won a scholarship to the same high school that JRR Tolkien had attended. He went to law school in Sheffield, England, and after part-time work in the theater he joined Granada Television in Manchester for what turned out to be an eighteen-year career as a presentation director during British TV's "golden age." During his tenure his company made Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, Prime Suspect, and Cracker. But he was fired in 1995 at the age of 40 as a result of corporate restructuring. Always a voracious reader, he decided to see an opportunity where others might have seen a crisis and bought six dollars' worth of paper and pencils and sat down to write a book, Killing Floor, the first in the Jack Reacher series.

Killing Floor was an immediate success and launched the series which has grown in sales and impact with every new installment. The first Jack Reacher movie, based on the novel One Shot and starring Tom Cruise and Rosamund Pike, was released in December 2012.

Lee has three homes—an apartment in Manhattan, a country house in the south of France, and whatever airplane cabin he happens to be in while traveling between the two. In the US he drives a supercharged Jaguar, which was built in Jaguar's Browns Lane plant, thirty yards from the hospital in which he was born.

Lee spends his spare time reading, listening to music, and watching the Yankees, Aston Villa, or Marseilles soccer. He is married with a grown-up daughter. He is tall and slim, despite an appalling diet and a refusal to exercise.

My Review

$2.99 for Kindle...should be 99 cents in my opinion.

This short story by Lee Child is actually worth reading. Small Wars is back in time when Reacher was still in the army, his brother Joe was still alive and Frances Naigley is working for Reacher.

Great read. Loved this short story which provides more insight into the past. Now I am really ready for the new Reacher book, Make Me, which is out in September.

Review: Long Upon the Land (Deborah Knott Mysteries #20) by Margaret Maron

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1078 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (Aug. 11 2015)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
  • Language: English

Book Description

 Margaret Maron, New York Times bestselling author and Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, returns to Colleton County with an exciting new Deborah Knott mystery . . .


On a quiet August morning, Judge Deborah Knott's father Kezzie makes a shocking discovery on a remote corner of his farm: the body of a man bludgeoned to death. Investigating this crime, Deborah's husband, Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant, soon uncovers a long-simmering hostility between Kezzie and the slain man over a land dispute. The local newspaper implies that Deborah's family may have had something to do with the murder-and that Dwight is dragging his feet on the case.

Meanwhile, Deborah is given a cigarette lighter that once belonged to her mother. The cryptic inscription inside rekindles Deborah's curiosity about her parents' past, and how they met. For years she has wondered how the daughter of a wealthy attorney could have married a widowed, semi-illiterate bootlegger, and this time she's determined to find the answer.

But why are Deborah's brothers so reluctant to talk about the dead man? Is the murder linked to Kezzie's illegal whiskey business? And could his courtship of Deborah's mother have something to do with the bad blood between the two families? Despite Deborah's promise not to interfere in Dwight's work, she cannot stop herself from doing everything she can to help clear her brothers and her father from suspicion . . .

About the Author

 Born and raised in central North Carolina, Margaret Maron lived in Italy before returning to the USA where she and her husband now live. In addition to a collection of short stories she's also the author of 16 mystery novels. Her works have been translated into seven languages her Bootlegger's Daughter, a Washington Post Bestseller won Edgar Anthony, Agatha, and Macavity awards. She is a past president of Sisters in Crime and of the American Crime writers' league, and a director on the national board for Mystery Writers of America.

Like Margaret Maron on Facebook
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My Review

Long Upon The Land is the 20th book in the Deborah Knott series by Margaret Maron. Long Upon the Land is the final book in the series. I think author Maron is smart to not spend too long at the party but I will miss new releases in this series.

Long Upon the Land tells the story of how Deborah's parents met. It was a good story to end the series on. I loved the ending. I feel like Long Upon the Land is a gift to the fans who have been with Maron (and the Knott family) since the beginning. A satisfying final tale to warm our hearts as we grieve the end of the series.

Can this be read as a stand alone? It could. There is a murder mystery to solve! And the writing and the tale is that good. But this is a story for the fans of whom there are many. Thank you Margaret Maron for the Knott family and their stories.

Great book! Highly recommend.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: Killer Run (A Tourist Trap Mystery #5) by Lynn Cahoon

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 409 KB
  • Print Length: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Lyrical Underground (Aug. 18 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

Book Description

 Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More—has somehow been talked into sponsoring a 5k race along the beautiful California coast. The race is a fundraiser for the local preservation society—but not everyone is feeling so charitable…

The day of the race, everyone hits the ground running…until a local business owner stumbles over a very stationary body. The deceased is the vicious wife of the husband-and-wife team hired to promote the event—and the husband turns to Jill for help in clearing his name. But did he do it? Jill will have to be very careful, because this killer is ready to put her out of the running…forever!

About the Author

 New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho expat. She grew up living the small town life she now loves to write about. Currently, she's living with her husband and two fur babies in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. Guidebook to Murder, Book 1 of the Tourist Trap series won the 2015 Reader's Crown award for Mystery Fiction.

My Review

 I have really been enjoying the Tourist Trap Mystery series by Lynn Cahoon. Killer Run is the fifth book in the series.

I generally become hooked on cozy mystery series by the continuing characters and the feeling of a connected family of people who reappear in each mystery in the series. This is the reason I enjoy the Tourist Trap series by Lyn Cahoon. It sort of feels like going home. Killer Run is once again set in the fictional small town of South Cove which is located somewhere on the California coast...I think of it as the town of Cambria when I'm reading. I love the California coast.

Great to visit with Jill, Aunt Jackie, Josh and the rest of the crew. Detective boyfriend Greg has way too many exes in his life! Jill still has a strained relationship with diner owner Lille. Greg is not very available in this outing but Aunt Jackie appears more. I enjoyed the mystery aspect. It took me a while to sort it out.

Overall Killer Run is a great addition to a this fun series!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Review: Through Waters Deep (Waves of Freedom #1) by Sarah Sundin

Dive into Sarah Sundin's explosive new series, Waves of Freedom, with book one, Through Waters DeepWhen evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them in the midst of their budding romance.

Join Sarah in celebrating the release of Through Waters Deep by entering to win an Anchors Aweigh prize pack!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Through Waters Deep
  • A nautical tote bag
  • A set of compass rose notecards
  • A "Hope Anchors the Soul" journal
  • A Boston Tea Party earl grey tea set
  • Through Waters Deep apron
  • A set of nautical tea towels

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 24th. The winner will be announced August 25th on Sarah's blog.


Book Description 

 It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges--and dangers--await them.

About the Author 
 Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. She is the author of the upcoming Waves of Freedom series (Through Waters Deep, coming August 2015), the Wings of the Nightingale series (With Every Letter, 2012, On Distant Shores, 2013, and In Perfect Time, 2014), and the Wings of Glory series (A Distant Melody, A Memory Between Us, and Blue Skies Tomorrow). She also has a novella in the WWII Christmas collection Where Treetops Glisten (WaterBrook, 2014).

A mother of three, Sundin lives in northern California. She works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women's Bible studies. She enjoys speaking to community, church, and writers' groups.

My Review

 Through Waters Deep is the first book in author Sarah Sundin's Waves of Freedom series. Sarah Sundin writes charming books that take place during World War II. She is a fantastic storyteller and author.

Through Waters Deep is a historical drama with some mystery and romance. If you like reading historical fiction and in particular books about WWII then this book is for you. Sarah is also a Christian writer so you know it is going to be a good, clean tale.

As a Canadian, I did not learn much about American history in school. Sarah's books always enlighten me as to the American viewpoint. I find that I always learn quite a bit...and I have a degree in History..just not American history. She really brings the reader right into the action of what was really happening just before Pearl Harbor was bombed and the US entered the war.

 Through Waters Deep has something for everyone...spiritual, suspense, sure to read this one!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Review: Agatha's First Case (Agatha Raisin Mysteries) by M.C. Beaton

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 474 KB
  • Print Length: 63 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Aug. 11 2015)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00XTW2A5E

Book Description

At age twenty six, Agatha Raisin has already come a long way. She has clawed her way up since leaving the Birmingham slum where she was born. She's lost her Birmingham accent, run away from her drunken husband, and found a job at a public relations office as a secretary. Then her boss asks Agatha to go to the home of Brian Devese to tell him that he is soon going to be arrested for the murder of his wife and that the agency no longer wants to represent him.

Brian, impressed with the pugnacious Agatha, asks her to handle PR for him and even offers her an office and tells her she can hire a staff. Certainly the best thing Agatha can do for her first client is to find out who really murdered his wife and clear his name. And with her wits and gumption, Agatha sets out to do just that.

New York Times bestseller M. C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin is beloved by millions and this brand new short story take us back to where it all began with Agatha's first case.

About the Author

Go beyond the lens of Agatha Raisin: The Quiche of Death in this exclusive interview with the author M. C. Beaton.
Posted by Sky 1 HD on Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Like her on Facebook!

Learn more on her website!

Marion Chesney Gibbons
aka: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Marion Chesney, Charlotte Ward, Sarah Chester.

Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.

Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.

My Review

 I have read every book in M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin series. I  love Agatha. She is the no-filter fascinating aunt I wish I had! Following M.C. Beaton on Facebook and reading her posts is like having Agatha as one of your friends (Agatha has a lot of M.C.'s traits).

I just had to read this lovely new short story about Agatha's first case that was released on Tuesday. It will have to hold me over until the new Agatha book, Dishing The Dirt, is out next month. Agatha's First Case provides the reader with insight into the beginnings of Agatha's Public Relations business and how Roy Silver came into her life.

Great short story. The first few chapters of Dishing the Dirt are also included at the end.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Review: Saving Laurel Springs (A Smoky Mountain Novel) by Lin Stepp

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (Sept. 29 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00RRT322A

Book Description

 "A charming portrait of the Smokies, their people, and a wonderful way of life." --Deborah Smith, New York Times bestselling author

In a heartwarming novel set amid the lush splendor of the Great Smoky Mountains, Lin Stepp reunites two kindred spirits in a charming story of first love and surprising second chances. . .

See ya later--and love you forever, Rhea Dean. Those are the words Rhea's childhood sweetheart, Carter Layman, used to say whenever they parted. Not that she places much stock in words anymore. After all, Carter drove off to college in California, promising to make a fortune to help save their families' vacation resort. Instead he stayed there and married someone else. It fell to Rhea to keep Laurel Springs going and she's done just that, working long hours on the camp grounds, buoyed by the beauty of her Smokies home.

Now a widower with a young son, Carter has achieved huge success as a games developer. But he always planned to return to the spring-fed lake and the soaring mountains, to the covered bridge where he and Rhea made wishes and traded kisses. He's coming home to turn Laurel Springs into the place they planned to build together. And as he reveals the truth about his past, Rhea must decide whether to trust in the man--and the dreams--she's never forgotten.

About the Author

 Dr. Lin Stepp is a native Tennessean, a businesswoman, and an educator. She is on adjunct faculty at Tusculum College where she teaches research and has taught a wide variety of psychology and counseling courses for over 16 years. Her business background includes over 25 years in marketing, sales, production art, and regional publishing. She has editorial and writing experience in regional magazines and in the academic field. Stepp has nine published novels each set in different locations around the Smoky Mountains. Her novels published by Kensington Publishing include Down by the River (June 2014), Makin’ Miracles (January 2015), Saving Laurel Springs (October 2015) and Welcome Back (March 2016) as well as a short novella A Smoky Mountain Gift included in the 2014 Christmas anthology, featuring Fern Michaels, and titled When the Snow Falls. Previous titles include: Second Hand Rose, Delia’s Place, For Six Good Reasons, Tell Me About Orchard Hollow, and The Foster Girls. Stepp and her husband have published a Smokies hiking guide titled The Afternoon Hiker (2014). 

My Review

 Saving Laurel Springs is the third book in the Smoky Mountain Novel series by Lin Stepp that I have read. Saving Laurel Springs is a stand-alone novel but I would recommend reading the other books in the series as they are all so charming.

As with the earlier books, I was quickly drawn into the story of Rhea and Carter whose families have long owned the Laurel Springs resort in the Smoky Mountains. Life-long friends, Rhea and Carter had planned to attend college in California together. But Rhea always found excuses not to go and Carter found a new life in California and married someone else. When he returns to Laurel Springs Rhea is challenged and torn with conflicting feelings for both Carter and his young son Taylor.

This heartwarming tale spun by master storyteller Lin Stepp is a story of friendship, love, and misunderstandings.  Do we really hear what others are trying to tell us or do we just hear what we want to. Sometimes one persons dreams are not anothers. This is tale of second chances.

The beautiful Smoky Mountains are brought to life with beautiful descriptions by author Stepp. I was attracted to the first Smoky Mountain novel by the setting and have kept reading because of the excellent writing style and the heartwarming tales. I've learned a lot about the people of the region through these novels.

Highly recommend Saving Laurel Springs.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: Run You Down (Rebekah Roberts #2) by Julia Dahl

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 926 KB
  • Print Length: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (June 30 2015)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
Book Description

 Aviva Kagan was a just a teenager when she left her Hasidic Jewish life in Brooklyn for a fling with a smiling college boy from Florida-and then disappeared. Twenty-three years later, the child she walked away from is a NYC tabloid reporter named Rebekah Roberts. And Rebekah isn't sure she wants her mother back in her life.

But when a man from the ultra-Orthodox enclave of Roseville, N.Y. contacts Rebekah about his young wife's mysterious death, she is drawn back into Aviva's world. Pessie Goldin's body was found in her bathtub, and while her parents want to believe it was an accident, her husband is certain she was murdered.

Once she starts poking around, Rebekah encounters a whole society of people who have wandered "off the path" of ultra-Orthodox Judaism-just like her mother. But some went with dark secrets, and rage at the insular community they left behind.

In the sequel to her Edgar Award finalist Invisible City, Julia Dahl has created a taut mystery that is both a window into a secretive culture and an exploration of the demons we inherit.

Description take from the publisher's web site.

About the Author

 Julia Dahl was born in Fresno, Calif., to a Lutheran father and a Jewish mother. She currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Julia has been writing about crime since 2004 when Seventeen magazine sent her to cover the story of a young Birmingham, Ala., girl who had been killed by her mother. Since then, she has worked as a freelance reporter at the New York Post, the deputy managing editor of The Crime Report, and now covers crime and justice for

Julia's feature articles have appeared in Mental Floss, Salon, Pacific Standard, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, and the Daily Beast, among others. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the H.F. Guggenheim Foundation and the Nation Institute for her reporting on criminal justice issues.

Before turning her attention to crime and justice, Julia was an editor at Redbook and Marie Claire. She began her career fact-checking at Entertainment Weekly.

INVISIBLE CITY is her first novel. She is at work on the sequel.

My Review

 Run You Down is the second book in the Rebekah Roberts mystery series by author Julia Dahl. I discovered this series last year when Dahl was nominated for several awards for her debut novel Invisible City. I loved Invisible City so I had been anxiously awaiting the follow up novel, Run You Down.

Run You Down reveals Rebekah's mother Aviva's story to the readers.  It is a fascinating story and completely different from what I had been expecting. It is such a realistic tale as Dahl explores the motivations of the young Aviva through to middle age. I loved how Run You Down went back and forth from Rebekah's story to Aviva's.

Dahl is able to bring the world of Hasidim to life. It is a world of which I knew nothing but I find that it is much in common with the views of all fundamentalist interesting. It can  be such a hard world for those who leave Hasidim behind to look for answers away from everything they have known.

The mystery aspect of Run You Down was equally compelling. I love this series and cannot wait for more. I highly recommend Run You Down. It can be a stand-alone but do your self a favor and read Invisible City first.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Great Escapes Blog Tour and Giveaway: Killer Wedding Cake (Daphne Martin Cake Mystery) by Gayle Trent


To be entered to win an ecopy of Killer Wedding Cake, you must leave a comment below and follow this blog. Extra entry if you follow me on Twitter: @PoCoKat

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Tour Participants

August 4 – fuonlyknew – Review
August 5 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post
August 6 – Queen of All She Reads – Review
August 6 – Moonlight Rendezvous – Review
August 7 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Guest Post
August 8 – Christa Reads and Writes – Review
August 9 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview
August 10 – Back Porchervations – Review
August 11 – MysteriesEtc – Review
August 12 – Community Bookstop – Review
August 13 – readalot – Review
August 14 – Bunny’s Review – Review
August 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Spotlight
August 15 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review 

Book Description

Daphne Martin’s wedding to Ben Jacobs is only a couple of weeks away. An award-winning cake decorator, Daphne is busy designing their wedding cake. Her twin nephew and niece, Lucas and Leslie, are excited about being in the wedding party. And Daphne’s brother-in-law Jason is planning a bachelor party for Ben. Everything is going beautifully until Daphne’s ex-husband Todd shows up. Just released from prison after serving a sentence based on his shooting a gun at Daphne, Todd comes to Brea Ridge to profess his undying love for her.

Despite Daphne’s attempts to make Todd leave town, he insists on hanging around to reconnect with people he used to know. When he’s found murdered, Daphne finds herself at the center of the investigation. Now she must track down Todd’s killer before she becomes the next victim. Can she still make it to the church on time?

About the Author

Gayle Trent (and pseudonym Amanda Lee) writes the Daphne Martin Cake Decorating series and the Embroidery Mystery series. The cake decorating series, written as Gayle Trent, features a heroine who is starting her life over in Southwest Virginia after a nasty divorce. The heroine, Daphne, has returned to her hometown of Brea Ridge to open a cake baking and decorating business and is wrestling with the question of whether or not one can go home again. 

My Review

Killer Wedding Cake is the fifth book in the Daphne Martin Cake Decorating Mystery series by author Gayle Trent. I have not read the earlier books in the series but I found that Killer Wedding Cake can be read as a stand alone novel.

I always enjoy reading culinary cozy mysteries when I am looking for a fast good read. Killer Wedding Cake definitely fits that criteria. I enjoyed the plot and appreciated the interesting characters in the novel. 

Daphne's wedding to Ben is far from being under control when Daphne's ex-husband is released from prison. That is the last thing Daphne needs when she is already dealing with controlling family members. Then the ex turns up dead....who else would want to kill him?

Great culinary cozy!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Review: Sand Dollar Cove by Nancy Naigle

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1295 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0991127269
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Crossroads Publishing House (July 1 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00W0F03IW

Book Description

Growing up, Elli Eversol spent nearly every summer in Sand Dollar Cove at her grandparents’ beach house, working at their shops on the old fishing pier. After a hurricane and a Nor’easter damage the pier and the shops nearly beyond repair, Elli returns to town to help rebuild. She even launches the Buy-A-Board campaign to raise funds for the plight. Holden Moore is back in Sand Dollar Cove, too. He broke Elli’s heart years ago, but he’s pulling every Romeo trick in the book to win her back now. Yet there’s more to Holden’s agenda, and it doesn’t include saving the pier.

Brody Rankin is eager to scout the location for his company’s new mega-warehouse near a quaint North Carolina beach town. The online request for handyman assistance for the Buy-A-Board campaign in Sand Dollar Cove gives him the perfect reason to head to the east coast, check out the area, and contribute to a good cause. He’d only have to leave half of his playboy-surfer lifestyle behind for a little while—there are plenty of waves in the Atlantic. But when he meets Elli Eversol, she really gets the surf up, and he’s tempted to toss his playboy ways out with the tide.

About the Author

USA TODAY Bestselling author, Nancy Naigle, writes love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense.

With a career spent on the cutting edge of technology in the banking industry, she never let go of her dream to write. Now she works full-time writing stories that are a calming blend of community, family, and the simple things in life. She writes the kind of stories she hopes will provide an escape from the hectic day-to-day in the make believe worlds she creates.

Look for Nancy's titles in the Adams Grove series.
Sweet Tea and Secrets
Out of Focus
Wedding Cake and Big Mistakes
Pecan Pie and Deadly Lies
Mint Juleps and Justice
Barbecue and Bad News
~coming in 2016 Porch Swings and Promises

Nancy also has co-written books with:
Phyllis C. Johnson ~ inkBLOT
Kelsey Browning ~ The Granny Series
Book 1- In For A Penny
Book 2 - Fit To Be Tied
Book 3 - In High Cotton

Her latest single title, LIFE AFTER PERFECT, comes out on May 19th.

Aside from writing she enjoys hunting for treasures in junk and antique shoppes, and getting crafty no matter what the medium from painting and digitizing embroidery designs, to weaving pine needle baskets.

A Virginia native, and spending most of her life in the Tidewater area, she now calls North Carolina home.

My Review

Sand Dollar Cove is a standalone novel by romance author Nancy Naigle. I have enjoyed Nancy's previous books so I knew I would be in for a treat...and I was! Great book!

Sand Dollar Cove is set in the small coastal North Carolina town of Sand Dollar Cove. Charlotte realtor Elli Eversol returns to Sand Dollar Cove to oversee the installation of the fundraising recipient plaques for the funds raised to fix the town's pier. The pier had been damaged twice in recent years by storms. Elli had wonderful memories of the time she had spent there with her grandparents who had a shop on the pier. Lots of surprises were waiting for Elli in Sand Dollar Cove. Her grandmother is not doing as well as she thought and is ready to downsize.  She finds an old love of hers has returned to Sand Dollar Cove. And what about the handsome surf bum who is going to ready the plaques? Can the pier be saved? Will Elli find love amidst the sand dollars that line the beach in Sand Dollar Cove....

A heartwarming Southern, small town, fast-read romance! Another winner from Nancy Naigle!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Great Escapes Blog Tour: Give Em Pumpkin To Talk About by Joyce and Jim Lavene

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 358 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: J. Lavene (Aug. 4 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Tour Participants

August 3 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews - Review
August 3 – Mallory Heart Reviews - Review
August 3 – Books and Authors - Review
August 4 – Booklady's Booknotes - Review, Guest Post
August 4 – Kimberly's Bookshelf  - Review
August 4 – Book Splurge - Review
August 5 – Shelley's Book Case - Review, Guest Post
August 5 – Back Porchervations - Review
August 5 – readalot – Review
August 6 – fuonlyknew - Review
August 6 – Girl with Book Lungs - Review
August 7 – A Blue Million Books - Interview
August 7 – Queen of All She Reads - Review
August 8 – Socrates' Book Reviews - Review, Guest Post
August 8 – MysteriesEtc – Review
August 8 – Griperang's Bookmarks – Interview
August 9 – Community Bookstop – Review
August 9 – cuppa Tea With G - Review
August 10 – View from the Birdhouse - Review
August 10 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes - Review
August 11 – Babs Book Bistro - Review
August 11 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows - Review
August 12 – A Chick Who Reads - Review
August 12 – Book Babble - Review
August 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review
August 13 – Melina's Book Blog – Review 
August 14 – Cozy Up With Kathy - Review, Guest Post
August 14 – Moonlight Rendezvous – Review
August 15 – deal sharing aunt - Interview
August 15 – LibriAmoriMiei - Review
August 16 – Laura's Interests – Review
August 16 – Brooke Blogs - Review

Book Description

First in a New Series

Richmond attorney Sarah Tucker returns to sell her family’s abandoned farm in Misty River, Virginia despite unanswered questions about her grandparents’ disappearance sixteen years earlier. Sarah was only twelve when she went to visit and found her grandparents had vanished. No amount of searching has brought answers.

Now Sarah is faced with other issues when a man is killed who claimed to have information about what happened to her grandparents. She learns of a Confederate chest of gold that is said to be buried on the property, and treasure hunters who are willing to do anything to get their hands on it.
Were her grandparents murdered for the gold? Sarah can’t sell the land and go back to her life until she has answers. But the cost of the answers may be her life.

Includes farm-fresh recipes!

About the Author

aka Elyssa Henry and Joye Ames, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant

Joyce Lavene and Jim Lavene are a wife and husband team who have written and published more than 70 books since 1999. They live in North Carolina with their family and enjoy cooking, photography and ghost hunting.

My Review

Give Em Pumpkin To Talk About is the first book in a new series by Joyce and Jim Lavene. As I have enjoyed their other series I knew I would enjoy this latest novel.

Sarah Tucker, who is an attorney in Richmond, Virginia, returns to her family's abandoned farm in Misty River to prepare to sell it. Sarah's grandparents had mysteriously disappeared from the farm 16 years ago. She needs to contend with a man who seems to know something about their disappearance as well as Jack a squatter on the farm. And what is this about Confederate gold?!? Lots of action, shots being fired, people being murdered...will Sarah be able to figure out what is going on?

Lots of twists in this fast reading mystery!

Recipes included! Highly recommend the Give Em Pumpkin to Talk About.